Use technology to make travel easier

passport travel document tips help adviceTravelling is either a treat or a chore, depending on your perspective. Whichever way you look at it, you can make it easier on yourself by taking a few seconds, and using technology, to keep yourself organized. Our travel hacks will also help you if your documents or other important info is lost or stolen.

Travel Tips- Snap and save documents to the cloud

It’s just a fact of life that when we travel things get forgotten or misplaced. Make replacing things like a lost passport or ID easier by taking a photo of it with your smartphone and uploading it to the cloud. Even if your phone goes missing you’ll still be able to download what you need. Same goes for plane tickets, boarding passes, reservation codes and hotel info.

Travel Tips – Make a digital itinerary

Keep names, addresses and attraction info (even directions or map snaps) at your fingertips by putting it all in one place on your phone (then back it too up to the cloud). This is particularly helpful in places where you don’t want to worry about roaming charges but there’s no Wi-Fi.

Travel Tips –Download directions

maps download google maps offline use how toGoogle maps has a great feature that will allow you to search, download and save directions to your phone or device, even if you’re not connected. This can be a lifesaver and a time saver. Here’s how to do it.

Travel Tips – No need to pack a flashlight

Most phones today have flashlight functions, but if yours doesn’t, download one of many free flashlight apps. Having some light can help you find a dropped pen on a dark plane, or help you navigate the sticky lock on your Airbnb rental.

Travel Tips –Verify your rental car

Before you get in and drive away, snap photos of all sides of your rental car, as well as the rental agreement (including the emergency roadside help number) as well as the license plate number. That way no one can claim you did damage when you didn’t. Having the license number on hand can make parking or hotel valet easier too. You can also snap a photo of you parking spot if you’re prone to forgetting, or you’re in an unfamiliar area.

Travel Tips –Use your phone as a diary or log book

Yes, it takes photographs and video but today’s smartphones are also perfect places to create and save a digital scrapbook. Snap pictures of new favourite beer, wine or local liquour labels, record menus, and take notes or even use voice dictation to save your thoughts.

If you’re taking a tour with multiple stops or a ‘city-a-day’ itinerary, it’s also handy to take snaps of your hotel and room number, or the hotel’s business card, in case you forget.

There are any number of ways you can use technology to make travel easier and safer.  Post yours in comments below, or read some top Packing Tips from our friends at ContinentalDrifters.ca 

Henge Gravitas stand for iPad & iPhone – dual purpose docking

henge grvitas dock best apple I love docks for my phone.  They keep the device within easy reach, allow you to see the screen, and get it all charged up at the same time. The worst problem with a docking station is that you need two hands to remove it so you don’t end up dropping something on the floor. Recently I had a chance to test out a brand-new dock that’s a bit different. Henge Docks Gravitas dock is ultra heavy weight for single-hand operation, and it can not only hold and charge my iPhone but my iPad too.

One dock for iPhone and iPad – the Gravitas

The Henge Docks Gravitas is about the size of a fist, and it really packs a punch.  It weighs 2.5 lbs so it’s not going to tip over of slide off anything. That’s because it’s made of a sturdy zinc alloy that’s is 265% denser than aluminum. That allows it to be very small, but hold a lot of weight, and even use it one-handed.I was skeptical that this would work, but after testing I found it’s quite easy to use one-handed, thanks to its solid weighty base.

The sleek brushed metal finish also makes it chic and minimalist for my home.

henge grvitas dock best appleThe Gravitas dock is built for Apple devices only (sorry Android friends!) and can accommodate a variety of iPhone sizes with a set of included liners.  For me, I loved the fact I could swap my iPhone 6+ and my iPad (both still in their respective cases) in and out of the device without fuss. This dock is super versatile.

 

 

DEWALT phone built rugged & tough to take abuse on job sites

Smartphones are often delicate pieces of technology.  The glass screens and thin metal casings may look pretty, but they’re not suited to some industries or locations like a construction site. Now DEWALT, known for its power tool line has come out with an Android phone that’s built so tough it doesn’t even need a case. The DEWALT MD501 also has a host of other features that are designed for job sites. Continue reading “DEWALT phone built rugged & tough to take abuse on job sites”

Rowkin wireless earbuds are Apple Airpods competitor

Ever since Apple announced it was removing the headphone jack from its new iPhones, the world is going crazy for completely wireless earphones. Apple’s Airpods are both a trendsetter and the gold standard when it comes to wireless headphones or earbuds. But plenty of competitors have come on the market to compete with them. Most notably, Samsung released its IconX headphones for Android phones and devices. But there’s also another option. Rowkin makes a competing set of earbuds it markets as “the world’s smallest”. While Rowkin wireless earbuds are definitely small, and cleverly designed with a rechargeable case, how well do they hold up during real-life testing, and how do they compare to Apple or Samsung’s models? I received a pair of Rowkin earbuds for testing and review. Here’s what I found after spending several weeks with them.

Continue reading “Rowkin wireless earbuds are Apple Airpods competitor”

New Google Pixel phone launches in Canada: review

Google Pixel Phone front pinkIt’s probably one of the most anticipated smart phone launches in years. Google’s new Pixel phone is now out on the market and I was able to get my hands on one in advance for testing and review. Pixel is the first ever phone designed end to end by Google and it launches October 20, 2016. Continue reading “New Google Pixel phone launches in Canada: review”

New pay-at-the-table app means never waiting for the cheque

SAMSUNG CSC

Paying the cheque at a restaurant can be… awkward. From first dates, to business lunches, who buys can sometimes be fraught with complexities.  A new app may change that for good.

JOEY Restaurants launched a new mobile payment app today called JOEY Pay, and while at first it may seem unnecessary (Why an app? Will EVERY restaurant need an app soon??), it does seem like a good idea for many situations.

Pay faster; no waiting

“JOEY PAY allows customers to “Dine and Dash” by paying their bill using their iPhone, ultimately saving time by paying faster. JOEY Restaurants created the JOEY PAY app in response to growing customer demand for speed of bill payment,” says the company’s news release.

Avoid awkward cheque grabs

The app not only lets you easily pick up the cheque without argument or fuss, it will also allow you to use multiple credit cards for bill splitting among larger groups, and also track receipts for business expense purposes. It’s actually a pretty smart idea when you’re dining and trying to get going to a movie, the theatre or just to get one with your night. It also lets you sneak the cheque away from that friend who never lets you pay, or from a pal who always wants to argue about whose turn it is. It’s kind of brilliant for first dates, since you can pay by phone and then make an impression when you usher your date to the door, saying, “it’s all taken care of”. JOEY 2

Here’s how it works:
·         The guest inputs a six digit code from the bottom of their bill, into the app
·         From the app guests have the ability to pay with multiple credit cards or JOEY gift cards within their profile
·         Guests receive a message letting them know payment was successful
·         The receipt is emailed to the guest instantly and stored in their profile for easy reference
It must also alert the server in some way, otherwise you’d get stopped at the door trying to leave. claiming, “I paid with the app,” and pleading techno dummy probably wouldn’t work.  There may also be questions in the future about whether people will cheap out on the tip because there’s no doe-eyed server standing next to them while the tab is being paid.

But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.

JOEY says the app is just as secure as any other credit card payment platform, and will be in use in their 26 locations across Western Canada, Ontario, Washington State and California. It also allows you to make reservations (it takes you to a website outside the app) and even add a gift card to apply that to your bill. You can even scan your credit card to avoid tedious typing.

JOEY is giving you $10 to try the app

Everyone that downloads the app and creates an account before April 21st, 2016 at midnight will receive a $10 gift card loaded into their profile. Feel free to spread the words with friends, family or on social as we want to give away as many gift cards as possible! The app is available on the App Store or Google Play.

The strange tale of the ‘spin-dial machine’

Will today’s teens ever know what a VCR is? Will tomorrow’s teens find TVs obsolete? A friend told an amazing tale of technology that’s become lost to today’s generation of young people.

Her son has a fear of being trapped in an elevator; and that’s exactly what happened to him. Leaving his dentist’s office in a multi-storey professional building, the elevator stopped abruptly and the power went out.  In the dark and afraid, the teen used his cell phone’s flash light to look around his prison box. A small sign on a small door on the wall indicated he should, ‘Open for Help’.

Opening the door, the boy saw a sign that said, “For immediate help, use this phone, dial (phone number)”. But the boy was puzzled… there was no phone inside. Recounting the story to his mother, he told her, “Behind the door was a spin-dial machine, with a small barbell-type handle”.rotary

While it looked familiar, the teen had no idea how to operate it.  He began pushing the ‘buttons’ inside the holes where numbers were marked.  Nothing. Then he tried twisting the dial, and that sort of worked, there were some clicking sounds… but he was getting no connection. Then he noticed the crescent shaped ‘stopper” and had an idea: he pulled the dial around to the stopper, then let it go. The phone seemed to wait for him.  He dialed the next number.  Another good sign. Then he dialed the wrong digit.

“Mom! I had to start all over!” he told her afterwards.rotary 2

Eventually, the boy got the spin-dial machine to connect to someone. The person on the other end of the phone told him help was on the way. He then called his mom and told her about the strange new machine he’s had to use to get unstuck. She told him it’s called a Rotary Dial Phone; a device many people will remember from their youth. A device almost never seen today.

It’s fascinating to wonder what technology we have today that will vanish before children born today grow up.  Will TVs still be around? Will cameras become obsolete?  Cars? Digital thermometers? If you imagine single-purpose technology, you can bet one day it will vanish, replaced by more multi-purpose gadgets.

What’s your guess on what we’ll soon be without? Get out your crystal ball and make a prediction below or find me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook

 

 

No key? No problem! Digital padlock opens via your phone

IMG_9112Who hasn’t momentarily forgotten their combination on a padlock at the gym, the back gate, or on the shed? I’ve misplaced (or outright lost, forever) the key to the padlock on my bike, meaning I need to both buy a new one, and find some bolt cutters to take care of business.

Now, a new product out from Fuz Designs (they made the really cool felted case I featured on CTV Morning Live and the blog not long ago!) shows that you no longer need those keys, or your faulty memory to open a padlock! Check out the 3 minute video of how Noke Digital Lock works: either with your smartphone or a Morse Code-like series of long and short clicks.

If you’re looking for other neat security gadgets, check out the uber-easy MyFox camera, or the Gatekeeper key fob that makes unlocking your computer with a typed password obsolete!

 

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.