Worst Tech Gifts of 2015

I wrote a super-snarky article for The Daily Dot revealing why some of the most popular tech gifts of the year might be some of the worst to give. I’m sorry if you bought any of these.

There are plenty of great gift choices for the tech nerd in your life. There’s also plenty of tech crap to avoid. From the unnecessary, to the duds, to the downright stupid, here are 8 of the most disappointing gifts you can give or receive, so if you just got done wrapping one you might want to make a quick swap.

Shaw to acquire WIND Mobile for $1.6 billion

Canadian wireless news! Shaw Communications just announced they’ll be acquiring WIND Mobile for $1.6 billion, marking Shaw’s first entry into the wireless business.

Interesting news. I’ve been following WIND since before they launched, and with all their recent financial troubles and changes in ownership it’s not entirely surprising that they’ve ended up being acquired. What’s less apparent is what this means for WIND. They’re still behind the Big 3 in terms of spectrum ownership, and Shaw doesn’t bring any spectrum to the table. As my friend Dan points out, Shaw sold most of their spectrum to Rogers a few years back. Though with Shaw’s financial backing, WIND can hopefully afford to be more competitive in future spectrum auctions, and invest more heavily in improving service across their current network – which includes moving forward with their planned LTE rollout.

Time will tell what fruits this deal may bear. I just hope Shaw doesn’t interfere with WIND’s competitive pricing and attitude. We need our T-Mobile.

Must Listen: Limetown

I’m a huge podcast fan, and Limetown is hands down one of my favourite shows of the year. They’ve just released the Season 1 Finale, and it’s well worth listening to the entire 6-episode series.

Limetown is a fictional story, told in the style of Serial, that follows American Public Radio host Lia Haddock as she investigates what happened to 300 men, women, and children that vanished overnight from a mysterious compound called “Limetown”.

Fair warning: it gets deliciously creepy really fast.

Hello, it’s me.

Here I am again, trying to start blogging for the thousandth time in my life. Why? Because I miss writing a little bit. I want to try it again. I want to work on forming some of my own concrete opinions on what’s happening in the tech world, and not just let myself be influenced by the opinions and think pieces of others. So here we are.

For the most part I’ll be blogging about Apple, obviously. But I’ll also be blogging about gaming (even though I’m still mad at Nintendo), the apps I’m using, and the TV shows I’m obsessed with (have you guys seen The Good Wife?!?). Oh, I also came out since the last time I had a blog, so things may get a little gay up in here from time to time too.

To start I’m committing to one original entry per week, plus a few link posts and a weekly podcast post. Hopefully that won’t overwhelm me.

Let’s get started.

App Favourite: Deliveries, a package tracker for iOS

One of my favourite apps finally got a big update for iOS 8 earlier this week. Deliveries, made by the fine folks at Junecloud, is a simple, cross-platform app for tracking packages with a clean UI and reliable sync. The latest update for iOS adds a Notification Centre widget for checking on your deliveries, an “Add to Deliveries” extension in Safari, a refined UI for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, support for the 1Password extension, and a ton of other little things.

Junecloud also recently released a full-fledged Deliveries app for OS X Yosemite, replacing the previous Dashboard widget. It features a great Yosemite design and syncs with Deliveries on iOS using iCloud or Junecloud’s proprietary sync.

There’s not much else to say about Deliveries; it’s the best package tracking app I’ve ever used!

Deliveries for iOS (Universal) and Deliveries for Mac are $4.99 each on the iOS and Mac App Stores.

Super Smash Bros. becomes fastest selling Wii U game in U.S.

Nintendo announced this morning that Super Smash Bros. for Wii U has sold 490,000 copies in its first weekend (November 21st to 23rd) in the United States, surpassing Mario Kart 8 as the fastest selling Wii U game.

“The Nintendo holiday is off to a great start, but there’s a lot of work left to do and a few more surprises in store for our fans,” said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. (via. Nintendo PR)

Though that number isn’t crazy high, it’s nice to see the Wii U continuing it’s little turnaround. While I have no doubt Nintendo is already working on what’s next – the Wii U can’t survive an entire console generation at this point – we’re finally starting to get the great games we’ve been waiting for on Wii U, and people are taking notice.

If you haven’t picked up Smash yet, you should – it’s great! I’ve been enjoying it over the last few days, as well as Pokémon Alpha Sapphire on my 3DS. It’s a fun time to be a Nintendo fan!

Twitter mulling possible Shots acquisition

Kristin Cwalinski, CNBC

Twitter has held talks with Shots, the selfie app backed by singer Justin Bieber, a source close to Shots told CNBC on Tuesday. Twitter’s acquisition plans became the subject of hot speculation on Monday after CFO Anthony Noto accidentally tweeted a message about making plans for a deal.

Hands up if you remember trying Shots last year! Could be an interesting get for Twitter, a move to further increase photo sharing on the service and somewhat compete with Instagram. Plus it’s apparently still very popular with the under 24 female crowd. Also a pretty good fit with Vine, both in terms of simplicity and demographic.

#Homescreen for iPhone

Homescreen

Betaworks have launched a new iOS app today called #Homescreen, available for free on the App Store.

As you might expect, #Homescreen is a simple app that lets you post and share a snapshot of your iPhone’s homescreen. You just take a screenshot of your homescreen, the app detects it automatically, and uploads it to your profile. #Homescreen’s web profiles (here’s mine) also let you hover over people’s apps to read their descriptions and get to them on the App Store.

Though similar to the now-defunct Homescreen.me and Homer, #Homescreen is the slickest implementation I’ve seen. I can’t help but imagine how great this app could be with some more social features built-in – lots of people are already tweeting them – and I’d love to be able to follow people for updates on the apps they’re using.

If you’re like me and you enjoy seeing which apps people use, #Homescreen is definitely worth a look!

Apple fights AIDS with new (RED) promotion

Federico Viticci, MacStories:

Apple has launched a (RED) promotion on the App Store, featuring GarageBand and several third-party apps and games such as FIFA, Monument Valley, Clear, and Paper. In the campaign… apps have been updated with a special red icon and, for a limited time, all proceeds will be donated to RED’s fight against AIDS.

A great promotion for a great cause. Many of my favourite apps are participating, and I’m happy to buy their in-app purchases to help (RED) fight AIDS. Apple has also added a general donation button to the iOS App Store, so if you don’t want to buy Kim Kardashian’s Hollywood, you can still use your iTunes account to donate.