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Walt Mossberg, Veteran Technology Journalist, Quits Facebook

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Walt Mossberg is far from alone in giving up on Facebook. But as a leading technology journalist who has spent decades chronicling the impact of Silicon Valley’s policies, his exit from the social network speaks louder than most.

Mr. Mossberg, a veteran of The Wall Street Journal, The Verge and Recode, said on Monday he would be deactivating his Facebook account, along with the Facebook-owned Messenger and Instagram apps.

“I am doing this — after being on Facebook for nearly 12 years — because my own values and the policies and actions of Facebook have diverged to the point where I’m no longer comfortable here,” he wrote on Facebook.

While Mr. Mossberg didn’t list any specific complaints on Monday, his history of public writing left little doubt that his ire was aimed largely at the company’s policies and actions on user privacy. He declined to comment when reached by email.

But in his Facebook post, he stopped short of suggesting others follow his lead.

“This is a decision I am making just for myself,” he said. “If the company or the service change significantly for the better, in my view, or become effectively regulated, I may resume regular use.”

Mr. Mossberg, who retired from writing weekly columns last year but has continued offering commentary on Twitter, has been covering technology since he lugged around his 1977 Radio Shack laptop. He has personally grilled top executives of tech companies, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, on their privacy policies.

He is working on a book, set to be published next autumn, about how the tech industry has transformed in the last four decades.

“To me, the tech revolution has been a net positive, and I don’t think it’s a close call,” he told The Verge in October 2017. “But there have been unintended consequences, like elections and harassment. The two things tie together in the headlong rush to do the next thing with no one asking questions along the way. We’ve never stopped to catch a breath.”

Mr. Mossberg has argued that the government should take an active role in protecting the internet, and that Facebook has “a direct responsibility to get rid of fake news.”

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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