rotten apples

October 21, 2007 under Apple, currency, world markets

Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But someday I will replace my ageing desktop computer. Since I don’t have a need for desktops any longer, I’d probably consider a second laptop. After pointing my browser to Apple.ca, I selected a Mac Book Pro configuration that I think would suit my needs:

The resulting Mac Book Pro has:

  • Mac OS X Leopard
  • 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM
  • 120GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
  • SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
  • 15-inch Widescreen Display – not the glossy one
  • Backlit Keyboard/Mac OS – U.S. English
  • Accessory Kit
  • AppleCare

The damage would be $2,598.00 CAD.

Mac Book Pro (Canada)

The price seemed a bit too high for my tastes, so I ventured over to Apple.com to configure an identical laptop. $2,348.00 USD would get me a laptop that is exactly like the previous one that I configured on Apple.ca.

Mac Book Pro (US)

Since the Canadian dollar is a juggernaut and the US dollar is in free fall at the moment, purchasing the laptop on Apple’s US online store should be a no-brainer, one would think.

$1 CAD = $1.03 USD. Therefore paying $2,348 USD dollars in Canadian dollars would only set me back $2,271.43 CAD. It would be almost $330 CAD cheaper for me to buy the laptop from Apple’s US online store in Canadian dollars! Would I? Of course! Can I? Not a chance, since Apple won’t allow users to shop at another country’s store.

US Apple Online Store Checkout

Apple isn’t the only one to blame. Hey book publishers, consumer electronics manufacturers, car companies, greeting card companies! www.xe.com – USE IT and adjust accordingly!

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got guts

October 18, 2007 under Kubuntu, Linux, Ubuntu

Ubuntu Linux 7.10, aka: Gutsy Gibbon, is officially available as of right now – right this very second. My plan is to upgrade my Kubuntu 7.04 desktop to Kubuntu 7.10 (because I like KDE more than Gnome) tonight.

A few things I’m interested in the new release are:

  • The upgrade process from 7.04 (aka: Feisty Fawn) to 7.10 (aka: Gusty Gibbon)
  • Dolphin file manager
  • Compiz – I know the regular Ubuntu distro has it but is it even included with the Kubutnu?
  • Strigi Desktop Search

I see that Kubuntu includes KDE 3.5.8 and that’s okay, but I’ll be more interested in KDE 4.0 when it’s out of beta. KDE 4.0, I predict, will be the only desktop that can give Mac OS X Leopard a run for its money – Vista is likely out of the running.

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gig-ity

October 16, 2007 under Gmail, Google, Google Apps

Logging in to check my email this morning yielded a pleasant surprise. It appears that Google has given those of us using Google Apps for Your Domain an extra gigabye of storage space for our email.

In the past, regular Gmail users are usually the first to see new features – weeks and sometimes months before those of us Google Apps users. So it was nice to see that I have 3396 MB available to me now. Google said it, and then they did it.

And unless you’ve spoken to me personally already today, that is all the Google-related news that I have. Thanks 🙂

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people getting punched just before eating

October 15, 2007 under andy samberg, humour, snl

Dena and I stayed up late (for us) on Saturday night watching Dogma on IFC. Afterwards when we retired to the bedroom, I turned to SNL and caught the end of this weekly digital short from Andy Samberg:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=9dlSDHrhR9E

Tears of laughter ensued. Jovi punch!

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5p4mrz without l10n = l4mrz

October 11, 2007 under 419 scam, Spam

This 419 scam has been around for a while, but it managed to bypass Gmail’s spam filter today for me.

From: canada Lottery Board <wwwcanadalotto1 @gmail.com>
Date:Oct 11, 2007 1:10 PM
Subject: CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU (FROM Ms.Patricia Atkins)

Ms.Patricia Atkins
Canada Lottery-Soccer World Cup 2010 Promotional Draw
1550 Princess Street
Kingston, ON, Canada, K7M 9E3
canadian_lotteryoffice@yahoo.ca ,
Congratulations, you have won Canada Lottery!
Attention: Customer AFRSA680
Ref: EAAL/851OYHI/05
Batch No. Lotto 6/49

WINNING NOTIFICATION

Dear Winner,
We bring to you a notice that your email address have won you the Lottery,Find the attached notification below and contact Mr.Maxwell Christopher for your claim. telephone +2773 7100 755

Congratulation Once Again,
Yours Sincerely,
Ms.Patricia Atkins

Until spammers learn how to localize email body text, they’ll provide us with a decent chuckle 🙂

For those that don’t see the scam in this, or any similar emails that you may receive:

  • Since when have soccer tickets become Lotto 6/49 prizes? Hint: they haven’t – it’s always money.
  • A Lottery Office would likely have its own domain (Ex: the Ontario Lotto and Gaming Corporation owns OLG.ca) and not a free email address like one from Yahoo! or Gmail.
  • The telephone number that I’m supposed to call is clearly not North American. Why would the “Canada Lottery Board” (which doesn’t exist) have me call somebody on another continent to claim my prize?
  • English sentence structure and grammar is brutal.

Scams like this must fool somebody or else they wouldn’t continue to float around from mail server to mail server. Exercise good judgement and don’t let it happen to you.

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don’t let someone else speak for you

October 10, 2007 under Politics

That ad campaign that the Ontario government is running must’ve got to me 🙂

Today’s the day that Ontario goes to the polls, so you might as well have your say – it’s your right. A referendum on electoral reform is on the bill this time around, and it can be a bit confusing. YourBigDecision.ca does a descent job of explaining the referendum, but for those looking for the Coles Notes on the referendum, then I’ll distill it for you.

In the current system, you vote for the MPP for your riding and as such, that’s also a vote for the candidate’s political party. If the person that you voted for wins, then they get a seat in the provincial legislature. The party with the most members holding seats in the legislature forms a government, be it a majority or minority one, depending on the number of seats won. Usually the winning party is one of the “big three”; Liberal, Progressive Conservative or the New Democratic Party.

The new system that we’re voting on today will basically entail two votes in subsequent provincial elections; one for their local representative and one for a particular party. The local representative vote is just like how it’s done now. The second vote for the party is a vote for a candidate from a list that political party has assembled, but is not known to the public beforehand. So while it is possible to vote for one of the “big three” parties, it’s also feasible to see lesser-known single-issue parties (Ex: Green, Communist, Family Coalition, Marijuana, etc). This proposed system would almost always result in minority governments, which in itself is fine, but the reigning governments may have to answer to some parties that may or may not be bat shit crazy.

To the polls, Ontari-ari-ari-o!

On a side note, I looked in vain for the much-better version of the song as sung by Jim Carrey on Conan O’Brien‘s show when it was in Toronto a few years back.

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happy thanksgiving

October 8, 2007 under Holidays, Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

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one howl of a good dog

October 4, 2007 under eulogy, Kia

This post will be a little different. Today Dena’s dog, Kia, was put down. To memorialize a member of a family that has passed away, Dena will use this post as an opportunity to say goodbye.

Dena says:

KiaKia was born September 21, 1993. Kia was a pure bred Samoyed. She was a little ball of white fur with big bright eyes when she came home to us. Kia had a bright personality. She was friendly, loving, easy going and has terrible terrible breath. She hardly barked unless provoked which usually involved me teasing her. Kia did know a few tricks; sit, shake paws, beg, lay down and sing. She had a beautiful singing voice. We would tell her to sing and Kia would lift her head and howl. Kia was my mom’s “show dog” even though Kia didn’t act like one. She liked to get dirty, digging for frogs up at camp. She loved the snow and she would go snowshoeing with me in the winter. Even in her old age she acted like a puppy. She hates baths yet somehow every time I go home to visit, I end up giving her one. She hates the bath time but afterwards she would jump around the house rubbing herself on all the furniture and scold me at the same time. Kia loved car rides, treats, playing with other dogs, being the centre of attention and trips to camp. She loved staying at Grandpa Mac’s house because she was the queen and has the whole place to run around. Kia got along with most animals…ferrets, kittens, hamsters. Dad brought home a couple of kittens and Kia had no problems sharing the house with them. However, if we go somewhere without her for a few days, we will come home to chewed up blankets or gloves to show us that she is not happy that we left her home. She always greeted us at the door with a smile on her face. Samoyeds are known for their “smiles”. This morning, Kia was put to sleep and buried up at camp at 14 years old. She will be missed everyday and going home for visits will never be the same. Kia was a member of my family and we will never forget her.

I myself remember Kia a fun-loving dog possessing quite the little attitude. I recall one time while staying at Dena’s parents’ house when Kia reminded me who was in charge. I usually slept on a mattress on the floor when I was there, and apparently the area of the floor that I was sleeping on was usually reserved for her. One morning I was awoken suddenly by very forceful and heavy paw in my crotch, sharp claws and all. After a short search-and-rescue mission, my missing [ahem] “round friends” were returned. I got up and Kia promptly took her place on the floor and let out one of her howls. Those howls were her way of “singing”; a sort of phlegm-y howl rolling r’s. She was a good dog-in-law and will be missed.

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you'd be looney to refer to it as 'monopoly money'

October 2, 2007 under Canada, finance

Big Loonie in Echo Bay, Ontario
For the second time in my life on this planet, the Canadian dollar is worth more than the US dollar!

Many people don’t care. But for me, it’s a small victory. You see, on many an occasion in the past 12 years, I’ve been the only Canadian in a room full of Americans. Americans are good people, don’t get me wrong. So good that I married one (love ya, Chickypoo 🙂 ). But their education system, media and government keep them uninformed/misinformed about the world beyond the United States’ borders (and sometimes about the world within their borders too). So when in the situation of being the lone Canuck in a group of Yanks, I usually have to field ribbing along the lines of this:

“$10. What’s that in Canadia[sic] dollars? Like $10000?. Hardy har har.”

Or I love when they parlay it to metric forms of measurement like this one:

“The speed limit’s 100 kilometres per hour, huh? What’s that in American? Must be 2 miles. Heh.”

These days, the currency that they refer to as Monopoly money is now officially worth more than the indistinguishable US greenback. But 100 kilometres is still 62 miles 🙂

PS: It would’ve been nice if the loonie were strong like it is now back while I was a university student in the US. Darn my luck, I guess.

PPS: Yes, in my experience many Americans often refer to Canada as “Canadia”, “Canadiana” or something else other than its name of the past 140 years. I don’t know why – see the US education system/media/government perhaps.

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i'm the same age as the atari 2600

October 1, 2007 under Atari 2600, nostalgia

Thirty years ago, Atari unleashed the VCS (aka: Atari 2600) on the world.
Atari 2600

My parents bought me an Atari 2600 for my sixth birthday. I hung out in arcades a lot at that age and developed an affinity toward this new video game “fad”. The Atari 2600 promised to bring arcade action into the living room, and it did…sorta.

My cousin Andrew had an Atari 2600 when he was a teenager and since he was a smart kid (he now goes by “Dr. Bellini”), my parents figured it would be a good idea for my birthday present back in 1982. I can’t remember every game I had, but a few come to mind:

I wasn’t a geeky youngster – I played hockey and baseball and was quite active. My parents weren’t up on technology – I didn’t get a computer (let alone know how to use one until I was in grade twelve). So I must credit the Atari 2600 for getting me interested in science and technology. First it started with being the only one in the house capable of setting the time on a digital clock, then came dismantling the family VCR to figure out how it worked, next was recording all my NES and SNES games’ endings on VHS, then a Computer Science degree. And finally, gainfully employed as a software engineer. Thank you, Atari 🙂

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