Showing posts from 2018

Stealing ideas

As I continue to go through my old blog drafts, this is another one from 2010 where I took down some rough notes and never quite put something together.

At the time, there was significant press (and a movie) about how Mark Zuckerberg has "stolen" the idea for Facebook from the Winklevoss twins.

I would argue that there was very little original or truly innovative ideas that went into the core functionality of Facebook.

On the other hand, it was pretty innovative to build up a huge database of his classmates' information without their permission... ☺

I've read Atlas Shrugged cover to cover, and I totally get the theme and the very real problems it discusses.

What I don't understand is how anyone thinks that modern intellectual property laws provide any type of solution.

If anything, they tend to make matters worse, since people that come up with the most profitable ideas today are usually bound by agreements that automatically assign the intellectual property…

Society 2.0

I was recently going through old blog drafts and came across this one from nearly 8 years ago.

It was basically just brainstorming about how to improve society in general.

I'm proud to say that in the meantime, I've done my best to move the needle ever so slightly, becoming more involved in politics, including running for office at the provincial level and organizing my thoughts further in a wiki.

I also now work for a charity that helps bring free education to those who need it most.

My most recent efforts include promoting proportional representation and helping organize a Green regional association.

Who's ready to join in and help? :)

Here's my original brainstorming notes from June 2010:

Communist? Capitalist? Democratic? Socialist? Does anyone really know what these terms actually mean anymore?

Hybrid system. Use best aspects of existing societal structures.

Freely available to all citizens of the world:
- Basic education and communication (shared facilities)
- Basic …

My 4,659.4 barrels of oil

According to Natural Resources Canada, "Canada has the third-largest proven oil reserve in the world, most of which is in the oil sands."

"Proven oil reserves are estimated at 171.0 billion barrels."

Canada's current population is about 36.7 million.

So, one could perhaps argue that my current share of Canadian oil is about 4,659.4 barrels.

Since Brent Crude is priced at about $70/barrel today, that's about $326,158 USD or, even better: $420,662 CAD!

Hurray, I'm rich! 💵💰

But wait just a second, you say. That oil is still in the ground. It costs money to extract it and transport it to a buyer.

Well, crap. Maybe I'm not that rich after all.

So how do I turn this black gold stuck in the ground into big dollar signs?

More bad news: Our infrastructure has evolved over the years to export most of our oil to the United States.

That worked great when oil was scarce and prices were high. People raked in the cash.

But now the United States is fracking like…

"Pipeline won't get built."

Ever since I moved to BC, not far from the path of the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, I've been asked:

"What do you think about that pipeline?"

My response, from the beginning, has been a very confident:

"Pipeline won't get built."

"But how can you be so sure?", they ask.

"'Cause people won't let it."

I sincerely hope that I will be right about this.

On March 23rd, 2018, two sitting Members of Parliment from two different political parties joined protesters at Kinder Morgan's gates in non-violent civil disobedience.

They were both arrested.

I completely support their actions, and those of everyone putting themselves in harm's way to help protect the land and water for future generations.

These people are true heroes, selflessly sacrificing their own time and freedom so others can enjoy the safety and comfort of not being poisoned by catastrophic spills.

The saddest part is that Canada's federal government is …

Why are we still using attachments in 2018?

Who remembers 2006?

12 years ago, Google launched a truly innovative suite of products to compete with Microsoft's behemoth Office suite called "Google Docs and Sheets".

This promised to revolutionize the way we work.

Instead of having to email Word and Excel attachments to co-workers and worry about old versions, conflicting changes, etc., the document was hosted in one place, and everyone could always access and update the very latest version with no fuss or muss.

Cloud Computing was The Next Big Thing™* and everything was going to be better!

*NOTE: Cloud Computing was not really new, but more a reboot of networked timesharing from the 60s and 70s distributed on a global scale. But that's another story for another time.

Fast forward 12 years, and Word and Excel files are still everywhere!

Now, there are still a few cases where Docs and Sheets are missing features that Word and Excel have.

For instance, I sometimes miss the automated hierarchical numbering via Styles …

The slow, painful death of social media

About a month ago, before the big Cambridge Analytica scandal, I wrote that "Facebook is over."

My feeling was strong enough that I divested all FB holdings the same day.

Glossing over the details at the time, I simply stated that Facebook had "lost its way."

After posting, several of my friends and relatives (on Facebook, of course) suggested that I should create the Next Facebook.

Funny enough, I'd already been there and done that. My reply: "I started a project called "FriendPortal" in 2003 that was to be a simpler, better alternative to Friendster. Before I could finish it, some scrappy Harvard kid beat me to the punch. Somebody will make the "next" Facebook. Odds are decent that it won't be me :)"

I thought it would be interesting to go a bit more in-depth on this topic.
History Lesson In my mind, the first modern "social networking" site was Friendster (2002). It was quickly followed by MySpace (2003) and Faceb…

WhatsApp? Signal!

Some of my friends are big fans of WhatsApp, and have noted that I don't (and won't) use it, so I just wanted to briefly provide the major reasons why: It's owned by Facebook (and connected to the Facebook platform) and there are some major privacy concernsSince acquisition by Facebook, there have been major security concerns Due to similar problems, I advise against using similar apps like Apple iMessage, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, etc.
If you're really keen on using a "Whatsapp-style" secure messaging app (with group messaging, voice calls, etc.), there is an alternative that is free, open source, and run by a non-profit organization.
It's called Signal and can be found at:
I have it installed, so feel free to send me a test message to try it out, and let me know if you have any further questions about the various privacy and security concerns with some of these other messaging apps.
Further reading: https://www.te…

Facebook is over

Alright folks, I'm calling it.

It's quite sad, but as of 6pm Pacific on Feb 21, 2018, Facebook is officially over.

Soon it will join the ranks of MySpace, Friendster, Slashdot, Digg, Orkut, and Google+ as dusty old sites that nobody really uses anymore.

It had a good run.

For a while, it was the perfect way to keep in touch with friends and relatives, but somewhere along the line, it lost its way.

And unfortunately, I don't see a simple way back.

Let's hope they can prove me wrong.

But otherwise, I'm looking forward to seeing what's next.

What is next? Twitter? Snapchat? Instagram? I feel like they're all mostly dead too.

What's coming down the pipeline to help us all connect online?

Or are we all slowly moving back to our smaller, more manageable offline groups?

RIP Facebook, 2004-2018