Posted by Technology Guider On February - 28 - 2012
I have had a Twitter account since 2005, well two actually, but I never really used it, much like what’s happening with my Google+ account. Up till 2011 it was just sitting there almost collecting dust. Then I got my Samsung Galaxy S2 and things started to change slightly. I tweeted more with random, unimportant tidbits of my life and what I was seeing at that time. At first there were no real reactions (maybe that’s because I had so few followers) but then I started to understand the full capabilities of Twitter.
For me the full revelation came on February 9, 2012 when I was checking my home page on Twitter at the dinner table. Yes I know it was not good manners but the dinner was winding down so I had a few seconds. What happened though is someone in Ottawa tweeted to a sports reporter on TSN who has a huge following that he had an extra Ottawa Senators ticket for the following Saturday. He wanted this reporter to retweet it to his followers to see if there were any takers. I replied and we started talking to set it up. Since I’m from Toronto the logistics were tough and someone from Ottawa eventually got it but it spoke to me. I would never have met this guy were it not for Twitter. The power to connect two strangers, which is the complete opposite business model of Facebook, which aims to rekindle lost friendships, was pretty amazing.
Since then I have been trying to refocus my tweets so they become more meaningful to a specific group such as when I tweet with the hashtag #GOTrain so people taking the GO Train can follow it. Recently I tweeted about problems with my 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and within an hour or two Ford of Canada Customer Care had replied to me. I updated them on my situation and not only did they provide direct information but they added a touch of personality to it telling me:
“Try not to miss your baby too much ”
I still have yet to grasp the full potential of Twitter but my aim is to explore it further and try and connect with people I may not have before.
Posted by Technology Guider On December - 29 - 2011
If you have been reading this website, you will realize that I finally bulked up (or bulked down, depending on how you view it) from my Blackberry 8820 to a superphone, the Samsung Galaxy S II. When I was walking to the store to pick it up, I had butterflies in my stomach and I could not wait till it was in my hands. I did a lot of work to acquire this phone and so I was overjoyed to finally have it. With that being said, here’s my review and I’ll try to be as unbiased as possible .
When people first saw my new phone, the first thing that people said was “Isn’t that phone big?” or something along those lines. I was completely blown away as to how many people said that. In retrospect, yes it is big but isn’t size relative? I mean, when the first iPod Touch came out, wasn’t that a big mp3 player compared to the norm? Yes it has a 4.3″ Super AMOLED Plus screen that provides amazing clarity but to me, it’s not big. In fact, this phone is the thinnest and lightest in the Canadian market coming in at 8.49mm and 117g which in my opinion, makes up for the “bigness” of the phone. To put that into perspective, the iPhone has a 3.5″ screen and weighs in at 137g with its thinnest point being 9.3mm. To the casual observer this may not be a striking difference but compare it side-by-side and you’re looking at apples and oranges. They’re both fruit but strikingly different qualities.
I’ll admit that at first it was a little awkward to handle, but like transitioning from a physical keyboard to a virtual one, the end result has left me with no regrets. The ironic thing is, when I go back to my iPod Touch, it feels incredibly small but when I go from my iPad to my Samsung Galaxy S II, I don’t get that same feeling.
Another major difference between the Samsung Galaxy S II are the buttons on the bottom. Most Android smartphones have 4 buttons compared to the SGSII’s 3 which usually goes Menu, Home, Search and Return. I prefer the 3 button scheme that Samsung used on the GS2 because it’s less cluttered and there’s a definable center to it.
I haven’t used the first iteration of the Samsung Galaxy S, but supposedly the new interface, TouchWIZ 4, is a drastic improvement from its predecessor. Most notably, the aesthetics and performance have been improved. I can’t speak much to this because I don’t use the default interface as I have installed an application called GoLauncher EX to replace it. I am currently fiddling with it and finding it quite versatile so I will keep you up to date on that one. Just recently though I updated my SGS2 from the stock 2.3.3 that Bell provides to a custom ROM called Sensation ROM 1.9 that has upgraded me to 2.3.5. The most notable improvements are the battery life (very significant) and when you scroll to the top and bottom, it flashes to let you know it’s reached the end. The call screen is more refined and allows for easier access to contact information. Overall, I’m in love with the software and thus the interface.
As I mentioned above, I’ve upgraded my phone and with that upgrade has come significant battery improvements. Before it would last me from about 10am-2am and the battery would be in critical mode. Thus when I would be heading out that night without my power cord I would recharge it before hitting the town. Now with the upgrade I have no worries as to whether it will last the day or not. On a power hungry day I’ll be down to 25% and on regular days it’ll be closer to 50% battery life left.
Building on the software aspect of this phone, I was surprised to learn with the release of ICS, that a lot of the features that were innovative on it, were already a part of the SGS2. One feature was the “Reject a call with a text message”. This is a really cool feature and was already on my phone when I got it. It comes in handy for sure. I also enjoy the screen after the end of a call where it gives you the option of sending a message or calling again to that same contact. Another “cool” feature in ICS is being able to uninstall apps from the launcher. On my SGS2 I can do hold the apps and click uninstall. I can also drag apps from my home screen up to the top to remove it from the home screen.
Overall I am very happy with my SGS2. The only problem I had with it was the battery life but since that’s been resolved it’s been a dream to have. I still use my iPod Touch as it’s a great music player which I do believe Google still needs to improve on but since I like having two devices anyways I’m happy. Google is making strides with this, with the introduction of Google Music and so it will be interesting to see how it shapes up in the future.
If you have any questions about the SGS2 please don’t hesitate to ask and if any of you have comments about your experience with the SGS2 add them here. Until next time…
I have yet to order my Apple MacBook Pro but I have already ordered all the accessories that I could possibly want. This post is all about my recommended products that you should get for your Apple MacBook.
1. MacBook Skins
If you buy a Mac, it looks exactly the same as anyone else who bought a Mac. On the other hand, if you buy a PC, there’s a much better chance that your PC will not be the same as the PC next to you. That is why I highly recommend getting some sort of skin for your MacBook/Pro. I went to MacStyles for one reason, and one reason only, because it had skins that left the Apple sign alone. They also offer MacTatts which is what I bought (pictured below) that offers more intricate designs than MacStyles. MacStyles are $20 and MacTatts are $30 and can be bought at MacStyles.
I usually end up scratching or doing something to ruin my gadgets so I’m glad I found this site earlier rather than later because these clear shields as mentioned above can help preserve your gadget. Zagg offers invisibleSHIELDS that protect the bottom, front and side of your laptop. It has a lifetime warranty so if it does wear or scratch you can get a free replacement. You can also customize the front part of the laptop with one of their designs or one of your own. For a non-customized clear version, it costs $55 but to customize it you’ll have to fork over $65. Luckily at the time of this writing they were offering a 50% off coupon if you entered their contest and considering they’ve sold over 7 million of these for various gadgets like the iPhone 4, it was definitely worth the shot.
3. Cooling Pad/Laptop Stand
I own both and they both do serve slightly different purposes but in the end the main reason you buy it, is so your laptop doesn’t overheat. The extra use for the laptop stand is so you can have your keyboard at an ergonomic angle. I bought a cooling stand from Targus costing me $25. Unlike most cooling pads that just suck out the hot air, this actually forces cool air into the MacBook.
4. USB Hub
One of the big drawbacks of a MacBook is there are very few USB hubs, 2, and most of my friends find they need more. So I purchased a 4 USB Hub from Targus ($10) so I can now use my cooling pad, mouse, external hard drive and a friends USB key for exchanging files all at once.
5. Keyboard Protector
I know all of you once in your lifetime have eaten or drunk with your laptop or desktop within reach so each and every one of you has taken the risk of ruining your laptop keyboard, me included. That’s why I looked around for a keyboard protector and the best deal I found was at iSkin. They have various designs including the basic clear design. For $25 it’s a huge asset because any muck in your keyboard can ruin it for your life.
While many of you looking here on Technology Guides might be used to the usual and typical posts of how to improve the efficiency and performance of your computer, I thought I’d write a post about what digital DJ sets consist of and what all the different components do.
My name is BMO and I’m doing a guest post from Early Mixologists. I am part of a group of DJ’s who have recently been spending quite a while building up our own DJ sets. If you’re anything like me, you probably have the stereotypical perception of what a DJ set consists of (i.e. turntables, mixer, amplifier, and speakers). While this is not really incorrect; today there are a wide variety of options for DJ equipment. In this post I’m going to be talking about all the DJ setups that revolve around the use of a laptop or desktop.
Before I begin talking about the setups I want to explain that in all of these setups the mixer is used as a medium from which DJs will transition from a song on one deck to the song playing on the opposite deck to create a continuous flow of music. In almost all cases the mixer is from which the main music output is sent to an amplifier or powered speaker. You can use an amplifier to send amplified signals of music to non-amplified speakers, or you can send non-amplified music signals directly to powered speakers and altogether skip on using an amplifier, but for information on this it is recommended you do some research on the internet.
The Turntable Setup:
1 USB soundcard
1 Laptop/ Desktop
Turntables are the original DJ music players. From Grand Wizard Theodore to Grandmaster Flash, turntables are the preferred choice for hip-hop DJs. They offer a very nice feel since all the buttons and music tables are very large and easy to control. Using a laptop has even made turntable Djing portable since now music can all be stored on one, instead of having to bring crates upon crates of vinyl just to dig through them to get at the song you want to play.
The turntables can be connected to a USB soundcard such as the Native Instruments Audio 8 DJ, combined with special time coded vinyl and RCA jacks it is possible to manipulate music on your computer as if it was being played directly on your turntable as a vinyl. Programs that are recommendable for this are: Serato Scratch Live (this is the one that started it all), and Traktor Scratch Pro (My personal favourite). Just to note, all the equipment needed for this such as the time coded vinyl, soundcard, and cables come packaged together with both of the programs mentioned above.
Everyone has dealt with this problem sometime or another and I know I have dealt with it more than once. The question is, how do you deal with it? I’ve also been on both sides where a citizen has taken their anger out on me, a helpless servant to the town. There are two general ways you can deal with the situation as a consumer: get really angry which is the natural option or you can try and negotiate a compromise of some sort. I’ve tried both and found that the latter is the best option.
Many people, including me, like to take this approach because it’s the most natural thing to do. You receive poor customer service and by taking that anger out on someone in the company you feel that you are getting something accomplished. In my experience what happens is the customer service rep shuts down and is taught to try and mediate it by calming you down and if that doesn’t work they’ll hang up. Therefore nothing is accomplished on both sides; you don’t benefit and the company just logs another angry caller. Occasionally, something will come out of it but it’s too rare to be noticeable.
My experience came back in 2009 when I had problems with my Hewlett-Packard (HP) laptop and so I went to their online help as it is much quicker. They gave me advice, I was supposedly happy and then after rebooting my computer wouldn’t start up. Since I couldn’t log onto the internet I couldn’t receive more help on the issue, I decided to call them up. Turns out they wouldn’t help me because my phone support had expired. I got really angry because they gave me advice and wouldn’t take responsibility for it. I eventually hung up on the representative even after I asked to speak to the manager and nothing got resolved.
Be Calm and Come to a Compromise
This is the approach I highly recommend if you want something out of the poor customer service. The keys to this approach is be calm, explain your side and in the back of your mind realize that sometimes it’s not the fault of the customer service representative. Many good things can come from this and I’ve only had success while using this approach.
My experience came on Canadian Thanksgiving 2009 when I lost my SIM card (don’t ask why ) and so I went and replaced it. I phoned up Fido, registered my new card and cycled down my phone. As soon as I got it up and running I had a different account. Not only that but someone else had my account. Obviously I was ticked off as the representative told me to get a new SIM card on them. When I went to get it at the store they said they weren’t authorized to do it. So I called them back and they changed their story saying I had to get it shipped and wait another week and I couldn’t switch back to my old account but I could use this account all I wanted to. The next day rolls around and I go to make a call, lo and behold, I can’t because my account has been canceled. Now this is where I get really pissed but luckily my brother was there to give me advice. Here I put the second approach into action. I called them up again and they told me to go to the nearest Fido store and register a new SIM card and it would be credited (don’t know why they didn’t suggest this before). Once I was up and running I called them up and followed these steps.
Explain your situation and in my case highlight the fact that you’ve lost x number of hours (or days),
Be calm and never blame or take your anger out on the representative because it’s not their fault, and;
Tell them you deserve better and want something in return for your inconvenience.
In my case I got a $12 add-on for my inconvenience and at the end of the day, just making them realize they screwed up and needed to make things right was all I needed.
Hopefully these tips help you next time you receive poor customer service or get a product that stops working.
Posted by Technology Guider On January - 18 - 2010
Many people know how to make your own ringtone for the Apple iPhone when you have a Mac. You just use GarageBand by adding a song and clicking Share–>Share as Ringtone and voila, your done, but for Windows users it’s a little harder but still very simple. This little tutorial will help you create a free ringtone in less than 2 minutes.
Firstly, open iTunes and select the song (preferably mp3) you want to use as your ring tone. Pick your favourite part because the ring tone is only allowed to be a max of 30 seconds. Once you’ve found the part you like, right-click the song and click Get Info. For this tutorial I have used Ghosts N Stuff by Deadmau5 featuring Rob Swire.
Now hit the Options tab and check off “Start” and “Finish” and enter the section you want the ringtone to be.
Once that’s done, you can go ahead and start converting the file. Right-click the song and select Create AAC Version. If you can’t see this option, go to Edit–>Preferences–>Import Settings and make sure AAC Encoder is chosen.
iTunes will now start converting the song, but only the snippet that you selected for your ringtone. Next step is to go to the file location of this new file. It usually will be in My Music–>iTunes–>iTunes Media–>Music. Once there you’ll want to rename your file so iTunes recognizes it as a ringtone. Right-click the file and hit rename, changing the file extension to m4r. If you can’t see the file extension, you’ll want to go to Tools–>Folder Options–>View (tab) and scroll down to Advanced Settings. Uncheck, Hide extensions for known file types.
Once it’s renamed, you can import it your iTunes library and then sync it to your iPhone. Just remember when you sync it to check off Ringtones and you’re good to go.
Posted by Technology Guider On January - 13 - 2010
I was sitting in my dorm room watching the latest episode of How I Met Your Mother, which by the way was amazing, when my friend came in and asked if I could help him install a third-party Windows 7 Theme. Now I have never actually done it myself but it seemed easy enough. My friend explained the instructions seemed complicated but here’s a dumb downed version that should be easy for the everyday computer to understand.
Download Universal Theme Patcher and run the application that matches up with your operating system, either x86 (32 bit) or x64 (64 bit). To check this go to Computer–>System Properties. Under the System heading will be your system type.
Once you run the correct version, you’ll see a screen like this. Now manually patch all three files. A backup of each file will be made so don’t worry if something goes wrong, you’ll have the original files.
After you’ve done this you’ll be asked to reboot. Once you have rebooted, you’ll be ready to move on to Step 2.
The reason you’ve decided to load a new theme is most likely that you saw a crazy theme that you just loved and wanted to embark on the journey of installing it. If not, there are some great sites that offer like the ones at Addictive Tips (Remember to save it and not open it). Once you’ve got your new theme saved on your computer, extract it to C:\Windows\Resources\Themes.
Now make your way to Control Panel–>Personalization and select your newly installed theme. Voila, you’re done.
Update: Some people have made it easy to install Windows 7 Themes and one of those happens to be one of my favourite themes. Smashing Magazine makes a post of desktop wallpapers for the current month. Someone else just took those wallpapers and made a theme. Check it out, Smashing Magazine January 2010 Windows 7 Theme because I am loving it.
Posted by Technology Guider On September - 17 - 2009
Since Canadians or anyone outside of the U.S. for that matter can’t get a hold of free movies and TV shows online for free I decided to go hunting for a way to. Now personally I love Hulu or any of the sites that Hulu gets their content from, I couldn’t find a way to hack onto it using Linux and it was hard as well for Vista or Mac users. So I gave up (sorry it was just getting to time consuming) and so I decided to try and find some sites on the net that would offer the service to users like me. Again I kind of failed but my search engine skills aren’t the best. So one day I stumbled on this site called TV Shack (no I didn’t use Stumbleupon but I’m sure it’s on there by now).
This site has a huge database and I haven’t come across a link that doesn’t work because they use a community system where users update the collection and offer multiple links in a very clean way so it’s not overwhelming like some other websites. They have a TV Show, Movie, Anime, Music and Documentaries database that offer enough selection for even the pickiest person. The huge benefit of this site is that they offer the whole series and not just the last 5 episodes.
You also don’t need to register on the site but if you want to add links because the site needs to be able to moderate what links do go up there and make sure that they do actually work.