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When did software go off the rails?

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As CTO of The Rumie Initiative, I spend a decent amount of time trying to find tech solutions that offer "the most for the least" in terms of computing power vs. cost.


There is one thing that has baffled me in my long career in technology.

Hardware capability increases exponentially, but software somehow just bloats up, using the power and space, without providing much more functionality or value.

Computer specs from the past 30 years

YearExampleCostSpeed (MHz)RAM (MB)Storage (MB)1977TRS-80$599.9520.0040.61981IBM PC$3,000.0050.0630.21982Commodore 64$595.0010.0630.21985Amiga 1000$1,295.0070.2500.91990Amiga 3000$3,000.0016

Fear, or Hope?

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It's Sunday, May 7th, 2017, in the evening.

In less than 48 hours, we'll have a good idea of how the 2017 BC Election is turning out.

A mere two months ago, I was nominated to represent the BC Green Party in the BC NDP stronghold of Port Coquitlam.

I must admit, at times, I am finding myself filled with some fear, doubt, and confusion. Fear of the worst. Doubt about our strategy. Confusion over how it has all unfolded.

My confusion stems from the BC NDP's strategy.

After spending the first half of their campaign firing missiles at the BC Liberals, the second half has featured them launching a full nuclear assault at the BC Green Party.

Thankfully, my NDP running mate has not (to my knowledge) participated in this barrage, but I've seen very nasty behavior in many other ridings, especially on the island.

The BC Liberals are running a classic neoconservative campaign, yelling loudly, and trying to scare people about losing their job, or having to pay more tax.

This is s…

"Jobs" is the wrong metric

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There's an old business saying: "What gets measured gets done."

Politicians love to talk about jobs.

Even better, how they are "creating" jobs.

But is "number of jobs created" really a good metric to be tracking and optimizing for?

Short answer: No.

Why not?

Some of the most urgent problems today are:

Wealth inequalityEnvironmental pollutionAn aging populationAn increasingly unhealthy populationAn increasingly uneducated population Does "creating jobs" solve any of these problems?
No, and in some cases, it makes them worse.
We need true education, innovation, and technology to solve these complex problems, not dead-end, part-time, low-quality "jobs" that sometimes pay less than being unemployed.
Let's start setting and measuring some education, health, and wealth gap goals, and see what gets done.

Trudeau: Implement PR, or prepare to lose

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This is an open letter to Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

January 23rd, 2017

Dear Justin,

You seem like a cool guy.

We don't have a lot of time, so I'll get straight to the point.

In 2015, you made a very specific promise (which is still online -- kudos for that). It reads:
"We will make every vote count.
We are committed to ensuring that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system."
Time is ticking away, and so far you haven't made very many positive steps towards moving to a PR (Proportional Representation) system that would truly satisfy this promise.

Late last year, you released a survey that seemed to be designed to confuse people rather than find out what they really think.

More and more, it looks like the Liberal government is preparing to renege on its promise to "make every vote count."

I assure you, this would be a huge mistake.

If you decide to keep FPTP (or implement some mushy non-P…

Foreign expressions

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Over the years, I've picked up a few interesting expressions from places I've lived that I've incorporated into my everyday conversation :)

People are often confused, so here are the explanations.

Texas / Atlanta / The South
"Y'all"

Usage: Abbreviation of "you all" or "you guys" or "yous guys"

"How are y'all doing today?""What about the rest of y'all?"
New Zealand
Pronouncing many short vowel sounds as "ee".
Examples: "Builder" = "Beelder"The name "Ben" = "Been" France
"Comme vous voulez" (pronounced: Come voo voo-lay)

Usage: When you don't really have an opinion. Literally: "As you wish." or "However you like."

"What do you want for dinner tonight? -- Comme vous voulez.""Should we invite the Jones? -- Comme vous voulez."
The Caribbean
"Yah mon"

Usage: Affirmative / Yes (in a casual tone)

"Are you…

Leave Canada's oil in the ground (for now)

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Recently, the Canadian federal government approved a pipeline expansion project that adds a second pipeline along an existing route from Edmonton, AB to Burnaby, BC. Here's the map:


The pipeline has its own marketing site, touting the benefits:


Helping us "keep up with the rising global demand for oil" and "increased tax benefits for all of Canada" sounds great, right?

Except that it's misleading. While technically true that demand is rising:

Demand is increasing much slower than previously projectedSupply is increasing as fast or faster than demand And when supply increases faster than demand, prices fall.
Most projections, including this recent one from oil-price.net, predict that oil prices will stagnate or even decrease over the next few years.
It's also important to note that Alberta oil sells at a significant discount to the "regular" oil price you hear quoted in the news. For instance, when WTI crude fell to $30, Canadian oil was selling…

How to win an election in 2016

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This was the first time I've ever bet real money on an election.

And I won.

Even I'm a bit surprised. But only a bit.

In mid-October, I posted "Why Trump Could Still Win" at a time when major news outlets said that a Trump win was virtually impossible.

Good ol' Michael Moore  (yeah he's still around) made a far more eloquent prediction at "5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win".

Of course, way back in July 2015, I took note of Trump's social media campaign, and realized that this election would be won or lost on social media.

This was also true for Obama in 2008 and 2012, but one major, major thing had changed: The Facebook and Twitter demographic.

It used to be that these were filled to the brim with liberal college students.

Now there's a much more diversified crew. The rural "red" states are much better connected, and much easier to reach.

My political leanings are complicated. I don't fit nicely into either of the traditional Libera…