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12 things you need to know from Apple’s WWDC keynote announcement

Winston Sih | posted Monday, Jun 4th, 2018

Apple held their annual Worldwide Developers’ Conference in San Jose, Calif. Monday, where a slew of software updates were announced. While there was no new hardware announced at their annual keynote address by CEO Tim Cook and team, developers were left with new features to sink their teeth into.  Here’s a brief recap:

iOS 12

Augmented Reality
The tech giant is doubling down on performance with the latest iteration of its mobile operating system for iPhone and iPad. On iOS 12, the next generation of its augmented reality tool set, ARKit 2, was introduced, alongside a new ‘Measure’ app that enables users to get measurements of real-world items—all without a ruler or tape measure.


Screen Time/Down Time

Screen Time will offer users a way to see how actively they use their device. Through a central dashboard, insights like device use time, time spent in specific apps, and regular reports sent out means users can see how much time they really spend on Instagram. This will be something that appeals to parents. Down Time will introduce the ability for device managers (like mom and dad) to limit access to specific apps, category of apps, or the entire device from certain periods of the day, or once a set threshold is reached. Sorry, kids!


Animojis become more personal
Remember those animoji characters announced back in September? They are emojis brought to life using AR technology on iPhone X. The next step brings—ready for it?—Memoji to your repertoire. Users will design their own animated version of themselves—almost like a Bitmoji—and using iPhone’s front-facing camera, you’ll see the character come to life, mimicking your facial expressions, including tongue movements.
Group FaceTime
The video chatting service brings multiple parties together in a group video chat—up to 32 people to be specific. Active speakers’ tiles are made larger and smaller, while quiet participants are shelved. Chats can then utilize the Memoji effects, as well as a whole host of stickers and filters.


watchOS 5

Automatic workout detection
In the new operating system for Apple Watch, for those who use it to work out, technology including the built-in heart rate sensor will automatically detect when you start a work out. It will alert you, and once accepted will retroactively record the fitness data.  This is powerful for people like me who forget to activate a new workout more often than not.
Yes, it’s back—and it’s cool again. But it’s the 21st-century watch version. Once you accept the connection with your desired family and friends, you can tap to record a short audio message, and it is transmitted to their device. A fun way to tell your kids, “Dinner’s ready!”


No more “Hey Siri”
With the improved Siri Apple Watch face, users can now raise to activate Siri, without saying the words “Hey Siri.”
tvOS 12
Dolby Atmos surround sound support
Apple announced they are rolling out improvements to sound quality on Apple TV 4K, with integration of Dolby Atmos surround sound. Users with an enabled sound bar or speaker system will see an improvement, with upgraded media like movies to be pushed through iTunes automatically.

macOS 10.14 Mojave

Your privacy, first
The tech giant announced their new operating system, macOS 10.14 Mojave. The California road trip continues. Apple was quick to highlight privacy is at the forefront of user data, from mail to messages. Surprisingly, on Safari, updates will shut down Facebook tracking and ad targeting, forcing users to opt-in before they can use share/like buttons—the traditional source of ad tracking.
Dark Mode
The audience ooh’d and ahh’d for this one. Dark Mode is coming to macOS 10.14 Mojave. It is an adaptive mode that can dim your user experience to make being productive easier on the eyes at night. This is similar to the ’Night mode’ experience on the Twitter app.
Clean up your desktop with organization tools
New organization tools will help keep the clutter off your desktop. You can finally reclaim your wallpaper! Using ’stacks,’ macOS will sort and group materials by type. Photos, documents, videos, etc. For those who have a method to their madness, there will be a way to customize this function accordingly.
Rebuild of Mac App Store
In an attempt to better integrate Mac applications with its successful App Store ecosystem, Apple has rebuilt their App Store from the ground up, breaking app discovery down by ‘Create,’ ‘Work,’ ‘Play,’ and ‘Develop.’

EXCLUSIVE: Was there a police shortage night of fatal Yonge-Dundas shooting?

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Jun 1st, 2018

At approximately 11:07 p.m. Wednesday, a man was gunned down at one of Toronto’s busiest intersections, Yonge-Dundas Square, and the suspects got away.

CityNews has exclusively obtained an email that purportedly shows a Toronto police officer from 51 division sounding the alarm over what they perceived to be a lack of police on city streets — less than one hour before the fatal shooting.

The email, purportedly written by a 30-year veteran of the Toronto police service, and allegedly sent to police chief Mark Saunders and the president of the Toronto Police Association Mike McCormack, addressed the “overwhelming amount of work that is just piling up… and so very few of us to do it.”

According to the email, allegedly sent shortly before 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, all five police cruisers working in 51 Division were “tied up,” with 31 calls still pending.

In the email, the officer said they fear “a police officer is going to get hurt due to the lack of back-up.”

Less than an hour later, the call for a shooting in Yonge-Dundas Square came into 51 Division. The victim, identified as 18-year-old Israel Edwards of Pickering, later died in hospital.

The officer called the email “a plea for help, which seems to have fallen on deaf ears,” and asks for more police officers on the road immediately.

“I have never been so disillusioned with the lack of help offered by the Command of this Service,” the email said.

Neither Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash nor Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack would verify the authenticity of the email.

But McCormack said the email is indicative of the way their officers and civilian workers feel within Toronto police right now.

“The email that was sent out speaks to the frustration not only for response times to shootings, but response times in general and the amount of police officers available,” said McCormack.

McCormack said the staffing levels represented in the email are typical. “In our divisional staffing model, there’s generally less than 175 police officers patrolling the whole city at any given time.”

McCormack said they have lost around 174 police officers and new ones haven’t been hired. Over the last five years, they are down almost 600 officers.

“Our members are continually being asked to do more with less and it’s just not working.”

Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash said the police chief is very aware of the concerns that were laid out in the email.

Pugash said the chief has been speaking with front line officers and are doing the best they can to ensure they have the resources they need.

“We are more nimble than we have ever been in being able to move resources around where we are seeing upticks in violence. They are looking to find other ways to enable our people to have the resources they need to do the job.”

He adds their analysts and intelligence people are looking at data in order to provide officers with proactive enforcement efforts, but there really is no predictability.

“We are very skilled at prioritizing and skilled at responding,” Pugash said.

Pugash said he did not have the response time available for the Yonge-Dundas Square shooting from Wednesday night, but he said they have seen an increase in violence over the last week and a half.

There have been four killings in public areas in the downtown core this year so far, including one earlier this week in Yorkville.

So far in 2018, gun violence alone in downtown Toronto has increased by over 150 per cent compared to this time last year.

“We do see spikes and they are taken extremely seriously. The service is devoting whatever resources are necessary to ensure that investigators get what they need to do the job.”

Pugash added “The command is aware of the pressures on front line officers and they are exploring urgent options to address those issues.”

Mayor John Tory said he has spoken with the chief and deputy police chief and said they have assured him they have deployed additional resources to try and address this wave of violence.

“The time for talk is over,” said McCormack. “We want to hear the action plans and how the chief is going to deal with this issue which we believe is a crises in policing.”

Teen identified after fatal Yonge-Dundas Square shooting

News Staff | posted Friday, Jun 1st, 2018



Toronto police have identified a Pickering teen who died after a shooting in Yonge-Dundas Square on Wednesday night.

Israel Edwards, 18, was shot around 11 p.m. and had life-threatening injuries. Paramedics took him to hospital, where was pronounced dead.

An off-duty supervisor with Toronto Paramedics heard the shots and was one of the first on the scene.

Police said there was some sort of dispute before the shooting, and three or four suspects fled afterwards. So far, no suspect descriptions have been released, and police are asking witnesses and local businesses to come forward with any security camera video or photos.

CityNews reporter Ginella Massa witnessed the aftermath of the shooting from CityNews headquarters and said she heard a series of shots that sounded like fireworks.

“We saw people running away from Yonge-Dundas Square and a few minutes later I saw security running towards the victim,” she said. “We saw a man on the ground and people started crowding around him. It looked like security guards were performing CPR on him before paramedics arrived.”

Emergency task force officers along with canine units were called to the scene and were seen walking north on Victoria Street.

Mayor John Tory called the incident “shocking” and said police Chief Mark Saunders is devoted to tracking down the suspects and has also deployed more officers to the area.

“There’s no question a police presence in the community actually helps to deter these things as well as the kind of excellent investigative work our police do in tracking down people who carry around guns and use them,” he told CityNews.

Tory also said Toronto police have hired more officers, who are being trained and will be on the job “very soon.”

“The objective is very simple, which is to make sure (Yonge-Dundas Square) remains safe,” he said. “It’s part of the core of the downtown of a great big city, and so there are going to be things that happen … but the objective is to keep it safe and I’m confident we can do that.”

Meanwhile, the company that owns the nearby Toronto Eaton Centre said it is monitoring the situation.

“While this incident was not directly related to our shopping centre, we monitor events and adjust protocols as required,” said Cadillac Fairview spokeswoman Janine Ramparas. “Our security team takes the safety and security of our guests, tenants and staff very seriously and is assisting the Toronto Police Services, as requested.”






EB Gardiner ramp at Park Lawn closed for emergency repairs

News Staff | posted Friday, Jun 1st, 2018

The exit ramp from the eastbound Gardiner Expressway to Park Lawn Road until Saturday for emergency watermain repairs.

The city shut down the ramp in Etobicoke on Thursday and it will reopen by the latest on Saturday.

he closure was causing major delays on Thursday for drivers on the eastbound Gardiner and Lake Shore Boulevard and The Queensway, according to 680 NEWS traffic reporter Darryl Dahmer.

For a full list of road closures and restrictions, visit the City of Toronto website.

Gun violence in downtown Toronto up 167% so far in 2018

News Staff | posted Friday, Jun 1st, 2018

There’s been a dramatic increase in gun violence in the downtown core in 2018 with the number of shootings up 167 per cent this year compared to the same time last year.

So far this year there have been 24 shootings within the area covered by Toronto’s two downtown police divisions, 51 Division and 52 Division. The most recent gun violence claimed the life of a man after he was shot in Yonge-Dundas Square Wednesday night.

In the first five months of 2017, there were nine shootings in the area covered by 51 and 52 divisions. Using data from Toronto police, CityNews has created graphs illustrating the upward trend in gun violence in recent years.


New rules aim to make election polling more transparent

Adrian Ghobrial and Victoria Revay | posted Friday, Jun 1st, 2018

Members of Canada’s Marketing and Research Intelligence Association (MRIA) will have a new set of rules to follow when it comes to disclosing polling results to the public, especially when it comes to political polls.

MRIA says the new rules are meant to provide “more consistent and rigorous transparency” for those issuing polling on any subject matter, but especially to those who provide “opinion polls during election periods.”

It says the media and public need to be able to vet the reliability of the polling firms at all times.

“The new MRIA requirements reflect the recommendations put forward by the British House of Lords Select Committee on political polling and digital media, those made by the Canadian Association of Public Opinion Research (which are folded into the MRIA) and those from its own standards committee.”

Some of the new requirements include disclosing who sponsored the survey if it is different from who conducted it, the method used to conduct the survey, and the exact wording, presentation of questions and response options used in the survey.

A definition of the population studied, the methods used to recruit the panel or participants and whether weighting was used to adjust the results will also be required to include in a poll.

The full list of disclosure requirements can be found in the MRIA’s code of conduct.

John Wright, a pollster who sits on the standard committee for Canada’s MRIA, said the standards, a first for Canada, will place polling firms on a level playing field.

“They have to show all the same stuff so they can actually compare apples to apples,” said Wright. “It may not mean a lot to people who are just the public, but what it does mean is how everybody does their homework.”

If a polling firm fails to meet all the new disclosure requirements, the MRIA said, “the firm and its Principals may be subject to advice or a warning at one end of the scale to penalties ranging from censure or termination of its membership in the MRIA at the other end.”

Ian Koenigfest, the president of the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) of Canada, says his organization is fully on-board with the new rules as it will reduce “misreporting and misrepresentation” of polls. He adds that it’s a “positive attempt for polling companies and the media to collaborate on the dissemination of verified data.”

MRIA chair Mark Wood says that while “some discrepancies in output and predictions may still occur because of different methodologies, interpretation or voter volatility, the report draws a roadmap to address mutual areas of interest and responsibility between polling and media leaders and we will actively explore those in the months ahead.”

There are firms that are not part of the MRIA, like Mainstreet Research, who argue that they do adhere to the rules, but don’t think they should be strong-armed by an association to share some information they deem proprietary.

To that point, Wright adds,

“If you’re going to be releasing polls during an election time-frame particularly in a democracy there is nothing proprietary about transparency. And I think that anything if you can get more transparent especially during fake news and accountability is better for democracy.”

Earlier this week, CityNews compiled polling data from four previous elections. Click here for interactive graphs presenting polls taken two weeks before election day and the actual results from the election.

How various Ontarians are faring in the province’s housing market

Armina Ligaya, The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Jun 1st, 2018

Housing affordability is a major issue for many Ontarians getting set to cast their ballots in the provincial election.

The governing Liberals brought in measures last year that, along with higher interest rates and tighter mortgage lending regulations, led to a modest cooling in home pricing and activity after the market reached dizzying heights. But average home prices and rents in Ontario are still above national averages, and costs in Toronto remain high. The Canadian Press looked at how some Ontarians have fared.


Name: Trudi Johnston, Dennis Johnston

Age: 62, 68

Location: Wasaga Beach, Ont.

Profession: Realtor, retired construction industry worker

Hometown: Toronto

Status: Recently downsized from their Toronto house to a Wasaga Beach home

The Johnstons were living comfortably in their three-bedroom townhouse in Toronto, but the lifestyle in the city was expensive. Although the home they owned had appreciated significantly over the years, that was money on paper, not in their pockets.

“We couldn’t retire there. All the money was tied up in our house,” said Trudi Johnston.

The pair sold their home for roughly $900,000 and moved to a slightly larger home in the resort town of Wasaga Beach that cost roughly $400,000.

They couldn’t have timed it better — they sold their home in early April 2017, just before the Ontario government handed down measures to cool down the market. Dennis Johnston retired last May from the construction industry, while his wife continues to work as a Toronto realtor, driving back into the core when necessary.

The Johnstons are among the many older couples moving out of the big cities in search of more budget-friendly options upon retirement age. Rental rates for senior housing in Ontario are the highest in the country at $3,526 month, according to a May report on the Canadian senior housing dilemma by ratings agency DBRS. “National average rent rates could reach just over $4,000 a month by 2025. Keeping up with this rate will become increasingly difficult, especially for those on a fixed income.”


Name: Luke Genik

Age: 32

Location: Toronto

Profession: Production co-ordinator in the film industry

Hometown: Toronto

Status: Bought a semi-detached triplex in Toronto in 2016, lives in the basement while renting the other units

Genik had been looking to buy a house in the east end of Toronto near where he grew up, but realized that even though he was lucky to have help from his parents for the down payment, it would be tough to afford ongoing housing costs as a single person.

“I could be house poor, spending $2,000 on mortgage, then paying all the property tax, and garbage, and water, and electrical all by myself. It would be somewhere in the range of $3,000, on my own.”

Instead, Genik bought a semi-detached triplex in August 2016, gutted and renovated it over the course of three months. Now, he rents out the top two units to help cover the mortgage costs, while living in the basement unit. It’s a creative solution to the worsening housing affordability problem in Toronto, where the cost of real estate and rental rates are among the highest in the country.

“I work in an industry where we make very good money, and a lot of my peers who are of similar age older, they can’t afford to buy… or they’re buying a shoebox,” he said.

A recent study by the Toronto Region Board of Trade suggested that 65 per cent of young professionals said high housing costs made it hard to pay off debt. Even as home sales slowed this year, the average price of a house in Toronto in April was $804,584, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.


Name: Jaclyn Desforges, Dan Iwasa-Madge

Age: 29, 32

Location: Hamilton

Profession: Master’s student, startup owner

Hometown: Milton, Ont.

Status: Moved from Toronto to Hamilton in April seeking more a affordable rental

Desforges and Iwasa-Madge’s one bedroom apartment in Toronto’s Greektown no longer provided enough space after their daughter was born three years ago. The trio then rented a three-bedroom townhome north of the downtown core for $3,000, which gave them extra space and a backyard. But the location left them feeling isolated.

“We sort of had to live in the middle of nowhere in order to continue living in Toronto,” Desforges said.

In April, they chose to move to Hamilton, where they could get more bang for their rental buck. They now live in a two-bedroom apartment in an old Victorian home for $1,800 a month.

A move out of the big city is an increasingly attractive option for Ontario renters, as costs continue to rise and vacancy rates drop.

In the fall of 2017, Ontario rental vacancy rates slipped to 1.6 per cent — the lowest level since 2000 — from 2.1 per cent a year earlier, according to the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation. In turn, the average rental rate for a two-bedroom unit in Ontario rose to $1,208, up from $1,154 the previous year.

A two bedroom unit in Hamilton, however, was just $1,103, compared to $1,404 in Toronto. Desforges now runs creative writing workshops in Hamilton while also staying home with their daughter. Iwasa-Madge, who co-founded the startup Brainsights, splits his weeks between working from home for a couple of days and commuting to the office on others.

Not only are rental costs more reasonable in Hamilton, the option to own a home is now within reach for the family. “We never considered the possibility of being able to own a home when we were living in Toronto,” said Desforges. “Now that we’re here, we could actually buy a house in couple of years.”


Name: Sarah Fulton, Daryl Shaughnessy

Age: 32, 34

Location: Toronto

Profession: Human resources director, visual effects artist

Hometown: Alliston, Ont., Bowmanville, Ont.

Status: Renting, looking to buy a larger home in Toronto

Fulton and Shaughnessy, want to upsize from their rented one-bedroom-plus den condo in Toronto to a larger home of their own, but they have already been outbid on five different homes since October.

“We’ve gone $100,000 over asking on all of our offers, and we’re still not even close,” Fulton said.

The engaged couple are looking for a three-bedroom to have the option of expanding their family down the line. But because renting has become so pricey in the city, rent on a home in a neighbourhood they want to live in would cost them roughly $3,000 a month, she estimates. Monthly payments on a mortgage would be on par, she said. Having previously commuted for two years from Alliston, moving outside of the core is not an option they want to consider.

The pace of housing activity has slowed down and the average selling price of a home in Toronto in April fell 12.4 per cent year-over-year to $804,584, according to CREA. But the cost is still out of reach for many.


Name: Erin Stitt, John Stitt

Age: Early 40s, mid-40s

Hometown: Bolton, Ont., Toronto

Status: Recently upsized from a Toronto condo to a house in Niagara region

For an additional $50,000 and an hour-and-a-half drive, the Stitts upgraded last fall from a one-bedroom-plus den condo in Toronto’s west end to a three-bedroom backsplit with a backyard in Niagara Falls.

After their son Michael was born in 2016, the family needed more space, but buying a house nearby was too expensive an endeavour.

“Homes in that area were beyond what we were going to be able to consider,” said Erin Stitt.

She started researching real estate options in various areas of Ontario where they had family connections, including the Scarborough suburb of Toronto, and Kitchener-Waterloo. Niagara won out in the end because of how far their real estate dollar could stretch as well as lower daycare fees, she said.

In June, they sold their condo for roughly $425,000 and bought their Niagara home for $469,000. Stitt’s husband’s job as a industrial service technician involves a lot of travel, enabling them to move outside of the Toronto area. Stitt, who had worked as a marketing manager, started looking for employment in the Niagara area and took a job in communications at the regional realtors’ association last month.

Escalating real estate prices in Ontario over the years have been pushing more young families to seek housing options further afield. A recent Toronto Region Board of Trade survey of young professionals found that 42 per cent said they were likely to leave because of high housing costs.

“Housing is consuming an ever-larger portion of family budgets, reducing residents ability to spend or save including for retirement,” the board said.

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