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.

Continue reading »

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.

Continue reading »

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.

Continue reading »

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.

Continue reading »

June 20, 2021

Obesity on the menu for children

Fast food giants are wowing kids with their enticing marketing tactics including  talking dogs, kooky clowns, and colourful cartoon and crowned characters.

And don't forget, each kids' meal comes with the latest and greatest toy.

The list goes on. And so does the obesity.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), childhood obesity is not improving.

The organization points the finger at advertising as the main culprit specifically targeting children via television, social media and smart phones.

Continue reading »

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?

January 29, 2022

Bears continue to line up behind BlackBerry's release

Talk about a long wait. After numerous delays, Research In Motion is finally set to show the world its next-generation BlackBerry 10 operating system and its first new BlackBerry in almost two years.

A hit would inject new life into RIM, while a tepid response could sound the death knell for a Canadian icon that's been shunted aside by the likes of Apple and Samsung. 

Investors have been betting on the former, evidenced by the fact that the company's stock price has more than doubled since last fall, though it's still nearly 90% below its 2008 peak of $147.

Scotiabank's Gus Papageorgiou thinks it can go higher, providing about a third of current subscribers upgrade and the company can get 4 million new users overseas, especially in countries where the BlackBerry has remained popular.

Ovum analyst Jan Dawson doesn't see that happening, however.

Continue reading »

November 13, 2021

Men and women differ when it comes to holiday spending: report

While shoppers may decide to opening their wallets a little wider this holiday season, they’re still interested in getting a bargain.

But just what constitutes a deal seems to differ sharply when it comes to gender. The research found that men and women have varying wish list priorities, although gift cards and money top both lists.

According to Discover, Mars and Venus shoppers are ...

* setting a limit, and checking it twice: 53% of women have set a budget for the holiday season and plan to spend $885 dollars, on average. Men expect to spend about two thirds of that.

* spending more on their children: Twice as many women, 56% compared to 28%, will spend the most on their children.

Continue reading »

August 16, 2021

Do prepaid smartphone plans make any sense?

The number of smart-phone users electing to skip those locked-in contracts and instead go with a prepaid plan is on the rise, according to data from the research firm NPD Group.

In the United States at least, sales of subsidized handsets combined with a locked-in contract from big providers like Verizon have been fairly flat.

That makes prepaid phone plans a better deal for many people, who may be able to save hundreds of dollars rather than sign up for a mid-term contract plan, according to the New York Times.

The biggest drawback of going prepaid will be that you'll probably end up paying substantially more for your phone than if you had obtained it with a three-year contract. Overall though, you may still be better off. 

Instead of 'Let's look for the free phone' (which is never free) that means switching to 'Let's think about the total cost of ownership.'

Continue reading »

March 03, 2022

12 frugal apps that can save you money

From where I sit, the words frugal and smartphone don’t really fit in the same sentence.

As anyone who has bought one can tell you, the cost of a smartphone is more than just the initial price of the device. You also have hefty monthly payments to deal with, for voice minutes, text messages, and of course, lots and lots of data.  

So, the frugal choice is probably to simply do without. But, once you’ve got one, you might as well as use it the hilt.

And that means tapping into a few of the zillion apps available – many of which are designed to help thrifty consumers save money, says blogger Laurel Gray on Jason White’s Frugaldad blog, which chronicles his attempts to reduce debt and get more bang for his dollars.

Continue reading »


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...