Blog Posts by Tori Floyd

  • 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
  • Rob Ford, Doug Ford to host new show on YouTube

    First was their long-running radio show. Then there was their short-lived (one episode) reality show on Sun News. Now, the Ford brothers are taking their brand into their own hands with plans for a new web series.

    On Thursday, Councillor Doug Ford told a local radio station that the brothers were planning on launching a YouTube series that will reportedly be called ‘Ford Nation,’ the same title as their brief Sun News television show.

    The Fords say that they’ll be footing the bill for this YouTube series, expected to come out sometime “before Christmas.” It’s probably a good thing they’re paying for it to, because putting on a Ford show sounds like a costly endeavour.

    Sun News vice president Kory Teneycke told the National Post that the lone episode of ‘Ford Nation’ the station produced used “as many resources as we would usually use for 8 hours of daytime programming … the economics of that don’t work well over the long term.”


    More on Rob Ford:

    Will crack confession prevent Rob Ford from

    Read More »from Rob Ford, Doug Ford to host new show on YouTube
  • Must-See Videos of the Week: November 22

    In this week's video roundup, we hope you get you thinking about the happiness that the holiday season can bring, the wonders of nature, and why we love the pets in our lives. Here are the videos you can't miss this week:

    With Christmas just over a month away and the holiday season close at hand, festive videos have begun to cross our screens this week. This little guy asked Santa for a very unique gift last year — a red bar of soap — and unfortunately didn't get it when he opened his presents on Christmas Day (the one he received was decidedly pink). So Santa brought him just what he asked for the following week, along with an apology. Watch the video for the boy's priceless reaction.

    [ Last week's Must-See Videos: Rare ball lightning caught on video ]

    A group of teen boys with a passion for making YouTube videos decided to conduct a social experiment in Las Vegas: How would girls react when they tried to pick them up, with the aid of a 2013 Red Ferrari Italia 458. Warning: if the

    Read More »from Must-See Videos of the Week: November 22
  • (Screengrab from The Slaying of Sandy Hook Elementary' game)

    Just weeks before the one year anniversary of the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, a video game creator has released a game reenacting the tragedy.

    Unsurprisingly, the game has drawn anger and a lot of criticism for its subject matter, and many online, including the family of a teacher killed in the incident, are saying that the game is not the way to remember the shooting.

    In ‘The Slaying of Sandy Hook Elementary,’ the player takes on the role of Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old shooter who walked into Sandy Hook Elementary and fatally shot 20 children and six adult staff members. The game opens with a scene asking the player to “shoot your mother,” as Lanza shot his own before heading to Sandy Hook Elementary, where the player navigates the school as Lanza, following on-screen instructions to shoot at students and staff members.

    At the end of the game, the player gets a total number of people killed alongside a list of the statistics reflecting the

    Read More »from ‘Slaying of Sandy Hook Elementary’ game reenacts fatal shootings, stirs fury online

  •  Thanks to the growing use of ‘telemedicine,’ doctors are able to help patients in remote areas by virtually attending to them. Whether it’s because the patient is in an area without doctors, or because they need a specialist located inconveniently far away, technology is increasingly closing the distance between them.

    Dignity Health, a San Francisco-based healthcare provider with hospitals in several states, has begun to use ‘robot doctors’ in order to better serve patients when the correct specialist is not available. About five years ago, The Associated Press reports, these machines were being used to help diagnose stroke victims. Now, the company uses them in about 20 different California hospitals to better connect patients and specialists in neurology, cardiology, neonatology, pediatrics and mental health.

    “Hospitals are now using this kind of technology to leverage the specialists that they have even better and more efficiently,” Yulun Wang, CEO of InTouch Health, told AP (via one

    Read More »from ‘Robot doctors’ help patients get access to care anywhere
  • (Screengrab from what-would-i-say.com)If the tedium of updating your status across all social media is just too much to handle, don’t worry : there’s an app for that.

    At this year’s Hack Princeton hackathon, a group developed “What would I say?”, an app for Facebook that can spit out statuses on your behalf so you don’t have to write them.

    In an effort to try and emulate what you’d say, based on what you’d posted in the past through probability algorithms. Here’s the explanation from the creators:

    “Technically speaking, it trains a Markov Bot based on mixture model of bigram and unigram probabilities derived from your past post history.”

    Markov Bots are programs written with artificial intelligence based on a Markov chain. In simple terms, it is a random process that works within a finite set of variables, creating the illusion of conversation when really it’s just picking from terms you use and short phrases it has been programmed with to seem as if it’s somewhat intelligently responding when you give it information. These

    Read More »from ‘What Would I Say?’ app generates Facebook statuses for you… sort of

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