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Life With My Intel Asus Tablet

intel asus tablet unboxed

Back in July I was approached by Intel to be an Intel Insider. What that means is, they give me a pretty great Asus tablet that runs via Intel, and I keep the world updated with my thoughts on it.

Just before I was approached, I had been dragging my 17 inch laptop around to various editorial meetings around the city (joys of freelance life), and was getting incredibly frustrated with how bulky and heavy it was. As much as I prefer the 17 inch screen for my Netflix habit, I needed something small that wouldn’t require a backpack just to take anywhere. So when I got the email asking if I wanted to take part, it was kismet.

The best part about the tablet is that it isn’t really a tablet. I had a tablet a while back and got rid of it because I have a Samsung Galaxy 5 that has a screen big enough for my couch surfing needs. When I’m using a decent sized screen, I like to have the ability to type. So a tablet that functions as a computer is a must for me.

I had recently been a part of a program promoting Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 during their pop up shop at NXNE (but sadly Microsoft did not give me one to try out), so I knew this kind of tablet would work for me. But the Surface is more than double the price of this one, and it works just the same. Save your cash, people!

The thing I love most about it is that it fits in my purse. It’s as light as a book. No more shoulder and back pain when going to meetings!

When it comes to getting work done – the beautiful thing is that it syncs right up with my 17 inch laptop – so it looks and functions just the same. This is one benefit to the dreaded Windows 8.

It comes with Microsoft Office so I can do all my writing on it with relative ease. When I’m home I still prefer to use my big laptop because typing does get a little harder on the small keyboard, but if you’re just using it to send tweets and do research, it definitely won’t slow you down.

The option of using it with or without the keyboard is also helpful for those times when you do just want to get on Instagram and scroll through image after image on a larger screen.

For travel purposes it is also a blessing. Going back home to visit my parents used to be a pain in the ass because I’d dread dragging my laptop back and forth on the damn Megabus. Now it’s no biggie. It takes up almost no space in a suitcase and I can always put it in my purse if I wanna use it on the trip.

The battery lasts all day. You can plug it into a printer. You can upload photos. You can get on Skype. Basically it’s a fully functioning laptop that can also be used as a tablet.

The only downside I’ve found is that, at just 32 GB of storage (most of which is taken up by everything it comes with installed) it runs out of memory real fast. But, because it has expandable memory with a microSD slot, that’s an easy one to fix.

Overall, I’m relieved to have it in my life, and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to get a tablet.

I’m required to disclose the relationship between my site and Intel Canada. While this item was gifted to me for review, all opinions are my own. 

Lisa

Want to Access American Netflix, Spotify and More? Use Tunnelbear

tunnelbear

 

Many of you reading this are, like me, Canadian. And if you’re like me, you’ve often encountered things you want to watch or access that are blocked, simply because you are located in Canada. What a bunch of jerks!

Anyhow, I’ve recently been using this great program called TunnelBear (cute advertising ftw) to get around the ohh so annoying blocks that living in the great white north provides.

I know a few tech nerds who jump through hoops doing all kinds of complicated nerd tricks in order to access American Netflix. I once watched one of them do it and it nearly made my head explode. And that is why I love Tunnelbear. No more of that. Just download the program, turn it on, set it to USA and you are officially seen as an American – the internet walls come down! No more crappy Canadian Netflix!

As many of you are music fans, you’re probably as annoyed as I am that Spotify still isn’t available in Canada. It’s a shameful fact, but Tunnelbear can quickly and easily help you get around it.

The most annoying thing for me has always been with Hulu – so many great shows and clips are made available on Hulu – and if you read American websites, they post these videos ALL the time. It drives me insane. But now that I have Tunnelbear always turned on, I see the proper video every time without doing anything. It’s awesome.

The cool thing about this program is that it was created by Canadians! These people know what it’s like to be stuck here, so close, yet so far away from all that American content. That’s why they invented it back in 2011.

Currently, over 2.3 million people use it in 154 countries, so clearly they have tapped into a need people were desperately seeking.

Another great perk is that it increases your privacy big time, by acting as a middleman and encrypting your connection. Let me tell you, keeping your identity private in these creepy, hacker friendly, stalker-y internet times is very, VERY important.

The nice thing is that you automatically get 500MB of free tunneling each month, and if you want to increase that by an extra GB all you have to do is tweet at @TheTunnelBear and you’ll be bumped up.

What are you waiting for? Go tunnel your way into Spotify, now that you finally can!

 Lisa

Giveaway – Nokia Lumia Smartphone Prize Pack

nokia lumia 520

Remember a few months back when I tried out the new Nokia Lumia 520 and loved it? Well, thanks to Nokia Music, now you can too! They’ve provided a shiny new smartphone for one of you awesome peeps to win, along with an album to keep all your concert ticket stubs safe and organized (I want this!) and the audiobook of local legend Alan Cross’s Guide To Alternative Rock. Pretty sweet.

To win, you must be a subscriber to my newsletter (first issue to come Friday!) and then you must comment below specifying if you would prefer the Rogers or the Telus version – NOTE – you must use the email you used to subscribe to the newsletter when commenting below so I can verify - or else your entry is invalid. Please remember that you do not need to put your email in the body of the comment, please only enter it where it asks for your email.

Subscribe here to enter the giveaway:


As usual, TTRO Facebook fans can also gain a bonus entry by sharing my status about this giveaway.

The winner will be chosen and contacted via the email address they used to subscribe, on September 3rd, 2013.

 Lisa

TGIF – Music Venues, Dog Concerts, and Kids Tweets

 how strange it is to be anything at all graphic design neutral milk hotel lyrics

Whoa, Friday is here again, already. June is almost over yet I feel like it just began. This weekend is filled with beer related activities for the Craft Brew Festival, most importantly Strange Brew with Dwayne Gretzky tonight!

I’ve barely been home this month so you’ll have to excuse this massive build up of links from the past few weeks. Hope you have a lot of spare time today:

Lisa

Nokia Music Now Available In Canada + I No Longer Think The Killers Suck Live

nokia music canada lumia 520 review jbl wireless speakers tech music blog the killers toronto acc annoucement

I recently had the chance to attend a Nokia Canada announcement event at Air Canada Club alongside a handful of other Toronto music + culture bloggers. The invite wasn’t clear on what the event was for – just that they would be making an announcement, Alan Cross was a guest speaker, and we were invited to stay for The Killers show happening a little later in the evening.

I’ll never turn down a free concert – yes, even a free Killers concert.

Surprise, surprise, I am eating my words from last fall where I talked about how horrid The Killers are live. Yes, when I saw them WAY back in 2004 they were indeed horrible. But almost a decade later, they have learned from all that bad press and found their groove. Thank god. Playing to a stadium sounding the way they did in 2004 – charging what they now charge – would be a joke.

There’s something to be said about road experience. They have it now, along with a huge budget to back it up (and maybe ensure the auto-tuning that happens on the album is in place during the show, so Brandon’s vocals actually hold up).

Beyond the fact that vocally, he sounded worlds better than what I remembered, his stage presence was off the charts. No longer was he just singing songs and not looking at the audience, acting too cool for anyone. No, he was the picture of a leading man – introducing every song, interacting with the audience, building the energy up, running around the stage, having fun with the band – he was in complete control. It was like I was looking at a completely different performer – there really is no comparison with the brooding Vegas douche who needed vocal lessons that I witnessed during the Hot Fuss tour.

They also smartly stuck to the hits – meaning it was still a Hot Fuss heavy set, which made it extra nostalgic and enjoyable for me, since I tuned out after that album.

Anyhow – back to my original reason for being there.

As it were, the event was to announce the release of Nokia Music in Canada.

The speakers for the evening were delayed because the Killers decided to soundcheck at the exact same time the event was scheduled – I’ve never seen a band soundcheck a huge empty venue before (or watched a show from the ACC Club box seats), so that was actually kinda neat.

When it did begin, Alan Cross told us about the future of mobile music, and how Nokia Music has done what (in my opinion) Apple should have done a long time ago, and is offering up free access to their massive music collection with the purchase of any of their Windows smartphones.

I wondered what the catch was, because free music services always seem to  have a catch – but the only catch is that you have to buy the phone. As it should be.

Of course, they do need to make money to pay the artists, so if you want to avoid the 6 song skip limit I grudgingly endure with Songza on my Android, you can subscribe for unlimited skips. Definitely worth it.

They gave all the bloggers at the event a Nokia Lumia 520 to take home so we could personally try out Nokia Music – along with an amazing wireless speaker from JBL, Monster earbuds, and a one year subscription to Nokia Music.

I have made it no secret that I do not enjoy Windows 8 and its weird unnecessary app start screen in place of the start button – so I was skeptical about a Windows smartphone to say the least – but after playing with it for a couple weeks I can officially say it’s a solid (and very affordable!) smartphone.

For one – it looks 100x prettier than both the Android, iPhone and Blackberry (all of which I have owned at one point). The way it lets you personalize the screen is, for me, the most attractive of all the smartphones by far. The way that Windows 8 fails as a desktop, it wins as a smartphone. It makes perfect sense to have an attractive app home screen on your phone.

Nokia Music is amazing, because not only can you listen to all the music you want – it will take a look at your personal music collection and recommend artists for you to listen to.

You can also make custom mixes from your favourite artists. I made a ‘Broken Social Scene, Elliott Smith, Nirvana’ mix that purely played only songs I love – something that doesn’t happen so much on my other music apps.

The BEST part? You can download mixes right onto your phone so you don’t need a data connection to listen. Do I need to repeat that? The worst part about Songza is that it cuts out in the subway when my data connection cuts off, leaving me music free.

There’s no need to worry about such a situation happening with Nokia Music. This is particularly awesome for me as it means I can listen to my mixes when I take Mr Bojangles on walks, even though I haven’t switched my phone service over.

The Windows phone definitely wins against my Android in terms of music performance, beauty/simplicity of the layout and homescreen, and touchscreen ability (you can use it with GLOVES ON).

But, I am hesitant to switch over until they acquire an Instagram app. That is the whole reason I got an Android in the first place. They already have all the other necessary apps – Instagram is the only one I would legitimately miss out on. But this is the first incarnation of the Windows smartphone so there is a lot of room for improvement on all the apps.

I can’t wait to see where Nokia and Windows go with these new smartphones. I can definitely see myself switching over soon enough. The music alone is  a good enough reason.

Have you tried Nokia Music? Would you consider switching over? 

 Lisa