Global TV Tech Buzz: Digital Ways To Remember

pop world war 1 egyptOn this November 11, a look at ways technology can help us remember.


My grandfather served aboard the HMCS Oakville in World War II. One of my great-grandfathers liberated Jerusalem in 1917 (that’s John Keelty later in Egypt at right), another great-grandfather was at Vimy Ridge in WW I.

The Memory Project is an effort from The Dominion Institute to catalog the stories of Canada’s veterans. As the greatest generation passes on, so do the stories and lessons of war. This website has interviewed thousands of Canadian veterans about their experiences in World War II and the Korean War. The website features collections of photos, audio, and video of their first-hand accounts. It’s a great gift to preserve these stories for all generations.

If it’s not too much of a reach, I’ll segue now to some digital tools to help you remember the everyday things.


If you need help getting things done, the consensus best list-making, and reminder app is Remember the Milk. It’s been around for more than 8 years, starting out as a web based task manager before getting appified for the mobile world.

You can sort tasks, tag them, postpone, them, set up reminders, synching and more. If you have a hard time remembering what is on your To Do list, try this.


iOS added Reminders in recent updates, a built-in iPhone To Do list app that adds geo-fencing. This means you can get location based reminders to do things.

Need to get fish food the next time you’re at the mall? Set up an alert so the next time you go there it will send you a text. You can also do this on a newer iPhone with Siri. Simply say “after I leave the restaurant, remind me to call Mom” and you’re set.


We are pouring so much of our lives into Facebook. It really is a public diary of everything we’ve ever done except unlike our diary, Zuckerberg has the key to this book of memories. So download your Facebook data. As you go through time some parts of your timeline may be too embarrassing to be public, but you may want to hang on to for old time’s sake. So download it and keep it with your other backups.


geocities logoThe internet never forgets. Even after you have deleted something from the web, there is a chance it will be there – forever. The Internet Archive has saved over 10,000,000,000,000,000 bytes of the Web. It has spiders going out and crawling and downloading bits and pieces of websites every single day creating a sort of online museum of the internet.

Remember Geocities? For a lot of us, it was where we had our first website. Yahoo! shuttered it in 2009, but the Internet Archive still has most of it, including my very first website from 1996.

This has been especially handy for me after my blog crashed last year and took out my database and backups. I’ve been able to troll the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine for my old posts and have rebuilt more than 2/3 of my old content.

artkive appAPP OF THE WEEK: Artkive [free]
If you have school aged kids, the art will be plentiful and this app helps you keep it, without keeping it. Artkive lets you take a picture of the masterpiece, catalog it by age and grade and then keep them online. You can share them with family and friends (without plastering all over Facebook), and you can print off ones that you’d like to keep. One endorsement of the app admits “I’ll never have to feel guilty about throwing away my kids artwork!”

Is A Retweet Considered An Endorsment?

Short answer? No.

Longer answer? Sometimes it can be hard to tell.

The default option to retweet using Twitter via the web interface does not offer an opportunity to add context or comments to the tweet. You get to retweet the comment as is, that is your only option. It’s what is referred to as a naked retweet.

The naked retweet was debated last year when the Associated Press issued standards for retweeting by journalists.

the AP rules say reporters should write a lead-in to the material. Instead of simply retweeting a controversial quote from Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich, for example, the reporter should preface the retweet with “Gingrich shares view on taxes: RT @newtgingrich…”

“A naked retweet..can certainly suggest that the AP staffer was endorsing that opinion,” Kent says. “Not everyone would think that, but some people would.”
[The Naked Retweet Dilemma - American Journalism Review]

In a recent design change, Twitter added the original author’s name and avatar to the timeline when something has been retweeted. It made clear the distinction that the tweet was the original work of someone else.

I agree with the notion that context for retweets is a good thing to add, but if Twitter does not include that functionality how can we expect all to add it? 3rd party apps like Tweetbot do allow for quoting tweets, and the Twitter desktop app, TweetDeck, allows for this functionality but it is not available on the web interface. If you want to add context, you have to copy the tweet, edit it for length, and then add commentary to the front.

Some organizations have asked that reporters include the disclaimer “links and retweets not considered endorsements,” but just as with the “thoughts and opinions are mine and not employers” disclaimer, it’s something that should be implied and not necessary to announce.

Justin Fenton, a crime reporter at the Baltimore Sun and an avid Twitter user, includes the line in his own profile, but says that it’s essentially a useless tactic to cover himself.

“The people who are going to get upset about it aren’t going to look at that disclaimer,” Fenton says. “I still hear from people who say, ‘I can’t believe you said that the other day and are expressing your opinion.’ Those are people who aren’t familiar with Twitter.”
[The Naked Retweet Dilemma - American Journalism Review]

A retweet cannot be considered an endorsement because Twitter does not provide default tools to add context. A retweet is merely a “Hey! Did you hear?…” or “So this just happened..” It is a reporting tool as much as it is a vehicle for sharing like-minded ideas.

More often than not, a retweet will be something the poster agrees with, however it cannot be assumed as such by default.

Global TV Tech Buzz: The Rise Of The Second Screen

Welcome to the era of the second screen.

It’s not referring to having a second tv in your home, it’s all about how we interact with the screen that’s in front of us. More often than not, we’re doing it with a second screen.

We have two monitors on our desktop. We have a laptop open and a phone beside it. We are on the couch watching tv and pecking away on a notebook, tablet, or phone. They are all second screen scenarios that are more present in our lives.

A recent Nielsen study found that around 1/4 of smartphone and tablet owners check their device several times a day while watching TV. Nearly half check it at least once a day while watching TV.

A hashtag is a pound simple followed by a word or phrase. Hashtags help curate the content on social media. If you just want to follow one conversation, you can click on the hashtag and get all tweets using that one phrase in one spot. So for global conversations around award shows, sporting events, or tv episodes, it can feel like you’re talking about the show with hundreds, or thousands of other people.

The first time it was noted to have been used was during the Comedy Central roast of Donald Trump. Now many shows now flash hashtags on the screen during a show. You’ll see #Glee, #MadMen, or #SharkWeek in the bottom left hand corner. Survivor takes it a step further, suggesting hashtags throughout the show. #challenge or #tribal will pop up on the screen as the teams move from scene to scene.

Twitter would be the grand daddy of apps to use when watching tv with a second screen. Hashtagging makes it easy to find who is talking about what, and the stream flies by making it easy to follow.

Get Glue is a check-in and loyalty app that works in the same way as Foursquare, but for tv. You check in that you’re watching a show, can see what other friends are watching the same thing and can collect stickers and points.

Into Now acts as a combination of social interaction and a ‘dvd extras’ list of bonus entertainment. This app from Yahoo! pulls in Facebook and Twitter conversations and then adds extra information.

The apps put out by broadcasters now are great. There are so many first run shows that are being streamed that it’s almost like having a cable subscription for the cost of internet. You don’t need a PVR, they’re all right there on the app.

The Global TV App is a great example of how you can watch your favorite shows at any time.

A word of warning: video takes up big chunks of data, so if you’re into watching tv while riding the CTrain, just know you might end up with big data charges each month, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ride the WiFi at home.

flashlight appAPP OF THE WEEK: The Ultimate Disaster Kit
Something interesting happened this week with the arrival of Hurricane Sandy back east that showed where people’s priorities really are. The top downloaded free apps this week were YouTube, Flashlight, and The Red Cross. If the disaster has had you thinking about your own disaster readiness kit, make sure you have them because you never know when you’ll need a flashlight, medical advice, and videos of cats re-enacting Star Wars.

Content Curation Versus Content Creation

I have had content go viral twice in the past month. Parenting posts I have written have been picked up by a blog on MSN, leading to a conversation across blogs and news sites around the world. I was very ecstatic to go viral and immediately expected a surge of traffic to flood my blog entries. But the opposite happened. No huge traffic spike, no volume of eyeballs, no increase in ad banner clicks. My original content had been hijacked and the curators were getting the traffic.

While my name was mentioned a lot and there were dozens of link backs to my original article, the curators did a thorough job explaining what I had written in my posts so there was no reason for people to read the original article. Content curation had trumped my content creation. Witness the stats on the latest viral story: It’s Time To Retire, Charlie Brown. My original post on has 75 comments and 1 500 Facebook shares. The curated piece from The Today Show Moms has 700+ comments and more than 72 000 Facebook shares.

Curated content 1. Created content 0.

It’s obvious why curated content is winning over created content. A news aggregator can pull content from a variety of voices and sources becoming a one stop shop for information. Think of it as the WalMart of the web. You can get sports, hollywood, local, and international news just in the way you can get groceries, lawn supplies, and greeting cards at the superstore.

So, just as singular, local stores are buckling under the aggregating power of WalMart, news sites are cracking under the pressure of aggregators. Instead of increasing variety of voices on the local level to compete with the international aggregator, the news sites are putting up paywalls. That’s the equivalent of being charged admission to enter your local store, while WalMart is free just down the street.

I have argued before that news wants to be free. The notion that locking up one source does not make people pay for that source, it forces them underground to find a free source. There is no scarcity of quality journalism online. If the Toronto Star, New York Times, or The Globe and Mail wants to charge readers for their news, people will shift to HuffPo, CBC, or the BBC where news is free.

As the Toronto Star joins the list of news sites to announce the arrival of a paywall, you’re going to see the power of the content curators grow even stronger. One digital subscription for a reporter at The Huffington Post can now feed that news to the entire audience, for free.

While Hurricane Sandy batters the east coast today, organizations with paywalls have torn them down. They know the news they are producing is valuable and a paywall is hazardous to increasing the reach of their audience. You have to know, that deep down, the editors of these papers also understand that news wants to be free.

Global TV Tech Buzz: Windows 8 Is Here


It’s what has helped Apple leap to the top of the food chain when it comes to integration across their product line. Apple controls the hardware, and it controls the software. The experience is identical no matter which Apple device you use.

With so much computing being done on mobile devices, you’ve slowly Apple start to merge OS and iOS. Microsoft took a different approach – they ripped off the bandage and did it all at once.

This week, with the launch of Windows 8, the Redmond software giant is taking a shot at building it’s own ecosystem. It wants to control the message from phone to tablet to desktop – and users had better get used to it, because Microsoft is all in.


In a word – everything. Gone is the start button, the desktop is now a screen of tiles and something Microsoft calls “the charm bar.”

That lack of Start Menu is really going to confuse a lot of people. The desktop now looks like a phone or tablet interface. The tiles move and update with notifications just like they do on the mobile spaces. To be honest, I think Windows Phone is gorgeous. I like the big tiles so much better than the iOS interface. That said, having it on a desktop is an entirely different thing, and it’s going to take some getting used to.

A Windows 8 tutorial is available when you first start your machine and you should watch it. There are keyboard shortcuts, and windows will slide in and out depending on where you put your cursor. Windows 8 has a learning curve, and it’s best to take advantage as soon as you can.


Well, it is radically different. Imagine the blowback every time Facebook does a redesign. This is like that, but instead of one website getting overhauled, it’s an entire reboot of the OS.

It will take some getting used to, but those that have spent time with the OS eventually come around. Eventually.


We still run Windows XP on our computers at work. We skipped Vista AND Windows 7. Enterprise is often slow to change, and with this one being so radical you might find business slow to move forward on this one too. That said, it is only a $39 upgrade and Microsoft says most computers currently running Windows 7 will work better with Windows 8. They’ll have better battery life and shorter boot times.

One step ahead you’re a leader, but if you’re two steps ahead you’re a martyr. Microsoft might have taken a step and a half here. Waiting to see how it all shakes out is not a bad strategy.

The thing about the big switch for Microsoft is it might have people make another switch. The Apple storm has been bubbling for a few years now. People just might say, if I have to learn something new I might as well learn Mac.

Lifehacker: Everything You Need To Know About Windows 8
Globe and Mail: Windows 8 Review
CBC: Windows 8 and Surface – 10 Things To Know
CBC: Early Look At Windows 8 Baffles Consumers
Wired: A Big, Beautiful, Slightly Shaky Step Forward

hockey canada concussion appAPP OF THE WEEK: Hockey Canada Concussions Awareness [free]
The Hockey Canada Concussion Awareness app is a great tool for parents, coaches, trainers, players, administrators and anyone interested in learning about the prevention, recognition and response to concussion injury, including responsible return-to-play protocol. Sidney Crosby is on board endorsing the free app calling it a ”commitment to educating families and players about all aspects of the game.”

Global TV Tech Buzz: Can You Get Fired For Social Media?

Can you get fired for something you put on Facebook or Twitter?

Yes you can.

Now there is a grey area that depends on what you say, whether or not you have a union, and what your relationship with the boss is like, but the short answer is: yes, you can get fired for what you put on social media – even if you have a twitter disclaimer.

The question is being raised a lot this week after two very high profile cases where comments online have cost people their jobs.

Amanda Todd committed suicide after being repeatedly bullied by people online and off. Her case has been well documented. Even after her death, the bullying continued as people jumped on her memorial pages to continue the abuse.

One such scene was witnessed by an Airdrie mom, Christine Claveau, who took a screenshot of the Facebook comments and notified the person’s employer. The man was then fired from his job the next day.

The case of Violentacrez is perhaps even more disturbing because it really sheds a shocking light on the lives of internet trolls. Violentacrez has, for years, been one of the most controversial characters on Reddit, a vast discussion board. He created and moderated many of the most successful boards on the site, many of them associated with racism, and pornography.

Last week his identity was revealed by Gawker and days later Michael Brutsch was fired.

“My wife is disabled. I got a home and a mortgage, and if this hits the fan, I believe this will affect negatively on my employment,” he told Gawker. “I do my job, go home watch TV, and go on the internet. I just like riling people up in my spare time.”

In a phone conversation, Brutsch admitted to being the Reddit user named Violentacrez, who created or moderated sections dedicated to pornographic and violent images, including subreddits called r/rapebait, r/incest, r/picsofdeadkids, r/jailbait, and r/chokeabitch.

These stories aren’t new. As soon as Facebook became mainstream, people started losing their jobs over postings online. Just ask Charlie Barrow, Devon Bourgeois, James Wood and Zach Good. They were all fired for comments they posted on Facebook, groups they joined or just for spending too much time on the site.

Don’t think you can put a quick disclaimer on your Twitter bio and think it absolves you of repercussions from everything you write or say online.

Sure, it can put a legal line between you and your company if you go and say something radical, but anything you say online can and will be used against you.

“The vast majority of people believe that what they say outside of the workplace is none of the employer’s business. But that’s not true. The employer can always fire you for whatever you say. The only issue again is whether you’re entitled to some sort of notice before you’re fired.”
[How an online posting can cost you your job - CBC]

Take Damien Goddard, for example. The former Sportsnet anchor tweeted support for an agent who had spoken out against gay marriage. Hours later he received a call from his bosses, he was fired the next day.

There are strong laws internationally about what can happen to you when posting things online. The UK has famously jailed people over racist tweets and threatening Facebook posts.

Liam Stacey served 56 days in jail after tweeting racist comments when footballer Fabrice Muamba collapsed during a match.

Lisa Jones, prosecuting, told Swansea magistrates at an earlier hearing: “Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch and was believed to have died. Shortly after, Stacey posted on Twitter: ‘LOL, F*** Muamba. He’s dead.’”

After other Twitter users criticised Stacey, prompting him to post further offensive and racist comments, users reported him to police forces around Britain.

Stacey branded people who criticised him on Twitter as “wogs” and told one to “go pick some cotton”.
[The Guardian]

Keeley Houghton pleaded guilty to harassment and was sentenced to 3 months in a young offenders’ institution. She had been accused of bullying a classmate for four years and, ultimately, threatening to kill her.

On her personal page, Houghton wrote of her victim: ‘Keeley is going to murder the bitch. She is an actress. What a ******* liberty. Emily ****head Moore.’
[The Daily Mail]

Avoiding the drama should be easy, it’s common sense even, but worthy of reminders.

1. Do A Self-Evaluation
Mitch Joel has a great article that encourages people to go back and look over their history of tweets and evaluate them from the point of view of an employer, or prospective employer. Joel calls it “The Twitter Test“:

The Economist magazine used to run a print ad with the copy: “would you want to sit next to you at dinner?” It’s a clever line of copy and an even cleverer thought. You have to smart, interesting, pithy and curious, don’t you? How do your tweets stack up? You see, beyond the basics of a good Twitter profile (a simple username, photo, legible biography, a link to something more relevant about you, etc…), it’s really what you’re tweeting (and how you’re doing it) that’s going to keep someone who is finding you for the first time interested in hitting that “follow” button.
[Mitch Joel]

Joel encourages people to take the test monthly. I do it often, it’s a great way to step out of the emotion of the moment where tweets are often crafted and look at your brand from a distance.

2. If You Don’t Want It On The Front Page Of The Paper, Don’t Say It
When journalists really started to mine Twitter for information a few years ago, I posited that lifting quotes directly from twitter was “lazy journalism“. That notion has disappeared, it’s conventional wisdom that what is said on Twitter is public and eminently quotable without approval. Still, Shaw’s response to my question is still one of the most quoted lines I mention in relations to social media.

tweetbotAPP OF THE WEEK: Tweetbot [$2.99]
The absolute best Twitter client is Tweetbot. If you’re a power user that curates content via lists, and have multiple accounts, this is the app for you. This week Tweetbot made a move to the desktop with the release of a Mac app. It’s not a cheap app, it’s $2.99 for iOS and $19.99 for the desktop. They say the high rate for the desktop app is because of restrictions Twitter is putting on third party clients. Fans are already saying it’s worth the money. While I love the iOS version, I still prefer TweetDeck on my desktop.