Category Archives: Technology

Steve Jobs

With some spare time before running an errand two days ago, I sat outside an Apple Store. I pulled out my iPad, and connected to Apple’s free wireless internet. Unbeknownst to myself beforehand, this is how I would ironically learn about the death of an icon. Despite not knowing Steve personally, I knew he was a superpower of sorts, a man who had accomplished so much in recent years, and touched so many lives. To this day, his company’s competition is still struggling to create products that resonate with people on an emotional level in an industry that was once relegated only to the most extreme of enthusiasts.

A news reporter caught up with me as I was watching video tributes to Steve. You can see me in the video clip below.

Below are a few videos that I would like to share for their inspiration.

“Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world… are the ones that do.”

“Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”

Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder, tearfully remembers Steve Jobs.

Goodbye Steve.

My Impressions of Netflix on the iPad

After years of operating exclusively in the United States, Netflix has expanded to Canada after a somewhat bumbled launch. It works on Nintendo Wii, PS3, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch if you downoad a free app. Support is built into many newer TVs and the new Apple TV. Of course, you can also use a standard web browser from a computer.

For me, the iPad app is especially convenient. I already use the iPad with my TV for other apps, making this addition icing on the cake. Away from the TV, the iPad’s screen is big enough to take to any bed or couch in the house.

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Brain dump: Some of what I’ve learned about photography and DSLR cameras this month

As you may have read in my previous post, I was in the market for a digital SLR. Clueless about them until now, I had to do a lot of research.


First of all, lenses matter just as much if not more than the camera itself.

While typical consumer point and shoot cameras usually have a built-in “do everything” lens that cannot be changed, an SLR can use many lenses. Professionals usually have lots of them for different situations.Most lenses made for older film SLRs are compatible with the newer digital SLR cameras. However, a lens usually only works with a certain manufacturer, but you can buy mounts to make it work others. This interchangability is very important since a good lens is also usually more expensive than an entire point and shoot camera! My lens actually cost as much as the camera body itself.

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Lightroom error "The file appears to be unsupported or damaged" caused by Picasa

Following the purchase of a DSLR camera, I have switched to using raw mode and Adobe Lightroom for post-processing of these photos. Up to now, I have been using Google Picasa to organize and tag my photos. Initially, my collection of photos worked just fine in Lightroom as I invested hours of work of retouching my favourite photos for my gallery. After doing some mass tagging and organization of photos in Picasa, Lightroom stopped reading many of my JPEG photos taken across many years with several different cameras.

Now, when selecting a photo in Lightroom’s Develop mode, I would see a error message:

"The file appears to be unsupported or damaged."

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Why keyboard keys aren’t listed alphabetically

Many of us type on keyboards on a daily basis without giving any thought to its layout. It just works, but why exactly do we use this layout? If you think it’s a carry-over from days past to slow typists down or the result of research to group commonly used keys together, it’s not true! Read on.

Most English keyboards used today use the QWERTY format, which takes its name from the first six letters appearing on the keyboard. Its design is based on a layout originally created by Christopher Latham Sholes for the Sholes and Glidden typewriter in 1873. Sholes actually began with an alphabetical layout spread across 2 rows, but jams became a major issue. When pressing certain two letter combinations (e.g., “St”) together or in quick succession, the metal arms mounting the characters would collide or become jammed.

Contrary to popular belief, no one wanted to solve this problem by slowing typists down. Rather, Sholes rearranged the layout so that commonly-used letter pairs were not close together on the keyboard, avoiding jams of the connecting metal arms, and thus allowing typists to continue typing fast.

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Crazy mobile companies promise coverage in over 200 countries, only 195 actually exist

Quick! How many countries are in the world?

It’s not something we think about every day, but the best answer for the number of countries in the world is 195.

Don’t tell that to Ma Bell though. Most of the Canadian cell phone companies promise coverage in “over 200” countries. In the United States, it gets even worse.

Need proof? Let’s start with the Canadian companies, best known for having some of the highest profits and highest prices in the developed world.

Given that TELUS has already gone the extra mile with 5 extra countries, I’m not sure how they plan to add new roaming destinations.

As if most of the 200 countries can be reached by road from Canada!

Fido and Bell also make similar claims, while Rogers is conspicuously quiet with specific numbers on their web site. Maybe it’s because everyone knows they don’t really provide widespread coverage in any countries, including Canada.

In the United States, the empty promises get even weirder. Verizon has a page for Antarctica, along with a useless coverage map!

I guess there’s no coverage in Antarctica, not even for the research bases.

Then there’s AT&T, an extra special American mobile carrier.

They are clearly the best, with coverage in over 25 imaginary countries that don’t exist.

While the definition of what a “country” is contested in some areas, most experts would agree there is only 195 countries give or take a few. Assuming all of the countries in the world actually have mobile roaming coverage, claims of 200 and 220 are definitely pushing it.

Note: This post originally appeared on my What’s on your Desktop? technology blog before it was merged with my personal blog.