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The current state of cleantech investment: Canada vs. the U.S.

By inmedia

Further to our earlier post about Canada lagging behind the U.S. on cleantech investment, two current headlines caught our eye this morning: one in the Globe and Mail about Canada declaring “Investors slowly warming to clean tech” and the other on CleanTech.com about the U.S. with the heading “Smart energy gets smart money.”

Unlocked and loaded: International roaming adventures with a GSM smart phone and pay-as-you-go SIM

By Francis Moran

Let me tell you about my amazing adventures last week with an unlocked GSM smart phone loaded with a pay-as-you-go SIM.

As anyone who has travelled with a cell phone, Blackberry or smart phone can testify, using a mobile device outside your home market can be a financially harrowing experience. Typical charges I’ve incurred for using my Treo in the U.S. or abroad have been $1/minute for a local call and $3/minute for a call back home. Even if I carefully manage my calls, there’s still data usage that can be charged at as high as $10/megabit.

Or I could do what countless numbers of travellers are now doing — get my phone unlocked and use a country-specific SIM, the subscriber information module that tells the network everything it needs to know to route calls and data to and from the device.

Unlocking your phone means reprogramming it so it can operate on networks other than the one to which you are chained. (Believe me, I am using the term “chained” advisedly here!) In my case, I had the job done by a very professional crew at a kiosk in the Prudential Center in Boston, where I also picked up loads of advice about the best SIMs to use. Your carrier might agree to unlock your phone but will require you to send it to them and pay them hundreds of dollars for the privilege. The guys at Warlox Wireless did it for $50 in less than 20 minutes.

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Coding green applications

By Jill Pyle

According to the recent Earth to Tech blog entry Your Bad Code Is Killing My Planet, “virtualization and on-demand computing are giving companies new reasons to worry about code efficiency.”

Alistair Croll, vice president of product management and co-founder of Coradiant, writes about how applications with inefficient code require more processing power, storage and bandwidth. When deployed on a large scale, inefficient applications ultimately require more energy to run.

This makes me wonder, will more companies start coding for energy efficiency and promoting their applications as green?

My Dad, the “early adopter”

By Linda Forrest

My Dad is what is called an “early adopter.” I’ve always given my parents jocular grief about the many “gadgets” that they have but their interest in cutting edge technologies has been prevalent throughout my entire life and provided me with an advantage in my education and later, my career.

A tremendous gift that my parents gave me was the introduction of computers to my life at a very young age. I literally do not remember a time before computers, which is rare amongst my peers in their late twenties and early thirties. I was typing before I could write longhand and have used a plethora of applications through the years, from word processing on up to audio engineering software.

An incredibly intelligent man with a technological mind, my father was always interested in computers and wrote programs for my brother and me when we were young. The family loves to tell stories about me, a toddler, being held upright by my brother so that I could type “run” on the keyboard to make the application do its thing.

As technology has advanced, my Dad has kept up and is without a doubt the most tech-savvy sixty-something that I know. He was a webmaster for the site of my parents’ business and his various social groups before most people knew what a web site was. He got involved with a messageboard that connects him with people he hasn’t seen in 50 years and uses Skype to talk with his old shipmates around the world.

Because of his interest in and willingness to learn about new technology, my parents have the whole world at their fingertips – emailing, surfing the web, online banking, VoIP and more are a snap for them. My friend’s mother communicates with her and her brother almost exclusively by text message. Family friends in their 70s who travel a lot keep us up to date on their journeys via email. In stark contrast, I know people in this age group who don’t have an answering machine and are still convinced that this “computer thing” shall pass.

As our population gets older and the huge numbers of baby boomers enter their senior years, which group do you think is more prevalent – those who embrace technology and are learning how to use it to enrich their lives? Or those who want no part of it and are convinced that the ATM is no substitute for going up to the teller? How will marketing to this age group change as time goes on?

Buzzwords to know: Bacn

By Jill Pyle

Spam has been invading my inbox for years. Even with filters and blacklists, it always finds a way in. At the best of times it’s annoying, at the worst it hinders productivity.

Since registering for services like Facebook, Twitter, Aeroplan and Google news alerts, my spam count has been trumped by bacn. Bacn (pronounced “bacon”) is a new buzzword used to describe the pesky email notifications you’ve opted to receive but don’t want to read right now. Typical bacn messages include “Bob is now following you on Twitter!”, “Exclusive discount off our U.S. fares” and “Jane wants Sushi Meetups too!” If you don’t make a habit of instantly deleting bacn, it often remains unread and can quickly pollute your inbox.

The worst thing about bacn is that you’ve agreed or asked to receive it. It’s self-inflicted aggravation. Luckily, bacn can be stopped if you take the time to adjust your account settings and notification preferences. Unfortunately, this process can sometimes be more annoying than receiving bacn.

When you register for a new service, pay close attention to your notification preferences. Stop bacn before it starts.

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