Math doesn’t lie

Posted in Finds with tags , , , , , on February 20, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

CRTC openly limits competition – that’s what it is for

Posted in Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

There has been a lot of talk lately about the CRTC and it’s decisions – most notably ones concerning the operation of Wind Mobile in Canada and the allowance of Usage-based Bill by Internet Service Providers.

Most of the discussion has focused on the idea that more competition in Canadian industries is better than less competition.  And of course, every high school economic text-book says exactly that. More competition means that companies will have to provide as much value to the consumer as possible, otherwise consumers will just look somewhere else.

Fine. But here is the problem.  The CRTC was not created to foster competition. Really.

Want proof?  Okay!  On Tuesday (16 Feb) the CRTC denied a request by Shaw Communications to add National Geographic Wild to its list of offerings for satellite services in Canada. Unfortunately, that particular channel is considered foreign content. According to Public Notice 2000-173, the CRTC will not allow any non-Canadian content to be distributed if it will compete with pre-existing Canadian content.

That’s right – the CRTC openly denies competition if it appears to come from outside the country.

So what does that mean for Canadians?  It means that we have to watch Animal Planet or Oasis HD, because they are not associated with National Geographic.  Nevermind the fact that National Geographic has become the defacto standard for reporting on wildlife and the greater world around us – reporting that focuses 90% of its effort on content from outside North America.

In the beginning, the reasoning for creating a body to protect Canadian content seemed like a good idea.  People were afraid that we would become too engrossed in American newspaper, magazine, television and radio industries.  Unfortunately, a major consequence was overlooked: stifling competition from the strongest competitor means that our own industry can relax.  And that is not good for Canadians.

So what is the answer?  We definitely don’t want our own industries to fail.  Afterall, they keep a lot of us working.  But clearly denying Canadians from viewing American content is becoming more and more difficult.  I personally gave up television proper many years ago and have since found all of my content online, where it is CRTC free.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t get Canadian content – not at all – it just means that I only get the Canadian content that is up to the standards that I expect.

And this is where the world is going.  I think that – regardless of content rule – the television industry is going to have some hard times ahead as online content becomes easier to find. We need to stop concerning ourselves with where content comes from, and focus on attracting consumers to cable and satellite providers generally.  They’ve already lost me and most of my friends. If the trend continues, we’ll soon have an awful lot of people looking to switch industries.

“Happy” Valentine’s Day

Posted in Aggravations, sex, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , on February 14, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

… because she has long forgotten the “thought” that counted at Christmas.

What’s happened in Egypt is not a revolution, at least not yet

Posted in Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

Everywhere I go people are talking about the “revolution” in Egypt and how wonderful it is that the people have risen up to over-thrown the evil government.

Hogwash.

Hosni Mubarak

Before last week, the Egyptian government consisted of a president (Hosni Mubarak) who ruled as Head of State and who was also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.  This is not terribly unusual, afterall Obama is also both Head of State and head of the American military. 

But there is a big difference:  Egypt has been under martial law since 1981

In short, the Head of State in Egypt rules through the power of the military.

As of 11 February, when Mubarak officially resigned from the Presidency, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which is led by Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, took over the powers of the Head of State.

So what actually happened in Egypt?

Mohamed Hussein Tantawi

Essentially, the head of the military resigned and was replaced by the person who was #2 in the military and who is now the defacto head of the military – and Head of State.

So the bottom line is that right now Egypt hasn’t had any kind of change in it’s government at all.  Last week the country was under the power of the military, and this week it still is.  The only thing that has changed is the guy who was in charge of that military.

Of course, that’s not to say that major changes won’t happen.  It is yet to be seen if the next president to be elected will continue enforcing martial law.  With any luck, the people of Egypt will be able to conduct free and fair elections that lead to a decisive change in the way it’s government conducts the business of running the country.

But make no mistake – right now the changes that have occured in the government of Egypt are entirely symbolic. There has been no revolution, the government has not been over-thrown. 

All that has happened is the head of the government has been replaced.

Words that should never be used:

Posted in Aggravations with tags , , , on February 11, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

Crampons

This word is just awful.  I know what crampons are, and why one would use them.  I’m sure they come in very handy (footy?). But there is absolutely no excuse for the name. Call them “boot spikes”, call them “mountain feet”, call them “spikey-so-I-can-get-up-the-mountain-without-dying-things”.

I don’t care what you call them.

Just don’t call them crampons!

It’s legal to do WHAT in Illinois?

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

I had cause to search Google for “Illinois” this morning and was a little surprised by the blurb that Google put under the link to Illinois’ Wikipedia page. (Click the image for a bigger version.)

None of that appears to still be on the page itself, though. <sigh> But we’ll always have the Google Cache (until it’s updated).

Motorola burns Apple, makes me smile

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

If you were watching the Super Bowl from somewhere other than Canada, you probably already saw Motorola’s ad for the new Xoom tablet. But if you haven’t already, you need to watch it:

This has got to be the smartest shot at Apple ever to air on television, and it is just so perfect. Everything, from the reference to Orwell’s 1984, to the hot girl removing her iconic white earbuds, is just absolutely spot on.

Of course, the irony is that most people probably just wont get it.