Blog Posts by Tori Floyd

  • Turn your audio files into beautiful custom wall art

    If you've got a favourite quote or speech from a famous politician, you can preserve it in a whole new way thanks to a company called Epic Frequency.

    The website sells oversized waveform images based on famous quotes from great politicians (because they're an American website, it's predominantly U.S. politicians) and other well-knowns, such as the late astronaut Neil Armstrong. They take the audio clip, print it onto a gallery canvas that's 1.5 feet by 4 feet wide, and ship it out to you to display on your wall as a very different — but stunningly beautiful — piece of art.

    Check out what Epic Frequency is all about in the video below:

    The designs have been curated by co-founders Bill Seaver and Nathan Moore, who launched Epic Frequency earlier this month. In an interview with Wired, Seaver points out that there are interesting things to notice in the waveform images:

    "In the 'I Have A Dream' speech you can see all the points where Dr. King really inspired the crowd and you also get a

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  • French woman gets $15 quadrillion phone bill

    And you thought your monthly cell phone bill was expensive.

    Solenne San Jose, a resident of Pessac, France, recently received a phone bill for €11,721,000,000,000,000 (approximately $14.8 quadrillion CAD). Supposedly, that was the amount she was being charged to close her account with Bouygues Telecom.

    "There were so many zeros I couldn't even work out how much it was," said San Jose in a Herald Sun story.

    [ Related: Disabled teen incurs $8,000 texting bill ]

    A former teaching assistant, San Jose sought to close her account with the phone company after losing her job a month earlier.

    When San Jose called the company to resolve the problem, she became increasingly concerned when she was told that they couldn't amend the computer-generated statement and that the amount was going to be withdrawn from her bank account.

    ABC News reports that the company offered to cut her some slack: they would set up a payment plan, so she could pay off the outrageous sum in installments.

    San Jose

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  • REUTERS/Bogdan CristelIn a somewhat bizarre turn of events, a group of individuals on Reddit who make a habit of photographing women without their consent are now lashing out after having their own privacy threatened.

    The sub-Reddit /r/CreepShots was banned from Reddit earlier this week, sparking an online debate about what should and shouldn't be considered private information. The story has evolved quickly over the course of the week, but it does pose some interesting questions about who should know what about whom online.

    CreepShots: Publishing photos of women anonymously online

    The 'CreepShots' sub-Reddit was devoted to posting pictures of women online, taken without the consent of the photos' subjects. Many of the photos were of women in the Toronto area, supposedly taken by a Toronto man who moderates the CreepShots forum on Reddit and goes by the online alias CreeperComforts.

    According to the Toronto Sun, a Toronto woman posted a warning to others in the area on another sub-Reddit,/ r/Toronto, about

    Read More »from ‘Creepshots’ compromise women’s privacy, but fight for own hidden identity
  • CBC photoWe're not quite there yet, but Canadians are one step closer to having improved clarity from wireless companies as to the conditions of their cellular contracts.

    In a press release today, the CRTC announced it is seeking the public's opinion on a national code for wireless services. According to CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blaid, the aim of the code would be to help consumers make "informed choices in a competitive marketplace," The Canadian Press reports.

    The CRTC wants feedback on issues such as what terms and conditions should be addressed in a code for mobile device companies, who should be covered by the code, how it should be enforced and how it's effectiveness should be assessed, Mobile Syrup says.

    [ Related: Can the CRTC rescue Canadian wireless customers? ]

    The site also reports that when acting chairman Leonard Katz was in charge of the CRTC, he said the regulatory body wanted to see if "the wireless market has changed enough to warrant its intervention." This announcement

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  • Split passwords proposed as way of evading hack attacks

    REUTERS/David Loh/FilesWith a run of password leaks in the last year, like the breaches at LinkedIn and Sony, it's likely people have grown quite concerned about the security of their passwords online. One company thinks that it's found a way to further deter hackers, and keep our passwords a little safer.

    Security firm RSA proposes that if passwords are scrambled, split in two, and stored on different computer servers, hackers would have a harder time getting the full password, and would therefore not be able to break into your account.

    According to the BBC, the hacker would need to break into both related servers, then link up the two randomized parts of the password, which theoretically would serve as a major deterrent.

    [ Related: Apple suspends phone-based password reset following hack of 'Wired' writer ]

    RSA would store the two portions of the password on servers at its distributed credential protection (DCP) facility.

    "DCP scrambles, randomized and splits sensitive credentials, passwords and Pins and

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  • The video game characters known as Pokémon aren't generally at much risk of being eaten (unless you turn Pikachu into a delicious bento, of course), but that hasn't stopped PETA from campaigning against the treatment of these characters as the latest Pokémon games are about to hit store shelves.

    Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 were released in North America on Sunday, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have come out with their own parody game: 'Pokemon: Black and Blue.' The game aims to illustrate that trapping animals is not ethical, and that making it acceptable in a game somehow justifies it in real life:

    "The amount of time that Pokémon spend stuffed in pokéballs is akin to how elephants are chained up in train carts, waiting to be let out to "perform" in circuses," said a statement on PETA's website. "But the difference between real life and this fictional world full of organized animal fighting is that Pokémon games paint rosy pictures of things

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  • Getting around town has gotten pretty high-tech when it comes to most forms of transportation, be it navigating by GPS in a car or planning your route on the fly when taking transit. Yet the simple taxi cab seems to have evaded technological advancements over the years — heck, I still have cab drivers who tell me they can't take credit cards.

    But it doesn't have to be that way, fellow cab riders: while Canadian cities might be lagging behind the high-tech cab culture of places like New York City, things are slowly beginning to improve. It's not an exhaustive list of options, but if you're in one of the cities serviced by these apps, it should help make your taxi-riding experience a little bit better.

    [ Related: Chicago Cabbie boosts business with social media savvy ]


    City serviced: Toronto

    Canada's first licensed app-based cab company allows users to hail, monitor, and even pay for their taxi ride from their smartphone, and they don't even have to place a phone call. Hailo

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  • Earlier this week, Quebec rolled out its new green fee for electronics. Consumers will pay $40 when they purchase a new television, smartphone, laptop or printer. The fee will help cover the cost of recycling that product at the end of its life.

    While this might be a change for Quebec, green fees are hardly anything new for many Canadians. Consumers in provinces across the country have been contributing to the end-of-life disposal of their electronics, but not all of us may know exactly how that money pays for the recycling process.

    What does the fee pay for?

    While each province may handle the specific recycling process a little differently, they generally have the same major steps: by paying the recycling fee at the beginning of your electronic device's life, you can drop it off for free at a designated recycling facility or pick-up point to have it disposed of in the most environmentally friendly way.

    The fee you pay covers the cost of collecting, transporting and disposing of the

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  • Microsoft's new Surface tablet will be coming to Canada on October 26, the day after Microsoft hosts its big reveal of its new Windows 8 operating system. If you want to get your hands on one, though, you'll have to be pretty strategically located.

    Four pop-up stores will be appearing in Canada for the launch to sell the Microsoft Surface: Eaton Centre, Toronto; Metropolis at Metrotown, Burnaby; Oakridge Centre, Vancouver and West Edmonton Mall, Edmonton. These stores will be open for the duration of the holiday shopping season.

    The four Canadian stores are part of Microsoft's larger strategy to promote their new tablet across North America. Altogether, there will be 32 pop-up continental locations to complement the 24 permanent stores in the United States.

    [ Related: Microsoft Surface doesn't interest Americans, but how do Canadians feel? ]

    The Microsoft Surface will only be sold through official Microsoft channels, such as their pop-up and permanent stores, for the rest of 2012.

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  • 3D printer company Stratasys has seized one of their machines from a U.S. man who is seeking to distribute plans for free on how private citizens can print their own guns.

    Cody Wilson, a second-year law student at the University of Texas at Austin, is director of a group that calls themselves Defense Distributed. The group was working on Wiki Weapon, a crowd-funded project that aimed to develop a 3D printed pistol, and eventually free schematics that anyone could use to create a weapon with their personal 3D printer.

    [ Related: 3D printers and how they could change space missions ]

    You can watch Wilson's impassioned explanation of the project in this video:

    Wilson and Defense Distributed raised $20,000 USD through Bitcoin earlier in September to fund their project. They leased the printer from Stratasys to begin printing a fully 3D printed pistol for the first time, reports. There have been similar projects with partially printed parts in the past, but the Wiki Weapon

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