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Showing posts from July, 2009

No technological progress in 40 years

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I was recently watching a series called "Ancient Inventions". It is hosted by one of the guys from Monty Python and is reasonably entertaining and informative. It was amazing to see how many things were invented thousands of years ago, completely lost and forgotten, then re-invented recently.

It got me thinking about all of the technological progress we've made in the past couple hundred years. There have been a number of amazing inventions that have changed the world, like trains, planes, cars, radio, telegraph, telephone, and many others.

But what world-changing inventions and technologies have surfaced since the 60's?

Computers? Ha. That's 1930's technology. The microwave oven? Mobile phones? 1940's.

Solar cells? Fibre optics? That was way back in the 50's.

But what about the Internet? Nope. We were online in 1969 -- 40 years ago.

What life changing technology has been invented since then? It starts getting really thin. Liposuction. Viagra…

Canadian Mobile Phones: Getting the Least for the Most

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So today I received my Fido bill and noticed a new charge called "Other minutes." I was confused since I have a 150 minute plan and only used about 60 last month.

I phoned in to customer support on my cell phone to inquire about the charge.

The rep wasn't really sure, and had to put me on hold a few times to look things up, but guessed this was due to calls made "out of my zone."

Now, I have a grandfathered plan from years and years ago (Sprint Canada before it was acquired) and I never used to have a "zone."

Ever since Rogers acquired Fido, they've slowly (and without notice) modified my old plan to bring it in line with the current plans, which cost more and give you less.

The hugely ironic thing: Just as she was starting to explain to me exactly my "zone" was -- the call was dropped.

So I went to my online banking and paid the bill. Even if I wasn't leaving the country in a month, what could I really do? Switch to a new provider? Ha…

New site: buymystuff.com

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Last night I gave the first public demo of my new site -- http://buymystuff.com

What does it do? It's basically like having an online garage sale that people can browse 24x7.

"But Jason...", you ask, "How is this any different than than Craigslist, Kijiji, or newpaper classifieds?"

I'm glad you asked! Those services are generally set up to let you post one item in one category for a short duration. For instance, if you're selling a car or a house -- buymystuff.com is not the best place.

Instead, this site is designed to let you go through all that miscellaneous stuff in your closet, garage or basement that you want to sell but haven't bothered because it's too much hassle.

Or, if you happen to be moving, and have a whole ton of stuff you want to get rid of at once, this is the perfect way.

List everything once on buymystuff.com, then let it do all the work for you. Perhaps a few months from now, someone on the other side of town will be looking fo…

New Zealand and running a virtual company

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It's official! All of the paperwork for a one-year working holiday trip to New Zealand is now complete. Melissa and I will be leaving September 1st, and returning August 2010.

I'll be continuing to operate my web development company -- Syllogistic Software Inc. -- while I'm there. We have invested a huge amount of time and effort into "virtualizing" the company.

With clients in Toronto, London (Ontario), Vancouver, and Waterloo, plus employees in Kitchener, Montreal, and elsewhere, communication is paramount.

Our infrastructure spans the Internet, including a full virtual PBX phone system with multiple extensions and IVR via Trixbox. All company email, shared calendars, and documents are hosted on Google Apps. Source code is managed by Subversion.

The heart and soul of the operation is handled by an internal application we wrote, called simply the "Project Management System" (Update 2011-07-13: This is now called PMRobot). This allows precise, sim…

Banned Companies List

I've often referred to my "banned companies" list. This is a list I keep of companies that have caused me sufficient harm that I refuse to do business with them.

A few companies have been put on the list and then taken off again, usually because they improve or enough time passes.

However, two have done me sufficient wrong to earn lifetime bans:
Rogers: These anti-competitive frackers have screwed everyone for so long that they have their own popular hate site: http://www.ihaterogers.ca -- That alone says something. My personal vendetta is for them cutting off my Internet years ago for "using too much bandwidth" back when they I had their "unlimited" plan.

Apparently they thought they could advertise "unlimited", then make a limit -- but not tell you what the limit was, or how much you had used -- just that you used too much and that you should cut back some amount, or your service will remain suspended -- with no refund.

Yes, this was really t…