Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Ironing is Delicious

Gleaned from

Plagiarism wrong, piracy okay believe many university students

Many Canadian university students, who would be indignant if someone plagiarized their own work, apparently have no qualms about acquiring and using pirated software, a recent survey reveals.

The Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft (CAAST) that conducted the survey calls this a double standard. But others beg to differ.

Among other things CAAST measured behaviours and attitudes towards software piracy of 3,000 college and university students across Canada. This sample group included 500 students identified as computer science majors. Half the students surveyed admitted to acquiring software without paying for it.

When asked how they would feel if someone plagiarized their work, 87 per cent said it would be a serious issue. Only 40 per cent feel the same about using pirated software.

This apparent disconnect is stronger among computer science students. Eighty-three per cent feel very strongly about someone stealing their own intellectual property, yet nearly two-thirds admit to downloading commercial software from the Internet without paying for it – compared with 46 per cent of students in other fields.

Such views and actions, says a piracy prevention expert, are both skewed and shortsighted.

These students aren’t considering the implications to their own future livelihood, according to Debbi Mayster, communications manager at the Business Software Alliance (BSA), CAAST’s American affiliate. “It means fewer dollars are available to the software industry to put into research and development, and hence [fewer] jobs for software developers, engineers and programmers.”

The survey’s findings are alarming, says Mayster, and indicate a need to change unethical attitudes and behaviours in university students. “These are our future business leaders. We need to raise awareness now, before they enter the business world.”


Still Alive, part 2 & 3

Incidentally, as my last post proved, yes, I am still alive after my time on the highway. Although I imagine there are some angry people driving on the roads right now because of me.

In my eyes, I'm doing alright in the piece 'o crap car Fiona calls the "Toy Car". It tends to drift a lot so I feel like I'm adjusting all the time. Still can't park for nuts - good thing I go to work early and pick a lonely, far away spot in the lot.

Nearly hit someone yesterday coming off the Bloor/Bayview exit. I guess lots of people have those "almost hit someone" stories though. As long as I don't have a "hit someone" story, I'm good.

I'll be returning the car tonight, or tomorrow morning before 9am. Can't say I'm unhappy to see it go: I was feeling the "owner's burden" and worrying someone would break into it to steal my box on Kleenex. Mostly, I'm looking forward to reading on the subway again - it takes me 40 minutes to get to work by car, and I'd rather spend that time in relative comfort as a passenger for an extra 20 minutes going by TTC.

Also, with gas prices hitting close to $1.20 at the pumps, I'm not keen on needing to fill the tank. On that note, I've never pumped gas, so wish me luck and hope I don't set myself on fire tonight.

I'll keep you all apprised of my imminent demise.


Gleaned from on the destruction wreaked by Katrina:


  • Deaths: At least 100 in Harrison County, home to Biloxi and Gulfport.
  • At least 900,000 customers statewide were without power, utilities said.
  • The storm obliterated hundreds of waterfront homes, businesses, community landmarks and condominiums.
  • Water swamped the emergency operations center at Hancock County courthouse, which sits nine metres above sea level. The back of the courthouse collapsed.
  • "I can only imagine that this is what Hiroshima looked like 60 years ago," said Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour after touring the destruction by air.
  • Now, not to lessen the carnage that is currently Mississippi, but Hiroshima looked much different.

    The difference:

    Now, if he'd said Mississippi looked like Indonesia after the Tsunami, well, maybe.

    Just an irksome quirk for the day.

    Monday, August 29, 2005

    Still Alive, part 1

    Got the car today - a Chevrolet Cobalt. It's blue and shiny and came with interior and exterior spiders. If those things had appeared on my hand while I was driving, I would have skidded off the road and crashed into a tree just to get them off.

    I seem to be faring okay on the road, but I think I've carried over some of my bad pedestrian walking habits over to driving. Such as zooming ahead to get around other people. Not checking my blind spots on occasion. Stopping too abruptly. That kind of thing. One wonders why the province thought I was road worthy.

    John said I drove fine, and his confidence feeds my own. I will take this glorious opportunity to announce how much I love him. Tomorrow we celebrate our 5th year together as a couple!
    John! I love you! Kisses and hugs and shnuggles! [*shnuggle shnuggle shnuggle shnuggle shnuggle*]

    Tomorrow will be the real test for me - driving alone on the 401. If all goes well, there will be a second part to this blog.

    I reiterate my warking to you all: Everyone, stay off the roads.

    Friday, August 26, 2005

    The blogging rundown

    As I am working full time for an IT company and don't really feel like sitting in front of the computer at the end of the day, things have been piling up in my brain that I've been meaning to blog about. So briefly, I'll go over each topic in a few words:

    Birthday - awesome. I had shrimp cocktail and lobster at Cyrano's steak and seafood restaurant on King St. E. I highly recommend it - it's a nice change over the Keg or some other steak chain that charges too much for meat.

    Gifts - Mostly money - YAY! But as previosly mentioned, got a really cool wind-up Bender robot toy from big sister, and a hilarious gabbling giggly Cookie Monster toy from John that we saw at Buskerfest last night. It goes "HEL-LO!" and "HU-HAW!" and "HA-CHA-CHA!!" in Cookie Monster's voice. I'll never get tired of it.

    Battlepanda - John is guest blogging for one of his regular blog reads at Battlepanda. It's nice that someone recognizes his smarts and talents and is using them to their full advantage and gain. (To regular author of Battlepanda: hands off, he's mine.)

    Homolka - Please, god, why won't it stop?

    Driving - John's going back to Ottawa next weekend and I'll be helping him move. The rental car we got means I'll have to drive it home to Toronto, otherwise it'll cost something ridiculous like $400 for two days. So everyone is duly forewarned: I haven't ever, EVER driven by myself, and certainly not on the highway, AND I haven't driven since I got my license more than two years ago. So stay off the roads. I mean it. I've been playing Grand Theft Auto Vice City, and that's probably how I'll drive. (John will testify, however, that I drive too tamely to play the game properly. After all, I stop at all the reds and ask how to turn my signals on.)

    Happily, I've managed to rent a car for next week starting Monday, and I'll be practicing driving back and forth to and from work. I'm not really worried about driving as much as parking. So again, everyone, stay off the road and make sure to reserve three parking spots for me to use. I'll need them. And if I never post another blog, assume the worst and glean whatever insight you can from my pathetic musings.

    Anniversary - John and I will be celebrating our 5th year together on the 30th. I can't believe we still talk to each other in baby-I-luboo-schmoo talk. But at least we can fart in each other's presence now. Not that any of you needed to know that, but, well, sharing is good. Because if we don't talk about it, the stigma will endure. Free farts!

    Weddings - Yet another friend's wedding tomorrow. I'm hoping I won't have to go to another until next summer: these events are costing me a bundle.

    End of Summer - CNE's open, Back to School shopping's in full swing, and all the summer merchandise is quickly and quietly being replaced by Christmas stuff. Use that patio as much as you can, folks, it ain't gonna last.

    Stupid People - Haven't encounted any lately, except for JerkFace McStupidDouchbagerton, who definitely deserves to be set on fire and roled in salt thereafter.

    Ray vs Denise 3, THE APPRENTICE - it's exactly what you think. Last year it was RVD: The Appalling Race. This year, they divided their group of friends up into two teams and spent the day trying to outdo each other in sales and marketing ideas, including 1) hunting for recyclable cans in a hotel dumpster filled with vomit, broken glass, and they did it without gloves; 2) buying the most economical lunch; 3) developing a marketing plan to an existing restaurant. Yes, this is the kind of stuff my sister's friends do for FUN. Make PowerPoint presentations and develop business plans. Ooh. Fun. The best part was when they got stuck in the hotel elevator for an hour. Now that's television!

    Jason & the Motorcycle - Fiona's friend Jason got into a motorcycle accident and broke his ankle right after he came by and showed all his friends his shiny new bike. I'd point and laugh, except it's not funny. He's one of three people know who own motorcycles. Let's see how the statistics hold up for motorcycle injuries...

    That's it for now. I've earned some time off with this long post.

    Thursday, August 25, 2005


    Whoever said Toronto gets clement weather wasn't around last Friday (Aug. 19/05).
    As it was a slow newsday, the extreme storms were headline news for the evening. No kidding: these are photos of Finch Ave. (W or E, I'm not sure) as the storm passed from an apartment building. Apparently, it's going to cost $5 million to rebuild the road and over 4 months to fix. Danielle has these pictures too.

    Wednesday, August 24, 2005


    Most people welcome the day of their birth with much less relish than they once did as children. The thought of getting yet one year older and one year closer to false teeth, corrupt old age homes, and incontinence doesn't thrill anyone. But as they say, youth is wasted on the young. So I embrace my extra year, tuck it neatly under my belt and keep it for my "under 30" collection. YAY! Birthday birthday BIRRRR-THDAAAAY!!!!

    I'm up early to go to an incentives conference - a big ol' convention where people try to get you to buy cool marketing stuff. I plan to milk my birthday for all it's worth and fill a sack!
    Hee, I like gifts. The best gift I've gotten so far is from the Sandman, who got me a good night's sleep.
    Fiona got me a chrome Bender robot toy - cooooool. Hey baby, wanna kill all humans?
    Okay, gotta go, on my way out. I'm the EMPRESS OF THE WORLD today, and the world is my questionably fresh buffet-style mussel on a half shell!

    Monday, August 22, 2005

    Reasons Why Employers Should Not Make Enemies out of Insane People

    In case you didn't know, I TP'd my old boss's office on my last day of work.

    And I wasn't joking.
    Here's the proof.

    For those of you aspiring to leave your workplace with a bang, I've put together some notes that will help you maximize your satisfaction and leverage your vengeance upon leaving your godforsaken workplace.

    HOW TO TP YOUR BOSS'S OFFICE: I recommend using an industrial sized roll of single-ply tissue paper. You can thread your arm through the extra-large roll and yank it out in nice, long ribbons and string it all over the place. It's much nicer to have one coninuous band of paper, but wherever possible, thread the tissue
    through small holes and around tall objects. Make sure to cover all horizontal surfaces and fill drawers and other compartments. Coat pockets and CD drives, for instance.

    If TP isn't enough for you, melt a little chocolate and smear it onto some of the tissue. (You could use real poo, but it's not easy to work with, and tends to spread e-coli.) This is especially effective for the germophobic boss who Purell's his hands every hour.

    If you're particularly bitter, you may want to liberally coat the floor in sugar, especially if the office is carpeted, and work it into the corners and into the rug fibres - ants will find their way in and make the domicile a wonderland of insectoid fun.

    Raging like a bull inside? Add finely-ground glassn or sharp, tiny pebbles to the sugar mixture. (Reserved only for that crazy boss who walks around the office without socks or shoes.)

    Finally, make sure your boss sees your masterpiece and knows who did it without saying it. Get pictures and ensure that the rest of the office sees your work too. Who knows? Perhaps they could improve upon it in future times...

    A final word to you all: the environment is a delicate thing. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. With that in mind, save what TP you can and tell your boss to use it to wipe your ass before he kisses it goodbye.

    This post is dedicated to all the wonderful Posties, and anyone who has ever had to work with Lorne (right). May your vengeance be cold and sweet, and your departure swift.

    Okay, I guess I'll dedicate it to Lorne, too, for being a good sport and not suing me.

    Now find out if your boss is a psychopath.

    Friday, August 19, 2005

    Like a Rolling Stone

    Apparently, the Rolling Stones and Dan Ackroyd showed up for drinks at my parents' karaoke bar, The Boat, last week.

    My gut reaction:
    Whoa. What the hell are they doing at that dump?

    What I said:
    "Whoa. What the hell are they doing at that dump, and without Mick?"

    For those of you who don't know, my parents own a building in Kensington Market (Toronto) which houses their hardware store (a 21-year-old business) and a Portuguese dining hall/lounge (also very old). When the manager of the original Boat told us he needed a new business partner, my father accepted on the condition that the failing restaurant be turned into a karaoke bar for the older Asian crowd.

    It's been relatively stable, but not terribly lucrative. More recently, they've been hosting jazz club nights for various artists to come and play. Not a bad location, now that the market is home to some very trendy hot spots like The Marketplace. Still, not the nicest place to be. Certainly not a place I'd chalk up to playing host to the Stones.

    I don't have details and neither of my parents were there, but I was told all the Stones - sans Mick - and Dan show up and have a party. It wasn't karaoke night - you'd think getting up and singing was the last thing these guys want to do with their time off - but I've been told they tipped $10 per bottle of beer.

    That's all I know about it. If I ahd pictures or proof, I'd have put it up by now.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2005

    And nine to kings of men, who above all else, desire power...

    Wait a sec, I know this movie...

    Ancient Bulgarian treasure found

    CBC News

    Bulgarian archaeologists have unearthed 15,000 miniature golden rings that date back to the end of the third millennium BC.

    They say the treasure is a find that equals the famous treasure of Troy.

    Many of the rings are so finely crafted that their design etchings are invisible, even with the use of an ordinary microscope.

    The golden ornaments have been gradually unearthed over the past year from an ancient tomb near the central village of Dabene, 120 km east of Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.

    The site consists of an ancient settlement and three burial mounds.

    Archaeologists on site have not identified the ancient inhabitants.

    They say they are likely ancestors of people who lived in what is now Bulgaria and parts of modern Greece, Romania and Turkey until they were assimilated by the invading Slavs in the 8th century AD.

    "What do you see?"
    "Nothing... wait, there are some markings... it looks like some kind of Elvish..."

    Wednesday, August 10, 2005

    Birthday Girl!

    I don't usually do this, but in an effort to be more pragmatic, I'm announcing my birthday and my birthday wish list this year.

    I'll be 26 this Aug. 24, but I don't feel a day over 9.

    What do I want for my birthday? Hmm. It's actually getting tougher the older I get, especially now that I have such limited space in which to keep my crap.

    As many of you know, I have a particular dislike for the default gifts that people give out when they don't know what to get someone. You know, candles, soap, bath products, pot pourri, smelly room thingies.

    My preference is always for a $5 gift certificate over a $20 picture frame. Sure, it's a nice picture frame, but I have nowhere to put one. Plus I no longer own a working film camera with which to take pictures. I haven't caved in to buying my own digital camera because I'm not sure I'll ever develop anything. Oh sure, I can say I will, but trust me, I won't.

    (Mind you, I will probably look the same now as I do 30 years from now, so if I ever get kidnapped and the RCMP needs recent photos of me, just grab my high school photos. I'm as fat as I was back then and dress just as poorly.)

    There are a few little things I am hoping for this year so jot these down if you plan on getting me anything:

    A lawn chair - I'm going to ask my parents for this one. I'd love something I can set up in the newly-finished backyard patio with cushions to read on and sunbathe.

    Big & Green: Sustainable Architecture of the 21st Century by Dave Gissen - a great book I saw at the Massive Change exhibit, but damn expensive.

    The Miles Naismith Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold - I read Warrior's Apprentice and it was realy good, but I never got around to the others. They're out of print for the most part and won't be in stores, so online's your only hope.

    A really, really cheap Palm - I saw them being sold at the CNE last year for $30! The only reason I want one is so I can download the above mentioned out-of-print books, which can be purchased as e-books for your PDA. I can't bother with a fancy, new, expensive one because, like my crappy-ass iron horse of a bike, I don't want it to get stolen. In fact, I'll probably end up buying myself one when I go this year. You should get one too - you never know what you might do with it. Like take over the world. Wait, did I say that out loud?

    Gift certificates - Let's be practical here. My new thing is to give my dearest friends and family cash, or gift certificates to something I know they can use. In my instance, I'll accept $5 gift cards to just about anything. Shoppers Drug Mart, Future Shop, Indigo Books, Blockbuster, the movies, Le Chateau, Reitman's, Jacob, Smart Set, EB Games, HMV - whatever. Because the representation of effort and cash to trade for goods given in compliance with my wishes means more than a ceramic duck* ever will.

    John's been wondering what he can get for me, because he traditionally treats me to a single day for my birthday and our anniversary (it'll be our fifth together this year!) combined. I told him all I really want is for him to plan a day out with me, but he really, REALLY hates doing that. I think all men do. Fine. Because I love him so much, I'll make it easy: TAKE ME SHOPPING. And I don't mean to the mall. I like looking at shiny objects. And comic books. And video games. And books. And weird shit. No, I don't know where all that may be, that's why I can't come up with this stuff. And I don't have to buy anything either - I just like to look.

    Hmm, now that I read over my list, you can probably just skip everything I listed and get me gift certificates. Not that you NEED to or anything, but there are always a few people out there who see birthdays as an opportunity to regift that ugly ceramic duck*. Do me a favour and show up at my party empty-handed. I'll appreciate it much more than crap I'll have to keep for "sentimental" reasons.

    *I did, indeed, get a ceramic duck for my birthday once. Why god, why?*

    [cue crappy dance music]


    [primal scream]MORTAL KOMBAT![/primal scream]

    Heny's going to love this.
    MK3: Devastation.
    It's a movie. It's a theme park. It's... a cash grab for a video game series that JUST. WON'T. DIE.

    And someone explain to me why and how Johnny Cage comes back?

    OOooooh, SO CUTE!

    New species of lemur found on Madagascar.

    "I like to move-it, move-it!"

    or perhaps, if you prefer:


    I WANT ONE!!!!! HUGGEEE!!!!

    Monday, August 08, 2005

    WorldCom boss gets his

    Granted, I don't know a whole lot about the whole WorldCom affair, but here's how I see it: bad businessman + bad business practices = downfall of empire = bad businessman will get ass-fucked.

    The short end of the story: he's been handed a 25-year life sentence. If he lives through it, he'll be 88 when he gets out in 2030.

    [Nelson] HAW-HAW![/Nelson]

    Gleaned from

    Friday, August 05, 2005

    It STINKS!

    It's not lying. It's creative marketing.
    Gleaned from Marketing Magazine.

    Sony movie ads quoted non-existent critic

    Sony Pictures Entertainment must pay US$1.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing the studio of citing a fake movie critic in ads for several films.

    Moviegoers who saw the films Vertical Limit, A Knight’s Tale, The Animal, Hollow Man or The Patriot during their original theatre runs must file a claim to be eligible for a $5 per ticket reimbursement, lawyer Norman Blumenthal said this week. He represented a group of filmgoers who sued Sony Pictures in 2001. Any funds remaining after claims are satisfied would go to charity, he said.

    Sony Pictures declined comment. The studio did not admit any liability under terms of the settlement.

    After the dispute came to light, the studio temporarily suspended two executives and promised to monitor its publicity and advertising more closely.

    The lawsuit, originally filed by two California moviegoers, claimed the ads fooled the plaintiffs into seeing A Knight’s Tale.

    In one ad for the action-comedy, a critic identified as David Manning of The Ridgefield Press was quoted calling star Heath Ledger “this year’s hottest new star!”

    In an ad for The Animal, Manning was quoted declaring, “The producing team of Big Daddy has delivered another winner!”

    At the time, The Ridgefield Press, a small weekly newspaper in Connecticut, did not have a movie critic named David Manning, the lawsuit said.

    Associated Press

    Wednesday, August 03, 2005


    God love America. Land of the brave, home of the free... except at work, after work, and possibly, in a dystopic not-too-distant future, in your dreams.
    It is a regular pastime for co-workers to chat during a coffee break, at a union hall, or over a beer about workplace issues, good grilling recipes, and celebrity gossip. Yet a recent ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) allows employers to ban off-duty fraternizing among co-workers, severely weakening the rights of free association and speech, and violating basic standards of privacy for America's workers.
    Gleaned from Slashdot.