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Vine Users Mourn the Death of the Quirky App



NEW YORK—You can watch any video for six seconds, played on an infinite loop. The funniest ones only get more ridiculous with repetition.

That was the beauty of Vine, the simple, pioneering mobile video app that Twitter has decided to kill off. Its loyal users are mourning its weirdness, humour and creativity-boosting constraints.

There are alternatives, sure, but nothing as simple as Vine, which did just one thing, and one thing well. Instagram has photos and videos of all sorts. Snapchat keeps expanding features, and it isn’t really meant for mindless scrolling of humorous content. Facebook, well, we all know Facebook.

Vine’s demise is a story of what happens when a cool, edgy, but money-losing service fails to take off with the masses amid competition from heavyweight rivals. On the other hand, had Vine gained mass popularity, it might have lost its edge, the essence of what made Vine Vine, and instead got gobbled up by big brands and sanitized into the mainstream — a bit like what’s happened to Twitter, or Instagram.

“Vine is a very unique app in that it requires the smallest amount of attention. Watching YouTube videos, reading Facebook posts or even looking at tweets takes more concentration than watching a six-second clip,” said Carling Crawford, 19.

Crawford, a student at the University of Texas at Austin, fondly recalled classic Vines, such as the one titled “A Potato Flew Around My Room Before You Came ,” which, as its name suggests, shows a potato tied to a ceiling fan and flying around a room. In the time you read this sentence, it already played twice. It has been played more than 23 million times and “revined,” or shared, nearly 9,000 times.

Several college students mentioned looking at Vine at the end of the day, before going to bed, as a way to decompress, especially if the day was tough.

“It was something funny to end my day on, kind of like a detox,” said Olivia Burger, a sophomore at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Twitter bought Vine a few months before the service launched in 2013. The service enjoyed a brief surge in popularity before it got overtaken by Snapchat and Instagram, which introduced 15-second videos later that year. Vine stars (yes, that is a thing), moved on.

Jessica Vasquez, a makeup artist and self-described “professional potato” who goes by Jessi Smiles on Vine, hasn’t posted to that account since March. On Instagram, though, she was active five days ago and on Twitter, as recently as Thursday, when she lamented the demise of the beloved app.

“What a crazy journey this has been,” she wrote on Twitter. “Forever grateful for that silly little app.”

Vine also attracted some unlikely fans, such as the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, perhaps best known for protesting the funerals of fallen soldiers with inflammatory anti-gay signs. The organization has some 13,000 followers on Vine, and its six-second posts display hateful messages in often-humorous contexts.

“(With) heavy boots and a sad heart, we do not look forward to the end of Vine. Alas, it was so young with so much promise. We protest Vine’s funeral!” the church said in an emailed statement Friday.

More importantly perhaps, Vine was popular with black and Hispanic teens and 20-somethings, often more so than with their white counterparts. According to the Pew Research Center, 31 per cent of black teens used Vine as of 2015, compared with just 22 per cent of white, non-Hispanic teens.

In a 2015 op-ed piece in the Guardian, commentator Hannah Giorgi wrote that “Black users utilize Vine in hilarious, multi-faceted, complex and game-changing ways.”

“At a time when barriers to entry in Hollywood and formal creative industries continue to be almost insurmountable for black media-makers, the ability to simply record a video with one’s phone and share it widely presents a more widely accessible opportunity for creative ingenuity,” she added.

Vine was also used to document protests against police shootings and brutality in Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere, though the rising popularity of Facebook Live has started to overshadow this, too.

Tech companies such as Twitter are often criticized for the lack of racial and other diversity among their employees. Now, the loss of a service that’s popular with minorities seems an obvious casualty of the lack of diverse voices among a company’s decision-makers.

For its part, Twitter did not give a specific reason for shutting down Vine, but it’s clear that the app is the casualty of the belt-tightening that also includes the layoffs of 9 per cent of its workforce, or 350 people. Twitter didn’t say, specifically, why it chose to shut down Vine. In a press release Thursday, Twitter said it plans to “fully invest in our highest priorities and are de-prioritizing certain initiatives” to try to turn its first profit ever by next year.

In a blog post, Twitter said users will be able to access their Vine as the company leaves the website operational, but stops allowing posts. Twitter also said people will be able to download their Vines, though there’s no easy way to do this currently, without resorting to external apps.

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Beauty Week is back at Hudson’s Bay in Toronto and it’s time to get glam



Beauty enthusiasts rejoice! Beauty Week at Hudson’s Bay is back in Toronto for another year. It’s time to stock up on all of your fall essentials and, maybe discover some new ones. 

From Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 27, you can expect a truly elevated beauty experience in-store with incredible special offers, limited-time gifts, and exciting activations. 

If you’re a diehard beauty lover, you’ll already know that Hudson’s Bay is the place to shop thanks to its extensive range of over 195 skin and makeup brands from both luxury labels and masstige brands — including Tata Harper, Estée Lauder, YSL, Nars Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, and so much more.

Throughout The Bay’s Beauty Week, visitors can take in some at-counter activations and interactive expert-led tutorials, where there will be chances to get makeup touch-ups from top-tier brands, try a spritz of the most alluring fragrances, and sample tons of new products.

This year’s Beauty Week highlight is the ‘Best in Beauty’ tote, a meticulously-curated selection of 30 deluxe samples from an array of top-tier brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm and Shiseido spanning skincare, fragrance, and makeup — all in a super sleek bag.

The tote, which is valued at over $300, is retailing for just $39 and is a fantastic way to explore new products (without breaking the bank). However, there is a limited quantity, so if you want to get your hands on one, you’ll need to be fast.

Wondering exactly what Beauty Week’s free gifts with purchases entail? If you spend over $95 at Lancôme, you will receive a six-piece set valued at $130. Or, you can get an Estée Lauder gift valued at $170 with purchases over $80. (And that’s just to name a few.)

If you’re a Hudson’s Bay Rewards member, you’ll also get $20 in Hudson’s Bay rewards when you spend over $100 on beauty.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are hiring for several non-combat military jobs



The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have several non-combat jobs, some of which do not require a college degree or past work experience.

Life in the forces has several benefits, such as paid education plans (college, university and graduate-level programs), 20 paid vacation days, health and dental coverage for you and your family, maternity and paternal leave, and pension plans. You can learn more about the benefits in detail here.

And to make it easier to gauge if you qualify, the listings also include related civilian jobs to see if it’s your ideal role.

Financial services administrator

Related civilian jobs: Financial records entry clerk, financial manager, accounting technician, bookkeeper, budget officer, cashier clerk, business planner technician, and verification manager.

Description: You’ll help budget resources for all military activities besides providing financial assistance.

Education: You need to have completed Grade 10.

Duties: As a financial services administrator, you’ll be responsible for bookkeeping and managing budgets. You’ll also provide support in accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Work environment: Those in this role work at CAF bases, on ships or overseas. You might also be expected to help special operation units, recruiting offices, schools, and medical organizations.

Postal clerk

Related civilian jobs: Mail clerk, mail sorter.

Description: You’ll provide postal services to members and their families at bases and establishments.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: As the postal clerk, you’ll handle mail duties.

Work environment: Besides a postal office, you may work on a ship or a mobile postal van. You might be expected to serve with Royal Canadian Navy, the Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada and abroad.

Dental technician

Related civilian jobs: Dental assistant, dental hygienist.

Description: You’ll be helping dental officers provide dental services to CAF members, their families, and dependents.

Education: Level II dental assisting diploma from an accredited college or a National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) certificate.

Duties: Those in this role will be responsible for various responsibilities, including disinfection and sterilization of dental equipment, applying rubber dams, placing cavity liners, and controlling bleeding. In addition, you’ll assist in laboratory procedures like creating casts, custom trays, and mouthguards.

Work environment: This role will require you to work in a military dental clinic, a Mobile Dental Clinic, an Air Transportable Dental System, or onboard a ship. You might be expected to work on a base in Canada or other operations in other parts of the world.

Human resources administrator

Related civilian jobs: Records administrator, data entry supervisor, receptionist, office manager, executive assistant, payroll clerk, and information management technician.

Description: Provide administrative and general human resources support.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: In addition to human resources administration and services, you’ll be handling pay and allowances, managing automated pay systems, and maintaining personnel records.

Work environment: HR administrators work at all CAF bases in Canada. They also work on ships and overseas to support the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Canadian Air Force operations.

Medical assistant

Related civilian jobs: Emergency medical responder, ambulance and first aid attendant, registered nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, and hospital orderly.

Description: Successful candidates will help treat the sick and injured in CAF units. You’ll be assisting and supporting nursing and medical officers.

Education: Minimum of Grade 11 biology, Grade 10 physics or chemistry, and Grade 10 math.

Duties: You’ll provide initial care and essential life support treatments in trauma cases. You’ll help with health assessments (hearing and vision tests, perform basic lab procedures, etc.) and initiate and manage medical records and reports. You’ll also be expected to provide support and first aid during training exercises.

Work environment: Medical assistants may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force or the Canadian Army as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. Those in this role are exposed to the same risks as the forces they support.

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Porter’s new loyalty program promises to match Air Canada’s Aeroplan status



Porter Airlines is once again stirring the pot among Canadian airline rivals, now going after Air Canada’s Aeroplan members by offering to match their loyalty status to an equivalent of their own.

The beloved airline, which recently ranked as having the best cabin service in North America, challenged the competition for the second time this year, after previously deploying a similar tactic against WestJet in the spring. 

Earlier in April, Porter presented customers with a limited-time offer to match the loyalty status of WestJet’s patrons with VIPorter levels.

Now, they’re offering Aeroplan members to seamlessly transition to an equivalent VIPorter Avid Traveller status based on their existing membership tier.

Members can then take advantage of an array of travel perks that come with flying Porter, including seat selection, baggage, and flight changes.

For those currently holding an Aeroplan membership, there are two ways to acquire the Avid Traveller status for the rest of 2023:

Status-Based Match:
  • Aeroplan 25K members = VIPorter Venture
  • Aeroplan 35K members = VIPorter Ascent
  • Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite = VIPorter First
Flight Segments-Based Match:
  • 5 flight segments = VIPorter Passport
  • 8 segments = VIPorter Venture
  • 17 segments = VIPorter Ascent
  • 28 or more segments = VIPorter First

Members will have to first submit their applications on Porter’s website. Registration will remain open until September 6, 2023.

In order to maintain their membership level through 2024, customers will have until the end of 2023 to reach the following reduced qualifying spend (QS) targets:

  • Passport = $500 in QS
  • Venture = $750 in QS
  • Ascent = $1500 in QS
  • First = $2500 in QS

Over the past year, Porter has launched an aggressive expansion strategy, including everything from introducing longer flights on newly-purchased jet planes flying out of Toronto Pearson, free WiFi, and a new all-inclusive economy experience.

With Canadians losing both Swoop and Sunwing as WestJet incorporates both into their mainline business, Porter’s direct competition is welcome to keep prices competitive.

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