2011 in review

Posted in Aggravations, Dreams, Thoughts on January 27, 2012 by Mitch Leuraner

2011 was a rough year, and I’ve not really recovered yet. But here are the numbers, such as they are.

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Sorry…

Posted in Thoughts with tags on April 3, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

Life’s been twisted and turned upside down over the last few weeks and I’ve lost the will to blog.

Maybe I’ll be back again soon. Maybe I won’t.

Boy…

Posted in Dreams, Random, Thoughts with tags , , , , on March 8, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

No matter how badly you’re drawn, I will always feed the fish.

Smart Meters were never meant to save ‘everyone’ money

Posted in Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on March 8, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

The opposition parties started complaining yesterday after it was discovered that studies are showing that Smart Meters have caused most households to spend more on electricity, rather than less.  NDP leader Andrea Horwath ranted:

”Here we have a system that’s costing us $1 billion and people aren’t getting the benefit in cost savings and they’re not getting the benefit in conservation. It’s a complete failure.”

And apparently Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak “literally laughed out loud” at the idea that Smart Meters were saving people money.  He’s even promised that, if elected, his party would end the program. 

But here’s the thing… Smart Meters were never intended to save everyone money.  In fact, they literally cannot save everybody money.

Don’t believe me? Lets consider:

Smart meters allow the system to keep a record of when electricity is being used, in addition to how much. So you can see that you used x amount of electricity between 7am and 12pm, for example.  Because of that, the utility company can reliably set up a tiered system that charges you more for electricity during peak times, and less during off-peak times.  And your bill can be broken down to show exactly what you used, and when.  It’s an incentive-based program; the incentive being the high price associated with peak periods.

The idea is that when you see how much it costs to use electricity during peak times, you will make the effort to change your own habits, so that you use less when it is more expensive and more when it is less expensive.

The key here is that it is up to the consumers to make sure that they change their own habits. If you don’t change your usage to take advantage of the system, then not only will you not save money, you will likely spend even more money.

So all the people who saw a rise in costs associated with the Smart Meter program simply did not use it to their own advantage – they didn’t change their habits.  They might believe that they have all sorts of good reasons for not changing their habits, but the bottom line is that the choice was theirs to make – and they chose convenience over cost.

But this isn’t unexpected.  The government knew well ahead of time that this would be the case.  In fact, the Smart Meter system relies on the presumption that most people will not change their habits.

Think about it: the system assigns costs based on so-called peak and off-peak periods.  Lets say for simplicity that early in the morning and late at night are the off-peak period, and the middle of the day is the peak period.  The program was designed to give an incentive for people to use more during the early morning or late at night.

But if everyone actually switched their habits, then the morning and night would become the new peak period.  It doesn’t cost the utility more to create electricity during the day, it simply charges you more during times when there is the highest demand.  So if everyone started demanding more during what was originally labeled an off-peak period, it wouldn’t be an off-peak period anymore, would it?

The system presumes that there will always be more people willing to accept the cost as a matter of convenience, and rewards people who make an effort to change their habits.

It is disappointing that our politicians are not able to, or not willing to, understand this.

The end of TV as a vehicle for entertainment

Posted in Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

You may recall last week’s post about the CRTC’s decision to deny Shaw the right to air National Geographic Wild in Canada. The CRTC argued that there are already two other Canadian wild-life channels available which might lose viewership to the American National Geographic channel.

Okay, that’s lame, but whatever – that’s how the CRTC rolls.

Fast-foward to this week and we see that The Canadian Press is announcing that Swiss Chalet will be launching a 24-hour roasted chicken channel on Monday.  The channel will be nothing more than 2 rows of chickens roasting on an open flame – much like those fireplace recordings that play at Christmas – and it will run for 13 weeks.

Really.

Now lets consider this for a second…  a third wild-life channel is disallowed because it lacks enough Canadian content.  But a channel with nothing but roasting chickens is completely fine? 

I guess the chickens are were all Canadians?

But hypocracy aside, what really scares me is that a new channel is being created for the purpose of airing nothing more than a single commercial.  Really, that’s all this is.  Swiss Chalet is literally buying 13 weeks of 24 hour airtime on a dedicated channel, just to air a single, chicken-based commercial. With no actual entertainment value at all.

CRTC has a poor memory, send your complaints again

Posted in Aggravations, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on February 23, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

A few weeks back I sent the CRTC a message telling them what I think of their ruling to allow Bell Canada to force Usage-based Billing on the customers of its competition. Not long after that Tony Clement came out and told the CRTC just what he thought about it too – and they “agreed” to a review.

Well, that review is now.  Just yesterday I recieved this email:

Hello

Thank you for taking the time to contact the CRTC to express your concerns regarding the billing practices of wholesale Internet services. In light of the concerns expressed by Canadians regarding this issue, the Commission has decided to review its own decision.

We therefore invite you to participate in the review by submitting your comments at https://services.crtc.gc.ca/pub/Intervention/Submission-Soumission.aspx?lang=e&EventNo=2011-77&EventType=Notice#Step0. Comments must be received prior to April 29, 2011. Note that all information you provide as part of this public process, including any personal information, becomes part of a publicly accessible file and will be posted on the Commission’s website. We also include links to the CRTC news release http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/com100/2011/r110208.htm as well as Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2011-77 http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2011/2011-77.htm for your information.

Yours truly,

Suzanne Papineau
CRTC Client Services

1-877-249-2782 /télécopieur/facsimile 819-994-0218
Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications canadiennes / Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission / Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2
Gouvernement du Canada / Government of Canada

On the surface this seems good – the CRTC appears to be willing to hear what regular Canadians think about the issue. 

But wait a minute… didn’t I already tell them what I think? That is, after all, the whole reason they sent me the email in the first place.

I guess all the complaints that were sent in weeks ago don’t count now, because they were sent before the review processes was started.

So… send in your complaints again!  Don’t let the CRTC ignore your voice just because you were willing to speak up early.  And if you didn’t complain before, make sure you do now!  Before 29 April!

Happy Family Day… for those who actually get it

Posted in Aggravations, Thoughts with tags , , , , , on February 21, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

Seems like in Ottawa the only people who get Family Day off are the bus drivers…

I know exactly one person who doesn’t have to work today.  And on my way to work this morning, all the regular people were about waiting for the bus. 

Yet, somehow OC Transpo gets away with having limited service?

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