To provide an update to my last post, it appears that Jim Balsillie may move the Nashville Predators to ‘The Hammer’. Apparently, Balsillie has a lease agreement with Copps Coliseum in Hamilton. I’d prefer the team to be here in Kitchener, but I’m ok with Hamilton; it’s only 60 kilometres away.
Jim Balsillie wasn’t able to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins, so he bought the Nashville Predators instead. There’s a good chance that after next year, he’ll relocate the team out of Nashville, to…….who knows? The rumour is that those of us here in K-W will be getting an NHL franchise. It may be plausible and here’s why I think it is.
This area consisting of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge is currently hovering at a population somewhere over 500,000 and is expected to grow by 250,000 over the next 6 years. From the amount of traffic that’s here, I believe it. The universities (UW and Laurier), college (Conestoga) and high-tech companies probably have a lot to do with that. Take into account the other cities within a 90 kilometre radius of the area, like Guelph, Hamilton and London, and you have close to 2 million people – easily able to sustain an NHL team. And you can’t forgot about those in the GTA that face the pain of fruitlessly obtaining elusive Leafs tickets – I’d bet that many would drive the mere 80 kilometres to here to see an NHL game.
Corporate luxury boxes can ensure a team’s success. Nashville had a hard time filling their luxury boxes, and this area could easily pick up that slack. The larger companies in the K-W area like RIM and Toyota could easily pick up a a box or twelve. Then there’s all of the other successful high-tech, manufacturing and insurance companies that could potentially purchase boxes: ATS, Dalsa, Agfa, Sybase, ComDev, Manulife, Google, Adobe, Meikle, McAfee, Sunlife, Desire2Learn (crossing my fingers 🙂 ) and many more.
There currently isn’t an NHL-sized arena in the area. The Kitchener Rangers will be moving out of the Aud in the upcoming years to a bigger arena that’s yet-to-be built. The land has been purchased next to the Aud, but I doubt this would be used for both an NHL and OHL team. So perhaps RIM’s recent land purchase in Cambridge may be a sign of things to come. Unless RIM really needs yet another building in addition to the ones they already have on Phillip Street in Waterloo…
In the post-lockout NHL, the small market Canadian teams can now compete with the bigger cities. The salary cap has levelled the playing field, and the Canadian dollar has bounced back in a big way from the doldrums of the late 1990’s – $1 Canadian is currently trading at $0.92 USD and the Loonie is continuing to strengthen. Combine that with good ol’ Canadian passion for hockey, and there’ll be no problem paying the players and staff of an NHL team in K-W.
So if the Predators do move here, and retain the “Predators” name, what would they be called? Kitchener Predators, since Kitchener is the largest of the cities in the area? Waterloo Predators, since RIM is in Waterloo? Cambridge Predators, assuming that the aforementioned recent land purchase near Pinebush Road becomes the home to an arena? Or perhaps area-type names like Kitchener-Waterloo Predators, Technology Triangle Predators or Tri-City Predators?
The Toronto Star outlines possible places for the Nashville Predators to end up. The upcoming years may be quite interesting. Stay tuned…
I mentioned before that since I dumped Windows XP on my desktop computer in favour of Kubuntu, I’ve been using Amarok as my replacement for iTunes. I like Amarok much better, actually. But I noticed that Amarok would perform terribly when it was switching tracks, loading albums, finishing a playlist and more. Being a music dork, I have a pretty big collection – we’re talking > 30 GBs. And this may have been part of the problem.
A default install of Amarok will use an internal implementation of SQLite to manage your music library. SQLite is a nifty embeddable database engine that developers can embed into their apps. It’s well suited to small data sets and a minimal number of transactions. I should’ve first clued in when it took Amarok over 15 minutes to initially scan my music folder and store the info in the music library. Rifling through the file system of 7000 songs to get artist/album/title/genre/track number/album art info and then run INSERT queries shouldn’t take that long on a P4 2.4GHz with 1GB of RAM, but it did. And then the general sluggishness followed.
Thankfully, Amarok also supports the use of MySQL and PostgreSQL to store music library data. I chose MySQL, mostly because I haven’t installed PostgreSQL yet, and don’t have a pressing need to. Let me tell you, it took less than 5 minutes to rescan my music folder and load the data into the music library, and the sluggishness is gone completely.
For future reference, or for those interested in learning how to configure Amarok to use MySQL, do the following (assuming you already have MySQL installed and ready to rock):
Log into MySQL with your root account:
$ mysql -p -u root
At the MySQL prompt, create a database. I called mine ever-so-apropriately ‘amarok’ 🙂
CREATE DATABASE amarok;
Now let’s use our new database and create a user. Again, here I go with the appropriateness, and called mine ‘amarok’. I won’t tell the password I chose, so let’s pretend it’s ‘12345’:
USE mysql; GRANT ALL ON amarok.* TO amarok@localhost IDENTIFIED BY '12345'; FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
The fire up Amarok and go to the settings dialog under Settings | Configure Amarok. Next, click on the Collection tab. Change the value of the Database listbox to “MySQL”. If the music is on your computer, keep the host as “localhost”, the port can probably remain as 3306 (unless you’ve changed your MySQL config), and the name of the database that you created for it (in my case, it’s “amarok”). Finally, the username and password, in my case, are “amarok” and “12345” .
This weekend I made the switch, leaving Windows behind. Sure, those Get a Mac ads are ever-so charming, but I did not switch to OS X – I’m not made out of money 😉 I switched to Linux – specifically Kubutnu 7.0.4 (aka: Feisty Fawn), the KDE-powered version of Ubutnu Linux (which uses Gnome). I chose KDE over Gnome because KDE, to me, seems more full-featured. Hell, even Linux creator Linus Torvalds recommends KDE over Gnome.
I installed Kubuntu on my desktop PC at home and decided to keep Windows XP on my laptop for the time being. But for the desktop PC, it’s all Linux all of the time. No dual-booting – just Linux. Before eradicating Windows from the hard drive, I did use the VMware Converter to create a virtual machine of my (now former) Windows desktop. This way if I ever absolutely need Windows on my desktop (most likely for .NET/IIS/SQL Server development work), I can run it from within Vmware Server as a virtual machine.
Switching was surprisingly easy and there isn’t much that I’m missing out on in Linux. All of my hardware was detected properly, and the ability to read/write to NTFS partitions works flawlessly in Feisty. Apps like Firefox, OpenOffice and Skype come in Linux flavours, which is welcoming and familiar. Otherwise, I have found a Linux-equivalent for almost every other critical app that I use on a regular basis. I think I prefer Kopete to any other multi-protocol instant messenger. Amarok, which discovered my iPod right off the bat, seems better-organized than iTunes. Quanta Plus doesn’t leave me missing Dreamweaver. KTorrent is a suitable replacement for ÂµTorrent. The only thing Linux lacks is support for PC games; it can’t compare to Windows. Yet I have no problem with that, since I haven’t done a whole lot of PC gaming lately. And besides, when it comes to gaming, that’s what I have a Wii for 🙂
I’ve tried Linux on the desktop before in the past and it’s always sucked. I remember having a bitch of a time getting anything to work in RedHat Linux 5.1; here’s some proof. But I’ve been watching the Ubuntu distro and it is extremely good, and I figured it’s a good time to take the plunge. I love not having to worry about virii or malware like spyware and trojans. It’s great to be able to install software from one location (Adept on Kubutnu/Synaptic on Ubutnu) and always have it kept up to date. The kicker is that it’s all free 🙂
Note to self:
If you’ve created a page that is correct from a business logic point-of-view, but may not make Visual Studio‘s visual designer happy, don’t open the file in the visual designer. The visual designer wants to correct your “shoddy” HTML. The visual designer thinks that it knows you. It doesn’t. It wants to kill you, and charm your spouse and children so that they forget that you ever existed. Well, maybe not entirely. Regardless, whatever you do, don’t lose your head and think that you can use your VB or C# code-behind to load up some placeholder controls with your own HTML. That’s kids’ talk – crazy talk. Keep it together, man. Pure and simple – don’t view the page in the visual designer. Code view? Yes. Visual designer? No.
That is all 🙂
So I wake up this morning (like I do every morning, thankfully) and fire up Google Reader to see all of the news that missed while I slept. Lo and behold, people were busy on Digg. It turns out that Digg users are upset with the fact that the HD DVD Promotion Group sponsors Digg founder Kevin Rose’s Diggnation video podcast. In protest en masse, users posted the hexadecimal value that is used to decrypt the DRM scheme on HD-DVD discs. Said hex number is 09-F9-11-02-9D-74-E3-5B-D8-41-56-C5-63-56-88-C0, 1.32562788879895E+37 in decimal. I believe that media that I buy should be mine to do with what I want – I’d like to think I’m purchasing and not renting. That’s the reason why I’m joining the crowd in posting the value, but…
Anybody who believes this effectively kills the encryption on HD-DVDs is totally wrong, obviously; they’ll just use a different hex value for future discs. The part that leaves me scratching my head is how did they, the HD DVD Promotion Group, come to the conclusion that a single 128-bit value is sufficient to prevent hackers from cracking this.
This is a pretty bold statement from Microsoft’s Peter Watson. He claims that other operating system developers should learn from Vista‘s UAC component and provide something similar. Hasn’t UNIX had the su command (and later sudo) for a long while? Hell, even Mac OS X and Linux distros like Ubuntu wrapped it in a nice GUI a few years/releases ago. Microsoft not only showed up late to this party, it brought an ugly date.