October 9, 2019
Living in Canada, I think we’re pretty lucky to take Air Canada. Recently I had to fly on United metal and the experience is not great.
First, I was a bit confused by how their inflight entertainment system worked. They have a partnership with DIRECTV and everything was organized into channels rather than a VOD service. If you missed the start of a movie, well it’s like catching a movie playing on TV. Not having the control to watch when you want seems backwards in this day and age.
The flight attendants also seem different. They say the same courtesy words but there’s a hint of haughty attitude. AC agents are not all great, but they seem to be more laid back.
AC also spends money in a better way in their lounge. I don’t drink but I notice the magazines. AC has a wide selection of Canadian magazines that you can take with you. The United lounge only has copies of their own magazine.
Also, the AC Signature Lounge dining service at YYZ is amazing. I’ve never been to a Polaris lounge but the Signature Lounge seems without peer at least in North America.
February 20, 2017
We became members of the Ontario Science Centre almost two years ago, but it is coming to a time where the membership is about to run out (the kids are sick of this place and they changed the plans to our detriment). One of the benefits of our current plan is that we can get free OMNIMAX tickets each visit – something which we’ve only used once! We decided to use this feature once more before it goes away and chose to watch Rocky Mountain Express.
I picked this one because the kids love trains and hopefully it would keep their interest – but that really only worked for about 20 minutes. The film is about connecting the Trans Canadian Railway from BC to the interior and like most IMAX films, it is a documentary. This documentary is quite poor as there is no storytelling that keeps the viewer engaged – the narration simply relays a bunch of facts about the history of what was done. It is like listening to Wikipedia. In fact, I was curious about many things during the film, but the documentary stayed far away from the interesting topics, like what convinced the GM to go through Roger’s Pass, or how the trains worked or how railroad building happened.
The narration served to show videos of a restored train in action, as it took the Trans Canadian Railway; and that is basically the point of watching an IMAX film. You can see and hear the train in high definition. Some of the shots were way to close, showing you the guts of the machine, but without the context of what it does. There were also many old photos which helped to relay history, but was otherwise a waste of IMAX.
I’m actually disappointed in the visuals, because there was severe distortion. I left wondering whether the film was shot for a normal screen but then shown on an omnimax curved screen. I wasn’t sitting in the absolute centre of the theatre, but it was still very bad.
I wouldn’t recommend this film, at least on the OMNIMAX screen. The film left me wanting my money back, but since I didn’t have to pay for it, then I was just disappointed. One out of five stars.
February 23, 2015
Last weekend was the yearly Canadian Open Data Experience hackathon and I spent some time to build an entry. For the longest time, I was considering not participating; mainly because the data sets are limiting and it’s difficult to think of any interesting or innovative ideas. But in the end, I ended up competing and I think I came up with a decent idea.
My app is called Concerns of my Community and its tagline is crowdsourcing government alerts that matter to you. The basic premise is that the government publishes lots of warnings and advisories that you should know about, but there’s no way you can keep up with all of them. By using social and geographic communities, these issues can be curated so ones that are relevant to you are brought to your attention. I had to pivot slightly from this idea, because it turns out that learning about issues would decrease your mental health rather than improve it (and the theme of the competition was healthy living). To fix this, I made sure that once you’re aware of an issue, the app gives you a combination of government and private sector information to act upon it.
I’m not sure whether I will publish it to Google Play and make it available to the public. Last year I was really gung-ho about this, but after seeing the outcome for a successful app like mine, I’m not sure it’s worth the effort to polish and promote it yet.
February 16, 2014
As you probably know, money runs the world. But what I didn’t know is that when you have sufficient money, you can basically immigrate into any country in the world. Legally. And it’s not even a lot of money either, it’s about $500,000 per person (I’m unclear, but you actually might get most of it back after awhile).
- €500,000 for Portugal
- €250,000 for Greece
- $5,000,000 for Australia (local currency)
- $250,000 for St Kitts
- $800,000 for Canada
- $500,000 for US
I think that’s a bit unfair to have this mechanism available. If I had that amount of money lying around, I think I would be clever or resourceful enough to manage my money in such a way that would prevent me from paying a sufficient amount of tax to offset the resources I would use in a country. Maybe there is some intangible reason to have rich people as citizens of your country? I don’t know, but it seems like a big loophole.
I’m glad Canada closed theirs.