36 posts categorized "Product Reviews"

October 07, 2011

Save $700 per year - Get your own antenna and get free HD

UPDATE: Interesting article on the art of antenna installations and savings.

UPDATE 2: I have heard of people getting basic Rogers for $15.99/month + HST. To get HD you'd need the receiver so the best you could do is about $32/month! Also SunTV stopped HD broadcasting on November 1 2011, as Quebecor lost their over the air transmission license. We need an all day news channel to broadcast OTA - CP24 for example!

UPDATE 3: The Wall Street Journal describes the second wave of rabbit ears!

Rogers Digital Basic costs $36.01 per month. You must get an HD receiver at $12.95/month to actually GET the HD channels. So they're not really free are they as described: "Over 42 FREE HD channels and growing"? All Rogers is really doing is eliminating the physics of the physical world -- they eliminate the weird little issues that Over the Air (OTA) HD comes with (curvature of the Earth for example, and other physical obstructions like buildings).

To get OTA HD get a $20 aluminum outdoor antenna at any of the discount computer stores, or Futureshop or BestBuy. Or splurge and spend $50 for this one. The Clearstream 2 antenna for over $100 is a good bet in Northern Toronto. Of course, my friend S, tells me you will need a fairly long coax cable to plug into your coax cable plant or directly to your TV. This should cost you another $20 max. Note that many places you will find these items sold out, for good reasons, no doubt. Here are the pictures of my outdoor antenna connected to a "juliette" balcony about 50 ft off the ground. And a home made coax jack I made by stringing the coax from the antenna directly to this jack on the outside of the house. I did need to get a 12" masonry drill bit to make a hole on the outside of the house to get the coax into the jack. I also decided to ground this puppy to avoid lightning strikes killing my TV. YMMV.

IMG_2140 IMG_2139

Below is a grounding block connecting 2 coax wires. The black wire is grounding quality copper wire.

Vaughan-20111016-00146

This picture shows the copper wire going to a 4 foot copper stake going into the ground. That's why it's called grounding!
Vaughan-20111016-00146

Then make sure your HD TV has a digital tuner. Most TVs made in the last 3 years have a digital tuner, but make sure you ask before you buy your next flat screen. Here's the state of digital TV in Canada. And here are the channels you could get in Toronto.

I get 25% of the HD channels Rogers Digital Basic offers - FOR FREE. You're paying for free stuff, people. If I pointed my antenna south and mounted it properly as per tvfool.com indicates for my area, I'd get the American channels too! I'll do this soon and report back.

Here's a super deluxe installation with $200 worth of parts -- this install most likely is over $1000 to do professionally. Most people though will be fine with just $100 worth of parts and $250 worth of labour.

 

The 15 HD channels I get for free, in bold and red based on the Rogers HD lineup below the break...

Continue reading "Save $700 per year - Get your own antenna and get free HD" »

September 08, 2011

Los Altos School Board Administrators talk Khan Academy

 

I wish other school boards tried this approach that Los Altos has taken. And you don't need expensive Macs to use Khan Academy. It's really a revolution in education. My son has been using this site for the last few months and we've developed a reward program called "Homework Happiness" from the points he gets on Khan Academy. He can redeem the points for prizes of various levels, and he can save up for the really really big prizes too. It's clear that in our technologically immersive culture, that learning like this and having teachers use technology to help can help not only the smart kids but also kids that need help to get ahead. Khan Academy lets each child have a personalized experience, assisted by their parent(s) or teacher(s).

 

March 25, 2011

Think Quarterly - Google's amazing foray into publishing

Supposedly, the publication called Think Quarterly was shipped to 1500 special Google UK customers. We like it. We like it very much. This is the kind of publishing that I think needs to be done online, various formats, a beautiful HTML5 presentation. PDFs downloadable. And of course, GREAT content. This is something we'd pay for, unlke the NYTimes paywall nonsense #fail.

 

March 20, 2011

New York Times Paywall Workaround (free NYtimes.com) #nytfail

With incognito mode, inprivate or safe browsing, you can get around NYTimes.com paywall. This has been verified by yours truly.

March 04, 2011

Non-Profit Solution from Microsoft - Dynamics CRM 4

Microsoft now has a solution for the non-profit sector called Non-Profit Solution for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The cost is as little as 9.99/month!

The Non-Profit Solution for Microsoft Dynamics CRM includes out-of-the-box CRM functionality as well as customizations for:

  • Donation and pledge management
  • Basic membership management
  • Basic volunteer tracking
  • Campaign management
  • Excel dashboard reports
  • Payment solution for online donations

December 25, 2010

System Tool Trojan Removed!

So my wife screams "What's this system tool thingy? Looks like my computer is infected with a virus. Help!" And indeed somehow through no fault of her own Windows 7 premium was infected with a trojan that installed no less than 8 items in various places on the desktop including 2 registry keys. And here I thought Windows 7 Home Premium was secure. I guess not :( -- here's the software I used to delete the offending trojan called "System Tool" -- it worked well.

 

System tool probs

December 21, 2010

Simple Desktops - Your Best Desktop Picture Solution

Simple Desktops is a website that offers the best blend of desktop pictures that are neither too beautiful nor too bland. And they are free. There's something for everyone there. Here's the tree that I am using today at work.

 

 

December 10, 2010

The New Small by Phil Simon

Fascinating first chapter to a new book on small business and technology impact on small business. Look for more soon. We're working on getting Phil to Toronto. Once I get a copy I'll put a review on www.newpathconsulting.com.

 

Chapter1 the New Small

November 30, 2010

Riding on the Subway and Why the Kindle 3 is Plain Awesome

I've been noticing something very curious during my daily commute between North York and Downtown Toronto. The subway crowd is getting very intellectual. What I mean is that everyone seems to be reading an electronic device. I've seen a lot less newspapers over the last 3 years and a lot more electronic gadgets of all sorts. I've even seen a few people carrying open laptops (!) to read their digital content.

I've been following the mobile revolution for several years now and have been a proud owner of an iPod Touch (my first mobile digital device), a Blackberry Curve 8250 and now a Kindle 3 (6" version). They are truly all different devices for very different kind of people I think. And before you buy a mobile device you really should understand what exactly you plan to do with it.

Continue reading "Riding on the Subway and Why the Kindle 3 is Plain Awesome" »

November 15, 2010

Using broadband saves you $7700 per year.

According to the study done by the Internet Innovation Alliance:

Using broadband saves you $7700 per year. For a $490 (on average) investment you can save almost $8000. Here are the top 10 ways. Entertainment and Newspapers have a lot to worry about as they are at the top of the cost savings potential, with newspapers completely losing all revenue with broadband. No wonder the papers want to close off access to their intellectual property.

And of course paying bills is a no brainer (this saves money not just for consumers but bill presenters too).

Here's the list of cost cutting in order of actual money saved. I wonder what the cost savings is for Entertainment if you factor in illegal download of movies and music too? Smart consumer mobile and online app vendors would be wise in figuring out how to penetrate the lower categories and help consumer save even more money in areas like housing, food and apparel.

 

10 ways being online saves you money