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BaseLynx neatly keeps all your devices charged

BaseLynx neatly keeps all your devices charged

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BaseLynx neatly keeps all your devices charged

As we embrace technology and acquire more gadgetry, our charging needs grow, but so does our collection of power bars and messes of cluttered cables. So it’s nice to know there are simple yet elegant solutions, such as the BaseLynx Modular Charging System from Scosche.

The real beauty of the BaseLynx is in its minimalist design centred around four charging modules, three of which can operate independently or be powered individually. And when hinged together, they operate as a single unit all powered by one single AC cord.

The Vert Charging Station module can accept up to three devices, such as smartphones or tablets, neatly organized on their edges to save valuable desk space. The module’s sturdy fin-like rubberized compartments separate the devices. Even a 13-in. MacBook Air can safely sit on its edge.

At the rear of the Vert you’ll find three charging ports: An 18-watt newer-styled USB-C port surrounded by two standard 12-watt USB-A ports. The USB-C port is designed to charge up to three times faster than a standard charger. It’s also smart enough to prevent accidental overcharging. Even higher-powered devices like the newer MacBook Air will charge, albeit at a slower rate.

The 10-watt Qi-certified charging pad wirelessly juices up devices such as an iPhone 8 or Samsung Galaxy 9, and even accessories like Apple AirPods (in their charging case) by simply laying them flat on the padded surface in line with the charging coil.

A soft white light reminds you the device is charging. If it’s red, your device hasn’t been placed correctly (or it’s a non-compliant device).

The BaseLynx watch module is a magnetic charger designed for your Apple Watch. Simply lay your watch flat on it. The magnetic connector can also be propped up to change your watch into a bedside clock.

All modules come with a non-powered EndCap, meaning no ports or hinges are exposed. However, you can add an extra 18-watt USB-C and 12-watt USB-A port without adding additional bulk.

This is where the fourth module, the Dual Port Charging EndCap with adaptive power, comes in handy. It has its own power source and simply connects to the end of any of the other modules.

While components can be purchased individually, it’s more practical and economical to start with a basic bundle such as the BaseLynx Kit. It comes with the Vert, Watch and Qi pad modules, a five-ft. AC power cord and non-powered endcap all in one box. The BaseLynx Pro Kit offers the same three modules, plus the Dual EndCap charger and one-foot USB-A and USB-C cables.

Overall, the BaseLynx just makes sense. With its simple and minimalist design, it has no more bells and whistles than absolutely necessary. It has a smart and aesthetically pleasing look, while being solidly built. And unlike many other chargers, it doesn’t need to be shoved into a corner or kept on the floor.

It would have been handy to have a second USB-C port as they have become more commonplace. What’s not that commonplace are one-ft. cables, although you can get them on Amazon. Perhaps they could be included with the basic kit.

The BaseLynx warrants fairly high marks. It also makes for a great gift.

The Scosche BaseLynx White is available exclusively at Apple retail and online stores. In Canada, the kit retails for $199.95, the Pro Kit sells for $259.95, with individual modules starting at $54.95. You can also purchase BaseLynx Black Kit from amazon.ca and other modules directly from Scosche.

Greg Gazin is a syndicated tech columnist, blogger, podcaster, and contributes to canoe.com, Troy Media and Active Life magazine.

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Cubii Jr. is an easy workout

Cubii Jr. is an easy workout – anywhere, anytime – while you sit

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Cubii Jr. is an easy workout – anywhere, anytime – while you sit

It’s always a smart health-conscious choice to inject a little more physical activity into our lives, regardless as to where we may be on our fitness journey, but we sometimes lack the time or energy or have limited ability to get out for that much needed workout. The good news is the solution, Cubii Jr., can be sitting literally right under your feet.

Cubii Jr. is a compact seated elliptical trainer you can use anytime, anywhere. Unlike massive ellipticals you might find in an exercise room or at a typical gym, Cubii Jr. is designed small enough to fit under most desks. It weighs only 25 pounds and measures a mere 23 by 17.5 by 10 in. It’s also whisper-quiet, so not only can you unobtrusively grab a quick workout at your computer while you’re on the clock, you can also get your steps in sitting on your sofa binging Netflix or even gathered around your kitchen table chatting with family during a lockdown.

The beauty of Cubii Jr. is its simplicity. There is a carrying handle conveniently located on the top to help with portability. Place it comfortably in front of your chair under your desk. Select one of the eight resistance levels, place your feet on the pedals and start pedalling. It’s that simple. It has a built-in LCD monitor, so you can, at a quick glance, track your workouts in real time to see how far you’ve pedalled, how many calories you’ve burned and more. When you’re done, you can leave it in place or easily move it to a corner or closet for easy access. Even better, share it with family members.

The advantage of a seated elliptical is that, regardless of your age, abilities or lifestyle, you can benefit from a low-impact workout. You can, exercise parts of your body like your abs and core, glute muscles, quads and calves without the joint-jarring and possible pain inflicting impact of other exercises like aerobics. It’s also great for rehab, building up mobility and leg strength. This, I’m sure is a welcomed change especially for those of us who are already feeling the aches and pains as our bodies age.

The Cubii Jr. is a great little gadget for those who are active or not so active, whether you’re targeting specific muscles or simply want to burn calories, lose weight and boost energy. It can easily become part of your daily routine, where you can get in a little workout at your own place at your own pace without worrying about being able to get to a gym – all while you sit.

For those who prefer to be “connected,” you may want to opt for Cubii Pro. In lieu of an LCD monitor, the pro version adds Bluetooth connectivity and smart features. This allows you to wirelessly connect to the Android or Apple iOS Cubii App to monitor your progress and automatically track your progress, set fitness goals as well as sync with your Fitbit.

The Cubii Jr. retails in Canada for about $350. It’s available directly from cubii.com as well as amazon.ca. The Cubii Pro sells for about $150 more.

With COVID-19 presenting an unprecedented challenge for senior care communities, the company announced as a way a way to give back to the community and helping them stay active, that it has donated more than 500 of its seated compact elliptical products to more than 100 communities in need across across the U.S. and Canada.

Greg Gazin is a syndicated tech columnist, blogger, podcaster, and contributes to canoe.com, Troy Media and Active Life magazine.

Check out Greg’s first book Corey OutSMARTs the Butterflies.

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Amazon Fire HD10

Amazon Fire HD10 features a big screen on a small budget

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Amazon Fire HD10 features a big screen on a small budget

The all-new Amazon Fire HD10

As the name suggests, it’s equipped with a 1080p, high definition, 10.1-inchwide screen display, making it ideal for all your entertainment needs. For the techies, it displays a respectable 1920 x 1200 pixels at 224 ppi (pixels-per-inch) for maximum enjoyment of the millions of eBooks, movies, TV shows, games, apps and music that you have access to. Stream or download videos from Prime Video and Netflix, or simply watch YouTube.

It also features dual stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos, a built-in microphone for Skype or video calls, and enhanced Bluetooth to connect an optional keyboard or wireless speakers.

Accessiblity features

The VoiceView screen reader provides access to most of the Fire tablet features for users who are visually impaired and use text-to-speech or a connected refreshable braille display. The Screen magnifier enables users to zoom in and out as well as pan around the screen. In addition, there are accessibility settings for closed captioning, font size, high contrast text and colour.

Better than ever

While this is Amazon Canada’s biggest tablet, it’s actually the ninth generation model – albeit its name. It has an updated 2.0 GHz eight-core processor, and is 30 per cent faster than its predecessor. Battery life has been bumped up by 20 per cent to offer you 12 hours of mixed-use. With its built-in PIP (picture-in-picture) function, you now have lots more time to watch YouTube, Netflix or Prime Video, while checking your e-mail at the same time.

It has 32GB of built-in storage (or 64GB), and is easily expandable up to 512 GB (from 256GB) by purchasing an optional micro SD card. The rear camera remains at 2 megapixels, which is good enough for screen resolution. And, the front camera has been bumped up from VGA to standard hi-definition (720p). Another notable change is the use of standard USB-C for charging.

It’s what’s inside that counts

The Fire HD 10 has a robust polycarbonate shell, but it doesn’t have the sleekness, or all the bells and whistles that you might find on an iPad or higher end Android tablets. An entry-level iPad has a significantly more powerful processor, an advanced photo grade 8-megapixel camera and a 1.2-megapixel camera with Retina flash, and it takes advantage of Apple’s full iOS operating system. With millions of apps, it can, virtually, replace your computer.

The Fire HD, on the other hand, runs its own operating system, Fire OS, a customized version of Android 9.0 Pie. It’s designed for functionality as shown above and not necessarily for those who need to be on the leading edge of technology. It offers limited Google Services and a smaller app offering, but is a perfect companion for home or on the road for those who are already connected to the Amazon eco-system – those who subscribe to Amazon Prime or Prime Video.

Even better, it’s also less than half the price of an entry-level iPad.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (32GB) retails in Canada for only $199.99 ($40 more for 64GB). It includes a USB-C charging cable and power adapter. You can find them at your local Best Buy, The Source and, of course, through Amazon. It is fairly large, so to protect it and have hands-free viewing, it might be a good idea to pick up a matching tablet case, that doubles as a stand.

Greg Gazin is a syndicated tech columnist, blogger, podcaster (host and producer), and contributes to canoe.com, Troy Media and Active Life magazine.

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Bells & Whistles - Ford's in-car SYNC 3 infotainment system

Bells & Whistles – Ford’s in-car SYNC 3 infotainment system

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Bells & Whistles – Ford’s in-car SYNC 3 infotainment system

If you combine the words information and entertainment you get ‘infotainment’ – and this is exactly what you’ll get in the 2020 Ford Explorer. The Ford Motor Company has come up with the perfect combination of a car stereo with an information and navigation system – SYNC 3.

Anticipating your needs

Smartphones and tablets are becoming more intuitive and easier to use with each new generation. Up until now, infotainment systems have often seemed like an after-thought, and operating them seemed counter-intuitive.

Not only do these systems need to be secure, functional and seamless to use, but they also need to keep you, and your family, safe while driving. “The SYNC 3 has been based on customer feedback – by the same people who are driving and interacting with their Ford vehicles every day,” says Chuck Gray, director of electrical and electronic systems engineering at Ford.

This is the first version to be fully designed in-house at Ford, and was recently unveiled at the company’s high-tech Connectivity and Innovation Centre (CIC) in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata.

More than good looks

The SYNC 3 might seem familiar to use, because it’s based on Blackberry’s QNX operating system. It’s no longer a scavenger hunt to find functions, and you’ll immediately feel connected.

It has a thoughtful, common sense layout. You can identify things clearly and navigate efficiently. You can also adjust the screen’s brightness and font size to help avoid squinting, so that you never have to take your eyes off the road for too long.

Minimized multi-tasking

The number of steps that are required to complete a task have been minimized on the SYNC 3. Many functions can also be accessed via voice control. Some controls have been moved from the console cluster to SYNC 3. Everything is easier to find, and if you’re not sure how something works, there’s an animated visual indication or a video to explain it to you – no manual required.

All your radio audio presets (AM/FM/XM) appear on the main screen, regardless of the media stream. You can switch from an AM news channel, to a rock station on the FM dial, and then to the Beatles channel on SiriusXM.

SiriusXM radio enthusiasts will appreciate the smart favourites and tune start features. The former buffers the last 30 minutes from your XM favourites as soon as you turn on the engine, and the latter ensures that the song begins on the first note when you switch to your favourites.

A first on the 2020 Ford Explorer’s platinum trim package, is the 10.1-inch, high-definition, portrait display. Other models have an eight-inch-wide screen. It’s positioned vertically on the dashboard, at a height and an angle, that makes it easy to see.

Always improving

With the customer’s consent, the SYNC 3 can capture analytics in terms of how its being used. Real-live testing and improvements are ongoing. At Ford’s Accelerated Life Test Lab, the software stability team simulates the software running in a vehicle in order to detect any pain-points.

When hitting the road, it’s comforting to know that the practical application of ‘infotainment’ is as reliable as the technology that we’ve come to expect in our homes.

Greg Gazin is a syndicated tech columnist, blogger, podcaster (host and producer), and contributes to canoe.com, Troy Media and Active Life magazine.

GadgetGuy.ca


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