Friday, January 18, 2008

It's the language, stupid

The Ottawa Citizen rarely misses an opportunity to exaggerate an issue. And quite often I have to wonder about its motives when it writes about government (Okay, I confess, Mr. Bitterman is a federal bureaucrat -- why do you think he's so bitter!). There's been two articles in the last couple months where it's obvious, the Citizen writer just doesn't get it when it comes to the federal government. One was that the federal government, after opening up jobs to the public across Canada, wasn't getting many takers. Gee, I wonder why??
The most recent was titled, "Minorities Losing Ground in PS"

You'd think the writer would have learned after her first article, because the
Citizen received all kinds of letters to the editor telling them it's the language, stupid! The federal government has language restrictions for jobs. Most jobs -- almost all jobs in the National Capital Region -- require bilingualism. So someone in Cow Town, Alberta, isn't likely to be bilingual, are they? And the same goes with this most recent article about immigrants not finding work in the federal public service.
The writer has a throw away line about language, and does not substantiate it. It reads:
"Visible minorities are also more educated than most applicants; half have bachelor degrees or higher. Language doesn't seem to be barrier, especially for entry jobs, and neither does the preference for Canadian citizenship."
Excuse me? Langue doesn't seem to be a barrier??
Let's face it, minorities have their mother tongue, probably have learned English since coming to Canada, and if they want to work for the federal government, they also have to have French as well. No wonder they are "losing ground."
Why is the Citizen so blind to this?
The Citizen's stupidity and the preventative language restrictions make me angry.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Blu-Ray Blues

I've never been an early adapter to technology. I still use a Sony Discman, and I'm not on Facebook. But when I got my Samsung LCD HD 1080p TV recently, they threw in a Samsung Blu-Ray player. Blu-Ray movies look AWESOME. However, there's always a catch, isn't there. The technology is so new that there are glitches. Apparently, the studios don't make all Blu-Ray discs the same. So when you rent -- or buy! -- a Blu-Ray disc, beware, because they're a hit and miss.
This, I found out, when a month or so ago I rented on Blu-Ray "Live Free or Die Hard," the Bruce Willis movie. It wouldn't work in my player. I thought it was a damaged disc, so took it back and, of course, they didn't have another. So I went to another Rogers and rented it there (so I rented it twice). It didn't work either.
So I telephoned Samsung and asked wtf?? (I know I said in an earlier blog I don't like MSN-speak, but I'm trying to keep this PG rated).
They informed me -- get this-- that right now, because it's so new, not all Blu-Rays play on my player. They are working on "firmware upgrades", whatever that is. And from what I was told by Samsung, this will be ongoing. They can either send me a DVD that upgrades the player each time there is a new firmware upgrade, or, using a USB cable, I can hook my Blu-Ray player up to my computer and download the upgrade (okay, that's kind of cool).
BUT -- they didn't have the upgrade for the Bruce Willis movie yet and it would be awhile. So I rented it on regular DVD (and the movie, as it turned out, wasn't worth all this hassle).
It happened to me again with "Pirates of the Carribean III." It really is hit and miss. Thankfully, Rogers lets me rent the regular DVD for free when I bring the Blu-Ray back with my sob story. But this is really getting to be a pain.
It makes me angry.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Sens TV

Speaking of maddening hockey TV , I purchased a game on "Sens TV" on January 4, 2008. This was a pay-per-view game and cost me $12.95 plus taxes through Rogers. It was $2 more because I purchased the HD channel. Like, what's that about? I already pay extra for an HD terminal, so why the extra money for the HD channel? I guess it goes to the Sens organization for the production of Sens TV.
And speaking of production, what a shite production that game was. So you want to watch a Sens game on a night no one else is broadcasting it, and you have to pay. That's maddening enough. But you'd think that since you're paying for it (and therefore there are no commercials), they could at least put a little production into it. What we got was some montages of Sens goals against the Sabres. No voice over, just some bad, indiscernible music.
And Dean Brown has to be the worst play-by-play man out there. He's worse than American announcers.
Okay, I get it that he's from Ottawa, does play-by-play on the radio broadcasts, and the Sens are his team. I'm a Sens fan too. But he sounds like a cheap cheerleader. Have a little professionalism. I mean, hockey fans want authoritative analysis -- not blatant biases. And don't get me started on his blithering over Luke Richardson's recent first goal in, what, four years? Brown still hasn't shut up about it.
Oh, and if you check out his blog (I'm not going to bother to link it here), you'll notice the porker can't write either.
Gad, he makes me angry.

Hockey TV is maddening

Trying to catch a hockey game on television has never been more complicated for me. And it mostly has to do with technology -- oh, and greedy cable providers. My problem begins with my recent purchase of a High Definition LCD television. Hockey games in HD look awesome. However, watching CBC, or trying to get a game on Sportsnet is not always all that straightforward. For one, you never know whether or not the game advertised is an actual HD broadcast.
For instance, the onscreen Rogers' TV guide will indicate a Leafs game on their HD channel. However, living in the Ottawa area, what happens is that we are delivered a Sens game instead. Fair enough. I'd rather see the Sens anyway. The problem is, however, that Sens game isn't broadcast in HD, so I'm getting a poorer quality reception -- even though it's on the HD channel.
And Sportsnet has the maddening habit of listing a game, then blacking it out. Or, it will have a game, but not show it on their HD channel. Most times a Sens game is blocked out is because the local "A" Channel is broadcasting it. This analog channel always looks like crap, so I can't stand to watch such a poor quality broadcast. So instead of it being broadcast on Sportsnet's HD channel, because we're in Ottawa, we have to watch this terrible looking broadcast by a bunch of amateur on-air personalities on the shite "A" Channel.
Only TSN is consistent and you get what they say you're going to get. Thank you TSN.
Adding further to my misery is the Rogers' sports packaging. You can purchase Rogers' Centre Ice package for about $30 per month, or $200-and-something for the season. You get all kinds of games with this package. Except in HD. They only offer a spattering of games on channel 490 in HD. So why would I fork out that kind of money to watch analog broadcast games?
This all makes me angry.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Passing of Ginty Jocius

Ginty Jocius died on January 2, 2008. He was the owner of Ginty Jocius and Associates, Guelph -- an agricultural marketing and communications company. He also built Canada's Outdoor Farm Show, in Woodstock, Ontario.
See the Guelph Mercury for full story .
See obit in Kitchener-Waterloo Record.
I worked for Ginty in 1987. He would have been only about 41 years old back then, and full of life and vigor. His company was small at that time, but he was well on his way to building it up. I admired him, and as a young man in my 20s, was fascinated by his work ethic and his mind. I was only with his company for eight months, but he left such an indelible mark on me. My condolences to his family. The agriculture world has lost a great man.

Spurned by Bhutto?

I found David Warren's column in the Ottawa Citizen on January 2, 2008 about Benazir Bhutto to be odd.
He was basically saying she was no good because she was born into privilege. (Maybe she spurned his advances in university). She did have courage and conviction which would indicate she rose above the "spoiled brat" he had met many, many years earlier. And if he was going to judge a leader by their privilege and youthful arrogance, then where does that put Warren's beloved George Bush?
Warren's column made me angry.