Smart moves around the world

Here’s a sidebar from The Gazette about smart city initiatives around the world. They mentioned the City Côte of Saint-Luc’s adoption of the SeeClickFix app to report non-emergency issues, like potholes. There’s also a quote from me.


Autoplay videos on Montreal Gazette website are a terrible idea

I was minding my own business, reading quietly. It was a Montreal Gazette​ article about a dynamic market for street parking. I had listened to a Freakonomics podcast about this in San Francisco and was interested to see the Montreal angle.

I made the mistake maintaining interest in the article and reading well into the middle of the piece. That’s when I was blasted by the loud electric guitar sounds of a car commercial embedded in the article.

Autoplay videos are a very bad idea for online newspapers. It turns out, everyone else feels the same way. Here’s a PC World article showing how to change browser settings to stop it.

The 1980s in one photo

The furniture that used to be on my childhood room is today in my home office. While I could fill the shelves with books and other official-looking adult things, it’s much more fun to make it a kind of museum of the early to mid-1980s.

The Space Shuttle on a 747, a Rubik's Cube, a Polaroid camera and the A-Team van.
The Space Shuttle on a 747, a Rubik’s Cube, a Polaroid camera and the A-Team van.

Not all my toys are in my office. My A-Team action figures are in the doll-house of my daughters. How did they get there? Well, naturally Rapunzel, Anna, and Elsa had a problem, no one else could help, and they were able to find them.

Some of my toys from the 1980s have taken up residence in my daughters' doll house.
Some of my toys from the 1980s have taken up residence in my daughters’ doll house.

Birdman could have used some editing

Birdman may be a great movie in some way I don’t understand. But it’s not a particularly good movie and by good movie I mean a movie you want to watch again. After 90 minutes, it felt like I had been watching for 2 hours. You can imagine what those last 30 minutes felt like.

I get that it must have been hard to film it in one shot without cuts. That seems gimmicky to me. Editing makes movies better. Also, the last shot was no good. Are we to believe that his delusions are not really delusions? Or that he and his daughter are connected in some weird way and his delusions have spread to her? This was like a Bobby-Ewing-in-the-shower ending.

Compare Birdman with previous Oscar winner The Social Network, which was on ABC on Saturday night. I  would watch that movie again and again. I don’t care for great movies, unless they are also good ones.

Cosco, Interac and the missing T that drives everyone crazy

I have a theory that car-seat maker Cosco and the payment service Interac are quietly driving people mad. Who among us doesn’t fight the urge to add a T-sound to their names. Those companies are taunting us.

“Yeah, go ahead and try *not* to think about the missing T. Suckers.”

They further create unrest when inattentive readers assume the T is there and add it in speech. Like at almost every damn store you visit. This makes the rest of us — who are trying so hard to say it correctly — angry and jealous. Imagine how much better life would be if we could use it incorrectly — without even being aware.

Interac: There is no T in Interac.

Potholes in Montreal

To the outside world, Montreal is known for the Canadiens, smoked meat, poutine, bagels and strip clubs — maybe not in that order. But to people who live, work or drive in Montreal, this city of 1.7 million people is known for just one thing: potholes.

As I write this on Monday, February 16, 2015, there is a series of about seven or eight large and deep potholes on the east side of Décarie Blvd. between Van Horne and Plamondon (map). They are comically big and have been there since at least Friday. I didn’t photograph the four hubcaps resting on a light pole off to the side near the Shell gasoline station. Someone must have removed those from the street after passing cars lost them after falling into these craters.

Here are some photos from today.

Pothole craters
Huge potholes on Décarie Blvd. northbound between Van Horne and Plamondon.

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