There’s no single answer as to which smartphone you should gift someone for the holidays (or at any time, for that matter.) So I’ve done my best to put together a guide that covers as many bases as possible for Canadians looking to put a new handset under the tree this year.
The guide makes for a short, but productive read, providing you’re a Canadian and need a new smartphone. You’ll find it here.
Originally written as part of a longer holiday phone guide, my review of the iPhone 5s for The Globe & Mail is a short and sweet primer on what you need to know about the latest iteration of Apple’s flagship handset.
If you’re in the market for a new smartphone, you’ll want to give it a read.
Love the outdoors? Love taking pictures of yourself in the outdoors? Hate losing or breaking your expensive Action Cam because you were doing something stupid or dangerous outdoors? Then you’ve want to take a look at Monoprice’s MHD Action Camera.
While it’s not as well built as a GOPRO camera and it’s image/video quality isn’t as sharp, it’s an excellent, cheap alternative to buying an expensive action cam that you’ll just end up breaking or losing.
You can read my full review of the hardware over at Wired.
Someone you care enough about to spend an absurd amount of money on for the holidays has mentioned that they want a tablet—which one should you get?
I have no idea.
That said, I have put together a list of the best tablets out there right now. Drop by The Globe & Mail’s Technology page and take a read. Hopefully, doing so will steer you in the right direction.
I’ve declared the iPad mini with Retina display to be the best tablet of the holiday season, so you should expect to find my troll-gnashed carcass under a bridge near you any day now.
Have a few spare minutes? Why not use them to twig to which part of my review it was that sealed my fate as fanboy fodder? Swing by The Globe & Mail and take a boo.
It’s cold outside. And, having spent over twenty hours researching and writing about space heaters for The Sweethome again this year, it’s cold in here too, as I refuse to touch or look at another portable heater for at least the next four months.
Seriously though, if you have a space you’d like to warm up a tick, why not click through and check it out?
Earlier this year, Jason Raso asked if I would contribute a short story to the liner notes of his latest record, Slingshot. So I did: Jay’s my oldest friend, and from some reason, still stays in touch with me. I couldn’t refuse.
Last week, I was surprised to find that The Jason Raso Trio and spoken word juggernaut Kevin Sutton had taken to the stage of The River Run Centre in Guelph, Ontario to preform Slingshot live.
I’m truly flattered by what they managed to do with my little shaggy dog of a short story. The video of the show is too long to post to Tumblr, but you can watch it here.
Man, I wish I’d tested out travel SIM cards ages ago. I would have saved a stupid amount of money.
Anyway, Just before I got nailed by the flu I’m currently getting over, I went to San Francisco overnight for work (and burritos.) While I was down there, I tested out a SIM card I purchased from Telgo.ca for The Globe & Mail.
It worked like a charm and, as I’ll be travelling to New York for a few days next month, I’m sure I’ll be happy to have it on hand then as well. For my full review of the service, click on through.
If you own a computer, then you should own an external hard drive. Even if you don’t need the extra space to stash your movies, music and photos on, having an external drive is great for peace of mind as it allows you to keep an on-site backup of all of your important files (but if you’re paranoid like me, you’ll have a cloud backup as well.)
The 2TB Western Digital My Passport Ultra offers the most space for the least amount of money. And despite it having a 5400rpm hard drive under the hood (most portable drives do,) it proved to be the fastest USB 3.0 connected portable out there. What’s not to like?
You can read the my full writeup of the hardware over at The Wirecutter.
I think it’s fair to assume that a set of wireless speakers should be largely free of wired connections. But it seems that Harman Kardon disagrees with that way of thinking. It’s all wires all the time with their SoundSticks Wireless speakers. The only cable-free part of the equation with the hardware is that you can connect it to an audio source via Bluetooth. But even then, there’s the option of plugging into an auxiliary jack.
I spent a week with these things, and while they produced some great sound when they worked, I was frustrated by the constant cracks, pops and other interruptions I experienced when using their Bluetooth functionality—something I can’t say for the other Bluetooth speakers I use on an almost daily basis.
Want to read more of my kvetching? You’ll have to head over to Wired.
I have a shopping problem: I do too much of it. I purchase new hardware for work in order to stay on top of freelance assignments. I buy shit I don’t need when I’m depressed. I pick up new books to read even when I have plenty to read. None of it makes me any happier. In fact, I’m certain that the bad consumer habits I have are keeping me from being happy.
So, I quit. I’m going to make do with what I have for the next year, starting today.
I refuse to buy anything new, other than essentials like socks, underwear and food. The gear I have is the gear I’ll use. If something gets broken, I have to pay to repair it. There will be no new movies bought on iTunes. I’ll listen to the 10,000+ library of songs I already own. Software will have to be freeware or something I already own. And books? I’ll trade them for used ones, but that’s all that’s allowed.
Having too much is easily the most groan-worthy of first world problems. But it’s a problem that I plan on confronting. As my boss and friend Brian Lam is fond of pointing out, the cash we spend on crap we don’t need could be spent on paying down our bills, travelling or having a wonderful experience with people we care about. I plan on doing much of this in the future.
I’d like to share the experience of cutting back with you, if you’re interested. If not, well, the Internet’s a big place, so feel free to read something else. I’m such a lot of my thoughts on the subject will be banal, but maybe I’ll glean something interesting from the experience that might be helpful to you. I hope so.
Let’s see how this turns out.
Well, no big surprises here. Last year, the Nexus 7 was an editorial and popular darling due to it’s low price, decent design, respectable power and stock Android operating system. This year, ASUS and Google tweaked the tablet to be a little more of what it already was: A great, reasonably priced 7” tablet designed for the everyman. Not to big, not too small, not underpowered. Just right. If I needed to buy a tablet right now and wasn’t already heavily invested in Apple’s iOS ecosystem, this would be the slab I’d get.
You can read my full rundown of the reasons why over at The Wirecutter.