December 2008 Archives

Wikipedia head calls for donations

For months now, Wikipedia has been asking readers of the online encyclopedia for donations. Now founder Jimmy Wales has made a personal pitch.

In an open letter posted on Tuesday, Wales makes a pitch for donations from readers to help keep the encyclopedia "free to use by anyone for any purpose."

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What are these 'gamers' you speak of?

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca.

Christmas is traditionally a slow news time, and here at the CBC we feel it too as we try to report on the stories we think Canadians want to know about in the tech and science fields. Having said all that, consider this story from the Associated Press filed today, entitled 'Big video game fans prove crucial to the industry.'

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Forget the iPhone: 3 technologies that actually mattered in 2008

By Jesse Brown, CBC technology columnist.

Smartphones are sexy and mobile internet combined with GPS could one day have a big impact on the way we talk, create and organize. Throw in iTunes’ App store - or better yet, a fully open-source alternative like Google Android and the implications could indeed be massive. But it hasn’t happened yet. For all of the hooplah, smartphones remain shiny, convenient gadgets - not global gamechangers.

Why? Because not enough people have one yet. Big things only happen once technologies are cheap enough (or free enough) to be everywhere. When your great-aunt has an iPhone, that’s when you know that the world has changed.

With that in mind, here are the three boring old technologies that made things interesting in 2008:

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Are trade shows dying? Hardly

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

Apple's announcement that it is pulling out of Macworld as of next year, and that Steve Jobs won't give a keynote this year, has understandably set the blogosphere abuzz. What are the company's motivations for pulling out? Is Jobs' health the reason? Or does the company simply not want to be beholden to someone else's schedule?

There are plenty of theories circulating but one particularly wrong suggestion is that it's because trade shows are somehow diminishing in importance.

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Home-made robot maid raises questions

by Paul Jay, CBC News.ca

It's hard to know what to make of Aiko, the robot helper dressed as an Anime teenager that has received a truckload of press in the past few days.

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Jesse Brown: Does CanCon have a digital future?

By Jesse Brown, CBC technology columnist.

Canadian radio and television must contain a certain percentage of content made in Canada, by Canadians, and about Canadians. So sayeth the CRTC. But so far, the CRTC has kept its hands off of the Internet.

That may soon change.

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An expert takes on procrastination …

By Dan Westell, CBCNews.ca

We note with muted amazement that University of Calgary prof Piers Steel is publishing a book. Soon, his agent's website asserts.

Steel is a proud procrastinator, so the publication of The Procrastination Equation: The Science of Getting Things Done will be a personal victory.

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A 'prorogue' state of mind

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

What's the hottest word in Canada? That's simple: prorogue (and its variations, prorogued, proroguing, prorogation, proroguemation, some of which may or may not be actual words). The word, which doesn't actually refer to someone who's very good at being bad, has gone from total obscurity to front-page news in the span of only a few days.

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Jesse Brown: Coalition confusion? Here’s your partisan toolkit

By Jesse Brown, CBC technology columnist.

I’ve been asked to report on how Canadians on the web have reacted to the current political turmoil.

Here’s an educated guess: by looking up “prorogue”.

Then maybe some wiki-research on Canada’s Parliamentary system.

After that, everybody chose a side and started creating online petitions, Facebooks groups, Youtube videos and the rest. Here’s a roundup:

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Copyright documentary illuminates the issue

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

With the Conservative government engaged in a power struggle with the Liberals and NDP, the furthest thing from anyone's mind on Parliament Hill these days is copyright reform. The issue, which has clearly been the biggest political hot potato of the year when it comes to technology, isn't likely to get much attention until the government drama is settled, whenever that may happen.

Still, that isn't stopping some of the most vocal opponents to the Conservatives' approach from pressing the battle. University of Ottawa internet law professor Michael Geist, the most outspoken proponent of a need for copyright reform that balances both holders' and consumers' rights, has put together a nifty 47-minute documentary on the subject.

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