Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Software Updates

Found a tv at the furniture store. Bought it. Did my part for the economy and bought big. Hopefully this one will go for 8 to 10 years. Old one did not. Bought too early and too cheap.

I was not surprised to be able to connect the wii to the internet and update it's software. Being able to update the tv with a new, improved version of it's software via the internet and a usb drive was a surprise.

It is a good move. Software is prevalent and try as we might, it is not perfect. The balance between testing and time to market is a challenge at best. Pushing for 99.n% right but being able to get that a bit better via a field/home update makes good sense. Best case is it gets used little. Worst case is that warranty service uses it alot. Now is the worst case the best ? On higher end devices the savings could be huge.

As a trend, how low will this go ? Will it break the $1k device price point , the $100 dollar point, the $50 point ?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Was not planned but it happened

I took a break over Christmas. I was with the people who mattered and since they and I were close, the Internet took the back seat. Did use it for video skype to Costa Rico and Calgary for video chats with remote family. Used it to receive and send a video file to England via dropbox to exchange greeting. Use it to check-out boxing day sales.

Watched Junior hockey.

On that topic, a ref made a bad call. He blew the whistle before the play ended and the puck went in the net after the whistle blew. No goal. Not instant replay video judge. Ref went over the both benches, said my bad, sorry. Game went on. That's the way it goes at this level of competition. Good sportsmanship. It's a game of human skill including the refereeing. 

Playing for the challenge and for fun. Possibly sports at it's best. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Day two - wrapdown

Well surprise, surprise, surprise.

On a lark, I checked out the grocery store beside one of our office buildings. Office mates had been successfull in the past in obtaining hot consumer gaming electronics there. Imagine my surprise to see not one but 5 Wii game consoles behind the counter.

Oh yes, you can buy one said the young, gamer looking store person.

And buy I did thus ending days of attempted shopping. And thus making the bounty under the tree what we envisioned. And thus helping the economy by spending, spending and spending.

We need a new TV now cause this noise maker is not going into the livingroom. It will go elsewhere tbd with the old livingroom tv (a 42" plasma with burn in effects from the satellite menu). A new 42"+ tv, likely LCD to be selected. Need to research LCD vs Plasma more. My preference is a 50" full HD for under 1k. I think I am not going to succeed.

Maybe I should check out more grocery stores. Best I have found so far is a full HD 42" LCD for $899 at a business supplies store.

I think I may broaden my search to include pet food stores.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Wrapdown to Christmas

It is after midnight. Officially the start of the wrapdown to Christmas.

This year Christmas falls later in the week. More time for the kids to be off school before the big day. More time to shop for last minute things or the start shopping whatever be the case.

Also as the title of the post would proclaim, the official start of the wrapdown to Christmas. Time to wrap before the big night. Time to elude the dreaded midnight to 3am wrapathon.

Wonderful thoughts and sentiments.


For those trying to buy a Wii.

No inventory in these parts. Cheeky nerve of the Future Shop salesguy telling me to line up at 6:30 am Friday of last week to try to get one.

It's a year old game console.

First one I was willing to buy. Was even planning to get a new TV to setup a Wii area in the house. Plan was for it to feature music and sports. No shootem's, no beep beep beep killing games.

Now I am ticked off and might well wait another year. If I ever get tempted again.
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

it should say: 'sent with high impotence'

I have noticed of late a higher number of spam messages sent to me by me.

I can't lock down the fort so to speak because I do get a lot of email from people who I don't have yet in my contacts. I can't yet make a white list and only accept email from people I know.

I am using that option with the kids and it works well. I have the luxury of my own Microsoft Exchange server that is located in my home office so I am able to play with settings and do whatever I want to. You just can't do this in a production environment supporting 10's of thousands of users.

The power and flexibility of your own mail server is great for a geek hacker like me but is well beyond the capabilities or interest of most peoples. I have had it for 4 years or so and it has been very stable. It started on a p3 laptop and migrated to a p4 dual cpu mid tower. No hardware issues so far and the only downtime has been human, power or Internet related. I use EasyDNS for both my DNS and backup for incoming mail. With EasyDNS I can be down for days and never lose mail.

I do figure that having my own domain just increases the amount of junk mail I get. is a likely hit for list driven spammers, and hit I do get.

Maybe someday we'll use a service from Facebook to screen mail senders. If you aren't my friend, you won;t be able to message me. If you want to, you'll have to announce yourself and once I decide to accept you into my friend list, you can send me a message.

And hopefully before then, Facebook will have categories of friends. And I use Facebook in my hypothesis because it looks like they are winning the race for building the most comprehensive population of humans in their directory.

I have way more friends on Facebook than I have ever met face to face and would consider a friend in the real world. For now I'm okay with that but this is not a lasting construct.
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Friday, December 19, 2008

A sure sign of Christmas - candy cane sprinkled donuts

Timmies, as Canadian as mounties and beavers, is a sure spot to find cold Canadians this time of year.

A few complaints though:

1) the full menu should not be allowed at the drive thru - coffee, tea, donuts - basically if your order is over $5 you can't drive thru. I've seen people order meals to go for 6.

2) my area of eastern ontario has cup lids that when used with the flip up drinking with the lid on lid hole irritate and on occasion cut lips. I've had better cup lids in other geographies.

3) bring back the tuna. Enough said. It's a perfect sandwich choice for a diabetic especially with so much sugar around. Nuff I said.

Just three little things Tim Hortons.

And one more, free coffee if the lid is placed with the drinking hole on the fold of the cardboard cup.

Time changes everything

I received a message in Flickr that I only read yesterday. It offered me a chance to be selected for inclusion in a travel guide.

“I am writing to let you know that one of your photos has been short-listed for inclusion in the fifth edition of our Schmap Vancouver Guide, to be published late September 2008.”

Well I am bit late to respond, this being December 2008. I got the year right.

Now here is the interesting part:

“we offer no payment for publication, many photographers are pleased to submit their photos”.

The company in question peeked in Flickr for the equivalent of stock photographs. Rather than going to a professional site, they reached out to the Web 2.0 Internet. I have yet to sell a image on the Internet. I have had on-line images re-purposed without attribution. I have sold physical prints at a good price in local arts shops and shared many images with parents of my kids sports teams. I have had success with two family weddings. Low volume but it does feel good to have people appreciate your skills and photographer’s eye.

More on the topic of change. What follows are a few teasers from an article from :

digital and cellular phone cameras break down limits on who can get images out into the world …. [A]mateurs increasingly cover the news more effectively than professionals, …. They also frequently make the news,,8599,1867320,00.html?imw=Y .

We have here two examples of change in the field of photography. One in the area of stock photography, another in the area of news reporting.

This does not mean that photography as a profession has ended, merely that some aspects not requiring great skill, expensive equipment and a good eye all combined together are being commoditized. Flickr and others have created a long tail effect in the photography industry. A photographer can take one or two exceptional shots and have the potential for being selected from the tail.

It is, so professionals will need to adapt and some enthusiastic amateurs and budding professionals will be given previously unavailable opportunities for external reinforcement of their capabilities. The equivalent of getting a gold star or happy face sticker in grade school, no monetary value but intrinisic value none the less.

Missing out on published but being considered is enough. I like my gold star, it gives me a happy face.

Now here comes the really interesting part. I can’t find the image on my Flickr account, on my SmugMug account nor on my servers or external hard drives. I don’t recognize the photo but I could have taken it. Hmmm….

Flickr has 10,506 results matching vancouver and airport.



Spend like there's no tomorrow

We should all do our patriotic duty and spend like there is no tomorrow. We have 5 days to spend to out heart’s content and fill up any empty space that might otherwise have existed underneath our Christmas tree.

Then right after Christmas come Boxing Week sales. So once again, we must whip out the cash, credit and/or debit cards and spend spend spend.

It’s good for the economy. Buy a new car. Get a spare one for the kids.

And if you have a friend or family member who mis-manages their money, lend them some and forget about interest. It’s good for the economy.

Now let’s get personal. I want a used Hummer. An H2. Big, bold and did I mention big ? The used prices on them are quite reasonable. I promise not to wash mine once I get it. And I promise to do my best to get it stuck in the first 6 months.

This is my commitment to a healthy economy. I will spend to help the used car guy and keep on spending to keep the gas bar guy happy. It’s my small contribution to the economy get well program.

What’s yours ?


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Back in the saddle, as the duke would say

I can blog, well at least the manipulations of technology part. Is it a fear of not having anything to say or an expectation that I just won''t want to ?

The technology hurdles are overcome.

I can blog from my chair, I can blog from my car, I can blog from the rink, I can blog with a timmies, I can blog with a bucks, I can blog on a boat, I can blog near a goat, I can blog in a house, I can blog with my spouse, I can blog in the rain, I can blog on a train, I can blog in the air, I can blog on a skichair, I can blog in the cold, I can blog lowercase and bold, I can blog here, I can blog there, I can blog anywhere.

But, will I blog ?