Tag Archives: 2010

Government of Canada cancels the ecoEnergy Retrofit program


EcoEnergy RetrofitThe federal government is suspending a program which offered people financial incentives to have their homes evaluated for energy efficiency and then perform upgrades to improve the rating.

Under the ecoEnergy Retrofit program, homeowners could receive a grant of up to $5,000 to carry out energy saving improvements.

The program technically runs until March 31, 2011, but the government will not accept bookings for pre-retrofit evaluations after midnight Wednesday. Homeowners who have already booked an appointment, have completed an evaluation, or applied for re-entry into the program have until next year to apply for the retrofit grant.

On the program’s official website, the federal government said it was “committed to reviewing its energy efficiency and emissions reductions programs to ensure they continue to be an effective and efficient use of Canadian tax dollars.”

The Conservatives launched the ecoEnergy Retrofit program in April 2007. By 2009, the government had paid out $91 million to homeowners for more than 85,000 home retrofits.

Liberal MPP David McGuinty told the Globe and Mail newspaper the program had become too popular and, therefore, too costly.

“Here is what has really happened — demand tripled since 2007,” the Globe quoted McGuinty as saying.

The federal budget unveiled on March 4 included an additional $80 million for the retrofit program.

Many provinces, such as Ontario, match the federal rebates. Those programs are expected to continue.

For details from the federal government, see the link below.

Sony to remove Linux option from PS3 is either a PR April fools joke ever or the worst move ever?


I heard today that Sony plans on removing the “other OS” option from their systems. What was more shocking was their supposed reason for removing this feature. Now I have a PS3 and I personally think it is one of the best systems available today. However, this move makes absolutely no sense. Some of my colleagues use PS3 with Fedora and Ubuntu. However, why are they removing this feature? The timing is bad and moreover, this is not going over well in the community. Yes, not everyone uses this feature, but I can tell you that many of my friends planned to use it over the summer, with a larger hard drive installation. I tried to tell myself that maybe this is a PR April fools joke? But if it is, they certainly need to get rid of the entire department who thought of it.

Sony, if you have any sense at all, please DO NOT DO THIS! You are removing a “FEATURE”! Does anyone there understand this? I mean, imagine buying a car, with a little feature that you love and the manufacturer tells you that we need to remove it (after you paid for it and maybe even got it because it had that feature). Still thinking? Yes, the “Other OS” feature is a bit geeky, but hey, why fix something that isn’t broken. It was almost like I had additional value in the older model. Or maybe that was the problem?

In some sense, if this is true (and my sources tell me it is – Sony), it is in no way democratic. But who says business  has to be? In some sense, what irritates me, is the almost “threatening language from Sony”. If you decide, you will NOT be able to and so on. What is worse is the fact that Sony officials already promised to not remove this option to older users of the PS3. I wonder what Sony is really afraid of? Or is it all about control? Afraid of hacks to their, almost perfect system? I guess, in Sony’s mind, if you want a computer than go buy one? Or maybe they are afraid of the coming Microsoft war against Linux? I do not know? Are they being paid off? Who knows? Maybe a Microsoft Sony merger is on the horizon? With the new Google OS coming soon, sporting a challenge to Microsoft’s dominance, has fear war against Linux begun? Is this a tactical move?

But lets be truthful here. It is a simple numbers game and for those who are not in the Product Development field, let me put it to you this way. We are ALL numbers. I imagine that someone, in their product development department decided that they no longer wanted to support this option, since it is not in the PS3 slim. Maybe it cost too much? They stated that they do not want to encourage “piracy” or have a security hole? What security hole? Just tell the truth Sony, you want control. In essence, there is the slight chance that this is fake, but it probably is not (still praying). If Sony does this, it will be a BIG and very DUMB move by Sony, from a PR perspective in my opinion. However, there is a chance that this could be a social experiment to see if anyone cares? Now that would be interesting. Maybe the firmware will change the system into a Google OS, and shortly after the Sony Google merger will occur? OK, I am stretching it now! I am just trying to understand this decision.

Sony plans on making the move on April 1, 2010 with a firmware update. Sony has already made a lot of enemies across the globe by even suggesting (joke or no joke). No, there will be no compensation for early adopters of the PS3. As indicated, Sony plans to release this update to do only one thing. Put a nail in the coffin to Linux, or any other OS on the Sony Playstation 3. Or as Emperor Palpatine would say to any Linux user, “now you will experience the full power of the dark side…”

By Andy MJ (a.k.a The GTA Patriot) – Who also loves Linux, BSD and Windows 7. Yes, Windows 7 is a pretty good Operating System!

P.S. By the way Sony, I cannot imagine that Yellow Dog is too happy about this? Also, while you are at it why not remove the browser also (since you are so concern about security). In fact, why not remove all options and make you do exactly what YOU want? Maybe Sony has learned from Apple, how to control? It is probably one of the most POWERFUL SYSTEMS EVER CREATED and you want to lock it up? Yes, I am ranting! If you have additional links, please share them.

Tories face $10B deficit, report suggests


Canada risks running a $10 billion deficit in the 2009-2010 fiscal year if the re-elected Conservative government fails to stitch a “looming fiscal hole” that is already raising the spectre of higher taxes and possible spending cuts, a report suggests. That stark prediction was made yesterday by Merrill Lynch economist David Wolf.

That stark prediction was made yesterday by Merrill Lynch economist David Wolf, hours before Prime Minister Stephen Harper unveiled a six-point economic plan and vowed to keep government spending “focused and under control.”

Merrill Lynch’s report suggests Ottawa may succeed in eking out a small surplus this year, but it is on track to recording its first deficit since the 1990s – a political anathema for Canadians.

Wolf is known for his pessimistic views. His analysis in this case assumes no change in fiscal policy. Nonetheless, some of his contemporaries agree the growing likelihood of a deficit will force the Harper government to make some difficult spending decisions if it intends to live up to its no-deficit pledge.

At least one other economist is taking Wolf’s argument to the next level. Don Drummond, TD Bank’s chief economist, said a multi-billion dollar deficit is not only possible, it is unlikely to be “a one-year wonder.”

For his part, Wolf argues that Canada’s real economy is stagnating amid the global financial crisis. Sharp declines in commodity prices will weigh heavily on exports, while corporate profits are set to fade.

“This fiscal year still looks on track for a small surplus given the better results in the first half of the year, but next year looks awful – we estimate that nominal GDP (gross domestic product), the best proxy for the tax base, will contract outright in 2009 for the first time since 1933,” he wrote. “The effects on government revenues are likely to be profound.”

The last federal budget projected a $2.3 billion surplus for 2008-2009. When asked about that estimate last week, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters: “No, actually we’re on track – a little bit ahead of the track – on the surplus.”

Still, some private-sector economists say posting a surplus this year will be tricky. The idea of a deficit, however, is politically taboo. The last time Canada recorded one was in the mid-1990s. At the time, legislators worked tirelessly to slay it and subsequent governments vowed to never to repeat it.

“Given the circumstances that we’re in, a budget deficit is more of a political issue than an economic issue,” said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.

“If it is caused by the fact that the global economy is struggling mightily (rather than by overspending), then a deficit is something we probably have to accept.”

read more | digg story

The case for a Downtown Relief Line


In the last 100 years, there have been many subway proposals that have come and gone. One of the first serious proposals, in 1911, would have seen streetcar subways built under Yonge, Queen and Bloor streets to feed city and interurban cars downtown. Later proposals called for a Queen Street subway for streetcars or heavy rail, which remained on the books until about 1980. The Eglinton West subway even started construction, until filled in by order of the Harris Conservatives in 1995. Another serious subway proposal that never got anywhere was something called the Downtown Relief Line.

read more | digg story

Inside Windows 7 — what we know so far!


An interesting little bit of speculation…

You’d be forgiven for missing it, but Vista turned a year old last month. November 30, 2006, marked the official launch of Vista to the business community: the first part of an odd two-stage liftoff which was followed two months later, on January 30 2007, by the mainstream consumer launch at which Vista became available to one and all.

(Unfortunately for Microsoft, the number of people who bought Vista was much closer to ‘one’ than ‘all’. The majority of ‘sales’ of Vista have been from Microsoft to its OEM partners for pre-loading on new systems, and even then several companies chose to offer buyers a choice between XP and Vista rather than foist the shiny new OS onto the public. Just because they bought a new PC didn’t mean they wanted to ditch their familiar old OS, especially when they had all the drivers and software and everything worked pretty well on the whole, thanks all the same.)

So now the clock is ticking on Windows 7.0, the successor to Vista (which was officially Windows 6.0, following Microsoft’s lead of counting iterations of the NT-based kernel rather than actual client editions).

We’re still in the long dark before 7’s dawn, but the earliest signs are encouraging: a new streamlined kernel, an inbuilt VM for running old software, a revised and simplified UI… there’s every chance that Microsoft intends Windows 7 to rise from the ashes of Vista and be what Mac OS X was for Apple.’

read more | digg story

Stripped-down ‘MinWin’ kernel to be at the core of Windows 7 and more…


Microsoft has created a stripped-down version of the Windows core, called MinWin, that will be at the heart of future Windows products, starting with Windows 7, the Windows client release due in 2010.Stripped-down ‘MinWin’ kernel to be at the core of Windows 7 and more

While the Windows team has been working for years on reducing the dependencies in Windows which have made the operating system increasingly bloated and difficult to maintain and upgrade, it’s only been recently that the team has been able to create a separate, usuable new core.

Going forward, MinWin will be at the heart of future versions of Windows Media Center, Windows Server, embedded Windows products and more.

Microsoft Distinguished Engineer Eric Traut described some of the work the Microsoft Core OS team has done to build the MinWin core during a recent talk he gave at the University of Illinois. The full video of Traut’s talk is here. Blogger Long Zheng clipped out the piece of Traut’s talk which highlighted how the MinWin core will work in Windows 7 and posted it to his site.

MinWin is internal-only and “won’t be productized but it will be the basis for future products,” Traut said. But “it’s proof there is a really nice little core inside Windows.”

MinWin is 25 MB on disk; Vista is 4 GB, Traut said. (The slimmed-down Windows Server 2008 core is still 1.5 GB in size.) The MinWin kernel does not include a graphics subsystem in its current build, but does incorporate a “very simple HTTP server,” Traut said. The MinWin core is 100 files total, while all of Windows is 5,000 files in size.

Traut said he is running a team of 200 Windows engineers working on the core kernel and Windows virtual technologies.

Traut acknowledged tat the Windows kernel is between twelve and fifteen years old right now. He said that Microsoft is operating under the premise that “at some point, we’ll have to replace it (the kernel),” given that it “doesn’t have an unlimited life span.

Traut did not mention Singularity — Microsoft Research’s built-from-scratch microkernel-based operating system — during his talk.

Instead, Traut spent most of his time describing Microsoft’s thinking around virtualization, and how virtualization can be used to ease backwards compatibility and other problems Windows users incur. He did not speak specifically about how Microsoft plans to incorporate virtualization in Windows 7, but did stress that virtualization should not be viewed as a crutch, in terms of improving existing code. He said Microsoft considers application virtualization, like that it provides via SofGrid, presentation virtualization (Windows Terminal Services and “enhancements to core Windows functionality” are all other ways that the company can improve users’ Windows experience.read more | digg story