Weekend Reading: Remote tips, social stats and GIFs come to Twitter

Weekend readingWe’re solving your remote reprogramming woes, discovering just how many Canadians are on Facebook and celebrating the arrival of GIFs on Twitter.

Get it all in this week’s edition of the Weekend Reading.

Canadians “like” it

In addition to the usual suspects of acquaintances and colleagues, my Facebook friends list includes my brother, cousin, aunt, college roommates and, yes, even my mom. So it’s really no surprise that, according to eMarketer, 68 per cent of internet users in Canada will use a social network this year, with Facebook being tops.

Canadians and Americans are on par when it comes to social network usage, but north of the border more of us are logging on to Facebook– 92.6 per cent versus 87.9 per cent.  Those five percentage points are “a small but persistent difference in Facebook’s popularity across the border,” the research says.

Why do you think Facebook is more popular in Canada than the States?

Remote control

I love my technology to be set it and forget it. Once everything’s plugged in and working, the manuals often mysteriously disappear, which is fine until something changes. The second I upgrade my tech or (the horror) move, I’m starting from scratch. Luckily, the Community Forums users  have my back. This week, they shared two methods for re-programming your Rogers remote so that it works with all your home theatre devices.

What tech tasks could you use a refresher on?

Get animated

Regardless of whether you pronounce it GIF or JIF, be prepared to see a little more action in your Twitter feed as the micro-blogging service now supports the inline animations. The update rolled out on Wednesday afternoon, prompting many celebratory GIF shares. Previously, users could share some GIFs using a third-party platform, but the capability has now, as the Wall Street Journal says “finally,” arrived on Twitter.com as well as the iPhone and Android apps

The clips don’t automatically play, but like watching Vine videos, users will need to click play or “view photo” to see them in action.

Want to give it a try? Search Giphy.com for a little inspiration.

Will you share GIFs on Twitter?

 

 

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Your remote reprogramming woes solved

Remote ControlWe’ve all been there before: you’ve purchased a new TV, picked up a new NextBox for the house, or the kids pushed a bunch of buttons on the remote and now it needs to be reprogrammed.

So, you’re left wondering: “How did I do it last time? What buttons do I press again?” If you haven’t kept your NextBox manual on hand you may be wondering how you’re going to tackle this living room conundrum.

Last month I highlighted a wonderful thread where users in our Community Forums outlined how to skip or hide unsubscribed channels in your NextBox guide. Today I’d like to highlight another great submission from our users who took the time to detail the programming methods along with the required codes for your respective TV model.

First, you need to determine whether you prefer the Auto Scanning Method or the Manual Method.

Auto Scanning Method 

  1. Turn ON your TV.
  2. Press the TV button once. The TV button will flash once.
  3. Press and hold the SETUP button until the TV button flashes twice, then release.
  4. Press 9 9 1 on the number pad. The TV button will flash twice.
  5. Aim the remote TOWARDS your TV, press the PWR button once.
  6. Repeatedly press the CH+ button until your TV turns off. The remote will cycle through all possible codes until a match is found. You may need to press the CH+ button many times before finding a match.
  7. Once the TV turns off, press the SETUP button once to lock the code. The TV button will flash twice.
  8. Confirm the remote is programmed correctly by pressing the PWR button to turn on your TV.

TIP: To program the remote to control other devices, repeat the above instructions using the mode button for that device (DVD, AUX or AUD).

Manual Method 

  1. Find the code for the device you wish to control in the Rogers Remote Code Library.
  2. Turn ON the device you wish to control.
  3. Find the mode button for the device you wish to program (TV, VCR, DVD, etc.) Press it once. The button will blink once.
  4. Press and hold the SETUP button until the selected mode button blinks twice.
  5. Enter the 4-digit code for the device. The selected mode button blinks twice. (If the mode button shows a single long blink, the entry is invalid. Try steps 3 and 4 again using a different code if available.)
  6. Point the remote at the device and press PWR button. The device should turn off. If it does not, repeat steps 3 and 4, using a different code for your device, if available.
  7. If you continue to experience problems, try the auto-scanning mode detailed above.

There you have it friends. All the steps you’ll need to program your Rogers Remote to control all your home theatre devices.

Do you have questions about your Rogers products and services? Visit the Rogers Community Forums for advice from our nine resident experts and our more than 260,000 members.

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Students give Rogers Raising the Grade Tech Centres an A+

Youth FundEver heard the saying ‘If you build it, they will come?’

This couldn’t be more true for the six Rogers Youth Fund Tech Centres that were built this year, equipped with computers, tablets and Rogers Hi-Speed Internet.

The 36 Tech Centres across the country operate in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, under theRaising the Grade program.  These are cool and modern spaces where youth get the support they need while learning with the help of tutors, mentors and the latest technology.

Since the first Raising the Grade centre opened in 2012, more than 7,000 young people have taken advantage of this program – honing their academic skills and accessing the tools they need to excel inside and outside the classroom.

After school, the students look forward to not only receiving homework help from the Raising the Grade staff, but also sharing their everyday life.  Learning takes place one-on-one or in a group setting and concepts are reinforced until they’re understood. But there’s also room for fun – computer games, socializing with friends and staff and field trips to the museum all round out the Raising the Grade program.

From Kamloops, B.C. to Niagara Falls, Ont. six Tech Centres have already opened, with a seventh Tech Centre scheduled to open later this year in Summerside, P.E.I.

What skill do you wish you learned in high school?

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Weekend reading: Feeling sporty

Weekend readingThis week, we’re celebrating the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil with hashflags and digging into the latest fitness app stats. Plus, we get a peek at how wearables could move into the office. Get all the details in this week’s edition of the Weekend Reading.

Soccer fever

We’re cheering “Gooooooal” and there’s not a vuvuzela in sight. But there is one familiar bit of tech returning for the World Cup: Twitter has brought back the hashflags feature from the 2010 event. You can cheer on the country of your choice by entering a # followed by the three-letter country code, like host #BRA.

Wired workouts

Whether we’re tracking our activity with wearables, downloading apps to improve our mileage or simply researching the latest news, Canadians are tops (and Russians last) when it comes to cruising health-related websites and apps. The Opera Mediaworks study ranked 10 countries on their use of more than 400 sites and apps, plus surveyed more than 2,000 people, to analyze health and fitness habits.

The research also found that fitness conscious consumers carry their smartphones while exercising, mostly so they can listen to music, while men aged 25 to 34 are the heaviest users of mobile health and fitness apps.

How to you track your health and fitness?

Workplace wearables

We’re all familiar with fitness and sleep tracking bands, but now they’re starting to make their way into the office. This week, Salesforce introduced a set of code libraries to help build apps that connect their employee collaboration tools with wearables. Called Salesforce Wear, it can provide simple notifications, but Readwrite.com also mulls opportunities for automatically scheduled activity breaks or walking meetings. Wired, meanwhile, shared some of the example apps, including a gesture-based app that lets surgeons pull up patient records and a feature that provides photos with contacts so you can put faces to names during meetings.

How would a wearable help you on the job?

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‘Every flight begins with a fall.’ Experts weigh in on Game of Thrones Rituals

Game of ThronesThis Sunday, you can call me “Khaleesi” because I’ll be in Game of Thrones mode. If you’re a true fan, your NextBox is already set to record this epic finale.  We asked Cityline host Tracy Moore, City digital media correspondent Winston Sih and Chatelaine food director Claire Tansey for their top tips on how to throw a memorable #GOT finale party.

How should the host/hostess ensure all guests are caught up?

WS: I suggest hosting a mini catch-up party before the finale. Visit On Demand or Rogers Anyplace TV to zip through past episodes. You should also get to know more about the GOT actors – what do they really look like? How did they kick-off their showbiz careers? Cersei starred in Gossip? Does Khaleesi really have dark brown hair? Just type the actor’s name into your NextBox search to discover their non-medieval TV shows and movies.

TM: You can also play GOT trivia to refresh everyone’s memories. This way you can crown the victor as the official expert of the seven kingdoms.

How would you invite your guests to this evening of the dark ages?

WS: Have fun with your invite – you can personalize one online or use a hilarious example like this one from SomeECards.  Address each e-vite with your guests’ official GOT name. How? Use the GOT names generator– just call me “Khal Winstogon Mormont.” For more customization, include an image of a messenger crow and embed music right from the show.

TM: My preference, of course, would be to send a real messenger crow to deliver the invites, but I know this isn’t doable. So instead, I suggest taking the traditional route and creating a hand written scroll – go big, or go throne, right? Identify your House and even use red wax stamps to seal each scroll.

What steps should be taken to set the medieval mood?

WS: Play music that puts your guests in the medieval mood. Check out Songza’s playlists for each of the seven kingdoms.  Plus, have your friends create their own family arms online.  Divide them by their houses and let the games begin.

CT: Ditch the cutlery and provide guests with only finger foods. Just like the royals, offer your guests a bowl of water to dip their hands into prior to feasting. Incorporate dragon eggs into your appetizer menu with Chatelaine’s devilish eggs, offer hearty, messy entrees like steak & arugula sandwiches or lamb kebabs (and have a mock battle with the skewers).  Serve your guests a lemon cake or loaf, Sansa Stark’s favourite dessert. Tyrion Lannister once said “everything’s better with some wine in the belly.” With his advice in mind, make wine-based cocktails like Sangria Spritzers or Orange Ruby Fizz but rename them after key GOT characters – care for a glass of Dragon Lady or Snowy Sangria?

TM: Is your living room going to look more like King’s landing, Winterfell or the night’s watch and the wall?  Use candles and dim lighting to reflect Game of Throne’s darkness and mystery, while playing medieval music as guests enter your kingdom (living room). Check online for amazing props to set the tone, for example who doesn’t love an Iron Throne bean bag?

I also suggest inviting attendees to wear their own crowns and swords. This way you can watch the season finale as you sit beside your very own Arya, Tyrion or Grey Worm. You can also print images on transfer paper (get this at most craft stores), and iron your House emblem right onto your shirt!. This get-up is great for photo ops.

What’s your view on smartphone use during the show?

WS:  I admit, sometimes I get a bit lost while watching Game of Thrones, so I think having a smartphone or tablet on hand can be very useful. Pausing with your remote can really come in handy while you research a romance or storyline online. Social media can either be your ally or worst nemesis when it comes to the GOT finale. To avoid spoilers, check out these tips. If you are okay with following along on social media, track popular hashtags like #GameofThrones, #GOT, and #thechildren, to learn see how fellow fans are reacting.  Also follow key actors on Twitter like @IAMLenaHeadey, @SophieT, and @AlfieAllen. 

TM: While I do agree with Winston, that phones and tablets are certainly good to have on hand to keep track of storylines, I think for the last 20 minutes of the finale you can ask your guests to put away their devices so that you can stick to a complete medieval experience. Ask that each attendee place their device in a basket to ensure your TV screen and candles provide the only light, and let the sounds of warfare fill your living room.

Medieval times were entrenched in traditions. In present day, we have our very own rituals. When it comes to TV night, what’s your routine? Tweet @RogersBuzz a photo of your TV ritual using #RTVNight and  you’ll be entered for a chance to win a NextBox set-up and Samsung tablet.

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How to watch the FIFA World Cup starting June 12

FIFASixty-four matches. Thirty-two teams. One champion.

Soccer fans have been waiting four years for June 12, the kickoff to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.

Spain claimed first place in the 2010 soccer (or football, depending on your part of the world) championship matches, and this year, Brazil will be chasing their sixth title with a home field advantage.

Rogers customers will be able to catch every goal, pass and yellow card on their computer, tablet or smartphone throughout the tournament.  To watch live:

  • on your computer visit RogersAnyplaceTV.com/sports;
  • on your tablet visit your Apple or Android app store and download the Rogers Anyplace TV app;
  • on your smartphone visit your Apple, Android, Windows, or Blackberry app store and download the Rogers Anyplace TV app

You’ll need to register by visiting RogersAnyplaceTV.com on your computer then enter your MyRogers username and password.

Can’t catch the 2014 FIFA World Cup™  live? Watch the replay on Rogers On Demand, channel 100, or with Rogers Anyplace TV on your computer, smartphone, tablet, Xbox, or LG Smart TV.

Which team will you be cheering on in Brazil?

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Screen time is father and son bonding time

Computer gamesUntil my son turned three, I was his alpha and his omega. I was the funniest in the family. I was the most interesting person in the world. Gradually, though, someone else appeared. As my son embraced the brave world of online games with his dad, I watched their relationship blossom.

Educational games

My husband started with simple educational games like Tux Paint and patiently walked our son through the first steps of using a computer – using a mouse, then a keyboard. I remember how it took me at least a few days to get used to the gestures of a computer mouse (yes, I’m from that generation who first touched a computer at university). Of course, my digital-native child mastered the mouse in a few hours with GCompris, a free, open-source software suite.

He graduated to memory games, mazes, and educational games for reading and counting. Then in junior kindergarten he learned to play chess at his after-school program. Offline, he loved playing against his dad while online they’d team up to devise strategies to defeat the computer.

Minecraft

I was personally excited about Minecraft and how the two of us would play together. But my son trusted his father to help him navigate the new game. Plus, this game necessitated more research than I was honestly ready to do! With his dad, he sat through pages and pages of Minecraft wikis to understand how to build their home, their city and more.

As a result, now at dinnertime my son excitedly shares a new idea to expand his train station, and while I sit, baffled, the two of them have a full conversation on strategies to expand their online world.

Sharing his passion

My husband is a software developer who likes to build, in his words, “beautiful code.” So the natural next step was to share his passion and start teach coding to our son. They’ve just started together with an open-source software created by MIT called Scratch. It teaches kids the principles of code – dependencies, variables, etc. – while making it possible to build a simple video game in an hour or two. I know our son wouldn’t have the patience to sit that long without his dad guiding him along the way, helping him or holding his tongue, depending on what’s needed.

All of these software programs are available online, and most are open-source and free. If your kid is like mine and likes to learn by watching tons of Minecraft tutorials on YouTube on top of playing these online games, make sure you track your Internet usage with www.keepingpace.ca. Plus, find out what internet package is right for you and check out TechEssentials for tips for keeping kids safe online.

Over the years, I’ve loved seeing my son’s pride as he tackles increasingly elaborate games. I’ve enjoyed even more watching them grow closer.

Which online activities do you share with your children?​

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Weekend reading: Hockey, vampires and a new OS

Weekend readingThis week, we’re buzzing about Guillermo del Toro’s new show on FX Canada, 24/7 sports coverage with Sportsnet NOW and Apple’s launch of iOS 8. Plus, find out how you can win extra Rogers First Rewards loyalty points. Get it all in the Weekend Reading.

How about that local sports team?

Get your sports fix 24/7 with the new Sportsnet NOW stream. Available now as an exclusive preview for Rogers customers with a Sportsnet TV subscription, this live, HD-quality stream includes all of Sportsnet’s TV programming and events. This means you can now watch NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB, curling, the Tour de France and more from anywhere in Canada on your computer, tablet or smartphone.

The stream, which includes all your subscribed Sportsnet channels, also allows for quad-screen viewing on your computer for busy game nights. Plus you can set alerts to two minutes before the puck drops (or whatever your sports program of choice may be). There’s even multiple logins on a single account, so family members can tune in to different games or from different devices – perfect for when my boyfriend wants to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs on our desktop but I want to keep an eye on the Montreal Canadiens on the go with my smartphone!

Check it out at www.sportsnet.ca/now or download the app for free from the App Store or Google Play.

What sport will you be streaming?

An Apple upgrade

All eyes were on the Apple World Wide Developer’s Conference Monday, as Tim Cook and co. unveiled the new iOS8. The update includes interactive notifications, improvements to mail, the keyboard and group messaging, as well as a new health tracking functionality. Mashable shares the top six moments from the event, while iPhone in Canada runs through all the new functions here and MobileSyrup shares a visual recap of the announcement.

What functionality do you look forward to trying in iOS 8?

FX Canada gets freaky

On Tuesday, Rogers hosted Guillermo del Toro for a panel discussion about his new FX Canada series The Strain. Based on a trilogy del Toro co-authored, the show follows New Yorkers as they fight against a virus that turns people into vampires. Check out our full recap of The Strain panel, and be sure to tune in for the premiere on FX Canada on July 13 at 10 PM.

Will you be tuning in?

Spin it to win it

Right now, eligible customers enrolled in the Rogers First Rewards loyalty program have a chance to win up to 10,000 free rewards points – just step right up at rogersfirstrewards.com and spin the wheel! What does 10,000 get you? Up to 25 Rogers On Demand movie rentals or $100 in hardware upgrade discounts or loads of extra long-distance minutes … we could go on!

And if you do take a spin, you’ll also be automatically entered to win 1 of 5 grand prizes of 100,000 points. Are you feeling lucky?

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How Rogers handles government requests for customer information

Transparency reportThere’s been a lot of buzz recently about how telecom companies share customer information with government and police. So we asked Ken Engelhart, Rogers Chief Privacy Officer, for the scoop on Rogers Communications 2013 Transparency Report on Requests for Customer Information.

Ken, why is Rogers releasing a Transparency Report, and what is it?

We know some customers are concerned about government and law enforcement agencies getting access to their information. We want customers to know their info is in good hands. That’s why we’re releasing a Transparency Report.

Essentially it’s a report to our customers about the number of requests we received last year from government and law enforcement agencies, how we respond and what information we provide.

How do you handle these requests? Do government and police authorities tap in to your databases?

We don’t provide direct access to our customer databases. We carefully review requests to ensure they’re legally valid and not overly broad, and then our staff provides the information securely so that only the government or law enforcement agency requesting it can access it.

What kind of requests are we talking about?

These requests come from agencies like the police, the Canada Revenue Agency, and so on.

In about half of the requests we were forced by law to provide customer information or assisted in emergencies. The other half of requests were to confirm a customer’s name and address, which we respond to so police do not issue a warrant for the wrong person.

The types of requests include:

  • Customer name and address checks;
  • Court orders/warrants issued by a judge;
  • Government requirement orders, issued under laws like the Income Tax Act;
  • Emergency requests, like helping police in life threatening situations, such as a missing person case;
  • Child sexual exploitation emergency requests where we help police stop the sexual exploitation of a child by identifying who’s using an IP address;
  • International requests, which go through Canadian courts and sometimes result in a court order/warrant that requires us to provide info.

What kind of information are you giving out?

When we get a court order or warrant, the information provided is often things like payment history, billing records and call records. In emergency requests we provide information like location information to find a missing person or contact information for someone who has called emergency services but may not be able to communicate. We don’t look at or keep our customers’ communications like text messages and emails because our customers’ privacy is important to us.

How many requests do you get? Do you always provide the info?

Well for 2013, we had about 175,000.

And no, we don’t always provide info. If we consider an order to be too broad, we push back and, if necessary, go to court to oppose the request.

We’ve posted the report below via slideshare, or you can download it here.

Update: July 16, 2014:  After hearing your concerns and reviewing the Supreme Court ruling from last month, we’ve decided that from now on we will require a court order/warrant to provide basic customer information to law enforcement agencies, except in life threatening emergencies. We believe this move is better for our customers and that law enforcement agencies will still be able to protect the public.

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3 tips for understanding your Rogers Share Everything Bill

Share Everything billWith a Share Everything plan, members share wireless data, talk, text and features between devices. Since everyone uses data from the same pool, lighter users are taking only what they need while heavier users can avoid overage charges. A shared plan is easy to keep track of with just one bill every month, containing helpful information like total data usage and individual data usage. Connected shares the answers to three common questions about Share Everything plan bills.

  1. Why do plan members have different charges?

The highest monthly plan charge is designated to the primary subscriber – you’ll know who that is because he or she will have the highest amount on his or her bill. The charges for secondary subscribers (everyone else) are the reduced fees. For example, if you’re the primary subscriber, your charge might be $90 for a 2G plan, and your spouse and kids, the secondary subscribers, each have a reduced charge of $60.

  1. Why do plan members have their own pages in the bill?

Rogers provides individual usage summaries so that plan members can see exactly how much data they’re using month to month. This can help you identify whether any plan members are especially heavy users, and parents who are primary subscribers can review their kids’ monthly data usage.

Plan members can also check their own usage, and the group’s total usage, any time on rogers.com. As well, the primary subscriber will have access to individual data usage for everyone on the plan.

  1. How are data overage charges shown on the bill?

If any plan members do go over the monthly data limit, the additional charge – in dollars – only appears on the primary subscriber’s bill. Secondary subscribers can see how much extra data they used, but not how much it costs.

For example, if you’re the primary subscriber and your son goes over the allotted data amount by 250 MB, you’ll be able to see the incremental dollar amount in the “Additional Data Charges” section on your bill page. On your son’s usage summary page, though, he’ll see the data overage but not the dollar amount. If more than one plan member exceeds the data limit, all the overage charges are lumped together in one consolidated dollar amount, which is shown on the primary subscriber’s page.

For more on Share Everything plan billing, online-bill customers can click here while paper-bill customers should click here.

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