Blog Posts by Tori Floyd

  • When I was off from school during March Break as a kid, the most high tech my vacation ever got was sitting in front of the old family computer playing hours of 'Treasure Mountain'. Now, students on vacation have some much more advanced technology to play with, including the variety of digital art installations at TIFF's digiPlaySpace.

    Now in its third year, the digiPlaySpace is a multi-artist exhibition at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, a venue which is usually the heart of the Toronto International Film Festival. Every spring, though, the building opens its doors to younger film-goers, hosting the TIFF Kids International Film Festival from April 8-21. As a part of the event, the digiPlaySpace opens its doors to kids and adults alike, giving visitors a chance to let their imaginations run wild with the aid of technology.

    Stepping into the gallery where digiPlaySpace is hosted, the theme of "Playing and Creating" comes through loud and clear: With a little tech-savvyness, you can

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  • Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar Selfie: Who really owns it?

    By now, you're probably familiar with 'The Selfie That Crashed Twitter.' Ellen DeGeneres' now-infamous tweet of a photo at the Academy Awards on Sunday night that broke the record for the most retweeted image ever, with 3.1 million retweets (so far), has courted a lot of buzz, and a growing number of controversies around it. There's DeGeneres' use of a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 to take the pic, only to tweet from her iPhone back stage; there's the question of whether or not it was genuinely a spontaneous moment (I think we can safely agree it wasn’t).

    But the latest question that has people scratching their heads: Who owns the Oscars selfie?

    The Associated Press was recently granted permission by Ellen DeGeneres to use the photo, but that didn't sit well with people online. Was permission DeGeneres' to grant? There are actually a few different parties who

    Read More »from Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar Selfie: Who really owns it?
  • It seems like you just can’t escape DRM sometimes. We’ve often got digital rights management (DRM) on our movies, music, and e-books, telling us when and how we can use a product that we’ve paid money for. Now, it looks like we might be seeing similar restrictions on our coffee.

    Single-cup coffee brewer giant Keurig has had a lawsuit filed against it, Tech Dirt reports, claiming that Keurig has been seeking ways to lock its competitors out of the market and prevent other companies from making coffee pods (called ‘K-Cups’ when used with the Keurig) that will work with their brewing system.

    To use the Keurig single-cup brewing system, the user places a K-Cup inside the machine, presses a button, and in minutes they have a single cup of coffee. Back in 2012, The Verge reports, the patent for K-Cup technology expired, opening up the market to anyone who wanted to develop their own Keurig-compatible cup. Now there are numerous offerings from brands not affiliated with Keurig, undercutting

    Read More »from Keurig to use DRM-like controls in new K-Cups, locking out competitors
  • Must-see videos of the week: Feb. 23-Mar. 1

    Sometimes, we can't help but give in to our animal companions. The first two of this week's must-see videos show just how expressive our pets can be, and why, even when they do something wrong, we still have to love them. Throw in some human creativity, and here are our five favourite videos from this week:

    Maybe it's just me, but with a face like this, I could never stay mad. Achilles here was caught trying to climb onto the kitchen table in an attempt to get some food, and he knew he was going to get a talking to from his owner, James Hignett. Chances are good that when he walked into the room to face his owner, Achilles's approach was enough to melt any anger away.

    [ Last week's must-see videos: Fly larva crawls out of woman's ear ]

    And now, for a much more unconventional pet, but evidently one just as emotive. Gevan the highland cow was rescued from slaughter in 2013, and now lives at an animal sanctuary in Scarborough, Scotland. She's got an undeniable love for a good hair

    Read More »from Must-see videos of the week: Feb. 23-Mar. 1
  • Toronto hospital live-tweets heart surgery

    (CBC Photo)Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital has become the first Canadian hospital to live-tweet a surgery this morning, CTV News reports, sharing the details about the procedure with an online audience in the name of education.

    Starting at 8 a.m. EST, the @Sunnybrook account (or follow along in our live feed here) began posting 140-character tweets about the surgery, and photographs and videos as it is performed.

    "What's happening will be explained very simply for a lay audience, with the goal of educating the public about heart disease and coronary artery bypass," hospital spokesperson Marie Sanderson told CTV.

    You can also follow the reaction on Twitter by searching for the hashtag #SBheart.

    The patient for the surgery is a man named Lou, who turns 57 today.

    A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

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  • Candy Crush Saga (Image from Google Play store)

    If you look in the Google Play store now and see the game CandySwipe, chances are you’d disregard it as a clone of the popular mobile and Facebook game Candy Crush Saga. And despite launching two years prior to Candy Crush, it’s looking like CandySwipe may soon be no more if an aggressive trademark move by Candy Crush’s maker goes through.

    Albert Ransom of Runsome Apps Inc. posted a heartfelt open letter to King Digital Entertainment, the game developer behind Candy Crush Saga, conceding defeat in the face of legal action the company has taken:

    Congratulations! You win! I created my game CandySwipe in memory of my late mother who passed away at an early age of 62 of leukemia. I released CandySwipe in 2010 five months after she passed and I made it because she always liked these sorts of games. In fact, if you beat the full version of the android game, you will still get the message saying "...the game was made in memory of my mother, Layla..." I created this game for warmhearted

    Read More »from Candy Crush ‘clone’ admits defeat, despite launching two years earlier
  • Who says there's no more truth in advertising?

    Electronics giant Sony has partnered with advertising firm DraftFCB in a curious new marketing campaign for the Sony W Series Walkman MP3 player. Gym rats in New Zealand can now purchase the Walkman from vending machines, where it is dispensed inside a bottle of water.

    Two things may come as a surprise here:

    1. Sony is still making Walkmans.

    2. When the company calls it "waterproof," they don't just mean sweatproof. They mean you can swim with this thing. Sony says it can be submerged up to 6.6 feet (2 metres) underwater, but shouldn't be used in salt water.

    [ Right Click: Artist maps out the Internet into continent, countries ]

    The MP3 player has been on the market since January when it was launched at CES, but this quirky promotional campaign began this week. Yahoo Tech says that the specs on the MP3 player aren't anything to write home about: the $99 Walkman is lightweight and cable-free, but only has space for 4GB of music and is

    Read More »from Sony proves Walkman is waterproof by selling it in bottles of water
  • (Image from NorthKoreaTech blog)

    Based on the photos we’ve of people staring at computers in North Korea, we know that the North Koreans have access to technology, albeit with heavily restricted access to the Internet. A recent post on the blog NorthKoreaTech now gives us an idea of what all those people are looking at.

    Red Star OS is the “home-grown” operating system used in the communist country built on the Linux OS, but it’s made to look like some of the more familiar operating system interfaces. The latest version, Red Star 3.0, has been overhauled to look distinctly like Apple’s Mac OS X.

    (Image from NorthKoreaTech blog)

    [ Related: Surfing the Intranet: North Korea's authoritarian alternative to the World Wide Web ]

    BBC News writes that these screenshots were obtained by American computer scientist Will Scott, who has spent time teaching computer courses at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. Scott told NorthKoreaTech that the latest version of the operating system was released earlier in 2013.

    (Image from NorthKoreaTech blog)

    The prior version of Red Star OS had a

    Read More »from North Korea's Red Star operating system looks suspiciously similar to Apple’s OS X
  • Artist maps out the Internet into countries, continents

    (Image from DeviantART)Back in 2010, popular web comic xkcd created a Map of the Internet, giving a rough idea of which countries and companies owned which IP addresses. The project has inspired a much more ambitious undertaking by amateur Slovakian graphic artist Jay Simons, who has created this incredibly detailed map of all the biggest players online today, in the style of an antique world map.

    As a history buff and owner of the website History Rundown, which analyses various historical events and debates the veracity of historical accounts, Simons blended his interests in graphic design and historical documentation in this project, dubbed Map of the Internet 1.0. While it isn't exactly ancient history, Simons' project is an interesting snapshot of the current "landscape" of the online world, showing major players and events in relation to the Internet including the Alexa Top 500 Global Sites, a timeline of the Internet's history and worldwide Internet penetration.

    Simons says that this map was drawn

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  • The researchers claim 70 per cent accuracy with their current tweet-scanning model. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

    Reading through someone’s Twitter feed can quickly tell you what they ate for lunch and what they thought of last night’s Master Chef, but one study thinks it can also tell you if they are depressed.

    Research is currently underway at Microsoft Research Redmond into how an automated system could be used to scan Twitter feeds for signs of depression.

    Eric Horvitz, co-director of the group, told TIMEthat he thinks the technology is possible, and they’re working to make it happen.

    “We wondered if we could actually build measures that might be able to detect if someone is severely depressed, just in publicly posted media. What are people telling the world in public spaces?” asks Horvitz. “You might imagine tools that could make people aware of a swing in mood, even before they can feel it themselves.”

    So far, Horvitz and his team have developed a model that can scan tweets and predict depression in Twitter users with a claimed 70 per cent accuracy. They’re still working on increasing the

    Read More »from Twitter feed can help predict depression, researchers find

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