Kindle Fire HD in Canada – First Impressions
e-Reader Reviews , Tech Reviews / June 13, 2013

Today the Kindle Fire launched in multiple countries including Canada, and one was delivered to my door for your reviewing pleasure. My initial impression is that, although the device is nice, for Canadians it is still very, very limited.  It is a lovely device, but the Amazon services which distinguish it from the other tablets out there are sadly missing. There is still no support for Amazon’s music or movie store or Amazon Instant Video for Canada.  iTunes movies will not play on the Kindle Fire due to DRM.  Through the movies for Flixter though you can view any movies you have on your UV account.  They do not have the cool X-Ray for Movies feature that gives you details of the actors in a movie when you hit pause. For the last few years, iTunes music has been sold without DRM so can easily be copied to the music folder and will be available in the music section of the Kindle Fire. For me, personally, I was very disappointed that the Audible integration is missing for Canadians.  The whole Audiobooks section is missing from the top menu, and although Whispersync for Voice continues to work, immersion reading is not available….

My Experience with Tep Wireless
Tech Reviews / May 13, 2013

When I visited Scotland recently to visit my family I realised I had to make arrangements for internet access while I was there. I am a self-confessed internet addict, and my parents are not online. I considered a few options: I could use my Canadian cellphone provider and pay for the roaming charges; I could rent a cellphone in the UK or I could use a service like Tep and rent a wifi device, allowing me to get online with my iPad as well. Two major providers in this area appear to be X.Com Global and Tep Wireless In the end I decided to check out Tep Wireless. I went online and verified that coverage was provided in the area of Scotland I was visiting – it was. For around $60 Canadian I arranged for one week’s unlimited wireless internet access. Reviews of Tep Global seemed to be either glowing or shockingly bad, with the device not being delivered a significant cause of concern. I was rather relieved when my mother rang me to say that the device had been delivered on schedule a day or two before my arrival. When I arrived on the Sunday evening I powered up…

My Experience with Tep Wireless
Tech Reviews / May 13, 2013

When I visited Scotland recently to visit my family I realised I had to make arrangements for internet access while I was there. I am a self-confessed internet addict, and my parents are not online. I considered a few options: I could use my Canadian cellphone provider and pay for the roaming charges; I could rent a cellphone in the UK or I could use a service like Tep and rent a wifi device, allowing me to get online with my iPad as well. Two major providers in this area appear to be X.Com Global and Tep Wireless In the end I decided to check out Tep Wireless. I went online and verified that coverage was provided in the area of Scotland I was visiting – it was. For around $60 Canadian I arranged for one week’s unlimited wireless internet access. Reviews of Tep Global seemed to be either glowing or shockingly bad, with the device not being delivered a significant cause of concern. I was rather relieved when my mother rang me to say that the device had been delivered on schedule a day or two before my arrival. When I arrived on the Sunday evening I powered up…

Badly done, Amazon, badly done indeed!
Tech Reviews / January 20, 2013

WARNING – THIS POST CONTAINS LONG RANT. PROCEED AT OWN RISK For those of you in Canada who purchase Kindle books from amazon.com, you may have noticed that the site has been pushing you to switch your account to the newly opened Canadian Kindle store at amazon.ca. It appears in the last few days, the vast majority of Kindle books are no longer available from amazon.com for customers with a registered Canadian address. I have been a loyal Kindle customer now for several years and now I have suddenly found myself cut off from services on which I rely, some of which, for me, raise Amazon above the competition. In Jeff Bezos’ presentation in September 2012 to launch the new Kindles, one of the new innovations promoted was Whispersync for Voice with Audible books. I was very excited about this, and since its launch, I have made extensive use of this service. Naturally, I am very disappointed that it appears I will no longer have access to it for future purchases. It is infuriating that Canadian users had access to this service and now have had it removed. For me this is a significant deterioration in the service I have…

Badly done, Amazon, badly done indeed!
Tech Reviews / January 20, 2013

WARNING – THIS POST CONTAINS LONG RANT. PROCEED AT OWN RISK For those of you in Canada who purchase Kindle books from amazon.com, you may have noticed that the site has been pushing you to switch your account to the newly opened Canadian Kindle store at amazon.ca. It appears in the last few days, the vast majority of Kindle books are no longer available from amazon.com for customers with a registered Canadian address. I have been a loyal Kindle customer now for several years and now I have suddenly found myself cut off from services on which I rely, some of which, for me, raise Amazon above the competition. In Jeff Bezos’ presentation in September 2012 to launch the new Kindles, one of the new innovations promoted was Whispersync for Voice with Audible books. I was very excited about this, and since its launch, I have made extensive use of this service. Naturally, I am very disappointed that it appears I will no longer have access to it for future purchases. It is infuriating that Canadian users had access to this service and now have had it removed. For me this is a significant deterioration in the service I have…

Thoughts on the New iPhone 5 and iOS 6
Tech Reviews / September 13, 2012

So yesterday Apple held a media event to introduce the new iPhone 5. For those of us following the rumours, the announcement was pretty much as expected. The new model is officially called “iPhone 5” not the “new iPhone” à la iPad. The screen has been increased to 4 inches. It includes LTE fast network access. It has a faster processor and better camera. It includes a new Panorama feature for wide view photos. Now, the Android cynics amongst you will note, quite rightly, that these features have been available on Android for some time. As Tim Cook took great pains to stress though, it’s the first time these have been available on the Apple ecosystem. It’s also a testimony to Apple’s strength in the market that two weeks ago, Fido announced the activation of its LTE network. I am left with the impression though that Apple was playing catch up rather than being the innovator it used to be. Until a week ago, I was using an iPhone 4. However, I became frustrated waiting on my Fido phone being eligible for an upgrade and I REALLY wanted to check out Siri. So just over a week ago, I bought…

Thoughts on the New iPhone 5 and iOS 6
Tech Reviews / September 13, 2012

So yesterday Apple held a media event to introduce the new iPhone 5. For those of us following the rumours, the announcement was pretty much as expected. The new model is officially called “iPhone 5” not the “new iPhone” à la iPad. The screen has been increased to 4 inches. It includes LTE fast network access. It has a faster processor and better camera. It includes a new Panorama feature for wide view photos. Now, the Android cynics amongst you will note, quite rightly, that these features have been available on Android for some time. As Tim Cook took great pains to stress though, it’s the first time these have been available on the Apple ecosystem. It’s also a testimony to Apple’s strength in the market that two weeks ago, Fido announced the activation of its LTE network. I am left with the impression though that Apple was playing catch up rather than being the innovator it used to be. Until a week ago, I was using an iPhone 4. However, I became frustrated waiting on my Fido phone being eligible for an upgrade and I REALLY wanted to check out Siri. So just over a week ago, I bought…

What’s on my Tablets?
Tech Reviews / August 2, 2012

So, I now have both an Android Nexus 7 and an Apple iPad. Many of the apps I have on both, so here's a rundown of them. (NB iTunes links are for the Canadian store). All apps are free unless otherwise specified. On Both e-ReadingKindle (Apple iTunes, Google Play): Amazon's app for accessing their e-book content. This is one of the first apps I downloaded. Kobo (Apple iTunes, Google Play): the app to access Kobo ebooks. The tablet version includes Kobo Pulse, Kobo's interactive e-reading community. GoodReads (Apple iTunes, Google Play): GoodReads is the social network for readers on which I am very active. I also use it to keep track of my reading. Feel free to check out my profile. Zinio (Apple iTunes, Google Play): Zinio is the app and content provider I use for magazines. Although I have it on both the Nexus and iPad, the iPad's larger 10 inch Retina display screen makes reading magazines an absolute joy. That is one type of reading I much prefer to do on my tablet than my eInk e-reader. Overdrive Media Console (Apple iTunes, Google Play): Overdrive is the app used to access Overdrive's large library of ebooks for lending….

What’s on my Tablets?
Tech Reviews / August 2, 2012

So, I now have both an Android Nexus 7 and an Apple iPad. Many of the apps I have on both, so here’s a rundown of them. (NB iTunes links are for the Canadian store). All apps are free unless otherwise specified. On Both e-Reading Kindle (Apple iTunes, Google Play): Amazon’s app for accessing their e-book content. This is one of the first apps I downloaded. Kobo (Apple iTunes, Google Play): the app to access Kobo ebooks. The tablet version includes Kobo Pulse, Kobo’s interactive e-reading community. GoodReads (Apple iTunes, Google Play): GoodReads is the social network for readers on which I am very active. I also use it to keep track of my reading. Feel free to check out my profile. Zinio (Apple iTunes, Google Play): Zinio is the app and content provider I use for magazines. Although I have it on both the Nexus and iPad, the iPad’s larger 10 inch Retina display screen makes reading magazines an absolute joy. That is one type of reading I much prefer to do on my tablet than my eInk e-reader. Overdrive Media Console (Apple iTunes, Google Play): Overdrive is the app used to access Overdrive’s large library of ebooks for…

Nexus 7, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
Tech Reviews / July 23, 2012

As you might have gathered from my title, I have the Nexus 7 in my hand and have been playing with it for a couple of days now. i can’t believe how different my experience has been with this compared to my previous Android experience on the Kobo Vox. This machine is FAST. it is a Google sponsored product, so it comes with pure Android 4.1.1., Jelly Bean. The Google team has been focussing on lag in Project Butter, and although I can’t compare with anything other than the Kobo Vox, the user experience is silky smooth. In comparison to the Kobo Vox, when I changed screen orientation while reading a Kobo book, I was not faced with five seconds of white screen while the device caught up. Two things I was anxious to check out in Jelly Bean were the Google Search (a Siri equivalent) and Google Now. I have had great fun with Google Search – I was particularly impressed when it hooked up to my Rdio account and will play any song I tell it to play. I was also blown away by Google Now when I checked it and found my bus times without my having…