Blog Posts by Tori Floyd

  • In journalism school, reporters are taught not to get involved with the people they write about, in order to remain impartial. Boston Globe reporter Billy Baker went against that notion, and made a world of difference in the lives of two boys because of it.

    Almost exactly two years ago to the day, the Globe published a story by Baker on George and Johnny Huynh, two teen boys in Boston who were the sons of Vietnamese immigrants and dealing with incredible challenging living conditions. Initially, Baker followed the boys for the story, but after it went to print, he stayed in their lives as a friend and mentor, as their own mother was often unable to provide them the help they needed.

    After two years of giving the boys emotional and financial support, Baker got some very exciting news in regards to George’s academic future, in the face of having the odds against him. Baker was so overcome with emotion, he took to Twitter to share the story with his followers:

    The response to Baker and

    Read More »from Boston Globe’s Billy Baker helps young man get into Yale, captures hearts on Twitter
  • A Rogers storefront is pictured in Toronto on August 15, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Galit RodanIt’s a bummer whenever your cell phone is in need of repairs, and you have to borrow one from your provider until it’s returned to you. It’s even more frustrating when you discover explicit material on that phone, and now your four-year-old son keeps talking about it.

    A Saskatoon mother was shocked to discover nude photos, homemade pornography and images of someone smoking from a glass pipe on a phone she borrowed from Rogers, The Star-Phoenix reports.

    The battery in Lisa Schmidt’s phone stopped working, so she took it to a Rogers outlet and received a device on loan while she waited for hers to be repaired. Her son borrowed the phone to take photos, and discovered the images.

    “My son was taking a picture of our dog and suddenly it went quiet and he said, ‘Mommy look at this,” Schmidt told The Star-Phoenix.

    [ More Right Click: British man duped into spending $750 on a photo of an Xbox One ]

    Schmidt found about 40 explicit images on the device.

    “My son is running around now, telling people

    Read More »from Rogers customer finds pornography, drug video on loaner phone
  • If you’re in one of the selected test areas, you may soon be paying for your double double with your phone.

    Tim Hortons recently rolled out an update to its BlackBerry, iOS and Android apps  allowing customers in certain regions the ability to pay for their orders using the new in-app payment system. Previously, customers could check the balance and add money to their Tim Card, Tim Horton’s re-loadable gift card, but this latest change will eliminate the need for carrying a card at all.

    [ Related: How a Toronto-area Tim Hortons helped the franchise get its start ]

    "We're always looking to provide our Tim Hortons guests with the best overall customer experience, and mobile payment is one area that we feel can help streamline the average time spent at the order counter," said David Clanachan, COO of Tim Hortons, in a press release. "These new innovations offer secure, quick and easy payment alternatives, allowing our guests more time enjoying their favourite food and beverages."

    This is the

    Read More »from Tim Hortons the latest retailer to accept smartphone payments
  • Must-See Videos of the Week: December 13

    When you get angry, perhaps while driving through astonishingly thick fog or because your SUV fell in a lake, there are several ways to express yourself: Smash up a brand-new console. Watch adorable kitten-puppy videos until the rage subsides. Or my personal favourite, and the first video on our Must-See Videos this week, pretend you’re in the video game Mario Kart, where you can take out the other drivers with banana peels. Enjoy!

    It’s a-me! A real Mario! In this stop-motion video, 3D artists Olivier Bolduc and Simon Lachapelle re-create the experience of playing Mario Kart 64 – except they recruited their co-workers to be Mario and Luigi. The Quebec artists shot and directed the film while Étienne Desbois and Louka Boutin race to avoid those dreaded bananas.

    [ Last week's Must-See Videos: Incredible chair balancing act on a cliff ]

    In this time-lapse video, you can see the city of London, England engulfed in a sea of fog, which occurred on the morning of Dec. 11. Visibility was reduced

    Read More »from Must-See Videos of the Week: December 13
  • Year in Review 2013: Top YouTube Videos of the Year

    This year, Canadians were interested in a truly diverse selection of videos online. There are the usual viral videos, but plenty of commercials were also dubbed worth sharing amongst friends online. Here’s a look at YouTube Canada’s list of the most watched videos this year.

    Watched more than 275 million times, the strange Norwegian music video for Ylvis’ What Does the Fox Say topped the charts for Canadians on YouTube in 2013. It may be the quirky costumes, or the catchy beat, but this oddity certainly earned its place at the pinnacle of Canadian YouTube viral fame.

    Rather than focusing entirely on the absurd, millions watched this touching commercial put together by beauty products company Dove, which helped make women across all walks of life feel a little more beautiful. The simple idea of having strangers describe what the women looked like to a sketch artist turned into a powerful, tear-jerker of a commercial.

    Absurdity is the name of the game again in this film from Mister Epic

    Read More »from Year in Review 2013: Top YouTube Videos of the Year
  • Google Street View, as created by you

    Google's new feature on Street View that allows users to upload their own 360-degree photos.

    Think the Google Maps Street View feature is pretty cool, but missing somewhere important to you? You can fix that.

    Google recently announced that it would be allowing users to create their own 360-degree maps and upload them to Google’s mapping tool.

    "We are excited to see the different types of Street View experiences that everyone will contribute," Google product manager Evan Rapoport said in a blog post.

    "For example this feature can now enable environmental non-profits to document and promote the beautiful places they strive to protect.

    "It also opens up a new tool for photographers to showcase diversity in a specific location – by times of day, weather conditions or cultural events – in a way that Street View currently doesn't cover."

    [ Related: Google Street View seeks to give people a rare look at Nunavut ]

    In Canada, this new feature should come in especially handy, considering the huge landmass that Google would have to cover in order to document all of Canada in Street View

    Read More »from Google Street View, as created by you
  • Must-See Videos of the Week: December 7

    In this week’s roundup of videos, we’ve got a mix of the terrifying — like flammable water and death-defying balancing acts — and the heartwarming, including an impressive-looking charity drive, an animal rescue and joyous tributes to Nelson Mandela. Without further ado, here are the top videos you should watch this week:

    A family in Dixie, Louisiana discovered that their water was flammable, with traces of natural gas appearing in their property’s well water. The Parkers say that the problems with their water began when a local drilling operation set up shop nearby. The company says that they’ll be hiring a third-party inspector to look into the issue and see if the two are connected. Scenes like these have become increasingly common on YouTube and local media outlets since the issue of fracking near well systems was brought to light by the documentary Gasland in 2010.

    [ Last week’s Must-See Videos: Rare spinning-ice phenomenon caught on camera ]

    Daredevil Eskil Ronningsbakken is known

    Read More »from Must-See Videos of the Week: December 7
  • (Image courtesy of Aeryon Labs)Since Amazon announced its intention to use drones for local deliveries in the not-so-distant future, the world has been abuzz (no pun intended) with talk of the unmanned aircraft. But while many Americans are discussing drones as if they’re still science fiction, here in Canada, they’re more like science fact.

    While you won’t see Canada Post dropping a package off at your home via drone any time soon, drones are already being used for myriad other uses above Canadian soil. And the technology is being developed in Canada, too.

    Aeryon Labs, a developer of small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) in Kitchener, Ontario, already has drones being used for a variety of different purposes, although not for mail delivery. The company develops surveillance drones, which carry cameras that record high-definition photos and videos. But they’d much rather you call them sUAS rather than drones.

    "We like to call them unmanned aerial systems, since drones often has a negative connotation," Andrea Sangster,

    Read More »from Drones active in Canadian skies well before UPS, Amazon considered delivery drones
  • They may look like something out of science fiction, but a demonstration of Amazon’s delivery drones shows that the day you’ll see a flying object bringing you your package are nearly here.

    Ahead of Cyber Monday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year for the online retailer, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos gave an interview to CBS news show 60 Minutes explaining how the drone service could work, and how it isn’t as far off as we may think it is.

    “It will work, and it will happen, and it’s gonna be a lot of fun,” Bezos told 60 Minutes.

    Described by Bezos as ‘octocopters,’ the flying robots – drones – are capable of carrying packages up to about five pounds in weight. Bezos adds that they’re also a green option for the environment, as they operate on electric motors and don’t use up gasoline like delivery trucks do.

    [ More Right Click: Review: Kobo Arc 10HD tablet ]

    As the Chicago Tribune explains, these drones can deliver packages in about 30 minutes in a ten mile radius, and it could be

    Read More »from Drone delivery service: Amazon’s Jeff Bezos unveils company’s futuristic plans
  • (Screengrab from Waiting in Line 3D)Feel left out of all the Black Friday chaos happening south of the border? You too can experience the tedium and mild violence with what may be the most boring video game ever made.

    Competing for the title with the gem ‘Desert Bus,’ which spawned a whole marathon charity event from its tedium, ‘Waiting in Line 3D’ has players stand in a line and punch themselves in the face to stay awake as they desperately try to fall asleep from boredom. That’s about it.

    Despite the fact there’s a score meter, no one ever gets any points. The player just stands there, waiting in line, punching him or herself in the face until the screen goes black because they fell asleep, or knocked themselves unconscious.

    [More Right Click: Review: Kobo Arc 10HD]

    This ‘anti-game’ is strangely addictive; you can’t help but think “well maybe I can make it further this time” (my best time was 2:02). The only interesting part of the game is the catchy song, and there’s a reason for that: The game is actually the music

    Read More »from Simulate the Black Friday experience with ‘Waiting in Line 3D’ game


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