Reflecting on the old; looking forward to the new

A lot of exciting things have happened to me in 2010. Some of the bigger ones included making my first real job change after leaving Rogers and joining Palette PR (now energi PR!), which was both sad and exciting; I was reunited with the girlfriend who was off in Calgary teaching for a year; finally, I made the big change and moved out on my own for the first time.

I was fortunate that, for this past year, the positives outweighed the negatives, and I think it has largely to do with having a positive outlook on life, which is the mind set I’ve had over the last few years. If something gets you down, don’t let it take hold of you because you end up wallowing in it, and missing opportunities to grow and therefore become happier.

Looking ahead to 2011 I can’t quite predict what it will bring, but here are a few things I look forward to:

  • Getting more accustomed to living on my own; it’s been a great experience the first two months in, but I still have a lot to learn;
  • Connecting more with the people in my life – I haven’t done enough of that this year and would like that to change;
  • Doing some kind of travel, whether it be within Canada or abroad;
  • Carrying the professional experiences I’ve gone through in 2010 forward into the new year with a better understanding of what I want out of my career.

Do you look forward to anything in the new year, or are you just happy to see the current one end?

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 turn  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.

iPhone 4 is here!

Since Gizmodo posted the original shots of that “lost” iPhone 4 prototype I’ve been waiting extremely patiently for Steve Jobs to do his thing at the official launch. Today was that day.

As some of you may know I’m one of those unfortunate folks who, while a fan of technology and one who takes part on many different platforms, has gone without mobile access to those platforms. I do have an iPod Touch, which when there’s WiFi is awesome, but there are so many more times when WiFi isn’t around, and I’m jonesin’ to be connected.

So since I’ve held out for so long, I figured it’d be worth it to invest in the upcoming iPhone 4. With today’s launch there are a few things that tell me this is going to be a great investment, including (in no particular order):

  • Multitasking – finally the ability to do more than one task on the device!
  • Flash – should’ve had this from the start, and is one of the biggest complaints I hear from iPhone users
  • Front-facing Camera (though a camera period is great since I’m a Touch user.)
  • 960 x 640 @ 326 ppi – great resolution and something I wasn’t expecting
  • Sleek design – it’s exactly the kind of style I like; very modern.

More specs can be found on Apple’s website.

Rogers says it’ll be carrying the device, and you can sign up to receive word on any upcoming info regarding the release. We do know it’ll be released in Canada sometime in July, and in the States pre-ordering starts on the 15th. I can’t wait.

Will you be upgrading to the next version of the iPhone? What features stand out for you the most?

Moving on…

This isn’t something I wanted to write, but it’s come time for me to say goodbye to the team at Rogers; specifically those on the social media side of things.

It doesn’t seem like too long ago that I decided to go to Third Tuesday, around Canada Day, last year. I wasn’t feeling too well, but I sucked it up and went anyway. While there I met with Rob Manne and Keith McArthur who, after a bit of conversation, told me about an internship position coming up. One thing led to another and less than two weeks later I was on the social media team. Shortly after, I posted about joining Rogers and looking back, a lot has changed, but much of what I wrote still holds true:

“Rogers is committed to “taking the leap”, as it were, and joining the online conversations happening about its many, many brand extensions. The department only began seven months ago, with the hiring of Keith McArthur who, along with Rob Manne, are now the well known faces of Rogers on Twitter. That along with other social media projects make me excited about my time here and all of the potential things I may get to do.”

I’ve had the chance to see great projects like Rogers On Demand Online and the Rogers RedBoard take off, as well as attend and help sponsor great events like Hohoto and Podcamp Toronto. Most importantly I’ve learned so much from great coworkers and I couldn’t have asked for a better team to work with.

Wrapping things up I’d like to say thank you to everyone I’ve had the pleasure of working with at Rogers. Nowadays it’s easy to keep in touch, so that shouldn’t be a big deal, but I will miss the day-to-day cackling and random other good times. I also want to wish the team good luck with the projects you’re working on and the many more coming in the future.

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