In the news … September 10, 2018

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Apple’s Netflix-competitor video service will make more than $4 billion by 2025, Morgan Stanley says

Apple’s video streaming offering will be a multibillion-dollar business for the smartphone maker, according to Morgan Stanley.

The firm reiterated its overweight rating for Apple shares, saying investors are underestimating the strength of its services business


New interactive play at Oak Hammock Marsh lets audience solve decades-old Manitoba murder mystery

It’s a real-life Manitoba cold case that you get to solve.

A new theatre production being performed at Oak Hammock Marsh, about 35 kilometres north of Winnipeg, next weekend pledges to take its audience on an immersive, interactive tour through a true crime tale from the 1930s.



No technology company is arguably more responsible for shaping the modern internet, and modern life, than Google. The company that started as a novel search engine now manages eight products with more than 1 billion users each. Many of those people use Google software to search the repository of human knowledge, communicate, perform work, consume media, and maneuver the endlessly vast internet in 2018. On Tuesday, September 4th, Google turned 20 years old, marking one of the most staggeringly influential runs for any corporation in history.


Twitter launches audio-only broadcasting on iOS

In the news … September 7, 2018

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Amazon follows Apple into US$1-trillion valuation club

NEW YORK — Amazon on Tuesday became the second publicly traded company to be worth US$1 trillion, hot on the heels of iPhone maker Apple.

Launched as an online bookstore in 1995, has changed the way people shop for toilet paper, TVs and just about anything else. In its two decades, the company has expanded far beyond those bookseller beginnings, combining its world-spanning retail operations with less flashy but very profitable advertising and cloud computing businesses. It’s now expanding into the health care industry and increasing its brick-and-mortar presence.

The company’s rise has boosted the fortunes of its founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos: His 16 per cent stake in Amazon is now worth about US$160 billion. Forbes magazine placed him at the top of its 2018 billionaires list for the first time, surpassing Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and billionaire investor Warren Buffett.


When students arrive in Matthew Acheson’s high-school classroom this week, they’ll be allowed to take their phones to their desks, but only once they’ve tucked them inside a specialized pouch that then locks, blocking any access to WiFi and social media apps. Similar to an ink tag to prevent shoplifting, the cases can only be opened at an unlocking device controlled by their teacher. It’s just another attempt at the seemingly impossible: separating teens from their smartphones.

“This has been the one thing that has actually worked,” said Mr. Acheson, who teaches Grade 11 and 12 at St. Mary’s High School in Kitchener, Ont. Over the past few years, Mr. Acheson said he has been struggling with students’ distracting phone use in the classroom.


No NAFTA without cultural exemption and a dispute settlement clause, Trudeau vows

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is insisting that Canada will not sign a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement that doesn’t protect Canada’s cultural sectors — including the news media — or a dispute resolution mechanism.

As it stands, NAFTA includes a cultural exemption clause, which means cultural goods are not treated like other commercial products. But there have been growing concerns about what protections a new deal would have for cultural industries.


Improving Company Culture Is Not About Providing Free Snacks

What’s the difference between culture and employee engagement? It’s a good question. Many people use the two terms interchangeably. In their minds, the term company culture is synonymous with free food, foosball tables, and other workplace perks deemed to improve the employee experience, increase satisfaction, and drive greater commitment to the company. There is, of course, a lot more to employee engagement than workplace goodies. Employee engagement surveys typically ask about factors such as empowerment to make decisions, freedom to innovate, and work–life balance. There is some evidence to suggest that high scores on these issues make a difference to a company’s bottom line. According to Gallup’s 2016 Q12 Meta-Analysis report, business units in the top quartile in terms of employee engagement outperformed business units in the bottom quartile by 21 percent in profitability.



In the news … September 6, 2018

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‘No one available to work’: How labour woes are crimping our economy’s prospects

I hope no one thinks Canada’s only economic problems are NAFTA and pipelines. If those two issues magically disappeared, we’d be obsessing over a different crisis: an embarrassing inability to take maximum advantage of an impressive run of global economic growth.

Our notoriously weak commitment to productivity and innovation has caught up with us. The latest evidence comes in a new report from Business Development Canada (BDC), which finds that about 40 per cent of the country’s smaller companies are struggling to find workers.


Google wants to change the way we interact with URLs

Google’s done a lot with Chrome — and by extension, our relationship with the internet — in its relatively short life. Autofill, ad management, web encryption… These are all things that were at one time pretty ground-breaking, but which we now simply take for granted. Now, following the browser’s 10th birthday and coinciding with its major redesign, Google has announced it’s thinking about Chrome’s Next Big Thing: killing the URL.


Think it’s hard to build big projects in Canada now? Wait till you see the Liberals’ new bill

CALGARY — A fight over the federal government’s bill to overhaul the National Energy Board has been playing out away from the public eye but is expected to take centre stage in the Senate in September.

Behind the scenes, lower levels of government, companies and think tanks have been suggesting changes to Bill C-69 — which would turn the NEB into the Canadian Energy Regulator and establish an Impact Assessment Agency for new resource projects with a new scope and timelines.

At a recent meeting of energy ministers in Iqaluit, Saskatchewan’s Bronwyn Eyre said she and her counterparts in Alberta and Ontario raised concerns with the bill, which she called “an existential threat to our competitiveness.”


Making Change Is Not a Matter of Willpower

We like to think that making change is a question of mind over matter, that we — and the people with whom we work — are masters of our actions. We decide to make a change, we commit to it, and we follow through.

On an organizational level, the standard leadership approach to creating change is to whip up enthusiasm for a new process or initiative by explaining why the change is so important, promote the change throughout the company with posters and slogans and social media, and, once everyone is singing from the same song sheet, wait for the change to fall into place.



In the news … September 5, 2018

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Everything that’s wrong with the computers and laptops that Apple sells

There’s a lot to love about Apple’s computers.

Primarily, macOS is the main draw. It’s a sleek, clean, and simple-yet-complex operating system that gets a lot right compared with the more complicated Windows 10.

But while they exude a sense of perfection, Apple’s computers aren’t always the best choice. There are several questionable aspects of MacBook laptops and Mac desktops. At least for me, Apple’s computers are actually shifting the spotlight toward Windows computers because of those often frustrating facets.



Although eclipsed by virtual reality (VR) among the mainstream audience, the value of augmented reality (AR) in marketing is undeniably significant. Leading businesses are already incorporating AR as part of their digital strategy to attract customers and provide them with positive experiences.

The mainstream hype surrounding virtual reality (VR) has, to a certain extent, subdued popularity of augmented reality (AR). AR in marketing allows businesses to enhance customer experience by overlaying visual information over regular objects. This provides customers an augmented version of reality, which is more engaging and informative.


Google restricts tech support ads, thanks to how bad many of them are

Tech support scams are a problem on the internet, and Google is trying to stop people from getting tangled in them through their ads.

It’s decided to restrict ads by third-party technical support providers, as well as making these businesses verify themselves.


Canada needs to prevent meddling in our elections

Make no mistake: Facebook is feeling the pressure. Scarred by criticism that it enabled Russian meddling during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the social media giant summoned its biggest tech peers to a summit late last month, meeting behind closed doors with Google, Microsoft, Snapchat and others at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco.

The meeting’s objective was proactive — compare and co-ordinate plans of action on how the platforms can best prevent similar foreign attacks, distortions and disinformation campaigns targeting the upcoming American midterm elections.


Nike shoes burn on social media as Colin Kaepernick features in ‘Just Do It’ campaign


Certain people on social networks weren’t as enthusiastic about the choice.

Twitter user “Sean Clancy” said he might go buy a pair of Adidas sneakers as he posted a video of burning Nike shoes.


In the news … September 4, 2018

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Invites were sent out confirming the important event’s date as Wednesday, September 12, but Apple and technology enthusiasts seemed to be much more interested in the design of the invite, which featured a glowing rose gold circle with various rings set on a stark black background. This design was flanked by the laconic but apropos caption, “Gather round. Please join us for an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino.”

The succinct invite elicited all of the feelings from the Internet, who wasted no time in making the cryptic design and phrasing into the web’s latest source of amusement. Memes soon emerged on Twitter that riffed on the mysterious circle and caption, with plenty of new age, futuristic and tech jokes abounding.


Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada launches in Toronto

TORONTO — A learning resource described as a comprehensive atlas on Indigenous lands, languages and culture in Canada was launched in Toronto on Wednesday after two years of input from the communities it covers.

The Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada, which includes a four-volume set of books, an online interactive atlas and other components, was touted as an important educational tool for future generations.

“Not only will (Indigenous) children see themselves and their people in such a respectful and meaningful way, but non-Indigenous children will be educated with resources that come from authentic Indigenous voices for the first time,” said Charlene Bearhead, the project’s education adviser.


Video: Inside Air Canada’s Digital Loyalty Strategy

While loyalty programs have proliferated across the airline sector, Air Canada has taken a different approach after spinning off its Aeroplan loyalty program in 2005. It continued to outsource its program to Aeroplan, and perhaps fell behind in its loyalty offerings compared to North American competitors.

The airline, though, has recently brought Aeroplan back into the fold after some drama as its loyalty ambitions have shifted in a digital and mobile-first world.

Air Canada’s vice president of loyalty and e-commerce Mark Nasr detailed the airline’s loyalty plans at the inaugural Skift Tech Forum in June, before the company announced plans to bring Aeroplan back in-house. He remarked upon the shift towards leveraging customer data in more experimental ways that have emerged industry-wide over the last decade.


Interactive graph: How hard have minimum-wage hikes hit job market?

It’s been three years since B.C. began raising its minimum wage after keeping it the same for a decade, and debate continues over the impact the series of increases has had on the job market.

While it’s difficult to quantify precisely the economic impact of any piece of legislation, the changes that have occurred in the province’s labour market during the series of minimum-wage increases might be surprising to critics.