Remix Manifesto a Must-See

RiP: A Remix ManifestoI’d heard about RiP: A Remix Manifesto on CBC’s very excellent Search Engine podcast a couple of weeks ago.  I’m not sure how it bubbled up (probably through Facebook), but I ended up going to see it at the Royal on opening night with Morty and Bebe.

WARNING: You will come out of this movie hating the Disney Corporation with the red-hot intensity of a thousand suns.  (You know… if you didn’t already.) Continue reading

Net Neutrality: Tell the CRTC How You Feel

crtc2009The CRTC is in the process of gathering comments on Net Neutrality from Canadians, in preparation for their hearings on the subject this summer.  Now is your oportunity to let your voice be heard on this important subject.

Our friends at SaveOurNet.ca have set up a handy form to send your thoughts on the matter to CRTC Chairman Konrad von Finckenstein.  They’ve even provided you with a very well crafted default letter (which you can easily edit, or override), in case you don’t have time to write one yourself.  The deadline is Feb. 16, 2009, so don’t delay!

Update: According to Mediacaster Magazine, the deadline has been extended by a week, to Feb 23.

National Do Not Call List a Crock

DNCLAs previously reported, I proudly registered my phone numbers on the National Do Not Call List the day it went live.  Since then I’ve received the usual number of telemarketing pitches from the usual assortment of crooks, swindlers and Conservatives.

In each case, I submitted a complaint about them at the DNCL website, but haven’t heard boo back.  (There is a checkbox to specify that you’d like to know the outcome of the complaint.)

Today I noticed a link to verify your registration on the list.  I checked mine, and what do you know?  It wasn’t registered.  All this time, I thought Bell and the CRTC had my back.  Guess they showed me, huh?

So I re-registered my number.  But it takes 24 hrs for it to “take” in the database.  Then, of course, it’s another 31 days before the telescum have to respect the Do Not Call request.

How long are we going to have to endure the ineptitude and incompetence of the CRTC?

butterscotch.com: My New Favourite Flavour

butterscotch.comI’ve been kept very busy over the past couple of months setting up butterscotch.com: Tucows’ new video network, brimming with terrific videos, short and long, providing tips, tricks and insights into technology for pros and tyros.  Our new team includes tech media veterans Andy Walker, as General Manager and Executive Producer; Amber MacArthur, Director of Content; Sean Carruthers and Matt Harris, Senior Producers; and Andrew Moore-Crispin, Web Editor.  In addition to our existing Tucows team, that’s a lot of talent coming together.

Our current line-up consists of regular shows, such as Andy and Sean’s Lab Rats, and Cheryl Poirier’s spin-off, Miss Download; as well as standard and special tutorials.  Tutorials are screen captured how-to’s with a voice over.  Special tutorials are a series of ten or so episodes on a particular topic.  For example, the two special tutes we have on offer right now are Facebook for Grownups and Gmail for Beginners.

We do have other shows already on the site, and many more are coming, so check back often at butterscotch.com, or better yet, subscribe to the RSS feed.

The challenges, for me, in putting the site together, were:

  • slicing up the composite and creating the base page (HTML and CSS) (got a lot of Photoshop help from Joan, our graphic artist at Tucows)
  • establishing single signon between butterscotch and Tucows.com
  • creating the backend CMS (content management system), where Andrew maintains the content which appears on the site

Of course, we’re not done yet.  We’re still developing new and terrific functionality, and figuring ways to integrate the butterscotch and Tucows content.  It’s all about bringing more value to our visitors and authors.

Sure developing the site was a marathon of long days and late nights, and it kept me from family and blogging, but this is the sort of challenge which stretches your abilities and forces you to find new insights into your work.  I loved it.  I wouldn’t want to do it again real soon; but I loved it.

National Do Not Call List Goes Live

Finally!  The CRTC’s Do Not call List, as implemented by our friends at Bell Canada, throttlers of Internet feeds everywhere, has gone live today.  Then keeled over and died because Canadians across the nation pounced at the opportunity to shield themselves from the nefarious effects of telemarketers.

If you want to register, and I recommend you do, you can reach the website at https://www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca/ or call one of these toll-free numbers: 1-866-580-3625 or 1-888-362-5889.  Telemarketers will then have 31 days more with you, then they need to stop.

Update: By mid-afternoon, on the first day of the DNCL, over 1.2 million phone numbers had been registered.

Sick Kids Doesn’t Want My Money

Last weekend, an earnest young lady named Taylor Lewis knocked on my door.  She was wearing a Sick Kids Hospital vest, and had a special tag hanging on a lanyard around her neck, identifying her as a certified agent of the hospital, empowered to represent the institution for the purposes of collecting donations.  I listened to her enthusiastic descriptions of the good works the hospital was engaged in, and how the benefits of their highly successful research extended far beyond their walls, to other hospitals, and other countries.

She answered my questions forthrightly, and I was prepared to donate twenty bucks.  Why not?  As she showed me the form, it was evident they were looking for monthly donations, rather than a one time hit.  Sure.  That made sense.  Fund raising is an expensive proposition.  If you take a one time donation, you have to start all over again the next day.  But if you find people prepared to donate monthly, it’s an ongoing revenue stream. Continue reading

What I’ll Tell Ken Dryden

Over a month ago I contacted Ken Dryden’s riding office to arrange a meeting with my Member of Parliament.  I expected to see him within a week or two; I’d tell him of my concerns related to various issues of the day, and he’d take that into consideration when he returned to Ottawa.

But no.  It’s been over a month, and I don’t even have an appointment yet.  I was told his office had been flooded, and was currently being renovated.

If my office were flooded and needed to be renovated you can be sure I wouldn’t wait for the renovations to be completed before seeing my clients and assuring them I’m still on the job; that they can count on me to continue getting things done for them.  That it was business as usual.  I wouldn’t let a small matter like a bit of water get in the way of the important work I’m doing for them.

But hey, I’m not a politician. Continue reading

OLPC Redux

The new OLPC, the XO-2There is a tremendously well-researched, well-reasoned history of the OLPC, and it’s subsequent effects on the computer industry, at “Why Microsoft and Intel tried to kill the XO $100 laptop”.  A minor quibble about the article: the author didn’t mention the ASUS Eee PC, which clearly owes it’s existence to the OLPC, and then went on to spark other ultraportables such as the HP 2133 Mini-Note.