Tech round-up for October 17: RIP Paul Allen, music composers want to tax Canadians, Dyson's newest invention will curl your hair, Peloton bikes are now available in Canada

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This week, the Screen Composer’s Guild of Canada wants to tax Canadians, Dyson’s invented a new hair dryer, and Peloton exercise bikes are now available in Canada. But first, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has died.

Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder and Seattle-based philanthropist, has died

Way may not have Microsoft if not for the machinations of Paul Allen.

Excellent obits to be found here:

Screen Composer’s Guild of Canada proposes streaming tax for Canadians

A couple of weeks ago, the organization representing composers who make music for television shows and movies delivered a recommendation to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage calling for a “copyright levy” to be paid by anyone using the internet to download more than 15 GB of data each month.

Which is frankly ridiculous. As Open Media’s Laura Tribe said in an interview, “It doesn’t understand how people actually use the internet.”

I’m not suggesting that artists aren’t actually impacted by digital media and how it’s being distributed and consumed these days, but asking people who are already paying for Netflix to pay an additional tax to watch shows on Netflix is double taxation and simply does not fly.

Instead, those artists should be going to the production companies who are selling the rights to those productions and asking for a bigger royalty. That’s where they are getting short shrift.

Dyson unveils new way to curl hair

Curling hair used to require heat to break down molecular bonds in the hair. Engineers at Dyson have come up with a way to get air flow to do the job using the Coanda effect in the new Dyson Airwrap styling device.

This phenomenon works well, according to Dyson design manager Dan Thompson, because, “it attracts hair to the barrel, it automatically wraps the hair, it holds it there in position while it dries, and it blows volume through every curl.”

These aren’t cheap devices. There are three packages with slightly different barrels available that cost Cdn$600 and $650.

But being able to curl hair without burning it every day just might be worth it.

Peloton comes to Canada

The days of boring old exercise bikes are over, because Peloton has moved into Canada.

The Peloton Bike is an exercise bike, yes. It’s got a sleek design and a small footprint, too, perfect for urban apartments. And the demand for these things is raging, and Canadians have been raging about not being able to get the things in Canada.

There’s an entire side industry devoted to getting these things shipped close to the border so Canadian fitness enthusiasts can fetch them. No longer.

What sets Peloton apart are the fitness classes that are delivered directly through your internet connection to the big touchscreen mounted to the front of the stationary cycle.

It’s like being in a fitness studio without having to leave your home!

You can take classes in real time or on demand, and the intensity and level are varied to match every possible person.

The Peloton Bike is yours for only Cdn$2,950, and you can get packages that add things like headphones, shoes, heart rate monitors and water bottles.

When you purchase a bike, you commit to a monthly Peloton Membership which costs $49 a month and gives you access to the classes. The subscription is tied to the bike, not the customer, so anyone in your house can take advantage of the classes.

If you want to see what all the fuss is about, you can visit the Peloton showroom in Toronto at 130 Bloor Street West. Another showroom in Yorkdale opens later this month, and in November showrooms open in West Edmonton Mall and Calgary’s Chinook Centre.


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