Masthead Blogs
Monday, October 30, 2017
Gadget Blog
Martin Seto

I have cut the chord on my TV for over 5 years now as I did not see the value of having both internet and cable, if I could get the same programming on the internet. The latest stats on chord cutting estimate that 1 in 4 households in Canada will have cut the chord by the end of the 2017. Netflix has becoming my primary source of home entertainment plus station websites. I have been using an old mac mini to power my TV and have been getting messages that my web browser is no longer supported and that issue is now affecting the TV streaming and some sites will not work anymore now.


So I decided to bite the bullet and buy updated hardware that supports the latest software even the though I did not want to retire the Mac Mini. I considered getting another Mac Mini but it would cost me anywhere from $200 - $500 for a used one Kijiji. I decided however to buy an Android media streaming box instead, my sister had one in her house and found that it was not very user friendly and the quality of the video was poor, but they bought it 2 years ago. For the uninitiated the Android Media Streaming box is a TV streaming device that allows you to get content from the internet and stream it to your TV through the HDMI port.


I shopped for one and found that they cost anywhere from $80 to $200. I looked at Best Buy, Walmart and Staples but they only offered it only online for $130 before taxes and I would have wait 1-2 weeks, but I wanted now and talk with somebody before I buy it. I ended buying it at Canada Computes as they stocked these devices in their store and had  multiple models to choose from. The one I bought was from MyGica  and it cost me $140 before taxes.


 MYGica Android TV Streamer ATV 495 PRO.Retails for $139.99, Cordless mouse extra


The device is tiny and measures 3.25” x 3.25” x 0.75” ( w x l x h)  and comes with 2GB of ram, 16G of storage, 2.0 GHZ  dual processor and supports 4K resolution. The operating system is Android 5.0 that is used in smartphones and you will use the Google Play Store to get the apps that work on the media player. Some of the preloaded apps were Netflix, Facebook YouTube and Chrome browser. It also comes bundled with a Kodi file storage system for pictures, music and video, 4K media player and the MyGica App Store where you can access more content. 


It comes with a TV remote with a key board on the backside. It has  USB(2), HDMI, audio/video out and ethernet ports andcan connect to your home network with wifi. Through the USB port you can connect to an external storage to access your digital library. You will need a wireless mouse to work  the apps and games.


 MyGica Home Screen


Since this is a mobile operating system the apps that are downloaded are designed for the smartphone, not a 50 inch tv and some look out of place or just do not work on the media player. There are TV apps in the Google Play Store to choose from and one of them was Popcorn Time, a popular torrent based entertainment site that is free to use. Torrent sites are nice to have but you have to wait 15-30 min for it download so you can watch it versus Neflix which is immediate viewing. There are other TV apps like Crackle, Puffin TV and Amazon to choose from and I feel this is just the beginning of a of new TV subscription market. 


Here are the screenshots of three apps Facebook, CBC TV and Popcorn Time. You can tell that Facebook and CBC are smartphone apps and Popcorn Time is a TV app designed for a video streamer, but all 3 work fine. 


 FaceBook App
 Popcorn TV


The future of video distribution will eventually end up on the internet side of the equation with cable becoming obsolete eventually, we can see it now where consumers can buy a monthly subscription to a TV app and the choice is going to get bigger. One more final thought a lot of the streaming services are commercial free which will impact the tv ad market as this market grows. The next question is now should you have a TV app as part of your publishng model of the fture.

Monday, November 06, 2017
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock

It was just a matter of time until some clever art director would do a mocking/mock cover like this one. The Harvey Weinstein revelations have been very damning of Hollywood culture.

Thursday, October 05, 2017
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock

The Nov/Dec 2017 issue of Canadian Running is one to watch.  It goes on sale October 30th, 2017.

The “travel” themed cover is packed with benefit-oriented sell lines.  Good use of devices such as starburst and + sign. The clean blue background and warm red logo work well together to create a vibrant, energetic feel.

Thursday, September 28, 2017
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock

The latest issue of Sports Illustrated has gotten into politics.   I give SI credit for not shying away from controversy…controversy typically helps sell magazines.  Therefore, it deserves to be the Cover of the Week. However, I’m just not sure the gamble is going to pay off for Sports Illustrated this time on newsstands, in the USA, although it probably will here in Canada.


Courting controversy comes with risk.  I guess SI doesn’t care that ESPN’s ratings have been cratering as they have become increasingly embroiled in politics.  And that NFL ratings have been tanking too, starting last year when Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49rs, started his personal “protest” by not standing for the flag and the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.  (Note 1:  Colin was protesting racial injustice in the USA, in case you missed that part). (Note 2:  The First Amendment enshrines and protects his right to Free Speech).  (Note 3:  The NFL’s Official Operations Manual strictly prescribes what is required of all players with respect to the National Anthem…and it requires standing).

Here’s what the game operations manual says regarding the national anthem:

“The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.” So far, there has been no “discipline, such as fines, suspensions and/or the forfeiture of draft choices for violations.”

Things weren’t going well for Colin last year, who earned $14 million dollars (that part is good) but whose team ended the 2016 season in last place in the NFC West, with just 2 wins and 14 losses (not so good).  He then opted out of the last year of his contract (not too smart), to become a free agent.  And like Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays, Colin discovered that there were no takers.   The problem for Colin was that, unlike the Blue Jays, San Francisco didn’t take him back.

Spike Lee (Film Maker) waded into it, claiming all the NFL owners were racists and cowards for not offering Colin a job.  Since Spike has never played, or coached, or owned a football team, most people ignored him. But then things got better for Colin (and Spike), when Donald Trump decided to make an issue out of it at a recent pep rally in Alabama. Now, all hell has broken loose. It’s gotten very entertaining indeed.


Negative reaction to the cover came swiftly, from both sides of the debate. Twitter lit up , many complaining: Why is Colin Kaepernick not on the cover?  Good question.  Which forced SI to come out with a video to defend the cover. 
See URL below:

If you listen to the interview with Executive Editor Steve Canella, apparently, Colin is on the cover even though he is not.  “Even though his picture isn’t there, Colin Kaepernick is there.” Really?  I see LeBron James (NBA).   I see Steph Curry (NBA).   I see Roger Goodell (NFL Comish) , who has been harshly criticized for not supporting the protest in the league he runs. Perhaps the sad truth is:  Sports Illustrated didn’t have the guts to put Colin on the cover.


Thursday, September 28, 2017
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock

The October 2017 issue of Vanity Fair is the Cover of the Week.

For fans of the popular Netflix show Suits, this cover will be irresistible.  Ditto for Royal Family addicts.  The local Toronto actress is sure to help them sell lots of magazines.

And a tip of the cap to Graydon Carter, Editor, who announced his retirement.  Congratulations on a remarkable career.



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