Technological World for March 18: COVID-19 online assessment, telcos waiving overage fees, how to stay sane while self isolating, stopping the profiteers, technology helps with homeschooling

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Categories Consumer technology | Video games

This week, it’s all about technology and COVID-19.

B.C. has an online COVID-19 self-assessment tool

This week, the BC Ministry of Health released an online self-assessment tool.

The tool asks a series of “yes/no” questions and offers suggestions on what to do. If you’re struggling to breathe or have severe chest pain you are instructed to call 911 or get to an emergency department.

Other instructions include a direction to self-isolate and call 811 to speak with a nurse at HealthLink BC.

The app was developed by Thrive Health in partnership with B.C. government organizations.

Canadian telcos giving customers a break in response to COVID-19

Most of Canada’s providers of mobile and internet services are opening things up a bit as a result of the pandemic.

Bell is waiving overage charges for home internet customers.

Rogers is waiving long distance charges and roaming fees for some customers.

Shaw has opened up its WiFi network to everyone for free.

Telus is waiving internet overage and roaming charges.

Rogers and Telus are also offering support to customers and businesses that may have financial difficulties at this time.

What to do while you’re staying home to help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic

On Tuesday, three months ahead of the original release date, Disney added Frozen 2 to the Disney+ streaming lineup. The Mouse has also released Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker for purchase earlier than expected through iTunes.

Universal Pictures is turning to home releases to make up for dismal theatre receipts, pushing The Invisible Man, The Hunt, and Emma to rent this weekend, and deciding that Trolls World Tour will be released in theatres and on-demand simultaneously.

The Metropolitan Opera in New York, meanwhile, is staging daily performances of free opera streams that you can access on your preferred device.

Renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma is tweeting videos of himself playing what he’s hashtagged #songsofcomfort, and others are jumping on the bandwagon.

And Google has partnered with dozens of museums that you can visit virtually from the comfort of your own living room, including the Guggenheim in New York, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Hermitage outside of St. Petersburg, and the Tate in London.

Tech companies working to curb profiteering and false information

Amazon has blocked the account of Manny Ranga, who nearly bought out Costco’s stock of Lysol wipes in B.C.‘s lower mainland. Kijiji, meanwhile, has banned listings for surgical masks and hand sanitizer.

And Apple, in an effort to make sure that mobile apps for iOS that can help people deal with COVID-19, is offering to expedite reviews for organizations that are on a list of “recognized entities” from which data can be considered “reputable”. Fees to become a member of the Apple Developer Program are also being waived for some organizations.

With schools closed all parents are going to become homeschoolers

I’ve written about Khan Academy before, which provides free educational resources to everyone. The gang over there has put together schedules that parents can use to provide structure to the days, including links to age-appropriate lessons and practice resources.

If your kids are ready for more advanced education, there are free courses that they can take online provided by universities and institutions. You can find other online courses at Open Culture and Class Central.

Active for Life, meanwhile, has collected more than 200 activities you can do with your kids at home that will keep them developing their physical skills as well as doing something with all that energy.

And to give them a little break, the Canadian video game developer and publisher Snowman is giving away the two endless runners Alto’s Adventure and Alto’s Odyssey. They are delightful games.


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