July 6th, 2010 · Rants
There’s a lot of copyright changes on the go right now. In Canada, there’s bill C-32 which ended up better than expected in some areas and much, much worse in others. ACTA is also out there being negotiated behind closed doors. An access to information request was put forth on this one and the response was a document with the title of the agreement with everything else blacked out. There’s been no transparency and there’s a good reason for that.
All of the changes being pushed for are being funded by publishing organizations and the recording industry. What we are going to end up with is legislation that is completely one-sided. It will favour industry at the expense of the public. It doesn’t take much imagination to envision what this secret agreement will contain. It will make criminals of the entire population with the publishers able to extract as much money from the offenders as possible.
The reason publishers need to do this is that their traditional business model no longer stands on its own. Therefore the only way they can make money is by making the behaviour of the average citizen illegal and therefore “taxable”. The fines and levies will amount to a tax on the population meant only to help the publishers limp along, contributing nothing to society, but extracting a great deal. At least when the government taxes us, we get services in return.
Read up on these initiatives at Michael Geist’s blog. It’s a great source of information. Once you get a better idea of what’s going on. Contact your federal representative. It’s really important as our future is being shaped as we speak, behind closed doors, in blacked out documents. We deserve to have a say in our future.
May 24th, 2010 · Halifax
To celebrate a special occasion, my wife and I bought a package at The Haliburton in Halifax. It’s a lovely boutique hotel in downtown Halifax with one of the better restaurants in the city. Our package included a night stay, supper, parking and a continental breakfast.
It’s a very different type of hotel since it’s housed inside 3 different heritage properties. The end result is a lovely old Halifax feel, especially from the outside with pretty reasonable amenities on the inside. The bed was comfortable which is a tough thing for me to find. The highlight of the night though was the supper.
It was absolutely amazing. I had a starter that was a salad with absolutely stunning lamb. I’ve never had any lamb that was that delicious. For my main, I had been back and forth between the steak and the bison. I’d never had bison and the waitress recommended it so I decided to go wild (I don’t usually try new things) and order the bison. It was magnificent. The flavour was rather unique, almost seeming like a mix between a nice steak and liver. It may sound a little strange, but it ended up being very delicious, especially with the rest of the dish. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a nice restaurant, but even still this was clearly one of the best ones I’ve been to in Halifax.
We had a lovely evening and would recommend it to others. It’s not a cheap place to stay, but it’s actually affordable when you compare it to other nice hotels downtown. Being downtown, you’ll have options for supper if you’re not interested in the supper package. That can make it way cheaper. If you’re looking for a nice night away that’s not your average Hotel, this is a nice option.
Alan Skorkin has written a wonderful piece entitled What Every Developer Should Know About URLs. It’s a very long, detailed post, but if you have to work with URLs you should give it a read.
To most of us, a URL is a pretty straightforward thing. They usually look like http://www.something.com, but you’ll likely have noticed that there is a great deal of additional complexity that is added into URLs depending where you are on the web. The real structure of a URL, as Alan points out, looks like this:
That’s just the tip of iceberg though. If you go and read his article, you’ll find that he’s covered this topic in depth and you’ll come out of it with a much better understanding or the makeup of a URL and what mistaken assumptions you may have.
April 7th, 2010 · Rants
Much like those who roam the streets aimlessly with mental illness, I look at the US and just wish that they could get well.
An american dermatologist has fired an employee over the fact that they voted for Obama and has gone on to brag about it on a forum. This link is to a screencap since the original thread has been taken down by the host.
This is something that I thought only happened in “those” countries. You know, North Korea, Burma, China, Saudi Arabia, etc… In Canada, we believe in the freedom to vote for who you choose with no repercussions. It’s something that separates the free countries from those who are not.
This is just one incident amongst many as of late that have really been pushing the boundaries of what most of the world considers personal freedom. It seems like it’s getting really crazy down there.
We’re not angry at you, we’re not looking down at you, we’re genuinely concerned about you. We know that you can heal and put things like this behind you. We want you to get well soon.
March 25th, 2010 · Rants
I realise that by writing this, I’m being a bit hypocritical, but I’ll abstract this as best I can. Recently a crazy, right-wing American came to Canada to plug their book. In this person’s first speaking engagement, this person made racist remarks. Unfortunately, this was to be expected and is exactly what this person does to draw attention. They say shocking things to stir people into a tizzy, end up becoming very recognizable and sell a lot of books. This person is Howard Stern in drag.
The only way to deal with these people is to stop using their name out loud and pay no attention to them whatsoever. There are many, many authors out there who write things that would anger many Canadians but because they’re not popular enough, we don’t hear about them and it doesn’t affect us. Treat these people the way you treat trolls on the Internet. Ignore them and they go away.
March 14th, 2010 · Rants
Recent events in the US involving some pretty high-profile incidents where individuals have gone on a violent suicidal rampage in protest of oppressive government. One of the incidents involved someone in a shootout at the Pentagon and another famous incident where a person flew their single-engine plane into an IRS building.
Politicians in the US were left scrambling to explain why these situations, which sounded like, smelled like and looked like terrorist acts, were not in fact terrorist acts. They were all pretty difficult to understand and a lot of the things they said Reese Erlich has explained it clearly so that we can all understand.
So he’s cleared it up to explain that right-wing white people don’t commit terrorist acts, only middle-eastern muslims do. Which immediately brought to mind the DC sniper attacks. I remember being really surprised that nobody was using the T-word through the weeks when these guys had people in DC so terrified that they either drove miles and miles out of their way to gas up or they scrambled to the site of a recent shooting to gas up because it would now be crawling with cops. To me, the level of terror within the population seemed to suggest that they were being terrorized, possibly by a terrorist. You see this one was tricky, they were both muslim, but one of them was American and the other Jamaican. Since there was no middle-eastern link, the US media chose to stay away from branding these two terrorists.
So why be so picky about which to call terrorists and which not? Well the word terrorist is meant to help Americans understand who they should be afraid of. Should you be afraid of the white guy next door who hates the government, thinks they’re out to get him and has more guns and ammo in his shed than he could possibly shoot in a lifetime even if he fired non-stop starting today? No, he’s probably fine. Just a colourful character. Should you fear a man thousands of miles away who just had his family killed by an errant US drone attack and is swearing that he wants justice on TV? You betcha! This guy is probably at the airport right now trying to buy a flight to your house where he plans on killing you and everyone you love.
So there you go. That should help you understand why the US government calls some people terrorists and not others. It’s really all in a bid to help you figure out who you should be watching out for. Because if they don’t tell you who you should be afraid of, how else would you know?