Blog Posts by Tori Floyd

  • (Image from Whitbread)We’ve seen a growing interest in ‘smart’ homes, so it’s not surprising to see that hotels are following suit with digitally-connected hotel suites.

    A UK-based hotel chain has announced that they’ll be launching a new hotel concept starting next fall, called hub by Premier Inn. Guests to one of the five planned enhanced hotels would use the ‘hub’ app to check in, then they could use the app to do everything in their room from controlling the temperature to ordering meals.

    Beginning in autumn 2014, Britain’s largest hotel chain, Whitbread, will be opening its first hub by Premier Inn location at St. Martin’s Lane in London. It will feature compact rooms (a ‘cozy’ 11.4 square metres or 123 square-feet), with an ultra-modern, space-saving design.

    But the big feature is how you’ll be able to control your hotel experience from your smartphone. Before even entering the room, guests can check in, then set the temperature, lighting and television channel on in their room. Visitors can also

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  • (Lee Brown/The Canadian Press)In last week’s Pulse of Canada question, we asked you, Yahoo! Canada readers, what is the best thing about being Canadian. Our panel of experts also weighed in mentioning you can ask just about any group of Canadians what stands out to them, and chances are good you’ll get a whole host of different answers.

    We’ve gathered some of our favourite answers you submitted and posted them here. If you think we’ve missed some important ones, feel free to add in the comments below.

    [ Related: What are the best things about being Canadian? ]

    I really like our flag - especially the story of the reasonable and fair compromise that led to the decision to choose The Maple Leaf. It's just so Canadian.


    I am aboriginal and Canada saved my life. When I was a teenager and aimless and no one seemed to care or help even in my community - I made a life altering choice and went to the local recruiting station and joined the Canadian Military. They accepted me unconditionally and it was the best thing I
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  • ( week, Facebook confirmed that it had leaked the private information of six million of its users. You may have thought to yourself, “ha! That’s not me! I don’t give any of my personal information to Facebook!”

    Unfortunately, thanks to your friends, it may turn out that your phone number and email address could have ended up in that leak, after all.

    Your personal information may be included in something called a ‘Facebook Shadow Profile,’ a term that came up a lot over the last week while people were reporting how a bug had exposed the personal information of millions of users. The security research company who identified the bug, Packet Storm Security, said that Facebook has been compiling information on many of its users, and even on people who don’t have Facebook accounts, ZDNET reports.

    That’s where shadow profiles come in: Facebook’s shadow profiles include information culled from Facebook users' phones when they use the ‘Find Friends’ feature. When a user first installs Facebook

    Read More »from Facebook shadow profiles: you probably have one and don’t even know it
  • Many politicians are jumping on social media to connect with their public and bolster their public profile. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has taken things one step further, and turned himself into a cartoon character, so voters can help him, uh, be a better politician by turning him into Superman.

    In a new game for smartphones and tablets, Abe Pyon (translation: ‘Abe Hops’), potential voters can help the prime minister jump from platform to platform in order to collect points and unlock new outfits along the way. In Abe’s final form, he dons a Superman-esque blue leotard and red cape.

    The game is designed to be cutesy in order to appeal to a younger demographic of voters. According to Reuters, the word ‘pyon’ is most often associated with rabbits, giving the whole game a kind of adorable slant right from the get-go. In the game, you tap the squat Abe character to make him jump to the next platform, accompanied by “boy-yoy-yoing” noises with each bounce.

    [ More Right Click: ‘WarGames’

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  • Find out how much your email is worth to a hacker

    (Screengrab from Cloudsweeper)You may not think that your email account is very valuable (and really, can you put a price on cat GIFs forwarded from grandma?), but to a hacker, it can be worth a pretty penny.

    A tool called Cloudsweeper will tell you exactly how much your email (Gmail, specifically) could be worth. It’s part of a project being conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, reports, on how people reuse passwords, and whether their repeated use is actually something that concerns users.

    The more relevant part to you is how Cloudsweeper can help you out: by authorizing the Cloudsweeper app to scan your Gmail account, it classifies your password protection into three categories of potential risk: emails with text passwords are the highest risk, followed by password reset links emailed to you, then any service (like Facebook or Twitter) that has access to your email account.

    Cloudsweeper also shows a dollar amount next to certain services, showing what the going rate would be

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  • (Photo from Todd Fisher/ life of a hacker today is very different from 30 years ago (at least I imagine it is – I’m not a hacker). What once needed a sprawling setup in order to do the most basic functions can now be done on a portable laptop, or even a smartphone.

    But that doesn’t make the hacker equipment of 1980s movies any less awesome. And now, you can own a piece of it for yourself. The computer equipment used in the Matthew Broderick-Ally Sheedy film WarGames is up for sale.

    Todd Fischer, the man who supplied the hardware for the movie, apparently still owns most of the original setup he put together for WarGames, and is now willing to part with it three decades after the release of the movie.

    In WarGames, a young Matthew Broderick plays David Lightman, a computer whiz kid who accidentally finds himself playing a game called Global Thermonuclear War. It turns out to be the means for controlling real weaponry, pitting the United States against the Soviet Union. All of this is controlled from his bedroom

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  • Chinese teen sells kidney to repay video game debts

    In this Oct. 4, 2011 file photo, casino representatives watch an online poker game during a conference in Las Vegas.Some people are willing to go to pretty crazy lengths for their love of video games (just check out our gallery of cosplay from Fan Expo Vancouver back in April – those are true gaming fans). It only becomes a problem when those lengths start to include personal harm – like selling your body parts.

    According to a recent story from Kotaku, an 18-year-old Chinese man in Gangsu province reportedly sold his kidney as part of a black market organ trade. The discovery was made when police arrested a gang for their dealings in black market organs.

    Chinese website Tencent published a story suggesting that the man, referred to as Zhang, was selling his kidney as a way to deal with some recent money troubles. The site reports that Zhang had accrued $3,255 in debt related to video games, although exactly how he managed that they don’t specify. Strictly speculating, it could have been credit card debt accrued purchasing items in an online multiplayer game like World of Warcraft. Alternatively,

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  • Are you the last person on Earth who isn’t sick of hearing about Rob Ford yet? It looks like there may be a few more people who still get a kick out of the mayor’s antics, and they’ve created a video game.

    While it doesn’t name the embattled Toronto Mayor specifically in the game's description, the mayor in question certainly does bear a certain passing resemblance to The Big Smoke’s RoFo.

    Check out the description for Stay Mayor and judge for yourself:

    Uh oh. Looks like the Mayor’s in a buttload of friggin’ trouble with that alleged video of him smoking crack! And who knows if it even exists, amiright? But juuust in case, why don’t you help him collect a heap of cash to buy it before The Gawker does. Only your twinkle toes can out-maneuver the Blood Thirsty Media to help him collect more than they did in that damn “Crackstarter” campaign. $201,255 to be exact. And hey, everyone needs a little boost now and then, so make sure you collect power up buckets of deep-fried courage for more

    Read More »from Toronto Mayor Rob Ford gets own video game inspired by scandals
  • (Left: Ellie from 'The Last of Us'; Right: Ellen Page)

    Praise for the recently released game The Last of Us has been pretty universally positive, scoring 95 on Metacritic and was reported as having the biggest game launch of the year, selling 1.3 million copies in its first week.

    One person who isn’t singing all of the game's praises, however, is actress Ellen Page. If you’ve played the game, you may notice more than a passing resemblance between her and Ellie, one of the main characters from The Last of Us. But according to Page, that likeness is being used without her consent.

    In a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) question-and-answer session, Page was asked about how she enjoyed acting in another upcoming Sony exclusive, Beyond: Two Souls, and if she would have taken the role of Ellie if she had been given the chance. It was prefaced with how many people had spotted the similarities between Ellie and Page, both in appearance and how she speaks.

    [ More Right Click: Cursive writing facing extinction in face of technology ]

    Page didn’t really touch

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  • Cursive writing facing extinction in face of technology

    In the not so distant past, it was a rite of passage for student in elementary school to sit through lessons on cursive writing, slowly learning how to shape connected-up letters in the hope of one day having legible penmanship.

    But with the increased presence of keyboards everywhere, the days of cursive writing may be numbered and schools are seeing the writing on the wall.

    As the end of cursive writing appears to be nigh, many parents and educators probably find themselves wondering: should we still be teaching cursive writing?

    There are at least 45 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces (Ontario and Quebec) that have nixed cursive writing as an official part of the curriculum. Other provinces, like Nova Scotia, allow teachers to decide how often students need to practice their cursive. And why should it be part of the curriculum? With limited time to cram everything in from the curriculum as it is, cursive writing is just one more thing teachers have to help students with in light of

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