Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hello new Macbook Air! I'd like you to meet Windows 8

I decided to document my experience installing Windows 8 on a Macbook Air just in case anyone out there is thinking of trying to do the same thing themselves.

I know what you're thinking. Why in the world would I want to put Windows on a Mac? Well, because I can. I'd been wanting to give Mac's Bootcamp feature a try and now I had an excuse.

The actual install itself was fairly straightforward, but I had to do a little bit of research to determine what my options were in advance. The best option for me involved an external apple super drive and a 16GB memory stick.  Inside the external super drive was a DVD disk containing the ISO file of the Windows 8 install disk.  I don't understand why you need the Windows 8 install in the form of an ISO file, but there you have it.  The memory stick is to store the driver files that Windows will need to recognize the Mac hardware.

The next part was really simple.  I just opened up Bootcamp Assistant, told it were the ISO file was, told it were the Windows install files would go, let it format the memory stick, and then choose a partition size for Windows 8.  I went with a 45 GB partition.  Then the process began.  It took just under an hour.  The thing that made me nervous about the process is that you really couldn't see what was happening behind the scenes. 

I'm glad I chose to do this at home, where I have Internet access, because Bootcamp Assistant needs Internet access to get the driver files that it needs from Apple. Caveat - Apple doesn't officially support Windows 8 yet, so it likely used Windows 7 drivers.

Once it was finished, it booted in to Windows 8.  I thought that was pretty cool.  The first thing I noticed was that when you shut the Macbook Air off it will boot back in to Windows 8 automatically, which may not be what you want.  Of course you can select whichever operating system you want to boot into by holding the option button while you power up.  I'm pretty sure there is a setting to make it boot into the Mac OS by default, but I haven't got around to it yet.

The second thing I noticed is how annoyingly different Windows 8 is from its predecessors.  The third thing I noticed is that Windows 8 did not seem to know what to make of the Macbook Air's track pad.  I did a little bit of research and discovered that the Windows 7 drivers are problematic.  One suggested fix which I tried, involves hacking an MSI file on the Windows install disk, which was on my memory stick.  Running that hacked MSI file seemed to install all the proper drivers for the Mac hardware that didn't get installed during the actual Windows install. It also fixed the fact that I couldn't find the boot camp control panel in Windows 8. But I couldn't open the boot camp control panel. Fortunately, I found out how to hack the registry to make the track pad work the way I want it to. This doesn't solve my total issue, but the thing is working the way I need it to for now.

For some strange reason windows 8 did not activate automatically, and seemed to fail every time I tried to activate manually.  Again, more research revealed that I could force the activation by running a special command that included the product key in an elevated command prompt window.  Getting to an elevated command prompt window proved challenging.  But the command worked.  This appears to be a problem specific to Windows 8 enterprise edition.

So, after some fiddling, I managed to get Windows 8 installed on my Macbook Air. Now I can take some time to learn this new OS and see how it works.

Why is space dark?

Why the night sky is dark. You may need to watch this a few times because he explains it very fast and it's a deep subject (pun intended) and your brain might need time (and repetition) to absorb it all.

Psychic

Don't read the description of the video, just watch the video.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Things I learned this week 26 Nov

  • You can't get farther from land than a point in the Pacific Ocean known as 'Point Nemo'. It's 2,688 kilometres from the nearest land. Ducie Island, to the north; Motu Nui to the northeast; and Maher Island to the south.
  • One of the reasons Google is positioned to weather the shift in online user changes is that it has a financial stake in both search (web based) and mobile apps. There is a documented shift in the search for information from the web, using sites like Yahoo and Google, to app-based information gathering a-la Yelp and other mobile apps. This is not good news for companies like Yahoo or Microsoft. But it rocks for companies like Apple, Amazon and any great app company.
  • Scientifically proven ways to happiness: Smile more. Be in a romantic relationship. Have at least 10 good friends. Commute less than 20 minutes each way. Sleep 6+ hours per night. Go to church or some other spiritual activity. Stop defending / pushing your views. Try new things. Spend money on others.
  • Lenovo (China) is now the leading PC maker, ousting HP from the top spot.
  • On a Mac, which uses OS X, when you enter dictation mode, the computer's fans turn off.
  • The first country that will be lost (entirely) to rising sea levels, Kiribati, is already planning the complete, permanent evacuation of its people.
  • Doritos are good for kindling if you can't find anything else.
  • 2010 is the first year that Christopher Walken wasn't in a movie since 1974.
  • Slimer, the green ghost was never mentioned by a name in the movie Ghostbusters. The green goblin only got named once the animated cartoon came out.
  • One tire for a dump truck like those used in the Alberta oil sands is worth $45,000 each. They're 13 feet in diameter and weigh 12,000 pounds.
  • Joacquin Phoenix thinks the Oscars are B.S. and doesn't want to be a part of something that pits people against each other. Anthony Hopkins feels the same way.

Sugar Man

Have you heard about this artists Rodriguez? He made some records in the 1970s that went absolutely nowhere in his home country (US). But unbeknownst to him, in South Africa, he was like Bob Dylan, a folk star that spoke to the whites who opposed Apartheid.

He finally got his due when a Swedish filmmaker did a documentary about him. He's doing alright now.

Neighbours


Sunday, November 25, 2012

A perfectionist's nightmare

A collection of photos that would make any perfectionist or person with OCD squirm.

Making boring subjects less so

Darlene and I were discussing how boring some high school classes were back in the day. I'm certain that not much has changed. But we both agreed that typically boring subjects like History could be made more exciting if combined with other classes like Drama. Imagine how much more interesting history would be if you not only learned about it, but acted out historical scenes from the past.

Imagine how interesting geography would be if you went out on a field trip to explore local ruins from past settlements or acted out a typical military route march (which requires map reading skills).

I'm sure other combinations are possible too.

Calgary traffic woes

One of the biggest traffic bottlenecks in Calgary's road network is the Bow River section of Crowchild Trail. In the space of 1500 metres, the freeway goes from a 6 lane thoroughfare down to a 4 lane boulevard, with 4 sets of traffic lights and interfaces with no less than 10 different roads. The road designed to handle 70,000 cars per day is now up to 100,000. Now the City is planning to increase the road's capacity, remove traffic lights and build new bridges across the Bow River. The problem is that it will cost well over a billion dollars and won't even start for 10 years, with completion being perhaps 30 years down the road.

I know this is not what some people want to hear, but Crowchild wouldn't need to handle more than 100,000 cars per day if Calgary had an efficient, capable transit system. The majority of the users of this road are headed downtown and the cheapest solution is to offer them an alternative to driving that is practical. Maybe we should consider allowing people to park outside of downtown and create more mass transit options for the last mile into the core. Just thinking out loud, but this constant desire to spend billions to serve cars is getting us nowhere.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cities I have slept in

Dartmouth NS . Cornwallis NS . Fredericton NB . Saint John NB . Quebec City QC . Laval QC . Montreal QC . Mont Tremblant QC . St Jean QC . Deux Montagnes QC . Gatineau QC . Aylmer QC . Ottawa ON . Kingston ON . Trenton ON . Toronto ON . Niagara Falls ON . Kincardine ON . Borden ON . Sudbury ON . Sault Ste Marie ON . Petawawa ON . Pembroke ON . Winnipeg MB . Shilo MB . Regina SK . Moose Jaw SK . Saskatoon SK . Medicine Hat AB . Suffield AB . Calgary AB . Banff AB . Jasper AB . Edmonton AB . Wainwright AB . Radium BC . Kamloops BC . Vernon BC . Kelowna BC . Cranbrook BC . Abbotsford BC . White Rock BC . Vancouver BC . Victoria BC . Courtenay BC . Trenton NJ . Wilmington DE . Alexandria VA . Atlantic City NJ . Helena MT . Idaho Falls ID . Spokane WA . Portland OR . Kirkland WA . Seaside OR . Cannon Beach OR . Lincoln City OR . Brookings OR . Ashland OR . San Bruno CA . Santa Clara CA . Westlake Village CA . Newport Beach CA . Pacific Beach CA . San Diego CA . Las Vegas NV . Carefree AZ . Provo UT . Verden an der Aller DE . Heathrow UK . Cardiff UK . Bournemouth UK

Just swipe between apps on iPad

I just learned something new about my iPad. As long as you have a Safari browser window running, you can 4-finger swipe between open apps instead of having to do the double press of the home button.

Cool.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Random acts of Beethoven

This video made me smile.

The people of Newcastle like to play Beethoven. It helps to have someone else playing the tough parts with you, but it’s still beautiful.

This is the Haymarket Bus Station in Newcastle England and is funded by The Arts Council of England and Nexus Art.

Hold me closer Tony Danza

cdza are at it again with their zany episode on misheard song lyrics.

How seduction works for women versus men



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It ends with a burger

One of the coolest opening titles of any movie.

Just trust me.

The things people will do for a discount

Check out this sign at a Farmington, Connecticut eatery that promises to give you 10% off when you order in the voice of Sean Connery.

The 12th Doctor?


Monday, November 19, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Things I learned this week 18 Nov

  • Tiffany, Young and Ellis was a stationer before Tiffany switched its core business to jewellery.
  • Colgate originally made soap, candles and starch, not toothpaste.
  • Reading Railroad, from the Monopoly game? They're still around, but now they operate movie theatres in the US, Australia and New Zealand as Reading Entertainment.
  • In a few centuries, due to population mixing, we're mostly going to look Brazilian.
  • The single most important object in the global economy (since WWII) is the pallet. An article in a 1931 railway trade magazine said it took 3 days to unload a boxcar containing 13,000 cases of unpalletized canned goods. When the goods were on pallets, the identical task took only 4 hours.
  • The trick to flipping food in a pan is a forward slide and a backward jerk. Not an up and down movement. The pan should never leave the stove.
  • The Soviet Union once sent probes to land on Venus. Venera 9 landed on Venus on October 22, 1975. The lander remained operational for 53 minutes, which isn't bad considering the planet has hydrochloric acid and hydrofluoric acid in the atmosphere and a surface temperature (measured by Venera 9) of 905°F (485°C).
  • One of the first books to make it into the Library of Congress was Thomas Jefferson's copy of The Koran. In fact, Jefferson's entire library was sold to the Library of Congress.
  • Boston Pizza has nothing to do with Boston. It's a Canadian chain that started in Edmonton. The US version is called Boston's. Made in Canada. During the first round of the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, when the Bruins played the Canadiens, the company temporarily rebranded their Montreal locations as "Montreal Pizza".
  • You know those annoying corn silk / hairs? Well there is one strand for each kernel on an ear of corn.
  • In an average football game (US), the ball is in play for 11 minutes total. 
  • High school physics students are not required to learn about any physical phenomenon discovered or explained more recently than 1865. Things not required teaching in high school physics: photons; anti-matter; GPS; lasers; transistors; LEDs; MRI; black holes; the big bang; relativity and quantum mechanics.

Bells are ringing

It's not exactly what the church bells in my home town sounded like, but the overall atmosphere is the same. We don't hear stuff like this in Alberta, at least, not in Calgary. Church bells are more a fixture of eastern Canada, not western.

Carlton Draught

Made from beer. Fun commercial.

It's not just Movember anymore


Friday, November 16, 2012

The element of surprise


Monitoring your child's email? Sucker!

Here's why monitoring your child's email account isn't going to reveal anything

It's because kids 'in-the-know' have been using a clever email trick to partly conceal their exchanges. Someone opens a new, anonymous email account on (let's say) GMail. They then compose a draft email and save it in the draft folder. They then share the login credentials with the other person which allows them to open the draft email and read it (and respond to it) without ever having to 'send' the email. This eliminates the electronic trail of a sent (and received) email message. Once the two cooperating parties have finished their clandestine exchange, they just delete the draft message.

Incidentally, this is how some bad people communicate with each other undetected and is also how that General Petraeus was communicating with his mistress.

Portlandia: A Guide for Visitors

I fell in love with Portland Oregon the first time we visited. I fell in love with Portlandia, the TV series by Fred Armisen the first time I saw a video clip on Youtube. Now there's a companion book. Excerpt (of description):

"Thinking of visiting Portlandia? Discover all that this magical, dreamy city has to offer with PORTLANDIA: A Guide for Visitors. Inside you'll find:

A comprehensive guide to all restaurants and food carts, including extensive use of symbols to signify Vegan, Freegan, Sea-gan, Wheelchair-Accessible, Skateboard-Accessible, Segway-Accessible, Clothing Optional, Polyamorous, LGBTQ, Dog-Friendly (No cats), Cat-Friendly (No dogs or mice) Mouse-Friendly (No cats or elephants), For Dogs (only), Regionally-Sourced Food, Regionally-Sourced Waitstaff, and House-Sourced Food (Born/dies on plate)."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Henri is at it again

Henri, the Existential Cat, weighs in on politics. In particular, about Tuxedo Stan and his campaign to be the mayor of Halifax.

What movie?

What movie is this scene from?

Need a snuggle?

Jacqueline Samuel, 29, has an unusual business on the side which she uses to help pay the bills. She offers cuddling sessions from her home (The Snuggery) for $1 per minute. She rakes in up to $260 a day with up to 30 men a week on the outskirts of Rochester, NY.

Cuddlers must wear clothing and refrain from touching body parts covered by underwear, but Samuel is OK with arousal as she practices the different positions of the "Cuddle Sutra."

Jackie also offers services like reading bedtime stories, and hired a red-headed associate named Colleen. Colleen isn't allowed to cuddle with clients on her own yet, but she participates in "double cuddle" sessions with Jackie, which cost $2 per minute.

Jacqueline established The Snuggery because she believes in the healing power of touch. At her place you can take a break from the hustle and bustle of life and focus on the restorative pleasure of touch. Though science has unquestionably supported the psychological and physical benefits of non-sexual touch, Americans distinctly lack it. It’s time for change. Jackie aims to make the world a gentler place, one snuggle at a time.

Does she have a Yelp page?

Monday, November 12, 2012

It's not enough

Based on the articles I'm reading and the business moves being made, I am convinced that the little bit of whining some of us are doing about how we need to get greener or suffer environmental disaster is accomplishing absolutely nothing.

Almost no world governments are even pretending to be serious about getting greener in a manner that will make any difference. That's not a judgment or a warning, it's a statement of fact. Not only are people not making enough of a big deal about how we're changing the earth, there are still far too many people in denial. Worse, even those that admit we are changing our planet in a manner that may not be reversible, are not doing anywhere near enough about it, neither in a personal way nor in a way to motivate government and business to change.

If this weren't the case, coal-fired power plants would be in decline. They are not. More are being built each year. Coal use is dramatically increasing, even in North America. There should be serious movement toward building an electric vehicle infrastructure by businesses. There is not. Most of the infrastructure in existence is government funded and not necessarily capable of serving ALL electric vehicles. Money being spent finding new sources of oil and natural gas has never been higher. Fracking is at an all-time high. Nobody is seriously looking for replacements for petroleum-based plastics. Oh my, your ketchup or pop bottle is made from corn? So what? Anything else? Homes would be getting built more energy-efficiently. It's not like we don't have the technology. It has been possible for years to build a home that is so energy efficient, you only need a single space heater to keep it warm in the dead of winter. Movement has started slowly, but energy-efficient homes are a custom phenomenon, not a standard issue one. Too bad, since much of our wasted energy is spent heating and cooling our homes, often when we're not even in them. Don't even get me started on water usage. Grass covered lawns and home irrigation systems should be banned as a useless waste of water (IMHO).

Green technologies with any hope of revolutionizing energy use are doomed to failure unless we find ways to install them on a more massive scale. A good example of this is geothermal. The great thing about geothermal is that once the infrastructure is dug / built, it continues producing indefinitely. The problem is initial cost. The solution is bigger geothermal shared between more buildings / homes at once. The same is also true for wind / solar. The biggest problem with solar is that the electric panels still cost too much, while solar arrays can produce too much energy with nowhere to store the excess. The solution lies in pooling solar energy production and storing the heat underground in molten sulphur tanks or other mass heat-storage designs until the energy is needed. Wind should be used to heat massive amounts of water and store that water for heating homes and providing hot water for cleaning and showers / baths. Once the efficiency curve improves, the excess heat could even be used to keep driveways and sidewalks free of ice in winter. More importantly, community-scaled energy projects need to be built in a multi-faceted way, to allow for the use of all forms of energy production in the same site. That way, one never has to rely on just wind or just solar or just geothermal at any one time. You could even use natural gas to fill the gaps in energy needs as required.

Cities are still being designed (at least in North America) that are car-centric. Much more money continues to be spent on vehicle infrastructure than alternatives. Some jurisdictions are even hostile (that word is not an exaggeration) toward the cycling community. Cities try to stem the growth of car trips by restricting parking options, but they are too slow to add more transit capacity as an alternative to driving, so people drive anyway. As Mayor Nenshi of Calgary put it, transit should be the most convenient method of travel, not the last resort. Car sharing is a step in the right direction, but currently only serves the core of the city. With government involvement and a move to a not-for-profit business model, car sharing could transform many of our cities by reducing the cost of use as well as training people to be more frugal with their car use.

None of this is going to change as long as we continue to sit on our asses and pretend that government and business is going to make things better.

50 shades of chicken


Good supplements based on science

Chart showing which health supplements are worth using based on evidence.

[Source]

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Things I learned this week 11 Nov

  • A regional airline pilot might only make about $16,000 in their first year.
  • Of the top 20 American cities leading in foreclosures in August 2012, 10 were in California and 6 were in Florida.
  • Only 1% of us are redheads, but 4% of us carry the gene that makes redheads. You could be a carrier and not even know it. Two brunettes can make a redhead. Good luck wiping them out.
  • Jon Favreau, the director of Iron Man, based his version of the character (played by Robert Downey Jr.) on Tesla owner Elon Musk.
  • The total amount of gold ever mined would only fill 1/3 of the world's largest supertanker. It would fill about 120 standrd shipping containers. What's all that gold worth? $8 trillion.
  • The top 10 richest people in the world are collectively worth $395.4 billion.
  • Thanks to his two year contract extension, David Letterman is now the longest serving late night host on television.
  • The highest paid TV star is Judge Judy Sheindlin, at $45million per year.
  • Elon Musk quote: "Boeing just took $20 billion and 10 years to improve the efficiency of their planes by 10%. That’s pretty lame. I have a design in mind for a vertical liftoff supersonic jet that would be a really big improvement."
  • For every 15g of edible meat, you need to feed animals around 100g of vegetable protein, an increasingly unsustainable equation.
  • A door-to-door bookseller also gave away perfume gifts, which became more popular than the books, that motivated David McConnell to switch to selling the perfume and the California Perfume Company was born, which later became Avon.
  • William Wrigley Jr. sold soap and baking powder and gave away chewing gum as gifts. The gum became so popular, that he switched to selling only the gum.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Siri dissing the hood


Redistribution of wealth

I have to believe that there must be a certain segment of the BMW owning population that don't actually appreciate that they own a BMW. To assist in remedying this situation, I would like to become founder and president of the BMW lack of appreciation remedying society. Our soul mission, to redistribute BMWs from those who don't appreciate them to those who will.


For example, the owner of the X1 in this picture obviously doesn't deserve their car. Otherwise, they wouldn't have parked it in a manner that would endanger it from being hit by passing motorists. So I would be confiscating this one for myself.

Yes, I'm joking. Mostly.

I think my funny is worth more than a penny though.....

At Texas-based burger mini-chain Twisted Root Burger Company (AHT review) you can get a few cents off your order if your server thinks you look hot. Reddit user caraficionado24 posted this photo of a receipt from Twisted Root featuring 2¢ discounts for "Best Butt" and "Best Looking." Eater confirmed with Twisted Root that "there are 20 or so set goofy discounts in the computer that servers can give out," including the ones above. Discounts based on attractiveness: funny or creepy?

[via Consumerist]

Update (8/23/12): Courtesy of Twisted Root's PR rep, here's a list of some of their other discounts:
  • Best Hair
  • Best Smile
  • Sexiest person
  • Nicest person
  • Funniest person
  • Biggest Flirt
  • Best Laugh
  • Best Eyes

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Sorry. Sort of...

A UK court ordered Apple to apologize online for accusing Samsubg of stealing the iPad's design. They did. But check it out. If you go to the UK site, you can't see the apology..... unless you scroll down a little.

Sneaky.

It's full of stars!

I know I've mentioned this before, but this site released new and better pictures of the extreme deep field. My favourite new edition is this photo, that shows how much of space this shot fills (not much). What's very bizarre about the galaxies in the shot is that more than two thirds of what's in this picture is looking back in time more than 5 billion years.

Just look at all those galaxies folks. How in the world are we alone?

Movember Snoopy


Monday, November 05, 2012

Series of tubes

This is a shot from inside a Google data centre.

See!? The internet IS a series of tubes!

Avego ride-share app for iphone review

I was really excited when I found out about the new ridesharing application called Avego.  So I registered on their website, downloaded and installed the application (free) for my iphone, and decided to give it a try.  What follows is my review of this application.

On paper, this application has a lot of potential.  The idea here is that while you run this application as a driver, riders using the same application on their phone can look for rides to their destination and Avego tries to match riders up with drivers.  To help simplify things, drivers are encouraged to map out their routes that they drive each day.  They can even schedule when those routes are driven to make it easier for Avego to match riders with available drivers.

Every successfully completed matched drive earns credits for the driver that can be used on other rides or cashed out.  Avego tracks everything for you.  So, in principle this is pretty amazing.  But it is not without its problems.  And there are a few of them.

Let's start with routes.  It wasn't too difficult to program a route to and from work.  I did this via the web site. My problem is that I don't always take the same route every day.  The only way I could create unique routes between the same start and end point was to give them different names.  That worked fine, but creating some kind of schedule for them within the Avego application was difficult.  Finally, I gave up on scheduling my routes altogether.  This was probably the practical thing to do anyway, because I rarely keep a set schedule driving to work either.  What I didn't realize as I was driving to work on one of my planned routes was that I would never be matched up with a rider unless there were stops set up along my route.  Unfortunately, the app doesn't tell you this. The thing about creating stops as you are driving along, is that you have absolutely no idea what existing stops have already been created by other Avego users.  So for all you know, you could be pulling over and creating stops that aren't even necessary. 

Never mind the fact that riders don't have the opportunity to create their own stops, mindful of the fact that a pedestrian is just as likely to be aware of safe places to pull over.  In fact, the only way that I was able to see the stops along my route was to log into the Avego web site. You cannot create stops along your route if you are moving, so you have to pull over in order to create a stop.  Unfortunately, that didn't always work, as the application often thought that I was still moving even though I had come to a complete stop.  This was extremely annoying.  I can totally understand the requirement for pulling over to create a stop and this isn't something you're going to have to do often, but you guys need to tweak your app so that it can tell that I'm no longer moving.  But it goes deeper than that. As far as routes go, I think that drivers shouldn't really have to plan their routes.  At least in my experience, drivers aren't robots.  What this app should do automatically is just note where you drive.  As you build a history of what roads you travel at a particular time every day, Avego should automatically build your predicted routes for you.  Having to go on a website to plan routes in advance is ridiculous in my opinion.  Unless there's a problem, I shouldn't ever have to go on a web site.  I should be able to do everything inside the application.

The web site tells you that in order to get a better understanding for how Avego Works, you can set up ghost riders, fake riders that you will be prompted to pull over and pick up along your route to witness how the System Works.  The problem is that by default ghost riders are not enabled and for the life of me I cannot figure out how to create them in the first place.  But the biggest problem that I can tell with Avego is that as a driver, I have absolutely no way of knowing where the existing riders are or where they want to go.  I have to depend fully on the application to match riders up with me.  This is extremely inefficient, because there is a good chance that I am missing countless riders who may want to go in the same general direction I'm going, but I will never know because Avego is only likely to match me up with riders within a block or so of my route.  In reality, I would be more than willing to take a minor detour to get a rider to their destination.  This application does not give me the flexibility or even the opportunity to do this.  In fact, Avego could be making it possible for me to just drive around like a rogue taxi looking to pick up nearby riders and take them to their destination to earn credits.  Right now, it doesn't seem that this is possible.  I should be able to scan a list of rider requests listed in order of how far away they are from me.

Another thing that I am starting to notice about driving apps for phones, is that we now have a multitude of applications that are only good at doing one thing.  We have to map apps that are only good for giving directions.  We have ridesharing apps that are only good at matching drivers with riders.  We have crowd sourced traffic applications that are only good at telling you where the traffic tie ups are.  What we really need is a super driving application that can do all of these things.  We need an application that can provide a driver with all the information they need to get to their destination with the least amount of trouble and while lending a hand where needed.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Things I learned this week 4 Nov

  • The US's power plants account for about half of all the water used in the country.
  • Texas now has a speed limit of 85mph (137km/h) on certain parts of I-35.
  • The Internet is turning Chinese. There are more Internet users in China than any other country. That lead will continue to grow. China's market already accounts for 25% of the world's smartphone sales, versus the US's 17.5%.
  • There's a new player in the Chinese smart phone market - e-commerce giant Alibaba. They have created their own smartphone OS called Aliyun. Based on Linux, it is different from Apple's iOS and Google's Android in that users don't download apps, but connect to them over the Web.
  • Salt and vinegar chips were first produced in the 1950s.
  • 46.2 million Americans live under the poverty line (almost 16% of the country).
  • Scientifically proven ways to spice up your sex life: Yoga; speak up; watch comedy first; include AM sex; exercise more; purple colour in bedroom; wine at dinner; try new things.
  • 15,000 people registered as members of car2go in its first 2 months. This makes Calgary the fastest growing car2go city worldwide.
  • With the median income in Alberta being $68,100 (2009) versus the median income of Alberta CEOs being about $2,500,000, that means the average CEO earns almost 37X the average worker.
  • Switzerland hasn't seen a power line above ground for decades. They do not lose power due to storms or wind.
  • Worldwide, Gmail just passed Hotmail for number of users. It only took 8 years.
  • Workers have to pump out 43 million gallons of water just from the Brooklyn-Battery tunnel.
  • As much as 75% of New Jersey gas stations are closed either because of lack of power or lack of gas. Some lineups to get gas are over 3 hours  (150 cars) long.

How the McRib came to be

McDonald's inventor of the Chicken McNugget recalls that it was so popular when it was introduced in 1979 that demand outstripped chicken supply. The McRib was developed out of necessity for franchises that didn't have any McNuggets. The McRib was a full-time menu option from 1981 to 1985 (in the US). Individual McDonald's restaurants are able to offer the McRib whenever they feel like it. This has inspired websites devoted to tracking McRib availability.

Smart-casual phone