Saturday, October 30, 2010

What to do, eh CRTC?

It's enough to make you into a conspiracy theorist.

The CRTC, a bloated and redundant government department created to make jobs in Quebec and to rubber stamp anything media and telecom companies want, has just green lit usage based internet pricing.

Staffed by former Bell, Rogers, Telus and other media employees, the CRTC has for years worked tirelessly to do everything in their power to keep prices high and consumer pockets empty. They continue in this vein today, despite the fact that telecommunications complaints with cell phone companies, who already charge usage based fees, are amongst the most hated, and receive the most complaints of ANY OTHER BUSINESS ORGANIZATION IN CANADA, have actually seen complaints RISE. How? How can they be rising? They're already the worst and most hated companies in Canada! But nevermind that.

So the CRTC allows media companies to join together, buy up the competition, drive up prices, divy things up between themselves, and return us to the glory days of the 60's and 70's when we could be charged up the ass for the privilege of communicating with each other while they frolic and bathe in goats blood or whatever the hell they do with all that money pouring in. They're certainly not pouring it back into infrastructure.

Now Shaw Cable admits they plan to introduce overage fees if you go over your download limit. Now sure, Shaws limits are decent and I never hit them, but I am opposed to the CONCEPT of being charged for going over a limit. It is WHY I don't currently have a telephone data plan. Will I use over 500mb with a cell phone? Probably not, but I am never going to risk that scenario occuring.

The conspiracy theories come in when you start to wonder if this is all act one in response to ACTA, the secret anti counterfeiting strategy cooked up by the very same busybodies. The one that proposes a three strikes you're off the internet forever law. One that requires no actual proof, one that is being pushed by the current Obama government in the United States. Is this all an attempt to undermine the internet? To destroy the ability of small ISP's to exist? to price the internet out of the hands of those who would use it? I mean, it doesn't REALLY cost anything more to download more. It's all just bits. And if it does cost more, its nowhere close to what they're proposing to charge and they know it.

So if you can't wait for a tiered walled garden internet, where you're free to do whatever you want so long as you stay under your "cap" and so long as you only enjoy Canadian ISP's using officially licensed american entertainment you can stream with a $20 convenience surcharge, continue to vote Liberal or Conservative federally. By all means. I'm voting for the Pirate Party. All other issues remaining equal, I'm getting fed up with this garbage being pushed by government departments that should be working in OUR interests.

Friday, October 29, 2010

cknd / global winnipeg OTA DTV update

It looks like they've been approved to operate on channel 40 for digital ATSC by Industry Canada. If you have a digital TV and an antenna, I would expect them to be up and operational any day in the next month or so. I can't see them waiting for the snow to fall before they put it up now that they've finally got approval, so finally Winnipeg will have at least one HDTV channel available over the air. Ironically, Shaw, who just purchased Canwest Global, will be abandoning the Canwest Global (TD) building anyways for their head offices. It's slightly ironic because that's where the new channel 40 tower is going. It's odd to me that so many companies choose to keep their head offices in cities where the cost of doing business must certainly be higher, but Shaw started out in Alberta I guess so whatever. If MTS ever sells out or gets bought out, watch their head offices move too.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Congratulations Mayor Katz

Well, Sam Katz won, which everybody except the Winnipeg Free Press pollsters predicted. I myself voted for him, as I am a strong proponent of his get tough on youth crime strategy by kicking kids in the face before they even think of joining gangs. That said, I am disappointed in the NDP for bringing party politics into the election. I have voted NDP in the past, and even though Ross Eadie won in Mynarski, I feel there is enough of a taint on the whole situation that hopefully there are repercussions for his rumoured actions. I was surprised that all of the school trustees won by acclimation in Mynarski. Maybe I should have put my name in just for fun. Everyone knows they always win by Eenie Meenie Miney Moe anyways.

Interesting to see Thomas Steen win. And it was fairly close, too. I hope he's able to make a difference in the way he desires.

I hope Katz realizes that he does not have to appease all of those bike lobby type people. They clearly didn't vote for him, their ideas are mostly nonsensical (have you seen those stupid "roundabouts"?) and could have cost him the election. He needs to get either Bus rapid transit or LRT moving, he needs to make public what the whole situation is with this Violia company, and he needs to get more police out there putting real criminals in jail for a long time. Not sitting at photo radar traps irritating the public or wasting time "policing" the zombie walk.. if they were real zombies, they would get infected, so its a hazard, and since they're not real, there is no danger to the general public despite the potential 4 or 5 frightened religious born again senior citizens scared out of their wits that the end times have come and they've been left behind.

Anyways, its more of the same at city hall, but lets hope its not.

Monday, October 25, 2010

More Mynarski Madness - Maybe Motkaluk?

This time I will review Jenny Motkaluk's most recent flyer. First of all, it is pink. Pink like the medicine my 3 year old nephew has to take cause he's sick. Bah, I won't let this stop me. I must carry forward.

First line says "Jenny Motkaluk is the only candidate in Mynarski who believes that we need cops to get out of their cars and walk the beat."

eh, I dunno, Greg Littlejohn at least claims he believes that too. I just read his flier! But maybe he doesn't truly believe it and Jenny knows. Jenny is psychic. She can read his true feelings using the Jenny force. Okay, point in her favour then. That's impressive.

Personally, I think we should replace our cop cars with Autobots. They can drive themselves, and transform in any emergencies. Especially attacks by Megatron.

"Jenny truly understands the necessity and importance of enhancing police foot patrols. Not only will there be an impact on crime, but there will also be greater opportunity for communities to build relationships with the cops walking the beat in the neighbourhoods." says Mike Sutherland, president of the Winnipeg Police Association.

You know what'd really create a rapport with cops? If you didn't have to worry they'd nitpick and arrest you for every little thing. "YOU'RE WEARING BLUE SHOES ON A SUNDAY? $500 FINE AS PER BYLAW 55-6 FROM 1962 YOU BEATNIK!" .. or maybe that's just my runaway imagination. Still, enhancing police foot patrols sounds cool. Maybe they can get some of those mobile harness things like in the movie Avatar.

"Jenny understands the importance of revitalizing the North End business comunity to ensure a bright future for our neighbourhood. Jenny will lead passionately to restore the vibrancy for which the North End was once renowned across Canada." - Trevor Sprague, former Chair of the winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.

Well, Trevor Sprague is her husband, so.. ummm.. I mean, that's like an endorsement from your mom. Oh he's a good boy, he always eats his carrots. (I didn't. I wrapped them in a napkin when she wasn't looking.. shhh, I don't want to lose my most loyal supporter)

"Jenny Motkaluk is the perfect choice to represent Mynarski, send her to City Hall." says Alex Forrest, a Firefighter.

How to read this. Will Jenny increase fires in Mynarski, thus providing more jobs for the Firefighters union? That's probably not necessary in Mynarski though. I suppose if I were a firefighter I'd be happiest if fires were rare so I could play "Wii Firefighter" on the Nintendo Wii at the firehall.. That exists, right? You point the controller like a firehose and put out the fire? If not, I own the rights to that ORIGINAL IDEA DO NOT STEAL... then again, why would they have to play a game version of their job? Would accountants be forced to play wii accounting? Still, there have been some odd games out there in the past. Who knows.

Jenny should have spun this differently. She should have said "Jenny is supported by the Forrest creature" and left it up to our imaginations. Ooooh the Forrest creature. What is that? It's a magical creature that lives in the forest! It grants wishes!. But I guess that'd be misleading and confusing, cause Forrest is spelled differently from Forest.

Jenny is endorsed by: lots of people I won't type cause whatever. Except Harry Lazarenko, that's a good one to have. And Mike Wiens, a Hardworking ordinary guy. If you got Mike Wiens in your corner, you can't lose!

I'm not gonna type out the last page cause its just more "rah rah Jenny's da best".

About Jenny:
Jenny lives 2 blocks away from where she grew up in Winnipeg's North End.

I wonder who lives in her old house, then. Maybe its a crack house. heh. Sorry, that'd be harsh. But it would give her a deep seated motivation to clean up Mynarski. They took her childhood home and turned it into a crack house. But Jenny Motkaluk ran for City Councilor and turned it into the Mynarski center for curious puppies and overly cute babies. This fall on A&E.

Jenny attended McGill university and graduated from UBC.

she's been everywhere, man.

Jenny has 15 years of experience in business with Fortune 500 companies, universities, and research organizations.

Me too. I've used IBM products and Apple products and Sony products and Microsoft products. That's 4 Fortune 500 companies I've had experience in business with. I've also researched how to obtain immortality and/or turn lead into gold using smurfs. That's right, I'm Gargamel. Why would you turn lead into gold when a smurf is a far more valuable thing to have considering he kept catching them when everyone thought they were imaginary, wouldn't he have made more money by just showing it off? But I guess that's alchemists for you. Always after the pursuit of knowledge. It was never about the money. What was my point again?

Oh right, Jenny Motkaluk. You know, I wish she had the phone number 867-5309 as her campaign number. That right there would be enough reason to vote for her.

Her picture shows her owning an english springer spaniel dog. I hate those dogs. I'm generally a dog person, but those dogs.. those dogs, man. I only hate poodles more. Don't get me started on the westminster dog show.

she's at, not to be confused with jenny gerbasi's website (It's a joke, people)

I dunno. I kinda wish there was a Jenny running in every ward and for mayor. That'd be great. All the Jenny's would go to city hall and start wailin at each other. They'd have to nuke the city, probably. Well, as critical of I am of this particular flier, I am leaning towards voting for her. Unless the other two remaining candidates for Mynarski that I haven't gone over have better fliers. I mean, she has Lazarenko's blessing. Why even bother to vote for anyone else? Honestly, based on other things and other fliers, I'll probably vote for her, but this flier was pretty crap.

More Mynarski Flyers - Greg Littlejohn

Well, Greg Littlejohn has one thing instantly going in his favour, he shares a name with a Robin Hood character. I haven't so far been pushed to vote for him. Still, I'm going to speed-review a flyer I got from him. is his website address.

Action on crime
"implementing foot and bike patrols"

Well, yeah ok. Put more cops on the street. Sure.

"Supporting the new police cadet program"

As opposed to opposing it? okay..

"Freeing up police officers to deal with crime"

yes, this is a good point. Less paperwork, more policework.

"Supporting programs that keep young people away from crime and out of trouble"

like boot camps? locking them up in jail? What else would work?

"Shifting 20-25 officers to the street gang unit"

Is the street gang unit really understaffed? Do the gangs really need more babysitters? Wouldn't it be better to just put them in jail for any little infraction of the law until they're gone?

"Supporting community policing"

yeah.. ok I guess.

Ensuring transparency
"Reviewing our sewer and water treatment system contract with Veolia to ensure there is adequate disclosure of the costs to taxpayers"

While I agree with the notion that we should NOT be signing anything that is not released to the public first, and not be dealing with companies that refuse to make their tenders public, and in fact refusing to deal with such companies in the first place, Sam Katz dropped the ball on this one, acting as if the city is a business and he's the boss, rather than letting the real boss know what the deal is. As apparently it has nothing to do with the water utility per se, and it would be illegal to, but purely the sewage system. I don't know if Littlejohn was caught up in this disinformation or if he's an active participant, but all the same, if Sam Katz had a more open city hall, he wouldn't be burned by things like this. So, fair enough.

Enforcing by-laws
"Managing concerns about household waste"
"Dealing with derelict housing"

My problem isn't so much with derelict housing as much as it is with slumlords. Granted, enforcing bylaws with regards to derelict housing is important, I can see the city acting too aggressively to deprive an owner of their property just because they're not in a financial position where reparations would make sense. Granted "dealing with derelict housing" is such a vague statement, I don't even know where to start with that. As for managing concerns about household waste... what? Is this a big concern?

Action on infrastructure
"Repairing broken roads and lanes"
"Improving transit services"
"Expanding Handi-Transit to meet demand"

While I'm always in favour of improving transit services, what we need are more buses running more frequently. Don't tell me theres no demand cause there is. Transit is just understaffed and prioritizes other areas of the city over Mynarski/North Winnipeg.. Plus most bus drivers probably loathe driving the 16 or 38 buses thanks to gangs and drug addicts and vagrants. I dunno. Saying he will improve it doesn't really.. convince me that he can.

"Developing an affordable housing plan"
"Implementing a bed bug policy"

there are affordable housing plans. It's called Manitoba Housing. It's where all the bed bugs are probably coming from. We need less affordable housing and more unaffordable housing.

"Supporting community centres"
"Completing the North Winnipeg Parkway"


"Maintaining our urban forest"

This is important to me. I don't want to lose our beautiful urban treescape thanks to ignorant politicians cutting back the tree people.

"Implementing a food security policy"
"Supporting businesses"

I have no idea what this means. Food security policy? Really? Is this a worry? As for supporting businesses, meh.

Now for the visionary stuff. Sharing a vision

"Restoring Winnipeg's pride in the North End"

most of winnipeg has never really had pride in the North End. If it wasn't natives today, it was immigrants of yesteryear and jews and polish and the irish or scottish or whatever the ethnicity of derision of the time was. Lets not kid ourselves that "Winnipeg" had pride in the North End. However, restoring North End pride, I think is a worthy goal.

"Relocating the CPR Yards"

This is stupid. There is no need. There is no point. There is no Money to do it. The CPR yards are a huge industrial area. Theres no way its going to move easily. Lets say you did. What then? Now CPR employees have to go out of town to work. Where is it going to be moved to? Now that area is going to be polluted. And how do you afford the clean up? Have you ever seen a gas station shut down? Imagine that for an area the size of the CPR. Nevermind the fact that I actually kindof like looking at the trains off the Arlington or Salter bridge. Gives the city a bit of character. No. This one has never really made sense to me. It's like someone who has played Sim City too often with the Shift+FUNDS cheat.

"building on the positive momentum for sustainable development"

wat? This is pure gobbledygook.

How come for the next why for the minus time experience shoe?

that's how it reads to me.

He's not a bad candidate I guess, but I don't really feel inspired by his flyer. Seems like pretty words with little substance. Oh well.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ross Eadie City Council candidate for Mynarski Ward

I got a pamphlet from Ross Eadie today. His five commitments to the people of Mynarski:

1) Crime reduction and Safer Neighbourhoods
How? More Cops? Give all the criminals jobs working for the NDP?
2) Fair Taxes
Fair to who? Probably not homeowners, that's for sure.

3) Infrastructure Renewal and Maintenance

Okay. No snarky remark to this one from me.

4) Traffic Safety Innovations

Like what? Cars made of soft foam? Bike Paths? Busses that constantly emit a horribly loud beeping noise to tell people "HERE COMES THE BUS"?

5) More Progressive Ideas for Winnipeg


Then it goes on to say "As a school trustee Ross promoted the subdivision of surplus land resulting in more income from the sales which financed better facilities at the new West Kildonan Collegiate".. except of course this was all done in a very sketchy manner and from what I hear was illegal.

he is also a "Veteran participant in ongoing active transportation and street access consultations".. well, I haven't personally been impressed by how active transportation has been going about doing things, so that one is a big miss for me.

"Appointed to the City of Winnipeg Library, Forward Thinking Steering Committee".. which I think means he showed up and they said "oh, hello, wanna be on a committee?".. but, I support libraries so theres that, though I miss the quiet reading room at the West Kildonan Library and haven't been there really since they removed it for useless open space. I'll assume it was all Ross Eadie's idea and I shall give him a negative mark on this one. I'm not basing this on any actual evidence, I just really miss the reading room and someone has to take the fall.

"Appointed to the Residential Tenancies Commission" .. from the provincial website: "Landlords and tenants may appeal orders and decisions issued by the Residential Tenancies Branch. The commission hears these appeals. Appeals are heard by a panel of three consisting of one landlord and one tenant representative and either the chief commissioner or a deputy commissioner as the neutral chairperson." A Simple google search shows he was a tenant representative, and eventually resigned. Now, certainly, tenants have a right to be represented in such disputes, and someone has to do it, but to be honest personally I feel landlords concerns don't get enough consideration in this city and it is sometimes the reason they're unable to evict certain individuals, and why things can't be done to make the first step to move forward commitment number one. I think that representing the tenant is the easy route. Not knocking this, but not particularly impressed by it.

anyways, he's clearly been on a lot of committees. I myself am on zero committees. Man I wish I had that sort of time. In any case, he seems like an okay guy who means well, but I just can't bring myself to vote for him. The minute the NDP started supporting candidates at the civic level is the minute I decided not to vote for said candidates. I'd do the same if the Conservatives or Liberals blatantly supported someone's campaign. Party Politics might be a necessary evil provincially and federally, but I despise them and anyone who tries to pollute the civic elections with them should be shunned.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Warehouse One

Warehouse One recently changed their logo. I haven't shopped there for years, because.. well, why? But in any case, they've updated their 80's/90's style logo with something they surely feel is more modern. It almost looks like a generic logo designed to appeal to women, but then if you look closelier..

I hope they don't get sued by Namco, owners of the Pac-Man trademark and copyright. They have been known to protect their intellectual property very mercilessly in the past.

Now you can't unsee it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fish jump into new pond

The Winnipeg Goldeyes are going to join the American Association, along with three other Northern League teams that didn't make the split years back. This is pretty good news if you're a Goldeyes fan, because now you can see some more variety in terms of competition, and it rekindles the old rivalry with St Paul.

Winnipeg seems to be the only Canadian team in the American Association, wonder how that will work out. Probably fine as the league has revenue sharing and Winnipeg should bring in a decent revenue. Also the salary cap will be somewhat lower, so they'll save a bit of money there too.

Its a shame that they couldn't simply absorb/merge with the whole Northern League more fluidly (though in essence a merger is whats happening), but there you go. I've always liked the name Northern League and I'll miss it, but lets be honest, the last few years the competition has been rather uninspired.

I doubt the Northern League is in much of a position to do anything through legal channels to the remaining teams. They weren't able to do anything to the previous teams that left 4 or 5 years ago if I recall correctly.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Trackpoint scrolling in Ubuntu (or Linux in general)

You'd think with the amount of people who use laptops/keyboards with IBM's trackpoint interface, that whoever designs the GUI for both the gnome and kde mouse preference dialog would put a checkbox for [X] ENABLE TRACKPOINT SCROLLING. Jesus Christ its almost 2011. Leave it off by default if you must, but how hard is it to put it in there?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Somehow the Winnipeg Blue Bombers won despite trailing by 10 points in the last 5 minutes of the game. I don't know how they did it, and I was at the game and had pretty spectacular seats for once. I was ready to write a post saying I had now seen the bombers lose in every section of the stadium, but alas, I have not seen them lose in every section of the stadium now.

And why is security seemingly rooting for B.C? Security should not wear orange during B.C games. It's not right.

So will the Bombers make the playoffs? I still doubt it, but it would be ridiculous if they did. It was such a ridiculous game you don't even know.

A lot of people left with 3 minutes to go. I wonder if any of them came back. It totally seemed like there was no way for the Bombers to win. As such, it was an entertaining game at the very least.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Canon Cameras

Sadly, if you're buying a digital camera, why buy anything else? I've owned 2 Canons, I've used Kodaks and Panasonics and Sony's, and my most recent camera was a fuji. But Canon is somehow the best. And they know it.

I have a Canon SD780IS, and its pretty sweet, runs the open source (Im pretty sure, anyways) CHDK firmware add on, which allows you to do crazy things like zoom in while filming a movie, shooting in raw mode, time lapse photography, and other scripted things like motion sensing for lightning shots (gonna have to try that out next summer)..

Anyways, my mom recently bought the Canon SD3500IS, which is also pretty sweet. It does NOT run the CHDK firmware at this time, but theoretically it should be possible for a programmer to do it. It is a pretty sweet camera, I just played with it for 10 minutes showing my mom how to use it, and once you get used to the large touch screen and swiping motions, using buttons is kinda lamentable. I hope for once she has found a camera where she can use it without pestering me for help.

In any case, I bet Canon is going to go heavy into the touch screen interface in the coming years. It seems like the right direction to move into.