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Monthly Archives: September 2013

Hopes that new device-specific database will deter smartphone thefts

Everyone knows that the smartphone industry is big business, worth billions worldwide every year. But the black market in smartphones is also big, and getting bigger all the time. Every second, two smartphones are stolen in the US, according to the District Attorneys of New York and California. They are now among the most-stolen items from individuals. By some accounts, fully one-third of all robberies in the US are of smartphones. Chicago is the worst US city, apparently, but London, England reportedly has 10,000 thefts per month. Most of the thefts take place in schools, but also in cars, homes, businesses and on the street. Often the robbery is violent. ... Read More »

Employment numbers, housing market lift consumer confidence in Canada

Consumer confidence in Canada rose again in September, suggesting that Canadians are feeling a little better about their actual and future economic prospects. The Conference Board of Canada Consumer Confidence Index increased 6.2 points over August’s reading, to reach 91. A separate poll conducted by Investors Group during the last two weeks of August had a reading of 81.2, up from 79.7 in May. For comparison’s sake, and to demonstrate how closely these consumer readings reflect economic realities, the consumer confidence index in October, 2008 in the US, at the beginning of the great recession, stood at a 40-year low of 38. It plummeted to that low from 61.8, already ... Read More »

Condos are for families, too

Besides dealing with somewhat unusual (for a TV sitcom) subject matter, the new Michael J Fox Show on NBC presents a somewhat unusual family living arrangement, again, for a TV sitcom about a family. Fox and his TV family, consisting of a wife, a teenaged son and daughter, and a younger son of about eight or nine, are shown living together in a New York City apartment. It isn’t clear whether they own it or rent. And this being an American network TV show, the apartment is pretty grand and probably not at all what most apartments in that city look like. In a couple of scenes, it was actually ... Read More »

Tips on how to keep condo fees in check

Nobody likes rising costs for services, and especially when there’s no apparent benefit to be seen. Condo owners often complain about their condo maintenance fees. In fact, that is probably the most frequently heard complaint, and with it comes the question, why can’t they ever go down instead? The Condominium Act specifies a number of rights for Ontario condo owners. These include the right to receive an annual budget and a periodic reserve fund study the right to attend an annual general meeting the right to access most condo records the right to representation by a board that is accountable Based on these owners’ rights, here are a few ways ... Read More »

Two labour union bills, two different outcomes

A pair of bills that will have an impact on Ontario’s construction industry have been working their way through the legislature. The two consecutively number bills, 73 and 74, have to do with the role of unionized labour in the industry. One of the bills, 73, has been defeated; the other is still in committee. As always when a labour issue is involved, the debate has been fiercely partisan, though in the case of Bill 74, some might say it has made strange bedfellows out of  conservative leader Tim Hudak and Premier Wynne. Bill 73 was called the Fair and Open Tendering Act, and was concerned with the ability of ... Read More »

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