CRTC says customers can cancel wireless contract after 2 years

Phone locked on white backgroundCanada’s Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says wireless customers will have the ability to cancel their cellphone contracts two years into their term without early termination fees — even if the term is longer — under a new code of conduct unveiled Monday.

The new code, taking effect Dec. 2, is unveiled after a set of public hearings earlier this year had customers demanding clarity of their cellphone contracts and additional charges on their monthly bill.

Also announced by the CRTC includes a overage data cap of $50 per month, and an international roaming data cap of $100 per month in an attempt to minimize surprise bills.

Customers will be able to unlock their mobile devices after 90 days, or immediately if they opt to pay the full price of the device.

The CRTC said customers will also be allowed to return their cellphone within 15 days of purchase (given they’ve stayed within usage limits) if they’re dissatisfied with the wireless provider’s service.

Attendees react to the announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S4

The latest Galaxy phone from Samsung is receiving mixed first-impression reviews from attendees and technology pundits, after having a chance to play with the device first hand.

“For the amount of hype put behind this event, I was hoping for more focus on the hardware, versus just the ‘Smart’ features,” said Shan Yun, a technology blogger based out of China.

Samsung’s latest iteration of their flagship phone, the Galaxy S4, was announced to a sold-out crowd in New York City at Radio City Theater Thursday, as it was being streamed over the Internet for the world to see.

The phone sports a five-inch high-resolution Super-AMOLED display, weighs in at 130 grams (lighter than the current Galaxy S III), and one of the most tweeted-about features from fans is the device’s 13-megapixel camera on the back.

“The really interesting aspect of this device is that it becomes a life companion for you,” Paul Brannen, vice-president of Samsung Mobile said.

Software was a large focus of Thursday’s event.  Samsung played with the Radio City Theater theme, putting on a talent show featuring students from a New York City school.  They applied the phone’s new features into real-life situations, demonstrating “S Translator,” an app that allows you to use voice to verbally translate phrases—perfect for world travelers.

Samsung’s “Dual Camera” feature will enable users to use both front and rear cameras to capture a photo from both cameras simultaneously.  The app will superimpose the image from the front camera with the image from the back camera so that everyone can be in the shot—even if Mom is taking all of the photos at the beach.

“These are the types of features users look for—we know smartphones are powerful, but we want to know what exactly we can do with that power,” Yun said.

Other features include “Smart Pause,” the ability for the phone to sense when you are—and aren’t—looking at the phone. The Galaxy will play and pause the video accordingly, so you don’t miss a moment of your favourite flick.

If health is something you’re trying to buckle down on for 2013, “S Health” turns your phone into a full-fledged fitness tracker.  It will keep you up to date by measuring a variety of factors including your heart rate, weight, blood pressure, glucose levels, and graph it visually so you can get a better idea of your overall health.

“I go to the doctors quite often, and having the ability to go back and show him my health trends over the past few days, weeks, or months is really powerful,” Brannen said.

Technology pundits are saying they were disappointed that certain features were missing from the Galaxy, including longer battery life, new hardware redesign, and a metallic body that would better-survive accidental drops.

“I’m looking forward to see how this phone will shake up the market,” attendee Michael Watt said.  “From what I can see on Twitter, it looks like a lot of—dare I say it—iPhone users will make the ditch for Galaxy.  Only time will tell.”

Specific pricing and availability for the Galaxy S4 have not been announced, but it is set to launch on most major wireless carriers at the end of April.

March Break: Staying connected while abroad

It’s that time of year again—March Break is here and many people are traveling abroad for vacation.  Here are my five tech gadgets to help you stay connected to your loved ones no matter where you are.

Samsung WB800F:

This camera has built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, and will allow you connect to your hotel’s Wi-Fi network and upload photos to your favourite online social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

GoPro HERO3:

This is a mountable, full high-definition video camera that’ll record hours of footage for upload to friends and family.  Whether you are skydiving or skiing, you can mount the camera on your helmet, chest, or even on the side of a car, and record footage using the built-in wide-angle lens—great for people with an active lifestyle.

Philips In.Sight:

If you are traveling abroad for any length of time, chance are you want to make sure your home and the contents in it are safe and secure.  This camera from Philips is wireless, and paired with an app on your smartphone, you can check in on your house no matter where you are.

BlackBerry Z10:

BlackBerry, known for their BBM service, will help you cut down on long distance calling bills when you are traveling abroad.  BBM’s new feature, BBM Voice, will allow you to make free calls to other BlackBerry users using this service—all using the wireless connection in your hotel or Internet café.

Avocado app for iOS and Android:

If you decide to go on a girls-only vacation trip and leave your partner at home, this app will keep you connected at all times.  This free couples-only app gives you the capability to send messages and photos, and even allows you to do things like virtually kiss and hug your partner all the way from another continent.

Products courtesy of Future Shop

Episode 19 – Anti-Bullying Apps – App Central

Statistics are alarming, reports indicate that the majority of bullied victims have experienced a form of cyber bullying through hate comments on social networks.  There have been services in the past like Kids Help Phone where victims can reach out for help, but now social media and apps have flipped the way victims can seek help.  Rather than victims going to the Kids Help Phone for example, the groups are going to the victims through apps and mobile sites.  Essentially, it makes it easier for the victims to seek the help they need.

BULLY SHIELD, $0.99, iTunes App Store, iPhone and iPad

This app is created by a bullying prevention doctor to provide students positive strategies to reduce the effects of bullying.  It discusses how to handle situations when you are being bullied.  It comes with very helpful tips, and is perfect for parents, students, and educators alike!  For bully victims, it gives tips on how to handle bullies, and for parents, it gives tips on how to handle situations when your child is being bullied.

BULLY BLOCK, $0.99, Android Marketplace, Android

The Bully Block app allows users to “covertly record verbal threats and harassment, block inappropriate texts and pictures (e.g. sexting), and utilize auto respond features.”


  • Bully Block utilizes a stealth recorder to captures bullies within the act. The user pushes a button on the app and the cell phone will go into stealth mode and secretly record the bully.
  • A unique blacklist feature allows users to block all SMS or MMS messages from bullies. He or she will either hear a busy signal or pre-recorded message. All phone calls and text message from blocked list are automatically routed to the “bully file.”

SAFETYWEB, $10/MONTH or $100/YEAR, All Platforms

Better understand what your child is doing online with up-to-date activity reports on your child’s photos, videos, friends, comments, and profile information.  They claim that if your child has a mobile phone, you need SafetyWeb. “Know who is calling and texting your child, and whether your child is calling and texting within safe limits.”  You can see their “friends,” social networks, usage, and alerts are automatically sent when a red flag goes up.

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What Your Smartphone Says About Your Romantic Life – The Digital Life

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and if you’re shopping for a new smartphone, be sure to take a look at this interesting survey from the dating website,

Thanks to social networking and online dating, our love lives and our digital lives have never been more intertwined. So much so that it is said that 75 per cent of Canadian singles believe e-mail and texting have significantly improved their dating life.

What’s interesting about this report is that when it comes to love, found a significant difference between the dating behaviours of iPhone, Blackberry and Android users.

“The type of phone a person uses can be a window into their personality,” says Kimberly Moffit, Relationship Insider for “More so than zodiac signs or astrology, smartphones are the new way Canadian singles can decode their dating style and determine if they’ve met their match.”

Here is a breakdown of the dating styles, sorted by smartphone:

iPhone Users: The Office Romantic

  • Dating Style Decoded: iPhone addicts are the most likely to date someone in their workplace. Nearly a quarter of iPhone singles have had an office romance in the last five years.
  • Available Evenings and Weekends. After a first date, iPhone users are most likely to wait one day to reach out, while Android or BlackBerry users will wait until after 2-3 dates.


BlackBerry Users: The Drunk Dialer

  • Dating Style Decoded: If you’re dating a BlackBerry fan, prepare to imbibe. BlackBerry users are most likely to drink alcohol on a first date – 72 per cent will have a boozy beverage on a first night out.
  • Love at First Byte. A whopping 67 per cent of BlackBerry users say they have experienced love at first sight.


Android Users: The Seducer
  • Dating Style Decoded: Android users are most likely to be seduced on a first date. 62 per cent of Android singles say they’ve done the deed after date number one, compared to 57 per cent of iPhone users and 48 per cent of BlackBerry users.
  • Sexual Battery Life. Out of all smart phone users, Android fans are most likely to have a one-night stand (55 per cent).
  • Clicking for Love. 72 per cent of Android fans have visited an online dating site, compared to 58 per cent of iPhone users and 50 per cent of Blackberry users.
For those technophiles embarking on new dates in 2012, Relationship Insider Kimberly Moffit has developed a guide for navigating the digital dating world.
  • DON’T use your phone on a date. According to, the number one first date deal breaker for Canadian singles is having your match be distracted by his/her mobile. Show your date you’re invested in getting to know them by granting themyour full attention
  • DO wait before ‘friending’ your date on Facebook. Most Canadians think you should take it slow when it comes to adding a new romance to your social networking sites. You wouldn’t rush into introducing a date to your friends – don’t do it online either. Sometimes being a little mysterious is a good thing.
  • DON’T be scared to dial. Email and text messaging may be modern love letters, but it’s still nice to hear a voice once in awhile. Phone conversations are a great indicator of chemistry, and there’s less likelihood of tone being misinterpreted.  
  • DO try online dating. Over half of Canadian singles have visited an online dating site in the past year. Broaden your horizons and your social network by checking it out.
What category do you fall under, and do you agree or disagree with the results?  Leave a comment below!
Zoomerang conducted the national online survey on behalf of, surveying 1,068 Canadians from October 13 – 15, 2011.

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