Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Last Gasp of the Corporate World Order

The Last Gasp of the Corporate World Order
I'm not sure, but I think having the logo of the London Olympics may be illegal according to the draconian rules of engagement that is now in force. Seems anything that gives at very most a hint of the Games is subject to search and seizure. If you have any wording that gives an idea of the Olympics, a cease and desist order may be forthcoming. So much for union of people from across the planet. In all its ugliness, the Olympics is being completely revealed as the shrill of Corporate Branding and Culture. What caught my eye was an article in a recent edition of the Toronto Star. Please don't faint, I do read the Star. Usually when I want to get at the world, I read the Star. Usually they are a source of information and attitude that is all things wrong with the point of view of the Star. Yet I digress. The article in question dealt with the security detail surrounding the events. If the numbers are true, 51,000 people will be involved with the security of the Games, and no doubt, their powers of arrest will be greatly expanded. What I've been thinking about is this might be the true last gasp of the corporate power bloc that seems to be running the western world. I believe the mistake of all power elites is they do something so outrageous that their power can no longer be accepted as the norm. They almost force the hand of those under their control to finally say 'enough is enough'. I'm not sure how it will happen, but the corporate elite, through their flunkies in government will make a mistake, perhaps it will be the killing of a protester or an innocent by-stander that will finally make it stop. With all that security, it is bound to happen. With all the cutbacks taking place in the public sector, there will be an increase in the use of private security companies, that know less of civil liberties and the proper use of restraint. Someone is going to die and that will signal the end of the nonsense that has been controlling society for the last 35 years. The cracks of the erosion of power are starting to show, from nearly 1/2 million people involved in protests in Montreal to the development of 'blue flu' in Chicago, those cracks are starting to show. The issue in Montreal was an over-extension of power. In Chicago it was the commencement to the realization the apparatus of suppression are realizing they are on the wrong side. Police are not the riot gear clad instruments of oppression, they are called to serve and protect the community. The Olympics will be the catalyst of the change because it is too over the top. The Corporate elite that has been controlling the discussion and dialogue will go out of their way to ensure the unwashed do not spoil 'their' party. Even though they will attempt to control the Commons, they can't. When the horrible occurs, I believe it will be like the media will awake from their decades long funk. For too long the media has been in the pocket, more then usual of the Corporate Elite. While they've been busy chasing down the last story of what some lame actor or actress wore, or projecting the lives of the non-talented into our collective conscience, the CE has been doing whatever they like. Now the time will come when that cloud of indifference will be lifted. It will be a glorious moment. It's when we will take back the streets of the world.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Battle against Government Corruption

While doing some research for yesterday's blog I came across a few interesting documents that in way had to deal with the Class War that is going on throughout the world. The first document is called the Prague Declaration on Governance and Anti-Corruption. the purpose of this declaration and that meeting which brought the document into existence was to:
Participants in the first World Forum on Governance, representing governments, business, investors, media and non-governmental advocacy groups from around the world, convened in Prague in November 2011 to analyze the link between governance and corruption and to find practical solutions that can begin improving the situation. The Forum was unique in bringing together representatives of both the public and private governance communities to discuss the problem of corruption in both its broad and narrow senses and develop an integrated analytic framework reflected in the Ten Principles below.
The Conference established that corruption—the abuse of entrusted authority for improper gain—is a significant contributing factor in the worldwide governance crisis that cuts across cultural variations and levels of economic development and modernization

There is actually some good points in the document and that implemented would bring about a change of opinion that people have towards government and corporations.

I think one of the better points of the ten articulated is number 4, it deals with the theme of open government:
OPEN GOVERNMENT. Governments should actively implement open government which, among other virtues, powerfully counteracts corruption. Every government should have and follow a freedom of information law with judicial review available for denied applicants. Government budgets, including both expenditures and revenues, should be fully transparent and take advantage of innovations in integrated financial systems and online disclosure. Public procurement should be subject to laws and regulations that provide for transparent, online and competitive tenders and selection among bidders that is independent, professional, and merits-based. For large bids, an independent and expedited review system should be available to assess appeals by disaffected bidders. We encourage both public and private parties to raise procurement integrity standards through voluntary agreements and monitoring by civil society organizations.

The problem with this document is that it leaves in the hands the very group that suffers from the temptation of corruption, namely big business and big government. While these are great words, what would cause a government to change? Please understand I'm not talking about the third and fourth worlds here, while we tend to think of only those nations when we hear the word 'corruption'. Their corruption is probably minor in comparison to what's going on in the west. As well, their's tends to be straightforward and almost quaint, a simple few dollars to grease some wheels or make sure there is a unnumbered Swiss account somewhere.

However the West does believe in sophistication. Consider what`s going on in the UK right now with the Prime Minister David Cameron; it seems he`s got a bit of a scandal going on and it has to do with influence peddling. He has been accused of inviting some very wealthy people over to his house for dinner. Oh and if they come, they need to bring a cheque book, for his dinners cost a whole lot of money. In fact he raised over £25million. Of course this was just for future elections, after all a party needs money to run a campaign. It`s not as if PM Cameron is the first nor shall he be the last. Even though a nation can have spending limits, there`s always a way around them, and who better to know then the government of the day.

Of course the government has called for an independent inquiry to study the issue, the question is, why study the obvious. If he took the money with the promise to bring about or change legislation that would favour the donors, then this is corruption plain and simple. This is the sort of thing the Prague Declaration wants to end throughout the world, but obviously their comments fell on deaf ears in the UK.

The concern is the government will have whitewashed the whole thing and when the inquiry brings the report it will be quickly ignored.

The problem is not, let me say, the money, it`s all about the elections. In some nations it seems they are on permanent election footing. It could be said that this is the case in the UK, where there is a minority government that is kept alive by a coalition and so they must always be ready. Or consider the US, where the campaign for the next presidential election starts almost the day after the Inauguration. It takes money to operate a three-four year campaign and we`re seeing huge amounts raised to pay the cost of a campaign. The candidates need the money and if that money comes with an I.O.U. then so be it, after all, its not corruption, its simply have other interested parties express their concern and help the government understand how some things need to be directed.

By the way, the Prague Declaration has something to say about campaign finance:
All forms of campaign and party finance should be transparent, with prompt and publicly accessible internet disclosure of direct, indirect and third-party contributions and expenditures. States should criminalize official favors provided as quid pro quos for campaign finance; offer a small-donor matching system or other means of public funding of campaigns; and have bans or strong limits on corporate funding of campaigns and parties. In countries in which corporations are permitted to participate financially in elections, corporate and investor rights groups should target corporations’ political spending practices to establish accountability for their decisions to allocate resources for political campaigns and to require full disclosure of all such spending to the board of directors, shareholders, and the general public.

This has to be the standard, democracy is not a means of raising funds, nor is political office a commodity that goes to the highest bidder. I`m not saying it`s never happened before, of course it has, bribery has to be the second oldest profession but now we the citizens have a tool to keep an eye on them.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Why the Occupy Movement will win

I'm on the theme of class warfare for a bit of time, and I'm been watching and thinking about the entire Occupy Movement and how its doing. I know lately the Mainstream Media has gone out of its way to ignore it. They covered the first few months and the times the police have gone in to throw all those smelly hippies out of various parks, but the Occupy people and the Occupy Movement is still going strong.

From what we can gather from the dispatches, its looking not that good. After all, the apparatus of the State is still beating people to near death and tossing as many of them as possible in jail. The 1% still acts like their running the place and their lackeys, the various governments of the world are keeping in step with their orders. Plus there are many who say that the gains, such as they are, from the Occupy movement have lost a lot of momentum. At least that`s what they would have you believe. We need to remember that for the most part, media outlets are there to make sure the point of view of the ownership group is expressed. The best example would be something like the Wall Street Journal. The owner, Rupert Murdoch hates Google and if there is any bad press to be generated about Google it will be reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Look around, its not going so hot. But ultimately that may be the sign we`re all looking for, the complacency There is a sense of confidence that the worst of the protests are behind and they are still in their jobs. However that fails in one point, governments and the 1% are scared. They are so scared they are doing all in their power to deflect. Case in point, the saber rattling going on against Iran and Syria. The Western powers would like nothing more then a military conflict because that`s a great way to fill up the news. Plus it makes money for those vested interests. As well, it sends a lot of young people away to get maimed and killed, the potential leaders of any and all protest movements get hauled off half a world away to get blown to pieces. Please understand, this is not against the soldiers, they are brave men and women called to do a ridiculously amazing job and they do it. The problem is, their governments let them down every time.

Their fear can be found in the fact that a young student was beaten nearly to death by the police and the UK and he faces charges in court. Then again, this is the sort of action that does ultimately back fire against the establishment. They will go to excess and usually go after the wrong group or people and this will be their downfall.

Plus, the excesses of the 1% will become greater because they will be self-satisfied, they will feel protected by the authorities, and so they will do what they want to do, to ever a greater degree. Case and point has to be Dominique Strauss Kahn, the poster boy of the excesses of the 1%. He had everything, wealth, power, was a rising star and then, he decided to treat women like he treated the third world, as objects to use and abuse. Now, he faces even more potential of jail time and his political career is in total tatters. It continues to grow for him too. He is joining a list of former high flyers and the power that are running into problems.

Governments too are beginning to fear. For the most part they are reacting with violence, because that`s the natural result of fear. But they are also afraid of losing power. Some governments are trying to hold on with the tried and true, and by that I mean the last couple of years, of hammering the lowest members of society- because they have almost no rights and certainly no power- so you go after the weak. However, this will be excessive as well and will soon backfire.

But I also think the Occupy Movement will win for another reason, because some where there is one police officer who is beginning to doubt what he or she is doing. Think about the police for a moment, their duty is to Serve and Protect. Who are they serving and who are they protecting, it's supposed to be the community. But the community is the people who are protesting. I think that's why the governments want their police force in riot gear, because it makes them not look like police. It makes them look like Imperial Stormtroopers. When you see a police officer in uniform, you see someone who is there to serve, help and protect you, when you see one in riot gear, you see someone who wants to hurt you bad.

But somewhere there is an officer who is beginning to question all this, he or she looks in front and realizes that this is the community they made a vow to protect. They are not called to protect the pampered 1% who don't pay taxes so don't pay the salary, or the politicians who call on the police to do their dirty work, it's the people with the signs and the songs they are called to protect. In that fleeting moment they have the moment Vaclav Havel wrote about in his brilliant essay, "Power of the Powerless". They become like the greengrocer who refuses to display the sign "power to the people" in his shop window:
The greengrocer has not committed a simple, individual offense, isolated in its own uniqueness, but something incomparably more serious. By breaking the rules of the game, he has disrupted the game as such. He has exposed it as a mere game. He has shattered the world of appearances, the fundamental pillar of the system. He has upset the power structure by tearing apart what holds it together. He has demonstrated that living a lie is living a lie. He has broken the exalted façade of the system and exposed the real, base foundations of power. He has said that the emperor is naked. And because the emperor in fact is naked, something extremely dangerous has happened: by his action, the greengrocer has addressed the world.

When that moments comes, the officer will turn to the next officer and ask "Why are we doing this?". They will have doubt, not of their calling or service but why are they dressed up in riot gear and why has the order been given to attack a group of people who are unarmed and only seek to yell a few slogans in the hope of getting their points across to a government and culture that is isolating them. The next officer will either give the book answer or will look at the same line of people and answer the only honest way 'I don't know, why are we doing this?'. Let me tell you that will spread through the line of police, each one will face that moment of existential crisis and not come up with a good answer.

At that moment, when the call is given to charge the line, the police will move towards the protesters, but the visors will be up and the shield will be at their side, they will join. Then you will see fear in the eyes of the 1% and their government lackeys. Because that is when the revolution will truly begin.

And remember this:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dispatches from the Class War Front

Just in case any one is keeping score, the Class War is doing quite well, for the upper class that is. Not only are government going out of their ways to ensure that banks and billionaires are protected from the dangers of the recent recession, but they are ensuring other acts against the lower classes. In the UK, the most recent budget contains cuts that affect everyone but the very rich. The concern is towards pensioners, and why not, they tend to be conservatively minded voters and will likely vote for the government. Of course the government wants to cut welfare spending, and that is usually done by slashing benefits and not by doing anything to get people jobs. It's easier to slash then help.

Now that's across the pond. We're seeing the same here, I anticipate the new McGuinty budget will feature a lot of slashing to the welfare part of the budget, after all you just can't expect the poor to be shielded from the problems of deficit, oh and by the way, the wealthiest part will experience a tax windfall.

If that's not bad enough, there is a new movement going on in the States and I suspect it will come to Canada soon enough and that is the attempt by many cities to ban giving food to the homeless. I know it's one of those things you just got to shake you head.

So cities are attempting to ban people from providing food to the homeless. The reasons given are only for the best, because the homeless lack access to proper medical care they might suffer more if the food is not prepared correctly. Of course instead of providing services to help this happen its far easier to threatened and stop people from doing that sort of thing. One of the methods is to arrest people who give food to people. I mean this is like killing people isn't it, that sandwich is actually a weapon of mass destruction. In Orlando they arrested member of "Food Not Bombs" after they dared to feed people. Again the reason is the food might not be good for homeless people.

Mayor Bloomberg of New York is also doing the same thing, he is doing so because he is concerned the poor might be exposed to food that is too high in salt. After all we know that one of the main concerns facing the homeless is high blood pressure.

The only problem with this is, no one is buying it for a second. The real reason is that cities want to get rid of homeless people from certain areas and the best way to get rid of them is not providing for their basic needs. I made the suggestion that Major Bloomberg knows that homeless people are like stray cats, you feed them once, you'll never get rid of them. Of course there was one person who obviously failed the class on recognizing sarcasm. Well, enough of that. The real sarcasm is when an official of any of those cities stand up and trying that nonsense that this is all for the protection of the health of the homeless.

Then there is the issue of getting permits. If anyone understands anything about municipal government, the permit is the way cities control things, if they want to interfere, they make people get permits. They never say how easy it is to get a permit but I suspect if you want to feed the hungry, don't waste your time.

Right now its easy to have a smug attitude up here in Canada, but let me say this, it could come to Canada real quick. The climate is already in place, various Boards of Health already have rules and regulations concerning the production of food by churches and other not for profit groups. You need documents or have signs warning the kitchen has not been inspected. In the past church groups that cooked part of the meal off-site have been warned it must stop. Just wait until the denizens of Yorkville or Queen Street West grow weary of all those homeless people and all those do-gooders who feed them, trust me it will come to Canada.

I suspect the time is coming, when businesses that have food and throw out food will be forced to put security guards at their dumpsters, because we can't have to homeless access food from dumpsters, because it might be bad for them.

Dive! Trailer from Compeller Pictures on Vimeo.

If this video is correct then there is food to be harvested and trust me there are those in power who will stop this.

What else can happen? If cities are serious in getting rid of homelessness how about this for a suggestion, poison the food. Sure, set out feed distribution centres for the homeless in specific location and make sure the food is laced with Warfarin. Hey, isn't that the best method to deal with vermin?

The attitude of the lackeys of the corporate elite is that the poor, the dispossessed don't have rights, they are dirty, they don't deserve anything, if food means they will survive then use food to get rid of them. It starts by putting stumbling blocks before those attempting to help the homeless and then its only a few steps to using pest control methods to finally deal with the problem.

Class Warfare, and the Upper Classes are winning, for now.

Friday, March 09, 2012

More News about the South Side

While follow the brantford hashtag, I came across this tweet:
Builders have said that the south side of Colborne Street in #Brantford is a precarious site making the Laurier/Y too costly.

The person(s) behind this tweet is involved in the excellent blog City of Insight. If this is the case, there is some serious stuff gong to come down soon. I suspect there will be an attempt to downplay such news, after all, the side of the hill is fine. It is stable, everything will be fine, the forces behind the push for the Laurier will have to do some serious spin if they cannot move ahead with this project.

While we'll simply have to wait to discover if there is any truth to this comment, it means we should listen carefully and read between the lines of any and all announcements from now on regarding the south side of Colborne.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

More Trouble for Somalia

It seems Somalia can't catch a break. After years of devastating famine, civil war, division of the nation into various factions and the fact it is viewed as one of the poorest and most violent nations on the planet. If one wishes to define a failed state then Somalia must be first on the list.

Even the present government barely controls a couple of blocks in the capital, things are working and working well in Somalia. The economy is considered quite good. The 'real' growth rate of the economy in 2009 was 2.7%, which isn't bad when one factors in all that is happening in the country. It seems not having a central government has been a boon to the economy. It does make one wonder. I suppose it could be said that Somalia is more an experiment in libertarian economics rather then a crippled nation-state.

Yet that may all change, for Somalia is also cursed with what some people think is an abundance of oil. It seems people are saying there is a lot of oil in Somalia and its ripe for exploration and development.

You might be thinking that this is good news, after all, oil will mean revenue and the development of the nation. I sure it could be but for the headline in the Guardian: "Somalia promises west oil riches as diplomats vow to defeat al-Shabaab". So the government is promising the West a portion of the booty if they receive help in defeating the rebels and building up the infrastructure.

Consider with me the track record Somalia has had at the hands of the Western Powers:
1991- Somali Civil War, which followed by intervention by western powers under the aegis of the United Nation. The word that best describes those years is debacle. Not only did western powers fail to meet any objections, but the troops treated the local citizens with such scorn that they met one objective and that was to unite all of Somalia under a hatred of the West. Most of the military involved are still licking their wounds from the fall out.

One of the benefits the West discovered with the collapsed of the Somalia central government is that there was no one to protect the 200 mile off-shore zone, and so the various fishing fleets of Europe decided to exploit the resource. They used the same methods that proved so successful off the Great Banks of Newfoundland- the basis 'leave no fish behind' idea. If that wasn't enough they discovered that without any pesky navy to prevent them they could start dumping toxics off the shore of Somalia. The said effect of that little travesty was to destroy what few fish and sea life that remained.

Now you had all these unemployed fishermen. They looked around, they saw boats, guns and noticed all these big slow moving oil tankers not that far off-shore. So they did what should have been expected- they became pirates. They were quite successful and apparently, helped develop the economy further. Of course, the world didn't like these pirates and turned against them. Funny how they couldn't turn their guns on those vessels dumping toxics off shore- yeah funny how that is.

So Somalia has oil. Oil that the West is salivating at the thought of exploiting. The Canadian corporation Africa Oil Corporation is at the forefront of the development of the fields.

I would like to think this could be the best news possible for Somalia, here is tangible riches. If the speculation is true, that there might be as much as 4 billion barrels of oil, this is amazing.

The concern is, might the West, which has a long history of screwing the Somali people and nation over, try a new tact and actually give the people and government a break? Will they expect a certain level of atrocity to destroy the rebels so the clear the area of all who might interfere.

If done right, it will be a boon for the people.

Sadly, if done wrong, it's more of the same.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Every time you download a song

When all the entire music piracy began one of the saying that sprung up over the internet was this:

Seems the ramification has changed dramatically. The above website was posted at a website rnbxclusive.com. Now if you download a song you could face up to 10 years in prison. Now that's some serious time. As well you could pay the state a boatload of money, so much that can't begin to calculate the amount.

Someone once said that the punishment society metes out reflects the morals of that society. The thought being the crimes that are considered particularly heinous have a longer prison sentence or even capital punishment. This is why across the board nations declare the great punishment for murder, because we declare that all human life is valuable and must be protected by putting a murdered away for either life, a very long time or in some nations, death.

One wonders what this says about modern British society when downloading music illegally carries a great jail term then rape. Of course its also longer then the average manslaughter prison sentence.

So society, through its government has spoken and it views the greatest crime in their society as that of downloading music, movies and any culture. It views the protection of culture as more important then the lives of its citizenry. Now how is that for a screwed up sense of importance. Not only that but the fact the website in question was seized by the `Serious Organized Crime Organization` indicates the importance placed on protecting the sanctity of music. You can`t let all those nasty people pirating culture. That would be simply wrong.

It should be pointed out that SOCA has decided to throttle back on the threats and now this is what greets you when you go to the above mentioned site:


All this energy, enforcement and time spent going after the real criminals in society, those music pirates. Many believe this is a direct result of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, that spends most of its time going after those people who download the latest Lady Gaga track.

Then again, never underestimate the power of the Cultural Mafia. They have a lot of money and influence because of the money and they don't mind buying a few politicians along the way. The reason for their concern over piracy is that when you download a song you are destroying opportunities and taking the livelihood from musicians. Not only musicians, but all those involved in the music industry, the studio players, the engineers, producers, sound managers, even those poor people in the CD factories stamping out those shiny plastic discs for $1.00 a week. They all suffer because YOU downloaded a song.

This also holds true when you download a movie, or TV show illegally.

Then we have the words of Alex Cox, the director of Repo Man:
It’s so corrupt. Now they want to have longer copyright periods because they say the young artists are relying on this money. The young artists never see any money because they sign away that money to big media corporations, like Universal and Viacom.”

“We, the artists, lose all of our rights to these massive corporations, who then come down heavy on these kids for downloading films and music that we never see a penny from.”

“It’s complete bullshit. I want to encourage your audience to go and pirate a bunch of my stuff right away.

The rights don't belong to the creators of culture, they belong to the corrupter's of culture. Big Media owns the rights and they want to own all the money that comes from those rights. The history of recorded music long demonstrates the abuse of musicians by the recording labels and it continues to this day.

However none of this plays a part in the concerns of government or the ratifiers of ACTA. The treaty has this to say about piracy:
To protect electronic rights management information,16 each Party shall provide adequate legal protection and effective legal remedies against any person knowingly performing without authority any of the following acts knowing, or with respect to remedies, having reasonable grounds to know, that it will induce, enable, facilitate, or conceal an infringement of any copyright or related rights:to remove or alter any electronic rights management information;
(b) to distribute, import for distribution, broadcast, communicate, or make
available to the public copies of works, performances, or phonograms,
knowing that electronic rights management information has been
removed or altered without authority.
8. In providing adequate legal protection and effective legal remedies pursuant to

It's all the make the world safer for MegaCulture conglomerates. Which is far more important then say protect people from murderers or rapist.

Friday, March 02, 2012

The Growth of a University

I think I have the same feelings of ambivalence towards the development of the Laurier Brantford University that a lot of people have towards it.

On one hand, the University should be congratulated for the restoration work it has carried out, the fact that previously underused buildings are now being used. The fact that it's remaking Victoria Park into some sort of University Quad is excellent. The fact that older building have new life and excitement. There is the belief that businesses which can reach out for the students are doing quite well.

Yet to many quarters there is a concern about the direction the City is taking as it pertains to the University. More then one voice has opined that as far as the City is concerned, whatever the University wants, the University gets. One of the proofs is the whole destruction, no sorry, redevelopment of the south side of Colborne Street. It was torn down with no real plan in view, although there was always talk of a joint University/Y sports complex. It was considered something the downtown core needed, plans were drawn up and it has been announced

It seems the plans won an award for best looking plans.

Then again, the question is being asked, does the city need another sports complex when it has already did work renovating the Gretzky Centre- and certainly there was a lot of problems over that one wasn't there.

The issue is, the new athletic centre is going to cost the people of Brantford 5.8 million dollars. They have made this committment, saying the funds are going to come from the percentage the city receives from the Casino.

Now couple this with the fact that a domiciliary hostel is closing its doors. The owners went before City Council for a funding request and they were turned down. To be fair, three other facilities were turned down as well. They requested funding of $198,000. So now 17 people are looking for a place to live.

Then again, its not the University's fault. I'm sure no one in the administration is saying 'decide between us or a bunch of old people'.

But for the downtown, the University has done a lot of good, besides the life and the fact there are now people downtown, it has led to some nice construction.

Now we have the news, and I'm going to call it 'good news' of Conestoga College entering into a partnership with Laurier Brantford to offer business courses and degrees.

Yet at the same time, the City had a negative view of Mohawk College, one headline spoke of the City and Mohawk being at odds.

What I'm thinking about all of this is, this is a time of transition for Brantford. It's years of being an industrial dynamo are long gone-perhaps it might be best just to bulldoze all that brownfield just to remove all reminders of the glorious industrial past, and realize this is the information age- content and knowledge are the new muscle and Brantford is taking full advantage of it.

Transition times are always bumpy. People are feeling ignored and foolish at time, lines are drawn in the sand and there is a lot of finger pointing. What is the outcome of all this? Probably a better city.

What Brantford has to remind itself is a balance needs to be established and then maintain. There needs to be a stronger partnership with all the stakeholders of the downtown.

It will be a challenge but let's hope it can be achieved.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Rick says he's disappointed with the new low that has come to Canada.

As I've been reading and listening to the whole scandal that is robocalling, I want to let everybody know I'm angry. I don't know who's responsible but that is the ultimate in reprehensible action.

Listen, voting is the fundamental right and duty of a citizen in a democracy. For most of the time our opinions are ignored by government, business, the civil service and just about everything that wields more authority then us on the day to day business. But on one day every four or so years, we have the right and duty to go behind a little cardboard stand sitting on a school desk in an auditorium or gymnasium at the local school or community centre and make a choice for who we want to represent us in Ottawa and indirectly who will be the leader of the government for the next few years.

When we look at the ballot and hold that little pencil in our hand, we suddenly have a great deal of power. The pollsters may dissect us every which way and twice on Sunday but when we step behind the cardboard we are the ones making up our own mind. All the promises, all the electioneering disappears and its up to us to make that decision. This is why so many candidates are usually so nervous on election day because they have no idea what the citizenry might just do behind that booth. They would love to control us, but when we have that little piece of paper, they can't do anything else. The polling station is to be free of all election influence, it is to be pristine. An oasis of calm in the craziness that is an election campaign.

This is what angers me, that someone or someones decided to play a dirty trick on people and give them false information about where they are to vote. The message was that the caller was from Elections Canada and they had some new information about where the people were to vote. First of all, someone was imitating a federal official and they also lied.

This Pierre Poutine character, very clever is the force behind the robocalling and the burnt cellphones. At this point of time I don't know which party was behind it, to me that is inconsequential I just want the person or persons found and brought to justice. I expect serious jail time. As Rick Mercer pointed out, it's not just a few drunks trashing some election sign, it is out an out voter fraud. Sure not as blatant as stuffing ballot boxes like some other countries do but close. It's not as nefarious as putting so many rules and regulations in place that a huge group of society are disenfranchised, this takes place in the shadows, a telephone call here and a telephone call there. Somebody did it, and somebody above that individual strategized the plan.

I'm angry because there is a wave of indifference sweeping the land over it, we almost expect politicians and parties to do bad things because that's what we expect. Ever since the Poutine was Prime Minister, new lows have been achieved. It's as if we shrug our shoulders and put in the back of our mind another reason to despise politics and all aspects of public discourse.

To me this is worse, far worse, then the prorogue situation a few years ago, because all governments do it, so what. However, when a group decides to interfere with the rights of people to vote by giving out false information, then that's the reason to protest and to scream bloody murder at the government. We should pressure all our MP's to get some sort of official examination going. Elections Canada and the RCMP better get involved and they better drag a few people in for questioning. I want people water boarded to extract confessions.

The Puritan minister John Winthrop once described America as:
a shining city upon a hill

He might have been right once, but now its Canada that is that shining city. We are the nation that people look to, we have the traditions, the heritage, the respect- and we have the institutions that are looked up to by many.

We expect better because we are better.

As I said, we need to find those individuals and/or groups responsible and drag their sorry butts into court and throw the book at them.

We Canadians should not simply shrug our shoulders and say 'business as usual', we should rail about this and demand our government and all parties do something. I do not want parties scoring cheap shots or points, grandstanding before the media, I want average Canadians to stand up and denounce this activity.

I want Canadians everywhere to tell Pierre Poutine to keep his freakin' hands off our ballots.

Our ballots belong to us and us alone, no one has the right to mess with it.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Playbook OS 2.0

Come on, did you expect me not to say anything about the upgrade for the Playbook?

I have been accused of being a Blackberry wannabe spammer- I shall wear that title like a badge by the way. Yes I am enthusiastic about the Playbook, probably no more then those iPad stouter out there.

On Tuesday I got home and went to check for software upgrades, this after reading the various tweets that it was available, and commenced the download and installation process. After less then 1/2 hour, I rebooted the Playbook and watched the transformation take place. Right at the top were the icons for "Messages", "Contacts", "Browser" and "Calendar". Right off the bat this got me very interested, I opened up the first two and made the connection with my gmail and yahoo accounts and moved over contact information, email and calendar.

Since these are the big changes, I'm going to concentrate on them for most of this blog post. To me, the biggest change and the one I was most looking forward to was the calendar- I don't use paper any more for my appointments, I have used my Dell Axim for the last number of years- it was good, it kept me organized and it went everywhere I went However the devise was showing its age- and so when the calendar was announced I was excited and looking forward to having this on my Playbook. With the calendar, I've included information from my yahoo and gmail accounts- which has been important since a lot of important family dates are included in those. Adding events is extremely easy. This is going to get a lot of work out of me.

As for messages, yes there was 'apps' for gmail and yahoo mail, but they never quite worked for me, the new Message app does. I get immediate notice of mail entering the box- I now understand the Pavlovian response BB owners have when the devise pings upon that announcement. This can be dangerous. Still it is good to have a place for all the email.

Contacts- another app that will get used a great deal by me. Interesting, I went through it and realized I need to correct a few people, this is a new project for em.

Other aspects- the File Manager. This is very good. It is nice to have some place to check what files are on the Playbook and what ones I can delete. I know it could be done a lot of ways before, but this is handy. I listen to a lot of podcasts and so its good to be able to delete after I'm done, rather then waiting to be connected to the computer.

I like the fact the app world is starting to heat up with more and better apps. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the "Workout Trainer" app from Skimble was available. As you may know I am a big fan of Skimble, and have just started using some of the workout programs. With the great speakers I do not have to find earbuds to listen to the program, which is good because they tend to fall out when doing a lot of shifting. Trust me this is a bit of a problem.

I have noticed there is some positive reviews coming along, CTV had an article from a writer with the Globe and Mail that stated PlayBook update makes tablet an easier sell.

The Inquirer gave a mixed review, which was fair. The writer does comment and rightly so, all these improvements should have been available when the Playbook came out last year- 2.0 should have pushed to new and greater heights. That is true, and the problem is, to use that old adage, You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The Playbook took it on the chin and when one considers what it lacked, rightly so. For all the positives, it was simply a very expensive devise for surfing the web and watching videos. Now it has good use and can be useful in business and for the consumer. I think it would be smart of RIM to keep the price competitive with the Amazon Kindle for example.

Lance Ulanoff wrote in Mashable BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0: Much Better, Yet Not Good Enough. Again the comment was the upgrade is a nice start because it gives it the features and productivity it lacked and should have had right out of the gate.

However, there is now talk of a Playbook 3.0 being designed.

By the way, I just finished a video chat with two friends, now that is a fantastic feature.

If you want to understand why I'm so impressed with the calendar feature, watch this video.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Playbook Good News

It seems there has been quite a string of bad news from RIM World Headquarters. It wasn't that many months ago that the company took a beating with the inventory of Playbooks that were languishing in some large warehouse(s). Instead of shipping everything off to a very large landfill they did something radical- drop the price and get them moving. There was a number of critics who laughed and pointed out how HP had done the same thing with their tablet and it was the end of the line. Of course, if anyone studied the specs of the HP Touchpad, it wasn't much for a very large amount of money. Perhaps had they started with the price point of the Amazon Kindle Fire, or the B&N Color Nook, it might have been a great little tablet. But they went for the maximum price and its DOA.

The cost cutting of RIM did something great, it brought people to the stores and got them to buy the Playbook. A number of articles pointed out that the Playbook captured 15% of the Canadian marketshare. I know I can almost hear the indifference, but I can say from evidence, there are more people walking around with the Playbook then with the iPad.

Then again, this makes sense, RIM has a built-in group of support, perhaps they are not as noisy as Apple has, but they exist. Also, the price may have opened the tablet up for the new Blackberry consumer group- young people. Look around, how many young adults and teens have Blackberry phones. Sure they use them more for the BBM then anything else, but it is a group that likes them. So the $199 is a nice price point for youth. They might understand the whole bridging thing then I can comprehend.

Then there is the OS 2.0, the improvement that will boost the ability of the Playbook, giving it the much needed features. There are another of information, it now seems the release date will be February 21st. It will also be a global launch and a free launch. It will also take place at the Mobile World Congress. No doubt it will be announced and launched at the same time. This will excite the media and those attending the Congress and get the bloggers going with the news. I expect things will explode big time for the Playbook.

The promise of a 4G Playbook is still out there, which points to the fact that instead of a dead end, the Playbook has a bright future for itself.

As an aside, people are starting to talk about a 7" iPad coming out, perhaps not with the upcoming announcement this March, but later on in the year. While Steve Jobs did not like the 7", with the growth of Kindle Fire and the revival of the Playbook, plus all those Android Tablets, its a part of the market that is growing and is successful.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Enjoying Downtown Brantford

As you may know from past blogs, I like Downtown Brantford. I know that might be an odd statement to say, or admit to. After all, it was called the 'worst downtown in Canada'. Certainly you know what I've said about things as they pertain to the downtown core, the problems with parking, population density, the tearing down of all those great buildings on the South Side of Colborne.

Yet I like the core. If you consider places such as the Public Library, Harmony Square, some of the great little restaurants and even the development, both restoration and the new construction of Laurier Brantford, there is a lot to consider.

It is truly a great place to go for festivals. I put up the International Jazz Festival against a lot of others. Sure its not as famous as Toronto, or Montreal or Vancouver, but where else would you want to be in September, then in Brantford listening to some great jazz. I know I can say this with a lot of people, but I've been to every festival and the weather has been great, the music cool and the crowd grooving to the sounds.

As for restaurants, I like Warmington's Bistro. The atmosphere and the milieu is funky, the service may be a bit slow, but the food is very good. The wraps are amazing.

I will admit, I can be a bit cranky when it comes to Laurier Brantford, the fact they want to tear down a few more heritage buildings or it seems if the City has a spare dime they give to the University, yet it does bring people to the core, and its the source of my newspapers I read. It's great they've added the National Post to the Hamilton Spectator. But don't tell anybody about that.

So why am I writing about the core?

Couple of things, first of all, I believe we should consider there are signs of life. I know people say its a bit dead but I want to say this, where there is business, it should be celebrated. It truly proves the axiom, where there's life, there's hope. It's easy to walk around and look at the vacant buildings, certainly a walk through Market Square will demonstrate there is a lot of vacancies. If a business is looking for space, there's a lot of it. However I'm not going to give the list, rather celebrate what's there and where there is growth.

I was walking past the old Ford Plant, and its being developed.

A yoga studio and a new bakery and cafe. Might not be much, but it is something. The bakery, Sophia's will be gluten free and might be a good place to stay. The fact it's there means there is recognition this can be an important corner. I suspect with the fact the Y/Laurier partnership is going to happen, this will be an important corner. I know its possible to say 'I'll believe it when I see it'. I understand there has been a lot of 'plans' to develop. Yet the fact there is now money coming in from other sources, although anything that comes from the Province might be suspect, in fact I would cash that cheque from Queen's Park real quick.

Then there is the plan for the bus depot.

It is something that Brantford needs, its small, kind of rundown and well, a typical small bus depot- a bit sketchy. It also has a Tim Horton's and you don't want to be there during the busy times, it is nuts.

I know there's going to be a lot of talk where to place a new structure, I want to think if the city is interested in getting with the GO Transit system there will be a new structure. I don't think its a pipe dream, the city is growing, something like 8.7% since the last census and with most of it being commuter population, its important. I don't think a train would be possible, at this present time, but certainly expanding the transit system so that we have a bus connection to Hamilton and Aldershot would be great.

For many, the better days of Brantford Downtown may be in the past, but there can also be a renaissance coming in the future. It will be great.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Apple and Third World Labour

I think every generation needs to read and also re-read the book "No Logo" by Naomi Klein. The subtitle of the book is 'Taking Aim at the the Brand Bullies'. it should be read, because it seems every industry will eventually pull the stunts that were visible during the writing of the book. When the early '00's happened, people were just starting to understand the human cost of globalization, how the shipping of jobs from the West to the East was due to one thing and that was cost. Also, we witness the rise of brands as culture. No longer were people simply making and selling a piece of garment or a running shoe, they were experiencing the zeitgeist of that product. I know the word more means 'spirit of the times', but there was a desire to paint the logo so strongly onto culture that the two became inseparable. Just think about Nike's 'Just Do It', that was an attempt to transcend simple sports into an entire lifestyle. As well, there was Gap, with their marketing.

What needs to be understood is that neither Nike or the Gap were the worst offenders, or that they were the only one, but rather they came to symbolized an entire segment of their retail division. They were the forerunners and as such they drew the most attention. They did attempt to change, but at first a lot of it was smoke screen, attempts to draw attention from the excesses to make it sound like it was a good thing.

I suppose there is an argument that at least these companies were bringing jobs to many of these nations and at least part of the good news was things were a bit better. Certainly better then picking garbage out of the town dump for recycled material. I will give you that. Not much more, but at least there was that element.

Now, let's fast forward to this new decade and we have a new villian, and that is Apple. The New York Times featured an article which examined what is happening in those plants in China.

Some of the issues are:
Employees work excessive overtime, in some cases seven days a week, and live in crowded dorms. Some say they stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk. Under-age workers have helped build Apple’s products, and the company’s suppliers have improperly disposed of hazardous waste and falsified records, according to company reports and advocacy groups that, within China, are often considered reliable, independent monitors.

On one hand, these are nothing new, just go back 10 years and read about the sweatshop conditions which made your favourite overpriced running shoe.

As before, Apple has its defenders, the 1% will always look after each other, Forbes had this article. It goes from 'how silly are those detractors' to that famous arguement, 'everybody else is doing it, why pick on Apple!". Read the above, Apple is the leader, the shining star, it attracts the most attention, therefore it attracts the most heat.

What is disturbing, and this might make the issue different, Apple has its legions of fanboys and girls who will spring to its defense.

Consider this tweet from Stephen Fry:
Less than 25% of Foxconn make Apple products, the rest is Dell, HP &c. But the real point is this http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2012/01/29/the-apple-boycott-people-are-spouting-nonsense-about-chinese-manufacturing/2/

Then there is the article in PCMag.com which state that thousands of people want jobs with Foxcomm. I guess the idea is, that if so many people want those jobs it really can't be that bad.

I will give you that by statistics, it may not be a bad plant to work and let's be honest live in, the wage is pretty good and even though you may be forced to work 12 hours a day for 7 days, or face the fact that you could be fired so a nine year old could take your place. Hey, but that's life.

On the past week episode of TWIT, one of the panelist suggested that what is happening in china is not any different to what happened in the West 75 years ago. I'm not sure of her point, I suspect that it meant, it wasn't so bad. If I may make a counter-point, the way things were 75 or 100 years ago were the way things were all over, it was a global movement, fought in each nation, that brought about work and wage standards. We can't simply say, well, they aren't there yet, because it's not like this is all a new battle. The battle in China is not to advance workers' rights, but rather the battle is by industry and the government to keep those rights from happening.

This is why Apple is getting hit over the head. It makes the products that are shiny and cool and while we in the West are enjoying the cost of purchase, we do need to be reminded there is a human side of this, and while some may not like to read about it, it is the truth.

Apple is getting it because they are in the lead. Hopefully they will look back and see what happened to Nike et al, when they tried to dismiss it, or use PR babble to get away with it.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wanted:Blackberry Evangelists!

When Thorsten Heins was announced as the new CEO of RIM, there was some words of approval, some cautious words of wonderment and some disbelief. Seems not everyone was thinking this is a great choice for the new CEO of a company which is going through some troubles right now.

One of the comments that caught my attention was the concern that Mr. Heins is not the evangelist type that RIM needs during this time.

To quote:
Heins is an uncharismatic engineer at a time when RIM is in desperate need of an ebullient public and internal cheerleader. The tech sector lends itself more than most to evangelists. Such characters - think Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Scott McNealy, Andy Grove – attract “insanely great” talent, as the late Jobs would say. They tout their insanely great products with almost arrogant conviction. And they ceaselessly badmouth the competition until you actually begin to believe them. The soft-spoken Heins is not cast from that mold.

I will say the article is in the Toronto Star, so right off the bat it is questionable. After all, the Star tends to attack anything and everything that is not of Toronto. The Star is one of those papers that would rather kick a good Canadian company when its down then support it. I know, someone will say 'it's not the business of newspapers to be cheerleaders'. Unless of course, it's something like an American firm, or American sports team...oh never mind.

The comment may not be so bad from the truth. I think that one thing RIM does need is some evangelists. These are people who tout the merits of the devise. It does seem to work best in the field of technology. One just has to look at Guy Kawasaki, for example, to understand the importance of a tech evangelist. He was the chief evangelist at Apple and he seems to have done quite nice for himself.

What could an evangelist do for RIM? Well, the person(s) shouldn't try to emulate Steve Jobs, there was only one of him and he was the only person who could pull off being Steve Jobs.

The person should have a genuine love and respect for the products and be willing to tell everybody about it. They do need to be genuine and not contrived, because if its the latter, everybody will be jumping on about how RIM is trying to be like Apple and how that won't work.

When you think about it, RIM still has a lot of good going for it. The phone is hot with kids, believe it or not. The BBM is something young people want to use and they love it. As well, the developing world really likes it, so much there was a riot in Indonesia. I know I've said it before, but it's amazing how the media was putting on a full hate of RIM. If people rioted over an iPhone, the press would have been swooning over how must love and lust there is for the iPhone. But because it was RIM, and Blackberry, well, that's horrible.

Then there is the Playbook, come on you knew I was going to mention the Playbook some place in this blog. If you ever read the comments posted on articles you might be surprised at the number of people who have a playbook and think its amazing. What is even more amazing, none of them work for RIM. This is the sort of thing the Playbook needs, forget what the professional pundits think, most of them are so entrenched with Apple, you think the got the logo tattooed to their behind.

But it can't all be about trashing Apple, it has to be about the good product that is Blackberry and the entire experience.
I came across an article out of the UK. Seems they are selling a lot of Playbooks, this is good.

RIM should get on board and start developing a pool of bloggers who do like the products and are able to declare how much they like it through social media and blogposts. Like a lot of things, it starts better and last longer if there is grassroots involvement. I'm not saying they should pay off a bunch of bloggers to shrill for them, because people will smell that fix a mile away, just ensure they have their cadre of bloggers who do care and want to share.

I could continue by mentioning BlackBerry Music, music made social. If done right it will be a great feature, if done wrong, then its Ping.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Playbook Coming

The website Berry Review posted an article about the new Playbook.

This has to be very positive for the Playbook. It means that for sure the Playbook is not dead but very much alive and vibrant in the thinking of RIM. With its versatility increasing with the addition of cellular service support will develop and grow for the devise.

I am still looking forward to February 17th, when the OS upgrade takes place. It's good that RIM is making it available for free. I think they should throw in some very cool apps as well, but that's just me saying. It's good to realize RIM is going to do something that rewards all of us who bought the Playbook. When you think about it, we were a brave lot; with the mainstream tech media falling over themselves with coming up with the hateful comments, we soldiered on and refused to accept the verdict the Playbook was like the HP Touchpad.

Various sites report the specs:
Launch date March – May
1.5 GHz Dual Core Processor – TI OMap 4460
42Mbps HSPA+
Bands 1,2,4, 5/6 & 8
MicroHDMI, MicroUSB, Charging Contacts
NFC Ready
PlayBook OS 2.0
32GB Flash
Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
Sensors: Accelerometer, Magnetometer, Gyroscope, NFC
5.5 MP rear camera and 3.0 MP Front facing camera
Audio MP3, ACC(5.1), WMA (5.1)
Video 1080p, H.264, MPEG4, WMV, HDMI Output
7” LCD, 2024×600, WSVGA
0.9lbs (425g)

Basically the same, physically speaking with the addition of the access to 3G networks.

The question some sites are posting is, will you give up your wi-fi only Playbook for the newer version. Personally speaking, I'm sticking with what I have. It's not necessary for me to be always on the Internet, I can wait for a wi-fi hotspot to get material to the web, if I want to post things.

I should say a few more things about my experience with the Playbook. I brought it to Cuba with me and found it very reliable and useful. I took advantaged of reading a few book on it with the epub reader I had purchased. Since it is the size of a paperback, give or take, it was fairly easy to read. It did not feel bulky or awkward in the hands, so that was good.

Also I took a few photographs and videos of the resort:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Playbook is New Again

I thought I'd start this blog with the Official Video from Inside Blackberry.

As I watched this I became more excited about the potential of the Playbook being finally unlocked. As you know since I've purchased the devise I have been amazed by the power and the great things I can do with it. The camera is great and I've started to incorporate the devise in my daily work environment. At the same time I've been aware of the deficiency of Playbook. The lack of native email, contacts and calendar has held me back and I have felt the lack of them.

The good news is, that is ending. With the coming of Playbook OS 2.0, there will be all that and more. What I liked about the video is the incorporation of the social with the functional. It has to be said, Web 2.0, if we still use that term is all about the social networking ability of the web. We are no longer involved in one way communications, but two way and it's good to see RIM is understanding this and making the effort.

I like how the calendar is going to operate and use. The fact the numbers change with the appointments in each day will be vital to planning the month. I do notice there are a few days in which meeting tend to multiply. Likely when someone asks me about getting together on a day, I can just look at the number on the calendar and get a quick understanding of what is happening on that day, and whether or not I can squeeze one more meeting.

I will be interested in using the email application, can I tie my work email, as it suggests with the personal email. I don't think I'm going to be glued to that app and find out what is happening at work, but it might be nice to know on the weekend, since at my work, there are a few people who like to send out the late Friday afternoon emails. Seriously you send me an email at 4:30PM on a Friday. Perhaps because they don't have a life doesn't mean I'm not interested in starting one.

From the videos I've watched, the calendar, email and contacts are right at the top, which is where they should be. As I mentioned in a past blog, I'm using a Dell Axim X3 for my work. I use the calendar, contacts and various office programs on a daily basis. It is useful, especially when I'm at a meeting and can call up all sorts of statistics. Yet I am aware of the age of the hardware- with all the additions on the Playbook I can now carry it around and call up all those same statistics and bring together my contacts and calendar.

Now I should talk about the apps. From what one article I read mentioned there are going to be thousands of native apps, as well as the ability to get android apps.
However what is interesting is that Blackberry is pumping out the apps for the Playbook.
Your favorite apps plus thousands more - many exciting new applications
built for the BlackBerry PlayBook will be made available on BlackBerry
App World with the availability of BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0. From
gaming and lifestyle to business and productivity, RIM is showcasing
some of the latest apps available for the BlackBerry PlayBook at CES
2012 including Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Groupon, Thomson Reuters,
Zinio and many more.
-- Video store - a catalog of thousands of movies and TV shows will be
available through the integrated BlackBerry Video Storefront(i) with new
releases to be made available for purchase or rent the same day they
come out on DVD. Users will be able to begin watching media as soon as
they start to download the file, so users won't have to wait for the
entire file to transfer before they can enjoy great entertainment on the
tablet's high resolution display, or on an HDTV via the BlackBerry
PlayBook tablet's HDMI output.
-- Enhanced web browsing - the BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 browser also
includes a new reading view, which is designed to make web sites even
easier to enjoy by eliminating page clutter at the touch of a button.
What's left is a cleaner format that is great for reading online news
articles, blog posts, or websites that contain heavy amounts of text.

I can see the video store as a big selling point as well. With that amazing high def screen, people can watch with the crispness they expect from their high def TV`s.

The apps interest me, if they continue to develop some great photo editing and sharing tools, this will be wonderful. I enjoy taking photographs on my devises. On my iPod Touch I have 11 photo sharing and editing apps. Yet the camera on the ipod Touch is woefully under powered. With the Playbook I have a 5megapixel camera on the back and a 3megapixel on the front, this is a powerful devise to record life on. So with some very excellent apps, this will only get better. yeah you know I`m talking about Instagram, among others- I`m becoming an Instagram fiend. Between Isabelle and the cats, it keeps me going.

With these changes, and even PCWorld is giving positive reviews of the upgrade, the Playbook will become a very viable tablet.

So I am looking forward to February when the upgrade comes out and is free to all Playbook owners. It`s going to be great and I can hardly wait.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Resurrection of Playbook

The news is now filling the Internet, RIM will use the CES to showcase the new Playbook OS2.0 and Blackberry 7. I suspect there would be some that this is a desperate move by a desperate company. I'm not saying RIM hasn't been perfect or it was a flawless year, but on the other hand, if anything bad happened it was magnified and amplified. When RIM had that problem and lost everything, or rather everything shut down for a few days, it was a huge event. People viewed it as horrible and another sign that this is a company in trouble. The odd part of this, Siri goes down for three days or so and no one seems to care at all. I could go on my usual rant how Apple gets all the breaks and is allowed to get away with things that sink other companies, but I will refrain.

CES is now the largest electronic consumer show there is. I did my share of COMDEX shows back in the day, and they were a lot of fun. It's where I could pick up some computer shwag- I think use the Toshiba laptop tote on a weekly basis, for example. From what I gather, this is now the show and its the best place to showcase products. If you think about it, this is an interesting strategy. After all the Playbook sadly, garnered some pretty bad press when it was launched. I could give the litany but you could find it without too many problems.

After the horrible year, 2012 is going to be a year of aggressive activity, first CES and then the Mobile World Congress in February. I wonder if this gives us an idea when everything is coming out. Perhaps the Playbook OS will come out soon after CES. If they get some good publicity, they will have to move fast, the whole strike while the iron is hot. If they give us the native email and calendar and perhaps, the ability to use the BBM and if we can get Blackberry Music on the devise, it will finally give the iPad the run for the money.

For RIM to come out and make a big push featuring the Playbook is quite the strategy.

We could go on and complain about what has bee missing and I want to say it would be a very legitimate complaint, however now is the time to make the correction and prove not that the critics were wrong, they were right, but to bring them back into the fold. They you don't get a second chance for a first impression, but RIM can turn around the make allies from the critics. RIM must remember the critics have spoken and they will need to do something special and wonderful to get them to change their mind.

The good news, and this is probably the motivation, the Playbook experienced a resurgence that the cut in price caused a lot of units to be sold and now developers are taking an interest. Unlike what happened with the HP tablet, which sadly is dead, the Playbook has some new life.

From what I've been told, Playbook OS2.0 is looking very good. There's a lot going for it. When I told my source to tell Jim and Mike they need apps, he told me that they know. Here's the thing, they love Blackberry- they need to concentrate on making great devises and things to put on those devises. I don't believe they have been resting on their laurels and letting the world past because they don't believe anyone can touch them.

I am going to look forward to the report of the announcement. It should be good.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Examining Heritage in Canada

The CBC reported 2011 was not a good year for Canadian Heritage. The article states that heritage building are not safe in Canada. It cites that some major landmarks suffered last year and there is no promise things won't get worse. One person commented that Canada does not have an legislation to protect heritage buildings. Even though there is a registry, building that stand on land owned by crown corporations are exempt.

This article got my interest because it seems Canada wants to catch up with the standards towards heritage that seem to mark the City of Brantford. There was an article last week, and I do thank a Facebook follower for pointing out statement, that university representatives feel Brantford does not need a downtown heritage district.

The concern of the University is a concern that too may regulations will slow the development of the University. They want an almost piecemeal approach to heritage, instead of an entire district receiving the designation, they want individual structures.

I must admit I don't know a great deal about heritage districts but I believe the idea is that a certain area is filled with heritage structures and as such need blanket protection. If you allow building by building, the problem is you could have a modern structure on one side, and an heritage structure beside it. I know that if an organization was smart, it would go out of the way to ensure the new structure fits into the overall environment. But there is no guarantee. One might have architect wanting more to put their mark then a concern for the overall look and feel. So far, the University has been good, just consider the renovation of existing structure and the building of new. However, the problem is the pressure to expand. The University administration wants to grow to a 15,000 student school. If they wish to remain solely in the downtown core, it would mean a whole lot of buildings, and I have to believe they can`t continue renovating existing structure. They want new building- and that will mean gathering land together and tearing down entire blocks.

To be honest, their spokesperson does say:
“It is not our intention to go in there and start knocking down significant buildings or demolishing buildings of importance,” Nower said. “It is our intention to work with the city and the heritage committee to identify areas of growth for us.”

But we know from past experience, Brantford doesn`t have the best record for preservation. I am rather surprised considering the hostility and fallout after the tearing down of those 41 buildings on the south side, anyone would discuss some like that again.

Then there is the comment of amassing the land, demolishing the building and then leaving the land vacant until needed. The idea of turning vacant land into parking lots- yes, Brantford needs more parking lots- when what we have now are underutilized as it stands now.

The University has done a lot of good for the downtown core. They should be commended for bringing some life downtown and for restoring a number of buildings. However, this should not give them carte blanche to do as they want.