Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Occupy Montreal

You can't fix it if it ain't broke, and it sure is broke.

The rich are getting richer and the rest of us are getting poorer, and its no surprise.

One thing that is broken is that corporations have far too much influence on government.

A way to remove the influence is to make it illegal for them to support or attack any political party. Using either money or influence like lobbying or paying for a lobbyist.

And the best way to influence corporate misdeeds is to make the management personally responsible for decisions and actions taken by the corporation they run. A corporation has no other brain and the brain is what has the mens rea from a legal point of view.

Any reply to this? comments please.


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Monday, February 28, 2011

How to cut down on Internet and mobile phone expenses.

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Today I decided to do two things:
Cancel my cell phone service, and my Internet service from Bell Canada.
Not as easy as it would seem.
I get one bill from them for the two services, but they operate as two separate companies for their convenience and probably to get around taxes and other regulatory stuff.

My real reason was that I want to sign with a couple of competitors, and to punish the Bell group of companies for gouging, lying to the public and the Canadian Agency that rules on things like price and availability of broadband, and cellular telephony among other things.

On the website there is no way to actually communicate the concept of cancellation. All the email selections triage the topics among a neat selection of package upgrades and other technical issues.

If its not that they don't wanna write to you.

So I telephone the wireless first.

A nice woman in India somewhere answered me and took my cancellation request through four alternates of downsizing the cost but retaining the service. After repeated NO, she accepted the request and asked me to wait on hold while she passed my request on to the loyalty department.

TWENTY THREE MINUTES ON HOLD

Followed by a request to HOLD AGAIN while the cancel fee would be calculated.
A mere five minutes to find a fee of fifty dollars.
When I asked what that was for there was a silence, followed by a question:
There seems to be no phone related to this contract, did you use your own phone?
Yes.
After which the conversation went pleasantly on to "no cancellation fee, and the service will terminate on March 30".

Score one for my side.

On to Internet.

Remember - Bell started as a phone company back about a hundred years or so ago.
But they provide a phone number to contact them which rejects calls from VOIP services.

Great. Bell the communications company can't figure out how a customer can telephone them on their own line.

So I call the mobile number and get them, to transfer the call internally which only took five minutes and the intervention of a HUMAN in a system designed expressly to keep human contacts to an affordable minimum.

After the connect I state my desire to disconnect effective the end of March.
I cut the series of offers of a lower cost and a hiatus plan for taking a little holiday from the Internet by TELLING a LIE.

I said I was leaving the country to live in France where there is no Bell service whatsoever.

As for the disconnect fee?

None.

But they want their modem back and will even send a prepaid box to mail it to them.

Cool?

Now I am gonna sign up with TekSavvy

Which give twice the speed as Bell and over TEN TIMES the monthly consumption as Bell for twenty bucks a month CHEAPER. Heck I could upgrade to unlimited for a measly eight bucks a month more.

And cell phone?

Fido prepaid is all I really need and is way cheaper than the cheapest 'plan' and it includes stuff like call display and other normal things the Bell service wanted to charge another monthly extra for.

Everyone should do this cost benefit analysis and do the intelligent thing.

And the 24/7 TekSavvy hotline is answered in Canada by Canadians being paid a (probably low but still here where they spend it) wage.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Smile - you may be on camera

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I didn't know where to fit this post but I suppose it fits here because it needs political will to set it up.

Since:
On selected busses in the city of Montreal there are cameras to record passenger activity. Their presence is advertised.
I have no objection to that, as there is most likely no person looking at these recordings unless the driver reports a disturbance or a crime.
Which is a good thing for evidentiary records of the time leading up to the alleged event. A bit of video replay doesn’t hurt the ref. doing his job.

But what if:
There were cameras on the outside of the bus where they can record egregious driving infractions and other gawdaweful things.

Can it be streaming to a central registry?

The bus already has full time radio contact with SMT headquarters for driver updates about traffic problems and routing problems in heavy snow.

Can the digital storage be scanned with license plate recognition software for seeking stolen vehicles?

Anything done in the view of a public bus driver or passengers can reasonably be said to be done in public.

Can it be stored a specific amount of time for retrieval in cases like abductions, kidnappings, theft and flight, and similar things, by relevant official agencies.

With a civilian oversight over retrieval comprised of people chosen from jury panels to sit in supervision a specified short time?

Comments anyone?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Recent CBC phone in segment

Anti Smoking Lawsuits

We know from experiment and experience that Prohibition fails. All it did in the 20's and 30's is create an instantly wealthy smuggling and distribution network. Can you spell Al Capone? The same will fail if applied to smoking, and has already spectacularly failed on drug use. Drug cartel heads have more income and weapons than the governments trying to curtail them.

As a former heavy smoker now non smoking for more than twenty years, I am a qualified commentator. It is no use talking to addicts about quitting, they won’t listen until they are ready.

The government of Ontario recently launched some billion dollar lawsuits over the costs of health care for the consequence of smoking tobacco.

As usual they did not consult with me for the best ways to recover the costs, and discourage the sale of these carcinogens.

There are far more smart lawyers in the world than work for governments, and they can use the existing laws quite well to obtusticate the ultimate responsibility for producing and distributing a legal product.

The government should stick to what they do best, and make some law, or amend some existing laws.

My approach:

If it is all about the money, tax the product more heavily, and apply the added revenue to the health care budget.

My approach also works well to discourage consumption.

To avoid the temptation to stepping around the law by distributing to “informal resellers” who do not necessarily respect the laws on taxation, some regulatory changes and tax changes need to be made.

One prime reseller group is the collection of First Nations who do not collect sales tax or pay provincial taxes on these products.

No problemmo.

Levy the charge from the manufacturer according to the package destination. And make sure the records are kept on all distributors down the line, including resellers and other warehousing distribution entities; with fines and other measures to make accountability cheaper than getting caught.

Engage sufficient inspectors and enforcers from part of the revenues.

Self financing, employment generating, smoking discouraging and legal all the way.

Of course this would work with Opium, Hashish, Marijuana, Heroin, and many other now illegal substances. A government monopoly on distribution, a reasonable price with the revenue going to treat addiction consequences is the way to go. Add heavy penalties for competing with the government product. The same percentage of population is addicted now as was in 1900. This is a social and health issue, not a war on crime.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Policing the Police

Police work attracts sly bullies the same way boy scout work and other work with children attracts pedophiles.

It gives access to victims.

Cops who bully are invulnerable to retaliation; as retaliation merely raises the incident to ever higher levels of legal difficulty, while never exposing the cop to that type of danger.

Police brutality that raises lumps and bruises, actions that shed blood and break bones can be documented and acted on later by the victim (if alive).

The Tazer is an ideal bully's weapon.

It causes great pain, leaves little visual record of the event.

I think it would be easy and entirely possible to fit Tazers with the following add-on:

A digital voice and video recorder as follows:

Where the voice is recorded continuously by a microphone on the uniform fed to a 15 minute loop always discarding the oldest seconds, and auto focus video attached to the Tazer that comes on and starts when the weapon is drawn. The sound recording capacity would be double the history so when the sound is locked by a weapon being drawn, there will be a history of use before and during weapon deployment.

Once fired, the recorded usage history cannot be erased without downloading it to a command review structure. It would provide some context to the use, and document every use of the weapon in a historical context of sight and sound preceding the event.

Police regulations can be made so that loss of the unit or mysterious destruction of it is presumptive evidence of mis-use.