Category Archives: Opinions

Robots in Toronto: Future or Modern Distractions

In the past two years, the world has observed significant changes due to the Pandemic. Technology has taken a shift in paradigm with the help of continuous advancements and researches in AI, making people’s lives easier and bearable. 

New apps and gadgets have been introduced. Along with that, robots have also been seen quite a lot managing chores that were once manhandled. But due to some petitions in recent times, it feels like not many people are happy with this innovation—especially ones with disabilities. 

Petition Against Pink Delivery Robots

Tiny Miles – a company that deals with little pink delivery robots, is on the verge of losing its business. They have been accused of creating a menace on the roads with their robots. David Lepofsky is a retired lawyer and a teacher. He feels that these new robots running around on the pavements make it difficult to commute daily. As David has been blind most of his life, accessibility is a major problem for him. He fears that regardless of the laws created by the government, it’s not helping much since there is no implementation. 

Tiny Miles Robots Are Safe And Tested

CEO-  Ignacio Tartavull has made sure that his robots are safe after hearing Lepofsky’s concerns. They do malfunction sometimes, but those issues are efficiently resolved. Also, a team is designated to pick up the robot if it malfunctions. 

In addition, the robots used for food delivery weigh only 4.5 kg. They also have a friendly speed of 6 km/h, which prevents pedestrians from getting into accidents. He has personally tested these robots to ensure maximum protection. 

Pilot project for robots on the street

The Ministry of Transportation in Canada initiated a pilot project. This project allows companies to operate their robots in public for delivery services and snow shoveling. This project will be monitored by cameras at all times. 

The pilot is supposed to measure the safety of putting robots out in the open. These robots are instructed to be labeled clearly with the company’s name. Also, they should have a speed limit of 10 km/h on sidewalks and 20 km/h on bike lanes. They must weigh less than 125 kgs with 74 cm width. But before the pilot project even ran, pink robots were already operating and are now petitioned to be banned. 

Final Word

According to the city council’s votes, Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee will make final decisions regarding the ban of pink delivery robots. Tiny miles has asked to file a petition. Now only the people can decide the fate of these little robots.

Combating Rising Cybercrimes in Canada

Ever since the pandemic began, the threat of hacking and cyber crimes rose at an alarming rate. Many people and even official sites were hacked which posed a threat regarding the usage of online platforms and the information people provided. It was even a big question mark since Covid-19 made everyone switch to working virtually.

Manitoba worked with Ottawa and temporarily took down their websites in order to boost their protection against cybercrimes and hacking, especially ransomware attacks, which is on the rise in Canada and Canada was in top countries who were the target of cyberattacks.

Cyber Threats and Risks Faced

Sami Khoury, head of the government-run Canadian Centre for Cyber Security said that Canada is among the top countries that has been impacted by cybercrime and the Government needs to advise a sound system for protection against cybercrime faced. The hackers are getting advanced and the state needs to protect themselves accordingly.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made it easy for hackers to advance in their malicious activities, since the entire workload has left the protected and encrypted computer systems of offices to the unprotected systems used at homes. Khoury said that hackers have honed in on system vulnerabilities in the shift to at-home work if this increase and lack of protection against cyberattacks can lead to national and international level threat. 

Not long ago Newfoundland and Labrador’s health-care system faced a major cyber attack of ransomware. Health-care workers were forced to use paper and manual systems for the first time in decades. This attack further put the residents and general public at the risk of identity frauds. The hackers hack data and in return they ask for a hefty amount in order to give the data back.

How do Hackers get a hold of your Data

Federal data shows the average ransom amount paid by the public and private sector soared to $300,000 in 2019 from $25,000 in early 2019 due to work from home shifting. The payment in fall levelled about $175,000. Ransomware hack usually starts from phishing. The victim gets an email which seems like a trusted source and the link(s) in that email that directs someone to the login site of an agency or a government’s site. The hacker gets a hold of the username and password. Such emails may also contain invoice or a receipt which contain viruses.

In such cases, the hackers try to steal as much data as they can and then encrypt the data, locking out the original owner of the data, threatening them for selling the data unless some amount is paid. Then a ransom is demanded which is usually paid in crypto (to protect the anonymity of the hacker).

What is Being done for Protection?

Amid the rising cyber attacks, Khoury’s federal group issued a guidance for the prevention and lookout for ransomware attacks.

Manitoba cyber-security expert Eddie Philips said that the companies and the government are not concerned enough about the threat that cyberattacks pose. He said that companies must have a recovery time objective (RTO). He further said that large firms need disaster recovery plans which include backup databases which workers can use.

Health and Manitoba governments said they had a back-up database and recovery targets which are divided among the departments. They also revamped up their cyber security system that helped secure the system of their workers among the networks.

Alot is being done by the government to combat the rising threat of cybercrimes. Pandemic changed the entire network of how people worked and interacted. Philips said that training is essential to prevent cyberattacks and every company and firm should take measures not only to protect their systems but to also train their employees about possible threats and how to prevent them. Sometimes, hackers just need a little window open through which they can invade and steal essential information. Education and training can help prevent cyberattacks.

Everything That Glitters Isn’t Gold; Secrets Behind Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)

Buy now, pay later! Sounds cool, right? Is it convenient or just a way to trap shopaholics? What do you think? Options to easily pay in four installments were recently introduced in a few developed countries. 

The new payment method doubled the e-commerce transactions in the last year. However, since young people are not known for paying on time, it has negatively impacted their credit history. So, now the critical question is, are these new BNPL payment methods helpful or merely gimmicks. 

How can one utilize these to maximum benefit? Financial advisors these days raise these questions frequently – let’s find out.

Buy Now, Pay Later

The method of shopping using credit and debit cards and later paying in installments is getting famous. BNPL allows users to purchase stuff and later pay in four easy installments like credit cards. 

The only difference is credit card companies charge interest in case of delays. On the other hand, BNPL apps charge a late fee in delayed payments within the scheduled seven days. So shopping is being made convenient but at what cost? Your credit score? 

Jessica Moorehouse, a financial counselor, says that as much as these options look viable, they are playing with psychology. People have started spending more than they can afford. The urge of impulsive buying stops them from building wealth and clearing debts. 

Psychological Aspects Of Shopping

Financial advisors have highlighted the psychological aspects of shopping through BNPL options. While the credit card companies kept the interest low, online shopping rates soared during the pandemic.  

According to a study conducted by Credit Karma, people who used BNPL missed more than one installment. 

See, where are we heading? Yes, exactly more debts!

Here’s a suggestion to all buyers, especially youngsters: Every company has a different set of terms and conditions that one needs to go through thoroughly. 

Reading Through Terms And Conditions

Stocking up everything through BNPL services looks like a convenient deal to many. However, little do the consumers pay attention towards reading the terms and conditions mentioned regarding missing payments. 

Final Word

In the modern-day, when we crave a luxurious lifestyle, BNPL can be a fantastic option to maintain the lifestyle. However, one should thoroughly review the pros and cons before adopting it to enjoy maximum benefits. 

Happy Shopping, you all!

Bill 96 Quebec Explained: 9 Astonishing Ways The Bill Will Impact Tech Companies And Startups in Quebec

A new bill in Quebec that will most likely become law soon will severally restrict companies in Quebec by making it almost illegal to operate in English. Below we will have Bill 96 Quebec explained.

Imagine, you are a small startup of 5 employees and you are sitting at your desk developing that new Cloud software, but suddenly you have a bunch of OQLF (Quebec Board of the French Language) inspectors rushing into your office screaming for you to give them your cell phones, and laptops because they have received a complain that your business does not adhere to the new bill. That might soon become a harsh reality.

https://twitter.com/ColinStandish/status/1445965285945663488

And no – they do NOT even need a warrant from a judge – they can just show up any time someone files an alleged offence against your company.

BILL 96 QUEBEC EXPLAINED: We have analyzed the bill and will review some of the impacts that will happen to technology companies and tech startup businesses in Quebec if the bill becomes a law (which seems very likely at this point)

BILL 96 QUEBEC EXPLAINED

BILL 96 QUEBEC EXPLAINED

No need to be a customer

You have to serve your customers in French no matter what and you will face penalties if your company has 5 or more employees. The new bill also includes a clause where it says that even your non-consumer clients (ie anyone in Quebec) can file a claim against your company for not providing information in French. So even if you are a company of 5 people and develop software – you might be liable for not communicating in French and will face penalties.

Government agencies / Legal Procedings

Additional burden is also added to the new bill when it comes to dealing with government agencies as well as going to court. You now have to provide all the documents in French , and if you do not have them in French, you have to translate them into French at your own cost. So basically going to small claims court to collect any money or enforce a rule of law – you will have to do it in French only. The new law also bans Quebec government employees from speaking English to you (even if they know how to speak it) – so you have to speak French or designate a French speaking employee to speak to the government when it comes to anything.

Agreements in French only

All agreements in French SVP. The way it is now, many companies put a clause in their contracts stating that the agreement will be in English and all parties are OK with it. After the new bill passes, that would be illegal and you will have to write your agreements only in French.

Hiring Must Be in French (with a few exceptions)

Do you speak French? The new bill will make it mandatory to hire in French and to justify to the government when you need to hire someone who does not speak French. If you need a developer and do not care what language he or she speaks – you will need to justify that to the government in French for the reason why. If you publish your job in English only and hire English speakers – and can not provide a reason for why – you might face still penalties (see below).

This new bill will definitely hurt Montreal ability to attract and retain companies and employees that work in international markets.

If Montreal wants to be on the cutting edge in special effects, in the video game industry, if we want to be part of the dynamic that attracts business headquarters that are pan-Canadian or international, we have to find a way of accepting that the language of [international] business is English

Michel Leblanc

President of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

Francization Certificate

You will now be required to obtain Francization certificate when you are a company of just 25 employees and in some cases even a company of 5 people (in some industries). That means most of your documents and company correspondence have to be in French – which can be a huge headache for new startups with low budgets.

Still Penalties For Not Complying

Government will be very strict with any offenses they deem to be valid. First offence fine could be up to $20,000, second offence will be up to $40,000 and subsequence offences will be up to $90,000. So basically within a year, you can rack up a legal bill of $150,000 if you are not careful when it comes to hiring and dealing with customers, non customers, employees and government agencies in French. On top of that, if government thinks that you are continuing in your non complying ways they will charge you extra fines for each extra day you are not complying.

Social Media

Social media in French. Government still requires that all social media posts be in French even if your customer base is English.

Power Of Seizure / Search

Office québécois de la langue française will now have higher powers. They will now have power to seize and have access to electronic devices as your cell phones, computers, laptops and servers.

OQLF has enough employees to enforce this as they have just recently hired some additional employees.

Less English school for kids of temporary employees

Temporary employees who come to Quebec – will now have more difficulties to send their kids to English schools. The way it is now, you can send your kids to English schools and keep on sending them there by renewing the permission every 3 years. The new bill eliminates the renewal and the kids would have to go to French school.

Hope you have liked our BILL 96 QUEBEC EXPLAINED article and please go ahead and share. This article BILL 96 QUEBEC EXPLAINED hopefully help companies decide whether to expand to Quebec, hire additional employees in Quebec or relocate to another provinces in Canada.

What the next four months looking for the Job market

The Job market is hardly ever stable, but the last year or two have been particularly rocky waters for everyone around the globe. This turbulence was, of course, caused by the infamous COVID-19 virus and the subsequent lockdowns. 

But before we could fully adjust to the work-from-home lifestyle and collect ourselves, our boat is once again about to be rocked. The tidal wave that awaits us now is the long-anticipated “return to the normal”. As governments press down full force on the pedal of vaccination programs and funnel money through stimulus checks, job-seekers and job-holders should expect major changes to the ordinary way of things. “The Great return to normal” might be a misleading term. More accurately, we are rushing towards the shores of a new normal. Buckle up for some of the major differences in these new lands. 

Job-seekers have new demands.

It took us a global pandemic to start washing our hands and using sanitisers. But health and safety reminders also extend to the workplace. As workers were forced into their homes, laid off, or cornered into relying on unemployment benefits, they were reminded of the importance of features that helped them in these times. Going forward, job-seekers are particularly interested in knowing what premiums companies are willing to offer them. The threat of new variants or a new virus altogether has brought a shift in priorities. 

People aren’t on the same page.

As vaccination programs are backed throughout the country, there are still many different perceptions that people have of the virus. Some are confident in returning to the workplace without a mask because they are fully vaccinated, while others still want to stay put. Employees are liking the comfort of working from home while employers keep jumping between fully remote, hybrid, and back-to-normal models. 

Summer Slumber 

Job market analysis shows that every year, in the summertime, there is a drop in new the number of new people entering the market. This summer slump is simply because hiring managers and other parts of the process like IT recruiters and documenters are on summer leave. This year is no good news for anyone looking for a job. The slump is predicted to get worse in the next four months as the aviation industry opens up and people book long summer travel vacation plans. 

The new job market 

The pandemic had an interesting effect on the view of job applicants and employers: Applicants have stayed in too long and are pumped to bank good job offers, but employers, on the other hand, have become less receptive to making good offers. This leads to clunky interviews and decisions where the difference in mindset is leading to a stalemate. The consensus decisions and thirst for unrealistic expectations from applicants have further fueled the problem. 

We stand knee-deep in some treacherous waters. The best way to navigate through them right now is to stay put with whatever job you have, but be alert of your surroundings. Get in touch with recruiters to be the first to know of a perfect job offer, and you’ll not only survive but thrive!

Is hiring remote developers good decision? 6 CTOs / cofounders Explain How They Dominate Remote Hiring.

Forget about remote developers, even just hiring local developers is already a big headache. You have to post a job to hire and source the resumes, screen the resumes, interview candidates, etc. Imagine the amount of headache you have to go through when hiring remote IT professionals like developers, DevOps and cybersecurity experts.

On one hand it feels great when hiring remote developers because they can cost 50% or lower than your local developers in Canada or the US. But can it really lower your cost that much? And is hiring remote workers really reliable?

We went out for advice to six established technical leaders as well as cofounders and asked them what they do to help hire the right candidates.

6 Cofounders Talk About Their Experience Hiring Remote Developers

Allen Kaplun, Co-Founder at Greendropship, green products’ drop shipping business, explains how he does it.

We’ve been hiring developers for several years and went through a ton of trial and error. Here’s what you need to know.

  1. Hire slow, fire fast.
  2. Do not have a bias towards any developer. Being from a certain country doesn’t make them more or less talented. They must be scrutinized on a case by case basis.
  3. Get them on a video call – when interviewing them it best to test their knowledge on a live call to see if they actually know the material or if they are stalling you and looking it up as they go along.
  4. Most of them may have 10 years of experience, for example, but only be at a 4th year level. Its important to not infer that years of experience means highly skilled.
  5. Go beyond the platforms: some of the worst developers I hired came from freelancing platforms and some of the best developers I’ve hired came from social media groups.

Sam Richards, Cofounder at Trivia Games, trivia games website, has a different spin on hiring remote IT employees. Sam had successfully hired remote employees through LinkedIn and would definitely do it again.

1 .We’ve hired remote developers to work on various web projects, and below are some of our takes on hiring remote. Yes, we’re based in the US and have brought on developers working remotely over the past couple years. We’ve definitely saved money on development costs, it’s allowed us to get more work done, especially in the early days of our business when we were on a shoestring budget.

2. We’ve found developers in a couple of key sources:

LinkedIn – we’ve had our internal recruiter research developers based on various skillsets listed in their profile. We’d perform virtual interviews via Zoom and provided a full skill assessment test to ensure the developers had the technical ability to complete the jobs we were hiring for.

Guru – we’ve hired project based developers on Guru and even brought one on board as a full time team member.

3. Management of the developers isn’t too different from other members of our staff. We have regularly check-ins, typically on a weekly basis. There are some time zone challenges but we try to meet in the middle so neither party is working too late or too early.

Michael Alexis, CEO at teambuilding.com, team building events company, says Upwork is the place to be when hiring remote IT workers.

We hired on Upwork” 💰: We have hired remote developers via Upwork.

The contractor was based in Russia and charged $40 per hour. The developer works on a per project basis, so we just assign work when ready. Usually we outline these projects in Google Docs that include bullet point descriptions, goals and screen shots. In this way, we’ve been able to work with skilled developers, at a fraction of the cost of full-time employment.

Alan MacLachlan, Founder at https://improves.co/, Personal Tennis Coaching, seconds Upwork but with a tip of his own.

Unusual way to get the best remote developers: We have hired some good remote developers from UpWork. The best tip I can give you is when you write your job posting, somewhere in the project description ask bidders to include a certain phrase at the top of their introduction or bid.

For example, ‘When replying to this project please write the word ‘sunshine’ at the top of your reply’ 99% of replies you receive won’t do it because they don’t read it fully or just use templated answers.

Straight away you can eliminate providers who don’t have attention to detail and didn’t read or fully understand your requirements. It allows you to see straight away the providers who took the time to read and understood what need.

From there you can go through your normal hiring process. Personally we always start off with a small task and see how they perform before working on more complex projects.

Hiral Atha, CEO at Moveo Apps, web agency, recommends using Linkedin for its ease of use.

LinkedIn has definitely been the primary source for scouting talent. After a preliminary resume screening and portfolio evaluation round, we set up a few rounds of remote interviews, starting with phone interviews that gives the candidate a chance to get comfortable, following up with video sessions.

There’s obviously the stage where we gave the candidates a small project to work on which immensely helped us assess key technical skills. Apart from that, equally important to us is assessing non-technical aspects such as the candidate’s ability to collaborate remotely and self-accountability. More than saving money, this gave us access to highly talented developers as we weren’t limited geographically.

Last but not least, Eric Mintz , CEO at EM Squared, End-to-End Business Automation | IoT Development and Integration firm, warns against hiring remote employees. He advises to spend more money on good local developers and save money on your project.

I’ve hired remote developers, both years ago as a manager in a large corporation, and just a few years back as the CEO of my own software development firm. I’ve paid local software developers rates from $45/hr to $125/hr, based on levels of expertise. I’ve hired remote developers for very low rates of only $25/hr, give or take a few dollars.

There were problems.

The remote developers are typically full-time employees of an offshore company. The locally-based representatives are there to guide you through getting a quote for a project. In most every case, the quotes were jaw-dropping. The local representative packed the quote with mountains of unneeded hours. It felt like being sold undercoating at a new-car dealership. If you aren’t technical enough to know what you’re doing, you will easily spend 100% to 300% more with an off-shore company than you would spend for the same project with more expensive, more experienced, more honest local freelance developers.

The projects I did offshore didn’t go well. The technical team leads who were my points of contact for the projects, rarely did much of the work themselves. They delegated to junior-level developers who were quite inexperienced. Communication was often difficult, hampered sometimes by strong speaking accents, but hampered always by distant time zones and poor phone/voice connections.

The projects were poorly designed, and often, not designed – much like carpenters nailing up boards haphazardly to build a house without the benefit of an architect’s blueprint. As a result, the applications were brittle and ongoing maintenance was particularly costly.

10 Tips to Get A Job At Companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon

Since many big tech firms are moving recently to Canada to cities like Toronto, Montreal Calgary and Vancouver, you will need the following 10 tips to get a job at one of these big tech firms.

1. Prepare To Wait

Millions of candidates apply to big tech firms every year. On average it takes about 8-12 weeks to receive a job offer if you are selected. Let that sink it – that’s 2-3 months after you start your interviews to get your offer. So make sure you have a job otherwise you will wait for a long time to pass all the interviews. Some of our bigger clients average 8 interviews where it starts with HR interview, and then goes to another 6-7 interviews with developers, leads, managers, VPs, etc.

2. Apply, apply, apply

Even if you do not meet all the requirements, apply anyways. Big tech firms go above and beyond to find a diamond in the rough. So even if you do not have that GoLang requirement but been developing with python apply anyways. If you are good at what you do, hiring manager will try to find a way to hire you.

Be open with recruiter of what you want, and be ready to explain what you have achieved so far in your career.

3. Keep it Simple

Most larger tech firms invested millions into their HR / AI software. However if your resume is illegible , has tables all over the place, or over 3 pages long, sometimes that automatic CV parser would not be able to auto read it and most likely mark it as spam or trash. Make sure you use PDF and or Word resume. Use bullet points for the ease of reading the resume. Your formatting has to be easily understood as most recruiters only spend 10-15 seconds before deciding whether to give you a call or discard your resume.

4. Many Interviews

Be prepared a lot of technical testing. On average bigger tech firms do anywhere from 5 to 8. On top of technical coding challenges you will be asked to “grab a coffee” so the hiring managers and leads can get to know you. Good idea would be to research the person who will be interviewing you to try to estimate what questions will be asked. And most importantly, make sure you go in refreshed and ready to adapt and react.

5. Common Interview Questions at Big Tech Firms

These three questions always come up – so be prepared with an answer:
a) Why are you interested in the job?
b) What are your biggest accomplishments? Explain
c) What are you passionate about? Time to talk about that Fiji hiking trip you did.

6. Dream big, no no even bigger

Big tech loves big dreamers. Your eCommerce idea about selling shoes online might be a good one, but you need to make it 100 or even 1000 times bigger. Big tech caters to millions and billions of users, they want you to think big also. So make it big.

7. Hobbies anyone?

Have a cool hobby? Big tech firms want to hear about your passions. Do you build drones in your spare time? Tell them about that – but do not show off too much. Be modest.

8. Show Interest and Take notes

Buy notepad! and take some notes when doing interviews with big tech. That will show to the hiring manager that you are paying attention and curious. Ask questions – be curious!

9. Social Media

All big tech will do a social media search on you. So be prepared with updated LinkedIn profile, make sure you contribute to GitHub, and share some interesting ideas on Twitter, and for god-sake remove those skinny dipping pics from Facebook.

10. Thank you

Over 80% of candidates do not do this! Send thank you emails to all the interviewers you’ve met. Do not wait – send it the same or next day. Highlight your experience and express your interest in the job. It is so simple, and will give you a definite boost over many other candidates.