Yes, one can drive in such a way as to maximize fuel efficiency on a hybrid.
So the time came for me to buy a car for my commute to class and to help family and friends with chores.
I decided to go with… a 2004 Toyota Prius.
Why? Well, Toronto traffic is dreadful, and gas prices would kill me. And it was reasonably priced (under $8k before taxes, which was my self-imposed limit). And I want to do mini-road-trips when the feeling strikes me, and the limiting factor on those trips would be, well, gasoline prices.
The image of Prius owners gives people like me hives. But you know what? I’m a cheapskate.
Buying a new hybrid is silly — you pay more than you save on gasoline. Buying a used hybrid (less than 1/3 of original price) that still has many years and kilometres of use left to it? That makes lots of sense.
And the car is rather striking.
But it does have an image problem.
So what do I need to do? Well, first I’m going to order a “Harper Leadership” bumper sticker.
Then, I’m going to have to find the funniest American conservative/Republican bumper sticker available on my next trip Stateside.
At that point, I will have decontaminated the Prius brand.
And what the heck, the car’s already scratched up, so a keying or two won’t matter.
Look at this monster.
Nice-sized screen, 16 megapixel camera. Waterproof. And it flips open.
I miss clamshell phones. I loved my original RAZR.
Update: I mean, Japan’s still CDMA. That’s why we’re all not just smuggling their phones out to sell on the North American black market.
But seriously, I’d buy one of these things. I’d take it on a canoe trip and film stuff.
Why doesn’t RIM do something like that? Why limit us to a 5 megapixel camera? How much more would the phone cost to give us a 12 MP one? And make it waterproof? And flip open?
Could give people a full-size keyboard and still have a big screen!
It’s black, it’s rectangular, it has a decent array of 16-bit games…
Note that a jailbroken iPad is still slightly better — it allows you to sync the Wiimotes with it to act as controllers.
Still, this is pretty cool. The old games with stereo sound, hi-res graphics. (Higher-resolution than the games themselves were!)
1. Running Playbook v. 18.104.22.16871. It works pretty nicely, although I don’t see Kindle or Skype in the legit apps store. Oh well, sideloading it is!
2. The NDP race continues to be interesting. Now a Topp-Mulcair alignment?
Here are two Quebec MPs, each supporting a different candidate, who say the final choice must come down to one of two men: Brian Topp or Thomas Mulcair. (I keep listing Topp first for the sole purpose of getting a rise out of Mulcair, and I have watched him long enough to have no doubt it’s working. Punditry is fun.) …
Two things seem to be going on here. (I say “seem to be” because none of the voter ID that’s been released publicly seems to be accurate enough to give anybody a solid sense of each candidate’s support. So there’s a lot of guesswork in anyone’s analysis.)
1. Quebec New Democrats have decided, understandably, that securing the unprecedented 2011 breakthrough in Quebec must be Job One for a new leader, and that a leader who cannot pass as a Quebecer — at least as much of a Quebecer as Jack Layton of Hudson by way of Toronto-Danforth — cannot do that. Here, it’s striking that Brahmi, at least, believes Brian Topp clears that hurdle. There has been some attempt by other New Democrats, and by a few Quebec commentators, to shrink the circle of acceptable candidates down to a diameter of 1 Mulcair. Brahmi, at least, isn’t buying it.
2. When Brahmi says he supports Mulcair, Topp, and “everyone’s second choice” in that order, he’s suggesting he doesn’t think Topp is everybody’s second choice. Indeed, my own hunch for a while has been that Peggy Nash will be the consensus candidate to whom everyone’s votes slide in the end, simply because Nash looks like the sort of New Democrat New Democrats think of when they try to think of a New Democrat. (Stop me if I get too scientifically rigorous.) As a bonus, the policy work I’ve seen from Nash seems unusually thoughtful and serious, but I’m assuming that counts for close to nothing in a leadership contest.
But at the secret Maclean’s nerve centre, buried into the side of a mountain in Ottawa, we’ve all been surprised by the depth and enthusiasm of Paul Dewar’s support. He has roots in the party and in Ottawa, where a lot of New Democrats have done time, and he’s easy to like. Maybe he’s “everyone’s second choice,” and that would certainly explain why the party’s Quebec contingent is in a mood to be flexible, because Dewar’s French is worse than Stéphane Dion’s English. …
As a bonus, my reading of the leader selection process suggests there’ll be some room for cajoling of support between ballots on the day of the vote. So the arguments I’ve rehearsed here, for now unstated by most New Democrats, could be made quite forcefully on the convention floor and, on Twitter, to party members across the country, on the fateful day.
So, some jerk stole my iPad yesterday.
It’s not terrible news — this was an old first-generation iPad that I was thinking of replacing anyway.
And this gave me an excuse to buy a 32 GB Playbook. And I discovered that it’s really a beautiful piece of hardware.
It was doomed, unfortunately, by its slim pickings for applications and its incomplete operating system — really, who ships a tablet with no e-mail or calendar apps?! But this will change with the release of Playbook O/S 2.0, the new operating system that will allow Android applications to be ported over to the Playbook.
It’s just the right size — smaller than the iPad — and has better speakers. It’s much better as a multimedia device.
And so I begin to see why the legions out there remain loyal to RIM’s products, even in the company’s tough times.
But wow, beautiful engineering, terrible marketing — that’s how I was able to get a 32 GB tablet for $250. Which is, I believe, very close to what it cost to make the device.
Let’s hope they can rebound. I shall give the BlackBerry London a close look when it comes out in the fall, for my next phone.
Update: Now running the developers’ beta version of 2.0. It’s neat.
And so I have Kindle again…
Happy New Year, dear readers!
I am writing this from my Vector Linux box, that old Dell Inspiron 2200 from 2002 — it’s still working.
Just now, my regular laptop is burning system restore DVDs, after which it will be all re-done afresh — a new beginning for the new-ish laptop in the new year.
But I’ve been thinking some about the state of things, and renewal, and all that.
The Mail has quite a depressing article about the potential for trouble in 2012 — it could be the worst year since 1932, they say.
I tend to agree with them — the world is in a tough time, and it’s possible or even likely that there’ll be the temptation to engage in political experiments over the next decade. Possibly even political experiments as disastrous as those that came in the 1930s.
But although ideas have terrific and terrible consequences, political culture does tell. The ideas of socialism in Russia brought the Soviet Union and the Great Terror; those same ideas in Britain, Canada, and America brought the Welfare State and the social safety net, and battles to erect them and remove bad elements of them have been — and will be — fought at the ballot box and on the floors of our respective legislative chambers.
So I do not expect terrible things to develop in the English-speaking liberal democratic world — times will be tough, sure, but we’ll get by. I’m more interested in (and fearful of) how things will develop in the rest of the world.
We’re living in interesting times — 2012 may be a significant year.
So, after yet another Windows laptop lurched towards destruction in my possession, I finally said “F*** it!” and started looking around the internet for simple enough Linux installations.
My school laptop now is running a dual boot of Windows 7 and Ubuntu 11.10 — it needs reformatting, once I get some writeable DVDs and burn the factory backup discs.
My most fun one, though, is an old Dell Inspiron 2200, from 2002, on which I’ve put a Canadian Linux build — Vector Linux Light 6.0.
I’m now using it as an internet browsing box, a DVD player, and a computer to knock around on.
I love Linux — I should’ve done this years ago.
(Yes, I’m posting this from my Vectorized laptop.)
So, I got my nice shiny Nexus S.
Went in today to yell at the Apple Store again — they gave me a new phone.
Still, I needed to leave the Apple cult — the Android cult is far better. (And I still have an iPad!)
What will I do with the new iPhone 4? I think I’ll give it to my mom — she needs a camera, she should have a cell, and her level of technical knowledge is what Apple aims at.
Are AWS phones North America-only?
For 3G, perhaps.
But my understanding is, the AWS Nexus Ses can travel, otherwise — just at EDGE speeds.
Or do I need to get my iPhone fixed? May want to do that anyway, if only to sell it…