Sunday, December 30, 2012

LG to Exhibit 100-inch Class Laser TV System at CES

Photo Source: LG

As LCD, LED and plasma viewing experiences have begun to dominate the way many of us watch television or interact with computer devices, South Korean electronics company LG is set to introduce the power of lasers in a grand scale. Set to be demonstrated at the upcoming 2013 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, LG's 100-inch class HECTO Laser TV projector reveals some intense cinematic quality picture.

Comprising of specialized laser illumination, the LG television setup is a projector style entertainment setup offering Full HD 1080p resolution and a 1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. Translated, the LG 100-unit class projector set would feature outstanding picture quality with vivid lighting contrasting. A two-piece entertainment unit where a special screen receives images from a Ultra Short Throw projector, the LG HECTO Laser TV harnesses movie theater viewing even in smaller rooms. With the latest LG design, the lens can be as close as 22 inches (about 56 centimeters) from the display screen. Incorporating all of LG's Smart TV platform capacities, built-in Wi-Fi with access to Netflix and YouTube, content management over the LG Cloud and the brand's Magic Remote are all integrated in the HECTO Laser TV projection system.

The use of lasers for creating a high-end television picture quality is a new technology principle but LG will not be the first to market. In 2008, Mitsubishi began selling LaserVue television sets at a price just under $7,000. Ranging from 73 to 93 inches in size, the Mitsubishi LaserVue units have dropped to between the $3,000-$5,000 range but obviously remains a premium viewing experience when compared to other displays.

Targeted to replace existing projector-type televisions, the LG 100-inch display is focused on attracting high-end home theater buffs and even office boardrooms. Speaking on the planned CES roll-out as well as what the electronics maker has planned for 2013 and beyond, president and CEO Havis Kwon says, "In the coming year, LG will continue to introduce innovative TV products to provide an outstanding productivity and entertainment experience for our customer."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Internet Video Consumption in US Set to Balloon by 2020

Photo source: PRNewsFoto/

Through the surging popularity of smartphones and that equally incredible boom in the sale of tablet computers, habits interest consumption of video content has been forever morphed. According to findings collected by Alcatel-Lucent's research arm Bell Labs, the growing utilization of small, Internet enabled devices who change the amount and methods many North Americans will receive video.

Today, the average American watches 4.8 hours of video content per over various devices (most commonly is still a television set). Based on educated predictions, Bell Labs anticipates the daily consumption of video media will grow to seven hours by 2020. The forecast suggests the increased prevalence of portable electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets will be the chief reason for the growth. Bell Labs attributes video content access on the go and at home through mobile devices as a major fixture in the acquisition of information as well entertainment sources.

In addition to examining the amount of video data set to be consumed, the Bell Labs predictions also took a look at the distribution side of media. It's suggested that the use of on-demand or Internet driven video content will rocket in the next seven years. Internet video content is expected to grow by 12 times its current size by the year 2020 as social networking and clouds-based data resources will continue to become fixtures.

It was claimed in a University of California Study rated the United States consumed a total of 3.6 Zettabytes (3,600,000,000,000,000,000,000) in 2008. For 2020, Bell Labs rates on-line traffic at 1.1 Zettabytes (1,100,000,000,000,000,000,000) for video data alone. The study also points to the fact the 8 pm hour will be recognized as a high peak periods with 10.5 percent of video data being shared.

The highlights the need for high speed Internet infrastructure capable of meeting increased demands.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Online Retailers Hoping to See Colour of Money on Green Monday

Photo source: Door County Visitor Bureau/

So far during this holiday shopping season, there has been a virtual party going on through e-commerce. According to digital monitoring company comScore, 2012 has been a most opportune time to operate online businesses. comScore assessed that from November 1st to December 7th, shopping online in the United States has grown into a 26.8 billion American dollar marketplace. Up 13 percent from the same period in 2011, virtual shoppers have spent over three billion dollars extra online.

Breaking the data down for 2012, this past week resulted 6.44 billion dollars in sales. Three of those days last week accounted for over a billion dollars in transactions. Going back several weeks, Cyber Monday is not surprisingly the busiest single day so far in 2012 accounting for 1.465 billion dollars alone. While Cyber Monday has catapulted itself forward as the prime shopping day on the Internet, retailers online have also been optimistic to the prospects for December 10th on a day deemed “Green Monday“.

Not related to environmentalism, Green Monday has historically been a steady time for brisk Internet Sales. Since e-commence relies heavily on package delivery, Green Monday coincides with the latest possible time that an item ordered as a Christmas gift can arrive on December 24th or earlier. While the increased use of higher speed shipping by some retailers provides an extension into perhaps deeper periods, Green Monday is still seen as a safe zone for online ordering. In fact, Green Monday registered as the biggest shopping day online in 2005 and 2007. Consistently a top-five spending day, Green Monday exceeded the one billion dollar plateau last year.

There had been a cautionary note to the robust online consumer spending stated by comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. Despite posting three consecutive billion-dollar spending days and five in excess of $950 million, this past week saw a noticeable softening in e-commence momentum as growth rates dipped into single-digits after beginning the season in the mid-teens,". However, that note was also countered with optimism for December 10th's Green Monday. With Black Friday sales up over 17 percent this year, expectations for Green Monday has the day mirroring the positive economic results.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nintendo Grants Original Wii a $100 Mini Future

Photo source: Nintendo

So you were unable to snag one example of this holiday's hottest new products. The Nintendo Wii U has eluded many people as it was released earlier this month leaving some in Canada holding out until the new year before playing the new gaming console. Other electronic gaming enthusiast could simply be waiting before buying the Wii U for several reasons. The $299.99 Canadian starting price and the small library of titles created for the rather undiscovered Nintendo system could serve as causes to consider another home entertainment console for the 2012 holiday season. In time for the gift-buying season and a solution to lure a few more family gamers to Nintendo when the Wii U is still in short supply, the Wii Mini sports many attributes making it a suitable addition to living rooms.

A new version of the Nintendo Wii game console retailing for $99.99, the Wii Mini has been reduced in size for easier inclusion within the home entertainment equipment. An eye-catching presentation, the Nintendo Wii Mini console sports a matte black finish accompanied with a stylish red border. The Nintendo Wii Mini will include a Wii Remote Plus and Nunchuk controller sharing the red colour tone found on the console. Excellent for immediate gaming with the use of famous motion capture technology, over 1,400 Nintendo Wii gaming discs can be played on the Wii Mini. In many cases, six years of Nintendo Wii titles mean several popular games could be bought at a friction of the price than the new Wii U games.

The Nintendo Wii Mini is a leaner system than the regular Wii. Marketed as a more family-friendly device, Internet connectivity has been removed from the Wii Mini. NintendoWii Mini owners will also note that the system is designed to run only Wii games meaning there is no compatibility with game titles created for the Nintendo GameCube.

Available December 7th, the Nintendo Wii Mini console $99.99 price will allow the likes of Mario and Zelda to live on a little longer on the Wii.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Samsung Galaxy Camera: A Picture Perfect Technology Marriage?

Photo source: Samsung

Since digital cameras have become mainstream little over a decade ago, the technology began to gradually reshape the way we took pictures. No longer limited by the constraints of film, digital photography would also migrate away from a dedicated camera.

Today, even basic cell phones and most mobile tablets would present at least one camera that have now evolved to a quality decent enough for sharing with family or friends. Though popular, photography with a mobile phone does fall short on some functionality and resolution related to a stand-alone camera. A hybrid breed between a point and shoot camera and a small tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Camera draws upon the strength of two devices in delivering an uncompromised picture-taking experience.

Appearing very much like a camera, the new Samsung device could be hastily disregarded if someone would not know the collection of technologies that lurk inside the device. Featuring a 16.3 megapixel sensor, a 4.8-inch touch screen and a 21x optical zoom lens, the Samsung Galaxy Camera immediately presents some hardware that would run circles around a smartphone's photography gear. Running off the Google Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system, the Samsung Galaxy Camera's quad core processor allows users to experience excellent performance when taking pictures in 15 style settings classified under Samsung's 'Smart Mode' technology. As well as taking still shots up to 16 megapixels, Samsung allows their device to video capture at Full HD format.
Photo source: Samsung

Equipped with eight gigabytes of on-board storage with micro SD card expandably, Wi-Fi capabilities allow photos taken by the Samsung Galaxy Camera to be offloaded quickly. Transfer of images to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest as well as onto Instagram can be performed quickly. Being an Android enabled device, the Samsung Galaxy Camera can make use of various Google brand services. Google Maps, Gmail and even the Google Play app marketplace are all accessible through the digital camera.

The Samsung Galaxy Camera was introduced to the North American marketplace during the 16th of this month. Retailing for just under $499.99 through AT&T, the Samsung Galaxy Camera sells above the price of almost all point and shoot device and even above the level of most smartphones. The launch of the Galaxy Camera by AT&T is temporarily accompanied with an up to $100 credit to acquire an additional Samsung device.

Just in time for Canadians to capture some memorable holiday moments or perhaps qualified itself to become a gift to a loved one, sales for the Samsung Galaxy Camera north of the border will commence on December 7th. Available through Black's Photography locations as well as through lone example of The Samsung Store in Burnaby, British Columbia, the Samsung Galaxy Camera should sell at similar pricing those sold in the US.

Below is a promotional photo showing the Samsung Galaxy Camera in action:

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Flu Shots Good for the Heart: Says Newly Presented Reports

Approaching the time of the year where many health care providers and government campaigns recommend the population receive the flu vaccine, the effort is meant to reduce illnesses and the spread of a disease that can risk well-being, productivity and even the lives of one's self or others. According to a pair of reports being presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2012 opening on Sunday, October 28th in Toronto, researchers are set to make a case that the administration of a influenza vaccine can also be a heart smart choice.

In the first study, researcher Dr Jacob Udell, a cardiologist at the Women's College Hospital and the University of Toronto, will relay some major additional benefits to receiving a flu shot when it comes to protecting the most vital organ in our bodies. According to Dr Udell, influenza vaccines can reduce the risk of a major cardiac event such as a stroke or heart attack by an estimated 50 percent and deaths related heart failure by 40 percent.

Dr Jacob Udell's study examined a group of 3,227 patients consisting of near equally of those without and with heart issues. Of the group, half received a flu shot and the another half received a placebo vaccine. Dr Udell strongly suggests, "For those who had the flu shot, there was a pretty strong risk reduction,".

A second study set to be Canadian Cardiovascular Congress relates to Dr Jacob Udell's research making a correlations between influenza vaccines and heart health. Dr Ramanan Kumareswaran and Dr Sheldon Singh, cardiologists of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre viewed the flu shot's impact on patients who required an implantable cardiac defibrillator or an ICD.

During two periods in late 2010 and another through the new year of 2011 until March, Kumareswaran and Singh examined a sample group of 230 patients with an ICD. In the group of patients between 70 and 74 years of age, it was determined that individuals given the flu shot had a reduced need for ICD therapies. Research concluded that 10.6 percent of flu shot-protected patients received at least ICD therapy compared to 13.7 percent for those without the flu vaccine.

For authors of both studies presenting their findings this week at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress on the request of conducting additional research. Notwithstanding additional research, the announcement that a flu shot has increased health benefits can be helpful to boost the case for encouraging the general popular to get immunized.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Samsung Brings PSY, Gangnam Style to Toronto for First Live Act

Photo source: Samsung

The handheld electronics market is a worldwide technological battlefield. Canada is one of the many locations intrigued by electronic smartphones and tablet computers. While fanfare surrounding the Apple iPhone 5 launched the popular smartphone to success last month, the reception for the device rarity consumerism. So often, companies need to provide some 'razzle dazzle' to create excitement for their products.

A new smartphone from the Apple's major competitor in the smartphone and tablet arena Samsung, the Galaxy Note II has the potential to capture some attention on its own. Utilizing a 5.5 HD touchscreen, a 1.6 GHZ quad-core processor powering an Android 4.1 (Google Jelly Bean) operating system and a unique stylus pen, the Samsung Galaxy Note II delivers users data connections up to the latest LTE specifications. Wanting to launch their Galaxy Note II with a lot of noise in Toronto, Korea-bred Samsung has enlisted the assistance of a showman from the company's native land the world knows as PSY.

Accounting for over 500-million views on a leading YouTube channel, PSY demonstrated "Gangham Style" dancing to the world to the point of becoming a quick-growing world superstar. With the Toronto appearance, Samsung is indeed desiring that trendy Gangnam Style can move the Galaxy Note II to equal acclaim in the smartphone marketplace. The South Korean music performer's first live event in Canada, the launch party for the Samsung Galaxy Note II will take place at The Kool Haus on October 30th.

While no tickets still be sold to the Samsung Galaxy Note II launch party, fans of the latest mobile technology and of the Gangnam Style performer will be presented with a rare opportunity to view PSY. A promotion on Samsung's Facebook page as well as two radio giveaways through Kiss 92.5 and Virgin Radio 99.9 will provide fans an invite to the elite product celebration.

Facebook Link:
Radio Stations: ,

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Extra Spicy Offering: The 2013 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

Introducing the Cayenne Diesel to North American this year, Porsche’s main sport utility crossover line-up has been bloated by five distinct powerplant choices. Including a 3-liter V-6, normally aspirated 4.8 liter V-8, gasoline-electric hybrid and the 500-horsepower twin-turbocharged V-8 engine, the Porsche Cayenne produces an entire spice rack of automotive tastes. Kicking up the power on the vehicle’s strongest turbocharged engine, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S grants a new height of utility performance.

The 2013 return of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S model emerges for the first time in the revised sheetmetal carved in a 2011 model year redo. Bracing itself for the arrival of the Performance Package-armed Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG and the BMW X5 M, Porsche engineers are again asked to add a special dash to the Cayenne Turbo‘s aggression for 2013.

With the addition of the ‘S’ lettering, the twin turbocharger-driven 4.8 liter V-8 powerplant inside of the Porsche Cayenne receives an 50 extra horsepower and 37 pound-feet of added torque. Equating to 550 horsepower and 563 pound-feet, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S receives a performance tweak equal to the Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG but a mere 5 horsepower less than the specs of the twin-turbocharged 4.4 liter V-8 found in the BMW X5 M crossover vehicle. However, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S delivers the soundest blows to its German competitors in straight-line performance. Thanks to the Porsche crossover’s substantially lower weight, the Cayenne Turbo S sports car attributes come alive with a 0 to 60 mile per hour acceleration time of 4.3 seconds (0.1 of a second better than the Cayenne Turbo and about 0.4 better than the BMW and Mercedes-Benz rivals). The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S also receives a bump in top speed that allows 175 miles per hour to be obtainable. 


Along with the improvements in raw horsepower, Porsche has enhanced the overall driving dynamics of the Cayenne Turbo S crossover vehicle with some equipment already available in the model line. Optional technology on the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, the Cayenne Turbo S receives Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus with an electronically controlled locking rear differential, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control and Power Steering Plus as standard fare greatly affirming a rich, performance driveability nearly as capable as the brand’s 911 flagship. Where the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S has the edge on the 911 sports car is off-road capability (that is if a driver wants to risk messing-up the sport crossover’s specially designed 21-inch 911 Turbo II wheels). In a stylistic fashion, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S crossover body receives a body-colour matching rear spoiler and polished dual twin-tube sport tailpipes.

While an argument is made that a Porsche demonstrates its worth on the outside at speed, a racy interior of the Cayenne Turbo S is an exclusive treat that cannot be ignored. Two-tone colour scheme using either Black/Carrera Red or Black/Luxor Beige can be applied throughout the crossover vehicle’s cabin with leather seating and an Alcantara headliner allowing the Cayenne Turbo S to peak with premium taste. Porsche Cayenne Turbo S interior dashboard and door panels are accented by a standard carbon fiber package. In the driver’s seat, the Sport Chrono package included in every Porsche Cayenne Turbo S presents data for logging performance motoring such a lap timer.

The newest high-end Porsche Cayenne Turbo S will go on sale in the spring of 2013. Priced over $37,000 above the price of the Cayenne Turbo, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S will sell for a hefty $146,000 ahead of destination charges and taxes.


Information and photo source: Porsche Cars North America

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Canadian Company Liberates from Dark Side for Lucafilm

Many of us are familiar with the science fiction tale that took part in a galaxy far, far away where a Jedi had been lured to the dark side of "The Force" by an evil Sith. In what was Star Wars, Darth Vader was ultimately rescued by his son Luke Skywalker from the darkness in time for a noble, brave act.

In the virtual world very close to us all, the world of domain registration and ownership has led many popular names winding up in hands over than those one would think. In recent years, musicians and other public figures have gone to court to acquire or prevent the misuse of domains using their names. In several cases, celebrities have been successfully able to secure their web address. While not an actual name associated in the real world, a prominent domain name connected to Darth Vader ( was brought to Lucafilm by a Toronto-based Internet services company called Tucows.

An avid Star Wars fan, Tucows Domain Portfolio Viec President Bill Sweetman explained finding the name. "The moment I spotted in a list of deleting domain names, I knew Tucows had to find a way to get this iconic domain name into the right hands. I knew I was its only hope," said Sweetman. The program is an ongoing measure by Tucows to rescue domains and has included and in the past.

In what has become a regular program for Tucows, popular and prominent domain names are donated to recipients on the condition of charity. In the case of the domain address, Lucafilm has pledged a toy donation to the Tucows Elves Project. Lucafilm spokesperson Miles Perkins stated "We're thrilled to be the new owners of and we are even more excited about supporting such a worthy cause." Perkins also mentioned "We regret having to refuse Bill's request that we deliver the children's toys in the Millennium Falcon. It was heartbreaking having to explain to him that it's not real."

Currently, Lucafilm is utilizing the into directing Internet users to the main website.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hammacher Schlemmer Spotlight: The One Step Photograph and Slide to iPhone Converter

Photo Source: Hammacher Schlemmer

If you were born in the last decade, digital photography could be the only form picture-taking familiar to you. Though digital cameras have effectively led to the gaining endangerment of film photography, a full century of images recorded to film negatives, photo paper and slides contain too many precious images worth ignoring. Hammacher Schlemmer has added a device to their product catalogue targeted at saving great individual or family moments to one of the world's most popular smartphones, the Apple iPhone.

Called the One Step Photograph and Slide to iPhone Converter, this scanner dedicated for use with a Apple iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S device has the ability to digitally perserve some historically popular methods for storing images. Photoographs 3x5 inch and 4x6 inch sizes, 35mm slides as well as 135 film negatives can be quickly converted to an Apple iPhone attached to the One Step Photograph and Slide to iPhone Converter. Prior to being stored as a JPEG on an Apple iPhone, a user can utilize a free app to adjust attributes such as colour and size of the digital image.

Powered by 4 AA batteries, the One Step Photograph and Slide to iPhone Converter can operate without a computer or the need for an AC power supply.

The One Step Photograph and Slide to iPhone Converter retails in the Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue and through their on-line store for $59.95 US.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Obama for Canadian Prime Minister? Shows Support

Photo Credit: Jag Gundu, CNW Group/

The major federal elections in Canada is a job that effectively only four candidates representing individual parties can seek. Given a system where our prime minister is installed as the leader of the party winning the most seats in Parliament, we are never really granted the choice of our choice person to lead the government. In a wild fake election, Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper has been measured by some unique contenders by voters.

Fighting for a second term in the White House, US president Barack Obama is focused on a 2012 election. However, in a recent poll conducted by on-line family tracking database, the current United States president would have a fighting chance to claim the high office in Canada. Through a survey performed in a mock poll in downtown Toronto, people were offered the choice of the 44th US president Barack Obama, the 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, current Canadian prime minister or other political leaders in Canada. Obama captured an impressive 42 percent of the popular vote in the entertainment-oriented poll. In second place with 25 percent of the vote, Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper placed favourably among potential voters for the next federal election. Placing in 3rd with eight percent approval was Mitt Romney. Recent days, presidential candidate Romney does think a lot of Canada (in particularly the Alberta oil sands production that has him promising speedy approval of the XL pipeline if elected).

There were also a few write-in choices in the mock ballot that rises some eyebrows. Having just announced his intention to enter the federal Liberal party's leadership race, Justin Trudeau was one who received several bodes of support in the survey. There was also one write-in vote for the current Toronto mayor Rob Ford for the prime minister job.

The poll also measured the popularity of Stephen Harper alongside previous prime ministers and concluded that Pierre Trudeau's legacy remains strong almost 30 years after the Liberal party reigned. Taking 35 percent of the vote in the former leader category, Trudeau's next nearest rival was Lester B. Pearson who recorded a more modest 15 percent. Behind third place Sir John A. MacDonald who took 12 percent of the vote, Harper received 11 percent support ahead of Jean Chretien and Sir Wilfred Laurier who each won 6 percent of voters.

The unusual poll created by was in effort to promote the site's added inclusion of Canada Voters Lists.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hammacher Schlemmer Spotlight: Memory Card to DVD Converter

Photo source: Hammacher Schlemmer

Flash memory cards are a normal and plentiful resource with the prevalence of portable technology. Now inexpensive for even high capacity SD cards, we can now take more images and high quality video at this day in age than ever. A way to capture large amounts of treasured or important pictures, it is undesirable to keep digital data on flash memory over a long period of time over concerns contents will be lost. It would also be a thrill to be able to share, copy or archive photos through a means everyone can enjoy it.  Hammacher Schlemmer has a solution for storing and sharing images with little fuss.

The size of a slice of bread, The Memory Card to DVD Photo Converter is a disc recorder device that is set-up for quick and easy transfer from a digital camera or camcorder. Using either a blank CD-R/RW or DVD-R/RW disc, images can be written onto a new media in minutes. Burning at up to 24X speed for CDs and 8X for larger DVDs, The Memory Card to DVD Photo Converter is operated through interaction with a small LCD screen revealing settings as well as writing progress. Since many times the quantity of photos on a digital camera will far out-weigh the capacity of discs, The Memory Card to DVD Photo Converter is configured to automatically divide images across multiple discs.

Operating separate from a computer or other larger electronic device, The Memory Card to DVD Photo Converter portability is an asset to amateur and even professional photographers. The Memory Card To DVD Photo Converter device can easily fit in a purse, briefcase or duffel bag requiring the user to only needs to find a power source.

The Memory Card to DVD Photo Converter is selling for $199.95 through Hammacher Schlemmer.

US Rental Retailers Halted from Spying on Computers

With the price of certain household and personal goods beyond the affordability of many people in a tough economy, rent-to-own stores have provided a savior to individuals as well as families. In many cases requiring just basic information, rent-to-own locations offer customers an item or items under a rental agreement that after a predetermined term payments allow the consumer to claim ownership of the property. While that part of the rent-to-own process has been mostly transparent to customers, many of those in possession of a computer were reportedly the recipients of products that granted secret and invasive access to private, personal information according to the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC). On Tuesday, September 25th, a settlement brokered between a software firm and several rent-to-own clients has put to rest a story of corporate cyber spying.

Acting on complaints, FTC investigated that the rental companies would give tabs on rented computers in the hands of consumers by using a multitude of secretive and deceptive manners. Capturing screenshots of personal information, keylogging (process of recording keyboard strokes) and even turning on the webcam on some devices remotely unannounced to the user were some of the complaints levied as part of a software array called "Detective Mode". The DesignerWare sourced software also included tracking that allowed a device's location to be pinpointed. A final charge also alleged users were lured to register software through bogus registration screens meant to collect personal information.

The secretly embedded software distributed by DesignerWare to several major rent-to-own chains such as ColorTyme, Aspen Way Enterprises, J.A.G. Rents and Showplace Rent-to-Own as well as computers sold through Aaron's locations. The DesignerWare software program installed on rent-to-own computers were also equipped with a so-called "kill switch" that would render the device disabled if found to be stolen or even if a renter failed to make payments. All together, the bundle of secretive DesignerWare software amounted to data collection and tracking. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan stated, "There is no justification for spying on customers. These tactics are offensive invasions of personal privacy."

Through a proposed settlement, DesignerWare and seven rent-to-own franchises will be prohibited from using tracking software without the consent from the customer. The rent-to-own established will also be barred from using the already gathered for the proposes of debt collection. Chairman of the FTC Jon Leibowitz said, "An agreement to rent a computer doesn't give a company license to access consumer's private emails, bank account information, and medical records, or, even worse, webcam photos of people in the privacy of their own home. Leibowitz declared that with the settlement, "The FTC orders today will put an end to their cyber spying."

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sam "the Record Man" Sniderman Passes Away at 92

Known as a driven personality in the Canadian business community, Sam Sniderman push into the marketplace of providing music has made a legend out of the Toronto-born man. Passing away on Sunday at age 92, Sniderman's life is one where he was always in tune with Canada's recording industry.

With his brother Sidney, Sam Sniderman established a radio sales and service store on Toronto's College street in 1929. It would be 1937 when Sam realized the relatively new business of selling record albums. Some reports indicated the entrance into the record business was an attempt to draw the heart of a woman named Eleanor Koldofsky (who later became his wife).

Moving into a new business location on Yonge Street in 1959, that former furniture store would become the flagship for the Sam the Record Man by 1961. As youth-oriented music brought a impressionable group of teenagers to record stores, Sam the Record Man thrived competing heavily the nearby A&A Records store until the mid-1970s. The Yonge street and Gould location for Sam the Record Man would be identified by a giant neon sign featuring two lit discs or records. Behind the spectacle, Sam Sniderman was completely hands-on with his business to the point he personally handled customer complaints. Operating on a business tip presented by his mother, Sniderman maintained fairness and honesty when dealing with the public.

Officially franchising the Sam the Record Man banner in 1969, Sam Sniderman slowly became a part of national Canadian culture as a chain of locations blossomed across the country. By the 1980s, another generation of Canadian young people would frequent not only the Toronto flagship location but others found in stores and malls of other major cities.

Not only a successful Canadian entrepreneur that became a cultural icon for generations of audio connoisseurs, Sam Sniderman was also an activist and supporter of home grown music. His position as the most popular record store in Canada's largest city gave Sniderman considerable leverage to promote the cause of Canadian recording artists. Part of the Federal Cultural Policy Review Committee, a director for the CARAS (Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) and the Mariposa Advisory committee among many other organizations, Sam Sniderman's flair as well as personality helped pave the way for many Canadian musicians to become hit artists (many with albums selling popularly out of Sam the Record Man locations. The result has been a professional and personal relationship with Canadian music. When the CRTC requirements for Canadian music content increased on the radio in 1971, Sniderman noted sales in his iconic store climbing by 25 percent for national performers. One of Sam Sniderman's favourite performers was Anne Murray. Joni Mitchell has spoken praise for Sniderman's contribution to the fight for CanCom regulations that fostered Canadian music for decades following.

After seven decades worth of providing the best of recorded music produced by Canadian and world talents, Sniderman's Sam the Record Man chain stores would diminish as the digital, online music became the new norm for audiophiles. The sign to the Sam the Record Man Yonge and Gould flagship location's ironic sign was lit for the final time on October 4th 2008. Currently, the location is being adapted to a new Student Learning Centre for Ryerson University. Sam Sniderman had received an honorary doctorate from Ryerson in 1997. Attempts were made since the Sam the Record Man Yonge street store's closure to somehow preserve the site and the famous neon sign. Ironically, one of the channels used to protect the building's advertising facade was Facebook (a method modern Canadian artists use to communicate with fans). Extraordinary steps were taken by the city of Toronto to have the sign declared historically protected. Effective in allowing the sign to be preserved initially, recent activity by Ryerson University has left little understanding for how the neon dual discs will return to Yonge street when the new building is completed in 2014. Aside from the dual discs, a Belleville, Ontario Sam the Record Man-brand store in the Quinte Mall remains as symbols of a once-strong Canadian music retailer. 

Beyond the business of music, Sam Sniderman contributed time and resources to the preservation of audio recordings with the University of Toronto. In 1963, along with his then-wife Eleanor Koldofsky, Sniderman donated several recordings to what would turn into a 175,000 item archive for the Faculty of Music Library. Sniderman also served the city of Toronto by being on the attractions committee for the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition). In his little spare time, Sniderman would enjoy Tennis.

Accolades for Sam Sniderman included the Order of Canada in 1976, a 1997 Canadian Country Music Association Hall of Fame induction, and the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award at the 1989 Juno awards. Personally, Sam fathered two sons, Bobby and Jason.

Starting from only dreams, Sam Sniderman developed not only his aspirations but the desires of others. After-all a feat many of us desire in life, Sniderman was many positive things to so many people. With what is certain to be several personal tributes, the character of Sam Sniderman survives the brick and mortars of a Yonge street building. Like the music he helped to proliferate and preserve, his legend will live on!

Holmes, Gillian K., Davidson, Evelyn Who's Who in Canadian Business 2001, pg. 773

Ray, Randy, Kearney, Mark. I Know that Name! pg. 254-255 

The Canadian Encyclopedia, Sam Sniderman

Hammacher Schlemmer Spotlight: The Full Phrase Talking Translator

Photo Source: Hammacher Schlemmer

A desirable companion for the world traveller is possessing the ability to communicate effectively with the residents of way-off lands. While some of us have acquired the skills to master multiple languages to make negotiating exotic locales, hundreds of millions of other tourists and traveling businesspeople could use some help. While translation dictionary and electronic translators have existed for long time, retailer Hammacher Schlemmer has secured a device that is slated to be a cut-above others.

The Phrase Talking Translator is a pocket-sized electronic that can instantly assist in deciphering 30 different languages. With the capacity of 1.8 million words, The Phrase Talking Translator is also equipped with 210,000 common phrases and sentences. Three times more phrases than the previous generation device, this product would enable easier maneuvering through most common travelling scenarios.

The size of a smartphone or most other pocket devices, The Phrase Talking Translator opens up to a 3.75-inch backlit LCD screen and a QWERTY keyboard for easy interaction by the user. Through integrated speakers, the correct pronunciation of words and phrases will prove helpful in navigating unique regions of the world. Beyond the language translation software, a currency converter, world clock, basic and scientific calculator, a voice recorder as well as six games are loaded in the device.

Priced at $249.95, The Phrase Talking Translator could be the ideal device for future globe-trotters in 2013.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hammacher Schlemmer Spotlight: The Mind Controlled Movie Director

Photo Credit:

A company with origins dating back to 1848, Hammacher Schlemmer was founded as a provider of high quality products that can not be easily found in other stores. One of the first 271 subscribers to Bell Telephone of New York City, the first home delivery parcel service and one of the earlier adopters to on-line shopping in 1986, Hammacher Schlemmer endures despite the influx of large department store chains as well as discount stores that cater to the vast United States consumer population. Hammacher Schlemmer survives and prospers by a continued commitment to bring unusual, obscure yet intriguing products to niche interests. Electric cars, a real-life working replica of the Tron: Legacy Light Cycle and other outlandish items are sold under the Hammacher Schlemmer banner. In recognition of the company's involvement in supplying the marketplace with fun and unique products, I'll happily feature some of the more eye-catching Hammacher Schlemmer items on this blog starting with the Mind Controlled Movie Director.

A device certain to spawn thoughts of science fiction, The Mind Controlled Movie Director actually operates on individual's brainwaves to control pre-programmed interactive movies and games. Through a headset the incorporates electroencephalogram technology, a person's electrical brain signals are translated into control over situation with The Mind Controlled Movie Director. Concentration, relaxation and verbal emotions can affect the outcome of various horror, sports and crime stories. Plot lines and endings are shaped by the signals received from the user's headset.

Used in association with a Mac or PC computer, The Mind Controlled Movie Director also comes with Apps. A pair of arcade games, a brainwave visualizer and meditation journal are included in the $129.95 US device.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Starbucks' Verismo Brings Premium Taste to Single Serve Brewing Machines

Photo Credit: CNW Group/Starbucks Coffee Company

In 1971, Starbucks has become the world's leading coffee chain as it forever turned a simple pick-me-up into a premium buying experience each morning. While a trip to one of their almost 20,000 cafes is a routine for many at some point in a given day, Starbucks has also been setting itself up as a brand as close as a kitchen or pantry cupboard. Selling blends of beans for conventional coffeemakers, the instant coffee market was also filled by the Starbucks VIA brand in recent years. Aside from loose ground coffee and instant blends, the fast-growing single serve market has become the focus of the Starbucks branding. Experts in turning quality coffee into a widely desired consumer good, Starbucks wants to redefine the single serve brewing machine market with the Verismo System by Starbucks.

Derived from Italian for realism, Verismo is the new identity Starbucks wants home or office brewing systems to deliver their blends of coffee from one of two machines. Available right now for $199 in four different colours on the Starbucks on-line store, the 590 (pictured deep down in this article) is designed to introduce customers to a premium coffee drinking experience from a variety of specialized pods. A more expensive $399 V585 machine (pictured above in this article) will also be sold at a later date.

  Described by Starbucks as a "breakthrough" in single serve brewing, the Verismo System is most unique from existing processes for the fact it incorporates high-pressure technology. Using the Swiss-engineered pressurization, the Verismo System brewing machines can produce a high quality cup of latte or espresso coffee.

At first, Starbucks was associated with the Kraft-owned Tassimo single serve coffee system. Starbucks brand coffee was sold in Tassimo discs until early 2011 and soon jumped ship to the leading rival Keurig. Sold since late last year in Keurig K-Cups, Starbucks introduction of their own brewing system is expected to complement the popular single serve choice as well as their VIA instant coffee for consumers. Starbucks president, Channel Development Jeff Hansberry gave proof to the importance of the single serve coffee maker market saying that "Sales of single cup brewers was up 168 percent* this year over last,". Entering a market already ruled by three major players along, Hansberry described the entrance of Verismo System as a winning solution when it comes to quality and technology. "Starbucks is passionate about coffee and passionate about innovation," said Hanberry.

Photo Credit: CNW Group/Starbucks Coffee Company

As before-mentioned, the Verismo System by Starbucks brewing machines will accommodate various pods. Brewed Verismo pods includes Starbucks Roast Spectrum of Blonde, Medium and Dark variety while the signature Espresso Roast will be part of the launch of the new coffeemaker. Milk pods will also be available separately to help coffee drinkers in obtaining the ideal flavour of java-based beverage. In coming months, Starbucks has plans to release seasonal varieties of coffee in the Verismo pods such as Christmas Blend for limited periods.

The Verismo pods are available for purchase on the Starbucks store website and will be sold in Canada through Williams Sonoma retailers in September as well as in Home Outfitters stores early in October. Verismo System by Starbucks pods are being sold in packs that will serve 8-12 beverages depending on the type. Coffee pods ranging between $11.95 to $12.95 in Canadian funds, the Verismo compatible pods will also be present in the Starbucks locations by the middle of October.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Survey Finds 30% of US iPhone Users Damaged Devices in Past Year

Photo Credit: Apple

On Friday, the newest generation of Apple's smartphone will be dropped into the hands of the first eager customers who will drop just under $700 Canadian to navigate the iPhone 5's Retina display touchscreen. With an average 23 Apple iPhone 5s being pre-ordered every second during the first 24 hours, the new device will join a global mobile environment already flooded with earlier iterations of the Apple's handheld that redefined the term 'smartphone' since 2007. While the sale, resale, phone plans and accessory options have conjured up a self-contained Apple economy, there has also been another source where a major dollar figure relates to the iPhone over six generations of acceptance. The number 5.9 billion dollars US is attached to the damage of pricey Apple iPhone devices in the United States alone.

A number compiled through the assistance of comScore estimates by retail warranty supplier SquareTrade (who may have a vested interest in publishing some key figures in respect to one of the most popular smartphone devices on the market) equated the 5.9-billion dollar cost for damaged iPhones to more than twice the amount spent for toilet paper in the United States. The overall cost estimate takes into account repair, replacement and insurance deductibles to Apple iPhone products since first sold in 2007. Damage to Apple iPhone devices is recorded as 10 times more likely than either through loss or theft.

Presenting a snapshot into the life of an Apple iPhone, SquareTrade's survey took a sample group of 2,000 Apple iPhone users and discovered that 30% have stated that their devices have been damaged in a past 12-month period. The most prevalent occurrences for iPhone damage includes being dropped by hand or lap, falling into a body of water (lake, swimming pool or even a toilet), having fluid spilt on the device and being knocked off a table. The survey also revealed that half of iPhone users under the age of 35 years old have encountered a situation the resulted in harm coming to their Apple smartphone device. Since a sizable portion of Apple's market appeals to younger users who like to think their iPhone into risky territories, 50 percent loss for the under-35 demographic is not too much of a surprise.

SquareTrade has also recorded data from users who have chosen to continue operating their Apple iPhone devices even after sustaining harm. 11 percent of survey participants indicate they have proceeded to use their iPhone when the screen was cracked and another 6 percent admitted to taping their devices as a favourable remedy over costly repairs or replacement. These damaged Apple iPhone devices will undoubtedly receive far reduced trade-in prices if accepted at all. On the Ebay Instant Sale site, a fully-functioning 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S with USB connecting cable will garner $310.80 in Canadian funds. If in fair condition but still operational, a Apple iPhone 4S will only fetch $155.40 during a trade-in. Interestingly enough, a non-functioning 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S device in poor condition will still be worth $20.00 to Ebay through the Staples Canada supported Ebay program.

Such as the case with many other cell phone and smartphone devices, the steady aftermarket is devoted to providing accessories capable of protecting against the before-mentioned damage. In the case of SquareTrade, a warranty for an iPhone device allows for a user to easily repair or replace their device. In the United States, SquareTrade offers a 2-year protection plan for $99 and a 3-year warranty for $129. A $50 deductible would also need to be paid when a user files a claim. Damage against an accidental damage to a smartphone device is fairly rare in the marketplace. AppleCare is also in place as an extended warranty for iPhone devices but does not cover damages such as a cracked screen or water.

SquareTrade CMO Ty Shay words in regards to the already $5.9 billion industry was served with a cautionary warning predicting growth in the damaged iPhone economy. "As smart phones continue to improve, they become more tightly integrated into our busy lives leaving them vulnerable to accidents around the clock," said Shay who also expressed intrigue for what the iPhone 5 device with its narrower profile and larger screen will affect the trend.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Nikon Releases Their Lightest, Smallest FX DSLR Camera

Photo Credit: Nikon

For the consideration of professional photographers, Nikon Corporation revealed their latest product designed to be a winning weapon of choice when snapping important pictures. Utilizing the FX-format shooting technology, the Nikon D600 digital SLR camera is advertised as the brand's most compact example to incorporate the their highest quality CMOS sensor.

Constructed with a body weighing just 760 grams, the Nikon D600 lightweight assembly incorporates magnesium alloy for the top and rear covers. Despite being the smallest and lightest DSLR camera Nikon has created in their FX-format lineup, the D600 is outfitted with much of the company's finest technology found in their higher-range cameras. The EXPEED 3 image-processing engine, allows up to highly impressive, 24.3 megapixel images to be snapped at excellent speeds. A Scene Recognition System equipped alongside the Multi-CAM4800 autofocus sensor performs a highly intelligent analysis of images for the best picture. Up to 5.5 frames per second can be captured through the Nikon D600. The Nikon D600 has the ability to capture Full-HD movies up to 1,920 X 1,080/30p. Recording to SDXC or UHS-I compliant SD memory cards, two slots are available for peaceful image and video recording. A 3.2-inch viewfinder, built-in flash, HDMI interface and compatibility with a NIKKOR lenses are highlights of the Nikon D600 camera.

An optional accessory available for use with the Nikon D600 DSLR is the WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter. A technology that allows the D600 camera to be operated remotely by a handheld device running on an Android or Apple iOS. Through a live view display provided through a smartphone or tablet, a photographer can capture photos and have it immediately uploaded to the device allowing for quick postings to blogs or social media sites.

Pricing for the new Nikon D600 DSLR camera is set at $2099.95 US for the body only. A $2,699.95 camera and kit including a NIKKOR 24-85mm VR lens is also posted on the Nikon website.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Apple iPhone 5 Ripens with Several Improvements

Attracting the world to San Francisco, a small cell phone once again becomes a lure for every tech-savvy consumer. Apple Inc gathered media for an announcement for their newest evolution within a marketplace they have grown from newbie to industry benchmark in just a few years. Revealed as the next successor in their line of iPhone products, the Apple iPhone 5 made its public debut.

Not entirely revealing to the naked eye, the differences in the new generation iPhone compared to the iPhone 4S eventually become apparent. 18 percent thinner and 20 percent lighter than the device's predecessor, the Apple iPhone 5 more compact nature does not come at the expense of delivering apps, videos and games. Growing from 3.5 to 4 inches, a new retina display touch screen on the iPhone 5 provides better HD quality viewing for the user of all interactive contact.

As users indulge begin to indulge into the new device, operation of the Apple iPhone 5 has the potential of being a more fulfilling experience than ever. For people living in high-speed 4G LTE areas, the Apple iPhone 5 is now optimized to use the networks for faster download capacities. Conventional WiFi will remain with the Apple iPhone 5  Apple's new A6 chip, the iPhone 5 runs with almost twice the performance of the previous model. An improved battery in the iPhone 5 complements the new processing chip with greater power storage. Up to 8 hours of 4G web browsing is reported to be possible with the new Apple handheld unit.

Other hardware highlights of the iPhone 5 includes the inclusion of 3 microphones and new HD cameras on both sides of the device. On the back, an 8-megapixel featuring a 25 percent smaller size and improved optics will continue to prove popular for high detail photography as well as 1080p HD video with better image stabilization. The ability to create panorama shooting will be a new quirky feature all iPhone 5 users can easily adapt to out-and-about. A forward-facing has been upgraded from VGA to 720p HD quality for crisper images while using video conferencing feature FaceTime.

Another notable change comes with the connecting ports and the peripherals needed to interact with the new Apple iPhone. A "Lightning" connector and cable is said to be more durable and smarter than the connection used on previous iPhone models. An adaptor will be sold to allow the Lightning port to connect with traditional 30-pin Apple compatible items. The Apple EarPods are redesigned for more comfortable, individualized listening.

While some Apple product users are already familiar with IOS 6 platform, the potential of Apple's recently introduced operating system truly comes to life in the iPhone 5. Enhanced Siri software, voice navigation for driving and the ticket and gift card electronic storage solution Passbook are all found inside the new Apple device. For greater personalization and customization, Apple's immense App Store of IOS 6 compatible programs will be open to the iPhone 5.

Going on sale September 21st, pre-ordering of the Apple iPhone 5 starts on September 14th. The Apple iPhone 5 will come in three price ranges dictated by internal storage capacity. With two-year cell phone service activation in the United States, the iPhone 5 16-gigabyte model will start at $199. A 32-gigabyte model at $299 and a 64-gigabyte iPhone 5 at $399. In Canada, the online Apple store is listing the iPhone 5 at a starting price of $699 without a phone plan (price does not specify gigabyte amount). At this time, only Bell Mobility has advertised the new iPhone for sale but Rogers, Fido and Koodo are said to be supporting the upcoming Apple device. The Apple iPhone will be sold with black and white casings.

Apple Inc. has succeeded in keeping some electronic consumers on a product treadmill that consists of buying the latest and greatest technology. Since the first iPhone was released in the United States during 2007, the tactic has worked well for Apple so far. The introduction of the iPhone 5 is expected to maintain the fanatical following. In NASDAQ closing on the day of the iPhone 5 device's unveiling, Apple stock surged up $9.20 to a $669.79 per share price on expectations that the California headquartered company has again created a product that will win over consumers.

Information and photo source: Apple Inc

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sony Reveals New Wave of Professional Grade Cameras

While most consumers have gotten used to the digital camera as something that now fits into our cell phones and tablets, anyone can capture that important personal or family moment. Taking a picture has become a task even a child can perform with the basic point-and-shoot cameras. While the inexpensive and easy picture-taking and video-making devices have proven hot, people making a living in still or motion capturing require higher grade, more capable technology so they can share potentially monumental moments. 

Electronics powerhouse Sony has introduced a slew of new high-end cameras meant to provide greater flexibility options for professional photographers and videographers.

Sony a99 DSLR Camera

Price: $2,800 (body-only)

Sony's flagship DSLR camera, the a99 is described as providing peak performance for recording a combination of photo and video. Constructed with magnesium alloy panels for durability and lightness, the Sony a99 DSLR incorporates Translucent Mirror Technology that eliminates the moving mirror previously used for full-frame imaging. Equipped with XGA OLED Tru-Finder viewfinder technology, the Sony a99 camera can crisply balance brightness, contrast and clarity as well as maintain a 100% field of view with DT lenses.

The Sony a99 camera 24.3 effective megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor joins the BIONZ image processing engine that is capable of handling a sizable amount of data. The a99 is able to record up to 6 still shots per second in burst mode at high level resolution. In Tele-zoom high speed shooting mode, the Sony a99 can capture 10 frames per second. Providing a full range of automatic and manual settings for still shots, the a99 also set for providing Full HD 60p/24p progressive video recording.

The Sony a99 is designed to optimize the SDXS memory cards allowing readable data transfer speeds up to 94 megabytes per second.

Sony NEX-VG900 Handycam Camcorder

Price: $3,300 US (Body-only)

Advertised as the "World's First 35mm Full-Frame Handycam Camcorder" by Sony, the NEX-VG900 is created to unleash creative potential of semi-professional filmmakers.

Utilizing a Exmor CMOS sensor (a technology 40 times larger than the equivalent sensor found in typical consumer camcorders), the Sony NEX-VG900 Handycam Camcorder captures still images at a 24.3 megapixel resolution. Supplying film-like video, the NEX-VG900 Handycam Camcorder is packed with numerous modes for Full HD quality picture in 60p or 24p frame rates. Automated and manually operated settings assures a professional level of work is produced from this latest Sony product. Along with superior picture quality, Sony has provided a Quad Capsule Spatial Array Microphone on the NEX-VG900 Handycam Camcorder that allows support for 5.1 surround sound.

A seesaw lever and the adaptability for fit a wide range of interchangeable lenses will make the Nex-VG900 Handycam Camcorder a valuable piece of motion picture production. The NEX Series of camcorders are designed to use Sony's Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX Series of storage.

Sony NEX-VG30H/VG30 Handycam Camcorder

Price: NEX-VG30- $1,800 US (Body-only), NEX-VG30H- $2,700 US

A little less sophisticated than the NEX-VG900 Handycam, the NEX-VG30H and NEX-VG30 camcorders has been created to incorporated many of the same professional film-making features. Also capable of shooting Full HD, the base model NEX-VG30 and better equipped NEX-VG30H Handycam models incorporate a 16.1 megapixel resolutions for capturing detailed still shots. The NEX-VG30H comes with a SELP-18200 E PZ 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 Power Zoom lens that makes anything from wide angle to telephoto shots achievable.

Sony Cyber-shot RX1 Compact Digital Camera 

Price: $2,800 US

A 24.3 megapixel compact camera, the Sony Cyber-shot RX1 is a powerful image capturing device featured with a small palm-sized body. Capable of taking 35mm full-frame image quality, the Cyper-shot RX1 camera includes Pixel Super Resolution digital zoom technology as one piece of software suited for creating professional still pictures. A Carl Zeiss-brand lens is added to the Cyper-shot RX1 digital camera allowing a photographer to take splendid shots in a variety of indoor and outdoor environments. With a full array of automatic and manual adjustments available for photogs with the Cyper-shot RX1, the camera also includes 13 Creative Styles meant to fine-tune an image to near perfection.

Primarily a still shot digital camera, the Sony Cyber-shot RX1 is also effect for taking Full HD video.

Sony NEX-6 Camera

Price: $850 US

Designed to provide a full DSLR experience in a compact camera, the Sony NEX-6 digital camera is a considerably well loaded image-capturing device guaranteed to win over some professional photographers. Featuring a Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor allowing up to 16.1 megapixel pictures to be snapped, the Sony NEX-6 also supplies Wi-Fi capabilities as well as access to the recently-introduced PlayMemories Camera Apps platform. A set of free apps, the PlayMemories Mobile programs can allow photos to be directly uploaded to popular social media sites including Facebook. The NEX-6's 3-inch Xtra Fine LCD display can pivot to a 90-degree or 45-degree down angle so photographers can easily identify when the right shot can be taken.

The Sony NEX-6 digital camera can also be ordered for $1,000 equipped with the compact SELP1650 power zoom lens.

Information and Photo Source: Sony Electronics

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tablets R Us: Major US Toy Retailer Introduces Tabeo

Photo Credit: Toys "R" Us

With September barely two weeks old, the month has featured a greatest rollout of tablet computer hardware for a last time. Started with the new Sony Xperia tablet, Kobo and Amazon also revealed some major improvements to delivering mobile content to consumers. Much of the focus placed on the teen and adult market of portable technology, major retailer Toys “R” Us has announced the Tabeo as a young kid-centric tablet.

Not the first concept in kid-friendly tablets, the Toys “R” Us backed Tabeo is a high functioning device. Controlled through a 7-inch touch screen, the Wi-Fi enabled Tabeo is equipped with a built-in speaker, microphone and camera. Running on the Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” operating system, a child is actually interacting with a tablet similar to want parents utilize in more adult-like computing. In the case of the Tabeo, a range of parental controls is built into the software to restrict online access. Standard equipped with a 4-gigabyte internal hardware, the Tabeo’s memory is expandable up to 32 gigabytes using micro SDHC cards. While unclear by the photos, it would be desirable that some kind of childproofing would be put into place in order to prevent a young boy or girl from coming into contact alone with the tiny memory card.

Through 50 preloaded apps and the ability to upload over 7,000 free child appropriate programs through an App Store, Tabeo is capable is providing a wide span of educational and entertainment solutions to a child. Games such as Angry Birds, Cut the Rope and Tiki Golf are some of the more carefree playing experiences preloaded on the Tabeo. As a more educationally engaging interaction, the Tabeo provides several apps to help children gain familiarity with counting and the alphabet. Kids can also explore their inspiring shutterbug abilities with the Camera App and built-in photo editing capabilities of the tablet. The Tabeo has the ability to view several formats of still as well as video files including those presented at 1080p. The tablet also functions as an ereader with iStorybooks, Candy Factory and Little Red Riding Hood included as an introductory library ideal for bedtime.
Photo Credit: Toys "R" Us

When this announcement came for this latest tablet for children, the moment caused me to recall my childhood spent with a Whiz Kid computer. Less than sophisticated than any computer device any age group is used to more than 20 years later, I did remember spending quite a bit of time with the educational cards containing various programs. Another thing I recalled about my Whiz Kid was my constant dependence on my parents to get me more batteries. In the case of the Tabeo, a lithium ion battery can provide up to 7 hours of enjoyment for a child (more than enough for extended Car rides). The device is rechargeable by a USB power adapter.

Set to hit United States based Toys “R” Us stores for October 21st, parents can pre-order the device right now for $149.99. There appears to be no plans to introduce the Tabeo tablet to Canadian stores.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Kobo Introduces New eReader Family

Photo Source: PRNewsFoto/Kobo

Just in time as children go back to school and college students hit the books on their path to a future in Canada, electronic reading solution company Kobo debuts a diverse line of products positioned to win over many demographics. Referred by the company as the "New Kobo Family", the new array gives buyers a varying choice ranging from basic eReaders to more sophisticated tablet computers. 

Three of the four products in the Kobo family focuses bear strictly on the eReader bases which is attractive in both pricing and simplicity for a sizable population. Named the #1 eReader in 2012 by Wired, the touch-screen model of the Kobo continues to be popular. Priced at $99.99, the Kobo Touch is Wi-Fi enabled for immediate uploads of books with a maximum capacity ranging up to 30,000 literary works. The Kobo Touch will feature upgraded software to allow digital readers to better experience their literary enjoyment.

Two completely new products sold by Kobo are some of the smallest, lightest examples of the company's eReader platforms. Compared to the Kobo Touch's 7-inch screen, the Kobo Mini will offer just a 5-inch screen. Kobo advertises their new Mini as the most compact eReader currently available with full-featured E Ink. Even though the Kobo Mini screen is 5 inches, the E Ink insures a no-glare reading experience almost exactly like viewing print on paper. Designed to be small effort to fit easily into a backpack, purse or even pocket, the Kobo Mini can provide a most portable reading experience of up to 1,000 ebooks. Going on sale October 1st, the Kobo Mini will sell for $79.99 available in three sharp colours.

A 6-inch eReader called the Kobo Glo is also a new addition to the product line-up of the company. As could be disseminated from the model name, the Kobo Glo has been created to address the downside of some eReaders. Incorporating ComfortLight technology, the Kobo Glo can be read in dark making it comfortable for reading in a room with low light or when relaxing in bed ahead of a good night's rest. The Kobo Glo includes E Ink, customizable fonts as well as Wi-Fi technology for a simple, easily adaptable reading experience for new eReader customers. Priced at $129.99 when placed on sale at the start of October, there will be a total of five colours offered for the casing of the Kobo Glo including black, white and three stylish shades.      

The most premium product of the Kobo Family is the source of some great improvement as they compete in the super-hot tablet computer market. The Android-based tablet Kobo had sold as the Vox is heavily upgraded and renamed the Arc. Adding a built-in microphone and a 1.3 megapixel camera, the Kobo Arc runs on the Android 4.0 operating system. Beyond books, television shows, movies, music and a full Internet surfing experience is presented through the Kobo Arc's 7-inch high definition display capable of showing up to 16 million colours. The Kobo Arc also presents the Google Play app community to users allowing access to over 600,000 Android-created apps. Twitter, Facebook, Zinio and PressReader are names of a few well-known apps available on the Kobo Arc. Containing a more enduring battery over its predecessor, maximum life for the Arc ranges up to 10 hours (a 3-hour improvement over the Vox). Available in November just in time for holiday shopping, the Kobo Arc will feature an 8-gigabyte model for $199.99 and a 16-gigabyte choice for $249.99.

The Kobo family of eReaders and the Arc tablet computer can access a diverse ebookstore of almost 3 million titles available in nearly 60 languages.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Canadians Consumed Growing Amount of Media in 2011: CRTC Report

Photo Credit: CNW Group/BELL ALIANT INC.

As citizens of a massive land mass separated by hills, mountains the occasional waterway, Canadians have existed in a society that historically connects us through extraordinary means. From the Canadian Pacific Railway constructed through the late 19th century, the 20th century embraced wide telecommunication and broadcasting networks that integrated a country that could have otherwise been isolated by geographic separation. Combined with Canada's typically trying weather during the winter seasons, the allure of media content has allowed Canadians spanning across age groups to explore and surrender a few hours. According to a recently-published annual report by government-supported regulator CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission), 2011 tends to indicate English as well as French speaking Canadians have realized an increased amount of content across radio, television, Internet and mobile platforms. 
While a pop song once popularized the phrase "Video Killed the Radio Star", the "Spirit of Radio" (perhaps not unlike the one Canadian rock band Rush sang about in 1980) remains a part of 21st century life in Canada. In 2011, the CRTC has computed the average Canadian listened to 17.7 hours of radio per week. A slight increase from the previous year, it is possible some listening is incidental in restaurants and stores.

In terms of Canadian viewing habits with television, the appetite remains strong for so-called "Couch Potatoes". In 2011, the average Canadian television viewer watched 28.5 hours of content (up from 28 hours in 2010). Despite the increase access to on-line sources for entertainment and information, improvements to television content delivery such as video-on-demand as well as digital cable has kept the medium popular among media consumers in Canada. While the average subscription cost has increased by $2.13 per month in 2011 compared to the previous year, paid television remains a popular option. With 11.8 million Canadians subscribed to television broadcast services, cable leads over satellite accounting for 70 percent in the category compared to 24 percent. The CRTC also notes a 6 percent present of telephone line-based television content delivery.

A source for decades, radio and television have been sharing an increasing amount of the media landscape with forms of new digital media. Through digital media, consumption along English-language Canada has shown a remarkable raise in 2011 over the previous year. Rating the average Canadian spending 18.2 hours a week engaging in digital media content during 2011, it is almost an increase of a full hour from 2010. Average French language Canadian spent 13.1 hours a week with digital media content.

CNW Group/Bell Canada

When it comes to experiencing the Internet at home, 78 percent of Canadians have a subscription to the vast virtual world that stretch beyond the country's borders. Of those customers of Internet, 54 percent utilize connections that involve a minimum of 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps) Internet download speeds. In 2011, the typical Canadian watched 2.8 hours of Internet television content per week according to the annual report from the Canadian telecommunications regulator. The CRTC has also realized that a modest 4 percent of the Canadian public now absorb content exclusively through on-line sources. Music streaming through radio or as downloadable content is also recorded as modest. English-speaking Canadians usage was accounted at 22 percent while 17 percent French-speaking users in the country utilize the Internet for accessing music or other audio programs.

The annual report of 2011 also recognized the smartphone and tablet technology many Canadians have been embracing more each year. Accounting that 38% of Canadians use a smartphone and 10% had a tablet computer at the time of the study, the CRTC identified the smaller devices as possessing a smaller piece of the media puzzle. With only 4 percent of Canadians watched television on tablets and 3 percent watched the similar content on smartphones. With the rapid advance of technology, the data for smartphones and tablets is more than likely set for an increase within annual reports going forward.

Showing that no single platform is ultimately conquering Canada's media spectrum, radio, television and new media should paint a diverse culture for citizens to absorb content. The CRTC annual report for 2011 also makes several mentions of enhanced technologies (LTE and over 5 Mbps Internet) that should insure the sprawling of the landscape could be as ambitious as the far-reaching lands we have built a country.