Monday, August 29, 2011
Because everyone knows we gave that up years ago when Mulroney signed off on free trade.
Still, will we still need passports to go to America? Yes, then f*%@ this $#!t. (I'm making an attempt to censor my extreme language, but it's difficult when I talk politics..)
Friday, August 26, 2011
They claim on their website page about the digital transition (hidden rather well from casual observers) that there have been unforeseen circumstances. They need to reinforce their towers with steel before they can be safely installed, and that they cannot be installed until later in September (CBC is going with September 30th).
First of all, CBC is NOT allowed to keep broadcasting in Winnipeg in analogue past August 31st. They would need CRTC approval. While they did get approval for other markets, Winnipeg was not included in the list. NOR SHOULD IT BE. When Fox KNRR asked the FCC for a delay because of spring floods, they were told no. That is because the FCC is an effective government body that works in the interests of the American people. Whereas the CRTC is an ineffective government body that works in the interests of a few wealthy corporate interests.
The CBC had ample time to do a site survey and obtain the necessary parts and tools. They delayed and they hemmed and hawed and cried for more money or what have you. In my opinion this is no unforeseen circumstance, but a planned delay. Perhaps until the next fiscal quarter/year for budgetary purposes (I speculate, anyways). Either way, I was against the delay for the CBC in other markets, and I am against giving the CBC leeway in my own.
The CBC is Canada's public broadcaster, but management seems to have little interest in public broadcasting. Winnipeg is a MANDATORY MARKET for switching to digital. Why does it take a month to procure the necessary steel? If it was a matter of waiting a week, I'd be fine, but a month is unacceptable. To announce this less than a week before the digital cutoff date is pathetic and negligent. Shame on the CBC, shame on CBC Management (who have shown incompetence above and beyond what I've expected).
** UPDATE Oct 25 2011 **
Still no HD signal Over the Air in Winnipeg. The CBC website still states a few more weeks away. Looks like we won't be seeing CBC in digital until mid november at the earliest.. but if my theory is correct, they're waiting for the next fiscal quarter in January 2011. If that happens, not only will Winnipegers have missed the opening game against Montreal on CBC over the air in High Definition, but Also the Saturday December 17th 2011 game against the Anaheim Ducks with the return (perhaps for the last time) of Teemu Selanne. People are mad at Shaw for missing one period, but CBC continues to get a free pass for missing the digital deadline in Winnipeg by 2 months now. Enough is Enough. If this bothers you, contact your local Winnipeg MP. The CBC is supposed to be accountable to them. Make them so.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
"Maddin's My Winnipeg is love and hate. It seems his feelings towards his hometown are like those of an older brother towards his younger: "It's okay for me to make fun of him, but if you do, you're asking for it!"This perfectly encapsulates how I believe most Winnipeggers feel about making fun of Winnipeg. This is what I think of when people say the Weakerthans song "One Great City" is about hating Winnipeg. It isn't. They're Winnipeggers. They love Winnipeg. The way you love a younger annoying sibling who is always bothering you. The one who deserves a good kick in the butt. But if someone else says something or does something to them, that is NOT COOL.
It's nice that someone not from Winnipeg was able to illuminate me like that.
Monday, August 22, 2011
I saw them at Sobeys, but who knows where else they can be found.
"Zingers", the pale substitute they tried to pass of as twinkies for the period of time when you couldn't find them, are on the bottom shelf.
We may never know why they disappeared from shelves in Winnipeg. Perhaps the secret ingredient to the filling ran short on supply. I'm assuming it's a paste derived from a rare South American Beetle that is ground up and turned into deliciousness. Why not.
His absence will make the future political landscape interesting. What do the Liberals do? Who will the NDP get to replace him? Will Stephen Harper stick around for another go round?
I voted NDP last election. Even though I can't stand the NDP provincially. Will I do so next time without Jack Layton? I don't know.
I can't think of a bad thing to say about Jack Layton. And considering he was a politician, that's pretty amazing to me.
I hope one day that we can treat cancer and other diseases with retrovirus therapy and artificially grown transplanted organs. It may not be as profitable for corporations in the medical industry to do so, which is why we don't have it yet, but the people who do things because they believe in their ideals, like Jack Layton did, will surely one day succeed.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
ATSC Digital Converters for your TV
Sorry I just can't seem to shut up about the digital conversion, but I figured I'd write a post about digital converter boxes.
If you are an old person who thinks that you can't get free TV after August 31st, this post is here to tell you how you can still get free TV.
First, if you have an old TV, you need a converter box. It turns the new digital over the air signals into analogue signals that work with your old TV. No matter how old and feeble or destitute you are you should be able to plug in a converter box. Plus it comes with a remote control! You can never have enough of those! At a Winnipeg store you're going to be out from $40-$60 for a basic unit. You can spend more for a better converter box.
Possible places you can buy it : Superstore.. maybe Wal-Mart?
Pros: simple design, simple to use
Cons: made by RCA. RCA is a meaningless brand owned by some huge factory in China.
You plug your antenna into this thing, plug this thing into your TV, it scans for channels, and if it finds any, you're in business. It's very simple to use. Actually too simple. If you're someone like me who wants to see signal strength and PSIP data (TV guide and other information) then this isn't going to satisfy you. But if you just want to watch TV, it's pretty good.
Possible places to find it: I dunno, I found it at goodwill. I plan to give it to a friend after the switch.
Pros: Decent features, antenna strength meter.
Cons: Again, there have been many defective ones with Capacitor problems. If you have any bit of electronics experience not a real problem (Solution involves changing capacitors) but if not, you could get a dud. I don't think it has PSIP channel guides either but I could be wrong.
I found it for a few bucks at goodwill and I figured what the heck. I like it better than the RCA, but i originally thought it was donated because it was broken - It wasn't.. I'm assuming the person who owned it used to live close to the border and moved to Winnipeg and got themselves a new TV and figured Winnipeg didn't have digital TV.. which it will soon. Scans fast and even has an "Update" feature where it only scans for updates to the channel list, and supposedly doesn't erase old data.
Now I don't personally own this one. I only saw it in an ad the other day on tigerdirect.com. However, this seems to be the best converter box you can get. It's in the $80-$100 price spectrum, but the features more than make up for the higher initial cost.
Pros: Has multiple output options including High Def HDMI, VGA, Component outputs. IE: If you bought a widescreen TV and it doesn't have a digital ATSC tuner built in.. this will give you perfect high def signal. You can also plug it into any old Computer Monitor. So you can turn an old computer monitor into a TV. Pretty neat.
Cons: Flakey performance (sense a trend, anyone?), Might be over complicated for some people.
As I don't own it, heres an external review at http://www.jeffsreviews.com
I've seen these at Princess Auto. Are they any good? Who knows. $40 price range. Has some good reviews online.
Anyways, as you can see, there are tons of options for digital converters. From your old black and white TV to your newer cheap future shop TV that didn't come with a digital converter (That's why you got it for $300) to your handheld TV, they will all need a digital tuner box to pick up the high def signals.
I prefer buying a new TV.. but then again, over the next year we'll be getting some amazing new TV's with netflix and skype and 3d without glasses (or glasses like the ones used in theatres), so it might be worthwhile to get a bit more time out of your old TV. If you're used to it, why not.
Go to youtube.com and type digital converter box. You'll learn more than you want to.. probably about the US digital conversion which took place in 2009 and went way better than the Canadian one did (The FCC is not a group of incompetents like the CRTC, and PBS knows where their bread is really buttered, unlike the CBC)
Anyways, I hope you found this informative.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Nobody in Canada sells such a TV. Why!
Only LG comes close. But no PIP is no deal for me. I know I'm the only person in the world who knows how to use picture in picture, but still.
Why does nobody sell Vizio TV's in Canada?
sigh. The wait continues.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I've made many posts about this before, but we're finally in the home stretch.
Do you get Digital TV from Cable or Satellite? Through MTS or Shaw or Bell? Then your service will continue as normal. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be interested in what's happening to the over the air signals you can get with bunny ears, however.. So keep reading.
On August 31'st, in most major Canadian cities, all over the air signals will be switching from Analogue to Digital. What this means is that your old TV that picks up NTSC signals over the air will NO LONGER PICK ANYTHING UP. It will only pick up snow. So if you have an old TV in the basement with rabbit ears, and you want to still pick up a signal with rabbit ears, you need a converter box to pick up the signal. These can be found at Princess Auto, Superstore, or various other places.
If you have a newer widescreen TV of any worth, it should have a new ATSC tuner in it. ATSC is what replaces NTSC (a converter box converts ATSC broadcast signals to work on your old NTSC tv). Remember when all of those huge satellite dishes were replaced with smaller bell expressvu and starchoice dishes? That's because they switched from analogue to digital. You either get a perfect digital picture or nothing. That is how it will be with over the air from now on. You will get a perfect high definition picture over the air for free. It will be even better if you have a rooftop antenna. Try hooking it up if you still have one on the roof, you'll be surprised by the clarity of picture and sound.
So basically older TV = need a converter box for digital. Newer TV = should be able to receive channels with an antenna without the box.
In Winnipeg, Global TV is already broadcasting in high definition. So you can scan for local channels and if you get Global TV with an antenna, you're probably going to get all the rest of them after the switch on August 31st.
If you can't receive Global TV and you want to, you should check to see if you are within the range of the broadcast signal. Again, you may need to install a rooftop antenna.
CBC, SRC, CTV, City TV, and Joy TV will all be joining Global on August 31'st. If those channels meet your needs for television coverage, then congratulations.
Unfortunately unlike some cities close to the border such as Toronto, Victoria, or Vancouver, we in Winnipeg won't be able to pick up PBS or Fox or NBC/ABC/CBS with any reliability as we're just a bit too far away from their towers (and they're not broadcasting a strong enough signal). Still, It's an exciting time.
One last thing, if you currently receive cable TV from Shaw and simply plug in the cable straight into your TV without a digital box, you will eventually be made to get a box. They will be removing their analogue channels soon after the switch. It's a bit annoying because they could easily offer their basic package as unencrypted QAM signals decodeable directly by your TV, but they're control freaks and the CRTC are toothless and owned by the industry so you're out of luck there.
If you're curious, check out TVfool.com. You can plug in the coordinates you are at and it will spit out the likelyhood of signal from your location.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
So what was Professor CRTC to do? Fail her? He couldn't do that! Theres no way he would be punishing his favourite student. Give her an extra year to do it, nevermind that it'll annoy everyone else who actually does their work on time.
So remember, kids. If you're the CBC, you don't need to do things on time. You can just look puppy dog eyes at the CRTC and get away with anything. There were too many other things! I was too busy with the internet and facebook to do it! All good excuses if you're a pushover toothless worthless idiot like the CRTC.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Granted I already have a pretty top of the line google phone so there's no rush.
Hopefully all of those Motorola boxes used by Cable and Satellite companies will now actually have useful guides and other options.
Google did buy SageTV a couple months ago.. A pretty good PVR software.. that, with android, with google TV, on motorola hardware could be a game changer. Heck they may even sell video games..
Should be interesting to see how this all plays out over the next few years.
Get rid of all Mosquitoes.. good
Bombers winning .. nice.
Long hot summer.. perfect.
I hope theres no ironic twist coming. Monkeys have 5 fingers right?
I'd say wish for a water park too, but you may already have and that's why we got that flood.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Some people want to see the old mascot from the Winnipeg Jets days, Benny, return. I hate benny. Stupidest looking whatchacallit of all time. I hate the name Benny too, and I hate the association with the Elton John song. I think Benny should stay retired. Maybe honour Benny somehow, perhaps retire his mascot number. But he should stay dead.
err.. I mean retired.
I had earlier mused that perhaps the old Polar Bear mascot of the Winnipeg Thunder basketball team could be used. I always enjoyed his antics. Oddly enough, the person who wore that old costume is now Raptor for the Toronto Raptors. Doubly odd is that the Maple Leafs have a polar bear as a mascot. Who knew! Apparently he's been around for years. Looks pretty lame but whatever. I don't know what Toronto has to do with Polar Bears it's a pretty odd appropriation, but it sort of eliminates the idea of the Jets having a polar bear as a mascot. Plus there are tons of bear mascots already.
Finally theres good old Mick E Moose. He doesn't have an AHL team anymore. He's a decent mascot. Kids know him. Might help to bridge the old with the new. Mick's face always bugged me a bit though. Give him a facelift. Lose that stupid smirk and stupid eyebrows. Also don't moose antlers aren't so yellow. I'd lighten that up too. There don't seem to be any moose mascots in any professional league as far as I can see, so he'd be unique. I don't see anything wrong with going with Mick E. Moose. The "E" can stand for exhaust fumes. Unless he's contractually signed with the Vancouver organization I'd call him up to the Jets.
Or they could come up with something totally new. Perhaps a bird similar to thrash, the mascot of the thrashers. We already have two bird mascots for the Blue Bombers CFL team (Buzz and Boomer) so you could either see it as overkill or a nice consistency amongst city mascots.
Whatever the choice, they should give the mascot a flight jacket and aviator goggles and a scarf. Unless the mascot is a transformer that turns from a robot to a jet (which would be pretty cool.. and do-able) Just go full into the whole aviator thing and it'll probably work.
Whatever the case.. I'd kind of like to see them design a robot that transforms into a jet now that I've posted that.. just to see it happen.. but whatever they go with, I hope they don't wait until October to announce it. As far as that goes, they should stick to Mick E Moose as it would be the easiest solution. Just say no to Benny. Nobody liked Benny. Benny is the main reason the original Jets moved to Phoenix. Don't ask me to substantiate that. It's just how it is.
Also I hope they keep the timbits hockey in between periods. They never did it at the NHL Exhibition games but I always thought it was cute.
** FOLLOW-UP **
They picked Mick E Moose. Gave him a leather flight helmet and goggles. You're welcome, True North.
I love the way they said in the press he was called up from the AHL. As if his years of hard work as an AHL mascot gave him the ability to Mascot at an NHL level. Though I did make the same insinuation in my original blog post. They also lightened up the antlers. Looks sharp! Still think he should wear a Jets scarf.. but I suppose it might be overkill or there could be concerns of it falling off or being pulled by kids.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
You know the scene in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly where they have a mexican standoff? Guess what, the book ends with a standoff between Voldemort and Harry Potter with the entire wizarding world watching, only instead of guns, they're using wands. But NO, the idiot director had to throw out all of the previous goodwill and make the final battle longer and more action-packed and lacking in any meaning or subtlety. Disgusting.
WB always screws things up. They screwed up Green Lantern (though its not as bad as people accuse it of being) and they screwed up Harry Potter. They still made tons of money, but imagine if they got the right director and stayed hands off like they seem to do with Christopher Nolan. They'd have more inceptions and Dark Knights and less turds.
I never expected much from that tabloid, but they really took a nosedive in the last year.
While I feel the logo could have used a couple more revisions by people with design sense, it's not bad as logos go. Hopefully they'll revise it in a year or two.
Steve George's descriptive BBS list with reviews from September 22, 1994 (missing a small portion of the letters F and G from data corruption best I can tell but more or less intact)
And the Generic BBS general BBS list for Winnipeg 204 around the same time period.
Enjoy the nostalgia.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
I've recently seen a couple ambulance shapes vehicles Roaming in Winnipeg streets that aren't ambulances. Maybe I just haven't seen them before but as a pedestrian it kind of bothers me when I'm thinking of crossing a street and I see what looks like an ambulance coming down the road and it's a locksmith or RV repair service. Is this a new trend or am I simply slow on the uptake? Either way I don't think its a great idea for businesses to usurp ambulance vehicles towards their own ends. Am I wrong to think this way?
It wouldn't be so bad if efforts are made to make them clearly not look like emergency vehicles. But when they're covered in emergency lights and whatnot, it's just confusing.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Rotary dial bluetooth phone from sparkfun. Now, I have an old rotary dial phone connected to my voip line, but it doesn't ring and I can't dial out.
Obviously I'm not going to pay $250 for a novelty item like this. However, I have a GE 21518 cell fusion that I got for like $5 from goodwill. It basically does the same thing. I love when goodwill has no idea what it is they're selling. Prior to that I did see them at office depot for like $40 on clearance before they closed down.
Basically, this device pairs a bluetooth cell phone to a landline. So I can plug in my voip on one end, and output any cell phone calls and voip calls to a standard phone.
Certainly I've already got all of my provisioning for my voip line to dial all of my phone numbers together. And I do have a couple of cordless phones connected to my voip system.
What gets me interested of course is that sparkfun seems to have schematics for the device they built. My problem is I need to get my old rotary phone to be able to ring and dial out.
I could use a rotary phone adapter but that would probably not solve the voltage necessary to get the old rotary phone I have to ring. However, it may be that if I look at the schematics of the bluetooth device there is almost certainly an alternate method employed by sparkfun that requires less tinkering. I'll have to have a look.
Regardless, I forgot all about this project for a while now. Hurray! Fun!
Sparkfun rocks. Fast shipping too.
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
What gets me is why isn't anybody making an alarm clock/fm radio device using android?
I have an internet radio I got cheap. It has vtuner internet radio "support" but doesn't support internet radio stations in aac and probably never will. Nevertheless, I like it well enough.
However, someone could EASILY build an alarm clock device with a small 4-5" resistive touch screen for configuration. They could include FM radio with RDS support, they could use the tune-in radio app for internet radio support, and maybe modify the default screen and configuration a bit to conform to an average alarm clock type device. It could easily play mp3's and such.
So why isn't anyone making it? Why are companies wasting their time making knock-off phones and tablets running android but not looking at other useful areas?
Sure theres chumby type devices as well. But am I missing something? a wifi capable android internet-radio terminal slash alarm clock would be pretty cool.
Monday, August 08, 2011
Basically wizards would be treated like computer hackers are treated.
Sunday, August 07, 2011
The CBC has its defenders. "Friends of the CBC" is a group that does not want to see the dismantling of public broadcasting in Canada. But even they can't be happy with many of the poor decisions being made out of the CBC.
I don't personally believe the so called Liberal bias with the CBC is in any way as blatant as Sun News' bias on the flip side. That said, it is perplexing to me that the CBC follows almost in lock-step with the conventional broadcasters with the CRTC on most old media issues.
In the USA PBS is the public broadcaster and needs to collect donations. I'll bet the CBC would hate to be pushed to do telethons for funding. However, in the USA, PBS made sure to be accessible to their entire audience over the air in high definition.. with some supplimental digital sub-channels thrown in. The digital over the air conversion for PBS was an opportunity to expand their audience. To the CBC, however, it's an expense not worth investing in. They had to be dragged kicking and screaming to put digital towers in Winnipeg, Calgary, and Edmonton. Whats more amazing is they have no intent to cover London, Ontario in digital. This is maddening to me on two fronts. Border cities often put the CBC on their cable packages because the CBC is available over the air. This gives border cities in the USA a Canadian perspective that they wouldn't normally get. The CBC should be in as many American cities that it can possibly reach.. it's goal should be to reach as many Canadians as possible and there is a sizeable amount in the USA and even then, a secondary goal of educating others about Canada is an equally worthwhile one.
The CBC however seems primarily interested in the digital sub-channel market and making money there. They made their bed with the rest of the industry, at least television wise (Radio is run fairly well and the internet site is reasonably serviceable)
When repeatedly presssed, CBC bigshots respond to people concerned with lost access with "You can get it on Cable or Satellite". This is akin to shutting down CBC Radio and telling people they can get it via Sirius XM. If this was CTV, there'd be no problem. If they want to go exclusive to cable carriage, they can lose their sim-sub rights. problem solved. But for the CBC, who receive tax dollars as funding, to act in such a callous disregarding manner, it is insulting.
They say they can't find the funding. They had years to prepare, and they were banking on more federal funds to cover the switch. They were banking on a one in a million chance and gambled with the future of the public broadcaster. No amount of friends can defend the actions of the CBC on this foolishness. They had the option to put up a single tower and share it temporarily with another channel. This is called multi-plexing and is entirely possible with digital signals. The HD quality wouldn't be as great, but the CBC could have easily shared a tower with the french language channel. One in HD one in SD. But the CBC didn't even consider it as a possibility. They would rather SHUT DOWN ENTIRELY a channel than consider a technical solution on a part time basis. They want to keep running in Analogue in various cities. The CRTC would be insane to let them.
So the CBC clearly are incompetent you might say, but at least they're still providing the Canadians they do with top notch news. Well, I don't know about that either. Many people are fed up with the CBC's news coverage as well. The CBC should be using their position to cover stories without the potential bias the other networks have. CTV is owned by Bell. Rogers owns City TV (and does the bare minimum to keep it running), Global is owned by Shaw. All of the channels you watch on TV are owned by consortiums owned by these companies. The CRTC allowed this. Now that the internet is around and can be used to watch shows, They want to stifle the internet in Canada (They own all of the tubes) for their own benefit. How often do you hear about this on the CBC?
Have you ever noticed how the quality of shows on basic channels degraded as more and more specialty channels were allowed to lock up content? Imagine a future where you can't watch hockey over the air on hockey night in Canada. CTV now owns the rights, and you've got to pay to watch it on TSN or TSN 2. It's what they did with the CFL.
People who hate the CBC always want to tear it down and sell it off. If you owned a car from the 50's that didn't run very well, your first instinct would be to try to fix it. The only people who really want to tear it apart are the ones with their own cars who want to get the parts off you for a cheap price. I'd be weary of anyone who bleats that the CBC should be disassembled as having their own competing interests at play. However, the CBC has done very poorly lately in justifying their existence.
I don't know who composes the friends of the CBC.. I suspect a fair amount of members are self-serving ex-CBC'ers, but in my opinion a true friend is one who calls someone on their antics and puts them on the right track, not someone who defends the stupidity of their friend at all costs.
I truly hope the CBC gets itself on the right track. And I can't wait until the end of the month when I can FINALLY watch it in high definition over the air in Winnipeg.
Saturday, August 06, 2011
also I hate the term "Sea Change". How do you change a sea?
Friday, August 05, 2011
Is it just me or is the woman who does the voicemail message for virgin mobile sound like she has a fake British accent. It's so annoying. Maybe it's koodo I don't know. It has to be fake. I also hate the one that says "are you cool with your message?" Shut up hipster voicemail woman. And they're always women. Sexist!
That's why I forward all of my missed phone calls to a Voip number that sends messages to my email account.So much more convenient.
Thursday, August 04, 2011
I guess if you're a conservative you don't need fancy pants studies to know the weather. Just read the bible. It's all right there. Sunshine with a chance of locusts. We'd have been warned, but we didn't have any dream-seers with technicolor coats.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
It's 9PM the sun is setting and I look up in the sky.. hundreds of dragonflies two meters overhead skittering one way and the next.
Has anyone nominated Taz Stuart for the Order of Canada yet?
Monday, August 01, 2011
I know it's been a while since we've had the NHL, but is it really front page material?
In Atlanta it wouldn't even be in the newspaper unless he paid to put it in the classifieds.
I mean c'mon. Congrats to the guy and his wife, but what the heck.