Archive for January, 2011

Usage-Based Billing is bad for everyone… except Bell, Rogers

Posted in Aggravations, Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

A recent decision by the CRTC has mandated that ISPs institute usage based billing by 1 March 2011. 

This is bad.  Very bad.

If you don’t understand why, then go to the link above and read Digital Home‘s explanation of the decision – they have it explained at least as well as I could, if not better.

When you are done reading and you are furious – and you will be furious – you are going to want to know what you can do about it.  The truth is, getting something like this turned around is hard.  Government agencies, the CRTC especially, don’t like taking criticism and they really don’t like admitting they were wrong. 

But there are some things you can do, and our friends at Digital Home have a perfect list: 

If Canadians really want to stop UBB, the time is now. Instead of complaining on blogs or signing petitions, do the proper thing. Phone, mail and email your MP. Here is the link which lists all 305 Members of Parliament. Click on your MP and you will find a phone number and an email address. Send them an email to complain and when you’re done, email James Moore, Minister of Heritage Canada ( Moore.J@parl.gc.ca ) , email the Minister of Industry Tony Clement ( minister.industry@ic.gc.ca ) and contact Stephen Harper your prime minister at ( Harper.S@parl.gc.ca ).

When you are done that, goto this link and make a complaint online to the CRTC.


Do it.  If you have doubts about what you should include in your letters, check out Digital Home’s article Usage Based Internet Billing: What can you do? for help – it’s definitely worthwhile.

We can stop this. But not if we just sit by and watch it happen.

UPDATE:

This guy has the right idea – but he needs your support!  Make sure that your MP knows what is going on!

The Bloc Quebecois resorting to blackmail?

Posted in Aggravations with tags , , , , , , , on January 27, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

I try not to discuss issues of “culture” too much – mostly because my thoughts aren’t politically correct – but once in a while something happens that really can’t be ignored.  This time, it’s Gilles Duceppe’s threat to topple the government unless Quebec is a $5-billion package. Yes – straight-up blackmail.

That’s $ 5,000,000,000.00 he wants to be spent solely on Quebec, or the Bloc will attempt to bring down Harper’s minority.

As far as I am concerned, Mr. Duceppe is welcome to force an election.  I would like the opportunity for the rest of Canada to show him exactly what we think of his threats.

Canadians read, Americans shop, Everyone Googles

Posted in Books, Finds, Random with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

I had a funky issue with my computer last night that made it so I couldn’t access Google.ca – I could access every other Google version, just not Canada. Boo. In any case, once I got everything sorted out, I was switching back and forth between the basic Google home page for the .com version and the .ca version, and I noticed a tiny difference:

The menu options at the top of the Google.com page are: Web, Images, Videos, Maps, News, Shopping, Gmail, and more. Like this:

But the same menu on Google.ca has slightly different options: Web, Images, Videos, Maps, News, Books, Gmail, and more. Like this:

Now, the fact that the US page would have shopping on the main list while Canada doesn’t, isn’t really that big a mystery.  Google is an American company and there are a whole lot of reason’s why they would be less likely to have shopping as a major option for Canadians.  But what I found most interesting is that they chose to replace shopping with books.

Google has so many products and services, I just find it surprising that they wouldn’t have chosen something like YouTube, or Photos. But hey, Google is all about knowing everything about their users, so if they say that Canadians want books, I tend to believe them!

Is ‘Flo’ really enough?

Posted in Finds, Random with tags , , , , , on January 11, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

So I typed ‘flo’ into Google tonight. That’s it – just three little letters – and the first suggestion for the auto-complete was “florence and the machine“!

That’s all it takes? The band is so big now that typing three letters into Google gets them suggested right away? Of all the other things that I could have been searching for that might start with ‘flo’, Google suggests Florence and the Machine?

That’s a little weird. (Ya, of course I was searching for the band, but I could have been searching for something else… like… Flowmaster Mufflers?)

But do you know what’s even weirder?  If you actually search Google for the letters ‘flo’, Florence and the Machine doesn’t even make it into the first page of results!

That’s right!  So if you type ‘flo’ into Google, it will suggest that you might be looking for the band, but if you actually hit Search for just those letters it doesn’t think you want the band at all.

What’s up with that?

No, I didn’t make any resolutions!

Posted in Aggravations, Rules, Thoughts with tags , , , , , on January 4, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

If one more person asks me what New Year’s resolutions I made this year, I’m going to lose it.

Let’s be clear – I don’t make resolutions. Not this year, not last year, not next year. Never.

On the surface, resolutions seem like a nice idea.  You identify the things in your life that you are not happy with, and resolve to change them. Maybe you want to lose weight, or spend more time with your spouse / children. Maybe you want to be more open-minded or less stressed.  These are certainly worthy goals for any life.

But what makes you think that you are more likely to follow through with them, just because you ‘resolved’ to at the  beginning of another arbitrary new year?

If you don’t like how much you weigh, then you have probably been thinking about it for a while.  In fact, you probably think about it every day.  And yet you’ve done nothing about it? And now you think that you’ll actually have the will-power to change, just because the year has changed?

Psh! It won’t happen.

Don’t make resolutions – make changes!

If I don’t like some aspect of my life, I don’t wait for symbolic things to line up before doing something about them.

Here’s my 5 step process to enjoying life:

  1. Identify something about life that I don’t like.
  2. Identify what specifically needs to be done in order to change it.
  3. Do a basic cost/bennefit analysis, identifying what the change will cost vs. what I will gain,  and then make a decision about whether or not the cost truly outweighs the benefit.
  4. If I think that changing is too much trouble given the benefit, then I accept it, stop whining,  and move on, so I can restart the process again with a different problem.  If I think changing is worth the trouble, then I follow through with the things identified in Step 2. Either way, I have made a decision and have to accept responsibility for my action or inaction.

That’s it! Just make a decision about what you’ll gain vs. the amount of effort it will take, and then do it.  If you follow the process and discover that you are not willing to accept the hassle required to really change something, then just move on to something else.

Making resolutions isn’t the same as making changes – resolutions are just one more way to procrastinate.  I’m all for procrastination – I won’t hold it against you.  Just don’t pretend like you are actually accomplishing anything.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, because at the end of the year I have nothing to resolve. I fixed all of my problems as soon as they came up. 

In 2011, the only things that I will fix are things that become a problem in 2011.