Thursday, March 29, 2012

Open letter to the labor movement.

Brothers and Sisters,

I have noticed in the media recently that the argument for globalization is 'fait accompli', understood to benefit every country in the world. I was recently told that protectionism is a remnant of our xenophobic past. So I pose the question here, to you. Is globalization a good thing, helping spread human rights through increased trade and wealth, or is it as the occupy movement has suggested, simply a ploy for multinationals to dodge human rights, while enjoying the insanely marked up profits on their products?

We see the effects of globalization locally in our own culture every day. Plant closures, cheaper products being made overseas and shipped here, while we max ourselves out on credit, and our middle class disappears. We see that wages in North America have stagnated since 1979, but the profits of the corporations have grown exponentially since then. In 2010, of the wealth that was generated in our economy, a full 98% went to the top five percent of income earners. The rest of us got nothing.

Yet, there are rumblings from the countries where these products are produced. One New York Times report about factories in Shenzhen, China talked of worker conditions of those producing Foxconn chips for Apple products. Their findings included “evidence of a high number of suicides, overworked and underage  employees, and a pattern of safety lapses. One problem involved a repeated failure to control aluminum dust, which resulted in multiple explosions that killed or injured dozens of workers.”

This is just one example in which workers have no say in their hours of work, conditions of work, including safety from chemicals and hazards, nor in their rates of pay.

How long can we pretend that these people are the problem, and not part of the solution? These are not people who want to join existing unions, who own two cars, three televisions, and a duplex in the suburbs. They live in dormitories ten or fifteen workers to a room, with fifty people sharing one bathroom, with their days and nights ruled by the factory clock. During the genesis of Communism, Unions were among the first institutions to be banned, their supporters killed. Unions are not even a distant memory for most workers, average people in a situation they cannot palate, thinking of a way out. For many that way out is suicide. Does that sound like an enemy, or someone who needs a helping hand? We have to stop identifying them as the threat, and place the blame where it really lies.

Many of us in North America have forgotten the roots of our Unions. The men and women of my great grandfather’s generation did not have these rights we enjoy, and they put their lives on the line for them. In the Cripple Creek Miner's strike in Colorado of 1894, Pinkerton agents fired bullets into the tents where the families of the striking miners slept. The strikers were beaten, their families beaten, and many killed, and there was no protection. Still they fought on. This fight is not new, and it is far from over.

Yet I have hope that as we progress, the power of corporations over people is simply a trend. In a worst case scenario, even if we lose this in North America, and Unions are outright disbanded, let's say even globally, which is the ultimate aim of the Corporate world, there is still much hope. Why? Because the Unions are not in the legislation that protects them. They are not in the bricks and paperwork, nor in the Agreements they sign with companies. No, we are the Unions, not their executives, or the bylaws, or the constitutions. We are people who care about others. To completely get rid of Unions, governments would have to break the will of people to better their lives and the lives of their fellows.

It is human nature that people band together to fight for rights. We should take heart that there is a greater trend toward democratization, because the protection and chartering, and creation of Unions is, in essence, the democratization of that very basic genesis of workers banding together. Democracy is the wave that Unions ride. Someone else, in the future would take up this cause, just as is happening in other countries.

China is going to be the next battleground for labour rights. It already has a multi-billion dollar smartphone and tablet PC market, major industrial capacity, and the largest construction sector in the world. However, they are not alone. India is the fastest growing economy in the world, and with near one billion people, is struggling to institute its own universal health care system and to clean up its Parliament from its dictatorial past.

Because of globalization, what we do here, on our own little island, is not enough. We are part of a global economy that gives the multinationals many safe havens. In every country that has no Unions, and no Labour laws, they are free to do what they like, to pile up profits that they can then use as leverage to push 'right to work' legislation. Their pockets, lined with the money that is stolen from these workers in other nations, are deeper than you can imagine. The money that should be going to these workers is instead being used to buy off politicians worldwide. The profits will not dry up unless we are willing to break this cycle, and if we do not break this cycle, we will end up with corporations dictating our fate.

So to answer the first question, I don't believe globalization is in itself a bad thing. It is a trend, a natural progression. How can that be bad? It just is. No, the real question that should be asked about our future is this:
Will we let multinational corporations use globalization to their advantage, to dismantle our rights and regress us to another form of worldwide slavery, or will we make it work for us?

I challenge you to take this fight to them. If they think they can hide in Indonesia, let us then go to Indonesia to help our brothers and sisters there to improve their conditions. In China, let's break through the great firewall. Let us avoid no country. Where there is no Labour law allowing collective bargaining, let's help them lobby for one. Where there is no health and safety act, let's help them write one. Where there is no unity, let's help them unite.

We will need to identify countries who have Labour Laws, and Unions, to open the dialogue and share resources. We need to reach out to the countries where existing movements struggle, to allow them to see what we’ve accomplished in over a century in our own struggle. It will give them a roadmap, and a goal.

In countries where there are no Unions, we have to open a dialogue with those politicians who will listen to their workers about labour law. We have to contact the workers themselves, and the families of workers to educate them about the risks, to show them what is possible to achieve.

For us, it will remind us of our difficult roots, to see how others in less tolerant nations are under threat, not just their livelihoods, but sometimes for their lives. We are in this together, and nothing will get better for us here in North America until it gets better for everyone. We need this. If the global economy does not support the trend of Unionization, then we are spinning our wheels. The labor markets and efficiencies of sweatshops will only grow, and we, and our skills, will be left behind. We must take away the ability for corporations to ship jobs elsewhere, where rights don't matter. In doing so we may finally create a global environment where rights matter everywhere, and they will no longer be able to dismantle our social democracies for their profits.

If there is any time in history when we should be putting our resources to help our brothers and sisters in other countries, it is now. In doing so, we may end up saving the Union movement on our own continent.

My wife, Jennifer's, blog can be found here:
Cleverly Disguised as Cake

And my first novel, squeakyclean, here:
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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Custom pens.

I recently was admiring my friend Duncan's handiwork on the internet, as he makes pens. I looked over some of the gorgeous pens he was building in his shop. He makes pens out of Zebra wood, Buffalo horn, Bird's Eye Maple, Acetate, and other materials. (As an aside, I'm going to try to find him a nice piece of soapstone from our property soon if I can find a block that is good enough quality.)

First I was intrigued in his materials supplier, as at the time I had a friend who was building guitars. This led to a conversation in which I asked him if he could build pens with any size nib. The motivation was that seldom do I find a fine nib that I like, as most manufacturers make a 'fine' nib that is more akin to a 'medium', and a true 'fine' or what some call an 'ultra-fine', is nearly impossible to find. That said, the sizing is not universal, and I have many different nibs that I like to write with for different purposes and different reasons.

Zebra wood (left), and Buffalo horn (right)
I wanted a larger 1940's style pen, an American rather than European style design, with weight to it. Something that was not going to break if dropped, and could take a bit of wear and tear (I am hard on pens) ... and Duncan obliged in taking up my challenge.

Several weeks later, I received in the mail two gorgeous pens, having faith that they would be replacements for the ones I use for my novel writing. They did not disappoint. First of all, they are beautiful. I chose wood that Duncan suggested, as it had sat in a bog in England for four thousand five hundred years. Yes, the wood in them is twenty-five hundred years older than Jesus. It is dark, with a gorgeous grain, and a real old feel to it.

What I also love about these pens is that they are designed and built with writers in mind. Well, actually, with THIS writer in mind. The thickness of the casing makes them heavy in the hand, and helps with my wrists because it gives me much more control than the elegant Waterman or Sheaffer. Elegance I believe comes at a price. These are one of a kind, custom ordered to exactly what I want out of a pen. I specified a larger 1940's style head, which is easy to clean, one trimmed in gold electroplate, and one trimmed in titanium, because Duncan suggested the colour scheme is 'sexy'.

These pens are not just beautiful, but practical, with their easily unscrewed ends, (called, for the purist, a 'blind cap') They are a breeze to refill, without having to remove the outer casing. Just like so:

Why this is important to me is I tend to go through a lot of ink on a project. On a 'normal' pen, like this Sheaffer I use for my red ink editing, the entire casing has to be taken off to refill the ink, which is where the majority of spills happen. With the new reservoir that I bought for the Cross, I discovered its annoying little habit of using a spring in the casing to unscrew the reservoir and release all the ink when you unscrew it to fill it. It was to be my daily lug around and take damage pen, but it was definitely not designed by a writer.

In filling the reservoirs, you need some ink left so that when you unscrew the plunger, to expell the air, you hold the ink at the bottom. Then, when you then flip it to draw the new ink in, it has no air left and the reservoir becomes completely full.

I also love that the caps screw on, instead of just clipping on. When they are this portable, having a screw on cap is a bonus for many obvious reasons.

I took a look into a Mont-Blanc shop in Orlando, where were weren't allowed to take photos. I spied a pen made with a ceramic casing that was about the same size and weight. The price tag? $2800. For that price, it had better damn well clean up the ink and wash my hands afterwards. There is no way on God's green earth that I believe that mechanism is $2700 better than any that I've written with. They are simply bilking people who want them as a status symbol.

At any rate, Duncan has a website, and if you want something unique, and built with care, that will be special and last a lifetime, I suggest you contact him. He doesn't bite, and he's super excited about bringing back real craftsmanship to everday objects, something that we have lost in our modern throwaway world. If you need a list of reasons to convert over to fountain pens from regular pens, there are too many reasons to list here, not simply the elegance and the way they are so good to the environment.

My earlier post about pens can be found here.
Fountain of Couth.

My wife, Jennifer's, blog can be found here:
Cleverly Disguised as Cake

This, also, is a site I stumbled upon about fountain pens, and I find it very useful for understanding their care, construction, repair, and any questions I need answering. Richard's.

And my first novel, squeakyclean, here:
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Friday, March 16, 2012

The difference a word makes...

Progressive. "favouring or promoting political or social reform through government action, or even revolution, to improve the lot of the majority."

Of course, there are other definitions to the word Progressive, but I thought I would focus on this one, simply because it has so much relevance to Canada. I remember when the Tories in this country WERE progressive, when the average Conservative worked toward the improvement of life for the average person.

Let me clarify something right off the start here. When I use the term the 'average Conservative', I don't mean the trolls we all call the 'blogging Tories', for whom Steve could do no wrong, nor those whose single hotbutton issue is gun control, or abortion, damn the torpedoes, because it's our only chance at getting this passed. I mean the people who used to support the Conservative party because it WAS Progressive.

Progressive, at one time, wasn't just in the name, but in the way that the party approached the house of commons and actually worked towards solutions. I think specifically of the 'Port Hopefuls', trying to resurrect the Conservative party after yet another humiliating defeat to the Liberals, who actually put forward a charter that not only held a core belief in free enterprise, but also goals such as full-employment, low-cost housing, trade union rights, as well as a whole range of social security measures, including a government financed medicare system. The Conservatives used to be on board with such ideas, and actively pursuing them.

Shocking as it may seem to a present day Unionist watching the Lisa Raitt steamroller approach to bargaining, and Stephen Harper floating balloons to see how feasable it is to dismantle our Health Care system, Conservatism and Unionism are not mutually exclusive. Nor does conservatism mean government has to get out of the business of running a social welfare state. The last thirty years of Conservatives sharpening their knives in the name of big business profit have made it so. It seems, in the past decades, Libertarian ideals have taken over the agenda of the Centre-Right.

With a drop in the polls from 41% to near 31%, former supporters of the party number in the thousands. They can only face so much criticism before they start to question who they voted for. They cringe and weather the scandals as heavy-hearted as the most stalwart Liberals. It is painful to watch them go from defending the party six months ago, to now, where law after law, scandal after scandal, and having used closure more than any other government in Canada's history, they shrug their shoulders and blow past the subject each time their 'majority' brings in the political club to silence debate. The sheer numbers of voters last election shows a greater interest not because more people were interested in politics, but because more people saw a chance of their pet issue seeing movement. The problem is that with the hot-button issues solved, casual supporters are now looking at the party as a whole.

With two counts of contempt of Parliament, a guilty plea on the 'in and out' scandal, where they violated election spending laws, a robocall crisis blooming out of control, where all indicators point toward their orchestrated involvement, the F-35 crisis narrowly averted by a last minute blink by Julian Fantino, a casual supporter would be hard pressed to find much hope in their party's future.

But they are in power. In addition, a core group will always vote Conservative no matter what, and in that respect they will always exist as a party. How is there no hope in that? This government and its power are an anomaly, a momentary well-timed blip that put them just over the 40% threshold to give them that coveted majority, which then melted away, leaving them the seats without the support. Now, even their number of seats is in question, and with it, the question of whether or not those seats were ill-gotten. At the Canadian polling booth, any whiff of disrespect for fair-play can be the death of a party. It has happened before, where majorities were reduced to single-digit numbers of seats after a scandal, and with little warning in the polls.

Don't get me wrong, I understand that their present support, now, today, would give them a weak minority, but how long will that support last? Especially with 'robocalls' set to explode. If the very means by which they got their seats is put into question, we could be looking at an election within the year. A look at the history of the Conservative Party, and their times in power, gives us few heroes. What it does give us is managers, people who could take the issues and agglomerate them, just as Harper has done. This is why they do not hold majorities, because they do not, at heart, hold the same values as the majority of Canadians. Even now, it is important I think, to point out that even in their majority Parliament, 59% of the country voted against them. Harper would be wise to govern with that in mind.

However at this point the momentum seems to be going all downhill, and it is taking our political system, and more importantly the faith of the people in our political system, with it. Harper is unable to make Parliament work, except for rubber stamping everything and hoping much will stick after the next round of government gets in. This is the worst wheel-spinning that could happen. Instead of working to move forward, and agreeing on laws, we will end up with Parliament after Parliament using their first year to invoke closure to undo what the previous party did, then doing what they want for three years. If that's how they want Parliament to work, the Liberals will end up being much better at it. Sheer number of years in majority will come to bear, and it won't be pretty for the Conservatives.

I feel for the average conservative voter. Who else do they have to vote for? Their eggs are all in one basket. There is only one Center-Right party that is now looking more Libertarian than the Libertarians. In the Republican Party south of the border, there are many factions to the party, just as there are many breed of conservative there. They have designations for these internal divisions, and all are vying for power within the party, to then have their hopeful move on to secure the nomination and challenge the President. If this seems clunky, it is out of necessity, as, by the numbers, the majority of Americans are Social Democrats. Their pact is necessary to have ANY political power.

That is why the Conservative party seems somewhat schizophrenic (i.e. staying out of controlling laws like gun control, then turning to pass another that spies on people's internet habits, both ostensibly out of 'safety') That is because there are so many factions within, it has become impossible to impose one will for very long.

Within the Conservative party itself, here in Canada, we see former Reformers, who watched their 'movement' become slowly hijacked, Libertarians, including many in Parliament right now, who come from the 'leave us alone' Albertan grassroots movement, big money Cons, who put up the whole show to have a stake in the power politics, and finally the working people and professionals who drive the party forward with their votes. The money put in at the top by the big business fuels the production of votes through advertising. This is why the party is having such a hard time with limits to campaign spending. If they can't convince the little guy to vote for them, the whole gig will soon be up. The problem is, with only so many hot button issues, how do they keep the interest of the little guy while doing what the 'money' wants?

In the first year of a majority, each vying interest group pushed their own agendas, without looking at the long term effects of the overall political landscape. With their hot-button issues out of the way, they have no direction. Another ill side effect for them is that they have burned more bridges than General Patton, and in doing so have left the average Conservative supporter wondering what they actually voted for. This ship is not rudderless. No, on the HMCS Harper, there are one-hundred-sixty-odd rudders, and many of them pointing in different directions.

Without an ax to grind, the 'Harper Conservatives' will not have the support of the little guy who still believes the Liberals are mythologically "out of touch" or the party "of privilege", and it will only take the breaking down of that myth before the other parties win over the the people who put Harper in power. In my humble opinion, conservatism is confronting a real crisis of vision and focus running into the next decade, where it has to ask whether its rag-tag agglomeration of issues can really propel it forward, or if conservatives need to start defining their core values.

And poor Steve can't seem to find the compass.

Isn't it time that Conservatives showed Steve that the word Progressive still belongs in the party?

My wife, Jennifer's, blog can be found here:
Cleverly Disguised as Cake

And my first novel, squeakyclean, here:
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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Choose your weapon

I was about to write a post about the beautiful pens I received in the mail today. Two of them. My friend Duncan, with whom I worked in theatre in the late 90's, builds all manner of cool stuff when he's not doing great things as a technician. (As an aside, there is a review shortly coming to this site...) Anyway, he made these, and they are beautiful. Possibly the finest writing implements I have ever used. I digress.

These pens! Gorgeous pens. Thank you, Duncan!

As I said, I was about to write a review about them, but I've been distracted. You see, I love pens. See my previous post on pens, and you'll understand that for me it is not about having beautiful things (...if my Waterman could speak it would attest to its rough treatment at my hand), but about using beautiful, crafted, and substantially created things because they give mindfulness and gravity to everyday actions.

I was distracted because writing is my passion. I get carried away, not just in the writing, but with the act of writing, the ceremony of writing. Don't get me wrong, at its most basic, I understood a long time ago that to write a story on paper was story telling. Nothing more. I was continuing a tradition, a woven history of our people, with the tools I have at my disposal. Just as actors and musicians and painters follow traditions, I was following a long line of people who created in order to communicate.

What are novels, but stories told on paper? In that respect, I made a concerted effort to slow down my process. While at Concordia University, I bought a cheap fountain pen, and my lifelong affair with hands-on writing machines began. It took several computers, vintage typewriters, and an entire series of fountain pens before I had settled on my process.

Why does all this matter? Is it not efficiency, you ask, that makes great writing ... the ability to get as many words on paper as possible, to "get it all down" before forgetting the ideas? I reply with a hearty NO. I have come to trust in the literary compost bucket that is my brain, to know that if I forget something, it either wasn't meant to go in the novel, or it will come back at another time when I am actually working somewhere in the text that it will fit. Great ideas recur. And recur. And recur. Trust the process.

This is a lineage of my Grandmother's family, written sometime before 1857. Even mundane objects can be considered art.

Let me digress for a moment. The irony here is that the notes for this post, scribbled in a Tim Horton's on the back of a letter for work, were somewhere lost this afternoon, and I have not only remembered most of what I wanted to say, but can expand on it. It has fermented.

In answering the original question, of what makes great writing, the closest I can get to a definitive answer is this: It is story, yes. Plot is important, and wrapping up loose ends to a climax. It is compelling character, and the involvement of real, dirt-grit emotions, true, but that doesn't make great writing. The subtle act of choosing our words so carefully that it borders on obsession, that is what makes good writing great.

Great novels are like sex. If a writer is to just go for the gusto, without lingering on that which excites, with no room for play or real emotions, if they don't linger on every stage of the story to explore, to drive the story on with real engagement, then it's not enjoyable for anyone.

Which makes me wonder why novice writers want to rush this process. In rushing, we blow past what we really want to say. We miss the condensation of our ideas into that which is exactly what we mean, and we lose our opportunity to be eloquent.

My first novel took twelve years from the first story published in a literary magazine in Montreal to publishing. I wrote the first draft with an old manual Royal typewriter from the 1950's. There is something immediate about the careful clack-clack-clack on pristine paper, repeated page by page until the novel existed. It is a form of art in itself. I still have the stack of messy paper, in a box in the basement. It is art in the same way that a painting is - it will never exist as an original in any other form.

I painted this in 1992, and have lost my skill at painting. There will never be another like it.

So here is the advice for writers that inevitably comes with a post about writing. Find your hands-on muse. In the tower cranes I used to get grease on me, like a badge of honour, proof that you can do it the slow way, the right way, just as typesetters from the 1800's could be identified by the ink under their fingernails. Get dirty. I dare you. Bake your text into a clay tablet. Cut up a goose quill and find out what it was like to write in the 1400's. Make your own ink. At very least, buy a fountain pen. If you slow down your writing, the actual process of your writing, you may discover what it is to savour the words instead of spilling them.

My wife, Jennifer's, blog can be found here:
Cleverly Disguised as Cake

And my first novel, squeakyclean, here:
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Sunday, March 04, 2012

Home Ice Disadvantage: RIM's Playbook.

When I bought the RIM Playbook at a heavily discounted price last fall, I had to run around searching through different stores for a couple of weeks before I finally found them. I actually wanted to buy four of them, one for Jenn, one for myself, both to be shared with the boys, one for my parents, and one for a friend who always takes the kids for us when we need a night on the town.

With the new operating system loaded.
Through several ordeals with Best Buy not allowing more than one per customer (though the website said five), and having to coerce a friend to buy one for me, we finally only got three of them. Contrast this to when Jenn and I first considered buying a tablet last year, and were told by a snooty Apple employee, that we could only look at the iPads 'by appointment only'. What? I had soon after hoped that it would be my last dealing with Apple, ever (and I had never been anti-Apple, in fact I considered myself a fan). That my Employer later switched all of us to the iPhone 4S was sad irony.

I remember taking my Playbook with me to Toronto, and actually feeling ashamed when one IT guy sneered at it, saying "Why did you buy THAT? BlackBerry is dead." Why was I so bent on them, when everyone was reviewing them so poorly? Well, for one thing, it is a homegrown Canadian company, with a product to rival the Apple conglomerate. RIM held a huge portion of the smartphone market, shipping nearly 15 million units in the quarter after the release of the Playbook. Even now, when people are touting its demise, RIM still turns a modest profit, and is increasing worldwide market share, shipping 11 million smartphones in the first quarter of 2012. The question is not about RIM, but whether they will remain in the tablet market.

In essence, I bought the product because after toying around in the stores with the demos, I decided that it is a great tablet, despite the bad press. I am glad I did. This Playbook, even before the upgrade to version 2.0, was a quick little piece of machinery. I once worked for both Dell and T-Mobile doing technical support and customer care, so I've seen just about everything that can go wrong with a piece of technology. This tablet is stable, and does what I want it to.

It has its drawbacks. The native camera, in still and video, is grainy and slow to react. I advise using it only for immediate non-essential shots. It can be difficult to bridge for an internet connection through a smartphone, and older phones are not supported through this. Also, the pre-loaded book reading app is nowhere near as good as the ones available for download. I have also a friend who sent his back to RIM to have issues resolved and still hadn't received it back six months later. I still have not found a program to rival the painting program offered by Apple.

16 Gig Playbook in its case, before the upgrade to 2.0

Playbook, however, is not the only one with growing pains. All companies are still playing catch-up wtih Apple. I have briefly tried the Acer tablet that hooks up to a keyboard, and the Samsung Tablet, and the Sony Tablet, and being that they all run Android, all of them do generally the same things. They are derivative, and for the most part do what they are supposed to.

The Playbook, however, and all future Blackberry touchscreen smartphones, use the QNX operating system. This is a whole different ballgame if you're used to Android. For instance, during an overload of the resources, it drops only the app that is causing the problems. So you don't have to restart when something crashes. In fact my Playbook has only 'dropped' an application a couple of times, and has never actually crashed the OS. Never. Hopefully this speediness and ease of use is a taste of things to come from BlackBerry for their phones as well.

On top of that, with the upgrade to 2.0, all the problems with a lack of native e-mail application, and with the lack of applications in general, have disappeared. If you're thinking of buying one, make sure the reviews you read are post version 2.0, as it is a world of difference.

I use it to check my gmail, and to write my blog, play music, edit photos, and just recently scanned the pages and pages of apps in the store. On top of that, the keyboard has a new intuitive text prediction feature that is hands-down superior to the one on my iPhone. Not to mention, that with a bit of tinkering with a PC, you can alter Android apps to run on the Playbook. A tutorial is located here. There are even rumours of the ability, coming in July, of downloading them with a simple click through the BlackBerry app store.

The ability to swipe for every function, and change simultaneous running applications seamlessly, is far superior to the 4S, where that has to be accomplished by going to the 'home' button, and then retracing from the main menu. I'm not completely sure the iPad uses the same clunky navigation, but it would be wise of Apple to drop it on the iPad 4 if that's the case.

My iPhone 4S ... I have multiple issues with this phone.

So what happened with RIM?

In a nutshell, RIM lost its sexy. Back when phones were just phones, my old 8310 Blackberry was proficient at what it did, but antiquated in its interface, and the battery life was less than impressive. RIM stuck to old technology when everyone else was innovating, and caught on to the trend in smartphones and tablets late. But then, when they did enter the market, they entered it rushed, with a product whose hardware was brilliant, but was booted out the door without being dressed in all its software. It's a shame that the market drove them to do this.

Let us remember the history of electronics, where companies are written off after one or two bad quarters. Those calling it the death of RIM may not be the same people but they are definitely the same type of people who wrote off Apple just before the release of the iPod. It almost seems there's a savoring of vindication for being right, for being the first to write off a company, based on some painstakingly ferreted-out information, or inside knowledge. It seems like Nelson in the Simpsons, waiting in the wings with his annoying nasal "Haaa-haaaaaaa" in case anyone does something stupid.

I don't deny RIM needs a win. But really, it is not the end for BlackBerry if they can't. However, it may be the beginning of the end. I cant wait to see what happens. RIM wouldn't be here if they weren't a scrappy, strong company. With new leadership, and a true compass for the market, they still have a better-than-good chance of turning this around. Being a supporter feels a bit like I imagine it would being the last person defending beta back in 1985. The thing is, in hindsight we see that beta was actually better, and VHS dominated the market because of marketing and its proprietary strangle on the hardware, despite its inferiority. I'm not sure I could put my money into shares, to gamble on that, but I definitely know whose corner I'm in.

Here's hoping RIM can get their sexy back.

My wife, Jennifer's, blog can be found here:
Cleverly Disguised as Cake

And my first novel, squeakyclean, here:
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Saturday, March 03, 2012

On the Current Scandal

I have just written a letter to the Governor General of Canada, and I urge all Canadians to do the same.

Dear sir,

I respectfully write to you today in hopes that you will take action on the so-called 'robocall' scandal that is rocking Parliament. I believe I speak for the majority of Canadians when I say that this type of skulduggery has no place in our government.

I believe that the right thing to do is to suspend Parliament, and my reasoning is as follows. If the Conservative party is found guilty, then all the laws they have passed with their majority would have to be re-examined under the light of this illegitimacy. To allow them any further lawmaking would be to reward them for their deceit. An election would have to then be called in all ridings, not just the ones proven to be manipulated, to give all Canadians a say in their governance, given the newly revealed nature of the party. This suspension would be the least of your due diligence, as then the Supreme Court could rule on the criminal aspects of the investigation. 

The Governor Generals office has twice protected this Government when it was on the brink of defeat, and many are questioning the loyalty of the office. I believe the Governor General has responsibility to the people of Canada, not any party, and this action would go a long way in restoring the faith that the people have in your office.

If the party should clear themselves, then they still have the next three years to push through any legislation that they desire, unencumbered by the questioning of their authority. At this time, however, the very fabric of our democratic process is at stake, and no amount of precaution in suspending Parliament unwarranted. Please act now. It is the right thing to do.

Yours truly, Jonathan Sprung
Belleville, Ontario