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Morning Brew: iPad Pricing Plans for Canada, TTC is Apologetic and Seeks Improvement, Gardiner Expressway Lights On All Day, New Rules for Dog Parks, Sensitive Data Stolen

Photo: "recycle it" by Rondel Jackson, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

What's happening in the GTA (and sometimes beyond):

Apple unveiled the iPad - the latest must-have tech toy in the casual mobile computing world. Pricing, design, and functionality look impressive (although it is not much more than a giant iPod Touch). A few misses though: no camera (the thing seems perfectly fit for video chat), no multi-tasking (it can't be taken too seriously without it), and still no support for flash in the mobile Safari browser. What is yet to be determined and will be interesting to see is what kind of pricing plans Canadian mobile data carriers will choose to offer when the iPad eventually makes it here in a few months time (the telecoms are, no doubt, thinking "ka-ching!"). And with a massive glass surface, I foresee a lot of uninsured, non-refundable breakage in the future.

Sometimes all it takes is a phone call from a newspaper to fix a problem. But what if The Star hadn't been informed by a reader that the overhead traffic lights along the Gardiner Expressway were on all day? Would anyone have noticed? How often does this happen? Hopefully it was a rare glitch and not a regular occurrence.

The TTC is taking the opportunity to make vast improvements in customer service after a "perfect storm" of wrongs including a fare hike, major outage on the Yonge line back in November, and the recent PR nightmare that was the "TTC sleeper" incident. I must say, I really do like the idea of a Passenger "Bill of Rights" and hope that one becomes reality in the future.

Three laptops that were stolen eights weeks ago in Waterloo contained personal information about more than 8000 elementary school teachers in Ontario, most from the Toronto board. Sensitive data like names, addresses, birth dates and social insurance numbers should be encrypted for this very reason, no? What's also worthy of concern is that it took so long after the theft to inform the vulnerable, affected people. Hopefully none of them will be met with surprises like new maxed out credit cards or refinanced mortgages in their names.

City Council has approved five new off-leash parks for dogs in Toronto and has changed the rules for existing dog-friendly parks. Among the new, more relaxed rules: non-neutered males can now... join the fray. On the flip side, powers have also been given to the city's general manager of parks to revoke status off-leash parks at their discretion.


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