Showing posts from 2012

Fix Toronto Streetcars Tomorrow

Dear Toronto, Your streetcars have always caused me a lot of grief. First, their schedules are so inconsistent . You don't see any for a half hour, then there's like 3 in a row. Second, they're slow. Like, really slow. The east-west routes on busy streets are often much slower than walking  at times. Third, they're dangerous . You often have to cross a lane of traffic to board and disembark, so you risk death quite a lot. These problem have existed for decades, and nobody seems to care. Meanwhile, the main east-west routes (ie. King, Queen, Dundas, etc.) could be fixed tomorrow in 3 easy steps. 1. No street parking on main routes. Toronto is not (supposed to be) a pissant little rural town where you just drive in and dump your car on Main Street to visit the General Store. The never-ending stopping and parallel parking causes so many problems, it's ridiculous. This is supposed to be the downtown core of a "world class" city. Park t

Copycat, copycat!

As a technologist, the recent Apple vs. Samsung lawsuit  is extremely concerning . I was hoping all of this software patent nonsense would go away, but Apple just proved that the new business model is more about litigation than innovation . As a company that essentially  "stole" the entire desktop GUI and mouse concept from Xerox, you have to wonder how they arrived here. Ironically, this concept was subsequently "re-stolen" by Microsoft to create Windows -- one of the most ubiquitous, profitable pieces of software ever. Naturally, Apple  sued Microsoft in 1988 , a long and bitter lawsuit that wasn't resolved until 1994, when Microsoft won . In the midst of this, Apple was actually sued by Xerox , a suit that was dismissed. In the Apple vs. Microsoft ruling, the court stated: "Apple cannot get patent-like protection for the idea of a graphical user interface, or the idea of a desktop metaphor." They obviously took this to heart,

WHY are YOU doing a startup?

Everyone and their friend's brother's baker seems to be doing a tech startup these days. If you're not building your own web or mobile app, you're just not part of the cool crowd . Some of these startups have investors and funding. Some don't. To all you founders out there, I have one question: WHY are YOU doing a startup? Starting a new company is not easy . I started my consulting company, Syllogistic Software , in 2003. It's almost been a decade, and the road to success was winding, ever-changing, and mostly uphill. My startup,  PMRobot , has been in the works for anywhere from 2-4 years, depending on how you count. I've poured in my heart and soul, with little financial reward. So again,  WHY are YOU doing a startup? Are you hoping to get rich ? Please, please, please stop right now if that's the case. The odds that your company will last more than a few years are  less than 50/50 . Then, if you do survive -- after

Au revoir Nice, Hola España (and مرحبا المغرب)

We're just about finished our 3-month stay here in beautiful Nice, France. It's been excellent. We're sad to go, but the adventure must continue! :) In a week, we'll be flying to Madrid, Spain. After touring there a few days, we'll be volunteering and teaching English for a week at the Pueblo Inglés program in the mountain village of La Alberca . Then we bus back to Madrid to take a train to the southern city of Seville for 3 days. After hopping another train and spending 2 days in Cordova, we go even further south to Tarifa, Spain to spend some time on the beach watching the kite surfers. That will be followed by a 1-hour high-speed ferry trip across the Straight of Gibaltar to the African continent, landing in Tangier, Morocco. After a few days in Tangier, we take a train to Fez, where our camel trekking safari in the Sahara desert begins. We'll be spending a night under the desert stars before continuing to the ancient city of Marrakesh. From