Cell phones

October 10, 2021

Rogers' BlackBerry backlash illustrates 'Buy Canada' mindset

The telecom company announced it would sell the latest BlackBerry after social media furor to news that Rogers wouldn't sell the BlackBerry Z30.

A week ago, the Rogers said it wouldn't offer BlackBerry's flagship phone, but many Canadians were upset that the company wouldn't support another Canadian company. Many users threatened to cancel services with one of the country's largest carriers.

The company has now said that the Z30 can be bought on its website and national reservation system.

Let's be real. BlackBerry is facing a dire situation. It looks like the company's future in smartphones is over with a possible $1 billion write off in unsold touchscreen phones, along with the possible sale and breakup of the company.

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September 30, 2021

Homeless survive using bitcoins

Bitcoins are becoming an acceptable form of digital currency around the world, so much so that the homeless are turning towards it to survive.

A homeless man in Florida is paid in bitcoins to drive traffic to videos. While Jesse Angle relies on food stamps, the extra money makes sure he has enough for meals every day, according to Wired magazine. It sounds surprising, but Angle has access to a laptop (other homeless friends he knows have access to smartphones), free Wi-fi and it helps that the digital currency keeps him safer from being robbed.

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September 24, 2021

Is this finally the beginning of the end for BlackBerry?

After announcing that it would lay off close to half of its workforce and getting killed by last week’s whopper of an earnings warning, struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry may soon be acquired by a consortium led by its biggest shareholder, Fairfax Financial.

The going-in price? $9 a share -- way way below BlackBerry's price in the years before the iPhone ate its lunch

The company's shares closed below that number, however, suggesting that investors don't see much upside just yet despite trading volume that was close to triple the daily average.

Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa, who has a longstanding reputation as a value investor, plans to take a page out of Dell's book by taking the company private and refocussing it on the business market.

But that's not going to be easy.

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August 16, 2021

Where the in-crowd is networking

Forget meet and greet.

Now it's connect and tweet.

According to a new study, LinkedIn and Twitter are emerging as the top social channels for many business leaders.

The 2013 Social CEO Report found that 5.6 per cent of Fortune 500 CEOs are now on Twitter compared to just 3.6 per cent last year, and 27.9 per cent are connecting on LinkedIn, up from 25.9 per cent in 2012.

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June 13, 2021

Big brother is watching you

Who knew government surveillance programs could encourage people to read more?

Dystopian classics such as George Orwell's 1984, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 have been flying off the shelves since news broke that the United States government has been undertaking secretive surveillance systems targeting phone and internet messages.

As a matter of fact, Orwell's 1984 novel, featuring a totalitarian futuristic society under the watchful eye of Big Brother, is listed as one of's top 200 bestsellers.

We are being watched and followed at every move. Whether, it's us willingly inputting data about ourselves on Facebook, LinkedIn or into the Twitter sphere...our information is out there for everyone to see.

There are surveillance cameras wherever we go. Shopping, offices, workplaces, streetscapes. Then there's Google maps where you can just zoom in on anyone's personal space.

There are even enthusiastic candidates who want to be under the watchful eye of Big Brother, the Canadian TV show, for millions to see their every movement.

And who is out there gathering our data and perhaps using our personal information?

Security is always a concern, especially as we move forward into a cashless society with debit cards, credit cards, swiping and tapping out our information in stores and over the internet.

We're seeing, hearing, and watching world events as they unfold. Not just through news agencies, but now through average citizens with their mobile devices in hand and on the scene at any given moment.

But who is watching the watchers? And what happens when someone does blow the whistle like Edward Snowden, a former U.S. National Security Administration (NSA) contractor?

Remember, Big Brother is watching you.

By Donna Donaldson, MSN Money

What do you think about government surveillance?

April 16, 2021

Text, talk and deposit with your smartphone

You can order pizza, shop and do your banking right from the convenience of your home computer.

But what about depositing cheques into your bank account with your mobile device?

Well, select credit unions across Canada are launching a new mobile app that lets you do just that.

All you have to do, they say, is tap, snap and send.

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April 03, 2021

Phone for a pizza in April

Ever wonder what to do with your old mobile phone?

Or that outdated iPod that you upgraded from years ago?

Or the myriad of chargers tangled up in a drawer that don't seem to fit any of your current gadgets?

If you're hungry for an answer, Pizza Pizza might be the solution.

In delivering on its commitment to the environment, the pizza giant is offering up free pepperoni slices in return for your old phones, iPods and chargers during the month of April.

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March 05, 2022

Sharing isn't always a good thing

Remember when you were little how you were always taught that it's good to share?

Oh sure, it's always polite to share your toys or cookies.

But as we get older we are now finding out that it may not be such a good thing -- especially when it comes to sharing our personal and financial information on the Internet.

A recent study by Visa Canada revealed that many Canadians are in fact "oversharing" their financial information over their computers and cellphones which could put them at a greater risk for fraud.

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December 17, 2021

Will you give the BlackBerry 10 a try?

In this space and every other on the Internet, there has been no whipping boy greater than Research In Motion, whose once-mighty BlackBerry has fallen and fallen and fallen.

307570-blackberry-10-l-seriesBut BlackBerry is back – rather, will be back. Next year the embattled RIM will make what many consider its last stand, its last bid to recapture relevance.

The highly-secretive BlackBerry 10 has been announced, and photos of the device, which famously will not have the keypad BlackBerries are known for, have already hit the web.

Today, Rogers became the first to report it would be taking pre-orders for the new smartphone. Yet will you be buying?

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November 16, 2021

New app rewards theatre goers for not texting during movie

Late in summer, an of-the-times news report came out of L.A., where one restaurant was trying to preserve the traditional dining experience, no matter the cost.

771223_movie_houseThe eatery, a place called Eva less than ten minutes outside Beverly Hills, unveiled a promotion whereby diners were rewarded for checking their cell phones at the door.

Should they comply, patrons would be given a five per cent discount on their bills. At its core, this was a discount for not being rude, tapping or yapping away on a cell phone during dinner.

Even at the time, just a few months ago, it seemed like many businesses ought to follow, offering any kind of incentive possible for the severing of such public, unabashed cell phone use. One business, now, has followed.

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...