Archive for the Finds Category

Perceiving Reality is hard

Posted in Finds with tags , , , , on February 1, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

I stumbled on www.perceivingreality.com tonight. It is basically just a place holder for a video in which some guy tells you why you don’t understand reality in its truest form.

I really like philosophy, so I watched the whole thing. I couldn’t embed it so you’ll have to just go there to check it out. But come back after!

Basically, it argues that people are in a sort of box, cut off from reality by our 5 senses.  Since our senses only interpret the universe around us, we don’t actually get a true understanding of reality.

Fine, I’ll accept that.  There must be some sort of transliteration between the universe and my brain.

But then the video goes on to explain that there is a kind of knowledge available that will let you experience the universe directly, as if you were not in the box.  And this is apparently a good thing because while inside the box everything sucks, outside the box is totally sweet.  Sounds great right?

That is when you find out that the whole thing is a sort of advertisement for BNEI Baruch Kabbalah Learning Center.  I can’t really speak to the validity of the center or it’s teaching – honestly, I didn’t even click the link to find out more information about it.  But I do have a question:

If we can only experience the universe through our 5 senses, and these are so limited that it is like we are stuck in a box, then how does this center know that outside the box is so awesome?

Seems fishy to me.

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!

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?

Oh Google, you’re so clever!

Posted in Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

I have been trying to wrap my head around the name for Google‘s recently anounced phone: the Nexus S.

Yes, of course every one knows that the hardware was designed by Samsung, but since the first phone was specifically called the Nexus One, it seemed silly that the new one would directly refer to the manufacturer.  After all, everyone was expecting a Nexus Two.

But then I saw it!  Oh how clever! So very, very clever! The letter ‘S’ is basically a mirror image of the number ‘2’! 

S2

So Google has essentially named the phone ‘Nexus 2’ – just like everyone expected – but without making it obvious.  And at the same time they have a nice little hat-tip to Samsung.

Well played, Google. Well played.

Christmas trees are *supposed* to lose their needles

Posted in Aggravations, Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

CBC is reporting that a bunch of yahoos at Laval University have found a way to stop Christmas trees from shedding their needles.

Well isn’t that just great! Congratulations, you’ve single-handedly ruined Christmas for everyone!

Presents just don’t look right under the tree unless they have at least a few needles scatter about them. 

If you don’t like the random smattering of pine needles, then take your Grinchy self to Wal-Mart and get a fake plastic tree instead. Don’t ruin the real ones!

Good-bye Leslie Nielsen

Posted in Finds, Movies with tags , , on November 28, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

It’s true. Leslie Nielsen, funnyman and Order of Canada recipient, died earlier today in a Florida hospital.  He was 84.

Bell Canada is laughing at us all

Posted in Aggravations, Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on November 23, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

Once again, the telecomunications gods have announced a raise in prices. As of January 2011, all of their ‘calling features’ will cost $2 more each month.

  • Caller ID and Voice Mail will cost $10.95,
  • Call Waiting will cost $8.95, and
  • Visual Call Waiting will cost $16.95!!

If you’re feeling a little deja vu, it’s because this is the second time this month that Bell has made a price increase annoucement – although last time they were stickin’ it to internet customers instead.

The incredible part is that these features cost the company nothing. Once the system is set up, which it has been for years, it is completely automated. Displaying caller ID information cannot possibly cost the company more today, than it did last year. And Bell is certainly not struggling to make a profit.

So why the increase?  Simple – people have come to rely on these features, and won’t give them up just for the sake of a few dollars each month.

And that is why Bell is laughing.

This is how you get me to pay for music

Posted in Finds, Music, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on November 22, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

Since the demise of the CD (yes, I’m calling it officially ‘demised‘) artists have been looking to package music in ways that give something special to people who actually pay instead of just download. Back in the day liner notes were good enough, but today you need more. Quickly run through any music store (no, not iTunes, I mean an actual store – remember those?) and you’ll see CD packaged with all sorts of stuff – t-shirts, books, toys…

But once in a while, someone will come up with a really cool idea.

Like, SONOIO.

SONOIO is an electronic solo project of Alessandro Cortini (ex-NIN). Like every other artist, you can buy his music online.  But in addition to the standard mp3 download SONOIO offers a package that comes with a tiny synthesizer (SuONOIO) already packed with samples that were used to create the music on the album.

This thing is cool and, for the geekier people in your life, would make a great gift.

Doctors don’t work in bars, typically

Posted in Dreams, Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

Kristina B. Ross was recently arrested in Idaho for ‘unlicensed practice of medicine.’ It seems she was pretending to be a plastic surgeon and giving out fake information about a practice that does exist, but that she has nothing to do with.

Okay, so this happens all the time right? So what?

Well, what caught my eye was the part about her conducting breast examines to multiple women in local bars.

Yes, that’s right… she was pretending to be a plastic surgeon so that she could feel up women in bars. 

I can’t decide if she is dispicable, or my hero…

A word of advice for women out there: plastic surgeons generally work in offices, not bars.