Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hands on with Columbia’s electric jacket

Right around early November, I usually get a familiar sliver of fear riding up my spine. It happens in anticipation of the horrific winter that’s on the way. Minus-20 temperatures (minus-four to Americans), back-breaking snow shoveling, winds that can flay the skin from your bones… it’s enough to scare one into a four-month-long hibernation.

We’ve been lucky this year, with an unseasonably warm winter here in Toronto. So far, there has been virtually no snow and temperatures near zero. I don’t know what that means in the larger ecological sense, but for the most part, all hail global warming!

In any event, I’m not sure why it never occurred to me that enduring such hardship is entirely optional in this modern age. I’m not talking about moving to Hawaii, there’s actually a much easier way to cope with winter: technology.

Imagine my joy when I recently discovered that Columbia, the sportswear maker, has a whole line of clothing that is heated with batteries. The Omni-Heat Electric line uses rechargeable lithium batteries to heat jackets, boots and globes. It sounded too good to be true, so I had to try it out.

Columbia sent me the Circuit Breaker Softshell to test. Fortunately, we had a cold spell this weekend where temperatures indeed dipped into the minus-20s, so it was good timing. The Circuit Breaker features heating elements around its mid-section and wrists, so it’s supposed to keep your body and hands warm. The jacket has two inside pockets on each breast where the batteries are stored, and there’s a further pocket that holds a small controller device. The whole thing can operate with just one battery, but when both are fully charged and connected they can provide heat for up to six hours. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on February 16, 2012 in Uncategorized


Some funny business for a change

It’s been a busy and serious week, what with yesterday’s post about Bell’s mental health campaign and my Globe and Mail column on copyright. I’ll definitely have more to say on both topics over the next few weeks, but in the meantime, how about some levity?

And nobody does levity like The Onion. Check out this video on Sony’s latest piece of, ahem, crap. It singles out Sony, but it’s really a funny commentary on our gadget obsession. Be warned though: there’s more foul language in this, per capita, than Scarface:

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Posted by on February 10, 2012 in Uncategorized


Gone fishing… er, tanning

I’m going to beg off on posting today, on account of currently being on a short vacation in Cuba. Alas, my trip will probably be too short to get a proper read on the state of technology in the country, which is too bad because - as some Cubans themselves call it - it is the “Island of the Disconnected.” See you all on Monday!


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Posted by on January 20, 2012 in Uncategorized


Calling in sick…

I hope everyone had a great holiday. I, unfortunately, have come down with a bit of a stomach bug, so no post today. With any luck, things’ll be back to normal tomorrow. Please come back then…

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Posted by on December 27, 2011 in Uncategorized


A very Slayer Christmas, part 2!

Last year I posted a video of the guy who had rigged his home Christmas lights to flash in time with Slayer’s Reign in Blood. It was one of the most amazing, if bizarre, things I’d ever seen.

Well, he’s back at it. This time, his lights are co-ordinated to South of Heaven, also by Slayer. I really, really wish I could live next to this guy. Check it out and have a laugh. Merry Christmas! (I’ll be taking Boxing Day off, back to blogging on Tuesday.)

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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


Busy, busy, busy…

I’m at the Montreal International Games Summit and a bit harried, so I won’t have a proper blog post today. But check back here on Thursday for what will hopefully be some good stuff from the conference…

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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Uncategorized


Calling in sick

I’m nursing a pretty nasty cold so I’m going to take a rare sick day. With any luck, I’ll be back on Friday with something semi-coherent to say. Till then…

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Posted by on September 22, 2011 in Uncategorized


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