Alexa Suter’s Guide to Tech Travel

Alexa SuterToday Mogo got together with Alexa – an international traveler and writer who’s fuelled her globetrotting adventures with her freelance gigs – to talk about new-age travel. A Vancouver local who’s spent the majority of the last year traveling and visiting over 10 new countries, we wanted to get Alexa’s perspective when it comes to the growing concept of tech travel. OUR INTERVIEW WITH ALEXA Can you divulge some juicy details about your most recent travel endeavors?I can, but I’d need about a week – so I’ll divulge the short version! Over the past year, with the ability to write on a remote basis, I traveled about nine months and visited 13 countries. I kicked off the year with a relaxed solo trip to Florida and the Bahamas. I lived for two months in London, and enjoyed another four months of long-term European travel. The bigger cities I’ve visited include Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Zurich, Vienna and Milan, while the more modest ones were just as (if not more!) incredible: Prague, Bratislava, Monaco, Florence, and Lucerne were amongst my favourites. About 7 of the 9 months of travel were done solo, so I found myself inadvertently

5 Ways Quitting Facebook Cold Turkey Will Save You Money

“This is it! I’m out!” – Everyone, at one point. Whether you’re sick of game requests, can’t stand to see another one of your high-school-friend’s-kids, or you will go crazy if your uncle LOLZ on another one of your mobile uploads, we’ve all thought about quitting Facebook. Deactivating your account isn’t easy, you will have one fewer thing to mindlessly scroll through on the bus, and you will risk missing out on some fun social stuff – but here are 5 ways that quitting Facebook will save you money in the long run: 1. You’ll Miss Events, and Save on Going Out Now, this isn’t necessarily positive, but it’s a true statement. Facebook keeps you informed with the flow of concerts, events and other ways to spend your bucks. Looking to drop your spending for a month? Disable FB emails and take things easy. 2. Seeing Fewer Ads = Less Spending According to a study by Psychology Today, the more ads you see, the more likely you are to spend. As we all know, Zuckerbook is pumping out more and more ads on your feed. If you aren’t exposed to them, you will

How to extend your smartphone battery life

If you have a smartphone you have, no doubt, been the victim of a dead battery. As the functionality of smartphones increase, so do their battery use. No matter how smart your phone is if the battery is dead, it’s about as useful as a pet rock. There are some things you can do to mitigate the effects of increased power usage. Data Drain Connecting to the Internet utilizes more of your battery power than any other smartphone function. When you are not utilizing your Wi-Fi connection, turn it off. You should also turn your phone on to airplane mode when you are in a place where data connections are not possible like subways. Switching to airplane mode uses less energy than switching the phone off and back on. Only turn your phone off when you aren’t going to use it for several hours. Backlight blues When your screen is on bright, it does look better, but it also drains your battery faster. Opt for a dimmer screen or backlight so that your phone lasts longer. Ringer on When your phone vibrates, it uses more power than when the ringer is on. If you are going to be

Bio mimicry: The Future of Design

Mother Nature knows best! If you have every wondered at the ingenuity of the natural world, then you are not alone. Although humans have spent the majority of their time on the planet advancing their technology, they are slowly starting to learn that no design is better than those found in nature. Bio mimicry is technology that copies nature. The idea is to create sustainable items that do not impact the environment negatively and can be recycled after they have served their purpose. This means solar panels that convert energy in the same way that plants do are 99% efficient, and biodegradable fast food packaging can add valuable nutrients to your compost heap. Here are two more inventions that bring nature into your home in unexpected ways. Do you have a bathroom mat that is constantly damp, often moldy or smells a little funky? We all like to step out of the bath or shower onto something warm and fuzzy, but conventional bath mats aren’t really the ideal design. Now the moss mat from designer Nguyen La Chanh utilizes the lack of light and moist conditions of most bathroom floors to create an amazing, natural soft moss mat. Smartphones

Is Windows 8 the best Windows ever? (and is it worth the $?)

The fortunes of once-mighty software giant Microsoft have been steadily waning. The company has been losing ground over the last two decades to Apple. Microsoft has always dominated the desktop genre but, with cloud computing and the popularity of hand-held devices, the days of the desktop seem numbered. Microsoft, determined not to go quietly, is making is most daring comeback bid yet with the recent release of Windows 8. Windows 8 is such a surprising and innovative shift from traditional Microsoft thinking that it harkens back to the unabashed wonder I felt when I used an iPod for the first time. Windows 8 is intuitive, strikingly simple but dashingly functional. With the release of Windows 8, Microsoft has made the very important switch from geeky to cool. Best features include: Touch and trackpad gestures are intuitive and make navigating easy Multitasking is made easier by snapping apps New and improved Desktop tools like Task Manager and File History Competitive pricing Windows 8 is by no means perfect and there are a few kinks that need ironing out. I still miss the old Start menu, but I really liked the new functionality. The new interface will take some getting used to.

iPhone 5 - Hit or Hype?

Well, by now you’ve heard and seen all there is to hear and see about the iPhone 5, right? That is, everything beyond trying it for yourself, yes? If you’re an Apple freak like me, you’ve likely been waiting for this for a little while. A lot is riding on this one, mostly because it’s the first true post-Steve Jobs (RIP) product, and because it felt like it was time for something radical to happen to it. Here’s where I admit that even though I am an Apple freak, I am still using the iPhone 4. I’d love to upgrade, but I don’t really have the scrilla to do so just yet. And while the iPhone 5 might be the leap forward on this, I’m not sure. Why am I not sure? Well, even though I trust Apple implicitly, I have been hearing some waves of dissent from the masses, waves I haven’t heard since the 3G antenna debacle. Is this dissatisfaction all because the King has died? Are people worried about what decisions might be made in his absence? Hard to tell. So far, I’ve heard that the new

Football brings light to developing countries

Innovative students at Harvard University have found a new and innovative way to put to good use the energy expended when playing football. Football is one of the most popular sports in the world, especially in developing countries. These areas have two things in common; a lack of electricity and a need for soccer balls. Lack of electricity often hampers the studying of potential of students in developing countries. Once the sun goes down, few households can afford the electricity or fuel required to leave lights on for students to study. Now an amazing new concept may provide them with soccer balls that are actually a source of electricity. The innovative foursome has found a way to save the energy produced when a soccer ball is kicked. Their new ‘Soccket ball’ is an amazing concept. According to their website: “Using an induction coil fitted into the center of its construction, the Soccket contains a magnet, which rapidly oscillates when the ball is in motion. This oscillation powers a motor, and the electricity is stored in an on-board battery. An AC Adaptor is fitted behind one the panels of the Soccket, allowing a multitude of appliances to be powered in such

The new, superfast microchip: Why We Should Care

These days, tech news stories are a dime a dozen and it’s easy to stop thinking that amazing technological advancements are anything to sneeze about. I admit I’m just as ho-hum about most of these stories when I see them (with the exception of Apple products…I know, I know). But this recent CTV News story about the new super-fast microchip stopped me. Faster computers, who cares, right? Wrong. Because this is not just about your home computer being faster, it’s about quantum engineering. I admit I don’t really fully understand quantum mechanics, or really quantum anything (except maybe Quantum Leap…great show! Bad joke!), but if this super-fast chip performs as well as scientists think it could solve equations at a rate so fast that it might actually be able to reach semi-sentient status. They think, too, that the chip might be able to handle formulas in such a way that it would, essentially, be able to invent things: pharmaceuticals or machinery. Seriously. Think about what that means! We might be able to cure cancer…with a microchip. That’s crazy. Sure, your iPhone can tell you what poisin ivy looks like…but can it

Social media etiquette: how to keep your nose clean online

The advent of social media has changed the very fabric of communication. All this new information we have access to can become overwhelming if not managed properly. This new form of interacting is in its infancy and users are just beginning to find their feet. This means that there are no hard and fast rules about interaction, but there are things that universally annoy. If your social media account is not enriching your life, you can easily change your setting to make the experience more enjoyable. You can limit input from friends whose posts are not adding to your social media experience so that your wall is filled with great content that you enjoy reading. Too much information: Limit friends who post too often about the banal. Sharing is great and yes, you do want to hear about their day, but avoid those who share minor details that you wouldn’t waste a phone call on. Soapboxing: Having the occasional rant can be cathartic, but limit those who bombard you with a continuous stream of negativity. If your friends have had a bad day, friends and family members can really help to raise their spirits, but they should use this

Etsy - taking your crafts online to make some extra bucks (or find some great presents)

Etsy.com is the world’s foremost Internet craft site. Here crafters across the world offer their unique creations for sale. Customers get to pick from handmade creations that are often custom made, while crafters get the considerable exposure and reach that Etsy.com has managed to create over years of dedicated effort. Etsy Ethos Etsy.com is thinking big. They aim to change the very fabric of commerce. The purpose of the site is to re-establish the individual artisan over mass-produced items. This is a very welcome change in a time of austerity where people have lost their jobs, or have not received the pay increases that they would normally have been entitled to. Add to that an increase in living expenses and soon you have a situation in which returning commerce to the ‘mom and pop’ operation has real value. “We are bringing heart to commerce and making the world more fair, more sustainable, and more fun.” When you purchase an item through Etsy.com, you are supporting families and individuals rather than corporations. Of course, there are some commercial suppliers on Etsy.com, so check your suppliers profile to get an idea of what you are buying