Category Archives: business

Think Magazine launches August 10

Think Magazine launched Monday. Editor Jacqueline Carlisle wanted to her magazine to launch paperless and yet still have the look of a print magazine, not an easy task for an online product.

The focus of Think is sustainable living in a light, friendly atmosphere. Editor-in-chief Jacqueline Carlisle has spent months behind the scenes getting her magazine just the right look prior to Monday’s launch. Carlisle, a beautiful Brit living in Toronto, has put her love of the sustainable world into a very eco-friendly design. Without the use of paper she has been able to give the same quality that one would expect from a high quality production. The magazine uses flash to carry readers through beautifully presented articles. Toronto’s Mychol Scully has used his expertise in coding to do this. The first issue features articles on clothing designer Ada Zanditon, designer Andrew Haarsager and a new breed of eco-friendly cars which was also published today at Digital Journal.

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The compressed-air powered AIRPod is car for green living

The designers of the AIRPod took into consideration large cities and the environment when putting their cars on the drawing board. What came from those considerations is a car that is perfect for the city dweller and leaves zero pollution in its wake.

Using the Swiss company MDI’s engine designs and adapting the technologies to enable an oxygen powered engine to fuel a car. AIRPod is able to do the impossible — use compressed air to power a car. For those who are focused on preserving the environment AIRPod is a dream for consumers. The AIRPod was on display this winter at the International Geneva Motor Show 2009. During the 10-day event the MDI stand saw almost 700,000 visitors. Some of those that hit the stand had checkbooks in hand ready to be one of the first to own an AIRPod or at the very least to rent one. According to those who worked the event’s stand on average 200 people wanted their own AIRPod daily. AIRPod is a revolutionary vehicle that takes green living to the streets. The Swiss-made car uses compressed air instead of gasoline for fuel. The concept car left the production line in Spring 2009.

The car uses a joystick for steering. A fill-up only costs a single euro per 200 km. On busy city streets the AIRPod breezes in and out of tight parking spaces enabling the driver a wider range of parking spots. The sharp design is an added plus for trendy city drivers. The compact AIRPod car can seat three adults and one child and still provide room for luggage. Dedicated to both the private and public consumer the AIRPod delivers a sound investment. The AIRPod Baby is a two-seater with a luggage area of more than 500 liters. The Baby was designed with the city driver’s needs with enough flexibility to be able to be used for deliveries, municipal services, roads and small logistics.

// <![CDATA[// // <![CDATA[// Need more room? The AIRPod Cargo was designed for those that need cargo space. The cargo area can hold up to a meter cube making it easy to shuttle deliveries around town. The AIRPod has even made it into children’s storybooks. “From the Air for the Planet” written by Mr. Jean-Marie Defossez raises awareness about environmental protection for the next generation. The book tells the adventures the characters face while they look for pollution free vehicles to get around in. Published by Flammarion the book can be found on the Internet. While the AIRPod is still hard to get soon air-powered cars will be pulling into a parking spot close to you.


Western Companies, Iran, China and the Media Backlash

Siemens AG and Nokia Corp are denying that their technology is being used by Iran to censor and spy on the online activities of their citizens.
Nokia Siemens Network announced on Monday that while Iran’s government did buy telecommunications systems. That equipment according to Nokia Siemens has built-in monitoring technology that will only work on voice communications and not on the Internet.

CBS reports:

“The lawful intercept capability is purely for local voice calls,” spokesman Ben Roome told CBSNews.com. “We don’t know who may have provided other Internet technologies to Iran.”

Any Western company that is linked with the Iranian governments monitoring of its citizens could have lasting business implications.

When Yahoo did business with China Washington’s politicians were quick to attack CEO Jerry Yang. Cisco faced the similar scrutiny when the company sold Internet switches and routes to China.

The Wall Street Journal has gone on the attack against Nokia Siemens Networks concerning Iran. On Monday’s front page the paper proclaimed: “Iran’s Web Spying Aided By Western Technology.”

“We didn’t know they could do this much,” said a network engineer in Tehran. “Now we know they have powerful things that allow them to do very complex tracking on the network.”

This claim can be disputed by the company but the headline will stick with readers during this time of unrest in the Middle Eastern country.

Spokesman for Nokia Siemens Networks, Ben Roome has had to face the accusations from the major news source pointing out the inaccuracies of the article. While there may be faults concerning wiretap-ready mobile phone networking that network has allowed for the rest of the world to hear communications from within the country during this crisis.

“Mobile networks in Iran, and the subsequent widespread adoption of mobile phones, have allowed Iranians to communicate what they are seeing and hearing with the outside world,” he said. “The proof of this is in the widespread awareness of the current situation.”

It is difficult to know what technology is being used by the Iranian government to track their citizens use of the Internet and mobile cell phones. In 2005 a Berkman Center report stated that Iran was using Secure Computing’s SmartFilter to block the use of the Web from its citizens.

At that time company president John McNulty was quoted as saying: “We have been made aware of ISPs in Iran making illegal and unauthorized attempts to use of our software. Secure Computing is actively taking steps to stop this illegal use of our products.”

The software is now owned by McAfee and marketed under the name McAfee SmartFilter.

CBS reports:

“We have never seen any direct evidence or hard proof that Iran has ever used any McAfee or Secure Computing product,” McAfee said in an e-mailed statement on Monday. “McAfee complies with all export laws and regulation applicable to its products. Rigorous due diligence was conducted prior to the acquisition of Secure Computing and there was no indication of any contract in Iran or support being provided in Iran.” (A U.S. economic embargo restricts trade with Iran.)

When nations like Iran purchase such software they can claim it is for lawful activity. Claims that the West is helping them can be a powerful media tool to harm a company’s name.

The reality is that Iran’s ability to monitor and block the Web and cell phone use could be home grown.

The West’s technology has been used though in the past by their own governments to tap citizens.

Jay Botelho, WildPackets’ director of product management, said the best way for an Iranian Internet provider to monitor its customers would be to use one bank of monitoring equipment for e-mail, another for Web browsing, a third for VoIP calls, and so on. “Using our product, the easiest way to monitor everything is to hook onto an (extra port) port off your main switch,” Botelho said. “The problem is that depending on the traffic, that could overload an appliance. But if you slowed everything down, you’d get everything.”

In Iran that does not pose a problem. The country has limited connectivity to the outside and download speeds are much slower than in many other nations.

Providing nations with the ability to allow their citizens to communicate with the outside world can put technology companies in a Catch-22. The network systems have to have filters and those filters can be used in the wrong way by some governments. The alternative is not to provide questionable nations with the equipment but then the citizens are without the media of communication.

There is no easy answer to the dilemma.


MySpace proposed restructuring will slash 300 international jobs

MySpace is restructuring its international operations in order to refocus personnel with a reduced area of territories. MySpace believes it will be able to retain a robust global consumer presence by doing this.
According to a press release from the company, MySpace’s international staff will be cut back from the current 450 international employees to 150. The company also announced four offices outside of the United States would be closed down according to a press release.

The MySpace offices in London, Berlin and Sydney would become the primary hubs for international operations under the proposed plan. Offices in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, and Spain would be placed under review for possible restructure.

Since the 2005 purchase of MySpace by News Corp., the company has faced difficulty adding to its user base. Facebook has surpassed MySpace in usage with more than 200 million members compared to the 125 million that are members of MySpace.

Jonathan Miller, the recently appointed CEO of digital media and chief digital officer at News Corporation has stated that MySpace had grew too big when one considered the marketplace in today’s economy.

“With roughly half of MySpace’s total user base coming from outside the U.S., maintaining productive and efficient operations in our international markets is important to users worldwide and our immediate financial strength,” said MySpace Chief Executive Officer Owen Van Natta. “As we conducted our review of the company, it was clear that internationally, just as in the U.S., MySpace’s staffing had become too big and cumbersome to be sustainable in current market conditions. Today’s proposed changes are designed to transform and refine our international growth strategy.”

Last week MySpace announced the company was reducing its staff by 30 per cent within the United States.

Times Online reports:

Owen Van Natta, the chief executive, said: “As we conducted our review of the company, it was clear that internationally, just as in the US, MySpace’s staffing had become too big and cumbersome to be sustainable in current market conditions.”

The total restructured work force for MySpace will go from 1,950 to 1,150.

The MySpace offices in Japan and locally owned MySpace China are not affected by the proposed plan.


Toronto Now a Star in Film, TV Productions

Toronto has long been a spot for film, turning the shots into whatever city is needed. New York, Chicago, Berlin – Toronto has been crafted into them. The tide is changing and now dramas are not only being shot in Toronto but the city is starring as well.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is being filmed in Toronto at the moment. Stars Michael Cera, Chris Evans and Brandon Routh can be spotted around town. A Starbucks on Spadina has served the young Cera a few times. One server who wishes not to be named told Digital Journal that the young star is friendly. While the spotting of the stars is nice for the city what’s more impressive is that Toronto is becoming the focus of many films.

Pizza Pizza can be seen as it really is. Casa Loma is featured as a real place in a battle scene. The spots that mean something to Torontonians are getting filmed as they are really known. Scott Pilgrim is a graphic novel set in Toronto.

Toronto can thank Hollywood writers for the nod to the city. Had it not been for the writer’s strike in 2007 Toronto may not be getting the recognition that it is now. When the writers in the States were striking Canadian shows started filtering onto US screens.

The Globe and Mail reports:

“Bathurst Street is practically the cerebral cortex of Scott Pilgrim,” said Miles Dale, one of the film’s producers, who stood at the back of the set wearing the de rigueur producer’s uniform of jeans, baseball cap and chin stubble. He also produced, among others, Hollywoodland (shot in Toronto but set in Los Angeles) and Talk to Me (shot in Toronto but set in Washington, D.C.). Mr. Dale calls Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – based on a series of graphic novels by Toronto writer Bryan Lee O’Malley – “the biggest movie ever identifiably set in Toronto. The books are super-specific in their local details, and Edgar Wright, from the beginning, was set on using images from the books. Universal never suggested setting it anywhere else.”

Atom Egoyan’s next film, Chloe, was meant to take place in San Francisco while being filmed in Toronto. The director convinced his French backers to switch the setting to Toronto. Because of that switch stars Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson and Amanda Seyfried are being filmed on McCaul Street, College Street, at the University of Toronto and other places around the city.

Flashpoint is a new hit TV show and also being filmed with Toronto as its backdrop. The Eaton Centre has been featured as well as other downtown spots.

Toronto has arrived. Being one of the Queen Bee’s for setting gives the city Hollywood clout.


Your weekly shopping bag could make you sick

Do you clean your reusable grocery bags each week before you put them away? If you don’t you could be setting your family up for a painful bout of food poisoning.
Using reusable bags for your marketing is a great idea for the environment but make sure you clean the bags after each use. Toronto-based Sporometrics research director Dr. Richard Summerbell warns of a food poisoning risk from contaminated bags as just one of several conditions. Other risks from a dirty bag include bacterial boils, allergic reactions, triggering of asthma attacks, and ear infections.

The study conducted showed that 64% of the reusable bags tested were contaminated with some level of bacteria and close to 30% had elevated bacterial counts higher than what’s considered safe for drinking water.

One key containment was the presence of faecal intestinal bacteria. All meat should be individually wrapped before being put in your shopping bag.

Don’t use your shopping bags for anything other than shopping for safety sake. Shopping bags are not multi-taskers.

One tip I can offer is reusing the bags for collecting recycling at your house. We use the bags for this and they hold up well week after week. Because the bags are only used for recycling they are not taken out again for marketing trips. The bags that are have to be cleaned after each trip.


US Cigarette Companies Lose Appeal In Federal Court

Cigarette companies in the United States will no longer be allowed to market tobacco products as “low tar,” “light,” “ultra light” or “mild.”
After deceiving the public for years cigarette markers were found in 2006 guilty of fraud and violating racketeering laws. That ruling was upheld on Friday in federal appeals court.

The companies must now change the labeling on cigarettes after the court upheld the 2006 ruling that “low tar,” “light,” “ultra light” or “mild” are deceptive terms and no safer than any other cigarette.

Today’s ruling also states companies must publish “corrective statements” on the adverse health effects and addictiveness of smoking and nicotine.

The changes were not required while the case was in the appeals process.

The case was filed when President Clinton was still in office in 1999. President Bush’s administration pursued the case after getting criticism for discussing the weaknesses of the case.

CNN Money reports:

“We affirm the district court’s judgment of liability in its entirety except as to (the trade groups) CTR and TI, with regard to which we vacate the judgment and remand with directions to dismiss them from the suit,” the three-judge appeals court panel concluded in its 92-page ruling Friday.

The final ruling today was against the defendants; Philip Morris USA Inc. and its parent, Altria Group Inc.; R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.; Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.; British American Tobacco Ltd.; Lorillard Tobacco Co.; Counsel for Tobacco Research-U.S.A.; and the now-defunct Tobacco Institute.

The only company that was excluded from today’s ruling was the Liggett Group Inc. The court found that the company had come forward in the 1990s and admitted that smoking causes disease and is addictive. They have also cooperated with federal investigators.