Saturday, February 28, 2009
I especially like this wedding cake.
The financial ice age that is upon us means that fewer people are buying big ticket items, especially vehicles. The problem is that the cars you see in dealer showrooms are the product of a manufacturing and delivery process that lasts many months, since most cars are shipped by ocean freighter. So while the manufacturers adjust production rates at the factories, new cars keep piling up at ports of entry. In Sweden, they've had to rent an additional ship in port just to store the cars.
Some governments are trying to boost new car sales by offering money for your old car if you'll buy a new one. In Germany, any car more than 9 years old will earn you $4000 toward a new one.
This issue will see the reverse effect happen once the economy rebounds. People will be looking for new cars and have to wait while the industry ramps back up to full production again.
He won the wager.... by downing a bottle of Viagra. But right after the 12-hour sex marathon, he died of a heart attack.
There are three lessons to be learned here:
1. Performance enhancing drugs are bad news.
2. Sometimes, getting what you want comes at a steep price.
3. Women are crafty.
I wanted something different to eat and they were sampling out sweet chili chicken at the front waiting area. Now normally I don't go near spicy stuff because I have a very low tolerance to spice. I know a lot of people who love the sensation of their mouths being on fire - I'm not one of those people. But this sweet chili sauce was very tasty, a little kick, but not enough to ignite your taste buds. So I ordered it. In case any of my Canadian readers have the same spice issue I do, the sweet chili chicken is AOK.
Another manager came by (restaurants need more than one manager now?) and after apologizing way too much, said tonight's dinner would be on the house. I made sure to leave the server a grandiose tip.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Housing was one of the main themes of Expo 67. Habitat 67 was the temporary residence of the many dignitaries coming to Montreal, then became a thematic pavilion visited by thousands of visitors who came from around the world.
Habitat intended to integrate the diversity of scattered private homes with the economics and density of a modern apartment building. Modular, interlocking concrete forms define the space. The project was designed to create affordable housing built close together but still offering privacy, each equipped with a garden. Habitat predicted the lifestyle people would live in increasingly crowded cities around the world. Originally meant to be vastly larger, ironically the units are now quite expensive due to its architectural cachet.
Yeah. My kind of office building.....
Thursday, February 26, 2009
If GPS tracking becomes standard on all cars, you know insurance companies will be getting that information to see how often you speed or how far you drive every year as a basis for car insurance rates.......
As one person who weighed in said, "Most employers wouldn't dream of following their staff down the pub to see if they were sounding off about work to their friends." Once again, applications of the internet bring up a great debate topic. Do companies have a right to be snooping on personal web sites looking for dirt? Shouldn't people be treating online social networking as the equivalent of posting your personal information on a giant public bulletin board?
I guess it's no surprise that I do not post anything about my job on here, eh?
Another Ernest contribution.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Unfortunately, as of today..... the party's over. Here's a great advertisement on the topic.
I replaced the link, but you know how it is with YouTube videos... here today, taken down the next day....
In the most recent episode, tickets to Leonard Cohen in concert with a face value of $99 to $250 were being sold on TicketsNow.com for anywhere from $568 to $856, plus a service of charge ranging from $85 to $128 per ticket.
This was a joint Ernest / Karl contribution.
I'll try to build an analogy to represent the current situation regarding the desire of Canada's ISPs to traffic shape the data that passes through their portion of the internet.
Imagine if after building a highway system, the government was surprised to discover that more vehicles than expected are using the highway system and that upon further investigation, it was noticed that motor homes were the cause of most traffic jams. As a solution, the government forces all motor homes to always drive at 60km/h and only on the right shoulder of the highway - from now on.
This is essentially what is happening in the Canadian telecoms industry. Certain types of traffic are clogging (so they say) the highways of the internet and instead of doing the logical thing - making the highways capable of handling the increased demand, instead they're employing traffic shaping, which analyzes the traffic and decides which traffic gets priority, putting the brakes on the 'targeted data'.
There are many organizations and people opposed to this, and no wonder. If this kind of internet interference is allowed, what's to stop content providers from greasing the palms of the ISPs with a little extra cash to buy high priority traffic lanes on the internet?
Chris Jordan made this photo essay, Running the Numbers, as a means of highlighting the reality of American consumption. The pictures do a splendid job of putting a face on a topic that has less impact using just numbers.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
- Calculator turns to scientific mode when you turn your iPhone 90°.
- You can double tap space to get period + space.
- If you double click Home button while the screen is locked, you will get an option to [play / pause] the [last picked / playing] song (it’s very useful when iPod will timeout after stopping it through mic clicker).
- Have you ever been using an app and it’s become very unresponsive or completely frozen? You can force quit it by pressing the Home button for at least six seconds.
- To silence a phone call, press the volume button. You can still answer the call after silencing it, until it goes to voicemail.
- To ensure that your phone is using as little battery as possible, you’re best off always pressing the Home button before locking so that no app remains running.
Instead of going to interview friends or family of the deceased, the reporters based half their story on comments posted to a Facebook tribute page.
This brings about a good debate; is this an example of lazy reporting or is this the new style of reporting in the world of new technology?
This has been an Ernest contribution.
Monday, February 23, 2009
I've decided to totally rip off some other blogs and try a 'What is it?' game of my own.
This is the first instalment. What is this item in the picture? No bigger views, sorry. Once someone gets it, I'll post a bigger and more complete view.
What a thrill. It was utterly fantastic. I can't wait to do that again. To any of my students who eventually read this post - thank you for being willing and gentle.
By the way, the interviews are going well but I'm pacing them out to give me some breathing room regarding getting more. So, they're not over and done, but they'll be published at a slightly slower pace.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
The Moss Carpet gets the foliage into your bathroom. Made from imputrescible foam called plastazote, the mat includes ball moss, island moss and forest moss. The humidity of the bathroom ensures that the mosses thrive.
via the Presurfer
So even though this cat licking a sour apple Jolly Rancher lollipop is fun, the corn-on-the-cob eating cat is pretty funny too, as is Mika Tries to Speak Cat.
Jacqui Smith, Home Secretary of the UK, was caught making dubious expense claims for a second residence in London. She was caught by her own decree: "Do you know someone who claims more from the state than they're entitled to? Who is "picking the pockets of law-abiding taxpayers"? If so, call 0800 854 440 now. "We're closing in with hidden cameras. We're closing in with every means at our disposal."
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Could this be the fabled Atlantis?
Not bad for $500, eh?
Warning: The video clip contains scenes of extreme violence.
"... the epitome of what's wrong with corporate futurism: it assumes that things will change in a way that enhances the corporation's ability to get the job done (which... it does), but without changing things in ways that enhance the world's ability to clobber the corporation's bottom line.
* The Internet will enable us to deliver pay-on-demand movies to our viewers' homes (but it won't let them get those movies without paying for them)
* The Internet will enable us to save money on our long-distance trunks (but it won't let callers bypass the tariff-based telephone system altogether)
* The Internet will enable the police to coordinate international investigations (but it won't let criminals coordinate their activities to evade the police)"
Friday, February 20, 2009
This assumes you got most of your music from radio, of course. There are actually many great, unique, talented artists out there. Most of them will never air on any traditional, commercial radio station. Many of them will never get signed to any record label and even if they do, the label will be happy to let them wallow in permanent obscurity. At one time, that was a real shame, was accepted and had no solution. Nowadays, I actually have hope for these new artists, thanks to 3 things. Publicly supported, independent radio (including college radio); MySpace (where artists can showcase their stuff); and online music sales sites that sell independent artists' music (including the artists' own web sites).
The music industry has for too long flooded the airwaves and the music stores with cookie cutter, copycat, formulaic music, like so much junk food, then gotten upset because the music buying public has begun to treat their product like what it has become - junk food. Something that is popular today, gone next week. No staying power. Pink Floyd's Dark Side of The Moon album lasted 14 years on the charts. That will never happen again. Today, commercial talent is created in the recording studio using electronic wizardry and duplicated on stage using recorded playback and lip-syncing. Even radio that claims to play the 'classics' rotate the exact same catalogue over and over again. Note to radio: Aerosmith made a lot more than Dream On and Pink Floyd has other great songs besides Money or Comfortably Numb. But what can I expect.
This music industry I have been describing is on its last legs and they know it, but they're trying to suck every last ounce of money out of your pockets until consumers have enough. Commercial radio will falter soon after. The new era will herald the proliferation of internet resources that discover what you like now, suggest new artists you have never heard of and offer to sell you the product much cheaper than the commercial stuff - and hopefully with no DRM. Smart artists will even give their songs away, knowing that there is money to be made not in the music, but in the concerts, t-shirts and the ongoing relationship they can build with you as an appreciative fan. This has already started.
If I owned my own radio station, there would be no contests. No request line. I would not be playing music you already know. I would (hopefully) be playing music you have yet to discover. Because that's where the true power of radio lies. If you want to hear the same crap over and over - buy the freaking CD or mp3. But if you want to hear what you've been missing..........
Thursday, February 19, 2009
After meeting with our Governor General and Prime Minister, Mr. President made a surprise visit to Byward market, where he bought some Canadian Maple Leaf cookies (they wouldn't take his money) from the Le Moulin de Provence and he was brought a famous beavertail pastry from a nearby kiosk.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
This is big news, because based on my first few searches, this even beats the transit web site. Just open Google Maps, click the 'get directions' link, plug in where you're starting from and going to into 'A' and 'B', then change the 'By car' to 'By public transit'. Then hit the Get Directions button.
First it shows the next departure time and suggests alternate departure times. Then lists all the walking, bus routes and c-train routes, the total time.... It's pretty awesome.
Thanks to Ernest for the tip....
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Which may or may not change over the next few days.
One of the most popular (and free) applications available for the iPhone is Shazam. Open this app and let it listen in on whatever music you are hearing and it will sample enough of the music to analyze via the internet and then tell you the who and what about the music within a minute. It stumbles when ambient noise is too high, but I've had success while watching TV commercials and in a store.
I have lost count of the number of times I could have used a tool like this.
Nicely done. And it stars Alyssa Milano.
Muzzammil Hassan, the founder of Muslim TV channel Bridges TV, has been charged with second degree murder, after his estranged wife was found beheaded in the network's offices.
CNN reports that Hassan has confessed to the murder. Aasiya Z. Hassan had filed for divorce last month, citing multiple incidents of abuse which had escalated into death threats. The couple had been married 8 years and had two children, ages 4 and 6.
Hassan founded Bridges TV in 2004 to counter anti-Islam stereotypes. "Every day on television we are barraged by stories of a 'Muslim extremist, militant, terrorist, or insurgent,'" Hassan said in the 2004 release. "But the stories that are missing are the countless stories of Muslim tolerance, progress, diversity, service and excellence that Bridges TV hopes to tell."
The irony runs deep.
This has been an Ernest contribution.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Enter 'airplane mode'. The iPhone has a neat feature right at the top of its settings page that lets you disable all of the 'network' features of the phone by turning airplane mode on. You can still use other aspects of the phone, just nothing that requires internet / wi-fi / cell network access. Listening to music all day in airplane mode, my battery level indicator barely budged.
This might not be an option for folks who have to be in contact with the world every waking minute of the day, but for me, it works out just fine.