Showing posts from 2012

Fix Toronto Streetcars Tomorrow

Dear Toronto,

Your streetcars have always caused me a lot of grief.

First, their schedules are so inconsistent. You don't see any for a half hour, then there's like 3 in a row.

Second, they're slow. Like, really slow. The east-west routes on busy streets are often much slower than walking at times.

Third, they're dangerous. You often have to cross a lane of traffic to board and disembark, so you risk death quite a lot.

These problem have existed for decades, and nobody seems to care.

Meanwhile, the main east-west routes (ie. King, Queen, Dundas, etc.) could be fixed tomorrow in 3 easy steps.

1. No street parking on main routes.

Toronto is not (supposed to be) a pissant little rural town where you just drive in and dump your car on Main Street to visit the General Store.

The never-ending stopping and parallel parking causes so many problems, it's ridiculous.

This is supposed to be the downtown core of a "world class" city.

Park those cars on side streets a…

Copycat, copycat!

As a technologist, the recent Apple vs. Samsung lawsuit is extremely concerning.

I was hoping all of this software patent nonsense would go away, but Apple just proved that the new business model is more about litigation than innovation.

As a company that essentially "stole" the entire desktop GUI and mouse concept from Xerox, you have to wonder how they arrived here.

Ironically, this concept was subsequently "re-stolen" by Microsoft to create Windows -- one of the most ubiquitous, profitable pieces of software ever.

Naturally, Apple sued Microsoft in 1988, a long and bitter lawsuit that wasn't resolved until 1994, when Microsoft won.

In the midst of this, Apple was actually sued by Xerox, a suit that was dismissed.

In the Apple vs. Microsoft ruling, the court stated: "Apple cannot get patent-like protection for the idea of a graphical user interface, or the idea of a desktop metaphor."

They obviously took this to heart, and started patenting every d…

WHY are YOU doing a startup?

Everyone and their friend's brother's baker seems to be doing a tech startup these days.

If you're not building your own web or mobile app, you're just not part of the cool crowd.

Some of these startups have investors and funding. Some don't.

To all you founders out there, I have one question:

WHY are YOU doing a startup?
Starting a new company is not easy.

I started my consulting company, Syllogistic Software, in 2003. It's almost been a decade, and the road to success was winding, ever-changing, and mostly uphill.

My startup, PMRobot, has been in the works for anywhere from 2-4 years, depending on how you count. I've poured in my heart and soul, with little financial reward.

So again, WHY are YOU doing a startup?

Are you hoping to get rich?

Please, please, please stop right now if that's the case.

The odds that your company will last more than a few years are less than 50/50.

Then, if you do survive -- after many years of blood, sweat and tears -- the…

Au revoir Nice, Hola España (and مرحبا المغرب)

We're just about finished our 3-month stay here in beautiful Nice, France.

It's been excellent. We're sad to go, but the adventure must continue! :)

In a week, we'll be flying to Madrid, Spain. After touring there a few days, we'll be volunteering and teaching English for a week at the Pueblo Inglés program in the mountain village of La Alberca.

Then we bus back to Madrid to take a train to the southern city of Seville for 3 days. After hopping another train and spending 2 days in Cordova, we go even further south to Tarifa, Spain to spend some time on the beach watching the kite surfers.

That will be followed by a 1-hour high-speed ferry trip across the Straight of Gibaltar to the African continent, landing in Tangier, Morocco.

After a few days in Tangier, we take a train to Fez, where our camel trekking safari in the Sahara desert begins. We'll be spending a night under the desert stars before continuing to the ancient city of Marrakesh.

From Marrakesh, we he…