This is a guest post by Jeff Jenkins, a Studio Director in an Ottawa based technology startup, a cartoonist for Xbox Canada and a dedicated father of two and two halves. Check him out on Twitter.
There are few things more annoying than heading out to your local retailer to buy some awesome new thing only to find an improved version on store shelves the following week. “Ack! If only I had waited!”, you scream. The clerks stare at you with their greedy, commission driven eyes. They know you’ll be back before long… because now your new shiny gadget is the worst thing it could possibly be.
Perhaps we can avoid that in the future! Here are three hot gadgets which you’ll probably be looking to buy this year… but you shouldn’t!
Before you ask; Yes, I was one of those people who stood in line at Best Buy on iPad release day to buy one. I can say, honestly, that the iPad is a game changer in how we consume information. It has forever altered the way companies think about how consumer grade computers can and should be made. It is by far the easiest and, in it’s own way, most powerful computing device I own and you should absolutely, without a single doubt in my mind, not buy one. Yet. (more…)
I was super excited to hear the twitterings this morning about Netflix coming to Canada. There wasn’t much actual news to report first thing, other than the Canadian site is live with a sign up option to stay in the loop.
Shacknews has offered us a few more details, including the we’re-not-announcing-anything-but-hint-hint official statements semi-confirming that streaming will be available via Xbox Live and that the service will be available in the fall. Interestingly, there will be no disc-by-mail option. While this is more than fine with me and my like minded geeky peers, it might deter users like my mom and certainly won’t be pulling older folks away from zip.ca.
However I am personally thrilled, we’re a digital house and have the maxed out hard drives to prove it. We currently purchase all our programing from iTunes and use our AppleTV to play tv and movies on our television. This is a pretty good option considering we don’t watch a lot of television, but the price per show is a steep $1.99-$2.50, regardless if it’s an hour long drama or half hour sitcom. That adds up in a hurry if you have family members watching multiple shows, and the big expense (as we’re finding out) is that now that we own this content we have to store it and back it up. I would love to be able to stream older shows and movies without owning them and storing them, and a subscription service is great for a larger family like ours (as the kids get old enough to watch tv).
As we have found out the hard way, the limited bandwidth included with most high speed internet packages in Canada gets eaten up fast when you’re downloading television, movies, music, games… even in seemingly small amounts. We hit our cap frequently and the overage charges of $1.50/GB add up fast. There are some unlimited packages available from some high speed re-sellers, but they also come with a significantly slower pipe. Just like with mobile phones, internet subscribers pay too much for too little compared to our US counterparts. Since our internet providers are also cable subscribers, I really can’t help but feel that it’s not a coincidence. It’s as if the providers think that if they can’t get your money for a cable bill, then they’ll get your money through your internet bill. They know you’re getting your entertainment somewhere else, and they want a piece of it. So it will be interesting to see if a service like Netflix can do well in Canada.
I’m certainly keen to try it out, presuming the pricing is reasonable and there is streaming to iPad and Xbox 360 (um, we might have three of those). Looking forward to hearing more details, and I’m certainly curious to see how the pricing compares to the US plans. If you want to be kept informed, go to www.netflix.ca and sign up for their updates.
image from apple.ca
Friday was the international iPad launch, and first thing Friday morning Jeff was at our local Best Buy, surprising me with one for the family. I’ve been really keen to get one, but we had planned on waiting a while… so I was super excited to get it!
It’s only been two days, but already all of us are enjoying it immensely. We’re an “Apple Family” and buy all our media through iTunes, so it’s great to have another device to play our tv, movies, podcasts, etc. on. Right now we have one tv with an Apple TV device, and the adults and two older kids have iPods. The iPad has a gorgeous screen for viewing, it’s really an ideal way to watch programming. All the iPhone apps work, and the little two have had fun with their flashcards and other kid apps. Disney also has great interactive story books for pre-schoolers, which Oliver is loving.
This morning, I took the iPad to Oliver’s gymnastics class and did almost all of tomorrow’s blog post while I was waiting. With no multi-tasking or pointing device, adding links is not easy so I’ll do that later on PC. However the keyboard is great, and I found it really easy to type my post up quite quickly. I’m using the WordPress iPad app, which is exactly the same as the iPhone app. I wish it had some additional functionality, like stat info, but it is a nice easy way to do up posts. Beats typing on the iPhone, which I routinely do!
This afternoon is my cooking time, and I’m really looking forward to being able to watch a movie or some podcasts while I’m making my meals for the week. I usually spend 1-3 hours making or prepping our meals on Sunday afternoon, and although I’m not a huge tv watcher, this is the time when I could really go for a Glee re-run or the umpteenth viewing of Fame or Hairspray. Today I’m actually looking forward to meal prep!
That being said, I think my lasagna noodles are done and I still have 1kg of cheese to grate… guess I’d better get to it :) Hope everyone is having a wonderful week-end. And if any Canadian friends out there got theirs on Friday, let me know what you think!