Contest: Win Sneak Preview Tickets to the New Steve Jobs Movie

Attention Halifax (and area) readers: I have a double pass to the new Steve Jobs biopic starring Ashton Kutcher to give away!

The sneak preview screening is at 7pm on Monday, August 12th at Empire Theatres Bayers Lake.

I will announce the winner on Sunday at noon. Please only enter if you are sure you will be able to make it, as the timeline is very tight to announce the winner and get a hold of you!

To enter, you just have to:

  1. Like HalifaxTech on Facebook or follow @HalifaxTech on Twitter. You can also do both of these very easily in the sidebar ->
  2. Tweet to HalifaxTech or post on the Facebook page telling us your favourite Apple product, or why you want to see the film.
  3. That’s it! Good luck!

If you already follow or like HalifaxTech, you’re good to go. Just tweet or post to complete your entry!

Keeping Your Smartphone Charged on the Go

Mophie PowerStation Duo White

Many people rely on their cell phones, and many are disappointed with the poor battery life currently on offer. It doesn’t seem to matter which brand you go for – Apple, BlackBerry, Samsung, etc. – you’re lucky to get a day’s worth of decent use out of these powerful devices. Battery technology is improving and changing all the time, and some of the biggest improvements to Apple’s products in the past few years have been their custom batteries that help drive high-resolution displays and fast graphics processors. But it’s still not enough. Until there is a sea change in the tech, we will be worrying about getting through the day with our smartphones.

So, what are the options?

Continue reading “Keeping Your Smartphone Charged on the Go”

New Website!

After two and a half years of using the same web layout (which was a fairly boring, default WordPress theme called Bueno), I decided it was high time this site received a makeover.

The new site puts the newest posts front and centre with a nice banner section. There is instant access to the latest tweets as well as the (newly minted) Facebook page. All of the posts are presented with excerpts and “read more” links which make for a cleaner and more cohesive browsing experience.

The whole design is cleaner and more sophisticated, and offers much more in the way of customizability. It’s also pretty, don’t ya think?

 

There are two other big changes I am excited about:

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1. New Contributors

I have asked a few people to contribute to the site. They will be posting in the coming months, and I’m excited to have more content on the site from multiple viewpoints. Their backgrounds are varied and I think they will all be an excellent addition to the site.

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2. Hire Us!

I have had many requests for speaking engagements, workshops, and so forth. I decided it would be prudent to put some information around those things on the site. Check out the Hire Us section for some info and get in touch if you think we can help!

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Thoughts on the Canon 600EX-RT and ST-E3-RT

If you shoot Canon and want to do wireless off-camera flash, I think Canon has finally sussed it and has provided an excellent (albeit slightly expensive) solution.

Past Struggles
I have struggled with wireless flash with Canon for a while. I have owned the 580EX II and 430EX II flashes. My 60D has a built-in transmitter, but it requires line of sight. It wasn’t great in bright sunlight, and it was terrible when the flashes were in softboxes. I also couldn’t control everything about the flashes from the camera.

Continue reading “Thoughts on the Canon 600EX-RT and ST-E3-RT”

As Heard on Maritime Morning: Weekend Edition (Jan 26, 2013)

This week was focused on some retail products, how we buy them, and the volatile nature of Apple’s stock.

Amazon Prime in Canada

First up, Amazon Prime was recently announced for Canadian users on Amazon.ca. $79/year gets you unlimited two-day shipping to most Canadian locales, regardless of the price of the item. That means you can buy a $9.99 CD and have it in two days without paying $3-4 for shipping. No more adding items to your cart to reach $39 and get the free Super-Saver Shipping that takes 5-8 business days.

Light Amazon users will balk, but this could really change how some people shop. Amazon.ca’s catalogue has been expanding rapidly over the past couple of years. You can now grab kitchen appliances, gifts, electronics, and other goods along with the staples like books, movies, and music. Amazon’s prices are often hard to beat, so throw in free, fast shipping, and that $79 Prime account is looking pretty good.

More Information

Continue reading “As Heard on Maritime Morning: Weekend Edition (Jan 26, 2013)”

The NTSB is Swapping BlackBerrys for iPhones

The US National Transportation Safety Board is dumping RIM devices for iPhones.

The BlackBerrys have been “failing both at inopportune times and at an unacceptable rate,” according to the NTSB’s notice.

9to5 Mac

Yep. I worked in telecommunications for nine months and over that time I could not believe how many BlackBerry Curves and Bolds came back for service. Not with small issues either. Complete failures or unusable devices.

The Microsoft Surface RT is a Compromise

It may have some great hardware engineering behind it, but the Surface’s software it all about compromise…

If the Touch Cover is the highlight of the Surface, desktop mode has to be the lowlight. It’s hard to put into words just how dumbfounding it is that Microsoft included this.

The only answer I can come up with is that they could not get the Office apps ready for the “Metro” interface in time and had to — wait for it — compromise. If this was an actual roadmap decision made by someone at Microsoft, it’s one of the worst decisions ever made.

MG Seigler

Backup Your Data!

You need to backup your data. Put it in your calendar for this weekend or next weekend. Make a plan. All hard drives fail, it’s just a matter of when.

We all know someone who has lost data. Their hard drive crashed. They spilled liquid on their laptop. Someone stole their iPhone. Many of you reading this will have had some experience in losing data of some kind in your lifetime. Yet, most of us put off backing up. We trust our devices, ourselves, and others too much.

I have friends who have lost years and years worth of photos of their children. I have had students who have lost their thesis documents or end of year video projects. I myself lost a year’s worth of music, movies, and documents when I backed up my laptop to DVDs using the wrong speed and didn’t realize until after I had wiped the laptop.

So, it’s time to make a plan. Here are some tips on backing up your data:

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Eastlink vs. Aliant, Part One: Local, Bundling, and Contracts

In Halifax, there are two major players when it comes to home internet and television services: EastLink and Bell Aliant. There are a few other options, but this series of posts will concentrate on the two main providers in the area.

Both companies offer packages that include high-speed internet, home telephone, and television services with HD and PVR options. They both offer various packages that contain different internet speeds, channel packages, calling features, and so forth. And, confusingly, both offer packages that are more and less expensive than a similar package offered by the other. So, which one should you choose? Unfortunately, it’s not a simple decision. Over the next four posts, I’ll take a look at all the options and hopefully by the end, it’ll be just a bit easier to make that call.

For perspective, I spoke with several people from the region, as well as representatives from both companies – Jill Laing from EastLink, and Christine Manore from Bell Aliant.

The four parts will be:

  • Part One – Local, Bundling, and Contracts
  • Part Two – Television Service
  • Part Three – Internet Service
  • Part Four – Conclusion

So, let’s get started.

Continue reading “Eastlink vs. Aliant, Part One: Local, Bundling, and Contracts”

Logic Pro 9 Now On the App Store for $199.99

Logic Pro is Apple’s professional audio recording and sequencing software. Apple bought it from Emagic back in 2002, and it has since become the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) of choice for many recording engineers. I personally love the interface and I chose it over competitors like Pro Tools, Cubase, and Audition.

logic

Before today, the Logic Pro 9 bundle was $499. The main application, along with the huge library of loops, is now available on the Mac App Store for only $199.99. The MainStage app, previously a part of the bundle, is now available separately for $29.99.

The download itself is just a hair over 400mb. The 19gb of loops are available as in-app downloads. This is a great way to do things. The app downloads quickly, and if the user wants the loops they can download them separately.

The reduced cost is in line with Apple’s other Mac Store offerings, including Aperture (which dropped from $199 to $79) and Final Cut Pro X.

This is a slightly unexpected move, as Logic has not been updated since January, 2010, when 64-bit support was added. Many predicted that a new version of Logic would launch soon. This move seems to nix that notion, unless they plan on offering the new version as a free upgrade to existing users, which isn’t likely.

Here’s hoping its move to the App Store means there are some updates on the horizon, particularly bug fixes and better Lion performance.

RIM’s Nosedive

The story of RIM and its iconic BlackBerry devices reads like a fairytale – complete with a dramatic twist that leaves the hero in a sticky situation. It all started out so great. RIM essentially created the smartphone market, cornered government and business customers with its innovative network and technologies, and then finally began releasing phones for the masses. Then the competition woke up and started breathing fire.

Unfortunately, the co-CEO’s (yes, they share the CEO moniker – just about the only company in the world that has this arrangement) have not been up to the battle. That is most likely because the battle is not with one specific dragon or evil maniac – it has almost become an inward battle, with the company unable to get out of its own way to bounce back and be competitive.

Once the king in the government and business sector, RIM’s share has declined and the iPhone now commands the lion’s share of business users.

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