Friday, December 28, 2012

Dear retailers with email mailing lists

Want me to unsubscribe?  Send me emails only pushing Microsoft Windows 8 and it'll happen immediately.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Reed Solomon Reviews: Django Unchained

It has been a while since I last saw a western in theatres.  I couldn't even tell you the name of the last one.  Django Unchained is a western.  Anyone who argues the fact has never seen a western.

Sure theres some rap music and hip hop and Jim Croce and harp music in there.  Just because the movie has a hardcore soundtrack doesn't mean it isn't a western.

Does it have some nods to blacksploitation flicks?  Sure.  Is it a blacksploitation western?  No, I don't think so.  It's a western.  Even though it mostly doesn't take place in the old west.

Django Unchained is about a German bounty hunter goes by the name of Schultz.  He used to be a dentist, but theres more profit and a slightly lower death rate in bounty hunting in those days so I guess he switches careers.  He's a clever bounty hunter, and ends up freeing a slave named Django, in order to help him track down a particularly difficult bounty Django can help identify.

They accomplish their mission and they stick together so that Schultz and Django can find and free Django's wife, named Broomhilda, who conveniently enough to the plot was previously owned by Germans and speaks German.  Some people might say Tarantino is reaching with this plotpoint, but at one point German was even considered as the official language of the USA, and a large population of Americans have German ancestry, so it's actually a valid historical point, how about that!  Go Tarantino.  She is being held at a place plantation called Candyland.

There they end up meeting Calvin Candy, played by Leonardo DiCaprio.  A despicable individual who entertains himself with cruelty, but at the same time intelligent and ruthless.  His slaves have a Stockholm syndrome type loyalty to him, especially Stephen, the "house nigger", played by Samuel L. Jackson (surely a nod to accusations of Jackson being just that in relation to Tarantino in the past)

Tarantino seems to be comfortable with the western format.  It's a more subdued atmosphere than most of his films.  Even the violence, though clearly Tarantino, is subdued.  Perhaps because you expect a gunfight it in a western.  Theres embellishment and dark humour, but its not the point of the movie.  The movie does have a heart. 

The movie is just under three hours long.  Maybe a bit too long, but you get your moneys worth and for the most part theres no unnecessary part of the movie. 

As a fan of Sergio Leone movies, would I put it up there?  No.  Django Unchained is not a masterpiece.  It's a fun movie, and it sheds light on a part of history I don't think has been particularly thought about.  The last bit of violence in the movie felt a bit out of place and over the top.  I wasn't surprised by it, knowing Tarantino, but it seemed like he was going through the motions for his fans who like that sort of thing rather than doing it for the good of the movie or story.

There is an interesting point in the movie where Alexandre Dumas is brought up. While the movie brings him up in his reference to being part black (therefore, to the people of the south of the time, completely black), I felt he was mentioned because the storyline seemed very Dumas-esque.  Maybe a bit of Count of Monte Cristo revenge fantasy. 

All in all I liked the movie.  The popcorn was decent though I seem to have spilled a bit of my drink.  I give the movie a rating of infinity-2 out of pi.  Maybe not for everybody, but if you like Tarantino and westerns, it's worthwhile.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I am a mime trapped in an invisible boxing day

Not the best deals this year.  Black Friday was better.  Is black Friday stealing all the good deals, or does it take competition with the USA to make the good deals happen?

Also Winnipeg transit having a holiday schedule for boxing day is completely inadequate.  The need at least a bit more service than what they have going.  Sunday hours are shit to begin with. 

Well hopefully someone found a good deal cause I'm disappointed

And I hate that online stores start their boxing day deals on the 24th or 25th.  That just goes totally against the ideals boxing day was founded upon...  shame on you all, online merchants.  Bring the true meaning of boxing day back to boxing day.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Christmas

Once again I did my Christmas shopping between 2pm and 5pm on December 24th, and once again I win the "best present giver" of Christmas award from everyone in my family.  Somehow I'm brilliant when I shop under pressure.  Yet if I went and bought stuff early, I'd buy garbage.  How does that work?  I have no idea.

Thinking I'll go to the movies tomorrow.  Nice quirk of fate that movie theaters get to stay open on Christmas thanks to the non-existence of TV's at one point in time.  Unless you work in a movie theatre, then maybe it sucks.  Still, thinking of going to see Django Unchained.  I'm a fan of westerns, especially sergio leone, and I want to see Tarantino's take.  One thing nice about Quentin Tarantino is he's always original. But I still haven't seen the Hobbit either.  If that's playing in Imax 3D or what I don't know.  I'm confused by which manner I should watch it.  Should I see it in Imax 3D?  Should I see it in regular Real-D 3D?  Or should I just see it without the 3D?  How many frames per second?  I have no idea.  Maybe I'll just wait for the DVD/Blu-Ray.


In any case, thanks for reading my blog.  We survived yet another end of the world, and hopefully won't have to deal with any more of that nonsense for another 87 years. 

2013 is a week away.  We're in the future.  Two more years to go until Back to the Future flying cars and hoverboards and weather control.  I think we can do it.



Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Winter Solstice day!

overcoming depression 

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly” - Author Richard Bach.

Finished your Christmas shopping yet?  Been waiting for the end of the world just in case before you made any major purchases? Well that was dumb! Wasn't it.

People should really stop predicting the end of the world.  It's been here for billions of years.  If humanity dies out, well whatever, that'd be too bad I guess, but c'mon nothing is going to happen today.   

ASIDE FROM THE SPACE LOCUSTS COMING TO DEVOUR US ALL! HIDE UNDERGROUND!!! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Reed Solomon Presents Movie Reviews: Chronicle

Today I was checking out Netflix, and up popped Chronicle -  A movie that I was interested in seeing until I saw the first 5 minutes of it and decided it's shit.  But, I completely forgot about that experience and saw it on Netflix, so -- yay! I guess?  SPOILERS.  I spoil the whole movie.  Though for something to spoil, you'd think it had to have been good in the first place.

Chronicle is about 3 teenage idiots who obtain superpowers from some sort of alien macguffin for no real reason.  They're idiots because they don't know how to use superpowers, they've never read a goddamn comicbook.  Perhaps comicbooks don't exist in their universe?  I don't know.. But anybody who has read a comicbook or even watched a comicbook movie (which this isn't) would have some idea of how to use superpowers and with great responsibility comes something something or something.

Anyways, the main character is a loser whose mom is dying of, I dunno, lung cancer or something cause she smoked.  Maybe not, she didn't have her larynx removed or anything.  Whatever.  His father is a firefighter who gets workers comp I guess and spends his money on alcohol.  He's a dick, because as we all know, firefighters are all dicks who never did anything for anybody  His father beats him and pushes him around because he's drunk I guess.

I forget all of the characters names.  Except the black kid, Steve.  Steve is the first to die at the hands of loser boy.  Well maybe not, maybe it's just cause they were both flying in the air during a lightning storm.   They seem to have telekenesis based powers so I don't know if lightning and stuff defeats telekenesis, I'm not good at paper rock lightning telekenesis scissors fire.  But it seems to kill Steve.  RIP Steve.

Loser boy can't even gets laid and throws up on the girl who is practically begging him.  He has superpowers, he gets popularity, and whatever.  I dunno.  Maybe he has Aspergers.   Seems to have the symptoms. I don't know if that was the impression they were going for but that's what I got out of it.

Anyways loser boy has a cousin who is a pretty cool guy.  After Steve dies  loserboy goes down the winding road to insane psychopath.  I suppose the writers and directors were trying to tell a story about how an abusive situation leads to blah blah blah, but it really came off as kid is a mentalcase.  He ends up turning to supervillainy, robbing a bunch of street hoodlums in his fathers firefighter uniform.  He gets like #50 bucks out of it.  You have superpowers, idiot.  Rob a freakin' bank or something if you're going to be a supervillain.  Or make money as a magician or government assasin or something.  So many job opportunities available to you, but idiot loser boy has only $50 and needs more money for his mothers medicine (It's the third world nation known as America after all) and robs a gas station, but accidentally blows it up and he's in the hospital in a coma.

He wakes up from comaville after his father tells him his mother dies and it's all his fault.  First, did he make his mother smoke those cigarettes?  No.  And the father says its his fault because instead of being home he was out looking for his son.  Whatever.

Anyways, loserboy goes on a rampage of killing and messing things up, and his cousin tries to reason with him.  Cousin had a sidestory with some girl, I don't know maybe she died, she seemed nice, aside from her ugly Volkswagen.  Anyways, cousin eventually kills loserboy and flies away.   Only one guy with superhero powers left and he goes to Tibet to fullfil the promise he, Steve, and loserboy had.  Poor Steve.  Steve didn't really care about the Tibet thing, though.

Anyways, could have used some shots of the cousin character in Tibet messing with the Buddhist priests or something.  The ending was somewhat underwhelming, least of which the downward spiral of loserboy made no sense whatsoever.

But maybe crazy psychotics aren't supposed to make sense.  Maybe superpowers shouldn't be given to unstable emotional anti-social individuals with aspergers.  I blame the aliens.

It's interesting to note that Steve gets hit by lightning while flying in the sky during a thunderstorm.  If people did have the power to fly, would they be stupid enough to fly into a thunderstorm?  What's interesting about it is the power to fly is probably the most desired superhero.  Most desired, yet most likely to kill you dead unless you have invincibility with it.

Could this movie have been better?  Yes.  Definitely.  No question.  I did sit through all the way to the end of the movie hoping something useful would happen, but alas, no.  Still, this movie is one of the movies that came out in 2012, so there you have it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Netflix

I was going to watch some Anime on Netflix, but then I realized I'm forced to watch it in English.  My preference is always to watch a show in the original language it was made for, and to not have that option angers me. 

I know there are some shows on Netflix that offer multiple languages.  I don't know if this is particular to Funimation shows or what, but sorry, I'm not going to watch your dub even if it's the only option available to me.  Good day to you.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thinning the herd

There have been too many people taking the bus lately. 

Gas prices went down.  Get a car!!

I have a theory that at some point or another, every seat on every transit bus has been pissed or crapped on by a vagrant.

If we had a feces detector, we'd know for sure.

But my math seems solid.

Hopefully the bus ride tomorrow should be slightly less crowded after this post.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A winner is YOU

For the longest time when I was a kid I thought Wil Wheaton had won his role on Star Trek The Next Generation from a cereal box contest.


I figured out a few seasons later that no, he was hired for the show.  But I recently remembered the contest and wondered who won.  So I found the Cheerios commercial advertising the contest. 

So I don't know why other people were pissed at Wil Wheaton, but I was annoyed cause I thought he won the role from a cereal box.  

Really though, most TV shows would be improved if casting was done through cereal box contest.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Netflix on Linux is possible

No thanks to Netflix though.  They don't deserve any of the credit.  In fact they deserve scorn for not doing this themselves and forcing Linux users to find an alternative (which they will always do)

If you run Ubuntu, just do this from a terminal:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop

I was able to get it working after doing pulseaudio -k to kill pulseaudio.  A reboot probably would have worked as well.

What  is happening is modified the Wine windows emulator and created a script to fully automate the downloading of the required windows files to get netflix to work in Linux.

original article at iheartubuntu.com

Sunday, November 18, 2012

SUN DOOMS US ALL...

...  to extreme and pointlessly over the top headlines.

Headline on the Winnipeg Sun front page today was "BETTER WATCH OUT"

Can't they go for one day without an over the top headline?

The headline was about the Santa Claus parade.

If world peace was declared tomorrow, they'd probably spin that negatively too. 

I find it pretty sad.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Greed traps

$o Winnipeg city council want$ to extend photo radar until 2020 even though it doe$ nothing to $top accident$, and even increase$ rear end colli$ion$.   Why a I not $urpri$ed? 

Take gay pride Winnipeg.

Metro Winnipeg news is reporting Winnipeg picked to host 2014 pride event.. something something human rights museum... etc etc.

What I presume Winnipeggers really want to know is if Blue Bombers mascots Buzz and Boomer are finally coming out of the closet.  They're not fooling anybody.  The Ernie and Bert of Winnipeg.

If you can mascot, you can mascot.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Insert Disk into drive Eh.

Remember when computers you buy would come with install disks/CD's/DVD's?  wasn't that nice? 

Now they put all of that on a hard drive partition.  Would it be so hard to put it on some sort of USB Key or SD Card?

I use Linux, and I generally download and install Linux from USB Keys nowadays.  But I can't believe Windows users don't get an option like that.  It's ridiculous

I recently bought a solid state drive for my main laptop drive (for extended battery life, and increased speed) and am using the ultrabay slot on my thinkpad for a 1TB drive for my home directory.  But the idea of transferring all of the Windows 7 install information to the SSD is such a hassle.  I don't even use Windows (except as a honeypot should anyone other than me start up my computer)

I also find the tininess of micro-SD cards somewhat annoying.  Compact Flash was a good sized format.  It's too bad it didn't stick around.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Grappling with reality.

I saw a fruit called a grapple in an IGA flyer.  Apparently it is an unholy combination of grapes and apples.  They add ARTIFICIAL grape flavour .. why this exists I don't understand, but when I first saw it I thought it said crapple.  I still think my initial reading is more apt.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tres stupide

Why would anyone buy a laptop tray with a cup holder?  I know! Let's put a liquid next to my expensive multipurpose machine!  What could possibly go wrong? 

Jysk sells a good laptop tray.  I recommend it.

Monday, October 15, 2012

NY Winnipeg Jets?

Sometimes I wonder if the New York Yankees are more popular in this town than the Winnipeg Jets..  not really, but I hate the Yankees so it bugs me.

On a similar vein, if you had to guess the Winnipeg Jets colours based on flags left on vehicles you'd have to say purple and grey.  Those flags don't last at all.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cartoon Notwork

 "Can we watch new episodes of DC Nation on Cartoon Network now?"  "NO!"
 Recently, The Cartoon Network has started up in Canada as a "class B" digital channel.  It was launched July 4th, so about 3 months ago.  It's only available on Bell TV, Cogeco, Eastlink, and Telus Optik TV.   So if you live in Winnipeg like me, it's not available unless you have Bell satellite TV.  The channel is 50% owned by Astral Media, and 50% by Corus Entertainment.  If you go to the cartoonnetwork.com website, you're shunted without any apology to the Canadian website.  Which is annoying if you want to see something pertaining to the American channel.  But this article isn't really about Cartoon Network Canada.  It's about Cartoon Network.

"Take that, Fans!"
On Saturday October 13th 2012, Cartoon Network canceled the airing of the fairly popular DC Nation block.  The DC Nation block of programming generally consists of the cartoons "Young Justice", and "Green Lantern: The Animated Series", along with two DC Comics short cartoons.  Cartoon Network did not explain why they did this, and they did this after Green Lantern:TAS received a favorable article about it in USA Today about the supposed to be aired episode about a Green Lantern in a steampunk universe.  Many people were excited.  Worse than that, the previous episode showed the main character, Hal Jordan, supposedly killed by the Anti-Monitor, a threat to the universe.  Young Justice also ended the previous week on a cliff-hanger, and one of the animated shorts that was supposed to air in the block was supposed to be aimed at young girls, a magical girl character named Amethyst of Gemworld, which held a lot of promise as a concept itself.



Fans were justifiably angry, and turned to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and 4Chan to express their rage.   Images of crying children wondering why they would do this.  Eventually, Cartoon Network issued the following statement:  "Hey #DCNation fans! Have you heard?? DC Nation will return in January with all new episodes!" No, they haven't heard, because that PR Blurb was the first they heard of it.


4Chan seemed especially furious, even for 4Chan.  Vigilante justice levels of anger were displayed.  Twitter and Tumblr and Facebook fans were angry, but still mostly rational.


Mostly.  In any case, online petitions were made, Facebook comments sections were flooded, and it doesn't seem as if this will die down any time soon.  To add insult to injury, they replaced Sundays airing of DC Nation with Canada's own Johnny Test, the poster boy for the abolishment of cancon requirements.


Green Lantern and Young Justice don't really have much of a toy line, so some people are speculating that is the reason for the hiatus.  Others are saying they want to give a boost to "How to train your dragon"  airing in the timeslot that DC Nation had, right before the popular new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the very same channel.  Who knows.  My nephew doesn't watch the show (yet, I'll probably get him the DVD's) but he loves the Green Lantern toys he got from McDonald's.  The poor toy sales from the generally considered poorly done Green Lantern movie is the rumored reason they haven't produced any toys for the animated series.  A shame, as the animated series is much better than the movie, and produced by Bruce Timm who did the classic Batman animated series .  Even if it got poor ratings, which I doubt, WB (Who owns Cartoon Network) should keep it going as a loss leader to popularize the franchise for future movie box office numbers.  Did Avengers numbers come out of nowhere?  Spider-Man?  No, Marvel built up an audience with popular cartoons for years before doing live action.  Disney has pushed them even further, and Disney/Marvel's marketing is light years ahead of WB/DC's. 

  
Cartoon Network have shown themselves to be a 2-bit operation.  If they do indeed have a desire to cancel DC Nation, they should have done so after giving at least a week of notice, and allowed this week to air.  They would have avoided ending the shows on a cliffhanger, and further angering fans by not telling them until the last minute.  People would have been angry, but it's a different kind of angry when someone puts a steak in front of you and then quickly yanks it away and instead gives you dog food.  If the Cartoon Network does desire to cancel this block, they should communicate this to their parent Time-Warner, and to DC Entertainment, who would probably be better off airing their shows on a network like the CW.



Does this bode well for people thinking of subscribing to the Canadian version of this specialty channel, currently on free previews on a select few providers?  No, it's horrible PR.   Even though the Canadian channel is still way behind on airing the shows, the bad PR for the American station affects the Canadian one.   The people paying to run this network in Canada should be angry.   Advertisers should be angry.  The idea that even the producers of these shows were shocked and confused on twitter brought the anger to yet another plateau.  This whole scenario should be cataloged for future reference as an example of how not to act.

Apparently it's the 20th Anniversary of Cartoon Network.  They are celebrating their 20th birthday by angering their fans, by making children cry, and by shooting themselves in the foot for the future.   Happy Birthday, Cartoon Network.  I was a jerk when I was 20 too.

** Update **  Young Justice and Green Lantern seem to be available through iTunes.  Who ever thought there'd be a day I'd be praising Apple.  Alas, no DC Nation shorts available there.

** Update 2 **  Apparently been removed from iTunes, but it's too late, it's in the wild.

** Update 3 ** some people are still having success with iTunes still, so try your luck.  Show might be on Amazon some time this week as well, if you don't iTunes.

  Because I figure I can't just post Green Lantern images.

Please feel free to republish the text of this article in whole or in part.  I release it as public domain.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Open the door, get on the floor, everybody walk the Dinosaur

So I grab a copy of Metro Winnipeg today, and here is the cover.  Somebody failed at layout image placement.  I mean, Geddy Lee isn't a young guy anymore, but calling him a dinosaur?  That's a bit cruel. Metro Winnipeg.  Harsh even.

I have to believe it wasn't done on purpose.  I'm not a huge fan of Rush.  I had no interest in going to the concert.  I only own one Rush CD, Test for Echo.  (Which I liked).. but if this really was done in a mean spirited fashion by someone who hates classic rock.. well that would be disappointing.  Spaghetti falling out of your pants disappointing. 

I can't wait to take my niece and nephew to the Dinosaur exhibit though.  My nephew is at the right age to have his head explode with Dino-knowledge. 

A Cretaceous warrior, Mean mean stride, Today's Tyranosaur, Mean mean pride.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Monkey business

I read an article today about an act of vandalism in Israel against a christian monastery.  The text in Hebrew spray painted on the wall translates to "Jesus is a monkey"

Obviously vandalism is a dick move either way, but I have to wonder if this is a legitimate insult or simply a reference to the "restored" fresco painting in Spain known as ecce homo.  Where Jesus in his new poorly restored visage looks very ape-like.

Maybe not.. but it's an alternate plausible explanation. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Punch in the Face .. book

I think it should be illegal for government funded institutions to require you to use Facebook to participate in something.

Recently the Assiniboine Park Zoo has created a "Name the Panda" contest.  It requires you to log in through Facebook.

Never.  The Red Panda will rename nameless to me forever.

Facebook is an evil company that even tracks  those people who do not use it. 

Heads should roll.  Or at least Faces.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Radio GAH GAH NO.

I dislike Power 97 FM.  They play Nickelback AND Pearl Jam.  And tons of other shit I can't stand.  92 CITI FM at least doesn't play Nickelback.

Now, I've tried to listen to Power.  But Wheeler and his group of morning hosts BORED THE HELL OUT OF ME.  Tom and Joe might be old and tired, but they are an order of magnitude better than Wheeler and his group of sycophants.

It's a moot point, as I've been listening to TSN 1290 or podcasts instead of radio lately.  But it's very unlikely that I'll be listening to 92.1 in the mornings now.  And that's too bad, because it's equally unlikely that I'll listen to Shadoe or Howie in the evenings as Wheeler is such an annoying personality to me I'll avoid any station he's on like the plague. 

I'm guessing 92 is going to undergo a format change, and begin anew the same rot that destroyed it in the past.  Hopefully I'm wrong.

There are no winners in this, save perhaps Wheeler who gets to stick it to Power 97.   But even Power 97 wins in this because they get rid of Wheeler.  Joe is moving to 102 Clear FM, which .. is ... tolerable ... I guess.  Who is working at Bob?

What a horrible move. 

The only worse move 92 could have made was put perennially stoned sounding Ace Burpee on.

Also when the hell did Hot 103 become Virgin radio? Not that I care, I figured it'd happen sooner or later, but it happened and I didn't even notice.  That's good, I hate 103.  I wish Wheeler and company went there.

Note, I don't hate Wheeler personally, I have nothing against the guy, I just can't stand him doing a morning show.  I'm very grumpy and hateful in the morning and it doesn't do well to exacerbate that.  I remember BJ and Hal.. that was a decent morning show.  Tom and Joe was also a decent morning show.  Wheeler and herp and derp is not a decent morning show.  It's better than Beau and Tom were.  That's about the level they're at.

It's fascinating to watch this happen to Winnipeg radio.  The people making these decisions can't possibly be living in Winnipeg.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Stupid Questions and Winnipeg Media

It drives me crazy how the local media continuously asks the same stupid questions over and over again to Winnipeg Jets players.

"How do you like the city?" "It's pretty okay, huh?" "Winnipeg is major league right?  You're cool with us, right?"

I swear it's always CJOB asking these questions, but if they didn't probably someone else would.. Maybe the Free Press.  Stop it.  Just stop it. They signed with Winnipeg, they clearly like what they see.  The first year is over.  They know what we have and what to expect.  Stop asking "Do you like us?  Do you really really like us?"  It's pathetic. 

Or nagging Evander Kane.  "So there's some rumours out there, you know, that you, you know, don't like Winnipeg and want to leave and think we suck and hate the local media for asking dumb questions?"  Kane: "I can neither confirm or deny those rumours, that's between my agent and the GM, but I don't hate anyone or anything and definitely would like to get my contract negotiations finished" "So you hate Winnipeg?"  "I never said that" "You heard it, folks, Evander Kane hates Winnipeg and me and my family and wants to be traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the team I follow.  I secretly hate the Jets.  Oh wait I said that out loud.. it was a joke.  hahahah.  bye!"

That exchange didn't exactly happen, I'm exaggerating for effect, but it feels like it did. Some of our local media need to either retire or do something not involving sports.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Its not easy being... blue

So I wake up, have a shower, realize all my clothes are dirty except a green shirt.  About to wear it when I realize damn!  Its a bomber game day.  Even worse, its the Saskatchewan roughriders.  Even worse, its the labour day classic.  There is no way in hell I can wear a green shirt today.  Even if the bombers will probably lose regardless, fuck Saskatchewan.  No freakin way.  So I spent the next two hours washing and drying my blue t-shirts.  What else could I do?  Its not easy being blue... but its exponentially better than being green.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

He said She said

Did you know in Tagalog, the language spoken by many people from the Philippines, there is no equivalent word for He or She?  If you ever notice a Filipino mixing up and referring to a male as "Her", or female as "Him", that's why. 

pronoun
kanyaher, his, its, hers
siyahe, she, him, her, it, herself
kaniyaher, his, hers
nyaher, his, its

is what google translate says about the matter.


Now you know!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

One small step

The first thing I thought of when I heard Neil Armstrong had passed away today was Ice Cream.

Not because it was hot today - though it was.  I thought of Ice Cream because the first place I learned about Neil Armstrong was from Dickie Dee popsicle sticks.

Back in the day, Dickie Dee was the main distributer of ice cream in Winnipeg, and their popsicles and ice cream had little bits of educational trivia on them.  One of the most common was the question "Who was the first astronaut on the moon".. with the answer of course being Neil Armstrong.

Perhaps it was usually found on the rocket shaped popsicle.  I can't remember now.  It would make sense if it was though, what with the rocket shaped popsicle housing space trivia.  There was a tot lot near where I grew up where you'd inevitably see a used popsicle stick in the sandbox with the aforementioned trivia on it.

Dickie Dee sold out to unilever a long while back.  To be part of the Good Humor/Breyers brand.  I haven't seen any trivia on popsicle sticks in years.  It's a shame.  How much extra would it cost to make popsicle sticks with little questions on the sticks?  It's all so cold and impersonal nowadays.

Alas I couldn't find an image, but I made a reasonable recreation based off of memory.


So, in honour of Neil Armstrong, I had a Rocket Popsicle. 

"To the moon!"


Although to be fair they looked more like the latter photo.

It's kind of  timely that Mr Armstrong passed away just after the Mars Curiosity landing.  While it wasn't and couldn't be the same as landing a man on the moon,   it was perhaps the closest thing this generation is going to see to compare to that.  And a lot of people watched it online or whatever way they could.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Nintendo lack of power

For someone who wields the POWER COSMIC, Silver Surfer sure dies easily in the old Silver Surfer NES game. 

So recently I've read that Nintendo Power was going to cease publication.  It's kind of sad.  It was a big deal back in the day.  But then again, so were EGM and Gamepro. 

The internet killed the print media star. 

Comicbooks and books are next.  It'll be slow, but it'll happen sooner or later. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ad bus

Since when did Winnipeg transit start having actual ads on their buses?  Sure half of them are for MTS but still... nice to see the effort.  Good job bus advertising department.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

10 Digit Dialing hangups.

So 10 digit dialing is coming to Manitoba.  all 7 digit dialers will be accosted with a network message saying you gotta dial again, stupid.  

Here's what I don't get.  

Why can't Shaw and MTS et all just make it so that anyone who dials a 7 digit number gets a prompt asking if you are dialing 204 or 431?  Can't be that difficult can it? Press 1 for 204 press 2 for 431.  Easy.

I have a VoIP home phone.  My dialing plan is set so that my home phone will continue to allow me to dial 7 digits and go to any 204 number. 

Nobody dials 7 digits on their cell phones anyways.. people just touch the button and dial.  Especially with smart phones.

That said.. I can't wait to get wrong numbers with Boston accents trying to dial 413.  Bruins suck!  Oh wait.. that won't happen to me since I'm keeping my 204 numbers.  

 I think 204 should be a Winnipeg area code, and anyone outside the city should be reassigned to 431.  No particular reason either.  It would simply amuse me if that happened. 

I remember going to the children's museum as a kid and learning about the fact that numbers used to only be a few digits long back in the earliest days of the telephone.  

Oddly enough, Shaw still doesn't have ipv6 support.  That has nothing to do with 10-digit dialing, but it bothers me.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bad advice

Metro Winnipeg had an article in this weekends newspaper called "5 streets worth a summer stroll". In order they are:
Sherbrook
Wellington
Scotia
Selkirk
Corydon.
Wait.. what? Selkirk?  I mean... seriously?  Not that there aren't great businesses in the north end.. gunns bakery.. the windmill.. various meat stores nearby like European meats on burrows.. white stop restaurant.. but I would never recommend a summer stroll on Selkirk in this day and age. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Funny news reports

"Fled the scene on a scooter"
A guy was caught stealing catalytic converters in Winnipeg and cbc ended the news report with that line.  I cracked up.

Free Press said the same thing... heres a link.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Smelly

As a male one thing I hate is mall stores where it is required to walk through a high density perfume zone to enter.  Shoppers drug mart I'm looking primarily at you. 

I don't need perfume, I don't want to buy perfume, so why even pretend like it' going to happen?  It's not.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Remember when garden city shopping centre was a hip and cool place to go?

Me neither. But they are installing a large chess board in the center court.  



Will they use human chess pieces like in the Simpsons?  I doubt it but we can always hope.

 I remember the old chess board near where Eatons was.. it was pretty popular though it seemed to attract the same few old people who played all day.  And the new one looks like it'll be pretty cool looking.

Grand opening is on Thursday July 19th.

Right in front of the Dollarama.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Metro Winnipeg paper.

One thing that bugs me about the metro newspapers is when people throw their dirty kleenex tissues in the box.  And they stay in there forever.  I end up leaving the newspaper rather than risk touching the gross waste.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Irony

So I'm Standing outside using my MTS 3g cell phone when all of a sudden I lose my 3G signal.  I look up, GIANT BILLBOARD meters away claiming "BEST COVERAGE FOR MANITOBANS". which are weasel words if I ever saw them.  Why is it not "Best coverage IN Manitoba"?  Probably because they can't technically say that? 


Also odd is using my MTS phone with 3G and getting Google ads on it from MTS.  You'd think they could tell I'm already using MTS, but there you go.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Stupid facebook and twitter posts

I hate twitter and Facebook and the foolish corporate sellout of the social internet they represent.  But even worse I hate idiotic posts like the following.

A coyotes fan shocked at the franchise value of the Winnipeg jets and the fact that they lost money.. only problem is that magazine clip is from November 2011 and specifically state most number are based on the Atlanta Thrashers, before the jets even played a game in Winnipeg.  I'm not saying the Jets are going to be 100% profitable, who knows.  They'll have good years and bad, I'm sure.  But to tweet out a bunch of junk about the Winnipeg Jets losing money in 2010-2011.. that's just pathetic.

Then there are people who post stupid photoshops of back to the future saying that today is the date doc and Marty went to the future.  Gullible fools all of them.
I hate them so much.  STOP IT.  JUST STOP.

Such stupidity.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dollarama and the jets

The dollarama across from the MTS Centre in Winnipeg is finally carrying Winnipeg jets merchandise after years of carrying worthless Toronto maple leafs products almost exclusively.  Granted all they have in stock is Kleenex boxes... but it's a start!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Prognostications for the future

I predict that 60 years from now, Team Canada's Olympic hockey team will be fielded entirely by descendants of the Sutters.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Worst government ever

Today the Conservatives passed bill C-11, relatively unchanged, with little to no input for the concerns of the majority of Canadians.  They did listen to American industry groups like the RIAA though, so isn't that nice?

Congratulations on being a criminal.  Gonna need some more prisons built now.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Taxis that tax me

Its annoying when you get in a taxi and try to put your seat belt on, and it won't lock into place... its like those old Micheal Jackson jackets with zippers that don't do anything... infuriating and  confusing. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bach in action

Recently, kickstarter has been in the news.  Group funded startups and projects such as the pebble and what have you.

Now there's classical music funded by kickstarter, available for free under a creative commons license that is essentially public domain. 

It's available at opengoldbergvariations.org/download.  in Flac or MP3.  No need to worry about the RIAA or MPAA suing you for sharing this torrent.   

It's an interesting premise.  We're bound to see more and more free culture funded this way.  Could be a good trend for the future of art and culture. 

As someone who has used Linux for years, the idea of software piracy is odd to me.  Why would anyone pirate software when so much free software is available? 

Imagining a world where the same can be said for popular music and movies.. that'd sure be nice.  A world where culture isn't locked up by a few mega-corporations and watered down and ruined for profit. 

I'm excited by the possibilities. 

It's amusing to see animation done with the free blender software is often used to show the capabilities of LCD screens and hardware graphics processors.  Video Editing software is not quite there for free software, but its only a matter of time.  And the next version of the Gnu Image Manipulation Project (GIMP) has single window mode and CMYK.   The tools are almost there.  The funding is there.  The method of distribution is there. 

Sooner or later the media oligopolies should be scared.  The biggest threat to them isn't piracy, it's competition.   I think they know it. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Best to not buy into this scam

 I don't remember entering into a contest for bestbuy.ca, but I received the following text message today:

"Congratulations, your mobile number has made you a winner! Goto http://www.bestbuy.ca.wonacontest.com to claim your prize! You have 24 hours to claim your prize."
If it sounds too good to be true? It probably is.  Look at this phishing web site URL closely.  Look closelier.  NOW you see it.  bestbuy.ca.wonacontest.com is not bestbuy.ca, it's wonacontest.com, which is clearly a scam website.  I think they text you and call at the same time.  The text came from 1-347-821-8805, which 800notes.com says is sketchy and used for other things as well.  Do not believe this.  scam. 

Maybe an hour later I received a phone call from 1-866-858-7429, which seems to want to pretend to be shaw cable.  Which it probably isn't.  Said the call originated in the USA, which I found odd but could just be my cell phone's configuration.

 For more infocheck out 800notes.com.   Don't get tricked.  Basically, if they have an Indian accent, they're totally scammers.

http://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-347-821-4670
http://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-866-858-7429
 
If you ever find a phishing website and wish to report it to google, check out  http://www.google.com/safebrowsing/report_phish/ and http://www.antiphishing.org/.  The scammers are getting slightly less incompetent so be vigilant!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Give it an Everest.

I was listening to cbc radio this morning and there was a segment about a woman who recently died climbing Everest and what's being done to make it more safe.  MORE safe?  It's not supposed to be safe.  That's the point.  You take safety precautions and make sure you're skilled enough to do it, don't insult the mountain.  Don't mock nature. 

William Shatner explains it all in his music video "Shatner on the mount" available on YouTube.

Everest is very safe.  For the largest mountain on earth anyways. If you're competent at mountaineering risks should be  minimal.. but you'renever going to eliminate the risk factor.  Nor should you. 

The same can be said for children's playgrounds .  Safety is artificial and goes against human nature.  If something is too safe, people will seek out their adrenaline rush some other way.

Monday, May 21, 2012

History of Victoria Day


A True and completely unfabricated nor photoshopped history of Victoria Day.

 by Reed Solomon


Today is Victoria Day, named for one of the greatest Queens of Canada's history.  Queen Victoria, who invented many great inventions, including the rocket car, electric guitar, and chunky soup,  was born on this day, and we continue to celebrate her birthday and also the day she died in her honour.  

One day, Queen Victoria pondered about a holiday to kick off summer.  Before Victoria day, nobody knew when summer officially began.  In the USA, they still wait until Independence Day, the day they betrayed Queen Victoria, but we get to start summer early in Canada because we're so lucky.
 
 
 Queen Victoria thinking about the invention 
of a new holiday

Eventually, the brilliant idea of celebrating her birthday as a holiday hit her.  She rounded up all of the people of Canada and told them that there would be a holiday, and everyone in Canada thought it would become a most splendid tradition. But they didn't say anything because they were afraid of her because when she got angry she shot lasers from her eyes.  True story. 

 Queen being unsatisfied.

But the Queen was not satisfied.  Something was missing from her holiday.  She called her royal attendants and such and told them they were going to have a brainstorming session, and that nobody would get their bonuses until they came up with a way to make celebrating her birthday more specialler. 




Queen Victoria about to hit someone with a fan for being an idiot

Queen Victoria eventually came up with the idea of everybody getting drunk and going to the cabin or lake for Victoria Day.  Everyone in Canada thought it was brilliant, and that is why we celebrate Victoria day because everyone wants to drink and celebrate the brave Queen who said everyone has to drink on her birthday, even babies.  Especially dogs and cats.  Also anyone who chose to abstain was shot as a traitor to the commonwealth, which existed at the time, but was called a Dominion.  Later Dominion became a grocery chain.

Queen Victoria celebrating the Victoria Day holiday minutes before her death from fox attack.  Fox hunting has been a royal duty ever since.  In revenge for their regicide. 
So when you light up your fireworks or drink a whole case of beer or lounge around at your cabin while eating hawkins cheezies (also invented by Queen Victoria), remember this great and important monarch who accomplished so much and is still taught about in Canadian schools to this day perhaps.  

Victoria Day is celebrated in other countries.  In Australia it's known as Kangaroo appreciation day, in Jamaica it's known as Monday, and in China it's known as  我不能相信你把這種通過谷歌翻譯日 day.  In Japan, they celebrate ビールが好きな親切な老婦人 day, and in the Philippines they celebrate lasing nangangamoy Lola araw.

For more information you could go to Wikipedia's web page about the history of Victoria Day.  I didn't, because Wikipedia is full of liars and deletionists, but I think I was pretty accurate.  Nothing seems incorrect. 

HAPPY VICTORIA DAY!
 

Friday, May 11, 2012

We should build this in Winnipeg

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/paleofuture/2012/05/the-monument-to-electricity-that-never-was/



Monument to electricity proposed in the 1920's.  That's awesome.  Why not!  I say put it across the street from the Human Rights museum.  Maybe put a ferris wheel in the turbine.  Operate it year round.  The Powerhouse could be a hotel.  It's genius.  Who wouldn't want to put it across the street from the Human Rights Museum?  Who needs a water park!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Home made

Whenever I see a restaurant advertising their food as home made, It just bothers me.  It's not home made.  You made it at the restaurant.  It's restaurant made.   I can understand that they're saying it's not produced in some sort of factory, but still.  If you had meat and buns from McDonalds and cooked them on your bbq would you call that home made?  What is the definition?  This keeps me up at night.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Happy 25th Birthday, Loonie

Today is the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Loonie one dollar coin. It's nice to think that in 25 years it's actually worth something. Thinking about that made me think of the day the GST came out. I went to buy a Slurpee at 7-Eleven, and the price went up! How did that make sense! Price went up, plus there was a TAX on top of everything. What the hell. That was the day I learned about how economics works. Everything went up in price by 7%. I can't remember a single store that lowered the price of their product due to the fact that the hidden sales tax came off and was replaced by a value added tax. I suppose the price of conversion convinced retailers that it was better for them to just increase inflation that year than to play fair, but still, that's why I dislike the GST. But I guess I'm used to it now, as we all are. Good ol' stockholm syndrome.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Step Right Up! Everyone's an AllWinner!

Recently my interest has been piqued by open hardware platforms, more specifically, arm based open hardware.  If you've been following the saga of the educationally directed Raspberry Pi computer device, you'll understand where I'm going with this.

Personally, the Raspberry Pi does not meet my requirements.  It is interesting, and cheap, and offers a lot of options to many people, but it is neither open enough nor feature filled enough for me.

Still, I've been keeping abreast of various happenings in the embedded Linux and Android spaces.   Android of course, is Google's Linux powered OS.  And there are a lot of Android phones and tablets out there.  Many of the cheaper (price and/or quality) variety.  There are also a plethora of TV/Media devices out there.  They use a variety of different chips and configurations.

Now my ideal solution at the moment is an arm based computer capable of running at 1 gHz or higher.  Paired with a graphics processing and decoding chip that was fully supported by Linux without resorting to the use of binary blobs.  I'd want VGA and HDMI output, and of course the ability to bring my own linux distro (Arm compiled of course).  Gigabit ethernet, bluetooth, and 5GHZ capable 802.11N wireless would be my preference but not deal breakers.   Aside from my wireless preferences, the Allwinner A10 chip offers most of those features already and is already available at ridiculously low prices.

Most interestingly, it is available in the $100 Mele A100 media center.   Which can be hacked rather easily to run Ubuntu ... I don't much care for the design of the device, I'd prefer if it was in a similar form factor as my current living room device, and I'm certain sooner or later someone will release a device to my specifications.  The sooner, the better.

Currently I have a Pivos media player in my living room.  It is satisfactory, but I would love to have an XBMC based Arm device there instead.  I'd even pay a premium if I knew purchasing it helped support the XBMC development team.  Now, on its own, the Allwinner A10 can't be expected to drive an XBMC environment.. but paired with the recently reverse engineered and thus open hardware Mali400 GPU, which it frequently is, the AllWinner A10 could be an excellent option for an XBMC based media device  You could also use some other decoding chip like a broadcom crystalHD, .  Heck, it'd make a decent cheap computer terminal in general for people.  Have a widescreen TV?  Plug in the device to the HDMI, connect to the internet, and voila.  Pair it with a Flymouse of some kind with a built in keyboard, and you're set. Here's a mockup of what I think it'd be cool to see visually.

(click to embiggen)
Could Ubuntu or some other Linux distributer brand their own Mac Mini style arm devices and sell them on their website?  Sure they could.  Anyone can.  Get them built to your preferences, and you can call them whatever you want.  I think they'll be everywhere within a year.  And Microsoft probably knows as well.  Hence their secureboot initiative not allowing their own arm devices to run competing software.  They're scared, I think this is going to be huge.

Aside from the Chinese manufacturers, theres Rhombus-Tech, who have been on top of this for a while now.  They have their own plans which are also interesting.  They plan to re-purpose the original PCMCIA slot architecture as a replaceable hardware slot.  You could then have generic netbooks, tablets, or other devices, plug in the EOMA-68 (their designation for this card), and have yourself a fully working easily upgradeable device.  That's also pretty cool.

Heres the thread on xbmc's forums discussing the possibility.  (for the A10 in particular, there are other threads related to Arm devices in general)

Heres some people on the SA forums discussing it.

Heres some french guys surrending to the idea of this device talking in frenchHeres a google translationHeres a google translation to English.

Heres an interesting article on a debian mailing list.

Do a google search for Linux or XBMC +Allwinner A10 for more info.  This is going to be an interesting year for Linux based devices.

*note, as of today, 8.20.2012, there are significant hurdles in the Allwinner A10 GPU running XBMC.   Not the least of which is the seeming uncooperativeness of Allwinner themselves with the XBMC team.  If you want a well supported XBMC device, get the PIVOS XIOS.

Friday, April 27, 2012

How to drag the CBC kicking and screaming into relevance

The CBC is facing decreasing budgets. The Conservative party of Canada, who find even the idea of a publicly funded national television station outdated and counter productive to their philosophy, have cut the budget of the CBC yet again.  The CBC is an easy target, because they've done so many things wrong over the years.

Ultimately I believe the CBC to be a worthwhile public expenditure.  Whether I feel they're left biased or not, like the BBC and PBS and others in their respective countries, any modern well off nation should have a public broadcaster.  If only to provide coverage where "for profit" or private entities don't.

So with that out of the way, my main belief (not surprisingly to regular readers of this blog) is that the CBC has bungled their digital OTA (Over-The-Air) conversion. 

Certainly, switching from analogue to digitial  costs money, and certainly the CBC is seeing less and less of it.   Realistically, the CBC should have 10 years ago set aside money to take advantage of the opportunities OTA digital broadcasting provides them, both in serving communities and citizens across Canada, and in the potential to make extra cash.

Why should the CBC care about OTA?  In their own words OTA is dying (it's not), and not worth paying for (it is).  The CBC should care for OTA because to OTA viewers, CBC is king.  And OTA is set to increase as more and more people abandon Cable TV, just like CBC is abandoning their "Bold" digital channel.  People don't need 400 channels.  People realize they're watching the networks, including CBC, and maybe a few other shows.  They're either getting what they want online, or waiting for DVD's.  Cable isn't going away any time soon, and certainly Canada has a ridiculously high rate of cable subscribers, but I believe that it's only going to go down, and CBC should take advantage of that fact.

Secondly, digital OTA provides opportunities for the CBC to better service communities and perhaps even make money.  How?  Read on.

With Analogue signals, people received one channel that was often fuzzy and subject to ghosting and what have you.  Ever since the digital conversion last year, at least in most major cities, with an ATSC rather than NTSC tuner you can now pick up a perfect digital signal.  Which is great, but even better for the CBC, is they can multiplex additional signals.  What does this mean?  The CBC can, as many American stations do, add SUB-channels and make use of unused space to broadcast more stations.   The CBC generally broadcasts a 720P HD digital signal.  At least here in Winnipeg they do.  That means they could add 3 digital Standard definition sub-channels. 

The CBC has a large back-catalogue of programming.  What could they offer on a sub-channel that would be relevant to Canadians?

They could offer CBC News Network, but they probably won't as they get a fee for carriage from the cable companies mandatory by the CRTC.  Which is backwards thinking, but whatever.  However, they could offer a CBC News Lite channel that simply gives headline news on a loop and none of the extra programming one would find on CBC News Network (I still call it Newsworld)

They could offer a childrens subchannel.  There are years of Mister Dressup, Sesame Street, Friendly Giant, and other programming in CBC's archives.  Couldn't hurt to put it up on a subchannel.   Educating kids is a great public service, and people will be more furious at future CBC cuts if they feel quality childrens programming is being attacked.  Right now the Conservative government gets away with its CBC cuts because people think the CBC is wasting money on overpaid union staff, poor quality television, and is basically lock in step with the Bells and Shaw Cables and Roger TV's of this country trying to suck money out of Canadians for artsy fartsy productions that nobody cares about.  I disagree with this, there is a lot of decent and even great programming on CBC TV and Radio, but that's the perception, and that's why the CBC is an easy target.  Unless they work to change this perception, they're doomed.

Another subchannel option the CBC could offer, with little real effort needed, is to offer a weather or Environment Canada style channel on OTA.  Weather warnings, Local weather updates.  Basically the text weather channel on most cable offerings.  All they'd need to do is get some programmer to write a script and output the info to the screen.  It probably wouldn't even take much bandwidth as a subchannel.  The best thing is instead of background music, they could put CBC Radio One, Two, or Three as the audio feed.  They could even offer a similar CBC News channel that basically prints out RSS feeds from their website to the screen.  Or they could have a third channel that's just community news and events.  Just the lowest quality text only video they can get away with, along with giving another outlet for their radio offerings.  Why wouldn't they?  They might even be able to put cheap local advertising on a scroll at the bottom of the screen. 

No matter how you look at it, sub-channels offer the CBC a way to harness their dominance in OTA in Canada and make themselves less expendable in the long run.  Now, what about places outside of the major cities?  Some of them have been abandoned by the CBC and major networks.  This is the shame, but here is another opportunity for subchannels to help bring a resurgence to OTA and the CBC's relevance. 

Obviously the CBC can't afford to blanket the country in digital as they did when they originally began broadcasting.  However, theres nothing preventing the CBC from working with smaller towns or municipalities to find a way to cover the costs of a repeater tower in their communities.  You could fit 8-10 standard definition channels on one transmitter.  The cost could be shared between the CBC and other channels (SRC, or even Global, CTV, what have you), until such a time as it would be cost effective for them to build out their own tower.  In the meantime, the CBC could operate and maintain the antennas.  Who knows.  They could even rent out subchannels for religious or advertising purposes, assuming the CRTC allows it.

You can pick and choose what you think are good ideas, but there are options available, and the CBC doesn't seem to be pursuing ANY of them.  Which doesn't help their case as being relevant to Canadians.  Relevant to Canadians who make money thanks to the existence of the CBC, perhaps, but that's not enough. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The One True Keyboard

If you know anything about keyboards, you should know the IBM "Model M" is the pinnacle of Keyboard technology. I first experienced them typing up essays in high school on old PS/2 IBM's. I believe they were Model M2's which are somewhat smaller and more compact, but I was able to bang out essays of unsuspicious quality about 40 minutes before class. Good times. The secret is the buckling spring technology, which makes for a noisy yet satisfyingly responsive typewriter like experience.

Since then, I have acquired both the beige Model M (Which came with an AT connector), and the Model M2, which came with a PS/2 connector. The M2 has a flaw where the capacitor needs to be replaced, but it's a simple enough fix. In any case, I was not without a Model M keyboard.. though my Thinkpad laptop keyboard is certainly a passable one. Imagine my surprise when, for $1, I found a Black Model-M13 keyboard.


Though not quite the holy grail of Model M keyboards (That would be the Model M15 ergonomic adjustable keyboard pictured above), The Model M13 is the only Model M keyboard that came in Stealth Black (including the keys), and it even has a red trackpoint. Sometimes known as a nipple mouse. As a thinkpad owner, and owner of a standard trackpoint IV keyboard, I knew I wanted it. I didn't even know for sure if it worked. Though, being a Model M, the odds of it not working were minimal. These things are tanks.



I wiped it down a bit to clean it off, plugged it in via the PS2 ports on my server computer, and lo and behold, it worked. I went online, and imagine my shock to find that these keyboards generally sell (USED) for $250.

I did some more research, and UNICOMP still makes Model M keyboards. They even do custom work and have a $100 version that comes with a trackpoint. That's pretty cool. I mean, I paid $1, but I could have paid $250. But $100? That's a decent price for a good keyboard.

However, looking at it, I realized they're missing out on an opportunity. First, UNICOMP doesn't sell black keys with lettering on them. Even their black keyboards come with white keys. Supposedly people complained that the letters were somehow wearing off. So they stopped selling them completely and only offer completely black blank keys. This I find curious. Dell makes nothing but black shity keyboards. Their lettering doesn't seem to fade. Or if it does, who cares?

Second, while they have a Trackpoint option, exactly like the M13 I got for a buck, It might be a good idea for them to update to three buttons as most modern thinkpad laptops do. I made a mock-up below. Basically I cut and pasted the three mouse buttons from a thinkpad trackpoint on top of the two from the UNICOMP keyboard.. Nowadays the middle mouse button is indispensable for scrolling down web pages or what have you. Also middle button pasting.


Third, If they did offer lettering on their black keys, I'd love the option of a Linux penguin instead of the Windows logo on the meta key. Heck there are even apple fans of the Model M style keyboards, so give them their meta key or an apple or something.

Anyways, if I were designing the successor to the M13, those are the three main things I'd do. Obviously I prefer black, but others prefer white or clear. Beige is kind of passe .. though it could make a retro comeback. Most store bought non Apple monitors are generally (and perhaps annoyingly) black, and people like to have things that match. Also I'd use blue trackpoint caps.

UNICOMP seems to offer a quieter option of keyboard. I have no idea what that means. Is it a clicky keyboard without the noisy click? That seems interesting to me.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Google street view car spotted in winnipeg

Saw it on pembina around Jubilee today.  Probably updating things?  Was this in the news anywhere?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tips for making money while Time Travelling

I think it's a good idea to memorize the winning numbers of the biggest jackpot of every year, JUST IN CASE you end up time travelling to the past. Cause otherwise, what are you going to do? I mean, you could buy apple stock or microsoft stock or coca cola stock or whatever depending on how far back you go, but you gotta start somewhere.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Facebook bought Instagram

TIME TO UNINSTALL!!

Peter MacKay is right

Canadians were not misled on the cost of the fighter jets. We knew we were getting screwed and that it was a waste of money and the only people who thought otherwise were either liars or sockpuppets.

Did anyone truly believe the Conservatives numbers were legit? Of course not. Why would we believe anything they say?

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Oompa loompa derpity blap

The Johnny Depp Charlie and the chocolate factory movie is unwatchable crap.

I saw the Tim Burton  master(bation)piece on the shelf at goodwill, and I got excited thinking it was the superior original, but alas, I lose, sir.  Good Day to me.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Shaw is discontinuing analogue FM Radio

According to http://shaw.ca/Support/Television/FM-Discontinuation/ as part of its plan to free up space for High Def channels, Shaw will be discontinuing their Analogue FM radio service sooner or later. It will be available as a digital channel, presumably unencrypted. Which is probably better for everyone. Still no plans for unencrypted clear QAM channels, however. Which means I personally will continue to avoid paying for shaws digital TV service.

I mostly write this as a followup to a previous article I wrote http://reedsolomon.blogspot.ca/2010/07/fm-cable-radio.html

Friday, March 30, 2012

Congrats to Metro newspapers

Metro now reaches over 1,492,700 daily and 3,388,900 weekly readers coast to coast in Halifax, Montreal,  Ottawa,  Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver and nowhere else important enough to mention.

This information obtained from Metro Winnipeg March 30th edition.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Umbrella breaking wind

What I love about winnipeg is on days when it's raining, its usually also windy.  Unless you have an umbrella made out of unbreakium or adamantium,  it won't last very long.  Someone should invent winnipeg proof umbrellas.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Hunger Games

Hunger Games was a good movie with a really good soundtrack, very true to the book.. but what's better is this: The Beanie Baby Hunger Games. In fact its so good I assume it will be taken down by youtube for being too brilliant.

RATMOBILE

Ever notice that when looking at the logo for a FIAT vehicle in the dark it almost looks like the word RAT?

Maybe it's just me.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Somebody stop me (from smokin)

I'm all for getting people to quit smoking. Putting ugly pictures of hearts and lungs on cigarette packages, prohibiting advertising, that's all great, but when I as a NON SMOKER have to put up with the following ANNOYING ASS commercial over and over again just because there are apparently STILL a bunch of idiots out there smoking who are unaware that it's bad for them,



You know what, we get it. It's bad for you. But that doesn't give you license to annoy the hell out of me while I'm watching the Jets lose in Nashville or before Donald Trump fires somebody. It's tactless. Find a better way to get your message across. Just because you have a righteous cause doesn't mean everyone should be subject to heavy handed overly dramatic scare tactics. And our tax dollars are funding my annoyance, which annoys me doubly so.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Stupid brand names

Walmart has a clothing line called George. Stupidest brand name ever. I can only imagine that it was created by the abominable snowman who also works for Walmart.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Bassillies best

Not my favorite frozen lasagna brand. He Should stick to making blackberries.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Radioactive pocky man

Went to the store and saw some pocky .. sadly did not buy any because I have no faith that food from japan won't give me cancer or weird superpowers.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

More than meets the eye

Remember those stickers on transformers toys that you rubbed and it was all cool? I miss those.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dear keyboard manufacturers

Why do you make laptop style Bluetooth keyboards and not include some sort of track pad (or in a perfect world, a trackpoint nub) ? Its incomprehensible to me. What's worse is when they throw in an optical mouse. If you could bother to throw that in why couldn't you bother to just include it in the keyboard design?

Dear Lenovo. Please make a full sized Thinkpad branded bluetooth keyboard with the same features as the thinkpad laptop keyboards. Include a trackpoint, and if you feel like it, a trackpad as well. I will buy it.

I'd pay big money for a mechanical keyboard with those features.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Opinions are like assholes

Why shouldn't we fire those police chiefs who are speaking out in favour of bill C-30? Why do we allow these public employees to push a law that infringes upon our right to privacy? Just because it makes their jobs easier? Will we allow bankers to pick our pockets because getting us to make an actual deposit is just too much work? Should we give animal services the ability to mount video cameras in your backyard to monitor your pets? I question the intelligence and sanity of any police officer who thinks a communist style spying regime is in the best interests of society.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lebowskimobile

The Stranger from the movie the Big Lebowski, aka Sam Elliott, wants me to buy a Dodge Ram.



The Dude, from the movie the Big Lebowski, aka Jeff Bridges, wants me to buy a Hyundai.



But what does Walter, aka John Goodman, want me to buy?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bugle Boy

I was thinking.. you know what I haven't seen or eaten in a while? Bugles. Whatever happened to them? Then the other day I saw them at dollarama of all places. Bugles!

I always get sick of them half way through eating them though.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Review: Blackberry Playbook


So I bought a blackberry playbook. It was cheap, and I had to send my Android tablet for warranty repair anyways, so what the hell, I thought I'd buy one and give it a try. Also I suppose it was a bit of pity for a Canadian company falling on hard times (though self inflicted, really. I'm not a fan of their phones) I'll give the point of view on the playbook from someone who is primarily an Android user, which I am.

PROS
  • Nicely designed and solid with a beautiful (if small at 7") 1024x768 display.
  • While small, it's very portable, fitting in pockets
  • Front facing and rear facing high quality cameras.
  • High Definition mini HDMI output
  • Speakers actually work and are front facing and discrete (in other words, your hands holding the tablet don't generally get in the way of them)
  • The front bezel of the tablet is part of the capacitive touch screen. It is part of the design philosophy of the tablet, and is incorporated into the touch gestures. It's incorporated into the design of the OS, and it's like if Androids pull down menu was pushed to the next level.
  • The 3 pin magnetic connector for charging your playbook (similar to the one on the Galaxy Nexus) eases wear and tear on USB connections.
  • QNX is an interesting OS. I'm a Linux user, but I'm not a zealot. I can appreciate what went into the creation of the software on this device. I wish I had the option of running Linux/Android on this little machine, as I'm sure many others do as well (would have possibly negated the necessity of the price drop in my consideration to purchase the device)
  • This thing actually detects 5GHZ wireless N networks.

CONS

  • Configuration - The default configuration method I found a bit tedious. While it's good to have a setup wizard, coming from Android this seemed overly laborious and I even encountered a hangup when it paused and wouldn't continue without an internet connection. Android by comparison asks for very little upfront, but allows more customization afterwards.
  • Lack of Customization - Want to lock the orientation to landscape or portrait mode? Well fuck you. Is it annoying that the screen arbitrarily changes orientation and doesn't change when you want it to ? Yes it is. Tough luck. Want the default browser NOT to force you to view the new tab you're loading immediately into the foreground? Good luck with that. Even in most Apps that the blackberry has, there is little to no customization allowed. It could be a case of the software just not being complete enough, but I suspect it's at least partly a conscious choice. Being an Android user, it angers me.
  • Lack of Apps - Seriously, theres no apps. And what apps there are, are painfully incomplete. Kobo book reader doesn't let you side load existing books. I don't even know where it keeps its downloaded books, seemingly in a locked down directory, so I can't simply use a file manager to copy PDF's or epubs and reload. Pretty lame. Not that I particularly care for that reader anyways.
  • While the speaker on the front looks good, I worry that it makes the device more susceptible to spill damage. If it's water resistant or waterproof, that'd be nice, but I doubt it.
  • I don't like the texture of the back of the device. That's just me. It's a little coarse.
  • Couldn't stream from video from my UPnP devices. That would have been nice. Tried downloading them and playing.. MPEG2 was also an unsupported format. I think MKV was as well. Kind of unfortunate. I'm not expecting Archos device levels of media playback, but it would be nice. God knows the device doesn't have any other features that stand out amongst its competitors.
  • Seems to randomly drop the internet connection and reconnect. Very odd behaviour.
  • Battery charges pretty quick, but maybe get around 6 hours with it. Which makes sense, it is a fairly small but it's not bad as far as battery life goes.
  • Keyboard is horrible compared to the Android keyboard. No predictive text is a noticeable loss, very frustrating to use in some scenarios.
  • While the touch screen interface is interesting and clever.. It takes some getting used to.
  • Did I mention lack of apps? Seriously, it's shitty. But what's worse is the App store interface on the paybook makes it very difficult to find apps. Especially free ones. Everything is kept in strange directories that make no sense to me. It's like the worst BBS SysOp was in charge of creating the files area. There is a strong focus on purchasing paid apps, which I understand, but if I'm not in the mood for a paid app, I'd like to be able to see a list of just free apps. Not just the top 25 either, I'd like to see and scroll though other ones.
  • I don't want to be overly negative about the playbook's web browser. While it does seem to crash and lose connection for no reason, it works more often than not, and the flash support is excellent. It also doesn't seem to pretend to be a mobile browser but instead shows up and renders web pages as you would expect to see on your desktop. Which is what I would expect for a tablet. It annoys me when I'm browsing at home and see a mobile web page. This device has everything it needs to render a desktop web page. So I'm glad it does. Still, the web browser needs work.
  • Would be nice to have a useful clock mode. There is a flip clock app to download that works great (and lets the screen stay on continuously) but doesn't offer alarm clock type features. Android has tons of them. Also if flip clock made the flip noise that a real flip clock makes would be nice too.. but that's for the app developer to decide.
  • This device would make a great internet radio. Of course, Tunein radio doesn't yet have an app for it, so too bad!
  • Lack of standard USB port. My Android tablet had a USB port. I used it primarily to keep my phone charged off of the tablet while tethered. If there is a micro-usb to regular USB adapter, or micro-usb to micro-usb that allows for an external device to charge off the playbook, it's a moot point, and I'll have to look into that, but it'd be nice.
  • Lack of expandable memory. I know you want people to pay extra for the 64gig version, RIM. I get it. But it's stupid. And stupid people already have a company they can go to for stupid quickly obsolete products. It's called Apple.
So, Blackberry QNX OS 2.0 is out in two days. Supposedly rumoured to be anyways. It brings native Android app support, so that should be interesting to me. If I can get fbreaderj working on this thing, at least my ebook reader desires will be met and that's the most important issue to me.

I just realized, it would be interesting if these tablets had a dummy mode where you could use it as a screen connected to an external device. Maybe watch OTA TV with an external adapter plugged in either via HDMI or composite video/audio in. But this goes for most Android devices too. It'd be useful to have a few extra tablets sitting around just as mini external displays, even when the device becomes obsolete a few years down the line. But this is just as an aside.

In any case, the Playbook has a lot of potential. It'd be perfect just as a Skype video terminal mounted on the wall. Too bad Skype doesn't run on it, or anything else really.

So, here's looking forward to OS 2.0. Warp edition. Coming out on Tuesday. Two days away. It's a good device, with average software trying to run in a pack amongst mostly bad devices running slightly better software.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Vic Toews supposedly slept with his kids babysitter, but thinks you're a pedophile.

Are you against unreasonable intrusion into your private information by authorities? Of course you are. Unless you voted for the Conservative party of Canada, in which case, apparently you truly believe that the police should be able to do what they want whenever they want without any oversight or rules. Simply because it's JUST SO HARD to police the internet with all those megabytes and twitters and gigahertz out there. They want to be able to spy on citizens without the need for obtaining a warrant.. and if you're against it, it must be because YOU SUPPORT PEDOPHILES. That's what Vic Toews said yesterday, when the bill was introduced into parliament. That's one of the first things he said. You're either with them, or a pedophile supporter. That is the level of discourse the Conservative Party of Canada is at now that they have a majority. This is what you people voted for. Nice work, idiots.

So someone on twitter known as vikileaks30 decided that Vic Toews wants our private information so badly, maybe his private information should be released as well. And it's brilliant. A man who represents the Mennonite communities in Steinbach and such seems to have court documents that basically state he is an adulterer, and of course he paid a fine for election fraud... what does that make him? A fraudster? I don't know.

We have at least 3 more years of this nonsense. As regular readers note, I voted NDP. The NDP have many problems, but I somehow doubt they'd sell out our freedoms to the creation of a fascistic police state. The Conservatives are not a real party. They're a caricature of what Conservatism should be. That much is apparent to me. The Liberals were corrupt, but at least they were sensible and didn't waste our tax dollars and give tax breaks to the rich the way the Conservatives clearly are. I am simply disgusted in the Conservatives, and their naive supporters.

Crappy google quote of the day