Technology


CRTC, Get Your Damn Hands Off My Web

webCanadian Thinker is calling it "scary stuff". I think that's an understatement. The CRTC has reversed it's 1999 promise to stay out of the realm of cyber space and is now looking at limiting Canadians' access to online broadcasters and Internet-based radio stations. It may also see a levy charged to Internet service providers to pay for the creation of more Canadian content online and they're looking at the practice of "traffic shaping" by ISPs in this country.

Net neutrality is important and our right to view content regardless of country of origin via this medium is now threatened. As Canadian Thinker said:

The CRTC has enough trouble handling what's on it plate already, without wading into the murky waters of cyber space.

As it stands, the CRTC is nothing more than a lackey for the major broadcasting companies in Canada, I'm sure Canadian internet providers would like to have their competition squashed as well.

Before it's too late, let's tell the CRTC that CanCon has no place on the world wide web.

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Google Friend Connect

googleThe Google Press Center just made an announcement about Google Friend Connect. Here's what Google Friend Connect entails.

Websites that are not social networks may still want to be social -- and now they can be, easily. With Google Friend Connect (see http://www.google.com/friendconnect following this evening's Campfire One), any website owner can add a snippet of code to his or her site and get social features up and running immediately without programming -- picking and choosing from built-in functionality like user registration, invitations, members gallery, message posting, and reviews, as well as third-party applications built by the OpenSocial developer community.

Visitors to any site using Google Friend Connect will be able to see, invite, and interact with new friends, or, using secure authorization APIs, with existing friends from social sites on the web, including Facebook, Google Talk, hi5, orkut, Plaxo, and more.

I love this idea. I don't know if it will stick, but I'm going to implement Google Friend Connect right here, just for kicks. Stay tuned.

friend_connect_illustration

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Yahoo!

yahooMicrosoft is withdrawing its offer for Yahoo! after talks between the two companies broke down on Saturday.

My reaction can be summed up in one word... Yahoo!

Previously on Toronto Mike:

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The iPhone is the One

iphoneThis is been a busy mofo of a week. I'm just coming up for air, was there an announcement about the iPhone coming to Canada?

Oh yes, here it is. In the worst kept secret in Canadian telecom history, Rogers will be bringing Apple's iPhone to Canada later this year.

In 2005, I outlined the ideal phone for me. I wanted a phone that wasn't just a phone, but an MP3 player, web browser and more. Then, in 2007, I declared that I had found what I was looking for, and Apple was calling it the iPhone. The iPhone would be my very first mobile phone.

Since I wrote that entry, work has given me a Blackberry. So long as I'm not seeing an invoice, I won't be switching, but once I'm paying my own way, I'm knocking on Apple's door. The iPhone is the one.

iphone

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Hand-Coding HTML

webBoing Boing has a little write-up about how NYTimes.com hand-codes its HTML. I'd link to the NYTimes.com article, but you have to register to read it.

I've been hand-coding all my HTML and CSS for a decade now, and I doubt I'll ever do it any other way. Over the years I've tried the design part of Dreamweaver and other wysiwyg HTML editors, but the control I'd sacrifice always reminded me how much faster and effective it is to hand-code.

About five-years ago I wrote about this subject, but I'd like to modify my opinion since then. I still love the control, take pride in the accomplishment and find the entire process to be rather romantic, but I've learnt hand-coding and Movable Type can coexist for optimal performance. The HTML and CSS is still hand-coded, but a sweet CMS like Movable Type can do all the heavy lifting for you. It's thinking smarter instead of harder.

Khoi Vinh, the Design Director of NYTimes.com, says the following:

It’s our preference to use a text editor, like HomeSite, TextPad or TextMate, to “hand code” everything, rather than to use a wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) HTML and CSS authoring program, like Dreamweaver. We just find it yields better and faster results.

I couldn't agree more.

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Video On Flickr

flickrMy favourite photo sharing service is introducing video. They're all about the image at Flickr, so they only let us pro users upload 90 second clips or less.

Flickr keeps getting better. Back off, Gate!

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Google's Free 411 Service

googleAccording to BlogTO, Google's free 411 service is now available here in Toronto. This is a pretty awesome service from Google that beats the crap out of the 75¢ 411 service we all hate to use. Program 1-800-4664-411 into your mobile phone now and you'll thank me later.

Here's a quick demo of how it works. Remember, it's completely free, so this is a video you actually should watch.

I just tried it and it's pretty slick. You just call 1-800-4664-411, say "Toronto", and name the company you want to call. Then, Google even connects you.

411 is dead. Long live Google's 411.

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Unencrypting WiFi Networks

wifiThe other day I was downtown with an hour to kill and I had some work to do. I had my laptop with me, but I needed a WiFi hotspot so I could jump on the web. Sitting in the McDonalds in the Eaton Centre at Queen and Yonge, I started scanning for an open network.

The One Zone wireless network was strongest, as you'd expect considering its radio access points are installed on streetlighting poles, but it's not free. Several other WiFi networks were encrypted. One, named The Apple Store, was left open and was just strong enough to get me online so I could do what I needed to do. I was very happy I found it.

This got me thinking... Isn't it awesome when you find an open WiFi network when you need one? It's been drilled into our heads that we need to encrypt our networks, but why? Is the fear that someone will use the connection for illegal activity? If so, why do so many coffee shops and hotels offer open free hotspots?

I'm starting to think of an open WiFi network as a sign of good citizenship. Share access and earn karma credits, spread the love. It's for the greater good, isn't it?

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My Beloved Olympus Stylus 410

picturesI've got 4,851 photos in my Flickr account, and the vast majority were taken with my trusty ol' Olympus Stylus 410. I got this 4mp Olympus camera for my birthday in June 2004 and four years later I still love this camera.

A couple of years ago, my wife wanted a camera, so we went out and bought her the newer version of the same model, except 6 megapixels instead of 4. You'd think a more recent version of the same camera with more megapixels would be a better camera, but it's not. I'm never happy with the pictures from that camera and if both are within arms reach, I always grab mine.

Four years is pretty old for a digital camera, and I have no interest in an upgrade, but recently about 5-10% of shots taken won't render. It's as if they're only partially complete and I'm forced to delete them. Whether I like it or not, I might be getting a new camera this birthday, but I won't be buying into the Myth of Megapixels.

What's a good point and shoot digicam in the $300 to $500 range to replace my beloved Olympus Stylus 410?

stylus 410

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Yahoo! Defends Itself From The Evil Empire

yahooYahoo! has rejected Microsoft's $44.6 billion takeover bid and I'm pleased with the rebuff.

Yahoo! is so eager to defend itself against an unsolicited bid approach from Microsoft that they've restarted merger talks with AOL. A tie-up with Google is not entirely out of the question as well.

As Luke once said when being wooed by an evil Sith Lord, "I'll never join you!"

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