2008-01-31

Talk, if you can, to Indians or Learn French

I made a customer angrier today by telling him that if he wanted to remain a customer, he could either put up with Indians or learn French.
 
It amazes me how many people are willing to call tech support in their second language (French) in order to avoid talking to an Indian. Often the call is transferred by an agent in India: Hello, cutomer waaaaant giberish giberish Canada. You take?
 
Um... OK?
 
Is there already a shortage of English speakers in India willing to work in a call centre? I'm guessing yes.
 
So why are companies, large reputable companies, willing to put up with subcontracted people who haven't mastered English as a second language? Simple: customers are cheap.
 
So if you are a customer, switch!!! Go to a company where people speak English properly. Don't complain to the one person you get who does!
 
Atlavistagoogle.
 
Cable Break Causes Wide Internet Outage
By MATTHEW ROSENBERG – 2 hours ago
NEW DELHI (AP) — At least for a while, the World Wide Web wasn't so worldwide.
Two cables that carry Internet traffic deep under the Mediterranean Sea snapped, disrupting service Thursday across a swath of Asia and the Middle East.
India took one of the biggest hits, and the damage from its slowdowns and outages rippled to some U.S. and European companies that rely on its lucrative outsourcing industry to handle customer service calls and other operations.
"There's definitely been a slowdown," said Anurag Kuthiala, a system engineer at the New Delhi office of Symantec Corp., a security software maker based in California. "We're able to work, but the system is very slow."
While the cause of the damage was not yet known, the scope was wide: Traffic slowed on the Dubai stock exchange, and there was concern that workers who labor for the well-off in the Mideast might not be able to send money home to poor relatives.
Although disruptions to larger U.S. firms were not widespread, the outage raised questions about the vulnerability of the infrastructure of the Internet. One analyst called it a "wake-up call," and another cautioned that no one was immune.
The cables, which lie undersea north of the Egyptian port of Alexandria, were snapped Wednesday just as the working day was ending in India, so the full impact was not apparent until Thursday.
There was speculation a ship's anchor might be to blame. The two cables, named FLAG Europe Asia and SEA-ME-WE 4, are in close proximity.
Egyptian officials said initial attempts to reach the cables were stymied by poor weather. Repairs could take a week once workers arrive at the site, and engineers were scrambling to reroute traffic to satellites and to other cables.
The Egyptian minister of communications and information technology said Internet service in that country had been restored to about 45 percent and would be up to 80 percent by Friday, the state news agency reported.
The snapped cables — which lie on the sea floor and at some points are no thicker than the average human thumb — caused problems across an area thousands of miles wide. Bangladesh, Pakistan, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain all reported trouble.
But in India, which earns billions of dollars a year from outsourcing, the loss of Internet access was potentially disastrous. The Internet Service Providers' Association of India said the country had lost half its capacity.
TeleGeography, a U.S. research group that tracks submarine cables, said the disruption cut capacity by 75 percent on the route from the Mideast to Europe.
Such large-scale disruptions are rare but not unheard of. East Asia suffered nearly two months of outages and slow service after an earthquake damaged undersea cables near Taiwan in 2006.
In the Mideast, outages caused a slowdown in traffic on Dubai's stock exchange late Wednesday. The exchange was back up by Thursday, but many Middle Eastern businesses were still experiencing difficulties.
There was concern for millions of South Asians who send money home. They do everything from construction to child care for the wealthy and are paid little by local standards — but their income is often a lifeline for poorer families back in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
"The system is a bit slow today, but we have not experienced a total breakdown," said Sudhir Kumar Shetty, who runs Abu Dhabi's UAE Exchange, a money transfer firm.
The major test will come Friday, the first day of the month, when thousands of foreign workers are expected to descend on the company's 53 branches to send money home.
With two of the three cables that pass through the Suez Canal cut, Internet traffic from the Middle East and India intended for Europe was forced to reroute eastward, around most of the globe.
In India, the Internet was sluggish, with some users unable to connect at all and others left frustrated by spotty service.
Analysts said India had built up massive amounts of bandwidth in recent years and would likely recover without major economic losses. Larger companies with sophisticated backups appeared equipped to weather the outages well — but smaller firms said they could lose business if full Internet access was not quickly restored.
"Telecom and bandwidth are the bedrocks of the IT (information-technology) industry," said Ajit Ranade, the chief economist at the Aditya Birla Group, an international manufacturing and services company. "If something happens to the bedrock, obviously the IT industry will suffer."
Many larger U.S. companies said the effect was minimal, partly because the data routes that head east from Asia, under the Pacific Ocean, were intact.
Citigroup Inc. spokesman Samuel Wang said some of his company's customer-service system was affected, but only minimally. He said the bank relied on backup systems and was "back to business as usual."
Intel Corp. said its Indian operation, which employs about 3,000 people and is focused on research and development, has a system with many safeguards built in.
"When one of the nodes goes down, the network is able to reroute itself," said Rahul Bedi, who heads Intel's South Asia business operations.
Mustafa Alani, an analyst at the Dubai-based Gulf Research Center, said the outage should be a "wake-up call" about the need to better protect vital infrastructure.
"This shows how easy it would be to attack" vital networks, such as the Internet, mobile phones and electronic banking and government services.
Wednesday's damage wasn't terrorism — but it could have been, he said, adding that "when it comes to great technology, it's not about building it, it's how to protect it."
 
 
-

2008-01-27

Top Gear on Myspace

Not sure why, but for some reason Myspace now houses a great sampling of one of my favorite shows: Top Gear.
 
In Canada, the show plays Sunday at 4 PM Eastern on BBC Canada (and again at 8PM). Top Gear is the only show I watch on that channel (and it justifies the $2.50 per month I pay for it (going up to $2.79 march 1st)).
 
If you're boycotting Myspace, the Top Gear web site also has a (smaller) sample:
 
-Top Gear according to Wikipedia (great links in the notes)
-Reuters thinks 350 million people watch the show every week!

February 30th is International Delete Your Facebook Account Day

 I'm hereby declaring February 30th, 2008, International Delete Your Facebook Account Day. Why February 30th? Well, I just found out about January 30th being International Delete your Myspace Account Day and I though I needed a month to organise a rebuttal.
 
Here are the top ten reasons to delete your Facebook account on February 30th, 2008.
 
1. Facebook members are unpopular people who you wouldn't speak to in real life unless you were forced to because you are related or work with them (and even then, you try to avoid them).
2. Although I'm sure there are exceptions, Facebook members are generally ugly and boring.
3. Facebook members make Bill Gates look cool by comparison.
4. On Facebook, middle age is 55.
5. Facebook is a great place to meet superficial ugly people (not that there is anything wrong with that).
6. If Myspace is sexy, than Facebook is nerdy.
7. Facebook is popular in Toronto.
8. Perverts stay away from Facebook because, even for perverts, Facebook members are unattractive.
9. On Facebook, it is all about efficiency.Creativity, art and self expression are frown upon.
10. Myspace is a great place to discover music, Facebook is a great place to announce to the world that you like StarTreck and Family Guy.
11. Facebook asks you to spam people you know with Facebook invitations. It is like a club for insurance salesmen.
12. Facebook members will complain there are twelve items in my top ten list, because "that is against the rules". They will tell the Internet Enforcement Agency (http://www.ieg-uk.org/)
 
Altavistagoogle, proud member of the The MySpace Generation (not that there is anything wrong with being part of the Facebook Generation)
 
My thoughts on Myspace:
My Space has Top Gear (the BBC show) !!!!!!!!!
 
Required reading:
 
Related links:

Bloggasm: Was it good for you? » January 30th is International ...

How about an International Delete Your FaceBook Account Day instead. Facebook is just the new MySpace. How about all those shitty applications and other ...
bloggasm.com/january-30th-is-international-delete-your-myspace-account-day - 77k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Pownce : Note From ariel

January 30th is International Delete Your MySpace Account Day. Who's participating? And when is International Delete Your Facebook Account Day? ...
www.pownce.com/ariel/notes/1210482/ - 20k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Digg - January 30th is International Delete Your MySpace Day

Now if only there was an International Delete Your Facebook Account Day, then the world would be a much better place. This is a subset of the comments in ...
digg.com/gaming_news/January_30th_is_International_Delete_Your_MySpace_Day?t=12266244 - 20k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

artifishall About: artifishall Name: artifishall Location ...

And when is International Delete Your Facebook Account Day?mashable.com/2008/01/2. Justine Ezarik is twittering: Rad!!!! Tue 4:00 am ...
1stat.us/status.php?u=artifishall - 51k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

2008-01-26

Stripping can be Dangerous

Don't bother unzipping. Guaranteed laughter a minute 1. Best with sound on.

Test the Nation: worst show ever

I didn't like Test the Nation which aired Sunday on CBC. It was terrible. Give them credit for trying, I suppose. But man did that show ever suck.

I expected more from something associated with Wendy Mesly. Perhaps that was my mistake.

I think the show would have made great radio. But on TV it just didn't work.

The bloggers, especially, didn't add anything to the spectacle.

***Update:
Couldn't find anybody who watched the show (834,000 did, at least for a few minutes, according to raitings), but I did find plenty of people who participated. Hat tip to unsweetened.ca for the links.


: The Sweet Smell of Blogger Victory
: Owning the Homely
: Don't Wanna Brag But...
‘I’ll take trivia for $200 please, Alex’
: Bloggers Take Home the Test the Nation Trophy
: Bee! Bee! Bee!
: Test the Nation Trip: Nerds on Top
: KA on CBC’s Test The Nation
: Bloggers’ brains on display on CBC Test the Nation
: The Answer is "Bee"
:
: The Story Of Trivia
: Test the Nation: the holding pen
: Test the Nation
: I’ve Vanished, Apparently
: Reminder - CBC - Test The Nation: Trivia
: Mr. Lacroix, I'm ready for my closeup ...

Two Million People

Two Million People
 
That is, very roughly, the number of people that would have been born in Canada had the Supreme court of Canada not made abortion legal 20 years ago (January 28th, 1978). Obviously, not all those aborted foetuses would have survived childbirth or childhood. However, some of those born would have given birth by now...
 
I have seen two sources suggest there are currently about 100,000 abortions in Canada every year. There are only 325,000 Canadian births each year in Canada (to be confirmed).
 
Was I the only one paying attention in sex ed? Use condom, avoid pregnancy. Clearly, we need to work on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies. Do enough women know about the morning after pill?
 
If you do the math, a staggering percentage of Canadian men and women have been involved in unwanted pregnancies (often the man's fault). I can think of a dozen off hand. Are people who can't figure out contraception ready for parenthood? No. 
 
 

Canada Should Have Fewer People

To all those people who worry about Canada's impending population crises, I have to ask, why?
 
So Canada will have fewer people. So what? We wont have less copper, less gold, less lumber, less uranium, less oil or less food.
 
Give a man a fish you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Too many people in Canada know how to fish. We are running out of fish, not fishermen!
 
The forestry sector is a lot less labour intensive than it used to be. Dito for agriculture. We have more machines in all sectors of our economy. Shouldn't we start thinking about having fewer people?
 
Fewer customers might be a problem if you own a Tim Hortens franchise, but for everybody else, there will be plenty of consumers south of the border and in Asia.
 
 

The Blog Stock Market: a truly odd site

The Blog Stock Market
 
The though of colleagues Googling me after my death worried me this evening (see my previous post for the reason). So I checked what Google had to offer on Altavistagoogle and came across this truly odd site . My humor has been linked to the real stock market this week as I made the mistake of poring a good chunk of my savings into Google at the beginning of 2008. While I wait for customer I stare at the sticker symbol's value go up and down, up and (more often) down. Then I calculate how much I've lost or gained.
 
Perhaps I should spend my time on the blog stock market instead...

Brad Davis Suddenly a Popular search word in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal

Brad Davis Suddenly a Popular search word in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal

************
Update: Mystery solved, Brad Davis, 34, died at 7am January 24th. 4.5 hours later, a lawyer in Toronto Googled his name and landed on my blog. Creepy. My sinsere sympathies to all his friends, family and colleagues who arrive here the same way.
************
From my sitemeter:

Search Words: "brad davis" ignatieff
IP Address 192.197.82.# (Canadian House of Commons)
Time of Visit Jan 24 2008 2:43:20 pm

Visit Entry Page http://altavistagoog...nnedy-tax-cheat.html/




Nothing odd about that, plenty of bord people in parliament. But, then:



IP Address 216.94.112.# (Cable VDN)

City : Montreal

Time of Visit Jan 24 2008 3:58:17 pm

Search Wordsignatieff brad davis

Visit Entry Page http://altavistagoog...nnedy-tax-cheat.html/





And then:



Domain Name gov.on.ca ? (Canada)
IP Address 38.112.100.#

Time of Visit Jan 24 2008 5:24:24 pm

Search Words"brad davis" ignatieff

Visit Entry Page http://altavistagoog...nnedy-tax-cheat.html/



And again:




Domain Name gov.on.ca ? (Canada)
IP Address 142.108.139.#

Search Words"brad davis" michael ignatieff

Time of Visit Jan 24 2008 5:29:03 pm

Visit Entry Page http://altavistagoog...takes-high-road.html/



Earlier in the day:




Domain Name stikeman.com ? (Commercial)
IP Address 198.168.230.# (Stikeman Elliott)
ISP Stikeman Elliott
City : Toronto

Time of Visit Jan 24 2008 11:27:22 am

Search Words

brad davis, michael ignatieff leadership campaign

Visit Entry Page http://altavistagoog...takes-high-road.html/



Really odd. Anybody have an explanation?

2008-01-23

Rogers Raises Rates 10 per cent!

Rogers Raises Rates 10% !
 
Raise your hand if will be getting a 10% raise March 1st. Will Rogers' non-unionised workers and "private contractors" get a 10% raise? I don't think so. This is all going to Ted Rogers who I guess figures he can milk the plebs.
 
Basic cable is going up 3.6% (to $28.49) way more than inflation. And yet that is a deal compared to the other prices going up.
 
Internet Ultra-Lite, which is plenty fast unless you need videos in real time, is skyrocketing from $24.49 to $26.95 for existing customers and $27.95 for new customers. That is a 12% price jump!
 
Are the higher cable and Internet fees going to be uses to subsidised the phone offering? You would think so, but Rogers is actually going to charge $1.45 more in "system access" fee for Rogers Home Phone service. That is a 34% increase!
 
The Movie Network (TMN) is not going up (with all the American content, I would have expected a cost decrease as a reward for our higher dollar).
 
Theme packages are staying the same price, but the "Customer Choice Package (pick 5 Channels)" is going up 10% to $10.95. Gluttons are rewarded with no increase: Pick All Specialty Channels stays at $41.95.
 
These increases are inexplicable and completely unjustified. I think it is time for the CRTC to reinstate price controls.
 
In the mean time, I suggest Star Choice (Basic package is only $20!) or moving to Videotron territory (Quebec) .

2008-01-22

I didn't lose my shirt today because Nasdaq was closed

There are different levels of ignorance.
 
Level A: Quote from one of my clients today: "I can't find the number 4".
Level B: Answer at work the other day from a young technical support colleague. This is an actual quote: "Linux? I think that's the new version of Mac OS, I'm not sure we support it yet."
 
Level C:
 
I was feeling smug today because I only lost 1% of my massive investment in Google. Very late in the day, however, I realised it was a holiday in the USA today ( Lyndon Baines Johnson day) and my loss was Friday, not today, Monday. Gosh darn it! (auto censure to make sure those google computer generated ads stay there).
 
It is inescapable, I will lose hundreds of dollars tomorrow (Tuesday). Probably more than I make in an entire week, perhaps two. I'm very tempted to pore more money into the stock market, but betting against the masses takes courage, something I'm lacking. You see, last time I lost serious money on the stock market, it was a just as Internet technology stocks started tumbling and I loss big (I was a big fan of Java in 2000). Worse, then as now, I worked in Internet technology... and lost my job three days later.
 
I wish I had truble finding the number 4...
 
 
 
 
 

Hey Moncton: just say no to a casino!

You know you live in a great city when the apparent source of inspiration for the downtown booster club is Atlantic city circa 1976.
 
The infrastructure being "lobbied" for by Downtown Moncton centre-ville are a casino, a justice building and conference centre. Who exactly is being lobbied is a tad mysterious as governments stopped dishing out money for conference centres in the 1990s. 
 
But a casino!? Come on people. This is 2008. I'd like to think that the myth of turning your city into Monte Carlo has passed. Hull, Windsor, Halifax, Montreal, Niagara Falls, etc., etc, etc, these casinos primarily serve locals. That is not good for the local economy. Especially when the massive profits generated would be shipped to the provincial government in... Fredericton. 
 
If a casino goes up, it should be reserved for out of province visitors only. I suggest we make it rather small, perhaps in a room in the back of the Moncton Museum.
 
The only thing that is going to save Moncton's downtown, or any other downtown for that matter, is zoning. You zone massive tracks of land for retail and office use on the outskirts of town, and you can kiss your downtown goodbye.

2008-01-20

Interdiction de fumer en Acadie

Bientôt, en Nouvelle-Écosse, Canada, (une partie de l'Acadie), il sera interdit du fumer au volant lors de la présence d'une personne de 19 ans et moins. ( Texte de la loi, ici)
 
Des lois semblables sont en vigueur dans les villes de Bangor, Maine et  Keyport, New Jersey, dans le comté de Rockland, New York, dans les états américains de la Californie , l' Arkansas et la Louisianne, et dans les états australiens de South Australia et Tasmania.
 
Blog en français (à noter un erreur à propos du Texas):
 
 Autres site d'intérêts:

Smoking in Nova-Scotia Soon illegal !

Smoking in Nova-Scotia, in a vehicle in the presence of people under 19, will soon be  illegal *! 
 

1 Section 5 of Chapter 12 of the Acts of 2002, the Smoke-free Places Act, as amended by Chapter 59 of the Acts of 2005, is further amended by adding immediately after subsection (2) the following subsection:

    (2A) No person shall smoke in a motor vehicle when any person under the age of nineteen years is present in the vehicle regardless of whether any window, sunroof, cartop, door or other feature of the vehicle is open

*This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
 
 Bangor, Maine, passed a similar law last year. I guess Nova-Scotia legislators where inspired. As of January 1st, 2008, dito for crazy California:
 

Smoking in Vehicles With Minor Passengers

Add: Health and Safety Code Article 2.5 to chapter 4 of Part 15 of Division 104. Amend: Vehicle Code §12814.6 (SB 7 Chapter 425)

  • Makes it an infraction punishable by a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100) for a person to smoke a pipe, cigar, or cigarette in a motor vehicle any time a minor is present in the vehicle.

As of May 31st, 2007, in South Australiasmoking in vehicles when children are present is illegal.
 
A person must not smoke in a motor vehicle if a child is also present in the motor vehicle.   Maximum Penalty $200.  Expiation fee $75.
 
State of Tasmania , Australia:
  • On or after 1 January 2008, a person must not smoke inside a vehicle if a child (being a person under the age of 18 years) is inside the vehicle.
  •  
    (...)on-the-spot fine of $200 and/or prosecution. The maximum fine for an offence is $2000.)
     
    Related:
    My blog:
     
    Other:

    2008-01-19

    What Recession?

    What Recession?
    The loss of 400 jobs were announced this week in the greater Moncton area. And yet today, January 19th, in historically the slowest retail month of the year,  the stores were packed. Parking lot full packed! Go figure.
     
    And it wasn't just people browsing, their were long line ups at the checkout. It was like that at The Source, Future Shop, Wal-Mart and Staples. And it isn't as if things were on sale or anything, prices are up significantly when compared to Boxing Day/week sales.
     
    The (Harmonized sales tax) HST is now 13% in New Brunswick. How many provinces took the opportunity to raise their sales tax to compensate the federal government lowering theirs? None.
     
    So please, no more talk of federal transfers, partnerships or fiscal imbalance. The federal government lowered the sales tax, the provinces had a golden opportunity to raise them, but didn't.
     
    In summery, based on a two hour venture outside on a beautiful Moncton Saturday, the economy is doing fine and a 13% sales tax is to low. Now resume investing on the stock market (so I can recoup the 1000 bucks I lost in two weeks!!!) and encourage your local government to spend more (so I can go back to being a well paid civil servant instead of poorly paid call centre worker). 
     
    Thank you.
     
    PS. My annual raise was 0% this year. Zero, nada, nothing. Inflation meanwhile is at 2.5%. Not sure how I'm supposed to cut 2.5% out of an extremely frugal budget, but stay tuned as this blog gets a tad more bitter.
     

    2008-01-15

    AOL Moncton is Closing, XM US says buh bye

    AOL Moncton is Closing. Someone mentioned this to me yesterday and I didn't believe her. But judging by the number of people arriving on my blog, within the last few minutes, with the search "AOL Moncton closing", she must have told alot of people, or it is unfortunately true.

    But where are French speaking Canadian customers of AOL going to get tech support from? Don't know.

    Sitel is shutting the XM USA contract at the end of the month. Not sure if Sitel is moving the contract to an other centre, or if it simply lost it. About 100 jobs will be lost in Moncton as a result. With the loss of XM USA, Sitel Moncton is now verry dependent on Bell Sympatico. Not necessarily a good thing now that (Ontario) Teachers (pension) is taking over Bell.

    On the positive side, Virgin Mobile seems quite successful, to the benefit of ICT in Riverview. Rogers cable and Internet must be doing well, because they are still hiring like mad. Dito for bank servicing Minacs in Riverview.

    According to one figure I saw, there are 5,000 people who are unfortunate enough to work in call centres in Moncton.

    Related: ALTAVISTAGOOGLE: AOL Moncton Yanks Yank Jobs

    Update (2008-01-17):
    Accoding to the Times Transcript, March 2 is the closing date of AOL Moncton. The 100 employees will get two weeks severance per year of service, which, for the vast majority employees, means two weeks or less. Still no idea where the tech support will come from for all those French speaking Canadian customers 0f AOL.

    2008-01-12

    A Countiguous Palestinian State

    "A Contiguous Palestinian State".
     
    That is what Gorge Bush publicly says he wants. But how is that going to work? Gaza and the West Bank are separate. Separated by worthless desert, granted, but joining the two with land from Israel would separate Israel in two.
     
    There are very few countries in the world that are not contiguous. The UK (thanks to Gibraltar), Russia (Kalingrad), the USA (Alaska) are the only examples I can think of. However, and this is important, all those examples are separated by international waters (sea or ocean).
     
    Azerbaijan is the only country (that I know of) separated by a non-international sea or ocean. However, it is linked by a river shared with Iran... 
     
    And if Israel was split in two, the Israelis could still access the southern portion of their country  by water via the Suez canal, or, if that doesn't work, the horn of Africa.
     
    East and West Germany might still be separate countries were it not for Berlin being in the middle of East Germany. And Pierre Trudeau used Quebec's geographical position as an argument to convince non-Quebeckers to keep Quebec in Canada.
     
    French speaking Brussels, surrounded by Dutch speaking Belgians, is a big problem when contemplating the separation of that country. As it should be. As being contiguous is important.
     
    A land locked West Bank is not going to want to be separated from Gaza. Overpopulated Gaza is not going to want to be separated from agriculturally "rich" (comparatively) West Bank (of the Jordan river).
     
    The only solution I see involves giving all of southern Israel to the Palestinians in exchange for land in the West Bank...
     
    Or, the West Bank could be given back to Jorden and Gaza to Egypt and we could forget all this nonsense about a Palestinian state.
     
    Why is George Bush's opinion on the subject important? Without the American financial aid, Israel would cease to exist. I'm not sure what the point of a Jewish homland is if your future is dependant on a Christian American president. But then again, I don't understand why people would refuse to eat pork.

    2008-01-01

    2007 Things that Went Wrong in 2007

    2007 Things that Went Wrong in 2007
     
    1. Facebook. It is remarkably popular among people who aren't popular. The "almost geeks crowd" I call them. Cool they are not.
    2. Ipod touch. The thing is great. But it doesn't save lives or contribute to world peace. And a device that great should.
    3. Ryerson University. They hired university dropout Gerard Kennedy to teach for a year.
    4. The Internet. As the Internet moves to become more of a video distribution system, you start to wonder if it wasn't TV that was the greatest invention after all.
    5. Democracy. How come there are still communist countries like Cuba and North Korea?
    6. Canada. According to the Census, one in five Canadians was born in a foreign country.
    7. Ontario. According to the Census, 29% of Ontarians were born in a different country.
    8. Metro Toronto. According to the Census, 46% of metro Toronto residents were born in a different country.
    9.Toronto. According to the Census, HALF of all  Torontonians were born in a foreign country.
    10. Hérouxville. According to the Census. No Herouxvillian is foreign born. Nada. Not one. Zero. Jerks.
    11. The American dollar. On the flip side, millions of Americans kept their jobs thank to the plumetting green back. Still, sucks for them when visiting no longer dirt cheap Moncton.
    12. Kid Nation. I found the show quite entertaining. But it just felt wrong.
    13. My cable bill. If most of TV is made in the USA, shouldn't cable/satellite TV get cheaper?
    14. Bell Canada. It will be fun to see how the teachers fund improves it.
    15. Pakistan. A classic case of too many people, not enough natural resources. Pakistan will suck for a long time. Blame the British.
    16. Israel. Illegal occupation continues. Give the Palestinians of the West Bank full citizenship rights or get out!
    17. Iran. Thank you for making Israel look like good guys. Dumbasses.
    18. Stephan Dion. Although give him points for quietly dropping Gerard Kennedy.
    19. The Parti Québécois. 7 million Quebeckers and you couldn't find one who speaks English?
    20. Afghanistan. So why again are we there?
    21. North American mobility. I spent two years in a border town. Americans aren't that bad. Lack of labour mobility between Canada and the USA is stupid.
    22. Cost of a passport. So when did we become in favour of poll taxes? If having a passport is essentiall, shouldn't the cost be covered by taxes, not fees.
    23. New Brunswick's new Liberal government. Reduced gas tax, raised MY income taxes. Gee, thanks.
    24. Good people died to early. Bad people are still alive.  
    25. AIDS. HIV is the biggest killer in human history. Why aren't we dropping condoms out of airplanes over the country side of Africa? We now treat AIDS with expensive drugs, enabling people who have HIV and practice unsafe sex to live longer. Prolonging the lives of people with AIDS may feel good, but it is bad public policy if it spreads HIV in Africa.
    26. Smoking. Still legal. Shouldn't be. Second hand smoke is dangerous. Children are exposed to it. That is immoral. Smoking is too addictive to be a question of personal choice. Cigarettes are highly addictive and dangerous. They should be banned now!
    27. Global warming. People talk about it, but do nothing. Planting a tree does not alleviate your impact on global warming! The tree will die and release all the accumulated carbon back into the atmosphere. Why are private jets still legal? Should people without children be allowed to own a single detached dwelling? We arn't going to slow global warming by blaming evil industry.
    28. Exxon. Give them points for not being hypocrites like BP, but come on.
    29. Trans fat. Um, still legal why?
    30. McDonald's. Missed huge opportunity in 2007 to become the healthy fast food choice.
    31. Chapters-Indigo. Why does that store have a retail book store monopoly in almost every city in Canada?
    32. People who didn't invest in Google. Admittedly a risky investment, but still the greatest Internet company since the invention of html.
    33. Windows Vista. Wow, people really don't like it. Microsoft could make a fortune in 2007 by selling XP to all those people who currently have Vista.
    34. Palm. Post it notes are better than a 2007 Palm Pilot. That is not right.
    35. Internet access. Reduce the price, don't increase the bandwidth. If I want video, I'll watch TV.
    36. Software. It should all be better by now.
    37. Urban sprawl. Didn't start in 2007, but didn't stop. In fact, it continued to grow! Global warming AND an inconvenient life style. I don' get it.
    38. Canadian cities. Raise your hand if your city got better in 2007. Jane Jacob dies and we burn all her books? Come on people!
    39. Tim Hortons for not signing up with Itunes (or coming up with an alternative).
    40. People who don't own a computer with Internet access. How do you live?
    41. SanDisk Sansa. Good product. Terrible marketing.
    42. Walmart. Why are electronics cheaper at Futureshop?
    43. Every online store that doesn't accept Interact payments. There are plenty of people without credit cards out there. Many with money.
    44. UPS for ripping people off with border brokerage fees. Short term profit, long term marketing nightmare.
    45. Prices. Compare before you buy! The prices shouldn't still be so different, but they are.
     
    Huh. Maybe there were only 45 things that went wrong in 2007.
     
    That is all I have for now. On a personal note, in 2007 I declared bankruptcy, moved to a city I don't particularly like (Moncton), didn't have a threesome, but gained weight (argh!), watched way to much TV (see gaining weight) and accepted the worst job I've ever had and kept it.
     
    On the plus side, I didn't go to jail in 2007 and, apart from TV, have no addictions to speak of. In fact, compared to Britney Spears, Paris Hilton or Conrad Black, my 2007 was pretty good, pretty good (insert Larry David voice).
     
    Things I hope for in 2008.
    1. HIV-AIDS will be cured so Africans can go back to dying of hunger.
    2. I'll use all my condoms before their expiration date (with women who are less than twice my weight)
    3. Threesome. I know it can't possibly be as good as imagined. And really, I could probably organise one with two unattractive fat women this afternoon if I wanted to, but a threesome remains my fantasy-goal for 2008. World peace can happen in 2009.
    4. Iphone, with integrated GPS, in Canada.
    5. Quebec will become a country and New Brunswick will join it.
    6. All immigrants will learn how to speak English or French.
    7. I will always remember to press two for French so I don't have to speak to an Indian call centre.
    8. My spelling will finally improve.
    9. Everybody I know will still be alive by December 31st.
    10. I will learn Spanish with minimal effort.
    11. I will find my old passport so I don't have to fill out that gigantic form for a new one.
    12. A relative or non-gay friend will invite me to their Miami-Beach or Key West condo.
    13. I will remain free and resist the (increasing) temptation to punch people who (increasingly) annoy me, particularly when surrounded by their (increasingly) stronger friends.
    14. If I accept $300,000 in cash from a German-Canadian, it will be on the up and up.
     
    Do no evil and have a great 2008! 

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