Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Facebook is quickly becoming obsolete to me.

The true story is that I used to be fairly active on Facebook, having upwards of 400 friends at one point. I found it amazing that I could find old friends from middle school and reconnect with them. Looking at pictures of class trips to Quebec city was fun.

Then I realized that Facebook was just a waste of time. You spend more time looking at pictures of people drunk or with their kids. Now, don't get me wong, that stuff can be interesting but it starts to get old quickly.

So I deactivated my account.

I was happy with the decision and for a while, pretended that ingorance in bliss. I was proud of the fact that I was off the book and happy to tell anyone who would listen.

Last week, I reactivated my account.

Why? I am finding it a useful tool as part of my job search strategy. It helps me see what kind of presense potential employers might have in the whole "social" space. It has in some cases helped me better understand who I might be interviewing with (although LinkedIn is really where that is done best) and it has help me waste hours or time reconnecting with old friends.

But really, nothing has really changed on Facebook. It is still the same old boring thing it always was. I don't really see it as being all that dynamic. Content is fed into Facebook from so many sources (like Twitter) and I am getting tired of seeing things coming across each platform through many different people.

I am going to keep my Facebook account because I suppose I can use my privacy settings to keep everything private and because it's a great research tool but it really isn't the great connector it once was.

There was a study done by Facebook and The Economist a few months ago that showed that while some people have more friends and more contact on Facebook, the average user has no more friend and interacts with no more people regularily than the offline person.

So, in my mind, Facebook was great while it lasted but now it's time to watch Twitter go through the same transformation.

And I really think that interfaces, platform and aggregators like Google Wave or FriendFeed that can tie it all together in a useable way will be the big winners in the future. Afterall, I rarely interact with's website.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Shifty Rogers

Here in Canada we have some of the worst mobile phone companies in the world.

While the rest of the world has been basking in 3G networks for years, we only recently had a move to 3G by Rogers and Bell. Telus is supposed to launch their 3G network soon.

To be clear, I am not really a fan or any of our Canadian options but Rogers is certainly the one I despise the most and this all goes back to an issue I had over a year ago when their customer service was disorganized and couldn't get a phone into my hands within 3 weeks.

Last week, I read about how Rogers was going to be doing away with the $6/month system access fee that has been annoying me ever since I owned my first cell phone.

But that doesn't mean your Rogers bill is going to go down... because they are implementing a Government Regulatory Recovery Fee.

This was taken somewhere online.. I believe the Rogers site...

What is the Government Regulatory Recovery Fee?

The Government Regulatory Recovery Fee ranges from $2.46-$3.46 /line/month (varies by province and plan selected). It is applied to help fund fees, costs and other amounts related to federal, provincial and/or municipal mandates, programs and requirements such as provincial 911 fees, spectrum acquisition, licensing charges, and contribution charges to help subsidize telephone service in rural and remote areas. It may include costs incurred in prior years that are still being fully recovered. It is not a tax or charge the government requires Rogers to collect. The fee and the components used to calculate the fee are subject to change as the fees/costs of government mandates/programs change.

On top of this, most plans will go up by about $5/month... so it sounds like Rogers is going to be taking in more than the system access fee was.

Shifty move... and I wonder how many Rogers customers are even going to notice...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Can't sleep again

My sleep patterns have been really messed up since I moved back from Vancouver. I actually don't think I have adjusted to the Eastern time zone yet and it's been over a month.

I spent over 10 hours doing job search related research today... and I have to admit that it's really fun getting to learn about new companies and industries. Especially because I can still use the vast UBC library resources.

My niece Ella got some fish today so I went to the store with my sister and my brother in law to pick them out with her. Goldfish are a great bargain... about a dollar fifty for a good sized one. She got three!

Twitter is starting to turn into spam central and boy, did that ever happen quick. A few months ago, I started getting all kinds of random ad requests... spam. Then, I followed one person who would use mentions to tweet spam. And the other day, I followed somebody and they had a confirmation message that required me to validate by clicking a link. Nuts.

Gotta sleep now!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Economy

When it comes to the recession, people like to think that we might be through the worst of it. I beg to differ.

Part of the reason that I say this is that everything right now is about discounting. Businesses are seem to be so desperate to generate any kind of revenue they can (which makes sense as revenue is like oxygen) that they are willing to discount their wares all over the place.

To see this, look no further than your television set. Watch any U.S. based channel and I find it so noticeable, you couldn't miss it if you tried. You can even mute your TV and notice it.

Go to the newspaper and see what kinds of flyers or coupons you're getting . Today I saw some crazy coupons for Denny's (not even sure where there is one near me in Ottawa) that promised a free entree with purchase of two. Ten dollars off a bill over $30... and many more which seem to knock the price of a Denny's outing for a few people by about 30 percent.

The problem is that people are tapped. Those people who are working, are probably taking pay cuts, work reductions and unpaid leave.

Those who aren't working, and there are many people out there, aren't going to be getting jobs too quickly. I read some recent figures that show while employment will increase in the next few months, companies will be adding headcount slowly.

I think the big concern is that we are not going to have a big fourth quarter... which is when most companies make all of their money or profit for any given year. The holiday shopping season will be flat or significantly lower than last year's and this, I believe, is going to cause a massive dip in economic output from Q1 through Q3 next year.

I'd like to believe we have seen the worse yet but I'm just finding it hard given the hard economic numbers I'm seeing and the sheer volume of discounting on behalf of marketing managers everywhere...

Buckle up.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Employment Insurance... update

I got a bunch of emails as result of my last post about my EI situation so here's the update:

I was hoping that everything was going to be sorted out this week. I went into the Services Canada office last week and gave them my second (and should be final ROE) and the person told me I'd get a call early this week and after that they would be able to release the funds.

Instead, I got no call. So I decided to call Services Canada this afternoon. The phone rep told me they received by updates but that it will take them up to September 16th to review everything. It could happen sooner, so I should keep checking the website but their internal deadline is September 16th. However I know that it won't be earlier than the 16th because my original application had a 4 week deadline and it took almost exactly that.

It is really unfortunate. Getting the ROE situation sorted out was a total mess and as an employee, you don't really have much recourse... you are at the mercy of your employer or in my case the payroll companies. Once that is done, you have to wait for Services Canada. Everyone I have spoken to there has been super friendly, it's just the time that each step is taking that is the problem. What really burns me is that I was concerned that this was going to happen in August and I kept trying to tell myself that it was going to be ok... turns out I was right and I'm sure you can guess what I mean by that.

The job market is really starting to pick up. The last few weeks have been pretty good and I should hope to have something shortly.

I could be back at work before I even see a dime of EI money - now that would really funny.

On the upside:
I babysat my niece for the first time today for about 4 hours. Good times!