January 24th, 2018

CES – Final Thoughts

Alright, as of this writing CES 2018 is now in the books, over and everyone has gone back to their homes, and home countries. Alan, Diane, and myself, Ron Fraser have walked a total of 127,000 steps over three days, or about 97 kilometers! We did our best to cover that 2.75 million square feet of display space, but still only a fraction is truly possible to cover in any meaningful way.
So what are the big takeaways, how will this show affect us all going forward? I have a few observations to share on that.

1.Get used to saying “Hi Google” and “Alexa”…a lot. Just about everything that runs on gas, electricity, or batteries will also be driven by voice commands from now on. It is HERE.

2. Flying cars are real. Remember the Jetsons? Well, the Volocoptor is an autonomous flying drone that can take you quickly and safely from point A to point B. Roads are congested? Doesn’t matter.

3. Everything internet connected will talk to everything else you own that is plugged in, or on WiFi. If it doesn’t now, it will, and very soon. As you are driving home, the heat or AC will come on in your home, lights come on as needed, and maybe the oven starts to preheat to prepare to cook the meal that the refrigerator suggested based on the contents in your fridge. Really. I’ve seen that too.

4. Self driving cars as a concept are already real, and driving on their own in several cities the USA today. The new wrinkle there is that these self driving vehicles will also be mobile retail stores, medical clinics, pizza delivery, and anything else that needs goods, or services to be mobile. (Pizza hut has already signed on with Toyota for their autonomous delivery vehicle to start delivery of their food when their “E-Pallette” vehicle is on the roads.

5. A.I. or Artificial Intelligence is being deployed is as many products as possible. Cars will learn how you drive and adjust power output for your habits, homes that heat and cool based on your patterns, music selection that learns what you like and dislike to be more relevant. Electronics that can update themselves when needed, making an item last longer without having to buy a new one.

6. Robots will be everywhere. Most of them, will perform simple tasks like answering questions, giving directions, carrying everyday items, groceries and such to and from your car or home. Some will be companions (like pets, or even partners) Security and such are already compelling uses.

Each year seems to bring us new refinements and more cooperation between product manufacturers to try to convince the consumer into trying their products. If it makes my life easier, simpler, and better, I’m in support of these changes. Let’s see what the next year will bring!

Ron



May 1st, 2017

Why You Need to Recycle Your E-Waste (and how London Drugs can help!)

Earth Day 2017 may be over, but we at London Drugs know that thinking about and acting on behalf of our planet is a vitally important year-long activity. That’s why we accept so many forms of recyclables at our stores, including everything from small appliances and empty bottles to both standard and rechargeable batteries. We even accept styrofoam!

 

There is one type of waste that can be especially damaging to both the environment and to communities around the world: e-waste.

It deserves special attention because, too often, we don’t think of e-waste as being recyclable at all. Or we don’t realize that there are good and not-so-good ways to deal with it.

What is E-Waste?

The first important thing to know is that “e-waste” is not garbage, it’s actually a category of recyclables. The problem is, objects in this category aren’t always disposed of properly. In fact, the UN estimates that only about 14% of e-waste is currently being recycled around the globe.

The category of e-waste includes all electronic appliances, but one of the most hazardous sub-types is computers. This includes PCs, gaming consoles, monitors, televisions, tablets, smartphones, and all other handheld digital devices.

Collectively, items in this category have advanced components inside them, such as microchips and motherboards. Although many of us rarely see these components, it’s important to understand that they are often constructed out of hazardous materials like cadmium, lead, and chromium.

Thankfully, many of the companies that produce these products, including Apple, are working toward a future in which these hazardous materials either won’t be needed or can be entirely obtained from recycled e-waste. But we aren’t there yet.

It’s important for consumers to know about the damage to the environment these products can cause when they are disposed of improperly, and to take responsibility for making sure disposal is done right.

How Dangerous is E-Waste?

Improperly handled or mistakenly thrown out e-waste is currently causing serious damage to the environment worldwide. Over time the dangerous metals and chemicals in e-waste (including in plastic casings) break down in our landfills. From there, these pollutants can enter the soil, the air, and the water in the surrounding area.

Another threat posed by e-waste is to the labourers who handle the products. This is especially true for the vast quantities of e-waste that are frequently shipped to developing nations for processing. Too often, these recycling operations are poorly regulated, leaving workers unfairly exposed to physical harm, illness, and even death.

On top of that, the processes used to isolate the valuable parts of e-waste can be crude and may cause more environmental damage than simply throwing the e-waste into the trash. For example, burning copper wires at low temperatures to remove the plastic coating (a common practice at unregulated recycling operations) releases hazardous chemical compounds into the air.

This is why it is so important not only to recycle your e-waste but to ensure that it is being disposed of responsibly. This is needed for the sake of the planet and for the safety of the labourers involved in the process.

What Can We Do About E-Waste?

Good news! If you live in Western Canada, London Drugs accepts all forms of e-waste for proper recycling. Simply bring your tech recyclables into one of our stores and look for the recycling station.

If you don’t see the recycling kiosk in your local LD store, or aren’t sure quite where to find it, just ask one of our LD Experts or speak to someone at the customer service desk. For certain items, there may be daily limits we will inform you of, but we will always do our best to accommodate your recycling needs.

When you recycle your e-waste at London Drugs you can be sure it will be handled by fully-screened and certified companies and never shipped to substandard processing plants. Another benefit of recycling your e-waste at London Drugs is that we always make sure your personal data is properly deleted. In some cases, we may even offer your used electronics a second life by providing them to those in need.

Go the extra mile for the environment and participate in our computer packaging re-use system called Bring Back The Pack. We’re thrilled to have partnered with Certified Data to bring you this program that enables re-use of brand new computer packaging.

Don’t live near a London Drugs? Don’t worry.

There are other ways to safely dispose of e-waste in Canada. The first place to check is with your local recycling depot, but The Salvation Army also typically accepts e-waste.

And remember, whatever you do, the most important step you can take to avoid contributing to the e-waste problem is to never put your electronics into the garbage.

Have more questions about e-waste recycling? You can always ask an LD Expert in-store.

And we encourage you to learn more about our recycling program at GreenDeal.ca.



November 4th, 2016

5 Things to Do With All Your Smartphone Pics

At London Drugs, we love smartphone photography. It’s not just for amateurs anymore, either. Even most pros have probably found themselves taking more and more smartphone pics lately.

smartphone-wall-pic

In fact, it’s estimated 78.8% of all photos taken worldwide will be shot on smartphones by 2017. We’re also currently taking more pictures than ever, largely because of smartphones. In 2015, one trillion photos were taken worldwide for the first time – a 16.2% increase from 2014.

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July 20th, 2015

5 vinyl albums you didn’t think you’d find at London Drugs

Unlike the audiotape and compact disc (RIP), records have not only managed to fight off extinction, they’ve actually had resurgence in the past decade. Whether it’s the pleasure-inducing sound of the needle drop or the warm, rich sound that analog provides, there’s just something special about putting on a record. The vinyl selection at London Drug’s pays tribute to an entire lifetime of records, ranging from 1930s blues to present-time psychedelic rock. Here are five albums you didn’t expect to find while shopping at LD.

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June 26th, 2015

Hot New Games for July!

June flew by and now we’re into a hot summer!  Don’t want to go outside?  Then stay inside and play games set outside!  This month we have the latest installments in the PGA Tour and Formula 1 sports franchises as well as an all new Wolfenstein game.  Let’s dive in!

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour

RoryMcIlroy

Release Date: July 14th
Platforms: XBOX One, PlayStation 4

The first new EA golf game since the late 1990s to not have Tiger Woods on the cover, EA’s new PGA Tour features current world #1 Rory McIlroy.  The new game features course rendered on the Frostbite engine, rendering an entire course at once rather than on a hole-by-hole basis, reducing load times significantly.  More importantly it will feature many real world courses including Royal Troon, St Andrews, Sawgrass, and more!  There will also be some new challenges including a game set on a battlefield map and one inside a nightclub, as well as one in the Grand Canyon.  A must have for any sports fan!

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June 18th, 2015

Top 5 Must-Haves for your Summer Road Trip from London Drugs

Summer weekends were made for lake and cottage country. Most Fridays now after work, we will see the mass exodus of cars leaving for a weekend of fun, sun, and relaxation. Whether the drive is an hour, four or more, road trips can be made easier by traveling with essentials that can make getting to your destination safe and fun.

Here are our top 5 picks for your summer road trip must-haves:

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April 8th, 2015

Fitness Gadgets to get the most out of your fitness

Have you ever needed that extra little bit of motivation, or a reminder to get active? London Drugs tech expert David Levett sat down with anchor Darrell Rumold on CTV Morning Live in Regina to discuss some of the newest products on the market for monitoring fitness.

For someone looking for something simple, yet effective for fitness tracking, FitBit might be the perfect choice. These activity trackers are a very user-friendly option and are best suited for entry-level to average fitness trackers who want something simple. David showed off the FitBit Charge HR model, capable of tracking essential fitness measures like steps taken, calories burned and active minutes. The charge also acts a watch and is able to sync wireless to any laptop or smartphone. FitBit can also monitor one’s sleep. David explained in the newscast how the FitBit would track sleep and then display on an iPad the amount and quality of sleep he had. Starting as low as $70, FitBit provides an affordable option for users who want effective fitness monitoring without complexities.

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