2010-07-25

Podcast Wars

You have heard of Late Night wars, but have you heard of podcast wars?

Leo Laporte (Letterman/Conan) of TWIT versus Mike Arrington (Leno) of TechCrunch TV.


To continue with the analogy, This Week In is the late night equivalent of ABC's show now that Sarah Silverman is not dating the host.

2010-07-20

3.19 dollars pour un mois du journal Acadie Nouvelle!

Les gens de l'Acadie Nouvelle m'irritent profondément. Ils offrent un rabais de $3.19 aux quatre semaines pour la version pdf du journal. $3.19 pour un mois de papier livré aux quatre coins de la province? Pire, la version html est incomplète. Pourtant, Internet permet au journal d'avoir des annonces locaux. Est-ce qu'un restaurent de Caraquette veut payer pour attirer des clients de Moncton? Non. Pourtant, dans l'édition papier ou pdf, les lecteurs de toute la province vont voir l'annonce. Dans l'édition html, il est facile de servir des annonces selon le code postal ou l'adresse IP . 

Profitez des avantages de Internet. Si non, les lecteurs de Moncton vont allez voir ailleurs

2010-07-19

Canadian Census and Language

Here are some clarifications concerning language and the census:

1. The short form ONLY asks what was the first language learned and still understood (aka, mother tongue) of individuals in the household. The short form DOES NOT ask what language you speak at home, what language you read at home, what language you watch TV at home, etc... Only 49.8% of the 2.476 million people in the City of Toronto had English as a mother tongue in 2006 (including 4095 people who wrote-in a French-English combo under "other"). That is similar to the 48.3% in the City of Vancouver and the 49.6% who had French as a mother tongue on the Island of Montreal (including the 15,000 English-French write-in combos).

2. The questions on the now optional long form are not known yet. Here is the questionnaire for the then mandatory 2006 census long form (given to 20% of general households and 100% of aboriginal reservation households). Questions 13, 14, 15, 16 and 48 relate to language. (I don't like question 13 and 14 (knowledge of second language) because they are incredibly subjective).

3. The 2011 census (mandatory short form) questions are known (scroll to the bottom for Census of population).

If you are looking for census information on Canadian's religion, it is only taken every 10 years. You can find the 2001 info here from the mandatory form sent to 20% of Canadian households (There were more Catholics (1.53M) than Protestants (1.22M) in the Toronto Census Metropolitan area (4.65M) in 2001!). Will the religion question be part of the 2011 optional survey (aka long form)? Maybe Harper and Day don't want the reminder that Evangelicals are only 0.2% of the Canadian population (that dinosaur thing is hard to swallow).
Update: (a few minutes later). There seems to be some confusion about evangelicals. Is it a Church, a type of Church? 0.2% applies specifically to the Evangelical Missionary Church. Harper belongs to an even more obscure Church that would be covered under "Protestants not covered elsewhere" (1.9%). People call him evangelical (with a small e) because of the type of church he belongs to.

2010-07-18

Top 10 Signs You Chose the Wrong Religion

1. Your religion bans pre-marital sex and you are over 30 and single.
2. Your religion bans pork, ham, beacon, beef or lobster but allows cauliflower.
3. Your religion bans gambling and makes no exception for boring sports like soccer.
4. Your religion bans coveting your neighbour's wife even though he is obviously gay. 
5. Your religion promises you 12 virgins in heaven instead of 12 sluts.
6. Your religion encourages you to hijack a plane and then makes you fly coach. 
7. Your religion bans psychiatric medication and you like to jump on furniture on national TV.
8. Your religion makes you worship your ancestors even though they followed Alan Greenspan's economic theories. 
9. Your Church stops a bike path from being built.
10. You were reincarnated as a cockroach

2010-07-16

This information must be provided by law (Census of Agriculture)

The CBC and CalgaryGrit bring up a good point, if the census long form was too intrusive for minister Tony Clement, surely the mandatory agriculture census is too.

Here are some of the questions farmers have to answer or else go to jail:

This information is collected under the authority of the Statistics Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. S-19, and must be provided by law.
Step 10, Question 78: TOTAL area of CHRISTMAS TREES grown for sale 
STEP 14,  Indicate all PRACTICES and LAND FEATURES on this operation
STEP 19,  Was MANURE used or produced on this operation in 2010?
STEP 21  Are any MUSHROOMS grown on this operation for sale?
Step 27, 132. In 2010, how many chicks or other poultry were hatched?

Step 34, 197. Is the Internet used for this farm business?

2010-07-15

Pin Tab: Chrome Browser Now Even Better!

Chrome and Safari like to brag that each is faster. Forget speed, usability is where the fight is at. To my surprise, Chrome now has a "pin tab" feature that works great! Safari does not have this feature. In Chrome, just right click and select "Pin Tab". Next time you open Chrome, the tabs you pinned will automatically open (in a small format with a recognizable icon). Sweet.

I don't know when this became a standard feature (I have Chrome version 5.0.375.99), but I'm glad it is there. Hat tip to Jeff Jarvis on this week's TWIG podcast.

The Anglo Society of New Brunswick Fails at Pictures

The word is "boutique", not "outique". If you are going to argue that the lottery corporation has a pro French bias in signage, at least get a clear shot of the French version!

The Anglo Society of New Brunwsick's acronym needs one more "s". It should be assnb

Language War in Moncton?

Make the type as big on bilingual signs as it is on unilingual signs. 


Agrandir le plan I should get out more, because apparently there is a language war here in Moncton. This time of year in Moncton the locals are outnumbered by tourists (especially on rainy days). Despite that, according to Wednesday's National Post, Monctonians are apparently at each other's throats over language.

Notwithstanding the made-up news by Canada's "national" newspaper (not available for home delivery in the Maritimes), let's pretend there is a war; or least a debate.

In favour of mandated bilingual signs:

1. Signs in a city aren't private if you can see them from the street. In fact, they are the exact opposite of private. A sign in your bedroom is private, a sign 2m from a public street is public.

2. Moncton has a sign by-law that regulates the size of signs, the number of signs, the material, the location, etc. Mandating language is just one more line in the by-law.

3. Keep it simple. Dieppe's by-law is great: French on top or on the left, English on the bottom or on the right. You know where to look depending on your language.

4. Size matters. The free market is against multilingual signs. There are businesses in the Moncton area that actually have unilingual signs of a different language in each direction! If it were up to me, extra space would be granted to signs that are multi-lingual. That way, the typing could be as big on bilingual signs as it is on unilingual signs.

Against bilingual signs:

1. Bilingual signs are false advertising if the staff isn't bilingual. Moncton and New Brunswick are officially bilingual because the people aren't. That is why it is essential that the city and province offer service in English or French.

2. There is only 1 French language university in New Brunswick (Université de Moncton), can we really expect it's signs to be bilingual?

Agrandir le plan
3. The mayor of Moncton is a unilingual anglophone. He makes no effort to be understood by francophones (see his Twitter account). Obviously, anglophones are in control of this city. Unilingual francophones should live in Dieppe.

2010-07-14

Palm Trees in Scotland!

Watching "Des trains pas comme les autres" tonight on TV5, I learned that there are palm trees in Scotland! I've been to Scotland (Edingburg, Glasgow, Inverness, Isle of Skye (by bus via Loch Ness)

But not Plockton, I missed Plockton! I should have taken the train! :)


View Larger Map

2010-07-13

(BN) Miami Downtown Comes Alive as Unsold Condominiums Fill With Young Renters

Miami more New York than L.A. ? One can only hope.

"Miami is turning into something that Florida has never had: a densely populated city where professionals live and work"

Bloomberg News, envoyé de mon iPhone.

Miami's Downtown Comes Alive as Condos Fill With Young Renters

July 13 (Bloomberg) -- Brandon Klein has done what few Floridians can: go weeks without driving his car.

The 26-year-old tax accountant walks three blocks from his condominium tower on Biscayne Bay in Miami to his office at Deloitte LLP. On weekends, he and his friends hang out on the pool deck or share a cab to a local Irish pub.

He lives in Downtown, a neighborhood where young people are renting condos built during the 2004 to 2008 boom to attract second-home buyers. Thanks to the housing crash, Klein and two roommates pay about $900 a month each for an obstructed waterfront view, a wraparound balcony and access to a gym, spa and steam room.

"Five years ago you wouldn't have kids fresh out of college living in luxury like this," said Klein, sitting in front of the 24-hour concierge in the three-story lobby of his building at 50 Biscayne Boulevard, coordinating happy-hour plans by text message. His friends are concentrated in nearby Met I, which has 447 luxury units and a steakhouse on the first floor. They refer to the building as "Deloitte Dorm" because it's home to so many employees of the accounting and consulting firm.

The 7,000 unsold condos in Miami's core -- a symbol of a building boom that collapsed and dragged the city into recession -- are filling up and giving life to neighborhoods that previously closed after dark. New, year-round residents are cramming into restaurants, nightclubs and bars that didn't exist a few years ago, and enjoying a lifestyle made possible in part by developers and banks seeking to recoup losses by renting luxury dwellings until the market recovers.

Creating A City

"I'm a big city person, and I always thought Miami didn't have a real city," said Dejan Krsmanovic, a 39-year-old biomedical engineer who was on a first date at Segafredo, a busy Italian restaurant and bar that opened in 2008 in the adjacent Brickell neighborhood, where the same trend is playing out.

"Miami Beach is not a city, it's a resort," he said. "This is beginning to resemble a city."

The unsold condos represent almost a third of the 22,079 units in 75 buildings, mostly opened after 2004, tracked in a study released in March by the Miami Downtown Development Authority. The report focused on central neighborhoods including Downtown, Brickell and Wynnwood/Edgewater.

Occupancy rates in the new buildings, including owner- occupants and tenants, increased to 74 percent in February from 62 percent in May 2009, the study shows.

Price Cuts

The development authority estimates that the population of Miami's urban core jumped to about 70,000 from 40,000 since the 2000 census, said authority spokesman Robert Geitner.

"For us, it doesn't matter whether they rent or buy," said Miami Mayor Tomás P. Regalado. "The more people, the more business, the more safety, the more progress."

The influx of college students, young professionals and empty nesters from the Coral Gables section of the city and the suburbs intensified about 18 months ago when banks that financed the condo projects agreed to let developers slash sales prices by as much as 40 percent, said Peter Zalewski, a principal with consulting firm Condo Vultures LLC in Miami. That spurred demand from foreign buyers and all-cash investors, many of whom are renting out their units until prices rebound, he said.

The Miami metro rental market is one of the strongest in the country, according to Ron Johnsey, president of Axiometrics Inc., an apartment-research firm in Dallas. That's the case even though unemployment is more than 11 percent, compared with 9.5 percent nationally, and developers are adding to supply by leasing units built for purchase.

Rents Rise

Effective rents, the amounts actually received by landlords, rose 4 percent in the first five months of the year after falling 2.9 percent during the same period in 2009, according to Axiometrics, whose data tracks professionally managed rental building. Nationally, rents increased 2.75 percent from January to May.

The occupancy rate for Miami climbed to 95.1 percent in May from 93.8 percent a year earlier, Johnsey said.

Condos are being purchased by investors and rented out in Phoenix, San Diego and Las Vegas, where thousands of units also went up during the boom, according to Ross Moore, chief economist for Colliers International, a Seattle-based real estate services firm.

"It's something we're seeing in many markets," he said. "Miami is an absolute extreme example."

Holding Out Hope

While the city is heading in the right direction, it will take years to fully recover, said Michael Fratantoni, vice president of single-family research and policy at the Mortgage Bankers Association in Washington.

"Miami has been one of the areas most deeply impacted by the crisis," he said. "But the backstop of foreign-buyer demand is going to help Miami do better than the rest of the state."

Builders haven't given up on finding buyers for their condos. At the Axis on Brickell, developed by Brack Capital Group, about 85 percent of the 718 units are rented, said Albert Piazza, the project manager. The firm has sold about 239 condos at the complex, which features poolside cabanas, a theater and a billiards room, and is allowing tenants to direct 50 percent of their rent toward purchase. Once credit for mortgages frees up, Piazza expects many of them to act, he said.

"The goal is still to sell out," Piazza said.

Occupancy Rates

T. Sinclair Jacobs, 87, who founded the Brickell Homeowners Association 20 years ago, watched the developments go up. The group's original residents lived south of Southeast 15th Road, along Brickell Avenue, in decades-old condo towers, some of which appeared in the "Miami Vice" television series, according to Geitner. Developers then pushed north 13 blocks, putting up about 25 projects along Brickell Avenue, known for its bank buildings.

Development crossed the Miami River to connect with Downtown, adding glass-and-steel residential towers to the area's mix of courthouses, hotels, warehouses, homeless shelters and stores. The American Airlines Arena, where LeBron James will play next season with the National Basketball Association's Miami Heat, opened there in 1999.

While Jacobs believes the projects needed better planning, he said they are making Miami a better place to live.

"With the greater concentration of residents, there'll be a beneficial effect on traffic because we'll have better public transportation," he said. "We didn't have the residents before to support mass transit. In the long run, this is going to be one of the great cities in the world."

Softening Recession's Pain

The new vitality can be seen at Juan Chipoco's sleek Peruvian restaurant, CVI.CHE 105, on Northeast 3rd Avenue off of East Flagler Street, in the heart of the old Downtown shopping area. ChipPAC, who finished expanding to 220 seats from 65 seats three months ago, said lines sometimes form on weekends even with a $10 valet fee and limited parking. The restaurant also draws customers from Miami Beach and the suburbs.

Diners can choose from a dozen and a half restaurants north of the Miami River that stay open after 7 p.m., compared with two or three a few years ago, said Jose Goyanes, 42, a longtime Downtown business owner who, with his partners, converted a luggage store into Tre Italian Bistro a year ago.

The flood of new residents has softened the impact of the recession, he said. "Instead of falling down a precipice, it's like a bungee cord pulling Downtown businesses up."

The area's fledgling success comes after a lot of financial pain endured by developers, banks and foreclosed homeowners throughout Miami. Developers that didn't unload their units by the end of 2008 faced the most serious problems, Zalewski of Condo Vultures said.

Buying in Bulk

The bulk sale of condos in the Marina Blue high rise in December 2008 depressed prices, Zalewski said. Hyperion Development sold 60 units in the 516-unit building for about $200 a square foot, about half of the original price, the South Florida Business Journal reported at the time.

The complex, featuring two outdoor pools, a volleyball court and sand-filled "Sky Beach" on the 14th floor, is now sold out, said Carolyn Van Gorder, vice president of sales and marketing for Hyperion Group. Many units are rented.

In early 2009, lenders began allowing developers to cut prices on individual units, rather than sell them to bulk buyers who would flip them one by one for a profit, said Robert Given, executive vice president at broker CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. in Miami.

Corus Loans

Struggling projects include the 56-story Infinity at Brickell, about a quarter of which has sold, and Mint, which is empty. A team of investors led by Barry Sternlicht's Starwood Capital Group LLC took a stake in the portfolio of failed lender Corus Bankshares Inc. that includes the Mint and Infinity loans. It plans to relaunch the projects in coming months, said Jonathan Pertchik, chief operating officer for ST Residential, the company managing the former Corus assets.

Corus, based in Chicago, had $977 million in condo loans on properties in Miami and southeast Florida as of March 2009.

"I don't think it had anything to do with the caliber, quality and foresight" of the developers, Zalewski said. "Ultimately, what it came down to was timing. It was a matter of which developers could finish off their project, take it to market, close and take their cash before the market collapsed."

The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach metro area had the highest foreclosure rate among large U.S. cities in May, with one of every 134 units receiving a filing, according to RealtyTrac Inc., an Irvine, California-based data seller. The average rate for the U.S. is one in 400 units.

Condo 'Masterpiece'

"We were trying to build a city in perhaps what was too fast a time period," said Jorge Perez, chairman and chief executive officer of The Related Group in Miami, which built more than 6,500 units in the greater downtown area.

The closely held firm, which is 20 percent owned by Stephen Ross, founder of New York-based Related Cos., broke ground in 2001 on One Miami, the first major condo project on the north side of the river. Perez said his masterpiece is the $1.25 billion Icon Brickell, completed in late 2008, a 1,800-unit project with a boutique hotel and an Alice-in-Wonderland feel. There is a two-acre sundeck, 140 feet above Biscayne Bay, featuring three pools, an outdoor fireplace and an oversized floor chess board.

The Related Group lost between $50 million and $100 million on Icon, Perez said. The firm handed back two of Icon's three towers to a syndicate of lenders led by HSBC Holdings Plc in May after winning bank approval late last year to slash prices by about 30 percent. The price cut has spurred sales, which increased to about 640 as of this month from 38 closings at the end of the second quarter of last year.

Seizing Opportunity

"Over the long run, what we did in building those buildings, was it wrong?" Perez said. "I wish there wasn't the suffering on a personal basis, on a banking basis and individual basis. But have we made Miami a much better city? Absolutely, yes."

John Guarin, a 34-year-old real estate broker who rents a one-bedroom apartment in one of the Icon towers for $1,800 a month, said he recognized early that the Miami rental market would explode. Guarin's ApartmentsLLC.net specializes in finding rentals for students from the University of Miami.

Guarin, who earned a Master of Business Administration from the school in late 2008, said the idea for the business began with a paper he wrote for a marketing class about the greater downtown area's underserved rental market.

"I knew something had to be done with the buildings," he said. "Nobody was buying them."

'Sickest View'

This is Guarin's busiest time because it's when students look for apartments. He recently took two 22-year-old graduate students, Jean Chang, a Los Angeles native, and Elizabeth Lombardi from New Jersey, on a tour of properties renting for about $2,200. Chang's first choice was Everglades on the Bay, which has a four-story fitness and spa center with a jogging track circling the roof and the "sickest view" of the bay, Chang said.

The condo was gone the next day before she could put down a deposit.

Guarin also showed them Axis, where for $2,075 they could share a two-bedroom, two-bath condo of almost 1,200 square feet, with a wraparound balcony on the 36th floor. While they put down $100 to hold the unit, they later chose a place with more evenly sized bedrooms on South Beach, a neighborhood world famous for its nightlife and celebrity sightings.

The broker said it's a matter of taste: many clients are looking to escape the noise of South Beach, which is about 5 miles (8 kilometers) east of Downtown across Biscayne Bay.

Toning Down Parties

Axis, which attracts students from the University of Miami because of its easy access to public transportation, is implementing new rules to keep partying to appropriate levels. The building has received complaints from residents about crowds by the pool, loud music and women taking their tops off, according to Piazza, the project manager. Starting July 4, no more than four guests are allowed for each apartment, and boom boxes are barred by the pool.

"If you want to have something like that, you have to go to the beach," he said.

Miami is turning into something that Florida has never had: a densely populated city where professionals live and work, said Alan Ojeda, whose Rilea Group recently finished 1450 Brickell Avenue, one of three new office towers in the city's urban core. The $270 million building has 35 stories, 585,000 square feet of rentable space and 1,200 parking spaces.

"It's what's missing in Florida," Ojeda said of Downtown. "Look, it's 9 p.m. on a Thursday. It's not Saturday night fever and the bars and restaurants are full."

To contact the reporter on this story: Prashant Gopal in New York at Pgopal2@bloomberg.net

Find out more about Bloomberg for iPhone: http://m.bloomberg.com/iphone


(Via iPhone)

Americans Love Moncton and Charlottetown

There is more than one PEI and there is more than one Price Edward Island , but as far as I know, there is only one Charlottetown.


View Larger Map

So these Google search stats are impressive.




But before you thank Regis and Kelly, take a look at the ones for Moncton:



Map:

View Larger Map

2010-07-12

Tony Clement Debates Statistics via Twitter

Does Tony Clement fully understand statistics? To use his logic, if Evangelists in a Calgary neighbourhood stop answering the census long form questionnaire, we'll just ask more Catholics. They are all the same, right?


Which is why proper weighting will be used, as always the case RT @stephenfgordon Wrong. Large samples can't fix sample selection biases.

Optional Long Census Will Reduce Productivity in Canada

I can't tell you the value of decisions I have personally made on behalf of my employers based on Canada's census. Probably in the millions of dollars, per census.

Now, the census question have always been political. Ironically, the federal government doesn't survey stakeholders, in any scientific way, about what they need in the census. And frankly, the census would be many times longer, and compliance would be enforced my the army, if you asked the average business owner or city official. The city of Wood Buffalo, for example, actually does a yearly municipal census (at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars) because they feel they can't wait for the federal one (every 5 years).

The Canadian census isn't a tool to be used exclusively by the federal government, but it is a tool that investors and municipal and provincial officials used every day. Sewers, Italian restaurants, schools, radio stations, etc, are all located based on the census.

Individual Canadians benefit from the census as well, as it drastically reduces the number of surveys they are asked to respond to. 

Some of the questions on the long form census are of dubious value (such as knowledge* of a second language), and practicality dictates that you can't ask too many questions, otherwise people will stop answering the most basic one (how many people live in your dwelling). So certainly the questions should be up to debate.

Making the long form voluntary will discredit the results. Not, perhaps, at the national level, but definitely in neighbourhoods. So, expect more phone and online surveys, more Italian restaurants in odd locations and more half empty schools. Cost: billions.

*People one the long form census are asked to self asses whether they are fluent in their second language, something that is highly subjective and variable by location and culture (good luck understanding the 63% of Edmundstonians who say they "know" English as a second language (only 5% of the Edmundston, New Brunswick, population has English as a first language learned and still understood). I would argue most English Canadians "know" French by the standards of knowing English in Edmundston.  

2010-07-11

Sarah Palin: White Mama Grizzlies




Black mama bears protect their young, but did she chose them a symbol of her campaign? Noooo. She chose grizzlies. Granted, she could have chosen the polar bear, but she wants to kill them to drill for oil. So, you know.

To my shock and surprise, not all of Sarah Palin's supporters are white. Some are Black (like that security guard). But if you want to have a very safe drinking game, play Spot the non-white Sarah Palin supporter.




2010-07-10

Super Mario Bros Outside

Forget palaying Super Mario Brothers on a Nintendo DS. Imagine playing on the sidewalk:

Game Freaks 365's Nintendo DS Review Guide
Super Mario Bros. from Andreas Heikaus on Vimeo.

2010-07-08

My Favourite Podcasts

This may be my lazyest post yet. But rather than embed my favourite podcasts, I figured I would copy and past my Google Reader RSS subscriptions. You can download these in the backgroud if you are browsing on your PS3. Please share your suggestions for podcasts in the comments. I'm interested in non-American and French language podcasts (video please, life is too short for audio-only). 


Watch Your Car Repair Live, IdeaCenter A310 PC, In-Flight WiFi Prices May Drop, eBook Readers' Prices Have Dropped & Invisibility Cloaks Are Coming - GeekBeat.TV


I Didn't Say I Pirated It, But Let's Just Say It's Awesome - Diggnation

Join in the discussion this week as we cover the dreaded Red Ring of Death attacks on the New Xbox 360, fashion models strip down... their faces, celebrities' uncanny similarities to cartoon characters, beer may be the healthiest alcohol ever, and opening a can of worms as the Obama administration cracks down on piracy issues!

Tech News Today 26: Do Not Point This Episode At Your Cat

Hosts: Tom MerrittBecky Worley and Erik Lanigan

Facebook's growth declines; Android 2.2 JavaScript 'demolishes' iOS 4's; Foursquare launches augmented reality; Lightsaber knockoff causes instant blindness, possible skin cancer; and more.

Download or subscribe to this show at http://twit.tv/tnt.

We invite you to read, add to, and amend our show notes at wiki.twit.tv.

Thanks to Cachefly for the bandwidth for this show.



iTunes aux Canadiens français: speak white

****Mise-à-jour 2010-08-03: Les films iTunes sont disponibles en français! ****

"Ce qui est décevant c'est que le contenu est uniquement en anglais! En France ils ont des films français et il me semble que ça ne serais pas si compliquer d'ajouter les film de la France sur iTune Store canadien. Mais si on considère le temps que a mit eBay pour passer en français au Canada on peut croire que dans long temps iTune Store pourrais commencer à sortir des films français sur le Store ce qui diminuerais beaucoup les ventes du service VOD de Vidéotron." (Commentaire de Janvier 2010 sur un article de 2008)

Je ne comprends pas pourquoi Apple manque autant de respect envers la population francophone du Canada. Si Sony peut offrir des films en français sur son PlayStation Store et si iTunes France peut avoir des films en français, me semble que ça ne doit pas être si compliqué que ça mettre des films en français dans le iTunes store canadien.

Ceci-dit, les Belges et les Suisses francophones (ou non) ne sont pas plus avancé que nous, car il n'y a aucun films dans leur magasin iTunes.

Apple, si vous voulez faire affaire au Canada, parlez notre langue!



****Mise-à-jour 2010-08-03: Les films iTunes sont disponibles en français! ****

2010-07-06

Lindsay Lohan Jail Next To Freeway


View Larger Map

Imprisoning Communities: How Mass Incarceration Makes Disadvantaged Neighborhoods WorseThe irony of Lindsay Lohan's jail is that it is located next to a free-way. She of course is in jail at Lynwood's Century Regional Detention Centre for violating her parole conditions related to her drinking and driving conviction.The freeway also incorporates a public transportation line, a reminder of the options you need to think about when drinking. The north-south line, below street grade, appears to be only for merchandise (to and from the port of Long Beach).

Here is the east-west line (just north of the jail, in the highway median, above city street grade). The station is located about 1 km west of the jail (Imperial/Wilmington station), at the intersection of the Blue and Green Lines.

View Larger Map

In the sky above the jail is the approach area for planes landing at LAX.

The Prisoners' World: Portraits of Convicts Caught in the Incarceration BingeGo Directly to Jail: The Criminalization of Almost EverythingSo to recap, a major freeway, a major freight line, a commuter line and the approach to one of the busiest airports in the world. As far as transportation in concerned, the jail is probably the noisiest location in the metropolitan area of Los Angeles. That said, noise doesn't add straight up and she might not even hear it over the noise from inside the jail.



-Suburban Sprawl Sends Paris Hilton to Jail

2010-07-05

To ebook or not to ebook


Paper is a relatively cheap way to read stuff. The infrastructure is already there (paper mills, printers, roads, trucks, book stores, lamps, garbage collection, land fill sites), so the marginal cost of an additional  paper book is relatively low.

For many book publishers, the infrastructure to publish and distribute ebooks isn't there yet. So, counterintuitively, the marginal cost of each ebook is relatively high.

From a reader's point of view, here are the advantages of ebooks:

-They don't take up space.
-You can buy an ebook anywhere (and I mean anywhere), any time.
-Popular English language books and classics are easy to find.
-Moving forwards, "out of print" books will still be for sale and available. 
-Price comparison is easy (Kindle Store, iBookstore, Kobobooks, Fictionwise), you don't need to factor in shipping, just the sales tax (Kindle doesn't charge it to Canadians).
-They sometimes cost less than a paper book.
-Easy to transport. You can have your entire library in your pocket.
-No paper cuts, dust, or horrible glue smell.

Advantages of a paper book.

-More selection (especially non-English).
-You can give it away.
-You can show it off (when you are reading it and when you put it on your shelf).
-You can trade it.
-You can loose it without feeling too bad (unlike a $200 Kindle or a $550 iPad)
-You can damage it without feeling too bad (when drinking, eating, using it at the beach or in the bathroom).
-You don't need any special equipment (not an advantage if you already have an iPhone).
-Absolutely no glare.
-Some people think they like the smell and feel of paper books (I don't, in fact, I hate it).
-Many people collect books without finishing them. They may loose that collection joy in the digital format. (This is a pretty week advantage if you ask me, but I've read it in so many forums that it must be true).
-Books don't run out of battery.

I'm an ebook convert. I have the following iOS ereader apps on my iPhone: Kobo, iBooks, Stanza and Kindle. I also read books on my computer, on my laptop and on my TV.
I'm deeply allergic to dust and I move, way, way to often. I also live in a small apartment.

But the number 1 reason I love ebooks is I hate throwing book out. I just can't. It is literally painful for me to do so. My electronic books I can keep for ever!

Ereading options:


Devices: iPod touch ($200), Kobo ($150), Kindle ($205 plus tax when shipped to Apple iPod touch 8 GB (2nd Generation--with iPhone OS 3.1 Software Installed) [NEWEST MODEL]Sony Digital Reader Pocket Edition - Silver (PRS300SC)Canada), Sony eReader ($200), Kindle DX ($350), iPad ($550), iPhone ($800), Android based smartphone (HTC: $500). Nook from Barnes and Noble, only in the USA ($150 for wifi only, $200 for wifi with 3G).

I know way too much about ebooks, so if you have any questions about ebooks, please leave them in the comments. I'll respond within 24 hours.

2010-07-04

Amber MacArthur interviews Richard Brandson

Amber MacArthur (aka Amber Mac) interviewed Richard Brandson earlier this week. Why would the multi-billionaire agree to be interviewed by a podcaster? Well, his job as CEO of Virgin is to promote all things Virgin. And the latest thing is the company's air link between Toronto and San Francisco.

Being a savy marketer, Brandson focussed his valuable time on Toronto's gay media. Wait, what? Oh. Being a savy marketer, Brandson focussed his time on Toronto's Internet media. I guess Amber was the only one to show up.

Anyway, here is the Youtube (skip to 03:20 if your time is more valuable than Richard's).

Power Friending

No Bilingualism For You (PlayStation)


Sony's new Play Station Video Store is a great addition to Canadians' options for legally downloadable movies. And unlike Apple's iTunes, Sony respects Canada's duality by offering French language content.

Unfortunately, Sony has made switching from one language to an other quite difficult. In the old days, English and French VHS movies, by Quebec law, competed for shelf space. DVDs solved that thanks to their multiple audio tracks. Movies from the PS3 video store only have one audio track. That is unfortunate, but perhaps makes sense considering the additional data that would be required when downloading (movies don't even have subtitles).

But unlike Apple's iTunes, Sony does offer movies in French. However, unlike the VHS days, the different language versions don't compete for shelf space, they are in different stores! One store for English movies, one store for French movies (at the moment, all dubbed from English).

If you originally selected French as a store interface language, you can chose from 29 movies dubbed in French. That's it. No English for you. The solution is to start an other account and select the other language. New username, password, addresse, credit card number, all that to rent a movie in Canada's other official language! Nuts (although once you have wasted those 10 minutes of your life, switching users (and therefore languages) is easy).

Here is the confirmation I got from Sony: 

Thank you for writing us about the Video Download Service and language availability. When you register a PlayStation(R)Network account, a language is selected and associated with that account. Unfortunately, there is no way to change or edit the content based on that language selection aside from registering a different account. Please accept our apologies in advance for any inconvenience this may cause

But once again, at least Sony does offer some movies in French (albeit, at the moment, none as an original language). Shame on Apple on that front (Strangely, Apple does offer movies and TV in Apple Store France (unavailable in Canada)).

2010-07-01

PS3 Offers Cheaper HD Movies On-Demand

Rogers and PlayStation add sales tax for rentals, iTunes does not.

So for Standard Defonition, Apple is the cheapest (with the $55 Apple
cable, you can plug your iPod touch/iPhone to your TV once you have
downloaded the movie; or connect your laptop to your TV via VGA or
HDMI; or use the $200 Apple TV).

Apple is also the cheapest for HD if you have Apple TV or an iPad.
Apple will not let you use your computer or iPhone for HD movies (but
will for TV shows you buy).

Most of us are nowhere near our monthly bandwidth limit. But, for
example, if you have Rogers Ultra-lite Internet with Rogers, you will
go over your 2GB bandwidth limit after a couple of movies (after that
it is $5 per GB).

In conclusion, unless your bandwidth limit is an issue (for most
people it is not), or you have Apple TV or an iPad, Sony PS3 is your
cheapest option for HD anytime on demand movies. However, the
difference in movie rental price is not high enough to justify alone
the cost of the $300 PlayStation.

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