Monthly Archive: January 2013

No more motion

The new BlackBerry Z10 arrived today and it didn’t blow anyone’s socks off. Walt Mossberg, by far the best technology writer, says in The Wall Street Journal, “Overall, it worked fine in my tests, but I found it was a work in progress. It has a chance of getting RIM back in the game, if the company can attract a lot more apps.” That’s always been an issue. Despite beating the developer bushes for the last six months, the new model has only 70,000 apps, about one-tenth as many as either Apple or Android. The stock market reaction was equally...

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The Vision thing

Never mind the Mayan calendar, you know the end of the world is nigh when Conrad Black gets a talk show. And what about the title? The Zoomer – Television for Zoomers with Zip. Sounds like it was written by a committee. Or Moses Znaimer, owner of Vision TV, where the show will appear. I’m not even sure where Vision is on the dial. Didn’t it start out as the Church Channel? Like Henry VIII, it seems to have converted to High Church of England. I imagine Znaimer himself will make an early appearance on the weekly one-hour show scheduled...

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Robbed Burns

I’d been editing all morning, half listening to CBC Radio 2’s Julie Nesrallah in the background. I was about to turn the music off, when she announced a special one-hour tribute to Robbie Burns on this, his celebratory day. I have visited Burns Cottage in Alloway, Scotland, where they have assembled every button and bauble ever touched by the 18th Century poet, so I put on my kilt and sat down to listen. I was ready to keen about my heritage, drink some single malt, and cry my eyes out. None of that occurred. The musical tribute could have been...

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Tea and toilet water

As a long-time fan of Masterpiece, I am trying hard to like Downton Abbey. I saw a few episodes from the first two seasons, including the infamous moment when Lady Mary found a formerly lustful Turkish diplomat dead in her bed. But I just couldn’t seem to care. With all the folderol in advance of Season Three, I thought I’d have another go at it, as one of the characters might say. I admire the costuming, the language, the settings, the vintage autos and Maggie Smith’s tart tongue. Even Mr. Carson’s clinging to the bouillon spoons of the past is...

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Looking for leaders

I read an article recently about a Canadian business leader who was asked for his fondest memory from university. In response, he waxed on about some interfaculty football game. He then lamented the demise of the scholar-athlete and how relevant that role once was. Yes, I thought, but wasn’t that just another form of elitism, kind of a junior Rhodes Scholar? Little wonder there seem to be fewer such scholar-athletes these days. There never were very many. When I went to Western, there were about 5,000 undergrads, among whom only a few dozen might have qualified as scholar-athletes. There’s about...

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Bury my heart on bended knee

For lo these many days I’ve been following the hunger strike of Theresa Spence. I worried about her, just getting by on fish broth, until I saw her interviewed on television recently. I thought, Whoa Nelly, she looks pretty hearty for somebody who has been starving herself to death for almost a month. Then I learned that she was also the Attawapiskat First Nation Chief. Isn’t that the same place that, according to an audit by Deloitte and Touche, managed to take $104 million from the federal government over six years and have nothing much to show for it and...

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The crystal ball

As promised, here are my predictions for 2013. 1. Sandra Pupatello will be the next leader of the Ontario Liberals and Premier of Ontario. Pupatello and her party will be replaced later in the year by Tim Hudak and the Progressive Conservative Party. 2. Despite all the new players and being named the odds-on favourite by Las Vegas oddsmakers, the Blue Jays will not win the World Series. 3. Hilary Clinton will take herself out of contention for 2016. 4. This is the year that the TSX will rise by double digits. 5. And the Bank of Canada hikes interest...

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Look back in anguish

A year ago I made seven fearless predictions for 2012. Time to fess up and see how I did. The first: “The problems in Europe are not over, but they will muddle along. Fear will subside.” While the words seem a tad milquetoast today, at the time I was way out on a limb. Anyway, count that one right. The second: “Mitt Romney will defeat Barack Obama for the presidency.” Not only did Mittens have a tin ear, he had no heart. Son Tagg now says his father didn’t even want the job. I was wrong. Third, “The Bank of...

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