June 2008 Archives

Cartography for the masses

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

On Tuesday, Google unveiled Map Maker, a tool to allow users to contribute and edit map data for regions around the world. The tool will allow users to add, edit and moderate features like roads, lakes, parks, points of interest, businesses, cities and localities.

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A new world for wireless telecom?

by Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

It's too bad the government's wireless spectrum auction hasn't ended yet because two key players took to the stage at the Canadian Telecom Summit today: Robert Depatie and Pierre Blouin, respective chief executive officers of Videotron and MTS Allstream.

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Copyright reform: The 1,000-pound gorilla at the Telecom Summit

by Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

There's a 1,000-pound (or for the metric-minded, a 453-kilogram) gorilla in the room at this year's Canadian Telecom Summit that nobody is talking about: copyright reform. Nadir Mohamed, chief operating officer of Canada's largest wireless provider, waxed on in his keynote about how data usage on cellphones is due to explode. Speakers from network manufactuers Ericsson and Alcatel Lucent talked about the growth of video over both wired and wireless networks. Two panels – "Consumers in a Multi-Screen World" and "Entertainment & Content Over Broadband" – discussed how media is spreading to every device.

But just about no one – with the exception of the CBC's executive director of digital programming and business development Steve Billinger (I mention this despite the risk of being accused of naval-gazing) – mentioned how the government's proposed copyright reform is going to play in.

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CDMA going way of the dodo?

by Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

Ericsson Canada president Mark Henderson dropped some interesting stats during his keynote address at the Canadian Telecom Summit today. Henderson said Code Division Multiple Access cellphone technology – the likes of which is used by Bell Canada and Telus in Canada – is on the verge of extinction.

Currently, about 80 per cent of cellphone companies in the world, including Rogers in Canada, use the rival Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) technology. Henderson said that GSM, and the Long-Term Evolution standard that is slowly succeeding it, will expand to 96 per cent of carriers by 2012 as CDMA carriers convert, and as new networks crop up.

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Copyright bill details released

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

The federal government finally introduced its copyright reform amendments in the House of Commons Thursday, and while the bill isn't yet online, the government released a series of fact sheets outlining what the new changes will be. We're working hard to digest what it all means and will be updating our story in the CBCnews.ca Technology section as the day progresses and gauging reaction.

Update: The bill is here. Also, University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist, a frequent critic of the government's efforts at copyright reform, has posted his reaction. Be warned, though - in a measure of the level of interest in this issue - Geist's blog is slow because of heavy traffic.

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More Metallica mischief

By Peter Nowak, CBCnews.ca

Oh, Metallica. Why must you insist on making it so hard to like you?

Everybody's favourite Napster-fighting metal band is at it again, this time objecting to bloggers who have been reviewing some tracks from their new album.

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No video on iPhone speech?

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

Apple CEO Steve jobs will be taking the floor any minute now at the Apple World Wide Developers' Conference in San Francisco, and maybe it's just us but it seems curious that there is no live video of this event. For people wondering what the influential Jobs will say and introduce, they will have to rely on the dozens of bloggers who will be blogging and twittering his every word to like-minded readers.

Which is good for the bloggers, but also kind of weird that news of a device designed to stream the internet and watch video with greater ease wouldn't be available as anything other than a text feed.

It makes us wonder how much Apple could get if they offered the speech for download on iTunes? Would Apple fanatics make it a best-seller that day or would it be dismissed as a cash grab?

Perhaps the danger of streaming the video live has to do with the current 2G iPhone: not only would it be potentially slow to watch, but the owners of said devices might also be overcome by the feeling that, once again, they were paying the price of being early adopters.

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Printer wanted for illegal downloading

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

The media industry trade group practice of sending cease-and-desist letters over alleged copyright infringements to users on peer-to-peer file sharing networks are flawed and can lead to false positives, according to U.S. researchers.

Researchers at the University of Washington looked at the practice of sending "takedown notices" to internet service providers and universities when their users are spied on file-sharing networks.

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Garfield exits, gets funnier

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

Perhaps the funniest thing we've seen in a while is Dan Walsh's "Garfield minus Garfield", the comic strip which exposes the loneliness and depression of Jon Arbuckle, the fictional bachelor and owner of the overgrown cat, simply by removing the eponymous pet from the frames.

The result doesn't always work, but when it does, it's sad and hilarious, providing a chance, as Walsh writes on the site, to "laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness in a quiet American suburb."

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