Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Reminded how bad Windows is

Recently we bought a Toshiba netbook. It came loaded with Windows XP. I've been reminded how bad Microsoft Windows is.

Having used an Apple iMac for over a couple of years now at home, I really see the differences in terms of usability. Microsoft feels it's necessary to pop up and confirm every action, be it risky or not. I can't remember the last time I got a prompt to allow/disallow something on the iMac. My work PC uses XP as well, but it's "locked down" so most of the popups are supressed already, but that's certainly not typical of what consumers would experience.

Can't the geniuses at Microsoft understand that users don't like to be stopped in the middle of doing something important to read a dialog box that makes no sense to begin with, then answer Yes/No to something we don't even understand the implications of?

It's a well known fact that Vista was a complete failure for many reasons. Let's hope that Microsoft gets it right with the upcoming Windows 7. Curiously, it looks and feels alot like Mac OS X.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Marathon Training - 20KM mark

This Sunday morning marks the completion of a 20km training run. I dread Sundays because they are the long run days. Fortunately, it was overcast and mild so it was bearable. Toronto is so quiet and beautiful at 6:30 on a Sunday morning. How could we make it always like that?

Last weekend's 17KM was painful mostly because of bad shoes (1 1/2 year old Saucony). I ended up with a couple of blisters which makes it really hard to walk let alone run. So this week I got new pair of Mizuno's and they are just the thing to keep the feet happy.

I also learned last week that I need to bring something to eat. It may sound strange to eat while exercising but it's absolutely necessary, at least in my case.

I'm currently at a 9.5km/h pace, so that puts me at about a 5 hour race completion time. I doubt I'll be able to finish any sooner, but my goal is really just finishing. I felt pretty decent today, and even did some yard work, so I think the hard work is starting to show.

Lowes Home Improvement

I admit I enjoy wandering the isles of Home Depot and Rona. I just like seeing what's new and hopefully get some inspiration for future projects.

U.S. home improvement giant entered Canada about a year ago, and it finally made it's way into my neighborhood.  Whenever we visited out in-laws in the States we'd make a special trip there because they always seemed to have something different compared to it's competitors.

This weekend we made the inaugural  quick trip to Lowes since we just happened to be close by running  errands. Nice new shiny store, full selection of appliances, cabinetry, and garden supplies. Clean and organized product isles and and abundance of store help. Noticeably more variety of products that any of it's competitors.  Although it can fully service contractors, it's really women friendly which is a smart market segment.

Compared to Home Depot, Rona and Canadian Tire. No comparison. Those stores are dusty, unfriendly, under stocked, unknowledgeable, and dinosaurs in my opinion. It's unlikely that they'll go bankrupt any time soon because of a few Lowes stores, but eating into profits can't be good news. There's something to be said about not resting on ones laurels, which is what HD and Rona are still doing after all these years. 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Father's Day 2009

I was given this card for Father's day.

I like it! It captures the manny of the things I like to do, except control of the remote.

When I arrived at work Monday morning of course we Dad's all ask each other how our Father's day went. Mine went like this.

Went for a long jog early in the morning. Returned for pancake breakfast made by Mo an Aidan. One of our nice neighbors dropped by to invite Aidan over to play, and Marissa decided to do some shopping. Great!... time alone, what a perfect Father's Day gift.  I made a fresh pot of coffee and settled into reading the weekend paper, then planned a nap. It didn't quite work out as I planned.

Within an hour the little rascals ended up at my house. Gardening, playing with the Nintendo, grilled cheese sandwiches, water hose etc. 

It wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but then again how else could you define Father's Day?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wake up Americans

Today US President Obama outlined sweeping changes to the regulatory framework in American Banking.  Based on all that has happened in the world financial markets over the past 9 months, you'd expect this to be headline news on CNN or other major news outlets.  CNN's web page barely made any mention to this, but instead focused on the hundreds of protesters on the streets of Iran.

So quietly and under public's noses, the US Federal Reserve will be given more powers to regulate the US banking industry. The Reserve answers to no one; not Congress, Senate, or the President. It's a private bank controlled by the worlds rich and elite. Essentially, this is letting the fox watch the hen house. Little does the average American know, or care to know, that it was the Reserve that created most of the mess the world is in today by flooding the the US banks with cheap, easy and worthless US currency. 

That cheap and easy money has created a culture of consumerism, that one could argue has kept joe plummer distracted enough realize his hard earned wealth is being sucked out from under his iPhone, 52" LCD TV, 3000 square foot home, and BMW.

Gold is starting to look like a really good investment.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

FIAT (Fix it Again, Tony)

Will North American's be willing to buy a Fiat?

My bet is No.

Recent history has shown that sales of small European cars will not thrive in North America. 

Take for example similar cars: Vauxhaul, Citroen, Merkur, and Peugeot. Only a relatively small number of these brands were bought when they did exist here, and generally by people who liked to obscurity of owning something different. In my opinion their downfall was their mechanical quirkiness and availability of repair parts.   If Chrysler can't keep domestic parts producers in business, they are going to have a heck of a time importing parts for all these Fiat models. And, good luck trying to find a non-dealership mechanic who knows how fix one.

The sale of Chrysler to Fiat is only prolonging the inevitable, which is the demise of Chrysler.

Monday, June 08, 2009


Imagine what can be done in place of Facebook time.

We all complain of how little time we have, but why can people always find time for Facebook?

Stop the madness. Life is short. Get back to reality.