Tech with home design in mind – Cityline

Digital media correspondent Winston Sih goes through his top picks, including a 4K SUHD TV from Samsung and a fridge from GE that also brews coffee!

As aired on Cityline, Thursday, March 10, 2016, on City.
Details at: http://www.winstonsih.com

As always, you can watch previous episodes of Cityline at Citytv.com, or via the City Video iOS or Android apps! Cityline airs 9 a.m. on City across Canada. Check Citytv.com for all television air times across the country.

Cityline visits CES 2013!

The Consumer Electronics Show—more popularly known as CES—is where hundreds of thousands of technology enthusiasts, journalists, and gadget-makers gather to find out what’s trending in the upcoming year in the consumer electronics market, and I had the pleasure of visiting the five-day event in Las Vegas, NV, on Jan. 7 through Jan. 11, 2013.

Among the sea of people were the latest innovations in technology today, including the smartest of smart refrigerators, eco-friendly app-controlled thermostats, and larger-than-life television sets.

Over the next year, the Smart TV Alliance will be working towards creating a connected environment across all of its member television manufacturers, like this curved, OLED television from LG.  The end result will include thousands of applications from weather to news to games to social media—all from the comfort of your television’s remote control.

When it comes to being connected, gadget-makers are pushing even harder this year to keep you connected to the Internet all the time.  For example, the Samsung GALAXY Camera is connected to the cellular network, so no matter where you are, your photos can be uploaded to your favourite social networks from Facebook to Twitter—all without a Wi-Fi network, USB cable, or computer!

Here’s a look at what I found in connected technology for the home:

With parents constantly on the go and kids more digitally connected than ever before (be it at home or in the classroom), families are facing increased challenges to stay caught up with the latest technology. Apps, gadgets, and “smart” technology for the family are largely in focus CES this year.

Busy moms are in luck this year, too.  Baby monitors, like VTech’s Safe & Sound, will allow you to not only hear your baby, but now you can even see your baby from multiple camera angles on a 2.8-inch full-colour screen.  If you are looking for something to keep your child occupied, the MINDSTORM EV3 will bring your LEGO to life!

Check out my web-exclusive look at family gadgets here:

What are you most excited for in the world of technology in 2013? Share them in the comments below!

Camera by Alex Tutt.

Christmas tree trimming tips

With the holiday season in full swing, the family Christmas tree is something you should start thinking about now.  Hunting for the ideal tree can often feel more like a chore than a pleasure, but with a little organization and these helpful tips, your family will be able to enjoy the perfect tree over the holidays.

Pick the tree:  If you’re opting for a real Christmas tree, the best trees recommended are Douglas fir and Fraser – they are known to last longer if they are properly cared for.

Find the proper base:  Make sure you purchase a stand that is appropriate to the size of the tree.  This ensures that it is sturdy and won’t topple over with ornaments, tinsel, and string lighting.

Break from tradition, and place your tree stand in a watertight planter:
  This is a great trick if you want a change from the classic tree skirt.  You create more room for Christmas presents, and it gives you a tailored, modern effect.

Keep the tree in the right climate: 
Making sure your tree stays in consistent temperatures ensures that the tree will not dry out.  Another helpful tip is to mist the tree from time to time.  Adding a small amount of sugar to the water will also help extend the lifespan of the tree.

The rule about lights:  Lights should be strung on before adding the ornaments.  Ornaments will help conceal the wires, and integrate the lighting deeper in the branches, versus only on the outer branches.

Sort your ornaments:  Sort your ornaments by colour or theme palette before you start hanging them on the tree.  This will allow you to better balance colour schemes – giving you a more polished product.

Make the tree last:  Most real trees should last approximately two weeks.  The key is to keep the water replenished and to ensure the tree is freshly cut.  To maintain water absorption, cut one inch (two centimeters) off the base of the tree’s trunk.

Tips for teaching your kids the importance of wants vs. needs

Shopping for back-to-school can provide a great opportunity to teach your kids a lesson about finances and the importance of “wants” vs. “needs.”  Here are some suggestions on how to get the conversation started when it comes to managing money and priorities.

Before making the trip to the mall, have your child clean their room and pull out the previous year’s school supplies: This allows you to determine what he/she actually needs for the coming school year, as opposed to what would be nice to have.  It also cuts down on the drama while you are in the store.  Make a list that separates needs from wants, and talk to your child, to clarify what the absolute needs are based on your available budget.

It’s important to stay positive: Tell your kids that if they remain under budget, they could have extra money to purchase a few other items on the “wants” list. Budgeting is an important lesson to teach early on, and it’s one that will serve your children well throughout their lives.

Focus on ‘must-replace’ items and encourage your child to earn money toward nice-to-have splurges: It may be better to replace a broken backpack, and stick with a current laptop for another year if money is tight at the moment. If your child wants a new computer or cell phone but doesn’t really ‘need’ it, then discuss ways they can earn money to put toward those pricey purchases.

Do your homework: Before hitting up the mall, remember to do your research!  Go online – there are many great parenting resources like Today’s Parent, where parents share past experiences and shopping advice, and find out what your child really needs for their age group.  Needs shift as your kids move through elementary school, to high school, to post-secondary education, so make sure what you’re getting is age-appropriate and can be reused down the road.

What suggestions do you have when it comes to teaching your child about the importance of wants versus needs?  Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Repost from Cityline.ca

Securing your home with Rogers Smart Home Monitoring – The Digital Life

There are many great options when it comes to protecting your home, and throughout the past few years, technology has become more refined, and connected to you when you are away. 

If you are a new home owner, or looking at possible new options, Rogers has a great new home security system, branded the Rogers Smart Home Monitoring system.

The folks over at Rogers have created this system on three main principals to make it easy for you to stay connected to your home.

Ultimate Reliability & Security

The system operates reliably and securely 24 hours, 7 days a week, so you’re always in the know of what’s happening in your house. It is professionally staffed with a Central Monitoring Station. Smoke, carbon monoxide and water leak sensors are installed, protecting you day and night. For your security, there is no phone line to cut, so if something happens, it communicates via the reliable Rogers cellphone network.

Always Connected

You are always connected with Rogers Smart Home Monitoring. You get instant personalized alerts, so you can choose what you want to be alerted for, and the frequency of the alerts. You can remain connected via your computer at your office, your smartphone on the go including the iPhone, or even a tablet in your local coffee shop. You can find the handy iPhone app in the iTunes app store, and an Android and BlackBerry apps are set to be available later this year. Whether you are 5 kilometres from your home, or 5000 kilometres, you’re always connected.

Easy Home Automation

When the system is installed, your home is setup to be easily automated, even when you are on vacation. Many parts of your house can be controlled automatically and remotely, from your heating and air conditioning, to lighting, appliances, and more. No need for little plug-in timers around the house! You save energy, time, and money!

On the technology side, the system comes with a handy tablet touchpad for you to control the home system. If the power goes out, we know it does at the most inconvenient times, there is a battery backup supply for up to 24-hours.

As for pricing, the Touchpad will cost you $149.99 (3-year contract), or $749.99 (no-term). There is a one time installation price of $99, and monthly plans vary from $39.99/month to $57.99/month, depending on the level of protection needed.

Of course, you can find all of the information including details, pricing, videos and more over at the Rogers website here. Do you have the system installed in your home? What do you think? Share your thoughts with our other CityLine.ca readers in the comments below, or email me, me@winstonsih.com.

Repost from CityLine.ca