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Comment Re:Expedia is good for consumers (Score 1) 279

No kidding. Several years ago I was surfing some travel sites for flights (Canada->Europe I think) and found a bunch of reasonable options in the $700 range. For comparison, I decided to call Air Canada (our major carrier) directly to see how their prices compared, eliminating the middle man. They quoted me something like $8000+taxes and fees (I shit you not) for the exact same flight (same flight numbers, etc.) that one of the travel sites listed. I asked the agent if she was joking.

I don't know why those clowns even bothered with a direct service line then. I don't know anyone who's actually paid that much for a flight. But with service like this, it's easy to see why some of these carriers lose credibility with their customers.


Comment Re:And nothing of value was lost (Score 1) 279

Bucking the trend in Canada at least, is little Porter Airlines which flies out of Toronto Island Airport to a handful of other key cities in Canada and the US. They serve tasty, complementary food on real china and in real glassware, offer free beer (500ml cans of the local microbrew), and in the lounge there's selve-serve espresso, drinks, cookies and a huge bank of large-screen iMacs with internet access. All free. Staff are friendly, the terminal and planes are modern and spotless, and flight service is prompt because you're not competing with the traffic at Pearson nearby (incidentally, an airport with the highest, or second highest landing fees in the world). The planes are turboprops, but they are as or more quiet than most jets I fly on. Landing at the island puts you right downtown Toronto. The lounge has an integrated ferry that takes you 100m over to the shore, and there's a free Porter bus to take you the km or so to the main train station and convention centre right downtown.

How much for all this, you may ask? The same or less than paying for Air Canada, our national carrier. Not as cheap as some US carriers, but the great service and less hassle is well worth the fee--especially if you have to do a day trip for business in downtown Toronto.

And we have WestJet for cross-country flights. Another great Canadian airline modelled on Southwest.

Comment Re:Pirates laughing all the way to the home theatr (Score 1) 424

There's a young generation-and-a-half-growing up with the baked-in notion that consuming media "legitimately" is costly and a PITA compared to piracy options. As these people grow into more leadership roles in society, we'll start to see a sea-change in how media is consumed. The rise of the Internet was one such sea-change. The baby boomer generation that runs most things today barely figured that one out. But the boomers sure aren't surviving the piracy sea-change. Once the boomers are finally out of power, maybe then we'll start to see some real change in how media is distributed and consumed. These are deeply held cultural habits that tend to require a generation or two of evolution to evolve.

Comment Actually, Murdoch hates paper (Score 1) 538

Murdoch would like nothing more than to kill paper (newspaper, books, etc.) and replace it with digital. Pulp and printing equipment are increasingly expensive, and it's no secret he despises the paperworker unions that control his labour costs. Plus he likes the idea of DRM.

I wish I could find the quote of his that sums this up nicely.

Comment This is Jordan (Score 1) 440

Disclaimer: I'm Jordan Smith, Product Marketing Manager at Xandros. I launched Presto at Demo 09 ( last week. (And what a great experience that was!)

Presto is a simple Windows utility that downloads as an .exe and installs/uninstalls like any other Windows app in XP or Vista. It gives you the option on boot-up of choosing either Windows or Presto. Booting into Presto gives you quick (i.e. sub 10 seconds) access to Firefox, Pidgin and Skype, plus many other apps you can add through In our experience, the aforementioned apps cover the vast majority of quick, online use cases e.g. updating Facebook, checking Gmail, etc. Shutdown is instant.

Presto is not meant to replace Windows. It's not even about Linux. It's about enabling people to quickly, easily and cheaply turn a dusty old computer into a fast, reliable, easy and secure browsing appliance. There's a strong market for this. I've even made a point about stripping out all the visible OS-like stuff because our users don't seem to want or need it. On the contrary: they appreciate the simplicity of Presto.

I'm very interested in getting your feedback on our beta, mainly to identify where we may have gaps in our hardware support. You can sign up for the beta at We'll have the beta up on and on Monday. It's under 500MB (including Open Office, a large chunk of that) and we're working on a way to make the DL less painful.

As always, I'm open to your constructive feedback at jordan.smith(at)




Submission + - Robotic underlords to help humans walk (

Frankenbuffer writes: Honda has revealed an interesting set of robotic legs to help the elderly or factory workers improve mobility while reducing fatigue. The device consists of a unicycle-like seat with two powered legs attached to shoes. The legs respond to natural movements like climbing stairs or squatting, and assist by gently supporting the wearer's weight. I can't wait for a "giant stride" version that would let me walk at 50 km/hr!

Submission + - iPod tax struck down in Canada

Frankenbuffer writes: The Canadian Copyright Board's attempt to place a charge of between $5 and $75 on media players like the iPod, ostensibly to compensate the recording industry for music that is copied to the devices, was struck down by the Federal Court of Appeal. []

Opponents of the tax, including the Retail Council of Canada, argued that media players should be considered as playback devices like portable CD players, not as blank media like CDs which attract the tax. Interestingly, that argument appears to be irrelevant. The Court's decision seems to be based on finding that the Copyright Board doesn't have legal authority to impose the levy.

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