En ville sans voiture

OK, this post was meant to go out a couple weeks ago, but with some things came up, so its a little out of context, but I needed to get this out anyways.

I’m an avid supported of public transportation, yes it can definitely improve, but I still take it everyday of the week, and will continue doing so, until its not an option.  After reading that statement, you think you can probably predict what i’m going to say next, but you would be wrong.  The campaign held in Montreal known as “En ville sans voiture” that happens near the end of every September, is in my opinion, a HUGE waste of money.  don’t get me wrong, i’m not against closing down the street and making it pedestrian only, my complaint is in how they do it.

Either shut the street down permanently ( or for the summer ) or don’t do it at all.  This year, they shut down sections of the road ( only between intersections, between McGill, and Jeanne-Mance ( I think ).  They brought in crews to lay down sod, setup booths, etc.  All this between 9 something and 3 something ( I didn’t note specific times ).  How much money do you think this cost the city, and in turn the tax payers.

Either man up, and shut the street down from April to October, or don’t do it at all, and invest the money you would have spent on this event in improving public transportation, improving communication of eco-friendly programs  (which is essentially what the booths do anyways ).

So Mr. Tremblay, what’s it going to be?  Smarter more efficient use of the money, or grow some balls and shut the street down, and show commitment to being eco-minded.

Steve Jobs: the man, the inspiration, the icon

A tribute to Steve Jobs using Apple's Logo
A tribute to Steve Jobs using Apple's Logo

To those of you who know me well, you will probably be surprised by this post, but some things transcend preference, and affect us all.

I am not a big fan of most Apple products, and have had questionable doubt about Apple’s practices in the past ( and even some of the more recent ones ), but this post isn’t about my preference for Apple products.

Steve Jobs, was solely responsible for Saving Apple, twice.  I don’t mean he built the products himself, wrote the code himself, etc.  I mean that on two separate occasions he came back to Apple when it needed him most, whether Apple or Jobs knew it or not.  He brought inspiration, dedication and ideas the world had never seen, or have even imagined.  He came in, surrounded himself ( from top to bottom ) with the kind of people that he needed to see his ideas through.  He managed to weed out those he thought harmful to the vision and helped mentor and cultivate the ones that would help.

Could you imagine the type of discussion when he first brought up the iPad, “Yeah, laptops don’t quite do it for me in the media consuming industry, how about just the screen part.  On and yeah, it’s about 100 times too thick/heavy/big to carry around.”

I’m not here to say the IPad is the best tablet around, we each have our own opinions and preferences, but Steve is credited ( and well deserved ) with bringing that type of device to the main stream.  How about the IPod, how many people know about portable media devices ( MP3, not CD ) before the IPod.  He took something that was truly geeky at heart, and made everyone know what it was and want one.

This is the type of man Steve Jobs was to the world, his commencement speech at Standford University.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA

Steve Jobs was nothing short of genius, and a leader in technology that will truly be missed by all.  Everyone in the technology world uses,  has used and has learned something from Apple.

Rest in Peace Steve.  You will be greatly missed, even by those who didn’t necessarily always agree with you, or your visions.  You still managed to bring us into the future of computing.

Nexus S/Android review

Back in May i was faced with replacing my IPhone4 with another mobile device. The reason i needed to change was that i was changing jobs and the phone was a company phone. Being in Canada, i was going to get screwed by the astronomical prices we have here no matter what, so it wasn’t really a matter of finding a good deal, there is no such thing as a good deal on mobile service for Canadian residents. For those unaware, Canada has probably the highest costs for mobile service of any developed nation.

I decided to take the time and look around the options and figure out what i wanted. I had already had an IPhone 4 for almost a year, and wasn’t overly impressed. I am not a windows guy so a windows phone wasn’t very interesting. I decided Android was the platform for me. Now the problem, which model. I finally settled on the Nexus S. I like the fact that the nexus series phones, as they aren’t locked to a specific version.

I’ve had my Nexus S for a little over 4 months now, and feel comfortable to give it a decent review now.

I am running Android 2.3.6 on my nexus S. It is snappy and responsive ( even while running Launcher Pro with a bunch of widgets enabled. ) The first thing that i noticed enough to compare was that you could have widgets that actually do stuff as opposed to on the IPhone widgets aren’t supported ( i am not talking about rooting the phone, i am talking “stock” setup. You can root either device and do more, but even rooted i give this win to Android as you have more control than a rooted IPhone because of the OS). Customization options on the android are pretty slick.

First thing to notice on android, is its intuitive, and easy to use.  Navigation is easy and simple, they even have a “intro” widget that will guide you through the basics, such as finding applications, adding shortcuts to the main screen.

There is a fundamental different thought that should be noted, on an IPhone, your apps are listed on the screen where as Android has a drawer, and you have the option of adding shortcuts to the screen.

The Android market has a good selection of  apps to suite most of your requirements.  A lot of companies are starting to see the light and offer both Android and IPhone apps.  There are however someone people going for biggest bang for their buck and will only provide an IPhone app.  Typically these are more related to specific services, and not tasks.  An example of this is instagram,  they only offer an IPhone app, but there are other alternatives ( such as Retro Camera ) that will accomplish most of the same things.

As for the hardware, the camera on the Nexus S, is very comparable to the one from the IPhone 4, the screen isn’t as pixel perfect ( but uses less battery as well.

I have to say one thing that i really appreciate about the Nexus S, the SD partition mounts like a normal removable media device.  You don’t need to be tied to ITunes, or anything else.  Which makes it simple for adding/removing music pictures, videos, ring tones, etc.

Overall, for people fitting my profile( slightly more geeky, wanting an easy to customize platform without voiding warranty by rooting ) i definitely suggest the Android.