Category Archives: Apple

Time for Southern New Brunswick to build one central airport #nbpoli

Posted on January 7, 2011 by

WestJet just announced it is cancelling its summer service to Saint John, NB because it was not profitable. This should be a wake up call to everyone that the time has come for one large, centralized international airport for the province, and I suggest Sussex.

It will be a hard sell. There are too many egos involved and not enough cooperation, particularly within the municipalities, but it is a necessary step. Our entire province barely qualifies as a mid-sized metropolitan city elsewhere. We don’t need an airport in every hamlet. Southern NB only has about 500,000 people between the 3 major cities and surrounding areas, yet we have three competing airports??? That’s absurd.

Sussex is accessible from all three major Southern NB metro area in less than an hour, which is more than reasonable for access to a decent-sized airport with international travel capabilities. Most of us already drive to Halifax or Bangor to take advantage of cheap flights because the Saint John airport is less than useful in many cases. Why would a 45 minute jaunt to Sussex bother us?

Take a look at the outlying areas of Toronto. Most of them are larger than the entire Southern NB area, but they don’t each have their own airports. They travel, sometimes several hours, to Pearson Airport in Toronto without question.

Building one large airport in the Sussex area would build business opportunities in the Sussex area, as well as foster spin-off enterprises such as shuttle and parking services elsewhere, not to mention the added incentive of larger companies having better access to the area. New Brunswick must begin to acknowledge we are a very small fish in a very big pond, and to survive we must streamline how we do business and change the way we think or we will die off fast in the modern, global economy.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Twain classics to drop racial slur is purely #censorship

Posted on January 5, 2011 by

According to this article, “NewSouth Books in Alabama is to publish a combined volume of the books in February that will make the alteration.”

According to their blog post

“In a bold move compassionately advocated by Twain scholar Dr. Alan Gribben and embraced by NewSouth, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn also replaces two hurtful epithets that appear hundreds of times in the texts with less offensive words, this intended to counter the “preemptive censorship” that Dr. Gribben observes has caused these important works of literature to fall off curriculum lists nationwide.”

“Bold move”??? Hogwash. Censorship by any other name remains the same. While I understand the desire to "not offend", Twain’s writings are more than just works of literary genius, they are a representation of a period in time. During his time, this was how the people spoke and wrote. We should not try to hide this, we should educate people so that it never happens again! To change his work is to attempt to change history. Stalin was a master of this practice. I don’t suggest anyone follow him as a role model…

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Why we truly need electoral reform #nbvotes

Posted on September 28, 2010 by

There are 55 seats in the New Brunswick Legislature. Currently these seats are determined by a first-past-the-post system in 55 ridings, rather than a more fair and inclusive system.

The results of the provincial election last night were a perfect example of the skewing that occurs in this medieval system.

Here’s the results:

49% of the province voted PC, yet they received 76% of the seats (42). 49% should represent the wishes of 49% of the population, or 27 seats.

35% of the province voted Liberal, yet they received only 24% of the seats (13). 35% should represent the wishes of 35% of the population, or 19 seats.

10% of the province voted NDP, yet they received 0 seats and no voice. 10% should represent 5 or 6 seats, not 0.

4.6% voted Green, yet they received 0 seats and no voice. 4.6% should represent 2 or 3 seats, not 0.

Another ~1.5% voted ‘Other’ and received no voice. 1.5% represents .85% of a seat.This one is a 0 seat and  probably should stay that way, but there are 8 seats out of 55 missing from above.

I understand that “this is the way it has always been done” is a great excuse for not changing. It has been used by Luddites for many years. But that doesn’t make it right.

The environmentally minded, the poor, the sick, the unionized, and many other groups are basically ignored or paid lip service by the major parties because they have no true representation. While I agree that these smaller parties are unlikely to form a government and run the province on a daily basis any time soon (although the NDP is doing a decent job in Nova Scotia and Manitoba right now and have run Ontario and other Western provinces before), they represent the interests of many people who took the time to vote and who have basically been shut out by an archaic system. These groups have great ideas and policies that should at least be at the table for discussion.

Yes, there are flaws in a proportional system as well, but you can’t tell me that a province with a population that barely qualifies as a large municipality in many parts of this country can’t come up with a way of using regional, proportional representation to ensure everyone’s vote counts.

Those who argue that a majority is the only way to get anything done forget Universal Health Care and Medicare, Unemployment Insurance, Worker’s Compensation, Children’s Allowance, and most of the other things that make Canada the great place it is today. These were all mainly done by minority governments who were forced by virtue of that minority to work together in a civilized manner. That type of civility and diplomacy is what is missing in our current adversarial style of government in Fredericton and particularly in Ottawa.

My solution? When I am Benevolent Dictator of Canada, I will tear up all the Legislatures (and Parliament for that matter), and replace them with a horseshoe or circle formation designed for discussion instead of insult-tossing, to create an atmosphere where respect and civility rule, whoever is speaking is the only one with the floor, hecklers are evicted for being morons, and everyone has at least a chance to be represented by way of some form of proportional representation.

How do we achieve this proportional system? We might even use a mixed system that resembles the ward and at-large system in use in Saint John. Even better, for inspiration, take a look at Nunavut. They basically banned political parties in their legislature and run as a consensus government. What a great idea!

In any case, our system is not fair, nor is it inclusive. There is always room for improvement. While this particular election saw an increase in voter turnout *(see note below), the trend is dropping as more people feel their votes don’t count.

NOTE: It turns out this statement was not accurate. The voter turnout was a higher % of the voters list, but the voter’s list had fewer people on it than last time and less people actually voted. In the last election, there were 377,247 ballots cast, which represented 67.5% of eligible voters, while in this election,there were 372,502 ballots cast, which represented 71.5% of the eligible voters.  Two possible reasons – inaccurate voter’s lists or population decrease. In any case, the actual number of votes cast is the lowest in New Brunswick since 1978.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Buy Local? Not at Irving / Circle K Stores! #buylocal

Posted on September 9, 2010 by

Yesterday, while on a work trip to Fredericton, I made a quick stop at an Irving / Circle K store in Welsford, New Brunswick. Pretty straight forward stop. I wanted a drink and a snack and rather than roll on over to the junk food aisles, I decided to step smartly up to the “fresh” produce area and help myself to an apple. It is Fall in New Brunswick, that’s apple season, and I love a good, fresh apple! Imagine my surprise when I started to peel the ubiquitous PLU code sticker and noticed it said “Chile”…

So after an initial angry Tweet and a Facebook status rant, a little birdie sent me some very interesting info (I love social media)… Let’s use it to put the pressure on for “Buy Local”! The items in ( italics ) are my additions!

Circle K is an international chain of convenience stores. It is owned and operated by the Canadian-based Alimentation Couche-Tard (here’s the Wikipedia link) – Not Irving. (I knew that part, Irving leased their sites to them in the summer of 2008. But Irving has the power to influence them – I hope!)

All purchasing decisions have to be approved by head office – and since local produce isn’t available year-round, they only allow produce contracts with suppliers who can provide year-round availability. (Lazy Jerks…)

It’s EXTREMELY hard to get approval for a purchasing contract through head office. Apparently the big stop in Miramichi sells local, but he is an anomaly because head office doesn’t like it! (Good to see some of them are doing it the right way)

Their website purports to putting 1% of net earnings to the support of youth, health, welfare, and humanitarian causes. That all sounds great, but by buying our apples from Chile and shipping them thousands of miles to Eastern Canada – particularly when there are magnificent local apples hanging on the trees all around New Brunswick – they are destroying the environment, damaging our health with under-nourished imported fruits and vegetables, and negatively impacting the future for these same youth. My “fresh” apple from Irving / Circle K has made a journey of many thousands of miles to get to me…

From their Operations Team page, it appears Michel Bernard is their Eastern Canada Operations VP, so he might be a great one to send your complaints to!

I am sure if Mr. Bernard was truly interested in helping create a sustainable food supply for the people his company says it helps with 1% of net earnings, he could find a very high-quality supply of local apples simply by contacting the following people:

APPLE GROWERS OF NEW BRUNSWICK
168 Cyr Street
Dieppe, NB
E1A 7Z1
Euclide Bourgeois, Chairman
Paul LeBlanc, Secretary-Manager
Tel: (506) 386-8100
Fax: (506) 461-1627

What does this mean??? Well, it looks like it is time to get a grassroots campaign started! I haven’t pissed off a multinational company in weeks…

Here’s some contact information, let’s get started!

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.
4204 Industriel Blvd.
Laval, Quebec, Canada
H7L 0E3
Tel : (450) 662-6632 or (800) 361-2612
Fax : (450) 662-6648

info@couche-tard.com

investor.relations@couche-tard.com

Footnote: Once we are done with Irving / Circle K, we need to start working on Sobeys for the same practices, but that’s a rant for another day!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Ecto on the Mac vs. Windows Live Writer

Posted on June 16, 2009 by

ecto_128px vs. Windows

For those about to blog, we salute you!

Some days blogging is fun, some days not as much. When I am at home and on the Mac, I really enjoy using ecto as my blogging software. It allows me to drag and drop almost anything into my post, edit is as if it were in a word processor, and then one-click upload it to a site.

But the problem is that they do not make a Windows version, so I end up needing to use the WordPress or Blogger sites, and they are just not anywhere near as friendly.

I have used Windows Live Writer in the past and found it was OK, but every once in a while it would spontaneously lose my blog site settings and I would have to enter all the info in again to post. That was annoying.

So, tonight I downloaded and installed the latest version (build 14.0.8064.206 en according to the help screen). I really want something simple because I have way too many other things to keep me occupied and don’t really want to battle with weak designs.

So, this post was created with the new Windows Live Writer. It has lots of the same type of features ecto has – WYSIWYG editor, drag and drop/resize images and videos, spell-checking, add maps, etc. Both allow me to size the images to fit into the column width of my blogs. Neither has a way for me to set column size for the entire post, which I guess makes sense given the dynamic nature of HTML.

Overall, it isn’t bad!

ecto-shot-tm ecto

overview Writer

But it acted weird for a bit… For instance, I like to type out an entire post, then go back and add the hyperlinks later. ecto is great, you just highlight the text and then click the link button and add the url. Sometimes in Windows Live Writer, it won’t let me highlight and I need to actually insert the link, it won’t allow me to highlight existing text and add a link to it, then other times it works fine… like I said -> weird! Maybe it is something I haven’t figured out yet, but I will give it some time.

In a nutshell, Windows Live Writer is better than using WordPress or Blogger web-based  post-creation pages if you like adding images, video, etc., and you are more comfortable using a WYSIWYG editor. Plus, if you don’t own a Mac, you can’t get ecto anyway… 🙁

And I know I’m a bit biased by my love affair with most things Mac, but I think Windows Live Writer, if they have fixed the bugs I was having in the previous version with losing settings, and if I can figure out how to make it let me highlight existing text and add links all the time, will be almost as good as ecto. If this post uploads, it will be the final test…

Best part is, it’s free (ecto isn’t free, it is $19.95, but it really is slick and they don’t charge for upgrades!)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Windows 7 vs. Mac OS X Leopard

Posted on June 4, 2009 by

Interesting overview and initial, though not complete, comparison of the upcoming Windows 7 (Due out in October 2009) compared to Mac OS X Leopard. Of course, to be fair, as the author notes, the comparisons should really be between Windows 7 and the upcoming Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, since they are both the ‘new release’ operating systems.

There has been no ‘official’ release date for Snow Leopard, but it is expected to be announced next week at the Worldwide Developers Conference at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Rumours are for Fall 2009, likely before Windows 7!

Lifehacker- Windows 7 vs. Mac OS X Leopard: The Show Down

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail