PowerBear Battery Case for my LG G5

I'm old enough to remember a time when my phone battery would last the entire day. Seriously! I'd charge it while I slept, wake up with 100% and go to sleep without having to charge it once. That, sadly, is no longer the case.

I always said I'd sacrifice phone size for battery life. Manufacturers are focused on making phones thinner and lighter when I'd gladly double (or triple!) the thickness for a better battery. I've probably said this a dozen times in 2018 and my wife must have taken a note, because for Christmas she got me a PowerBear for my LG G5 phone.


It's essentially a battery case. Yes, it's pretty heavy, and yes, it's at least tripled the thickness of my phone, but I just love it. With this case I never have to worry about my battery dying, and charging the case is effortless because it charges along with the phone when you plug it in.. Yesterday, for example, I rode my bike for two hours while running three battery-chewing apps (MapMyRide, Stitcher and Google Maps) and thanks to PowerBear I arrived home with a full battery.

This isn't a paid endorsement, and my wife paid for the gift, I just like to share when I have a piece of tech that truly improves my daily life. This case is right up there with the best headphones I've ever owned.

I'm still wearing those headphones daily, too...

Update: Got a tweet asking about the price. My wife got mine for $20 on Kijiji but I see on Amazon that my LG G5 model retails for $50 CAD.

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Subscribe to Podcasts in Google Play

At last, podcasts have come to Google Play Music. I've been waiting for this for a very long time.

This entry isn't for you iPhone users who subscribe to podcasts in iTunes. This is for those of us who prefer Android. We can now easily subscribe and play podcast episodes via the native Google Play app on our devices.

For example, let's say you wanted to subscribe to my podcast, Toronto Mike'd. I highly recommend you do this asap. On your Android device, visit this link. If you've installed the most recent update to Google Play, it will automatically open on the landing page for Toronto Mike'd. Simply select the "Subscribe" button.


You'll also see a list of all episodes of the podcast. You can easily play them and/or share them. It really is slick and exactly what we Android users have been looking for.


If you're not an Android user, you can still subscribe and enjoy podcasts via Google Play on the web. The same url will bring you to my podcast's page. Here's how it looks on the web.


Not only can you search for your favourite podcasts but Google Play Music will offer contextual recommendations, just like it does with music.

It's been a long time coming but it's well worth the wait.


  • Google only unveiled this new feature this week, and is still rolling it out on Android devices. I got the update pushed to me two days ago, but it's possible you don't yet have the update. The fastest way to know if you have the new update is to visit this link. If you don't see the Toronto Mike'd logo, you don't have the update yet.
  • If your favourite podcaster hasn't added their podcast to Google Play yet, you won't find it. Most of the big ones are already there, but some podcasters haven't got around to it yet.

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The First 13 Non-Google Apps I Installed on my LG G3

The First 13 Non-Google Apps I Installed on my LG G3I got a new LG G3 smartphone on Monday, and the first thing I did was install my favourite apps and modify the settings to my liking.

Standard with this Android release (4.4.2) was a number of Google apps I already use daily, including Gmail, Chrome, Drive, Maps, YouTube, Hangouts, Docs, etc., so this entry is about the first 13 non-Google apps I personally installed on this LG G3.

Here they are in alphabetical order:

  • Do it (Tomorrow) - for grocery lists
  • Facebook - for Facebook
  • feedly - for reading my RSS feeds
  • Flickr - for sending photos to Flickr
  • Instagram - for Instagram
  • Map My Ride GPS - for tracking my bike rides and walks
  • reddit sync - for reading reddit
  • Skype - for Skype
  • SwiftKey Keyboard - my preferred keyboard
  • theScore - for score updates
  • TuneIn Radio - for listening to the radio
  • Twitter - for Twitter
  • WhatsApp Messenger - my preferred texting app

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My 21 Android Apps for the LG G2

My 21 Android Apps for the LG G2After test driving the LG G2 for a few months, I've finally gone all-in. My old Samsung Galaxy phone will be retired to camera / wi-fi use only, and the LG G2 will be my primary device. I love this phone.

In addition to the apps that come with Android, I immediately installed 21 apps following a factory reset. Here are my 21 Android apps for the LG G2, in alphabetical order.

  • CBC News - not just local, national and international news, but easy access to other CBC stuff, like radio, podcasts, etc.
  • Chrome Browser - for surfing the web
  • Do it (Tomorrow) - mainly grocery shopping lists and things I have to do
  • Facebook - for Facebook, believe it or not
  • Feedly Reader - this is how I read all my RSS feeds... better than Google Reader was
  • Flickr - I upload photos to my Flickr account using this app
  • Gmail - for email
  • Google Drive - for documents, spreadsheets, etc.
  • Google+ - for Google+
  • Hangouts - instant messaging
  • MapMyRide - I measure my bike rides using this app
  • Maps - for maps, driving directions, etc.
  • reddit sync - my preferred app for reading reddit
  • Shazam - for identifying songs I hear in coffee shops, on tv, in stores, etc.
  • Skype - I use Skype daily
  • Songza - great music playlists streamed on-demand
  • Street View on Google Maps - for Google Maps
  • theScore - for sports scores and following my teams
  • TuneIn Radio - whether I'm listening to CBC Radio, indie88, 102.1 or a station London, England, this app is amazing
  • Twitter - for Twitter
  • Voice Search - a must-have Google app for Android
  • YouTube - so my kids can watch music videos and epic rap battles of history

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The LG G2 Android Smartphone Extended Testdrive

LG G2I shared my early thoughts on the LG G2 Android smartphone but since then I've been using it exlusively. I literally set my Samsung Galaxy S Infuse 4G to forward all calls to the LG G2 Telus lent me and I've only been carrying the LG all month. My apologies for anyone who's been text messaging me these last few weeks, I haven't figured out how to forward those.

The biggest change has been the battery life. I can go two days without a charge, and that's with pretty heavy usage. I'll stream the radio and Songza, track my bike rides via GPS, check Gmail, Twitter and Facebook frequently and will always be surprised I've only used 55% of the battery at the end of the day.

I also love the size and speed. It's got a bigger screen and it's a great deal faster. Of course, this isn't a fair fight... Samsung recently released their Galaxy S4 making my model three whole generations behind. I'd love to compare this LG G2 to a Samsung Galaxy S4.


I think I'm screwed now. I don't think I can go back.

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The LG G2 is One Fast Smartphone

LG G2When people ask me which smartphone I recommend, I tell them the truth. I prefer a device running Android and thoroughly enjoy my old Samsung Galaxy and my wife's Samsung Galaxy S III. If someone were to gift me a new smartphone today, I'd ask that it be the Samsung Galaxy S IV. After-all, if it ain't broke...

This week I'm test driving an LG G2 with TELUS. It arrived yesterday and I excitedly unwrapped it and customized the settings to my liking, downloading my favourite Android apps and connecting it to my Google account. Even during a Raptors and Leafs win, and a World Series clincher, I wasn't able to put this baby down.

Look what was just delivered!

Firstly, the screen is bigger, and I like bigger. It's a little wider than the Samsung Galaxy S IV with a little less bezel, meaning it's all screen. It's brilliant HD that I'm assured is as good as or better than the iPhone 5, but I don't have an iPhone 5 to verify that claim. But damn, videos look great on this thing.

I've been using it like crazy for about 24 hours now without a charge, and the battery is at 49%. That's impressive. I should be able to get two days out of this with normal usage without requiring a charge.

I'm also told this LG G2 has a great 13 megapixel camera, but I'll be running those tests later, along with some further battery tests. Right now I'm just thoroughly impressed with the speed and response times compared to my old Samsung Galaxy. It's lightning fast.


Here are the specs for this LG G2 from TELUS I'm having a great deal of fun with:

  • 5.2" HD-IPS screen with 1080x1920 pixels.
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 2 protection.
  • 16/32 GB internal storage, Lacks microSD card slot.
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset.
  • 2.26 GHz quad-core CPU, Adreno 330 GPU, 2 GB RAM.
  • Wi-Fi, 4G, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, A-GPS, FM radio, Infrared port, Micro-USB 2.0 (with OTG support).
  • 13 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash.
  • Features Optical Image Stabilisation.
  • 2.1 megapixel front-facing camera.
  • Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass.
  • Available colours: Black, White.
  • 3000 mAh Li-Polymer battery.
  • Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean).

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Installing Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) on My HP TouchPad

Installing Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) on My HP TouchPadIn July of 2011, the nice people at HP gave me a TouchPad Tablet PC. Here's something I wrote about it then. It was is a nice piece of hardware with great sound running webOS, but by August of 2011, HP had discontinued the TouchPad. Early sales results indicated it wasn't the iPad killer they hoped it would be.

That meant the only tablet I own runs an OS without many apps. If you think BB10 is missing some key apps (and it is), you should peruse the app selection for the TouchPad. As a fan of the Android OS, I wanted to run Android on my HP TouchPad so I could enjoy the same system and apps I enjoy on my Samsung Galaxy phone.

The answer was CyanogenMod 10, which has brilliantly enabled me to run Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) on my TouchPad. Fantastic installation instructions are here should you own a TouchPad and want to give this a shot. It's pretty easy as my girlfriend and I had it up and running in one afternoon.

TouchPad running Android

I'm very pleased with my new Android tablet. Jelly Bean is great.

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iPhone 5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S3

iPhone 5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S3I mentioned Virgin Mobile lent me a Samsung Galaxy S3 (or is it Galaxy SIII?) and I've enjoyed my time with it. The 4G LTE speed is sweet, and Android 4.0 is incredible. I sincerely hope Virgin Mobile lets me keep this device, or conveniently forgets they sent it to me in the first place. Either option works for me.

Speaking of what works for me, this mobile platform does it for me, but my friends with the iPhone 5 seem just as happy, willing to give up a little display size for their OS of choice. I've done a ton of Googling, and the review sites seem split. Some prefer the Apple iPhone 5, others prefer the Samsung Galaxy S3, but all agree both phones are best-in-class.


So my question for you all is this: if you had to use a mobile device, and you had to choose between the Samsung Galaxy S3 or iPhone 5, and both were free, which one would you choose? And yes, you have to choose one and only one!

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Samsung Galaxy S III from Virgin Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S III from Virgin MobileI own a Samsung Galaxy S smartphone. I love it, but folks are now enjoying the Samsung Galaxy S III running on 4G LTE speeds and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. I'm naturally curious how that experience compares with my daily mobile experience.

The cool cats at Virgin Mobile sent me such a Samsung Galaxy S III last week and I've been playing with it. They've given me a subscription to their Mobile TV app that lets me stream a variety of CTV networks and videos and it's definitely faster.

Here's a shot of me watching Conan via Mobile TV on the Samsung Galaxy S III.

2012-10-05 18.47.54.jpg

It's fun playing with new toys... Is anyone else using the Samsung Galaxy S III?

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My Favourite Apps Installed on My Android Phone

androidYesterday, I wrote about MapMyRide, an app I've been using for tracking my bike rides. While recently troubleshooting an issue I was having with Kies, I returned my phone to its factory default settings. That gave me a clean slate when it came to installed apps, and three weeks later, these are the ones I missed enough to re-install.

  • CBC News - I love CBC News, and not just for reading, but for playing on-demand the most recent newscasts
  • Shazam - This one comes in handy all the time. If you hear a song and you want to know what you're listening to, Shazam always knows.
  • TuneIn Radio - I absolutely love this app that lets me listen to radio stations from around the world. Humble and Fred's podcast is there, too.
  • Do it (Tomorrow) - I've tried a few, and this is my "to do list" app of choice. If I need to do something, I add it here.
  • Facebook for Android - I'm not a big Facebook guy, but it has its benefits...
  • Gmail - Essential.
  • Google+ - I suspect I'm one of the few who still checks his Google + stream.
  • Google Chrome to Phone - A commenter recently turned me on to this app that sends a link from my computer to phone instantly.
  • MapMyRIDE - I explained this one yesterday. I use it for tracking my rides.
  • Twitter - I'm still digging Twitter.
  • Skype - This one is amazing. Here's something I recently wrote about Skype.
  • ScoreMobile - You need a good app for sports scores, news and stats, and I've tried a bunch. This is my favourite.
  • Zedge - This is a fun little app for ringtones and notification sounds.
  • reddit is fun - If you enjoy Reddit, this is the best Android app I could find.

Google Play keeps a record of every app I've installed, so I can accurately tell you I only reinstalled about 25%. The others either weren't that good or weren't used enough. Sorry, The Weather Network and Fruit Ninja.

Tell me about your favourite apps (for Android, iPhone or Blackberry) in the comments.

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