Canadian Tech News, August 25th

This week – in my ongoing attempt to keep myself up to date on Canadian tech news – I came across two great sources:

  • Techvibes.com – they claim to be a “hyper local technology blog.” I don’t really know what that means, but they certainly have a great deal of Canadian Content.
  • @CDNTechNews on Twitter –  Ex-pat living in The UK put together a twitter account republishing a bunch of his favorite Canadian RSS feeds.

Onto the news:

Google Launches “Call Phones from Gmail” in Canada
Today Google released a calling service allowing you to make free phone calls within North America via gChat. The big news here is that they released this for Canada and the USA at the same time! The even bigger news: google.com/voice is now accessible within Canada! I’m hoping this is an indication that full-fledged Google Voice will be available soon, with inbound numbers and the whole spiel. At the moment it’s limited to a call history for numbers dialed through gmail. Note: your language needs to be set to “English (US).”

Federal Computers Caught Vandalizing Wikipedia
In two separate cases Federal government computers have been implicated in some pretty nasty Wikipedia vandalization. In the first case an employee at the Federal Corrections services HQ re-titled the Official Languages Act, changing it to “Quebec’s Nazi Act.” In another incident, someone at Air Force HQ in Winnipeg removed quotes  critical of the Joint Strike Fighter and accused a politician of using the word “awesome.” This genius tried to edit the article 9 times during work hours. Clearly the internet is serious business and these people should all be sent to jail.

Saskatchewan Man Charged with “crashing an internet chatroom”
In a story that sounds like it was pulled from the archives circa 1998, a northern Saskatchewan man is being charged with “mischief, illegal use of a computer and possession of a device to commit a computer offence” in an apparent DDOS on “the chatroom of a commercial website in New York.” I’m really curious about what constitutes a “device to commit a computer offense.”

Canadian Online Ad Revenue Growing
In optimistic news for Publisher, online advertising is expected to each $2Billion dollars in 2010 only two years after hitting the $1Billion mark.

Telus Wants CRTC to Keep Eye on Shaw
As you may be aware Calagary-based Shaw recently purchased Winnipeg-based Canwest’s broadcasting assets.  In other words a large ISP (and backbone provider) now owns a bunch of TV stations. Telus is worried. You should be worried too. It’s a little early to tell, but there is a really possibility this could turn into a net neutrality issue. I’m sure the CRTC is wetting the rubber stamps as we speak.

City of Ottawa Launching App Competition
If you’re an Ontario resident, the city of Ottawa is looking for your “cool apps that make life easier for Ottawa residents.” They’re offering a total of $50,000 in prizes, with a top prize of $5,000. I’m a big fan of open-government initiatives, hopefully this is a trend we continue to see fan out across the country.

Canadian Tech News Round-Up

I listen to a fair few tech podcasts every week, I often find myself quite frustrated by the US-centric nature of the stories they cover. While most of the major tech stories have global implications, just as many – if not more – are about US companies and issues. In an attempt to keep myself up to date on  clearly Canadian tech stories I’ve decided to seek out 5 or so important tech stories from North of the 49th every week.

Ontario Parents Try To Ban Wi-fi in School: Parents group blames wi-fi for headache and nausea reported by their children. Health Canada rejects their claims, citing science. Teacher’s federation rejects proposal. Chalk one up for science.

iPhone Competition, Galaxy S Comes to Canada: To my knowledge this is the only phone in available on a Canadian carrier capable of running Android 2.2. Bell launched the Vibrant August 6th. Rogers, SaskTel and (possibly) Virgin are following suit…soon.

CRTC Requires ISP’s Financial Data: I’m totally sure exactly what this is about, it almost sounds like the CRTC is trying to get a handle on just how much profit the telecommunication industry is making. In any case, the industry seems ticked and I can get behind legislation that’s going to make those money-grubbing grubber’s lives harder.

Digital Lock Rules “Fundamentally Flawed”: Canadian Library Association is sticking it to the man, well, as much as they can without raising their voice.

Police “Body Cameras” Becoming Common-Place: cameras worn by police officers directly on their person (on an ear clips or helmet) are making there way into forces across the country. Good move, imho.