Category Archives: Technology

Mobile and cloud-hip Office 2016 is here

Today’s worldwide launch of Microsoft’s Office 2016 has something for everyone, from consumers to enterprise – and for a good deal.

That’s because the from-the-ground-up re-worked Office suite will be affordable as a free upgrade to current subscription-based Office 365 users. Office 365 is starting to populate beyond students and consumers. Small businesses find the subscription model cheaper and more hassle-free to administrate compared to the traditional fully paid-for client version. Office 365 Home only costs $99.99 a year and can be used in up to five large and small devices.

Excel 2016 - New Tree Map Chart
Excel 2016 – New Tree Map Chart

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IFA Berlin 2015 delivers on the newest smart watches


IFA Berlin 2015, one of the largest annual global tech shows, is again the launch base for the world’s coolest technologies.

Although IFA covers a broad spectrum of technologies and trends at home, work and play, the first two days are particularly exciting as global tech giants announce their newest technologies.

One hot item showing at IFA, are smart watches, with some 40 million to be sold this year. Half of that is expected to be Apple Watches. That still pales in comparison with the 1.5 billion smartphones that will ship this year.

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A closer look at today’s best camera phones launched last week

Hi folks, this is a follow-up on my first quick impressions, published last Friday, on the launch of new  “super camera phones” in the Canadian market today. My take on how good the camera is on the just released Samsung S6 Edge +, Note 5, Moto X Play, joined be the recent LG G4 and Sony Xperia 3, has not changed. But here is a deeper dive on what makes these camera phones so good.

LG G4

LG G4 RAW mode rigt captured every white bridal detail of Jaclyn Maat's (formally Bedard and helped by Kaila Maat) compared to the JPEG format left
LG G4 RAW mode rigt captured every white bridal detail of Jaclyn Maat’s (formally Bedard and helped by Kaila Maat) compared to the JPEG format left
LG G4 4X zoom while shooting in 16 MP is the one to beat
LG G4 4X zoom while shooting in 16 MP is the one to beat
The LG G4 Panorama Mode produces amazingly sharp 102 megapixel images with HDR imaging in shadowed areas on the right
The LG G4 Panorama Mode produces amazingly sharp 102 megapixel images with HDR imaging in shadowed areas on the right

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The best phone cameras for the money

Happy Friday folks. Say “cheese” to the newest wave of top quality camera phones, with two new models available in Canada, starting today.

These phones are the best money can buy, although one is surprisingly affordable. They are basically great for any cutting edge challenges mobile users will run into today. But today’s blog is about camera quality and what features make them shoot better pictures.

They are all Android-based but will likely be joined by Apple’s scheduled iPhone 6 “s” update, weeks away, with a still rumoured 16 megapixel camera, long overdue.

What makes these phone cameras so good, leaving the fancy marketing mumbo jumbo aside?

It’s not just the megapixel number. The size of the photo sensor and the quality of the lens determines the picture quality. Additionally, camera processing software, often third party, can make or break a photo, especially in poor lighting conditions.

The speed of the lens, is more about bragging rights rather than final picture quality. Unlike traditional digital camera lenses that feature adjustable apertures and shutter speeds for proper exposure, phone cameras have a fixed large open aperture. The LG G4 currently features the fastest f 1.8 aperture, while most phones range from f2- f2.8.

Here’s my take from a photographer’s perspective on this new breed of phone cameras.

16MP Samsung Galaxy Note 5,  16MP LG G4 and 21MP Moto X Play
16MP Samsung Galaxy Note 5, 16MP LG G4 and 21MP Moto X Play

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Two new phones, one budget and the other for hardcore business and play

NEW PHONES ARRIVE FOR NEWCOMERS AND HARDCORE BUSINESS

Motorola continues its production in high gear with a flurry of new affordable phones over the past year. It heats up the competition in affordable phones you can buy outright with no plan.

Moto G

  • The LTE-capable Moto G features IPX7-rated protection and scratch resistant Corning Gorilla Glass for the 5” HD display. Its water proof in up to 3 feet of water—for up to 30 minutes. It has an all-day battery and the 13 megapixel camera can turn on with the flip of your wrist. The 5” HD display and Quad Core processor to keep up with today’s mobile demands. It feels nice to hold with careful edge wedging and a non-slip front surface. The Moto G is available in more than 60 countries throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific. In Canada it’s available for as low as $200 outright or free with a two year plan at TELUS, Bell Mobility, Koodo, or Virgin Mobile and soon at Wind Mobile.

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Ford’s future mobility is not just about cars

The next time you buy a Ford you may have a MoDe:Flex E-Bike option to take along in the trunk of your new car.

Welcome to Ford 2.0 where not everyone has to own a car. The car maker is cognisant about how its core product will fit in emerging lifestyles, especially in megacities – huge built-up urban areas where the  traditional car ownership model is changing.

At the recent Further with Ford 2015 event in San Francisco, Ford didn’t talk much about new car models. Instead, it was about mobility in growing congested environments, where public transportation, walking, biking and off course the occasional need for a car (hopefully a Ford) all come into play.

Elizabeth Baron uses Virtual Reality headgear to probe layers of a car that isn't there at the Ford Silicon Valley Research and Innovation Centre in Palo Alto
Elizabeth Baron uses Virtual Reality headgear to probe layers of a car that isn’t there at the Ford Silicon Valley Research and Innovation Centre in Palo Alto

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Last minute super gifts for Father’s Day

Its Father’s Day morning and you need some great gift tech ideas on short notice. You’ve come to the right place! Even if you can’t pick some of these gift ideas at a store here, you can order it online, print out the order slip and slip it into an envelope for Dad!

You can’t go wrong with a Sonos WiFi speaker. For more than a decade, Sonos has been the standard of quality wireless speakers. Often copied by multinational companies but never equaled, Sonos has a range of five speakers for single speaker rooms to multiple speaker theatre setups, controlled by iOS and Android apps. Sonos key to quality wireless music is ensuring a constant flow of music signals through your home WiFi network, even in hard to get rooms. No blips, slowdowns or music interruptions.

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Even the most affordable and smallest Play:1 Sonos speaker – get a two room or stereo starter set for $379 – has smooth and rich sounds and surprisingly penetrating bass from the get-go. Every Sonos speaker made can still be functional with today’s newer models making a Sonos component investment long term. With 27 streaming music services support including the latest Spotify beta Android update enabling the Sonos Controller App to enjoy, in every room,  genres + moods, time-of-day recommendations, and the ability to start a radio station from any artist or track. Nice.

US based Ventev  has been making quality mobile accessories from cases to car chargers and smart portable battery chargers. They are quality made with a velvet touch grey colour texture complemented by orange highlights. You won’t see them in many brick and mortar stores in Canada but Ventev products are available online at crackberry.com  and   Amazon.ca 

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I particularly like the new compact Ventev powercell 3015+ battery charger which also charges directly off an outlet and can charge two phones.Look for the Ventev Powercell 6000mAh workhorse portable battery that charges directly off a wall outlet with 1 and 2 Amp ports or the smart dashport 2100c charger with micro USB cord for charging two phones.

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Canadian based farbe technik has a whopping 12,000mAh Dual USB dual Mobile Charger which automatically adjusts the charge rate to twice the speed for newer phones.  – White $79.99 and smartly designed wallet cases for popular phones through Best Buy.

wd-elements-2tb-usb-30-portable-drive

This is a winner. A portable WD 2 TB USB 3.0 compact drive for backing up (with a free trial program) or simply dumping data on the go for $104 at Staples 

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The Epson Perfection V550 Photo Scanner, $219.82 also at Staples, with 6400 DPI resolution for scanning old photos, negatives and slides. It has quickstart technology and can automatically upload scans to popular cloud services.

Kingston 256

For the ultimate SD camera memory card, check out the Kingston Technology 256GB SDXC Class 10 UHS-I, 90 Read 45 Write Flash Card for $366 on Amazon.ca

Happy Father’s Day

 

 

 

 

 

Free TELUS WiFi hotspots for everyone and short attention spans

TELUS recently launched more than 8,000 free WiFi hotspots in B.C. and Alberta. The service is free to TELUS customers and non-TELUS customers. But TELUS costumers will have advantages.

The Wi-Fi network integrates seamlessly with TELUS’ 4G wireless network, automatically shifting TELUS smartphone customers to Wi-Fi and helping them moderate their use of wireless data.

You will find TELUS WiFi at  7-Eleven, Fountain Tire and Vancity credit union.

It’s also in BC Place and TELUS World of Science in Vancouver; the Saddledome and TELUS Spark in Calgary; TELUS World of Science in Edmonton; the Richmond Olympic Oval; and throughout the Whistler village and ski resort. TELUS is currently installing Wi-Fi in Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium and the Victoria International Airport.

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Adobe 2015 Creative Cloud now has in-app stock photos purchase

Adobe announced the 2015 release of Creative Cloud, an online subscription service for professional and enthusiast  designers, artists and photographers.

First, let’s start with newbies whose last Photoshop or InDesign was purchased at a store in a box with discs a while back, Adobe Creative Cloud is now your source to subscribe to a package of some 30 apps which you download online. Adobe maintains continuous program updates, including new features starting as of today and uses Adobe CreativeSync online to keep and sync files, fonts, photos, design assets, settings, metadata, Adobe Stock assets and more across all your desktop and iOS and Android smartphones. You can even share all these assets with co-workers.

Haze removal in Adobe 2015 Photoshop and Lightroom brings pictures back to life quickly
Haze removal in Adobe 2015 Photoshop and Lightroom brings pictures back to life quickly

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