Digital Video Recorders

Yes, it is a glorified VCR (aka VHS), but the Digital Video Recorder (aka Personal Video Recorder) is the greatest invention since colour TV. In Canada, for some reason, we don't have Tivo. So you basically have three options: cable, satellite or computer. The computer option is a bit like playing video games on your computer instead of buying a video game console. In theory, it is cheaper, in practice, it will cost you more and will be fare less convenient. I tell you, the DVR (aka PVR) will change your life. And although it will cost you about $240 per year (plus tax), you will actually save money because you won't be subjected to all those commercials. So you advertisers don't totally freek out, let me tell you I still press "play" to watch some commercials such as the Bell Beavers and the Familiprix guy.

In Canada, both Rogers and Cogeco (and other cable providers?) have video on demand. Video on demand is uber cool, but not nearly as practical or useful as it should be. First, video on demand only offers a few hundred hours of programming to chose from, much of it pay per view. Second, you often get annoying error messages advising you to try again later. Third, it isn't instant. It will take you a good 10 seconds to download a program description, in text only format, and an other 10 to 20 seconds to start the program. If you pause to go to the bathroom, it will take you a good 20 seconds to resume the program. That is pretty dam quick if you are used to sitting through commercials or going to the nearest video store. But if you have a DVR (aka PVR)...

A really good PVR will let you record two programs at once and watch a recorded program. Alternatively, you can watch two live shows at once thanks to picture-in-picture. You can also watch a pre-recorded show and have a live show in the picture-in-picture. You can also pause live TV and rewind. He said what? Rewind and hear it again. Have you ever sat through a weather forcast of Canada and forget to pay attention when it comes to your city? With a DVR, no problem. You just rewind. If you miss it again, you can rewind again and pause. That scrolling text on Newsworld suddenly catch your attention: rewind.

You can start to watch a hockey game an hour later and watch the final minutes at the same time as your neighbors (watching Coach's corner becomes optional). Do you really need 1500 beer commercials per game? No. Your girlfriend suddenly becomes in the mood during the Simpsons? Not a problem. Mark my words, it will change your life. All for about $240 per year. But you will save money. If you eat fast food or dream about an expensive car (or any car, really) than you can blame commercials. With a DVR, TV revolvs around your life, not the other way around.

Here in New Brunswick, the only PVR (aka DVR) offered by Rogers is a one tuner version, albeit in HD format. You see, much of New Brunswick and Newfoundland used to be with Shaw cable, and a few years back Rogers and Shaw switched territories. For some reason, when it came to Digital Video Recorders, Maritimers got stuck with the substandard Shaw provider (Motorola). A dual tuner Motorola DVR exists, but Rogers isn't offering it. Having used the dual tuner DVR with Rogers in Ontario and Vidéotron in Quebec, I can assure you the Motorola mono-tuner is the poorer cousin. If I didn't move around so much, I'd opt for satellite just so I could get the DVR dual tuner from ExpressVu.

-ExpressVu (Canada wide, sort of, check with your local phone company): Dual Tuner PVR . You can't get video on demand from satellite, but they do offer a dual tuner digital HD PVR (DVR) with surround sound! Let me know if you figure out the price...

-Star Choice (Canada wide): Dual-tuner HD-DVR (only), $539, includes installation (actually costs more, but you get "programming credits").

-Rogers in Ontario. Dual Tuner PVR, for about $19.95 per month (give or take $5, depending on package and fine print).

-Rogers in New Brunswick and Newfoundland: Mono-tuner PVR (in HD) $19.95 per month (give or take $5, depending on package and fine print). NOT SURROUND SOUND COMPATIBLE.

-Cogeco: They do business in parts of Ontario (for example Kingston) and Quebec (for example, Shawinigan). According to the web site, they use the same mono-tuner HD DVR by Motoroal as Rogers does in the Maritimes (I could have sworn I had better when living in Kingston). $19.95 per month.

-Shaw: Serious about it's relationship with Motorola, Albertans and BCers lucky enough to be in Shaw territory can take advantage of the dual tuner Motorola PVR for $398 or $12 per month on installments (subject to credit approval).

-In much of Quebec, and Rockland, Ontario, your cable provider is Vidéotron. The dual tuner PVR is available for $299. You can also rent it for $19.95 per month with a 1 year commitment (or pre-payed for $199.99). With a two year commitment, it is only 14.95$ per month ($299.95 pre-payed). The dual-tuner HD DVR is available for $499 or $26.95 per month with a 1 year commitment ($19.95 per month with a two year commitment).

-For those of you who don't live in Newfoundland, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta or BC, check for details from you local cable provider. Forget about LOOK. Although, notwhistanding electricity, their service is relatively cheap (available only on urban Ontario and Quebec) but for some reason, they don't provide a DVR.

Remember, a DVR (aka PVR) will also increase your electricity bill. It is essentially like having a computer on your TV (always on). Granted, electricity is relatively cheap in Canada, it is sill a few extra dollars per month to consider.

With IFC and the Documentary Channel, you are all set. You have both entertainment and intellect covered. Plus, if you want, you can watch NBC's Thursday night line up, Monday's Two and a Half Men and New Kristeen , Sunday's offering of Desperate Housewives, Showcase's Trailer Park Boys and the amuzing Billable Hours. The occasional reality show (I recommend the Amazing Race on Sunday) and, last but not least, your choice of Simpsons episodes, new or old, always good.

I have a personal appreciation for both "The Sopranos and Entourage". However, as they are both commercial free, you hardly need a DVR to enjoy them, especially since they are replayed throughout the week.
My review of last year's TV line-up:


Canada Should Join France (Rerun)

The Sens are playing tonight so I'm posting a "Best Of Altavistagoogle".

Originally posted November 27, 2006.

Canada Should Join France

Canadian benefits of the country joining France:

-5 weeks annual vacation;
-Say goodbye to snow thanks to labour mobility: France spans the Caribbean, South America, North America, Africa, Oceania and Europe. Being a member of the European Union means you can live in any of the 25 member countries, including England.
-Quebec would be less likely to separate. Not that they wouldn't want to leave, Quebec would simply not be allowed to leave. Heck, Quebec would no longer exist!
-Provinces would be abolished, so no more constitutional debates about power sharing. Paris decides, end of story.
-We would have the bomb.
-It would annoy the USA.
-Wine would be much cheaper.
-You could have a beer at McDonald's.
-We would be 100% metric.
-Some oil sand workers would be working for a domestic company (Total).
-We would respect the Kyoto accord.
-Our cars would be way cooler (albeit smaller).
-No more Queen or Governor General.
-Steven Harper would no longer be Prime Minister.
-Women and men could sunbathe topless at Lake Louise.
-A coast to coast TGV would be built and what is now France would pick up 66% of the bill.
-Albertans could no longer brag about lower income and sales tax.
-The mayor of Moose Jaw could also be the President of the Republic.
-We would win some ski medals during the Vancouver Olympic games.
-Everybody would get into French immersion.
-Drinking age would be 16.
-Drving age would be 18.
-Fir and seal skin would be popular again.
-Tim Hortens would no longer have the best coffee in town, but they would serve espresso.
-We could be hockey AND soccer world champions.
-We would have better health care. Drugs, dental care and artificial insemination would be free.
-Gerard Kennedy would get the national education standards. As a bonus, he wouldn't even have to come up with any as we would have to use France's.
-Showering would be optional. So would shaving. So more time for sex.
-We could stop being so nice and so polite. Parisians would always be worse.
-Toronto would no longer be the centre of the known universe.

-And last but not least, English Canadians would finally find out what if feels like to live in a country where 75% of the population doesn't speak their language.

Ban Pets to Combat Global Warming.

Ban pets to combat global warming.

Seriously, stock up on incandescent light bulbs, in Canada, they will soon be illegal! Light bulbs! That is the Conservative Party plan to combat global warming. Not reducing plane and car travel. Not reducing the number of McMansions sprouting on farmland around our cities. Light bulbs.

I like incandescent light bulbs (the regular kind). They are warm, easy on the eyes and dirt cheap. Dirt cheap is important when you are poor like me. Poor people by the way live in small apartments/crowded homes and walk everywhere.

I don't like halogen and fluorescent lights. I'm subjected to them all day at work and there is no way in Hell I'm going to subject myself to them in my basement apartment. I'm not even sure there is a net energy gain. In places like offices where lights are always on, they make sense. But is homes, lights are usually on only briefly, with a lot of switching on and off. Switching on and off considerably reduces the lifespan of a halogen or fluorescent light. Both of which cost substantially more than incandescent light bulbs.

So I say let us ban pets. It would save the average Canadian household hundreds of dollars a year AND would reduce global warming. A subtantial amount of fossil fuel is used to produce, transport and market pet food. Then there is all the energy humans spend to pay for said food. Then there is all the pet paraphernalia. And don't get me started on all those blogs about pets. I'm not sure how many people read them, but a few hundreds people here and there ads up to alot of electricity, much of which is powered by CO2 emitting coal and oil. And last but not least, pets, like humans, emit CO2! Banning people à la China would be outrageous. Banning pets, why not?

PS. Am I the only one who noticed that Al Gore was flying in first class in his movie "Inconvenient Truth" warning us about global warming? Ban first class! Ban private jets! Banning light bulbs?

Try this inconvenient truth: Fluorescent bulbs contain Mercury!
- NHDES Pollution Prevention Program - Mercury-
On the plus side, stray dogs eating garbage will be poisoned and die.

Other opinions:
- globeandmail.com: Global enlightenment turns off the bulb - Comments-

- Your View: Australia says lights out to incandescent bulbs-


Smoking in the Presence of Children is Child Abuse

Smoking in the Presence of Children is Child Abuse

Smoking around children is immoral and selfish to the extreem. Cigaret smoke causes cancer. CANCER! What part of that don't people understand?

Slapping your kid on the face is considered child abuse in many jurisdictions. Yet blowing ciragaret smoke is legal. How is that logical?

There isn't a jurisdiction in the world, thankfully, that allows you to have sex in front of children. Yet you can smoke; something that significantly increases their chances of suffering from respatory desease including lung cancer. LUNG CANCER !

Thankfully, if you are a heavy smoker, you probably wont live long enough to witness your children dying of your bad habit. But you could. There are no garantees. There are heavy smokers who are lucky enough to live to 90. But chances are, if you smoke, you will suffer from one of the numerous side effects (including impotance). You could live long enough to witness your children get sick and die because of your bad habit. You could witness the long and painfull death of your children. You will have murdered your own kid(s).

Too bad impotance doesn't affect ALL smokers. Because smokers shouldn't be allowed to have children.

Bangor, Maine, bans smoking in vehicles in which children are present. Makes sence to me. What do you think. Should smoking be illegal in the presence of children?

Related articles:

- Maine City Bans Smoking in Cars Carrying Children - New York Times-
(...) allows the police to stop cars if an adult is smoking while a child under 18 is a passenger. The smoker can be fined $50.

- Council supports smoking ban in cars- [ Traduire cette page ]

BANGOR - In 10 days, Bangor will become the first city in Maine, perhaps in the nation, to ban adults from smoking in any motor vehicle when children are ...

FOXNews.com - Bangor Makes It Illegal to Smoke in Cars - Health ...- [ Traduire cette page ]

Bangor Makes It Illegal to Smoke in Cars, Bangor, Maine, makes it illegal to smoke in cars with children present.

Laws prohibit smoking around children - USATODAY.com- [ Traduire cette page ]

Arkansas and Louisiana passed laws this year forbidding anyone from smoking in cars carrying young children. Courts are ordering smoke-free environments in ...

-BBC NEWS Health Tobacco smoke dulls child brains- [ Traduire cette page ]

Children exposed to passive smoking are likely to do worse at school than their peers, research suggests.

TOBACCO FACTS - Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living- [ Traduire cette page ]

In Louisiana, one out of every 2 children are exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes. From: CDC. State-specific prevalence of cigarette smoking among ...

-Kids and Smoking - [ Traduire cette page ] Everything for People Concerned About Smoking and Protecting the Rights of Nonsmokers.
www.ash.org/kids.html -

Second Hand Smoke & Kids - [ Traduire cette page ]

Second hand smoke is a major cause of children's illness -- yet 85% of adults who smoke and who live with a child do not ensure that the child is not ...

Ontario Premier calls banning smoking in cars with kids a slippery slope
Wed Feb 7, 3:23 PM
By Chinta Puxley

From: Stateline

States go after smoking in vehicles with kids
Print this story Email this story

Thirteen states ban smoking in most public places and workplaces, including bars and restaurants, to protect people from puffs of others' cigarettes. But now there's a move afoot to fence off the private space inside a motor vehicle if children are present.

Arkansas pioneered the policy in April 2006 after state Rep. Bob Mathis (D) introduced a bill to shield children strapped in car seats from secondhand smoke. Critics didn't believe his proposal would go anywhere, but the Legislature passed it overwhelmingly in less than two days. And then-Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), a reformed health enthusiast, signed it.

Louisiana in August became the second state to ban smoking in vehicles carrying a child in a car seat. The city of Bangor, Maine, in January went even further by banning smoking in vehicles carrying anyone under 18. The law allows police officers to make a traffic stop if they observe a violation.

Moves to ban smoking in vehicles mark a potential new phase in the nation's crackdown against smokers as the case against secondhand smoke builds. Last year, U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona said there is no safe level of secondhand smoke. Harvard University researchers found in October that secondhand smoke in vehicles is hazardous to children even with the window slightly rolled down.

While Maine is not considering turning Bangor's ordinance into a statewide ban, lawmakers in four other New England states — Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont — picked up on the idea. Rhode Island state Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D) credited Bangor as the inspiration for her bill. In Connecticut, state Rep. Henry Genga (D) got the idea through an e-mail from a 10-year-old constituent and modeled his plan on the Maine city's approach.

At least 14 legislatures have introduced bills to ban smoking in vehicles in the last six months.

The trend began in 1998 when California became the first state to outlaw smoking in workplaces. Delaware followed suit in 2002, and 11 more states have since mandated broad bans against smoking in public places and workplaces, according to an American Lung Association report released in January. At least three other states have passed similar bans that have yet to take full effect, and many have smoking restrictions of some kind.

Legislators are pushing for their bills to protect underage passengers without much help: Anti-smoking groups aren't rushing to support them. Spokesmen from the American Lung Association, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights said some bills' penalties would be too harsh. Education, not punishment, should be the focus of any campaign against secondhand smoke, they said.

"Yes, the environment is more conducive to this legislation, but it's being presented in a way that makes people angry," said Joel Spivak, a spokesman for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "This isn't really about punishing people or putting them in jail. What it's about is protecting the health of children."

Bills pending in Montana, Arizona and California are the most restrictive. They would apply to smoking in vehicles carrying children up to 17 years old. In other states, the bans would apply only if the children were in car seats. In most of those states, that includes passengers younger than 6 years old who weigh less than 60 pounds.

If the bills were to become law, first-time violators could only be warned in Kansas, while in New Jersey and New York they could get slapped with a $500 fine. On the third offense in the same year in New York, drivers could be fined up to $1,500 or jailed for 10 days.

Smokers and privacy-rights activists nationwide dubbed the legislation an invasion of personal property that's based on a lack of scientific proof. Gary Nolan, Ohio director of pro-smoking advocacy group The Smokers' Club Inc., said that there are "more carcinogens in a burnt steak than in secondhand smoke" and that "secondhand smoke has never hurt anyone."

"This will give law enforcement cause to pull anyone over who's smoking," Nolan said. "It's big government, and they've gone too far."

Pennsylvania state Rep. Peter Daley (D) said he was the first in the nation to propose a ban on smoking in vehicles carrying children — in 1988, after he had a cancer removed from his throat that he blamed on whiffs from his mother's cigarettes. Then, he said, he was "all but burned at the stake," and newspapers called him "off-the-wall bizarre." The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania ardently opposed his legislation in 1988, and it went nowhere.

Daley is trying again this year with a bill that would outlaw smoking in vehicles carrying children who are strapped in a car seat.

The ACLU hasn't yet taken a stand against the newest bill but most likely will fight it again, according to Larry Frankel, legislative director at the Philadelphia office.

"When are we going to stop and draw the line?" Frankel said. "At some level, the people have to be responsible for what they do. We shouldn't use the law to enforce what we think is better behavior."

From blogs:

California jumps on ban-wagon re smoking in cars

26 Mar 2007 by Roger Sinasohn
And now, California wants to make it illegal to smoke in a car when children are present. The nerve! The thing is, these are not the same as taking a child to church or buying a little girl a toy truck. ...
Blogging Baby - http://www.bloggingbaby.com

Come ON, Bangor! Yes.....I am a smoker. And yeah, yeah, yeah.....I know all the downsides to smoking. Hell, I'm an RN, so maybe I know more than the average bear. But I also know I've had thousands of patients who still encountered lung cancer and respiratory diseases without ever ONCE putting a cigarette to their lips. So with that said......I will also acknowledge that smoking isn't "good" for us. We know that. However, I also know that smoking is LEGAL. It's also a CHOICE.

A Smoking Ban Too Far . The other common theme in the comments tread was how reprehensible it is for parents to subject their kids to cigarette smoke. I totally agree there too. I had respiratory problems through most of my childhood (until I was 13 or so) and my father was a heavy smoker, in the home and in the car. Was there a connection? Dunno, maybe. His smoking certainly didn't help.

So we are somewhat agreed that banning smoking in cars with children present is not a good idea while we are also agreed that smoking in cars with children present is also not a good idea. Hmmm. So what should be done, if anything, to resolve this conundrum?

Just butt out!

5 Mar 2007 by Jay Tea
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: smoking is dumb. It is stupid. It is foul, it is self-destructive, and it is disgusting. I have no sympathy for anyone who smokes; the evidence of how vile it is has been around for a long, long time, and today's smokers have no one to blame but themselves for their choices -- and the consequences they might suffer thereof

Others on the web:

Cornell Science News : Smoking as child abuse- [ Traduire cette page ]

James Garbarino, Cornell University's top child abuse expert, advocates viewing parental smoking as child abuse.

Parents' Smoking is Child Abuse, Group Says- [ Traduire cette page ]

The Canadian Lung Association said exposing children to secondhand smoke is a form of parental child abuse, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported Jan. 21. ...

Offensive, Anti- smoking T-Shirts and Gifts : CafePress.com : Shop ...- [ Traduire cette page ]
Smoking is Child Abuse Mini Button 10 packMini Button (10 pack) $12.99 ... Smoking is Child Abuse Men's Sleeveless TeeMen's Sleeveless Tee $17.99 ...
From the EPA: Health Effects of Exposure to Secondhand Smoke

What is Secondhand Smoke?

Secondhand smoke is a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, and the smoke exhaled by smokers. Secondhand smoke is also called environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and exposure to secondhand smoke is sometimes called involuntary or passive smoking. Secondhand smoke contains more that 4,000 substances, more than 40 of which are known to cause cancer in humans or animals.

EPA has concluded that exposure to secondhand smoke can cause lung cancer in adults who do not smoke. EPA estimates that exposure to secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths per year in nonsmokers.

Exposure to secondhand smoke has also been shown in a number of studies to increase the risk of heart disease.

Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause asthma in children who have not previously exhibited symptoms.

Exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Infants and children younger than 6 who are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk of lower respiratory track infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

Children who regularly breathe secondhand smoke are at increased risk for middle ear infections.

11% of children aged 6 years and under are exposed to ETS in their homes on a regular basis (4 or more days per week) compared to 20% in the 1998 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).

Parents are responsible for 90% of children’s exposure to ETS.

Exposure to ETS is higher and asthma prevalence is more likely in households with low income and low education levels.

Children with asthma have as much exposure to ETS as children without asthma.

No smoking in cars -- what next?

27 Mar 2007
I don't smoke and, since both of my parents died of smoking-related illnesses, I feel pretty strongly that smoking is bad for human health. (...) People should be smart enough to figure out for themselves not to smoke in a car carrying children, but the state doesn't need to get involved.

ALTAVISTAGOOGLE: Smoking Should be Illegal


Unscheduled Improvement to Our Network

***This message was NOT posted using my Blackberry**

I'm glad the company I work for is not the only one to have outages, er, "unscheduled improvements" to its network.

But 12 hours is a long time to have an outage affecting _everybody_.

From Yahoo.ca

Wed Apr 18, 5:02 PM

By David Friend

TORONTO (CP) - BlackBerry addicts quickly slipped back into the habit Wednesday after technical problems shut down the portable e-mail device's key capabilities for more than 12 hours, though questions lingered about the cause and whether it could happen again.

Research In Motion (TSX:RIM), developer of the BlackBerry, provided few answers and little comfort to users in the wake of an unknown glitch that resulted in a massive system failure, affecting Internet connections and e-mail for millions of users.

Reports of trouble with BlackBerry e-mail began to surface as early as 8 p.m. ET Tuesday. Phone service through the handhelds was unaffected.

It took the company more than half a day to issue a statement and even then RIM said only that the "root cause is currently under review."

That left technical analysts to speculate that what likely started as an isolated problem later careened out of control, possibly worsened by RIM's atypical server setup.

RIM runs its North American servers through an operations centre at its Waterloo headquarters and has done so since the company's infancy, according to Carmi Levy, senior research analyst at InfoTech Research Group.

"The way we see it, is that it's one large monolithic facility but within that facility there are backups and failovers and redundancies," he said.

"What essentially happened is there was a failure in that facility that cascaded out of control. It resulted in the operation centre's inability to keep up with e-mail transmissions."

A backup system was likely also in place to prevent such minor outages, said Jesse Hirsh, a technology industry watcher for Openflows Networks. Either the backup system didn't kick in or failed along with the first system, he said.

"This suggests something went horribly wrong," he said.

Hirsch pointed to RIM's decision to keep all of its servers in house as part of the problem.

"This is definitely a proprietary approach that they've taken which is not the industry norm," he said.

Other major companies like IBM and Google use the Internet instead of their own private servers, which lessens the effect from any technical crashes, Hirsch said.

"The Internet has to go down to affect them in such a way. Because the Internet is distributed so largely it just doesn't happen anymore," he said.

RIM representatives didn't return calls to either confirm or deny exactly what happened.

The company's lack of complete disclosure sparked fury on Internet message boards as some BlackBerry users questioned why the company hadn't issued a statement earlier.

"For a company that revolves around communication technology... they sure are doing a crap job in communicating directly with their clients in a situation like this," wrote one forum user.

The urgency of a BlackBerry outage, and the affect it could have on RIM's future growth, became glaringly apparent.

Often humorously referred to as the"CrackBerry" by ardent users, the BlackBerry is known as the device of choice in the business community, where they are used to discuss deals, schedule plans and monitor after-hours trading.

"When a lot of people bought BlackBerrys they no longer took their laptops when they travelled," said Nick Bontis, a marketing professor at the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University.

In Ottawa, some Canadian politicians expressed their dismay with the down time, while others said it proved they were addicted.

Liberal MP Garth Turner, known for his prolific Internet blogging, said politicians were scrambling to find other ways to communicate when the system went down.

"We all lost our data when we were in the House of Commons last night. The sound of BlackBerrys being thrown against the desk was deafening for a while," he said.

This isn't the first time that RIM has been hit by a major server issue.

In June 2005, an outage of its e-mail services appeared to only affect devices on GSM cellular networks, the wireless standard dominant in Europe and other regions. That outage primarily impacted big U.S. carriers Cingular and T-Mobile, while others only saw a slowdown in message traffic.

Some industry watchers suggest that if server failures continue to plague the company, RIM could lose current users, and potential future customers, to competitors like Motorola's Smartphone and the upcoming Apple IPhone.

"The response will depend on how concretely and proactively RIM responds to this outage," said Levy. "If they do nothing and these outages continue to occur, it will ultimately damage their ability to grow their subscriber base because of reduced confidence in the platform."

On Wednesday, investor confidence seemed unshaken. RIM shares closed the day up $2.80 to $151.62, after dropping as much as $3.36 earlier in the day on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

As of 4 p.m. ET, The firm's customer support centre, at 1-877-255-2377, carried a brief recorded message reporting that the company is "closely monitoring systems to maintain normal service levels."

RIM has said that about eight million people use the BlackBerry worldwide. About one million U.S. federal government and emergency workers are believed to use the devices.


Where is the Space Bar

True questions I occasionally get at work and the answers I'll give when I qualify for Employment Insurance.

Question: Where is the space bar?
Answer: It is right next to the any key, just below the address bar.

Q. How to I type @ ?
A. Type in three of them and press delete twice.

Q. Do I need a flying saucer[aka a satellite dish] to get the Internet?
A. No, all you need is a bicycle. But it has to be at least a 10 speed.

Q. How come my wired computer can't get the Internet but my wireless computer can get it in my bedroom?
A. Raise the volume on your radio to maximum and when your neighbours shows up, ask them.

Q. How do I get Hotmail in French?
A. Select "Spanish" then use Google Translate.

Q. How do I reduce the cost of the Internet?
A. Good news, Blogger is now available in Hindi.

Q. My Avast (aka AVG) antivirus is stopping me from connecting to the Internet. What do I do?
A. Sorry, Avast only works properly on MacInstosh computers. To uninstall Avast, you will need to install Norton, McAffee and Freedom (and any other antivirus you can find) and run them simultaneously.

Q. How do I send mail using Incredimail?
A. You will need to upgrade your mail platform. Please go to canadapost.ca and Officedepo.ca for the required supplies you will need.

Q. Where is the address bar?
A. We only support the space bar. For more information on the address bar, just type the following URL in the address bar: http://www.computerhope.com/jargon/a/addrebar.htm .

Q. Is high speed Internet available where I live?
A. No, you must be connected to the municipal sewer system. Has nothing to do with the technology, we are just taking a stand against urban sprawl.

Q. Why can't I get my bank's site to work?
A. Our system is only compatible with credit unions.

Q. How do increase my download limit?
A. You can get a second account to take advantage of the dual core technology of your computer.

Q. I've never used a computer, can you help me connect to the Internet with Windows Vista?
A. You need the Mac adapter. It is available at most electronic stores. Only the blue one will work with our service.

Q. Is there any way I can get you without going thru the automated touch tone system?
A. Just call 613 744 3751 .

Q. To access the lotto web site, do I type in my Internet password or my e-mail password?
A. You must randomly type passwords until it lets you in. It might take awhile, but it is worth it.

Q. How do I get my password to work?
A. For added security, you must dial 976-Rogr and ask "what are you doing now?". Whatever you do, don't hang up before you get the password.

Q. What is my password?
A. Your password is "2". Please write it down this time so you don't forget.

Q. Why is the Internet so slow tonight?
A. Tonight's "Desperate Housewives" is a rerun.

Q. How do I stop my boyfriend from reading my e-mails?
A. Frankly, I'd be more worried about the web cam in your shower.

Q. Why do my e-mails take so long to get delivered?
A. CSIS has a staffing shortage.

Q. How did I go over my bandwidth limit?
A. Same way your keyboard got sticky.

Q. Can I return the new Dell computer you sent me in exchange for an X-Box 360?
A. Sure, but you will have to pay an extra $350 to cover the difference in value.

Q. Why is my Internet so slow now?
A. Same reason your wife gained weight after getting married. Once you signed up for a three year contract, we stopped trying to impress you.

Q. Hi, I'm in Fort Lauderdale, how do I get my High Speed Internet to work?
A. Sorry, as a Canadian company, because of the value of the Canadian dollar, we had to chose between providing service in Fort Lauderdale and Tampa. We chose Tampa.

Q. I just moved and my Internet doesn't work.
A. I'm sorry, I guess your moving company forgot to tell us that you were moving. They're usually pretty good about that sort of thing.

Q. I just moved, I need the electricity hooked up.
A. According to my files, it is hooked up. However, since your neighbourhood runs on 320 volt electricity, you will have to change your appliances.

Q. Is there a service outage?
A. Yes, unfortunately, the engineer responsible for your neighborhood is on maternity leave.

Q. Is there a service outage?
A. We prefer the term "unscheduled maintenance".

Q. Is there a service outage?
A. Yes, but oddly, it is only affecting your computer.

Q. I just got your Internet package. Unfortunately, all I received was a modem and a bunch of wires. Where is the camera?
A. Sorry about that, would you prefer VHS, Beta or 35mm?

Q. Is setting up the Internet complicated?
A. No more so than setting up Ikea furniture blindfolded.

Q. What is a button?
A. It is like velcro only you press on it instead of pulling.

Q. What is a web site?
A. A bunch of documents that Google inc. bought from All Gore.

Q. I need a new modem. It is way to hot.
A. Just go to polarnet.ca to cool it off.

Q. How do I right click?
A. Go to http://www.conservative.ca/ and click on "Become a Member". You will feel right at home.

Q. Why do I need to restart my computer? It is already on!
A. The real question is why is Bill Gates the richest man on earth.

Q. I can't get my MacIntosh to work. I don't know why.
A. You're probably trying to access the Microsoft version of the Internet.

Q. Where is the Delete key?
A. Between the 6 and the 7. Look closely.

Q. Why did you send me a Internet CD that is incompatible with Windows Vista?
A. The real question is why do you have Windows Vista if it is incompatible with the Internet connection CD we sent you.

Q. I'm not good with computers.
A. That makes two of us. Restart your computer and if it doesn't work, call Microsoft!


The Sopranos, AOL, Rogers and Me

The Sopranos are coming. I'm getting cable and The Movie Network because of this show. So you know I like it.

See below for my cable package. Not a bad deal, if I say so myself (I am NOT getting a commission from this).

According to the Newfoudland sales rep, $39.99/month includes all fees (plus tax). Free installation to boot. In a year they'll jack it up to a million dollars a month, but then all you have to do is ask (not threaten, ask) to cancel to get a similar deal.

More importantly, IT IS NOT A CONTRACT. You do not want to get into a contract with a "utility". It is like dealing with the mob. Best to stay at arms lenght with the possibility of going over to the competition. If you fall on to hard times, you want to be able to chose between cable and groceries, not have that choice imposed by Ted Rogers.

Speaking of good deals and the mob. I'm currently listening to The Sopranos station on aol.ca. I'm not sure how they plan on making money from commercial free CD quality streaming music, but when you see a free lunch, eat it.

Disclamor: At the moment of writing, I do not work for or have any financial interests in any of the companies that I mentioned in this blog post, or any of their affiliates, subcontractors or owning shell companies.

From Rogers:

New Package!
$39.99/month for 12 months (includes 2 Free Rogers On Demand Movies)

Includes the following:

  • Basic Digital Cable
  • Free Rogers On Demand Movies
  • A Standard Definition Digital Box
  • Rogers On Demand - Access to thousands of movies and shows at the touch of a button plus access to 500 FREE titles
  • FREE Digital Music Channels - 40 channels of commercial-free, CD-quality music
  • Interactive Program Guide - See what's on several days in advance
  • Free Timeshifting - Catch your favourite shows up to 5 times a day in different time zones

    Plus, get The Movie Network which includes 5 channels, plus The Movie Network OnDemand, that play uncut and award-winning, commercial-free movies, from HBO series and Showtime 24/7.

  • To order, call 1-866-292-1953


    Google now offers free High Speed Internet

    Sure, Google now offers free High Speed Internet in urban areas, but there is no free tech support. And those Bell Beavers don't come cheap you know. It's all about value. And I say Sympatico offers more value at $44.95 per month than Google's so called 10 times faster and free High Speed Internet.

    Check it out for yourself:

    Tetesaclaques sont une gagne de vendus

    Les Têtes à claques font maintenant de la pub en anglais. Tetesaclaques is now in English. C'est pas beutifull ça? Non c'est pas beutifull. Les Têtes à claques, comme le Québec, nous appartiennent. Les anglais devraient apprendre le français pour les écouter. C'est pas à nous de ce mettre à genou pour les accomoder.

    It's not for us to put on the knees to accomodé toi, tsi.

    On ne peut pas avoir notre pays à cause des petits vieux racistes qui ont voté ADQ puis aux jeunes twits qui n'ont pas voté pentoute. Au moins, on avait nos têtesàclaques à nous autres. Mais non, maudite gagne de vendus.

    Céline Dion, le poutine, le Têtes à claques. Pis après ça va être Guy A. Lepage je suppose. C'est notre culture quétaine. Do not tuch our popular quétaine cultrure, tsi.


    Would You Believe In God If he was an Atheist ?

    According to Newsweek, 62% of Americans wouldn't vote for an Atheist. I find that rather shocking. Would they vote for someone who doesn't believe in the Tooth Ferry or Santa Clause? Yes. Same thing, right? ;-)

    Now, granted, the term "atheist" has many meanings. It is often associated with people trying to convince others that God doesn't exist. Would you vote for someone who went around day care centres warning the children that the Tooth Ferry and Santa Clause don't exist? No, you wouldn't.

    So maybe that's it. But if the survey had asked "Would you vote for someone who doesn't believe in God?", and the results were similar, then WOW.

    What if, after a lifetime of discriminating against Atheists, it turns out God is an Atheist.

    Who would be red faced then eh?

    Personally, I'm more of an Agnostic. I don't believe in God for the same reason I don't believe in the Wizard of Oz (by the way, was that some sort of Atheist propaganda movie?). However, I've been wrong before. So I keep in mind that God might exist and that she might be a black lesbian in a wheel chair. Therefor, I avoid discriminating against black lesbians in wheel chairs (Asian lesbians in wheel chairs are an other story).

    And why should God be a dictator? If God does exist, shouldn't he or she be chosen by the people in heaven? With term limits. Could heaven really be heaven without democracy?

    Update (2007-05-05): Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) was also inspired be the survey.


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