Tech round-up for May 2: Amazon grows in Vancouver, Collision heads to Toronto, Facebook taking on Tinder, Apple's new iPad fun for kids, beware these USB chargers

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This week, Facebook unveils dating features at its developers conference, Apple’s new iPad gets kids using a stylus, and Health Canada recalls dangerous USB chargers. But first, Amazon builds its presence in Vancouver while Collision plans a visit to Toronto.

Evidence of Canada’s role as a technology centre comes to Toronto, Vancouver

Amazon on Monday announced it was going to add 3,000 high-tech workers to its Vancouver operation, adding to the 1,000 that are already here.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson were at the press event announcing the plan, which will be Amazon’s third location in downtown Vancouver. The additional staff, which will be employed in “in fields including e-commerce technology, cloud computing, and machine learning” according to a statement, will be moving into a new tech hub being built inside the old Canada Post building.

Meanwhile, the Collision technology conference, which attracted some 25,000 attendees to New Orleans this week and had Al Gore as a speaker, has named Toronto’s Exhibition Place as the venue for its next three events starting in 2019, when it will take place from May 20 through May 23.

Facebook introducing dating features

Facebook’s annual developer conference, F8, is happening this week, and like all such events, things kicked off with a keynote presentation by CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

With all that’s been going on, you’d expect him to address what his company is going to do to combat fake news, which he did. You’d expect new features to help people control their own data, and he talked about that, too, with a new “clear history” feature that’s upcoming.

Another new feature is “Watch Party” which allows groups of people to communally watch and comment on video. He joked about his friends could have held one of those while he was testifying at the U.S. Congress. “Let’s not do that again anytime soon,” he said.

And then Zuckerberg introduced a number of new features focused on dating. There are 200 million people listed as “single” on Facebook, he said. “So clearly there’s something to do here.”

So Facebook is taking on Tinder and MyCupid. Because nothing could possibly go wrong with that.

New Apple iPad with stylus support is great for kids

A few weeks ago, Apple announced a new iPad that the company hopes has the price and the features to entice schools to bring them into the classroom.

A couple of weeks ago, Apple Canada let my 7-year-old son take one for a test drive.

Health Canada issues recall notice for uncertified USB chargers

Canada’s health agency is warning consumers to beware of uncertified USB chargers that are being sold.

The organization has published a list of more than 25 different wall chargers that “pose an unacceptable risk of electric shock and fire”.

If you’ve got one of the recalled products, you should stop using it and return it to where you purchased it.

The dangerous devices were purchased at a number of different online and bricks-and-mortar retailers.

Health Canada recommends only using products that carry a Canadian certification mark. The problem is that many of the examples listed have been branded with certification marks that are either fake or are so similar to actual certification marks that the average person isn’t going to be able to tell the difference at a glance.

The lesson? Beware electronics that are too cheap.


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