Archive for: ‘January 2019’

A Cool Smartphone Mapping App for Riders and Walkers

23/01/2019 Posted by admin

It’s not often a cool bike/ walk mapping program is available on all big-name smart phone systems. The free Map My Ride App which I show today on my Global TV Monday Morning News tech segment is available for BlackBerry, iPhone and Android .

Check out the video segment with co-host Mike Sobel:


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It uses your smart phone’s GPS to record a walk or bike ride. It shows your turning points, elevation changes and can be shared with others by simply emailing them your route. It also counts calories burned on any route, factouring time, length and elevation changes…you have to share your age, weight and height for that to work.

You can also post on different social network sites including Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo!, Messenger, Aol, WordPress and more. But there’s a cool factour. Because the program works with Google Maps, it also shows 3D Flyover Video so you can see your real route, as a bird would, and share it, over and over again! That feature works best on computers.

The only downside to the free version, good enough for casual users, is the ad clutter. Three add-free membership rates are available from $5.99 monthly/$29.98 yearly to 19.99/$99.96 yearly with more services including reports.

This would be a great experience for folks participating at my co-anchor Mike Sobel’s upcoming MS Bike Tour:



Check out my son John’s recent rout in St. Albert, Alberta and see the fly-over of the gorgeous city we live in.



23/01/2019 Posted by admin

One more tablet joins the fray, the LG Optimus Pad, formally known as the LG-V905R. Available at Rogers for $449.99 with three year plan or $699.99 no term, it enters a growing arena, boasting unique features. A reminder, like other tablets, it’s not a phone – it has WiFi and is also wireless on Rogers’ Rocket data plan.

What’s special about it? It has the distinction of being the first 3D shooting tablet and it runs on Android platform 3.0, known as Honeycomb, a totally new Android operating system designed for tablets.

The first thing I noticed was the screen size. The 8.9-inch display is between the 10-inch iPad or Motorola Xoom, and the 7-inch BlackBerry or Samsung tablets. It’s actually easy to hold with one hand and the 1280×768 WXGA screen is bright and just as sharp as competitors. Now we have more incremental choice sizes in tablets.

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It runs on a one GHz dual core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, at par with today’s tabs.

First let’s get the 3D out of the way. OK, it’s there and it’s a first for any tablet. It shoots in several 3D modes but the screen on the tablet is 2D (unlike the also new Optimus 3D smart phone, not available in Canada, yet). But you have options to watch 3D on the cheap. The onboard 3D player shows 3D for anaglyph glasses, the cardboard red/blue kind. The 3D files show better on any of today’s 3D TV’s, viewed with their glasses.

I watched my own shot 3D on the Optimus on the LG Cinema 3D passive and Sharp Quad active 3D TV’s and their respective glasses and it looks a lot better than the anaglyph experience (which BTW, shows on any 2D HDTV if you plug the Optimus Tab in via the included HDMI cable).

How good is the 3D? It works, but the quality is not as good as 3D dedicated cameras and cams, or even 2D cameras that shoot 3D stills.

I would not buy this tab for the 3D experience…but I would buy it for the perfectly sized screen that will surely be a sweet spot for many buyers.

The dual 5 megapixel 3D camera lenses also work fine in 2D, in fact the best 2D five megapixel still cameras on a tab I have seen. It also has a third camera facing you for video calls. The 2D video advertizes as 1080p but it’s actually 720p interpolated to 1080p. Sorry, not the same quality video as true 1080p tabs, like the BlackBerry PlayBook.

The rest of my experience was on the very cool Honeycomb OS, well matched for the feel, size and speed of the Optimus Tab. There’s plenty of power to go around for the multi-tasking capabilities and being tied to all things Google, this tab works well.

It may not fit in your jacket pocket, like 7–inch tabs but it’s just as easy to carry around and use, with more screen space.

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23/01/2019 Posted by admin


In today’s Global TV Morning News with co-host Mike Sobel, I showed and talked about bigger and faster memory cards for digital cameras and portable USB drives.  

Faster and larger Solid State Memory is gaining more acceptance, despite higher price tags. 

Newer digital cameras now accept SDXC secure digital cards that come in storage capacities from 32 GB way up to 2 terabytes, more than any consumer computer can store! 

Should you get one? They are not cheap but if you travel and like to shoot all your pictures in the un-processed RAW file format with room to spare, then check it out. 

During a recent 11 day cruise I used a 64 GB Lexar Professional SDXC card on an Olympus E-PL2 mirrorless camera. It was able to record more than 2,500 Fine Quality JPEG and another matching 2,500 RAW format photos, plus one hour’s of HD 720p video. It took 61 minutes to transfer these files to a speedy 256GB Intel 510 SSD internal drive on my desktop. Long? Not really, considering it would take more than twice as long to transfer the same number of files in four class 4 16GB SDHC cards.  

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I have been using the Lexar card in more than one dozen digital cameras I have tested in the past two months and it has performed flawlessly.  

You will find Lexar class 10 SDXC cards in specialty camera and computer stores. London Drugs in Western Canada has it for 169.99 while Henry’s in Toronto has it for $149.99, a considerable price drop since their introduction earlier this year for more than $220. It is also available in 128 GB size. I found most brands in this category perform just as fast. What you want is a good brand name like Lexar, Panasonic, SanDisk and Kingston. 

Digital cameras have been SDXC compatible for the past six months and most new ones will support the new SDXC standard. All cameras are backward compatible with older SD and SDHC cards.  

Some SD card buying tips: Brand name SD cards are marked by class number from 2 to 10, usually printer on a circular C on the front of the card or packaging. The higher the class number, the more expensive and faster. Some digital cameras, especially newer ones, that record larger files and quality HD video, will not work with lower class number cards. Many digital cameras, like the new Canon Rebel Tsi can shoot continuously for more than 250 JPEG frames on the Lexar SDXC card I ried, more tha twice as many as older SDHC cards.  Check what your camera maker recommends. If you see a too-good-to-be-true price for a large capacity, no-brand SD card with no class number…stay away.  

When buying SDXC cards for newer cameras, you might want to look into an external reader like Lexar’s 24-in-one USB reader as most computers and laptops can’t SDXC cards yet.  I found the reader to be faster than previous generation readers for older cards.    

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Windows PC’s are supporting the new USB 3.0 standard used mostly for external portable hard drives which commonly go up to 1 terabyte size for about $170. You will recognize the USB 3.0 connection behind your PC by its blue colour.  Typically you will see between a 2x to 4x gain in faster transfer speeds, but if you want zing, you will need deep pockets for SSD versions, like Kingston’s HyperX Max 3.0 which retails for about $325 for a 128GB size. What you get is small, silent and thin-size portability with speeds up to 10x faster than hard drive versions. For more information go to: 杭州夜生活kingston杭州龙凤  


Mac computers won’t support USB 3.0 as they have partnered with Intel to deliver much faster connectivity with Thunderbolt technology, available in the latest MacBook Pro and iMacs. But it won’t be till summer when Thunderbolt compatible devices like hard drives and multiple HD monitors will be widely available for your Mac.  

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23/01/2019 Posted by admin

The morning, my co-host Mike Sobel and I yaked about the pros and cons of the most populat tablets in town.


Now that the Motorola Xoom is in Canada, I thought I would give you my take on the top-level pros and cons of the four top tablets that electronics stores and cellphone stores are selling.

Don’t decide on which tablet to buy based on price. $100 here or there doesn’t mean much if you don’t like your tablet months after you bought it.

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They all do email, have hundreds of thousands apps (including BlackBerry’s PlayBook soon to run Android apps) from serious to useful to pass time genres. Most take as good pictures and videos as the best smart phones.

But here is what counts the most for me on a tablet: The Internet experience, screen clarity and size – features you have to live with after you purchase your tablet. I find 10-inch tablets, like the iPad 2 and Motorola Xoom become awkward on long trips, especially holidays. They are heavier and cumbersome to hold with one hand and become an “additional” item to take along. The 7-inch BlackBerry PlayBook and Samsung Galaxy Tab are lighter, can fit in most jacket pockets, which also means coats and purses and can be held with one hand for longer.

The OS becomes secondary, as all are different and once you get used to yours, your tablet will be a fun and productive tool.

You can go online and check the detail features and functions on the links below. Here is my brief take on the experience of using these tablets.

*iPad2 from Apple Store, also at Bell, Rogers and TELUS from $640 to $849 (16, 32, 64 GB) WiFi or $519 to $719 (16, 32, 64 GB) on cellular data plan. It has the second nicest 10-inch bright screen, the coolest and simplest iPad Smart Cover, the most apps, most responsive touch screen, iTunes and Internet anywhere w/cell data plan option. The cons is an Internet limitations due to no Flash support so you won’t be able to see a lot of videos on many sites.


*Samsung Galaxy Pad from $399.95 to $199.95 with plan at Bell and Rogers is the cheapest 7-inch tablet with a descent screen experience. It runs on the now older Android 2.2 OS similar to many Android smart phones. It does Internet anywhere w/cell data plan and is perfect for budget minded folks who still own a regular “talking” phone and wish to bypass the smart phone stage with a larger and easy to use screen. The cons are some web sites will only run in mobile mode instead of full PC-like mode. And the video quality is one notch lower than the iPad2 and Xoom.


* Motorola Xoom from Motorola Mobility Canada, $599.99 at TELUS features the strikingly new Android 3.0 HONEYCOMB OS. It feels and looks like a laptop of the future with swooshable multi-finger swipes for customizing your apps. It has a smart selection of optional accessories like Bluetooth keyboard, portfolio case, gel skin and a combo charger/HDMI out HD Speaker Dock. The cons are despite the sharpest 10-inch screen and unbreakable Gorilla glass, it is the most reflective screen, especially at angles and it needs WiFi for Internet, unlike a cellular data version in the U.S.


* BlackBerry PlayBook from Research in Motion $499.99 to $699.99 (16, 32, 64GB) from everywhere, has the best no-glare, truly multi-angle bright screen, smartest multitasking OS for switching Apps and a special secure Bluetooth connection with your BlackBerry device OS 6 and higher. It has the best Internet experience, shoots the best HD video and will soon run the some 160,000 Android Apps. It’s basically WiFi but can bridge with your BlackBerry in tether mode for Internet (the BlackBerry Bridge Bluetooth is different from the tether function so you can have either or both running). If you like your BlackBerry smart phone, the PlayBook will not disappoint.



23/01/2019 Posted by admin

In today’s Global TV Morning News with co-host Mike Sobel, I showed and talked about some exotic printers from Lexmark and HP.


Printers have come a long way, but here are two unusual ones that incorporate technologies you won’t find in any other printer. They are both pricey at $399 but they offer different ways of printing at home and small office or from afar.

Lexmark Genesis inside view off special copy camera and stand-alone unit.


Lexmark’s Genesis not only looks different but works different too.

It’s a 4-in-1 multifunction printer (copy, scan, print and fax) but instead of a traditional scanner, it uses a special built-in digital camera (thus its odd size) that scans in less than several seconds. This means no waiting.

It follows Lexmark’s lead of Smart Solutions which load on WiFi N wireless printer from the Internet making it a stand-alone unit that can work with a USB connection to PC or wireless or simply work on its own. Walk up to it and select the app you want to run off the easy-to-use menu on the bright 4.3-inch touch colour screen.

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It can make a quality copy of a photo album print (or group of prints it can recognize) in less than one minute. Or scan a document into a PDF file and save it to a plugged-in USB stick. You can scan business cards or even read and print news, sports and entertainment, directly off the screen. Off-course it has full back and forth functionality with your nearby PC.

Unlike traditional printers, it doesn’t have a feeder but it’s speed – a few seconds – instead of a few minutes, makes up for its simplicity.

Who would use it? Folks who want to save time on a quick turn-around tasks mentioned above. Scanning and sending to an email can also be done from the touch screen. If you have a lot of old album photos, the Genesis will scan and tuck digital copies away, again…in seconds.

The one thing that you still have to wait for, as on all printers, is the print time.

Part of Genesis smarts is giving you a preview of whatever you are scanning instantly before your hand leaves the cover. Impressive and smart technology adding a different sculptured look wherever it stands.

Available at Future Shop.

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Expect to consume more paper with HP’s detachable wireless printer tablet

HP Photosmart eStation

It’s been less tha a year since HP’s slick ePrint technology, let’s you email directly to your HP printer from anywhere. This means you can even forward emails from your smartphones too, with attachments and have them printed on printers, each with a unique and secure email address.

The coolest of several HP ePrint models is the HP Photosmart eStation, a relatively low profile multi function 4-in-1 printer with detachable 7-inch web-browsing tablet. The tablet and the printer are both WiFi meaning you can walk away with the tablet and go online to a slew of dedicated sites for news, sports entertainment, ebooks and more. The special Disney site for example can let you print colouring pages from favourite animated characters from the detached tablet.

The only drawback is that the tablet is limited to specific sites like Yahoo, FaceBook or Snapfish and you can’t surf as in new tablets today like the iPad, Samsung Tab, PlayBook or Mororola Xoom. This means wide support for competitive emails. Still, the durable eStation touchscreen tablet, when attached back to the two-side capable printer, becomes a huge easy-to-use interface for ordinary printing tasks, without the need of a PC, for direct copy tasks.

If you don’t need the tablet feature, HP makes ePrint models starting at $129, handy for printing out emails and correctly formatted Word and PDF attachments, or even pictures, directly from your smartphones.

Available at BestBuy or Staples.

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