Blog Posts by Tori Floyd

  • All ready for school? Don’t forget your peripherals!

    Earlier this week, we looked at the key gadgets you need to remember for your dorm room. Your computer, however, is so important when you’re away from home that it begs to have a whole list of accessories all for itself. And it’ll take you more than a mouse and a couple of cheap speakers to get you through the year. To be fully prepared for the school year ahead, you want to get these peripherals before you sit down to your first class:

    External Hard Drive

    (Image from Western Digital)(Image from Western Digital)If you want to watch all your favourite movies, have your massive collection of photos and all of your music, it’s probably time to get that external hard drive. With storage now in the terabytes, you’ll be able to store every file you ever use or download while at university, if you buy the right drive. Western Digital and Seagate are two of the most well-known hard drive companies, and both offer their products in a range of storage sizes and form factors. I’ve personally used a WD MyBook for years without a problem, and it works

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  • The dorm gadgets you don’t want to forget when heading back to school

    As students get ready to head back to the classroom, many are also preparing to head off to the dorms – or possibly enter the dorms for the first time. And sure, you’ll have your computer and your smartphone, but there are plenty of other gadgets that every university and college student should seriously consider purchasing before heading off to school.

    [ Check out more Back-to-School tips in our Tech Guide ]

    Here are our suggestions for what you need to bring along when you’re going to be living in residence:

    Hot pot

    (Image from Hamilton Beach)

    While I never lived in residence myself, a quick survey of my former dorm-dwelling friends pinned this as the top must-have item for dormitory living. Most dorms ban hot plates, making this item a great replacement that won’t force you out into the shared kitchen every time you want to make Kraft Dinner. It can boil water like an electric kettle, but being able to cook food directly in the hot pot makes it incredibly useful and versatile. Pictured above is a 32 oz. model

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  • Laptop vs. tablet: which is better to take with you to school?

    For the average university or college student, having a personal computer is imperative. Between researching essays, typing up those essays, and taking a well-earned break from those essays, having a computer is critical.

    Since most students end up lugging their computer from class to class, having something that’s light and portable is important. But that’s leading to an interesting change, as some students are forgoing the average laptop in favour of taking a tablet to class instead. With the right tablet and a few choice peripherals, chances are good you won’t even miss having a full computer.

    [ Check out more Back-to-School tips in our Tech Guide ]

    We break down the pros and cons of each option, to help you choose what will make your school year go that much smoother.

    Laptop

    Pros: As the go-to accessory for many students heading off to college and university, you can get a great bargain on these devices by taking advantage of education discounts. Students can purchase discounted

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  • Screengrab from Google Earth of Lac Megantic taken on June 23, 2014.Screengrab from Google Earth of Lac Megantic taken on June 23, 2014.

    It's been almost a year since the July 6 train derailment in Lac-Megantic, Que., but the reminders for the people who live there are near-constant. As the cleanup of the disaster enters its second phase, some of Lac-Megantic's residents have discovered yet another reminder: An aerial view of the scorched earth in their town where the disaster occurred, displayed on Google Maps.

    QMI Agency drew attention to the image this week, calling the image "disgusting," quoting a representative from Lac-Megantic's tourism community. Ghislain Bolduc, MNA for the Megantic riding, was also critical when talking to QMI, saying that the photo "reeked of sensationalism."

    "The scene only looked like this for the two weeks following the accident," Bolduc said.

    While it does serve as a painful reminder of what happened in the town, it's not unusual for Google to capture disaster-hit areas as a part of its Google Earth mapping program, documenting from satellites images of the Earth's surface.

    [ Related:

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  • Battle of the Bands: Picking our favourite fitness bands

    This is the final instalment in our mini-series 'Battle of the Bands,' comparing some of the most popular fitness bands available in Canada today. For an overview of the series, read Battle of the Bands: Finding the best fitness band for you.

    After weeks of testing out the fitness bands featured in this series, the three other reviewers and I got together to discuss our favourites and pick the ones that best suited our needs.


    Battle of the Bands:


    Best Appearance: TIE - Jawbone UP24 and FitBit Flex

    Because of how "inoffensive" both the Jawbone UP24 and FitBit Flex looked, both were highly valued by the reviewers for appearance. Both are thinner and more subtle than the other three bands, with less of an in-you-face fitness band look, compared to the rest.

    One reviewer gave an edge to the Jawbone UP24 because of how

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  • There's no argument here that the FBI has a difficult job: As its methods improve, so do those of the criminals. That extends to knowing how people are staying in touch, particularly over text messages as that becomes a more frequently used form of communication.

    So it should come as no surprise that the FBI has its own glossary of netspeak and text messaging terms to which its employees can refer. What is a little more surprising is that it is 83 pages long, contains 3,000 words, and seems like it would be better suited to decoding AIM or ICQ messages than modern texts.

    The Washington Post discovered that as part of a recent Freedom of Information Information request, the FBI has released this document to MuckRock, a collaborative news site focused on transparency in politics, (PDF available here), titled Twitter Speak. The document covers more than just Twitter, however, as the intro to the document explains that it is to help agents and employees understand Internet shorthand used

    Read More »from FBI’s 2,800-word glossary of Internet slang is just a little sad
  • Image showing a One World Futbol Project soccer ball on the left, and a 'rag ball' on the right. (OWFP)Image showing a One World Futbol Project soccer ball on the left, and a 'rag ball' on the right. (OWFP)

    Just about everyone has gone a little soccer-crazy right now with the World Cup in full swing, but many kids around the world are psyched about soccer all year long, even when they don't have a ball to play with.

    Children who come from impoverished and poor families around the world want to play soccer just as much as any other kid, but often can't afford a soccer ball. They end up making "rag balls," using whatever material they can find to turn it into a roughly round object.

    Tim and Lisa Jahnigen realized how many kids worldwide were eager for the chance to play with a real soccer ball, and it inspired them to start the One World Futbol project, a charity that seeks to give a soccer ball to a child who can't afford one whenever a ball is purchased.

    Since the Jahnigens started the project four years ago, they've garnered worldwide attention, including support from musician and philanthropist Sting. But more importantly, they've managed to get their specially-designed soccer balls

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  • Better make some room in that panda enclosure for one more!

    If the speculation is correct, Er Shun, the female panda at the Toronto Zoo, could be pregnant.

    In this video published Thursday, the Toronto Zoo teases that the female panda currently residing at the zoo is showing 'nesting' behaviour, which may be an indication she is pregnant:

    It's still too early for zoo officials to know for sure, as panda pregnancies can be quite complicated. The gestation period for pandas is about three to five months, and the zoo will only know for certain about 20 days before the cub is born.

    While this video was initially taken in May and used to demonstrate Er Shun playing with straw as "enrichment," the zoo is apparently using it again today to tease news that Er Shun may actually be with cub.

    Er Shun was artificially inseminated in April, and zookeepers have been eagerly waiting for signs it may have worked. While there is a male panda at the zoo, Da Mao, he is too young to reproduce, so semen

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  • This is the fifth review in our mini-series 'Battle of the Bands,' comparing some of the most popular fitness bands available in Canada today. For an overview of the series, read Battle of the Bands: Finding the best fitness band for you.

    Of all the bands we take a look at in this series, the Polar Loop is probably the most under-the-radar of them all. Without the kind of hype machine and flash that you see with companies like Nike or Jawbone, Polar is a name that you're only likely to think of if you're seriously into fitness.

    Polar Electro is a Finnish company that has been around since 1977, and has long made heart rate monitors and GPS watches for serious fitness enthusiasts. The Loop is Polar's foray into the fitness band market, a deviation from the traditional watch face-style trackers it usually makes.

    Compared to its typical products, the Loop is decidedly more of a fitness and lifestyle band than anything else. But how does it stack up against other fitness bands we looked

    Read More »from Battle of the Bands: Polar Loop an option for serious fitness buffs, others need not apply
  • This is the fourth review in our mini-series 'Battle of the Bands,' comparing some of the most popular fitness bands available in Canada today. For an overview of the series, read Battle of the Bands: Finding the best fitness band for you.

    For Jawbone, the fitness market isn’t a strange land. This is somewhere they have ventured before – only to have their efforts largely ridiculed, as their first attempt at a fitness band in 2011, the UP by Jawbone, was rife with damage issues. To Jawbone’s both fortune and folly, it came before the fitness band craze really caught on; the product didn’t catch on because it wasn’t something people were looking for yet, as mobile phones really needed to catch up to partner with wearable technology first. But it also meant they could test the waters, see what worked, and have a product ready for when suddenly, everyone was clamouring for a band.

    Back when Jawbone’s first jump back into the ring launched, the Jawbone UP (which is still supported and

    Read More »from Battle of the Bands: Jawbone UP24 is a near-perfect lifestyle band, with one thing missing

Pagination

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