Category: What’s Your Tech

TekSavvy’s ‘Pay Less’ campaign pushes CRTC to lower phone, Internet bills

TekSavvy’s ‘Pay Less’ campaign pushes CRTC to lower phone, Internet bills

By: Ted Kritsonis

April 24, 2019

As an alternative Internet provider, TekSavvy has pushed for public pressure on Ottawa to make changes that would effectively lower consumers’ bills.

Such is the Canadian wireless and telecom landscape that one company — a smaller, yet growing one — is spearheading the latest effort to get the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) to make it more competitive against established incumbents.

We’ve been down this road before. The “Big 3,” as Rogers, Bell and Telus are often lumped together, account for 90 per cent of the mobile market. Along with Shaw and Quebecor, the five account for over two-thirds of home Internet customers. The CRTC’s latest report covering the country’s mobile market paints a picture of cartels that have, more or less, carved out the market in three almost-equal fiefdoms.

That kind of market domination is wh..

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Music, Memory and MP3 Players: Therapy for Mental and Physical Health

Music, Memory and MP3 Players: Therapy for Mental and Physical Health

By: Lee Rickwood

April 23, 2019

“She started dancin’ to that fine fine music
You know her life was saved by rock ‘n’ roll…”

Lou Reed, The Velvet Underground

My buddy’s mom was 94 when she was moved into a elder care facility.

In her final days there, she was encouraged by staff to join their music listening program, held in the main social gathering space. Donning a pair of oversized headphones connected to a tiny MP3 player, she looked kind of goofy at first – but the big smile that soon stretched across her face conveyed a much more serious side of this story. Music first heard in her younger days helped bring alive thoughts, memories and recollections that brought pleasure in her final days.

Even if they can’t actually save lives, digital music players and focussed musical therapy programs can improve physical health and mental well-being.

Music for Dementia 2020 is one of a number of..

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More Than Half of Tech Workers Believe They Are Underpaid

More Than Half of Tech Workers Believe They Are Underpaid

By: Christine Persaud

April 22, 2019

Photo by phaendin; freedigitalphotos.net

There are traits that typically define what makes a good job, including a positive work environment, fulfilling work, and sufficient pay. When it comes to the latter, a new study finds that a number of people who work for some of the largest tech firms believe they are underpaid in relation to the value they bring.

The survey, which was conducted with a community of 10,000 tech workers using the anonymous workplace community app Blind, found that more than half of the workers believe they don’t make enough money in relation to the value they bring to the company.

Users of the app were asked to answer true or false to a simple statement: “I am paid far less than the value I create.” Of the total 10,563 respondents, a surprising 55.8% answered “true.”

Though respondents answered anonymously, Blind, which counts workers from c..

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Music, Memory and MP3 Players: Therapy for Mental and Physical Health

Music, Memory and MP3 Players: Therapy for Mental and Physical Health

By: Lee Rickwood

April 22, 2019

“She started dancin’ to that fine fine music
You know her life was saved by rock ‘n’ roll…”

Lou Reed, The Velvet Underground

My buddy’s mom was 94 when she was moved into a elder care facility.

In her final days there, she was encouraged by staff to join their music listening program, held in the main social gathering space. Donning a pair of oversized headphones connected to a tiny MP3 player, she looked kind of goofy at first – but the big smile that soon stretched across her face conveyed a much more serious side of this story. Music first heard in her younger days helped bring alive thoughts, memories and recollections that brought pleasure in her final days.

Even if they can’t actually save lives, digital music players and focussed musical therapy programs can improve physical health and mental well-being.

Music for Dementia 2020 is one of a number of..

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Canadian Co. Fights Climate Change with Cheaper Carbon Capture Tech

Canadian Co. Fights Climate Change with Cheaper Carbon Capture Tech

By: Lee Rickwood

April 19, 2019

Despite early warnings about climate change that landed more than 50 years ago, the most recent analysis of the current carbon dioxide levels in our air shows dangerous and destructive trends upwards.

Carbon emissions are among the greenhouse gasses that are linked with climate change, global warming and extreme weather.

So while attempts to mitigate the impacts of climate change seem to be undercut by our rising use of the stuff that causes it in the first place, tech advocates and entrepreneurs continue to fight the good fight by developing solutions that seek to reduce the damage caused by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

With our attempts to reduce carbon output not working so well, we are left to see CO2 absorption as the next best option.

That’s what’s driving the team at Carbon Engineering, a Canadian company that’s developed technology to soak up exc..

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The Ways Forward for Continued Tech Growth in Canada

The Ways Forward for Continued Tech Growth in Canada

By: Yasmin Ranade

April 17, 2019

Canada has a strong tech economy, and an abundance of college and university programs for aspiring techies, but are there other factors at play in building up the tech talent pool in Canada?

Darren Edery

Darren Edery, tech expert and CEO of Adastra Corp, a GTA-based Data and Analytics consultancy, has spent his career using computers and technology to solve meaningful problems in the real world. I recently had the opportunity to ask Edery about tech growth in Canada and the ways forward for cultivating tech talent.

Edery began, “Canada’s economy is undergoing a digital transformation that will continue to alter what the future of jobs and everyday work will look like. For technology, this shift will create solid job prospects and support growth.“

So, what are the driving factors for tech growth in Canada?

Edery responded, “Several factors are shaping Canada’s tech workfor..

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Smart Cities: Mapping Current Technologies, Funding New Developments

Smart Cities: Mapping Current Technologies, Funding New Developments

By: Lee Rickwood

April 15, 2019

Smart cities are an urban network of things (mostly data sensors, information processing and transmission technologies) designed and deployed to gather up their key enabler: big data.

Tracking and analyzing the actions and activities of city residents, workers and visitors means that city managers and urban planners can provide services and supports when and where they are most needed. From scheduling garbage pick-ups to freeing up captured rain water to managing transportation flow and planning budgets, it’s the smart use of data — in some cases, real-time data — that will make the city a smarter and better place to live.

Those are the predictions, at any rate. New reports about the smart city show great opportunities and significant dangers are not just coming, they are here already: one new report actually maps the technologies that have already been deploy..

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How to Use a Media Streaming Stick

How to Use a Media Streaming Stick

By: Christine Persaud

April 12, 2019

Streaming TV is taking over, as more and more people opt out of the exorbitant costs for linear TV subscriptions that contain hundreds of channels they never watch (and just a handful they do), and instead sign up for a streaming TV service (or two or three) to watch shows and movies at their leisure, over the Internet. There are many ways to access this content, including through smart TVs and devices like Apple TV o rother media streaming boxes. But the most affordable method by far is a streaming stick.

What are streaming sticks and when would you use them?

A streaming stick is a little stick that looks like a USB flash drive, but plugs directly into your TV’s HDMI port, then can be set up with a mobile app or computer. Once ready, you can stream content from an partner or compatible app, or your computer, to the big screen. Control playback from your mobile device, or some models come..

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Cellphones in the Classroom: Teaching Tool or Dangerous Distraction?

Cellphones in the Classroom: Teaching Tool or Dangerous Distraction?

By: Lee Rickwood

April 8, 2019

The cellphone is an invaluable and inseparable part of our digital lives. That must be why losing access to it — even for an hour or so — can cause widespread public protest and civil disruption.

Ontario’s students need to focus on their learning and not their cellphones, the government says, tabling proposals it says will ensure that happens.

OK, so there are several education issues more important than the proposed cellphone ban in Ontario classrooms.

The thousands of students who walked out of their schools or teachers who protested on the lawn at Queen’s Park recently are more concerned about cuts to the education budget overall (as well as increased class sizes, accommodating students with special needs, curriculum development, the so-called student choice initiative and the firing of thousands of qualified teachers) than about banning cellphones in the c..

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The Evolution of Gmail: 15 Years of Messaging

The Evolution of Gmail: 15 Years of Messaging

By: Christine Persaud

April 5, 2019

Fifteen years ago, April 1 was no joke. It was the day that Google announced its entrance into the e-mail space with a service called Gmail.

Back then, Google was a leader in search engines, but it hadn’t yet devised a way for people to connect with one another. With e-mail being the dominant form of communications online back then, prior to the explosion of smartphones, instant messaging, and social media, the free Gmail service made perfect sense.

The History of Gmail

Google first launched Gmail through a limited beta release on April 4, 2004. The testing phase ended on July 7, 2009, at which point customers worldwide could try it out, and finally abandon those old Hotmail accounts that were gathering dust.

When it launched, Gmail allowed you to store up to a gigabyte of content. That’s a laughable amount by today’s standards, where terabytes and infinite cloud storage are t..

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Internet of Things (IoT) Gets a Boost

Internet of Things (IoT) Gets a Boost

By: Yasmin Ranade

April 3, 2019

L-SPARK and TELUS have partnered to launch the Secure IoT Accelerator program in collaboration with BlackBerry Limited and Solace. The Secure IoT Accelerator program is hoping to enable Canadian Internet of Things (IoT) ventures by providing them global market reach capability with a Secure by Design technology.

Ibrahim Gedeon,
CTO, TELUS

“TELUS is dedicated to fostering [an] IoT ecosystem in Canada, capable of both serving the needs of Canadians and providing reach to markets around the globe. Ensuring that next-generation security products and services are available to that ecosystem is vital to its success, so we are proud to support L-SPARK’s Secure IoT Accelerator,” said Ibrahim Gedeon, CTO, TELUS. “The mentorship and resources that participants receive as part of the Secure IoT Accelerator, including access to the TELUS LTE-M network, provide a springboard for these companies’ growth ..

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What’s Up with Drone Technology?

What’s Up with Drone Technology?

By: Yasmin Ranade

April 1, 2019

Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS) have been in use since hot-air balloon bombers were used in conflict in 1849, I recently learned. But, what can drones do today? How are they used? Who is monitoring them?

I asked Paul Bennett, president of Aerobotika, to give an account of where drone technology is today and where it is going. Aerobotika is a BC-based company, leading services in unmanned aerial systems (UAS) training with seven locations across Canada. Aerobotika has also been training government agencies, oil and gas companies, and other institutions to utilize drone technology in hopes of protecting the environment.

Bennett began, “As RPAS continue to improve in terms of performance and popularity, their unique versatility is becoming apparent. From film sets to farmers fields, we’re seeing a variety of aircraft being used for an increasing number of applications including mapping, insp..

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