Driven to quit smoking in 2014

Live Tobacco-Free

Toronto Public Health is encouraging smokers to start 2014 by taking part in the Canadian Cancer Society’s Driven to Quit Challenge. People who quit smoking during March will have a chance to win a Dodge Avenger or Dodge Journey.

Live Tobacco-Free

Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death and disease in Ontario.

Tobacco kills half of all its long-term users. That equates to 36 Ontarians a day or 13,000 Ontarians per year. We want to help the public to live tobacco-free by providing information on:

Get the Quit Kit

Our Quit Kit includes: sugarless gum, a stress ball, a toothbrush and other tools to help you through your cravings.

Tenants Rights

The law prohibits smoking in enclosed public places including elevators, stairwells, hallways, parking garages, etc.

Youth Health Action Network (YHAN)

Toronto Public Health works with Youth, ages 16 to 24, on tobacco related issues. Find out more.

Doors Open Toronto

Doors Open Toronto

Explore Toronto’s buildings and discover the story behind every door. May 24 & 25, 2014

Explore Toronto’s Buildings
Saturday May 24 – Sunday May 25, 2014

Since its inception in 2000, Doors Open Toronto has attracted more than two million visits in nearly 600 unique locations across the city. It is Canada’s largest Doors Open event and one of the three largest Doors Open events in the world.

The 15th annual Doors Open will offer residents and visitors an opportunity to take a peek behind the doors of nearly 150 architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across the city on Saturday May 24 and Sunday May 25, 2014.

Doors Open is produced by the City of Toronto in partnership with the broader community.

The Top 30 Internet Terms for Beginners, 2014

Internet Terms for Beginners

January, 2014

As you strive to make sense of the Internet and the World Wide Web, these 30 terms are bound to be very helpful.

1. The Web vs. the Internet

The Internet is a vast ‘interconnection of computer networks’ that spans the globe.  It is comprised of millions of computing devices that trade volumes of information.  Desktop computers, mainframes, GPS units, cell phones, car alarms, video game consoles, and even soda pop machines are connected to the Net.

The Internet started in the late 1960′s as an American military project, and has since evolved into a massive public spiderweb. No single organization owns or controls the Internet.  The Net has grown into a spectacular mishmash of non-profit, private sector, government, and entrepreneurial broadcasters.

The Internet houses many layers of information, with each layer dedicated to a different kind of documentation. These different layers are called ‘protocols‘. The most popular protocols are the World Wide Web, FTP, Telnet, Gopherspace, instant messaging, and email.

The World Wide Web, or ‘Web’ for short, is the most popular portion of the Internet.  The Web is viewed through web browser software.

Grammar and spelling note: Use capitalized ‘Internet’ and ‘Web’ when using either word as a noun. Use lowercase ‘internet’ or ‘web’ when using either word as an adjective. e.g. ‘We were browsing the Internet on our television last night.’ e.g. ‘We found a really good web page about global warming.’

2. http and https

http is a technical acronym that means ‘hypertext transfer protocol‘, the language of web pages. When a web page has this prefix, then your links, text, and pictures should work in your web browser.

https is ‘hypertext transfer protocol SECURED’.  This means that the web page has a special layer of encryption added to hide your personal information and passwords.  Whenever you log into your online bank or your web email account, you should see https at the front of the page address.

:// is the strange expression for ‘this is a computer protocol‘.  We add these 3 characters in a Web address to denote which set of computer lanaguage rules affect the document you are viewing.

3. Browser

A browser is a free software package that lets you view web pages, graphics, and most online content.  Browser software is specifically designed to convert HTML and XML into readable documents.

The most popular web browsers in 2013 are: Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari.

4. HTML and XML

Hypertext Markup Language is the programmatic language that web pages are based on. HTML commands your web browser to display text and graphics in orderly fashion. HTML uses commands called ‘HTML tags’ that look like the following:

  • <body></body>
  • <a href=””></a>
  • <title></title>

XML is eXtensible Markup Language, a cousin to HTML.  XML focuses on cataloging and databasing the text content of a web page. XML commands look like the following:

  • <entry>
  • <address>
  • <city>

XHTML is a combination of HTML and XML.

5. URL

URL’s, or ‘uniform resource locators’, are the web browser addresses of internet pages and files. A URL works together with IP addresses to help us name, locate, and bookmark specific pages and files for our web browsers.

URL’s commonly use three parts to address a page or file: the protocol (which is the portion ending in ‘//:’); the host computer (which sometimes ends in .com); and the filename/pagename itself. For example:

  • telnet://

6. IP Address

Your computer’s ‘internet protocol’ address is a four-part or eight-part electronic serial number. An IP address can look something like ’′ or like ’21DA:D3:0:2F3B:2AA:FF:FE28:9C5A’, complete with dot or colon separators. Every computer, cell phone, and device that accesses the Internet is assigned at least one IP address for tracking purposes. Wherever you browse, whenever you send an email or instant message, and whenever you download a file, your IP address acts like a type of automobile licence plate to enforce accountability and traceability.

7. Email

Email  (formerly spelled e-mail with a hyphen) is electronic mail.  It is the sending and receiving of typewritten messages from one screen to another.  Email is usually handled by a webmail service (e.g. Gmail or Yahoomail), or an installed software package (e.g. Microsoft Outlook).

Email has many cousins: text messaging, instant messaging, live chat, videomail (v-mail), Google Waving.

8. Blogs and Blogging

A blog (‘web log’) is a modern online writer’s column.  Amateur and professional writers publish their blogs on most every kind of topic: their hobby interest in paintball and tennis, their opinions on health care, their commentaries on celebrity gossip, photo blogs of favorite pictures, tech tips on using Microsoft Office. Absolutely anyone can start a blog, and some people actually make reasonable incomes by selling advertising on their blog pages.

Web logs are usually arranged chronologically, and with less formality than a full website.  Blogs vary in quality from very amateurish to very professional. It costs nothing to start your own personal blog.

9. Social Media and Social Bookmarking

Social media is the broad term for any online tool that enables users to interact with thousands of other users. Instant messaging and chatting are common forms of social media, as are blogs with comments, discussion forums, video-sharing and photo-sharing websites. and are very large social media sites, as are and

Social bookmarking is a the specific form of social media. Social bookmarking is where users interact by recommending websites to each other (‘tagging sites’).

10. ISP

ISP is Internet Service Provider.  That is the private company or government organization that plugs you into the vast Internet around the world.  Your ISP will offer varying services for varying prices:  web page access, email, hosting your own web page, hosting your own blog, and so on.  ISP’s will also offer various Internet connection speeds for a monthly fee. (e.g. ultra high speed Internet vs economy Internet).

Today, you will also hear about WISP’s, which are Wireless Internet Service Providers.  They cater to laptop users who travel regularly.

11. Download

Downloading is a broad term that describes when you make a personal copy of something you find on the Internet or World Wide Web.  Commonly, downloading is associated with songs, music, and software files  (e.g. “I want to download a new musical ringtone for my cell phone”, “I want to download a trial copy of Microsoft Office 2010″).  The larger the file you are copying, the longer the download will take to transfer to your computer.  Some downloads will take 12 to 15 hours, depending on your Internet speed.

Be warned: downloading itself is fully legal, as long as you are careful not to download pirated movies and music.

12. Malware

Malware is the broad term to describe any malicious software designed by hackers. Malware includes: viruses, trojans, ratware, keyloggers, zombie programs, and any other software that seeks to do one of four things:

  1. vandalize your computer in some way
  2. steal your private information
  3. take remote control of your computer (‘zombie’ your computer) for other ends
  4. manipulate you into purchasing something

Malware programs are the time bombs and wicked minions of dishonest programmers.

13. Router (aka ‘Network Router’)

A router, or in many cases, a router-modem combination, is the hardware device that acts as the traffic cop for network signals into your home. A router can be wired or wireless or both. Your router provides both a defense against hackers, and the redirection service of deciding which specific computer or printer should get which signals in your home. If your router or router-modem is configured correctly, your Internet speed will be fast, and hackers will be locked out.  If your router is poorly configured, you will experience network sluggishness and possible hacker intrusions.

14. Keywords and Tags/Labels

Keywords are search terms used to locate documents. Keywords are anywhere from one to five words long, separated by spaces or commas:  e.g. “horseback riding calgary” e.g. “ipad purchasing advice”  e.g. “ebay tips selling”. Keywords are the foundation for cataloging the Web, and the primary means by which you and I will find anything on the Web.

Tags (sometimes called ‘labels’) are recommendation keywords. Tags and labels focus on crosslinking you to related content… they are the modern evolution of ‘suggestions for further reading’.

Read more about keywords and tags/labels here…

15. Texting/Chatting

Texting is the short way to say ‘text messaging’, the sending of short electronic notes usually from a cell phone or handheld electronic device.  Texting is popular with people who are mobile and away from their desk computers.  Texting is something like the pagers of old, but has the file attachment ability of email.

To send a text message, you will usually need a keyboard-enabled cellphone and a text message service through your cellphone provider.  You address your text messages using the recipient’s phone number.

In 2010, texting has spawned a controversial habit called ‘sexting’, which is when young people send sexual photos of themselves to other cell phone users.

16. I.M.

I.M. (usually spelled ‘IM’ without the periods) is instant messaging, a form of modern online chatting.  IM is somewhat like texting, somewhat like email, and very much like sending notes in a classroom. IM uses specialized no-cost software that you install on your computer.  That IM software in turn connects you to potentially thousands of other IM users through the Internet.  You locate existing friends and make new friends by searching for their IM nicknames.

Once the software and your friends list is in place, you can send instantaneous short messages to each other, with the option of including file attachments and links.  While the recipient sees your message instantly, they can choose to reply at their leisure.

17. P2P

P2P file sharing (‘peer-to-peer’) is the most voluminous Internet activity today.  P2P is the cooperative trading of files amongst thousands of individual users. P2P participants install special software on their computers, and then voluntarily share their music, movies, ebooks, and software files with each other.

Through ‘uploading’ and ‘downloading’, users trade files that are anywhere from 1 megabyte to 5 gigabytes large. This activity, while in itself a fully legal pasttime, is very controversial because thousands of copyrighted songs and movies trade hands through P2P.

18. E-commerce

E-commerce is ‘electronic commerce’: the transacting of business selling and buying online.  Every day, billions of dollars exchange hands through the Internet and World Wide Web.  Sometimes, the e-commerce is your company buying office products from another company (business-to-business ‘B2B’ e-commerce).  Sometimes, the e-ecommerce is when you make a private purchase as a retail customer from an online vendor (business-to-consumer ‘B2C’ e-commerce).

E-commerce works because reasonable privacy can be assured through technical means (e.g. https secure web pages), and because modern business values the Internet as a transaction medium.

19. Bookmark

A bookmark (aka “favorite”) is a marker that you can place on web pages and files.  You would bookmark something because:

  1. You want to return to the page or file later
  2. You want to recommend the page or file to someone else

Bookmarks/Favorites can be made using your right mouse click menu, or the menus/toolbars at the top of your web browser.  Bookmarks/Favorites can also be made on your Mac or Windows computer files.

20. Social Engineering

Social engineering is the conman art of talking directly to people to trick them into divulging passwords and their private information.  All social engineering attacks are some form of a masquerade or phishing attack, designed to convince you that the attacker is trustworthy as a friend or as a legitimate authority figure. The attacker might use an email, phone call, or even face-time interview to deceive you. Common social engineering attacks include greeting cards, bogus lottery winnings, stock investment scams, warnings from an alleged banker that you’ve been hacked, credit card companies pretending to protect you.

21. Phishing and Whaling

‘Phishing’ is what modern-day con men do to defraud you of your personal accounts. Phishing is the use of convincing-looking emails and web pages to lure you into typing your account numbers and passwords/PINs. Often in the form of fake eBay web pages, fake PayPal warning messages, and fake bank login screens, phishing attacks can be very convincing to anyone who is not trained to watch for the subtle clues. As a rule, smart users distrust any email link that says “you should login and confirm this”.

22. Addons and Plugins

Addons are custom software modifications. User optionally install addons to improve the power of their Web browsers or office software. Examples include: a custom eBay toolbar for your Firefox browser, a new search feature for your Outlook email. Most addons are free, and can be found and downloaded from the Web.

Plugins are a special kind of web browser addon. Plugins are essentially required addons, if you wish to view very specialized web pages.  Examples include: Adobe Flash or Shockwave player, Microsoft Silverlight player, Adobe Acrobat pdf reader.

23. Trojan

A trojan is a special kind of hacker program that relies on the user to welcome it and activate it.  Named after the famous Trojan horse tale, a trojan program masquerades as a legitimate file or software program.  Sometimes it will be an innocent-looking movie file, or an installer that pretends to be actual anti-hacker software. The power of the trojan attack comes from users naively downloading and running the trojan file.

24. Spamming and Filtering

‘Spam’ has two meanings. 1) Spam can mean ‘the rapid reptition of a keyboard command’. But more commonly, 2) spam is the jargon name of ‘unwanted/unsolicited email’.  Spam email is usually comprised of two sub-categories: high-volume advertising, and hackers attempting to lure you into divulging your passwords.

Filtering is the popular-but-imperfect defense against spam.  Filtering uses software that reads your incoming email for keyword combinations, andthen either deletes or quarantines messages that appear to be spam.  Look for a ‘spam’ or ‘junk’ folder in your mailbox to see your quarantine of filtered email.

25. Cloud Computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Cloud computing is a fancy term to describe that your software is online and ‘borrowed’, instead of purchased and actually installed on your computer. Web-based email is the most prevalent example of cloud computing: the users’ email is all stored and accessed ‘in the cloud’ of the Internet, and not actually on their own computers. This is the modern version of the 1970′s mainframe computing model. As part of the cloud computing model, ‘Software as a Service’ is the business model that claims people would rather rent software than actually own it. With their web browsers, users access the cloud of the Internet, and log into their online rented copies of their SaaS software.

26. Apps and Applets

Apps and applets are small software applications. They are designed to be much smaller than regular computer software, but still provide very useful functions. Lately, apps are very popular with cellphone and mobile platforms; specifically: with the Apple iPhone and the Google Android phone.

Examples of apps:  rangefinder GPS for golfing, song identification software, restaurant reviews, pocket video games, language translators for traveling.

27. Encryption and Authentication

Encryption is the mathematical scrambling of data so that it is hidden from eavesdroppers.  Encryption uses complex math formulas (‘ciphers’) to turn private data into meaningless gobbledygook that only trusted readers can unscramble.  Encryption is the basis for how we use the public Internet as a pipeline to conduct trusted business, like online banking and online credit card purchasing.  On the provision that reliable encryption is in place, your banking information and credit card numbers are kept private.

Authentication is directly related to encryption.  Authentication is the complex way that computer systems verify that you are who you say you are.

28. Ports and Port Forwarding

‘Network ports’ are thousands of tiny electronic ‘lanes’ that comprise your network connection. Every computer has 65,536 tiny ports, through which Internet-working data travels in and out.  By using port management tools like a hardware router, users can control port access to better safeguard themselves against hackers.

‘Port forwarding’ is the semi-complex technique of opening specific network ports.  You would port-forward to speed up your downloading and speed up your online connections for gaming and teleconferencing.

29. Firewall

Firewall is a generic term to describe ‘a barrier against destruction’.  It comes from the building term of a protective wall to prevent the spreading of housefires or engine compartment fires.  In the case of computing, ‘firewall’ means to have software and/or hardware protecting you from hackers and viruses.

Computing firewalls range from small antivirus software packages, to very complex and expensive software + hardware solutions. All the many kinds of computer firewalls offer some kind of safeguard against hackers vandalizing or taking over your computer system.

30. Archives and Archiving

A computer ‘archive’ is one of two things: a compressed container of multiple smaller data files, or a purposeful long-term storage of files that are not going to be used often.  In some cases, an archive can be both.

The act of ‘archiving’, similarly, is one of two things: to combine and squeeze multiple files into a larger single file  (for easier emailing); or, archiving is when you will retire data and documents to be put into long-term storage  (e.g. your thousands of old emails in your inbox).

By Paul Gil

The Shopping Cart

The other aspect relating to the value of a web page to a retail sector business, small or large is the shopping cart. For these businesses customers can, not only research your business, they can complete the whole customer experience through the click of a button. So your store could be working hard in the shopping mall or in a back street of a suburb somewhere, but in the background your website is driving even more footfall and translating internet hits into dollar signs. It is easy for you once the mechanics are designed and tested; there are minimal overheads other than postage costs, which can usually be passed directly to the customer; a greater profit margin on products can be enjoyed due to the savings in overheads; and your market suddenly becomes limitless, not constrained by geographical boundaries, just by courier company coverage!

It really may seem to you that your business is not yet ready for a web site. Maybe you think you can’t afford it just now, or you don’t have the time to think about it too much, but it is on your list of things to do. In reality your business cannot afford to not have one.

Social Networking

The use of social networking also aids you as a business and web site owner, as once you have a website and a networking page, your website advertising your product or services can in itself be advertised, increasing footfall and internet traffic.

The Advert

From large corporate entities to small sole traders, business owners have a shared problem: they need a way in which to promote what they do. In these days of extreme competition, customer choice has never been greater and the job of business marketing and winning their business is an exciting challenge. In many ways, the Internet has opened up a wealth of opportunity.

For example just by using Google AdWords to pin point your business address and business type you can reach anyone who happens to search in that zip code for your type of services or products accordingly. A business listing alone is not always all that enticing though, the ‘sexy’ part of your marketing campaign comes with the business internet pages you create to represent your organization, and it can be the definitive point of difference between you and a competitor.

For example if a prospective customer looking for business accounts has two businesses to choose between; one with a web site and one without, they are likely go with the one which has one.

The fact that they conducted a Google search in the first place shows they have access to and trust in the Internet. Even a simple, basic functionality page can look amazing with the right graphics and wordings. The customer can get a head start on what it is that your business can do for them, if it suits their needs, and information on how to contact you for further information.

The customer may also make on some level, a psychological contract with a prospective business, when comparing websites. Take for example a wedding boutique, the bride to be researching on the internet comes across the ideally located wedding dress store, providing her with a broad range of dress designers, bridesmaid dresses, and accessories; it has an amazing web page with beautiful photography and links to other useful websites and she is, frankly sold.

She may find it very hard to change her mind and will want to get to that store of her dreams and find the dress of her dreams. Of course the store staff have to be able to translate that passion and energy into a sale and that is something the internet cannot do for you.

For reasonable costs you can buy a domain name and by using a web design agency create an amazing, professional and on the money page to represent your business. There are no printing costs, and no need for the laborious task of walking around the streets of your neighborhood delivering leaflets. There is also no need for negotiating painful deals with local newspapers for advertising space: the advert literally hits a global audience as soon as the live button is clicked.

What is a Web Site to Your Business?

Many businesses operate large elements of, if not the whole of, their organizational function via the use of the World Wide Web. Whether it is as a means of attaining orders literally or promoting what they do, it has for many become an indispensable way in which to reach out to customers and win their belief in the product or service, and ultimately their business.

Time Saving, not Consuming

For many of the businesses that feel they are too busy to go about creating an online presence, the solution to creating more time to focus on the day to day running of the company may well lie in having a well designed website.  Many business owners find that the majority of their time is spent answering the same customer service questions over and over again, easily solved by having them prominently displayed on your web page.  From the location of your business to its opening times, the types of products you are offering to promotions that you are running, the truth of the matter is that in the 21st century the majority of customers will check you out online before they give you a ring or call into your store or offices.  With the rise of mobile internet people will be checking you out even when they’re on the go.  By regularly updating video, audio and pictures you can create the most up to date image of your business and get instant feedback without the massive overheads of traditional print media.

One thing is for sure, though.  The only thing worse for your business than not having a website is having one that is badly designed and lacking in usability.  The beauty of the World Wide Web is that it allows even the smallest players to stand shoulder to shoulder with the big boys, but if your website looks unprofessional, your business will too.  The very fact that so much business is now done online means that you really need to invest the time in creating a website that reflects what your company stands for and creates an aura of professionalism and respectability which will make customers want to use your services time and time again.  Your website is a necessary platform for your business allowing you to network effectively and present relevant information to boost profits whatever sector you are working in so it’s important to get it right.

Online Presence is Essential

While it might look like there are many good reasons not to have an online presence, nothing could be farther from the truth.  And it’s not just a case of generating online sales; in fact this is one of the least important reasons for having a presence online.  Far more important is the need for visibility in a competitive market, the ability to keep customers updated and to provide a platform from which to shout about what makes your business stand head and shoulders above the competition.

No matter what your business is or what kind of customer you are targeting there are numerous ways that a website can make your business more profitable and free up your time to concentrate on taking your company onto the next level.  For example, if your company offers business insurance you can set up online forms which will provide potential customers with an instant quote without the need for spending hours on the phone.  As a business owner you then have all the details you need to follow up an enquiry with the relevant information, as well as the option to add people to your mailing list to help further your business and customer relations.  While your website may not result in an instant sale, your ability to collate useful information about your customers in order to effectively follow up and close the deal while maintaining excellent levels of customer service.

Does Every Business Need a Website?

The rise of the internet has completely changed the way we do business but it may surprise you to learn that there are a large number of companies that don’t feel they need to have a website, especially in the small to medium business sector.  The reasons for this are varied.  Some people believe that the product or service they are offering doesn’t really translate well to online sales.  Some are busy enough with the amount of custom they have that they don’t feel  it necessary to take on any more and some are just too busy to take on the extra responsibility of running and maintaining an online presence.

According to the BBC as recently as 2007 over half of small to medium businesses felt there was no need for them to have a website.  With the economic down turn this is certainly a big mistake on the part of hundreds of businesses of all shapes and sizes.