Showing posts from March, 2018

My 4,659.4 barrels of oil

According to  Natural Resources Canada , "Canada has the third-largest proven oil reserve in the world, most of which is in the oil sands." "Proven oil reserves are estimated at 171.0 billion barrels. " Canada's current population is about 36.7 million . So, one could perhaps argue that my current share of Canadian oil is about  4,659.4 barrels . Since Brent Crude is priced at about $70/barrel today , that's about $326,158 USD or, even better: $420,662 CAD ! Hurray, I'm rich! 💵💰 But wait just a second, you say. That oil is still in the ground. It costs money to extract it and transport it to a buyer. Well, crap. Maybe I'm not that rich after all. So how do I turn this black gold stuck in the ground into big dollar signs? More bad news: Our infrastructure has evolved over the years to export most of our oil to the United States. That worked great when oil was scarce and prices were high. People raked in the cash. But

"Pipeline won't get built."

See:  The day oil rained down on Burnaby Ever since I moved to BC, not far from the path of the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion , I've been asked: "What do you think about that pipeline?" My response, from the beginning, has been a very confident: "Pipeline won't get built." "But how can you be so sure?", they ask. "'Cause people won't let it." I sincerely hope that I will be right about this. On March 23rd, 2018, two sitting Members of Parliment from two different political parties joined protesters at Kinder Morgan's gates in non-violent civil disobedience . They were both arrested. I completely support their actions, and those of everyone putting themselves in harm's way to help protect the land and water for future generations. These people are true heroes, selflessly sacrificing their own time and freedom so others can enjoy the safety and comfort of not being poisoned by catastroph

Why are we still using attachments in 2018?

Who remembers 2006? 12 years ago, Google launched a truly innovative suite of products to compete with Microsoft's behemoth Office suite called " Google Docs and Sheets ". This promised to revolutionize the way we work. Instead of having to email Word and Excel attachments to co-workers and worry about old versions , conflicting changes , etc., the document was hosted in one place, and everyone could always access and update the very latest version with no fuss or muss. Cloud Computing was The Next Big Thing™* and everything was going to be better ! *NOTE: Cloud Computing was not really new, but more a reboot of networked timesharing from the 60s and 70s distributed on a global scale. But that's another story for another time. Fast forward 12 years , and Word and Excel files are still everywhere ! Now, there are still a few cases where Docs and Sheets are missing features that Word and Excel have. For instance, I sometimes miss the automated hie

The slow, painful death of social media

About a month ago, before the big Cambridge Analytica scandal , I wrote that " Facebook is over ." My feeling was strong enough that I divested all FB holdings the same day. Glossing over the details at the time, I simply stated that Facebook had "lost its way." After posting, several of my friends and relatives (on Facebook, of course) suggested that I should create the Next Facebook . Funny enough, I'd already been there and done that. My reply: " I started a project called "FriendPortal" in 2003 that was to be a simpler, better alternative to Friendster. Before I could finish it, some scrappy Harvard kid beat me to the punch. Somebody will make the "next" Facebook. Odds are decent that it won't be me  :) " I thought it would be interesting to go a bit more in-depth on this topic. History Lesson In my mind, the first modern "social networking" site was Friendster (2002). It was quickly followed by M

WhatsApp? Signal!

Some of my friends are big fans of WhatsApp, and have noted that I don't (and won't) use it, so I just wanted to briefly provide the major reasons why: It's owned by Facebook (and connected to the Facebook platform) and there are some major  privacy  concerns Since acquisition by Facebook, there have been major  security  concerns Due to similar problems, I advise  against  using similar apps like Apple iMessage, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, etc. If you're really keen on using a "Whatsapp-style" secure messaging app (with group messaging, voice calls, etc.), there is an alternative that is free, open source, and run by a  non-profit organization . It's called  Signal  and can be found at:   I have it installed, so feel free to send me a test message to try it out, and let me know if you have any further questions about the various privacy and security concerns with some of these other messaging