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Tag Archives: technology

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

Sometimes It Pays To Complain (Or, How I Got Best Buy To Honour My Warranty)

laptop, samsung, best buy, best buy warranty sucks, yonge dundas, worst employees, computer

Back in February I posted about the unbelievably awful experience I had with Best Buy over Christmas, and the two months they left me without a computer – only to give me back my laptop just as broken as it was when I first brought it in.

The situation was a shitshow from the start, and I’ll still never buy from a big box store again, BUT, after reading my post, the head office in Vancouver called me up and told me the store would be in contact with me to work something out.

The wonders of social media, friends.

So the store manager called me and apologized for the unnecessary wait, and he offered to set me up with a new computer. Thrilled that something good had finally come of this ordeal, I quickly accepted and he gave me some times to come into the store to see him directly.

Of course, this is the store that is full of fail, so when I got there during the time he told me he was working, dragging my super heavy 17 inch laptop with me, they told me he was already gone for the day because the other manager came in early. These people!!! The worst. 

So I dragged it in another day, and after a 10 minute wait he finally showed up, took a look at my computer and said he could give me a laptop for the current value of mine (600$). I wasn’t expecting to be able to choose one that day since on the phone he said they would have to look at mine and get approval, but now he said they could do it then and there.

Having no clue what I wanted other than a 17 inch screen, he gave me two options, and I went with a Samsung model he seemed to be pushing on me. Only upon looking at the receipt on my way out did I see this computer he recommended was on sale, and worth $160 less than my computer (it wasn’t even on display in the store). I had asked about an HP that was actually $600 but he told me Samsung lasts longer and that this particular HP was a cheaper model that would die sooner – having quite the love affair with my Samsung Galaxy SIII phone, I was inclined to believe him.

I’m still annoyed that I ended up with a cheaper sale computer, but the worst part is that it is running Windows 8. What a nightmare. While I’ve finally (mostly) gotten used to it, for about three weeks I really wanted my busted two year old laptop back just so I could have Windows 7 again. On the positive side, this laptop does have a faster processor and a lot more space than my old one, so I can’t really complain. If I could get the stupid right hand side panel to stop popping up EVERY single time I move the cursor slightly to the left I might not hate it so much.

Had I known when he first called me, that it really meant I’d have to give them my old computer to keep, and get Windows 8 instead, I’m not sure I would have agreed to it as fast as I did.

BUT they did make an effort to fix a major fuck up, and the new laptop is still a newer, better laptop without a busted hinge, so its still a nice little win against the corporations.

Have you ever complained to or about a brand and had them actually listen and fix their mistake? Share, please! 

 Lisa

State of the Mobile Music Industry

the state of the mobile music industry infographic on mobile music apps in 2013

Thought you guys might find this infographic from VentureHarbour interesting.

It seems unreal to me that 87% of the world’s population has a cellphone?! Also nice to see that streaming will continue to contribute more and more to artists incomes. Digital album sales are  up significantly, and that is only going to continue as the years go on. Music apps are easily the most important and most used apps on my phone, and I’m sure it’s the same for all of you.

 Lisa