5 reasons to get an Amazon Kindle e-reader

Amazon Kindle

I’ve barely put my Amazon Kindle e-reader down since I got it.

Amazon released an all-new version of its Kindle e-reader recently that features a 6-inch glare-free display with E Ink Pearl technology, 4GB of storage, built-in WiFi and a battery that lasts for weeks. Amazon sent me one to test and I have barely put it down since I got it. After using it for two weeks, here are the top five reasons I recommend getting an Amazon Kindle for yourself.

No more clutter on your nightstand

With 4GB of storage (plus free cloud storage from Amazon), the paperback-sized Kindle is perfect for keeping a massive library on your nightstand without a stack of books cluttering up the place. This is a huge bonus if you have at least six books on the go at once, like I do, or if you just hate having a mess beside your head when you sleep.

It’s not distracting to read on

Besides cutting down on clutter, the best reason to get a Kindle is because it won’t distract you while you read. It’s got built-in WiFi for downloading books, articles and documents, but there’s no web browser, messaging app, Facebook, Twitter or sound of any kind. The anti-glare screen and digital ink are also very much like a real book and don’t affect your eyes like an iPad or iPhone screen does (there’s also no backlight on the regular Kindle so you can’t read in the dark, just like a real book).

RELATED: Is now the time for Amazon to launch a delivery service in Canada?

The Send to Kindle feature

No question, Amazon knows online shopping and delivers a wonderful experience when it comes to buying ebooks. But there are things you want to read besides books. Online articles, PDF manuals, short stories and blog posts can all be formatted and read on a Kindle. Every Kindle has a unique email address you can send document files to and it will automatically download and add them to your library. You can also use the Send to Kindle app for Mac, PC or Android to push documents to your Kindle. For online articles, like Andrew Sullivan’s lengthy I Used to Be a Human Being, you can use the Send to Kindle extension for Chrome and FireFox.

You’ll read more

Because of its portable size, ability to store a ton of books and articles, Amazon’s intuitive store behind it (yes, I would like a sample of Judd Apatow’s Sick in the Head based on my interest in Amy Schumer’s The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo) and no distractions while using it, I have found myself reading a lot more since I received the Kindle (my kids have also been reading on it and want to read now). The anti-glare screen is great for using it outside on lunch breaks and because the battery lasts so long I never have to worry about running out of juice in the middle of an exciting chapter (I’ve only charged it once since I got it).

RELATED: 5 reasons to add Philips Hue bulbs to your smart home

It’s only $79

Amazon offers a few different Kindle models ranging in price and features. The base Kindle e-reader I received is only $79.99 though and is well worth every penny. It’s such a reasonable price I plan to buy one for a few people on my Christmas list this year and honestly don’t know why I didn’t buy one for myself sooner.

For more information on the Amazon Kindle e-reader, visit amazon.ca.

Do you use a Kindle or other e-reader? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Around the House (Sept. 20, 2016)

Around the House is a weekly roundup of news items related to smart devices, tools, kitchen gadgets and anything else worth mentioning that affects how we live at home.

Philips Hue Motion Sensor coming to Canada in October

Philips is adding more ways to control its Hue line of connected bulbs and lighting devices with a new wireless motion sensor. Available in Canada this October for $39.95, the Hue Motion Sensor allows users to run certain scenes during set times. This means that if you want your Hue bulbs to only turn on in “Nightlight” mode when motion is detected between midnight and 6 a.m., you can set it up that way. I can see this being very useful when my son wakes up in the middle of the night.

Hue Motion Sensor

The Philips Hue Motion Sensor will be available in Canada for $39.95 this October.

CraveTV scoops up Rolling Stones doc at TIFF

Right before its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last week, Bell purchased the exclusive rights to The Rolling Stones road movie The Rolling Stones Olé Olé Olé! : A Trip Across Latin America for its video streaming service CraveTV. The film follows The Rolling Stones during their 2016 Latin American tour, which saw them stop in 10 cities, including Havana. CraveTV subscribers will be able to stream the film beginning Oct. 14. Check out the trailer for it below.

Lay’s taking Chalet Sauce chips mainstream

It seems that Canadians love Lay’s Swiss Chalet sauce flavoured chips so much that the company has to ramp up production to meet demands. The chips have been selling out since they arrived at select Swiss Chalet locations earlier this month and now Lay’s says that along with restocking restaurants, the chips will be available in limited quantities at grocery stores across the country beginning Nov. 1. Expect to see a lot of these out at holiday parties this year!

Apple helping teach kids to code with Swift Playgrounds app

Learning to code is becoming more popular with kids and now Apple is helping with their new iPad app Swift Playgrounds. The free app allows users with no programming experience to get a better understanding of coding concepts and experiment with the Swift language, which is used by professional developers to create apps. Along with app templates, Swift Playgrounds also features lessons and challenges to keep users interested. Swift Playgrounds is available via the App Store.

Swift Playgrounds

Apple’s free Swift Playgrounds iPad app helps teach kids to code.

Amazon Echo coming to Germany and the UK (but not Canada)

Amazon announced last Wednesday its popular Echo device is coming to Germany and the UK this fall, giving us Canadians hope it will be available here at some point soon. Amazon also announced a new (cheaper) Echo Dot that gives users more control of the Echo throughout the entire home. It’s also not available in Canada.

Have something to add to Around the House weekly? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

‘Labyrinth’ is getting a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release for its 30th anniversary

Labyrinth - David Bowie

Fans of the 1986 Jim Henson classic ‘Labyrinth’ are in for a treat when the film hits 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in September. Photo courtesy Sony Pictures.

Jim Henson’s classic 1986 fantasy film Labyrinth is getting a special 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release on Sept. 20 to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Starring late musician David Bowie and a young Jennifer Connelly, the film, which was written by Monty Python’s Terry Jones, follows 16-year-old Sarah (Connelly) as she tries to save her little brother from the Goblin King (Bowie).

RELATED: What you need to know about 4K Ultra HD content on Netflix

In order to get the best quality for the 30th anniversary release, the film was fully restored in 4K Ultra HD from an original 35mm negative. It also has a new Dolby Atmos sound mix produced specifically for the home theatre.

The 30th anniversary 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release comes in a 24-page Digibook package, which includes rare, behind-the-scenes photos from the set. A special “mirrorbox” gift set will be available exclusively on Amazon.ca.

In order to watch Labyrinth in 4K Ultra HD you’ll need a 4K television and a 4K Blu-ray player, such as the upcoming PS4.5 Neo that’s rumoured to be announced on Sept. 7 (Sony Pictures is the distributor of Labyrinth and has been pumping out 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray titles the last few months).

RELATED: VIZIO’s SmartCast home theatre displays now available in Canada

A full list of bonus features available on the 4K Utra HD Blu-ray release are below.

4K Ultra HD

  • Feature film in 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR)
  • Dolby Atmos soundtrack (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible)
  • Also includes the film and special features on high-def Blu-ray

Blu-ray Bonus Features Include:

  • 4K Restoration & Dolby Atmos soundtrack (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible)
  • ALL-NEW: “The Henson Legacy” Featurette
    -Jennifer Connelly and the Henson family talk about the art of puppetry and the magic of Jim Henson, along with a visit to the “Center for
  • Puppetry Arts” featuring The Jim Henson Collection and over 100 puppets from Labyrinth.
  • ALL-NEW: Labyrinth Anniversary Q&A
    -Hosted by Mythbuster’s Adam Savage with participants Brian Henson, David Goelz and Karen Prell, and surprise guest Sheri Weiser.
  • ALL-NEW: “The Goblin King” Featurette
    -Remembering David Bowie with co-star Jennifer Connelly, and Jim Henson’s children Brian Henson and Cheryl Henson.
  • The Storytellers (Picture-in-Picture)
  • Commentary by Conceptual Designer Brian Froud
  • Original Making of Documentary “Inside The Labyrinth”
  • “Journey Through the Labyrinth: Kingdom of Characters” Documentary
  • “Journey Through the Labyrinth: The Quest for Goblin City” Documentary
  • Theatrical Trailer
Labyrinth 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Labyrinth 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.

Are you excited for the release of Labyrinth on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray? Will you consider upgrading your TV and Blu-ray player in order to watch it? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Is now the time for Amazon to launch a delivery service in Canada?

Amazon Prime Day Canada

With a potential postal strike or stoppage looming around Amazon’s Prime Day, it’s the perfect time for the online retailer to launch their own delivery service in the Great White North.

As online retailer Amazon begins teasing deals they’ll have available July 12 for Prime Day, talks between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers have broken down. There’s a potential lockout coming this week and with that a work stoppage (or strike) is possible.

Amazon doesn’t seem too concerned about this and, according to a statement the company sent me, they are “monitoring the situation with Canada Post and working to mitigate any potential impact on customers.”

RELATED: Not available in Canada

Considering one of the selling features of Prime Day in Canada is that there will be three times the amount of laptop units available than there was on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, it’s safe to say “potential impact on customers” could be huge (Canadians love their deals).

Along with laptops, Amazon promises thousands of items will be on sale for Prime customers to eat up during Prime Day. It’s highly unlikely they can use a service like FedEx or Purolator while keeping the cost of shipping down (or free) if there is a postal strike. They also know better than to pass along extra expenses to loyal customers (especially ones that pay a yearly fee). And what about the small businesses and private sellers on Amazon? They can’t afford to lose money and are key at keeping Amazon’s model afloat.

This leads to a few possibilities. Amazon can take a hit and lose money (possible), scale back on sale items during Prime Day in Canada (highly unlikely) or use this as an opportunity to launch their own delivery service in the Great White North (I’m championing for this third option).

The idea of Amazon launching a delivery service in Canada is not that wild. In select U.S. cities, like New York, Seattle and Tampa (among many others), they are already running a service called Amazon Flex. They deliver seven days a week and can even get packages to customers within hours in some instances.

RELATED: Apple TV gets The Shopping Channel in Canada

Amazon has shown they are invested in delivering their own packages around the world in the long run. They’ve mentioned they want to use drones in the future and, according to Forbes, they are looking into leasing jets. If they launched Flex in cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal during a postal strike/stoppage, they are sure to make customers happy and keep them coming back. Sure makes sense to me.

For more information on Prime Day in Canada, visit amazon.ca/primeday. For info on Amazon’s Flex delivery service, visit flex.amazon.com.

Do you think Amazon should launch a delivery service in Canada? Are you concerned about Canada Post going on strike? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.