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Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

Official imgur for Android App Beta Released in Canada!!! W00t! W00t!

April 24, 2013 3 comments
Official Imgur Android BETA Google Play Canada

In the Google Play Store on Fido Network in Canada

Canadian imgurians rejoice! As you can see in the above picture I have installed the newly released beta version of the OFFICIAL imgur app for Android from Google Play and I’ve done it on my Motorola RAZR HD LTE (official model number XT925) which is on the Fido network.

The app is being released in beta slowly but surely with Australia getting the first taste. After Australia had it, it was released in “Europe” (not sure which countries in Europe, I am just going by what the @imgur Twitter account said) and then, today, Canada got it. We’re told that the USA is up next for the beta after Canada and that the full version is slated to be released in around 3 weeks. Read more…

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Legally Turn Left On A Red Light? In Toronto?: Exploring Toronto Part VII

January 15, 2013 2 comments
Sign allowing left turn on red light

Sign allowing left turn on red light southbound on Hilda Ave onto Jonathan Gate

No, technically this sign is not in Toronto. This sign and the intersection for which it is giving instructions is in the Greater Toronto Area in the city of Vaughan a bit north of Toronto’s city line. I have never seen any other sign like this or an intersection like it anywhere else in North America so I thought it was interesting enough to share in my Exploring Toronto series of blog posts.

Legal Left Turn On Red Thornhill Ontario Canada

How I wish that light had been red when I took this picture!

This sign which says that at this intersection it is permitted for a driver to make a left turn on a red can be found at the intersection of Jonathan Gate and Hilda Avenue in the community of Thornhill in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada. I have known about this intersection for well over a decade as I have a number of friends who grew up right around the corner from here and have always taken a special pleasure in making a left turn on this red light…although to be honest I almost never have reason to because I almost never had a reason to go down Jonathan Gate. Just look at where it is (in the Google Maps screen grab below). Read more…

Watch The HIMYM LilysInLabor.com Video Geographically Restricted By CBS

May 15, 2012 6 comments

As I have written in previous posts I am a fan of the CBS show “How I Met Your Mother” (HIMYM). Last night was a double episode for the Season 7 finale dubbed ‘The Magician’s Code, Part One’ and ‘The Magician’s Code, Part Two.’ As per usual, the HIMYM team ensured that when a website was mentioned in the show – in this case LilysInLabor.com – that the site actually exists in the real world. The site has a short video about how the character Lily is in labor which the main character Ted created to send out in an email so everyone would know about the momentous occasion. As per usual, I visited the site from my phone at the commercial break after it was mentioned and saw that it required Flash to view the video…I thought nothing of it and just planned to check it out later. When I got to my computer a bit later I went to the site and because I am in Canada this is what I saw:

LilysInLabor.com geo restrited in Canada by CBS

I have already mentioned how silly I think it is for certain things to be restricted based on geography. In this case, however, it wasn’t even an entire episode of the show it was one little digital short that ties in to the plot of the episode. I immediately took to Google and with a bit of searching was able to find someone who had ripped the video off the Official CBS site and uploaded it to YouTube without geographic restrictions (at least without them for Canada, I can’t speak for the rest of the world but let us know in the comments if you’re elsewhere and can/can’t watch the video).

Because I’m me I decided to embed the video here so all y’all can watch it too! Hopefully, CBS doesn’t complain to YouTube about the video and have them take it down because I think we all know it will just be put up again very quickly by a different uploader or on a different site. In fact, I already found two of the same video (the slight choppiness on the first two words on both indicate that they’re the same source) on YouTube so if one gets taken down I am going to embed both.

Without further ado here they are:

And here’s the second one:

Visiting A Border City? Watch Out! Your Phone Might “Cross The Border” Even If You Don’t!

March 20, 2012 5 comments

Queenston Lewiston Bridge from Canadian Side 14000-14004 Niagara Pkwy in GoogleMaps Street View

A problem that people have been having with over the air transmissions since they first started using them is that they refuse to respect international boundaries. Be they radio waves, satellite signals, TV broadcasts, or cell phone signals/networks they just don’t seem to like the idea of abiding by the imaginary lines that humanity has drawn up on maps to indicate where one territory ends and another begins. This worked out quite well for many Canadians in the 1990s when they would be able to pick up American satellite TV signals using gray market boxes beyond American legal jurisdiction and the Canadian government would do next to nothing to stop it from happening because as far as they were concerned they Americans shouldn’t have been broadcasting their signal into Canada. Of course, the Americans had no control over how far that signal bled into Canada because if they could control it they definitely would have!

Today though, I’m referring to a different kind of situation, one that works out way less advantageously for Canadians and Americans alike as well as anyone else in any other country who is visiting a border city/area. The situation is cellular network signals bleeding from one country into another and causing one to roam even when you’re in your home country. I have seen it happen numerous times when in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada which I often end up visiting during the summer months. You’re walking along on vacation without a care in your mind and suddenly your phone notifies you of an incoming text message that look something like these:

Fido US Roaming Notification Text

“Roaming? I’m roaming?!?!” is probably your reaction when you unsuspectingly see this message appear on your phone’s screen. As your brain tries to process this new, strange, and unexpected information your mind races at what kind of Twilight Zone you just unwittingly dropped into. You’re sure you haven’t been drinking and heck, you don’t even have your passport on you! How can you possibly have crossed an international border without noticing? Not to worry, you haven’t done anything of the sort! You have just become victim of those darn radio waves not respecting human lines on a map. The first time it happened to me was when I was walking in the pedestrian skywalk between Niagara Fallsview Casino and the Hilton Hotel and Suites Niagara Falls/Fallsview. Read more…

Brands: ‘Tis NOT Better To Have Loved & Lost, Than Never To Have Loved At All (Online)

January 16, 2012 Leave a comment

20012.01.16 Tweet about Co Engage & Disengage

In his poem ‘In Memoriam A.H.H.’ 19th Century English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote:

‘Tis better to have loved and lost

Than never to have loved at all.

But this post is going to dispute that when it comes to corporate communications on Twitter. Well, OK, not really out and out dispute it because I wasn’t in love with the brand I am referring to in the tweet about (which you can find here) but I felt a little bit of poetry would class up the post.

What I was referring to in the tweet above is a brand who engaged with myself and a friend when we started talking about an article I read in LifeHacker. I thought this was one of the most brilliant things I had read that day and planned to give it a try when my friend told me about a product that does just this and she uses it all the time. I tweeted at the brand who makes the product in question – which as far as we knew was not available in Canada – and asked if it was available in Canada and the replied fairly quickly and told us that, yes, it was available in Canada.

To say we were happy is an understatement. I quickly went out to try and find this item at one of the chains mentioned and came up empty. I checked the chain’s online web catalog and came up empty. Each time I made a step following the advice of that brand I tweeted back at them what I was doing and the results. They never answered. It has been the better part of two weeks and still, they haven’t answered. In that time they have tweeted 15 times, the last time being on January 14th and not one time did they respond. (The first time when they did reply and tell us some info it took them about 12 hours.)

It would be one thing if they had never replied in the first place to our tweets, I would be totally fine with that because not every company and brand monitors all aspects of their social media presence, preferring to register their name and just leave it. This is the reality of the world we live in and no harm no foul if that’s the case. It would also be, sort of OK if they only came on once a month to respond to queries and hadn’t been online since the day they told me and my friend their product was available at Chain X and weren’t present to see my response. But they have been available, they have been present, they have been not only tweeting but interacting with other Twitter users and ignoring me is just bad for business. Doing this makes me feel as if I were talking to the Volcano Insurance Salesman that Peter dealt with in an episode of Family Guy from a long while back (best quality I can find.)

Do you think pretending not to be there while answering and interacting with other people is really going to have a positive response? It won’t. You’re just pissing potential customers off and ruining any relationship you may have had with them.

I have waited a while (more than 10 days) to write this blog post because I wanted to give the brand a chance to redeem themselves. They haven’t.

Better to not be doing it all than to be doing it wrong.

#MuseumSecrets Season 2 Premiere Tonight At 10pm On @HistoryTVCanada

January 12, 2012 1 comment

Museum Secrets Season 2 poster resize

Tonight I am heading to a party celebrating the Season 2 premiere of “Museum Secrets” on History Television Canada.The point of the show is to reveal the stories of 6 irreplaceable treasures (in each episode). As an example they give the Mona Lisa, the Sistine Chapel, and the golden mask of King Tut. Museum Secrets probes familiar legends and assumptions, using cutting edge research and technology to investigate the unknown. They get to (and bring you the viewer along) beyond the public galleries, into hidden places visitors are rarely allowed to see. When a story of an artifact moves outside the museum, the team – and by extension the viewer – follows. They have gone to the grounds of a medieval French chateau to recreate a fatal jousting accident, and down into a 50 foot hole in the Egyptian desert to stand inside the tomb of Ramesses the Great.

The show premiers tonight at 8pm on History Television Canada and they have told me to encourage tweeting using the #MuseumSecrets hashtag, which we at the party will also be doing. In fact, there’s already quite a bit of buzz going on around that hashtag so you can check it out right now.

The Museum Secrets team is using the twitter account @MuseumSecrets, and they told me they want to encourage chatter between them and the TV audience which I think is just awesome and forward thinking and such 21st Century amazingness. The show is produced by @KensingtonTV for @HistoryTVCanada and I have to find out if it is aired anywhere else (or if they make it available to stream online outside of Canada).

They told me to feel free to promote the upcoming episode, by embedding their behind the scenes vlog on my blog so here it is:

Looks cool but personally I was hoping for some cutting room floor footage of the museum – can’t have everything right?

The website for the show is museumsecrets.tv and they assure me that soon they’ll have plenty of new webisodes like this one there: Ancient Tattoos. You can also check them out on Facebook at Facebook.com/MuseumSecrets/.

This season, I am told, will include a trip to St. Petersburg with a young Canadian professor (from Toronto) as he completes his homage to ancient Scythian mummies’ body art, after reading of their discovery deep below the permafrost of Russia. One thing I am definitely looking forward to finding out about (and it will b in tonight’s episode) is about how one early technology* improved Catherine The Great’s sex life! Maybe she had an early variation of a telegraph hooked up so she could summon men for late night trysts? Hooray for historical booty calls! (I completely made that up with absolutely no research).

*To be revealed during the show, they wouldn’t tell me beforehand.

This whole thing looks very cool and I am pretty excited to see it as a history geek – I make no secret about that and you all already know the level of my history geekiness. But I want to be clear that although I had never heard of the show before they contacted me to attend their Season 2 Premiere Party if someone had told me about this just randomly I probably would have checked it out anyway. More than likely I would have eventually come across it flipping channels and been enraptured by it but I don’t want to pretend like I am pushing this show because I fell in love with it last season because I didn’t. But you’re reading the thoughts of a guy who reads alternate history, was a history major, and for a good couple of years spent the majority of his pleasure reading time reading biographies and auto-biographies. Also, I’ve seen pretty much every episode of Cities of the Underworld so this seems like a good natural step for me to go to.

Let me know what you think of the episode. I think I know what I’m going to be doing this weekend – watching Season 1!

Are Some Sites’ Passwords Requirements Getting Too Ridiculous?

January 10, 2012 6 comments

Password Entry via Microsoft Office MP900390550

I have recently decided that I would like to further my education and increase my value to any employer. As such, I have been looking at continuing education programs from some Ontario Colleges* and in order to apply to any college you have to go through the centralized ontariocolleges.ca a site which you can use to to apply to all of Ontario’s colleges and makes the whole process streamlined.

*Side note for American readers: In Canada people who go for their B.A. go to university and a college is a place for further education after high school and a training institution that awards trade qualifications. Info via Wikipedia entry ‘College’

While signing up for an account on the site I was confronted with this as the password requirements:

OntarioColleges.CA password requirments

  • Minimum 8 Characters
  • Uppercase Letters
  • Lowercase Letters
  • Numbers
  • Symbols (e.g. @, #, $)
  • Passwords as entered match each other (you have to enter it twice to confirm)

As I sat there making up a password I thought to myself “Isn’t this a little bit ridiculous already? I mean I get it that a lot of private and personal information is going in to these accounts but quite frankly my bank has less requirements for how I make my password to get into my online account than this website does. I mean, there is a point of diminishing returns for passwords where we are more and more likely to forget them because they have become so complex that we have to write them down somewhere and then what was the point of these long intricate passwords?

I get it that brute force hacking means that the hacking computer is more likely to get the password the more complex it is and complexity is arrived at by adding more characters which makes it exponentially harder to guess the password but the addition of the extra characters into the mix just makes it all the harder for us as humans to remember the password. Beyond that, I promise that a large number of us, me included, end up just telling our computers to remember the passwords for us. If we don’t do that, we write down these insanely complex passwords and if someone is really that dedicated to getting my password don’t you think they’re likely to just try and break into our houses where we’ve written these bewilderingly difficult and complex passwords down because there’s no way we are ever remembering them?

I am fine with setting up a 15 character password. I can do that and remember it with certain mnemonic devices – maybe I’ll teach you my favorite one in a later post – but for me the capitalization aspect is what kills me. At the very least sites that require such intricately constructed passwords could give us all a hint, specifically listing the password requirements below the entry dialogue, and then I won’t be so likely to hit the “Forgot Password” button on a regular basis whenever I visit the site. The funny thing is, I find the sites that require these specifically formatted passwords are always the ones I barely ever use and am more likely to hit the “Forgot Password” button whenever I visit.

Maybe it is time we move to fingerprint or retina scanning on our computers? Maybe Google/Android can share their facial recognition technology with all of these sites so they can make all of our lives way easier…everyone has a webcam nowadays anyway, right? What do you think?

Password image via Microsoft Office.

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