Showing posts from June, 2009

What stresses you out?

They say some of the most stressful things in life are:
Starting a new job
MovingMajor relationship changes
Maybe I'm weird, but these aren't even on my top ten list. Sure, there's some stress involved, but they're all well within my control, and that makes them seem manageable.

The things that tend to cause me the most stress are the ones that are beyond my control, like:
Traffic/construction/accidentsLong checkout lines at storesThings not being ready/complete when promised
Am I really strange, or do others feel the same?

What stresses you out?

Conservation or Economics?

There seem to be more and more calls to conserve and "save the environment" these days.

Now, I'm all for efficiency. I hate to see unnecessary waste, and I love nature. I pick up my trash. I own the most fuel efficient car in its class. I do what I can to keep things nice.

The environmentalists have one thing right. We can't continue to consume resources at our current rate. Something needs to be done, but I don't understand the current approach of advertising and trying to "shame" people into conservation.

Appealing to morality works in some cases, but it has absolutely no effect on the worst abusers -- corporations.

The only reasonable way to affect this behavior is to adjust costs or make laws. So instead of subsidizing cheap, dirty energy, money needs to be forcibly redirected and invested in new research and technology.

"But we can't do that! The economy will crumble, and people will lose jobs!"

Fine, keep relying on cheap, dirty coa…

Rogers' infrastructure still sucks after all these years

I've had the displeasure of using Rogers cable Internet at two different places I've been staying recently -- one in Guelph, and one in Breslau.

I remember back in the day (2003-ish, the last time I had Rogers myself) I had occasional, but persistent problems with one major thing -- any time I had a large outgoing transfer happening, all of my incoming transfers went slow and flaky.

For instance, my telnet connections will stay connected for hours -- until I send a big (10-15MB) upload through via FTP. Then it drops the connection.

Or if I do a big Subversion commit, all of the sudden all my DNS lookups start failing. This is something I remember from years and years ago, that they still apparently haven't fixed.

For the longest time, I thought this was just a problem with cable modem technology, so I bought Bell DSL and was reasonably satisfied (until they started capping and throttling, that is).

However, when I was in Texas, I had Time Warner cable Internet and I have to s…

Different ways to spend $2,000

For $2,000, I could buy:
One LG 47" LCD TV:
Or, all of the following:
Flight from Toronto to Los AngelesFlight from Los Angeles to Fiji4 days/3 nights in a resort in FijiFlight from Fiji to Auckland, New Zealand13 months of world-wide health insurance (excluding USA)That's right, everything above totaled only $1998.19, including all taxes, fees, etc. That seems like a really good deal somehow.

Driving in stop and go traffic

Driving to Toronto one evening, I was very annoyed with how traffic was moving, and decided it might be therapeutic to rant about it. Here is the raw, unedited (but slightly censored) result:
People need to be taught how to drive in stop and go traffic. For some reason, people think that the most efficient way to drive through stop and go traffic is to accelerate as fast as possible, and then slam on the brakes.

And then, accelerate as fast as possible again, and then slam on the brakes all over again.

Now, countless studies have shown that the most efficient way to move traffic is actually everyone going at the same speed in a nice smooth, fluid manner. And, slowing down when you see the car in front of you slow down, and leaving enough space in-between the cars to act as a bit of a buffer.

And in fact, if people drove like this, you wouldn't actually have stop and go traffic. You would have always going traffic, just going a little bit slower.

But people insist on this, and they …

Great to see that people are doing!

I have been in touch with lots of people regarding my previous blog posting, and I'm very impressed to see that a lot of people are indeed aware of the problem, and actively working toward solutions.  In fact, Michael Geist, who has been speaking and writing about this for much longer than I have, recently spoke in front of a Senate committee and explained things in very simple, precise manner.  Here is a great excerpt (emphasis added by me):
"The truth is that there are ways, if we had unlocked devices and had a more open space, we would encourage this innovation without the gatekeepers that we see. Fundamentally, that is what we see taking place here. Certain gatekeepers exist in the chain; sometimes it is the device manufacturers; often — particularly in Canada — it is the carrier themselves who set limitations on what can come into the marketplace, precisely because it is to their competitive advantage to do so. We do not have enough competition to counteract that at the m…

Stop talking and start doing!

People love to talk.  It's in our nature.  We're social creatures.

At some point, however, if you want to get anything done, you have to stop talking and start doing.

There is a big conference in Stratford this week called "Canada 3.0."  One of the major sponsors apparently has something to do with the recent government spend of $10 million plus to "stimulate" things through creation of some sort of "Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR)."

The stated purpose is to "create jobs, improve the quality of life of all Canadians and strengthen the economy for future generations."

This is all fine and good.  Every project needs a high-level/brainstorming phase.  The problem is that there doesn't seem to be many (any?) specific goals about how this is all going to work.

You see, there are some severe, systematic problems in Canada that tend to destroy innovation in the early stages.  Let's have a look at some pretty gr…