Vancouver: A Shameful Response

Picture from Edmonton Journal

That picture looks like some piece of Hell on Earth, doesn’t it?  You’d expect it to be from a war torn country, from the riots seeking freedom in the Middle East.

It’s not.  It’s people pouting after a hockey game.

Two days ago, someone told me they were worried about what would happen if the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup.  This was just before game 6.  This was the second person who had told me, and I couldn’t believe that the response to a loss would be that fierce.  I had forgotten what happened in 1994.

First of all, I don’t want to blame all of Vancouver for what happened.  Vancouver is the victim here.  It’s their property that is being damage, their cars which are being torched, their city plunged into chaos.  It’s not the city or it’s citizens who did this.

After all, can you really consider someone who throws a molotov cocktail over a hockey game a citizen?  Where does that disconnect come in?  You live in a city, and in that city is a company, because a hockey franchise is, and they have hired several talent players from all over the world.  That franchise plays incredibly well, and proves that within the league they play in, they are the second best.

“Only second best?” thinks this disconnected, inbred, asshat.  “Why, that’s unacceptable!  I need to burn down a store to show my displeasure at this result!”

Seriously?  What the fuck?  While I do not condone senseless violence, I especially don’t understand why that is what drives you to it.  There are so many terrible things in the world, so many injustices, so many wrongs, but the thing that stirs the anger in the hearts of some of the people in Vancouver, the senseless rage that burns out of control, lashing blindly at whatevers closest…

Is a group of grown fucking men who aren’t as good at chasing a piece of rubber with sticks on ice than another group of grown fucking men?  You didn’t even play the goddamn game, you just watched it!  How do you have such a fucking vested interest that you would go out and destroy your own communinty?

Is this going to happen everytime Vancouver gets close to the playoffs?  Honestly, if I was an NHL executive, I would remove Vancouver from eligibility to compete in the playoffs.  If I was an MLA or an MP representing the area, I would look at passing legislation to keep hockey franchises out of the city, as a matter of public safety.  This is completely and utterly unacceptable, and it has happened twice in my lifetime.

My heart and condolences go out to all the people who lost property, cars, businesses, and such in this riot.  For any innocent bystander who was injured, I am furious on your behalf.

For any rioter that was hurt, well, I wish you a slow and painful complete recover, so that you have time to reevaluate your life.

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Published in: on June 16, 2011 at 7:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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Usage Based Billing — Are you ready for the changes

So, if you’re reading this, you’re on the Internet, and there’s a decent chance you’re in Canada.  The question I want to ask you is, have you heard about the changes coming to your internet bill?  No?  Well, they’re effective March 1st.  I’d like to give you all the facts here, but … they’re hard to find, and I don’t represent any Canadian Internet Service Provider, so I don’t have all the answers.

In fact, that’s a big part of my problem here.  So you’re a Canadian consumer, and you want the internet.  You enter into a contract with your ISP, where they say we’ll give you unlimited internet and a modem, maybe a router, at $40 per month, and you need to sign a three year contract.  This contract covers the service installation and the equipment you’ve rented, and if you cancel early, they need to recoup the costs, so you get a penalty.

That, to me, is far.

The part I don’t like is that the contract says they can change the rules at any time.  So say, for example, they want to charge you for your home internet like they do for your mobile internet.  They don’t need your permission.  Your contract says they can change it at anytime.  Why would you agree to that?  Well, you want internet, don’t you?  So there’s only one way to do it.  You gotta play by Goliath’s terms.

And not the nice one from Disney's Gargoyles

Well, what stops them from screwing you over every step of the way?  Well, the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission.  They ensure that the giants of telecom play fair.  The problem is, the giants of Telecom show up at their house everyday and whine about things.  Like how they’d like to bill you for every MB that goes to your house.  The CRTC gets tired of them, and listens, and then gives in

Yep, the CRTC decided it would be fair if our internet companies were allowed to measure the amount of data being sent to our houses.  The CRTC website is down right now, and the news sources I’m finding are listing limits around 25 GB per month.

So there are two problems I have with this; first of all, why does no one know about this?  Well, it’s not news our ISPs want to give the customer.  They’re hoping you won’t notice, and for a lot of people, 25 GB is a lot.  Even if you’re on Facebook all the time, you’ll probably be fine.  You can still do the sort of downloading most people chose to do on iTunes.  But there are high end users who will notice, and a lot of them will find out when they either can’t surf anymore, or get high usage bills.

Now, I’m sure there were tiny little letters inserted into the bills that look like ads.  If you get your bill online, there was probably a little message on your online account manager.  It’s hard for them to communicate with customers.  More importantly, it’s a complicated process.  It’s hard to explain to most internet users how their measuring the transfer, or how big a GB is, or that everything you do does include a data transfer.  It’s easier to just let it go and hope no one notices.

The ethics here hurt my head.

But the second reason we don’t know is because there’s something a bit more sinister going on here.  See, almost every ISP in Canada is also a cable TV provider.  The internet doesn’t really complete directly with TV, because even if you’re watching a lot of YouTube, for most people it doesn’t replace the 1/2 hour shows on TV.  It’s not the same experience.  It’s more active, requiring more choices more often, and it provides different content.

No, it’s another player that has spurred this change.

A beautiful new player

 The company most likely to suffer from this move is Netflix.   If you don’t know it, Netflix provides unlimited streaming movies and tv shows for about $8.00 per month.  You chose what show or movie you want to watch, and it takes less than a minute to load, and if you have a video game consul, you can watch it on your tv.  That’s an amazing deal, and a great way to consume media.  It’s legal, it’s easier than downloading, and it could do for tv what iTunes did to music.

But you don’t really need cable then, do you?  I mean, sure, if you want the newest shows, you still might.  But if you want to watch exactly what you want, with no commercials, and are willing to wait a few months, this might be the service for you.  I know I don’t watch cable, but the Netflix price is worth it for me.

So say you’re a Canadian ISP.  Well almost everyone who provides internet in Canada is also a cable tv provider.  And if you want to make $40 to $60 per month off of people for something they can get for $8, what are you going to do to protect it.

Well, you might whine to the CRTC, and get the rules changed, so that it suddenly becomes very expensive to stream tv and movies, if not impossible, due to transfer limits.  If you don’t mention it to anyone, maybe you can get it passed through.

So please, look at your internet bills come March.  Call your ISP and ask them to explain themselves.  They won’t want to, and the first person who picks up the phone probably can’t.  If you just accept it, they get their way.

But we can learn from them.  They through hissy fits at the CRTC until they got their way.  Trust me, the same thing works on them.

While I’m usually against internet petitions, as they are useless and dumb, there’s actually one of value for this issue.  Openmedia.ca is showing up in the news reports on this, and they’re a real lobby group, not a Facebook petition no one cares about.  The link above has a petition you can sign, which actually has a chance of impacting the CRTC. 

Talk about this.  Let people know if you don’t agree.  Sign the petition.  Make the CRTC pay attention, and make sure they know if your against this.  Otherwise, you can be sure it will happen, and your internet bill maybe be a painful reminder…

Sign the petition here.