Canuck going to South by South West (SXSW)?

If you’re going to South by South West (SXSW) in March, then con­sider check­ing in to the Maple Leaf Digit­al Lounge — a new concept that helps pro­mote and high­light Cana­dian tech­no­logy to SXSW attendees.

We are cre­at­ing a cluster of Cana­dian tech­no­logy that will be pro­moted at this event.  This is a unique concept and Canada is the only coun­try to host a lounge at this con­fer­ence. It will act as a cata­lyst in pro­mot­ing Cana­dian innov­a­tion to a large tech­no­logy and media audi­ence.

The MLDL will fea­ture Canada’s top Inter­act­ive digit­al media tech­no­logy com­pan­ies from the fol­low­ing indus­tries: social media, mobile, mar­ket­ing, multi-media, game devel­op­ment, web devel­op­ment or any related IT areas. At the event, each com­pany will have a table set up/booth to show­case their tech­no­logy over a two-day peri­od.

So if you’re head­ing down to SXSW, the Maple Leaf Digit­al Lounge should be on your must-see list. And if you’re a Cana­dian tech. com­pany, you may want to look at part­ner­ing.

5 days left to win a webOS 2.0 powered Palm Pre 2 phone!

Well then, think there’s enough rel­ev­ant keywords in that post title? 😀

Good, because I really do want to make sure this little phone goes to a good home.

WebOS2 is a funky little OS, and hard­ware run­ning it is very slick. So why not take a chance and enter the con­test — who knows, you could soon be in a pos­i­tion to wel­come this little guy into your digit­al life­style.

Here’s how to enter:

1) Fol­low me (@bgrier) on Twit­ter
2) Tweet once (one ping only please) the fol­low­ing:

Just entered to win a Palm Pre 2.
Fol­low @bgrier and retweet this tweet to enter
http://g1z.me/fJzl5c #WinAPalmPre2

And there you go. It’s simple. Fol­low me, tweet once and you’re entered to win the Palm Pre 2.

This con­test will run until mid­night, Feb­ru­ary 11th, 2011, MST , after which I’ll ran­domly select the win­ner.

Good Luck!

It’s cold! Pamper your tech

frost_250.jpgWith the amount of gear I have around I’m sur­prised this doesn’t hap­pen to me more often.

The weath­er in Edmon­ton has been rather cool of late, in the -20 to -30 degree range in fact. And today, since it’s warmed up to a reas­on­able -2, I decided to drive the car, rather than our oth­er, warm­er, SUV.

After dig­ging it out, scrap­ing it off, and jump­ing in to wait for it to defrost, I rum­maged around in the centre con­sole — and dis­covered that I’d left my TomTom GPS in the vehicle since the fall.

Hmmm, this was not good. Weeks of cold-soak­ing the bat­ter­ies at extreme tem­per­at­ures can harm their life, and per­haps even phys­ic­ally dam­age them.

As well, bring­ing the device into a nice warm room also has it’s own haz­ards. As any­one who wears glasses and shovels snow in Canada knows, mois­ture quickly accu­mu­lates on these frozen devices. Wet elec­tron­ics are not a good thing.

So, what can you do to keep your gad­gets safely work­ing through the winter? Here’s a few ideas:

Don’t let them freeze (duh)
Staged Warm­ing — If they do freeze, warm the slowly, in stages, in a humid­ity free envir­on­ment. In my case, I left the GPS in my gar­age for an hour (warm­er than out­side), then moved it to my car (warm­er than my gar­age), and finally moved it inside the house. This reduced the shock to the com­pon­ents, and reduced the capa­city for humid­ity to form as the unit was warmed.

Out­door use
Cam­er­as, music play­ers, phones — keep them in an inside pock­et, next to your body if pos­sible. This’ll keep the bat­ter­ies warm and extend the charge of the unit. Cold temp reduces the power of a charged bat­tery.

While not all elec­tron­ics are designed for Canada’s extreme cold swings, there are things you can do to enjoy your devices in the great out­doors. What do you do to keep your tech work­ing in the weath­er?
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I’m giving away a Palm Pre 2

Time for anoth­er Life­style Tech­no­logy giveaway con­test — and this time the prize is one very cool Palm Pre 2 and a few accessor­ies, worth around $500.00. 😀

Over the last few weeks I’ve had a chance to put the Palm Pre 2 through it’s paces and found it to be a sol­id smart­phone.

And now, you have a chance to win your own, here’s how:

1) Fol­low me (@bgrier) on Twit­ter
2) Tweet once (one ping only please) the fol­low­ing:

Just entered to win a Palm Pre 2.
Fol­low @bgrier and retweet this tweet to enter
http://g1z.me/fJzl5c #WinAPalmPre2

Simple. Fol­low me, tweet once and you’re entered to win the Palm Pre 2.

This con­test will run until mid­night, Feb­ru­ary 11th, 2011, MST , after which I’ll ran­domly select the win­ner.

Bön Chance!

Keeping your holiday photos safe

fz50.jpgThe hol­i­day sea­son is upon us, which means that we’ll be enjoy­ing time spent with fam­ily and friends. Many of us will grab our handy cam­era-enabled data phones and snap price­less shots that we’ll want to share, and keep for pos­ter­ity.

But that’s where the tech can get a bit tricky. Sure, we’ve tried shar­ing to our vari­ous Face­book, Flickr and Picasa accounts, but what about the ‘sav­ing for pos­ter­ity’ part.

Pho­tos in the Cloud
Well, two of those three ser­vices men­tioned above are a great start. Here’s the four that I’ve seen and used that will offer sol­id photo ser­vice over the hol­i­days and into the future:

  • Flickr offers a Pro level account (about $25 per year for unlim­ited photo and video stor­age) that will keep all your pho­tos online and avail­able. Free gives you unlim­ited stor­age, but only your most recent 200 pho­tos are view­able. Online image edit­ing provided by Pic­nik.
  • Picasa has a free account that offers 1GB of free photo stor­age and basic image edit­ing tools.
  • Smug­Mug is pri­ci­er, offers three levels of ser­vice, and is geared toward the more ser­i­ous pho­to­graph­er.
  • Adobe Pho­toshop Express gives you access to basic online photo edit­ing and organ­iz­a­tion tools, and 2GB of free photo stor­age. Addi­tion­al stor­age space can be pur­chased annu­ally.

flickr.jpg

So, what’s so great about stor­ing your pho­tos online any­way?

  1. Backup — you don’t have to worry about keep­ing your images safe; the ser­vice you’re using does that.
  2. Shar­ing — easy to embed the images into blogs, email and twit­ter mes­sages. Each photo usu­ally has a pub­lic URL that’s shar­able (or private, if that’s your thing).
  3. Print­ing — a few of the ser­vices are offer­ing part­ner­ships with pro­fes­sion­al print­ing labs which lets you pro­duce pho­to­books, cus­tom prints etc.
  4. Integ­ra­tion — some of the more pop­u­lar ser­vices are already integ­rated into your iPhone cam­era applic­a­tions (such as Instra­gram). Push a but­ton and your latest shot is uploaded to the ser­vice, ready for you to edit and share.

Loc­al stor­age?
Yep, you can keep your pho­tos on your own com­puter, but you do run risks should your com­puter crash or worse. I do keep the major­ity of my images at home, stored on a net­work attached stor­age device that’s got two drives, one a mir­ror of the oth­er. So if one should die, I’ve got a copy of my data on the oth­er.

Also, I backup my pho­tos weekly, and move the backup drive to an off­s­ite loc­a­tion for even great­er safety. Yeah, a house­fire would ruin a lot of things, but I know my pho­tos and oth­er import­ant data would be safe.

Your needs?
It depends. Take a sol­id think about what you plan to do with your pho­tos, how you want to share them, and how import­ant they are to you (can you afford to lose them?). I’ve likely giv­en you some ideas to try and exper­i­ment with as we head into the hol­i­days. I’d love to hear what you’ve tried and how it worked (or didn’t).

Print? Scan? Copy? Fax? It’s covered!

4C4E30F0ED5D096EE1000000CD86208B.gif

Recently I had an oppor­tun­ity to put one of the new Broth­er multi-func­tion print­er devices through it’s paces, and over­all, I liked what I saw.

Priced as an entry level unit, the Broth­er MFC-J615W (that’s a mouth­ful, why can’t they just use names) is a sol­id home and light-duty small busi­ness doc­u­ment centre.

The first thing that impressed me was the pack­aging — no styro­foam. Now I know that’s minor, but I appre­ci­ate it when com­pan­ies make the effort to design their pack­aging with the envir­on­ment­al impact in mind.

Judge me by my size, do you.
This is a fairly small unit, and very well designed. Once it’s set up and ready to use, the unit is smal­ler than most toast­er ovens. Unlike my cur­rent print­er, which when in print mode has a huge paper ream sup­port rising out of the back and anoth­er fin­ish­er sup­port out the front, the Broth­er has an intern­al paper tray and feed sys­tem that keeps the foot­print small — great for small home-office situ­ations.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “Print? Scan? Copy? Fax? It’s covered!”