Canadian Cancer Society urges smokers to “Break It Off”

Everyone knows someone who’s a smoker, has tried to quit, or who has successfully kicked the habit.

I’m not a smoker, and outside of my parents (who quit smoking a few years ago) I don’t preach to others that they should quit – it’s ultimately a personal choice. For those looking to quit though, Break It Off with Smokingthe “Break It Off” campaign recently launched by the Canadian Cancer Society looks like a great resource. It offers help for people at each stage of the quitting process, including a a combination of 13 different methods to quit, because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.

They’ve also included a cool initiative to help make the whole break up a bit more social. Called the “World’s Biggest Breakup“, it allows anybody to upload a video of themselves breaking it off with smoking; even non-smokers can show support. I’m not big on making videos, but I can see how this may help people share in the experience together. As of publication there are four journal postings – I expect that number will grow quite a bit as people find out more about the initiative.World's Biggest Breakup

Available on both iPhone and Android devices, the app seems friendly enough to use. Similar to the site, it offers tips on quitting but also lets users track his or her progress and share milestones on Facebook. My favourite feature is the ability to see how much money can be saved from quitting. I’m sure other than health reasons, the ridiculous cost is probably why many decide to quit in the first place – I know it’s one of the big reasons I never started.

As with quitting anything, the willpower must be there. If a person isn’t really willing to give it up, no number of websites, Youtube videos or apps will help them get there. For those who are willing, this looks worth checking out.

iOS 5 is nearly here

iOS 5

Today Apple announced the launch of iOS 5, the new operating system for its devices, at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Many Apple fanboys and girls are going crazy over the iCloud announcement that lets you basically do everything over the air (OTA); for me it’s not that mind blowing, but I may come around. What I did like was many of the new functions that the OS offers me, the regular iPhone user. Here are the ones that stand out to me the most:

iMessage: This addition is clearly competing with BBM and the many apps out there on iTunes already. Without using your valuable text messages, you can now text, send phones/videos, locations and contact info to anyone using iOS 5. I’d like to see how many more people make the switch to the iPhone after this because the majority of people I know are with Blackberry only for BBM or the keyboard.

Notification Centre: Making great use of the lock screen, you can now view all pending notifications just with a quick glance. To access an individual one, like a text for example, just swipe it and you can compose a message. This also solves an annoyance of mine by sending you non-intrusive notification when someone messages (and calls, I presume) and you’re playing a game – I hate being interrupted.

New Camera functionality: There have been many times where I wanted to take a picture, but have missed the opportunity because I had to wait for the camera to load. Another way Apple is taking advantage of the lock screen is by letting you take photos with the volume + button. Also eliminating the need for many apps, you can now edit the photos as you take them, and…

Twitter everywhere: You can send those photos links, videos and maps direct from your phone. As a heavy Twitter user this is great!

That’s the majority of the updates, but you can also watch the video below (for those without Quicktime) or visit Apple to see the rest of the specs.

Thanks to pspfano for posting the video to Youtube.

Breakfast at Cora’s

I’m a huge Cora‘s fan and many may have seen my tweets about the progress of the new Scarborough franchise’s construction. The first time I noticed it was when I was at Starbucks with my nephew and saw the familiar Cora sunshine logo in the window (Twitpic). After that I paid close attention each morning on my way into work since my bus passed by the plaza.

One day I noticed the sign had gone up on the restaurant, so I tweeted about that. With the help my friend Coleman (@ColeYeung) I found out it was opening on September 7, which ended with us planning our outing on Saturday with May (@aMAYzin). I can’t speak for them, but I had a great time. My usual meal, the Crepomelette was perfection on a plate, I got to spend time with two really cool people and last but not least, got to use Facetime on my iPhone 4 for the first time ever (albeit across the table with May).

Fast forward to Sunday morning and I’m back yet again, this time with my girlfriend. I promised I’d take her on a date for her first Scarborough Cora’s experience, so before heading down to the TIFF block party, we grabbed some food. I moved away from my delicious Crepomelette and had the Cora’s Special, which was filling but not the same. One added bonus to the breakfast was my new Foursquare Mayor title, but I’m not sure how long that will last, to be honest.

Long story short, it was a Cora’s-filled (and filling) fun time. If you haven’t been, go! Just go early or else you’ll have to deal with lineups.

10 of my must have apps for the iPhone

Apps are what make iPhones, iPads or iPod Touches worth owning. With my iPod Touch I had quite a few, and I’ve been able to add some others that only make sense to have on the iPhone. Here’s my list of apps that I can’t do without:

1. Twitter for iPhone – When this app was first brought to my attention I was skeptical. I use Tweetdeck on my Macbook and I did use it in my iPod Touch, however there was a glitch that prevented horizontal typing, which is my preference. After looking at a few apps I decided on Twitter. I like it because it actually works for me, for starters. It’s simple and I’ve gotten used to the one column, compared to the many on Tweetdeck.

2. Foursquare – Putting a smart phone in my hands means I’ll check-in everywhere. I have no clue why I’m such a fan of Foursquare, and I’m sure many others feel the same. I guess it boils down to it being a fun app. It’s fun to compete with others for mayorships. It’s also fun to get deals at participating retailers from time to time too.

3. TTC Mobile – A simple app that takes the arrival times listed on TTC.ca and allows transit-dependent people like myself to quickly find out when the next bus is coming. I use this one often and now I can check wherever I am.

4. Tim Hortons – I haven’t had to use the locator yet, but if I’m ever in a need when I’m jonesin’ for a Timmies coffee, then I’ll know what app to bust out.

5. Facebook – Even though it’s not the best app, in terms of design, it’d be a lie to say it wasn’t a must to keep Facebook on the list.

6. The Edge – Each morning I like to listen to the Dean Blundell Show, but having the window pop up on my computer screen at work is distracting, especially when I have many others on the go. This app is perfect because now I can listen to the radio from my iPhone 4 without clogging up my workspace.

7. Yelp – The monocle feature makes this app worth downloading on its own. You can turnĀ  in all directions and see where restaurants are, click through, and read/write reviews. So far it’s been a bit more effective in higher density areas like downtown.

8. Maple Leafs – Here I can find the latest on my favourite hockey team, along with other hockey scores.

9. Rogers My Account – From what I’ve been able to see with this app, it looks pretty sleek and it’s definitely something I’ll keep coming back to to check my data usage (though with my 6GB plan I likely won’t come near it.)

10. TD – I hopped on this app as soon as it came out because I really like the chance to find out my account balance and pay bills with the click of a button, should I need to.

I’ll always be picking up newer, fancier apps as they’re released so be sure to watch out for my future recommendations. Also games are something I can also make a list for..

What are some of your favourite apps out there? Paid/Free – doesn’t matter.

After a week with the iPhone 4…

Last Friday I was leaving a work event and headed up Yonge street. I was at Queen so I figured I might as well head into the Eaton Centre and check if, by some stroke of luck, the Rogers store had any iPhone 4s. I went up to a guy demo’ing a Samsung device and he told me they’d just got a shipment in and had ran out. Dejected, I headed back the way I came, on my way to Queen station.

Randomly I noticed a small store called Batteries n’ Gadgets had a lineup. I thought to myself, they’d only be lining up for one thing, and one thing only. So I took the chance and headed in. The guy at the back of the line told me he was the cutoff point for iPhone 4s and that there was no more stock left, so I’d better check with the employees to make sure. So I walked up to the cash, where four guys were behind the counter trying to process orders, and asked if there was enough in stock for me to grab a device. He told me I might be able to get one, which was good enough for me. I hadn’t been this close to nabbing one so I figured I’d wait around a bit.

A few Fido customers weren’t able to upgrade, so I got pushed into the running for a device – I was quite excited. Eventually my turn came and I got my first smartphone, even though it was 32GB, which was a bit more than I wanted to spend.

That was the long background to the story. Now after a week with my iPhone 4 I’m sure many are sick of me talking/tweeting about my iPhone 4, so here’s a blog post to let you know my thoughts a little more. Because it’s new to me some of the following may be technology that’s common place now, so bear with me. And while I rave about it, it’s not all sunshine.

Pros

  • All-in-one device: I don’t have to walk around with my ipod touch and cell phone anymore. Pocket space saved!
  • Flash: Not Adobe’s Flash, but flash for the camera. One of the things that made me hold off on previous idevices was the lack of flash.
  • Amazing camera: Related to “Flash” above, the quality of pictures is astonishing.
  • Face Time: While I haven’t used it yet, it should prove to be quite fun, and if the commercials have taught me anything, it’s a way to break some pretty intense news.
  • Social media: Now I can take part in Twitter when there’s no wifi, or check-in on Foursquare (which I have been doing like a crack fiend).
  • Great apps: Yelp, The Edge 102.1 radio, Rogers MyAccount.. just some of the apps that I couldn’t get with the iPod Touch.
  • OS: The OS upgrade actually works with the device. The Touch was haggard after upgrading.
  • Multi-tasking: Not sure if the old one did this, but it’s great to receive a call while playing music and a game, and have that all come back after the call’s over.

Cons

  • Freezing/shutting off: Three or four times now it has shut off after a call or when trying to unlock it froze. This happened with my last cell so while it sucks, it’s likely not limited to the iPhone 4.
  • Cases: The cases I’ve looked at are terrible. It doesn’t appear that a good one was made, so I ordered from Apple. However it won’t get here until September.
  • Ear jack: The jack being on top really throws me off. On the Touch it was on the bottom, which makes infinite more sense.
  • One-touch dialing: I may have found a solution, but until then I’ll still feel like a newb, typing in the number or searching though my contacts to call them.
  • Heat: It gets much hotter than I thought it would, while charging or playing a game (while listening to music).

So there you have it, my review of the iPhone 4. If you’ve recently purchased one, let me know your thoughts, or for things I should be on the look out for.

%d bloggers like this: