Why I didn’t vote for George Smitherman

I didn’t vote for George Smitherman because I fundamentally disagree with the secret deal he initiated with the Korean consortium (including Samsung and Kepco). A feed-in tariff is all about equal access to the right to connect. The consortium, with its guaranteed grid capacity, sidesteps this equal access.

To make things worse, the consortium may have access to a price adder on top of the FiT prices. This is supposed to recognize the consortium’s expertise in the supply chain, and its consequential creation of jobs through local manufacturing.  There are many other companies — some of which actually have supply chain experience in the renewable energy sector — who would bring the same number of jobs for the same number of megawatts.

So, ixnay on the Ithermansmay for that. There’s no way I’d vote for the glistening oaf (a phrase coined by Catherine after seeing this picture), so Joe Pantalone it was.  Joey Pants’ campaign was, well, a bit pants, but he was the most appropriate of the candidates.

… we stand in line for thee

A little bit of silliness for Thanksgiving:

This took almost no time to put together. The “speaker” is a Tim Hortons cup with a cheap piezo glued to the base. What makes the Arduino sing is the Tone Library running its RTTTL demo sketch, with the anthem itself pasted in from a rather old Nokia Ringtones library.

Update: Here’s the code, such as it is. It’s just the Tone/examples/RTTTL code with the tune data pasted in. I’d been programming Arduino for about a year, so that was a semi-major achievement for me:

It’s nice to revisit old code and find it was written by a friend, Brett Hagman of Rogue Robotics.

late bloomer

I guess I must’ve dropped a sunflower seed earlier in the summer. So now we have a sunflower blooming in the back garden in October. Not many bees around.

Netflix vs Zip.ca

So, Netflix Canada launched today. As a (fairly) loyal Zip.ca subscriber, I was worried, but to be honest, I can do without putting DVDs in the mail every week. Since we can watch Netflix on the Wii, I thought I’d sign up for a trial month.

I tried to find things I’d want to see. Netflix is drawing blanks. I took my list of 30 movies I have queued at Zip to see how they compare. It’s not so good:

# Title Zip.ca Netflix
1 A Single Man ✓ ✗
2 The Dish ✓ ✗
3 Becoming Jane ✓ ✗
4 October Sky ✓ ✓
5 Playtime ✓ ✗
6 The Commitments ✓ ✗
7 The Cove ✓ ✗
8 Storytelling ✓ ✗
9 Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back ✓ ✗
10 Princess Mononoke ✓ ✗
11 Kiki’s Delivery Service ✓ ✗
12 Whisper of the Heart ✓ ✗
13 Salesman ✓ ✗
14 Festival Express ✓ ✗
15 Fat Girl (A ma soeur!) ✓ ✗
16 Adam ✓ ✗
17 Micmacs (Micmacs à tire-larigot) ✓ ✗
18 A Chorus Line ✓ ✗
19 This is England ✓ ✓
20 Crumb
✓ ✗
21 The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection ✓ ✗
22 Old-Time Banjo Styles ✗ ✗
23 Learning Mountain Dulcimer ✗ ✗
24 Animation Greats! ✗ ✗
25 Black Cat, White Cat ✗ ✗
26 Northfork ✗ ✗
27 Leningrad Cowboys: Total Balalaika Show ✗ ✗
28 The Turning Point ✗ ✗
29 Winter’s Bone ✗ ✗
30 Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam ✗ ✗

Available 70% 7%

The unavailable titles at Zip are ones they know about, and will try to find. Not surprisingly, all of them are also not available from Netflix. The only ones I could watch at Netflix are October Sky and This Is England. And would you credit it, but didn’t the DVD for October Sky just arrive yesterday …

Look, I know it’s early days, but Netflix needs to get a bunch better in the next 30 days. Oh, and it could do with some CanCon – it’s very weak there.

Canadian Comedy Central

I don’t know why people keep banging on about how funny Comedy Central is, because whenever they embed a video, this is what I get:

Am I missing something? Is it the new, newer universal punchline? Something like:

1: My dog’s got no nose.

2: How does he smell?

1: In Canada, Comedy Central Videos are available on The Comedy Network.


Q: What’s yellow and deadly?

A: In Canada, Comedy Central Videos are available on The Comedy Network.

not available in your country

As a minor celebration of our 8th anniversary of arriving in Canada, I give you (with explanation later) the collected transcripts of my Google Voice calls:

  • Hey, gimme a buzz me back this is Ron man, you know. Lamb oxen, this is Ron 205, buzz me when you get a chance later.
  • That probably in about a.
  • Hey from A D this is Ron man and 12 5 man If you are a I’ll buzz me, man. I’m gonna do some business man, so pick up you know of a receive, a. My, but alright with equating later.
  • Hello, this is not. He wants to join for your learn, not you, that fallen off. Bye.
  • Hey, Got this way about you could give me a call back and give me a call. Real quick, I’m outside. Thank you.
  • Hello.
  • Hello, Would you know that. Love you all River Run them.
  • Not available at the. It’s.

In a moment of boredom while visiting the US, I must’ve signed up for Google Voice. I’m not entirely sure what my number is, and I can’t access the account inside Canada. I haven’t given the number to anyone, yet I’m getting these voicemails. What can it mean? As a wise person once said, “Lamb oxen, but alright with equating later.”

No Canadian weather? That sucks, Asus!

I just got a ASUS O!Play HDP-R1. It’s one of the current crop of media player boxes, like the WDTV. I suspect they’re all the same MIPS hardware/Linux firmware inside. (Hey, you can telnet into it! Whee! Or something.)

At first, I couldn’t get it to work with my network share, but after a firmware upgrade, all is good. The new firmware offers web content, including weather. So I hopped along, and tried to access Toronto weather:

Err, some of us live outside Asia, Europe and the United States, y’know …

Open letter to Jason Farris

Jason Farris is President and CEO of Citizens Bank of Canada.

Dear Jason,

So you’ve decided to “no longer offer savings and loan products“. For a company called Citizens Bank, your new business plan sounds neither much like a bank, nor of much benefit to citizens.

I moved to your bank less than a year ago. I love the public ethical standards that you hold.  I love the online banking facilities — they’re almost as good as my UK bank was offering back in 2001, so that means they’re stellar for Canada. I love the way that if you’re kept on hold for too long at Citizens Bank, the bank will call you back in five minutes or less — and actually does. I love the way that your employees go out of the way for clients — your Toronto account manager came to my house in the evening to help fill out the paperwork. (Never mind that you let him go a few months later when the “current economic conditions” hit.)

I moved to Citizens because my other bank holds the Canadian platinum-iridium standard for absolute bloody ineptitude (actually, I suspect they had it, but lost it somewhere). In the very rare occasions they can help, they charge you for it — even using their bank machines with their card will give you a monthly charge. I did look into a local alternative bank, but they were rude and unhelpful, rather more interested in tallying up and closing in half an hour than helping me with my enquiries.

You’re giving me the option to move to TD. This is my impressed face. What are they but yet another big downtown bank? What’s their ethical policy? Where’s their community reinvestment? Will they return my calls, or help me set up accounts out of hours? I think you know the answer, Jason.

I’m very disappointed, Jason. I’m also embarrassed, as I recommended your bank to many people, some of whom opened accounts, and will now have to close them. You’ve let me down badly, just when I thought I had found a bank I could trust.

All Good Things,