Unlimited eBook Service in the Works

Would you pay a monthly fee for an unlimited library of eBooks, set up much like the video streaming service Netflix? Amazon is willing to bet you will. Given that few services of its type exist, Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited is sure to make a literary splash. A test page briefly appeared on Amazon’s website advertised the service for $9.99 a month, giving users access to over 600,000 titles. These would include popular titles such as The Life of Pi and The Hunger Games. The page has since been removed. The now-removed page indicated the service would be available on “any

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Facebook Rolls Out Free Wi-Fi to Students’ Homes

Providing improved Wi-Fi access to students is becoming a big initiative in the United States. In fact, the Federal Communications Commission just announced a $2 million plan to do just that. Facebook is taking this goal even further with a trial to provide Wi-Fi to students’ houses in Forest City, N.C. Forest City is conveniently the location of one of Facebook’s largest data centres. The trial was rolled out in cooperation with the local school board and non-profit high-speed fiber Internet provider Pangaea, with 75 to 100 homes participating. There is no word yet as to whether Facebook will extend

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Hotel Computers Pose Big Risk

Business travelers beware: this may be enough to make you want to take your laptop along for the trip. The U.S. Secret Service has issued a formal warning to hotels about malware on publicly used computers that can steal passwords from unsuspecting guests. This comes on the heels of news that several computers at hotels in Dallas were infected with keyword logging software to pilfer passwords and track Internet activity. Suspects have been taken into custody, but it’s unlikely it is an isolated case. As Ars Technica points out, the case is a great reminder to be cautious about the

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Cost of Basic Mobile Phone Plans on the Rise

When the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) released its national wireless code of conduct last year, the intent was to protect consumers. While that may be happening, new reports indicate it has spurred another less desirable effect – increased cost. The code included provisions allowing consumers to cancel a wireless contract after just two years when three-year contracts were the industry norm. This has led wireless providers to hike the cost of their basic plans, with the average plan increasing to $36 from $31 in the last year. However, on the flip side, heavy users are enjoying a substantial

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Could Netflix be Taxed by the CRTC?

By offering limitless content for a small monthly fee, Netflix has revolutionized the way people watch television. However, not all are pleased with this and the CBC is demanding that Netflix subsidize the Canadian content it offers. Naturally, Netflix is opposed, warning the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) against imposing any taxes. In a report to the CRTC, Netflix reps said such a tax would “make it more difficult for Netflix to offer access to this content at the same affordable rate.” It could also “translate into an increase in price without … a commensurate benefit for Canadian content, its

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Court: Apple’s Siri Infringes on Chinese Patents

Everyone is familiar with iPhone’s Siri, the little helper activated by the user’s voice. But back in 2012 Shanghai-based company Zhizhen Network Technology filed a lawsuit against Apple alleging Siri infringed upon its voice recognition technology. Now, Chinese courts have ruled the lawsuit is valid, meaning Apple will have to face them in a legal battle. Apple has argued Zhizhen’s patent was invalid, meaning that Siri had not been an infringement at all. Zhizhen had the Patent Re-examination Board take a look at the patent, and the board ruled in its favor. But Apple is still not convinced and will

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Second-Hand Phones a Trove of Personal Information

Do a quick search on eBay, and you’ll find tens of thousands of used smartphones for sale. But what are you really getting when you snag a second-hand phone? More than the original owner probably thought. A recent test by Avast – which specializes security software – saw the firm purchase 20 Android phones online to see what personal data was still left on the devices. The results were shocking: 40,000 photos including nude selfies, 750 emails and text messages, 250 contacts and a completed loan application. The identities of four of the phones’ previous owners were also discovered. “Users

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Indiegogo App Slated for Canadian Release

Indiegogo is taking the leap beyond the borders of the United States by releasing its first mobile app to a Canada audience. The “world’s largest” crowdfunding platform will give Canucks early access to its app, which it plans to roll out in other countries in a few months. “Canada is a really important country for us, in terms of volume it’s the second-largest country for us in the world … and we send money to 70 to 100 countries a week,” said Indiegogo CEO Slava Rubin was quoted as saying. The first app will only be available for iOS, but

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Mobile Device Theft Tips from the FCC

Smartphone theft is rising to epic proportions, with over 1.6 million devices stolen each year. To keep yourself safe, take a look at these tips from the D.C. Metropolitan Police and Federal Communications Commission. Record device information. Mobile devices have unique numbers (IMEI or MEID numbers) that can identify devices if they are stolen. You should record the IMEI or MEID number, serial number and MAC/Wi-Fi address and store it in a safe place. This information is usually found under the “Settings” menu on the “About” screen. Additionally, screenshot functions make it easy to capture this information and send it

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Roam Rolls Out 4G LTE Network in Major U.S. Cities

Vancouver-based carrier Roam has launched packages with 4G LTE support. The company – known for affordable packages for Canadians travelling in the United States – is offering the network in several U.S. cities including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami and New York. The official launch of the new network will happen on July 7, allowing users to take advantage of the new network’s speed as long as their smartphone supports LTE. The new network also brings improved coverage and plan options that let users send unlimited text, picture, audio and video messages. Just as an idea

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