8 Tips & Tricks to Save Money on Tech

Using Ebates to shop online
Ebates is a great way to get cash back!

We love having the latest and greatest tech, but it can be a very expensive thing to keep up. So, we’ve learned some tips and tricks along the way to save money and get great deals on tech.

And now, we want to share our tips and tricks with you! So keep reading to learn how to save on your next big tech purchase.

Apps:

Ebates

Ebates is a cool app that we started using a couple months ago. When you’re shopping online, use Ebates to get cash back at your favorite stores.

Ebates has a large selection of popular online stores that give cash back if you make a purchase through the app. A few tech-related store options include Amazon, Best Buy, The Source, Lenovo, Dell, and Apple Certified Refurbished (occasionally). read more

Our Top 5 Free Productivity Apps to Stay Focused, Efficient and Connected

productivity apps
Productivity apps are designed to keep you on track and organized.

 

Most of us have busy lives, and most of us have at least some kind of tech… whether that’s a laptop, a tablet, a smartphone or something else.

So, why not use your tech to make your life a little bit easier by being more organized and efficient? And that’s the point of productivity apps!

Keep reading for a list of our top 5 favourite productivity applications. Hopefully you’ll discover an app that makes your busy life a little more productive…

1. Trello

Trello is a really great app for project management. It’s like a virtual bulletin board for organizing your personal or professional projects, trip or event planning, and anything else that includes multiple tasks or goals.

You organize your board into lists – for example, you could divide your board up into stages like “to do”, “in progress” and “complete”. And then, you add cards (tasks or steps) under each list. So if you have a task in the “to do” list, once you get started, you can move the task into the “in progress” list.

Trello is simple to use and allows you to visualize everything you need to do to complete a project. Plus, you feel a lot of satisfaction when you start to see your cards end up in the “complete” list.

You can sign up for free and get access to all the basics – definitely good for personal use. Or, there are two upgrade options for more features like board personalization, quicker customer service and more board organization capabilities. These are good options for professional projects or big companies.

2. Apple Notes

This might be surprising, since Apple Notes doesn’t seem like an exciting app. But the reality is, we use Apple Notes everyday and it really does make our life easier.

So what makes Apple Notes such a great productivity app? It’s collaborative and makes day-to-day tasks like errands or taking meeting notes so much more efficient.

Create to-do lists, build tables, take notes or scan documents right into the note with the built-in scanner.

Plus, easily share your notes with other people for collaboration (we use this feature for our grocery or chores list all the time). And when someone else updates the note, you get a notification!

Notes is compatible with the Apple Pencil if you’re using the iPad. So, take meeting or class notes with the Apple Pencil, and then conveniently email out your note directly from the app. This is great if you need to send out your notes quickly to a large group or to someone who doesn’t use Apple devices!

And best of all? It’s pre-installed on your iPhone, iPad and Mac! If you haven’t already integrated Apple Notes into your daily routine – it’s definitely the time to start!

3. Sling

Sling is an excellent scheduling app if you need to schedule and keep track of shifts. This app is great for both team managers and team members, and helps ensure a well-functioning team.

If you’re a manager: easily schedule shifts, manage vacation time, and track employees hours and time. Plus the app tells you if you’re double-booking!

If you’re a team member: get alerts about your next shift, plan ahead by viewing the upcoming schedule and other people’s vacation time, and see tasks that your manager has assigned to you.

One of the greatest features is a chat where you can keep in touch if someone’s running late, sick or needs to trade shifts. The chat feature helps eliminate the need for email inbox overload, and keeps everyone accountable –  managers and team members!

4. Microsoft Outlook App

Outlook is by far our favourite email app on our iPhones and iPads – even more than Apple’s Mail app. It’s free, and it’s simple to use.

We find that Outlook is a well-designed app that doesn’t interrupt your workflow or make older emails difficult to access. And, you can choose how your emails sit in your inbox. You have options like organizing them into threads, or using the “Focused Inbox” feature. This helps filter out emails that clutter up your inbox.

Probably our favourite feature: switch between multiple accounts really conveniently! A great feature if you want to have your work/school and personal emails in one place.

And finally, there is a calendar directly in the app! So, plan appointments and book contacts into meetings or events easily.

Microsoft Outlook increases productivity by being super user-friendly and decreasing wasted time with your email inbox!

5. Slack

Slack is a popular communication tool for small-to-medium sized teams at school or work. The apps allows you to create organized chat channels for different teams/projects. This is great if you have multiple projects going on within your team.

With Slack, share files with a group, use voice or video calls to better collaborate, and search your chat history for important keywords. File sharing is simple with the drag-and-drop capability (none of that search-and-upload time suck).

Overall, this tool is an awesome tool to make communication really efficient and helps with organization. It’s free for a basic account, but you can upgrade for more storage and other premium features.

The only watch-out: all that easy access to the GIF keyboard can really destroy your productivity if you’re not careful 😉

Long Story Short

These are some of our favourite productivity apps that help us work efficiently and be overall more productive. They’re also free, which is super helpful!

What are your favourite productivity apps? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Interested in more apps? Check out our 5 favourite apps for travel here.

 

 

 

6 Ways The Apple TV is More Than Just TV

The Apple TV

There are lots of TV streaming options out there… but we really want to talk about the Apple TV. This device is way more than just a way to watch television.

It’s interactive, it can help you stay connected and healthy, and it fits so perfectly with Apple’s other products. We love it.

Keep reading to see why we think the Apple TV is more than just TV.

Airplay

With the Apple TV, you don’t need to worry about cords! You can easily mirror your iPhone, iPad or Mac display to your TV with the Airplay feature.

This means you can watch that funny video on the big screen, or plan a trip with a group by mirroring Safari onto your TV.

This feature is also awesome for the odd time that you need to stream a movie from the internet. Find the movie on your iPhone or iPad, then put it onto your TV with Airplay.

Airplay is a great way to integrate the Apple TV with the rest of your devices, and enhance your experience within the Apple ecosystem.

Stay Healthy

With the Apple TV, there are a number of fitness apps you can download to stay healthy.

In addition to workout apps like DailyBurn, you can gets apps for yoga, healthy diets and mindfulness. These apps make Apple’s device interactive on a whole new level – and great for your health!

Plus, one of our favourite ways to use the Apple TV for health is through the YouTube app. We love streaming Yoga with Adriene videos so we can stretch with her on the big screen! Definitely recommend.

Social Media

You can actually access social media on the Apple TV. Most people prefer to use social media on their phones or tablets, but some companies like Twitter and Facebook have created optimized apps to use specifically with this device.

Facebook developed an app specifically for viewing video content on the Apple TV. You can access videos from Facebook, plus the videos your friends share. It’s pretty neat, considering Facebook videos are one of the main reasons to use Facebook these days… apart from Messenger.

Twitter has also created an app that is perfect for this device! You can actually watch a live stream of events, and see people’s live reaction tweets. And, you don’t even need a Twitter account to use this app. Really great if you want to follow or engage with sports or arts events, a breaking news story or big cultural trends.

Show off your pictures

The Apple TV has a stunning screensaver sequence of aerial views from cities and landscapes all over the world. It’s 100% one of our top favourite features. And now the device actually displays the name of the location you’re viewing!

But, if you ever want to show off your adventures, you can actually make the screensaver into your own digital picture frame. Just go into settings and choose to make your own photo stream the screensaver. This will display your most recent pictures taken on any connected device.

A great feature for showing off a recent trip, or having family pictures in background while you’re around the house.

Game

Did you know that you can actually download games onto the Apple TV?! AND Apple sells a gaming controller that is specifically made for the Apple TV.

You don’t need the controller to play the games – the Siri remote that comes with the device works is compatible with every game and it works quite well – but it’s cool to know that you have the option.

The games may not compare to the experience you’ll get from an Xbox or a Playstation, but if you’re looking for casual entertainment, these games should fit the bill.

Cool Hardware

The hardware that you can use with the Apple TV is pretty cool. We already highlighted the game controller, but the device also comes with a simple remote control. If you lose the remote – no problem.

You can actually use your iPad, iPhone or Apple Watch as a remote. Or better yet – set up any universal TV remote as your Apple TV remote, so you have multiple options to control your device.

Plus, you can even connect wireless headphones or a Bluetooth keyboard to your Apple TV for a more comfortable, personalized experience.

Long Story Short

The Apple TV is more than just your average TV streaming device. It’s an interactive tool that fits seamlessly into the Apple ecosystem, and into your life. That’s why we love and recommend it!

What’s your favourite feature of the Apple TV?

9 Points to Ponder Before Buying Your Next Phone

iPhone box
iPhone X and iPhone XS Max Boxes

When buying a new smartphone, there are so many models, manufacturers, and features to consider… it can be overwhelming.

So, here’s our list of top things to think about before you buy a new phone.

Hopefully it helps you narrow down what’s important to you, how you like to use your phone, and which tech company offers a model that fits your life.

Keep reading to learn more, and feel free to ask questions or give your opinion in the comments below!

Size

Phones have been getting bigger and bigger, and there is a small vocal minority that still desires a phone that fits easily into your pocket… not to mention your hand.

Think iPhone SE (4″ screen)… some people love that size phone. On the other hand, some people want their phone to be as big as possible, especially for viewing content.

The size of your phone is personal preference. It typically depends on how you like to use it, and what your budget is. But, trends show that most people are enjoying bigger, taller phones.

And consequently, content like Instagram stories are now created to fit the taller displays. On smaller screens, sometimes words or pictures get cut off as content is made for bigger phones.

So, you’ll want to keep this in mind: bigger phones are now the norm, and content is built to fit them. You’re likely going to have a better experience with a bigger phone.

Operating system

This has been debated time and time again: which is the best mobile OS? iOS or Android? This truly does come down to personal preference.

iOS is living in Apple’s walled ecosystem. So generally speaking, it provides a more consistent experience. It is more closed and less flexible, which some people find boring. But, more and more services are being offered on Apple OS, so the experience is growing and evolving. It’s also stunning (in our opinion!).

Android is more flexible and customizable since it anyone can modify its code. Samsung, LG, OnePlus, and more all have their own version (skin) of Android. This is Android’s greatest strength and its greatest weakness, as it makes the OS more fragmented and less secure than iOS.

But like we said, it comes down to personal preference and probably what you’re already used to.

Screen

The screen is the window to all of the content on your phone. It is important that the screen looks nice so you can really enjoy using your phone… especially if you like viewing content on your phone.

Nice screens have a high resolution, and are bright and crisp. This makes text sharper, and images and videos crystal clear.

If you are looking for a premium experience, look for buzzwords like OLED and HDR to get the best picture quality.

Most popular smartphones use OLED technology for high-quality screens, but some “budget” phones still use LCD. The iPhone XR has an LCD screen, one of the main reasons it’s cheaper than the other iPhone models.

Battery life

Several years ago, phones were getting thinner and thinner at the expense of battery life. We were using our phones to do more, but the batteries inside just weren’t keeping up.

For example, the iPhones 6 and 7 had mediocre battery life. So people demanded better battery life, even if it meant having a slightly thicker phone.

And now, that’s what we’ve got. The iPhone XS Max is certainly thicker than previous models, but it can get you through a day of use without needing a charger.

So, if you’re looking for a powerful battery, you may have to sacrifice a razor-thin phone. But it’s 100% worth it in our opinion.

Longevity and Future-Proofing

Every year, the big tech giants seem to release powerful new smartphones. While it’s great to get the best new thing, it’s expensive and not always necessary.

Nowadays, iPhones use such advanced processor technology that they can last 3-5 years if you take good care. And lately, Apple has been ensuring that software updates improve older iPhones, not slow them down.

So, you can have confidence that Apple is prioritizing longevity and you won’t have to replace your phone every 2 years.

As for competing Android manufacturers, they don’t offer long term support and updates in the same way that Apple does. So our recommendation is to go with Apple if you do want to choose an older phone model.

Build quality and aesthetics

You want a phone that looks good and feels good in your hand. Premium materials to look for include glass (this enables wireless charging), stainless steel and aluminum.

We don’t recommend plastic, as it often looks and feels cheap. But the positive: plastic phones are often the most affordable and very durable.

Camera

Camera technology is one of the best areas of improvement in recent years.

Google is pushing mobile photography to the absolute limit read more

Apple Watch: 5 Ways It Improves Your Day

apple watch series 4
The Apple Watch Series 4

Going from the Apple Watch Series Zero to the Series 4 has been a massively positive change. The biggest surprise is how much the Apple Watch Series 4 can improve the day-to-day, with even the smallest features.

A lot of these great features aren’t unique to the Series 4 either! So if you’re thinking of buying the Series 3 or 4, some features we talk about may apply to both.

Keep reading to learn the 5 (plus) ways we think the Apple Watch can make your day easier, healthier and more free!

Cellular Data

This has been an unexpected game changer for us. Possibly the best addition to the Apple Watch is the cellular data plan. Through your current telco, an Apple Watch data plan costs around $10 CAD per month.

With data on your watch, you have the freedom to leave your iPhone when you’re on the go. The best thing has been doing errands with just the Apple Watch, but still receiving calls and iMessages. It helps you feel free yet connected!

It’s also super helpful on the odd day you forget your iPhone at home… you don’t have to worry about missing anything important!

Convenient Transactions with Apple Pay

If you’re set up on Apple Pay, you can actually pay directly from your Apple Watch. This means your daily transit, grocery or lunch purchases are super secure and extremely convenient (as long as Apple Pay is accepted).

Not only that, but you can actually access your Apple Wallet from your Apple Watch! So, you’ll have quick and easy access to rewards cards like Air Miles or PC Optimum during a transaction.

A secret bonus is the shock and awe of the cashier and other bystanders when they realize you’re paying with your watch!

Useful Watch Face Widgets

The Apple Watch Series 4 watch face has a variety of useful widgets (also know as “watch face complications”) so you can quickly view useful information throughout the day just by looking down at your watch.

These widgets include:

-The daily weather highs and lows, so you know if you need to throw on an extra layer before leaving the house

-Calendar appointments so you can get a sense of the day ahead of you

-Your favourite stock if you’re interested in tracking your investments

Giving you quick and easy access to this information can make your busy day-to-day just a little bit smoother!

Notifications at a Glance

You can sync your iPhone notifications (like texts and emails) with your Apple Watch to get a quick glance without removing your phone from your pocket.

This is a convenient feature if you’re waiting for an important message or sports game update during a class, work meeting or other daily obligation. You can discretely check your notifications without being on your phone all the time.

The downside to getting the notifications on your watch is that it’s tough to respond to the messages. You can answer with your voice or by writing the message with your finger, but sometimes neither are very convenient.

You’ll probably want to resort to using your iPhone for longer responses.

Daily Health Benefits

The Apple Watch has lots of features to keep your health top of mind every day.

If you sit a lot during your work or school day, the Apple Watch sends you an alert to stand up every hour. It’s a nice reminder to get your blood flowing and take a stretch.

Plus, this smartwatch tracks your daily exercise, making it easier to set and achieve daily exercise goals. And, you can see if your heart health or average pace is improving.

It can also track your steps! So, if you use Carrot Rewards, you should definitely set it up on your Apple Watch and get rewards for walking!

Bonus Feature: Entertainment!

The Apple Watch can keep you entertained during the duller moments of your day. You can do the following while commuting, waiting in a line or on a long walk home:

-Connect your AirPods and listen to Spotify or a podcast

-Download and play some short but fun games

-Enjoy Pokemon Go on your wrist

Who would have thought you can have so much fun with a watch?!

Long Story Short

The Apple Watch is an incredible little device that has the power to improve your day, keep you connected, save you time, and so much more. And, we love the freedom it provides by allowing us to leave the phones at home from time to time.

How does the Apple Watch improve your day? Comment below!