Archive for the ‘Rant’ Category

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General Motors deserves to live

In Rant,Typical on 2008-11-12 by petervk

This is a response to this post “General Motors deserves to die” by my friend Daniel.

Ok, I hate to say it but I think GM has already done their worst and is actually rather quickly climbing the ladder to greatness.

GM was/is the worlds largest car company and had been resting on their laurels for way too long. Back in the late 80’s (possibly early 90’s) they made some awesome vehicles. Their trucks were unstoppable, the Caprice was a tank, and my Dad’s van was still worth a few grand after having 380,000 km put on it (the A/C still blew cold too yet).

Since then they really started to descend into crap. Basically settling to the bottom of the cesspool with about the generation of sunfire/caviler my friend Daniel owns. GM’s “cheapest” product in every sense.

Also compounding this is GMAC, the financing arm of GM, and actually their greatest source of income (yes, over and above the actual selling of the vehicles). Ideally for GMAC, GM should make vehicles that run perfectly (or with minimal problems) for 3-5 years (the duration of a standard lease or financing deal) and then fall apart, causing the consumer (victim?) to have to establish another financing deal, hopefully with GMAC again. (I hate these conflicts of intrest that big corporations seem to get themselves in) (cough, windows Live OneCare, cough)

So yeah, that GM deserves to die. But not the GM of today. Since then GM has been having more and more problems selling vehicles. They keep losing out to the imports. But heck they are the worlds largest car company, if anyone can compete, it’s GM.

Cool new things GM is doing:

  • The Volt (Agreed that GM is late to the party, but they are now committed. And I think it’s a good idea)
  • Bye Bye Saturn: GM is now just rebadging Opel’s from Europe instead of having yet another brand. And Opel’s are awesome cars. Check out the Astra.
  • GMC Acadia, Chevy Transverse, Buick Enclave: This car based SUV is reported to be GM’s best product ever. It’s solid, reliable, fuel efficient, powerful, and awesome in so many other ways.
  • Cobalt SS: In a recent Car & Driver this car bested the Lancer Ralliart, the Mazdaspeed3, and the Impreza WRX. Very impressive considering their past history.
  • Chevy Malibu: This is an awesome family sedan. Looks great, drives great, fuel efficient, and (so far) reliable. Very strong competition for the Camry/Accord.

So yeah, no definite proof that GM should live, but a few reasons why we should wait. They have turned over a new leaf and are doing better. If they can survive the economic crisis and the immense weight of their unions I think were in for some exciting vehicles.

But yes. Junk your crap car and buy something better.

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Monday!

In Rant,Typical on 2008-02-11 by petervk

So, I had a Monday this morning.

Got up at 6:40, did all the usual morning stuff and out the door at 7:10. (Awesomely fast am I) Tried to back the car out of the driveway but the rear caliper on the driver side won’t completely release, so I turn around in the parking lot across from our house, park the car and go back into the house to ask Candice to drive me to the Go station

Doing this means I miss the 7:25, and the next train is not till 8:00. (the rest of the morning the trains are 10-20 minutes apart, this is the only 35 minute gap. Also the 8:00 makes two more stops then the 7:25 so really it gets me to work 50 minutes later.)

My awesome wife drives me to the station just in time for the 8:00. But the 8:00 has been canceled, next train 8:14 and it’s an all stops one which means it takes the longest possible time to get to union. And it’s late, 25 minutes late.

Finally get on the train and I phone into work to tell them I’ll be in a bit late and as I’m describing the car problems, the canceled train, and the late train the people across from me start laughing. Really, I thought it was kind of funny too.

The train went extra slow all the way in to union (turning off the heat halfway there so it slowly got colder and colder) and arrived 35 minutes late.

I took the subway, walked up the tunnel, made my way through the queens park complex, and sat down at my desk at 10:10.

I was planning on getting there by 8:30.

Awesome.

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Phone Plans, Other Drivers, Computers

In Rant,Typical on 2008-01-29 by petervk

So, I just read this: Slashdot | The true cost of SMS messages and it made me a bit angry.

Basically what this is about is the crazy fees cellular providers charge for text messages. To help show this they compare the cost of data to a typical ISP. What would cost $1 to send over the internet costs $61 million dollars to send over SMS. (An increase of 61 million percent!)(duh…)

So that sounds a bit insane right? But then if you go down the slashdot discussion you get to this comment: I know! The author explains that SMS actually doesn’t cost the service provider anything to implement because it runs in extra space in the control network.

Whenever a Cell phone is on it is always communicating to the network, this allows the phone to ring when someone calls you. (the network knows where you are because the towers and the cell phone are constantly “talking”) Within these constant messages back and forth between the towers and your cell there is a bit of extra room for data, and this is where your under 160 character text messages fit. So, really there isn’t any extra load on the network, and no extra transmission to send or receive a text message as to just have your phone turned on, but yet they charge you at least $0.15 to send (and sometimes as much to receive)

So yeah. Once again a monopoly is screwing the consumers. Surprise, surprise.

Oh, and did you know that it doesn’t cost the phone operator any more money to route your call to Vancouver as it does to your next door neighbor? That’s another rip off.

I really don’t know what us Canadian consumers can do aside from avoiding texting or long distance as much as possible. What we (my wife and I) do is use the 2nd cheapest cell phone service in the country [1], and the cheapest long distance plan I can find [2]. I’m still getting ripped off, but at least I’m getting ripped off less then most other people.

Oh, and just so you know, the title is a bit of a poke at my wife. She says that whenever I get together with my Cousin all we talk about is phone plans, other drivers, and computers. I could bug her a lot more if it wasn’t true.

~Peter

[1] Cell Phone plans: The cheapest way* to go in Canada that I have found is Virgin Mobile. Buy the cheapest phone you can tolerate from them and then buy the $100/year card. This works out to $8.33/month (33 min/month OR 55 text messages /month). I didn’t know Virgin Mobile had $100/year prepaid cards so I went with PC Mobile. (Presidents Choice) (Yes, like the food) PC Mobile has a similar deal, buy a phone and then buy top up cards. The best deal is the $25/60 days card, which works out to ~$12.67/month (63 min/month OR 84 text messages/month)

[2] Long Distance: Yak Long Distance –  This is an awesome plan. $0.035/minute anywhere in North America, no monthly fee**, no system access charge, no dialing any access number. You just register your number with them, and then every long distance phone call you make is billed through them at their amazing rates. We don’t use a whole lot of long distance, but my monthly phone bill from bell is just under $25 and my Yak long distance is usually under $2. For $30/month we could do 142 hours of long distance a month, that’s over 4 hours a day, and it includes the land line which I need for my ADSL internet.

* Now, this is with the assumption that you don’t use your cell phone heavily. I have a cell phone because its convenient and useful, but I really don’t use it a lot. If you use your cell phone a lot, first try to limit your usage because you’re getting ripped off, and then compare plans carefully. Really, the best way to save money is to talk/text less. Use a landline whenever you can and e-mail.

** There is a fee of $1.95/month if you want a paper bill mailed to you. Otherwise they just e-mail you the bill for free.

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Waste of a morning…

In Rant,Typical on 2006-06-05 by petervk

So, I just wasted a morning. Really frustrating.

I am currently a very lazy student. I have school this summer, but for only 4 days a week. I have every Monday off. This is really nice, and I do my best to be productive. But today it really didn't work out. I got up on time, I went to school. I was checking my daily websites and e-mail, when the school's ISP had a major hardware failure. Now this I didn't know, so thinking it was just the internet connection being crappy like it often is, I decided to wait a bit to see if it would come back online. Well it didn't.

I couldn't e-mail Candice the directions I promised her. I couldn't research how best to make the resume posting service for our student chapter website. I couldn't even answer Art's last e-mail.

So after farting (screwing?) (hanging?) around in the library and on the college website (it was still up as it is internally hosted) for 2 hours (!) I gave up, went home, picked up my nice clothing for the gala tonight, and went to Candice's place where I am now stealing their internet. (I really enjoy stealing internet, especially blazingly fast Cogeco internet)

So, yeah. Waste of a morning.

Oh, I did get the ministry of transportation to not think that I still own a 1992 Acura Integra worth $3,425. (I wish) (I got the wreckers to pick it up for free almost a year ago) Woo Hoo!

P.S. 95 days left!

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People are Jerks

In Rant on 2006-05-26 by petervk

So, I went out to McDonalds for lunch yesterday, (by myself, I'm a loser) and after getting my meal through the drive through, I parked in a spot in the parking lot to eat my delicious McChicken sandwich. Just before I finished my meal I noticed that the guy two spots over from me (eating his meal in the parking lot, alone) (loser) was looking around. So I glanced at him. (Mercury Marquis, early 1990's, ugly red, decent condition, a fuel waster) and looked away. Then as I was having another bite of my grease sticks, I mean fries, I heard his door open and close. I glanced again and his McDonalds bag was sitting on the pavement next to his car. I almost couldn't believe it. (Well, I can believe it, the world is full of stupid people, and this just reinforced that.) I just stared at him as he proceeded to back out of his spot, drive over his garbage, and leave the parking lot. I felt like giving him the finger. I didn't, but it was hard.

So yeah. People are Jerks.

Yes I picked up his garbage.