Forget Disneyworld, come to New Brunswick

Disneyworld may be the "happiest place on earth" but New Brunswick is the "happiest province in Canada", due to a recent survey. So, to those of you who want to get out and go West, why would you want to leave? It's happy here, and not so much out West. And, if you happen to have moved here from the West (or Nova Scotia, the saddest province in Canada), now you know why. So, come one, come all, to New Brunswick, the happy province :-D !!!


Good conversation day

I had good conversations today with my former English teacher, and the younger brother of one of my best friends from elementary ... who moved half a continent away ... how strange, but wonderful. Good night.


Reports of my calculator's death are greatly overstated

Well, the good news is that my calculator isn't dead - the light fixture in my room is just too dim to light it up (I hadn't noticed). I took the calculator to class today, and, lo and behold, it works fine. I did take it apart last night, just to see if there was anything wrong with it (admittedly, it would have to be blatantly obvious - I'm no electrical engineer), but it was working before then anyway. I mean, what self respecting guy can resist the urge to take apart a calculator to try and fix it? All the ones I know would definitely try it. So, good news, my calculator works - yay! Bad news - apparently I live in a cave (it's dark - before I aired my room out my housemates said it smelled like something had died in there (again, I hadn't noticed - must have been used to it)) ... ahh, the joys of university life.

Oh yes, and speaking of electrical engineers, apparently Rowan Atkinson (who played Mr. Bean) has a masters degree in Electrical Engineering - who'd a thunk it?

Oh Danny Boy ....

I had a faithful servant of 4-plus years die on me yesterday. It was a very sad day. My trusty Casio fx-260SOLAR bit the dust. The logic isn't gone, but the solar panel just isn't pushing electrons as well as it used to. Seeing as it only works within a few feet of a 100W bulb (with a completely clear line of sight) it has ceased to be of use in most settings, and I must retire it. Goodbye Mr. Big (from the scrap of a chocolate bar wrapper taped to the back), I shall miss you.


Changes to the CTV Broadband network

In case you don't know, CTV puts a lot of its shows up online for free access and viewing after they've aired them - I watch Corner Gas every week, and it is good - anyway, they updated the interface on the "CTV Broadband Network" (their name for the feature). The good news: it looks good, and appears to work well. The bad news: I couldn't get it to work on Firefox 2.0 - they apparently have an "ActiveX plugin" for Firefox (although I'm pretty sure that Firefox doesn't do ActiveX), but it wouldn't download/install for me, so I'm not sure that it works ... curses - to get my humorous Saskatchewan goodness, I have to open up Internet Explorer (in its crazily rearranged (but supposedly more secure) 7th version) ... Its an entirely different rant, but I expect power users will hate Vista, because of the new interface revisions, which have moved absolutely everything to new and unfamiliar locations (and buried our beloved advanced features) ... ok ... rant(s) over ... until next time ...


The amazing "Beast of the Field"

The "Beast of the Field" got into our garbage again last night ... my roommates and I figure its some sort of mid-sized animal - it must be a fair size to defeat all the safeguards we've put on the garbage can. The can is sealed, we have a rock the size of a large hardcover book on top, and two folding metal chairs leaned up against it on the sides that aren't covered by the corner of our deck. ... and yet, the Beast of the Field still manages to get the garbage can tilted over and open, and strews our garbage all over the deck ... if we're lucky though, the super-hot green curry my roommate tossed because he deemed it too spicy for human consumption will upset its stomach ... one can hope ...


I thought competition was supposed to help the consumer

Well, apparently Microsoft has signed a deal with Universal Studios to pay them a royalty on sales of its new Zune music player. This is in supposed compensation for the pirated content that is often loaded on mp3 players. This is NOT good for consumers - it gives all the studios licence to charge all the music players and services more money - ultimately costing consumers more money ... strangely, the Apple monopoly on internet music services and music players has been holding prices down for the consumer, because if content providers want market access, they have to go through Apple and play by their rules ... Microsoft's Zune ploy is an interesting development, and it'll be interesting to see where this goes ...

The whole Christmas/holiday thing

Well, its started again - I saw an article on CBC.ca today about Wal-Mart and a few other retailers are re-emphasizing the term "Christmas" over "holiday". In some senses, this makes sense - things like the ever present "holiday tree" are a bit ridiculous - do the other holidays use a tree? It would be analogous to calling the menorah a "holiday candlestick" I'm sure Jewish people would disagree with that, and it wouldn't even show equality/respect to members of other religions (as is the claimed motivation for "holiday trees"), because they know that the menorah is Jewish, and need no part in it. On the flip side, there is a place in using a generic term to greet customers, for instance, as some (if they are overly touchy) would be offended by being wished to enjoy a holiday that they don't celebrate. Anyway, that's enough on that - the whole issue is ridiculous anyway ...


I guess its easy to be best when you're only

One thing: I don't think Microsoft has ever made another "iPod competitor", so its easy for the Zune to be the most promising

This is the most promising iPod competitor we've ever seen from Microsoft and could be a digital music player that gives the whole industry a run for its money.

(This is PCMag.com's summary of their Zune review)

The Remembrance Day Post

Odd, I always thought the poppy was a completely Canadian thing - apparently its British too though - interesting. Just one thing I thought was strange - I just heard this year about white "peace poppies" - this idea strikes me as very strange, as they are very controversial. Odd that the peace poppy reduces peace ...


A lot of hype, rather less substance

New Brunswick is fighting the good fight for the environment - at least in a small push on the automotive front. MLA's and their deputies are no longer allowed to buy SUVs or full-sized pickup trucks, unless they are hybrid or meet stringent emissions guidelines. However, hybrid trucks and SUVs are mostly environmental hype, with little fuel economy benefit over their standard variants. They are also shifting 20% of the provincial fleet (trucks, school buses and the like) over to alternate fuels like ethanol - this seems like a better move for the environment, but will likely get less press. (Although, it may get rather expensive ... where do you get ethanol in NB?)

Who says Microsoft always copies off Apple?

I found an instance of Apple copying off Windows for once - in the new test build of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, the biggest new feature is - drum roll please - advanced parental controls. Now, similar parental controls have been in Windows Vista since early betas ... this seems like Apple playing catch up for once. Interesting.

Editor's note: The part about the parental controls is in the third block down in the linked article

We welcome our primary-colored overlords

I was reading some highlights of an interview with Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google - apparently Google is challenging the constitutionality of the Patriot Act - here's Schmidt's take on it:

"We will do whatever it takes to follow both the law and the principles. We have a system of law and we won't win everything but we're going to try very hard and we will follow the decision of a federal judge. There is clearly going to be somebody who tests the limits of the Patriot Act and its an important constitutional issue. If we don't like it, we can replace the people that have made those laws."

Did Google just say they can replace the people that made the Patriot Act - I mean, he was likely making a comment about the democratic process, but still ... they don't have that many employees - today, the Patriot Act, tomorrow, the world!


The NDP are toast: Part III

Well, I've decided to make my "The NDP are toast" series a trilogy (here are Parts I and II). A recap of my first "NDP are toast" article (from Sept. 2):

My prediction: the NDP have one of the worst showings in their party history in terms of popular vote, do not elect a single MLA, and fold soon afterward.

During the election, the NDP had their worst ever showing in a New Brunswick provincial election, failing to elect a single MLA. Now, Allison Brewer has resigned as leader, saying she cannot afford to continue working full-time as a volunteer - the NDP now has no leader, next to no money, and will have a hard time obtaining either after their abysmal showing in the last election - sounds like, for all intents and purposes, they have folded ...


We need more moderates

I was reading this article about an American identity for Islam on the International Herald Tribune, and was quite glad to see it - we need more moderate voices from religion (all religions) - I think its a horrible shame that Christianity and Islam are too often represented in the media by their radical fringes - people like Fred Phelps or Osama bin Laden. I wish these men and women trying to make an American Muslim identity all the best of luck.


Poor Ted

The International Herald Tribune has a very good article on the Ted Haggard issue - here is a quote from Haggard himself from that article

"The accusations that have been leveled against me are not all true, but enough of them are true that I have been appropriately and lovingly removed from ministry. I am so embarrassed and ashamed. I caused this and I have no excuse. I am a sinner. I have fallen."

Thank you Ted - hopefully now he'll be given a chance to get on with his life.


Really good web Sudoku game

I just noticed - CBC has a really good web-based Sudoku game - best I've seen - if you're an addict, you can play it here (but don't tell your boss/significant other/ect. you found it here - I sure don't want them mad at me that you never get off the computer anymore ...)

For all my Gamer friends

The French government is recognizing video games as cultural products ... well some may say this is motivated by mere financial considerations (like the ability to get around EU anti-subsidy laws), gamers everywhere will surely be glad to know that their obsession is finally recognized as cultural. I can just see it now "But Mom, my Nintendo is cultural education - isn't that more valuable than multiplication homework?"

I Pity the Man

So, the whole Ted Haggard thing ... I pity him - anyone, even a pastor can succumb to sin, and since he had such a high profile, everyone knows now. I commend him for finally coming out with the truth (albeit ambiguously) apologizing, and distancing his own fall from the larger Church. All this is what needed to happen. That said, I wish he'd started with the truth - it would look so much better on him than the flip-flopping he did, and I wish he'd make a full confession and get it over with ... his reputation is already completely destroyed, and if he would take personal responsibility for his actions (all of them, so he can't be smeared later with more allegations), and apologize, the show of (painful) honesty would garner him some respect, something he desparately needs, and a chance to finally get out of the public eye and spend some quality private time rebuilding his life. As public as his life has been, he is ultimately just one man, who has fallen spectacularly, failing his own beliefs and standards - he needs forgiveness, and an opportunity to sort his life out, not a media circus.


Ridiculous Money-Grubbing Trademark Lawsuit of the Day

The Universal Tube and Rollform Equipment Corporation, who own the domain www.utube.com, are suing YouTube for inadvertently directing extra internet traffic their way, so much that their servers crash. This is completely ridiculous, as they would have sued earlier if YouTube was really making a difference - I heard about this on the Google Watch blog, and the third commenter, Russ, seems to have the most reasonable view on the matter.

This sounds just a bit like "internet tubes"

I must know, why is it the US Air Force that becomes the country's defender in cyberspace? Is it because it has the word "space" in it, and someone who didn't know any better figured the air force should be there? The press coming out of the USAF sounds like they almost think they can use the bomber unit on the base where cyberspace command is being placed to defend their cyber-assets ...

Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne, speaking at a military communications and intelligence conference, said U.S. vulnerabilities in cyberspace included financial networks, satellite communications, and radar and navigational jamming.

"The capital cost of entry to the cyberspace domain is low," Wynne said. "The threat is that a foe can mass forces that weaken the network that supports our operations."

Found on www.pcmag.com