Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Must-have Apps to help you watch TV

Media Man

TV to go

Boost your TV with an app.

By Eric Kohanik

THESE DAYS, IT'S VIEWING ON THE GO. Tablets and smartphones present a radical shift in media.

A new study says 23 per cent of TV viewers between the ages of 18 and 34 tune in after buzz online through blogs, social media and apps. TV stars are getting in on the craze.

Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men) is a trailblazer in the Twittersphere. Last year, he moved the needle with a Twitter app ( designed for desktops, laptops and mobile. Adrien Grenier (Entourage) is on the app bandwagon. His Reckless Adrien Grenier app ( lets fans follow his every move.

These ones are fun, frivolous and favourite. Here's a few to guide your programming or help steer you to stuff on your big screen at home. Some must-haves:

What's On TV? From Zap2it
Let's start with the basics: TV listings. Onscreen guides on your TV are cumbersome and not up-to-date. Zap2it is the mother of TV listings services and What'sOn TV? is a customizable mobile listings app for iPhones and iPads (available at the iTunes App Store). Zap2it also has a mobile listings site ( that works on all other web-enabled mobile devices without having to download an app at all.

IMDb Movies & TV
The Internet Movie Database offers cast lists, production credits, trivia and loads of other information on almost every TV, movie and video production. IMDb's mobile site (available at serves up a version for almost every mobile platform.

Network TV Apps
Many popular shows are available from broadcasters who own rights to those shows in Canada. Among them: CTV (, CBC (, Global ( and Citytv ( It's a tangled mess as to what apps are available for each platform. Check the mobile-services section of each network's website to see what's there.

Crackle - Movies & TV 
Unlike most American sites, Sony's free online video service is now making its library available to Canadians. It offers a changing selection of classic TV and movies. (All in the Family, The Three Stooges, Sanford & Son, etc.) (Available for Android and Apple IOS through Google Play or the iTunes App Store, or through

And to help make TV viewing even better:

This is a cool companion. Look up products, set favourites and even check inventory levels at the nearest store. (Available for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad through the iTunes App Store or at

iHandy Level
These days, flat-screen TVS tend to be mounted on walls. Level on on the level is an app away with this free app. Available for iPhones, iPod Touch and iPad only. (Available through iTunes or at

(First published in Hamilton Man Magazine c/o The Hamilton Spectator - Summer 2012.)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Here's to those Glen Abbey Sand Men

Glen Abbey Sand Men

Bunker crew hard at work rebuilding
all of Glen Abbey's sand traps

By Eric Kohanik 

It was a sunny Friday the 13th in April when On Course caught up with Chris Armatage and the hard-working bunker crew at ClubLink's Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario.

Chris and crew members Rob Roy and Jordan DiGirolamo, along with Glen Abbey Assistant Superintendent Steve Spiers, were all busy getting the internal drainage lines set up just right inside one of the bunkers next to the eighth green.

First, though, there was a layer of pea stone that needed to go into the channel that was dug for each drainage line. After the line was fitted precisely, another layer of pea stone was added on top.
The carefully executed process is just part of what has been an extensive renovation project that began last fall. The goal is to refurbish and rebuild all 94 sand traps at Glen Abbey.

“We began Sept. 7 and got 36 green-side bunkers done last fall,” explains Chris, who has been overseeing the project. Another eight green-side traps were left semi-complete over the winter before work on them geared up again in the spring.

“Our aim is to complete all of the green-side bunkers first and then move on to the fairway bunkers in May,” Chris says. “There are 50 of those!”

Among the challenges facing the crew has been the condition of the “external outlets” – drainage lines that extend from the bunkers and run under fairways and cart paths in order to divert excess water to ponds and storm drains.

“If they're plugged, then we have a little more work to do,” Chris points out. “So far, there's been a half-dozen cases where we had to install new external outlets.”

One of the big tasks still ahead for Chris and his team will be the 17th and 18th holes at Glen Abbey.
Hole 17 boasts a total of 17 bunkers, while the collection of sand traps on the 18th hole includes the notorious Tiger Trap, the site of what still ranks as one of the greatest shots in golf history: Tiger Woods' 218-yard, six-iron shot in the final round of the 2000 Canadian Open.

“It's going to be interesting with all the bunkers there,” Chris concedes. Nevertheless, he and his crew are ready and eager to tackle the challenge.

(First published in On Course - Spring 2012.)