Passing Wind: 10 Ways to Improve Wind Mobile

wind-mobile-biglogoOn the face of it, Wind is the best deal we have here in Toronto. For $45 I get unlimited everything: talk, text and data. But there’s a long list of deficiencies which need to be addressed. Hopefully this post will be one more incentive for Wind to actually do something about their execrable service. At the very least it should give prospective customers pause.

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Learning the Radio Alphabet

AlphaBravo_Feat

Last year I was taken with a sudden and feverish desire to master what some call the NATO Phonetic Alphabet. You know: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, for ABC.

Except a phonetic alphabet is, in fact, something else; it’s a notational standard for the representation of a language. It’s about how to pronounce the language.

By contrast, the radio alphabet, allows you to accurately transcribe letters by assigning a word for each letter. Handily, the words assigned start with the letter they’re assigned to. So, Alpha for A, Bravo for B, and so on. It’s about reading it out to someone across, say, a radio, and being reasonably certain they won’t mistake a P for a T.

OK, so that’s the What. Continue reading

AirHogs.com is Live!

Air Hogs01 home page

I was lucky enough to be selected to work on the build of the Air Hogs website redesign at Proximity Canada. We had a terrific team, and the build went fairly smoothly; especially considering it was my first time using the ExpressionEngine CMS. I’m enormously proud of this project, so with your kind indulgence I’m going to bore you with a tour of a few of the highlights of the project. The one saving grace of this post, is it will have lots of very pretty pictures. Continue reading

In Denver – For DrupalCon 2012

So Myplanet Digital, my new employers as of Nov 2011, have sent me, and a small platoon of Myplaneteers, to Denver, the mile high city, for DrupalCon 2012. This is my first DrupalCon; but hopefully not my last.

I’ve been spending a lot of time over the past few days poring over the 3 day schedule, trying to decide what sessions I want to attend.

First impressions of DrupalCon

Well, the website is very good. They list everything you could possibly hope to find about the sessions. PLUS: you can even put the sessions in your “shopping cart” to construct your own schedule. Then you can view your own schedule. Unfortunately, they don’t have a Print Schedule view. But hey, Denver wasn’t built in a day.

I had breakfast with our BizDev in Chief, Dustin Walper. I was busy telling him about my attempts at losing weight and getting into shape (Dustin is something of a Greek god), when he jumps out of his seat and says he’ll be right back. After about 10 minutes it became evident he *wasn’t* going to be right back. So I paid the cheque, and went exploring the lobby in search of Dustin. I found him with a bunch of Acquia folk, including (gasp) Dries Buytaert.

OK, I’ll admit it, I was a little star-struck. In my defense, I’ve been working my hind-most parts off for the past 5 months trying to get my head around Drupal. And here was the guy who started it all. In his dorm room. A whole industry. (Did I mention there were going to be 3000 attendees at DrupalCon this year?)

So I had the temerity to ask for a picture. Dries was very accommodating, and even suggested we take a few. A real mensch.

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Also, today, I decided to show my commitment to Drupal:

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More to come.

Finally Beat the Rogers Quick Start Menu

In January, Rogers introduced a new feature to its cable TV subscribers: a Quick Start Menu. What’s on this menu? How can it help me? It doesn’t matter. The brain trust at Rogers decided to put the menu behind the “Guide” button, which normally brings up the Integrated Program Guide (IPG). If you actually want to see the IPG, you simply press the Guide button a second time. Convenient, no?

Immediately, a Facebook group was put up to entreat (read “browbeat”) Rogers into removing this intrusion into their customers’ workflow.

Rogers’ response? They gave us a way to switch the menu and guide around. So when you press the Guide button, you actually get the guide. But if you press it again, you get the menu. Marginally less annoying. Good job, whoever’s doing UX at Rogers.

You know, there are buttons on that remote which never get pressed. The B and C buttons for instance. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to put the menu behind those? Continue reading

Shafted In Florida: How AT&T Ruined My Vacation

Currently taking a short break from the winter cold, in Florida. Usually, my parents would be down here, and we would join them; but they had to remain in Toronto due to medical treatments. So we ended up opening the house.

My mother called AT&T ahead of our trip, and asked them to have the phone and Internet ready for the day of our arrival. And they promptly ignored her request. Upon our arrival, no phone, no Internet. Continue reading

Harper Giveth (to the commercial broadcasters), And Harper Taketh (from the CBC)

Our favourite moron is giving $150 million to private broadcasters, but is forcing the CBC to decimate its workforce by some 800 heads.  If we had any doubts of the Harper government’s agenda to put down the CBC, they’ve now been put to rest.

I don’t know about you, but I’m livid.  Clearly Harper missed the class where they explained the difference between public organizations and private enterprises.  If the private businesses can’t make it through these tough times, I say let them die, and allow new, more agile businesses take their place.  Not only are you delaying the inevitable, but you’re squandering public moneys.

As forests need the occasinal forest fire to renew and replenish themselves, to allow newer, more vital growth to take the place of the old growth, so too does business need to make way for newer businesses, with new business models and methods.  The world is changing, and we need innovation in every facet of our country, including the boardroom.

The other point which is blatantly obvious to the public, in spite of how gullible this government might believe us to be, is that with this “grant” to the private broadcasters, they’re now indebted to Harper and his minions.  Their journalistic integrity has been compromised.  I can no longer trust their judgement.

One of the victims of the CBC’s forced cull, has been Jesse Brown and his very excellent Search Engine podcast.  But in this case the story has a happy ending: TVO has picked up the show!

You can find the feed at this URL: http://feeds.tvo.org/tvo/searchengine.

(Nota bene: I had a terrific picture of Harper eating the CBC, which I’d spent a couple of hours on with Photoshop.  But it wasn’t backed up, so I lost it with Bender the first.)