Category: What’s Your Tech

Rakuten Kobo Announces Winning Authors as it Celebrates Ten Years of eReaders

Rakuten Kobo Announces Winning Authors as it Celebrates Ten Years of eReaders

By: Yasmin Ranade

August 16, 2019

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy a good read. Book or eReader?

Rakuten Kobo recently announced the winners of the fifth annual Emerging Writer Prize, adding three authors to Canada’s growing list of esteemed and celebrated writers. Debut authors in Literary Fiction, Romance, and Nonfiction each receive a $10,000 CAD cash prize, and will have promotional, marketing and communications support from Rakuten Kobo to aid in fostering their writing careers.

The 2019 winners in each feature category are:

Literary Fiction winner: Nora Decter for How Far We Go and How Fast, published by Orca Book Publishers
Romance winner:Julie Evelyn Joyce for Steeped in Love, self-published by the author
Nonfiction winner: Kate Harris for Lands of Lost Borders, published by Knopf Canada

Michael Tamblyn, CEO of Rakuten Kobo

“This is a special year for Rakuten Kobo and..

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Ontario Wants Action to Protect Privacy and Personal Data

Ontario Wants Action to Protect Privacy and Personal Data

By: Lee Rickwood

August 14, 2019

Nearly 80 per cent of Ontarians want improved protection for their personal and commercial data, and almost half see new legislation as a way to get it.

Those are among the findings from an online survey conducted by the provincial government about its plans to develop an Ontario Data Strategy. The survey is closed now, but a second phase of policy development has been announced and the government says it will continue with a series of in-person and online consultations about all things digital and data.

Findings from the first phase of consultations conducted by the provincial government about its plans to develop an Ontario Data Strategy have been released. Government website image.

There are important topics to discuss: privacy protection and public trust; the commercial value of data; the risks associated with smart cities; identity theft, democratic governance and..

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Startup Ranking Strong For Toronto but Slides for Vancouver

Startup Ranking Strong For Toronto but Slides for Vancouver

By: Yasmin Ranade

August 13, 2019

Startup Genome, which supports forward-looking regions to catalyze their startup ecosystems, has released its 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report. Startup Genome works with more than 300 partner organizations and global thought leaders to understand startup success factors, and its frameworks have become instrumental in building foundations for startups to grow. It’s not surprising that its focus has expanded to help develop ecosystems through data-driven strategies.

Vancouver’s rank in the global tech startup ecosystem has dropped by nine spots, now at 21. Toronto-Waterloo has climbed 3 spots and is now ranked at 13. “Among top global ecosystems, the places most hindered in the rankings by a gap in early-stage funding are Vancouver, Sydney and Hong Kong,” stated the report.

Are scaled-back funding and lack of a strong STEM ecosystem the leading causes for the chang..

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Friends, Photos, Faces, Genes and Data: The More We Give Away, the More We Risk

Friends, Photos, Faces, Genes and Data: The More We Give Away, the More We Risk

By: Lee Rickwood

August 9, 2019

We give up our friends. Our photos. Our faces. We even give away that most important form of human-generated data – our genes.

We get in return some comfort and convenience – that enhanced user experience, those so-called free services, those apparent insights into our personal future and family history.

We think we are consumers, but in fact we are producers. It is our content, our data, that creates value in today’s digital economy.

We are called users, but in fact we are workers: we create new revenue streams for multi-billion dollar companies with every click we make.

The results of all our labour: giant pools of digital information about us that are bought and sold and analyzed and packaged in order to generate corporate profits, if not influence public attitudes.

Often without our knowledge.

For years, we’ve been giving our data away to co..

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Small Smart Home Appliances to Simplify Your Life

Small Smart Home Appliances to Simplify Your Life

By: Christine Persaud

August 7, 2019

The smart home isn’t just about entertainment, audio, video, lighting, and security. It goes way beyond that into another central category: home appliances.

Whether you’re cooking in the kitchen, doing weekly chores, or relaxing with a coffee, good book, and some background music, every device you use in the equation can be smart, fully connected, and controlled by an app, your voice, or both.

And while there are lots of smart large home appliances, from washing machines to ovens, dishwashers, and even devices that fold your clothes, here are a few truly cool and unique small smart home appliances worth checking out, both available now and presumably coming soon.

iRobot s9+ Robot Vacuum and Braava jet m6 Robot Mop

Separately, these two small cleaning appliances are great, with one dutifully and intelligently vacuuming your floors on its own, heading back to its base and e..

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Sports Tech Goes Miniature – Not Just Wearable, But Ingestible Data Devices Monitor Athletes

Sports Tech Goes Miniature – Not Just Wearable, But Ingestible Data Devices Monitor Athletes

By: Lee Rickwood

August 5, 2019

Data collection devices that can track sport performance are so small they don’t have to be worn by athletes, they can be ingested.

But not only are miniature electronic sensors and low-power transmitters being swallowed by competitors in high-performance sports, these new ingestible electronic devices are being used to monitor people in many extreme situations, be that athletic, medical or environmental.

Athlete data can be tracked and monitored with handheld display devices; each device can track up to three pills. BodyCap image.

Ingestible tech is the latest tool used for data surveillance: alternatively known as smart pills, pill cams or computers in a capsule, these mini-monitors can combine temperature, physiological and other environmental sensor; cameras, chemical detectors and wireless transmission platforms; data storage capa..

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Smartphone Manufacturer Vs. Telco Device Care Protection: Which Is Best?

Smartphone Manufacturer Vs. Telco Device Care Protection: Which Is Best?

By: Christine Persaud

August 1, 2019

ifixit iPhone care

You are ready to spend a big sum of money on a new smartphone. And just like when you’re buying a new car, home, appliance, or TV, you’re presented with the option of getting device care protection.

With smartphones, there tends to be two main choices: protection provided by the smartphone manufacturer, and protection from the carrier. Which is best?

Samsung Note 7 battery repair

Smartphone Manufacturer Protection

The details vary depending on the manufacturer, but here we’ll look at the two biggest smartphone sellers: Apple and Samsung.

AppleCare+ is designed for iPhone owners, and its pricing varies based on the device you own. But it includes one-year of additional coverage beyond the standard one-year limited warranty, and is purchasable when you buy your phone, or up to two months after.

In addition to 90 days of support, ..

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Smartphone Apps Bring Sights Alive for Visually Impaired and Blind People

Smartphone Apps Bring Sights Alive for Visually Impaired and Blind People

By: Lee Rickwood

July 31, 2019

Millions of people downloaded the face-aging FaceApp, apparently because they wanted to see what their face is facing, many years from now.

For many other folks, seeing the future means needing to know what they are facing in just the next few steps.

New wayfinding and location information apps can bring a person’s surroundings to life with audible descriptions of the immediate environment. Microsoft image.

Whether inside or out, our physical environment can present obstacles to blind or partially sighted people. Navigating their way to a specific destination can be a real challenge, and maintaining a sense of independence while doing so is equally difficult.

But smartphone apps can bring a kind of sight to visually impaired and blind people. By using GPS, audio and sound recordings and other digital tools, these wayfinding and location information apps ..

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What Does ‘Endless Data’ Really Mean?

What Does ‘Endless Data’ Really Mean?

By: Christine Persaud

July 30, 2019

Shopping around for a new smartphone and/or service plan, you’ve probably come across the terminology “endless data” and wondered what on earth it actually means. Surely, these carriers aren’t offering you limitless data such that you could binge several Netflix movies per day from your phone using wireless data, stream music during your one-hour commutes to and from the office, and navigate your every move, every day, while never paying any overage fees?

Well, in some cases, endless data does indeed mean just that. But with a clever catch.

What’sThe Catch?

The catch is that while you can theoretically continue to use data long after the allotted amount in your plan has been reached, it will be throttled. This means that your device will switch to a slower speed. So you can still surf the web, stream content, send e-mails, and so on. But you may be taken back to the early ‘00s when it ..

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The Blue-Collar CEO, Mandy Rennehan

The Blue-Collar CEO, Mandy Rennehan

By: Yasmin Ranade

July 29, 2019

From construction to engineering, technology has become a large part of the trades industry and, according to Mandy Rennehan, many tech-related jobs can now be referred to as a “blue-collar” careers. Rennehan runs Freshco, a full-service reconstruction and retail maintenance services company operating across North America with clients that include Apple, Restoration Hardware, Lululemon, Sephora and Tiffany & Co.

I asked Rennehan, an award-winning entrepreneur, philanthropist, trade industry ambassador, TED Talk contributor, and founder and CEO of Freshco, about her thoughts on how technology and construction have collided, and how the blue collar workforce is getting more and more involved in the delivery of tech-related services.

How did Rennehan get into the trades? And, what is the ‘Blue-Collar CEO’?

“I grew up in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and left home with a dirty hockey bag full of everyth..

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Comparing the Google Nest Hub with the Amazon Echo Show 5

Comparing the Google Nest Hub with the Amazon Echo Show 5

By: Ted Kritsonis

July 27, 2019

The two leading voice assistants have screens to go with their voices, but which of the latest models is a better fit depends on a few key factors.

Whenever two good products match up together, it’s usually a win for consumers. In this case, the Google Nest Hub and Amazon Echo Show 5 are almost mirror images of each other. Both are smart speakers with screens attached, designed to be part of a daily routine in gleaning information on demand.

The fact they have screens is to also push engagement. It’s one thing to talk to a smart speaker, but it’s another when it has a display to give you something to look at. Both of these devices work on that premise, but with some distinct differences that could be enough to decide between them.

Two voices
The most obvious difference is the voice assistants themselves. With the Nest Hub, you are talking to Google Assistant. With the Echo..

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Entry-level Smartphone from Nokia Gets You in the Game

Entry-level Smartphone from Nokia Gets You in the Game

By: Lee Rickwood

July 26, 2019

Now available in Canada, a new entry-level smartphone from Nokia has the features – and the price point – that most entry-level users should want or need.

The Nokia 6.1 is easily set-up by first-time users, it’s compatible with multiple cellular and Wi-Fi carrier networks, and its medium-size (5.5”) full colour and HD screen gives good visual access to the smartphone’s many other features, including capable still and video camera functions, web browsing, media streaming and more.

Running Google’s Android One operating system with the new Snapdragon 630 multi-core CPU (and three GB of RAM) at up to 2.2 GHz, it’s plenty fast enough for most uses: certainly there are faster smartphones out there, and users who demand blazing speed at all times will want to look to other models.

But the fact that a new mobile consumer or entry-level smartphone user can get into the game for the..

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