The things we take for granted.

Via Captain Capitalism by way of small dead animals.

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Everyone wants money.

I started reading my morning paper today, only to find that everyone wants money. It started with the headline about Detroit auto companies demanding to be bailed out. Then the Grand Philharmonic Choir wanted more money because they were having problems. Then literacy groups wanted more funding. Then the Region of Waterloo Swim Club wanted the local council to save their pool.

We already live in a city that can’t seem to manage its’ finances, thinks it is perfectly fine to give out raises in a time of economic crisis, and just raise taxes as necessary to pay for it, without regard for the taxpayers.

I’d like more money too, but as a taxpayer, I guess all I get to do is give – more and more.Seriously, does this ever end?

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Apparently size does matter.

A recent survey indicates that women may prefer the internet to sex:

An online survey commissioned by Intel has found, among other things, that 46% of women would rather go without sex for two weeks than give up the Internet for that long. The numbers get bigger for certain age groups; 49% of women aged 18-34 would make that choice, and 52% of women aged 35-44.

Since the vastness of the internet is preferred to their mates, I guess size really does matter.

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Contract iphone development.

I’m currently finishing up development of a couple of iPhone applications on contract. I live in Waterloo, Canada, where companies seem to prefer not to hire contractors. So I find myself looking for contract opportunities for iPhone application development.

Complexity isn’t a problem. I’ve just finished porting a large Symbian Java application to iPhone, as well as an open-source project.

So if you are looking for contract iPhone application development, you can reach me via email at larry@larryborsato,com, or by phone at 519-572-4435.

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Apparently we need the government to take care of us.

A CBC article about the City of Toronto banning bottled water and forcing retailers to charge 5 cents per plastic bag attracted this comment:

Let’s face it, taxes are how government prompts us to do things that are in our own best interests — tax cigarettes to discourage smoking, and tax alcohol to encourage moderation, etc… 5 cents is pretty cheap, but if it encourages folks to bring a bag along, then that’s great — job done, and no one gets any tax money. If some idiots believe it’s better to buy bags at the check-out rather than buy a box of biodegradable bags for a penny each, then let the morons pay their extra tax. We can use the funds to try remedial education about home economics, and then that same tax can given them a reason to prefer the choice that’s better for them long-term.

Unfortunately this seems to be the prevalent view in Canada; that people won’t do "the right thing" unless the government punishes us or forces us to.My doctor would tell you that a drink a day is good for you, but this person has decided that it must be taxed to force moderation. And if this person thinks that biodegradeable bags are available for a penny each then they haven’t walked through a grocery store in a few decades. "Biodegradeable" is clearly code for "expensive".

Taxes were once created to fund common needs like wars or roads or other infrastructure – but they rarely seem to be used for that purpose today. Now they are apparently used to force people to change their social behaviour. For example, smokers and drinkers are punished heavily, though both are completely legal. And governments make arbitrary rules to limit comsumer choice. Bottled water is banned, though soda in plastic bottles is ok.

We’ve become the victims of some huge social experiment, where we are the ones who pay the price both financially, as well as with our freedoms. Of course the goals are always "right", so we must be wrong.

Last week I was in Manhattan, and when shopping I typically received a paper, not plastic, bag. The bags were sturdy and held up well as I walked home with my purchases. This is almost never the case in Canada, where I typically receive a shoddy plastic bag that rips before I leave the store. Perhaps the answer is not to punish me for using plastic bags, but to provide me a good paper bag.

Stop trying to punish my behaviour with taxes; use them instead for what they were intended to do. And then give me better choices.

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Grace under pressure.

I was just leaving the FAO Schwarz store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on Black Friday when I happened to bump into the CEO. He was standing outside the store introducing himself and thanking people for supporting his store.

I was impressed that a CEO would take the time – especially on such a busy day – to personally thank customers. But I was also impressed at how well the store seemed to be running that day, and how pleasant all of the staff seemed to be. And this was at noon or so, when the day had already been hours long for them.

You can tell a lot about the culture of the company by how they perform in a difficult situation. And I can’t imagine a more difficult situation than the day after Thanksgiving. Yet these people were handling things as if they dealt with this kind of pressure every day – flawlessly demonstrating incredible grace under pressure.

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