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.

WhyFireFoxIsBlocked is wrong! Adblock Plus is 100% Detectable!

whyfirefoxisblocked.com does not know what they’re talking about. Ad Block Plus is 100% lame and 100% detectable.

The following code detects ad block plus:

index.html:
<script language="javascript"> var disabled = false; </script>
<script src="something.js?thisistotrickyou=http://a.as-us.falkag.net/...
dat/njf/41/domain.com/ros_pop_tag.js"></script>
<script language="javascript">
if(!disabled){
// DO SOMETHING HERE, like a redirect
alert("You Are Using Ad Block Plus or some other blocking software! Please don\'t, our site operates on ad revenue."); }
</script>

something.js:
disabled = true;

Proof of concept

Google + Double Click = Kittens?

Google announce their acquisition of doubleclick over 3 months ago. I having been wondering how long it would take for Google to actually start doing something with it.

This morning I logged in to my DFP (that’s “DART For Publishers”, or “DoubleClick Advertising, Reporting and Targetting For Publishers” – what a wonky acronym) account to put up some ads for work. I noticed two new things that I assume are are a sign that Google has started to take over DoubleClick’s tool development: 1) A new more friendly logo 2) a new menu item called “dfp dashboard beta.”

I love betas! So I open the dashboard. It looks fairly AJAX-ey, web 2.0-ish, vaguely reminiscent of the Google Analytics dashboard. The DFP dashboard (DFPD??) had a limited number of options, the only one that really seemed promising was the “widget catalogue.” The widget catalogue contains about half a dozen widgets related to the DFP product and two rather intriguing widgets. A sudoku widget – seems a little strange to have a game in a productivity tool. And something called “kitty” – a widget that displays pictures of cute cats.

Take a look at Kitty In Action[PIC].

Yup, that’s right folks, I knew this merger couldn’t be all evil. Apparently Google + DoubleClick = Kitty.

Only, I thought Google was a dog only employer.