Monthly Archives: March 2012

Website posts an open letter to Walt Disney Studios regarding John Carter


John Carter of Mars

John Carter of Mars (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have placed a link to an open letter to Disney Studios. They have definitely done a poor marketing job with the John Carter film.

http://thejohncarterfiles.com/2012/03/john-carter-an-open-letter-to-walt-disney-studios-chairman-richard-ross/

What I find more interesting is the box office numbers, when comparing The Hunger Games to John Carter. Internationally John Carter did not do so badly, albeit it could have done better. What’s odd is there is no love for the Hunger Games internationally. The box-office for The Hunger Games is mainly domestic. Does this tell us something about our taste for film in North America, versus others around the world?

No Pipeline to the West Coast?


A slim majority of British Columbians support a proposed $5.5-billion oilsands pipeline to the B.C. coast, but opposition to the megaproject is growing, according to a new poll.

The poll also found that an overwhelming majority of B.C. Conservative party supporters, and two-thirds of B.C. Liberal supporters, favour the controversial plan by Calgary-based Enbridge Inc.

NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, who commissioned the poll, said the results suggest it will become increasingly difficult for Christy Clark, B.C.’s Liberal premier, to continue to straddle the fence on the issue.

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/Opposition+oilsands+pipeline+growing+poll+finds/6374553/story.html

Cutting the cord through my over-the-air AppleTV and Netflix experience


Image representing Netflix as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

It’s been more than 1-2 years and my over-the-air antenna, AppleTV and Netflix configuration has helped me to save a substantial amount of money. To be perfectly honest the experiment started when I began to observe that family members were not watching the TV; opting to go online to get their content. Paying for a monthly plan just did not make sense. There were really only two issues. How do I get my news and what about entertaining guest from time to time?

Starting with cable, with over-the-air HD quality signals I cut the cord. My HD 51 inch plasma TV already had a built in tuner. I purchased a Digiwave yagi antenna and 2 regular HD antenna’s; running them into my attic. The results, after going to TVFOOL.COM, was approximately 20-25 channels.

What about additional content? Well, since we were avid podcast followers the AppleTV seemed to be the perfect fit. We researched many others, but devices like the Roku was not available in Canada and GoogleTV unfortunately was not available either. I loved the Boxee, but not it’s price. I believe it was an error to sell it for so much. In any case I am happy with the ATV2. I can rent movies with ease, use the iCloud for my pictures, connect with YouTube, use Vimeo, the Wall Street Journal and a host of other items from one device.

My Netflix experience is extremely positive. I have no complaints. Content is fine, albeit it would be nice to get more British media. Integration in the AppleTV is seamless. There are a few other features available with the AppleTV, which I have not used. In particular iTunes Match. I may get to it one day. Other bonuses are online radio and the ability to purchase movies and TV, ala cart, from iTunes and have it available from iClould.

All in all the Apple created a simple and easy to use experience. There were a lot of nay-sayers, in regards to my over-the-air antenna. However I can happily say that I have found other uses for the cash. Ironically Netflix did not affect my 60 GB limit as much as I thought it would. Online, through a browser, radio seems to use more bandwidth and bytes. If you want to cut the cord first evaluate what is important to you. It’s not for everyone. However, if you find, like me, you are doing more online it maybe time to look at spending a bit more on bandwidth and cut the cord.

RIM closer to releasing BB10


Image representing Research In Motion as depic...

Image via CrunchBase

RIM plans to give developers prototypes BB10 in May. With slumping sales, BB10 could not come any sooner. It’s unfortunate that RIM has such a slow product development process. With both Google and Apple moving at lightening speeds, can the famed Blackberry survive? Up to 2,000 of the BlackBerry 10 test models will be given to developers.  Playbook 2.0 gave us a preview of what we can expect to see with the new BB10 phone. The question is, will it be enough? In Canada, RIM recently lost its top place. Canadian’s support RIM, however how much longer can they wait? My own experience with the new Playbook 2.0 has been delightfully good. It’s a great tablet, at the price point. However it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the Apple ecosystem. We can only hope that RIM maintains its strong hold on the business market. RIM has excellent products, however only time will tell if it’s enough to stem the slow burn.

Subways for the Downtown Relief Line


The war over Sheppard was barely finished and Andy Byford is already talking about a Down-town Relief line; hoping to take the pressure off the packed Yonge-University-Spadina subway. For years transit leaders have talked creating a line, however other priorities have always taken precedence. With Andy Byford openly talking about the line, maybe we will start to move away from the wrangling over transit. Originally the plan was part of the “Big Move”. The line, initially, would start at Pape station and then move onwards, with a limited amount of stops, to Union station.

TTC - Downtown Relief Line

Original Proposed DRL for Toronto

At the moment the talk merely hovers around Pape to Union, however there is the potential possibility of sending it north to Eglinton East (through Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park). Doing this could negate the need for a Don Mills LRT, opting for a BRT. There may also be the possibility of sending the line, over-ground through the Don Valley, to the Sheppard line; which would at least give some sense of completion to the line.

Leaside Bridge

Over-ground is definitely a cheaper option than underground. However a big problem is the Millword (Leaside) bridge. Sending a subway under the bridge would be quite costly. Closing the bridge, for subway construction, would be a traffic nightmare for the area. I imagine, for now, sending the line into the Don Valley area is out of the cards, however you never know what options the TTC may come up with; being that the Don Valley and the option of by-passing Thorncliffe all together or utilizing the open corridors in the area (Hydro, etc…) It will be interesting to see if any happens or if the DRL is ever built. Some will have to be done to move pressure from the Yonge line. I imagine the next civic election will be something to behold in Toronto. With Mayor Ford pushing for subways and both levels of government out of cash, how will these subways be built?

NDP Convention: Thomas Mulcair leads the first round of balloting


Français : Thomas Mulcair le 23 avril 2011 à M...

Français : Thomas Mulcair le 23 avril 2011 à Montréal lors de la campagne électorale fédérale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seems that the first round has shown Thomas Mulcair leading in the NDP leadership race. Thomas Mulcair won 30% of the vote on the first ballot. However, can the Quebec MP get enough support to win the race to succeed Jack Layton?

http://www.thomasmulcair.ca/site/?lang=en

 [yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kS9jpCMBHUY&feature=related’%5D

First Ballot Results:

Thomas Mulcair: 19,728 votes

Nathan Cullen: 10,671 votes

Brian Topp: 13,915 votes

Peggy Nash: 8,353 votes

Paul Dewar: 4,683 votes

Martin Singh: 3,821 votes

Niki Ashton: 3,737 votes

Update: It looks like Thomas Mulcair is closer to winning the leadership of the NDP. He remains in the lead on the second ballot, but just short of a victory.

Read more:

http://www.canada.com/news/Thomas+Mulcair+remains+lead+short+victory/6354549/story.html

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/canada-politics/

Wildcat strike has now hit Montreal


Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ/CYY...

Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ/CYYZ), Mississauga, Greater Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The wildcat strike, which started in Toronto’s Pearson Airport has now started to affect Montreal. Just heard the news and if you already have not started, please check with Air Canada before heading out. The issue started last night when baggage handlers were suspended for supposedly clapping when an MP was spotted. We are still waiting for confirmation. Air Canada has offered talks, however employees are in solidarity until their peers are reinstated and they are assured the no other repercussions.

Update: News just came in on NewsTalk 1010 – CFRB: Please check your flights out of Dorval, in Montreal. All Air Canada flights are cancelled. Now flights out of Ottawa are being affected by the wildcat strike.

BREAKING NEWS: Air Canada employees wildcat strike at Pearson


Air Canada baggage handlers have walked off the job at Pearson Airport. Twitter is a blaze with angry travellers who are unable to get their bags, board plans or even get off their plane. I am not sure if this is going to help their cause, as it may just speed up the demise of Air Canada and more government involvement by the Conservatives. If you are heading to Pearson you will need to check your flight ahead of time. If you have a connecting flight, at another airport, you may want to check your arrival or departure.

http://www.torontopearson.com/

http://www.cp24.com/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20120322/120322_air_canada/20120322/?hub=CP24Home

http://www.citytv.com/toronto/citynews/news/local/article/195356–air-canada-ground-employees-stage-wildcat-strike

John Carter of Mars – A Great Movie in Hard Times


John Carter, Warlord of Mars

John Carter, Warlord of Mars (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although John Carter is a great movie,  it seems that high production movie’s must be able to make Avatar like dollars at the box office. John Carter is actually doing well, if you take into account overseas totals. Currently running at $182,571,393, as of today, it is actually running ahead of The Lorax. What is the issue? Like movie’s, such as The Golden Compass, John Carter seems to have a larger global appeal. Unfortunately, in North America, media has declared John Carter one of the biggest flops. It will probably be far from the truth. The movie itself is action packed and has a great story line. For those who read John Carter, before seeing the movie, they will know that it is an excellent series. At issue is North American, in particular U.S, taste. For some reason they are just not flocking to the theatre to see John Carter. With the Hunger Games in release, it’s unfortunate that it may simply get lost in the shuffle. The first trailer, in my opinion, was the best one. I’d urge anyone to take a second look at John Carter. We have to realize that the world does not revolve around the U.S alone.

http://disney.go.com/johncarter/

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Rf55GTEZ_E’%5D

Game over for Rob Ford in Toronto?


It seems that the transit debate is over. With a vote of 24 – 19, Rob Ford lost his battle to get the Sheppard Subway built and completed. Torontonians’ have endured a long battle over transit, with Rob Ford championing the cause of subways for the suburbs. Unfortunately it seems that he lost that battle and now we will finally turn to the alternatives of Light-Rail-Transit, using Bombardier made vehicles. For some the thought of never seeing the Sheppard subway completed, forever ended at Don Mills Road, seems to be a hard pill to swallow. So is the battle now over? I can only say, with an upcoming federal budget it would be nice to see a surprise and real long-term funding for transit. Years ago David Miller pressured the government, to no avail. Maybe both sides should have gotten their heads together to look at the bigger picture? For now the debate is over and we will move forward with the options we have. Maybe now we can start to explain to the citizens of Toronto the differences between a streetcar and a LRT (or tram). Rob Ford claimed that he will win the war. So what does this mean for Toronto? Of course, with an upcoming budget maybe we will just need to talk about it a bit longer

The Sheppard Subway

A house once divided is back together again — Linux and Android Merge


Well to the delight and absolute glee of many followers Android has come back to the Linux fold. To much fanfare, with the release of Linux 3.3, Android is now back in the fold. Many years ago Android forked, causing a rift between the two kernels. Google initially took Android in a different direction. Now that Android is back on the Linux track it will be interesting to see what happens and how Linux evolves over the next few years. Hoping myself that it is all positive and we will see great things to come from Linux.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QA8tpls62I’%5D

Stuck between a rock and a tunnel?


Well its come down to the wire and a final vote on the future of transit in the city. Will we go with an LRT module for Sheppard, leaving an unfinished subway at Don Mills? Or will we go all in and spend all of our capital on one project? In the end the choice should be yours, however its not. Its unfortunate that such an important decision will be decided by a group of politicians that cannot seem to get anything done on transit. What will the long-term legecy be for the people of Scarborough? A subway, an LRT or 20 more years of talking?