2008-05-31

I am Thinking About Seeing a Psychiatrist About My iPhone Obsession

My name is Altavistagoogle and I am an iphonoholic. I don't actually have an iPhone (they are unavailable in Canada), I'm just completely obsessed with news about the iPhone. I know it is irrational. But I know I'm not alone with this obsession.
 
This week, I pored a good chunk of my life savings into Apple because of the presumed upcoming release of the new and improved iPhone and its availability worldwide. I know a guy in Moncton who quit his job this week to work full time, in Moncton, making iPhone software applications, in Moncton. Then there are all the blogs devoted exclusively to the iphone. All the newspaper articles, completely devoid of news, that are devoted to the device. And you start to get the idea that people are iphone gaga.
 
-I now understand treckies.
 
-I now understand Star Wars geeks.
 
-You're 30 and you read Harry Poter, I now get it.
 
-You devote 50% of your income to your Corvette. Now seems perfectly understandable.
 
I think the iPhone should be awarded the Nobel Peace prize. I realise the thing isn't even available in Sweden or Norway, but trust us non-using iphone fans, the thing is amazing. Forget giving laptops to children in the third world, give them iPhones!
 
But back to my iPhone obsession. I don't know of any iPhone obsession self help groups, so I'm thinking about seeing a psychiatrist (psychologist can't prescribe anything, what's the point). The problem is, I can just imaging sitting down, spending 30 minutes poring my heart out about my iPhone obsession, and the doctor would go "so what is this, iPhone?" And I would murder the doctor and end up in jail before the iPhone would be released in Canada which would really suck. I really feel sorry for lifers. I mean sure, no freedom would suck, but no iPhone, for their entire lives!
 
Remember being a kid during December? The wait for Christmas was almost unbearable. I'm sure you feel nostalgic about that time. Don't, it sucks. I wish someone would knock me into a coma until June 9th, 1:59PM (Atlantic time). I can't stand the anticipation.
 
I could blame this iPhone obsession on my love life or my lack of meaningful hobbies (don't even get me started about my job), but I blame Google News. It is an amazing tool to completely lose all sense of perspective. You Google News iPhone enough and you will convince yourself it is the only thing anybody is writing about. It is worse if you can read Canadian, American, British AND Australian English (I'm well travelled). Not to mention French. The French like the iPhone. They translate every single iPhone article into French and write a few of their own for good measure.
 
For a while there, I was reading German articles as I couldn't find enough iPhone info on the French language Swiss sites. By the way, didn't we win the war? How come we allow Germans to use (and write about) the iPhone in non-English?
 
So what is the Chinese symbol for iPhone?
 
My previous  posts.
 
 

2008-05-28

I Wish I was Rich So Could Lose Money in Apple

I love my Apple iPod touch. So I'm pretty sure the new app store will
bring many new reasons to buy one. And then there is the 3G iPhone.
How could that go wrong?

But here is my problem. Apple makes most of its money from computers.
Acer computers can now be had for $300 at Walmart. These computers
aren't self cumbusting, they are quite good. How do you justify paying
a 1000 dollars more? Granted, some will... But most won't.

Apple is leveraging its Mac software to make better phones (Nokia and
others buy from third parties), but if the market for computers
implodes, the company will take a major hit. Then Apple will have pay
all those software people from phone revenu.

Better Mouse Trap.

Remember Word Perfect? Netscape? Altavista? Software is relatively
easy to dislsaudge.

Then there is the distinct possibility someone will come up with a
better cell phone...


Envoyé depuis mon iPod / Sent from my iPod touch.

2008-05-26

canadaeast.com - California city that is in bankruptcy may become the model for others

http://www.canadaeast.com/front/article/306346

California subburb goes bankrupt. And unlike Orange County, it wasn't
because of stock market gambling.

The article blames employee salaries, but I suspect other reasons
apply, such as low taxes over many years.

Be warned, the end of suburbia has begun.

Envoyé depuis mon iPod / Sent from my iPod touch.

2008-05-25

Apple 2008 Developer Conference Great Place to Meet Babes... Not!

Apple 2008 Developer Conference Great Place to Meet Babes... Not So Much.

I'm not sure where Apple got the pictures on its WWDC 2008 web site, but if it is from the the 2007 conference, guys, you can leave your pick up lines at home. Not a single female attendee* is pictured! Not one. Always put women in pictures advertising conferences. Always. Still, the conference is sold out, so what do I know.

*After more research, I did find two women, both presenters/Apple employees. Actually, one is pretty hot. Screw the iPhone, I want her. Imagine having her as a girlfriend. I bet she could score me new Apple product before they even came to maket... ;-)

By the way, set your watches to 2PM (Atlantic Time) Monday, June 9th as that is when Steve Jobs will probably mention the iPhone 2, you know, in passing.

WMTC Shamefully Reduces Quebeckers to Children

 
Xenophobia is part of human nature. A very unfortunate part if you ask me. I was helping a sweet old lady over the phone the other day and she confided to me (in French) "I'm so glad your not a Black". I was helping her over the phone!
 
Then I realised that I was prejudiced. It never occurred to me that sweet old ladies could be racists. But of course they can be. Anybody can be racist or xenophobic: the old, the young, homosexuals, bi-curious, handicapped, Black, White, Asian, poor, rich, educated, ignorant, doesn't matter.
 
More importantly, even us tolerant folks can sometimes betray our tolerance by saying something that isn't. Unfortunately, that is what L-Girl over at wmtc has done with her title bouchard-taylor commission tells quebec to grow up . That statement, which is false, is embedded with anti-Quebec sentiment. And I'm calling her on it.
 
You don't tell a people to "grow-up". That is insulting to the extreme. You don't belittle a nation and culture just because you don't understand it.  And by the way, the premise of the statement if false: that people become more tolerant with maturity. Um, no. Sorry. Extremely mature people can be quite intolerant and extremely immature people, and indeed, young children, can be very tolerant.
 
Further reading on WMTC festering anti-Quebecness:
 
 
By the way, here is a previous post of mine that contains some examples (thanks prominent Liberal Party Members) of what not to say when someone brands you as anti-something:

2008-05-24

Apple Developer Connection - Worldwide Developers Conference 2008 - Schedules

http://developer.apple.com/wwdc/schedules/?cid=ADR-NAUS-WWDC08-080327-C0006059&cp=WWDC08e&sr=WWDC08e&Email_PageName=WWDC5-2008#tab=session&day=monday&time=morning


Envoyé depuis mon iPod / Sent from my iPod touch.

Rogers Says Aurevoir To ADSL

Rogers says aurevoir to ADSL. Rogers can not make enough money
reselling Bell's ADSL (high speed Internet via phone line) service. So
effective May 31st, it will stop selling the product.

Good news for Bell I suppose, although there are plenty of companies
that can pick up the slack. As Rogers' ADSL was marketed primarily in
Quebec, it is an other example of the Toronto company's innability to
serving the French speaking market.

Fido is more popular than Rogers sans-file in Quebec, which is part of
the problem. But frankly, Rogers just wasn't trying. Its antivirus
software was only offered in English, for example. And whereas Bell
Sympatico has French tech support in Trois-Rivières and Moncton, the
Quebec ADSL customers had to be content with Richmond Hill, Ontario.

Internet prices are much lower in Quebec than in Ontario thanks to
Vidéotron (and Bell matching the lower Vidéotron prices), so perhaps
concentrating on the more lucrative Ontario market is a smart move.

Still, with a huge call centre in Moncton, it is odd that Rogers
couldn't compete with Bell and Vidéotron. Especially since Vidéotron
pays its unionised employees significantly more than Rogers pays its
non-unionised staff and Bell uses expensive subcontractors (Durham and
Sitel) for its French speaking Sympatico customer service and tech
support.

Envoyé depuis mon iPod / Sent from my iPod touch.

Clinton Hoping for Assasination, Obama Should Chose Black VP

Hilary Clinton publicly hopes that Barak Obama will be assassinated so she can become the Democratic nominee. I reiterate my position that if Obama survives until then, he should choose a black running mate. Perhaps Rice or Oprah.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
-Paging Dr Freud
Atlantic Online 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And my favourite:
 
 

2008-05-23

Rogers Unlimited 7 Dollar Plan Could Lead to Lawsuits

Seven Dollars for unlimited surfing on your phone sounds like a good deal until you get a bill for $24,000. Four and five digit bills are what some Fido customers are getting this month. Rogers Wireless customers can expect the same soon enough.

The $7 plan only includes certain sites that Rogers has preapproved because they have low bandwidth versions (aka mobile Internet or wap sites). You must access those sites via the Rogers Browser on the phone.

The fine print at www.rogers.com/mobileinternet is pretty clear to me . To everybody else, not so much. Sales and customer service reps have been giving out mis-information. And the advertisement does say unlimited Internet, not unlimited access to certain parts of the Internet. And that whole thing about thirds party "apps" is a bit confusing. Since when is an html web site an app?

To ad to the confusion, Rogers and Fido have been a bit random about charging customers for usage. Some hacked iPhone users, for example, report not paying a dime while others report paying allot. That said, both Fido and Rogers seem to have ironed out some of the kinks, and are more confident in sending out four digit bills.

This is what is included in the small print on the Rogers web site:


What’s included in the
plan?

Browsing the mobile Internet through Rogers Mobile Internet Browser
to access to sites like:
Yahoo!® Search
WIRELESS BOX
OFFICE™

ScoreMobile 2.0
Yahoo!® Canada
Windows
Live™

Google
Flickr™
TMZ
Wikipedia
ebay
canada.com
CBCnews
Digg
BBC
Government of Canada
Time
New York Times
Facebook™
MySpace™
mobile

LookAtMe!
Air Date by Air G


How hard would itbe to say, unlimited portal surfing, or something of that nature? Anyway, surfing 20 mobile Internet sites, to me, does not qualify as "unlimited high speed browsing".

Anecdotal evidence:

-Freaking out about Rogers
20 May 2008 by exeon This morning, I opened my mail and got my Rogers bill. It's a nice total of 787.19$... Why? I apparently used 13011 kb during last month which is totally ridiculous

-N95 Confusion
14 hours ago by ruffdeezy It seems as if owners of the Rogers Nokia N95 8gb phone are running into some difficulty and confusion. Apparently Rogers can't even decide if and how you can use the unlimited browsing vision pack on this phone

-Unlimited, Meaning The Opposite Of Unlimited;
-Rogers ‘unlimited’ cellphone plans draw fire.;
-Rogers ‘unlimited’ cellphone plans draw fire.;

My previus posts of the subject:
-Iphone in Canada June 9th but Rogers Continues to Gouge;
-Rogers Should Adopt Flat Rate Data Plans for Cell Phones ;
-Rogers iPhone Deal Non-Exclusive (Data rate Now Affortable 50,000 dollars per GB)

2008-05-22

Ottawa Light Rail Proposal: Single bus line would be cheaper.

Light rail solution: 4 billion dollars.
My solution: 0 dollars.

You decide.

Dear Ottawa,

Yes, there is a bus congestion problem downtown. Solution: on the transitway, have one bus line instead of 50. Yes, the whole point of the transitway is to enable users to go from A to B without transferring. But that is not going to happen with light rail either.

Light rail isn't going to be faster. You do need fewer drivers and the theoretical passenger capacity goes up slightly. But that is it. Is that worth 4 billion dollars?

And the American experience has taught us that the capacity doesn't go up because the frequency of the trains is lower (see Baltimore). The convenience is also lower, because instead of a bus every 2 minutes, you have a train every 15 minutes.

Comfort on the vehicles might go up, but having to wait 14 minutes at minus 25 will cut into that equation...

An other way to reduce bus congestion without spending 4 billion dollars would be to have an express non stop service downtown. Thanks to the light synchronisation on Albert and Scott, even at rush hour, crossing downtown is actually quick. Most buses don't take advantage of the light synchronisation because they have to stop at the buss stops. But by having a transitway express line, all those transitway users who don't need to go downtown (Tuney's Pasture employees, University of Ottawa students, Altavista area employees, Algonquin College students, people going to the airport or to the Rideau Mall... ) would save time. The city would even save money as the bus usage would be more efficient. You would need fewer buses to serve the same number of passengers.

A light rail tunnel sounds like a good idea, but it might actually ad time to the downtown commute. Whereas buses are at street level, underground light rail stations would be deep under ground. Going underground could ad 4 minutes each way to the downtown commuter's journey.

If you absolutely want an infrastructure project, build a subway line under Bank Street from the Rideau canal to Hull.

Update (2008-05-22, 05:22): there ara actually 71 bus lines that use Albert and Slater:
3 8 20 21 22 23 24 25 27 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 43 45 50 51 55 57 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 73 76 77 82 84 85 86 87 88 94 95 96 97 124 129 156 172 176 178 180 182 221 231 232 261 262 263 283 603 693

iPhone Vs Blackberry Bold Vs N95

Verdict:
-email: Blackberry Bold.
-World Wide Web via Wifi: Apple iPhone (or iPod touch)
-World Wide Web via cell network (a draw as iPhone only 2.5G)
-Filming your own version of the Blair Witch Project without actually being lost: Nokia N95.
-Taking pictures: Nokia N95
-Showing pictures: iPhone
-Playing video: iPhone
-Playing music: a draw
-Buying music without a computer using wifi: iPhone (or iPod touch)
-Showing off your music: iPhone (thanks to cover flow)
-Phone sound quality: don't know (but I assume a draw)
 
Video comparison of the 2007 iPhone with the unavailable 2008 Blackberry Bold. 
 
$690 for a N95 phone may seem expensive for a phone that is over a year old and cheaper in Europe, but it will be priceless when you get lost if the forest and start filming those last moments on the 5 mega pixel digital video camera. Actually, the N95 is also a GPS satellite receiver, so those last moments will be fake, just like the Blair Witch Project, as it would be really hard to get lost. 
 
If you are still having trouble deciding, no worries, all three companies will have newer, better smart phones by the end of 2008 (Nokia N96, iPhone 3G (aka iPhone 2.0) and Blackberry Thunder.
 
 

High Oil Prices Good for iPhone and Apple

High oil prices: more people taking the bus/train/subway, time to invest in mobile Internet device companies such as Apple. The problem is, as soon as you think of it, hundreds of thousands of others do to... Which explains why Apple shares went down 4% today. Wait, what?
 
Stock picking is a fool's errand. Time and time again, it has been proven that chimps with dart boards have a higher return on investment than even the most savy investor.
 
Of course, most of us can't afford to lose all our money, so risk mitigation becomes important and chimps can't do that. However, with cheep brokerage fees, you might be better off buying into 100 different companies by chance (or chimp) instead of relying on professional advice or mutual funds.
 
Stock picking is more fun though. And it is easy to think you are savier than everybody else. Let's face it, we are surrounded by morons. However, keep in mind there a millions of people with money that are just as informed and smart as you are. And there lies the problem.
 
So why did Apple loose 4% today? Last night was a full moon. Profit taking often occurs after the first full moon in May. But you already knew that.
 
By the way, if you don't have a dart bord, you can use this virtual one.
 
 
 
 

2008-05-21

Quebecker Takes a K

To all those of you who write Quebecker without the K, you are wrong. It takes a K, otherwise you have to invent a pronunciation. You might as well invent a symbol: Q/ . When ever you see Q/, you read out kwi'beker. Well, that would just be stupid. And so is writing "Quebecer". It is a language, people, write it so 6 year olds can read it!

By the way, using "Québécois", especially without the accents, is confusing and makes your text hard to translate, ironically, into French. "French-speaking Quebeckers" is the appropriate form. Or, in Canadian-English, "Quebec Francophones". But if you were referring simply to people who live in Quebec, then "Quebeckers" is correct.

English-speaking Quebeckers are called just that outside Canada, anglo-Quebeckers in Canadian-English.

-TheStar.com Canada Accused ex-Quebecker dies in Ohio jail
-SNN Student Magazine - April 2002 - Canadian or Quebecker? Student ...
-Quebecker - definition of Quebecker
-Quebecker helps Swedes out of the box - Globe and Mail The News ...
-globeandmail.com: Quebecker dies several days after taser shock
-Off Wing Opinion: Quebecker Hockey Fight Video
-Stéphane Dion would take Quebeckers back to the Liberal past
-NDP Hardworking Quebeckers are being cheated at the pumps
-Quebeckers don't want a tax cut
-Press Releases MasterCard®
Quebeckers want to travel despite their fear of terrorism
-[PDF] • 1. 76% of Quebeckers say they feel betrayed by Jean Chrétien and ...
-Quebeckers show support for gun control (CBC)
-The Fraser Institute: Quebeckers Among Lowest Donors to Charity in ...
-Yahoo! Canada Answers - Why do Quebeckers want constitutional change?
-Pierre Lemieux M.P.- Nov 23, 06 - Speech in House of Commons ...
Quebeckers Form a Nation within a United Country called Canada
-RRQ - Quebeckers' perception of financial independence at retirement
-Lucien Bouchard: Quebeckers are lazy - RedFlagDeals.com Forums
-CBC Radio Ideas Schedule
As a leader of a new wave of Quebec intellectuals, he rejects melancholic myths that portray Quebeckers as victims of their past, trapped by unfulfilled ...www.cbc.ca/ideas/schedule1.html -
-The Canadian Immigrant Labour Market in 2006: Analysis by Region ...
16 Apr 2008 ... African-born Quebeckers who are very recent immigrants had an (Statcan)
-Oil, the State, and Federalism: The Rise and Demise of ... - Google Books Result
by John Erik Fossum - 1997 - Political Science - 448 pagesThe goal of Canadianization had a tremendous appeal in Quebec, and Quebeckers were among the strongest supporters of the NEP's Canadianization program. ...
-The McGill Tribune
Quebec's self-preservation necessarily means keeping the rest of Canada's cultural and linguistic influence out, which is posing problems for a Quebeckers ...
-State: Quebeckers feel chill in South Florida

2008-05-20

Iphone in Canada June 9th but Rogers Continues to Gouge

Alternative tittle: Rogers Wireless Favours US media.

You may be able to buy an iphone in June, too bad you won't be able to afford using it.

The $7 "unlimited" limits your usage to certain sites. This blog, for example, would cost you, at a minimum, 50 cents per MB (or $500 per GB). But don't take my word for it. Go to the Rogers site and do the math.

By the way, in case you don't want to bother with the Rogers site, here is the strange liste of sites included in the "unlimited" Internet for $7:


Yahoo!® Search
WIRELESS BOX OFFICE™
ScoreMobile 2.0
Yahoo!® Canada
Windows Live™
Google
Flickr™
TMZ
Wikipedia
ebay
canada.com
CBCnews
Digg
BBC
Government of Canada
Time
New York Times
Facebook™
MySpace™ mobile
LookAtMe!
Air Date by Air G

Governement of Canada, but not your provincial or municipal government sites. Those are $15 per MB for the first 5MB, going down to $0.50 per MB after the first 20MB (and that is Rogers' cheapest plan!)

New York Times, but not MacLeans or the Toronto Star! And certainly not the BlueJays web site. You can go to Digg.com, but if you link to any of the articles, locate your nearest pawn shop.

Does Canada Need Provinces?

Dear readers,

Suffering from a bad case of insomnia, tonight I attempted to amend the Charlottetown Accord and present a new and improved constitution that desperate politicians could grab onto.

When I was an 18 year old Quebecker, I voted for the Charlottetown constitutional agreement. Some of the clauses seem hard to believe today. For example, Quebec would always have 25% of the seats in Parliament.

Now if New Brunswick were guaranteed 25% of the seats, that I could live with. Also, there is no clause that points out that bilingual people are morally superior and better looking. Maybe it was implied with the Canada clause.

I can't believe there was a referendum on that document. That is one convoluted document. No wonder the status quo won (although the status quo lost in New Brunswick and Ontario, also know as the smart provinces, as implied with the Canada clause).

There are a couple of important loopholes in the document. The one that comes to mind (and I may be wrong on this one) is the territorial integrity of the provinces. What if, in order to guarantee Quebec has 25% of the seats in parliament, we gave Toronto to it? We could start with Scarborough...

Anyway, as I was trying to decide if we should give telecommunications to the provinces and trying to determine if this would affect my ability to get an iPhone this June, I concluded that perhaps it would be a lot easier to get rid of the provinces. And we should do so before the next round of Alberta Ralph bucks.

Now, obviously, some Quebeckers might object to this. But I'm pretty sure that if we rename the country Québec and adopt French as our official language they would acquiesce. "Les dollars Ralph" has a nice ring to it.

Your friend,

Altavistagoogle.

Updated 2008-05-21: Edited for brevity.

How Many Nigerians Does it Take to Win a US Election?

Dear frends,
 
You have all gotten an email from someone in Nigeria* (see end note for example). They usually claim to be trying to escape South Africa with loads of Apartheid money and they somehow expect you to be sympathetic and wire $150. Some do. Many of the emails are more creative and are often written in good English. See video example here.
 
Why not pay some of the 138 million Nigerians to blog? If people are gullible enough to fork over hard earned money to outrageous scams, then surely their vote could be influenced by a semi-well written blog. And it would be cheap.
 
My blog has generated 25,000 visits in 18 months. I spend a couple of hours a week on it (sometimes even less). Imagine a concentrated effort by a crowd of relatively educated Nigerians. Joining a blogroll is easy. Staying on a blogroll is even easier. There are many documented cases of paid bloggers (Wal-Mart's are the most famous examples).
 
Perhaps just as effective would be hiring people to comment on blogs. With a good proxy server, the blogmaster would be none the wiser.
 
I'm not guaranteeing this is the most effective use of your election donations, you might get killed or kidnaped in the process and you most certainly will be robbed or scammed. But with the right middlemen, why not?
 
Who knows, maybe there are bloggers out there in third world countries trying to influence the US and other elections. Maybe some of them are paid. Paid by Saudi Arabia or Israel... John McCain has repeated, more than once, that the Hamas leadership would prefer Barak Obama. Why wouldn't Hamas or Iran send a few dollars to some Nigerian bloggers?
 
Sincerely,
 
Your humble servent, Altavistagoogle, %100 Canadian.
 
 
(Well, I'm sure there are more, but this post is getting tedious. Isn't there a service where I could hire some cheap third world labour for the grunt work?)
 
 
 
End note:
 
* Example of Nigerian 419 scam email (borrowed from here):
 
IMMEDIATE ATTENTION NEEDED:

HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL

FROM: GEORGE WALKER BUSH
DEAR SIR / MADAM,

I AM GEORGE WALKER BUSH, SON OF THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH, AND CURRENTLY SERVING AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THIS LETTER MIGHT SURPRISE YOU BECAUSE WE HAVE NOT MET NEITHER IN PERSON NOR BY CORRESPONDENCE. I CAME TO KNOW OF YOU IN MY SEARCH FOR A RELIABLE AND REPUTABLE PERSON TO HANDLE A VERY CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS TRANSACTION, WHICH INVOLVES THE TRANSFER OF A HUGE SUM OF MONEY TO AN ACCOUNT REQUIRING MAXIMUM CONFIDENCE.

I AM WRITING YOU IN ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE PRIMARILY TO SEEK YOUR ASSISTANCE IN ACQUIRING OIL FUNDS THAT ARE PRESENTLY TRAPPED IN THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ. MY PARTNERS AND I SOLICIT YOUR ASSISTANCE IN COMPLETING A TRANSACTION BEGUN BY MY FATHER, WHO HAS LONG BEEN ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN THE EXTRACTION OF PETROLEUM IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AND BRAVELY SERVED HIS COUNTRY AS DIRECTOR OF THE UNITED STATES CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY.

IN THE DECADE OF THE NINETEEN-EIGHTIES, MY FATHER, THEN VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, SOUGHT TO WORK WITH THE GOOD OFFICES OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ TO REGAIN LOST OIL REVENUE SOURCES IN THE NEIGHBORING ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN. THIS UNSUCCESSFUL VENTURE WAS SOON FOLLOWED BY A FALLING OUT WITH HIS IRAQI PARTNER, WHO SOUGHT TO ACQUIRE ADDITIONAL OIL REVENUE SOURCES IN THE NEIGHBORING EMIRATE OF KUWAIT, A WHOLLY-OWNED U.S.-BRITISH SUBSIDIARY.

MY FATHER RE-SECURED THE PETROLEUM ASSETS OF KUWAIT IN 1991 AT A COST OF SIXTY-ONE BILLION U.S. DOLLARS ($61,000,000,000). OUT OF THAT COST.

THIRTY-SIX BILLION DOLLARS ($36,000,000,000) WERE SUPPLIED BY HIS PARTNERS IN THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA AND OTHER PERSIAN GULF MONARCHIES, AND SIXTEEN BILLION DOLLARS ($16,000,000,000) BY GERMAN AND JAPANESE PARTNERS.

BUT MY FATHER'S FORMER IRAQI BUSINESS PARTNER REMAINED IN CONTROL OF THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ AND ITS PETROLEUM RESERVES.

MY FAMILY IS CALLING FOR YOUR URGENT ASSISTANCE IN FUNDING THE REMOVAL OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ AND ACQUIRING THE PETROLEUM ASSETS OF HIS COUNTRY, AS COMPENSATION FOR THE COSTS OF REMOVING HIM FROM POWER.

UNFORTUNATELY, OUR PARTNERS FROM 1991 ARE NOT WILLING TO SHOULDER THE BURDEN OF THIS NEW VENTURE, WHICH IN ITS UPCOMING PHASE MAY COST THE SUM OF 100 BILLION TO 200 BILLION DOLLARS ($100,000,000,000 - $200,000,000,000), BOTH IN THE INITIAL ACQUISITION AND IN LONG-TERM MANAGEMENT.

WITHOUT THE FUNDS FROM OUR 1991 PARTNERS, WE WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO ACQUIRE THE OIL REVENUE TRAPPED WITHIN IRAQ. THAT IS WHY MY FAMILY AND OUR COLLEAGUES ARE URGENTLY SEEKING YOUR GRACIOUS ASSISTANCE. OUR DISTINGUISHED COLLEAGUES IN THIS BUSINESS TRANSACTION INCLUDE THE SITTING VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RICHARD CHENEY, WHO IS AN ORIGINAL PARTNER IN THE IRAQ VENTURE AND FORMER HEAD OF THE ALLIBURTON OIL COMPANY, AND CONDOLEEZA RICE, WHOSE PROFESSIONAL DEDICATION TO THE VENTURE WAS DEMONSTRATED IN THE NAMING OF A CHEVRON OIL TANKER AFTER HER.

I WOULD BESEECH YOU TO TRANSFER A SUM EQUALING TEN TO TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT (10-25 %) OF YOUR YEARLY INCOME TO OUR ACCOUNT TO AID IN THIS IMPORTANT VENTURE. THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA WILL FUNCTION AS OUR TRUSTED INTERMEDIARY. I PROPOSE THAT YOU MAKE THIS TRANSFER BEFORE THE FIFTEENTH (15TH) OF THE MONTH OF APRIL.

I KNOW THAT A TRANSACTION OF THIS MAGNITUDE WOULD MAKE ANYONE APPREHENSIVE AND WORRIED. BUT I AM ASSURING YOU THAT ALL WILL BE WELL AT THE END OF THE DAY. A BOLD STEP TAKEN SHALL NOT BE REGRETTED, I ASSURE YOU. PLEASE DO BE INFORMED THAT THIS BUSINESS TRANSACTION IS 100% LEGAL. IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO CO-OPERATE IN THIS TRANSACTION, PLEASE CONTACT OUR INTERMEDIARY REPRESENTATIVES TO FURTHER DISCUSS THE MATTER.

I PRAY THAT YOU UNDERSTAND OUR PLIGHT. MY FAMILY AND OUR COLLEAGUES WILL BE FOREVER GRATEFUL. PLEASE REPLY IN STRICT CONFIDENCE TO THE CONTACT NUMBERS BELOW.

SINCERELY WITH WARM REGARDS,

GEORGE WALKER BUSH

Top 10 Reasons to Vote Conservative

Top ten reasons to vote Conservative (warning, contains sarcasm).
10. You are a gun manufacturer.
9. You sell jail optimization software.
8. You enjoy paying higher personal income taxes.
7. You think the federal government should interfere in provincial jurisdictions with tax credits (such as the transit pass credit that punishes Quebeckers for having cheaper transit passes).
6. You are a jumbo cargo plane pilot with security clearance to fly tanks to Afghanistan.
5. You need to employ cheap labour that doesn't necessarily speak English or French.
4. You are an Alberta employer and consider the unemployed Maritimers and Ontarians knocking on your door too expensive.
3. You enjoy being served by people who don't speak English or French as it gives you a reason not to tip.
2. You feel safer knowing that armed border guards are protecting us from Americans.
And the number one reason to vote Conservative: You think Employment Insurance premiums should continue to help pay for the war in Afghanistan. If the unemployed are hungry, they can joined the army. Its win win!

2008-05-18

Jack Layton is the Stephane Dion of the NDP

The NDP needs new leadership. The NDP needs a leader who doesn't make French Canadians cringe.

Fact: Stéphane Dion's English is better than Jack Layton's French.

Important fact: the NDP could do alot worse than Layton (see Gerard Kennedy).

The NDP should come up with a constitutional position. More importantly, a position on spending (aka, the federal government's power to spend). Is Jack the Prime Minister going to give out checks to hospials, to health boards or to provinces? Dito for education.

I'm sure most Quebeckers would agree with the social leanings of the NDP. However, increased power of the federal government would be seenas dangerous because the Liberals or Conservatives would eventually regain power and cut spending. Many Quebeckers are OK with the Anglo-Protestant majority being in charge of defense and diplomacy, but everything else...

And there lies the problem. If the NDP is the party of increased Federal responsibility, than many Quebeckers would feel better off with the Conservatives. Quebeckers disagree with almost everything the Conservative party stands for (including on defense and diplomacy) but at least they would leave power to the provinces.

We do have provinces after all.

If the NDP had a leader who was going to cut spending on defense, to end corporate welfare, to raise taxes on the rich, to make unionizing easier, to increase the minimum wage, to finance Employment Insurance via taxes instead of wage deductions...

And to allow the taxation room so that provinces can increase social spending, than French Canadians would vote NDP and the NDP would form the next government. But that will take someone who can be passionate in French. Someone bilingual when off text. Not Jack Layton. Sorry.

Sent from my iPod touch.

Despite iPhone Fever, I'm Too Chicken For Apple

When I was a teen, I whatched an episode of (insert name here) when Alex Keeton (Micheal J. Fox) is distraught because his parents once had IBM shares and sold them when they were still cheap.

The kicker is that if my parents had bought a few thousand dollars of shares of IBM when that episode aired, they would now be rich.

Now that I'm old enough to buy shares, and have the money, I'm haunted by the thought of my son in 15 years going nuts because he just found out I almost bought shares of Apple in 2008.

Apple will be a very lucrative investment... or not. The iPod touch and the iPhone are amazing products. They allow people to use the World Wide Web away from their computers. Raise your hand if you use the web on a daily basis. Exactly. In 13 short years, the web has become as popular as the radio or TV. 80 year olds use the web! 8 year olds use the web. And to my complete disbelief, but proven by MySpace, teenage girls use the web.

Obviously, Apple won't always have the best mobile web surfing devices. But at the moment, it does.

So why don't I invest my life savings in Apple? The Newton, Betamax,Java. Great, revolutionary products that didn't do so well. That is why.

And why aren't teenage girls, or 8 and 80 year olds, surfing the web at the mall with their iPod touchs? Seriously, the touch has been out since Octobre, does May still qualify as the early adoption period?

So maybe I should invest in HTC, LG, Nokia or RIM. Sure, their mobile surfing sucks, but bad products never stopped consumers before.

Envoyé depuis mon iPod / Sent from my iPod touch.

Americans Have Fat Genes

http://wmtc.blogspot.com/2008/05/something-else-to-blame-on-fat-people.html

There is fat epidemic in the United States and a couple of other
places (Canada, Ireland). Some people would have you believe they are fat because of their genes.

Unfortunatly, this flies in the face of basic logic: Americans are
fatter today than they were a hundred years ago. Genes don't morph that fast.

Mexicans aren't particularly fat in Mexico, when they live in the USA they are huge. People who live in the subburbs are fatter then people who live in the iner city.

More importantly, ask a fat person what sport they play. Almost invariably, you will draw a blank stare. Now, granted, maybe they don't exercise (walking is NOT exercise) because they are fat. But I suspect it is the other way around.

Fat people die young. They get heart desease and colen cancer and the rest. Fat people who smoke, don't get me started.

My point is that being pre-disposed to being overweight (which history tells us would only be a small fraction of the population, if at all),is not an excuse to be lazy and not exercise, it should be the motivator to get moving.

Envoyé depuis mon iPod / Sent from my iPod touch.

2008-05-16

La Jordanie aura l'iPhone avant l'Israel

http://www.lepoint.fr/null/orange-commercialise-l-iphone-en-europe-moyen-orient-afrique/1083/0/245993


Envoyé depuis mon iPod / Sent from my iPod touch.

Jordon Gets the iPhone, Israel SOL

http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/afx/2008/05/16/afx5017490.html

So much for Jobs' Nobel peace prize for reserving the iPhone for democratic countries. According to Forbes, Jordon will be getting the iPhone thanks to Orange. I'll save you the Wikipedia search, Jordon is NOT democratic, not even close...


Envoyé depuis mon iPod / Sent from my iPod touch.

2008-05-15

iPod 3G available at 6PM as The Largest Apple Store in the U.S. Opens Today

http://www.palluxo.com/2008/05/15/the-largest-apple-store-in-the-us-opens-today/

That part about the iPhone is my prediction.

Envoyé depuis mon iPod / Sent from my iPod touch.

Update (2008-05-16): Wrong. No 3G iPhones at the new Boston store, or anywhere else. In addition, ATandT had lifted the one phone per customer maximum as they have plenty available. So clearly, the new iPhone won't be available this week. Or maybe it will and ATTandT wants to get rid of the current iPhone ASAP...

Rogers Should Adopt Flat Rate Data Plans for Cell Phones

Here is my free marketing advice to Rogers. It is free because they didn't ask for it and are probably not listening. Otherwise I'd charge alot. They would owe me $5000 for reading that first sentence.
 
But because I'm a generous guy, it is free, so read on.
 
You don't charge per GB for wired Internet, why do you charge per GB for cell phones? Especially on phones that aren't web friendly like the HTC touch, Nokia (insert version here), Blackberry and anything running Windows Mobile. For consumers with those phones, you should offer 90GB per month for $50 and sit back and reap the profits while people pay the money but don't use the service. They could use it, and that is what they are paying for, the possibility of downloading a ridiculous amount of data for "free". Do people ride all the rides at Disney World simply because they paid to get into the park? No. But charge an 8 year old $20 to ride a roller coaster and Mickey would be lynched.
 
The current $7 a month "unlimited" access is perplexing insane. Unlimited use of Facebook but if I check out digg.com, or my blog, Rogers will charge me $15 per MB. $15 ! My blog is NOT worth $15 per MB. Frankly, neither is digg.com. And yet the cost to Rogers of one MB from Facebook or one MB from digg.com or Blogger is identical. In fact, in most parts of Canada, the cost to Rogers of downloading one MB or 150MB is the same, as Rogers has excess capacity. Charge more in Toronto if you have to, but in the rest of the country, those prices don't make any sense.

Tazers are perfectly Safe: reality show

 
According to TV Cruch's 15 Worst Reality shows of all time, Armed and Famous, staring my childhood hero Erik Estrada from CHIPS, is the worst of the worst. To illustrate the point, watch Estrada and co be tazered (thanks to Youtube). Funny stuf.
 
By the way, I liked some of the shows in the top 15 worst reality shows of all time list. Including Temptation Island (the Australian version had nudity), My Super Sweet 16 (remote control necessary in case you need to fast forward or pause... What, 16 is legal in Canada) and My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé (I'm with David Letterman, not sure why it was so good, but it was).
 
 

China celebrates its status as world biggest poluter

 
But seriously, pollution is a serious problem. And although China isn't the biggest polluter per capita, shame on them for raising all those fertile polluting people. So I say boycott China... At least until the new iPhone is available.

2008-05-14

Apple Overcomes Xenophobia: iPhone Soon Available in 35 Countries!

Wow, what a difference a couple of weeks make. On April 24th I complained that the iPhone was only available in 6 countries and even accused Apple of being xenophobic. Today, get this, there are agreements to launch the iPhone in 35 countries. Granted, that still means the iPhone is only available in 6 countries, but that could literally change any minute.
 
By the way, all 35 countries are democratic. I'm just saying. Hey, maybe Putin will have to retire before Apple formally introduces the iPhone to Russia. :-P (Please don't poison me).
 
Now, the iPhone is a GSM/GPRS soon to be GSM/HSPA cell phone. They work with SIM cards. So in theory, having an agreement is of dubious value. Innovative network features, such as "visual" voice mail, have been abandoned along the way. So for the consumer, there is no problem to use and unlocked iPhone in any country with a GSM/GPRS network, agreement or not.
 
However, in Canada, you might wish to consider a second mortgage. If you use 90GB per month, dropping your fixed line Internet connection for a mobile one would cost you $45,165 in stead of the $50 you are currently paying. And that is with a data plan. Without, it would cost you $4,500,000 (four million, five hundred thousand dollars) !!!!!!!!!!!
 
Now, granted, even if you are an avid fan of NBC programming, you probably won't be downloading 90GB per month on your iPhone (although those pictures your Mom sends you do add up), but watching Youtube takes on a whole new dimension when you realise it is costing you hundreds of dollars per hour.
 
So for Canadians, a agreement with price reductions is vital. Unfortunately, $665 for the fist gigabyte (only $500 per GB thereafter) is the new data plan reduced price, enacted 4 days ago, after the agreement was reached! Lucky for Apple CEO Steve Jobs, he can roam in Canada and download 120 terabytes before depleting his 6 billion dollar fortune...
 
Further reading:
 
 
 

Apple Australia - iPhone Job Opportunities - Job description

Link to Australian iPhone job ad.

"Knowledge of English AND local language(s)". Wow, now that is what I call being Aboriginal friendly! (sarcasm)

Yes, I realize that Apple is launching the iPhone in 20 countries at once. But would it kill Apple to spend 30 seconds adapting their job advertisements to local markets?

ALTAVISTAGOOGLE: iPhone in Canada: Not.

There has been a good 10 minutes without any news about the iPhone so I though I'd entertain you with a post I wrote 11 months ago (feels like a decade).

The post was quite good if I say so myself.

http://altavistagoogle.blogspot.com/2007/06/iphone-in-canada-not.html


Envoyé depuis mon iPod / Sent from my iPod touch.

Swisscom Residential Customers - News about iPhone

Swisscom web site.

Why rely on this blog when you can get iphone details from the Swiss iPhone provider?

I assume the Swiss version will have an intergated army knife.

By the way, nice of the Swiss to have an English version of their cell phone provider's site. Must be for Shania Twain.

3G iPhone in May, new mobile device at WWDC 2008?

http://switchtoamac.com/site/3g-iphone-in-may-new-mobile-device-at-wwdc-2008.html

I think it will be this week that the new iphone will be launched.

Envoyé depuis mon iPod / Sent from my iPod touch.

Egypt, Turkey may beat Canada to iPhone

Good article about iPhone in Canada.

http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2008/05/06/tech-iphone.html


Envoyé depuis mon iPod / Sent from my iPod touch.

2008-05-13

CRTC Should Take Away American Networks

A simple move would have a huge impact on Canadian culture: removing American TV networks from cable and satellite. The reason this hasn't been done before is because of the proximity of the United States; residents in major Canadian cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver can get over the air American channels. But this will change in February 2009.

In February 2009, you will need a converter box to receive what will then be digital signals (from the UHF band). Even with such a converter box, Montrealers probably won't be able to get a clear enough signal (I don't know enough about Vancouver to comment). Some Torontonians might be able to, but they will still need a digital converter box.

And since the vast majority of Canadians get their TV from satellite or cable, they are unlikely to invest in a good antenna and converter box to get the couple of shows that aren't retransmitted on Canadian networks. In addition, much of the quality American shows are now only available on cable TV networks.

Advertisers and Canadian stations would win because they would no longer be loosing viewers to American stations. Cable and satellite providers would win because they wouldn't have to worry about overlaying Canadian feeds when shows are also present on a local Canadian station. US networks would win because their products would no longer be shipped across the border for next to nothing (I think Canadian cable and a satellite companies currently have to pay a small amount for retransmission rights).

French Canadians culture would win because a higher percentage of stations would be in French. Canadian culture would win because it would be competing against more expensive American shows (well, the good shows would be more expensive, the bad ones would be just as cheap).

Canadian networks would win because they would be in control of what to play and when. They could put a Canadian show at 8, an Australian show at 9 and an American show at 10, if that is what will generate the most viewers. This is even more true in parts of Canada that aren't in the same time zone (Atlantic Canada).

The alternative, in my mind, is allowing foreing networks to broadcast in Canada (why on earth, for example, do BBC Canada and TV5 have to provide Canadian content? How does that make any sense?

Rogers iPhone Deal Non-Exclusive (Data rate Now Affortable 50,000 dollars per GB)

With Rogers Hi-Speed Internet attached to your computer, you can dowload 90 GB per month for about $50. If you decided to go mobile, that same dowloading will cost you $45,165 (plus $7/month for the data plan). If you are too cheap (or forget) to sign up for the data plan, then 90GB will cost you $4,500,000 (four million, five hundred thousand dollars).
 
Ted Rogers' press release was short. But when I read it, it was clear to me that the deal was non-exclusive. Only that Rogers will be offering the iPhone in Canada. Then I read newspaper reports that speculated that Rogers had finally caved to Apple in order to take the rug out of all those wannabee cell phone providers currently bidding for cell phone licences (by the way, why was the sale of Fido to Rogers authorised?).
 
 Well, it is now confirmed there will be multiple iPhone providers in Italy, India and Australia.
 
So I return to my original interpretation and say that Rogers will have a non-exclusive agreement with Apple to provide the iphone. There is NOTHING about the iPhone on the Rogers web site, and yet you can sign up for an availability notification for the RIM 9000 Bold (first thing you see in the Wireless section) which was only announced this week.
 
And since the announcement that Rogers will be offering the iPhone, Rogers changed the data rates on May 8th. Surfing will now cost you $7 per month plus 15/MB for the first 5MB, $10/MB for next 5MB, $5/MB for next 10MB and $0.50/MB thereafter (Or $665 for a one gigabyte movie, the second gigabyte movie is a bagain at $500). That doesn't sound like caving to Apple to me. And by the way, if you don't bother or forget to sign up for a data plan, 1GB will cost you $50,000! (That would be an expensive movie!).
 
The irony of course is that it doesn't really matter to Rogers how much you download, the infratructure is there and it is hoplessly underutilised. It just happens that the few people who are willing to pay anything for mobile Internet are willing to pay a lot!
 
Ted Rogers press release: "We're thrilled to announce that we have a deal with Apple to bring the iPhone to Canada later this year. We can't tell you any more about it right now, but stay tuned."
 
"Thrilled" might be an understatement.

2008-05-12

iPhone Only Available in Democratic Countries

If you live in China, Cuba or Vietnam,I hope you like Nokia, because you ain't getting an IPhone. Ditto for Dubai (UAE), Saudi Arabia or Jordan. No democracy, no iPhone for you. You live in Monaco? Over throw your government or be stuck with a Blackberry.

Now you might call it a coincidence that ALL the countries in which Apple has reached iPhone deals just happen to be democratic, but I say it is part of a master plan to foster peace, democracy and win Jobs the Nobel peace prize. Google may endeavor not to be evil, but Apple is be the real deal.

Altavistagoogle, iphone fanblog.

Update (2008-05-21): Well that didn't last long.

iPhone version of Grand Theft Auto IV available june 24

I'm not a journalist so I figure I have right to make stuff up, so here goes:

The makers of Grand Theft Auto IV, Rockstar ltd.,, are working on an iphone version of the popular game (lucky for people in Antartica, the only place the Iphone won't be launched this year, the game will also work on the iPod touch).

The game sacrifices verry little in the iPhone version, it is going to be quite impressive according to the Softimage receptionist I'm sleeping with. Softimage is the Montreal company that adapted Myst for the PS2 and has the contract for the iPhone adaptation of Grand Theft Auto 4 (they had to open an office in Moncton because of the extra work load).

In adition to being able to steer using the motion detector, players will be able to use there own city as a template for walking and running, taking advantage of the GPS feature of the upcoming iPhone version. Details on how this will work are a tad sketchy, but apparently they will not work for driving around for obvious safety reasons (still, running around town while looking at my phone seems rather dangerous to me).

Because the game will presumibly be played in public, it will be the toned down Australian version that will be adapted.

This new platform will allow Apple and Rockstar to compete with Nitendo's Wii and the many activity based games.

In other news, Apple has announced a deal with a Serbian company to bring the iPhone to Serbia. Bet the Montenagrians are regretting separating now...

Envoyé depuis mon iPod / Sent from my iPod touch.

Update (2008-05-13, 5am): Man, in an case of life immitating fiction (see Simpson episode), did I just stumble on to the truth?


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iPhone Made In Shenzhen, not affected by 7.5 quake

The iPhone is assembled in Shenzhen, located in the South-East of China, affected by the quake in the South-west of China.

Special thanks to the free online Encyclopedia Britanica (well, free on an iPhone or iPod touch) for clearing that up.

Updated 2008-05-21: Rewrote the post to make it more legible.

2008-05-10

Note to Quebec Partitionist: leave now or STFU!

If parts of Quebec don't want to be part of Quebec, then now is the time to go. If the West Island (of Montreal) was part of Ontario (or New Brunswick), Quebec would now be an independent country, 100% Justin Trudeau free.

International law makes it much easier to modify the internal borders of a country. Once a political entity votes to leave, not so much.

So do it now, because as René Lévesques once said, Quebec will be acountry before the end of the century. :-)

Natalie Portman, Rap Star

http://video2.starcutusa.com/preview/NBC/8d11290a_131052_8226220_331.3gp


Envoyé depuis mon iPod / Sent from my iPod touch.

2008-05-09

Unilingual Moncton Mayoral candidate George Leblanc Might Raise Taxes: Media Spokesperson

Brian Cormier, media spokesperson for the unilingual George Leblanc's Moncton mayoral campaign, confirmed in the comments on this blog that George Leblanc may indeed decide to raise taxes once elected mayor of Moncton. I use the term "decide" loosely as Leblanc, in his electoral pamphlet, promises to leave the decision up to a committee of community leaders and council members...
 
 

2008-05-08

Terrorist Plan Attack on Canada

Threat Level: Magenta

Terrorist Plan Attack on Canada. I can't read Arabic, but I'm pretty sure this site describes Canadian targets to ALQueda members. Thankfully, Université de Moncton is only number 30 on the list.

Targets include Niagara Falls and Christmas babies.

The site is specially designed to fool non-members by having the scroll bar on the left.

The good news is that the Conservative government of Canada caved into the border guard union and is arming our border guards with guns, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, to protect us against terrorist who may attempt to gain access to Canada via the United States.

Also good is the fact that Canadian soldiers, at a cost of billions of dollars, are in Afghanistan killing the terrorist before they can get on their horses and gallop towards Canada.

Seriously, I saw a recent documentary that said that terrorist groups often use images of water in order to associate terrorist activities with heaven. And there are, count them, 10 pictures of water on the site. 8 of the pictures are falling water. OK, I'm scaring myself; what is the 1-800 number for CSIS?

Disclaimer: I've been watching daily West Wing reruns and the Colber Report.

Further reading:

-Suspected Terrorist web site
-PC World - Al Qaeda's Tech Traps
-Doubt cast on al Qaeda's cyber skills
-Terrorists and Their Tools – Part II
-Community Server - Arming border guards will carry hefty price tag ...
-Canada to Arm Its Border Guards - New York Times

Unilingual George LeBlanc Would Be a Lousy Mayor of Moncton, Vote for the Other Guy

I'm not to happy about the mayoral choices coming up here in the Moncton municipal elections. George Leblanc, despite his name, is a unilingual anglophone, son of two anglophones. Based on the English version of a pamphlet left in my mail box today (the French version is incomprehensible), he wants to cut spending on public transit and give tax credits to downtown business. Cut spending on public transit, in Moncton, what the...?

He also wants to make Moncton a "World-Calibre" city. Moncton has a population of 64,128 people in a Census Metropolitain Area of 126,000 people (that is less than Sudbury, Ontario). This is the sort of delusion of grandeur that should be eliminated from council. Moncton is a small city in a small province in a low population area of Canada. Spend accordingly.

He actually put this in his pamphlet/vision statement:
Establish a committee comprised of members of council and leading citizens to study and report to the mayor and council within four months on recommendations on our taxation levels, spending be the City and determining whether tax cuts are achievable, given our current commitments - all with the goal of determining a fair and appropriate tax level for our citizens.
Give him credit for having the balls to actually promise to raise taxes! Even if he wants to later blame the "leading citizens".
Other anoyances:
-He wants to attract immigrants, but doesn't say how. That is his whole multiculturalism policy: I want to attract immigrants, using targets. If you have nothing to say, don't say it.
-He wants more red tape, including the requirement for submitting transportation plans when requesting a zoning change. Am I the only one who read Jane Jacobs? Transportation engineers are clueless, pass it on.
-He also wants increased visiblity for Moncton's expensive cops. I agree Moncton has a low crime rate, but perhaps the RCMP should be fighting crime instead of socialising with seniors at Tim Hortens, eh.
It is not all bad, of course. He does have a university degree in Business administration, from the University of New Brunswick (1978). He promises to review and enhance City of Moncton signage. Assuming he doesn't write the new signs that would be a good thing (lane info in Moncton, such as mandatory left turns, are often only painted on the pavement, which is not so good in winter). He also wants to place a greater emphasis on outdoor activity, that works for me.
But all and all, Moncton can do better. Not much better, mind you, but better.
Update: 2008-05-08, 15:20. Post amended to reflect that it does say in his pamphlet that his degrees are from UNB.

2008-05-07

Office of the Auditor General Waisting Tax Payer Money Reading My Blog

Alternative title: Changing the world without getting out of bed: The power of the lazy.

I don't know what to make of this. I woke up after my night shift, turn on Newsworld, and they are a talking about the Auditor General's report. While still in bed, I take my iPod and write that the government should abolish the passport fee as it is essentially a poll tax.

Almost immediately, according to Sitemeter, someone in Parliament viewed my post (I assume it was the janitor). They linked to the post via Progressive Bloggers.

More gratifying, a day later someone in the Office of the Auditor General (I assume it was the janitor), not during break or lunch (3:47PM), read my blog. The address was added directly, which usually means they got it from an email. Hopefully it was an exhausted civil servant making sure a year's work didn't go unnoticed. However, the Office of the Auditor General could have paid employees collecting Internet reaction...

Civil servants and politicians from almost every federal department and agency (including CSIS, er, the Solicitor General's Office), from every province and many municipalities have landed on this blog over the last couple of years. Have I made government better or have I waisted people's time? Hmm. Maybe I should at least put some pants on.

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2008-05-06

Is the term "American People" condescending?

It annoys me when Barak Obama uses the term "American People". Can't he just say "us" or "we Americans". Or how about just plain "Americans". Doesn't the term "Americans" refer to people who live in the United States of America?

You don't here Canadian politicians refer to their countrymen as "the Canadian people". Lucien Bouchard was big on saying "le peuple Québécois", but most of the time he would use "les Québécoises et les Québécois".

I'd just like the Harvard educated big shot from Hawaii to say "we the people of America" once in a while...

Passport Fee is a Poll Tax

This is one that has been bugging me for a long time: the passport fee is unrelated to the cost of the passport.

Part of the cost goes to consular services. So if you need a passport to go to Boston, once, you will pay the exact same fee as globetrotters. How does that make sense?

It will make even less sense next year when you will need a passport to drive or walk across the border.

So I say abolish the passport fee. It should be paid via taxes.

Insurance claims data: more port police required (and take the bus)

This document from the Insurance Breau of Canada gives some indication as to the relative risk of different vehicles, the AB column is the one that tells us the relative frequency of injury claims. Keep in mind that young, less experienced drivers are more likely to be injured and they are also more likely to buy less expensive cars.

In fact, it would be useful to have an all things being equal comparison.

Still, better than nothing (PS, take the bus).

Interesting statistic on the site, BC and Quebec have way more car thefts than other provinces. I assume it is because of their ports (NS is diluted by being included in Atlantic Canada.)

Obvious conclusion, we need to spend more on port police.

2008-05-02

New Windsor Highway Should be Elevated

1.2 billion dollars for a six lane highway that will lead to a traffic jam (the border). Please. "Below grade to diminish the effects of exhaust and noise". What? Below grade leading up to a very high toll bridge!?

This is what should be built: An elegant elevated four lane highway with no interchanges. A Southern Ontario version of Montreal's Decarie is a bad idea. Below grade highways, in addition to being expensive, are noisy and stink of exhaust.

The 6 lanes is the really silly part. Unless customs processes trucks at 100 km/hr, what is the point of that? In fact, you could argue that this new highway should be elevated and two lanes (one in each direction). After all, won't it be a 12 km queue for the border? And vehicles leaving the border are at trickle anyway...

2008-05-01

The 20 minute commute... by foot.

The May 5th issue of BusinessWeek has an interview with James Kunstler, author of The Geography of Nowhere.

The best thing about living in Moncton, pop 80,000, is that it takes 10 minutes from one end of town to the other, maybe 15 during the 4 to 5PM rush hour.

Now some people do live out in the country and spend a good deal of time and money commuting, but the vast majority don't. Out of 20colleagues I asked, at 20 minutes, I have the longest commute. But that is 20 minutes by foot!

Many Monctonians have ocean side cottages less than 30 minutes from downtown, and only go on weekends!

Now granted, contrary to say Montreal, Ottawa or Toronto, fewer people take the bus. In fact, given the lousy public transportation, the average Monctonian probably spends more money on transportation than the average Torontonian.

So what is my point? I don't know, I just have so much free time I needed to waist some... :-)

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