Category Archives: Opinions

Quebec Attracts Cryptocurrency Miners While China Bans Them

Hydro Quebec was hard at work last few years trying to attract Fortune 500 technology companies and its money to Quebec, mainly French speaking Canadian province.

Just recently, Hydro Quebec has convinced Amazon to open data center in Montreal area last year.

The sales pitch from Hydro Quebec is simple: in Quebec we have very very cheap hydro. The cost of hydro in Quebec is about half the price of hydro rates in neighboring Ontario and about 70% cheaper than New York State.

But instead of traditional data centers, and renewable energy Hydro Quebec found a new super eager to do business client type: miners of crypto currencies such as bitcoin.

Hydro Quebec reports that over 35 crypto currency companies have approached them due to cheap cost and political uncertainty in other jurisdictions.

Quangpraha / Pixabay

While Quebec is in the process of signing deals with crypto currency companies , other jurisdictions such as China and South Korea have considered or decided to ban the industry (including mining) all together.

China announced last week that:

“Bitcoin miners should make an “orderly exit” from China because they have consumed “huge amounts of resources and stoked speculation of ‘virtual currencies.”

That’s why demand in Quebec cheap hydro rates are skyrocketing. Canadian government have made no comment on whether they are siding with crypto currencies or planning to ban them so far and that is why a lot of businesses want to move to Quebec due to regulations, a lot of capacity and cheap hydro costs.

As this article is being written Bitcoin has plunged another 18% over the last week’s value to the current value of $13,700 USD from $17,000. But has risen over 20 times over the last year. If you have invested $1k on January 1, 2017 you would have $20k today.

US Judge to Canada – Hands Off Google

California Federal judge blocked the Canadian ruling that was trying to make Google delete search results from its system.

This is definitely a nice win for Google as it is telling other countries to stop interfering with US jurisdiction where Google servers are based.

jp26jp / Pixabay

This is the first time when US judge tells a foreign country to buzz off and weighted its opinion on who gets to police the internet. Not Canada apparently.

This debate is much larger in Europe where French court has “ordered” Google to remove searches when it comes to “right to be forgotten” privacy rules. European top courts are recently reviewing the legality of that decision.

Back to Canada – British Columbia provincial court sought to block Datalink Technologies Gateways Inc. from showing up in the results as it deemed that it was stealing trade secrets and wanted its website shut down. Google balked at the order, and took it to Supreme Court which sided with British Columbia order. Not giving up, Google filed a case in United States asking for US to consider Canadian decision unconstitutional and unenforceable in the U.S.

adampaulclay / Pixabay

Google said that First Amendment rights were violated and if enforced this can have disastrous effect.

US Judge Edward Davila said that Canada violated US federal law.

“We’re pleased with the court’s decision to uphold the legal principle that one country shouldn’t be able to decide what information people in other countries can access online. Undermining this core principle inevitably leads to a world where internet users are subject to the most restrictive content limitations from every country.”” Google senior product counsel David Price said Friday.

Even though the ruling is now not enforcable in the US, it is still enforceable in Canada.

It will be interesting to see over the next 10-20 years, how some countries decide that they want to police the internet and try to apply the ruling around the world.

Google is still fighting 2015 order by France to apply the privacy law (right to be forgotten) not just in France or European Union but around the world.

Quebec to Ban Women With Face Veils And How It Will Affect Tech

Canadian Province of Quebec is the first in North America to go ahead with banning veils on public transit and government institutions. This is the newly introduced Bill 62 that will prevent you from covering your face in spaces that are controlled by the government.

Quebec is the first place in North America where it will now be prohibited to wear the niqab or burka if you want to receive public services.

Hans / Pixabay

The interesting part was that the bill was passed by 66 vs 51 in favor not because the other parties objected but because they wanted it to be even stronger – wanted to ban kippahs and turbans as well.

Toronto Star recently interviewed Solange Lefebvre, a professor at Universite de Montreal who researches culture and religion in society, and said that Quebec is mainly influenced by French intellectuals when it comes to secularism and religious neutrality.

“It’s very clear why they did this. It’s the French influence. Quebec is a territory where the majority of people are francophone and who are historically Catholic and this combination with the intellectual ideas in France make it so France has a (strong) influence in Quebec.”

– Solange Lefebvre, a professor at Universite de Montreal

So if Quebec is similar to France why should we implement all their shortcomings? Do we need to copy any elements of France’s failed relations between Muslims and the non-Muslim majority? The parts of France where communities rarely mingle and Muslim community is deemed as outcast? The very low rate of integration?

Some Twitter users were not happy about this newly introduced law:

Yet some others supported it:

Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister, released the following statement on Twitter after Quebec passed the law.

It is a cruel joke to claim you are liberating people from oppression by dictating in law what they can and cannot wear.

– Justin Trudeau

Ontario Liberal Government has also criticized Quebec for passing it. They said that Quebec’s newly created bill is against Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and will most certainly be challenged in court. They said similar bill will not be considered in Ontario as government must respect person’s right to express themselves (including cloth) and their religion as they wish.

You are wondering why we at PlanetWeb care about this and what this has to do with tech.

geralt / Pixabay

The thing is there are a lot of Muslim women and their kids who chose to wear veil, who want to go to school to study, who want to go to library to educate themselves, whose parents do not have cars and need to take a bus to the library.

When this bill will come into effect these young women will not be able to get proper education and will have decide whether to give up their religion or go to university or library.

Even to go get a medical check-up or go to parent-teacher interview – they will have to part with their religion to do those things we take for granted.

Brendan Myers, Cegep Prof, from Gatineau said that he will not abide the law and allow niqab and burka in his classroms.

This will also affect Quebec on the world stage as it will get a bad reputation for not respecting Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms protect freedom of religion and expression. This is because this law is essentially is preventing an entire class of people from one religion from working as public servants or receiving public services is a violation of those rights.

How will multinational companies can continue investing in place where entire class of people from one religion can not even get to work because they are not allowed to take a bus?

North Carolina passed a transgender bathroom law which required that people at a government-run facility must use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to the gender on their birth certificate. A lot of people protested against and deemed it racist. Companies like Facebook and Google opposed the bill and said that they will pull out of that state if the bill is not repealed.

It will be interesting to see if any Quebec’s private institution will voice their opinions in regards to this newly created bill.

It is also interesting to note that Forum poll last year found 28 percent of Canadians viewed Muslims unfavourably, that attitude was much more prevalent in Quebecers polled, at 48 percent. Is Islamophobia hiding behind notion of secularism in Quebec?

Quebec, of course, is very different from the rest of Canada for many different reasons. Anti-Muslim sentiment shouldn’t be one of them. To be seen.

 

9 Changes To Make Your LinkedIn Profile Standout

LinkedIn has quickly became #1 tool in Canada and the US where recruiters go to search for candidates whether it is for internal position or agency recruiters go to search for their external clients.

Here are several ways to improve your LinkedIn profile to get more exposure , more interviews, more offers, and in turn more competitive salary offers. You can buy us beer ummm I mean thank us later.

Incomplete Profile – Big No No

If you have LinkedIn profile that does not outline your employment history, that is a big no no. Recruiters do not know if you will be a good match, and therefore will skip your profile and go down the list of other 2,391 matches they are going through.

Professional Profile Photo

Please do not post picture of you partying or hangover or whatever. Wear business casual shirt / pants and take a picture. It will go a long way.

Your Connections

It is always a good idea to be connected with few hundred or more connections. Having no connections send bad signal to recruiter that you are not even trying.

Resume = LinkedIn Profile

Once in a while we get a candidate whose resume is different from his LinkedIn profile. It does not matter your reason for it – always have your resume = linkedin profile. This will most likely red flag you in the eyes of even junior recruiters.

Just Say It

Yeah, we get it – you went to Thailand for few years, before you backpacked in Australia. But common, keep your summary short and professional , and of course to the point. There is no need for an essay on your LinkedIn profile.

Headline = Money Maker

When recruiters search for candidates they only see headline and your title, and the company you are working at. We need to click on it to open up your full profile. So take advantage of that, do not just say IT Die Hard Ninja – but be precise of what you do – Backend Java Developer, otherwise your profile will be skipped over.

Jargon

Ninja that, and superstar this. Just tell us what you do. Enough with the jargon.

Be Active

By liking LinkedIn content, commenting on news, etc – your profile will stand out and rank on top of others (the way LI algorithm works) – so be active.

Open Candidate

By turning on Open Candidate option on LinkedIn – you are letting recruiters know that you are open to job opportunities. Use that.

Trump Scared Amazon, or Why Canada Might Get Amazon HQ2

You must be living under a rock if you did not hear about Amazon’s plan to add a new city to host their second head office.

Different publications, blogs and mediums have rushed to the internet with their predictions. Cities like Denver, Colorado, and Austin, TX area as well as Chicago were being highlighted as potentials for Amazon’s HQ2.

A lot of naysayers are saying that Canada can never compete with the US on kickbacks aka subsidies that US cities and states can provide to the retail’s giant.

TravelingMice / Pixabay

Why Canada has a Chance

However Canada has one thing going that US does not. We do not have Trump north of the border. And this will help Canada tremendously as US giant might want to diversify their assets, and get easier access to more talent.

Mayor Jim Watson of Ottawa on a visit to Seattle said – according to NY Times:  “Amazon has something like 9,000 engineering jobs they can’t fill. Our immigration policy is much more liberal. That’s where we have an advantage.”

Canada Can Do It

Quiet a few cities in Canada can satisfy few of Amazon’s demands. Let’s see:

  • 1m people or more – yes
  • International Airport – yes
  • Tax Breaks – maybe
  • Affordable housing – maybe
  • Attract Good talent – maybe

Size Matters

Size of course matters to Amazon and that is why med population city might be disqualified on a spot – cities like Edmonton, Calgary , Winnipeg and Ottawa. With unemployment already at 0.02% in IT, it would be interesting how mid sized cities can help Amazon to hire 50,000 top notch engineers in those cities.

Location Matters Also

Location matters also – with Seattle being HQ1, why would Amazon open HQ2 within few hundred kilometers away from HQ1. It makes no sense.

Parlez-vous Français?

Language and ability to attract highly talented staff might prove difficult for Montreal to get Amazon to come there. With governing opposition parties pushing for making French language mandatory for companies with 10 or more employees – it would be interesting to see how Amazon the largest retail ecommerce store would handle that. Also getting highly specialized talent to come to Montreal with their families would prove to be difficult due to salaries / language requirements.

Toronto is Where It is at

No matter how competitive other cities in Canada are. Toronto is where HQ2 will open if it would be open in Canada. Toronto has a vibrant economy and is already considered to be a top place for tech businesses to operate in. With population of around 5m within an hour drive and specialized tech talent – Toronto can rival any US city.

Yellow Pages Bad Business Practices

This post is our experience in dealing with Yellow Pages and their reps over the last year. Let this be a lesson for anyone considering doing business with them.

Last year after checking our website logs we have discovered that even though they charge thousands of dollars a year we have less than few hundred clicks from them so we have decided not to continue as we heavily advertise on Google / Yelp / Bing.

We have tried to cancel multiple times our subscriptions as they call it but they say there is nothing they can do about it – as they say : “it keeps on renewing automatically”.  The agent we need to speak to is never around – and all we get is a voicemail. The reps we speak to on a phone – noone can help – because you need a client retention specialist to speak to. They take your information , however you keep on getting invoices / bills for services you have never authorized, need or provided a credit card for (they charge $300 for a Yellow Pages book listing – who reads those books nowdays???) They keep on insisting that few years when you signed up for service you were given this information on the phone that essentially locks you with them and keeps on auto renewing. Is this insane or what?

After scanning reviews online – it seems we are not the only ones affected by this bad business practices where they lock you in  contracts, not letting go, because their business is dying (already dead?) due to competition from Google, Yelp, Bing.

Reviews below are from feedback website sitejabber:

Glenmore R. comments:

YP deserves a zero for their business practices!
They offer a terrible service, not worth the money then force you to be their customer through auto renewall process, then they pretend they can’t cancel service.

Waste of money,
terrible service
Poor business practice

Dishani G. comments:

“Should go out of Business for their Dirty Tactics”
7/14/17
Too bad there isn’t a negative star because they deserve it for their dirty tactics of putting customers on the hook for contracts they didn’t want, and not letting them get out of a contract. My husband has been trying to cancel a service that they tricked him into signing up for a year by quickly reading the terms to him over the phone and slipping that in without being transparent. And apparently on top of cancelling the contract; he has to explicitly state in a letter that he doesn’t want a new one to be automatically renewed. What kind of bogus practices is that. They have been very evasive every time he calls saying “the guy” who cancels the contract is out of office and will call back. How come there is only one guy that cancels the contract and 100 vultures that can sign you up for one? Is is some special rocket science technique that only one person in the company knows. They make is difficult and a complete waste of the customers time on purpose so we will give up. What a terrible company.

Kevin B. comments:

“YELLOWPAGES MAFIA…worse than Air Canada…get your head examined if you deal with this company”
6/30/17
I’ve been dealing with this Mickey Mouse organization for over 9 months trying to get answers. They are continually billing for contracts that are either cancelled, closed or have never been renewed. It’s like a self administered root canal without freezing. Instead of spending money with these criminals we will be burning piles of 20 dollar bills every Friday in the parking lot. At least this way I will know what I’m getting for my money…the insurance business is less blurry and less confusing.

This bad service is on top of erroneously advertising their services as providing organic search on google, where indeed their service is paid Google adwords add-on. This is reprint from MelbourneGeek.com website about his experience with yellowpages sales rep:

Maybe the Yellow Pages rep was confused, so I decided to clarify:

ME: ”So, just so I get this right, you are talking about organic search?” Yellow Pages: ”yes”

ME: ”Not paid ads up the top?”

Yellow Pages: ”No, I am talking about organic search. Yellow Pages have a Partnership with Google.”

She was confident about it. I asked her: ME: Are you ACTUALLY from Yellow Pages? Yellow Pages: Yes, I am actually from Yellow Pages, I am not an agent. I can give you a number to call back if you have any further questions.

It sounds really appealing to a business owner. I can imagine what the average small business owner would be thinking:

*Everyone has been saying that Yellow Pages is a big rip off for years. But now they are in bed with Google. They are a Google PARTNER! I want to be number one on Google. This sounds great.*

Read more here: MelbourneGeek.com website

One Thing You Need to Look At When Hiring Someone (according to Shark Tank investor)

Daymond Garfield John is an American businessman, investor, television personality, author, and motivational speaker. He is best known as the founder, president, and CEO of FUBU, and appears as an investor on the ABC reality television series Shark Tank. He is based in New York City.

According to Daymond, one thing you need to look for an interview when hiring someone is whether you can stand that person. Meaning can you hang out / talk / go have a beer with this person every day of your life for the next 5 or 10 years. Because if not , no matter how good the resume is you will probably regret your hiring decision.

Make sure you like this person as a human being and can get along. Daymond says a lot of people hide behind technology or their resume – but see them for who they are and see if you can get along before making that hiring decision.

You can watch Daymond speak about who will make a good employee in this video cast: