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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Canadian Teachers Vote To Lobby For Criminalization Of Cyber Bullying

In a unanimous vote the Canadian Teachers' Federation endorsed a new policy today that calls on the federal government to amend the Criminal Code to include cyberbullying. “We feel that there's not enough teeth in the Criminal Code right now for cyberbullying,” president Emily Noble said. According to the group both students and teachers are being harassed through e-mail, instant messenger, chat rooms, blogs and social networking sites. The document prepared by the teachers group says “using information and communication technology to convey a message which threatens death or bodily harm or perpetuates fear and intimidation in another constitutes a punishable offence under the Code.” With any luck the federal government will see the gravity of the situation and act quickly to support the educators who are on the front line.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Quebec Court Orders Closure Of Downloading Site

The Quebec Superior Court has ordered the closure of downloading site Quebec Torrent granting a permanent injunction against the site and it's administrators. "We hope this judgment will have a dissuasive effect, because nothing prevents us now to target other sites that engage in the same kind of illegal transactions," said Slange Drouin the director-general of The Association québécoise de l'industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo (ADISQ), a provincial music, video and concert organization. ADISQ also sought $200,000 in damages but have indicated that they would not pursue the damages as Quebec Torrent has said they would not fight the injunction. The site specialized in Quebec content and claimed to have tens of thousands of members. Look out file sharing sites in Quebec! CBC story here.

Demand For iPhone 3G On First Day Takes Down Activation Servers

I've been seeing twitter tweets about this all morning and apparently demand for the new 3G iPhone has taken down the activation servers at Apple. Engadget is reporting that "Apple has confirmed to us that activation is down, and that customers are being asked to take the phone home and activate via iTunes later. We're not sure what good that'll do, since the servers are down no matter where you are, but Apple says it's "working on a solution."" Not sure if this is a US only issue or if it's affecting iPhone purchases globally?

Apple Settles Canadian iPhone Name Dispute

Toronto based Comwave Telecom Inc. have settled a dispute with Apple Inc. over the iPhone name. Comwave branded it's voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) phone service "iPhone" 4 years ago, before Apple's touch pad smart phone hit the market.

“Whenever you have a very large enterprise like Apple and they put in $20-million to $30-million a quarter into advertising, it doesn't matter whose name it is, eventually they will own it,” said Yuval Barzakay Comwave's founder and President.

“It's all about perception. There are hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have been exposed to our iPhone over the course of a few years, but within a very short time, the hysteria on the Apple iPhone has almost caused what I call reverse confusion, in that the perception is that the iPhone name was Apple's [first] and not Comwave's,” he said.

In their agreement Apple will receive sole rights to the iPhone name in Canada, and Comwave has agreed to phase out its use of the name by Nov. 9th.

The Globe and Mail has more here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rogers Caves on iPhone Rates But Holds Line On Contract Length

With Canadians in an uproar over the iPhone plans announced by Rogers Wireless, the only Canadian iPhone carrier, the company is doing an about face. Some 56,000 Canadians signed an online petition protesting Rogers contract length and price structure. For their part, Rogers senior vice-president and chief marketing officer John Boynton had this to say about the public's response "It's not ranting and raving. People were very thoughtful," he said. "What they said is they want to use this device in ways that their previous usage would not be an indicator." "We think we're being thoughtful and respectful and responsive," Boynton said. "We're going to err on the side of the biggest and watch and learn."

Rogers is now offering a $30-a-month plan that allows customers six gigabytes of internet data on the iPhone, on top of voice plans that start at $20 plus a system access fee of $6.95 a month. The length of the plan will remain at 3 years.

While Rogers says its listening to the people, I can't help but think that an unlimited data plan on the Samsung Instinct announced by Bell last week also has something to do with the about face!

CBC Story Here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Google's Virtual World -

Niniane Wang an Engineering Manager at Google announced on the Official Google Blog yesterday the release of, a 3 dimensional social web project that was undertaken through Google's 20% program that encourages employees to spend 20% of their working time developing ideas. Here is a quote from the blog post "If you enter a Lively room embedded on your favorite blog or website, you can immediately get a sense of the room creator's interests, just by looking at the furniture and environment they chose. You can also express your own personality by customizing your avatar's look, showing people who you are without having to say a word. Of course, you can chat with each other, and you can also interact through animated actions. In our user research, we’ve been amazed at how much more poignant it is to receive an animated hug than seeing the text “[[hug]]”." It seems a little like an embedded 2nd life, I've not yet downloaded the client but intend to play around with it, you just might see a greatbiggeek room popping up soon. I'll let you know...

Showing Roomba Some Love

If I could write a song or make a music video it would turn out exactly like this, except I can't sing or play an instrument, so maybe not exactly... but the sentiment would be the same!

Well done Mr. Pitiful! I love my Roomba this much as well. iRobot is feeling the love too, since the link was included in their Summer 2008 newsletter.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Geek Recognition - Merriam-Webster Style

The latest version of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary will include such geek terms as webinar, malware, netroots, pretexting, and fanboy. Webinar is "one more example of the significant ongoing trend for electronic technologies to add words to the language," Merriam-Webster publisher John Morse said in a Monday press release. All toll, about one hundred new words have been added to the 2008 edition. With 'woot' making its appearance last year and 'fanboy' this year my prediction for 2009 is 'tweet' in refernece to Twitter posts!

Google Weighs In On Bell's Throttling Practices

Google has submitted a 15 page protest document to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission weighing in on the throttling practices of Bell and other Internet Service Providers. "From consumer, competition and innovation perspectives, throttling applications that consumers choose is inconsistent with a content and application-neutral internet, and a violation of Canadian telecommunications law, which forbids unfair discrimination and undue or unreasonable preferences and requires that regulation be technologically and competitively neutral." Google officials wrote in the document made public over the weekend by the CRTC. "The internet is simply too important to allow them to act as such a gatekeeper," the company said. "Protecting end user choice is the central issue in this proceeding, but also a much larger issue. It goes to the heart of the internet and how it acts as an extraordinary platform for innovation and fair competition."

Go Google! Thanks for looking out for your Canadian users! Now can you assert your influence on Rogers so that we can get a decent iPhone subscription plan?

CBC story here.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Google Offers Street View Tour of Tour de France

If you've ever wished to be on the sidelines watching the cyclists speed past, but just can't find the time nor the money to be in France during the big race, you might enjoy Google Street View's Tour de France offering. View the tour legs, stage by stage, at Here is where Street View really shines, allowing visitors from around the globe to experience the sights that the riders see, while following their precise path with photographic accuracy.

Next Gen Prius Will Have Solar Panels

According to CNETs Green Tech Blog Toyota is planning to install solar panels on the roof of the next generation, high-end, Prius Hybrid. The panels will supply at least some of the two to five kilowatts required to power the air conditioning and are reported to be supplied by Kyocera. It is expected that we will see the new Prius, a third generation of the vehicle, by next spring and the addition of a solar panel will make Toyota the first major automaker to incorporate solar-power into a mass-produced car. It will be interesting to see how the panels are incorporated into the design of the vehicle.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Real WALL-E

Check out this real world WALL-E designed to be an assistant around the home and to keep an eye on elderly or infirmed family members. Courtesy of and YouTube.

No Led Zeppelin But Other Big Bands Are Talking

Led Zeppelin won't allow it's music in the Rockband or Guitar Hero games but according to The Feed, who sites The Wall Street Journal, Van Halen, the Eagles, Steely Dan, and Guns N' Roses are all in negotiations though there was no indication of which band was leaning towards which game. Led Zep apparently isn't "comfortable with the prospect of granting outsiders access to its master tapes." "It ain't about the money," says manager Peter Mensch. Have a heart Pete! I'd love to hear Kashmir or better still The Lemon Song blarring from the wreck room!