Daily Archives: October 4, 2007

Hampton’s telling the truth

NDP Leader Howard Hampton yesterday injected the most honest talk we’ve heard from any political leader into this utterly bizarre election campaign.

Asked what he’d say to voters poised to give Premier Dalton McGuinty a second majority government, while ignoring his record of fibs and broken promises in favour of the minor issue of stopping public funding for non-Catholic religious schools, Hampton deadpanned: “What do I say? I say, well, then people get the government they deserve (laughter) that’s what I say.”

Hampton, meeting with the Sun’s editorial board, knows, as we do, that if McGuinty wins big Oct. 10, it won’t be long before voters who abandoned the Tories and NDP to back the Liberals will be asking themselves what they’ve done.

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Internet Explorer 7 update now WGA-free

Microsoft has issued an updated Internet Explorer (IE) 7 release that no longer requires Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) validation in order to download. The company has refreshed versions of IE 7 for Windows XP Service Pack (SP)2, Windows 64 client/server, and Windows Server 2003 SP1/SP2.

WGA is the anti-piracy mechanism Microsoft uses to check whether users are running “genuine” Windows before allowing them to download certain product updates, fixes, white papers and other related information.

Microsoft posted to its Download Center on October 4 refreshed versions of IE 7 for Windows XP Service Pack (SP)2, Windows 64 client/server, and Windows Server 2003 SP1/SP2. It also posted an update to IE 7 for Windows XP that resolves a phishing-filter problem with the browser.

Users interested in downloading the refreshed IE can get it from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer home page or go thorugh a third-party site thatis authorized by Microsoft to deliver customized IE releases. Microsoft officials said they also have pushed the refresh out via Automatic Updates, but those already running IE 7 “will not be offered IE7 again” via this mechanism.

Other changes that are part of the IE 7 refresh:

* The menu bar is now visible by default
* The Internet Explorer 7 online tour has updated how-to’s and the “first-run” experience includes a new overview
* A new MSI installer that “simplifies deployment for IT administrators in enterprises,” according to the Softies

Microsoft rolled out IE 7 last fall. Since then, the company has said next-to-nothing about its future plans for its Web browser.

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Will private Healthcare work in Canada?

I still say “NO”! The main argument for permitting a two tier private alternative system is that this would cause better overall access to care and relieve pressure on the public system. The problem with this argument is that there is no data to truly support this, especially for a country like Canada.  Albeit I am open to a discussion on the matter. There are a lot of ethical questions on both sides that need to be answered. The obvious advantage would be to those who could afford to pay or to purchase additional private health care insurance. In reality the major effect of allowing a private option would be to move resources from the public system into the private system, causing weakening of public system access. No matter how much advocates try to say otherwise, the result is clear. There is no doubt that there are issues surrounding access to public health care in general, however, going down the line of privatization will not help the majority of Canadians. There must be a better way!

Change Ontario’s voting system now!

At a recent all candidates meeting an incumbent MPP, during their speech, said “this is a two party race and it is pointless to vote for any other party….we do not want another Mike Harris government”. When approached and told that this is not becoming of an MPP and it was disrespectful of the other clients and opinions in the room. We should vote according to our values and own opinions. Unfortunately, the attitude of the MPP was that this did not matter. This is one of the major problems with the current system, which causing apathy amongst voters. Albeit, there must be more specifics in regards to the selection process of candidates, change is needed. We must go forwards as a province. We need a system that represents all of Ontario voters. If this means that political parties have to work together and get things done, then let it happen. Strangely enough many have come out to say that there will no longer be majority governments, as if this is the only way to govern. Some of these individuals are the ones that have the most to lose, with a proportional system. However since when was it fair to have a majority government with only approximately 35-40% of the popular vote and then dictate like they got a majority mandate? Again, it may not be perfect, but let’s move forward as a province. The Citizens’ Assembly has spent a long time consulting with ordinary Canadians and we definitely need a parliament that represents and shows the generally pulse of the province. Regardless of my opinion, please take some time to view the ‘Vote MMP website’ and get the facts. There is some descent, in terms of the election process of the proportional members list, however I do feel that these problems will be ironed out. With the power now in the hands of the electorate, political parties will be more careful and may actually start to “listen” to the actual voter.

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario


David Miller and Toronto City Council stuck between a rock and a hard place

Miller experienced a major blow to his leadership when city council voted to put off making a resolution about the land transfer tax and the completion of a vehicle registration levy. In an ironic twist I predict that city council will have no choice but to support David Miller. Wait a minute, wasn’t that obvious? Although I am neither for nor against the tax increases, Toronto at this point simply has no choice or alternative. After years of raiding city coffers and reserve funds, Toronto is simply almost bankrupt. What is unfortunate for the councilors who voted against the tax increases are that the fact that they were essentially hoping for a change of government, on the provincial side. Blame for the entire sad state of affairs in Toronto can be equally levied on various levels of government; however I feel that David Miller unfortunately took the Dalton McGuinty bait. The ‘City of Toronto Act’ really allows the provincial governments to have David Miller do their dirty work. Added to the fact that Toronto’s finances have been badly managed over the last 4-5 years, city council will have no choice but to approve the unpopular land transfer tax. A question has to be asked of those councilors who voted against the plan as to their absence on pressing the Liberals, NDP and PC party for support of their cause. Although there has been some movement on uploading, there have been no specifics. Promises will not pay the bills in Toronto! And since these promises are coming from provincial politicians the question remains, can you trust them? Torontonians clearly don’t want massive service cuts or tax increases, but the question has to be asked and put to the people. Where will the money come from? How much more will we cut? Are there anymore areas for Toronto to make money? Have they tried everything?

The dangerous part to this whole equation that has not been looked at is the ‘City of Toronto Act’ itself and its implications for the future. What will happen when they run out of money again? Will they go begging to the province? I do feel that there has been waste. The purchase of TTC subways, without a tender and the cost overruns on city contracts. The various buildings the city still owns and renovations at city hall. There are others, but they are debatable. What David Miller and council maybe failing to see is that, albeit these are small items, in the eyes of Torontonians, every dollar saved counts. Once people see and feel that they have done their part, then we can move on to others. In some regards David Miller will need to stick firm to his agenda and move forward on the tax increases, however I hope he has heard Torontonians and not only those in the posh areas of Toronto. I do not want to remember the Mayors that had great plans, but did not finish them, like the Queen Subway and other ideas. His plans for the City of Toronto and the Transit City plan are admirable. If he is able to pull it off and actually change the city into something different, history may end up being kind to him. What will that legacy be? David Miller, at this moment, echoes what we should all feel. Do not depend on the Provincial or Federal governments. They are politicians and liars. So in that regard he has decided that Toronto must learn to stop crying over spilt milk and just take care of itself. Maybe in the end we should just be another province or territory in Canada, to fix our problems. However, I will leave that debate for another day.

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

Are thin clients the solution to all your security woes?

The cure-all solution in the security industry is one of the most ubiquitous forms of snake oil and there simply is no such thing.

Are thin clients the solution?

There certainly is some merit in the security implications of thin clients; but there’s also a lot of merit in handing people electric type writers or VT100 terminal emulators from a security and maintenance point of view. Now I am saying that a modern Sun Ray or thin client device to a type writer or text based computer terminal, just that people do associate thin clients in general with fewer features and a “demotion”. I’ve met a lot of people who think that thin clients are just wonderful until you want to take away their computer and give them a thin client. Thin clients are generally associated with data entry tasks and not office productivity. It’s not that you can’t do those tasks with modern thin clients, it’s just that it doesn’t work the way people have grown accustom to and the flexibility afforded to them by the modern personal computer. Until businesses clamor for the days of the main frame and thin clients, it won’t happen any time soon.

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Adobe plots its path on the Web

Adobe makes the bulk of its money from packaged software in its Creative Suite, which includes Photoshop, Illustrator and other creative design tools. As it looks ahead, Adobe is trying to diversify into online services for consumers and businesses. And it would like to keep its audience of Web developers and designers loyal and not lose them to Microsoft, which is increasingly competing with Adobe.

That’s where Adobe’s Platform group comes in. It designs the plumbing that will allow Adobe product groups to offer online services and other companies to write cutting-edge applications.

For Web developers, it has made more sophisticated tooling with Flex. More significant is the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), cross-platform software that enables Web applications to run on a desktop.

During the company’s Max 2007 conference, Lynch, who came to Adobe through its acquisition of Macromedia in 2005, spoke to CNET News.com about Adobe’s strategy and its big bet on the Web.

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