26 November 2008

What the &*^%$ a Zune?

Get your head out of the gutter!

How come no one's heard of iPod's nemesis? Well - it's not really a challenger. I think Microsoft's Zune has maybe 7% market share compared to Apple's 60-70% for iPod, but this thing works best for my needs; plus whether I like it or not, I'm inexorably tied to Microsoft for my personal computer needs in addition to my paycheck. Talk about being committed to a single stream....

I bought a 120GB player yesterday...I lost my old flash MP3 player a few months ago (damn tiny machines; isn't it inevitable that it will eventually disappear?)

Another early Xmas present to myself...well, the return of the gift from my brother and sister-in-law helped out in the payment for the player too -- we had family Xmas two weeks ago; it's complicated, don't ask.

Anyways, most of you know that I'm a music freak -- tens of thousands of songs catalogued on CDs and DVDs in addition to the CD and cassette collection (I'm old, okay?). I've been listening to music in MP3 format for at least 10 years now. The collection's grown somewhat over that time.

Finally, a single point to collate my entire collection! Marvellous! Now I need a week to re-load all the catalogued music and sync it onto the player...

25 November 2008

The Upside of A Downturn

World on cusp of technological revolution, Merrill Lynch says

Clean technology will rival the Industrial Revolution and every major technological development since then to become the "Sixth Revolution," as the world grapples with the threats of peak oil, global warming and the need for energy security, says Merrill Lynch. While such revolutions occur only about every 50 years, and can deliver "a golden age" based on the new technology's transformative possibilities, we are now on the cusp of the next great change, says Merrill Lynch clean-tech strategist Steven Milunovich. The end result will be significant investment opportunities likely heralded by a phase beginning as early as 2010-2011, when the potential impact of these changes bursts fully onto markets and the current financial crisis has eased, the report said. It also foresees: A world in which energy is not to be conserved but is so abundant as to be wasted, and one in which power generation is no longer the integrated monolith it is now, but one that is decentralized among users. A world in which electric automobiles navigate our roadways, solar panels heat our homes, and where hotels and large buildings use "utilities in a box" that offer electricity, heat, hot water and cooling on site by recapturing waste heat. And with transmission costs and new power plants adding dramatically to power costs, it will be a world in which "microgrids," or clusters of small on-site generators, serve office buildings, industrial parks and homes without overburdening aging transmission lines. Consequently, "the application of technology to resource problems should cause profound changes in the energy, utility and automotive industries," Milunovich said. The building blocks will likely be nanotechnology and genetic engineering. How biotech is already overlapping with the clean technology revolution is evident in the engineering of enzymes to break down cellulose to create biofuels. The alternative energy industry is currently well off its peaks, and is under pressure as the credit crisis crimps availability of capital. But Milunovich expects friendlier government policies, particularly from US president-elect Barack Obama, and economic improvement to spur investment. Critical to the success of alternative energy is the support of venture capitalists, whose entrepreneurial bent encourages innovative thinking.
(Vancouver Sun 081125)

Shine On Me

Tikaro, J. Louis & Ferran - Shine On Me
Free Music Videos at www.blastro.com

24 November 2008

Worried about nothing?

Last week I had a review with my Career Manager that prompted me to update my Monster.ca resume and profile -- something I hadn't done in several years simply because I didn't feel the need to.

With indications of what my company's initiatives might be in the new year (ie, they're waiting, like every other company, to see what this economic downturn is going to look like), and that training money might be non-existent while my contract on my current position ends at the end of December and there's a possibility that I might end up on the 'bench' for a period of time until new project money starts to flow again, I thought it wouldn't hurt to get my name out there again. Plus the fact I'm very tired and sick of my current role, to the point I don't even care about staying or going anymore.

I have had several IT Recruiters contact me over the past six months to see when I was going to be interested in looking at other opportunities, but over the last three days, I've had two companies contact me directly and another recruiting company! Now the issue is that there's a lot of development/support work out there in IT, but that's not particularly what I want to do anymore. I'm thinking business analyst roles, but I guess if the right technology position showed up, I might consider it.

But I'm being honest with everyone I talk to:
"yes, I've developed in Perl in the past, but it's not something I want to do exclusively."
"yes, I've been in development and support roles for almost eight years now, but I really want to get out of the technology side and get more experience on the business side." (I can't believe I'm actually saying such things).
and a few months ago:
"I'm going through a lot of personal stuff right now and won't be looking at any new opportunities in the short-term future." Classic, eh?

That being said, I heard from my deployment manager today that the head of the Integrated Technology Delivery group wants to talk to me about the end of my contract. He oversees network architecture for the current contract I'm on. I haven't worked with him directly, however we are part of a regular noon running group so I know him quite well. Maybe I'll wait to see what he has to say before I make any decisions?

I do have a meeting with the new IT Recruiter on Wednesday....

...when it rains, it pours.

23 November 2008

Big McDeal

Nude pics in phone lost at McDonald's get online
By The Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Here's some food for thought: If you have nude photos of your wife on your cellphone, hang onto it.

Phillip Sherman of Arkansas learned that lesson after he left his phone behind at a McDonald's restaurant and the photos ended up online. Now he and his wife, Tina, are suing the McDonald's Corp., the franchise owner and the store manager.

The suit was filed Friday and seeks a jury trial and $3 million in damages for suffering, embarrassment and the cost of having to move to a new home.

The suit says Phillip Sherman left the phone the Fayetteville store in July and employees promised to secure it until he returned.

Manager Aaron Brummley declined comment and other company officials didn't return messages.

Okay, so first of all this moron has these photos on his phone, obviously to show his friends. They get online, (OMG! Nude photos of my wife on the Internet! The horror!) which probably wouldn't have been a big deal, but then he decides to sue McDonald's? You had to move because of embarrassment of some online nude photos? REALLY? I smell bullshit. Now the whole world knows, you yutz. If you weren't so greedy, no one would've cared.

21 November 2008

Still Flying High

America’s Big Three Auto Maker CEOs Flew Private Jets to Plead for Public Funds
November 19, 2008

Detroit (ChattahBox) — The CEOs of Ford (Alan Mulally), Chrysler (Robert Nardelli) and GM (Rick Wagoner ) were in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday asking the government for billions of dollars to bailout their collective businesses.

The execs were trying to make the case that they’ll likely go out of business without a bailout. However they traveled in luxury on private, company owned, luxurious jets to get to D.C.

Wagoner flew in to tell members of Congress that the number one automaker is burning through cash, asking for $10-12 billion for GM alone. Sort of proving his case about burning cash, ABC News reports that Wagoner’s private jet trip to Washington cost the ailing GM an estimated $20,000 roundtrip. GM has 8 luxury jets in its fleet and apparently does NOT plan on selling any of them in this time of ‘crisis’. Note, the jet Wagoner flew on to get to DC cost the company $36 million.

Ford CEO Mulally told Congress that he’s cutting expenses, by laying-off workers and closing 17 plants. Mulally’s corporate jet is a perk included for both he and his wife as part of his employment contract along with a $28 million salary last year. Mulally actually lives in Seattle, not Detroit. The company jet takes him home and back on weekends. Neanwhile Ford continues to operate a fleet of eight private jets for its executives! The ABC report goes on to say that on Tuesday, one jet was taking Ford honchos to Los Angeles, another on a trip to Nebraska.

Robert Nardelli of Chrysler also flew in on a corporate jets to DC.

In comparison, seats on Northwest Airlines flight 2364 from Detroit to Washington were going online for $288 coach and $837 first class. Couldn’t the 3 have ‘jet pooled’ at least, considering they were coming from and going to the same place?

Tom Schatz, President of Citizens Against Government Waste said, “This is a slap in the face of taxpayers. To come to Washington on a corporate jet, and asking for a hand out is outrageous… It appears that the senior management of the automakers simply don’t get it.”

John McElroy of the TV show, Autoline Detroit said, “Now’s not the time to do that sort of thing. Now’s the time to be humble and show that you’re sharing equally in the sacrifice.”

Yeah, even the smallest gesture that you're serious and humbled would be a good thing. But these guys are so out to lunch on what reality for their companies is, I don't think they get it. Same old, same old. When times are good, these guys fight tooth and nail for deregulation and political leverage, then when things go south they are caught with their asses in the air and have to beg for taxpayer handouts. Ridiculous. It's very indicative of the analysis of the situation by the guys that rule the roost in most industries...I'm hardly surprised things are going the way they're going with all these goons in charge of things.

17 November 2008

Democracy has its bad effects

I am one of the people that believe the Internet has been one, if not the greatest invention by humanity of the past century - a tool to allow for truly democratic and unrestrained sharing of information around the world. I would fight to keep the Internet unregulated and free for much longer than I would fight for shitty commercial TV, radio or the movie industry, anyday. In fact, more than any industry or institution, period.

However, with all that unbridled access and freedom come the stoopid people. They are the ones that give the Internet and intelligent discourse a very bad name. You see them commenting on blogs, discussion boards, freaking out and flaming anything that they don't agree with with dialog that can hardly be considered coherent language or train of thought. It's these people I wish could be banned from the discourse, but alas, with all the power, freedom and goodness that comes with the Internet, it's gotten to the point where anyone can participate, and unfortunately the ones that are unable to use a mouse or write a complete proof-read sentence are now able to shower us with all their great bits of wisdom. Even though they kill every intelligent thinker just a little bit more everyday by sucking the brain cells out of the human collective, they are there and flourishing.

One good thing about the economic downturn, one can only hope, is that the barriers to entry will start going up again and most of these losers will be removed from the discourse once again, allowing it to jump up a few IQ notches.

One can only hope...


It'd be funny if it weren't true.

14 November 2008


Man, Facebook is acting like a piece of crap again this morning. Ever since they rolled out the new version, access has been spotty; no wonder millions of people are asking for them to bring back the old version. They should do SOMETHING, otherwise they're going to lose members...maybe. Online, people may be fickle, but if all your friends are on one network, you're gonna stay there no matter how bad things get, right?

13 November 2008

The Fire Sale Begins...

Federal government considering sale of Crown assets: Flaherty
Last Updated: Thursday, November 13, 2008 | 5:27 PM ET The Canadian Press

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says the Conservative government is looking at selling off some Crown assets in order to keep the country from running a deficit.

He wouldn't reveal which properties — or Crown corporations — might be on the auction block, but hinted Ottawa's stake in Toronto's CN Tower might be one of them.

Flaherty ruled out selling the CBC, which accounts for $1 billion of the federal budget every year.

Public Works Minister Christian Paradise cautioned that the review of assets is only in the preliminary stages.

Flaherty emerged from a Conservative caucus meeting in Winnipeg with a grim economic assessment, saying that conditions across the globe are likely to get worse and that he is consulting with economists almost every other day.

The governments are now selling everything they can think of to remain solvent now that they have decided that bailing out all the industries in the country is a good idea. It's only a matter of time now before the entire financial ponzi scheme collapses, so look for some good Crown Corporation investments while they're hot! LOL Yeah, right....

Zeitgeist 2

I just watched Zeitgeist 2: The Addendum tonight, and wow, just wow. It is a great piece of work. I highly recommend everyone sit through it at least once. It will shake your reality to its foundations. I know that I've been living in disdain and restlessness for some time now. The system we live in is so anti-human, anti-Earth, corrupt and diseased, I've been feeling otherworldly lately while I try to grasp the whole realization that we need to radically change the way we 'do' and 'think', but that I don't know what direction I should head in in the short-term and long-term myself. This movie certainly helped me clear a few things up in my head and I feel better and more optimistic about the future than I have in a very long time.

Here are some links:

12 November 2008

I Hate This Part

Another kickass remix that is better than the original. Digital Dog is a UK production team, whose influences include Soul Seekerz and Jody den Broeder, two other production teams that I LOVE.

Here is the remix single edit of Pussycat Dolls "I Hate This Part". Fantastic.

05 November 2008

Latest Update

Trial to begin Tuesday for man accused of killing cyclist
Daryl Slade, Calgary Herald
Published: Monday, November 03, 2008

A month-long trial for the shooting death of cyclist Brian Kullman is scheduled to begin Tuesday at Court of Queen's Bench in Calgary.

Bill James Pappas, 38, is charged with second-degree murder, arson, possession of stolen property under $5,000, uttering a forged document and fraud under $5,000, all related to Kullman's death.

Kullman's body was found Nov. 10, 2006, by hikers in Kananaskis Country.

Pappas was in possession of a one-way ticket to Italy when he was arrested by police at Calgary International Airport the day after the victim was found.

The first two weeks of the trial will be a voir dire before Justice Colleen Kenny to determine the admissibility of Crown evidence.

Jury selection will not take place until Nov. 15, after a ruling has been made on the voir dire, and the jurors will begin hearing evidence called by prosecutor Dale Fedorchuk on Nov. 18.

Pappas, represented by lawyer John Davison, was ordered to stand trial in November 2007, following a preliminary hearing in provincial court.

© Calgary Herald 2008


Congratulations America! You have definitively proven once again why your political system is the most successful democracy in human history. Barack Obama's win in the presidential election yesterday proved that if the people desire change enough, their voice (vote) can definitely count. After eight years of Republican mismanagement and the resulting gloom that hung over the world like a dark cloud, the people of the U.S. stood up and said "enough is enough". I really hope that the Democrats, now that they have majority in both Houses and the Presidential seat can affect change that the people of the nation feel is sorely needed.

"Yes We Can"!

I had been very concerned that McCain (nothing against him personally) might be able to pull out a win considering the outcomes of the last two elections, but it ended up not even being a close race. I think the entire world - and most Americans - felt that the American people had absolved their responsibility as benevolent leader of the free world ("with great power comes great responsibility"), but they proved my concerns unfounded. The people have spoken, a new political generation has officially been passed the torch and the beacon of American liberty (and its effect on the entire world) shines brightly once again.

I'm very impressed and proud of you, my friends.

I can't wait to join in the party with you this weekend in Chicago! I imagine the air will be filled with celebration and joy throughout the entire city and gay community for some time to come.


Unfortunately, one bit of bad news is that the constitutional ban on gay marriage proposition in California (Proposition 8) looks to have succeeded. It looks like the hope of thousands of gay couples in that state may be quashed....for now. I know their fight for equality will not subside and I was honestly surprised by the outcome, but hey, I guess the message is that America, while ready for its first visible minority president, is not ready for gay marriage. Despite the symbolic significance of what happened yesterday indicating how far the American psyche has come when considering tolerance and diversity, one can only hope that a move to more rational thinking, scientific consideration, humanitarian concern, environmental stewardship and progressive legislation that should come with the new Administration will trickle down to the collective consciousness of a people that are on the way to embracing their diversity and special place in the world, but are not all the way there yet.

The same resistance came in Canada until gay marriage was legally instituted by the Supreme Court (it was not brought in initially by democratic legislation). Over time, though, people realized the concerns of the resistance were unfounded and now I think most of Canada has come accustomed to gay marriage...most people don't even think about it anymore, and it certainly hasn't lessened the significance of the institution of marriage for most. Most of all, Canada did not fall off the face of the Earth in apocalyptic hellfire. In time, reason might prevail in American politics and culture, and gay marriage will one day be an inherent option for any gay person in that country as well.

Hugs to you, my American friends!