Monthly Archives: October 2007

All things Ubuntu!


I have to say, as a semi-Ubuntu user this is a great site if you are looking for information on Ubuntu!

http://ubuntudemon.wordpress.com/

Everex delivers $198 Google-friendly PC (Google OS)?


Everex has teamed up with open source players to create a $198 PC (sans display). The Everex Green gPC TC2502 runs a Linux OS and is loaded with (or has links to) free applications, including Gmail, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Google Calendar, Google Product Search, Google Blogger, Google YouTube, Google Maps, Google News, Meebo (instant messaging), GIMP (image editing), Firefox, Xing Movie Player, RhythmBox (iTunes substitute), Faqly (tech support), Facebook, Skype and OpenOffice.org 2.2. The gPC will be available in Wal-Mart stores and at walmart.com this month.

Not sure if this will be available in Canada, however check back for updates!

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Will GNOME split give Microsoft Open XML standards win?


Opponents of making the Microsoft Word format an ISO document standard, like OpenDocument Fellowship member Russell Ossendryver, compare GNOME’s actions to Democrats offering counters to President Bush’s 2005 plan on privatizing Social Security — any counter-proposal makes it more likely something bad will happen.

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Google’s OpenSocial: What it means


Google’s open social networking platform play is the buzz of the blogosphere tonight. Indeed, it is called OpenSocial in that the set of APIs allows developers to create applications that work on any social network that joins Google’s open party. So far, besides Google’s Orkut social net, LinkedIn, hi5, XING, Friendster, Plaxo and Ning have joined the party.

Oracle and salesforce.com are also supporting Google’s OpenSocial efforts, which indicates that they have plans to add social networking elements to their application platforms. OpenSocial will officially launch on Thursday.

Plaxo emailed a statement about OpenSocial this evening, getting ahead of the stampede:

“Dynamic profiles redefine what users should expect in terms of how they can represent themselves in a social or business network,” said Todd Masonis, Co-Founder and VP of Products for Plaxo. “We believe that users should have full control over what they share with whom – and that the catalog of widgets that they can choose from should be as open and diverse as the web itself. We are excited to support in dynamic profiles any application written to Google’s just–launched OpenSocial APIs. ”

According to TechCrunch, which first reported on Google’s larger social networking ambitions, OpenSocial consists of APIs for profile information, friend information (social graph) and activities, such as a news feed. OpenSocial users Javascript and HTML rather than a markup language as Facebook does.

This comes on the heels of the Facebook’s dynamic growth based on opening its social graph to developers and Microsoft’s $240 million investment for 1.6 percent of the company. However, unlike Google, Facebook doesn’t open its APIs to support other social networks. The other social networking giant, MySpace, is also planning to open its platform to developers.

This openness is part of what Vic Gundotra, Google’s head of developer programs, meant when he said last week, “In the next year we will make a series of announcements and spend hundreds of millions on innovations and giving them away as open source.”

He explained the newfound openness as more than altruism: “It also makes good economic sense. The more applications, the more usage. More users means more searches. And, more searches means more revenue for Google. The goal is to grow the overall market, not just to increase market share.”

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Awash in cash, Tories expected to cut GST to 5 per cent


The Harper government is expected to announce plans to cut the GST to 5 per cent when it updates Canadians this afternoon on Ottawa’s swelling budget surplus. The timing of the fall economic statement has been moved up, sources say, to give the Conservatives one last chance to goad opposition Liberals into triggering an election.

Today’s move also helps the Harper government drown out anger expected to surface tomorrow, the first anniversary of its controversial income trust tax, when the Tories broke an election pledge to protect trusts.

Ottawa is awash with cash because a commodity price boom for resources such as oil is swelling its coffers with corporate and personal income tax revenue. Toronto-Dominion Bank chief economist Don Drummond now forecasts Ottawa is headed for a surplus of $14.5-billion this year, before any measures announced today – up from the $3.3-billion the Tories forecast in March.

Mr. Drummond, who met with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty on the fiscal outlook last Friday, said he expects tax measures because the Tories are anxious to unload an embarrassment of riches. They attacked the former Liberal government for hoarding surpluses and do not want to be painted as hypocrites. n fact, Mr. Drummond says, Ottawa has enough surplus cash in years ahead to afford to cut the GST to 5 per cent from 6 per cent, and still have room for an across-the-board one-percentage-point cut to personal income tax rates, as well as a one-point reduction in the corporate tax rate.

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Toronto unveils ambitious works agenda


“The TTC takes up 46 per cent of the 2008 capital budget. It has to replace aging streetcars, buses and subway cars. Some $79.4 million will be spent on 234 subway cars to replace aging ones and boost capacity. A further $175.5 million will pay for 193 conventional and 50 Wheel-Trans buses and $55 million to start buying 204 low-floor, accessible Light Rail Vehicles to replace existing streetcars. Also, $54.8 million will be spent to improve train control and signals on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line.”

One of the problems I have with the subway going to York University, and beyond, is understanding the need. Do we really need a subway going to York University or would it be better served with a Light-rail network? We should note that if the money, currently tied up to expand the subway to Vaughan, were used instead to fund LRTs, then we would have enough funds to expand the light-rail network throughout the entire city. This expansion would benefit more users of the TTC, rather then the select few. I guess, I am also at odds with the money being spent because they are building a “bus rapid transitway” to York University, despite the expansion of the subway. If they can build a BRT, than why not just keep it simple and make an LRT. The problem is the province seems to be in control of transit expansion and the TTC, not David Miller.

By Andy MJ
a.k.a “The G.T.A Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

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Ontario Liberal Cabinet shuffle puts focus on poverty


McGuinty to put new cabinet minister in charge of poverty reduction bid; Duncan moving to finance. Premier Dalton McGuinty is today dropping four ministers and bringing a slew of new faces into a radically different cabinet that will make fighting poverty a priority in his second term.

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All Online Data Lost After Internet Crash


Sorry, I could not resist. Just too funny!

Breaking News: All Online Data Lost After Internet Crash

Critical of perks? Take pay cut, councillor challenges


Fed up with fellow councillors who fulminate about their pay and perks (Michael Walker, Rob Ford, come on down), Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby made them an offer last week.

In her speech on the mayor’s tax plan (she voted with the majority to approve it), Ms. Lindsay Luby waved a form for councillors so inclined to donate a percentage of their $95,000 salary to the city or hand back their $7,785.60 pay increase for 2007.

Here’s a shocker: no takers so far.

“It’s all about councillors biting each other’s backs and trying to get a headline,” says Ms. Lindsay Luby (Ward 4, Etobicoke Centre). “It’s shameful.”

For the record, Ms. Lindsay Luby will not cut her salary. “As it is, we are the lowest-paid councillors in the GTA and beyond,” she says. “I earn my pay.”

Mr. Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North), who cites pay and perks as examples of profligate spending at city hall, wants nothing to do with her offer, saying he already forgoes his $53,000 office budget: “I have done my part already in saving taxpayers’ money.”

During last Monday’s tax debate, Mr. Ford again needled Mayor David Miller over council perks.

“That whole argument is offensive,” Mr. Miller shot back. “To call things like office budgets, which allows [councillors] to communicate with people, a ‘perk’ is really unworthy of a member of council. … It is an essential necessity.”

The mayor could not resist a final jab at Mr. Ford, who owns a printing firm. “Frankly, not every member can own a printing plant.”

The great debate

The daylong debate on Mr. Miller’s two controversial proposed taxes last week was an anti-climax, but it contained some great examples of the Cicero-like oratory around here.

The award for best mixed metaphor goes to Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37, Scarborough Centre), who urged his fellow councillors, in going over the city budget, to “corral all of these sacred cows and put them under the microscope.”

The honour for easiest question lobbed at the mayor goes to Councillor Bill Saundercook (Ward 13, Parkdale-High Park), who, while arguing that the city should charge tolls on the Don Valley Parkway, let slip that he had no idea where the DVP (which the city controls) ended.

“Where does the DVP start?” he asked the mayor, who responded that the expressway begins south of Highway 401. “So north of it, it’s called 404?” Mr. Saundercook continued, incredulous. He then asked: “Why wouldn’t that be called DVP right to our boundaries?” You go get him, Bill.

While Michael Del Grande (Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt), holding up a tea bag and invoking the Boston Tea Party, did give the judges pause, the award for most boneheaded historical reference clearly goes to Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East).

“History shows that appeasement is seldom rewarded,” he warned centrist councillors supporting the mayor’s new taxes.

He would only laugh nervously when asked afterward just what history he was referring to. But we all know. And Mr. Minnan-Wong should know better than to invoke the horrors of the Second World War in a debate about a tax on land sales.

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OSX Tiger vs. Vista vs. Ubuntu Security: a 15 Point Report Card


When shopping for a new computer, your mind is probably spinning with considerations: price, reliability, speed, software capabilities, security, and other specs. Perhaps the hardest part is choosing an operating system on which everything will run. To get a good idea of what capabilities Apple’s OSX Tiger/Leopard, Windows Vista, and Ubuntu Linux have to offer, check out our 15 point report card that compares the levels of protection you’ll get with each of them.

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What goes around comes around?


I am a fan of the Toronto Island Airport. I like the idea of flying out of the downtown Toronto area, using a convenient connection to places like Ottawa, Montreal and points beyond. I also like the Porter Airline concept, along with the use of Q400Canadian technology in the Q400 from Bombardier. I believe that as long as there is not a “quick and convenient” connection to Pearson International or a direct link to Hamilton International, then the airport must stay for the time being. I will not get into the idea of why no one has considered Buttonville Airport, with some type of direct link to downtown or finally completing the Pickering Airport first. That is a topic for another day! Porter Airlines said it has gone to court to try to break up the ties between Jazz Air and Air Canada. Porter airlines has been flying, for a year, out of Toronto Island airport. Now let’s get through the smoke-screen and look at this closely. Is something else going on? I’ve always liked the underdog story; however I think Porter has some larger issues now, not the making of their own. Or are they? Remember that Jazz was essentially “kicked out” of the Toronto Island. Now, SAS has cut 57 flights after grounding all Q400 aircraft. SAS operates on Danish and Swedish domestic routes, as well as European routes. Of course I do not think that there is anything wrong with the Q400. However, that is not a scientific assessment. One has to wonder, with all of the Q400 craft around the world, why has SAS experienced 3 landing gear problem issues in the last 3 months? This has to be investigated. However, Porter will now have arrows flying at them from all directions now. There will be groups and vested interest groups calling for the grounding of Porter. It really does not matter what we think about the Island airport. However I am curious, if the landing gear failed, on landing at Toronto Island airport, would they get out safely or get waterlogged? In addition, if this lawsuit fails, Porter’s days may be numbered in Toronto. However, with all of the backroom deals, bridge construction issues and obvious manipulation of whomever “got dibs” at the Toronto Island airport you really just have to say. “What goes around comes around, eh!”

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a. ‘The G.T.A Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario


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Toronto revitalized waterfront and its gaseous beauty!


Portlands Energy CentreIt’s amazing but little press has been given to the large natural gas power-plant being built on Toronto’s “revitalized waterfront”. It should be a sight to hold; attracting visitors from all around the world to “behold its beauty and awe”. With its large smoke stacks and geometric design, it should fit in well with Toronto’s new renaissance. There was little to no debate on its installation. We were told that “it would be there”, end of story. Not much in terms of public consultation. And if there was any, what choice did we have anyway. It will be called “The Portland Energy Centre”. It will be a shinning beckon of light and inspiration for Toronto’s waterfront! Can you sense my sarcasm?

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The G.T.A Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

 

Read an article from the Toronto Star
http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/270659