Shortcut to internet millions.

I’m watching an infomercial called Shortcuts to Internet Millions. Two attractive women in low cut cleavage-exposing tops sitting on a couch discussing how great this system is, interspersed with testimonials from people making up to $130,000 per month – with the standard disclaimer "Unique experience. Individual results may vary".

Sounds great. Except for one thing. The informercial has a toll-free number but no website.

Now how much would you trust someone who tells you that you can make money on the internet but doesn’t use it themselves?

Via Google, I can find a website for the product.Maybe I’ll buy it just to see how I too can make millions on the internet. I’ll let you know what happens.

Oh yeah. Like I’ll still be blogging after I become a multi-millionaire.Okay, I still would. Sad, huh? But I’ll have a solid gold Macbook.

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Overprotective parents?

From BoingBoing:

A survey on 809 parents and 444 children aged between nine and 16, revealed that 44% of the adults questioned were worried about the safety of small children and 59% showed interest in satellite microchips incorporated in uniforms to track students with ease.

No longer just helicopter parents,apparently 59% have gone completely off the deep end in wanting to track their kids via satellite. Where is the ACLU when you need them?

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The year of the mobile web.

It’s nice to see Russ Beattie back:

The story also notes there’s only "tens of millions" of searches done each day on Google mobile, as compared to the billions done via PC. That’s definitely a good reality check, and actually it’s also probably a good litmus test for the definition of the "year of the mobile web" which has been proclaimed every year since, oh, 2000 at least. Some day, without question, the number of searches done via mobile will eclipse those done via the PC – and when it finally does, *that* will be the year of the mobile Internet, and not moment sooner.

Of course here in Canada, where the cost of monthly data service could actually exceed the cost of an iPhone, the mobile web just ain’t coming anytime soon.

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Paying her debt to society.

Time off for good behavior apparently has a completely different meaning in Los Angeles:

Nicole Richie was released from jail Thursday after serving 82 minutes of a four-day sentence for driving under the influence of drugs.

The reality show star, who checked into jail in this Los Angeles suburb at 3:15 p.m., was released at 4:37 p.m. "based on her sentence and federal guidelines," Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Maribel Rizo said without elaborating.

There is some precedent:

Under a federal court mandate to manage jail overcrowding, arrestees sentenced to 30 days or less for a nonviolent offense are usually released within 12 hours, the sheriff’s department said in a statement.

And she was certainly released witin 12 hours.

Lindsay Lohan is no better:

Just hours before Richie did her time, Lindsay Lohan was charged with seven misdemeanor drunken-driving and cocaine charges for two arrests in the last four months. Attorney Blair Berk arranged a plea bargain and Lohan was sentenced to one day in jail, 10 days of community service and the mandatory completion of a drug treatment program. She was also fined and placed on 36 months probation.

One whole day?Based on Nicole Ritchie’s experience, Lindsay should be out in about 20 minutes.

Kinda makes a joke of the Los Angeles prison system, doesn’t it? I guess these people are just special. I wonder just how many times you have to be caught drunk driving or with cocaine before you actually get punished?

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Food miles and locavores.

I saw the term "food miles" for the first time today:

"Food miles" is a term which refers to the distance food travels from the time of its production until it reaches the consumer or end-user. It is one dimension used in assessing the environmental impact of food.

The concept of food miles is part of a broader issue of sustainability which deals with a large range of issues, including local food. The term was coined by Tim Lang (now Professor of Food Policy, City University, London) who says: "The point was to highlight the hidden ecological, social and economic consequences of food production to consumers in a simple way, one which had objective reality but also connotations."

I also learned the term "locavore":

Also, many trips by personal cars to external shopping centres would have a negative environmental impact compared to a few truck loads to neighbourhood stores that can be easily accessed by walking or cycling. A locavore endeavors to eat food from within a foodshed having a radius of 100 miles.

It’s like a whole new language. I live in Canada so we have about a four monthe season for local fruits and vegetable within my 100 mile foodshed. So I’m a summer locavore.

But come October or November those fruits and vegetables are coming from Florida or California. So for the other three seasons I guess I’m a faravore.

Once we start playing this kind of game then we also need to take into account every other factor, such as how much heat and electricity were required in a greenhouse setting, or how much energy was required to create the fertilizer or pesticide, and how far it had to travel.

It’s the same thing as saying that a Toyota Prius is energy efficient but ignoring the massive travel required by the battery components, and the fact that it must be disposed of in a particular way.

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Military camp for kids.

Long time reader and fan Will Daggart (hey he said he was, I swear) sent me this link to a YouTube video for Camp Okutta, a summer camp that offers military training – like grenades and minefields – for children.

It turns out that the video is actually part of what seems to be a campaign by War Child Canada to inform the public of the unfortunate lives of children in war torn areas:

War Child Canada is a registered Canadian charity dedicated to providing urgently needed humanitarian assistance to war-affected children around the world. War Child Canada helps generate awareness, support and advocacy for children’s rights everywhere.

Unfortunately some people think that it is all too real:

Some Torontonians didn’t realize the blue, tree-motif posters were a hoax. Sarah Heywood told CBC News that she flew into a rage when she saw the ads on Queen Street West.

"It just brought up so much anger in me," Heywood said. "I immediately thought, wow, this is real, this is happening, people are now actually providing these kinds of services and opportunities for people who actually allow their children to go and experience something like that here in Canada."

Perhaps this campaign is better played out on the web rather than on a poster.

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Hospital funding in Canada.

Dr. Brian Day, new head of the Canadian Medical Association, wants to change the way hospitals in Canada are funded:

Dramatically altering how hospitals are financed to eliminate block funding and replace it, at least in part, by "patient-focused funding" in which the hospital would get money based on the number patients treated, as well as the quality and timeliness of care.

In Canada, hospitals receive a block of funding for the year based on the anticipated number of patients they see and procedures they perform. There is no correction if those numbers change.

So the goal of a hospital administrator becomes to spend less – to see fewer patients and to perform fewer procedures, a direct contradiction to the way a health system should perform. There is also no incentive to invest in any new equipment.

A couple of nights ago my wife had a mammogram, which showed a clip in her breast to mark where a calcification deposit had been removed when we lived in Boston. The technician was surprised that the machine saw this. Apparently in her previous two mammograms in Canada the machines had not been powerful enough to detect the clip. What else might this older equipment be missing?

Hospital should certainly be funded based on actual patient and procedure numbers.This might also lead to some competition among hospitals, leading to an improved patient experience.

It is ridiculous to think, as some do, that everything is perfect with Canadian healthcare system as it is:

Mary Ferguson-Paré, president of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, said the suggestion that the Canada Health Act needs be "modernized" and "revised" is smoke and mirrors, and the reality is Dr. Day wants to promote private, for-profit medicine.

She said the ingenuity and the capacity already exists within the publicly funded health-care system to deliver effective and efficient care.

That ingenuity and capacity may already exist, but it will take some serious discussion and a big push to unlock it. Claiming that everything is wonderful as is does gives people a false sense of security and does nothing to make that happen.

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Make my life easy.

A copy of the Crackle Newsletter arrived in my email inbox this week announcing that the former video site Grouper was now called Crackle. So I clicked on a link to see what it was about only to find out that I needed to download the newest Flash player plugin. This happened in both Camino and Firefox, even though I’m reasonably sure that I have already downloaded the latest player.

Sites like Google and YouTube have raised the bar for video sites in general. Every video just plays.

Unless you can articulate some great new benefit for me – and Crackle doesn’t – then telling me I need new software just means that I won’t be using your site until I get around to downloading the new software. And by then I’ll probably have forgotten, so you blew your chance to make a good impression.

The lesson? Don’t make me work harder than the market leaders do.Make my life easy.

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What’s next?

Ok, that’s intended to be a philosophical question. For the past few months I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with my life. I’ve read a whole bunch of books and gone through a whole bunch of exercises. Stuff like this:

  • If you had a million dollars in the bank, what would you do?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What is your passion?

Ok, if you actually had a million dollars then you could do anything you want. That doesn’t help you figure out what you want. I’ve also found that I, like most people, am terrible at figuring out what my strengths are. And what the heck is my passion?

All of the things I’ve read start out like that and then magically jump to the point where you have figured out what your passion is and are happily living it. But it just isn’t that easy.

As well, all of the personal development blogs I’ve read do roughly the same thing. The give excellent suggestions, but they don’t help you actually get there. It’s easy to say "think positive", but how do you actually get there.

So I’m considering starting a personal development blog that actually walks through the process of self-discovery as I go through it. There are days when you can’t bring yourself to get out of bed, or when you have absolutely no self-confidence. It happens, and rather than pretend it doesn’t we can explore ways to get over it or through it.

And we’ll try to help to see the wonderful little nuggets that we miss when we are down – those small successes that we all have. While I’ve been on this quest – that’s probably the right name – some great things have happened to me. Being able to see and enjoy them made the ride that much better. I’ve even gained some great friends along the way.

Sounds a bit too "new age" for you? Don’t worry; I’m just trying to make it an easy path for the average person – like me. I’m searching for my strengths and my passion, just like you.

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