Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category.

Netflix, Starbucks, Amazon: the axis of time, money and space misuse

Netflix-Starbucks-Amazon : they waste your time, money and space!

Finance books and literature love to use Starbucks and their expensive lattes (I admit, I don’t know what they cost and had to do some digging) as the perfect metaphor for money we habitually waste instead of saving it for something more useful in the future. And while it is not the end of the world to enjoy your favourite drink occasionally, especially on those cold snowy days where nothing else seems to do the trick to get you going, the steep price can quickly add up!

And while Starbucks and their lattes are used as metaphors for careless spending, we have others in this axis of personal waste. Netflix (and a whole host of other online apps like Instagram and Tiktok) , are starting to be blended into their own category: time wasters. AKA binge watching! A lot of you have been there: you watch Netflix or YouTube (me!) and before you know it, a whole hour (or half a day?) has passed by. And what do we have to show for it? Almost nothing in terms of productivity or return on personal development.

But here is a new one! What about Amazon (or your favourite online retailer) now being the ultimate space (and money of course) waster? With majority of our online shopping (proudly doesn’t apply to me other than buying books on Kindle that take no space) now taking place via Amazon, chances are a lot of homes and bedrooms are full of junk from Amazon. Ok, junk may be extreme as some of the stuff people buy on Amazon is useful (books, household essentials, new camera etc) but there is certainly lots of useless stuff that just sits there and doesn’t get used much, eventually becoming junk and taking up space. And this is even more prominent for Amazon Prime members (one of which happens to be a family member) . A friend of mine who also happens to be a Prime member, tells me that not a week goes by without one or more packages arriving from Amazon. And he has been a Prime member for years and years. Tell me his house is not full of Amazon junk by now?

As I said, I am proud to be the user of virtually none of this axis of money/time/space black-hole. Sure, there are the extreme odd times when I will use these sparingly or under special situations. Compare that to someone who uses all three:

($CAD pricing)

-Average of 3 Lattes per week (tall size) + 2 food item = $20 per week, or around $1040 or more a year

-Netflix: $17.99 a month = $216 annually

-Prime membership: $110 annually
Average of 1 purchase a week at $20 = $1040 annually

>>Total adds up to just under $2500! And that is not even counting money actually spent buying stuff on Amazon which is easily in the high hundreds, or thousands for a lot of people.

To some, this may be justified as it allows them access to three of their favourite things in life. But as we talked about earlier, these are more than just bad for your finance, but can be just as bad if not worse for robbing you of much needed time and space. And as we know, both are worth money. Time is money. And so is space, especially in our ever shrinking homes and condos.

There is time for everything. And while you can enjoy all the above, I feel like with these becoming a daily verb in our society and lexicon, some people are losing sight of how much they are wasting in terms of money, time and space to these big corporations.

Blackberry and Kobo Touch: why crappy Canadian products are not helping Canada’s technology case

This is the first time I am writing a critical review of any product. And unfortunately enough, it is a Canadian

Canadian companies are not doing enough to catch up to the competition: Blackberry, KOBO Touch E-Reader and others need to do more to enhance Canada's global reputation as a technology leader.

product. Being from Canada myself, it makes this review a little more significant.

 

Two years ago, I bought a Kobo Touch e-reader for my fiance a birthday gift. She loved it and was using it on and off. After we got married, I decided to start using it as well. Unfortunately, this has been a very frustrating experience.  The product just refuses to work, mainly when it comes to flipping pages. Mysteriously, it just freezes after flipping a maximum of 4 pages, and then I have to shut it down or reset it completely.  At this rate, I will probably never be able to finish a book, let alone a collection of books I have to read (I have since found a solution for this: you have to disable the WiFi connection for this to work properly. Still not a perfect fix but at least I can do some reading without interruptions)

When I originally bought this E-Reader, I was sincerely doing my best to help a Canadian company. I could have bought a Kindle, and for almost the same price, but I refused, thinking I was doing my national duty to help the local Canadian economy. Not just that, but I have been a regular Chapters-Indigo customer, the company that owns the Kobo ereader (it has since been sold to a Japanese company) But unfortunately this economic loyalty to Canadian products is costing me a lot of frustration, money and time wasted. Googling this issue, it looks like I am not the only one with these KOBO problems, as there are thousands of other frustrated users experiencing the same issues. I understand all products can occasionally have bugs here and there. But they usually get fixed. There is no known fix for these Kobo errors. In fact, even the latest firmware release doesn’t fix the issue.

It is no secret that one of the reasons the Blackberry brand has been suffering and struggling a lot of late is due to their sub-par products. They used to be great but have since been left in the dust. If you ask ex-Blackberry users on why they replaced their device with iPhones or other Android-enabled devices, one of the main complaints was  about the hardware itself and how poorly designed it was, with certain parts not working after just a few months or device going dead for no apparent reason. I understand these devices are not manufactured in Canada-neither are iPhones and other leading mobile phone brands-but the engineering and design is the product of Canada. The software is the other major reason to blame for Blackberry’s fall from grace. The software was so behind the competition that even those that are not tech-savvy knew they can do better than this.

Which brings us to our main question: why is Canada not doing more to fix its image in the global tech industry? it seems like we start very strong and end up crashing to the competition and our own incompetence. We all know Nortel. A company that was once worth worth billions and was the leader in the telecommunication and networking hardware industry. It is now history. Gone. Bankrupt. Liquidated. The same thing could potentially and sadly happen to Blackberry.

 

If this was an Olympic marathon, Canadians would always finish first in the first half of the race but end up losing towards the end, overtaken by new comers to the race. We can start and build a great product but can’t seem to finish strong, especially when rivals are breathing down our neck.

We need better focus, more research and just better strategy to deal with a fierce global competition. And while we should always watch what what other industry leaders are doing and not fall behind, it is also important to stayed focused on your product and what made you successful. No need to panic and end up taking steps that lead to your further demise than catching up to the competition.

Canada has got the infrastructure, brains, education and all that it takes to be a world, if not of one of the top nations when it comes to technology. Be it in service delivery, hardware, software, networking etc. There is no reason why such giant Canadian companies, ones that make us proud to be Canadian, can fall behind so bad that we end up being ashamed of them being Canadian.

Best ways of Utilizing Twitter for your Budgeting and Finance

Twitter can help you save money, if not make money! That much is known, and it is a good way to get us started with this article.

How? Let us find out.

Twitter is arguably the hottest thing on the web at the moment. Even more so than Facebook for a lot of people (it certainly is for me) It is the collective heartbeat and cyber-trails of the web, all in real time. So it only makes sense that you can use Twitter to gain some advantage, tips and advise for your personal finance budgeting. Here are some of the best ways to use Twitter for financial gains and better savings:

-Twitter Search: The first and most effective way to use Twitter to gain a financial foothold is to use it in an active way through searching. Whether it is to look for discounts on a certain item, offers at your local mall, or advise on a certain product that you are researching, Twitter search is an invaluable tool. Best thing about it, the results are mostly  real time or fairly recent, so the deals are fresh and valid in most cases.

-Expert Advise: find a few finance and budgeting experts and start following them. You will learn a lot from their daily tweets, with as little time spent reading them as you can possibly spare every day.  You never know what tweet you will read that could be so important for your financial literacy. In fact, in my 2+ years of using Twitter, I have learnt a lot of what I know today by reading random expert tweets here and there and applying them to my own situation.

-Observing Twitter Users: as you read the tweets of other friends and people in your list, especially those that have to do with finance and money, you will have a better idea of how others spend and save money, and compare it with yours. You will be amazed how much this ‘mirror’ usage of twitter can help you have a better prospective.

-Follow your favorite companies and Brands: the best and fastest way to find out about special discounts and deals from your favorite brands and companies, is to follow them on Twitter.  You will be able to find out about special deals as soon as they are posted.

-Ask others questions: the beauty of Twitter is that it is a two-way street, with communication flowing back and fourth between the ones you follow and those that follow you.   So if you can’t find answers to what you are looking for, you can simply ask the Twitterverse a question yourself. Not only can you expect an answer from your followers, others who are not following you could also find your question and answer it. This could help in situations where you are researching a certain product, or want to find discounts in a certain store or even city.

These are just some of the hundreds of ways you can use Twitter to your financial advantage. If you don’t have a Twitter account, head to www.Twitter.com and create one. Once you have your account, Twitter will recommend certain people to follow from many different categories (Business, Politics, Technology etc.) And of course, we would appreciate if you can follow us too: @BudgetSense_ca

Given Twitter’s explosive growth in the last few years, a whole literature has been dedicated to it, and we encourage you read and learn more about it.  I just happen to believe that it is generally more useful than Facebook.