No WiFi? Seriously?

Apparently thanks to Verizon, the BlackBerry Storm won’t have WiFi:

You might have guessed it, but the reason is Verizon! We confirmed this a little while back with one of our really top-level sources (you know who you are!) and they did, in fact, confirm our suspicions — Verizon said hell to the no, we don’t play that up in here!

Okay, the truth is that I generally keep the WiFi turned off on my iPhone but I do turn it on when I download apps or other heavy data uses at home; it’s just faster than 3G. The fact that the Storm doesn’t just suggests a lack of concern for the user. I should at least have the choice on my own device.


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Happy “Black and Orange Day”!

Courtesy of the Toronto District School Board:

A case in point: the Toronto District School Board has several “concerns” with respect to the imagery – and even the foodstuffs – associated with All Hallow’s Eve. In fact, some schools in Toronto and elsewhere now refer to Halloween as “Black and Orange Day,” fearing the H-word itself will be as potentially offensive to certain groups as Christmas may be for some non-Christians.

There’s actually an entire policy to ensure that nobody is offended. Except for those with even the slightest bit of common sense.

I wonder how many meetings, attended by how many people, it took to think this one up. And was there even a single complaint to prompt it?

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Vista. Your problem. Not ours.

After telling users how much Windows Vista would WOW! them, and then finding out that it didn’t run properly on many computers and users preferred to stay with Windows XP, Microsoft has decided to fix the problem.

By pretending that Windows Vista never existed it seems.

Microsoft has introduced Windows 7, the successor to Windows XP. Oops, I mean Windows Vista.

Of course it doesn’t really exist yet. And when it does, if you were dumb enough unlucky enough to purchase a computer with Vistathen you can just cough up more money to buy one of the many versions of Windows 7 so that your computer might finally work the way Microsoft promised it would. Maybe.


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Nothing generous about Ontario insurance benefits.

I noticed a letter to the editor in the Peterborough Examiner from Don Forgeron, Ontario Vice President for the Insurance Bureau of Canada. He makes this comment:

Alan Shanoff’s column on Ontario auto insurance does not tell the whole story. He wants accident victims to have unfettered access to the courts so they can sue at-fault drivers for pain and suffering.

But this would create a highly litigious and expensive auto insurance system that would force claims costs even higher.

He ignores the fact that Ontario drivers have fast access to an extremely generous set of accident benefits, paid by their own insurer, to cover medical rehab, lost income and other benefits.

My wife was in a rollover accident last July 16, when she was hit by a driver who went through a red light while on his cell phone. He walked away while she was taken to the hospital. She has been in constant pain, and unable to work ever since.

Let’s talk about Mr. Forgeron’s "generous benefits". Before my wife got a dime she had to use up all of her sick days and all of her extended health benefits. After she used up all of her benefits, they would only pay up to a maximum of $1800. At $91 per physical therapy visit and $60 per therapeutic massage, you do the math. If she was still in pain after that, too bad.

Her income replacement was capped at $400 per week, regardless of her salary. Not enough? Too bad. And that was only until her long term disability kicked in. After that she would get nothing. And I’m not sure what "other benefits" he was referring to.

And the whole time, the insurance company just kept telling us that "we needed to understand how the insurance industry worked". There was barely a hint of concern for what my wife was going through.

Of course the constant comment that "this is all legislation; there’s nothing we can do".And if my wife can never work again, not only will she have lost the only career she ever loved, but we won’t have her salary and the insurance company won’t care.

I’m not sure how Mr. Forgeron can possibly consider those benefits generous. Yes Ontarians pay some of the highest rates I’ve ever seen. And get virtually nothing in return.


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Where is the local information?

You would think that local media companies would be striving to be the source of all local information.

I saw an accident yesterday. Lots of police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks. Today, a day later, I wanted to see what had happened. I went to the local television station – a CTV affiliate – only to find nothing about it. There wasn’t even a search box on the main page. What web site doesn’t have a search box today?

I then checked the local newspaper. Again nothing.

Those are the two biggest media companies in the area, but neither provided simple information about a local event. If these companies can’t even handle the business they’re supposed to be in, how can they ever expect to be local hubs?


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Digital isn’t always better.

When I was a kid we only had about 12 television channels – all analog via antenna. We lived outside of Niagara Falls so we mostly got Buffalo stations, along with a couple of Toronto stations.

When we wanted to see what was on we often just flicked from station to station as fast as we could. We often watched two or more shows at the same time by flicking between them; the channel change was immediate.

When I got married and bought a house we got cable. We had about 60 channels then. The channels still changed almost as fast.

Now we have digital cable. Almost 1000 channels. The picture quality is about the same as it was thirty or forty years ago with the antenna.But there is one really bothersome problem.

It takes up to 10 seconds to change the channel. It simply isn’t possible to rapidly switch from channel to channel. It’s more switch and wait. And unlike the old analog days, there are often times where the digital signal does not decode properly, making it unwatchable.

Digital signals take up a lot less frequency than analog, and that means that cable companies can squeeze a lot more into the same space. But that isn’t always an improvement for the viewer.

And besides, the quality of television programming really hasn’t improved in all these years.


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Two minute warning.

I’m aghast – and yes that word is so appropriate at the front page article in the New York Times about cutting computer start time, especially this comment:

“It’s ridiculous to ask people to wait a couple of minutes,” said Sergei Krupenin, executive director of marketing of DeviceVM, a company that makes a quick-boot program for PC makers. “People want instant-on.”

Now I know that it can occasionally be a bother waiting when you need to get something done. But have we seriously gotten to the point where our lives are moving so fast that we can’t wait two minutes – the time it takes to microwave a frozen burrito – to start working on our PCs?

Make a phone call. Grab a coffee. Or just sit back, take a deep breath, and enjoy life for a moment. Because twenty years can go by so quickly that when you look back you’ll wish that you had all of those little two minute times back.

And it won’t be so that you could have worked more.

Think of it as a two-minute warning.


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Do you even know what honesty means?

Orson Scott Card has some thoughts on the state of journalism today:

Your job, as journalists, is to tell the truth. That’s what you claim you do, when you accept people’s money to buy or subscribe to your paper.

But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie — that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain, and the Republicans. You have trained the American people to blame everything bad — even bad weather — on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.

If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth — even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.

Because that’s what honorable people do. Honest people tell the truth even when they don’t like the probable consequences. That’s what honesty means . That’s how trust is earned.

Read the whole thing.

Tip of the hat to small dead animals.


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Acting small.

Wisdom from Seth Godin:

A small acting bank would never have invested in tens of thousands of loans that they hadn’t looked at. And a small acting startup wouldn’t hire dozens of people before they had a business model… and then have to lay off a third of them just because their VC firm showed them a scary PowerPoint.

This happened back in the dotcom crash of 2000 too.Companies that hired like crazy, or took huge risks, and then fell apart at the first sign of trouble.

If you are solving a problem for someone, you’ll make sales. Even if you aren’t solving a problem that they realize they have yet, you still have a chance if you pace yourself and don’t do anything stupid.

People keep telling me how bad the economy is, and mention the wild swings of the stock market, but is the economy that much different than it was a few weeks ago? Other than the phenomenal greed of a few financial firms, with the expectation that the government will solve their problems for them?

The economy is only as bad as we make it out to be. As long as we behave normally, everything will probably continue to be normal. And taking a few extra minutes to act small – to do some due diligence, to apply a little common sense, or to think before we act – is always a good idea.

Or perhaps the real message in all this is that PowerPoint is evil. Just kidding. Maybe.


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