MacBook Air At Par!

Finally, Apple is selling something at par in Canada!

Now, if only they could do the same with their iPads and accessories. Also, note that even at par, it means the MacBook air (and new Mini) is more expensive on this Canadian side of the border. Based on US pricing, at time of writing the cheapest air should only be C$946. By the way, there is no duty on computers, so taxes are not the reason for the pre-sales tax price difference. And since Apple's computers are made in Asia, transportation to Canada is also cheaper, by boat or plane. Retail costs (labour and rent) and shipment to customers could theoretically be more expensive in Canada, but I doubt it.

However, before you drive to the USA to save $70 on a US$1599 Mac, remember that most US states, and some US cities and counties, charge a sales tax, and the price difference is only 4%. Also, your credit card company probably charges a 2.5% conversion fee. New Hampshire has no sales tax on computers, but does on restaurant and hotels...

However, if you are in Old Orchard and are planning on buying a MacBook Air or Mini, buying one in NH before you get back to Canada is a way to save a few bucks, assuming you don't care about the 141km detour to Salem or Nashua. You could instead buy an Apple computer at the nearby South Portland store, but because Maine sales tax is 5%, you would have to pay MORE for your computer if you declare it at customs (you have to pay HST on the entire price, including the Maine tax).

Deleware and Oregon are the only other options for Canadian Apple cheapskates (Montana and Alaska have no state tax, but no Apple stores either).

1812 Reasons to Drive Across Northern-Ontario

If you enjoy this view, will you love it 20 hours (plus pit stops) from now when you get to Manitoba?

Agrandir le plan
Strangers in Our Midst: Sexual Deviancy in Postwar OntarioPassengers to Points NorthJust Passing Through~The People and the Places North of MatachewanThe Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies
Twenty hours later, Manitoba!
Agrandir leStrangers in Our Midst: Sexual Deviancy in Postwar Ontario plan

Ballad of Springhill Nova Scotia

U2's Bono sang a verse of the Ballad of Springhill tonight at Magnetic Hill in Moncton. And rightly so, as Springhill, Nova Scotia, is only 95km away. Deep coal mines can be deadly, and the one in Sprinhill was no exception. 1958 was the last time that the "coal was covered in blood and bone" under Springhill, Cumberland County, Nova Scotia.

  Version sung by Bono's inspiration: Luke Kelly

Version sung by Bono on Irish TV (and at some of his concerts in 1987).

If you are reading this today, Sunday, July 31st, 2011, you might want to head to Springhill for their music festival. There will be a singalong of the song at 5:30PM at Lions Park.

And don't miss the museum (I've never been).

View Larger Map

According to Wikipedia, some of the surviving minors were offered a free trip to Jekyll Island, Georgia.

Unfortunately for the sole black survivor, he had to stay in a trailer, segregated from his white coworkers.

The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster

In the town of Springhill, Nova Scotia
Down in the dark of the Cumberland Mine
There's blood on the coal and the miners lie
In the roads that never saw sun nor sky. (x2)

In the town of Springhill, you don't sleep easy
Often the earth will tremble and roar
When the earth is restless, miners die
Bone and blood is the price of coal. (x2)

In the town of Springhill, Nova Scotia
Late in the year of fifty-eight
Day still comes and the sun still shines
(But it's) Dark as the grave in the Cumberland mine. (x2)

Down at the coal face, miners working
Rattle of the belt and the cutter's blade
Rumble of the rock and the walls closed round
(The) Living and the dead men two miles down. (x2)

Twelve men lay two miles from the pitshaft
Twelve men lay in the dark and sang
Long hot days in the miners tomb
(It was) Three feet high and a hundred long. (x2)

Three days past and the lamps gave out
And Caleb Rushton got up and and said
There’s no more water, or light, or bread
(So we'll) Live on song and hope instead. (x2)

Listen for the shouts of the barefaced miners
Listen thru the rubble for a rescue team
Six hundred feet of coal and slag
Hope imprisoned in a three foot seam. (x2)

Eight days passes and some were rescued
Leaving the dead to lie alone
Thru all their lives they dug their grave
Two miles of earth for a marking stone. (x2)


Arlington Road

Arlington RoadA feature film, streamable from my blog. Pretty cool, although I obviously have nothing to do with this film.

This film (like Carlos on Netflix) is appropriate considering current events in Norway.

Enjoy (the film, not blowing up your neighbours)!

From Crackle: Arlington Road


405 Closure: Thanks Erik Estrada

United States Metro / Subway / Monorail Maps (Golgotha Travel Series)Stay The F**k At HomeI live in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, and yet I know that LA's 405 freeway is closed this weekend (aka Carmageddon) between the Santa Monica and Ventura freeways.

Frommer's Los Angeles 2011 (Frommer's Complete Guides)The Freeways of Los AngelesI first heard this because of a California podcast I listen to (they talked about how Ashton Kutcher was asked/paid to tweet about it) and tonight, I was reminded thanks to the twitter feed of the CBC. Is this road closure of international importance? No, obviously not. The few Canadians who would venture to LA in July would not be using this highway anyway (although they would experience significant spill-over traffic on their way to NBC-Universal near the 101-134 interchange).

No, this is the international news importance that Kai Nagata warned us about: Erik Estrada made a commercial!

Oh, and in case you are wondering, they have to demolish the bridge in the backround of Erik Estrada, and close the highway, because they are WIDENING THE HIGHWAY! Hello! Earth to California. You are in a budget crisis AND global warming is YOUR FAULT!

Sometimes, I guess, 12 lanes are just not enough.

William Mulholland and the Rise of Los AngelesMulholland Drive

Agrandir le plan


iPad Podcast Wars

You know what would be cool, a weekly podcast/netcast about the iPad. But not from anywhere, from California. Oh wait, that already exists. In fact, there are at least two!

This Week in iPad (Santa-Monica (near Los Angeles))

And iPad Today (Pentaluma, outside San Francisco)

If California ain't your scene, perhaps you would prefer the once in a while iPad Show from Michigan

A solo effort from Boston by Macsfuture.com : iPad Podcast

An other solo effort: iPad Possibilities (the latest episode: MP4).

J'ai un iPad


Ottawa light rail tunnel: a 1.2 billion dollar mistake

Dear citizens of Ottawa,

The transit tunnel under downtown, and the conversion of much of the transitway to light rail, is a costly mistake. Here is why:

-Has the federal government said they are going to hire a bunch of new people downtown? At Tunney's Pasture? No. The Trudeau-Mulroney days are over people. Many civil servants will retire, they wont be replaced. And in this age of the Internet, the logic of costly office space in the nation's capital is iffy at best. At the very least, federal politicians might be inclined to transfer jobs to Gatineau, instead of just sending giant equalization cheques to Quebec (presumably, workers would follow their jobs and move to the cheaper Quebec side, increasing the province of Quebec's tax base). 

-There are 4 lanes each on Albert and Slater. Four! Even when you give up one lane for parking and one for turning left, that is still two available lanes. Does rail have more capacity than two lanes? Their is congestion getting downtown, but crossing downtown, thanks to synchronized lights, and the four lanes, is relatively quick. There is bus congestion. Yes. But that can be managed with cutting down on the number of routes going downtown. Sucks for the people who will have to transfer, but EVERYBODY will have to transfer if we build light rail.

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View Larger Map
-If people are going downtown, get them to their destination, not four floors underground! Sacrificing a trip underground makes sense if you save time on the entire journey. But if you do the math, workers downtown won't! The people who would benefit, are the folk NOT going downtown. But we could improve their lives by having a cross downtown express bus route, fully taking advantage of the synchronized lights. 1.2 billion dollar expenditure not required.

-Obviously, digging the tunnel is a massive job creator. However, once the tunnel is done, so are the jobs. Bus driving, however, is a low skill job for life.

Opportunity cost
-Spending money 1.2 billion dollars on the east-west light rail conversion means not spending it elsewhere. A north-south subway under Bank street (to Hull?), for example. Or perhaps lower property taxes, so all those retired civil servants don't all have to move to Aylmer.

Disclaimor: A former Ottawa resident, I now live in Moncton. Apart from the promised 600 million dollar federal subsidy, I have nothing to gain or lose from this project.

My previous musings on the subject:
-Ottawa Light Rail Proposal: Single bus line would be cheaper.

News International Implodes Because of Women

Phone hacking is hacking for women. And as we all know, newspapers have been taken over by women. Gross generalization? Sure, whatever. :)

Here is what smarter people are saying on the subject of women (and men) journalists using their phone hacking skills (Media Talk Podcast, MP3).

Women and JournalismJournalism for Women A Practical GuideSeeking Equity for Women in Journalism and Mass Communication Education: A 30-Year Update (Routledge Communication Series)Taking Liberties: Early American Women's Magazines and Their ReadersJournalism Ethics: A Philosophical Approach


Defence: Your Tax Dollars At Work (sort of)

We need to spend billions of dollars a year on Canada's defence (sarcasm).

Comparisons of U.S. and Foreign Military Spending: Data from Selected Public Sources (Congressional Research Service Report for Congress)Peace: A History of Movements and IdeasOn the plus side, not all those dollars are on guns and grenades. Somewhere in Ottawa there is a dude in military uniform reading my blog. Nice to know that if your write about TV, a branch of the Canadian military will read it (presumably under the mistaken belief it is about military secrets). I don't know about you, but I feel safer (sarcasm).

Colliding Worlds: Diggnation`s Alex Albrecht and Drew Carry on Same "Show"

Diggnation nobody Alex Albrecht is on the same panel as Drew Carey! WTF!

Also freaky, the words "CBS News" under a video with Alex Albrecht and the fact that CBS will allow me to post it on my blog. Warning: this "show" actually pretty terrible.

Evan Rachel Wood Ate My Homework

Those of you suffering from Evan Rachel Woods withdrawal post True Blood, might want to check her out in HBO's less popular Mildred Pierce, where she appears totally naked (but without fangs, sorry).  She first appeared in the movie "Thirteen".

Also 13 is the Friday music video star Rebecca Black. Her video, according to Diggnation, has been pulled off Youtube over some sort of copyright conflict.

Also pulled off Youtube: Diggnation. But rest assured, you don't need to leave your comfort zone, as here is the first post Youtube episode of your favourite podcast.

Facebook Founder Killed My Puppy, Then Ate It

When you have nothing to say, embed a video! This is a two week old Diggnation (June 21st). They talk about Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg's pledge to eat what he kills and kill what he eats; also, the seriously creepy trend of selling breast milk online.

Diggnation Outside

Since the jerks over at Revision 3 took Diggnation off Youtube, I thought I'd post it here, to my blog (as allowed by Revision 3). This episode (June 29th) is outside.


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