• The Canadian copyright reform bill known as Bill C-11 immediately spawned a dichotomy between supporters and opponents when it was initially introduced as Bill C-32 back in June 2010.

    Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore notoriously labelled all who oppose the bill as "radical extremists," taking a strong — and rather hyperbolic — stance in support of the Conservative bill. Meanwhile, Canadians across the country have spoken out against such copyright reform by planning protests, joining anti-Bill C-11 Facebook groups and contacting their local MPs.

    But as we hit the home stretch with this week's "clause-by-clause" review by the Bill C-11 legislative committee, an intriguing role reversal seems to have caught at least one pundit by surprise.

    "Moore's vision of strong support from copyright lobby groups has been replaced by demands to overhaul the legislation with a broad array of extreme measures, while the supposed critics — library groups, educators, consumer associations, and

    Read More »from Bill C-11 review has copyright reform bill hitting the home stretch
  • A group in Scotland has developed an app to help bridge the gap between those who communicate using sign language and those who don't understand it.

    Portable Sign Language Translator (PSLT) is software that can be installed on a device with a built-in camera, like a smartphone or laptop, and translates signs into text displayed on the screen.

    Techcrunch reports that the program is being developed primarily to support British Sign Language (BSL), but it will also translate signs from ASL and Makaton. The ability for users to add their own signs for translation, however, is likely what will set the program apart.

    Dr. Ernesto Compatangelo, founding director of Technabling, says the program was designed to allow for customization, specifically for workplaces or schools with specialized lingo. Phrases that aren't in the standard BSL set of signs can be made more accessible.

    "For example — for a student who is being trained in joinery, there is no sign in BSL which means 'dovetail joint'"

    Read More »from Sign language app translates signs into text on smartphones, computers
  • The South by Southwest Music, Film + Interactive Festival has taken over Austin, Texas with lots of innovative ideas. But not all of those are being welcomed with open arms.

    A major public outcry has begun against Homeless Hotspots, a program that turns homeless people into access points for 4G service at the festival.


    As Wired reports, 13 homeless people in Austin's downtown were given t-shirts by BBH Labs that read "I'M [FIRST NAME], A 4G HOTSPOT. SMS HH [FIRST NAME] TO 25827 FOR ACCESS. www.homelesshotspots.org." As visitors to the interactive part of SXSW meet these Homeless Hotspots managers, they can access the hotspot by donating to the individual's PayPal account, accessible through the Homeless Hotspots website or via text. The website recommends a donation of $2 for every 15 minutes of access, but the program is purely "pay-what-you-want."

    Each of the participants, found through the Front Steps Shelter in Austin, is carrying a MiFi device which creates a mobile hotspot.

    BBH

    Read More »from ‘Homeless Hotspots’ at SXSW stir controversy
  • The gaming industry seems to be rife with intriguing rumours, with the latest suggesting Microsoft's next generation Xbox console will ditch the traditional disc drive.

    A report from MCV, a British gaming magazine, broke the news on Friday, citing an unnamed source who describes the findings as "the strictest NDA (non-disclosure agreement)" they have ever come across.

    "Apparently, Microsoft is sharing this information with its partners under NDA," reveals Matthew Humphries on Geek.com. "By partners we assume they mean the major publishers and any hardware companies with close ties who provide parts or peripherals for the machine."

    If such a rumour were true, the lack of a disc drive would make way for online downloads, as well as a "swappable solid state card port of some kind," according to BGR's Zach Epstein.

    "The Xbox 360 already supports digital content distribution models and it is expected that Microsoft will continue to increase its focus on non-physical media," adds Epstein.

    Read More »from Rumour: New Xbox 720 will ditch the disc drive
  • Those caught up in the hype surrounding the iPad launch event might not be aware Apple chief Tim Cook took a jab at an Android-powered Galaxy tablet by showing how software looks like "blown-up smartphone apps."

    One thing is for certain: Samsung noticed. And the Korean tech giants have retaliated.

    Samsung's U.S. PR team has emailed a comparison chart to a few journalists, examining some of the key features between its upcoming stylus-supported Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 -- which may or may not come to Canada -- and the newly unveiled Apple iPad, out March 16.

    Here's the "content creation comparison grid" if you'd like to see what the claims are. You can click it to make it larger, if desired:

    Some of the comments made by Samsung: the Galaxy Note 10.1 lets you view two apps at the same time (if the apps are optimized for simultaneous viewing), the tablet lets you write as you would with pencil and paper (with the pressure-sensitive S-Pen) and you can take notes in one app while viewing

    Read More »from Samsung on new iPad: Galaxy Note is a better tablet
  • In case you've been living under a dusty 'ol desktop, you no doubt know Apple officially took the wraps off its third-generation touchscreen tablet on Wednesday.

    Yours truly was on hand at the iPad unveiling in San Francisco, and while the expectations were ludicrously high due to the flurry of rumours surrounding the product, the new tablet does deliver the goods in five main areas.

    It's not a perfect 10, mind you, but pretty darn close and certainly a step forward in the evolution of the iPad, and tablets as a whole.

    The following is a look at a half-dozen key strengths of the new iPad (from $519) — and yes, it's simply referred to as "iPad" and not 'iPad 3" or "iPad HD," as previously believed.

    1. Screen dream. After getting some hands-on time with the iPad after the event, one thing was perfectly clear: the screen. The new iPad features Apple's Retina display technology, packing four times the pixels onto the same 9.7-inch real estate as the first- and second-generation iPad. The

    Read More »from Review: Six things you’ll love about the new iPad
  • The keystroke monitoring system known as Carrier IQ was found in Android devices just before the new year, shortly followed by the discovery that the same system was active in Apple's iPhone, too.

    Three short months later and the privacy issues continue to crop up, this time with the discovery that apps can access your smartphone's photos was initially tied to the iPhone. Except it isn't just the iPhone.

    "Apple came under scrutiny [last] week after reports about a loophole in iOS that could enable rogue apps to access a user's entire photo library and copying the data to a remote server without any notice," reports Jose Vilches from Techspot. "Well, it turns out iOS is not alone — at least on one of these cases."

    An investigation, conducted by the New York Times, found that "Android apps do not need permission to get a user's photos, and as long as an app has the right to go to the Internet, it can copy those photos to a remote server without asking," according to Vilches.

    In order

    Read More »from Android apps join the iPhone in accessing your smartphone’s photos
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the new iPad during an Apple event in San Francisco.

    In a highly-anticipated event, Apple has announced the new iPad, its latest tablet device. And in a little over a week, Canadians can get their hands on one of their own.

    On March 16, the new iPad will be released in Canada, with capabilities to connect to the 4G LTE networks on Rogers, Bell and Telus.

    At 9.4 mm and 1.4 lbs, it is slightly heavier and thicker than the current generation of iPad (at least the Wi-Fi model), although it certainly looks thinner. It still boasts the same battery life at 10 hours (9 hours on 4G).

    The two key things that the new iPad showcases are its graphics and its connectivity speed. Its new Retina Display is high-definition at 1080p, with a resolution of up to 2048 by 1536 pixels, making the resolution a whopping 3.1 million pixels. That’s 264 pixels per inch of screen. The display also has 44% better colour saturation than the previous iPad, and boasts quad-core graphics thanks to its A5X processor.

    To capitalize on the improved display, Apple

    Read More »from New iPad unveiled at Apple event
  • The third and final chapter of the massively popular Mass Effect series hit the shelves today, but gamers expecting another mission to far-away planets across the galaxy are in for a surprise.

    In closing out the sci-fi trilogy, developers at the Edmonton-based studio BioWare chose to switch things up by keeping the setting grounded on Planet Earth. And better yet, in a great exhibit of national pride, they chose to set their focus on a futuristic Vancouver. But according to Derek Watts, art director at BioWare and native Edmontonian, the Canadian locale was almost overlooked.

    "We thought about Hong Kong and Rio, which are surrounded by natural beauty," said Watts in the Globe and Mail. "But then we thought: We're a Canadian company, so we should make it a Canadian city. Vancouver had just finished the Olympics, so we set it in Vancouver."

    In Mass Effect 3, the city of Vancouver — circa 200 years from now — is suffering invasion from the monstrous aliens known as "Reapers." The scene

    Read More »from Mass Effect 3 to feature a ‘futuristic’ Vancouver
  • The gaming industry has been rocked by a rumour that has surely grabbed the attention of the brass at Sony and Microsoft.

    Multiple sources including TechSpot, PC Gamer and Geek.com are reporting that Valve, creator of the Steam community gaming platform, is working on a PC gaming console called the "Steam Box."

    "The rumor, reported by The Verge last Friday, puts Valve in an interesting position to shape the next generation of console gaming," shares David Daw in a PC World story. "The hardware's presumed heavy integration with Steam would create a console store that Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Store would have a lot of trouble keeping up with."

    Rumours around the Steam Box began to swirl shortly after Valve co-founder, Gabe Newell, shared his thoughts in a recent interview with The Penny Arcade Report.

    Newell was quoted as saying, "if we have to sell hardware we will," which immediately galvanized interest in the company's plans for the future. A subsequent report from The

    Read More »from Valve working on ‘Steam Box’ PC gaming console: report

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