Cybernaut 

Not in Canada yet

There's a wide world of technology out there that isn't available in Canada yet and may never arrive - at least in any convenient, timely way that matters.

As it is, there are some significant hurdles bringing some products here.

For example, the online television website Hulu is all but impossible to watch here and all the back door ways into the site using web proxies are quietly being shut down. There are good reasons why Hulu is not available, including the fact that Canadian broadcasting companies hold exclusive licences to broadcast the same shows in Canada and the networks that support Hulu - NBC, Fox, ABC and others - are merely honouring their commitment to keep those rights exclusive to those companies. There are also issues of broadcasting regulation and advertising, and concerns that Canada is too lenient on copyright infringements.

There are similar conditions that keep Canadians from watching the BBC iPlayer, Fancast and Joost, or using music sites like Rhapsody, Pandora and Slacker.

The thing is, most of the same television content is already freely available through Canadian websites although this alternative frequently lacks the convenience, speed and user experience of Hulu that made the site so popular to begin with.

Then there's the bilingual issue, which is also responsible for various delays of hardware and software within Canada. It's one thing to offer both English and French packaging on a can of soup, and another to create devices and programs that work exactly the same in both languages. That takes time.

Whatever the reasons, it's plain that Canada is missing out.

Mint.com - This online budgeting tool is drawing rave reviews from just about everybody, but it's not available in Canada yet. The CEO of the company said in October that it could be available in early 2010, but no release date has been set. In the meantime I use www.wesabe.com, but in my opinion that site has been terrible since they changed the interface - it's harder to find the information I need and the act of going through my transactions to assign them to my different spending categories is unbelievably frustrating.

Zune HD - I seriously considered buying one of these at release and subscribing to Zune for my music, but after bypassing Canada in September I don't think I'll dive in when the Zune HD becomes available here in 2010 (which has not been officially confirmed just yet). I did contact Microsoft Canada to inquire about a Canadian release and never received a reply. While the idea of paying $15 a month for unlimited music is still appealing, at least Apple releases its products in Canada in a timely way.

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