Tag Archives: Greg Gazin

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Get smoother and faster Wi-Fi with the Deco x20

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Get smoother and faster Wi-Fi with the Deco x20

With many families home-bound, chances are that almost everyone is tethered to the Internet in one form or another. Have you noticed when everyone’s online, things tend to slow to a crawl or not connect at all? Binging on Netflix or YouTube videos, friending on Facebook, taking in a webinar on Zoom, gaming online, watching the news or just plain doing a search on the Internet… We haven’t even mentioned other wireless devices such as smart speakers, security cameras, smart thermostats and more.

There is, however, good news.

The next generation of Wi-Fi technology is already here, which should help when it comes to unreliable or slow Wi-Fi. The TP-Link Deco X20 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System (AX1800) is designed to improve your connection speed and extend your Wi-Fi up to 5,800 sq. ft. to include the far reaches of your home. It’s designed to do away with any dead spots and potentially quadruple the throughput to any device connected to it – up to 150 of them – so devices can stay connected and everyone can enjoy smooth sailing regardless of what they are doing.

The Deco X20 units are small but powerful. Each unit has a builtin 1 GHz Quad-Core processor, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, a reset button and four internal antennas. All this comes in a sleek cylindrical unit measuring a mere 4.33 in. wide by 4.49 in. high. It operates on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bandwidths and extends your Wi-Fi’s reach by strategically placing individual Deco units around your home.

It uses Mesh technology to ensure you’re always connected, essentially blanketing the entire coverage area and seamlessly operating as a single unified network. In fact, once any device is connected through your Deco X20, it concentrates its signal to that device, keeping the signal fast and efficient, maintaining a solid connection even when moving from room to room.

For added safety and to keep your home network secure, Deco X20 adds an extra layer of protection. It incorporates advanced encryption, keeping your family’s data private and unreadable to others so you can do your banking and other necessary private transactions worry-free.

In addition, Deco X20 creates almost a built-in fence, marking data emanating from your neighbour’s Wi-Fi next door and the surrounding areas to minimize interference and prevent any possible overlap, which could interfere with your system.

There’s more. Deco X20 also includes a lifetime subscription to TP-Link HomeCare which provides features you can personalize, including Antivirus protection, Parental Controls and QoS (Quality of Service), so you can set the priority of devices.

While the system is certainly advanced, set-up is a breeze. With a simple walk-through using its companion app, anyone can have it up and running within 10 minutes. It also pairs with Alexa, so you can control it with simple voice commands.

Deco X20 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System comes with three Deco units, retails for $399.99 and can be found on Amazon as well as most of your favourite electronics retailers.

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

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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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Portable productivity by MacBook Air

Portable productivity by MacBook Air

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Portable productivity by MacBook Air

A smartphone, a tablet or a laptop? Or all three? Many have a preferred go-to device that they use most of the time. Others still need a traditional screen and keyboard computer for their computing needs.

A well-rounded alternative to this dilemma is the latest version of the 13-inch MacBook Air.

Easy on the eyes

The stunning, high-resolution, 2560 x 1600 pixel, 13.3-inch retina display make images pop and small text is razor-sharp. Its True Tone technology further enhances your visual experience by automatically adjusting the white balance to match the ambient colour temperature of the room.

This reimagined model is eco-friendly with the chassis composed of a strong 100 per cent recycled aluminum – a first for Apple. They’ve managed to make the overall wedged-shaped MacBook sleeker by having thinner borders and extending the display right to the edge of the glass. The previous generation was almost 1.2-inches wider, 0.5-inch deeper and 1/4 pound heavier, than the current model.

Reliable features

The MacBook Air still maintains a full-sized keyboard, and features LED-backlit butterfly keys. This provides a more precise, and stable, touch with a slimmer mechanism. The ambient light sensor makes it easier to type in low-light conditions. The new Force Touch trackpad is 20 per cent larger, offering more room for manoeuvrability. It’s also pressure sensitive with an uniform response, which makes navigating easier.

Improved simplicity

With the two Thunderbolt (USB-C) ports, there’s no need for a plethora of connectors. It has three on-board microphones for better voice reproduction and clarity, as well as a standard headphone jack. It also has two built-in stereo speakers that deliver more bass, 25 per cent more volume and better clarity.

Like many smartphones and tablets, MacBook Air now features a Touch ID sensor button located at the top right of the keyboard. This welcomed addition allows the user to sign-in or unlock documents by simply using their fingerprint. In addition, it can be used for Apple Pay for select on-line shopping purchases. There’s no need to constantly enter a credit card or billing information. The computer’s built-in T2 security chip will keep data safe, secure and encrypted.

Stay connected

MacBook Air has the latest Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 for wireless connectivity, and a 720p FaceTime HD Camera for video chats. It comes with the Apple Mac operating system Catalina 10.15, and pair wells with an iPhone. Text messages can be sent, and received, on both devices. There’s also a handoff feature, which allows the user to start typing on one device and finish it on the other.

Accessibility features allow users to use voice control, voice over, text zoom, text-to-speech and, of course, the lovable Siri. The battery life is rated at up to 13 hours.

The MacBook Air is the ultimate portable for serious work or just plain fun. Prices start at $1449.00 for the 1.6GHz entry-level model. Available in gold, space grey and silver, through Best Buy, Staples or the Apple Store.

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

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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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Smart TV

TCL-ROKU TV is small on size, big on features

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TCL-ROKU TV is small on size, big on features

It’s not uncommon to see a 60-, 70- or 80-inch TV in some homes. However, a compact model might be better suited for a small apartment, a dorm room, or for when you want to binge-watch a series while getting your steps in on the treadmill. Older, CRT boob tubes may have been regulated to the basement, as they lack the features of today’s smart television sets.

Today, we expect that all TVs are HD, and work with any cable box, satellite receiver or antenna, and that they can easily connect to any gaming console. And, of course, it must have WiFi and connect to the Internet.

Just the thing

Built for the Canadian market in 2019, the 32-inch, TCL-Roku Smart LED TV (32S327-CA) measures a mere 28.8 x 17.1 x 3.0 inches. It comes with attachable feet, or it can be mounted to a wall. Weighing in at under 10 pounds, you’ll be amazed at how slim it is. You can carry it under your arm, put it in the trunk and take it anywhere.

Despite it’s diminutive size and simple black housing, it has crisp 32-inch FullHD (1080p) LED widescreen display. It features dual band WiFi, and three HDMI ports to connect external devices. It also has a USB port for viewing your own media. There’s a headphone jack for quiet listening, or to hook up an external speaker, as well as a digital audio output to take advantage of its Dolby Digital Plus premium audio. In addition, there’s a composite video jack, with a cable, to connect older video and gaming devices, and one to hookup your cable TV or satellite box.

Easy peasy

The TCL-Roku is designed to accept an HD antenna for over-the-air TV channels, but there’s also a Roku streamer built right in, so there’s no need for an external gadget. Roku gives you access to thousands of streaming channels so that you can enjoy unlimited movies, TV shows, live sports, music, news and much more. Most are free, but some may require a paid subscription.

Using this TV is a breeze starting with the step-by-step, on-screen setup. You don’t have to wade through complicated menus. Both the TV’s functionality and Roku’s streaming services are integrated. This intuitive interface allows you to navigate with one easy-to-use remote that has one-touch access to services like Netflix and YouTube.

But that’s not all

Other nifty features include mirroring, so that you can watch media from your smartphone, your tablet or your PC on your TV. Guest mode is perfect if you run an Airbnb. You can restrict access to your streaming services, while guests can sign on to their own accounts and are signed out when they leave. Should you need to adjust the picture, simply go to settings and select dark, darker, normal, bright or brighter – that’s it.

TCL is fairly new to the North American market – barely a year on the Canadian TV scene. They produce a series of low-cost, high-definition TVs. The TCL 32-inch Roku Smart LED TV (32S327-CA) retails for $219.99 on Amazon, at Best Buy and at Walmart. A 40-inch model is also available.

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.

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Simply Tech: Square - micro payment

Be Square: You, too, can accept wireless payments

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Be Square: You, too, can accept wireless payments

You’ve heard of it, and most likely seen one. Chances are, you’ve made a payment to a company who uses Square. Step into a cafe, a market, or stroll down an art promenade and you’re likely to see their iconic logo, and someone swiping their credit card through a small white square dongle attached to a smart phone.

Personal use

Perhaps you’ve decided to downsize, or start up a business initiative that’s always been on your mind. Since fewer people use cheques or carry cash, you can offer a quick and easy mobile payment option with Square. It’s an easy way to get paid, especially if you want to rid yourself of no-longer-wanted items.

It’s been approximately five years since Square introduced their micro-payment system to Canada. Payment is enabled through a magstripe reader that’s plugged into the headphone jack of your mobile device. It has changed the way that small businesses process their transactions. It’s put budding entrepreneurs and service providers, as well as street market sellers and garage sale vendors, on a more level playing field.

Easy peasy

Being able to make a secure, credit card payment transaction (with a simple swipe) was a privelege previously reserved for major players.

With the free companion Square point-of-sale (POS) app, you can track your activity, add product photos and prices, and manage your inventory. Square’s invoice app allows you to bill your clients, and send invoices and automatic payment reminders via e-mail. This allows secure payment transactions to be facilitated when not dealing face-to-face.

Getting better and better

Square is taking advantage of the latest technologies, and has now included more features and payment options, so that customers can pay the way that they want. Not only are you not limited if your mobile device doesn’t have a headphone jack, or if their payment requires a chip and a PIN, but you’re not limited to just accepting credit cards.

For users with iOS devices, including the iPhone or iPad, Square now has a magstripe reader that plugs into the lightning port. However, Square’s new Contactless + Chip Reader has to be its finest feature. This palm-sized, battery-powered, wireless device quickly pairs with most Bluetooth enabled mobile devices.

With this new reader, customers can simply tap for purchases up to $100. For anything over that amount, they insert their chip-enabled credit card into the reader, and enter their PIN number on their mobile device to complete the transaction. Customers can also tap for payments via Interac Flash (debit), as well as Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Square encrypts the card information, so the data is never stored on your mobile device in order to protect the customer.

The cost of doing business

Cost for Square payment processing is only 2.65 per cent for all credit card transactions and only 10 cents for debit transactions. Apple Pay + Google Pay fees will depend upon whether the customer has a credit card or debit card connected to the account. There are no other hidden fees or service charges. Your funds are sent directly to your bank account, and are available in one to two business days.

The Square Contactless + Chip Reader retails for $59, and includes a free magstripe reader. Both can be connected to your devices at the same time. There’s also an optional wedged-shaped reader dock for Square Reader ($39), in order to keep it charged. Available at Staples, Best Buy, Telus or Apple Stores.

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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Simply Tech: Point and Shoot Cameras

Point and shoot – the little camera that can

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Point and shoot – the little camera that can

You might be thinking that traditional point-and-shoot cameras are going the way of the fax machine, but don’t dismiss them yet. You might also wonder why you’d even need one when smartphones have become the default gadget for taking pictures and shooting videos. Built-in cameras in phones, including the iPhone XS and Google Pixel 3, are now better than ever in terms of picture quality and high-definition video, giving Digital SLR cameras a run for their money. Plus, smartphones are always at the ready to capture that special moment, and then fire it off to family and friends.

Rational reasoning

Discard the idea that the smartphone can do it all. First, and foremost, you don’t want to always be recharging your phone’s precious battery. Nor do you want to use up valuable storage space.

Purists actually like the touch and feel of real buttons, as well as a physical shutter, a viewfinder and the flexibility to adjust the settings. While higher-end smartphones have decent lenses, they’re not good in low light conditions, and everything else is only average. The quality of the photos are just not as sharp as they could be.

Photo enthusiasts prefer a point-and-shoot to take advantage of a camera’s actual optical zoom. This type of zoom offers a true lens adjustment. It gives you the same number of pixels in your frame, providing the same resolution as if you were close by. In contrast to a digital zoom found on most standard phones, objects appear closer by making the pixels larger as you zoom in. The result is a more pixelated, or grainy, photo or video.

A standalone camera allows you to unplug and focus on your craft, and you don’t want to take a $1,500-plus device to the beach with all your precious data on board. If damaged or lost, the replacement cost of a point-and shoot is much less.

Enhanced photography

Like smartphone cameras, point-and-shoots have also evolved. The compact Fujifilm FinePix XP140 has a massive 16.4 mega-pixel CMOS sensor, allowing you to print a quality photo as big as 11.5 by 15 feet. You can also record ultra High Definition 4K video, and it has a high quality Fujinon 28mm wide-angle lens, with 5X true optical zoom for really sharp, hi-res photos.

The FinePix XP140 is also equipped with an enhanced ‘Scene Recognition Auto’ mode to help detect the main subject in the scene by automatically optimizing the camera setting. The ‘Eye Detection’ feature makes for better portrait shots by focusing on the eyes, along with the auto-intelligent, self-timer mode to detect a smiling face. When detected, it automatically releases the shutter.

This little camera also has optical image stabilization to reduce blur from camera shake. It can also do time-lapse photography, so that you can capture a series of photos over time. If you do have your phone, this camera also supports ‘Remote Shoot’. An example of this would be placing your camera in a tree to capture some wildlife, and standing somewhere else to get the shot.

The Fujifilm FinePix XP140 is dust-proof, shockproof (to 1.8 metres), freeze proof (to -10 °C) and waterproof (to 25 metres). It comes in five colours, and features the latest Bluetooth technology.

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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Simply Tech: Books vs Kindle Paperwhite

Put down the book – It’s time to pick up the Kindle Paperwhite

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Put down the book – It’s time to pick up the Kindle Paperwhite

For book lovers everywhere, this is a touchy subject. There’s something tangible about a book – even the smell of it triggers our senses. However, if you’re an avid reader, and are always on the go, books can be very heavy. Plus, they take up a lot of room (and weight) when packed in a suitcase. Even if you have a tablet or an iPad, you might want to consider the all-new Amazon Kindle Paperwhite.

The Kindle Paperwhite is a compact, low-cost, high-resolution e-Reader that electronically stores thousands of books with an innovative display screen – you almost think that you’re reading from a paperback. It’s only 6.6 inches tall, 4.6 inches wide, 0.30 inches thick and weighs less than seven ounces, making it easy to hold in your hand, and slip into a large pocket, purse or knapsack.

A sight for sore eyes

Its six-inch, hi-res screen offers 300 pixels-per-inch resolution – the same as a standard photograph. The glare-free (almost) screen makes it a beach-worthy companion. If you read at night, it’s less likely to keep you awake after you turn off the lights due to E-ink display technology. This feature doesn’t emit the same type of blue light as you find on televisions and tablets, which, apparently, keeps you more alert. With a five-LED manually adjustable backlight, you can comfortably read at night without additional light, and without disturbing your partner.

How many times have you picked up a book and found that the type was very small? With the Kindle Paperwhite, you can adjust the font type and the font size. The built-in dictionary is easy to use, plus the extended battery life requires less downtime for recharging and is ideal for a lengthy plane ride.

Enhanced highlights

The biggest improvement of the fourth generation of the Kindle Paperwhite is its new waterproof body. Previous models were toast if they got wet. Now that it’s IPX8-rated, it’d still work if it was soaked for an hour in two metres of fresh water – making it less of a worry when beaching it with the family.

The standard model now comes with 8GB of storage. You can store thousands of e-books on the device, and you can store Kindle e-books in the cloud for free. Millions of titles are available on Amazon, and many are free or cost less than $1, making it easier to discover new titles and authors. It’s important to note that Kindle still doesn’t support the e-Pub format, which is commonly found on other platforms and at public libraries, but you can store your own PDFs and select documents.

The new 32GB model includes more storage, and supports Audible. While you can listen to audiobooks, it appears (at the time of publication) that files from Audible U.S. accounts currently work with this model. There isn’t an on-board headphone jack, but the new Paperwhite is equipped with Bluetooth, so you can connect to a wireless headset, a speaker or earbuds.

Kindle Paperwhite models are available with Wi-Fi, or Wi-Fi plus free cellular connectivity, which lets you download your books from anywhere for free. Prices start at $139.99 for the 8GB Wi-Fi model.

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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