Roku 3 an impressive streaming media player

Having been an Apple TV user for the past two years, when I was offered the chance to try a Roku 3 I thought I would give it a shot.

As someone who uses a MacBook Pro and iPhone 5s the Apple TV makes perfect sense but lately I have found my interest in Apple TV to be waning.

I’m not a fan of the small and clumsy remote that comes with the Apple TV and have found that its interface needs a bit of an update. The Roku 3 remote was a huge improvement and so was its interface.

Roku 3 Setup

When I unboxed the Roku 3 I was impressed by how easy it was to set up and install. I connected both a HDMI and Ethernet network cable to it as I wanted to be able to run through my TV and make sure I had a strong internet connection and not just relying on Wifi. I’ve included a quick video on setup below.

Setup was a breeze and I followed the instructions closely configuring the hardware first and then moving over to the software. Be forewarned you’ll need to make sure that you have enough HDMI ports. I already have an IOGear HDMI Hub because my Samsung TV has only two HDMI Ports. I had to add this to convert my TV to a smart TV.

Roku requires that you create an account so that you can complete setup and for when you want to use any of its paid features including over 1400 channels you can subscribe to in the Roku Channel Store.

I stuck with the basics included in the software which are YouTube, Netflix, I already have an account, Rdio and Google Play.

Google Play

I also checked out Google Play on the Roku. Added last October, Google Play acts like the Movies and TV function on the Apple TV allowing for you to watch new releases or iconic classics for both movies and television.


I am avid streamer of channels and music from YouTube and used this regularly on AppleTV so when I saw the option to use it I thought I would check it out.

The YouTube interface for the Roku 3 is a nice one and it was here that I realized I could use voice search to find videos that I wanted. I found this worked reasonable well with about 60 percent of my requests. The remote also has a unique headphone jack for private listening which was nice as well.

All in all the Roku 3 is a great streaming media device and player. I would highly recommend it to anyone that doesn’t own a streaming device or is looking for a change from their current device.

Smartphone news: #Addiction #Nokia #SelfCharging #Marshall #Audio

This week’s smartphone news covers addiction, self-charging devices, the revival of Nokia among several other stories. Let’s begin with addiction.

The smartphone addiction problem

In a story published by TIME, Katy Steinmetz discusses a problem most of us face now in the 21st century, the problem of anxiety related to being without our handheld devices. Why are we letting technology rule our minds and can we have the strength to be in control of our technology usage? Larry Rosen from California State University explains,

Technology tends to “overact” our brains, draining us of unfettered, daydreaming-type creativity, he says. Today’s average college student, a member of the first generation to really grow up digitally native, now focuses and attends to one thing for about three to five minutes before feeling the need to switch their attention to something else, he says: “It makes us very tired. It makes us very miserable. It overloads our brains. … It is not good for us.” In his work, Rosen has referred to these gadgets by using an acronym for Wireless Mobile Devices — or WMDs, for short.

Perhaps we need more self-control software. I understand there are a few companies offering help to the addicted but there may be room in this space for startups interested in helping people find focus in their lives.

Self-charging smartphones

Nikola Labs is probably fueling the problem of smartphone addiction by making the technology ever more available. If we can avoid the inconvenience of charging our phones then we won’t ever have to part ways. Plugging your phone into a socket will still be required (for now) but research is under way to eliminate the bother as Will Zell, CEO of Nikola Labs explains in a report from MIT Technology Review,

They won’t make plugging your phone into a charger obsolete, but Zell says that Nikola’s phone case should be able to give users about 25 to 30 percent more battery life between charges. The company built its first working prototype of a smartphone case this spring and plans to start selling it in the first three months of next year for about $100 (a Kickstarter campaign for the company had raised about $74,000 of its $135,000 goal with eight days to go as of publication; Zell says Nikola Labs has separately raised private funding to bring its product to market).

I wonder how the addiction problem would look if we never had to charge again. Even so, charging while we’re sleeping really isn’t much different. Personally my smartphone is available 95% of the time as it is.

Nokia’s smartphone plan

In a statement from Robert Morlino, Nokia has laid out the options to re-enter the smartphone market. This time the business model will be different in that the company will no longer be producing the hardware but will partner with another company that will apply the Nokia brand name on a device designed by Nokia.

The right path back to mobile phones for Nokia is through a brand-licensing model. That means identifying a partner that can be responsible for all of the manufacturing, sales, marketing and customer support for a product.

If and when we find a world-class partner who can take on those responsibilities, we would work closely with them to guide the design and technology differentiation, as we did with the Nokia N1 Android tablet. That’s the only way the bar would be met for a mobile device we’d be proud to have bear the Nokia brand, and that people will love to buy.

Leveraging the Nokia brand name is a huge win for the company and finding a partner with the right terms and conditions could mean a huge cash cow for the company long term. Expect to see Nokia smartphones running the Android operating system in Q4 – 2016.

marshall london smartphone

Marshall’s music focused smartphone

Get ready for a smartphone with a focus from audio giant Marshall. Founded in 1962, Marshall has 53 years of experience in the audio industry and are now poised to release a top notch smartphone. The Marshall London phone is a gorgeously designed Android device that has its focus on sound quality. The product page says it all.

Marshall London packs a lot of heat under the hood; take for example the Wolfson WM8281 Audio Hub. This soundcard gives the London a separate processor for music, allowing it to play at a higher resolution. Higher resolution means that even the best quality MP3 will sound phenomenally better when played with London. Additionally it lets you play uncompressed music such as FLAC format.

Thanks for joining Vancouver Gadgets as we wrap up the smartphone news for the week ending July 18th 2015.

Jay Kenobi

CTC Launches Giant 3D Printer with Mobile Terminal

Chinese 3D printer manufacturer Zhuhai CTC Electronic Co., Ltd held a press conference in its headquarters in Zhuhai,announcing the roll out of the CTC Giant 3D printer.

The FDM product, developed by open source 3D printer maker Ultimaker, is regarded as the giant among desktop models as it comes equipped with the Cura slicing software, a feature very much in demand, with maximum print size of 305mm X 305mm X 405mm.

A distinctive 3D printer with Wifi functionality made its first appearance worldwide at the press conference. Accompanied by apps that work both on Android and iOS operating systems and are based on open source Ultimaker technology, the printer can be operated by remote control through any hand-held mobile device, eliminating the need to wait beside the printer while managing the print job.

The Giant 3D printer, with an eye-catching all-steel seamless design, fully caters to the needs of high-end users in the design and education sectors with its powerful set of features. The release of the product optimizes CTC’s large size product line while bringing the technological level of the entire desktop 3D printer industry to a new level. The printer retails for USD $2,500.

Detailed specifications are as follows:

Print specifications 

Forming principle molten accumulation error correction

Prototyping platform size  305x305x405mm error correction

Positioning accuracy  Axis X/Y: 10 micro Axis Z 1 micro error correction

Printing thickness 0.04 (Rt) mm–0.4mm

Printer head  single sprinkler, error correction

Software requirements 

Slicing software Cura

Software format  STL, Rt OBJ, Gcode

Operating system Windows Error correction MacOS

Consumables specifications

Printing material ABS plastic, PlA plastic error correction

Material color 18 colors error correction

Physical parameter

Working temperature for the printer head 280 degrees error correction

Nozzle diameter 0.4 mm/0.2 mm

Maximum speed of print 180mm/second

Power requirement AC 110-240V error correction

Jabra Sport Life app provides in-ear audio coaching

For fans of burpees, lunges, squats and planks who want the added motivation of individual coaching while listening to music, the world’s first wireless cross-training audio solution has arrived. The Jabra Sport Coach Wireless earbuds combine personalized in-ear coaching with premium Dolby sound to get the most out of cross training workouts. The launch of the Sport Coach extends Jabra’s sport audio product line, and follows the award-winning Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless earbuds that introduced in-ear heart rate monitoring for the very first time.


Key features of the new Jabra Sport Coach Wireless headset optimized for cross training include:

  • Best music experience with premium Dolby sound quality
  • Integrated motion sensor and advanced Sport Life app provide real-time in-ear audio coaching
  • Secure fit, lightweight and compact design
  • Extends Jabra’s sports audio product range, pioneered by the award-winning Sport Pulse wireless earbuds for runners

Developed to meet the needs of cross training enthusiasts, the Jabra Sport Coach Wireless creates customized workouts based on over 40 different exercises – either time or repetition-based training – via the Sport Life companion app. The app lets users plan, track, and analyze cross training workouts, choosing exercises from beginner to advanced, with in-the-moment, personalized in-ear audio coaching. To ensure you achieve optimal performance and your overall fitness goals, the integrated TrackFit motion sensor provides advanced tracking of pace, distance, step count, cadence and calories to make every workout count.


“For sports, we are committed to delivering innovative audio solutions designed to enhance the training experience for fitness enthusiasts,” says Jabra CEO René Svendsen-Tune. “We started by specifically targeting runners, and now we are taking the next step by delivering a solution optimized for cross trainers. We see clear possibilities for in-ear audio solutions combined with biometrics.”


Jabra Sport Coach Wireless will be available in July for $169.99 at select Best Buy Canada stores, and

The mobile health industry is booming

The Mobile and Wearable Sensor Industry Projections

The demand for wearable sensors resulted in the sale of 67 million units in 2013. By 2019, the worldwide market is seen to jump nearly seven-fold to 466 million units. Shipments of sensors for smart watches will surge by almost 600% in 2015 on the strength of new products launched by big names in the industry such as Apple and Samsung.

The level of sophistication of wearable devices will also increase as indicated by the number of sensors incorporated in them, from an average of 1.4 sensors per device in 2013 to 4.1 sensors in 2019. As for smartphones, about 200 external sensors can be connected and utilized by a mobile app.

The US market for wireless health monitoring devices is expected to reach $22 billion by 2015. The worldwide revenue for sensors used in mobile handsets, meanwhile, will rise from $2.3 billion in 2012 to $6.5 billion in 2018.

NJIT Online

Mobile Health Sensor Abilities

Mobile health sensors come in different varieties with each having its own specific function. They are primarily used to monitor pertinent metrics, thus enabling the user to better manage his or her health. Any danger signs will be seen right away so appropriate action can be taken before things get worse. The metrics include glucose level, medication compliance, heart rate, blood pressure, and skin temperature. These sensors may be embedded inside the device itself, as in the case of smart watches, or paired with a mobile device through USB, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Function of Current Mobile Health Sensors

People with asthma may use Propeller Health’s SpiroScout. It’s an inhaler with built-in sensors that monitor the environmental conditions. It alerts the owners about dangers that might be present around them. SpiroScout is able to link up smartphones to inhalers to log the time and place of usage.

Fast and accurate decision-making is crucial in medical emergencies. The iRevive system is designed to be used in these sensitive cases to help emergency responders make the right decisions in a timely manner. Its sensors continually check the patient’s vital signs like blood oxygen level, heart rate, and more.

Glucose monitoring devices, on the other hand, help diabetics keep their vitals under control so that they can go through their days without incident. These continually take blood sugar readings around the clock through a tiny sensor that is embedded in the skin.

The Proteus Ingestible Sensor is a revolutionary technology designed to be swallowed by patients. It is typically placed inside a pill to make this process easier. The sensor then travels down to the stomach where it sends information to a mobile app regarding identity and timing of ingestion.

Benefits of Mobile Health Sensors

Mobile health sensors are mostly focused on monitoring for prevention. This heightened vigilance helps the people and the government to bring down healthcare costs. At the same time, the abundance of available data aid medical professionals in their diagnosis and design of treatment plans. Patients get to enjoy improved treatment results.

The sensors are able to capture patient data in a manner that was previously difficult, if not impossible. Round the clock monitoring and precisely timed checks help provide a complete picture of the situation. There are no missed data points due to forgetfulness or random issues. All of the information is in electronic format making them easy to save and access for future reviews.

Researchers can tap into the data stream generated by these mobile health sensors for advanced studies. The unprecedented level of awareness regarding physical activity, physiological responses, location, and more will allow them to gain deeper insights on how the body works. These tools may be the key to unlocking new and better treatments for a wide range of diseases.

Future Innovations

Various companies specializing in medical technologies are developing innovative products and applications. Already in the pipeline are cervical cancer screening and diabetic retinopathy detection systems using mobiles phones. Also in the works are skin patches that measure hydration and sun exposure.

The fitness industry is awaiting the maturity of sensor fusion technology to solve the problem of bulk. This technology is expected to result in a further miniaturization of existing sensors, making them easier to embed in different wearable devices.

Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 available in Canada after June 30th

Alcatel OneTouch– the fifth largest smartphone manufacturer in North America – has announced the Canadian availability of the IDOL 3 at Bell, TELUS and Videotron as of June 30. Winner of the Android Authority Editors’ Choice and Mashable Choice awards, among others, the IDOL 3 was one of the big surprises at this year’s Mobile World Congress; challenging the convention of an affordable flagship smartphone.

The award-winning IDOL 3 from Alcatel OneTouch, coming to Canada with Bell, TELUS and Videotron. Beginning June 30.
“IDOL 3 is changing customer expectations by redefining the flagship smartphone experience,” said Steve Cistulli, Senior Vice President & General Manager of North America for Alcatel OneTouch. “With IDOL 3, we’ve partnered with top brands like Qualcomm, JBL and Technicolor to deliver the best in class experience for our customers at a price that’s considerably less than other flagship smartphones in the market. Others try to justify outrageous prices for their top devices and we’re out to show our customers they can get a device with the high-end features they want, at a price that won’t empty their wallet.”

CoverON® for Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 (5.5″) Wallet Case [CarryAll Series] Flip Credit Card Phone Cover Design Pouch – Free Bird – with Screen Protector and Wristlet Strap

UNLOCKED Alcatel OneTouch Idol Mini 6012A Google Android Phone, Front and Rear Camera, 5MP, 4.3″ LCD, LED Flash

UNLOCKED Samsung Galaxy Discover SGH-S730M 3G Phone, 3.5″ Screen, 3MP Camera, Google Android, NEW, BULK PACKAGED

Offering dual-front facing speakers featuring JBL Audio, a 5.5-inch Full-HD display with technicolor enhance technology and a 2910mAh battery to power through a full days use, the IDOL 3 offers consumers the best experience for their money. The IDOL 3 also comes packed with other unique features, such as a fully reversible user interface that makes the screen adaptive to be right side up even if the phone itself is upside down. You’ll never miss any of life’s moment either, thanks to IDOL 3’s 13MP main camera and 8MP wide-angle front camera. IDOL 3 is also the first smartphone in North America to include the innovative security feature Eye-D – a biometric technology that uses eye print verification for secure authentication to unlock a user’s device with a simple selfie.

IDOL 3 is the first globally released flagship from Alcatel OneTouch and is the latest in the company’s award-winning IDOL line of smartphones, known for combining the best of high-end design and features; following last year’s IDOL X+ and IDOL 2S.

IDOL 3 Key Features:


5.5-inch Full-HD IPS Display (1920×1080), with Technicolor Color Enhance for greater viewing angles – even in direct sunlight + Fully Reversible UI


Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 615 MSM8939 Octa-Core 1.7GHz (64-bit), Adreno 405 @ 550MHz


LTE FDD: B2/4/5/7/12/17, 150Mbps Downlink, 50Mbps Uplink + VoLTE


Android Lollipop 5.0.2


13MP Main Camera + 8MP Wide-Angle Front Camera


Dual 1.2 Watt Front-Facing JBL Stereo Speakers


16GB ROM + 2GB RAM (LP-DDR3); Expandable Memory Via MicroSD (up to 128GB)


2910mAh With Up To 13 Hours Talk Time and Up to 600 Hours Standby Time

To learn more about the IDOL 3, please visit

*Strategy Analytics – North America Smartphone Vendor & OS Market Share by Country: Q1 2015

About Alcatel OneTouch
Alcatel OneTouch is a brand within TCL Communication, an international multicultural company which designs, develops, and markets globally a growing range of mobile and Internet devices. TCL Communication is a public company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (2618.HK) and part of TCL Corporation one of the largest consumer electronics companies in the world.

Vancouver Gadgets visits the Dun & Bradstreet Cloud Innovation Center

Bursting at the seams, dnblogo-newthe Dun & Bradstreet Cloud Innovation Center is a prime example of the growing tech industry in Vancouver. The team has expanded by 327% since April 2014, out-growing their current space in Vancouver’s traditional financial district and reaching the point where they need to expand, in this case to a 2-floor state of the art office space right in downtown’s new innovation hub.

We’ll visit behind the scenes of the global tech innovation centre to preview their brand new workspace.

Reminiscent of the Uber head office in San Francisco, the new office has been designed with its location in the city in mind and a distinct connection to the musical heritage of the Granville Street Entertainment District. The space features musically themed murals, collaborative and ‘phone box’ meeting spaces, West Coast-inspired hickory panelling throughout the office, handfuls of locally designed lighting fixtures throughout, a dedicated fitness room, music room, wrap around deck and meeting rooms each named after a different local event space including Imperial, Vogue and Commodore. Rounding out some of the stand out features is an open social space to host tech events and meet ups.