Hey, Air Miles. You're Doing It Wrong.

I am a big fan of Air Miles. I regularly go out of my way to make my purchases at Air Miles locations. I use an Air Miles credit card.

But this is the sad tale of a bad online experience. No scams, no cyber bullying, just 2 hours of my life that I will never get back by being a customer of what is actually a pretty cool company… with a really awful website.

Christmas is coming, and my son needed tickets home from Ontario. He can’t come home until after exams, so the ticket prices were high. I decide to use some of my hard-earned Air Miles.

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BCNET and Canarie demonstrate massive high speed network

BCNET, which is British Columbia's advanced network and shared IT services organization for higher education, along with Canarie (Canada's Advanced Research and Innovation Network)  and University of Victoria demonstrated the future of high speed connectivity this week.

In just 24 hours they successfully transmitted one petabyte of particle physics data over an optical connection. Speeds of 95 gigabits per second were sustained for the period. to put this into perspective one petabyte of data is the equivalent of 13 years of HDTV Video!

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Taking big step in online copyright leadership, Wired places all staff photos into Creative Commons

Wired has taken a big step in online copyright leadership by announcing their intention of placing all their staff taken photo’s into Creative Commons. 

Creative Commons is an initiative where copyright owners opt to share their work as a part of a larger collective. there are often conditions placed on the use of the content but more often than not that is limited to appropriate credit being delivered and link-backs. 

The collection of photo’s Wired is choosing to add to the common library is exceptional, with HD photo’s of most every major technology event and figure over the past decade.  Wires will share the photos on a dedicated Flickr stream.

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WebOS: I'm Not Dead Yet! (Or Am I?)

Rumours of webOS' demise may indeed be accurate—but just how accurate is anybody’s guess.

HP has become the king of mixed messages as it tries to sort out the last days of Nero’s (Leo Apotheker’s) rule.  Amongst his seemingly mad broad strokes was the killing off of the webOS division, the deep discounting and selling off of an entire inventory of the just-launched TouchPad, and the announcement that HP, the worlds largest PC maker, would no longer be in the PC business. 

Exit Apotheker, stage right. 

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Tech Etiquette: When is it appropriate to use your phone?

I had a poll recently on my show, asking how many of you use your technology in the bathroom, specifically I was interested in how many people use their smartphone, or, or tablet, in the john.

Blackberry’s and iPhones, and iPads and heck, notebooks are quickly replacing the newspaper and Sports Illustrated in restrooms across the land. Oh fine, be all “that’s disgusting, I would never do that....gross” if you want to, but fully 49% of you do just that, according to the most scientific of research, a poll on my home page.

Yep, half of the western world does more than paperwork in the loo, if you catch my drift. That text you get from your besty may indeed be originating from the men’s or ladies room.

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Canadian Solar Powered Airplane Blimpy Thing Could Change the World of Aviation

Canadian company SolarShip has successfully flown a new concept of aircraft.

By combining some flight characteristics of an airplane and lighter than air blimps, plus solar power, the Solarship (same name as the company) is a hybrid air vehicle capable of carrying substantial loads great distances. It only requires a runway of around 100 meters. The first test flights (see video) show a rather cumbersome and unwieldy craft, it certainly seems to fly well enough, but inclement weather could well be a challenge.

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LinkedIn to launch a 'Talent Pipeline' in 2012

The first major inroads LinkedIn made with the business community was with recruiters and headhunters. It has become the farm that seemingly all placement services work looking for a crop of talent to place in better jobs.

This is of course, not lost on the powers that be at LinkedIn who are looking for more users to upgrade from the free basic service to the premium (and in my mind quite expensive) fee based service.

Next year LinkedIn will launch LinkedIn Talent Pipeline which will help recruiters manage their crop of potential talent.

As many recruiters have thousands of potential leads to manage, the Talent Pipeline will use the power of social networking tools to help keep up to date, and communicate with their network. Talent Pipeline will be a multi-user service, allowing recruiting companies to share resources and leads.

A very interesting tool indeed.

Outsourcing: Not just for larger corporations any more

While most aspects of the technological world fascinate me, nothing captures my imagination quite as much as how technology impacts our lives.

I was preparing a recent talk and doing a load of research on outsourcing. Global outsourcing, not downsizing and hiring an outside bookkeeper, but moving a part of your enterprise overseas, to a different country.

At one time this process was an exotic and dramatic move, we heard of large corporations tapping into vast talent bases in Russia, or India and Pakistan. They were setting up engineering, and tech support offices, or moving all of their accounting services offshore. It was a massive undertaking but one that made financial sense.

We never considered smaller boutique businesses could also take advantage of the pool of knowledge workers overseas.

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Adobe showcases some startling Photoshop technology: Unblur

Adobe showcased some startling technology at it’s MAX 2011 conference. A filter that will “unblur” images. The audience was in awe as the feature was demonstrated to the public for the first time.

For all those blurry images (due to camera or subject motion, not due to focus) the technology first maps the motion then applies a filter to remove the effect of the motion. This video includes rather annoying commentary from Rainn Wilson (The Office) but the audience was suitably impressed, as am I.

The feature is not “official” and no timeline for it being included in Photoshop has been announced, but now that it has been unveiled it should not be too long before it is built into a release. So you can start saving all those blurry images that might be good, if you could just unblur them!

QR Codes 101


You have seen them on posters, on tickets, billboards, they are the crazy looking inkdot images that are popping up everywhere.

They are called QR (Quick response) codes. And they are similar to the UPC (barcode) images you see on almost every product, you know the ones the supermarket checkout person scans as they ring up your groceries. The main difference is a QR code can store and deliver a lot more data than can a standard bar code.

They can be used everywhere from marketing education to entertainment. If you are out on the town and see a poster for a new play you want to go see, you can quickly scan the QR code and your phone will take you to a web page where tickets are being sold, or more information about the play is available. It is far less cumbersome than having to key in a website address yourself.

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Selling your iPhone 4? Where to get the best price

Apple is currently pumping out iPhone 4Ss to the tune of a million orders a day!  Which means that many people are shelling out between $649 and $849 to be amongst the first to have one. Many of those have a perfectly good iPhone 4 that they need to convert into some cash to take a bit of the edge off the price of their new toy.

Where to go to get the biggest buck for your iPhone 4?

For most in the local Canadian markets it will be tough to beat Craigslist.

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Zynga looks to distance itself from Facebook - Or why I hate Farmville!

I need to start this post with a disclaimer: I hate Farmville. OK, I know hate is a not-nice word, so I will reconsider... nope, hate describes it.

If you have managed to remain blissfully ignorant of the object of my wrath, Farmville is an online game millions of people play on Facebook. A strange game set on your own virtual farm, the object seems to be the continual harassment of your friends who do not play Farmville. In the game, you plant virtual fields, grow virtual crops, sell those virtual crops for virtual money and spend real money on virtual things. If you are on Facebook, you have undoubtedly received invitations to join and seen a steady stream of status updates from your farmfool friends.

Fully 10% of Facebook users have registered to play this game, and as a result the founders Zynga have a cash crop of suckers who shell out hundreds of millions of dollars a few cents at a time.

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New study encourages broadcasters to work together to battle censorship

The Canada Center for Global Security Studies, a University of Toronto organization that focuses on Internet security, as well as Citizen Lab and the Munk School of Global Affairs, have joint-released a report titled Casting a Wider Net: Lessons Learned in Delivering BBC Content on the Censored Internet.

The report delves into the fact that Internet censorship is alive and well, and probably a lot more effective that the average person suspects. 

As the world shifts more of it’s broadcasting efforts to on-line delivery, there is a developing “cat and mouse” game between the repressive states, such as China and Iran, and the world's media.

The report compares the situation to the propaganda war fought in the late 1930s in Germany when it was illegal to listen to foreign radio broadcasts, and even the radios themselves were modified so they would not receive foreign signals. 

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Apple Envisioned Siri 24 Years Ago

Despite the luke-warm reception given the new iPhone 4s by the worlds computer press, record levels of pre-orders have assured it will be a commercial success. Possibly the most important feature in the new iOS5 (available for download tomorrow) will be Siri.

Siri is intelligent voice recognition, and as I researched it’s features, I was drawn back to my earliest days in tech.

In 1987 ago Apple released their vision of the future, it was a video called the Knowledge Navigator, take a look at that vision then, and set it against Siri....

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CRTC decides to hold off regulating online TV

The CRTC has released the results of a fact finding exercise responding to claims from several Cable companies that the Over the Top (Internet Delivered) TV services should be held to the same regulatory standards as Over the Air services (especially Canadian Content rules).

Not surprisingly the CRTC has decided not proceed to a formal review of these companies, claiming it found no evidence they were having an impact on the cable carriers.

While it is self evident that in this case the cable companies are correct, (how could Netflix NOT have an impact!) one can forgive the CRTC of not really wanting to jump in the pool. How can they even begin to contemplate regulating Internet content?

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