If you don’t know Goatstigram, you’re missing the best of the internet

goatstigram3We all know baby animals are adorable.  After all, small creatures doing cute things make people (and YouTube) a lot of money and garners millions of views online.

No surprise then that an Instagram account featuring nothing but goats is gaining popularity. “Goatstigram” has more than 15,000 followers (at the time I’m writing this) of its adorable posts featuring a small but spunky cast of pygmy goats named Blackie, Whitey, Kendall and the mischievous Kevin.goatstigram2

My sisters introduced me to Goatstigram’s feed which features short videos and photos.  While some pictures are just downright adorable, it’s the videos of hilariously benign goat scraps, twisty leaps, I’ve-fallen-and-I-can’t-get-up spills, as well as what can only be described as goatnastics that have made me laugh until I cry.

Yes, I usually write about technology, but we all have hobbies, and for the last several months mine has been watching the @Goatstigram antics. I love this account so much, I thought I needed to see what’s behind the curtain, so to speak.  So I tracked down Quinn, who runs the account, and owns the goats.

Erin: Why did you want goats? Where did you get the goats?

baby whitey and blackieQuinn: I have a good friend Karl, who had two goats, Slasher and Jens.  Growing up he would take them to football games, for walks on leashes, they would butt heads, and most importantly munch on their grass. He was really trying to convince me to get goats. Funny, odd little pets, and not having to mow my lawn? Sounded interesting.  At the same time, as it turned out, I got in touch with some friends I hadn’t seen for years and they raise goats too! They told me if I ever had to leave town, I could just bring my goats over for a play date with their goats.

I ended up going online to the local classifieds and started looking for baby goats because they looked really adorable.

first morning home
Quinn’s favourite photo: Blackie and Whitey on their first morning home.

I found an amazing lady about 60 miles away that had some purebred pygmy goats.  Her goats are top notch, registered, great blood lines… and sell quickly. I put my name on the waiting list for the next babies being born. Sure enough she gave me a call one day and I drove up to see the babies.  I instantly fell in love.  The babies have to stay with the mother for a few months before I could take them home. I visited them almost every week until I could take them home.  These were the first pets I ever had!  I learned a lot about goats, safety, how to care for them, and this wonderful lady helped me a lot too.  So I built some fences, made the play area, and the rest is history.  They are so much fun and I love them to death.

EL: Where did the names come from, I guess Blackie and Whitey are obvious…so particularly “Kevin”?

 

scared of me
Blackie & Whitey; two little scaredy cats when Quinn first got them.

Q: After I had Blackie and Whitey for a while, I wanted to grow the family. I gave my goat lady a call, and got Kevin as a baby. When it came time to name Kevin, my friend Karl had compiled a list of goat names for me to consider. Names like “Apple” or “Monkey” or “Chupacabra” or even “Grand Old Flag” and in my humble opinion, none of those names really connected with this sweet baby goat.  I had another friend suggest the name “Kevin” after accompanying me up to the goat farm.  I thought it was a little atypical, an honestly a strange name for a baby goat.

The next logical step was to call Karl to talk about potential names, and I mentioned someone suggested Kevin.

He said, “Kevin?!?  Could you imagine, Whitey, Blackie…(typical goat names)….and KEVIN?!?”

We both started laughing and couldn’t stop for about an hour thinking about the name Kevin for a baby goat. Now I think it is possibly the best name ever and nothing fits little Kevin better.

Everyone forgets about Kendall, and I think she is the most underrated goat I have.  She was named after one of my best friends.  Kendall has the best style when jumping, she is really active and super fun.

What made you want to start sharing the goats’ antics?

first winter

I had been sharing the goats on my private, personal Instagram account for about 8 months.  My personal account became about 90% goat pictures and videos. I have a few close friends and family members that told me that I needed to make a goat only account. They said my videos were awesome and I just had to share them with the world.  I became convinced when some friends said their favorite activity as a family, was to go back and watch and re-watch my goat videos every Sunday night. At that point I decided to go for it and started Goatstigram.  I think the goats, to a small extent, spread a little joy in the world.  That is why I share.

(Regarding the photo above) When Whitey and Blackie had been at my house for 3 months, we had a very cold December with temperatures down to 10 degrees Farenheit at night.  I bought some blankets and they cuddled right up!
EL: I’ve seen Kevin riding in the car but are the goats allowed into your home?

Q: I don’t have the goats come in the house because they don’t control their bowels, so I’m staying away from that one.  But, I will sometimes go into other people’s homes and have Kevin on my lap in a blanket.

I take Kevin on car rides because he is so small and easy to transport, and he always stays right by me on his leash!  We go hiking, to parties, camping, etc… When he gets big and I have to put him in a carrier in the truck bed, I will take him less places.

EL: Are you on any other social media or web platforms with the goats? Any plans to expand?

Q: If by expand you mean more baby goats… then YES!  Right now I am only actively on Instagram. No other plans, but who knows! It is super fun knowing my kids make people smile and laugh all across the world. I’m thrilled I have such a fun way to share.

EL : One last question, and since I’m usually writing about technology, it’s tech related: Have you ever thought of getting a GoPro camera for the goats to wear? You could make some pretty interesting videos.  You could call them “GoatPro” videos! What do you think?

Q: I have the goatpro!!!  I actually did it a few months back, and the footage was a bit shakey, and didn’t generate much response on my Instagram, so I haven’t done any more.  I need to refine the mount system a bit.  I actually prefer and use Replay cameras.  They have some awesome features.

Don’t forget to follow Whitey, Blackie, Kendall and Kevin (and Quinn behind the camera) on Instagram “@Goatstigram” .

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China is building the world’s largest radio telescope

telescopeAre we alone in the universe? A massive new project in China aims to find out. The five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) in Pingtang County, China is under construction and it will soon be listening for radio signals from planets solar systems across the far reaches of the universe. Radio signals could mean signs of other life in the vastness of space.

When it’s completed in September 2016, this giant antenna will be the size of about 30 soccer fields.

[ChinaFotoPress/Stringer via Getty Images]

Cool Glow headphones are a technological attention grabber

IMG_8243When these arrived this week, I was in no rush to test them; after all, I test quite a few headphones each year, and for the most part they’re all vastly the same. Indeed, direct out of the box these Glow headphones look pretty much like any other. While they have a nice long cord, there’s a huge controller disc in the middle of the set up, which is big, bulky, and kind of gets in the way. Not to mention the fact it feels rather cheap.

IMG_8289But once I unwrapped these headphones and got them plugged into my music and started playing, I was blown away! The color laser light that emits from these headphones is strong and bright and very noticeable. It casts quite a glow around you. These are definitely what you might call “look at me” headphones.

The set I tested are red but Glow are also available in green or blue. Using an app that’s available for these headphones you can also control the glow pattern, from having them always on, or always off, to “pulsating” with either the beat of your music, or just off and on .IMG_8265 Turns out a feature that would have pulsated the Glow to your heartbeat is not an included feature in the model I tested.

The controller I mentioned, though definitely big and bulky, serves several purposes. It’s a five way remote control that does what you’d expect, including allowing you to change volume and skip tracks as well as snapping photos from your smart phone. But it also acts as a remote control for photo taking too, giving it a nice extra function.

I like that Glow headphones’ earpieces have a hook design that holds them securely in your ears, and as you would expect there are different size attachments so you can fit them to you.

While the sound seems rather tinny and a bit hollow and not what I’d call high-quality, that’s probably OK, since I’m pretty sure these headphones are meant for a younger crowd that isn’t as demanding when it comes to sound quality.

I suspect these will be a popular item this holiday season, as they’re like nothing else on the market right now, particularly when it comes to headphones. I see Glow being a huge must-have for teens and kids in particular.

The Glow headphones originated on Kickstarter, but will be available in Canada exclusively from Bell.    You can also find them here.

To have a look inside the package, watch my short unboxing and test video.

Ditch printer cartridges for good (almost!): Epson Workforce ET-4550 Review

IMG_8249It’s been more than a decade since I’ve had a printer in my home.  I haven’t missed having one for many years, that is until I started testing some new ones.

It’s not that I haven’t needed to print anything, but you know, you find other ways around that; snapshot photos, email copies, and yes, printing stuff at the office.

I have to say, that since I’ve re-adopted having a printer in the house, I’ve found them quite handy; and so has my family. Particularly because they’re now easier to use, more versatile, and there’s less fussing with ink and cartridges.

No ink cartridges in this printer!

I had the chance to review and test the Epson Workforce ET-4550 wireless printer/copier/scanner/fax/ethernet, which has a unique feature: it doesn’t use printer cartridges.  Instead it contains “eco-tank” ink bottles that are equivalent to about 20 cartridge sets. The printer I have includes enough ink to print up to 5000 pages in black or 8500 pages in color, and with a set of bonus ink bottles included in the box, it will print an additional 6000 pages. That’s a long, long time before I’ll need to worry about running out of juice; possibly a couple years.

Set up of the Epson Epson Workforce ET-4550

The box for this printer is massive, but that doesn’t really fit what’s inside. The printer itself is what I would call “average” size for home printers like this. And it’s definitely not heavy. It would certainly be easy for one person to move without problem. IMG_8015

As is customary with brand new printers these days, easy removal tape is used to hold everything in place during shipping and transport. There are also pieces of tape holding some internal parts in place as well, and you’ll need to open up the scanner bed to access them during the set up process.

Filling Epson’s ink tanks

Once everything is unpacked plugged in and ready to go it’s time to fill the ink tanks. Step one of the instructions notes that you should not start messing with the ink bottles until you’re absolutely ready to fill them, and that’s probably good advice.IMG_8022
Getting ready to fill the ink tanks was a little bit intimidating since there are warnings all over the packaging and inserts about taking care with handling of the ink. Epson recommends you use gloves and place something underneath the printer when you go to fill or refill the tanks, and while I did not have any rubber gloves handy, I did spread some paper underneath.

Turns out filling each ink tank is a simple matter of unpacking the bottles from their tight plastic wrap, removing the stopper from the ink tanks on the printer, and then emptying each bottle into the tank.

IMG_8018
While this was generally mess free, once the tank was full there was a good bit of ink around the lip of the printer’s ink tank, so it’s worth taking a bit of care here and wiping up the edges  of the tank before putting the stopper back in. The tip of the refill bottle was also covered in ink so I made sure to put that into a garbage bag and get rid of it right away, lest I inadvertently drag a sleeve across it.

Colour your hair at home? Filling ink tanks is similar

Despite being careful, the tips of the ink bottles do get messy and pulling off the silver foil seals from the bottles does transfer a bit of ink to the fingertips. The whole process reminds me of home haircoloring, where you’re using different bottles and pouring messy, staining liquids between them. It’s effective but can be messy if not done correctly.

With the black tank full and ready to go I was able to move onto the other tanks; Blue, red or “magenta”, and yellow. Cleverly, each refill bottle of ink fills the tank, to the “fill” line, so there’s no leftover ink to try to store safely.

IMG_8024
Ink levels on the tanks are easily visible.

Once the ink is ready the printer will ask you to set the date, time, and your region and then it will begin going through a series of cycles internally to “prime” the ink tanks and lines into the printer. That takes about 20 minutes, so I left it to its work and went on to something else in the meantime; downloading the Epson iPrint app, which you’ll need if you want to print from your phone or tablet.

Setting up the Wi-Fi was next; the step is a simple tweak the settings on the printer itself. The printer will locate available Wi-Fi networks in the area, you select which when you want and input the password. Trying to figure out how to navigate the keypad to use upper, lower, and numerical characters was a bit challenging but after a couple minutes staring at it I figured it out.

With the Wi-Fi connected I was able to print documents from my phone right away easily. Though it did seem like they were taking a long time.

Photo Printing

Next I tried to print photos with Epson’s premium photo paper. There’s no separate way to feed in photo paper, as there is with other printers, so in what turns out to be a minor annoyance, you must unload the tray of its letter-size paper, load photo paper, and then reinsert the tray. It was here I struggled a bit as maneuvering the tabs that keep the paper aligned in the bottom of the tray were a bit finicky and felt quite rickety.  I had a bit of difficulty trying to manouver the paper and the tabs and the tray, and it seemed to get jammed a couple times. To be frank, the tray itself feels light and cheap, like it may break at any moment, and I didn’t enjoy having to fuss with it.
In any event, with photo paper loaded, the printer seemed to recognize for itself that I was trying to print photos, and popped that up on the digital display.

To print photos, go to the app, it will load any photos from your smart phone tablet or device, and once you select them they print in less than a minute.
I printed a couple photos and then my husband wanted to try to print some documents. It was back to the printer to unload the photo paper and reload plain white letter paper.IMG_8248

Print speed testing – Epson ET-4550

Printing seemed to be taking quite a long time, so I timed it, and was stunned to learn the printing a single side half page email in color took a minute and 13 seconds! In my opinion that is way way way too long, particularly when many printers can do it in a 10th of that time.
I also noticed when I printed pages that were very color rich, the ink saturated to the page to the point where it left eight wrinkled look.

I tested out some printing of airline tickets and documents that amounted to 18 pages.  I hit print from my smartphone, and the process began.  In the time I was able to make dinner, sit down and eat, and then clean the kitchen, the documents were still not finished!  I decided to do some timed tests.

My initial tests used both my Macbook Pro laptop and my iPhone 6plus.
First I printed a six page document in black-and-white only, from a basic note file on my iPhone. It took six minutes and four seconds. It also stopped for about a minute and 15 seconds just before printing the last page. By contrast it takes only 90 seconds to print the same document on another printer in the same room.

I tested a colour document next, also from my iPhone.  It took seven minutes twenty seconds to print three single-sided colour pages of a six page test, and at eleven minutes and four seconds into my six page print job the printer suddenly spit out page 4 only half completed and canceled the entire print job.

Next test was an 8 page email that I opted to print in colour (though it was mostly black-and-white) from my Macbook Pro. It took over 10 minutes, and then more than 11 minutes into the job, it again paused printing on the last page, spit out only a half completed page and then shut down the print job.

Another annoying pattern seemed to be none of the documents will print double-sided, despite this feature being turned on. I turned the future on and off repeatedly to check if it was something with in the settings that was tripping a problem, but this did not help.

Seeking help for slow printing

I got in touch with my contact at Epson to find out if this kind of speed slowness was a problem with my unit, or another issue. A conference call with some experts was arranged.  After some troubleshooting, they were able to determine that my MacBook Pro was defaulting to Air Print. Epson tells me Apple’s Air Print drivers are much slower then the dedicated Epson drivers.  Their assessment is that’s why pages take so long to print from the MacBook Pro.

Follow instructions EXACTLY. Do not Deviate.

While step 5 in the Epson set up/start  guide tells you to install the Epson drivers and how to get them, (by going to Epson.com/support), that was a step I did not take initially, as my MacBook pro immediately found the printer on Wi-Fi, and handled the set up using the Air Print drivers. Despite this, the Epson experts told me that my skipping the software installation step is not “what most users do.” They say most users follow the instructions exactly and would have set up the drivers as instructed, and thus would not likely be experiencing slowness when printing from the computer.

Hallelujah! A page in 20 seconds!

The techsperts had me download the new Epson dedicated drivers, install them, and print a few test pages. The printer was now able to print both color and black-and-white in about 20 seconds. Yay! A twenty second print time is also much more workable, and in line with other home printers of this type.

You can fix laptop slowness, but not iPhone delays on the Epson Workforce

However there is not such an easy fix if you are experiencing slowness of printing from a smart phone or tablet such as the iPhone or iPad.  Since these particular devices use Air Print and only Air Print to send documents to the printer, you are going to have to deal with delays.

During my tests I had another printer at my disposal, so I asked why I was not experiencing the same problems of slowness with the other printer when printing directly from iPhone or iPad. Epson tells me that’s because “Epson uses its own unique printer language” and that instead of the printer doing the heavy lifting of data transfer and conversion, the computer does it for the printer via bitmap when using the installed the software drivers.

There’s a fix for Apple issues… Kinda

The Epson experts recommend when printing from smart devices like the iPhone or iPad to use the Epson iPrint app instead of printing from within other apps, or using Air Print.  Using the iPrint app does allow you to print downloaded documents, photos and web pages, but unfortunately the app doesn’t integrate with your emails, for example.

The bottom line is Epson’s folks tell me delays in printing are not uncommon when printing from Apple devices such as smart phones or tablets. Avoiding those delays is fixable by using your laptop or computer, so long as you download and install the proper Epson drivers.

While there could potentially be other variables at play keeping Air Print from being speedy, such as variables with the router, web traffic in the neighborhood or time of day, Epson says at this time it “can’t explain why I was having problems” with slow printing from my iPhone and doesn’t know what can be done. “There’s no evidence it’s an Epson issue.”

Overall impressions of Epson Workforce ET-4550

Once the proper print drivers were installed, the Epson Workforce ET-4550 is a great printer, and can match speed with other printers of the same size and type.  The printer itself is light, easy to move, and the flexibility of having ink tanks which can store years of ink shouldn’t be underestimated. I also like that you can see the ink levels in the tank at a glance.

While the ink tanks for me are a pro, I can see the clumsy or the fidgety person having an issue with refilling them, which could be a con for some.

As far as speed goes, the Epson Workforce is a good bet, and when printing from a laptop (even an Apple Macbook) it works perfectly. However for me, the lack of print speed when printing from my iPhone is a huge con. I’d say 80-90% of my documents and emails get printed via my phone, so having to wait forever for them, whether the issue is Epson’s Apple’s or something else, is frustrating and a needless delay to my workday.

I’d recommend this printer particularly for an office where the bulk of printing will be done from dedicated computers, and not other smart devices.  I would not recommend it for an Apple user who intends to do the bulk of their work from a handheld device.

For more info on the Epson Workforce ET-4550, click here. The printer is available at Best Buy in Canada for $599.

Epson provided a Workforce ET-4550 printer for testing. It did not ask for nor recieve permission to approve this review.

Power on the go: Anker slim battery case

anker case
I’m always looking for power solutions.  I’ve got cords and cables in nearly outlet at home, but of course when you’re in the most desperate situations where your device is dying, you’re rarely at home. That’s why I love battery cases.  You can wear them on your smartphone all day long, and only use them to boost your juice when you need to.
IMG_8114-0I think they’re handier than external charging battery packs, because you don’t need an extra pocket or space in your bag to stash it; it’s just always there, and you don’t need to fuss with tangled cords.
A new slim charging case I’ve just discovered is by Anker.  Their battery case will give you up to 70 hours more audio, 19 hours of 3G talktime, 15 hours of video, 14 hours internet or 3½ hours 3D gaming. Almost as important as the extra battery life is the fact these cases are Apple approved, meaning you won’t own it for a few months then have your device reject it.
This case feels quite slim in the hand and on the phone, and the convenience of charging your phone up without being tied to a cord is truly awesome.  While this case is super slim, it also packs impact protection, meaning your phone is safe from accidental drops too.
Get your hands on one of these Anker Ultra Slim Extended Battery Case cases via Amazon.
anker 2

Google Chromecast TV and Audio: what can they do for you?

Google recently announced it was updating its Chromecast platform, and expanding the line, adding an Audio streaming device to its current TV lineup.
The device got a new look, morphing from a straight stick shape, to more what you could call a “floppy disc”, which will better allow it to lay flat behind wall mounted TVs, while the addition of the new Audio device allows you to turn older speakers into ‘smart’ speakers easily.

IMG_8011Recently Best Buy sent me samples of the brand new devices to test and give my honest opinion. We’ll look at the Chromecast TV version first, then the Chromecast Audio.  For the verdict on each skip to the bottom.

Google Chromecast TV

What is Chromecast TV? What does it do? 
Very simply, Chromecast TV is an external streaming device that will allow you to play internet video content on your TV. It lets you stream video directly from apps onto your TV.

Setting up Chromecast TVrsz_chromecast_tv_box.jpg
Chromecast TV is quite easy to set up. You just take the small disc, and plug it into the back or side of your TV, wherever your HDMI ports are. (What’s HDMI? “High-Definition Multimedia Interface” is a connector in devices like TVs or stereo equipment that allows the transfer of audio and video data.)
Once the Chromecast is plugged in, you download the Chromecast TV app for your smartphone or tablet, and follow the instructions. You’ll need to set up an account, or use an existing gmail account.

Click here to ready the full blog review on both the TV Chromecast and the Audio version on the Best Buy Plug In Blog.

 

 

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Health and Wellness Gadgets on CTV Tech Talk

tech talk novemberFrom a brain sensing headband, to a Wi-Fi scale and even a laser razor, we looked a an interesting variety of gadgets on CTV’s Tech Talk this week.

Muse Brain Sensing Headband

museThis is a gadget I found unexpectedly cool.  The Muse headband helps you relax or meditate by playing a guided relaxation session, while you wear the Muse headband, which senses your brain activity. From a 3 minute meditation to 45, Muse will talk you through relaxed breathing exercises, then display the results of your brain activity during this time. I tested it out over a couple weeks and with different friends and coworkers and was surprised to find it worked really well. A full review and explainer will be on the blog soon. Meantime, you can get your hands (or brain) on one at Best Buy for $249.

iHealth Scale

IHEALTH

A digital scale that’s sleek and pretty, this is a nicer addition to your bathroom than what’s standardly available.  iHealth connects to you phone via Wi-Fi and tracks and stores your weight or BMI data, and it can even be shared with your doctor or a fitness buddy. The backlit display even auto-adjusts brightness based on how dim or bright the room is. The iHealth scale is available at Best Buy for $49.

Philips Beardtrimmer 9000 Laser Razor

IMG_7413The Beardtrimmer 9000 is a standard trimmer by many accounts, but it has a few cool features that are making it popular with men, including lasers. The lasers act as a guide to give you nice even edges to your facial fur. Read the full review on the blog here. You can also pick one up from Best Buy for $79.

Sony Xperia Z5 Smartphone from Bell

Sony Xperia Z5We also shared info about the Sony Xperia Z5 smartphone giveaway — the same phone James Bond uses in the new movie Spectre–  on the CTV contest site.  Click here to be redirected to the site to enter.

Don’t forget to follow Erin on Instagram and Twitter @ErinLYYC and Like the Facebook page for tech news and gadget updates.

How to get your light bulbs to turn blue ahead of snowfall

snowflakeNeed your gadgets and devices to do more for you? I have a new trick that helps me keep ahead of bad weather; my smart light bulbs in my living room turn bright blue when snow is in the forecast for the following day. So how can you get this kind of personalized heads up, and not need to constantly keep checking your weather app?
You’ll need two things: a Wi-Fi enabled smart bulb with colour-change abilities, such as Philips Hue or LIFX, and an app called IFTTT.

What’s IFTTT?

The acronym stands for “IF This Then That”.  Simply put it translates to, “IF I do This (your choice of activity), Then That (your selected result) happens automatically. IFTTT (pronounced to rhyme with ‘gift’) is actually a website where you go, create a free user account, and start automating your life.31D7838E-CEE5-4502-A82A-E21E5B7788C1

One of the ways you automate things is by using or making “recipes”, such as “if the temperature drops below zero, Then turn my Nest thermostat up 3 degrees,” “If there’s a flight deal (to a certain city), Then notify me on email,” and even, “If the pollen count is high, Then remind me to take allergy medicine,” and “If the current weather condition changes to rain, then change my Philips Hue light bulbs pastel blue.”  The possibilities are literally endless, and while you can create your own custom recipes, you can browse and use the recipes others have made on the IFTTT website too.  For a look at the full list of apps and services, or Channels that work with IFTTT, click here.
My IFTTT recipe: IF snow turn LIFX bulbs blue

I have some LIFX bulbs in a living room lamp, so I went to the IFTTT app and created a recipe that uses the local forecast in my area, to tell the bulbs to turn blue when snow is coming, and I also get an alert sent to my cell phone (click here to access my recipe).  Now I get a super helpful 24 hour advance heads up about inclement weather.  In the summer, I create a new recipe to warn me of rain. Another similar recipe on IFTTT will turn your LIFX bulb cyan and slowly blink them.

It’s worth getting to know IFTTT technology.  It’s easy and fun to automate life’s tasks and get your devices working smarter.

 

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Philips Beardtrimmer 9000 uses the power of frikkin’ LASERS on your face + WIN one!

beardtrimmer 4It was hard to resist the lure.  Philips contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in learning more about their new beard trimmer.  Before I could say no, the representative added, “it has lasers”.

The Beardtrimmer 9000 is a standard trimmer by many accounts, but it has a few cool features that are making it popular with men, including the aforementioned lasers.

The Beardtrimmer 9000 has a dual-sided reversible trimmer head, for starters.  Philips describes it this way, “on one side, the 1 17/64″ (32mm) high-performance trimmer cuts very close while protecting your skin. On the other side, the 5/8″ (15mm) precision trimmer creates a detailed look, even in those hard-to-reach areas like under the nose and around the mouth. The trimmer’s small size and angled design make it easy to see what you are doing for accurate fine lines and details.”

How Philips Beardtrimmer 9000 works

To select your preferred trim length, just turn the zoom wheel on the handle until the length you want is displayed. Your chosen length is now ‘locked in’ for a precise and even trim.  When you turn on the razor, and enable the lasers (you can also shut them off), it shoots out a red line so you can see exactly where the razor is cutting.frikkin lasers

The laser (does anyone else hear Dr Evil in their head when someone says “lasers”?) guidance system projects a long, sharp line of light to guide your trim, pointing out where the hairs will be cut so you get it right every time.

The beard trimmer is cleaned by just rinsing the water-resistant trimmer under the tap.

Men test the Beardtrimmer 9000

Since I’m not a man and have no beard, I shared the Beardtrimmer 9000 with two men I know; my husband Roger (who will occasionally rock a bit of stubble) and neighbour, Mr. Gary (who sports a medium length beard).075E4FC4-17DD-41C4-A315-1E131764EEE5

While both men liked the trimmer itself, they found the laser was kind of “overkill”.  Roger (short stubble) said it didn’t help him much with his shave, as there wasn’t a whole lot of “guiding” needed, while Mr. Gary thought it was a bit much, and hard to get used to the laser lines jetting across his face.

“I’m not this exacting when I’m styling my beard,” he told me.

Roger adds, “Laser beams need to be stationary to work.  If the beam on the razor is moving while you are, it’s hard to keep things in line.”

So I was able to glean that this might be a better product for someone who is a little more exacting with their “manscaping” and rocks a much more precise beard.

While I was observing these shaves, I thought it looked neat to see the lasers lining up exactly where the trimming would happen, but I guess not being a man, I didn’t understand that shaving is apparently more of a “do it by feel” kind of manly grooming task that, unlike missile launching, leveling things, and eye surgery, doesn’t need laser guidance.

Gadget Spy Needed: we’ll give you a Beardtrimmer 9000

This is where I need your help.

Philips has given us one of these Beardtrimmer 9000s to give away.  Check out the Geeks and Beats website during the month of November to see how to win one. Details will be posted shortly. I’d love some feedback from the winner of this super cool gadget after he’s tested it out.beardtrimmer3

For more information on the Beardtrimmer 9000, click here.

How to Win a Sony Xperia Z5 Android smartphone next week

  You want to be like 007, don’t you?  Who wouldn’t want to ooze the kind of cool embodied by Daniel Craig in the newest James Bond film Spectre.

In the movie, Bond uses the new Sony Xperia Z5 smartphone.  And on Tuesday November 10th, I’ll be giving away one of James Bond’s toys.  To win, you’ll need to tune in to Tech Talk on CTV Calgary, either on TV, or you can check out the segment online later that day.

Sony Xperia Z5 Feature highlights:

  • 23-megapixel camera with ultra fast autofocus, 5X Clear Image Zoom and 4K video recording for true-to-life capture
  • 5.2-inch IPS TRILUMINOS display with 1080p Full HD resolution produces stunning clarity and colour reproduction
  • Fingerprint scanner for quick and easy access
  • Waterproof and dust resistant – don’t worry if you get caught in the rain
  • Up to 2 days of battery life* – or more in Ultra STAMINA mode

Don’t forget to watch Tuesday November 10th at 7:15 to find out how to enter. Contst runs that day only so don’t miss out.