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Failures of multitasking
I could probably come up with an extensive series of articles on how, although multi-tasking is awesome, there are so many glorious ways to fail at it. Or one long article with many examples. I'll settle for shooting off one quick example instead. Consider a busy day, where your computer is chugging because of some new security patch getting automatically downloaded. You go to open one window in your database program. It takes some time. So you're sitting there, waiting for it to finish loading. Getting impatient and thinking, "I'll just work on this other file in the meantime." Half an hour later that other file might be done. And maybe you've taken some phone calls. Perhaps gotten a fresh coffee. Checked out the silly headlines. Oh look, not enough Obama in town. What will Chicago ever do? And the Flavia sourced coffee is rancid as ever. You're back at your computer, the window has loaded in the database program. You have no idea why it's open, so you...
It's cheaper to contact a space telescope than to text message people
BBM station domination campaign at the TTC's Yonge-Bloor subway station Having alluded to Eurocents , I managed to trip over an interesting little article that came out two years ago and yet is still oddly relevant: a scientists decided to poke the cell phone industry with a sharp pointy stick and calculate the price per megabyte for transmitting a text message. He then compared that to the cost of transmitting data from the Hubble Space Telescope. Verdict? “ The maximum size for a text message is 160 characters, which takes 140 bytes because there are only 7 bits per character in the text messaging system, and we assume the average price for a text message is 5p. There are 1,048,576 bytes in a megabyte, so that's 1 million/140 = 7490 text messages to transmit one megabyte. At 5p each, that's £374.49 per MB - or about 4.4 times more expensive than the ‘most pessimistic’ estimate for Hubble Space Telescope transmission costs. ” Transmission from space only costs about £8.85...
This G20 business is getting ridiculous
G20 garbage receptacles. Classy. Way to great the world, Toronto. I recently noticed, and wrote about , how the "street furniture", specifically the garbage cans, are disappearing from downtown Toronto. Transit Toronto reports that in addition to those shenanigans , transit shelters and newspaper boxes are also being removed for most of June, until the conference is over. How completely ridiculous. A very rational risk management move in the face of "suspicious packages" and shards of glass getting tossed about in case protests get Pittsburghy. But still ridiculous, as others write . It's almost as zany as shutting down national rail traffic to downtown Toronto. Note to whoever paid contractors a whole bunch of money to clean up the poles: they got lazy and never got around to cleaning the top part. Fail.
Posted: Jun 07 2010, 07:39 AM by Krupo | with 1 comment(s)
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The G20 police state comes to Toronto: shenanigans!
Globally I'm sure this is still off the radar, but in Canada we're all in a state of shock, having learned that the government plans to spend a billion dollars hosting the G8 and G20 summits this month: the G8 in the rural town of Huntsville, and the G20 in downtown Toronto. $1,000,000,000. Nice. I've seen the first wave of spending allocated to installing more security cameras, presumably temporarily removing the garbage cans downtown and replacing them with transparent bags taped to lamp posts - which just look fabulous in a ghetto chic sort of way - and let's not forget the coup de grace. They're scraping all the posters and political propaganda stickers off the lamp posts as well. I've seen it on my bike rides to work. Heaven forbid Obama learn that Paul Oakenfold had a show at the Koolhaus in March and they didn't invite Barry to check it out. Newspapers are hot on the trail of this unfolding fiasco. The Post asked the ten federal agencies getting this...
CA Magazine: Afraid of the "L" word!
This month's CA magazine features a mention of Stefano Picone, CA , founder of mycasite , but before you can read that you may read the following unrelated trainwreck of a paragraph - read it and guess what went wrong here : " Firms only interested in training CA students who wish to practise public accounting but lack the audit hours to do so should also consider hiring experienced CA students who have already completed the required chargeable audit hours at another firm. CA students can complete their practical experience requirements for qualification at your firm and may be eligible to practise public accounting. The current economic situation has resulted in the availability of a number of experienced CA students ready and able to take on new opportunities. " Did you see it? Avert your eyes children! Did they just casually say "current economic situation"? I'm sorry, I think the editors must have accidentally hit "find and replace" on the more...
Can you get your 51 CA credits in a year and a half?
If you started, say, an engineering program at one given university, could you switch partway through to a Chartered Accountant prep program instead in the same university's business school, and quickly get all the credits you need to graduate in a mere year and a half? One of the regular CA 'commentators' on the blogs and forums, sardaukar - who does an excellent public service in opening people's eyes to the "hell years" that await them as CA students, incidentally - did just that, and people wondered how this is even possible. Since I'm not really into Sudoku, and this is just the sort of "puzzle" I enjoy solving, I'll answer the question for the writer of comment #427. The funny thing about this exercise is that when you review the list of courses needed - I include links at the end of this article - many courses will count for "3 hours" even though they're full year, or half year. That means you can't divide 51 by 3 and...
Saving the world with smart meters
I once alluded to instances of ignorant rants being granted precious space in newspapers. The most recent guilty party was written by a Toronto Sun columnist who misunderstands what "smart meters" are supposed to accomplish. Before you ask why I bothered with the Sun, I must explain that I'm willing to read pretty much any newspaper if you give it to me for free. It's in some ways a bad habit, although I've learned to fight it by skimming over the worst whiners. I'm exposed to enough poorly thought out thought processes as it stands when I travel by air. Who was, after all, the genius who designed this sign at O'Hare? Closer to home, an angry letter writer lauded this column , blasting the provincial government of Ontario for having the audacity to try and get people to conserve energy for all the right reasons. The angry protests about forthcoming doom caused by power prices going up by a fraction of a penny was simply too much to take. Let's not talk...
Posted: Jan 26 2010, 09:03 AM by Krupo | with 1 comment(s)
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Stupid angry letters from ignorant people are an excellent source of vitamins
And by "vitamins" I mean, "topics to write about." I had a very good university professor who shared opinion pieces and rants to the editor which were full of flaws - usually due the fact that the people submitting the articles did not have a clue about what they were talking about. After we saw one particularly egregious example, I asked if he considered writing a letter to the editor pointing out the mistakes. The answer was no, "life's too short." And once you're a professor with tenure, flying to your country's capital on a weekly basis to testify before Senate committees on This Important Topic and That Giant Failure Committee, it makes sense. As a student, I had time to complain, and writing poured forth. These days I'm starting to pick my battles more, but sometimes you'll see that completely insane rant that screams to you, "this is stupid, and the many levels of "wrong" must be exposed with the burning light of knowledge...
Posted: Jan 25 2010, 11:41 PM by Krupo | with 2 comment(s)
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Brace yourself for big bills Telus customers: incoming Twitter messages are being tracked as outgoing.
If you're a Telus customer using twitter to get SMS updates, and you don't have an unlimited text messaging plan, get ready for a potentially nasty bill. Although the USA has enjoyed this feature since the dawn of time , for the past few months Canadians weren't able to receive updates from twitter on their cell phones until the Canadian cell phone companies and Twitter sorted things out amongst themselves. Last month Telus caught up to the other major players and reintroduced incoming messages, which was wonderful. There's just one catch - someone screwed up on the code in Telus' billing software, and it started reading incoming messages from twitter as outgoing messages. Ironically I know the people who were behind the unvandalized original version of this ad campaign. Read this painful account on HowardForums if you want to see what happens when you're the first person to get hit by the billing issue . Thank goodness I wasn't the first person to report this...
Thank you for not wishing me any particular harm
Somewhere over the Rockies Someone out there must be wishing me luck. And it’s working. Flying to California for a short vacation, I tried to do online check-in only to find that the website declared this sort of thing forbidden. Perhaps due to the fact I was using frequent flier points - or, more likely - it could've been because of my connection on an American partner airline - I would have to check in at the airport. Okay, fair enough. Arriving at the airport the check-in computer reported a rather full plane - the only empty seats were singles, and my row was full with three people. Oh nuts. Well someone must’ve decided they’re scared of H1N1 - or perhaps they just moved to another spot on the plane.Whatever the reason, I found myself enjoying one and a half seats. I can easily fit in one, but it’s nice to stretch your legs laterally. Of course, me being me, I somehow crashed the in-flight entertainment system. I guess the system does a soft reboot while it’s on the ground. Before...
My one year CA anniversary... spent trying to vote in the ICAO 2009 election
If anyone stumbles across this helpful post, here's the link to click to get to the actual ICAO 2009 election is you have all your voter info . That link dies after May 8, 2009, so enjoy it while it's on. Chartered Accountants are members of an Institute - in Canada there's a national Institute, the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants , and regionally provinces have their own associations. Ontario has its own, of course, the ICAO - the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario , and the executives of these organizations end up landing in their positions through free and fair elections. Though it feels like it's been ages, it's actually only been a year - precisely a year in fact - since I got my CA . Wow. Anyway, due to the timing of my admission to full membership a year ago, I wasn't able to vote in the 2008 ICAO election - this is my first time receiving the Annual General Meeting and Council Election package. Having studied the impressive biographies...
Posted: Apr 27 2009, 11:38 PM by Krupo | with no comments
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Canadian CA Dominating Greg Mankiw
My title, though technically accurate, is completely unfair though - Dr. Mankiw is way more experienced than I am - he's a PhD damnit - and he's written books and many other wonderful things . But it's also very fun. It all stems from a webcast for CAs, to teach them how to use social media effectively. They showed Chartered Accountants how to make it easier to set up their "online brand" and to appear like more of an authority by making it easier for people to find you online. And with that I got an excuse for a short excursion into navel gazing and teasing of a distinguished academic, the former being something I generally avoid unless I can put some good spin on it, and the latter always serving as an excellent way to get yourself blacklisted from Harvard. So onwards, to the patting of ourselves on the back. How do you make yourself easier to find online and look like the authority figure you basically are? Write about something you consider important and add some...
Bell Sympatico's default wireless security settings are incredibly... insecure
In case you're new here, I work as an IT auditor. And she's a "warfighter" in a Washington DC ad who has pretty much nothing to do with today's article. It sounds really sexy when you picture hackers running around performing penetration tests on big fancy computers guarding trade secrets and billions of dollars. And while there's some of that, I can't really write about it - confidentiality, you know. I can, however, give you some free advice that you can use, especially if you're a customer of Bell Sympatico internet access - though this advice is equally useful for people who just bought themselves a new wireless router, or even those studying for the CISA - they expect you to know this sort of thing on the exam. If you are given the choice of WEP or WPA encryption, always pick WPA . Why do I find it so important to write about this? Because despite some relatively clear instructions to enable WPA, it seems like people persist in the practice of "leaving...
Epic levels of whinging about work in AuditLand - did someone not know what they were getting into?
Recently there's been a spate of people getting really depressed about their lot in life. No doubt this has a lot to do with the fact that the audit busy season is in high gear for a lot of people right now - many people are working 6 or 7 days a week, waking up too early and staying at audit sites until far too late. I refer to a conversation I've been keeping an eye on - this relatively big thread featuring these unhappy, mostly young auditors. Although the 250 comments in the conversation comprise a lot since the conversation started in late 2006, with over half a million people working for the Big Four firms around the world, not to mention all the small and medium sized firms I'm not counting, there's a lot of people in this line of work. Some even enjoy what they're doing and drop in to see what people are saying. And so I don't feel like letting people indulge in their little pity party today. Because it's a pretty damned interesting year to be an auditor...
Posted: Feb 21 2009, 01:27 AM by Krupo | with 3 comment(s)
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How to kill your audience: bait and switch. Big Photo bought out and replaced by "SpeedDate" on Facebook
Just in time for Christmas, users of Facebook application Big Photo - which allows you to share a larger copy of the photos you've uploaded online - were informed that their application is being taken over and will now be users of the SpeedDate application. At the moment that probably means that someone paid the Big Photo developers a lot of hard cash to gain access to an audience of over 700,000 users who use one application. This isn't exactly the same thing as Microsoft buying out all the Apple users in the world, and telling them that OS X will be Vista in a week's time, but it's something along the same lines. Here's the official message all users received - the lump of coal in their stockings: "Next week, Big Photo's name and functionality will be changed to SpeedDate. Data entered into the original app won't be used anymore. Soon you'll be able to try SpeedDate, the fastest way to meet new people, so stay tuned! P.S. If you want to opt-out of...
Posted: Dec 25 2008, 07:27 PM by Krupo | with 2 comment(s)
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