Thursday, August 30, 2012

The big five Canadian banks all boost dividends … times are tough?

All five of our big banks boosted dividends in a move that has not happened in a very long time. This amid soaring profits in what is supposed to be a difficult market, if you believe their own marketing spin.

In a spectacular statement of the blindingly obvious, the Canadian Community Reinvestment Coalition gave this penetrating analysis …


Remember that funny Monty Python song about Dennis Moore that ends thusly?

Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
Riding through the land
Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
Without a merry band
He steals from the poor
And gives to the rich
Stupid bitch

Copied from

So what does that make the banks? Or perhaps the financial industry as a whole?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fuji X10 – Issue with auto focus …

Apparently, there is an issue with auto focus for X10s that have an “A” in their serial numbers. They can just stop focusing, as was reported today on the Fuji Talk Forum. This would be an inconvenience for most people :-)

If you have such a camera, be aware that if it stops focusing, you will need to send it to Fuji. You might consider calling them to ask if you can send it during a convenient downtime period before it fails.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Long Angry Arm of Coca-Cola

The Long Angry Arm of Coca-Cola

Read that post on Dr. Freedhoff's excellent weight management blog. Too many people think it is a-ok to push highly addictive substances (sugar with caffeine is extremely addictive) at an ever fatter population and then debate the merits not on the health risks, but on the loss of freedom. And this is here in Canada, where public health is an icon of our freedom from illness. Just goes to show how powerful "big food" really is ...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

One small step for a man … ** Updated **

One giant leap for mankind.

That’s pretty close to what Neil Armstrong said when he became the first man to walk on the Moon, some 23 years ago.

Neil passed away yesterday, at the age of 82. Coincidentally, he was the same age as my father, who passed away 22 days earlier.

It makes one wonder a bit … is there simply a time limit on our bodies? The answer, of course, is that one simply never knows. Something to ponder.

May he rest in peace.

***Update: An excellent retrospective in pictures …

Thanks go to Jan for passing that along.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Goodbye, Dad …

For those wondering why I have been so unresponsive and unproductive this month … I’m still wrapping my head around it … but I now know first hand that life is short and that you probably have less time than you think … putting things off and suffering fools are two things that no longer make any sense to me, as they never made sense to my father.

May he rest in peace …


I saw these gloves in the dollar store near my house and this image (more accurately a group of similar images) lept to my mind. For a buck I just had to get them.

Nikon D7000 + Tamron 17-50  2500 ISO  f/3.2  1/500

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Snap.Do – Viral?



I hate add-ons that sneak onto your system and then behave like they have a god-given right to be there. Every time I delete this aggressive Chrome extension, it reappears. It never asks permission and it insinuates itself everywhere in Chrome.

So far, I have removed it from the Chrome extensions page several times. But you must also seek it out in every list of pages – such as the list of pages to open on a new tab – before you have really eradicated it. But I found out today that this is not enough, as it installs itself as a progam too. Which I have just uninstalled. We’ll see whether this one takes.

Use it at your own risk. Maybe you like to be told which search engine you should be using. I don’t.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Your passwords need changing … NOW!

This article will make you feel a little queezy … the level of sophistication in the hacker / cracker communities is really astounding.

And this might just be the solution … give it a try if you would rather not continue rolling the dice with your financial life.

Thanks go to Jan for passing this along …

Edit: I decided against password safe and chose instead keepass ...

It has Android, Unix and Windows covered ... and that will be enough for me :-)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Commitment – You just have to be impressed …

The recent Pussy Riot fiasco has drawn the attention of, well, everyone. Three young girls are going to jail for 2 years as the result of their political protest in a Church. I doubt that much would have come of that at all in Canada and most of the US, but of course the deep south is another matter entirely.

Anyway … back to my point :-)

The Russian artist Petr Pavelensky (could someone please find that missing “e”?) protested today in front of St. Petersburg’s Kazan Cathedral. With his mouth sewn shut. Wow.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Samsung Galaxy IIIs on Rogers LTE Network – Yowsa!

This thing is smokin’ fast!
Yes, that’s 27mbps down and a spectacular 3mbps up! This uplink is quicker than my computer can do …
Anyway, I’m impressed …

Edit: It was pointed out to me that this was actually a test of my WiFi speeds on the phone. And that's true. Still impressive.

What is not that impressive is my LTE speeds, at least the uplink side. I get more like 3mbps down and 300kbps up, which is dog slow. Still, very nice for a phone. But people in Toronto apparently get my WiFi speeds on their LTE network. *sigh* ...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Olympics corruption? Can it be?

The USA is seeded #1. Canada is about to win. The ref takes matters into her own hands with several calls in a row that are controversial, to put it very mildly. The USA finally benefits from her generosity with a gold-medal game that they really did not earn. The ref receives scathing criticism. Her dad defends her.

Blah blah blah … and what is the point.

This Olympics seems to me to be the one in which it became obvious that corporate interests have wrested away all semblance of the original community spirit of the games. At least the naïve could certainly be forgiven for thinking that.


So call me naïve.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Where is Kim?

Back in Winnipeg for a family emergency. No posts, no email responses, no comment responses.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Olympic Badminton Scandal … will people ever learn?

I took a course in Boston back in the early 90s called “Controlling Software Projects” by the brilliant team of Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister. Look for their terrific book called “Peopleware” if you want to see how strong teams are built (or not.)

Anyway … today’s badminton scandal is the direct result of not following the advice I got in that course. Eight players are going to lose their chance at Olympic glory – not because they cheated (although they did), but because they were forced to behave badly by the governing body’s choice to create a round robin tournament instead of a knock out tournament.

So what did I learn in Boston? Several things:

  • If you are not measuring it, it is not getting better
  • Keep your measurements simple and easily interpreted
  • People behave how you incent them to behave

That last one is directly applicable here. These people used to be incented to compete fiercely for every match, because to lose was to be bounced from the Olympics. Now, they are incented to strategically place themselves in a favorable position once they have qualified for the knock out stage. That means that the final game is disposable. Very bad idea.

When, exactly, will people learn to keep it simple and direct and to incent people to perform?

The smart ones among you knew that this next bit was coming Smile

CEOs and boards of directors had their incentives changed since the 70s and the 80s. They are now incented for short term stock performance instead of long term corporate health and their contributions to mankind (lol.)

So what happens when you do that?

Every bad thing that we have seen in the last decade … and a lot more to come …