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Spotlight Reports

9
Jun

Outdoor Phone Apps

Welcome to the summer in Bermuda, again! It’s time to get outside again and enjoy the long summer nights and hot (sometimes scorching) summer days.  Most will say ‘Don’t forget your sunscreen’, but we tech lovers also say ‘don’t forget your apps!’

Star gazing lately? Sky Guide (http://fifthstarlabs.com/ ) is a great app to discover alone, or share with your family. Switch off the TV and gaze into your iPad while learning the constellations and viewing them in the sky. It makes for a great sleep over party trick, and sure beats the old glow in the dark stick on stars that used to litter the ceilings of kids rooms.

Bermuda Radar App:  (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bermuda-radar/id650561613?mt=8) Time the summer showers perfectly with this great Bermuda app!  No more getting stuck in a rain shower that seemed to come out of no-where.

Nike Plus App: (https://secure-nikeplus.nike.com/plus/products/gps_app/ ) Get out there, and get active with this cool tech app!  Its been around almost as long as the iPhone, and it is also available for the android team. It’s a fantastic app to help you track your progress and set our goals, while using this beautiful island as a training ground. Tried and tested, it really works great!

FlashLight Apps: These are extremely handy especially for finding your way back through the paths after a beach party, or navigating back to your car after spending the evening at your friend’s outdoor garden party. There are so many options out there, if you haven’t found one yet, this may be a good time to find the ‘install’ button on your phone and get one- you will thank us later.

The Red Cross First Aid App: Will you be spending the summer out on the boat, riding your bikes, camping, running around outside, jumping off of the various docks, and more? A first aid app isn’t a bad idea to keep on hand with you; as well as keeping a first aid kit in the car, boat or summer back pack.  Bumps, scrapes and other accidents can happen at any time, just not in the summer, but the season change is a good check in to make sure you are prepared. http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/first-aid-app

23
May

Spring Feature: Outdoor Speakers

If you do a lot of outdoor entertaining or just love working in the yard, it is time to start thinking about preparing your outdoor space. Nothing wrecks the mood like an old boom box or speakers blaring out of a window. Keep your outdoor landscaping looking beautiful and technology free with high performance audio speakers that blend right in. All-weather speakers are designed specifically for the acoustic conditions of the outside world, such as the lack of walls, ceiling, and floors to reflect sound, and will perform a whole lot better.

Terra Loudspeakers has the perfect companion for any outdoor party: LuminSound™ LS.32. The LuminSound concept is simple; offer excellent all weather outdoor sound reproduction, and flexible, attractive, efficient lighting all within a single, practical unit.

The LuminSound is 32.5-inch high, weatherproof bollard with an aluminum grille that is available in black, aluminum, or copper color. The LuminSound includes a 3-LED warm white lamp that provides 270 lumens for high efficiency illumination, and the speaker section can be rotated independently of the lighting section.

23
May

Apps that help in the Kitchen

The number of available food- and cooking-related apps is always growing, and we’re glad that it is. Here are a few of our favourite apps for your iPad, to help with everything from elaborate wine pairing to quick and easy meals.

Cookulator: Cooking Unit Converter

One-step, utensil-based cooking unit conversion enables you to convert between measuring units such as volume, weight and temperature. Cookulater also converts measurement variances between the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

Wine Genius

Wine Genius simplifies wine and food pairings both at home and at your favorite restaurants, plus suggests serving temperatures. Wine history includes interesting facts about your favorite vintages, transforming you into an at-home sommelier.

Big Oven

BigOven has more than 170k unique recipes. Take your recipes, grocery list and menus with you anywhere. Search, edit and resize recipes easily. See your friends’ recipes & share yours. You can even plan and reuse menus on a calendar.

Food Planner (Also available for Android)

A great meal-planning tool for families, Food Planner lets you keep track of individualized dietary requirements as well as menus, shopping lists and recipes, plus it syncs between multiple devices. Countless recipes can be imported from numerous websites and your own favorites can be stored for future reference. Food Planner is an easy-to-use tool that lets you search for recipes by keywords and ingredients.

Grocery Gadget (Also available for Android)

A great on-the-go app, Grocery Gadget saves you time and money by organizing your food shopping list into categories. Arrange your list to match your pantry, refrigerator and cupboard. Automatic synchronization lets you share your list with friends and family as well as store weekly lists for all of the stores you frequent. Color pricing helps you compare prices on items found in different stores. Easy to use and kid friendly, Shopping List gets you out of the store and into the kitchen faster.

1
Nov

YouTube to Launch 100 Online Streaming TV Channels

Google owned YouTube has announced that they will be launching 100 online channels with original programming from names like: Wall Street Journal, Madonna, Ashton Kutcher, Jay-Z, Tony Hawk, Antony Zuiker (the creator of CSI), and more.

This may be Google’s newest big push into streaming media, as the site is already established and the viewers are there ready for more!  YouTube is already a worldwide hit with over two billion video views daily being reported, and the site is only 6 years old.

Google is reportedly forking up about $100m to get this launch started, and are hoping for daily uploads of about 25 hours from these new featured channels.

TV production companies and film studios are also popping up and getting involved in the new launch, it will be interested to see what they will bring to the site.  Will there be new series? Is it all original content only viewable on YouTube?  Will you be able to catch your favorite TV shows on YouTube?  Will we get the annoying “Content not available in your area” message? We will have to wait and see.  To get a sneak peak on what’s being created visit YouTube’s Original Channels site.

The convenience of internet streaming media has broadened our choices in entertainment.  It offers things such as:

  • Content from all over the world, from many different producers
  • Flexible viewing convenience, start, stop, fast forward;
  • Ease of viewing (you don’t need a TV ) tablets, smartphones, laptops all allow you to view online streaming content;
  • Ease of sharing, ability to embed in blogs, emailing links etc;
  • Ability to sign up for notifications so that you know when new content is posted
  • Instant access to viewer’s reviews, if the videos have a comment section.

AS for YouTube’s Streaming media: Expect the new channels to start rolling out next month and continue through next year. Sign up to get info on the new channels as they’re announced.

21
Sep

The Netflix Official Apology?

On September 18th 2011 Reed Hastings posted an entry on the Netflix blog that started  “I messed up. I owe you an explanation.” This message comes weeks after the new sudden price increases that caused headlines such as “Customers fleeing from Netflix” and “ Netflix Customer Base Doomed” blog entries that were headed “I am glad I never signed up”.  Do you think these messages that they viral across the internet had something to do with, Co-Founder and CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings rather interesting blog entry?  I think so!

Netflix is doing a bit of a shuffle and they are really taking their well-recognized brand name “Netflix” and using it to gain a piece of the streaming market.  They have changed their 10 year old DVD mail service into a product/service called Qwikster.  It is obvious that the name “Netflix” has a huge weight to it and is worth millions, so I get why they are using the Netflix name to push into the streamlining market.  They have started to tap into international markets, case and point: the announcement of Netflix available in Bermuda a few weeks ago in the Royal Gazette.  However, movie titles are slim and there are no new releases, so it was not that big of an announcement + Bermudians have been enjoying Netflix for a while with one of technologies great inventions: the overseas, US IP address!.

Anyway, Netflix is reforming, restructuring and trying to break into a new market “streaming video” so let’s see where they go.  I have a feeling that Qwikster is just a wind down of the  old Netflix made to phase out- would be interesting to see where Qwikster will be in 10 years…….

Click here to see Reed Hastings “apology”

15
Sep

What’s so cool about Skype?

 

 

You probably have all heard the famous line “Skype me” If you haven’t tried it, you should! If you have a Skype account ensure that you download the latest version as it is getting cooler and cooler + easier to find friends!

The newest features available for Skype are:

  • Ability to see your Facebook friends in your contact list! Be careful…depending on your Facebook list you may end up with a lot of contacts!!
  • Ability to instant message with your Facebook friends
  • New emotions…for the cute messaging
  • Upgrades to the call controls

So this bring us to the next point….none of this, besides the emotions and cooler controls, is great unless you have Facebook…..but Skype is still the coolest free video calling download going even without the F word (Facebook)

Skype also is touch on business solutions, which we are actively keeping on top of, which can help small and medium sized businesses in their day to day operations without having to spend 10s of thousands of dollars.

Skype for Business:

Look at all the options Skype offers!! These are sure to help your business stay connected with partners, clients, vendors and work associates worldwide.  The only thing that seems to be dragging is the inability to have Skype on a Blackberry….this is another place were the Android platform takes over and comes out on top!

15
Sep

Where is the TV Going?

LG is releasing a Pen Touch TV that will come on a 60” 3D and 60”/50” 2D screens retailing between 1,099.00- 2,199.00USD.  The Pen Touch system will allow you to draw on the screen, access PC files, create art work , keep calendars + more.  The Pen Touch TV comes with two rechargeable pens that you plug into USB ports, much like an iPod.

So is this where TVs are going?  Sure this is very cool…but why?  Haven’t we moved away from Plasma TVs and moved on to LED TVs to become more green?  When will you be close enough to a 60” TV to write on it?  Some may think this is great for kids, but wouldn’t you want your kids to play on a iPad rather than an ultra bright 60” Plasma TV.  Time will tell about the LG Pen Touch, this may be only be a first step that will evolve into something more, or maybe this TV has an application in only a certain environment (educational, medical, etc), or maybe it will fall flat and LG will move on quickly to recover and invent something else.

This may not be where TVs are going, but one thing is certain, TV and media developers are looking for a way to reinvent the TV and change how we use it.  In the past few years we have seen slimmer TVs, 3D, internet connected TVs (Google TV), Streaming TV (Netflix, Hulu, etc), Apple TV, Youtube integration and more.  Some of these were misses and some are slowly catching on and been used in more and more households.

In Bermuda it is hard for us to take advantage of all of the streaming content due to the smaller bandwidth that we are limited to here, but as that increases overtime we may see more and more consumers opting for internet TV options rather than cable as you can chose what you want to watch, when you want to watch it and from what device you wish to view it over (iPad, TV, iPhone etc.)

TV’s are changing and it will be interesting to see where they go…. and who will be the one to take over the TV market.

2
Sep

Rugby World Cup 2011 App

Rugby World Cup 2011 opening ceremony will be held on September 9th at 4:30am Bermuda time! That is 7:30pm (NZST). Since the World Cup is held in New Zealand this year you may need some help keeping track of the matches, since they will be taking place in the wee hours of the morning.

The good news is you will not have work in the way of catching your favorite teams play, the bad news is your co workers are going to have to deal with your tired grumpy arse. So scout out a place to nap in peace at your job, stock up your bar and download the app (below) and tell the wife, or significant other, that you will be missing between September 9th – October 23!

31
Aug

Hurricane Tracking for Android

Android Phone users can stay on top of the hurricane weather news with the SeaStorm App by Poignant Projects for 1.99 available on the Android Market.  Keep track of developing storms and hurricanes with this easy to use App that provides detailed information about storms in the Atlantic basin.  This app provides you with: storm overviews, storm advisories, text from the NHC, 5 day tracks, wind probability, storm surge maps and more add on options.  This app received a 4.5/5 in the Android App store and may be a good thing to add to your hurricane season prep list.

31
Aug

Hurricane Tracker Apps for Apple

It is hurricane season so make sure that you visit Gorhams or Masters  to replenish any supplies you may need.  While you are stocking don’t forget to go to iTunes and get a Hurricane tracking App!  Yes there is an app for everything….

One app that comes highly recommended by reviews is the Hurricane Tracker App by EZ Apps, Inc for $2.99.  It comes with tracking maps, information from the NHC, threat level maps, forecaster audio/ video updates, real time feeds, detailed push alerts, storm advisories and much much more!  It is available for iPhone/ iTouch and iPad.

Other Hurricane Apps for Apple:

Hurricane HD by Kitty Code 3.99

Coming Soon: Stormpulse for ipad