Canadian political debate on CBC was less than impressive

Let me start off by saying that I don’t care what anyone’s political views are. That’s not what this post is about.

This evening on CBC was the much talked about, seemingly annual, political debate. The Conservatives, Liberals, NDP, and Quebecois parties were represented. As ruled by the courts, the Green party was not allowed to participate – I don’t want to get side-tracked by the reasoning behind that.

Over the two-hours there were six questions asked by Canadian citizens to the politicians, approximately 20-minutes given to each question. Two candidates were pitted head-to-head against one another, and then the other two candidates were allowed to give their side.

I thought the format was really good, but I’m less than impressed with the responses.

Overall, I feel less enchanted by the whole political process. None of the candidates seemed to have “won” the debate, heck it seems like none of the questions were even answered.

I think that I have less respect for the candidates. Not one of them, in my opinion, did anything memorable. It was all political jabs at one another. More of the same, but this time televised with all of them in the same room. Sure, they reiterated what’s been covered by the media for the last few years and more-so in the last couple of weeks – so for those people who haven’t paid attention to the media it might be seen as “insightful”.

I have a sour taste in my mouth. Is this what our citizenship wants as leaders? People who are relatively petty? People who cannot work together?

I’m not suggesting for a moment that we need politicians to sing Kumbya. I understand the need for debate and getting alternative views on the table. But tonight appeared to solely be verbal spew. Nothing to take to heart.

Leaves me with one question – why bother with the debates at all?

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Apple is about to lose an iPhone 4 customer

I’ve been growing more disgruntled with my iPhone 4 running iOS 4.2.1.  In fact, it’s specifically with the e-mail features where things are lacking.

My main gripe is about how the system doesn’t allow or have functionality to use multiple signatures.  So when I reply from my personal account, it will auto-insert signature 1, and when I reply to a work e-mail it will use signature 2, or when I have an e-mail open I can switch the signature.

The closest thing I can do is have a few different items in the “notes” app – one for each signature – then copy and paste each time. Talk about the worst work-around ever!

There isn’t even a jailbroken cydia app that I’ve found any reviews online about that can enable this function. Now that Apple has removed their Jailbreak check, I would be tempted to ‘break it if only there was an app that provided what I’m looking for.

Blackberries can do it. Android phones can do it.

I’ve submitted the request a number of times to Apple, and it has yet to make it’s way in to the software releases.

I love the apps and the interface. Yes, I know the iPhone is more about the entertainment than the enterprise. But Apple is attempting to break into the corporate market – adding Exchange capabilities is what really got them in.

There is no way that I’m the only one looking for this feature.

Are you looking for this function? Is there any other function that you’d like?

What is wrong with the Canadian Federal Government re: Vaughan By-Election

It doesn’t matter who Rosalee or I voted for. That’s not the point of this article.

The situation

No, this has nothing to do with Jersey-shore characters.

Back in 2007 we received the keys to our brand new house in the brand new sub-division we bought in. We officially moved into the house in mid-January 2008, and shortly afterwards we both updated our addresses for our passports (they needed renewal anyways), OHIP and Driver’s Licenses.

We both knew about the By-Election that’s happening today – from media coverage, mass mailings we’ve received and all of the phone calls from the various candidates offices asking for our support.

Earlier today I had a thought – I wondered why we hadn’t received a voters registration card or any details in the mail, so I went to this page to lookup where to vote.

Once Rosalee came home, we both headed over to the venue. Immediately we were greeted by a gentleman who asked if he could assist. We told him that we never received a card in the mail. He pointed out a booth to his right for us to walk over to.  We went to the booth, and gave our driver’s licenses. The lady flipped through her binder, and found Rosalee’s name, but it had the wrong address. It had an address that’s one street behind ours – but it had the right house number and the right postal code! I don’t get it! From everything that I can find, our postal code is valid for only even numbers on our street, and odd numbers on the street behind us.

When she went to look-up my name, I wasn’t in the book at all. My cousins are – they moved into the area within the last year, and we’ve been here nearly three.

How can the municipalities have our details right and not the fed’s? We received all the information for the municipal election without any problem. There is absolutely no reason why I wasn’t on the federal list for today’s vote.

My opinion on the solution

There needs to be a unified connection and communication between database systems and storage procedures. Once someone updates or applies their address for a vehicle registration, health card, driver’s license, tax submission, marriage license, etc it needs to trigger other updates to happen. The government MUST start a system to gather census details, and merge it with the appropriate areas. Yes, that’s a very high-level overview as to how the systems should run, and yes, there are a lot of technical details and processes that would have to be ironed out. And yes, it will cost some serious cash to make it happen. but it’s a one-time deal. Once the system is up and running, it should catch nearly all of the changes, and make for a more customer-focused experience for all Canadians.


No system is perfect. There will always be someone who has a strange exception and won’t be put through.

The time to start on it is now. The population growth is increasing at such a rate and the cost of services are increasing, it only makes logical and financial sense to get started on it now.

Want to know how the electorial race is going? Visit the Elections Canada website for preliminary results.


What do you think?
Can the government get something like this going?
Should they invest the money to get it going?

iOS4 for iPhone 3G isn’t all that great

Back story: About 2-years ago I switched providers (from Bell to Rogers), so that I can get the iPhone 3G. I love it, but there are some downfalls to it. First would be the lack of video recording without any add-on apps. The second would be the basic capability that most phones have – voice recognition. My old Samsung A900 even had that.

So when iOS4 was released a few weeks back I did the upgrade right away. I enjoy testing out the latest hardware and software, so I figured what they heck… why not?

Within 2 hours I had it loaded, and all my music and apps synchronized back on to it.

I immediately set up folders for my apps.  For the past year I’ve had my “screens” setup so that all my apps were arranged logically. I had a screen for navigation/car items, a screen for utilities, a screen for social media, two screens for games, and a screen for web links. So setting up the folders was great for me, because now I don’t have to flick through all the screens to get to the last one. I have all my folders on one screen.

I then realized that my camera now has a zoom function.  Great!

That’s pretty much where the good ends.

Within 10-minutes of using the phone, I had at least 5 apps crash and quit on me. And yes, that even includes the Maps app and App store apps that Apple ships with the os and phone.

So I shut down the phone, boot it back up, and the same problems persist. So I load up iTunes, and make sure I have the latest version of the apps. Sure enough there are a few that have updates, and those say iOS4 tested. Wonderful.  I load those on, and they work well, but the App Store app still crashes intermittantly.

The following days and weeks – up until now – have had many app updates. I would imagine that nearly all the apps loaded on my phone are now updated. There are a few that aren’t, like iFuel Lite, but I would imagine the developers are working on that – at least I’m hoping they are.

So what’s my real gripe?

I’m annoyed at how slow and laggy the phone seems now. It’s just chugging along.

This past weekend, I was at the Toronto Eaton Centre, and I figured why not go in to the Apple Store and chat with a “genius”.

I make an appointment on their computer system, and wait about an hour.

They hook my phone up to their computer, and within a minute or two he tells me that the problem is with some of the apps. He says there are 8 apps that have “bad data” on the phone. I ask him if he can write them down for me so I can uninstall the apps and reload them. He tells me that what I need to do is restore the phone software, and set it up as a new phone. Then go in to the app store on the phone, and download all the apps again through the phone – not through iTunes.

He said that just wiping the app doesn’t remove the data files and preference files. For all I know, the problem lies in the apps that I don’t even have on the phone any more.

I thought that once you deleted an app from the phone, all the prefs would get wiped out with it. I’ve had experience where I decided to delete an app, and then a few days later load it back on, and I needed to setup all the preferences and settings again.

Anyways, I’m wondering if anyone knows what app Apple uses to diagnose iPhones? All I could find is the “secret” iPhone Configuration Utility on the Apple site. I have yet to run it, but I doubt that’s what they used.

I’m wondering if I should even bother restoring, since the rumor is that the iPhone 4 will be hitting the Canadian market on July 23, 2010, and I just so happen to have that day booked off work… so I think I might attempt to get one on launch day.


Boxing day starts today?

Boxing day starts today?

As in the past, BestBuy Canada and FutureShop are starting their Boxing Day sales tonight at 8 p.m. EST.

Last year there was a serious flaw. Their websites, and I’m presuming their servers, were overloaded, slow, and crashed. It was an epic failure then, and I bet there are a lot of people who are hesitant to take part this year for fear that their abilities to just browse the site, let alone place items in their cart and place their orders.

Hopefully the BB and FS IT folks have learned from this, and are ramping up for tonight.

There’s a message on the BB and FS “view cart” pages that says all carts will be cleared to allow fair access for all customers. Take a look at the screen captures:

BestBuy view cart screen shot from 2009-12-24 at 2.45.49 PM

BestBuy view cart screen shot from 2009-12-24 at 2.45.49 PM

FutureShop view cart screen shot 2009-12-24 at 2.46.08 PM

FutureShop view cart screen shot 2009-12-24 at 2.46.08 PM

What’s interesting is that there’s a partial failure. When you click on the image with the text explaining the cleared carts on the BestBuy site, it takes you to their homepage. When you click on the one on the FutureShop site, it takes you to http://localhost/ Clearly someone’s brain is already on vacation. Why does the image need to click through to anything anyways? What’s even stranger, is that the FS site is pulling it in with jQuery and iFrames. Why?

Code view from FutureShop website - screen shot 2009-12-24 at 2.56.09 PM

Code view from FutureShop website – screen shot 2009-12-24 at 2.56.09 PM

Also, according to the FS twitter account, the site is going to be closed at 3 to 6 p.m. EST and it will be open from 6 to 8 p.m. EST to browse before the sale starts. I wonder why they’re doing this? I don’t think it’s going to build up the anticipation. The flyers were leaked about 4 days ago. There isn’t anything that I’m hoping to score from FS. There are a couple of things I’m looking to get from BestBuy though.

Here’s my shopping list for this season:

  • 2x 1.5TB drives – brand A
  • 2x 1.5TB drives – brand B
  • 2x NAS RAID array’s
  • 2x 8GB SDHC class 6 cards
  • 1x inexpensive laser printer – this isn’t for me

That’s it. Nothing all that special. HDD’s are on sale at NewEgg and TigerDirect, so I’m likely going to get them from there. Having said that, their prices are “Boxing week”, so I have plenty of time to get them.

I’ll let you all know how “well” I did once all the purchases are done.

Leafs lose again. David isn’t shaving.

Leafs lose again. David isn’t shaving.

As of this evening, the Toronto Maple Leafs (err.. Laughs) are at the bottom of the NHL with a 0-6 record to start off the 2009 season.

I know the real reason why the Leafs franchise was against moving an NHL team to Hamilton.  They were worried that a new team would win the Stanley Cup before them!

Leafs, you’re my home team. I love you guys. I’ve paid a lot of money in the past for seats to the games. But I’m losing faith in you.

I’ve decided that I’m going to have a rally-beard. I’m not going to shave until the Leafs win 1 game in the regular season. I haven’t shaved since October 8. I guess the beard is better than what some people do during playoffs – not changing or washing their socks or shirts – gross AND stinky!

Anyways, if anyone wants to see me clean shaven, it looks like it’s going to be in a few weeks at this rate!

First photo

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