Tag Archives: Samsung Link

Cell phone advice

Virgin LG Bliss 700I don’t need a smartphone and until last year, I barely used my cell phone.  A combination of my staff all having smartphones or text phones persuaded me to get first a Samsung Link and then a LG Bliss.  I later bought Wendy a Samsung Link and she loves it.  While the LG Bliss has been good (after finally fixing all of it’s really odd default settings), I want something that does push email.

What do I want to do?  Now I looked at the Samsung Elevate and the reviews are mixed, most frustratingly different sites say different things about how it gets email.  Some say they offer push email, others say you get email on the web.  I was also looking at a LG Rumor 2 and of course was asking about e-mail access.  When I bought the Samsung Link, the reviews raved about the Virgin Mobile email app that allows you to access up to five different email accounts.  The email app is horrible and you can’t install the Gmail app on it which means that it sucks for email.  Email was also mentioned in some reviews for the LG Bliss and its inbox is only for text messaging.  I asked the sales staff at Best Buy today and they were clueless about what each phone could do.  They told me that I could easily go onto the web with 3G speed despite the fact that LG Rumor 2’s web browser isn’t compliant, doesn’t support 3G or even EVDO.  Virgin’s network in Saskatchewan is still CDMA and doesn’t support 3G either.  On top of that, ever since I added my new cell phone to the network, they have had problems with it.  Tonight I spent three different phone calls to Virgin trying to get my account fixed and they didn’t reimburse me for the charges I occurred because of their network issues. 

The entire process made me consider moving to Koodo and upgrade to a INQ Chat.  I get access to Twitter and push email as well as 3G coverage in Saskatchewan.  Any thoughts on a phone?  I don’t need apps and don’t want to pay extra for a Blackberry data plan so take that into consideration.  Also anyone have any thoughts on Koodo?

Christmas Gifts Guide: Gift Ideas For Your Wife / Girlfriend & the other women in your life | 2010 Edition

Shopping for Wendy has always been hard.  She never gives me any ideas and the ideas that she does give me are things that two days later she no longer wants.    For all of you who are married or dating someone who is hard to shop for, here is the list of Christmas gift suggestions for your wife or girlfriend.  You can thank me later.

Amazon’s Kindle | If your wife/girlfriend/mom is an avid reader, how about getting her a Kindle?  If you are undecided on whether or not you should be leaving paper for e-ink, check out this balanced review from a diehard book lover who fell in love with his Kindle.  The new version is smaller, lighter, has Wifi and a higher contrast screen.  One of the reasons it’s such a great gift is that your loved one doesn’t have to have it with them to still benefit from owning it.  Amazon has readers for the iPad, iPhone, Android devices, Blackberry, WinPhone 7, Windows, and OS X. The killer feature here is Amazon’s multi-platform support.  You can start a book on your Kindle, pick up a couple of pages here and there on your phone, and sneak a couple more pages on your desktop computer on coffee break.  It even keeps track of what page you are on (across different machines and platforms).  The best book is the one that’s always with you.  It’s available at Amazon.com for $139.00.

Bose Wave Music System :: The famous Wave music system still sets the standard for quality audio and ease of use among one-piece, table top stereos. Its award-winning design adds a touch of distinction to almost any room. No wonder so many people use it as their main home entertainment system.  Numerous reviews speak of the Bose Wave’s clarity and amazing room filling sound.  If you are looking for the best all in one unit, this is the one you are looking for.  If you are thinking of adding the CD changer, you may want to check out the numerous negative reviews on Amazon.com before picking one up.   You can pick up the Bose Wave Music System at Amazon for $495.

Another interpretation of the all in one is the Cambridge Soundworks Radio 765i | As one Amazon reviewer described it…

Got rid of a DVD player, a VHS player (time to completely dump the format, at least for us), and an iPod speaker “donut” thing. Plugged in everything, connecting to our tube TV, & was very simple. Did a lot to make the whole area look much neater. Put in a Lion King DVD and was amazed at the sound (DVD sound is through the Soundworks, not the TV). You know in the movie theatre, when that THX Dolby piece comes up, the one that almost scares you by trying to stretch your ear muscles with high pitched and super-bass “strings”? It sounded JUST like it does in the theatre. My wife rushed in from the kitchen asking, “WHAT was that?”.  My daughter then played one of her Star Trek TNG DVDs and for the first time, we could hear the sub-woofer “whoosh” when the Enterprise goes by on the screen — never heard any of this before.

Find it at Amazon for $285.

Saddleback Leather Messenger Bag | While Wendy is a tomboy and hates most purses, she still needs to carry things with her.  The Saddleback Leather Messenger company has a bag that allows her to keep herself organized and allows her to keep both her tomboy and hipster potentials intact.  It comes with a 100 year warranty, made out of 100% Thick full grain boot leather, has no breakable parts, e.g. zippers, snaps etc. and converts quickly into a backpack.  It may be the perfect bag.  $347 from Saddleback Leather

While Wendy looks amazing, living in Saskatchewan can be a challenge.  Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar skin care products have a cult following and will help hydrate skin in even the driest climates.  This air-whipped, therapeutic moisturizer has been described by Philosophy founder Cristina Carlino as, “like pouring a glass of water into my skin.  That sounds unhealthy to me but apparently that is a good thing.

HP Mini 210 Netbook | It does a good job of running Windows 7 Basic, the HP Mini 210 lets you surf the web, stay connected, and be entertained wherever you go.  Take just what you need And leave the rest on your primary PC. At less than one inch thin and starting at just 2.69 pounds,  It comes with a 16:9 10.1″ diagonal BrightView Infinity display and nearly full-size keyboard.  $307 and available at Amazon or for $359 at Future Shop.

iPod Shuffle | It has 2 GB capacity for about 500 songs and you can play up to 15 hours on a single charge.  With a press of the VoiceOver button, you can hear the song’s title and artist, playlist menu, or battery status.  You can get one at Amazon for $50.

Sennheiser CX300-B In-Ear Stereo Headphone | While the iPod comes with Apple’s iconic headphones, you really will want to upgrade those to something with better sound quality and that feels better in your ears.  While not their top of the line headphones, they are a big upgrade over both the Apple headphones and most other in-ear headphones.  $25 and available at Amazon.

Belkin Dock with USB Wall Charger for iPod | If you have a stereo that you really like and don’t want to replace it with a Bose Wave or another stereo system, add an iPod dock to your system that allows easy playing of your music while charging it at the same time.  We have one at the cabin plugged into a compact stereo and it works great and makes sure all of our iPod’s are charged up for the drive home.

Wendy and I have been married for 13 years and I still hate buying things for the house without her feedback.  Despite that, I am going to go out on a limb and recommend the KNUBBIG lamp from IKEA.  It gives a room a soft mood light and since each is mouth blown glass; each lamp is unique. $18.99


Tetris Party for Nintendo DS
| I bought Wendy a Nintendo DS last year and she really enjoyed it.  Of course the definitive Nintendo game (going back to the Nintendo Gameboy) is probably Tetris and it will give your loved one something to do when you have parked yourself in front of NFL Redzone.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks | This game was suggested to me by several people who grew up playing Legend of Zelda and love the latest incarnation for the Nintendo DS.  It is an action/adventure game for the Nintendo DS and DSi that sets Link, the iconic hero of the Legend of Zelda series, on a daring new adventure. The game provides players with a new story, more puzzles, a new mode of transportation–by train–and a new companion in combat, the Phantom. Together these offer up new possibilities for problem-solving, adventure and fun to both long time and new fans of the franchise alike.

Brain Age and Brain Age 2 for the Nintendo DS | These two games were given to Wendy for her birthday and Christmas last year and she been frustrated by them all year.  Brain Age acts like a treadmill for the mind and helps you flex your mental muscles with quick activities that help keep your brain in shape. Brain Age is inspired by the research of Dr. Ryuta Kawashima, a prominent Japanese neuroscientist. His studies evaluated the impact of performing certain reading and mathematic exercises to help stimulate the brain.

Apple iPod Touch | I gave a 3G iPod Touch to Wendy last year for her birthday and she loved it.  While it was a great iPod Touch, the new version is even better. See friends while you talk to them with FaceTime. Shoot, edit, and share stunning HD video. Play games against friends, or unknown foes, with the new Game Center. And do it all on the Retina display–the highest-resolution screen on any mobile device. Available at Amazon.com for $223.

Samsung Link | Wendy has a horrible record with cell phones.  She leave it turned off, forgets to charge it, never takes it with her.  In other words I was playing for a pretty much useless cell phone.  After losing her cell phone this summer, I went out and bought her a Samsung Link/Samsung Freeform and she started to carry it with her, had it turned on, and used it all of the time.  The QWERTY keyboard makes it really easy to text and the 1.3 megapixel camera is fun to have along and grab photos of the boys or just take some photos while up at the lake.

Saskatchewan Roughriders Ladies Jersey | You can personalize the jersey with your choice of name and number. Using laser cut name and numbers system  the Riders can customize the jersey you’ve been wanting. This system is used in several NFL, NHL and MBL stadiums. Same fonts and colors used by the team. Includes name on back and numbers on front, back and sleeves. $149.99 and available at The Rider Store

Kodak EasyShare C180 10.2MP Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom and 2.4 inch LCD |  Chronicle your life with great pictures and videos you can easily upload online. The camera even locates faces automatically so you can focus on more important things — getting that smile. Plus, you can even take stunning HD formatted photos and view it on your HDTV.  $99 from Amazon.com or $59 from XS Cargo.

Holga Bent Corners 35mm Camera | If who you are shopping for is a photography fan, go old school and get her a modern Holga 35mm flash-less camera that takes the same vibrant-colored, dreamy high-contrast photos as the original, medium-format 120mm Holga – with totally dramatic vignetting and the ease of 35mm film that can be processed anywhere (the film size also means fully panoramic shots). Two shutter and aperture settings; uncoupled film advance and shutter (for multiple exposures in one frame!);manual zone focus with four distance settings.  Get it at Urban Outfitters for $48.

Magno Cube Wooden Radio | Hand-crafted in an Indonesian farming village, the Magno Cube is a 4 band FM/AM/SW1/SW2 radio receiver with a highly appealing mix of retro and modern styling.  Each wooden radio is made through an environmentally sustainable production process, which covers fair social standards for workers. The profits from the sale of the radios to the Design Museum Shop support the development of a plantation surrounding the production facility, including the ongoing education of 30 young people in handicraft and work skills. Only new growth plantation wood is used and for every tree that is used in production, a new one is planted. MP3 compatible. Each radio arrives with a wooden connecting cable to connect iPods and mp3 players directly to the radio, so it can be used as a speaker. £175.00 from Design Museum Shop.

Swiss Army Perfume for Her | As the Victorinox website puts it.

This fresh, floral and dazzling fragrance is for the active, contemporary women. She seeks stylishly natural, clean scent to carry her through the day. This unique blend of Lilly of the Valley, Peony and fizzy Ginger surrounds you in all of the glory of nature. It is the fragrance for the modern, spontaneous women with natural class.

Ork Posters | If you or the target of your affections lives in Toronto, Vancouver, Boston, Brooklyn,  Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle among others.  They are $22 a poster which makes them a pretty cool value.  Of course they don’t have one of either Brandon, Manitoba or Georgetown, Guyana which makes them pretty much useless for Wendy but maybe you will have some better luck.

If the person that you are shopping for is starting to take a look into the world of DSLRs and has outgrown her existing camera, check out Sony’s a320 camera.  It’s an entry level DSLR and is only $349 from Future Shop.  It’s Sony’s smallest and lightest Alpha DSLR camera.  It features a 10.2MP sensor, a large 2.7″ Clear Photo LCD, built-in SteadyShot inside image stabilization, and Creative Style settings that let you bring your shooting to the next level. This kit includes a versatile 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM zoom lens.  $349 from Future Shop.

I hesitate to post this because for the life of me I can’t see why one would need one but Wendy loves it.  It’s a Sunbeam Tea Drop Hot Tea Maker which accommodates both bagged and loose tea.   $58.95 from Amazon.  While it doesn’t steep the tea, it does give you a fair amount of control over the strength of tea.   If you are looking for a tea maker that does steep the tea, check out the Adagio Teas Electric 32-Ounce Tea Maker.  This maker does it all – heats water, steeps leaves, and keeps tea warm so you may enjoy it all day long. Variable timer and temperature control lets you adjust the strength of an infusion, ensuring a perfect cup of tea each time. Works well with all tea varieties.


Wenger® Women’s Battalion II Diver Swiss Watch
| Stylish enough for everyday professional wear, the Wenger Battalion II Diver stainless steel women’s watch is also rugged enough for extreme snow sports and scuba diving–thanks to its water resistance to 200 meters (660 feet). The mid-sized, round silver watch case is topped by a blue-plated unidirectional rotating bezel with elapsed time markings and a luminous marker at the zero position. The shimmery royal blue dial face is complemented by luminous markers and hands (with red seconds hand), small minute indexes around the outer edge, and a date window between 4 and 5 o’clock. Other features include a handsome triple-link stainless steel bracelet, knurled screw-down crown, classic Swiss Army insignia at 12 o’clock, a scratch-resistant mineral crystal, and precise Swiss quartz movement. $76 from Amazon

If you can find what you are looking for, make sure you check out one of the other 2010 Christmas Gift Guides

In case you are looking, here are the 2009 Gift Guides

Christmas Gift Ideas and Gift GuidesIf I missed anything or if my suggestion made you think I was absolutely crazy, let me know in the comments. You can access the current edition and previous years list of Christmas gift guides here.

My New Phone

Samsung Link Well after my old Samsung Link drowned in the washing machine and then scorched in the dryer, I had to head out and replace it.  After looking around at a couple of options, I decided to get a… wait for it… another Samsung Link but this time in red.  They are now under $70 and the phone has survived a bit of abuse (Wendy put it on the roof of the Festiva and drove away).  It’s not a Blackberry but it does give me access to my e-mail and the web when I need it.  It may be my favorite phone that I have ever owned.

foneGEAR The one thing that I never liked about it was it didn’t come with a carrying case.  I tried several but I never found one that I really liked or really fit it that well.  Ironically the night that I wrecked my original phone, I finally found a great case at Walmart by foneGEAR.  It provides a snug fit my phone, has a magnetic latch on it but still offers easy access.  It lists for $20 but I picked on up on sale for $10.

Oh yeah, I get asked all of the time how I like Virgin Mobility’s service in Saskatchewan.  Virgin uses SaskTel’s coverage map which means that I get coverage all over Saskatchewan (except at the cabin).  The only thing I don’t like about Virgin is that I wish they would e-mail my bill (rather than text me) and their website is really inconsistent.  We have been using Virgin for over a year and I have never seen a website that is so hit and miss as you are adding services or paying your bill.  That being said, any time I have had to call them about anything, they have been great.

Samsung Link

Samsung Link I am a cell phone luddite.  Last summer I finally got a cell phone with a camera when I switched to Virgin Mobile.  For over a decade we were SaskTel customers with all of the travel I did between Saskatoon and Spiritwood and now with us going to the cabin as often as we do, Rogers was never a viable option.  Virgin Mobile uses SaskTel’s network which means that I get coverage almost to the cabin (but not quite). 

Wendy’s cell phone recently died a horrible death and instead of upgrading her phone, we bought a new phone from Virgin, the Samsung Link.  It has a full QWERTY keyboard, good Gmail integration, works with Twitter via SMS, and while I could surf the web, decided not to get that feature.  My bill is only $25/month which is about what I wanted to pay and for $79, I was able to purchase the phone outright so I have no contract if it doesn’t work out.  I had some serious reservations on this phone because so few reviews are based on actually using it (how many “un-boxing” reviews does this world need) but it is a workable phone.

It isn’t a Blackberry, doesn’t do video, have apps, and from what I have read, the web browser is slow but for the cost, it does what I want it to and I am okay with that.  I have more thoughts on it posted at Jordon Cooper Outfitters.