New regulations will black out streaming TV shows

If you’ve been watching your favourite TV show or sports event for free on your computer chances are that’s going to change going forward. Canadian broadcasters have developed a new on-line business model and so-called cord-cutters may be paying for things they have, up until now, viewed for free.

New streaming service
The Huffington Post recently detailed the new streaming service offered by Canadian broadcasters called CTV Go, owned wholly by Bell, which is one of the biggest Internet Service Providers in Canada. Because a program like “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” is also owned by Bell, anyone who doesn’t subscribe to the company’s online service will no longer be able to watch the shows that are more than a week old.

Digital media advocates upset
The new streaming service is not sitting well with advocates of free digital media who believe the online media landscape is under threat. David Christopher of Open Media said Canadians are being forced by the big ISPs to pay for outdated technology.

“This is why it’s a terrible idea to have the same giant telecom conglomerates own both the content (TV stations) and the services (cable TV, Internet) over which that content is provided” he explained. The big cable and Internet providers in Canada have brought this about in response to years of ads and websites talking about minimizing or avoiding cable costs.

Because there was a huge drop in revenue from of all the customers cutting cords they say they had to find a way to offset those losses. An unidentified Bell source told the Huffington Post the strategy is a move to keep the traditions of TV alive in the digital age. So what options do Canadian consumers have when it comes to watching “Hockey Night in Canada” on the computer?

Signing in to your computer with your cable account and joining the streaming program is one option that the providers are pushing, but if the company isn’t carrying the program you want to see, you’re somewhat out of luck, apparently. The big Internet and cable companies are working toward providing more choices for consumers, but if you’re a big hockey or Jon Stewart fan you might have to seek out some other options.

Image Source: http://www.theguardian.com/

Online Dating, Human Behavior, and the Psychology of it All

According to Maclean’s Magazine (2013) an estimated 30 to 40 million North Americans now use online dating sites to look for love.  Contributing over $1.5 billion to the industry, a quarter of all Canadians have tried Internet dating and 16 percent have had cybersex.

This fast growing social phenomenon has caught the attention of many cognitive psychologists and sociologists across the country who have begun to study the online dating experience in an attempt to understand how it impacts human behavior and affects social norms.  More specifically, many researchers are using science to dispel the myths and uncover the truths about digital dating.  Dr. Jeremy Dean, a psychologist and author of PsyBlog, addresses these myths in his article entitled, Online Dating:  10 Psychological Insights.  Here are some of Dean’s findings from contemporary research that may just cause you to take a second look at love online:

  1.  Current research seems to fly in the face of the stereotype that online daters are socially inept loners that lack social skills and ambition.  In actuality, various studies seem to indicate that online daters are often highly social and use the Internet as a convenient way to meet people often after moving to a new city, working long hours, or lacking the time to meet someone new at a more conventional place such as a bar (Kim et al, 2009).
  2.  Honesty seems to prevail in the profile of online daters.  Although research by Gibbs et al. (2006) reveals that 9 out of 10 daters may lie about physical attributes such as age, height, and weight, the inaccuracies seem to be minor (both women and men either added or removed an average of 5%).  Most do not stray far from reality and seem to recognize that these inaccuracies may be hard to detect in a face to face meeting.  Likewise, the tendency to tell the truth also seems to apply to profile photos.  After contrasting lab photos with those posted on dating websites, it was discovered that most were only slightly less attractive (5 % for women and 4 % for men) in the lab photos.
  3. Apparently, the old adage “opposites attract” does not fair very well in the digital dating realm.  Most online daters prefer to connect with others that have similar life experiences.  A 2005 study by Fiore and Dorath that investigated 65000 daters uncovered that individuals experienced the greatest online dating success when they connected with others that share similar views, interests, and other demographic factors such as cultural backgrounds.

After looking at what some of the research says about online dating, how does it measure up to your own personal experiences?  Does psychology factor into the online dating experience or is it simply a lot of scientific bluster about something that is primarily based on basic human instincts?

To read Dr. Dean’s article in it’s entirely, visit:  http://www.spring.org.uk/2010/09/online-dating-10-psychological-insights.php

Teri-Lynn James,
Communications Specialist

The opinions expressed by this blogger are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions or views of TekSavvy Solutions Inc.

Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Internet Plan Information Gap

Here at TekSavvy, we’ve made it our mission to put our customers first and to bring them the best Phone and Internet service possible. One of the ways we try to do this is through transparency. We believe that by keeping you informed, you’ll be able to make an educated decision about the Internet and choose the package that’s the right fit for you.

We decided to take this a step further and do some research of our own, and the results were staggering! Out of the 1,000 Canadians polled about their Internet plans, 58% reported not having a clear understanding of what they were paying for. We believe that it’s our responsibility to help eliminate this information gap. So we’ve developed several tools to make that happen.

The first step? Making sure you choose the plan that’s right for you. To do that, we’ve built a Web App that that will suggest a minimum speed and usage rate for your needs based on how you use the Internet. All you need to do is answer a few simple questions about your online habits.

The next tip to help you stay on top of your Internet plan is to track your usage. After all, if a new season of your favourite show finds its way on Netflix, you might notice that you’re using more data than you first expected. But don’t worry. We’ve developed a customer portal where you can monitor exactly how much data you’re using each month, so you’ll never have to worry about going over your limit!

With the goal of continual education, we publish a quarterly tech report – which we’ve appropriately called our TekNotes – to bring you the most up-to-date and relevant telecom information possible. But that’s not all. If you ever have questions or want to learn more, you can head to our Help Center which is our resource library full of articles and FAQs. You can even chat with our agents directly!

So don’t be a part of that 58 per cent. Educate yourself and get to know your Internet plan.

Graham Hamilton,
MarComm Specialist

The opinions expressed by this blogger are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions or views of TekSavvy Solutions Inc.

Canadian parents take to the Internet to find baby’s name

No matter whether you’re a student brainstorming for ideas for a school project or an adult trying to come up with festive party theme ideas, the Internet is a great resource. Just by going online, people can find and speak to like-minded individuals and find new ideas on just about any topic. Online forums, websites like Reddit, question-and-answer pages like Yahoo Answers and many others can be of great service if you’re trying to come up with something fun and innovative.

A few months ago, it came out that a Canadian couple did just this. They went online to search for a name for their baby. The days of buying baby name books are over for many people – why do that when you can view the same types of lists online? However, this couple took things a bit further.

Stephen and Alysha McLaughlin took to Twitter and Reddit in January to ask users to help vote on their child’s name. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, software programmer Stephen created the website “namemydaughter.com” so that people could visit and vote once per day.

Now that the baby is here, did the McLaughlins end up following the advice of Internet aficionados all over the world, or did they forge their own path?

Seeking help in an innovative way
According to the news source, the McLaughlins took to the Internet to find a unique first and middle name for their daughter. Many of the suggestions – which ended up making their way onto the final list before the baby was born on April 7 – were laughable. For instance, “LOL,” “Kids’R’Gross” and “Not Zelda” ended up being some of the highest ranked names, the news provider detailed.

When it came down to crunch time, however, there were stipulations.

“Unfortunately internet I know better than to trust you. We will ultimately be making the final decision,” Stephen’s second-to-last post on the website read.

After all, the name that garnered the most votes was “Cthulhu all-spark.”

What’s the baby’s name?
The McLaughlins ultimately decided to go with the name with the second highest amount of votes, Entrepreneur reported, Amelia. They chose two middle names – Savannah and Joy. That being said, CTV News noted that Pond and Salad were top contenders for middle name.

The news source explained that the McLaughlins plan to archive the website and its results so they can show Amelia the power of the Internet when she’s older.

If you’re going to be going online often – as the McLaughlins likely did in order to check the most up-to-date rankings of their daughter’s potential name – it’s important to have a reliable connection. This can be ensured by choosing a worthwhile Internet service provider. By turning to an ISP that not only offers a strong connection, but also competitive rates and data packages, individuals can be sure that they always have ready access when they need it and in a manner they can afford.

Why does speed matter? Netflix knows

There are so many idioms and phrases used in everyday language that denote – or underscore – the relative value of speed. For instance, some individuals like to say that they have a “need for speed,” while others live by the motto “slow and steady wins the race.”

When it comes to the Internet, however, both Internet service providers and consumers across Canada know that speed is one of the most important factors. This can mean the difference between having to wait minutes for a page with even low-resolution graphics to load and being able to have multiple Web pages up and running at the same time. As such, when investigating which plan with an ISP they want to buy into, consumers tend to do a lot of research on Internet speed.

That being said, this concept does elude some people. What does it really mean for the Internet to be fast? Why does it matter, especially if the user only plans on visiting basic pages? What is its effect on streaming websites, which seem to be growing more popular by the day?

As Netflix recently released its ranking of the fastest ISPs on its website, these are questions that are sure to be on the minds of a number of consumers.

What did Netflix find?
After compiling a list of 14 ISPs ranked by the average speeds encountered by individuals who stream content from Netflix, the corporation came to a number of conclusions. First, the movie and TV programme provider revealed that Bell Canada – Fibre Optic , Bell Aliant – Fibre Optic and Shaw took the top three spots, respectively, with speeds that averaged more than 3 Mbps. The DSL connections offered by Bell Canada and Bell Aliant, however, ranked 10 and 13, respectively.

Netflix also found that indie ISPs can play with the big boys. Specifically, TekSavvy took seventh place, which beat out major providers like Telus, Sasktel and Allstream. TekSavvy ranked higher than massive ISP Rogers by a significant amount – TekSavvy averaged 2.76 Mbps, while Rogers exhibited a paltry 1.67 Mbps.

According to CBC News, Rogers Vice President of Social Media Keith McArthur wrote a blog post outlining the fact that Netflix’s rankings are only applicable to its own website, not the Internet as a whole. But with streaming becoming so popular, does that fact even matter to some consumers? Moreover, the source noted that this raises questions about Rogers’ methods regarding net neutrality and network management.

So why does this matter?
When anyone wants to do something online – whether it’s play a video game or just open a simple page full of text with nothing flashy, speed is a factor. It determines how fast pages, applications, graphics and everything else loads. Because the Internet has become such a crucial part of our lives, having satisfactory speed is more important than ever.

That’s even more crucial when considering streaming services – Netflix is just one. Some people like to use iTunes, services offered by cable TV providers and other sites.

So, if consumers plan to watch TV or movies online, something that’s become very popular in recent years, they need to think about how the speed of their ISP will affect their experience.

http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/the-darknet-a-short-history-20131220-2zpk6.html

Taking a Walk to the Darknet Side of the Moon

The online publication, ItSpeciliast.com recently published some startling figures regarding the “going rates” for illegal activities committed by cybercriminals hired through the Darknet.  Included among them were:  $40 for a stolen US identity, $100 to hack a website, $20 to unleash an army of a thousand bots, and from $4 to $8 for one stolen U.S. credit card account including the CVV number.

I am not ashamed to admit that this information sent me and my subsequent life savings into a full blown, cybersecurity panic attack.  It was only after ensuring that my antivirus, antispyware, antiphishing, and firewall protection were all up to date that I was able to rest easy for a whole two minutes before having to breathe into a paper bag again over the fact that these measures ultimately seem do very little to protect my personal data from the Internet Dark Force.  Sure, investing in identity protection and installing critical security patches can help to reduce the probability of a cybercriminal treating him/herself to an all-expense paid trip to Las Vegas on my dime, but none of these measures can guarantee that I will not be victimized one day by a cybercriminal.   In the same vein as organized crime, cybercrime is a very complicated issue.  While I know that there are factors that we have very little control over, I find myself wondering about the ones that we can.

What are your thoughts about cybercrime and the Darknet?  Is it possible to reduce or prevent this rapidly growing illicit activity?  What can we do collectively to take action and protect ourselves against this 21st century scourge?

Teri-Lynn James,
Communications Specialist

The opinions expressed by this blogger are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions or views of TekSavvy Solutions Inc.

Three ways to ease the cord-cutting transition

It seems people are continuing to get lost in the expansive World Wide Web. Whether it’s because they’re watching more of their favourite television shows online or simply opting to cut television out of their lives, a new report from the Convergence Consulting Group found that by the end of 2014, more than one-quarter of Canadians will have cut their cable subscriptions completely.

For many, the prospect of becoming a “cord-cutter” can be a daunting one. After all, many people grew up watching television and channel surfing for entertainment. Fortunately, Canadians don’t have to go cold turkey on all of their favourite shows and online media if they want to save a few bucks canceling their cable subscriptions. In fact, many people are quickly finding they can access the same content online through various media streaming devices.

Here are a few devices former cable subscribers can try to take advantage of using their cable Internet instead:

1. Roku Streaming Stick
This device enables users to stream media from their smartphones or tablet devices straight to their television. This includes users’ favourite television shows from websites such as Hulu, movies from Netflix or simply their favorite videos from YouTube.

2. Smart televisions
Phones aren’t the only media devices that have become smart – televisions have also evolved. According to blog The Province, smart televisions have become more affordable and can be great assets in aiding cord cutters. These televisions often have direct access to apps, such as the aforementioned Netflix or Hulu. Now that smart televisions no longer break the bank, consumers may even be able pick one up for the cost of canceling their cable subscriptions for a year.

3. Set top boxes
Apple TV was the first in this category but, as was the case in the smartphone market, dozens of competitors have risen to the challenge. These set top boxes offer more streaming options to cable Internet users.

Before cutting the cord, it’s crucial that users consider any Internet bandwidth caps they may run into that could impede their streaming capabilities. Some Internet service providers offer unlimited Internet, but that’s not always the case. If people want to cut the cord, they need to either find an ISP that does or carefully manage their bandwidth.

Image Source: http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/p/keep-calm-and-netiquette-/

Netiquette for the 21st Century:  Is it an Enigma?

At the risk of sparking controversy, I would like to briefly address the so called “social code” that governs how we communicate in the digital world.  Broadly referred to as “Netiquette”, or the “Golden Rules for the Internet”, I recently discovered an article in The New York Times that addresses the extreme complexity of trying to define proper behavior on the Internet.

http://www.booksshouldbefree.com/book/Etiquette_by_Emily_Post

http://www.booksshouldbefree.com/book/Etiquette_by_Emily_Post

The article attributes our confusion over Internet etiquette, in part, to a lack of information from past generations from which we can collectively draw from.  In earlier times, long before the dawn of the World Wide Web, people turned to social etiquette experts like Emily Post for guidance about how to live a well-mannered life in areas such as politics, social society, and business.  Ms. Post’s guidelines about how to participate in polite society and avoid awkward social blunders, were readily accepted by the masses and incorporated into daily life.

Since the dawn of the new millennium and rise of the digital age however, it seems as though there is great disagreement about what constitutes appropriate online behavior. All too often many of us find ourselves floating around in cyberspace trying to decipher a common code of conduct that is as elusive as existentialism.  For some, the act of trying to determine how to act online, has been a painful and often times embarrassing venture (i.e. selfies and sexting).

In an attempt to fill this void, self-appointed “netiquette experts” are churning out books, blogs, and videos that all claim to be the latest and greatest code of Internet conduct for the masses.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/web/05/25/business.email.netiquette/

http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/web/05/25/business.email.netiquette/

Dubbed by some as the “Ms. and Mr. Manners of the digital generation”, I find myself questioning the validity and practically of their seemingly scholarly advice.  While one has to applaud their ingenuity and even, at times creativity, I have to wonder if their rules will ever become a collective body of knowledge that we all share and adhere to in our modern digital world.  With the great diversity that exists among Internet users, will we ever reach a consensus about how to behave in polite digital society?  Further, where exactly does one study in order to become a “Netiquette” expert?

I suppose that only time will tell whether or not digital social etiquette is a fallacy or a reality.  Until then, we want to hear your thoughts!

Teri-Lynn James,
Communications Specialist

Find the article, The Emily Posts of the Digital Age, originally published in the New York Times on March 31, 2013, at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/31/fashion/etiquette-returns-for-the-digital-generation.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

The opinions expressed by this blogger are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions or views of TekSavvy Solutions Inc.

Image Source: http://hplusmagazine.com/2009/08/14/doing-what-brain-does-how-computers-learn-listen/

The Internet, Intelligence, and Canadian Culture

Have you ever had the experience where you go online to check something quick and innocuous like an address or a movie review only to find yourself being sucked into the black hole of the Internet where time seems to stand still?  Come on, be honest, there is nothing to be ashamed of, we are all TekSavvy friends here!

As one of the top global leaders of online activity, 8 out of 10 Canadians clock in an average of 45 hours per month indulging in everything from work related activity to gaming to social media.  Apparently, many of us know all too well the blank stare, stunned silence, and feeling of brain overload that often follows extended sessions of digital indulgence.  This increased online activity has grabbed the attention of researchers, who have begun to question how digital media is changing our physiological brains.  Of particular interest among many is the very pressing and perhaps worrisome question, “Is the Internet making us “stupider or smarter”?

So fear the Internet no longer great Canadians!  Take heart in knowing that your online digital indulgence may just actually be enhancing your cognitive skills and making you smarter.

What are your thoughts on how the Internet impacts our thinking and intelligence?  Does constant access to information actually help us to learn more?  Will our brains ever become supercomputers that have the ability to process and retain reams of data?

Teri-Lynn James,
Communications Specialist

Reference

Small, Gary.  Research shows that Internet is rewiring our brains.  ULCA, 04 Feb. 2004.  Web. February 2014.

Links to related articles

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120424-does-the-internet-rewire-brains
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shaahin-cheyene/internet-brain_b_1248845.html?view=screen

 

The opinions expressed by this blogger are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions or views of TekSavvy Solutions Inc.

Internet Server Room

Stay One Step Ahead of your Data Plan

The Internet’s come a long way in the last 20 years. I remember having to coordinate with my parents’ phone call schedules so that I could jump online to MySpace or MSN Messenger with the revolutionarily high speeds of dial-up. If I was lucky, I could even get enough time online to download a couple of songs before someone picked up the phone and knocked me off my connection.

Back in those days, the amount of data we used was never really an issue. Let’s face it. We could realistically only download so much content with the speeds that were available. But as I said, we’ve come a long way. Now, there are packages available that allow you to surf and stream up to 150Mbps. Put into perspective, that’s roughly over 2,700-times faster than traditional dial-up! These new speeds can open up an entirely new world of possibilities to explore online. But if you’re not careful, you might discover that while exploring this online world, your data can add up quickly.

So how can you make sure you aren’t going over your limit? Here are a few options that have helped me in the past.

1.     Check with your Internet Service Provider (ISP). In my experience, giving your ISP a quick call to check how far into your monthly data plan you are is a simple process. You might want to make sure you have an ISP with great customer service though!

2.     Use a tracking tool. Some ISPs will provide a tracking tool to their customers. Simply log in to your customer account – which is typically online – and you’ll see how much data you’ve used up so far.

3.     Track with a spreadsheet. This option may not be the easiest solution of the three listed here, but it can certainly be an effective one. If you take a look at how much data it takes to download or stream the specific types of media you use, you can do some quick math to see approximately how much you can stream without hitting your cap. Take a look below to find the average data rates for some of the different types of media.

Data Rates

Media Size Chart

Now, if you’re anything like me, finding yourself regularly lost in a Netflix binge is all too familiar. So let’s put some of the above data rates into perspective.

Two months ago, I decided it would be a great idea to watch the entire 2nd season of House of Cards in a single day. Some call me ambitious… In any case, let’s do the math on this. If there are 13 episodes in a season, each between 45 and 60 minutes, that adds up to almost 8GB of data – assuming you watch in HD. Now tack that on to any other hefty gaming downloads or movie streaming you do, and you’ve racked up quite the amount of data per month.

So how can you avoid paying an arm and a leg to get the amount of data you need? Doing a little bit of research into indie ISPs like TekSavvy will show you that it’s easier – and cheaper – than ever to save! With high speed Internet starting at just $24.95 per month and with available Unlimited data options, you’ll never have to worry about going over your limit again.

It’s time to surf and stream with confidence. Make the switch to TekSavvy today!

Graham Hamilton
Marketing Communications Specialist