Just get it over with.

Nortel has announced that it is cutting staff yet again:

High-tech equipment maker Nortel Networks said Wednesday it is cutting 2,100 jobs and will transfer 1,000 other jobs to lower-cost countries.

Nortel did not provide a breakdown of the job cuts, but the majority of them will be in North America.

The company currently employs 6,800 people in Canada and 11,900 in the United States. Its global workforce numbers 32,550.

I used to work there – they bought my employer Bay Networks – and I still own some stock. It seems that the company has proven over and over again that they just don’t know what they are doing. Rather than die the death of a thousand cuts, perhaps they should start shopping around for a buyer while they still can.

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Lost in translation.

My friend Matt bought a remote controlled car and saved the box to show me. It was made in China, and they had clearly had a bit of a problem translating the instructions, resulting in the following:

REFRESH
1.Insert the charger indoor 220/110 AC power electric outlets of:
2.The charger outputs the exportation plug of the line bitter end to insert to refresh the battery to refresh the socket;
3.Refresh time take 4-6 hours as proper.

Atttention:
1.Must use an appropriation of 4.8 V charger that our company installs to refresh,
The charger that uses other not clear characteristics refreshes to damage the battery probably.
2.Refresh time should not lead long,6 hours be good enough to make the battery is saturated, leading to refresh the service life that will shorten the battery, Even cause the battery deformation lose efficacy.
3.Forbid to refresh towards can’t refresh of common battery, slice to record!

The pictures weren’t all that helpful either.

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The pleasure of network television.

My son TiVo’d Knight Rider last night and we just sat down to watch it a while ago. It was a Global, a Canadian network.

There seemed to be an awful lot of commercials, but we just fast forwarded through them. But then we decided to check the time.

In the first hour, for every slightly-under-five-minute chunk of movie, there was a little over five minutes of commercials.And the networks wonder why fewer and fewer people watch network television.

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Won’t somebody please think of the children?

In the name of protecting children, Canadian Liberal MP Karen Redman wants to license (and thereby control) ISPs. She wants ISPs to agree not to provide access to child pornography, or provide service to known sex offenders.

This is the same party that doesn’t feel that the public should be told information about registered sex offenders, but she will provide that information to ISPs apparently.

And once the ISPs are licensed, just think of the control the government could exert over them. Interestingly, the mainstream media didn’t think this rated a story I guess.

Via Michael Geist.

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Canadians need a good famine.

In today’s National Post:

By "famine", I do not mean those 24-hour fruit-juice-sipping adventures in group narcissism devoted to curing the problems of that continent-wide parade of dysfunction known as "Africa." No, what I have in mind is a proper food shortage of the depth and duration that drives the creative homemaker to taste test the wallpaper glue, while contemplating which of the $3,000 Labradoodles goes first into the stew pot.

"Dig deep, darling. The pup’s at the bottom."

A taste of deprivation could restore the word "crisis" to its original definition, resurrect "endurance" and "stoicism" from the vocabulary dustbin, along with the long-lost distinction between "threat" and "nuisance."

It would push back the powerful "if it saves one child" lobby, along with their toboggan helmet police, school lunch analysts, anti-bullying program directors, and playground equipment removal teams. They’d be forced to shelve plans to open the family car to random search by health department inspectors with tobacco-detecting dogs. They’d return to tending their own needs and wants, instead of regulating away those of everyone else.

My parents raised me to have concern for others, but not to control others. There are so many people who are upset about so many things that mean so little in the grand scheme of things, all bothered by what everyone else is doing. It seems to be a case of "these are my rights" (and my rights are more important than yours).

I don’t smoke, but the last time I looked smoking was perfectly legal. We take smokers’ tax dollars willingly yet we treat them like criminals.

Though don’t use pesticide, many others choose to, but my local city council seems bent on passing a law making it illegal. Again, it isn’t a crime.

Yet we seem unable to deal with actual crime and other problems like it.

Sadly, it may take an actual disaster to make people stop an realize what actually is important.It’s almost as if we aren’t experiencing actual suffering so we have to manufacture some.

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You heard it here first.

From Investor’s Business Daily:

Kenneth Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for Canada’s National Research Council, is among those looking at the sun for evidence of an increase in sunspot activity.

Solar activity fluctuates in an 11-year cycle. But so far in this cycle, the sun has been disturbingly quiet. The lack of increased activity could signal the beginning of what is known as a Maunder Minimum, an event which occurs every couple of centuries and can last as long as a century.

Such an event occurred in the 17th century. The observation of sunspots showed extraordinarily low levels of magnetism on the sun, with little or no 11-year cycle.

This solar hibernation corresponded with a period of bitter cold that began around 1650 and lasted, with intermittent spikes of warming, until 1715. Frigid winters and cold summers during that period led to massive crop failures, famine and death in Northern Europe.

Tapping reports no change in the sun’s magnetic field so far this cycle and warns that if the sun remains quiet for another year or two, it may indicate a repeat of that period of drastic cooling of the Earth, bringing massive snowfall and severe weather to the Northern Hemisphere.

Ah, imminent global cooling. Perhaps that explains David Suzuki’s increasingly agitated behavior:

David Suzuki has called for political leaders to be thrown in jail for ignoring the science behind climate change.

At a Montreal conference last Thursday, the prominent scientist, broadcaster and Order of Canada recipient exhorted a packed house of 600 to hold politicians legally accountable for what he called an intergenerational crime. Though a spokesman said yesterday the call for imprisonment was not meant to be taken literally, Dr. Suzuki reportedly made similar remarks in an address at the University of Toronto last month.

Perhaps he’s worried that the carefully managed "scientific consensus" is coming apart at the seams.

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Connecting the dots.

I saw this headline in my local paper today:

Tech sector facing major skills shortage

90,000 information technology workers will be needed within the next five years

I’ve see the same thing in other papers over the last couple of weeks. That’s 18,000 new workers required each year. To put that into perspective, Nortel, probably the largest Canadian technology company, has about 33,000 workers in total. So we’re talking about half of Nortel’s entire workforce in new employees each and every year, just as new IT employees.

The reason for all these new employees?

A recent report by the Conference Board of Canada suggested that the country will need 90,000 information technology workers within the next five years, in part to fuel the explosion in wireless and Internet businesses. Each position that isn’t filled will cost the economy an estimated $120,000 per year.

I haven’t noticed anything in the news about an explosion in wireless and Internet businesses.

But it started to make a little more sense when I got an email from a local law firm about their seminar series:

Immigration Solutions to Address Skills Shortages

Ah, that’s it.You need to start informing people about the huge skills shortage so that they can connect the dots and push government to open the borders.

I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of this.

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Cable companies and stealing.

Marc Bernard took issue with my suggestion that Canadian cable companies are stealing content. Referring to the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Committee (CRTC) site, Marc makes a good case based on the definition of signal substitution:

During the Super Bowl, for example, Canadian broadcasters sell advertising time to be included in the Canadian feed of the program and replace the ads Americans see at home. This permits Canadian stations that buy the exclusive rights to air the Super Bowl in Canada, to benefit from the sale of commercial advertising during the airing of the program.

Of course I wasn’t trying to watch the Canadian feed; I was trying to watch Fox, something I had no problem doing when I used to live in St. Catharines and didn’t use cable.

Now Marc may be too young to recall how cable companies got their start:

Take cable TV. Like Napster, cable was born as a commercial enterprise devoted to making tons of money by "stealing" other people’s content. Twice the broadcasters took this "theft" of their freely broadcast content to the Supreme Court; twice the Supreme Court said it was a matter for Congress. It wasn’t until 1976 that Congress finally resolved this "theft" by passing legislation designed to strike a balance between broadcasters and cable.

[...]

While broadcasters and copyright holders were entitled to compensation for their content, the right to compensation did not have to mean the broadcaster’s right to control. Cable providers had to pay for what they "stole," but they had, under Congress’ law, a fundamental right to steal.

Myy cable company has a fundamental right to steal, so I’m not that far off the mark in my suggestion.

Let’s look at the CRTC mandate:

Our mandate is to ensure that programming in the Canadian broadcasting system reflects Canadian creativity and talent, our linguistic duality, our multicultural diversity, the special place of aboriginal people within our society and our social values.

Hmmm. Super Bowl. Not very reflective of Canadian culture.And all of the products offered for sale in the US commercials are available in Canada. I own an Audi. I eat Doritos, and occasaionally drink Budweiser. So the only reason for substituting a Canadian signal is to guarantee the profits of the Canadian broadcaster.

I don’t see "guarantee Canadian broadcaster profit" in the CRTC mandate.

Ok, maybe Marc is right and "stealing" really isn’t the right term. How about I just say that I, as a cable user, was discriminated against, since had I been using an antenna I would have been able to watch the show I chose to watch, rather than the show I was forced to watch, by order of the government apparently.

Of course then I would be saying that the cable company stole my freedom of choice, wouldn’t I?

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Brought to you by GM and Toyota.

Hulu has posted the Super Bowl commercials now that the Super Bowl is over. So I decided to go check them out.

It is obvious that the folks at Hulu come from the old media world when I see that notice that the Super Bowl commercials – THE COMMERCIALS – are sponsored by General Motors and Toyota.I’m sure that Budweiser is happy that Hulu is making money from their commercials.

And furthermore, when I actually attempt to view them, I receive this message:

Sorry, this video is currently unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience.

I think I’ll wait until they’re on YouTube, which might take an hour or two. And they’ll work just fine.

You’ve got to wonder how old media companies can survive when they can’t even get something this simple right.

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Commercials for commercials

I’m watching the Super Bowl, just like most people on earth right now. But I’m in Canada, where cable companies have the legal right to replace one of a kind, incredible commercials with ads for insurance, soup, or television show reruns. Cable companies stealing content? I’m shocked, shocked I tell you.

So like any enterprising viewer I go to the internet to find the commercials. There are ads for myspace.com/superbowlads, but there is nothing there. Nobody seems to be streaming the ads, though I can’t imagine why since the advertisers would certainly be happy for the extra exposure.

I finally find the ads at FoxSports. You can view them one at a time there. The kicker? To watch a commercial I first have to sit through an E*Trade ad. Every time.

You would think that a television network could figure out how to stream a few commercials over the web. It isn’t rocket surgery folks.

And you would think that the government of Canada, so concerned about coryright, might have the slightest problem with such obvious theft of content.

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