Blog Posts by Tori Floyd

  • 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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  • Last minute Father’s Day gift ideas for the techie dad

    In case it’s slipped your mind, this Sunday is Father’s Day. You’re getting down to the wire if you haven’t picked up anything for Dad yet, so you’re basically down to two options: pay for the rush shipping online, or get out to the store and grab him something ASAP.

    We’ve put together a list of some of the best gifts out there for the technology-minded father, in a range of prices. And if your dad isn’t a tech head? Well, we can’t help you, but check out Yahoo! Canada Finance's list of gifts for Dad for under $30.

    MIMOBOT 8GB Character USB Drive


    Is your dad a Star Trek fan? How about a history buff? No matter what your dad is into, any fun-loving dad will enjoy an 8GB USB drive with his favourite character on. MIMOBOTS come in a huge range of designs, from real people like Elvis and George Washington to characters like Batman and Darth Vader. You can order directly from the Mimoco website (where you can get 20% off on select designs until June 16), or you can visit your local

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  • Canada ranks highly as a hotbed for cyber-criminals

    Normally when Canada ranks third on an international list, we’re pretty proud. But when it comes to cybercrime, our high ranking is a little more ominous.

    A recently released survey shows that Canada ranks third on the list of places that cyber-criminals set up shop in 2012. Instead of choosing Russia or China, some cyber criminals have been setting up servers with Canadian IP addresses for their attacks, says Websense's cybercrime report card on Canada.

    Canada was the No. 3 country of choice for cyber criminals to set up virtual bases with advanced malware for corporate espionage, said the report, to be unveiled Wednesday at the SC Congress in Toronto, a conference on information security.

    Ahead of Canada on the list was the United States at No. 1 and the Netherlands was No. 2.

    [ Related: Microsoft disrupts cybercrime networks that stole $500M ]

    An even more disturbing finding from the report is that it isn’t just lone cyber-criminals who are coming to Canada; according to The Vancouver

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  • Do you have a Facebook feed full of friends who have been hashtagging their posts for ages, even though hashtags only work on Twitter? Well, there may be a chance those friends of yours were clairvoyant and just preparing for today, when Facebook officially announced it would now support hashtags in posts.

    In a blog post today, Facebook’s Greg Lindley said that hashtags would be introduced as a way to get “the larger view of what’s happening [and] what people are talking about.”

    By adding a pound sign in front of a keyword in your post, like #this, it will make the word link up with all other uses of that hashtag on Facebook. So if you’re posting about #GameofThrones while you’re watching the latest episode, you can click the hashtag to see what others are saying about it, too.

    [ Related: UNICEF to slacktivists: Facebook likes won’t save lives ]

    The new hashtags will be a way for Facebook to capitalize on all the people who automatically post to the social network via other services like

    Read More »from Facebook announces hashtags for posts, so your friends’ updates finally make sense


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