Weekend reading: The boys of summer, a return to Winterfell and mobile matters

Weekend readingAfter my recent gadget obsession, I was glued to the tube this week. In addition to some notable finales, it was batter up for the Toronto Blue Jays and the final countdown to the Game of Thrones season four premiere. Plus, we learned Canadians are crazy for mobile. Check it out!

Let’s go Blue Jays!

As playoff hopes rise, and fall, across sports stadiums, the Toronto Blue Jays are just getting into the swing of it all with the home opener tonight. Of course, even when the team is at home, I can’t make it out for every ball game. Luckily, all 162 of this year’s games are available with Rogers Anyplace TV. Rogers digital television customers can live stream the games on their computer and tablet with Rogers Anyplace TV and their Sportsnet, Sportsnet ONE or Sportsnet 360 subscriptions, while Rogers wireless customers can tune in on their smartphone via the Rogers Anyplace TV mobile app.

Earlier this week, Sarah shared her story of catching a game while commuting. When have you watched a game on the go?

Game on

Going from the diamond to a different kind of game entirely: Game of Thrones returns this weekend! The Rogers Your World This Week team sat down with Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark) and Kristian Nairn (Hodor) to find out what season four has in store – watch the full video. In case you’ve forgotten some of the finer plot points from last year, Mashable is offering fans a little refresher on life in Winterfell, translated into emoji.

Catch the premiere on April 6 on HBO Canada, or watch it later with Rogers Anyplace TV and Rogers On Demand.

How will you celebrate the season premiere?

Making it mobile

The average Canadian spent more than 34 hours per month online in 2013, with more of those hours being logged on mobile devices than ever before, says new research from ComScore. The Globe and Mail notes that in the U.S., more than half of people’s time spent online in 2013 was mobile – a whopping 566 billion minutes! Canadians are spending that time on mobile checking the weather, social networking and searching.

Finally, getting back to that tube obsession, roughly a third of us are using a smartphone or tablet while watching TV (I was hunting Pokemon while watching TV on Monday night).

I’m definitely reading way more websites and watching more videos on my smartphone every year – how about you?

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Rogers new 700MHz spectrum will bring more NHL action to customers

Canadians’ use of wireless data is exploding. A recent study by Ooyala found that the amount of video watched on smartphones and tablets has grown by more than 700 per cent since 2011.

We know that more and more sports fans are catching the latest game or highlights from the day’s action on their smartphones or tablets. During the recent Olympic games we saw a 50 per cent spike in wireless traffic during the men’s hockey final as customers tuned in to catch the action. Our own research shows that more than half of all consumers expect to have their entire TV experience replicated on a smartphone in the next five years.

That’s why we went into the 700 MHz auction with a clear plan to win the best spectrum for our customers. We know you want the ultimate video experience and the spectrum we won will be a big part of how we bring the NHL to you.

Over the coming months we’ll announce more about our plans to bring you more NHL action than ever before!

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Game Of Thrones returns April 6: Get a sneak peek

The calendar may say spring, but really, we all know that winter is coming!

We’re all anxiously awaiting the return to Winterfell when Game of Thrones premieres on April 6. To celebrate the hotly anticipated season premiere, the Rogers Your World This Week team sat down with Isaac Hempstead Wright, who plays Bran Stark, and Kristian Nairn, the man behind Hodor, to find out what season four has in store.

Catch the premiere on April 6 on HBO Canada. Forgot to block Sunday night off in your calendar? No worries – you can watch it on demand with Rogers Anyplace TV and Rogers On Demand.

What would your Game of Thrones name be?

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Kick off the Toronto Blue Jays season with Rogers Anyplace TV

Blue JaysI’m a die-hard Toronto Blue Jays fan.

How much of a fan, you ask? Well, for our honeymoon last summer, my husband and I took a road trip to Buffalo to catch a game of the Blue Jays triple-A team, the Buffalo Bisons.

One night later, we were sitting right behind home plate to watch as the Blue Jays took on the Tampa Bay Rays.

Today marks the start of the Blue Jays 2014 season. And while I’d rather be in Tampa Bay catching the game in person (and soaking up some sun), I’ll be able to watch the first Blue Jays game of the season while I’m on the go in Toronto with Rogers Anyplace TV.

Here’s how Rogers customers can watch all 162 Blue Jays games this year:

  • Rogers digital television customers can live stream the games on their computer and tablet with Rogers Anyplace TV and their Sportsnet, Sportsnet ONE or Sportsnet 360 subscriptions;
  • Rogers wireless customers can tune in on their smartphone via the Rogers Anyplace TV mobile app.

Sportsnet will also be following the Blue Jays with real-time alerts from the free Sportsnet Mobile app, available for BlackBerry 10, iOS and Android. Plus fans can join a live chat with Sportsnet’s team of writers on sportsnet.ca during key games and find all the latest news and updates for their favourite team.

Last summer, when the Blue Jays were about to win their 11th straight game, my husband and I were on the move.

When the game began, we were listening to Sportnet 590 the FAN broadcast in the car en route to the Burlington GO Station to catch a train back to Toronto. We sat in the car as long as we could.

When it was almost time for the train, we had to figure out another way to listen to the game. Then I remembered we could watch it on our smartphones!

We cheered every home run as the train rolled on – don’t worry, we had headphones so as not to disturb everyone.

By the time we got to Toronto, the Blue Jays were up handily. We turned off the game as we transferred from the GO Train to a streetcar, then resumed watching on the Rogers Anyplace TV app.

The Blue Jays ended up winning that game 13-5.

Here’s to a fabulous 2014 season, wherever you catch the game.

Where’s the oddest place you’ve watched a Blue Jays game using the Rogers Anyplace TV app?

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Weekend reading: Smartphones, smartphones and more smartphones

Weekend readingWhether it’s sequins or an unscuffed screen, I can’t help but be drawn to shiny new things. And this week, between announcing the launch date for the LG G Flex and revealing the new HTC One (M8) can you really blame me for being a little gadget obsessed? Plus, we look at the latest stats on just how many Canadians are sporting smartphones.

Hot handset

Speed, sleek lines and a killer camera were on display Tuesday when HTC lifted the curtain on the new HTC One (M8). My favourite thing about this new Android device, available in glacier silver and gunmetal grey, is the HTC Duo Camera – which lets you take a shot with two cameras. As someone with a slew of awkwardly framed vacation photos, the ability to choose which parts of the scene to emphasize, even after the fact, is oh-so-tempting. It’s also got scads of memory (and the ability to add more) for all those sweet shots.

Rogers customers can currently purchase the gunmetal grey device online using the Rogers Reservation System, even before it’s available in-store! Rogers will also offer the glacier silver model starting April 10.

What’s your favourite feature of the new HTC One (M8)?

Get Flexed

We’re excited to announce the launch date for the world’s first curved smartphone: the LG G Flex will be available to Canadians starting on April 3, exclusively from Rogers! This curvy handset has a self-healing back and a bunch of other cool features – we shared our top five here.

And we’re not the only ones in awe of the LG G Flex’s unique and user-friendly design. This week the device received the title of ‘Best of the Best’ at the Red Dot product design awards. Congrats to the LG team!

Want to try it for yourself? New and existing Rogers customers can reserve the device online using the Rogers Reservation System. 

Do you think curved is the new flat?

Smart stats

More than half of Canadians – 55 per cent – now have a smartphone, according to the latest adoption research shared by iPhone in Canada. The study of 1,100 smartphone owners by Catalyst Canada and GroupM Next found most Canadians are toting Android phones, with a 45 per cent market share, while 34 per cent are using an Apple device. Blackberry and Windows round out the list. Surveying both Anglophones and Francophones, the research found that only one-third are using their phones to check emails – which I find surprising, as I almost exclusively email on the go. The most popular use for a smartphone was to get directions, while finding a restaurant, checking the weather and using Twitter were also popular.

The other neat stat here is that half of the smartphone owners let go of their feature phones at least two years ago. I gave up my “slider” phone in 2010 – when did you make the leap to smartphones?

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Checking out Next Issue

Next IssueHello, my name is Sarah and I’m a magazine fanatic.

I admit, I read too many magazines: Maclean’s, US Weekly, Real Simple — my list is endless. And because I don’t always bring my magazines to the recycling bin in a timely fashion, my husband has been less-than-impressed with one of my favourite pastimes.

So imagine our excitement when Next Issue launched in Canada last fall. Not only do I get to read all my favourites, including dozens of titles I didn’t regularly pick up from the newsstand, but there’s no recycling mess left behind.

Next Issue is a subscription-based digital magazine service Rogers Media launched last fall through its Rogers Publishing division. It offers unlimited access to more than 100 of the world’s best magazines, including Chatelaine, Maclean’s and popular U.S. titles, starting at $9.99 per month.

We gave bloggers Jack Harding and Rebecca Stanisic a chance to trial Next Issue on their Rogers smartphones and tablets for the past few months. We caught up with them to find out their thoughts on the service.

What do you think of Next Issue so far?

Rebecca: It’s fantastic. I can read it on my smartphone or iPad. The load time is quick and there are so many different magazines to choose from. I can pull up recipe magazines, style magazines or, my personal favourite, Entertainment Weekly for all the juicy news on my favourite TV shows and movies. My husband has different interests so it’s nice that both of us can choose from a huge selection and find something we really like.

Jack: It has allowed me to keep up with a lot of reading that I most likely wouldn’t have done otherwise. I used to be guilty of subscribing to magazines and never reading them. Then, six months later I have stacks of unread magazines that I have to throw out.

What are your favourite magazines on the app?

Rebecca: Entertainment Weekly and Chatelaine have been two of my go-tos.  We also pull up Rolling Stone a lot.

Jack: Next Issue has allowed me to not only keep up on my fashion and tech news, but it has allowed me to read more interviews, learn more about the world, and open my eyes to different viewpoints.

What are the perks to reading digital magazines?

Rebecca: It’s still new to me to read digitally, but I am slowly becoming a convert. It’s really great not to have piles of old magazines lying around the house and going into the recycle bin. And if I added up my subscriptions or cost of the magazines I picked up once and a while, this is definitely more economical. Plus, Next Issue travels with me wherever I go so that convenience is nice.

Tell us: Where’s the weirdest place you’ve read a magazine on Next Issue?

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How your sharing helped Parker Jackson graduate high school

Parker JacksonIf you met Parker Jackson two years ago, he would have told you he didn’t expect to ever graduate high school.

Now, Parker has completed his final course and filled out his intent to graduate form.

He credits his success to a tablet, part of mobile tech unit donated to the Rogers Love to Learn youth program at Leave Out Violence- Nova Scotia (LOVE).

The mobile tech unit is one of 52 donated to our non-profit Rogers Youth Fund partners across the country thanks to your tweets and Facebook shares on Rogers Youth Education Day last September 25. Rogers Youth Fund is Rogers national commitment to help youth succeed in the classroom and beyond.  We wanted to let you know how your assistance last year helped kids like Parker.

Parker, who’s from Halifax, N.S., dropped out of Dartmouth High School. After a few years out of school and unsure of what lay ahead, he decided to return to the classroom and try again. He became involved with Rogers LOVE to Learn Program after learning about it from Sarah MacLaren, the Executive Director of LOVE.

Parker says he took part in Rogers Love to Learn program because he needed help focusing on his studies. When the mobile tech unit arrived from Rogers, he began using a tablet. On the tablet, he was able to download apps to help him understand the formulas in his math courses. In one four-hour session with the tablet, Parker was able to complete half his assignment book. He also credits the program’s volunteers.

“I can promise you that without the tutors, I wouldn’t be graduating this year,” he says. “Those people genuinely care about me and motivate me to do my best.”

Of course, the tablet isn’t just about schoolwork, Parker also enjoys some recreational apps.

“There’s a game called Plague Inc., that’s my favorite game to play. I also like to use it to write poetry and take pictures,” he admits.

Parker has come full circle: now finished school, he’s working at the Halifax and Region Military Family Resource Centre where he helps run youth programs.

When it comes to other youth who may be having difficulty with school, Parker has some advice.

“School is rough, but you’ve got to buckle down and find a way to get it done. Look for support in your community,” he says.

“Don’t forget to have fun while studying because it can be tedious and if you’re stressed you’re less likely to remember things. Try to be in a positive atmosphere.”

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How to sync your email to your iPhone

iPhone emailConnected Rogers helps you get your email up and running on your iPhone in no time with this simple, four-step tutorial.

You’ve got an iPhone. You’ve got an email account that you want to sync to the device, so you can send, receive and read your messages wherever you are. No problem. Linking an existing “POP” email account – such as Gmail, Yahoo! or Outlook – is a simple process. Here’s how:

1. Tap Settings.

2. Scroll down and then tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars.

3. Tap Add Account and select the email provider you’d like to add from the provided list. (Don’t see your provider? Tap Other and then Add Mail Account.).

4. Simply follow the onscreen prompts. You’ll need your username/email address and password handy to finish the task and to configure your settings. Repeat this process to add any additional email providers.

Easy! I’ve got four email accounts currently pushing to my device – how many inboxes are you managing?

Check out more great tech tips at Connected Rogers.

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The new HTC One (M8) revealed – purchase yours now and get it early

HTC OnePardon me; I’m still catching my breath after the beauty of the all-new HTC One (M8) was unveiled today. HTC has certainly stepped up its game from the award-winning 2013 HTC One, which was praised by both the tech community and consumers. What, may you ask, makes this new Android device so highly-anticipated, user-friendly and fast? Let me tell you!

1. Speed. You’ll stream the latest videos, images and music at remarkably fast speeds when you light up your HTC One (M8) on Rogers LTE.

This means you can:

  • Use apps like YouTube with virtually no buffering or delays
  • Download your friends’ Facebook and Instagram pictures even faster
  • Browse rich online content – like websites with pictures– without a lag
  • Watch online videos and Rogers Anyplace TV with super-fast streaming speeds and clarity

2. Daring design. This phone, available in glacier silver and gunmetal grey, has curves that you’ll certainly want to flaunt and a five-inch screen that will bring your videos to life. With an all-metal design, smooth lines and edge-free finishes, the phone fits perfectly into your hand.

3. Take pro photos in a flash! The HTC Duo Camera will help you capture memories and adventures with two cameras so you can choose which parts of the scene you’d like to emphasize, even after your shot has been taken. Cool, right? With fast Rogers LTE network speeds, the HTC One will also help you swiftly download and share these memories.

4. Super sound. Music fan? The HTC BoomSound dual front-facing speakers will boost your bass and deliver crisp and clear vocals.

5. Even more memory … for memories. Never again will you be sitting in a café, trying to decide which files to scrap so you can keep taking vacation photos! The latest HTC One (M8) has 32 GB of storage with the opportunity to add even more with up to 64GB of expandable micro SD memory.

We want you to be first in line – no need to wait until launch day! Starting today, you’ll be able to purchase the gunmetal grey device online using the Rogers Reservation System, even before it’s available in-store! Rogers will also offer the glacier silver model starting April 10, when the HTC One (M8) will be available in stores nationwide.

Stay tuned to this space and follow @RogersBuzz for updates on availability and pricing.

If you’re currently an infatuated owner of the 2013 HTC One and are intrigued by 2014’s daring new design, we challenge you to write and share why, in 100 words or less, you should be upgraded. Post your answer on RedBoard below this post, and we’ll draw a random winner to win a shiny HTC One (M8). (Full contest details here). Like this new device, we hope your entry is fresh, bold and memorable!

Update, March 28, 2014: The contest is closed. We’ll post the winner’s name here as soon as they are confirmed. Thanks for your entries!

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Weekend Reading: Gear-ing up, finding faves and welcoming spring

Weekend readingThis week, we said adios to winter (at least according to the calendar), tested out a new Twitter feature and got all the details on Samsung’s new GALAXY S5 and wearables. Want in on our newfound knowledge? Here’s some Weekend Reading.

Get the Gear

The Samsung GALAXY S5 is coming to Rogers on April 11! The Canadian specs and launch date were revealed this week, and we’re really excited about the S. Health 3.0 app, which records steps and heart rate information and lets you record diet and exercise information. You can reserve yours now on the Rogers Reservation System.

The icing on the cake: the Samsung Gear 2 Neo will be available exclusively for Rogers customers, also on April 11. All Gear accessories display your phone’s calls, texts and emails on your wrist. The Gear 2 Neo even includes a standalone music player to power your playlists on the go. Rogers will also be carrying the Gear Fit and the Gear 2. Check out what CBC had to say about the new devices here.

Which of the new Gear wearables has caught your eye? Why?

Top tweeps

Twitter marked its eighth birthday by rolling out a tool that shows your very first tweet. Unfortunately for many, that first tweet was pretty dull but this CBC roundup did uncover some gems! Our first tweet from @RogersBuzz welcomed all our new followers. My personal account’s first tweet was a somewhat embarrassing third-person account of my morning at work. Hopefully, I’ve gotten wittier since then!

What was your first tweet?

Twitter’s testing a new timeline feature that lets you track every tweet from a selected group of people. The micro-blogging site’s “Fave People” lets you group your preferred accounts into a special timeline. You can also choose to receive notifications when they tweet.

I’ve been playing with the feature, which is currently being tested on Android, and I must admit, it’s kind of nice to have a special list of my preferred folks. Rather than my usual list functions – media, runners, sports, etc. – I’ve been using the feature to keep track of my real-life friends whose updates sometimes get lost in my main feed. One caveat – friends with locked profiles cannot be favourites.

How would you use the “Fave People” function?

Sweet springtime

OK, some parts of the country may still be seeing the odd flurry and sub-zero temperature. But the calendar assures us that spring is coming, and we spent yesterday looking for proof! @RogersBuzz followers shared a few promising signs of new growth and sunshine!

Even if we’re still waiting on the thaw, it’s a great time to start thinking about digging in the garden, or, in my case, potting a few herbs on the balcony. To help you get a head start on the growing season, we rounded up a few awesome apps to help gardening veterans and newbies alike.

What tools help your green thumb? 

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