Lifestyle

Petcube: The best Christmas gift you can give to Paw-rents

Featuring Juancho!

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Does it break your heart every time you leave your fur-baby at home? Ever wonder what they do when you’re not there to watch? Paw-renting guilt is real and Petcube Bites is the perfect way to deal with it on days when you just can’t bring your pet with you.

I was someone who didn’t want to be one of those pet owners who have a camera to stalk their pet. After my Pembroke Welsh Corgi Juancho came into my life, however, it all changed. A highly sociable dog, he loves the company of humans and hates being alone. On days when I had to leave him for a couple of hours to do the groceries or attend a formal event, he would howl in sadness. We proceeded to train him to be okay with being alone, giving treats before we leave and gradually increasing the time of separation.

However, it made me wonder how he was doing when he’s actually alone. Is he still howling? We needed a pet camera to check on him!

Enter Petcube’s latest version of their camera — Petcube Bites. Not only can you stalk and talk to your pet, you can even reward him for good behavior even when you’re not physically present by throwing treats at him.

Sleek and stylish

One thing I was worried about was how a pet camera would fit into our home. Most of the ones available in the market tend to look too cute-sy or even cheap because of the plastic elements used. The Petcube Bites, although quite big, can blend well with almost any type of room decor. It comes in four colors: Matte Silver, Rose Gold, Carbon Black, and Snow White. You can also put it on a flat surface or mount it on the wall.

Easy setup

Getting the camera up and running is a breeze. Download the app and sign up, plug your unit in, and follow the instructions on your screen. In a few minutes, our Petcube was up and running perfectly and I could see Juancho on the screen.

Security with notifications

You can’t spend all your time away from your pet with your eyes stuck on your mobile’s screen, watching him to make sure he’s okay. You can go about your business with ease as Petcube can detect movement and sound. It will also alert you through a push notification, prompting you to check on your pet.

Missed the moment? Don’t worry. The app saves videos of up to ten seconds from the past four hours into the cloud. You can check it later, download the video, and easily share it on social media. If you want longer videos and storage periods, you can always sign up for a membership to Petcube Care which starts at US$ 4.99.

It doubles as a great security camera for your home too. You’ll know if your pet had a busy day fighting off burglars. Your good boy definitely deserves a giant treat for driving them away!

Getting social

The Petcube app allows you to share photos and videos of your pet on an Instagram-like feed. You also have the choice to set your camera in public mode. This allows other app users to access your camera and interact with your pet. If you own the Play model, viewers can utilize the laser pointer and keep your pet busy. With Bites, you have the option to allow viewers to give treats to your pet, as well.

This is not for everybody, that’s for sure. Our Petcube is a locked camera but I must admit that I do enjoy playing with other people’s cats when Juancho’s asleep.

Capturing special moments with your fur-baby

The Petcube Bites streams 1080p HD video through a 138-degree wide-angle view. You can also zoom in the video up to three times. Night mode allows me to check on Juancho even when we’re already in bed and all the lights are off.

My favorite thing about it, though, is how it is able to record special moments between Juancho and I. Like the time I had to travel for work and he was left alone with his fur-daddy. I was gone for a couple of days and our Petcube Bites was able to capture our sweet reunion.

Acclimatise your pet

The only con I can say about the Petcube Bites is the sound it makes when you press for a treat to be thrown. This has startled Juancho one too many times and has given him some trust issues with it. This doesn’t come as a surprise since he’s still a puppy and is quite jumpy to begin with. He wouldn’t even go near the treats that came out of the device.

Another thing your pet should get used to is hearing your voice when you’re not around. Juancho freaked out the first time he heard my voice via the Petcube, telling him to get off the couch when I wasn’t even there. He jumped right off and it made me feel like God for a little bit but that added to the trust issues.

We’re currently in the process of reintroducing our unit to him. We’ve made some progress but we’re hoping he gets fully used to the sounds. He’s getting a lot bigger now and having more exposure to technology, anyways.

Verdict

So, is Petcube Bites the perfect gift for the paw-rent in your life? It makes sense to give someone the security of knowing their pet (and home) is safe while they’re away for a couple of hours. You can also prevent boredom which leads to destructive behavior. This, by either talking to them or distracting them with treats.

Peace of mind is always a good investment, as well as seeing your pet do something funny and having it on video to share with your friends and family.

What do you mean they’re fed up with my pet posts? Us paw-rents don’t really care.

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Stay Cozy: 5 best places to visit during winter

Channel your inner Queen Elsa or Jack Frost!

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Photo by Jason Briscoe

Winter is here. From December to March, the Northern Hemisphere faces the coldest time of the year. For some people, winter is hellish. It’s brutally cold, bulky outfits make it hard to move; landscapes feel robbed of colors, and the sun barely shows itself.

However, some people enjoy the freezing season — especially those who live in tropical countries wanting to experience snow at least once in their lifetime. It’s also a time where people get closer and warmer. If you’re looking for a place to enjoy winter, here are the top places to go.

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki is Finland’s capital. Many people visit the country to embark on a Nordic tour and see the northern lights. Little do they know, there’s a chance to see the famed northern lights in the country’s capital, especially in February and March from 9 PM until 1 AM.

Aside from spending long nights outdoors, Helsinki is a beautiful place to go sightseeing during winter. Make sure to visit Helsinki Cathedral, Helsinki Museum, Helsinki Central Library and walk around Sibelius Park and Esplanade Park. If you’re in for some coffee, visit Fazer Café and Café Regatta.

Don’t forget to visit a sauna — one of the top things to do in the city — to get a real feel of Helsinki. Drop by the Allas Sea Pool.

Where to stay: Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel

Radisson Blu Plaza is a historical hotel near Helsinki Central Station with a Finnish-designed interior making you feel like you’re in a set from an early 1900’s movie! Book here.


Quebec, Canada

People flock to Quebec to visit Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Who wouldn’t want to? Old Quebec is a remnant of history; a piece of life from centuries ago, immortalized through design and architecture. However, Quebec has its charms that make people explore more of its secrets and wonders.

When in town, make sure to walk along Terrasse Dufferin and bask in a spectacular view of Saint-Lawrence river. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also visit Plaines d’Abraham and do some skiing and skating. Don’t forget to warm up with a cup of hot chocolate from La Maison Smith.

Lastly, Quebec has events you shouldn’t miss if you’re in town for winter. There’s a German Christmas Market in December and Carnaval de Québec in February.

Where to stay: L’appartement GLOBETROTTER

L’appartement is a spacious and bright BnB with a private roof terrace, located in Saint-Roch district. Stay here.


Sapporo, Japan

Sapporo is popular as it is one of the snowiest cities in the world. It’s also a vibrant city — even in winter — as it presents a lot of activities for every tourist. Go ahead and embrace your inner child: play in the snow, adme ice sculptures, and ride snowmobiles, especially during the Sapporo Snow Festival.

If you love beer, you probably know Sapporo as a beer brand — another reason to visit the city. Sapporo has been brewing beers since the late 1800s and people come to the Sapporo Beer Museum for beer tasting. Beer fan or not, Sapporo in winter is a beautiful place to visit in groups. Who’s in for long nights drinking beer with your friends and/or with fellow travelers?

Don’t forget to book an onsen for a warm and relaxed trip!

Where to stay: Sapporo Station BnB

Sapporo Station BnB is a charming, tatami-styled, budget-friendly BnB located next to a subway station. Stay here.


Seoul, South Korea

Seoul is a wonderful destination during winter. There are a lot of things to do both indoors and outdoors that it’s impossible not to love this city even in cold.

For those willing to brave the cold, stroll around Gyeongbokgung Palace, ice skate at Seoul Plaza and Yeoui Ice Park, eat winter street food like tteokbokki (rice cakes with spicy red chili paste), hotteok (Korean pancakes with nuts and honey), and gyeran bbang (steamed bread with egg), and of course, experience snow everywhere!

For indoor dwellers, visit quirky and themed cafés or warm up with some hot cup of tea from teahouses in Insadong.

Where to stay: Hanok Guesthouse Mon Oncle a Seoul

A Hanok is a traditional Korean house popular among tourists. Hanok Guesthouse Mon Oncle a Seoul is well-loved by travelers due to its great location and remarkable sunset views. Book here.


New York City, United States of America

Popular all-year-round, New York unravels a different personality and charm during winter. It’s a winter wonderland for most people, hosting larger-than-life celebrations and making everything big and loud.

When you’re in the city for Christmas, make sure to rock on some coats and scarves while ice-skating with a date or someone special in Rockefeller Center or at Wollman Rink. Take a stroll along Hudson’s Warren Street and through Central Park.

Other than that, New York hosts a lot of tradition and events during winter like the New Year’s Eve ball drop, Lunar New Year parade, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, New York Fashion Week, and NYC Broadway Week.

Where to stay: Walker Hotels Tribeca

Walker Hotels Tribeca is an artistic and aesthetically-pleasing hotel situated at a great location that will help you get anywhere around New York. Book here.


Stay Cozy is a series on GadgetMatch.com where we feature travel destinations with guides on things to do, sights to see and a highlight on the places we can book in advance to show that technology makes planning your trips easier.

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Huawei Y6s: Easy on the eyes, easy on the pocket

A good balance of good hardware and efficient software

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Us women love a good bargain. Spending on a pair of classic pumps, a much-awaited trip, or the groceries feels more satisfying when we get more than what we paid for.

The same holds true even for gadgets — just because we want to stick to our budget, it doesn’t mean we have to make compromises. That’s where the Huawei Y6s comes in.

Optimized performance

A good smartphone is one that can handle tasks with ease, enabled by a good mix of hardware and software. With the combination of a new octa-core processor and intelligent EMUI 9.1 system, the Huawei Y6s is optimized to perform smoothly.

The phone intelligently clears system cache in the background so you don’t have to. This keeps the phone at the top of its game. You can run multiple apps and switch between them without hiccups.

When you’re running out of space, it will remind you to delete unnecessary files, like those selfie outtakes you’re never planning on sharing.

A 3020 mAh battery makes sure you have enough juice to last through your day. Things under the hood make the phone power efficient so it lasts even longer.

Security at your fingertip

Keeping your information private is easy. Choose to unlock your phone with the fast fingerprint scanner at the back, or face unlock up front — or set up both. Face unlock intelligently increases the brightness in low-light scenarios so it can recognize your face faster.

Nature-inspired design

Any woman would agree looking good throughout the day is a tall order. The secret to staying fresh is constant touchups from head to toe.

Thankfully, the Huawei Y6s stays pristine no matter what, relieving you of one more thing to worry about. The matte finish on the Orchid Blue variant doesn’t pick up gross grime and fingerprint smudges. It also matches the 2020 Pantone Color of the Year — making it both classic and trendy.

The Starry Black option shimmers like the beautiful night sky full of stars. Its hidden reflective particles shine when hit by light — a nice surprise touch.

Superb multimedia experience

This phone is your personal portable speaker while listening to music or watching movies at home. It’s even loud enough for hanging out with your friends at the beach.

When you crank it up to full volume, audio quality isn’t compromised. A unique audio system design delivers rich bass, and a full sound. It also has a built-in FM antenna so you can listen to the radio to discover new music when you get tired of the playlist you put together.

Paired with its 6.09-inch display, your Netflix and chill experience would be unmatched. Its tiny bezels make viewing more immersive that you’ll want to keep watching until your eyes get tired.

Fortunately, the Y6s features Eye Comfort mode and is TÜV Rheinland certified. It effectively filters out harmful blue light, and intelligently adjusts the color temperature and brightness to reduce eye fatigue.

Cameras that capture memories during the day and at night

Low quality pictures should be a thing of the past as we usher in a new decade. The new memories we make deserve to be captured by a camera capable even those that happen after sunset. The fast f/1.8 aperture on the Huawei Y6s ensures its main camera can let in as much light as possible. Photos are clear and in focus, with less noise even those taken in low light scenarios.

Selfies, too, turn out great, even when you need oil blotting in real life. With the 8MP front camera and its smart beautification algorithm, you look your best no matter the time of the day.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

When it comes to finding a smartphone that suits your lifestyle and your budget, it’s important to find one that ticks basic features and more. At PhP 6,990, the Huawei Y6s gives you more than what you’re paying for. With a good balance of good hardware and efficient software, it stands out in a sea of smartphones in its price point.

To avail of Huawei’s Christmas promos visit consumer.huawei.com/ph/campaign/together-2020/


This feature was produced in collaboration between GadgetMatch and Huawei Philippines.

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Lifestyle

The Pirate Bay just launched its own streaming service

Yes, it’s free

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Image source: Disney

Without a doubt, the streaming wars have begun. Especially after the introduction of Disney Plus, audiences are now struggling to find the perfect mix of price and content. Which streaming services should you sign up for, so you maximize all entertainment options while minimizing price?

However, as entertainment companies come up with more streaming services, prices are inevitably going up. That said, a former entertainment king is getting a lot more tempting again — piracy.

Before Netflix’s current dominance, audiences already resorted to torrenting and bootleg streaming. Now, rising prices will likely push audiences back to the entertainment model.

Case in point, infamous torrenting website The Pirate Bay has launched a streaming prototype — called BayStream — on its own site. Currently, users can access the service when they search for torrents. In the below search on The Mandalorian, for example, some torrents have a green play button. Clicking on the play button will direct users to a YouTube-like website where they can play the respective torrent without downloading it.

 

Unfortunately, the service doesn’t come with an instruction manual. However, upon further testing, the button automatically appears whenever a torrent has a hundred or more seeds, regardless of age. Sadly, the file’s availability on BayStream is an unknown. Some, despite having more than 100 seeds, are absent from the service. If anything, the top-seeded torrents are likelier to play on the site.

Additionally, users can also upload their own files on the service (up to 20GB). Presumably, uploading users can share their own files with others using the service.

The Pirate Bay has not officially announced the service. However, some reports say that the service is still in beta testing. Regardless, BayStream is an interesting addition to today’s overcrowded streaming market.

SEE ALSO: Netflix might limit password sharing between users

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