Daily Archives: October 23, 2007

CITY-TV moves from 299 Queen Street West and gets a new Toronto home at Dundas Square


CITY-TV’s iconic street level studios are moving. The television station’s new parent announced they will be leaving their long-time residence at 299 Queen Street West for a new location on Dundas Square. Yesterday, Rogers Communications announced it had entered into an agreement to buy the Olympic Torch building at 35 Dundas St. East.

I do not want to believe that they are actually moving to there new location, however since the CRTC felt that they could not own both CFTO and CITY-TV they had to go to Rogers. I did not expect Bell to give up the “hallowed” location of 299 Queen Street West. Its unfortunate, however I wonder how this will affect City-TV personalities that work for City-TV and other enterprises such as Bravo, FashionTelevision and others. In some ways I was surprised that the CRTC did not allow Bell to choose, which station to give up. I am sure that they would have given up CFTO, but in the end this may be the best possible situation. We could not expect Rogers to continue to run City-TV from 299 Queen Street West. Being near “Dundas Square” may actual bring some change to the station and it will be interesting to see what the future holds for the City-TV gang.

To see the full article, see below:

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WARNING: device driver updates causing Vista to deactivate


After weeks of gruelling troubleshooting, I’ve finally had it confirmed by Microsoft Australia and USA — something as small as swapping the video card or updating a device driver can trigger a total Vista deactivation.

Put simply, your copy of Windows will stop working with very little notice (three days) and your PC will go into “reduced functionality” mode, where you can’t do anything but use the web browser for half an hour.

You’ll then need to reapply to Microsoft to get a new activation code.

How can this crazy situation occur? Read on for the sorry tale.

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Is Acacia link with Microsoft just smoke? BayStar Capital and the dead SCO!


In terms of proving a link between Microsoft and Acacia this is smoke, just as the move of two Microsoft executives to Acacia unit IP Innovation is smoke. Acacia Technologies, the patent firm which has publicly denied any link with Microsoft, took capital in 2003 from BayStar Capital, which for a time acted as a capital conduit from Microsoft to SCO Research, according to Groklaw.

This could all be just coincidence, or smoke, as the saying goes. The venture capital world is a fairly small one. So is the world of patent trolls. And when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer predicted Linux would soon be inundated with patent claims, that might also have been coincidence, just smoke.

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More oil from old wells and more electricity from the wind


Crude prices have fallen from their record levels. Apparently the wise folk on Wall Street now think Turkey will not attack ther Kurdish area of Iraq. Still, crude prices are in the $85 range and many renewable energy prodeucers think they can compete as long as oil is above $50 per barrel.

That said a start-up wind energy fimr just ordered $350-million worth of wind turbines from General Electric.
Third Planet Windpower will place these on windmills in Texas, New Mexico, Nebraska and Wyoming starting in 2009. Here’s what the wind folks say on their website about their new company, “Third Planet Windpower (TPW) was established in 2006 to develop, acquire, own and operate a diversified portfolio of wind generation assets. The company has 20 projects under development, comprising more than 7,500 megawatts.”

Their press release goes on to give big green kiss to GE, “GEs wind turbine technology is a key element of ecomagination, the GE corporate-wide initiative to address challenges such as the need for cleaner, more efficient sources of energy, reduced emissions and abundant sources of clean water.” now that’s some of that marketing NoImpactMan was dreaming about, I guess.

TWP, as I now know them, also deals with one major environmental complaint against wind farms: the slicing and dicing of flying critters. As a birder I actually care about these things. TWP claims in their FAQ section that their turbines will be carefully placed with concern for flying animals.

An interesting aspect of this GE contract. A lot of the work wil lbe done in the U.S. I don’t often find much evidence of trickle down economics. But in this specific case the folks in the Carolinas can be pleased. Two factories there will be busy making the 167 turbines for TWP.

Old Oil Wells Renewed?

For those folk stillmaking a living ingthe oil biz, there may be good news from a Dutch researcher. He says hydrophobic gels can help get the oil out of the apparently defunct wells.

First, let’s clarify that this gel has nothing to do with rabies of any kind. Secondly, what it does do is form a barrier between the water and petroleum molecules, making the separation easier. In many old oil wells the mix of water and oil creates an economic barrier to extraction and refining by making the processing of the crude so complex and expensive.

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Apple should start offering Windows-based Macs


Here’s a question that I received from yesterday’s mail bag:

Apple should start offering Windows-based Macs

Apple’s a lot easier to understand when you stop looking at it as a religion and instead see it for what it is – a multi-billion dollar consumer electronics company
Now, I have checked and I’m pretty sure that this email isn’t from Steve Jobs, but it’s an interesting question nonetheless.  Apple is, without a doubt, a successful company and is returning strong data quarter after quarter.  For years, the darling for investors was the iPod, the first of Apple’s products to hit critical mass and make it big (some might say that it was the first piece of branded consumer electronics to go critical mass, but personally I wouldn’t take it that far).  Now it seems that Apple has managed to put the Macs under the iPod’s halo and dramatically improved desktop and notebook sales.  Sales are strong, but you have to put this into perspective.  CNET’s Tom Krazit does a good job of crunching the numbers:

The numbers seem simple: Apple has sold more than 120 million iPods to date, and Mac shipments are growing much faster than the overall market.

But Hewlett-Packard’s worldwide shipments are growing twice as fast as the overall market. Acer’s worldwide shipments are growing at nearly four times the overall market. Even in the U.S., where Apple does the majority of its business and is the third-leading PC vendor, everyone but Dell is growing much faster than the overall market. HP might have a brand name in printers, but nobody, even HP, has a consumer product with nearly the cachet of the iPod.

But like Krazit, I’m not so convinced that there’s a correlation between iPod sales and Mac sales:

But I’m not convinced that you can draw a direct line between iPods and Macs. Are you more likely to buy an HP PC because you own (and like) your HP printer? Are you more likely to buy a Sony television because you’ve spent thousands of quality hours with your PlayStation 2? Maybe, maybe not.

OK, but let’s get back to the original question – What could/should Apple do to take sales and profits to the next level?  Simple.  Release an Apple branded Windows-based PC.  I know, I know, this kind of talk is bound to upset the hardened Apple fanatic, but it makes perfect sense.  One of the things that’s undoubtedly helped boost Mac sales is Boot Camp.  Now there’s no punishment for switching platforms because you can take your old platform with you, but just as some people got tired of paying the Microsoft tax when they wanted a PC to run Linux on it, people who want Apple hardware in order to run Windows on it will eventually see the Mac OS as an Apple tax.  Why doesn’t Jobs and the crew at Cupertino just skip that whole Apple tax step and offer customers a choice of operating systems.  Since Windows is the dominant OS at present, that’s a good place to start, but if Apple really wants to offer the customer real choice, Linux would also be great.

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Windows auto-update case closed? Microsoft thinks users are to blame!


I am really not sure if Microsoft truly understands what is happening in the real world. Maybe they do not care or is there something else at play? They are smarter than this, aren’t they? Unfortunately they do not realize that the confidence of a once solid company is slowly breaking down. I run the Windows Vista 64-bit edition in my workplace and I have also experienced the “phantom update and restart”. There have always been Microsoft haters and I am not particularly one of them. Sure I have used Linux and Macs but I use them to complete a job or task. Microsoft needs to “re-think” how they do business. People may opt not to automatically update their system so that they can test or ensure that adverse issue will not take place. Overiding the will of the user is a blantent dictatorship, as far as I am concerned. I should be a Liberty, after purchasing their product, to do what needs to be done. Unfortunately, what has actually been lost is “confidence” and “trust”. Microsoft better start to realize soon that they are not the only game in town. Manipulating this issue, however which way they want to, is not helping the image. Microsoft can try to spin this issue but they have definaetely broken the trust of the user.

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

To read more from the article from ZDNET, see below.

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It’s time for the latest and possibly final installment of the seemingly never-ending saga of “Why is my copy of Windows automatically updating and rebooting itself?” Microsoft says users just don’t realize that their machines are set to update. They think users are to blame! Is Microsoft completely incompetent or are they lying?

In the last episode, the Windows Update Product team stated on its blog on October 12 that neither Automatic Update (AU) nor the bunch of patches that Microsoft rolled out on October 9, Patch Tuesday, were responsible for reports from Windows users earlier this month that their machines were automatically updating without their approval.

The Product Update team continued to investigate. At some point (I’m not sure exactly when, as the time stamp does not reflect the post update time/date) the team updated its blog again, suggesting a few possible causes for the reports by certain Windows users of their machines updating automatically. On the team’s list of possible reasons that AU settings can be (re)set or changed:

  • “During the installation of Windows Vista, the user chooses one of the first two recommended options in the “Out of Box Experience” and elects to get updates automatically from Windows
  • “The user goes to the Windows Update Control Panel and changes the AU setting manually
  • “The user goes to Security Center in Windows Vista and changes the AU setting
  • “The user chooses to opt in to Microsoft Update from the Microsoft Update web site
  • “The user chooses to opt in to Microsoft Update during the installation or the first run experience of another Microsoft application such as Office 2007.”

In short, Microsoft’s explanation was that users were knowingly or unknowingly changing their own Automatic Update settings and complaining about the results.

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Tax Me I’m Torontonian


Toronto Council has finally passed the controversial new land-transfer tax and vehicle registration tax/fee. Although a compromise was needed, Toronto should now have the stable funding that they require to run the city. Barring that the housing market does not go bust or everyone in Toronto decides to sell their car. This would never happen? But, I needed to point out the absolute worse case scenario. The new taxes might only initially raise $180-million to $200-million for 2008, less than earlier annual estimates of $356-million. Even with the new taxes, city finance officials say they still need a property tax hike. This also does not stop Toronto Council from considering new entertainment taxes, fees and the possibility, however unlikely, of a toll on the DVP, going into downtown Toronto. A land transfer tax of up to 2 per cent and a $60 fee for motor vehicle registration, which only could have happened with the new powers from the “City of Toronto” act. What will be interesting is the fall-out in the Real Estate market. I doubt there will be much change in the downtown area. Toronto still does not serve the outer regions like Scarborough and Etobicoke with adequate public transit. It should be interesting to see if funding now starts on the “Transit City” plan. There is no excuse now since they have their money and what David Miller wanted. What is interesting is that the Liberals are in power, and based on their “promises, this should be boom time for public transit. The question is, were they all “telling the truth”? Or was this all a rouse to get more money and tax use again later? Only time will tell. I imagine those, with homes just north of Toronto’s Steeles Avenue must be extremely happy. There homes just became a little bit more valuable. There will be those who want to skirt the tax and move a bit north, still within walking distance of the TTC and Toronto. They will be sad to learn that prices in Markham, Thornhill, Vaughan and Woodbridge are already high. However, the major point is that it is now time for “Transit City” to move forward, with no delays! I do not necessarily agree with the new taxes, however David Miller seemed to have no choice. I am also not totally in favour of all of their public transit plans; however something is better than nothing in the “transit world”. Other than the audit of the city contracts and the panel looking into savings for the city, council has done there part. Dalton McGuinty will now have to show if he was telling the truth? The Liberal Ontario government must start with the Move2020 plan now, with no delays or lies or false promises. Let the people in the know, do their work and lets get Toronto moving! Torontonians will now expect “results”, otherwise David Miller and company may find an angry electorate in 2010. Torontonians will be watching!

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

Toronto, Ontario