Thursday, September 30, 2004

Junior hockey, especially the OHL (Ontario Hockey League) which is the greatest developmental league int he world (more NHL's cum from the OHL than any other league), is unquestionably the most exciting hockey to watch on the planet, even better than NHL regular season (maybe NHL playoffs are better, but it's close). It looks like the NHL is going to enable a Canadian "dream team" for the World Junior Hockey Championships this year, either way it's going to be a great Christmas tournament again :-)

Go Canada Go!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Fox, the TV network home to the OC, is developing a new pilot TV show with the Barenaked Ladies. If you've never heard of the ladies, I'm not talking about naked ho's running around all show (although that probably would also do pretty good on TV as witness by the Jerry Springer show), I'm talking about one of the best Canadian bands of all time. Their initial breakout hit "If I Had A Million Dollars" is still a classic. Get your butt over to Kazaa... errr I mean your local record store, and take a listen to some of their stuff!

And just in case you're interested in some other great Canadian stuff, check out:

Tragically Hip
Our Lady Peace
Avril Lavigne
Great Big Sea
Anne Murray

... well ok Anne Murray might be a little much :-)

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Ok, here goes... example #512 why EuroRoss is a complete idiot.

Now I've been going to Irish pub a couple times every week since the beginning of time, well at least since September of last year when I arrived in Germany.

Sidenote: The first night I arrived in Pforzheim I "coincidentally" found the Irish pub (which just happened to be a 5 minute crawl from my house) and decided to check it out. The night was awsome and the rest is history. Wednesday nights are a staple, it's the big night there which carries over well from my Bomber Wednesday days :-) Conspirousy? Absolutely.

Anyways, having nearly never missing a Wednesday amoung other nights I guesstimate that I've been there maybe 100 times. Ok now some more background, darts is a good beer drinking pastime and so when my boys cum and visit we usually try and find a place to play, problem is, there's absolutely no place to play "real" darts here in Pforzheim (electronic darts is more common here, and if you've ever played electronic darts then you know it sucks, basically because every second dart either doesn't stick in, cums flying back into your face or just plain does not register a score). So what inevitably happens is that we drive around looking for a place for about an hour until we finally give up and go to Irish to drown our sorrows.

So I'm sitting in Irish Tuesday night with the gang, filling in an unbelieveably difficult quiz for (oddly enough) quiz night... by the way, we came in dead last but first in creativity and cheering for the questions we actually got right, mostly because we could not believe we even got ANY right. And while I'm on my soapbox, I would just like to point out that if I had written what I thought for the phatasm question we would have gotten another one right, but our answer of "bitch" for the name of a promenant world figure definatly got the most laughs... yeah we were a bit loopy :-)

Anyways, how shocked and insanly idiotic do you think I felt when as I'm sitting there filling out the questionaire a group of regulars walk over to the corner of the bar and open up the doors to a dart board that has apparently been there all along. Yep. It's of little consilation that Rooney (the long time bar manager and new owner) tells me that it's not there on Wednesday's because there's too many people there that night... little consilation indeed.

Ross is an idiot episode #512.

Monday, September 27, 2004

A creative solution to staffing shortages? Nurses at this hospital can bid in an auction style online system for extra overtime shifts that become available. The winning bid (lowest hour rate submitted) gets notified by e-mail that the shift is theirs. Does this system adequatly address all the issues, maybe, as long as all employees that submit are of equal quality which does not degenerate as numerous extra shifts are taken.

And what about employee moral? Everything's all hunky dory while everyone gets relatively high shift rates but what happens when demand starts outstripping demand, when the competition becomes a little more cutthroat amoung coworkers? Or what happens when no-one bids for a shift? What about extrapolating this system to other industry sectors?

There are more issues than what I've hastily listed above but the idea is quite creative!

Sunday, September 26, 2004

By the time you read this I will be soaking in the rockin' sounds of Avril Lavigne live in Munich after having destroyed my liver at Oktoberfet the night before... SWEET!

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Random ramblings:

I think this guy somehow got a copy of my Google presentation from last semester where I argued that Google was in fact building the infrastructure for the development of an online type OS to compete with windows, or at the very least against IE and Office. I'm not sure how he did it since he apparently wrote this before my presentation, maybe he can look into the future? :-)

This is cool, caverns under Paris. I'll totally have to check out a tour the next time I'm there!

A short history and background for Craigslist, an "up and cummer" now that Ebay has bought a stake.

The Urban dictionary, fo' shizzle my nizzle yo!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Aussie's got a blog started, "...the Blog on Pat Mica", go check it out! I'll add it to my link list if it gets rollin', ie. he ends up posting a little more frequently than once every 2 weeks :-)
I waited over 6 months but I finally must post, DO NOT BUY AZIO PRODUCTS!! I bought an Azio mp3 player/USB memory stick combo about 8 months ago. It was a bit slow to turn on and change songs, the size was too big and wouldn't fit into my laptop USB port without holding the edge of the laptop up and it drained battery life like you wouldn't believe. About 2 months in the unit just stopped working. After contacting a customer service rep, sending in my Azio player priority shipping with the customer reference number, following up a week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks, one month, 2 months, 4 months and 6 months later with NO responce I've finally given up. I repeat, DO NOT BUY ANY AZIO PRODUCTS!!

Azio you suck!
Wow, at $499 american a little expensive, but wow! The new Creative Zen portable media centre. Apparently there's a bunch of other manufacturers that are cuming out with their own models later this fall, but with 20 Gigs, 7+ hours of video playback and slick design, the Zen is sure to be a winner (it's shot it's way to the top of my "wish list" that's for sure!). Combine this with the ATI TV Wonder USB 2.0 to capture television shows from the night before and you've got a sweet travel system. I could really use this for my trip to Russia, especially if I take the cheap but considerably longer option of the 36 hour train ride... ouch!

Here's another demo demostrating the functionality of Windows Media Centre software on the device.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Some of you have been having computer problems lately. For a decent online automatic parasite check, the nasty programs that try and dial pay numbers or open up a ga-zillion pop-ups, look here or here.

To speed up boot times, checkout what crap is being loaded up at startup (usually every piece of software thinks it's terribly important and requires pre-loading at startup, this of course is equally untrue) check out this great resource site, it's great.

If your disk clean utility or defrag is freezing up like mine, try this site.

And finally if you can't sleep like me, check out the new Odd Todd video.
Can't sleep tonight, maybe it has something to do with the 3 hour "power nap" I took at 6PM :-)

Anyways, a great article on Leadership qualities and building a great team. I concur with the points on execution and passion.
Wordcount is a cool website that shows you the frequency of the top 86,800 most used English words. The grand winner... "the", the lowest (categorized) word... "conquistador" which I had to look up on before remembering what it meant: "A conqueror, especially one of the 16th-century Spanish soldiers who defeated the Indian civilizations of Mexico, Central America, or Peru"

EuroRoss was not ranked (somehow I see how this reflects on the popularity of this blog, although scoble wasn't ranked ether since I guess they only use "real" English words... discriminatory basterds!), but Euro is 9967 th and Ross weighs in at 4452 th.

I know how much fun you're all going to have plugging in dirty words :-)

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

It's my gleefull pleasure to announce that all MBA's that requested housing (even those that requested it WAY past the deadline!) have now been placed (or had the opportunity to be placed). I'm a very, VERY happy camper now that the housing sitch is all wrapped up. Thanks to Russia M. for your help!

So what does a geek like me do now that so much of my time is now free'd up? Course scheduling (which you can register by putting in your student number and registering here) and cleaning out my linklist that has built up over the last couple days, not to mention watching the soon to be victorious VFB pokal game tonight, Go VFB Go!!

Here's what I've been looking at recently:

I occationally watch "Big Brother Germany" as it is one of the few shows in German that I can understand without knowing the language, but I sure missed this day!

Sony just unveiled it's new PS2 unit which is smaller and has integrated online connectivity, very cool. It totally sucks since I don't have near enough time to play my PS2 on the rare home visits from Germany. I remember the good old PS1 days with 8-man NHL hockey hours on end before rocking on over to the Bomber for a few pops... ahh the good old days :-)

Look at the cool toys kids today get to play with.

More Google stuff. Looks like they're developing a browser to compete with MS, as well Amazon released "A9" which is their search engine. I wonder what Bill's up to...

Freaky cool, the Squares with "A" and "B" on them are the same colour. Don't believe me? Check it out here!

You know the NHL lockout is a total bummer... and the "original 6 league" certainly lived up to my expectations of being a complete waste of newsprint. At least my Ottawa 67's junior hockey team will soon be in action!

Saturday, September 18, 2004

We certainly never had any of this stuff in Mathematics classes at Waterloo!! -

"In her breezy new book, "Mathematics and Sex," Dr. Cresswell attempts to show that this dreaded discipline is more scintillating -- and more relevant -- than most of us ever dreamed. The book presents current mathematical research that can be used to answer questions like: How will we know when we've found "the one"? How much should individual partners compromise in a relationship? Who has better orgasms, men or women?"

Added it to my Amazon Wishlist... done and done!

Friday, September 17, 2004

Can't get rid of this damn cold. some interesting links while I suffer here in bed:

Do you know the origin of D-O-Double Gizzle's Izzle? For shitzzle!

Bet you can't fold a piece of paper in half 10 times, I'll give you a million dollars if you can fold it 100 times!

The recently finished blog of a London call-girl. Much more interesting than my blog, I probably need some more sexual drama in my life :-) Maybe reading this blog would help?

You know it's time to wash your car when...

That's all for now folks!

A fantastically candid interview with the CEO of Jet Blue (an American low cost airline that started in 2000). A must read. There's lots of interesting things from the article I'd like to pick out but in the end I went with his comments on customer service (Jet Blue is employee centered and customer focused) because of it's apparent scarcity here in Germany:

"Let's just treat people nice. Sometimes people don't deserve to be treated nice. But let's just do it anyway, because that's just the way we want to do business. And so we talk a lot about that kind of stuff. "

In talking with a bunch of Germans on the subject I realize how different cultures can be. When I ask how German's can put up with such poor service, defined as employees being unresponsive, unhelpful and impolite to the point of berating customers at some times, they usually agree that it's not right but they'd rather the employee act like they feel and not "fake" nice towards the customer. They put a higher premium on having the employee act like they actually feel, even if it means treating you the customer with disdain. I guess the lack of a tipping culture (here in Germany tips range from 0 - 1 euro regardless of the size of bill) might have something to do with it.

The other day while at a burger joint on of my German friends was actually surprised at how nice the waitress was, almost to the point of suspicion. I am reminded every day here in Germany how badly Germany needs a customer service focus overhaul, for the company that's able to achieve it will go the spoils.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

"When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading" - Henny Youngman

Well Oktoberfest is ony a week away and with it the beginning of a great party month. Case in point we have next weekend o'fest, school opening pubcrawl Monday, Foreign party night Tuesday, Irish Pub kickoff Wednesday, Thursday Plus extravaganza, Friday is "Hockey Night in Pforzheim" and there's always a party or two in Ruff on the first weekend. My liver is now on notice of eviction :-)

"It only takes one drink to get me drunk, but I can't remember if it's the thirteenth or fourteenth" George Burns (1896 - 1996)

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

A picture says a thousand words:

Team Canada, World Hockey Champions 2004. :-) :-)

Saturday, September 11, 2004

I had to wait up until 3:26 AM, but in the end it was all worth it, Canada 4 - 3 over the Cezch's in overtime. For game info check here, I'm off to bed! On to the finals, Go Canada Go!!

As I lay in bed with a bad cold (don't get me started again on the absurbity of getting a cold in the middle of a hot summer, and this is the second time this year!), here's what I'm finding as I watch VFB kick Hamburg around the Bundesliga field and troll around the web with my laptop:

If you don't love what you do it's impossible to deal with the stress associated with it. Here's an article that looks at possible origins of stress and the benefits of an empowered workforce.

For my old University of Waterloo Mathematics geeks, looks like someone found a numeric solution to finding the roots of any polynomial function. I think I answered on one of my university tests that this was possible and they marked it wrong. I want my 1 point back! :-)

A couple excerpts from "How Would You Move Mount Fuji? Microsoft's Cult of the Puzzle - How the World's Smartest Company Selects the Most Creative Thinkers":

1. "When crucial information is missing in a logic puzzle, lay out the possible scenarios. You'll almost always find that you don't need the missing information to solve the problem."

2. "When you hit a brick wall, try to list the assumptions you're making. See what happens when you reject each of these assumptions in succession."

The nifty difference with the Mark Cuban funded IceRocket search is that they put a screenshot of the webpage beside each result. It also puts blog results and related searches as separate results to the right of the page. Very useful, very cool.

What does Microsoft do with its 7 billion dollars in R&D budget every year? Where's the innovation? I'm not sure, but Microsoft was built and has always been an imitator company; look at a new innovative product or service that someone else has developed and is popular, throw alot of money into developing a similar (or better) version and stamp out the original competitor. Whooo Microsoft!

What is marketing? An intro preceeding this years marketing class.

An interesting post on the trials of one guy when he moved to a new house.

The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition. I can't help but think what the fate of companies that follow some of these rules will be :-) There's some gems in there, here's a couple that caught my eye:

1. "Every once in a while, declare peace. it confuses the hell out of your enemies"
2. "When the going gets tough, the tough change the rules"
3. "A wife is a luxury... a smart accountant, a necessity"
4. "Accountants do not play the game; they only keep the score"
5. "Necessity, n. The mother of invention. Profit is the father"


I just saw on MTV "Newlyweds" this hilarious conversation: [as Nick and Jessica go to their car]

Jessica: "Will you open the door for me?"
Nick: "Nope."
Jessica: "At the beginning of our marrage you'd always open the door for me!"
Nick: "At the beginning of our marrage I got laid."


I outie, just for the record, VFB 2 - Hamburg 0. :-)

Tonight Canada takes on the Czechs in the semi-finals of the World Hockey Championships with the winner going on to the finals against Finland. Go Canada Go! Last night the Americans lost a heartbreaker against the Fins with Saku Koivu getting the winner with less than 4 minutes remaining. The best part though was "during the warmup, four youngsters in Hockey Canada sweaters each held up a sign bearing a word to create the plea, Bring Back Our Jets" ( Hockey in Canada is as strong as ever, that is not the case elsewhere.

That game was in Minnesoda, USA and wasn't even a sellout! I can't even tell you how hard it is to get tickets to the games being played in Canada. The games in Germany and the rest of europe weren't sold out either. Funny how all these warning signs of the state of hockey popularity outside of Canada doesn't kick the NHL and platers union in the ass to get a deal done for the sake of the game. You heard it here first, a call for the return of the Canada Cup!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Video games are blowing up as one of the biggest segments of the entertainment industry. Movies have been innodated with advertisement placements for a very long time and it's only a matter of time before it becomes as prevolent in video games. The economics work, take a look at this excerpt from "Advertisers get in the game: Consumer products hope to score with visibility in videogames" by Katherine Monk:

"With more than a dozen advertisers, that means EA's Need for Speed Underground 2, which is being developed at Electronic Arts Canada's Burnaby studio, could pull in more than $5 million US in ad sales. But given the high cost of development, it's not enough to help the title break even before it hits the shelves. At least not yet. "

I still remember the Pizza Hut signs in the Nintendo Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Sometimes you can re-express the truth to defend your postion:

Actor #1 : What's this about you breaking a rake and throwing it in the woods?

Actor #2 : I didn't *break* it, I was merely testing its durability, and I *placed* it in the woods cause it's made of wood and I wanted it to be near its family.

(got this from here)

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

We're all meeting at Irish Pub, I should say the new and improved "Rooney's Irish Pub" now that our favorite bartender recently bought the bar, around 10PM. Cum one, cum all!

Here's another Irish Pub classic, thanks to Micamyster for getting this in.

Lately I've been helping two people who would like to buy a new laptop. They're weight, size, batterylife, cost (under $1500 Canadian) and "style" concious without concern for overall power (since they'll mostly be surfing the net, e-mailing and Word). I've recommended the Dell Inspiration 1000 (great screen, 3 year warrenty, great customer service, not great battery life, not integrated WiFi, limited upgradablility) and a clearance corner IBM X31 (great keyboard, good batterylife, very durable, not the greatest screen resolution). Obviously at this pricepoint there's going to be tradeoffs, any of you have any suggestions? What about the Averatec?

With all this searching for new computer equipement my geek envy has set in. My laptop needs an upgrade :-)
I just finished "Beyond Fear" by Bruce Schneier and "Moneyball" by Micheal Lewis. (book list updated)

In "Beyond Fear" Schneier tackles the growing concern/paranoia in the US and around the world to the growing threat of terrorist attacks as viewed by his five step framework for addressing security issues:

1. What assets are you trying to protect?
2. What are the risks to these assets?
3. How well does the security solution mitigate those risks?
4. What other risks does the security solution cause?
5. What costs and trade-offs does the security solution impose?

The book can get tedious at times due to his thorough investigation of each issue regarding making an informaed security decision tradeoff. The best parts of the book are the side story's and examples which help support his point as well as provide interesting tidbits of past events and information. I laughed out loud at this satirical protection method against robbery; a sign in your house window that reads:

"Sign: Warning this premisis protected by extreme poverty."

It was also amusing to see that he mentioned how Americans traveling in europe following the 2001 terrorist attacks sometimes would pose as Canadians as they felt this improved their security and safety. It's well know that Canadians and Australians are the nicest, most fun and of course handsome travellers in the world :-) It was particularly interesting since ust last year on an europe tour myself I ran into some "Canadians" at a hostel party and was so excited to talk with them until I realized that they knew nothing at all about Canada and were in fact total American imposters. Hilarious.

All in all I would recommend this book for people interested in security proceedures or others who need to get a grip on their fear of terrorism, but otherwise a little tedious for the average reader. For additional security related information the author has an online newsletter which you can subscrib to be e-mailing a blank message to :

On to "Moneyball"... AMAZNG! Micheal Lewis is a business writter so this book on the workings of Major League Baseball by following the workings of Billy Bean and the Oakland Athletics organisation is a bit of a movement for Lewis. It's his backround in business writting, writting style and story quips that make this book a "must read" for any baseball enthusiast, business professional or general reader (it was a bestseller after all).

The underlying premise of the book which can be applied to business as easily as baseball is to value assets in an objective and quantifiable way, identify which assets are over and under priced in the market and finally the old adage "buy low, sell high". The book follows the real world workings of the A's through most of a season and the use of real stories with real names included added to the value and interest in the book. It would have been great to have a little more analysis on trades that didn't happen as well as a more complete look at the influence of luck in some of the choices but the book holds strong on what it provides and probably could not provide more without becoming more of an "insider" tabloid. I would love to see a reanalysis book 3-4 years from now or a book that covered the same issues over the course of more than one professional season.

Get your hands on this book!

Friday, September 03, 2004

Links, links, links... I'm cleaning out some of my links I've gathered from the last 2 weeks, so here goes!

If you're interested in the science of how people read, here's an interesting article comparing three prevalent views on how people recognize words.

In light of recent tragic events, here's a russian focused news site in english.

The best photography of 2004, here's one I plucked out, Stephanie Lowell, the only girl on the Pleasant Hill High School football team, she's got stones for going through with it.

(picture by The Register-Guard)

For those of us getting closer to graduation, here's transcripts and eve audio of Cornell's commencement speeches 2004.

Can money buy happiness? This essay postulates that it's all relative.

Another in a string of google articles, this one guesstimating that google could take on AIM. I'm telling you guys its only a matter of time before google moves into the operating system and application software (which will be online) marets to compete against Microsoft. Look, it's already started, and look again, and again, others think so too (but I was the first!). Here's a discussion on some other apps that have already moved.

I can't wait until this years season of "The O.C." starts, but the premiere isn't until November 4th!! What gives!?!?

A very cool (read: geeky) idea. I wish they had movie theatre video game contests when I was younger!

An entry of tips for law students, some of them can equally apply to us MBA's. Although this link on procrastination probably apply's more :-)

And finally I'll leave you all with a sex blog link, where can I get me a ticket for the air-conditioned route 12 bus!!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

As I am a full blown geek (sometimes), I couldn't stop laughing at this pic that I stole from StarkDavingMad who had scammed it from Haacked. Hilarious if you know html and actually understand what it means. Ya I'm a geek.

So I rock on over to Famila to pick up some groceries confident that I will be able to reward myself with a "donut spezial" as they call it from the bakery. Now I love my "donut spezials" because it's one of the only food items here in germany that can compare to a Canadian Donut (but of course nowhere close to a Tim Horton's donut, of which I ate about 6 a day for the two week spam when I was back). So I go around, get all my groceries, get fumed at having to pay for plastic bags like everytime and then round the corner to the bakery to buy my reward.

I walk up to the counter, order a donut "spezial" (chocolate covered donut) while searching throughmy walut for the 55 euros cents I know I'll shortly have to give to the clerk when what to my surprise I hear the clerk say "neun-zig cent". I pause, then look up thinking she had been talking to someone else or maybe I had switched into spanish and not heard her correctly.

"Bitte" I say... "neun-zig cent" she proptly replies. I just starred at her. My beloved donut "spezial", my oasis of grocery shopping had, in one friggin day, gone from 55 euro cents to 90 euro cents. What the fuck country am I in when inflation is 65% a day?? Should I be hedgeing my euros by buying rolls of american hundreds??

I still paid it, and it's only 90 cents... but fuck!