Canadian anti-spam legislation (CASL)

Posted by admin on Jan 30, 2013

From the Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Canadian anti-spam legislation and the corresponding regulations have taken a “ban-all” approach to regulating commercial electronic messages (CEMs). All emails, SMS texts, social media sent in a commercial context are captured. The legislation will obligate the sender to obtain consent from the receiver prior to sending a CEM. That consent may not be obtained by sending a CEM. The definitions for consent are quite specific and are more demanding than existing privacy legislation. The legislation also requires an opt-out mechanism in all CEMs which must be backstopped with a database with the details of all business/personal relationships and removals of consent.

The administrative penalties for non-compliance are excessive. The rules would also provide powers for private parties to sue under the legislation.

The broad scope of CASL means that it will impact every single business, association, club, charitable organization and foundation that conducts activities in Canada. Without significant modifications and exceptions, this legislation will impede commercial speech, an essential ingredient of market competitiveness and lead to reduced competition and higher prices.

This legislation will also impose massive compliance costs on businesses that may be ill-equipped to undertake them and will result in economic hardship for both business and not-for-profit organizations. The result will be a corresponding negative impact on local economies.

In its current form, these regulations will impede innovation and competitiveness by needlessly channelling resources away from new ventures and opportunities and by slowing the regular updating of computer software and systems. Ultimately, this legislation and the regulations in their current form will not solve the problem of nuisance/fraudulent messages or of nuisance/malicious software, which are generally initiated outside the jurisdictional reach of the CRTC, the agency tasked with enforcement of the CASL.

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How Hackable Are You?

Posted by admin on Jan 29, 2013

Taken from PCWorld Magazine, November 2012

If you use email, upload photos, frequent social networks, and shop on the Web, your online profile is likely already out there.  Even if you don’t go online much, bits of your personal data may be available for viewing via digitized public records: Someone could readily find out if you have a mortgage, for example, of if you’ve recently gotten married or divorced.  Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself.

1) Search for yourself and discover what information is out there.  Just type your name into a search engine and see what comes up. Look at the results the way a hacker would… is there enough data to piece together your life?

2) Use passphrases instead of passwords.  The best passwords are randomly generated, but these can be hard to remember.  However, as most passwords are hacked using brute force – in which hackers use a computer to run through all possible combinations, all passwords can be cracked.  The longer the password, the harder it is to crck.

3) Keep your software and antivirus programs up to date.

4) Create unique passwords only for accounts that contain sensitive information – say, email, banking, and social network sites.

5) Be careful about what information you give away to noncritical websites.  If you can’t get past a screen because the website wants you to give up too much information, just make it up!

6) Protect yourself offine by locking your mailbox, shred important documents, and never carry your social insurance card.

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Ten Ways to Get the Most From your Wi-Fi-Only Tablet

Posted by admin on Jan 25, 2013

Taken from PCWorld Magazine, November 2012

Chances are, if you have a tablet, it is Wi-Fi only.  That means, it does not have its own cellular based 3G for 4G internet connection.  Check out these ten tips for Wi-Fi-only tablets.

1) Tether your tablet to your cell phone and share one data plan.

2) Get a mobile hotspot, which is a dedicated cellular-based modem and router, built into a small little package.  Hotspots are often faster than a tethered connection, but requires an additional data plan.

3) Pre-load magazines and books using your wireless internet connection before you head out.

4) Use offline mapping apps such as Google Maps’ offline-viewing option.  You just need to look up the route when you are connected to a wi-fi connection first, and then choose “offline viewing”, and you will still get the turn-by-turn directions.

5) Make sure you download any emails, documents and web pages using your wi-fi connection before you head out the door.

6) Load up on games and activities the same way so that you will have lots to do when you are away from an internet connection.

7) You can also use your wi-fi connection to make phone calles using Skype, Google Voice or MagicJack.


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Microsoft Surface Pro

Posted by admin on Jan 22, 2013

Taken from MarketNews

Microsoft announced that it would be releasing the Surface Pro hybrid tablet PC to the U.S. market in January at a starting price of $899 for the 64GB model. The price was expected to be considerably higher than the current Surface RT that came out in October, but is it too much for it to have a chance of success?

Considering that we’re talking about a full-fledged Windows 8 PC that shouldn’t have any major limitations for the user, maybe it’s not such a bad deal. On the other hand, once you go to 128GB and add the touch keyboard cover, you’re looking at a price tag in excess of $1,200. Some will say that a MacBook Air costs about the same and has similar specs, which is indeed true.

The Surface Pro is also a tablet, first and foremost, and adding the Touch Cover essentially turns it into a functioning PC. With access to Microsoft Office and an array of other Windows apps, isn’t this the best of both worlds? You have what appears to be an ideal combination of creation and consumption, particularly since the Surface Pro would ostensibly be able to run apps from both the Windows Marketplace and those downloaded from a Web browser.

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BlackBerry Starts Fresh with BB10

Posted by admin on Jan 18, 2013

Taken from MarketNews

Soon we get to see the latest BlackBerry platform, BB10, which RIM is quick to clarify is a completely new operating system versus an upgrade. On January 30, Research in Motion (RIM) will reveal the first two devices to operate on BlackBerry 10. Currently known only as Dev Alpha B, the touch-only developer prototype device we saw today (there will also be a QWERTY and touch model) was thin and sleek with a large screen (roughly about 4.75″). But the main focus is on BB10, which promises to revitalize the BlackBerry platform in the wake of falling market share, increased pressure from the market leaders, Android and iPhone, and now new competition from Windows 8 and its slew of manufacturer partners.

It’s not so much what sets BB10 apart from the others as it is how the new OS finally brings RIM back into the fold. There are intuitive menu icons, with everything controlled via swiping motions. Integrated calendars, hubs, and application switching that combine information from various social networking sites, make it easy to see details of each attendee at a meeting and related e-mails, and allow for separating business and personal application, e-mails, and content into two unique views. And there’s quick and seamless operation via a new HTML5 browser that RIM says boasts markedly faster load times than other platforms (though this would also be impacted by the user’s wireless connection and location, among other factors.)

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5 Reasons to Upgrade Your Wireless Router

Posted by admin on Jan 15, 2013

Chances are, years ago, you set up a wireless network in your home for a single task, such as enabling a laptop to access the Internet without having to use a cable. But over the years, numerous other devices have entered the scene that can use your home’s Wi-Fi network — HDTVs for streaming movies and accessing the Internet, printers, smart phones, tablets, video game systems, eBook readers, media players and more.

Can your network handle this increased demand?

If it’s been a few years since you installed a wireless router, the answer is probably no. The latest routers feature 802.11n technology (compared to the older 802.11g/b), which offers faster speeds — especially ideal for streaming video and playing multiplayer games. Some models also have multiple antennae, sometimes referred to as dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz speeds), to better handle a number of wireless devices at the same time. These new 802.11n routers also offer a broader range, easier setup and better security. Speaking of security, remember to password-protect your wireless network so your neighbours can’t piggyback on your Wi-Fi for free.

The good news is you don’t need to break the bank to pick up a new wireless router, as prices start at $30 for a basic802.11n model capable of streaming up to 150 megabits per second. Routers that can handle up to 300 Mbps speeds start at $50 and routers with speeds up to 450 Mbps typically start at $100.

There are five reasons to consider the upgrade:
1. Faster speeds: Newer routers can handle streaming high-def video, multiplayer games.
2. Broader distance: Access the Internet anywhere in your home or on a porch or backyard deck.
3. Support for more wireless devices: Connect a couple dozen devices without noticing any slowdown.
4. Better security: Newer routers offer more secure ways to safeguard your network and information.
5. Simpler setup: The latest routers are easier to setup, offering interview-like questions for users to click through to get going.