Global TV Tech Buzz: Digital Resolutions

Well the first week of 2013 is in the books, and if you’re like me you’re still trying to get back in to the routine and drop the extra wait and get a workout.

Losing Weight is the top resolution, so you can imagine there’s “an app for that.” There is, lots of them, and so this week a look at some of the best apps you can get on your phone to get in a workout.

GymPact [free]
Conquer excuses with $$$ and get your butt to the gym.
Commit to exercise. Checkin at the gym or track outdoor workouts via RunKeeper.Earn cash for meeting your goal, paid for by non-exercisers!

100 Pushups [99c]
The concept is simple: this app will teach you how to do 100 pushups. It doesn’t matter if you can only do 1 right now, this app will get you on a 3 day a week plan doing pushup intervals to work your way up to 100 nonstop. If you like the idea, check out the companion app 200 Situps.

Nike Training Club [free]
If you get bored at the gym because you don’t know what exercises to do, and you can’t afford a personal trainer, the Nike Training Club is genius. Workouts from 5 minutes to 45 minutes that don’t need a lot of equipment and will have you sweating up a storm. This is my go-to app for cross training, and is my favorite fitness app.

Aherk
Aherk is a self-blackmail service that lets you define a goal, set a deadline and let your Facebook friends decide if you’ve achieved the goal. If not, it uploads a compromising photo of you on Facebook for all your friends to see. You may argue that you can just submit a non-compromising photo of you to the app, rendering the consequence negligible, but at least it incorporates a bit of social pressure into your goal by asking your friends to vet your success.

Yoga Download [free podcast]
You don’t have to pay the $15 drop in fees for the trendy yoga studios in town, you can subscribe to podcasts and get your downward dog on in the comfort of your home, or if you travel, you can do it in a hotel room, on the beach, anywhere. The new Podcast App for iOS devices makes it easy to subscribe to programs, and this is one of many you can have for free.

Pump Up [free]
PumpUp is meant for people who want to get started with a fitness routine but don’t know what to do, or those who want to take their fitness to the next level. PumpUp shows users what to do, how to do it, and over time, adapts their plans to ensure they don’t plateau.

Navy SEAL Fitness [$1.99]
If you’re more serious about amping up your workouts for the new year and are looking for a challenge, why not try and keep up with the big boys? This one will test your mettle.

Runner’s World Smart Coach [free]
If you have a 5k, 10k, or longer race on your calendar for the year, this app will help you with the distances you need to do each day to stay on pace. This is the app I’ve used to train for my Team Diabetes events and I’ve got it ready to go for my half marathon this may with Team Diabetes in Edinburgh.

TWITTER FOLLOW OF THE WEEK
Since the segment was all about apps this week, I thought I would switch things up and give you a must-follow for your Twitter account. Chris Hadfield is a Canadian astronaut who has just started a 6 month tour of duty aboard the International Space Station. Up until now his tweets have been very interesting photos of the planet, and facts about life in space. Then William Shatner tweeted Hadfield and it all got a little surreal.

Leonard Nimoy, Wil Weaton, and Buzz Aldrin have all gotten in on the game. Following Hadfield is an absolute must. It’s delicious nerd fun.

Global TV Tech Buzz: Carpool Tech

As we start to settle in to the fall routine, the biggest thing you’ve probably noticed the past week is the increase in traffic. Everyone is back to work, back to school, and on the roads. Here’s a rundown of some great gear that can help you get the most of your time in traffic:

Motorola HX550
If you don’t have a bluetooth enabled car, then you NEED to get a bluetooth headset. It’s a simple earbud that communicates with your phone and lets you get your calls done in traffic (even texting with the Android MotoSpeak app). I’ve seen some people try to get away with holding a phone on speaker in front of their face – according to the cops that’s still distracted driving. So get a little piece like this and you’ll be good to go. Pro tip: take it out when you’re not driving, they look silly.

Drone Mobile
As we get into winter, you’ll soon appreciate the pleasure of a remote starter. This little toy takes the remote starter and makes it an app on your phone. You can also use Drone Mobile to GPS track your vehicle (in case you give it to the kids) and see if the vehicle is running, if the doors are open, and more.

boyo visions backup rear view mirrorBoyo Visions
Your dash and windshield can get cluttered with many different screens, this advanced rearview mirror can show you your backup camera right in the mirror. A bonus feature is it has bluetooth built in to the mirror. If you don’t like the ear buds (above), then this is another solution to help you get hands free when you drive.

Pioneer Bluetooth Video Deck
Here’s a chance to really pimp your ride. If you have an older vehicle and want to modernize it, this double deck unit will bring a lot of features to the fore. You can have a digital GPS, bluetooth hands free pairing for your phone AND a DVD player. Okay, a DVD player in the car isn’t the best thing, but if you have younger kids and you run the car pool, popping a video in while you wait for the kids in the parking lot can be a great time killer. (There is a feature so the DVD player won’t work when the car is in motion).

canadian tire eliminator inverterEliminator Inverter
This toy turns your car into a power station, as everyone scrambles to get last minute projects done on the way. You can plug the inverter in to the car adapter and it will turn the DC to AC so you can power phones, laptops, tablets, and more. Toss in a USB hub and everyone can make sure their phones and tablets are fully charged for the day ahead.

Bike Charge
I realize a lot of people also ride their bikes to work, and this new Bike Charge helps you get your phones fully ready for the day ahead. As long as you maintain a pace near 20km/h, you can pump out some juice to your devices. A 3 hr ride will be needed to fully power a phone, but you can still top up the juice on your morning commutes.

global tv traffic appAPP OF THE WEEK: Global Traffic
Let’s keep this one in the family with a new app from the Global Traffic Department. Leslie Horton does a great job talking up traffic on tv, and tweeting out updates, but now there’s an app that can help you plan out your routes in the morning. You pop in the route you usually drive, and with just one click it can give you a time estimate for travel. You can also scan a map of the city and see where trouble is, or check out the traffic cameras, and it will also send text alerts when there’s a problem on your route.

Just remember, it’s not an app you can use on the road, get someone else in the carpool to fire it up and help navigate.

Global TV Tech Buzz: Father’s Day Gadgets

A new survey says that Dads don’t want tickets to the big game, a home made meal, or time with their buddies for Father’s Day – they want gadgets.

So here’s a list of gear you could grab for Dad from Future Shop in advance of Father’s Day.

Sharp In-Car Plasmacluster Ion Generator [$99.99]
If dad has a job (or hobby) where he sweats a lot, or a habit that might cause his car to have a less than fresh scent, ditch the pine tree and grab him this air cleaner. It fits in the cup holder, and plugs in to the car charger.

Acer Iconia 7″ 8GB Tablet [$249.99]
Not every guy is an Apple guy. The list of Android devices is long, and many of them are great. If dad has an Android phone he likes, get him a tablet that will play nice with his data and apps – this one from Acer.

Nikon J1 10.1MP Interchangeable Lens Camera with 10-30mm VR Lens [$529.98]
The power of a big interchangeable lens camera in the tight compact form factor of a point and shoot. If Dad likes to take pictures, this gives him all the tools he’ll love in a package that’s easier to carry around.

GoPro HD HERO2 Outdoor Helmet Camcorder [$349.99]
These cameras and mounts are for the hardcore dad. Mount it on your helmet for skiing, mountain biking, snowmobiling, whatever and take the video of that awesome day.

Dyson 10″ Air Multiplier Desk Fan [$379.99]
Dyson’s inventions are beautiful. These “fans” work by blowing a stream of air over a vibrating rim. They’re quiet, sleek, bladeless, and expensive.

Margaritaville Frozen Drink Maker [$219.99]
Drop in a bunch of ice, and your mix and you’re done. Margaritaville shaves the ice, blends the drink and serves them up to your guests on the patio all summer long.

XBOX 360 4GB Kinect Family Bundle [$299.99]
My oldest is 5, I’ve been resisting the video game purchase for our family, and I don’t know how much more I can hold off. This would be my system of choice.

Mophie iPhone 4/ 4S Juice Pack [$79.99]
An iPhone case that also doubles your battery life? Genius. Want.

APP OF THE WEEK
euro 2012 appEuro 2012 is underway in Poland and The Ukraine. How many time zones is that? The best part of the official Euro 2012 app [free] is that it lists the game in local time, as in Calgary, or Toronto, or New York, or wherever you have your phone. No need trying to do the math and ask yourself “What time is it in Krakow? Lyiv? Kiev? Warsaw?” This app does it for you.

And it also gives you all the latest news updates, scores, and insight into your favourite team. Allez les bleus.

If you missed the segment, here’s the video:

Global TV: Lifeproof iPhone Cases

Each week I join the Sunday Morning News on Global Calgary to talk the latest in tech, gadgets, and to walk you through the ways you can make the gadgets you already own work better.

Here are the segment notes and links from March 25, 2012:

LIFEPROOF
The Lifeproof iPhone 4/4S Case [$79.99] means business. The first thing you see opening it up is a serious CAUTION sticker across the back of the case. While $79.99 may sound like an expensive price to pay for an iPhone case, if you live an extreme lifestyle and take your iPhone with you, it’s a small insurance price to pay versus the replacement costs of your iPhone. Heck even if you don’t live an extreme lifestyle, this case will protect you from the everyday accidents that could see you facing almost $200 just to replace a cracked screen.

The Lifeproof Bike and Bar Mount [$39.99] will let you use your iPhone as a bike computer. The bike and bar mount is simple to install and promises to fit everything from road and mountain bikes to quads, snowmobiles, and jetskis.

The Lifeproof Belt Clip [$29.99] is a little old school, from the days when phones were too bulky to fit in your pocket, but if you need it handy and don’t want to fish through a bag or pocket to find your phone, it serves a purpose.


APP OF THE WEEK:

Draw Something [Free] is The Hunger Games of the app store. It’s is the #1 app in over 80 countries. The user base has sky rocketed the past few months, to the point where Zynga (the makers of Word With Friends, Farmville, etc) have offered to buy the app maker for $200M. You draw pictures, friends have to guess what they are. It’s that simple.

If you missed the segment, here’s a recap:

11 Stunning Mission: Impossible Gadgets

Mission: Impossible 4 has critics wagging this week. Cruise’s latest turn as Ethan Hunt is certified 95% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes for its’ jaw dropping stunts.

The movie is classic Bond: sexy ladies in evening gowns, bad guys who want to end the world, and gadgets that will blow your mind.

As Ethan Hunt says to the team boarding a private jet on a tarmac in Dubai: “Wait until you see the car.”

BMW i8
Cruise’s character drives a couple of BMWs in the movie, the flashiest being the BMW i8 concept car with Vision EfficientDynamics.

While the car is set for a 2014 production release, one of the plug-in hybrid sports car’s cool features is available now.

BMW’s ConnectedDrive, used in the movie to provide a visual display of detailed maps and collision warnings, and allowing voice-activated phone functions, is now in cars.  Think of that scene in Minority Report where Cruise was thumbing through flies on a wall – this is that in your car.  A heads up display that takes the information from your dashboard and puts it directly in your field of vision.

BMW reportedly spent more than $10M at the chance to promote the car in the movie.

Mission: Impossible is a whole new dimension for BMW,” says Ellinghaus. “It’s what James Bond used to be.

Sticky Gloves
The scene that everyone talks the most about is Cruise on the oustide of the Burj Khalifa.  Some 1200 feet in the air, Cruise scales the glass of the tallest building in the world with special “blue is glue, red is dead” climbing gloves.  

If you want to try it (no thanks), look for Gecko Tape. It’s a material covered with nanoscopic hairs that mimic those found on geckos’ feet.  The tape is so sticky it could allow people to walk up to sheer surfaces and across ceilings, say researchers.

That’s just the beginning.

There are chain mail suits paired with maglev robots, contact lenses that sync with your iPhone for facial recognition and remote camera printing, iPads that toss hallway holograms, 3D printers that can fashion and paint realistic masks, surface computing that can read data from devices simply through touch,  along with random USB devices that can stop nuclear warheads.

Even the basic iPhone countdown timer gets a starring turn in the film.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is on IMAX screens this weekend and goes in wide release December 21.

 

iTunes 10 Kills Compact Disc

With just a few seconds of his keynote address this week, Steve Jobs threw the first shovel of dirt on a device that was already dead.  With a new logo for iTunes 10, sans CD, the company that took digital retailing of music mainstream completely buried the old way of doing things.

When was the last time you actually bought a compact disc for music?  Last month, album sales dropped to an all time low since tracking started in 1991.

Future Shop recognized the trend years ago, drastically shrinking the cd department in favour of expanded gaming sections.  THAT’S what we use the cd for now – console gaming (and maybe storage).

With the compact disc (for music) now dead, I took a dig through the archives to see what other technologies have expired in the past year:

The Lexus SC430 convertible was the last car to offer a cassette deck as an in-dash option.  Surprising this took so long to expire with the growth of sattelite radio and in dash cd players.  Now cars, like the Kia Soul and the Ford line with Microsoft Sync, are moving more towards a bluetooth and USB experience where your music is all digital.

When it comes to media storage for your computer, we’ve gone through many iterations over the past decade.  Remember Zip disks and Jaz drives? How proud I was to have 100MB on one little device. Now USB keys are stacked up to 128 GB.

It’s no wonder Sony stopped production of floppy disks this year

Paul Simon‘s music may be classic, but his lyrics will be more difficult for future generations to understand with the death of Kodak’s Kodachrome film this year.  Simon may have begged “mama don’t take my Kodachrome away,” but the company did just that.

Polaroid‘s instant film production ended two years ago but the look hasn’t expired, Poladroid is a great app that will give you the slowly exposing look of a Polaroid photo to any of your iPhoto images.  Similarly, Kodachrome styled images can be reproduced with some apps and plugins.

FilmStill, film photography exists and if you dig through a junk drawer in your garage or attic, you just might find a spare roll lying around like I did.  I dusted it off, handed the old camera to my 3 year old son and sent him off for the day. 

The advancing technology has turned us into such an instant gratification world that it was wonderful to remember what it was like to wait for pictures to be developed.  When we got them back they were overexposed, covered with thumbs and dozens of pictures of nothing but carpet.  None of them deleted, each one of them printed and paid for.

Ahhh, the good ole’ days.

What expiring technology will you fondly remember?

buzz bishop future shop tech blogThis post was originally published at The Future Shop Tech Blog.

Future Shop Tech Blog: Kicking It Old School

buzz bishop future shop tech blogYes, there are times when getting in line for the latest and greatest gear is a life changing experience – but isn’t the old stuff still worthy?

The original portable music player, the Sony Walkman, turns 30 this year, and while I’m not suggesting you go all the way back to carrying a brick sized cassette player in your pack to entertain you on your daily commute, sometimes older is just fine when it comes to technology.

[read the rest of this article]

This article has been submitted to Future Shop’s Tech Blog where I contribute Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

How To Use Your Canadian iPhone on International Vacations

Data roamingThe iPhone is sexed up to be a do anything anywhere type of device. In the U-S, where cellular carriers treat the entire nation like one area code, with cheap and competitive price plans, it’s easy to take your iPhone from LA to Las Vegas and still fire up all the applications and email capability you would at home.

In Canada, however, moving that iPhone just a few inches across the border could instantly crack your bill wide open with data roaming charges.

I recently took my iPhone to Las Vegas. Before leaving I turned off the data roaming feature. This doesnt turn the phone off, but it will stop it from constantly checking for email or data on any applications you may be running. [contd]


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