Saturday, 28 May 2011

More from my email this week

Angry Outlet

Google Runs

A Geek's Life

Lord of the Rings (Part IV) Cast Member

Friend in Deed !!

Future of Medicare & OHIP ?

Makes you wonder if they really exist and WHO is buying them ?

Sexist Saturday - Or just we like women with a little ink ;)

And the best of the bunch..........

Friday, 27 May 2011

The Scale of our Universe in 3D

New 3D maps of the Universe released today. This is the most detailed look at what scientists have been able to piece together over literally years of study, data and number crunching.

(photos blatantly plagerized from PC Mag here)

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Now for those of you who aren't technical, or geeks or interested in the slightest, I invite you to look at the following link to completely blow your mind.

I am in absolute AWE of what this website illustrates. Our place in the Universe and just how completely AWESOME all of everything is.

I hope you enjoy it and get just a small taste of what I experienced.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Marketing + Star Wars = ?

Confucius Say......

Confucius say....
If you can't find the book you're looking for then you're probably in the..............

Monday, 23 May 2011

Procrastination Flow Chart

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For all you women who OVERANALYZE

The Advantages of Being Left Handed

Only about 10% of the population are left handed, making left-handed people a major minority. With left handedness being so rare people were, and still are in some cases, discriminated against for being left handed. Actually, back in the 18th and 19th century people were often beaten for being left handed and forced to use their right hand. Even today, although it doesn't happen as often as it used to, some children who are left-handed are forced to use their right hand. More often than not when you research facts about left-handed people many blogs and articles list negative statistical facts about left handed people. But what about the advantages of being left-handed? Believe it or not there are a lot of interesting and factual advantages of being left-handed.
  1. Being left handed gives you an advantage in many sports. It's been proven that people who are left handed have the better chance of succeeding in sports than right handed people. Baseball is one of the biggest sports where being left handed is a major advantage. When at bat, southpaws have the advantage of already facing first base and when pitching can easily keep an eye on first base. Left handed player, when playing in the outfield, can also cover a large amount of the field by having their glove in their right hand. Lefties also have the advantage in sports like fencing, boxing and tennis.
  2. Lefties have a greater chance of being a genius, or having a high IQ. It isn't known why this is true but it seems that people who favor their left hand make up an extremely large portion of those with high intelligence. Actually, 20 percent of all Mensa members are lefties. Although it is not exactly known why being left handed increases chances of having a high IQ, some people think that genius has a lot to do with being forced to use both sides of the brain more often, allowing the individual to process large amounts of information much easier.
  3. Left handed men make more money. Studies show that left handed men who have gone to college make about 13% more than their right handed counterparts. For some reason this does not work the same way with women, because these same studies show that left handed women actually make 5% less than right handed women.
  4. Lefties adjust more easily to seeing under water. Random, yes. Cool, definitely! It's not really known why, but being left handed allows an individual to see more easily under water. Beneficial to those who live by the water or like to swim, scientists believe this ability has something to do with a different part of the brain being dominant in left handed people.
  5. Lefties are better at multitasking. Being left handed forces the brain to think more quickly, allowing lefties to find it easier to multi-task and deal with large, sometimes unorganized streams of information. In left handed people conversations between the left and right sides of the brain happens more quickly, and the stronger the left handedness is the better these abilities.
  6. Some lefties have better memories. Although not applicable to all left handed people, research shows that people who come from families of lefties  tend to have better memories, though only of the episodic kind. But what's really interesting about this fact is that studies show that the individuals don't necessarily have to be left handed themselves, but just comes from a family of lefties. This shows that traits related to handedness may actually be passed down separately.
  7. Left handed people are better at playing video games. Some of the traits that contribute to lefties being better thinkers and multitaskers also contribute to making them better video game players. Since lefties are better at handling large amounts of stimuli, this naturally makes them better at video games, which have large amounts of stimuli in the first place.
  8. Left handed people recover faster from strokes than right handed people. Although not certain, many people believe this is due to left handed people having a stronger left and right brain as a result of functioning in a right handed world. Lefties are better at using than non-dominant hand than right handed people, making it easier for them to recover from a stroke that damages one part of their brain.
  9. Left-handed people are more likely to be more visual-based than language-based. This fact makes lefties more ideal for artistic pursuits. Research shows that university students who are left handed are more likely to major in visually based subjects rather than language based subjects. Another study done showed that out of all the subjects, 47% of art students were left or mixed-handed. For those who are unaware Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Rembrandt, four of the greatest artists in history were either left handed or ambidextrous.
  10. Lefties are better at learning to drive than righties. Oddly enough, even though most cars are designed with right handed drivers in mind, driving normally comes easier to left handed people than right handed people. A poll done at a driving school discovered that 57% of lefties passed their driving test the first time while only 47% of right handed people did.
Despite the fact that being left handed in a right handed world can be a little disadvantage, there are definitely plenty of advantages of being a lefty. As you can tell by reading the list, there are many things about why left handedness has these advantages, but this applies to handedness in general. Understanding handedness would also mean understanding deeper, yet explored parts of the brain that science isn't fully capable of doing yet. Although not all of the advantages listed could be fully determined as to why they occur, everything listed is in fact true. Being left handed is often treated as something wrong and abnormal because it is rare and not fully understood, but as you can see being left handed does have its advantages, very cool ones at that! 

Saturday, 21 May 2011

My Drunk Kitchen - Brunch ?

I am sure that everybody reading this can relate. Hillarious and sadly, too common !!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Rogers - The Demon Spawn of TelCo's (Part 2)

## If you have never dealt with Roger's, DON'T, if you are with Rogers, GET OUT while you can ##

I didn't think it possible. I mean that, literally and honestly. I didn't think they could or even would try but Rogers has gone and topped themselves earlier this evening. For a shining example of corporate gluttony, bureaucratic ineptitude, flat out greed and a complete lack of customer relations ability, look no further than Rogers.

I got a call earlier today from a Rogers manager who was looking to help me resolve my ongoing BlackBerry issues. The first words out of his mouth after introductions were

"What seems to be the problem with your phone ?"

Well, once more I have to explain it all, this time to Mohamed who I gather is a manager of some sort. He obviously had all the notes from my previous calls infront of him but he wanted me to re-hash everything. At the end of my 5 minute monologue which is basically

"The phone doesn't work, it's under warranty, 6 weeks old, I've lost time, money, data and patience and I want Rogers to make it right..."

I hear him inhale and so it begins.......

Rogers is going to offer me one of two solutions but he highly recommends the second

I request a new phone which will be shipped out to me at a cost of $35.00 but the phone's not actually new, it's a refurbished phone. This is one that belonged to someone else, Rogers/RIM think they've got it working now and are willing to let me have it. Obviously I have to give them my current handset which then goes and get's "refurbished" to get passed off on the next lucky guy. 
I go to a Rogers store, give them my current, broken handset and a $100 deposit for which they will loan me an older model. Problem is, their "loaner" phone doesn't have the same functionality as my model nor can I use the loaner for 10 days and then transfer all my data back onto my original phone when it gets returned to me from RIM.

First off, why would I want a refurbished phone ? If I bought a brand new car that didn't work, would I really want the dealer to offer me as a replacement some other guy's that wasn't quite working and had just recently been in the shop getting repaired ? Second, why in the hell should I pay Rogers $35 for the "privelage" of having them provide me with a working handset ? It's obvious that the one they sold me isn't working and I have to pay to correct that issue ?

As for the option to hand over my handset and then get a loaner for only $100 deposit.....(inset rolling eyes and confused look here). I don't know about you but I don't have $100 to give Rogers and then have them apply a credit to my account down the road. They don't trust me to return their crappy loaner and demand $100 to make sure I don't walk off with it ? That's insulting.

What's more, their loaner is an older model. By old I don't mean last year's old, I mean OLD. Like Bush era presidency old. This handset doesn't have the memory, speed or features that I've already paid for nor will it run the software that I've already purchased for my existing handheld. To top it all off, any data that I enter on my "loaner" won't be transferable back onto my returned & hopefully repaired phone. So now I've lost my original data, plus any data on the "loaner" phone and I get charged my full monthly fees PLUS $100 for my efforts ?!?

I suggest to the man from Rogers that a simple, easy and quick alternative solution would be for them to simply put a brand new handset on a truck and ship it off to me. Easy as pie..... I get the model and the features that I paid for, Rogers gets the original handset back to use as a "loaner" for the next guy after it's been "refurbished".

But no, this is not permitted. Rogers claims the handset costs them $750 and they've only made a 3% markup on it when they sold the first one to me so they couldn't possibly do that. Honestly, if Rogers is paying $750 for a BlackBerry 9780, RIM is doing better than I thought and Rogers has no business sense when it comes to negotiating what must be a volume contract with RIM.

It's only when I asked for a day to consider my options, evaluate other carriers and also my legal standing with regards to the warranties that he came back with one counter offer after another.

Splitting of the $35 fees for a "refurbished" phone, waiving the fees, loaning me a non-internet phone for a lower deposit etc...etc..etc.. When I mentioned the fact that I paid for, needed and expected an internet ready phone as per my contract he actually claimed that I wasn't entitled to anything beyond the RIM handset warranty and should just accept what he had offered.

The fact that this whole affair has cost me time, money and a great deal of inconvenience he suggested, could be written off as a business expense by me. I should write off the $35 or I should write off the $100 etc. My jaw dropped. He was actually admitting that I had and would continue to incurr expenses and inconvenience but that I should write them off as a business expense ? But Rogers was in no way obligated to compensate me for the issues with the phone & service that I have paid them to provide ?

Once again, Rogers demonstrates that once a company gets large enough, they couldn't give a rat's ass for you as a customer. They will promise you champagne service and deliver you flat ginger-ale. If you have never dealt with Rogers, DON'T, if you, like me are stuck with them, then at your earliest convenience leave. Put plainly, Rogers sucks ass.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Rogers - The demon spawn of Telcos

There was once a time when customer service could be summed up with the phrase "The Customer is ALWAYS right." Those days are long gone at Rogers, a Canadian TelCo, CableCo and general corporate badass.

I was recently forced to "upgrade" from my iPhone at Rogers because mine had stopped working (I couldn't dial out). Rogers, in it's infinite wisdom decided that they would only offer me an early "upgrade" to a BlackBerry because iPhones were out of stock, too expensive and I wasn't worth the effort. If I had been a new customer off the street they would've sold me the iPhone for $99 but they wanted to charge me $399 (after 12 years as a customer of theirs).

Long story short, Rogers gets me a new Blackberry, it's not what I wanted and not what I could afford based on their unique (lets screw the people already on contract) pricing structure but it's the best they would offer me and hey, I need a working phone so I agreed to it.

Well, the Blackberry and I had a couple of weeks of teething problems but in time I got used to using it though I did sorely miss the iPhone. The only saving grace of the BlackBerry is the size of the handset and the physical keys but I digress.

Anyways, just recently my BlackBerry stopped syncing with my online calendar and like any self respecting geek, I went to the handset's setup application to check the settings and try to diagnose the problem. Big Mistake. The BlackBerry told me I had to upgrade my "Email Setup Application" and so I started and voila, 30 minutes later, my now 6 week old Blackberry is crashed, bricked, fubar, a paperweight. The RIM/Rogers software upgrade managed to crash the handheld's operating system making the whole thing completely unusable.

"WHAT THE FUCK ?!?!?" I shouted at the handset and laptop as I scrambled to figure out what had happened.

So I call Rogers on a landline (I was visiting someone who still had an actual phone with a cord) and proceeded to deal with the tech support person. After about 90 minutes of very garbled english and an even more garbled attempt to diagnose the problem and offer a solution, I finally gave up on Rogers and went to the RIM (BlackBerry's Maker) support website to see if I could do this on my own seeing as how the Rogers tech seemed to have no idea what he was doing, let alone a basic grasp of english pronunciation.

A few hours later, I managed to get the phone limping back to life. Still not sure what happened to it and it still wasn't working properly but at least I could dial out on it and it WAS giving me email. Problem is, all the data I had entered into the phone (Bookmarks, Passwords, Calendar entries, Contacts, Memos, Notes etc.) were ALL GONE !! Those backups I'd been making every week "just in case" ? Well, they were worth shit as the phone didn't want to restore them. BAH !!

Then yesterday, like an idiot I go back to RIM's website and read up a bit more on the issue looking for some glimmer of hope in terms of getting my phone back up & running. I am delusional, I know this but I truly thought that in todays day & age, the manufacturer's site would be the best source of information and advice. Pffft...was I ever an innocent lamb in the woods.

Following the advice of other RIM customers I thought that I would try the app update one more time, the very same thing that caused this whole problem to begin with, but this time I knew the steps to recover and had read of some people who had successfully installed the upgrade and were merrily BB'ing forth. I wanted into that promised land of email, calendar AND phone in my palm so, as I said above, like an idiot I tried one more time. Can you guess where this is headed ?

Last night at precisely 6:49pm, I proved that man should not be allowed to mess with the primeval forces of BlackBerry, especially a man as obviously gullible as me. Once again I had transformed a semi-working BlackBerry into a $300 paperweight, but hey, I at least did it in record time....Yippie !! (insert laugh track here)

So 7:00pm rolls around and I'm on a landline talking with a Rogers Tech support person AGAIN. Only this time he's asking me to use a Windows computer. Funny, I don't remember seeing a label on the BB that said it didn't roll with the Mac OS-X crowd but apparently, if you wanna be a BB geek, Windows is the only way to roll. So I get Windows installed on my Mac Laptop, do as the tech suggests, try installing this and that, connecting, refreshing, pulling batteries out of the handset over and over, rebooting, installing, waiting and seething.

One hour later and I completely loose it on the tech.

I tried using a chronology to explain things to him like you would to a two year old.
1. I am trying to get a calendar and email to work on a phone that was doing this fine until last week
2. I read the manual and tried to use the Blackberry provided program that sets this whole thing up in the first place.
3. The Blackberry program demands that it be upgraded before it can proceed so........I upgrade
4. The upgrade breaks my phone, crashing it and causing data loss
5. I then get to spend 45 minutes reinstalling the system to get back to step 1 without fixing the original problem

I paid good money for the handset, I pay good money every month for the services and I now have a handset that makes calls only. Unacceptable, I demand service, a solution, a fix and I expect someone to compensate me for my wasted time, lost data and productivity...etc....

What does Rogers offer me ? A tech who wants to experiment on my phone and when I lose it on him and demand a manager, he gets me on to someone from Customer Service. Now these people are the cream of the crop, you know the ones...They can give you free texting or knock $5 off your bill. These are the real "fixers" at Rogers. The people who are endowed with that extra thick skin and the ever so slightly condescending voice that basically says "We'll throw you a little bone but never admit we screwed you over".

This woman proved to be nothing of the sort. She was from the get go a brick wall, I could have mistaken her for a voice recording, some pavlovian response was all she could muster.

"It's a technical issue and you'll have to deal with them"

"Well, I had been, for the last several hours you dim-wit !!" (I think I was a bit more polite though)

"Well what would you like me to do sir"

"Fix it, get me a new phone that works, that does what I am paying you to have it do......"

"It's a technical issue and you'll have to deal with them"

"Well, I had been, for the last several hours you dim-wit !!" (I was becoming less polite now)

LATHER, RINSE, REPEAT....45 minutes later......

"Rogers Technical Support....How can I help you......."


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Quintus (2002 - 2011)

For people with pets in their lives, this is the hardest of days. Earlier this morning, Quintus, our family's daschund was put to rest after being with us for only 9 years.

Those of you who knew Quint will remember his love of all things food related, his fearlessness, his slow and almost ambling saunter as he strolled along on his walks. Usually with his head buried looking for a snack..I mean just in case.....

He was a great companion and if you asked anyone in my family, he wasn't a dog, no sir...He was a PEOPLE!!

Quint became gravely ill with a shocking suddenness and though it proved ultimately fatal, we can be thankful that he didn't suffer and wasn't in any pain. Put plainly, he just faded.

So with a sad heart, I would like to share a few of my favorite pictures of Quint that I've taken over the years. He was a happy little guy, though he sure weighed a TON as some of you may know. He was always happy enough to go and mooch a treat from anyone who happened along, or a nice back scratch if no food was in the offing.

I would've posted some photos of Quint wearing his winter sweaters but to be honest, they aren't all that flattering, he invariably sank up to his chest in the snow and I'm sure his vanity would demand that we remember him at his best, which was frequent.

He knew no fear of other dogs and was known for giving shit to anyone, two legged or four, who entered HIS park. I still don't think that he knew how funny it was to see him give holy hell to a Rotweiler, Great Dane or German Shepherd but that was him. And more times than not, he got his way and THEY ran from him.

Quint leaves behind his remaining furry four legged room mates who are even now unsure of where he is and just what's happened. It's hard to explain to a cat or dog where their buddy has gone and that everything'll be all right. It's hard to get my own head around it to be honest, those of us who got to know him will take some time to adjust ourselves.

Quintus, you will be missed. 

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

How 61.4% of Canadians Voted

Election Day in Canada is over. The Conservatives have won their vaunted majority with just over 40% of the vote and I'm left wondering. If they only won 40% (+/-) then how can they be the government ? I know it has to do with the number of voted, ridings, some voodoo math and other esoteric crap but man....4 more years of that $%^#&$@%^#%^@%$^@@...I dunno.

There, I've vented. Regardless of my personal opinions I have to stand behind Mr. Harper as our Prime Minister. I respect the office if not necessarily the person who currently holds it and so I will grudgingly bite my tongue. That being said though, I am furious at roughly 40% of Canadians who for whatever reason (repeats of CSI or DWTS ?) opted to not exercise their right, their obligation as a citizen to vote for their own future ?

I know that apparently 60.1% turnout is regarded as decent but when it's something this important ? I really do think that voting should be an obligation. If you wanna collect welfare, social medicine, a pension or hell, live in the friggin country, you should be REQUIRED to vote. My Grandfather used to say that if you were too lazy to vote then you have no right to complain about the government. Casting a ballot, even if it doesn't swing your way gives you the right to complain. At least then you are part of the process, you've invested at least some of your thought, consideration and a tiny bit of effort in improving not only your lot in life but that of your fellow citizens.

Anyways, without further delay, here's Canada's wall of shame or triumph, depending on your political leanings.


Click to enlarge or just download it (right click)