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How WhatsApp Violated Canadian Privacy Law? Unencrypted messages.

Canadians know that we have much stricter online privacy laws than most of our counterparts around the world and with that said, as a company, Canadian Web Hosting, always follows and keeps track of stories that breach our Canadians laws. Why? Because Canadian people and Canadians businesses care very much about where their own data are stored which is right here on Canadian soil. Both of our data centres are located in Vancouver, BC, and Toronto, ON and as you can imagine, we pride ourselves in protecting our customers' data very seriously. Your online data.

Photo © abulhussain on Flickr

Now, if you are the kind of user who enjoys apps and texting, you are probably familiar with WhatsApp Messenger, a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS since the app uses your data plan instead of your texting plan. The app is readily available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia.

A few days ago, the media reported that privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart said that the mobile chat app WhatsApp violated Canadian privacy law and needed to be updated to comply with all her concerns. The article states:

Investigators found messages were being transmitted unencrypted, which left them vulnerable to being intercepted by hackers, particularly on public WiFi hotspots. The company did begin encrypting messages in September in response to the privacy agencies. But Stoddart says WhatsApp still has work to do to resolve all its identified issues. She was unhappy that users were not getting adequate disclosure about how their status messages could be seen by people not on their contact list. The company says it will address the complaint in a new release expected in the fall.

If you're a heavy app user, you might want to think twice about the purpose of the apps that you are using and how one company is utilizing your personal contact information. We often blog about privacy and you can keep up by following our "privacy" tag. Recently, we wrote about data centre physical security, our deployment of SecureIT Botnet and Malware Prevention, and the roles of StopTheHacker and prevention.

If you're looking for additional information on this topic, you may email us at, or call us at 1-877-871-7888. You may also contact us through social media on Twitter at @cawebhosting, through our Facebook Page or leave us a comment below.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru


Why B.C. Stands Out with its Startup Canada Involvement

The Startup Canada team, for six months, did a cross country trip, coast-to-coast, throughout various cities in Canada to gather Canadian entrepreneurs to join a movement. Startup Canada believes that the solution begins with a grassroots, entrepreneur-led movement to bring together Canada’s national entrepreneurship community to create a clear vision and strategy that leads to real change and action. Entrepreneurs are part of our circle, in the past, we shared useful insights on helpful organizations like the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, tips for new small business owners, useful questions for new business owners, and even took part in the most recent Vancouver Startup Weekend. To say, the least, B.C. has a lot going on when it comes to startups and small businesses. A recent article from the Province states that B.C. is the hub for startups, with a nation leading 3.7% of the working population being part of a startup, and Alberta is second. B.C. stands out for leading the country in this area and we're proud of it.

startup, canada

Startup Canada

Social Innovation

During the "Social Impact Entrepreneurship" session, Nicole Stefenelli, president and CEO of Urban Impact, shared her own entrepreneurial story and her key emphasis was on innovation and the importance of being ahead of the curve in order to remain competitive. Attendees had the chance to mingle with the Startup Canada team in an intimate setting then, later, toured the recycling facility. Other social entrepreneurs shared their stories and the main theme surrounded real life problems being solved with innovative solutions using state-of-the-art technologies.

Entrepreneurial Defining Moments

During the middle of the week, the evening session "Aha! Defining moments" showcased lightning pitches from 20 great Vancouver tech startups answering the question: What was your aha! moment or turning point for your company? Some of the answers included wake-up call from accidents, being inspired by customers, wanting to build rather than being told what to do, desire to crowdsource opinions, making business tasks like bookkeeping more accessible, helping society become healthier and many more. They keynote was Rahim Fazal, CEO and co-founder of Involver, later sold to Oracle. Following the theme of the week, he also shared how he began, his past and his current projects, leaving the crowd with some entrepreneurial food for thought. His three main tips were to 1) join the world on your own terms, 2) be vulnerable, and finally, 3) if everything seems under control, you're not driving fast enough.

Innovating Differently

Finally, one of the last sessions was "Innovating Differently: Women, Entrepreneurship & Technology" which consisted of four panels exploring: 1) Innovating Differently: Why women are critical to innovation, engineering and technology, 2) Launching a Start-Up: Lessons Learned from Successes and Failures, 3) The New Economy: How technology is enabling a thriving culture of startups out of the home, 4) Financing Start-Ups: Incubating, Accelerating, Funding– What’s working, what’s not, what’s hot. Lots of insights came out of all of these panels. Innovation could just be a spark. Any failures were just missed opportunities. The hot debate between stay-at-home moms vs. stay-at-home dads came up. Communication and trust between an open partnership were emphasized. Thinking about distribution from the start was another important component. Also, one of the panelists stressed the importance of hiring the right sales force at the right time.

Affordable and Easy Access to Technology

The comment during Startup Canada that we related to the most was how affordable and fast it has become nowadays to launch your own business online and in this day in age, businesses must have an online presence. With the rise in entrepreneurship, here, at Canadian Web Hosting, we're always ready to help you and your business succeed. So, what are you waiting for? You can leave us a comment, tweet us at @cawebhosting or connect with us on Facebook to let us know how we can support you.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru


Several Facts about Instagram that You Might Not Know

Lately, we've been seeing more and more Instagram pictures on our Twitter feed (@cawebhosting) and because of that, we wanted to continue this conversation related to online visual content following our recent article on how you can utilize infographics as a link building tool. If you are reading this post, you most likely know about Instagram and probably are a user yourself. Instagram is a very simple, free smartphone photo sharing application that uses optional filters to make original, sometimes, boring looking pictures into beautiful artwork. Then, depending on you, you can geolocate your picture and easily share your images across different social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Flickr, Tumblr, Posterous, and they can even be emailed as well. For iPhone and Android users, with its popularity, it's become the smartphone's photographer's app of choice.

Instagram Filters

This app is by far one of the most popular and successful apps to this day, and their success story contain many facts that you might not be aware of. Through recent studies and findings, we know that:

  • The power houses behind the app are co-founders, Kevin Systrom (CEO), and Mike Krieger. Between the two of them, they have experience at some of the most well respected technology related companies including Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Meebo.
  • Their catchy blog showcase timely and insightful photosets such as news of the week, national days like National Dog Day, weekends or events, politics and current events. The format is visually pleasing, clean, big and easy to look at with an artistic feel to it.
  • In early 2010, the co founders were initially working on a check-in mobile photography project called “Burbn." Kevin pivoted his original idea due to the user base.
  • On October 6, 2010, Instagram launched in the iPhone App Store.
  • By December 2010, one million users had registered.
  • In 2011, Apple named Instagram as app of the year.
  • On April 3, 2012, when the Android version was released, the app was downloaded over a million times in less than 24 hours.
  • On April 9, 2012, Facebook announced that they would be acquiring Instagram in a staggering deal of $1 billion (US).

Finally, with our latest back-to-school article, this recent infographic provides more facts and figures geared towards college students that some might find relevant:

Courtesy of Online Colleges


Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru

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Back-to-School? Six Mobile Apps for Students

Education and technology go hand in hand. However, with the rise of apps, the current and future technology will continue to change the world of education from the way students take notes to how they interact with all the gadgets available now and in the future including ultrabooks, studying apps, etextbooks, not to mention the free virtual resources all over the web. A recent study by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center shows that since 2009, the percentage of apps for children in every age category from toddler to high school has risen. Additionally, a look at the top 25 apps reveals about 60% of those apps target children per a recent Techvibes article. Since school is just around the corner, we thought that it would be a great idea to share some useful apps (and site) for those who are in education and for those who have children going back to school. From toddlers to college students, these apps can really help our younger generations thrive and become successful in gaining knowledge in the classroom.

Mobile apps
Photo © methodshop on Flickr

The list of apps geared towards education is endless and continues to grow. To get you started, we're sharing 6 apps that you might find helpful:

1. The Chemical Touch ($0.99 on iOS devices): this interactive app is a periodic table to help you learn chemistry in a fun way. When you select different elements, the app provides you with their properties and get definitions of nucleobases. When you can recolor the periodic table, you can visually identify periodic trends. The app will open Wikipedia entries if you have used up all of the app's built-in information.

2. Evernote Peek (Free on iOS devices): this app turns your iPad‘s SmartCover into a flashcard. You won't need any more hard copies of index cards to memorize anything from geography facts, language translations to geometric equations. Evernote helps you turn your notes, audio notes and images into study materials. If you don't have a SmartCover, you can still use virtual smart cover. Check out their video showing how it works.

3. Rate My Professors (site): this isn't an app, but since it could turn out to be a very useful site, we're including this one on our list. helps you figure out which professors to choose from or to avoid through more than 14 million student-generated comments and ratings. They cover 7,500 schools, 1.7 million professors from colleges and universities across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The best part is that it was built for college students, by college students.

4. Graphic Calculator (varies): for your math classes, you can avoid paying for a "real" calculator and invest a few bucks, usually less than $5 into this app. It can be found on iOS, Android OS, and more. Besides, why would you need to carry an extra gadget when you can use your smartphone to do the job? Let this app make your world easier when you're ready to crunch numbers and formulas to solve your classroom assignments.

5. World Atlas ($0.99 on iOS and free on Android OS): this app makes learning easy for your geography class. It provides high-res images with detail and accuracy beyond any Google image. It helps with your history class with visuals such as world flags and facts about each country, including government types and capitals. Some apps may have different map styles, so that you can choose the viewing style that you prefer. Bookmark your favourite places can also be an option depending on the OS that you're using. You may even be able to view the current time or weather, as well.

6. Astrid Tasks/To-do List (Free on both iOS and Android OS): as a student, you have lots of homework, projects and extra curricular activities to keep track of. This app is your personal assistant to help you become more productive and efficient. You'll feel organized and ready to tackle each day with this app that lets you prioritize each to-do activity on your list with due dates (as needed), priority levels and even a calendar. The filters can help you jump quickly from one category to another such as home to school. It's easy to use and you can even share your list with your roommate or other students when you're working on a team project. Now, you can stay on track with your busy student lives.

Finally, Edudemic has a thorough list of 50 apps that you can browse through including DropBox,, Instapaper, iTranslator, WebMD, Street Safe and Math Ref to share some of their finding. What other educational apps do you or your students use? Feel free to share your findings below in our comment section.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru


Vancouver Startup Weekend Recap: Top Three Winners and More

Last week, we shared an exciting event, Vancouver Startup Weekend and as expected, after attending, it was a very full 54-hours of creativity, innovation, collaboration and a whole lot of hustle that occurred at Emily Carr University of Art + Design on Granville Island in Vancouver, including 150 participants plus a group of facilitators, organizers and many volunteers on site, this past weekend.

Vancouver Startup Weekend - August 17-19, 2012

On Friday night, Joey Aquino and Brett Nakatsu from Startup Weekend kicked off the event, with a room buzzing; you could tell that every single person was ready to get going with pitching and working on their fresh ideas. Following their introductions, two keynote speakers took the stage including Thomas Lewis, Principal Technical Evangelist of Microsoft, and Matt Mickiewicz, co-Founder of SitePoint, 99designs and Flippa. Both shared their personal journeys and how they got started in the startup world along with providing some key tips such as spending time with your spouse in order not to neglect the important relationship in your lives, continuing to exercise to stay healthy, to name a few. That evening, Matt tweeted a recent article on Why The Next Big Thing Won't Come From A Fortune 500 Company. Matt touched on similar ideas during his talk similarly to this article, "Questioning the status quo, cutting costs, eliminating hassles, bypassing middle-men, and removing fees certainly go a long way. But being naïve, clueless or wildly--and perhaps inappropriately--ambitious also helps." After two more ice breakers, 63 participants had a chance to pitch their ideas within a 60-second alloted time. 17 ideas were chosen by the attendees using sticky notes as a voting process. Whichever had the most got picked.

John Gray, one of the main organizers and a Techvibes writer, summarizes Saturday and Sunday thoroughly in his latest article, by saying that "all of Saturday and Sunday until 4pm, it was heads down, coding, designing, creating, validating, discovering, listening, pivoting and re-positioning. Original ideas were blown up, some teams blew up, people merged and migrated, and through it all everyone was having a blast."

By the end of Sunday, the judges had to pick the top three teams in front of a full crowd after every team's pitch. Each 5-minute pitch was followed by a quick question-and-answer that often brought out much laughter from the rest of the attendees. In the end, the third place was Rent2Play which was a idea that would make it easier for anyone to secure online recreational equipment rentals. The second place was 7PM Tickets which highlighted the fact that most ticket sellers don't sell their tickets until the day of and that this idea would help these event organizers to help do a final push to sell tickets and for consumers to be able to buy cheaper tickets right before an event. Finally, the first place went to Route Captain, an app that would build a route optimization for the courier industry. Marc Kuo, the leader of this team, mentioned his favourite part of the event on Tech Cocktail stating "[Vancouver Startup Weekend] allowed me to conceptualize this idea that’s been playing in my head for years, ever since I graduated, and actually form a really solid team around it."

In conclusion, Vancouver Startup Weekend was yet another great success for the Startup Weekend family and if you have an idea and you're ready to hustle (developers, designers, marketers, etc), you should definitely check out the next one that will happen in November or by checking the main website to find out about events near you. Otherwise, if you attended this event, you may find more visual content through their official site on Vancouver Startup Weekend 2012 in Photos. We'd be more than glad to help you get started with your hosting needs as well over at

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru