Monday, November 23, 2009

Adam Giambrone and TTC - D- Grade

Either Adam Giambrone, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) Chairman :

a. Doesn't take public transit
b. Doesn't give a hoot
c. Is out of his job element

Because what's been happening lately on the TTC is a disaster.

The TTC decides to suspend token sales as fare hikes are set for January 2010. This creates a run in token sales but worse off it creates huge lineups at the turnstiles. King Street station is a total nightmare at 5pm. Token vending machines are offline so unless you have a Metropass you are sh*t out of luck. And, ticket sales were suspended last year because of a counterfeiting problem. Hey, TTC why don't you do what the rest of the modern transit systems do and implement a rechargeable swipe card, but of course what would you do with all those high-paid stool sitting token collectors?

This morning for some reason the TTC decides to divert all people li down a narrow walkway (like cattle) to one end of the southbound platform so that they are forced to walk back to the opposite direction on the platform to get to where they normally stand. The people getting off the train and forced to walk against the people in the same narrow passage. Sheer stupidity, for whatever the reason!

Mass commuter chaos was unleashed last week when a contractor accidentally cut through a TTC tunnel. Tens of thousands spilled out onto Toronto streets waiting for shuttle buses. I was in the train tunnel and strangely few if any announcements were made before entering the station.

It's no wonder TTC revenues are down. Wake up Adam! And you pretty much blew any chance of being mayor in this town.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Gold Standard

Back in September this year, some papers reported that China was moving to physically transfer it's gold holdings from the Bank of England to it's Hong Kong repositories ( I guess in times of uncertainty we all want to be closer to our money.

Lately some non-mainstream media have reported that HK authorities discovered some 400 oz bars were not actually gold, but tungsten plated with gold. Surely the most trusted gold reserve in the world couldn't be passing counterfeits. Tungsten has almost identical weight and density characteristics as gold so its the perfect material for a sophisticated dupe. It sounds like a pretty far fetched conspiracy theory that could only happen in Hollywood movie scripts. If there is any truth to this perhaps it will be reported widely, or maybe not.

My point isn't that the world's gold reserves have been contaminated with salted bars, but that fraud can happen at any scale and don't be surprised there is some spec of truth to it. For example, who would have thought Bernie Maddoff could have orchestrated a fraud of epic proportions and duped so many investors for so long. Who could have though a few large investment firms could have decimated the world economy?

Someone mentioned to me (and quite proud) recently how India is buying up the worlds gold supply. I cringe at the thought that it could very well mean they have a lifetime supply of raw material for incandescent light bulbs.

Mac WiFi Disconnects - Solved

I love our 20" iMac computer. The really only unfavorable thing I have to say about it is the poor WiFi connectivity to the Linksys wireless router, and unfortunately if you are like me I spend 90% of the time on the computer doing something online so it's really annoying when the connection drops or trivial web pages take forever to download. My other non-Mac computer which connect to the same router have no issue so it's really baffling and frustrating.

I'm blogging about this this because I know I'm not alone in this. And perhaps what I did to fix my problem will help anyone reading this with a similar issue. If you do a Google search you'll find literally hundreds of people with the same problem, with no resolution even from Apple themselves. Patches, new routers etc. don't seem to work. The symptoms are the WiFi radio indicator at the top left corner goes grey indicating that the computer has been disconnected from the router. It'll come back but only after you click on it and select your access point. Who can afford to do this every 10 seconds? I was also only averaging 2.4 Mb/s receive which is only 1/3 of what I'd expect.

I came to the conclusion that it must be periodically searching for other (or better) networks. I confirmed this by inspecting a little file called ~/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ This is an XML file that contains your Airport WiFi settings, but it also seemed to have a bunch of old and outdated networks I configured previously, they don't even show up anywhere in the GUI Network configuration panes.

I just deleted it (yeah I have either a lot or courage or stupidity). Rebooted and re-setup my WiFi settings to the router. Rebooted again and voila, my network is fast and reliable. Check out my speed test results in the pic above. I hope this helps you.