Tag Archives: featured post

$25 worth of free (and good) magazines from zinio

19 Dec

Yes, you read it right – free magazines. And not crappy ones but ones that people would actually buy in the store. Ones like Cosmopolitan, US Weekly, The Economist, Hockey News, Playboy, and Oprah  just to randomly name a few. One catch though – they are digital versions which can be read on your computer, Android device, iPhone, Kindle Fire and iPad. So if you don’t mind reading digital, read on.

I was browsing one of my favourite deal sites SmartCanucks and there was a post announcing a free magazine from Zinio. I clicked to see what magazines were available for free and chose Nylon. It’s just like the paper magazine with one billion full-page ads and the format is the same, which I like.

A few minutes later, I found an email in my Spam box from Nylon saying:

Hi Shannon,Good news! Your subscription to Nylon Digital has been renewed, compliments of DIESELYou will continue to receive Nylon Digital for another full year# You’ve come to count on Nylon to keep you in the know about what’s hot and what’s not in fashion, music, culture, celebrities and moreEnjoy!Sincerely,Jaclynn JarrettPublisher

So I browsed for more magazines and they have something like 5000 different ones.  I did a google search to see if they had more deals and came across a page from Bargain Moose (another Canadian deals site, I love my deals ok?) saying that new members get a $25 credit towards magazines! It said that most people receive it in 24-48 hours and I got my email from Zinio about 24 hrs later with my code for $25 credit.

I decided to get two magazine subscriptions – one for Marie Claire and one for Cosmopolitan India (hey, the India one was like $10 cheaper and the content looked more interesting than the American one). With these two subscriptions, I was going to go a bit over $25 so I decided to buy a gift card on Zinio for $10 (plus .50 tax) because I would receive $5 credit later one. It’s one of those “buy a gift card for someone and get something in return deals”.

I’ve written out detailed instructions for buying your magazines with your credit or credit + gift card, so read whatever one you fall into.


Under  $25 (instructions are in the credit email as well)

  1. Sign up here.
  2. Choose the magazines you want and if you are under $25, choose a single issue of a magazine to maximize your credit without paying more. Make you sure you deselect continuous subscription, or something like that.Keep in mind that you are charged 5% tax on the magazines so try to aim for ~$23ish before tax.
  3. Once you’ve added them to your cart, go to checkout and at the bottom of the screen paste in your credit code where it says service credit or gift card.
  4. Press continue and since if you don’t owe any money – you are good to go! Enjoy!
Over $25
  1. Sign up here.
  2. Choose the magazines you want and if you are over $25, consider buying a gift card so you can get “Z-bucks” back $10 = $5 back, $25 = $10 back, and $50 = $25 back. In my case, my  $5 credit for buying the gift card came a couple of days later.
  3. This is where I sort of messed up. I thought I could use the credit and the gift card at the same time. I found out that you can only use one or the other so this is what you are gonna have to do. Let’s work with the $25 credit first. Keep the most expensive magazine in your cart and delete the other. Let’s say you have a $19.99 subscription and a $10.99 subscription. Delete the $10.99 one and fill your cart with single issues until you reach ~$23 if you don’t want to pay for the tax. Make you sure you deselect continuous subscription, or something like that. Buy those magazines with your service credit.
  4. Now you will have to add that $10.99 sub to your empty cart and buy that separately with your gift card code.
  5. Enjoy!
This is what I got: (apologies for the weird formatting below — I can’t figure out how to fix it.)
For the $25 credit

1 X  one year magazine subscription ($19.99)
2 X  single issue magazines ($2.60 and $2.67)
I paid about $1.50 in tax which I was fine with.

For the $10 gift card

1 X one year magazine subscriptions ($10.99).
I paid about $1.50 in tax and the extra .99.

After the $25 credit and the $5 gift card purchase credit, I paid $8.00 USD for everything!

translink real-time bus tracking on your smartphone (vancouver)

1 Nov

When I was an Android user, my favourite app was Google Maps. I like to know where I am and what’s nearby. I also liked the Google Maps app for the integrated bus schedules for Vancouver. If you zoom in close enough to where the stop / station should be, you can click on the bus icon for the next bus arrival times. Very handy.

When I switched to the iPhone, I was so disappointed that Google Maps for iOS does not support public transportation integration. I don’t have a car and rely on public transportation for pretty much everything. I tried looking for apps on the App Store that could give me bus schedules but most of the apps were buggy or not rated very highly. I used to save bus stop numbers on my phone as presets but I don’t know how to do that on the iPhone. I know there had to be a more techie way to get bus schedules.

After some internet research, I found out that Translink has a mobile site that offers some features that I think are far better than any feature a third-party App could offer. You know back in the day when you used to say “Gee, I wish buses had GPS on them so I would know exactly when and where they are?” It’s here and it’s pretty good.


On your mobile device (or computer web browser), go to www.m.translink.ca for links to Next Bus, Trip Planner, Favourites, Schedules, Fares, Alerts, and more. The bus tracking feature is found under Next Bus. Type in your most used bus stop number (or find it with the Find your Stop button) and select “Map View.” It will show you the bus stop with several next bus times. If you zoom out, it will show you the location of buses for that particular stop. While in this mode, you can select other bus stops indicated by the “T” and it will show you bus times and bus locations for that stop.

For example, if I select the bus stop at UBC loop for the outgoing 99 B Line, I will see the times and the locations of buses leaving UBC. If I select the bus stop at Granville and Broadway for the westbound 14/16/17, I will see all of the west bound buses on that route.

For easy access to the site, I’ve bookmarked my most used bus stop and refer to that link for whatever bus I am looking for by zooming in and out. I suppose you could  also create separate bookmarks for every bus stop you use.

The accuracy of the bus locations is pretty good and shows real-time locations, not expected locations. It’s updated every 30 seconds -45 seconds it appears. Last week, I was on the 16 Arbutus and hoping to connect with the 33 UBC. Using the app, I could see that I would make it in time to connect. This is important at night-time or in the morning when the buses come in packs or arrive way ahead of schedule. Highly recommend this app for those in the suburbs where buses are known to come up 20 minutes early / late.

using restrictions to keep tabs on your iphone/ ipad/ ipod touch

25 Oct

I appreciate Apple for thinking of us iPhone/iPad owners when they created the Find my iPhone/iPad app and more recently built it right into the operating system with iOS5. I’ve never lost either of these products so I’ve never had to use the functions but I think they would be pretty handy should your device go missing.

Using Find my iPhone/iPad, you can find your device on a map, send it a message, play a sound (even if it’s on silent), conduct a remote wipe of your phone and set a passcode remotely. See the Apple website for a more detailed description.

This is all great as long as you have the app installed and have restricted settings on it. Let’s say, someone stole your iPhone while you were at a concert. You didn’t realize they took it until the concert was over and you are frantically looking for your phone. During that time, that person could have turned on your phone (if you didn’t have a passcode) and simply deleted the Find my iPhone app (iOS 4) OR turned it off in General settings through iCloud or Location Services. Once that is done, your device is off the grid. I feel like a character from Tron when I say “off the grid.” Anyways…

I tested  this today with my iPhone (iOS 5). I went to Settings > iCloud > Find my iPhone = Off. I went to iCloud.com (see my post about the site here), signed in, and I could see the location of my Macbook and iPad but the iPhone wasn’t even listed on the site.

——- End of Line. Ok, no more Tron references.

To prevent unauthorized disabling of Find my iPhone/iPad and Location Services, do the following steps:

1.  Go to Settings > iCloud. Make sure Find my iPhone/iPad is on (notice how easy it is to turn it off?) and then go back to Settings > General > Restrictions

2. Enter your passcode or create a new passcode (make it different from your unlock code – just in case).

3. Once in, press “Enable Restrictions” (you might as well turn off Ping while you’re here and save some battery unless you actually use it).  Find “Location” and scroll down the bottom. Make sure Find my iPhone/iPad is “on” and then scroll up and select “Don’t allow changes.” Note that you will be unable to make changes to the apps listed below but since it’s your phone you can always edit restrictions later on.  Just don’t forget the code because I don’t know what happens or what to do and I don’t really want to find out.

4. Once you select “Don’t allow changes,” you will be brought up a level and will see a lock icon beside “Location.”

5. Go to Settings> iCloud and you won’t be able to turn off Find my iPhone/iPad. The same will be true for all apps under Location Services. You can always go back into restrictions and make changes to individual apps.

Now you can log-in to iCloud with your Apple ID to find, message, play a sound, or remote wipe your iPhone/iPad/iPod touch!

Update: November 11, 2011. By restricting locations, you will be unable to create Reminders that remind  you when you leave or arrive at a location. It’s weird how Restriction blocks Reminders even if you allow Reminders to access your location. So if you want to create these location-based reminders, you will have to “allow changes” and then turn it back on. If Apple fixes this, I will report back!

Update: November 30, 2011. A friend asked, well what if the person who took your phone just takes out your Sim card? I just tested this by taking out my sim and re-starting. I did not do a restore or wipe because I want my stuff still. Taking out the sim card didn’t change anything. I was still able to locate my phone using wifi networks. However, the iCloud mapping system was down in general but the phone still showed up on the screen along with my other Apple products.


19 Oct

I had no idea this existed even though I knew something like this should. I like to think of myself as being tech-savvy and informed, but I had never heard of www.icloud.com  until yesterday evening.  Maybe it was so obvious that tech blogs and Apple(!) didn’t feel the need to inform people of this site but I wish they would have reminded us anyways…

My story: I didn’t have iCloud enabled for contacts on my phone because I’ve always had issues syncing them with Google because I have a ton of email addresses of people I had to email through work. Yesterday I made the terrible mistake of syncing my contacts to the Cloud without knowing that the contacts on my phone would not get synced with the Cloud first. In doing so, I deleted all of my phone contacts and was left with 500 contacts with email addresses only. It was a very sad and “f me” moment.

I thought maybe I could restore my contacts somehow but I don’t think it was possible since I backed everything (except my contacts) to the Cloud. Duh. I accepted the fact that I would probably have to input everything again but I was determined to do it right this time.

I did some googling and came across a forum post where someone mentioned www.icloud.com. Was it too good to be true? How did I not know about it? I clicked and was directed to a legit iCloud website under Apple’s name (screenshot above). I entered in my Apple ID and password and was presented with icons for Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Find My Phone, and Documents. I clicked on contacts and all 500 contacts were there. I did a mass delete and spent the next hour entering my phone contacts on the website. Now my iPad, iPhone and iCloud play nicely together which makes me happy.


For those on iOS 5, access your iCloud account at www.icloud.com for (as long as its synced to iCloud per your device settings) your Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Find My Phone/iPad, and Documents (Pages, Keynote and Numbers only, I believe).

watch american tv shows in canada (hulu, netflix, comedy, etc.) on your iOS device

7 Oct

I hate trying to watch a tv show or movie online only to see “Sorry! You can’t view this content because you are in Canada” or something along those lines. I no longer get that message now because I installed a VPN blocker (Hotspot Shield) onto my computer and can watch American content on my Canadian Macbook and iPad.

I’ve watched shows on Netflix (need an account), Hulu, Comedy Central, and Lifetime (the movie trailer for the movie my cousin is in! Check out “Girl Fight,” of course you will need to have Hotspot installed to see the trailer). I also installed the VPN on my iPad and have watched stuff on Netflix (although a bit spotty sometimes and loads slowly) and some TV shows from American apps. The instructions below are for your Apple mobile device.

Hotspot Shield can also be installed on your PC / Mac to watch American shows but lately, sites like Hulu and NBC haven’t been working for me but Netflix works fine.

1. Set up a VPN on your Apple device (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch) by finding the VPN settings through “Settings -> General -> Network -> VPN -> Add VPN Configuration:”

2. Enter in the information exactly as shown in the picture below:

And then click “Save.”

3. To activate Hotspot Shield on your iPhone, the VPN setting needs to be turned on. After you install the VPN, there should be a new option under WiFi in settings to toggle VPN on and off.

Once you’ve turned on the VPN, open your American based app and enjoy!

*** Remember to turn off Hotspot Shield (especially when on your computer) when you are done. I forgot to turn it off and tried to buy something online with PayPal and refused to let me buy because my IP was located outside of Canada. I had to prove that it was me by sending a copy of my Driver’s License. So learn from my mistake! ***

Original instruction credit and photo goes to Chris Burke