Self-Image Math

True story.

Paddle your own canoe, folks.


PS: For you non-Canadian readers, CAA is the Canadian Automobile Association. They are freakishly efficient when it comes to breaking into cars.


To be fair, our Ottawa Police (and before that, the Kingston Police) are all perfectly lovely people, with only one exception that I can recall.

In university, I developed a real hate-on for people who would get drunk and knock over mailboxes and newspaper boxes. It’s no small effort to be a mail carrier or a newspaper carrier. You’re carrying a lot of weight, you’re on your feet a lot, and the last thing you need is some entitled brat making your job harder. And I use the term “entitled brat” entirely unironically and unsarcastically. You need to be a serious violator of Wheaton’s Law to think knocking Canada Post boxes over is in any way something you should be doing.

Anyway, this one night out, I’m on the way to the hub with friends. It’s relatively early for a night out in the brisk Kingston breeze, and some fool, already ploughed, kicks over a pair of newspaper boxes in full view of a cop. I stop the guy and shame-scold him for being a dick in front of his friends. There weren’t any laughs, there weren’t any eyerolls. The guy did something dumb and destructive for no reason and was rightfully ashamed by it. The group moved off, while the cop watched, and I stepped over to the paper boxes to lift them back into place.

The officer sauntered over and sternly asked me what exactly the hell I thought I was doing. This was the only time I’ve ever lost my temper or been anything less than respectful to a law enforcement official. I reminded him of the scene he’d just watched and pointed out that I was putting the box back in place so that they weren’t blocking the sidewalk, and if he had a problem with me trying to make my fellow students respect the city more, he could take a hike. My language was a little stronger and a little more terse, but the point got across. Nothing really came of it, and I didn’t feel especially good about the situation coming away from it. The cop didn’t deserve my snark, I didn’t deserve his, the dude didn’t necessarily deserve quite the lashing I gave him in spite of being a selfish and destructive late-teen-ager.

It’s kind of indicative of the relationship that Kingston has with its students, though. There’s a hostility there that’s unnecessary and self-perpetuating, and undoubtedly contributed to how the situation shook out.

Anyway, the point of all this is: be patient. Be good to law enforcement officials–they’re good people, even when there’s circumstances that makes them seem like they’re violating Wheaton’s Law. Ultimately, just be good to one another, folks. I feel like I shouldn’t need to end a post this way, but there it is. At time of writing, Libya is a bit of a mess again and Apple is ready to annouce something and I’m feeling like there’s going to be a lot of negativity over the next few days.

People would be happier if people were happier. Wish it were that easy.

Paddle your own canoe, folks.


Fringe Benefits

Shockingly, this doesn’t have anything to do with the Ottawa Fringe Festival, as the name would imply, other than Natalie Joy is the festival’s EP. But now that I’ve brought up the Fringe, hey, I produced the festival’s podcast series for 2012, which is called Behind the Fringe. You can go back and listen to many awesome episodes, and check out the season finale that I hosted in which NJ and I have a fun debrief about how the festival went in 2012. Follow either of those links to get iTunes subscription links too.

That’s not the only podcast in which you can listen to NJ and I banter — you can also check out Throw it Against the Wall. There are only a handful of episodes there but they’re fun! And with a little luck we’ll be making new ones too before too long.

Paddle your own canoe, guys and gals.


Why so little love for the Lumia?

September 5th has come and gone. We’ve seen the announcement of Nokia’s Lumia 820 and 920, how PureView technology doesn’t quite mean what we thought it would mean, and yet there’s a hollow feeling that seems to be pretty common amongst tech writers. With pretty freaking rad devices being announced, why was there so little love for the new Lumias?

Even bestowed with this bit of beauty, bloggers balked. via

The problem may have been our expectations. We’ve been trained by Apple’s fantastic keynotes to have a certain level of excitement going into an event, and to watch for the following things:

1)      Specific user-facing features.

2)      New software demos.

3)      New hardware announcements.

4)      Launch dates.

5)      “Oh, and just one more thing.”

The problem with the Nokia/Microsoft event, accepting that we all have these expectations at some level, was twofold.

One, it lacked anything substantive from Microsoft. We saw hardly anything of the new Windows Phone 8 OS. We’ve seen little of it beyond the developer preview they had ages ago. That is where the big sell is and should be for this generation. We need to see what the software can do.

And two, Nokia failed to hit many of the marks that we expect in the post-iPhone age. Features that were expected – LTE, NFC, PureView – were announced, but there were few surprises (wireless charging is fun, but not a game-changer, and the gorgeous new display has competition from the iPhone and HTC’s One line). There was almost nothing announced software-wise beyond Nokia’s apps. We got new hardware, but there were no launch dates beyond “Q4 2012.” And there was no real punchy endnote.

It’s not that the Lumias 820 and 920 are going to be bad devices – in fact, I’m already starting to conceive a budget for a new phone in the new year, and it’s probably going to be the Lumia 920 (with all the colourful polycarbonate wireless charging backs I can carry from the store, a charging pad, and those rad Nokia/JBL NFC/BlueTooth/wireless charging speakers). It’s that we still don’t know enough about themto get properly excited. We don’t know when we can hold them, or exactly what they’ll do when they’re in our hands.

This is becoming something of a trend with Microsoft and their partners. Tease us and leave us. Give us just the barest taste of something awesome and then hold out on us. Vanish for months and then get us riled up again, just to slip away when we can’t wait any longer, asking us to wait just a little while longer. It happened the first time Nokia announced the Lumia line, and it happened not too long ago with Surface.

It’s time that a lesson was learned at Redmond. That hard-to-get ploy might work occasionally in dating, but a successful relationship is one in which you make a concerted effort to deliver what you promise on and to keep delivering, day in, day out, and to keep upping the ante.

Eventually, I worry that it might not be enough to love Windows Phone. The day-to-day relationship has to work too. And right now I’m banking way too much on future potential, despite my fanboyism.