• After months of review, it looks like the Harper government's copyright reform bill will likely become law before Parliament's summer recess.

    Bill C-11 passed a final vote at third reading on Monday night, bringing Canadians one step closer to SOPA-like regulation of their media consumption. According to the CBC, the bill was immediately introduced to the Senate after passing the vote, and will likely be sped through the Senate review process, meaning it stands a good chance of becoming law in the coming month.

    Regular readers of The Right Click are likely quite familiar with what the copyright bill will mean to Canadians: Bill C-11 would allow rights holders to include 'digital locks' on their content, which includes music, video, e-books and software. Users can make copies for personal backups, but all other duplication could result in fines for doing so.

    The movie, music and software industries were quick to thank the Harper government for how quickly they have moved on the bill,

    Read More »from Bill C-11 passes Commons, allowing for U.S.-style copyright law
  • Microsoft's new tablet Surface is introduced during a press conference in Hollywood, California. (AFP Photo/Joe Klamar)You have to tip your hat to Steve Ballmer and the brass at Microsoft.

    The hype and anticipation that swirled around yesterday's surprise product announcement was reminiscent of an Apple product announcement by the company's late co-founder. Former CEO Steve Jobs was a veritable master at using secrecy to create speculation, and in the tech world, speculation drives the hype machine.

    When Microsoft's Chief Executive Steve Ballmer took the stage to introduce the Surface, Microsoft's in-house built tablet computer that aims to rival the iPad, the world finally learned what all the hype was about. The Surface is a beautiful tablet that's powerful enough to effectively replace your PC; a re-imagining of the tablet that includes a built-in stand and an ultra-thin touch keyboard.

    But just as one might analyze the hype surrounding that summer blockbuster everyone is sure to see, tech pundits are left wondering if the Surface will be worth the noise generated by its introduction. How the

    Read More »from Microsoft’s Surface tablet has a lot of hype to live up to
  • After recently adding an iPad app to their slew of downloads, the music streaming service known as Songza has quietly racked up more than 1.15 million iOS downloads in the last ten days.

    "Songza hasn't shared numbers from before the release of the iPad app, but founder Elias Roman did say that before this week, the web was their most trafficked platform," writes Jordan Crook in a TechCrunch blog. "But that's all changed with the release of the iPad app, which is only good news as Roman sees Songza as a mobile-first product."

    Songza is a free streaming service that features expert-made playlists from musical pundits including DJs and Rolling Stone writers. The Concierge feature is pretty neat as well: the app accumulates bits of information to recommend playlists for activities that commonly take place at that day and time.

    "So, on a Friday late at night, Songza will give options for a sweaty dance party or getting high, with filters for each like Pop and Hip Hop. Users can then

    Read More »from ‘Songza’ music streaming app hits 1 million iOS downloads in 10 days
  • What do the majority of web developers and an Australian-based online retailer have in common?

    They hate Internet Explorer.

    In fact, a company by the name of Kogan hates IE so much, it's imposed a sales tax on any of its clients who use the beleaguered browser.

    "Anyone who visits the website using IE 7 will be charged an additional 6.8% tax (IE tax) on purchases," explains Newslaunches.com. "Interestingly that figure is derived as 0.1% for each month since the browser was released."

    [ Related: Microsoft celebrates the death of IE6 with a cake ]

    Visitors using the dated browser are greeted with the discernible greeting that is pictured above. In order to avoid the tax, Kogan encourages potential customers to switch to a "better browser," such as Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera or Safari.

    (BGR photo)

    Read More »from Online retailer imposes tax on Internet Explorer 7 users
  • iPhone (AFP Photo/Karen Bleier)He may be blind since the age of 17, but Simon Wheatcroft will carry the Olympic flame at the 2012 Summer Games, with a little help from his iPhone.

    "If you had asked me three years ago if training alone was possible while being blind I would have said no," Wheatcroft shared with Fox News. "Now I do it and ... I realize perhaps a lot of things are possible."

    The RunKeeper app uses GPS to track certain aspects of your run, including distance, pace, duration, calories burned and the path travelled. With your headphones on, the app will read out your current stats as you run, acting as a virtual coach that warns if you have pushed ahead or fallen behind pace.

    And though the app wasn't developed specifically for the blind, developer Jason Jacobs is thrilled that Wheatcroft is able to find it useful.

    "We had no idea when we built the app that it could be used by a blind person," shares Jacobs. "He's truly an inspiration — we're huge fans of him and what he has been able to accomplish."


    Read More »from Blind Olympic torch bearer to run using iPhone app
  • A robotically controlled sailboat from the U.S. Naval Academy sails past ducks on English Bay in Vancouver. REUTERS/Andy Clark Engineering students from the University of British Columbia are putting their skills to work on the high seas at the annual SailBot competition this week.

    Teams from Canada, the U.S. and Europe are vying for the title of International Robotic Sailing Champion in the sixth annual event, held in B.C. at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. The event was started by UBC grad Erik Berzins in 2004, Metro News reports, and now pits worldwide teams against each other on the open waters.

    [ More photos: Robotic sailing competition ]

    The technology that the ships use has come a long way since that first year, Berzins says. That first year, Berzins and his team had a few schools come out to Vancouver mostly to showcase the boat they'd made. Now, the boats can navigate themselves.

    "These boats are fully autonomous now, which is pretty amazing," Berzins said to Metro News.

    By using wind sensors and GPS tracking, the boats can steer their ways through the waters at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club with

    Read More »from UBC SailBot competition tests student inventiveness on the high seas
  • It's that time of the year, when you want to show your 'ol man how much you appreciate him. But rather than buying a tie (yawn), cologne (he won't use) or golf balls (he'll lose), consider a high-tech gift this year.

    Hey, it's 2012 after all, so don't you think he'd prefer a cool gadget over knee-high socks?

    The following are a few assorted ideas, covering a wide range of products and prices.

    A is for Android

    Out this week for only $30 on a 2-year Fido plan, Sony Mobile's Xperia U is a smart smartphone powered by the Android 2.3 ("Gingerbread") platform, including access to the Google Play store for hundreds of thousands of downloadable apps. Unique to this phone is a "transparent element" near the bottom of the device that changes colour to match your album artwork or photo gallery. Along with access to Music Unlimited (15 million songs) and Video Unlimited (TV shows and movies), the Xperia U can also beam media to a nearby DLNA-compatible television.

    Read between the lines


    Read More »from Hot high-tech Father’s Day tech gifts
  • Depending on who you talk to, downloading music online is either an unscrupulous crime or a free alternative to iTunes. Today's major record labels believe in the former, and they've spent the better part of the last decade trying to protect their property.

    But their latest measure to thwart copyright infringement is nearly the digital equivalent of a schoolmate ratting you out for skipping class.

    As Casey Chan of Gizmodo reports, record labels are using a student task force to seek out fellow students who illegally pirate music.

    "EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner are funneling money to an anti-piracy group called proMedia whose sole purpose is to hunt down copyright infringements," reveals Chan. "The company, according to one anonymous employee who works there, employs around 35 students who crawl and comb through forums, blogs and file hosting sites to find people who pirate music."

    [ Related: Bill C-11 could bring SOPA-like online piracy laws to Canada ]

    The inside man, who

    Read More »from Record labels hire students to hunt down peers who pirate music
  • Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller announces the new MacBook Pro.At this year's WWDC, Apple's annual developer's conference in Califorina, Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller announced the next generation of Mac laptops, the new MacBook Pro.

    The new notebook is the highest-end computer in the MacBook lineup, blending features of both the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air. Weighing less than 4.5 lbs and only 0.71" thick, Apple has sought to fit the latest evolutions in their notebook technology into a pint-sized package.

    At first look, The Verge reported in their live chat that the computer looked like an iPad laptop, slimming down the form factor to make it the lightest MacBook Pro yet.

    [ Related: Apple courts developers vital to its popularity ]

    Arguably the biggest selling point of the new MacBook Pro is the graphics capabilities. The screen, which has been made thinner by removing the additional cover glass of previous models, now includes a retina display. The latest iPhones and iPads already include this

    Read More »from Apple announces next generation MacBook Pro at Worldwide Developer’s Conference
  • Skylanders Giants

    If you've been following Yahoo!'s The Right Click coverage of the recent E3 — the Electronic Entertainment Expo — you'll notice most of the video games profiled from the show are more adult-oriented in nature.

    That is, "Mature"-rated games stole many of the headlines from E3, such as Call of Duty: Black Ops II, The Last of Us, Assassin's Creed III, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Halo 4, God of War: Ascension and Watch Dogs. After all, the average age of a video game player today is 36 years of age, says the Entertainment Software Association.

    But while in L.A. for E3 I also wanted to give props to some of the kids games on display at the world's largest video game expo. Below, you'll see I chat about Activision's Skylanders Giants, Sony's PlayStation All-Star Battle Royale and WonderBook: Book of Spells, an augmented reality-infused book and game combo, written by Harry Potter's J.K. Rowling, that takes advantage of the PlayStation Move controller and PlayStation Eye camera.


    Read More »from Video recap: Kids games at E3, plus Father’s Day gadget gifts


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