Imagine if the City of Vancouver blanketed the Downtown Eastside with free wireless Internet access? If our city hall ever decides to go down that path, local officials could look to New York City for a model.
The City of New York announced today (December 10) the launch of what it's calling the largest continuous free public Wi-Fi network in the United States. The Harlem Wi-Fi network will cover 95 city blocks, extending from 110th Street to 138th Street and between Frederick Douglass Boulevard and Madison Avenue. That area is home to 80,000 residents, including 13,000 in public housing, and many businesses.
Even though I can't load up my Facebook news feed without seeing a mention of Toronto's embattled-but-defiant, crack-using mayor, Rob Ford wasn't the year's most talked about topic among Canadian users. That "honour" went to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
As well, if you think your fellow sports and music fans at Rogers Arena spend too much time looking at their phones, you're right. Rogers Arena was the number one checked-in location on Facebook in 2013 that wasn't a bus stop or rapid-transit station.
Selfie is the word of 2013 but for the life of me I can't figure out why; obsessing over self-image isn't anything particularly new. As a teenager, I'd grab my film camera and spend obscene amounts of time taking pictures of myself with the self-timer button; that impulse only increased with the advent of webcams and digital cameras.
But why are selfies a big deal now? I've been struggling to understand why this has become such a phenomenon now in 2013. In just four months, the use of the word selfie has increased by 17,000 percent.
Earlier this week, I blogged about an analysis by Samara of MPs' websites. While the Toronto-based organization found some bright spots, including the sites of local MPs Hedy Fry, Libby Davies, and John Weston, it concluded that MPs tend to "perform poorly at offering ways for Canadians to engage with politics or have input on decisions and policy".
The good news is Samara has put together a list of ways that MPs and other elected politicians can improve their sites. These tips are found in the following infographic:
There’s been a threat of snow in Vancouver’s weather forecast for a few days.
This is in contrast to my friend’s iPad—no matter how much she wants it to snow on her iPad, it’s forecast to stay clear and bright through the holidays and beyond.
It’s a WordPress.com thing. You know…the free Internet blogging dew-hickey?
My friend couldn’t really think of much to do with her WordPress blog after a friend created it for her. Then she heard about the festive feature to make it snow on a her blog until January 4th.
Do you snap selfies? If so, you're not alone.
Fifty-three percent of Canadians have taken a selfie, according to surveys conducted by Vision Critical for Virgin Mobile Canada.
Why do selfie-shooting Canadians do what they do?
- Capturing memorable moments (44 percent);
- No one else to take the photo (33 percent);
- Sharing good photos of themselves (31 percent).
The survey results also show that men and women who are familiar with the phenomenon are just as likely to take selfies. However, men are less likely to share those selfies with others.
I can't remember the last time I used a Yahoo service, other than Flickr. I definitely haven't done a Yahoo web search for years.
Nonetheless, someone must still be using Yahoo, as the company has just released its ninth annual Yahoo Canada year in review, looking at the top search trends of 2013.
B.C.'s unexpected election results, Lululemon's see-through pants, and Roberto Luongo made the lists.
Top 10 Searches
1. Miley Cyrus
2. Rob Ford
4. Kim Kardashian
5. Fifty Shades of Grey
6. New iPhone
7. “Blurred Lines” Robin Thicke
8. Kate Middleton
9. Kate Upton
Did you stay out of the malls on Black Friday? Are you doing your best to ignore the online sales of Cyber Monday?
If so, tomorrow (December 3) might be more your speed: Giving Tuesday. That's when charities will try to shift the focus from shopping to donating and volunteering for nonprofits.
One online platform that connects donors with Canadian charities is Vancouver-based Chimp. What's interesting about Chimp is it's a charity itself. You create an account on Chimp, add money to it, and then direct how and where Chimp distributes the cash.
If you look at politicians' websites as much as I do, you know that they are often devoid of up-to-date information and interactive features. Indeed, some politicians only seem to refresh their sites around election time.
Samara, a Toronto-based organization that aims to improve political participation in Canada, visited MPs' sites in August and September in order to see if our elected federal politicians are taking advantage of the web's potential. Unsurprisingly, many are not.
The group used a 14-point checklist to grade the sites. Here's Samara's overall findings:
I receive news releases touting iPhone and Android games all the time. But it's rare to get a release claiming that the game it's promoting fights world hunger. So, naturally, I had to download Feed Etu.
As the story goes, Etu is a creature stuck in a cave and only you can feed him. A glass of water will keep Etu alive for 20 hours, while a bowl of food lasts four hours. If you leave Etu—who doesn't do much other than stare at you with "feed me" eyes—without sustenance for 72 hours, well, the poor guy dies.
The game is free to download and comes with three glasses of water and four bowls of food. Like many games these days, this one gets your money through in-app purchases. Additional "feeding kits" cost 99 cents.