I want – I got’s Holiday Gift Guide – Gagdets

It’s that time of year again and I want – I got is putting together massive Gift Guides of things I think would be perfect to give as gifts this season. So the fashion route is out for holiday gifts. I can’t blame people for that, it’s hard to get the right piece. Don’t worry about sizing, colour or style as this third gift guide in the series is all about the gadget.

I want - I got's Holiday Gift Guide - HP Photosmart 7250
I want – I got’s Holiday Gift Guide – HP Photosmart 7250

My Mom is always asking me to print her photos of my nephew and niece. I didn’t have a proper photo printer until I went to an HP event and got my hands on the HP Photosmart 7520 e-All-in-One Printer. It’s wireless which is such an important part to my home network as I’m trying to get rid of excess cables. I can print photos from my smartphone using HP software or Google’s Cloud Print. Some other great features include a touch screen, duplex printing, Internet access, scanning, copying and faxing. The Photosmart 7520 will automatically print a selection of NYTimes stories on Sunday morning if you want it to. The HP Photosmart 7520 e-All-in-One Printer is on sale for $109.99 right now at HP.com.

I want - I got's Holiday Gift Guide - Surface 2
I want – I got’s Holiday Gift Guide – Surface 2

So, this summer I got an intimate look at Microsoft Windows 8 and the Surface. Suffice to say, it made me happy as a Windows girl. It only makes sense that I’d put the new Surface 2 in my gift guide. Improvements to the Surface include faster processor, dual-position kickstand, thinner, lighter, increased battery life, Full HD display, better front and rear facing cameras, faster usb ports, backlit Touch and Type covers. Microsoft Office, Skype and Skydrive accounts are also included. The Surface 2 starts at $449.00 and Surface 2 Pro at $899.00 on microsoftstore.com.

I want - I got's Holiday Gift Guide - HTC One
I want – I got’s Holiday Gift Guide – HTC One

I finally ditched the Blackberry + iPhone smartphone combination I was doing this year. I contemplated getting another Blackberry because I knew there was no way I was going to make the iPhone my primary device. I had a real love hate relationship with it. Once it was clear that Blackberry wasn’t going to make another full sized keyboard based phone I decided it was time to ditch the company and go Android. HTC’s PR company send me an HTC One to review for a month. It was love at first sight. Anyone who saw me that month can attest that all I talked about was this damn phone. Recommending it to everyone. I loved the phone so much, I went out and bought one the day before I returned the review device. To understand the importance of this decision you have to understand that I haven’t paid for a smartphone in a number of years (thanks to the blog). I felt so strongly about the HTC One that I went out and spent my hard earned money on it. I don’t regret it for a second. It’s the best phone I’ve ever owned and the best smartphone camera I’ve ever used. Check out my Instagram to see what’s it’s capable of. Telus, Bell, Rogers and Virgin Mobile all stock the HTC One but it retails without a plan for about $650.00.

I want - I got's Holiday Gift Guide - Samsung Galaxy Note 3
I want – I got’s Holiday Gift Guide – Samsung Galaxy Note 3

I was very lucky to be one of the few people that was gifted the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 + Gear. If I wasn’t such a huge HTC One fan, the Note 3 would be my primary smartphone. The size of the Galaxy Note is one of it’s strengths and one of it’s major weaknesses for me. It’s just too big for my hands to use as an everyday device. I do lot of one handed manipulation of my smartphone and I’m not ready to give that up. I never realized how much I miss a stylus until I got my hands on the Galaxy Note. I’m really impressed with the handwriting recognition and it’s damn cool to write longhand on a device and have it converted. The old person in me loves this because sometimes thoughts come out better with a pen in hand. The Note 3 isn’t my primary phone but it’s come to replace my Kobo arc as my tablet. I love playing Tiny Death Star and Restaurant Story on it and Instagram is so incredible. The Samsung Galaxy Gear is Samsung’s push into wearable computing. The Gear is too big for my wrist so I never really used it. It’s a bit of a toy to me but would be a perfect gift for the tech nerd who wants to be the first to try all the new stuff. The Galaxy Note 3 is available at all major telecoms and it retails for about $750. The Samsung Galaxy Gear retails for about $329.99.

I want - I got's Holiday Gift Guide - Kobo Arch 7HD
I want – I got’s Holiday Gift Guide – Kobo Arch 7HD

I still a fan Kobo devices. I like the Kobo Arc because it runs Android and it’s in colour. With a colour ereader I felt comfortable ordering digital magazine subscriptions from Zinio and purchasing books with photos and illustrations from Kobo..The Kobo Arc has been upgraded this year to include HD resolution, faster processor and improved camera. Kobo Arc 7HD starts at $199.

I want - I got's Holiday Gift Guide - Jiffy Steamer J-2000
I want – I got’s Holiday Gift Guide – Jiffy Steamer J-2000

I’ve struggled for a number of years with commercial grade steamers. They’d last a year or two then break. I swore the next steamer I bought would be profession grade. I polled my stylist contacts and was told Jiffy is the steamer to beat. I tracked down a Jiffy J-2000 steamer on Kijiji and I couldn’t be happier. I was lucky to find a used one but I would have paid full price for it. WM Prager sells Jiffy J2 steamer and it retails for $295.00.

geekiviews: Sodastream


Believe the hype. The Sodastream is an amazing kitchen appliance. The Sodastream system allows you to carbonate plain old tap water at home. Pair this carbonated water with many of the different flavours of sodamix and you have an alternative to buying pre-packaged bottled and cans. Most Sodastream systems carbonates tap water without electricity or batteries. It uses an exchangeable CO2 carbonator that can be refilled with beverage-grade CO2 drawn from the air. The company also makes flavoured syrups so you can make your own drinks like cola, root beer and even tonic. The flavours have less calories and carbs than traditional sode and the major bonus of no awful aspartame and high-fructose corn syrup.


Weeks before I got my hands on a Sodastream system I heard nothing but praise. “It’s a game changer” is something I’ve heard from more than one person when describing the Sodastream. These incredible endorsements from people I trust peaked my interest, perhaps I should invest in a Sodastream. I love pop and my local convenience store can attest to this. The idea of creating my own pop while reducing my use of bottles of cans is something anyone can get behind. Apparently one reusable SodaStream bottle can replace 2,000 bottles and cans according to the marketing team from Sodastream.


I was lucky enough to be invited to the Kraft/Sodastream event that happened in May. Kraft being the smart company they are created flavours of their signature products like Kool-Aid that people can use with their Sodastream device. I raided the candy bar and received a Sodastream Source device which included the soda maker, carbonating bottle, carbonator and 6 pack sodamix taste sample. It retails for $149.99. Sodastream devices run from $99 to $279.

The Sodastream is super easy to use and I found myself making soda daily. My only complaint about the device is that it can be loud. I get nervous using it late at night but my neighbours haven’t complained yet. The carbonator lasted me about a month and a half and I was using the Sodastream about 5 times a week. I was wondering if finding new carbonator would be a huge pain in the ass but the Walmart in Dufferin Mall is an authorized Sodastream carbonator exchange centre. So thankfully it was close but I when I went to exchange my carbonator I learned that they had just gotten new stock in after a few weeks of being empty. The sales associate mentioned backorder delays with the company make it tough for a little bit. I decided right there to buy myself an extra carbonator. A refill costs about $21 and a brand new carbonator will set you back about $40.

I’m a believer in the Sodastream although I’m not the biggest fan of the syrups I have tried. I plan on getting some Italian Soda syrup to try out with it. I have a big soda habit and the Sodastream has done an amazing job with saving me money and steering me to healthier soda choices. It’s help me to consume more water too as I love having a sparkling water option right at hand.

images: me, courtesy of Sodastream

geekiviews: Microsoft SurfaceRT

Microsoft SurfaceRT
Microsoft SurfaceRT

I’m a Microsoft Girl. It’s not sexy and probably not cool but Windows is my operating system of choice since the DOS days. Now while I might be a windows junkie, I’m also very, very slow to adopt new versions. I ran Windows 2k and XP till the bitter end. I skipped everything in between XP and 7 and only reluctantly started using Windows 7 when it came pre-installed on a Dell laptop. So just as I’m getting comfortable with 7 here comes Windows 8. My aversion was at high alert again. I read about how differences in the OS, including the moaning of the missing Start button. I started thinking about how long I could put off upgrading again. The Start button is life on a Windows platform. A constant reassuring feature that every Windows user understands. Now that I’ve tried a flavour of Windows 8 I don’t have the same extreme aversion I used too. I got over myself a bit.

I don’t do well touch devices. I’m a staunch Blackberry lover. I need my keyboard, its life to me. Touch screens are too inefficient for my old school ways. I hate typing on them, with a passion. These quirks of mine keep me attached to my laptop as the workhorse and the tablets as playthings. I love my Kobo Arc but it’s better as consumption device. I don’t create on it, that’s my laptop. Yes, it comes back to the keyboard plus I like the flexibility of a mouse for fine movements.

I followed the launch of the Surface by Microsoft in June of 2013 and it surprised me. Of course I loved the cover slash keypad. They stressed that it’s a desktop replacement that can do all the work and still have tablet accessibility. I wasn’t in the market for a desktop replacement so that was it.

Microsoft SurfaceRT
Microsoft SurfaceRT

Fast forward to now and through the Work Your Game program, Microsoft Canada provided me with a 32GB SurfaceRT. My operating system change phobia wouldn’t allow me to jump right in and put Windows 8 on my Dell XPS. I needed to see it somewhere else first or have it forced up on me via a new computer purchase. So here I have this fun thing to play with and get to know Window 8.

From a hardware standpoint I love the SurfaceRT. It looks slick and durable. The kickstand is genius and pairing with the keyboard makes the happiest tablet user ever. There are two types of keyboards: Touch and Type which is perfect for old schoolers like me that crave tactile feedback. It’s light and small enough to fit in my Rider bag with the touch keyboard attached. The SurfaceRT has a USB 2.0 port, HDMI port and a microSDXC card slot that lets to add up to 64GB of extra storage.

Microsoft SurfaceRT
Microsoft SurfaceRT

The swipe gestures in WindowsRT are easy to learn and execute. It comes with Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT Preview. So you are ready to go with spreadsheets and word processing. IE10 isn’t a mobile browser you so get the full Internet browsing experience. With WindowsRT I find myself using the search feature much more. You just start typing on the Start Screen and the search automatically displays and allows you to search the device, your apps, the Windows store and the Internet via Bing.

Overall, I’m very happy with the SurfaceRT. However there are a few things that I’d like to change. I wish the SurfaceRT ran the full version of Windows 8. I don’t like being tied to app stores on my devices. I have control issues. The Windows Store is lacking a lot official apps and I’m finding this to be limiting as I can’t efficiently duplicate tasks I perform on my laptop. It would be really great to be able to use those applications with the tablet and keyboard combo. With time I imagine the selection will be better as more and more people start developing for Window 8 but it’s just not there yet. One bonus is the fully function browser for web apps that don’t have nd official presemce in the Windows Store. The camera was disappointing. It’s not good but this seems to be a common feature I run into with the various tablets I’ve interacted with or owned. Centralized social profiles can be unmanageable if you have a lot of contacts like me. It took longer than normal for WindowsRT to sync with my all social profiles.

Overall, I like the Windows 8 platform. I didn’t require a long period of adjustment which I liked. The Start button absence is a small shock. After I started looked at the Start Screen as my Start button it fell into pieces. I think the OS great for touch devices. It’s easy to navigate and I find myself using both the keyboard and screen together. I like navigation advantages of the touch screen but having that stability of an external keyboard. WindowsRT has a touch screen keyboard. I avoid it like the plague. I do like that you can choose different layout styles for it. I’m not sure how much I’d like to run Windows 8 on a non-touch device though, however the upcoming Windows 8.1 update might change my mind. Windows 8.1 is Microsoft’s response to customer demand for the return of the Start button. Shows you how important this featured introduced in Windows 95 is so fundamental to the user’s experience and expectations of a Microsoft operating system.

There are four versions of the SurfaceRT tablet available:
32 GB tablet – $499
32 GB tablet with black Touch Cover – $599
64 GB tablet -$599
64 GB tablet with black Touch Cover – $699
If you purchase any SurfaceRT tablet in June you will receive a free touch cover.

This post was sponsored by Microsoft Canada. The views and options expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.

i want: Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II

Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II
Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II

I was in Bay Bloor radio looking for some spare earbud covers but somehow ended up getting a demo of the Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II. My earbuds were sold out but I started talking to the Sale Associate about the Beats Pill, a portable speaker. The wasn’t sold on Beats but mentioned that Bose has the best portable speaker in the business right now. I was intrigued so it was demo time.

The speaker connect to devices wirelessly via Bluetooth which makes it available for use by any Bluetooth enabled device. A major plus for those that love their iPhone upgrades and the inevitable change in hardware that makes all peripherals obsolete. I connected my iPhone to the Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II and started pumping out some Lucy Pearl. Bay Bloor Radio was filled with the sweet sounds of “Don’t Mess With My Man”. There was power and clarity in this portable speaker. I was really impressed because I’ve never heard a small portable speaker with such huge sound. It’s only 3 pounds and has an integrated cover (which comes in Nylon or Leather). The Rechargeable lithium-ion battery lasts for up to 8 hours of play. I was sold as soon as I heard “Don’t Mess With My Man”. This would be perfect for my balcony, summer days in the park, trips to the island and impromptu photoshoots.

You can pick up the Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II at Bay Bloor Radio or baybloorradio.com starting at $329.

images: baybloorradio.com

I want – I got Holiday Gift Guide – Part 1

So, this year I lost my mind and I decided to create a holiday gift guide. I’m usually anti-gift guides because I’m not much of a Christmas person and gift guides are a shit ton of work. I don’t know what made me change my mind this year but here we are. People have told me this is a good idea, so I hope you find it helpful or amusing.

This is the part one of four in the I want – I got Gift Guide series. I have so many favourite things I wanted to include. This gift guide is very much I want – I got. You’ll see things I want, things I got and other obsessions.  Some things are affordable and some aren’t but I’ve tried to mix it up. The list covers fashion, beauty, electronics, art, toys and booze. Basically, all the items on the gift guide are I want – I got approved.

So, join me on this exploration of things I would love to see under my tree at Christmas.

complex geometries coma sweatshirt, complex geometries Long Turtleneck Dress
complex geometries coma sweatshirt, complex geometries Long Turtleneck Dress
  • complex geometries Coma Sweatshirt ($240) – online at complexgeometries.net and Fawn (967 Queen Street West, Toronto) carries complex geometries in Toronto
  • complex geometries Long Turtleneck Dress ($262) – online at complexgeometries.net and Fawn (967 Queen Street West, Toronto) carries complex geometries in Toronto. Looks like the gold turtleneck is sold out folks. There are grey and navy options.
Synergy Jem & The Holograms, Dean Davidson Plaza Ring, Hermès Clic Clac H Bracelet, Hermès Brazil Enamel Bracelet
Synergy Jem & The Holograms, Dean Davidson Plaza Ring, Hermès Clic Clac H Bracelet, Hermès Brazil Enamel Bracelet
  • Synergy Jem & The Holograms doll collection ($125) – Holt Renfrew (50 Bloor Street West, Toronto)
  • Dean Davidson Plaza Ring ($185) – Holt Renfrew (50 Bloor Street West, Toronto) and online at DeanDavidson.ca
  • Hermès Clic Clac H Bracelet ($645) – Hermès (130 Bloor Street West, Toronto) and online at Hermes.com
  • Hermès Brazil Enamel Bracelet ($565) – Hermès (130 Bloor Street West, Toronto) and online at Hermes.com
Givenchy Dahlia Noir Eau du Toilette, Maison Martin Marigela (untitled), Balenciaga Florabotanica Eau de Parfum, Demeter Fragrance Mahogany
Givenchy Dahlia Noir Eau du Toilette, Maison Martin Marigela (untitled), Balenciaga Florabotanica Eau de Parfum, Demeter Fragrance Mahogany
Mykita x Moncler Lino Sunglasses, Gap Twill Parka, m0851 Medium Weekender, Moncler S Mayuko
Mykita x Moncler Lino Sunglasses, Gap Twill Parka, m0851 Medium Weekender, Moncler S Mayuko
Smythe Great Coat, Philip Sparks Slip Dress
Smythe Great Coat, Philip Sparks Slip Dress
Dell XPS13 Ultrabook, Worn Fashion Journal Subscription, Print from YellowKorner
Dell XPS13 Ultrabook, Worn Fashion Journal Subscription, Print from YellowKorner
Church's Classic Burwood glossy leather brogues, Jeremy Laing Mouton Knit Sweater, Jeremy Laing Ridged Fan Sweater, Maison Martin Margiela Glitter-finished raffia brogues
Church’s Classic Burwood glossy leather brogues, Jeremy Laing Mouton Knit Sweater, Jeremy Laing Ridged Fan Sweater, Maison Martin Margiela Glitter-finished raffia brogues
ROM Membership, AGO Membership, TIFF Membership, Opera Atelier The Magic Flute Tickets
ROM Membership, AGO Membership, TIFF Membership, Opera Atelier The Magic Flute Tickets

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of the I want – I got Holiday Gift Guide.

geekiview: Velocity V50 Compact Vapor Generator Iron

Velocity V50 Compact Vapor Generator Iron

I’m a total garment care nerd. I love my clothing and I take care of it so it lasts. I hang dry a lot of my wardrobe and that results in lots of ironing and steaming. I ditched my old iron years ago when I learned about Rowenta steamers. However for garments like dress shirts and pants I really, really missed that crisp feeling and look an iron provides. I tried for many years with a steamer but I just can’t replicate that look. Last year, I broke down and bought a shitty cheap iron for pants and shirts. It wasn’t that good but it was sufficient.

I attended the TFI New Labels Contest this year and I sat at a table with folks from TNT and Reliable Corporation. I knew who TNT was so I proceeded to find more information about Reliable from my seatmate, Kimberly. They are a long time sponsor of the TFI and the company specializes in professional and commercial steam cleaning products as well as sewing and fabric care products. Kimberly mentioned their technology briefly and how they’ve brought it down to the consumer level. So, just how good is a Reliable iron I asked Kimberly. I will never forget her face. She looked at me, smiled and said our products are very special. Two words are quite an endorsement. I needed to get my hands on one. Before the night was out, Kimberly handed me the Velocity V50 and told me to report back to her.

The iron being very special is a fucking understatement. THIS IS THE BEST IRON I’VE EVER USED!!!! I can’t imagine using another brand ever! The Velocity V50 is much heavier than the standard iron and I didn’t understand why until I turned it on. I went over the computer to check email or twitter or something and I heard this rumbling coming out of the iron, then a continuous jet of stream began pouring forcefully out the soleplate. I was confused, no iron had ever done this before. Thankfully I wasn’t standing in front of the damn thing when it went off. Turns out I had pressed the steam activation button inadvertently.

The atented continuous steam technology pre-heats the water in its internal heating chamber and this results in continuous steam even at low temperatures. I tested this out by setting the iron to one bar and the steam was as consistent as if it was on high. AMAZING! With the internal heating chamber this iron doesn’t drip, spit or leak all over your clothing. Woolmark has approved this iron stating that it’s safe to use on all types of delicate wool fabrics.

Using the Velocity V50 is a dream. I know, I know, I have a strange fetish with garment care. It’s the ultimate iron I didn’t even know I needed until it presented itself to me. Shirts and pants are ironed with precision for the perfectionist in me and it also takes less time. If you have a complete obsession with your clothes and their presentation this is the iron for you. The Velocity V50 is the base model of the commercial irons at Reliable and retails for $99. You can order the iron online at reliablecorporation.com with free shippig. You should also take a look at the other Reliable iron that has me salivating and thinking upgrade, the Digital Velocity V100.

images: reliablecorporation.com

Q Collection by iWatchz

Q Collection by iWatchz

I get a lot of email and I’m not very good at keeping up on top of it. I get my fair share of  WTF and shady type emails too. I usually ignore these. Last weekend, I got a short and cryptic email about an amazing watch that I just needed to see. I would be getting a scoop and the company is Toronto based.  Looking at my BlackBerry Torch (Thanks RIM) I thought, Do I reply or not? I was very skeptical but my desire to reply for shits and giggles over took me.  Hell, I like watches too. We had a bit of back and forth with me blowing him off with each exchange. Then he dropped a name I knew. My bullshit filter dropped as I realized that we’ve met. It was during my trip to NYFW for the Spring 2008 collections. We were sitting in at the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel lobby drinking with his wife and The Oracle. I agreed to meet him to finally see this thing.

Q Collection by iWatchz

The thing is called iWatchz and it takes your 6th generation iPod nano and turns it into a wristwatch. I knew the product was Apple related as the email stated it would be for sale at Apple stores starting November 23. iWatchz isn’t what I expected at all. It’s a really neat product. It uses a clip system which they have patented and called nanoclipz that allows you to easily snap the iPod nano in place.  All parts of the device are accessible with this system. The Q Collection is the first line of styles. The nanoclipz attaches to a silicone band and comes in eight colours (black, red, white, grey, pink, blue, green and orange). The nano isn’t included and the iWatchz costs $24.95 USD

“When we developed the nanoclipz system we had several goals in mind. The product had to be stylish, simple to use, affordable, and had to ensure the ipod nano would remain secure while still giving the user access to all the functionality of the device (earphone jack, buttons, and charge/sync port)”

I immediately loved the iWatchz, it’s such a good idea. The name however I don’t approve of. Too much i and z. The nanoclipz is very strong and keeps the iPod in place. I can see this being very good for rollerblading and skiing if I snake the core up an arm. They have a great selection of colours including my favourite orange. It’s a good way to reduce the number of gadgets one carries around. I’m getting one delivered to me so I can test drive it out. Look to my twitter feed for twitpics and comments tomorrow.

I saw some samples of other watch band styles and heard about some interesting limited editions styles too. I’m looking forward to seeing how it the iWatchz sells during the holiday season.  I think it will do very well and the placement in the Apple Store is a real bonus.

images: courtesy of iWatchz

geekiviews: Zi8 Pocket Video Camera

Zi8 Pocket Video Camera
I received the Zi8 Pocket Video Camera just in time for LGFW this year. I’ve used the HD video feature on the Olympus E-PL1 so I was curious how these dedicated video cameras function. I guess the Zi8’s main competitor is the Flip video camera. I’ve never used the Flip camera before but I’ve held it. The Zi8 is a bit wider but they are very close in size.

The camera has the following features:

  • Capture video in 720p HD at 60 fps, or 1080p HD at 30 fps
  • holds a up to 32GB SD/SDHC card
  • External microphone jack
  • takes 5MP 16:9 Widescreen HD photos
  • built-in image stabilization
  • 2.5 colour LCD screen
  • Internal USB connector, no extra cables
  • Includes HDMI cables so you can hook it up to your HDTV
  • Included KODAK Li-Ion Rechargeable Digital Camera Battery
  • Compatible with PC and MAC
  • Includes video editing software

The Kodak site has a great video that explains the features that the Zi8 offers. In perfect lighting the Ki8 takes some great video. It packs a lot of punch for $200. Here are a few short clips I’ve created

Holt Renfrew Presents

I didn’t use the included camera software but I like that it’s preloaded on the device so you don’t need a CD. The software has easy to share to YouTube and Facebook features.  These things aren’t features I normally would use. The software is always available if you want to use the camera on a different computer. I don’t usually edit videos I take because I’m lazy, not very good at it and don’t have much time. Thankfully the software isn’t needed to copy video and I just use windows explorer to browse the device. I don’t have an HDTV so I never played with that feature either. I don’t usually use the included software in media devices unless absolutely necessary. I took a lot video of during Toronto Fashion Weeks. Some of it isn’t pretty but most of it is very watchable.

Denis Gagnon Spring Summer 2011

I do have some complains about the camera though.  I was trying to film the entire Denis Gagnon Spring Summer 2011 runway show at LGFW. Pressing the middle red button starts and stops recording. It’s also used for the zoom feature with up and down motions.  During the filming I was zooming in and out capturing details of the handbags and the clothing. It was after the show was complete did I realize that I only captured the first 3 minutes of the show. I turned off recording when I was zooming and it wasn’t really noticeable on the screen that I wasn’t in record mode. I was a bit steamed about that. This wasn’t the first time either.  I found it a bit difficult to film details with this camera.  Video is jerky when using the zoom. It doesn’t help that I don’t have the steadiest of hands either.  That’s probably more a critism of my technique more than the camera but I didn’t find it as easy.

The size of the Kodak Zi8 is a disadvantage to me. I’m already such a gadget whore that I hate adding another device to the mix. There were days when I was carrying my Blackberry, iPod Touch, Kobo eReader, Olympus E-PL1 digital camera and the Kodak Zi8. It’s too much. I can see myself bringing the Zi8 it along if I don’t carry the Olympus E-PL1. My Blackberry Torch doesn’t have HD quality video so the Zi8 is preferable. The Olympus takes very good HD video, so the duplication isn’t necessary. I acquired the Nokia N8 smartphone last week and the HD video and Dolby sound blows the Kodak Zi8 and many others out of the water. It also is way smaller. A geekiviews post for the N8 will come later.

This would be a good product for someone who doesn’t have HD gadgets like an iPhone or HD-ready camera already and is looking for something very simple and easy to use. It’s an all in one gadget which makes it easy for beginners. There are no cables to keep track of or lose. It seems pretty durable so it would be good for kids or travel.

There are some more videos taken with the Zi8 during Toronto Fashion Weeks after the jump

Kinect for Xbox 360 Experience Centre

Kinect Experience

I raved about the Kinect for Xbox 360 when I played it at the X’10 Canada: Xbox 360 Holiday Preview Event. Now the public can experience the Kinect at the new Kinect for Xbox 360 Experience Centre on Yonge Street. I was invited to the private launch party where I got to drink beers and play Kinect for 4 hours. IT WAS AMAZING! I really can’t think of a better way to spend an evening. I predict lots of drinking and Dance Central parties once I get my hands on the Kinect for my place.

Kinect Experience
Kinect Outfit Breakdown: Complex Geometries Tank, Joe Jean Leggings (courtesy of Holt Renfrew) and Dr. Martens boots (courtesy of Dr. Martens)

I brought my friend Mark Rabo ( who runs Gamercamp with Jaime Woo) along. I think we played pretty much every game available to us. We were sweating like crazy as the Kinect isn’t a passive gaming experience. You are moving around and if you are crazy like me you’re flaying around too. Thank god for the beer.

Kinect Experience

I love the Volleyball game. It brought back memories of big air and spikes on the high school volleyball team. Le Sigh. I love that sport.  I also played a lot of Dance Central and got my Poison dance routine on. 🙂 Kinect also takes photos of you during the game as you are wildly moving around. They can post them to social networks like facebook, etc if you choose. At X’10 I thought that feature was kinda silly but I changed my mind after this session of Kinect. I had some great David Lee Roth high kicks going on it photos. I would totally put that stuff up on facebook or twitter. It’s so silly and fun.

Kinect Experience

Kinect for Xbox 360 will hit stores November 4, 2010 in North America.

The Kinect for Xbox 360 Experience Centre is open till December 1, 2010.

Kinect for Xbox 360 Experience

X’10 Canada: Xbox 360 Holiday Preview Event

X'10 Canada: Xbox 360 Holiday Preview Event - Kinect for Xbox 360
I don’t do much on I want – I got that deals with video games. People send me links to their iPod/iPhone apps but nothing from any of the game companies. That was until the invite to the Xbox 360 holiday preview came through email. Jackpot! There were all types of games at this preview event like the new incarnations of Halo, Fable and Mortal Combat. The Kinect for Xbox 360 system impressed the hell out of me. I want a Kinect Xbox 360 system. I NEED a Kinect Xbox 360 system.

Kinect for Xbox 360 brings games and entertainment to life in extraordinary new ways — no controller required. Simple to use and fun to play, Kinect for Xbox 360 allows owners to jump into Kinect-enabled games for any type of play, and the Kinect Hub puts your favourite movies and TV programs, music, live sports, and social networks all in one place. The Kinect sensor recognizes you, responds to your gestures, listens to your voice and works with every Xbox 360 console.

That’s right, NO FREAKING CONTROLLER. Your body is the controller and it’s incredible. The controls are hard to get used to and interacting with Kinect is clumsy but you can see from the product specialists that it just takes getting used to. The game that most responsible for me wanting a Kinect for Xbox 360 is MTV Games’ Dance Central. That’s right, you dance! It’s awesome.

X'10 Canada: Xbox 360 Holiday Preview Event - Dance Central

This game is like crack. I danced to Poker Face by Lady Gaga and Funkytown by Lipps Inc. It was delightful. I wanted Singstar before, now I want this. My movements are recorded synchronized with great precision for the game, just amazing.

“Dance Central”™ is the most immersive full-body, controller-free dance video game with fun choreography for beginners and experts. With more than 650 moves and more than 90 dance routines from professional choreographers, you’ll be able to rehearse and perform from your living room.

Microsoft, revealed 10 new artists and songs from the highly anticipated Dance Central™ on-disc track list exclusively for Kinect for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. Hot hits and classic dance beats from artists like Cascada, Rihanna, Kylie Minogue, Nelly Furtado, Kool & The Gang, Technotronic and more will soon let players get their groove on while performing routines from professional choreographers in the first full-motion body tracking dance video game.

Check out this demo from E3. Crack I tell you, crack.

See what I’m saying! How can you not love this game.

Winner of the E3 Game Critics Best Original Game and Best Motion Simulation Game, as well as more than 30 additional awards and nominations, Dance Central is a full-body, controller-free dance video game with fun choreography for beginners and experts. Whether rehearsing in Break It Down! or owning the dance floor in Perform It!, players will be introduced to more than 650 moves in the game and more than 90 dance routines created by professional choreographers. In addition, players can earn achievements, unlock new character outfits and venues and progress through the dance ranks. Dance Central even gives players a calorie-burning tracking option so they can turn all that fun into an actual workout. In Dance Battle, players can challenge friends to an epic living room showdown.

Unfortunately, this won’t be coming out until the holiday season. The Kinect will launch with 15 titles. Hello Microsoft, you’ve swayed me back to the darkside of videogame addiction. I’m ready to be consumed by game again. It took a controller-less product to break this long silence between us.

Sanrio 50th Anniversary – Sanrio x Girl Skateboards

Sanrio 50th Anniversary

Here is some Sanrio 50th anniversary goodness from Girl Skateboards. It’s a Hello Kitty skateboard along with matching t-shirt and wheels. Hello Kitty for the guys seems is the focus of this collaboration.

Sanrio 50th Anniversary – Sanrio x Girl Skateboards

You can see more details about this collaboration on the JapanLA blog. They are also selling everything from the Sanrio x Girl Skateboards collection.

Sanrio 50th Anniversary – Sanrio x Girl Skateboards

As a “thank you” to their ever-loyal fans, SANRIO plans to unveil special co-branded collections, starting this summer with SANRIO x Dr. Martens. Signature Dr. Martens 8-eye boots & mary jane strap shoes will be bestowed a trademark Hello Kitty bow for this limited edition collection. Collaborations with a diverse group of brands including Brunswick, Girl Skateboard Co., Aerial7, Lomography, Demeter Fragrance, Mimobots, and Build-A-Bear Workshop will launch a plethora of amazing products at retail partners worldwide, featuring an assortment of SANRIO characters. A benchmark of SANRIO’s 50th Anniversary will include iconic characters appearing together for the first time ever (outside of SANRIO’s Harmonyland and Puroland theme parks in Japan), on products including the 8-eye Dr. Martens boot, a Brunswick bowling ball, iPhone cases, apparel, accessories and many other unique products. There will be plenty of signature “small gift” items at market as well, including pens and notebooks, coin purses, key caps & lunch cases, all carried in the 95+ SANRIO stores located across the country and at www.sanrio.com. “Our retail partners and licensees are equally as excited to be part of our 50th Anniversary celebration,” says Ms. Hsu. “We are working with each on targeted programs to mark this special occasion.”(source)

image: freshngood.com and japanla.com

geekiviews: Nikon S230

Nikon S230

Strategic Ampersand provided me with a Nikon S230 to evaluate for two weeks. I’m never really pleased with the performance of point and shoot cameras but it’s the cruel bargain I have made with myself. A digital SLR is just too big to carry around to events and that trumps any idea I have about owning one. I like something small and compact. I use a Pentax right now and I have a bit of a love hate relationship with it. I hate it more than my old Pentax. I broke my old Pentax but we had a great relationship. I was able to take consistently good pictures with the camera and I haven’t been able to replicate that feeling with the new Pentax. I was hoping the Nikon S230 might return me to those carefree days of great photos.

The big claim to fame for the S230 is the 3 inch touch screen. I’m usually not a touch screen fan but I was curious to see what the technology was like. Some of the other features include:

  • Choice of colours
  • 10.0 megapixel resolution
  • 3x zoom
  • Electronic VR image stabilization
  • 3-in. touch screen high-resolution LCD
  • ISO 2000 capability
  • VR Image
  • Stabilization
  • Scene Auto Selector
  • Motion Detection
  • Smart Portrait System
A great photo with the S230

There are a lot of features on this camera that I wouldn’t use and didn’t. There are some limited photo editing capabilities like the In-Camera Red-Eye Fix or the Paint functions. I do my photo editing in Photoshop and I don’t think I’d ever use those features on a camera. I tend to stay away from the preset features on cameras and stick to a customized setup.

The touch screen interface wasn’t bad. It was a bit slow at times moving scrolling through photos. It has an iPhone like experience for viewing photos. The shutter speed was much faster than my Pentax and I enjoyed the increased response time. The camera itself is light and compact. Playing with the autofocus features was interesting. This is where Nikon did a good job of integrating the touch screen with features. Using your fingers you can move the focus to where you need or increase the size of the autofocus area. That was the neatest feature of the camera.

A bad photo with the S230

Overall, I’m not a fan of the camera. It really boils down to the fact that I can’t stand the screen. The material used to make the screen durable and scratch resistant is also what makes taking pictures with this camera unbearable. It’s never clear enough to see if the picture turned out. When I take a photo with my Pentax I know exactly if the picture turned out or not. The display is crystal clear and there is no issues determining image quality.

The Nikon doesn’t allow that understandably. The images are always slightly grainy and I was never sure if it was the photo or the screen. It was only until I uploaded the photos to my computer did I find out their quality, which is way too late. When the pictures turned out they were amazing and when they didn’t they were bad. I’m sure this has more to do with me than the camera, but I just couldn’t take the pictures I wanted with the S230 that well. Day 3 of |FAT| I used the S230 to take my runway shots and I wasn’t happy with them at all. The camera doesn’t work for taking runway shots at all. No good for my line of work.

If I had the opportunity to evaluate a Nikon camera again I would definitely try another model as I wasn’t happy with the touch screen. The Nikon S230 retails for $239.95. Not a bad price.

geekiviews: LG TE365 Neon Mobile Phone

LG TE365 Neon Mobile Phone

During LG Fashion Week I had the opportunity to test out one of LG’s new mobile phones the LG TE365 Neon. I love playing with gadgets so I accepted.

A full QWERTY keypad for fast texting, quick access to your favourite social network sites, and threaded SMS keeps you in touch wherever and whenever you want. It also comes with a 2.0MP camera, a music player that supports 4GB of music, and a trim design that easily slips into any pocket or purse.

  • Dimensions :101.6 x 50.8 x 16.8mm
  • Weight :08 grams (3.65oz)
  • Battery Life Talk Time :Up to 4 hours, Standby Time :Up to 250 hours
  • Camera :2.0 megapixel Digital Camera
  • Messaging Type :QWERTY keypad for text entry
  • Ringer Type :64-chord polyphonic ringer
  • Voice Recording and Memo :Yes
  • Scheduler/Calendar :Yes

I’m a Blackberry user so going to a plain messaging phone is always a step down for me. However, the phone itself is compact and small. The slide out keyboard felt pretty sturdy and not flimsy. The screen was a good size and the display rotated when sliding out the keypad. It also has a touch screen interface for dialing the phone. I found the mixture of interfaces a little strange. I took a picture with the camera and managed to email it to myself using Rogers picture messaging service. The image, as you can see, is very small. My Blackberry has a 2.0MP camera and allows for larger image sizes and resolutions.

Photo taken with LG TE365 Neon Mobile Phone

I don’t have much to say about Rogers service as I wasn’t able to do anything. I couldn’t surf the web or use any social networking sites. There was no memory in the phone so I couldn’t tell you about the mp3 player capability. I did notice that things I would take for granted on my Blackberry (which has an unlimited data plan through Telus Mobility). Rogers system seems directed to getting you to pay for more things, ringtones, videos, etc.

geekiviews: The Arc Mouse by Microsoft

The nerd in me is all excited about the Arcâ„¢ Mouse I received Microsoft and Highroad Communications. It’s product that combines fashion/style and technology that would be fitting of a debut at LG Fashion Week.


It’s an interesting departure for Microsoft; I don’t know them as a style conscious company on the level of LG or Apple. However, this mouse is making me change my mind. It’s lovely and I don’t usually say that about technology.

Features of the mouse include 2.4 GHz – 30 ft. Wireless Range, Folds For Portability, Micro-Transceiver snaps into the bottom of the mouse and the ambidextrous design makes it comfortable either way. It also has a little pouch for carrying.

I immediately plugged it into my work machine. It worked without having to install any software. I had my Eee PC out at lunch and it was plug and play with that. My Eee PC runs Linux and I didn’t have to install anything. I was so pleased. It opens up to become a fullsized mouse that is very comfortable to use.

The mouse has an estimated retail value of $69.95 but I’ve seen it at a local shop for $59.99.

LG Prada phone @ CES 2009

So, my LG Canada friends have been keeping me posted about the new Prada phone that debuted at CES this year. I’m always interested in the intersecting world of fashion design and electronics.

It looks very slick but there isn’t much in way of specifications right now:

  • Camera 2M CMOS Camera / LED Flash
  • Dimensions 98.8 × 54 × 12 mm
  • Weight 95g
  • Memory External Memory Slot (Micro SD)
  • Standard Battery Innerpack Battery 800mAh
  • USB USB 2.0, USB Mass storage
  • Bluetooth Bluetooth 2.0
  • Frequency EDGE Tri-Band (900/1800/1900)

geekiviews: Zune Edition – Zune Premium Headphones

This is the second post in a series about the Zune. You can read the first post here.

To recap, I’m a guinea pig testing out the Microsoft Zune – 8G. I have Matchstick to thank for this. I’m one of 300 people in Canada in the program.

So I’ve been fully immersed in the Zune for the last couple of weeks. I have a lot to say, but I’m going to talk about the Zune Premium Headphones right now. All headphones provided with media players are crap, so I was pleased when I was provided the upgrade. I have a pair of Shure Headphones which I love to death, so these would have to be pretty good for me to be impressed.

The Zune Premium Headphones are a step up from the standard but they aren’t my Shures, that’s for sure. (bad pun!). I took the headphones blading which is my standard for determining sound isolation – they failed unfortunately and I heard way too much wind for my liking. I think that might be more of a problem with the ear pieces; I can’t find a pair that fits the best. I don’t have that problem with my Shure headphones though, I hear nothing but the music.

I thought the headphones were too heavy also. That’s mostly due to the magnets in the earbuds that are used to keep the wires from tangling. Neat idea though.

I’m a huge fan of the soft fabric cable. I really wish my Shure’s had this feature. I love the look and feel of it and I hope this design catches on. I bet the wires don’t freeze up in the winter too.

The sound quality of the headphones are good and they aren’t expensive ($59.99). I’m a headphone snob though. Yes, my headphones cost more than my iPod and Shure is my pimp.

geekiviews: Zune Edition – Microsoft Zune, initial thoughts

So I’m a guinea pig again this time it’s for Microsoft instead of Motorola. I’ve been asked to test drive the Microsoft Zune – 8G. I’m not particularly attached to my iPod so I said why not. I have Matchstick to thank for this. I’m one of 300 people in Canada in the program.

So you’ll be seeing some Zune posts on the site as I give you my thoughts about the product and if it can be an iPod killer.

Initial thoughts:
1. Interesting packaging. They are really trying to emulate the Apple way of packaging. The player is packaged great, not a lot of waste. I can’t say the same for the headphones and AC adapter that came with it.
2. Not sure about the packaging colour scheme, brown, orange. It’s unobtrusive I guess.
3. It’s a lot smaller than I thought.
4. Don’t like the scroll wheel
5. The interface is very flashy, with animation and all that. I’m definitely not used it to, so I’ll reserve judgment for now
6. It has a radio. I don’t listen to the radio and can’t remember the last time I carried a music player that incorporated it.
7. I keep trying to scroll in circles, lol. The Zune uses and up and down scrolling motion
8. It’s has these social tools incorporated in it. Not sure about these yet.

Another thing that is interesting with this program is they are tracking word of mouth. I have a Conversation ID: 102 986 0045, that you can use on ChatThreads.com to comment on this conversation about the Zune. If you complete the survey you can either donate money to charity or enter a draw for $500 gift certificate from Amazon.ca

EDIT: Now I feel like I’m really being tracked. They gave me a fancy gizmo for the post. I wonder if I can get a hold of the report at the end, hmm 🙂

i want…

Emporio Armani Skorpion Quadline Roller-Skates
As a rollerblader, these Emporio Armani Skorpion Quadline Roller-Skates are very appealing to me. IThe Armani ones are a little pricey at about $425USD. I checked out the other types from Skorpion, the company who created the skates for Emporio Armani. The Quadline is the much cheaper option with black costing $189USD and colours costing $250USD.

Skorpion Quadline

I have no idea where you can buy these in Canada right now, but I will update this post once I find out. You can get them online at skates.com though.
images: emporioarmani.com and skorpionquadline.com

i got: Asus Eee PC

Eee PC 2G Surf
I love my little new toy. It’s not a laptop but a mobile internet device. It’s the size of a tradepaperback, weights about a kilogram and I’m in love. I was debating about getting a laptop, but I haven’t been jazzed up about laptops since Apple put out 12″ ones, they were sweet. I didn’t want to buy a used mac so I decided to evaluate what I really would use the thing for. Can you guess?

That’s right, mobile blogging and general keeping up with email. I realized that I just wanted to be able to browse the internet, blog and check email. I started to research my options and saw the Eee PC around a lot.

The price is awesome, the comes in a range of colours and the size is perfect. It runs a GUI version of Linux. I’ve only really used Linux in a terminal and the GUI version is like any other GUI based OS, like Windows or Leopard. You basically just plug the thing in and go, nothing to install. The OS starts up in EasyMode which is nice for people who don’t know what they are doing and kids. I immediately started searching for internet for ways to modify this thing and make it less dumbed down.

I picked up the base model which has 2GB of solid state storage. The OS takes up about 75% of that space, but it has pretty much all the applications you’ll need and some you won’t. You can get versions that go up to 8GB and include webcams. Memory is expandable via usb keys or SD cards.

I love putting stickers on my computers so I was glad when my goldenfiddle stickers showed up in the mail. Spencer sent them to me all the way from Georgia and I was surprised to get three of them. Thanks so much, you rock! I’ve been a fan of Spencer’s blog for awhile now and he is never passed over on my RSS feed.

Okay Steve, I take everything mean I ever thought of you back.

I attended the Motorola RAZR 2 Party last week at Kool Haus. I have to thank Ian from Hill & Knowlton for the invite. I brought Danielle from Final Fashion with me.

The venue was draped with white cloth and had weird ethereal lighting. We drank, ate and chatted with the Motorola models. The crowd was a little strange at first, mostly suits and their significant others. The atmosphere changed once our friends started to slowly stream in.

The music was great from the start and DJ Steve Aoki was coming up. I admit that prior to him hitting the decks I haven’t had anything nice to say about him; another L.A. hipster blah, blah. However, I had a change of heart after he begun. He played great music, seemed unpretentious and professional. No, I didn’t talk to him, just observations. Anyone that can make me dance my ass off with great friends around is amazing in my book.

Geekiview: Would you wear this?

I get some funny submissions at times. Yesterday, I received information about the CPC STRAPâ„¢ which claims to be a hip and stylish way to wear your cellphone. I have a couple of issues with this:

1. I don’t want to wear my cellphone and I think those that do have a serious problem, it’s a tool dammit.
2. These things are neither hip nor stylish. I would use the word ugly, tacky even.

You can tell this person didn’t read my blog because then he would know that I have something called taste. Adding tacky jewelery off a cellphone holder is not something I would endorse as hip and stylish. Normally I would just ignore this stuff, but this was good blog post fodder.

image: www.htl-wireless.com


I’ve been meaning to do another post about my adventures with the KRZR for a while, but things would come up.

Fashion and the Mobile Phone
I’m going to start with a response to the question posed by my KRZRblogging friend Sonja from TorontoStreetFashion.com. She asks “Are mobile phones a fashion or in fashion? Do you think people notice your phone at all?”

When it comes to mobile phones I’m a function over fashion girl. It’s a tool not a dress. People do notice mobile phones even in Canada, I’m guilty of it too, but it’s usually more from a technology standpoint than a design one.

I made a comment about the KRZR software that is totally incorrect. It truly sucks. It’s beginning to remind me of my battles with my Sony MD player software back in the day. I have a couple questions for the software designers.

1. Every time I connect the phone to my computer I’m prompted to install the Motorola USB Modem software. Why is this?

2. Why must you add so much bloatware to your software? I don’t care about a spash page nor do I care for your graphical display.
Motorola KZRZ software display
I can just imagine the development and testing that went into this GUI when real problems like the USB Modem software are left. I don’t even understand the point of this display and why it couldn’t be incorporated in the main working window that displays when you click the icons on the phone. I can only compare this to my Moto Q and the software is way superior.

3. Why is your software so slow?

The lack of flash really hinders this camera but I was finally able to get some decent shots out of it.

Things I need to try still
1. Connecting to my computer with bluetooth.
2. Creating my own ringtone with Melody Maker.
3. Creating a video.

I wish I got my hands on this Krzr.

i want…

A Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS

with Yoshi’s Island
Nintendo DS Yoshi

I became obsessed with the Nintendo DS when I was in Vancouver. Thanks Caleb. Now I must have one. Yoshi’s Island is the best game ever.

KRZR me!

I was asked to preview the new Motorola KRZR and since I love to give my opinions to whoever will listen I said yes. 🙂
Motorola KRZR
I met with Ian from Hill & Knowlton to pick up the phone. He handing me this snazzy metal briefcase. Jesus, I said, am I on some kind of secret mission. The photo below was taken with the KRZR.
Motorola KRZRpreview case
Not bad at this size.

I’m a Moto Q user so I’m not loving the phone as much as I would like. I really miss my email access :(. I said I would use the KRZR so I bit the bullet and switched the handset yesterday. Yes, that’s email withdrawal in less than 24hours. I’m pathetic. If I wasn’t already spoiled with a smartphone I think I would love the KRZR.

I’m still getting used to the phone. Uploading my contacts, calender and tasks was super easy thanks to Windows XP and Outlook. The MP3 player function is what stands out to me from my initial usage of the phone. It kicks the Moto Q’s ass, which uses Windows Media player which I’m not a big fan of. The music quality is amazing and it has good volume levels. I got an adapter in my package and I was able to use my Shure headphones to listen to music, it was heaven. I like the external music navigation buttons, but I wish there was some kind of lock function to prevent accidentally hitting the buttons.

Next steps is getting my Mario Bros ringtone on this thing and making my own. Yes, the KRZR comes with Ringtone making software. I’ve got some music that would be awesome, Madvillian, Bjork, Goldfrapp. YAY!

PS – There is a white one too.

I’m having a hard name with this KRZR name thing. I had to go through this post and correct all the times I wrote KZRZ instead, bah.

images: krzrbloggers.com