Tiger Woods and a hot chick!

Like G.W. Bush said, “this election is between Tiger Woods and a hot chick!”

From what I’ve read (mainly in the Economist) is that Obama should win only because he’s changed the least during the election – McCain was actually a pretty choice if you look at his history (not like Bush at all) but since the election started he’s done 180 degree turns on almost everything – except free trade which Canada depends on.  Obama is not against free trade per-se but he’s been openly critical of the current free trade agreement with Canada & Mexico and others that Bush signed. 

So an Obama win will be historical, and it might be good for Americans, and it could be good for the world in general, but it might not be so good for Canada in particular.

Then again, I firmly believe the politicians do very little – I think the TV shows Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister were documentaries not comedies.  Politicians will be pushed around by events, they’ll react – too late of course – and give themselves (and their cronies) pats on the back for three-and-half years then realize that elections are coming up again and try to do something memorable to save their jobs (i.e.: get re-elected, or in the president’s case after two terms his objective will be to NOT be remembered for getting indicted or getting a blow-job in the Oval office).

Vote early and vote often!

Four more years of Flaherty

C A I T I – O N L I N E: Happy Halloween: How BCE successfully gamed Jim Flaherty….

I wish Flaherty had let BCE and Telus and everyone else become an income trust. In the end I don’t think companies should be paying any taxes at all. That’s right, NO CORPORATE TAXES!!!

The problem is simple: taxation without representation. Companies don’t vote, so why should they pay taxes. Let them distribute their profits to the citizens who do pay taxes and vote on what is to be done with those taxes.

Admittedly that would eliminate the ability of the politicians to use tax law for incentives that drive desirable behaviour (it would also eliminate the ability of politicians to use tax law for favours that drive un-desirable behaviour).

But tax law (all laws actually) suffer from becoming quickly out-dated. What was good five years ago may no-long apply. But a parliament that’s pre-occupied or out of session or in the middle of pre-election campaigning isn’t going to effectively change the laws to suite the times.

Shareholders, who vote at least annually, can always accept changes to the distribution that suit the needs of the company and desires of shareholders. And these days governments (through various social insurance programs) are large shareholders so they would retain a direct say in a company’s behaviour.

Happy Hallow e’en!!!

Gravatar and Openvatar

I’ve just discovered two interesting services: gravatar.com and openvatar.com.

Gravatar has been around longer and Openvatar might be kind of redundant but the concept sounds pretty cool to me. Note that WeeWorld (and others too I’m sure) have offered a similar service for even longer than Gravatar, but there’s some key differences.

Gravatar lets you upload or link to images you want to use as an avatar and then associates them with your e-mail address (you can specify multiple e-mail addresses and use the same or different avatars for each one). So now sites that display your avatar can request the appropriate image from Gravatar based on the e-mail address you used at the original site! And you manage your avatars in one place: Gravatar.com.

If the site doesn’t have Gravatar integration but supports linking to an off-site image then you can get the image URL for e-mail address(es) post them to the site.

This latter feature works just like Wee World’s live linking to your Wee Mee. As you change your gravatar (or WeeMee) the image generated by the link will update.

As for Openvatar, the service is redundant since OpenID allows transferring an avatar (or profile image) but since there are a number of OpenID providers the chore of managing your avatar at each provider could be simplified by a service like Openvatar (or by Gravatar extending their service to include your OpenID’s). I realise the promise of OpenID is that you need only ONE but the reality is you’re going to have several.

The wonderful thing about the internet is all the standards you have to choose from!

Google Sites is great, but missing a couple things…

Google Sites just announced they’re going international:

Today we added support for 37 more languages.

But there’s still a few critical things missing from Sites:

  • Feeds! They have these great, blog-like pages for announcements but you can’t get an feed off of them. You subcribe by e-mail to page or site changes and that should always be available but these days updates are better distributed by a feed (Atom or RSS).
  • JavaScript! There’s no way to embed JavaScript code on a Site’s page. I understand Google’s stated reason of protecting the world from nefarious webmasters, but then every other Google service provides JavaScript snippets for embedding!!! Sites offers a number of ways to embed content from other Google services, but having JavaScript would let me fine-tune things and would also let me get content from other services that Google doesn’t have (yet 🙂
  • Integration! I know Sites is just JotSpot re-branded but I wish Google (and others too) would integrate their services better. By that I mean homogenize. Why does Google Code use a completely different wiki system than Google Sites? Sites has a lot of features offered by Code’s wiki but Sites looks much nicer. And Code has a really sweet feature: the wiki is stored in an SVN repository so you can access it with all the usual SVN tools.

I still have to say that Sites is a major improvement over Page Creator. GPC was nice, and we can see they kept the best parts (mainly the dialog boxes) in Sites. Hopefully we’ll get some Googlers dedicating their 20% time to Sites and have the aforementioned features soon.

RIM to launch new BlackBerry app store

From an article in the Globe and Mail:

BlackBerry users suffering from iPhone application envy will soon be
able to purchase games and other software directly from their coveted
devices through a new online marketplace from Research In Motion Ltd.

I’m not suffering any iPhone envy, I think Apple is cool and way better than Microsoft but definitely over-hyped and over-priced.  I do agree this is a great move on RIM’s part: not everyone wants to search the internet for new software or remember where they got stuff from.  Having it all in one place makes it easy to find – it becomes a feature.  To compete with Apple this is a feature that RIM needs.

And as a hacker, hopefully one or two workable bits of my code will show one day!