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Welcome to Walter Moore Canada's Blog. These comments are strictly opinion. You can disagree!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

XBox360 Kinetic - What the WII should have been

If you think the WII or Playstation Move were cool you really need the new XBox360 Kinetic. I just got one yesterday amd got exercise and dance games at the same time. Now this is the way gaming should be for most games... You really are in the game now.
I started with the exercise game and quickly worked up a sweat. Found it really forces you to not only keep up but also to do the exercise properly. It corrected me when I didn't squat far enough, step in beat with insstructor, or raise my arms far enough when required. That is a huge advancement from the WII and Playstations that only detect the controller movement. When I was doing exercises I did not know it would show me on screen and voice confirmation when I got it right. Talk about a game changer. This game in itself made the Kinetic controller worth it... Great exercise tool.
When I played the Dance game I was not as impressed with the game...Although I dance a lot I found they really presume you pick things up very quickly and since the system monitors your entire body you can have the entire move right except one arm and it will show you everything except the arm is correct(arm will show in red). Found this to be quite complex and if you didn't know any dance moves this could definately make you feel like you at least know how to dance ;) I will have to play this game a little more before I reject it. It might get better with a bit of practice.
The Adventure game that comes with Kinetic is not the best but it is kinda fun for kids. Again I haven't had time to try the whole game but what I have played has been fun.
Voice recognition seems to work fairly well but I did have to repeat a few things for it to work but I think that was more me getting used to the interface.
It detects different people so you don't have to change players... The system knows who is playing ;)
If you walk away from the game it pauses automatically. When you come back it automatically continues.

With all this great stuff there are some negatives...
1. You need at least 6-8 feet between you and the Kinetic and at least 6-8 feet in width to play. It will not work if you are in a small room and anything blocking the view between the controller and you will have adverse affects.
2. Requires a brightly lit area to play. Dim areas can cause the game not to recognize you or your movements. However, too much direct light can also cause problems.
3.Some games seem to have a little delay but that was a very rare occurence. Most times there were no delays.
4. Requires games that support the Kinetic. This controller will not work with games not built for it so you have to buy a bunch of new games.
5. Changes the XBox primary screens which takes a little getting used too but no big deal.
6. It is definately not for the couch potato... You really are in the game and several times I broke out in a sweat so expect a workout for most games.

All in all this is an awesome advancement in gaming and I strongly recommend getting one for your XBox360. This might even be enough to justify buyig the XBox360 if you don't have it. If you are thinkig of buying the WII or Playstation Move don't waste your money on them... This interface is so much better than either of them. Once more games get released I expect the Kinect to become part of the basic XBox360 but don't wait... Get yours now!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cleanups Update Sept 2010

Well the summer was going along great and both Avening and Glencairn parks seemed to be very easy to maintain this year... Until mid August then the only party this year was held. They cleaned up all the beer bottles and cans(they are worth money) and at least a lot of the garbage. Unfortunately the park was at a level where there was hardly a speck of garbage. Just the bottle caps from way over 100 beer were a pain to pick up. I have really come to hate the labels on beer bottles. Why does everyone tear them off then rip them into little pieces and throw them on the ground. Then the cigarrett butts of course and a bunch of other tiny peices of garbage. Although there only ended up being 5 small bags of garbage each bag is full of hundreds of small pieces of garbage. I am happy to say that Glencairn is almost back into shape... I ran out of garbage bags so there are a few pieces left to cleanup... and of course there will always be tomorrow.


I did a little experiment of my own after the party... I did not clean the park up intentionally. Why? When I go to the park and am cleaning I run into people and many proceed to tell me how they clean the park all the time as well. So I thought I would give them the chance... Plus there is a group from the community that publishes that they maintain the park so I figured surely these people could at least pick up the bigger garbage that was left before I do the rest... Of course I was dreaming, I new that ;) .... After 3.5 weeks I couldn't stand it anymore and cleaned the park a few days ago. Not even the most obvious garbage right on the main path was picked up(pop bottle and McDonald's junk), nothing, nada. Please, when you see someone else cleaning don't tell them how you clean that unless you really do. You might run into someone like me who knows you are lying.

Of course Avening has been a dream. Sometimes I wonder why I bother since there is so little garbage. At Avening I can clearly see the community(at least a few people) realy take pride in making their park a beautiful place. I go to the remote sections if I want to cleanup anything because everything else is a already so clean. No beer bottle caps, not even cigarrette butts. It is quite amazing. Avening should get an award for the way they maintain their park.   

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Electric Cars...Are we really ready?

Although I think electric cars are the future I have some major concerns.
  1. What happens to dead batteries??? Right now we don't manage this well. What are we going to do with these monster car battery packs? What about the spent lithium? Is there any environmental issues?
  2. How much supply of lithium is there? Can it support the current/future demand? To go all electric will require a lot of lithium.
  3. We are experiencing electric brown-outs now due to high usage. What happens when we all want to charge our cars? Surely the current infrastructure can't handle the load. A more distributed design MUST be in place to support electric cars.
  4. What about the fine metal dust from the generators? The friction wears the pads which creates dust that floats in the air or cakes to machinery.
  5. Does the electric noise or battery discharge affect animals/humans?
  6. Is there any affect having all that electricity surrounding us? 
You would think with all these concerns I would be saying slow down... but I am NOT! Athough there are issues with electric it is still far superior to the fossil fuel choices. I want to make sure we don't just switch to a different pile of crap. We need to do this for our descendants and it has to come quickly to ensure we actually have descendants.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Park cleanups 2010 update

Well I have been cleaning both Avening and Glencairn parks this year and there is quite a difference between the two. Glencairn requires much more of my time for cleaning. Each week this year the Glencairn park has built up a garbage bag full of crap plus at least one large item(like tires/metal). Avening on the other hand requires picking up 10-20 small peices of garbage each week with no large items. Although Glencairn is a busier park the problem seems to stem from only a very few people. There is at least one person that smokes at least 5-10 cigarrettes per day in the park. At least I pick up that many butts of a specific brand almost daily(plus other butts). Another lets their dogs(multiple large dogs) crap all over the park. Fortunately this year there hasn't been any major dumping going on and there has been a few people actually picking garbage up. Glencairn does not seem to be having any major parties this year(usually there are 5+ already) so the garbage has been dramatically reduced this year.
No matter how I look at it the parks are cleaner and easier to maintain this year than previous. The amount of garbage I see is noticably less than previous years. Especially butts and beer bottle caps. However since the outhouse has been removed from Glencairn some people have used the park as a bathroom and left toilet paper in several places(not nice).
Oh well, there will always be something that could be improved.  

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Soccer / Football... why I don't like it

I have been watching the world cup and it reminds me why I don't watch soccer. There are 2 primary reasons...

  1. Low scores. Too many games end in ties and the ball basically is bounced around center field most of the game.
  2. Wining. Any sport I know if the players faked penalties that obviously they would GET the penalty. The players seem to wine and cry all game long about penalties that should have been called. Suck it up! I have seen hockey players get booed off the ice for trying to fake a penalty.
These 2 issues really make it hard for me to get interested in the sport. I do like to play the game... just don't like watching it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wireless Internet Sticks

If you are looking at getting the Rogers RocketStick or Bell/Telus versions of the same thing(Wireless Internet) here is some helpfull stuff I have found...

1. Rogers is by far fastest. I tested Bell and Telus sticks(latest) against Rogers HSPA(7.1mb) from the same computer in the same house using several web based speed testers. Rogers was consistently 10+ times faster then Bell and at least 8 times faster than Telus. Rogers has since gotten even faster with HSPA+(21mb)

2. DON'T GET YOUR STICK FROM ROGERS! If you go to Futureshop right now you can get a free netbook($299) if you sign up with the 2 year plan.

3. Make sure you get the HSPA+ stick even if service is not available in your area yet. It s a better quality stick. Model MF668... I think the old one is MF638.

4.If you don't watch video on the web you probably can get away with 500mb plan. You can always upgrade later without problem but you are penalized if you downgrade. You can get a real idea of your usage in first 2 months when downloads are "free"... Be careful, that is not quite true... They don't tell you that they will charge you if you go over 5gb(so I heard).

I got my HSPA+ stick from Rogers on Sunday only to find the deal at Futureshop on Tuesday. Deal only on for short time so if your interested go now. This might get more convoluted when I take the stick I bought on Sunday back to rogers today. Update you if there are any issues.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Avening Cleanup 2010

After picking up 2 full bags of garbage at Glencarin I went to Avening park on Thursday  to check it out and found it to be very nice and exceptionally well maintained. I could see that at least a few people take care of it already but it looked like a spring cleaning had not been done so I decided to do a cleanup. This park is much larger than Glencairn with a lot more public area. It even has a covered pick nick area.

In a few hours I covered most common areas of the park. What a difference between this and Glencairn park. There was only one tire found throughout the park and NONE in the water. The only "wierd" thing was the truck seat(pic below) but it looked like it was used at one time. Virtually no cigarette butts or beer caps. Most garbage is cans, bottles, plastic, paper and cloth. Not the funky stuff encountered at Glencairn. However, since this is the first time cleaning Avening it is possible I may find funky stuff in future visits.

In total there was approximately 5 bags of garbage, one tire, one plastic bucket, one rust metal piece, and one truck seat. I consider that extremely clean for a first cleaning. Especially considering the size of the park. Glencairn has more garbage than this every month. What a surprising pleasure Avening park was.
 
If you are passing through Avening I recommend you check out this park(just north of bridge on west side). Avening is located on Airport Road 2-3k south of CR#9.    
Below are pics of the park and garbage collected at Avening...
Sign with park name out front
This was all the garbage I picked up. Relatively nothing.
Here is the truck seat found in the woods
Dirt road into the park
Covered pick-nick area and my bike ;)
Park area
River looking north
River looking south
Park area
Nice large tree just starting to bud.
More park

There is much more park here than the pics show.The only way to know is to check it out yourself.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Glencairn spring cleaning 2010

Well I am back from Florida and one of the first things I did was get my motorcycle out and went and cleaned Glencairn park. After keeping it clean last year until I left for Florida(see other "cleanup" posts) it was actually quite easy to clean it up this spring. There were very few large items this year with most stuff smaller than a pop can(lot's of those). As you can see by the pics below there were only a few bags or garbage this spring. However there are now 2 new tires in the river(not in pics) plus another one cleared from the woods. I will have to remove them later in the year when water warms up. There does not appear to be anything else in the water at this time. Not sure why everyone throws tires in the water. It would be much easier on me if they just threw them in the woods. On top of everything you can dispose of tires for free now. Anyway, right now it is hard to find a cigarette butt in the park again... clean again... except the 2 tires  ;)
I am going to look at cleaning Avening and/or EdenVale parks in next few weeks. Anyway here are picks of the garbage and Glencairn park after cleanup. This only took 2-3 hours. You could probably clean your local park in the same amount of time... Give it a try, you might be surprised by how good YOU will feel. Screw every one else... THINK OF YOURSELF ;)


Friday, April 9, 2010

Florida - Winter 2009-2010

In a nutshell... IT SUCKED!!!... But still better than weather up north ;)

One of the coldest winters ever. Numerous broken records related to cold. When it was warm it rained and it was windy the entire winter. March was the 2nd coldest on record at Saint Pete, broke the previous longest cold spell(temps do not reach 60F) of 7 days by a long shot reaching 13 consecutive days this winter, numerous individual day records, January and February were also among coldest on record. There was a lot of crop damage and many plants and animals died due to cold. I personally saw numerous dead fish and plants in my travels. Even the manatee stayed in their winter areas much longer than usual.

To top it off it was actually WARMER at the winter games in B.C. than Saint Petersburg Florida.

Of course in the last 2 weeks the weather has been fantastic. Sunny and warm(75-85F) but not too hot. Water has warmed up to at least tolerable temps(70F+). Usually it gets very hot here(90+) around this time but this year it is much more pleasant. To bad I am going home on Sunday.

Business has really suffered here this year as there has been less vacationers. As if they needed this with the problems they already have. Virtually all resorts/hotels had vacancies all year with a very few filling up during spring break. At least the last few weeks have picked up and maybe there will be enough late comers for them to salvage at least something. I expect there may be a lot of businesses failing this summer into next winter.

House prices are back down to a reasonable value and there are some really good buys. I have heard of discounts of 40%++ off already discounted prices on foreclosures. There are still some that price their houses high but there are many more that are willing to take anything they can get. Common to see 50% off "boom time" asking price. In the complex I am staying houses were selling for $450-550k like hot cakes during the boom now they are listed for $200-300k and not selling. A huge number of vacant properties.

On the positive side...We never had snow ;)... STILL MUCH BETTER THAN -40 :) Canadian dollar makes it worth while coming down for even short trips. If you have been thinking of coming here come on down! They need the business and you can get cheap accomodations(look in CraigsList).

Hopefully next year will be more accomodating... The things I suffer with ;)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Outdated Information

Lately I have been doing a fair bit of research on the web and I really notice that a lot of content is old and outdated. Particularly when it comes to coding. What was the cool solution 2 years ago is integrated into IDE's and done in a couple of clicks today. You could spend hours implementing this "cool" function only to find another newer article telling you it is really simple to do now with a few mouse clicks.
As time goes on I think the date of creation and last updated date are becoming much more important in search results. So, now I am starting to perform a lot of advanced searches with date filters set. You might want to try it to reduce the crap in search results. For that matter using any other filter also gives you a little better results.  

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

MagicJack is worth the money

I bought a MagicJack in 2009-09 and it has definitely been worth the value. In case you don't know what a MagicJack is here is a simple explanation. This little device allows you to use your computer with Internet to make phone calls anywhere in Canada/USA. Plus it gives all types of features like call display, conference calls, 3 way calling and more... OK, this is starting to sound like a sales pitch... Lets break it down...
Benefits:

  1. All phone calls within Canada/USA for $20 PER YEAR!!! That should be enough. It cost more per month for long distance and then there is the basic line charges and additions like call waiting and call answer. If you can get away with $50 per month that is cheap... $50x12=$600 per year!
  2. Call quality is usually as good as land lines but periodically works more like a cell phone(may  not be perfect).
  3. Simple to install. If you can connect a phone and use a computer you can do it.
  4. You can register the phone number in most cities within USA(I registered mine in St.Pete, Florida.
  5. Comes with lots of accessories for free. Things like call waiting, forwarding, display, answer, 3way, even your own hosted conference calls are free.
  6. You can send a MagicJack to someone in another country and they can use it like a local area phone... Example: I, a Canadian living in Ontario, registered my MagicJack phone number(727-827-8295) in St.Pete, Florida. Now, no matter where the MajicJack is physically located it acts as if it is in St.Pete. Anyone that calls my MagicJack is billed as if they called me in St.Pete(it may be in Canada physically). I could send my MagicJack to Japan and it still works like it is in St.Pete.
  7. Can send you an email when any voice message is left. Email will include the actual voice mail.   
  8. You can use a regular phone or computer headset.
  9. Disconnect your current service and you can plug MagicJack into any phone jack and all phones in your house will work.

Disadvantages:

  1. If you are looking for 100% quality on every call this unit is not for you. I would think of it more of a cell phone. Once in a while call quality is less than perfect. Try the call again.
  2. When I registered I could not register a Canadian phone number. Only USA cities are allowed.
  3. Once in a while there seems to be an echo. 
  4. While calling out seems to work well sometimes people calling in have problems.
  5. Requires high-speed Internet and could get costly if you pay for your downloads.
  6. A certain degree of nagging to buy other items when registering.
  7. 911 services are only available in USA.

Summary:
If you already have high-speed Internet then this unit is definitely worth it. You will probably save the money it cost in the first month. Do not disconnect your current phone service until you have fully tested the MajicJack. Excellent as a second line(ensures you have 911 services(not an issue in USA)).

Installation Tips:
Just plug the phone into the unit then plug the unit into your computer. It will automatically configure for you but be careful when reading the prompts. There are constant little things trying to get you to buy additional services. This was one of my dislikes.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Do NOT save passwords if using Google Chrome

If you are using Google Chrome as your personal browser(which I have recommended and am questioning now) DO NOT ALLOW GOOGLE CHROME TO SAVE ANY PASSWORDS!!! Why you ask? Simple. In their infinite wisdom Google decided that anyone that has access to the device can look up ALL the passwords you have saved in it.
This is CRAZY!!!!! Wasn't anyone thinking of security....AGAIN! I found this by fluke but if you  choose "Options" from menu, then choose the "Personal Stuff" tab, there is a button called "Show saved passwords" that like it says shows a list of the sites, the userid AND password you entered. Talk about giving away the farm. Why would you ever allow ANYONE to see the password!!! Defeats the whole idea of security.
Now you know why I m quickly taking back my recommendation of Google Chrome. These bimbo's don't seem to understand the first thing about security. Anyone I know with a couple of years experience could see all types of problems allowing this... And they want to replace Microsoft??? Things are not looking good folks ;(

Thursday, February 18, 2010

HTML5 - JavaScript LOCAL SQL Databases

I just built a demo at http://wmoore.ca/basic/localdbdemo.htm to show some of the possibilities with the new client side databases(that's right databases on customers device) that are part of HTML5(sort of). It shows you most of the common database functions and the code to do it. You can easily learn to utilize databases in offline mode so you can allow customers to work while they are offline and update the online systems later. Or you might want to create a 100% offline tool. If your solution requires a local database you can now use this database structure natively in JavaScript. I am already working on ideas.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Internet Explorer.... The modern Edsel? Don't write it off yet ;)

First off, I use Google Chrome V4 now and am a recent convert from Microsoft's Internet Explorer(IE8). I have noticed a lot of IE bashing lately particularly related to standards support. I find this rather ironic since most of the things mentioned as non-standard are items that IE implemented as far back as IE3 but because the standard didn't exist they created their own. Things like opacity and shadows that everyone hypes in CSS3 were all working fine in IE3!!! Things still being worked on like transitions in CSS have been in IE since beta3. HTML5 items like databases and custom tags were all part of IE3 & 4. My demo site that was made exclusively for IE4+ used these and many other cool capabilities that were not available in any other browser. That is when all the competition disappeared and IE got slower and sloppier with every release.
Now I see many people writing IE off. I do not recommend this for business at this time! Microsoft is too large a company to just roll over and let this happen. Remember when Netscape said the same thing... Netscape was going to be the browser... Woke up Microsoft who then crushed Netscape. IE9 is going to reduce the complaints by being faster and more standards compliant and by IE11 I suspect they will be in the battle again, maybe even dominating. I also think the versions will be coming faster now there is competition.
Now on the other and... It would make sense to me for Microsoft to totally drop the browser and let others build them to run on Windows systems. After all they don't make any money on the browser. It would be quite an achievement to put something like Firefox on all Microsoft systems(I can't see Chrome with the Google/Microsoft wars ongoing).
This war really doesn't matter so don't invest to much into any specific browser. Try to go with browser neutral code or at least code that degrades gracefully like CSS.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

CSS3 will really make things better

It has been a long time since much has made me hype technology but CSS3 is one of them. This version of CSS really implements some time saving options. If you haven't noticed this site is utilizing CSS3 in several ways...

  1. Using box shadow to create the cool shadow around each section.
  2. Using text shadow to create the nifty fire shadow underlining text.
  3. Rounding corners without graphics and a lot of code or complex tables.
On my website at http://wmoore.ca/  I also implemented the above options plus...
  1. Using Rotate to rotate both the text and pictures 45 degrees left or right.
  2. Using Opacity to dim pictures until mouseover, then brighten image.
  3. Using Transforms, positioning and rotate to put text sideways.
  4. Of course the old demo site built for IE4 has extensive use of CSS1&2 including dynamic themes. All built around 1999-2001(more than 10 years ago).  Still works if you have IE or Opera.
There are even more that I have not implemented... Here are a few...
  1. Multiple backgrounds
  2. Gradients
  3. 2D & 3D transforms
  4. Template layouts... What tables should have been. While difficult for those that learned tables already(like myself) to comprehend value these are much simpler and powerful than current tables.
  5. Even Speech which really came out in CSS2 is covered.
Maybe this time people will pay more attention to CSS's value. It was really underrated when IE3 Beta was released(when I first saw it). And few adopted CSS for several years... I of course was telling everyone of the great value they are missing. Unfortunately this was not a battle that was winnable at the time. Business still wanted to support every browser EXACTLY the same so we were all limited to the very basics. Even when repeatedly, new browsers/versions would appear requiring in some cases almost entire rewrites of some systems. Business would not compromise on a "works for everyone but best in XX browser" model which was needed. Once we got past that unfortunate situation CSS took off.  Business started realizing the potential of CSS to support everyone in at least a basic form. Now CSS is the standard and soon you will not be allowed to code design descriptors(like height,width,color...) in HTML tags. Most design tools are switching to this model in front of the curve.
If you see my web site in Chrome then look at it in IE you will be able to see what CSS3 is doing for me... IE8- does not support CSS3(IE9 will) but did have some options(like opacity) implemented BEFORE the standards came out. I am sure that IE9 will be a dramatic improvement in supporting CSS3 standards but it will take sometime for IE9 to be adopted by everyone. The site does not look very good in IE... much better in Chrome, Safari or Firefox.
Adopt CSS3 now!!! That way we can all reduce the bandwidth glut and provide the customer with a better experience. 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Browser memory usage at startup

Ever wonder how much memory the various browsers are using when they start? Well Chrome has a nice feature from the address bar... Type in about:memory in the address bar and press enter. If you did like I did and started the 5 top browsers before entering about:memory you will get a display something like below:


This display had to be refreshed one additional time in Chrome so technically it shows using more than it really was by about 1mb. As you can see the more features available the more memory is being used. IE8 is surprisingly the stingiest in memory. I was surprised that Opera used so much memory but I guess with all the extra features like voice it needs the resources.
Please note I took caution to start each browser in a blank page to ensure no extra load was recorded for memory usage. Each browser was started only once beforehand.

Monday, February 1, 2010

IE8 is Really SLOW... compared it to Chrome..

Well after switching to Chrome I performed a standard test from Sunspider(http://www2.webkit.org/perf/sunspider-0.9/sunspider.html) using various browsers and this was the results... Chrome & Safari are clear winners. For that matter, in performance, they beat IE & Firefox easily.

Here is the results... Chrome is on average 10.2 times faster than IE8. These are generic tests of JavaScript and other resources that Microsoft recommends! Microsoft touts that IE9 will be faster(only 2x as slow instead of 10x)and tests of IE9 do reflect the improvement but who cares... Microsoft is STILL the slowest of all 4 tested browsers(IE9, FireFox3.6, Chrome4, Safari4). Chrome/Safari are the fastest regardless if you are using older versions or the latest builds. Firefox is around 30% slower. IE... putt putt putt ;)

This chart compares IE8 and Chrome3 where you can clearly see how slow IE8 really is. All times in milliseconds. IE9 is faster but still slower than Chrome!

Test IE8 Chrome TimesFaster
3d: 1,268.6 139.6 9.1
cube: 415.6 43.0 9.7
morph: 347.0 47.4 7.3
raytrace: 506.0 49.2 10.3
access: 1,525.2 65.2 23.4
binary-trees: 315.4 5.2 60.7
fannkuch: 600.2 21.8 27.5
nbody: 437.6 32.6 13.4
nsieve: 172.0 5.6 30.7
bitops: 1,018.6 58.4 17.4
3bit-bits-in-byte: 159.2 4.4 36.2
bits-in-byte: 168.6 11.4 14.8
bitwise-and: 468.8 17.4 26.9
nsieve-bits: 222.0 25.2 8.8
controlflow: 246.8 4.4 56.1
recursive: 246.8 4.4 56.1
crypto: 650.0 53.6 12.1
aes: 275.0 21.6 12.7
md5: 187.6 17.0 11.0
sha1: 187.4 15.0 12.5
date: 943.4 138.4 6.8
format-tofte: 449.8 62.8 7.2
format-xparb: 493.6 75.6 6.5
math: 1,077.8 87.8 12.3
cordic: 390.6 29.4 13.3
partial-sums: 315.6 41.2 7.7
spectral-norm: 371.6 17.2 21.6
regexp: 293.4 24.8 11.8
dna: 293.4 24.8 11.8
string: 2,096.8 321.6 6.5
base64: 397.2 31.0 12.8
fasta: 502.6 44.2 11.4
tagcloud: 372.0 76.0 4.9
unpack-code: 406.2 93.8 4.3
validate-input: 418.8 76.4 5.5
Total: 18,241.2 1,787.4
Average: 521.2 51.1 10.2

Thursday, January 21, 2010

USA Dollar Needs to Go Down

I bet there are a lot of you that think there is no way the USA dollar should go down any further. Matter of fact you probably think it is too low. WELL IT DOES NEED TO GO DOWN!

The USA dollar has been inflated for years which wasn't a problem during the tech' hay days. Then everyone was reducing costs dramatically but the field is relatively level again. Everyone has cut cost through technology, there isn't much left to benefit from.

So now it often gets down  to cost of labor. If the USA dollar is high the labor cost is high and companies move elsewhere. If it is low costs are lower and companies hire in the USA. Pretty simple. It also applies to all the products USA exports & imports... A lower USA dollar makes imports(stuff USA buys from others) more expensive and exports(stuff USA sells to others) cheaper. This inherently creates jobs and fuels the economy.

If the USA dollar stays up USA business can't sell their products to others and others can dump their products on the USA market very cheaply making it even more difficult for USA to grow.
Is this a perfect solution... Absolutely not. This means a lot of people have net-net less buying power. However, it would drive business in the USA.

It is obvious to me that the USA government wants the dollar to stay low. They could easily step in and stabilize it but they choose not too. On the other hand they want a controlled reduction not a free fall. You can see this in the USA government moves and in reverse for the Canadian and other governments(warn against gaining to quickly).

If the USA government was smart they were buying other currencies to assist in devaluing the dollar. Then later when the dollar gets really low, pay off all the debts(they are all in USA dollars), then buy back the dollar by selling the other currencies they bought previously and drive the dollar back up. That would be a very sneaky move that would gain them a lot of money and may even bring them out of the currently inevitable financial collapse.

Again these are my rants, you can have your own ;)

Obama - 1st Year From a Canadian's Perspective


Originally published on 2009-12-07
I am amazed at how quickly Americans have forgotten where they were when Obama took office just 11 months ago. The republicans had put the country to the brink of collapse( I blame them most because they are the ones put in place to ensure everyone else doesn’t do what they did). The USA was crashing taking the rest of the developed world with it. The potential for all banks crashing if something wasn’t done was almost 100%. If the banks crashed everything else would go with it. USA money would be worthless and unemployment could easily hit 75%++. Some countries had already taken over their banks due to the spin-off of the USA crash. To top it off the weak car companies were finally forced to bankruptcy looking like that sector was going to be destroyed which would take the USA in to a depression situation for sure. Of course there are the miscellaneous things like Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Health Care, Unemployment.. the list goes on.
The final piece that I wish wasn’t there but do have to recognize is he is black. This undoubtedly has and will create difficulties within his own country. On the other hand I think it helps him in International issues.
This is the toughest position a US president has ever walked into by far in my opinion. As “a world leader” this US president has a responsiblity to think of more than his own country(although USA is his priority). Especially with whole countries like Iceland going bankrupt due to investments in USA. Previous presidents could say screw everyone else, he can’t.
So now you can remember SOME of the mess let’s look at where USA is 11 months later… The banks are making money and paying back their loans(made money on that one), the car companies went through orderly bankruptcies and came out leaner and meaner(might get money back), the unemployment appears to be peaking at 10.2%(no where near 75), AIG’s possible impact has been dramatically reduced(they alone were going to make everything collapse), housing market is stabilizing in some markets(at least not free-falling), the dollar has depreciated enough to start making USA exports competitive(was way over valued to make US products competitive) and possibly reduce cost of payment of debt. unfortunately (or fortunately – sell more USA products), imported products cost more.
That alone would be enough for most countries to praise the president. But Obama has done this while dealing with Health Care, Iraq and all the other issues noted above. The guy has been in power for 11 months and accomplished more than virtually any other president in their entire tenure. Cut the guy some slack. USA is lucky it is not in a depression and to avert a depression and start coming out of the crash within 11 months is awesome.
Are things perfect? Absolutely not. USA has just averted probably it’s worst crisis to date and all some are saying is “ARE WE THERE YET?”.  USA is not going to fully recover for years(if ever) but maybe you should be thankful that you are not where you were going to be if republicans were still in power.
Why not try asking some of the republicans why they didn’t do anything before? It was obvious to all of us, why didn’t they see and address the problem? They took the easy way out because they wanted votes, that’s why. Anyone with any legal/accounting background could see big problems coming. I am quite sure there were some staff in the offices telling them what they were putting in place was crazy. However, they got a lot of votes by implementing ways for people to buy houses they could not afford. There are a lot of people who were fine in their old house but were told they could sell their house and get bigger/better so they did, only to find they lost the house because they could not afford the upkeep of the new house.
I hope Obama moves to Canada after serving the USA and runs for Prime Minister. Many Canadians I know(including me) would vote for him.
My personal opinion on the reasons for the crash are multi-folded.
  • I think the car companies were a problem that was going to happen anyway…Just happened sooner with the crash. 
  • The US government created ways for people that could NOT AFFORD a home to get one, then instead of realizing the problems actually added more ways people could get homes they couldn’t afford.
  • The real estate system for figuring out ways that people who could not possibly afford the house could buy it(knowing full well people would be kicked out of their house later). 
  • The stock market packaged up these obvious bad debts and promoted them as safe and backed by the government(sort of) so they could sell them.
  • The ratings agencies rated these junk assets way above their true value.  
  • Everyone for assuming the price of real estate would never go down.
  • People bought homes they knew they could not afford. Real Estate system played their dreams perfectly.
  • Everyone else(like me) sat around and let them do it!!!!! WE KNEW BETTER!!!
There are a lot of pieces to this problem that didn’t occur in other countries, but they still crashed.  Mostly because of investments directly or indirectly in USA and USA’s sudden drop in purchasing their goods… countries like Iceland,China, Europe, Australia and especially Canada(85% exports go to USA). Countries that emulated some or all of the US model for real estate really got hit and they can’t afford or get a trillion dollar loan.
How many of you knew that something had to give when they came out with sub-prime and other loan options. Sure prices of houses were going up but that was an unrealistic supply/demand issue driven by the ability of those that could not afford houses to buy a house. The whole market was a farce. Without the artificial housing there is no need to build/sell all the products related to housing(a lot).  However, how many thought it would get as bad as it did? I didn’t… I thought it would be more localized to the USA and not as bad as things were at the worst times.

Cleanups - GlenCairn

In October 2008 I decided to take it upon myself to clean up a local community park I frequent. More specifically I decided to clean up the approximately 10 acres that most people use(park is over 100 acres). In this area many people partied and there were bottle caps, cigarette buts. more than 3 cases of beer bottles, cans and the normal junk you find floating around parks. This is a summary of my year of cleaning…
<=Some of the garbage picked up in the fall.
I cleaned the park once in the fall of most large garbage on land. Then came back in the spring to find just about as much garbage as in the fall. I then picked up all the large garbage again. This included some funky stuff like Kotex, condoms, bicycle, tires, boxes full of garbage and used diapers. I picked up all the large garbage on land but there was a lot of small garbage(like beer caps) still on th ground. This major cleanup ended with 6 large green garbage bags plus at least 20 small grocery bags full of garbage. Since I was driving my motorcycle I had no way of removing the garbage from the park so I stacked it all in one location figuring someone would arrange to pick it up. After 6 weeks I found out the official park reps, notified them and they finally arranged to have it removed about a week later. It felt really good to see the park much cleaner.
 More garbage collected.
Now I really got motivated… I decided to pick up every stick of garbage I could find. Over the summer I scowered the park for anything that looked like “non-natural” items and removed them. By August the park was spotless. Even the cigarette butts were al picked up. I started noticing that other people were picking up garbage as well and putting it with the stuff I picked up. Even better was there was dramatically less garbage being dropped. Don’t get me wrong there were some jerks still around(see below) but the majority of people were very good. The park had no garbage cans so I asked the reps to install one to reduce garbage. They agreed and put 2 large oil drum cans in place and chained them to a tree to stop theft. Things were great for a while until someone broke the chain and stole one of the cans. I informed reps but nothing was done(I even got attitude from one rep saying that garbage cans should not be there and what did I want her to do). This really upset me. It wasn’t like I wasn’t trying to help. So, I sat back and waited for what I knew would happen… Sure enough in about 2 weeks someone(I presume kids) tipped the remaining can over(now over half full of garbage others and I collected) and rolled it across the property into the river. In the process all the garbage fell out of the can onto the property(nice straight line at first). Needless to say I was not happy. I went back to the reps(the same one with attitude), informed her of the issue and requested the garbage be cleaned up. I was not going to do this primarily because this should never have happened if the rep would have acted in the first place. After 2 weeks someone finally came and picked up the mess and removed the garbage can. During this time I had not done any cleaning so I had to do another round of cleaning to return the park to pristine condition.
<= This picture shows SOME of the tires that were removed.
More pictures of other tires below. While cleaning up the land I noted there seemed to be a lot of tires in the river but decided to wait until the water got warmer to look at removing these. This was the biggest mess I found. In a 300 meter distance of river there were 17 car/truck tires(plus the 2 tires on land). I could not believe there were so many tires in such a short distance of water.
This picture shows some of the stuff taken from the river.
When I got around to the tires 3 guys on ATV’s helped by removing 3 of the tires at first. That meant I had a pile of 5 tires waiting to be picked up(2 from land). While waiting fo someone to pickup the tires some kids had a party and sure enough the tires were thrown into the woods and one ended up back in the water. The next day I went to the park and again I was not too happy. I found booze bottles and garbage everywhere. However at least someone had a garbage bag which was full of bottles, etc. A woman with her son were there looking for items he had lost while attending the party. I informed her of the situation but apparently her son was not involved. However, to my surprise a few days later I found the tires all picked up and piled again(plus 2 other tires were picked up). I like to think it was the son who came and cleaned up. I do not think he was the one making the mess but it was nice to think he cleaned it up. Now I finally got to the river. In addition to the tires there was a huge shovel(like one from construction trucks-not a hand shovel), bricks, bottles, cans and a few other trinkets. In one afternoon I took out all the rest of the tires and garbage, stacked them up ready for pickup and informed the reps. Also noted that it was important to remove them before some other kids decide to thow them back in the river. Two weeks later the tires were picked up.
So at this point(around August) I had cleaned up the river and land and everything was great(or so I thought). Sure enough I come back to the park and find an entire pick-up truck load of garbage dumped in the park(left picture). At least it was piled in one spot. Lot’s of boxes, a toilet, pipes, kids toys, binders, bottles, cans, etc. Again I was upset and went through the garbage to see if there was anything to identify the culprit. It appears they were very carefull not to leave any identifying papers. Given the amount of garbage I thought for sure I would find something. Contacted the reps again(must be getting sick of me by now) and requested it be cleaned up. While waiting for cleanup I noted several people had looked through the garbage looking for any identification so I know others were not happy about this either. The garbage was picked up and last I saw the park was clean again. At least no one threw more tires and garbage in the river.
I am in Florida now so I won’t know how the park is fairing until next spring. Hopefully it will be cleaner than last year ;) One thing this has confirmed to me is that people will keep things much cleaner if it is already clean. I definitely noticed the difference once the park was cleaned.
One of the prime reasons I wrote this is to motive others to do something. Sure there are headaches and often you feel like “why me” but the feeling of accomplishment and giving back to the community far out ways the problems. Will I do it again…. YOU BET! I am looking at doing the same thing in this and other parks for next year. So get out there and help clean up an area that you frequent. Forget about “others”. Sure they made the mess. One thought that really helped me stick to it was thinking about the number of times I dropped garbage(accidentally or not) plus the times I was not aware I dropped garbage. Let’s not forget I smoked as well. I thought this is making up for some of the mess I personally have created(others cleaned up after me). I am quite sure you can think back at times when you weren’t perfect. Especially when you were younger… Ever smash bottles with rocks?

Escalation



Published 2003-03-31

Just ranting about escalation….
The objective of escalation is to bring something into higher priority and focus resources. In small business escalation is not usually an issue, there are usually only a few people to inform and everyone knows everybody. In enterprise class systems escalation becomes much more complex. Escalation is usually associated with problems but not necessarily(you can escalate good news). There are 2 sides… the escalator(person escalating a problem) and escalatee(person problem is being escalated to for investigation). 
When talking about problem escalation I find many enterprises lacking. Some have done wonderful jobs but most need work. Many shops have binders with contact lists, memos and hand written notes. Half the time is spent contacting the wrong people and often required contacts are never made. Other shops have rigid rules for escalation that often create excessive escalation. One shop I worked for used memos that would say something like…
If you have problems…
    Call 416-999-2222 Sun-Thu between 11pm-7am. No more than 4 rings!
    Call 705-555-1212 on the weekend
    Call 416-555-2244 at all other times.
I am unavailable Mon-Fri from 6-7pm, I will call you back after 7pm if paged.    

That was just the first level support contact, then you had to contact business and suppliers that each had their own escalation… And people were wondering why escalation took 90+ minutes at times.
Escalation needs clear guidelines – Rules are inherently inflexible and escalation requires extreme flexibility. Even if your internal escalation is rigid you have no control over external escalation.
Escalation Intervals – How long do you wait for support to call back? How long do you give first level support before escalating to second level? You need an escalation matrix that considers priority and impact. Example: Critical problems need faster escalation than others.
Does the problem need escalation? Some businesses escalate everything immediately. Although this may sound good it easily creates problems. An impact assessment should be completed before escalation is implemented. Perhaps the problem can wait to avoid costs like over-time. Others only escalate when everything crashes around them.
Once it is determined a problem should be escalated the escalation process should have structure to provide 1st, 2nd,3rd… level contacts for customer, internal support and suppliers but allow flexibility to “skip levels” as needed. Often internal support escalation is handled correctly but the ball is dropped when contacting customers and suppliers. How many times have you missed informing the right people? The escalation process must ensure ALL related contacts are informed.
Don’t call Jim “because he knows the solution”. Call the appropriate support and inform them that Jim has the solution. This ensures that bugs are worked out quickly… no one wants to be called at 3am. Another common problem for effective escalation. If you call Jim and bypass the escalation process the real issue of having the wrong contact never gets addressed. Next week(or day) Jim will get called again. Jim is probably not going to be very happy. Escalators must follow escalation as defined to ensure bugs in the process are addressed.
Escalation process should allow a flexible contact solution. Requiring specific contact types(like pager) are limiting and should be avoided. The contact person should have the ability to maintain how they are to be contacted(home,pager,cell…) but the process should not attempt to support memos like noted above.  Since contacts have the ability to maintain their contact details they assume the responsibility for the information.
Escalation requires constant reviewing to ensure the appropriate contacts are defined. Some companies think that once their escalation is defined they are done. Wrong! Escalation constantly needs fine tuning. I have seen many great systems fail because the data became outdated. A distributed ownership model is critical to a successful implementation. Contacts own their personal information, management owns the resources. Each is responsible to ensure their data is accurate.
Escalation requires ownership/responsibility. One of the most frequent problems I have seen is the lack of ownership when problems arise. A clear path to ownership must be maintained. Owners are responsible for the resource, they didn’t buy it! Ownership ensures at least someone is prioritizing the issue… they may not be the ones to do the work.
Escalation process must be accessible from various platforms(mainframe, PC, server, PDA…). No use having a great system that escalators can’t access. In addition it needs an API to integrate with standard business management tools like problem management.
I can go on and on about this subject… I think you get the idea so I will stop now.

XHTML



Updated 2009-11-25
Most development software now codes XHTML compliant tags. There are many smart phones that require XHTML to display properly. Welcome to the XML world. Was it really that bad? Now get ready for CSS3 and DHTML5.0.

Published 2003-03-31

XHTML is the evolution of HTML. The concept is simple… Make HTML documents into an XML compliant document.
Why should I convert?
XHTML is the “new” HTML and many new devices require compliance. XHTML applies strict rules which enforces standards. XHTML can be used as XML. The only choice you have is when… this is inevitable.
Why not?
If you only intend to support PC type platforms with standard browsers there is no value in converting. Every page in your site will have to be converted with no visible improvements… How do you justify the costs. You may be able to wait until your web development tool automatically generates XHTML compliant code. If you do not intend to support PDA/Phones there is no reason to convert.
Problems….
Virtually all web tools at the moment write standard HTML. After converting documents all future HTML edits will have to be reviewed for XHTML compliance manually until your tools write XHTML. In XHTML ALL tags must have a closing tag(
must have
). In XHTML tags that do not have closing tags must end with a “/” symbol(
must be
). This includes meta tags as well..
Even if you are diligent and always provide closing tags in your HTML you will have to do many adjustments. All tables must have a TBODY tag. All tags and properties must be in lowercase. Inline CSS & Script encapsulated in comments must be in a CDATA block. These are just some of the more common issues. If you use strict XHTML, style properties only exist in CSS and will require even more adjustments. I recommend you review W3C standards for XHTML at http://www.w3c.org/
How to Convert
There is a lot more than most people think to convert DHTML to XHTML but I have found some good cheats…
There are several tools out there that will automatically convert DHTML to XHTML. I strongly recommend you use these rather than manually adjusting your HTML. You can convert the core site pages immediately then convert the rest as time permits. For tools you can use http://cgi.w3.org/cgi-bin/tidy that provides an online solution or you can download WebMatrix from http://www.asp.net/. I think Tidy provides the best implementation. There is a version of Tidy you can download and run from your PC… look on W3C site.
No matter what you decide, start writing all new documents with XHTML standards. It will save you having to re-write them later. That said you might notice this document is NOT XHTML compliant. I intend to convert  the entire demo site at one time so I am waiting till then… ;-)

The Environment



Updated 2009-11-25
The problem is still the same, we are just 6 years later. The effects of global warming are escalating and various environmental issues are getting larger. Species extinction i at the highest rate ever. Even the frogs and bees are dying. Things are not looking good. All our alarms are ringing yet we are still debating the issues. Maybe we are wrong and global warming is not an issue but the mass extinctions, disappearance of the ice caps,  and record-breaking extreme weather around the world doesn’t point that way. Our planet is in trouble and we need to take care of it NOW not next decade. We can’t even get our government to agree to reduce emissions so it is unlikely we can rely on them. Greenpeace’s militant actions are starting to look like a necessary evil to get any attention from governments. 

Published 2003-03-10

The environment should be the number one priority of every human. Without our environment we die, simple. You would think that business would focus on this and be more environmentally friendly. After all, the decisions are being made by people. So why does business continue to create products and packaging that are so environmentally unfriendly? Simple, money!
Money seems to cloud our vision. We know numerous things that are bad for our environment but we still use them. We knew when they were first created there would be future problems. Take cars, styrofoam cups, and virtually all packaging. I can’t call this a lack of vision since from the beginning we new these would create problems. It is greed that has motivated our decisions. The usage of environmentally unfriendly products saves money. Maybe less product is damaged or spoiled but it is a cost decision. I don’t think larger issues like environmental impact even come into the equation. Business is slowly changing but the real problem creators have put their spin doctors on the case and have twisted reality so the public doesn’t know what is real. 
As long as consumers buy the product business will make it. However, with multiple companies making virtually every product the consumer has much more power. What products you buy makes more difference than you think. If you buy environmentally friendly products that use minimum packaging business will make the change or go bankrupt. Either way we all win.
The 3 R’s
Why is it everyone seems to have forgotten about 2 of these. Everyone knows “Recycle” but what about “Reduce” and “Reuse”? There is a much larger bang for the buck with either of them. Remember when most liquids came in reusable bottles? Remember when people were buying fuel-efficient cars and driving less? Remember rationing in wars? My parents seem to be the last generation that recognize the importance of reducing and reusing. Current marketing promotes single use, disposable products with no regard for environmental impacts.
Packaging
It’s weird that product packaging accounts for more garbage than the actual products. Unfortunately packaging is almost exclusively a consumer problem. We demand the pretty package, every cookie be individually wrapped and other stupid things. If everyone bought items that were not packaged(like bulk food) business would adjust. Since packaging costs money most businesses would love to avoid it. Unfortunately as long as packaging sells business has no choice. Standardizing which packing material can be used and how needs to have more practical implementations.
Human Waste
A great natural resource going to waste. On top of that we are removing the best natural filters available… bogs and marshes. Using marshes to purify the water and create top quality soil has been demonstrated to exceed expectations so why aren’t we doing it? Even the modern toilet is a poor method for handling this resource. Contaminating gallons of water to dispose of what should be considered a valuable resource is not feasible. Even worse we use clean fresh water instead of recycled water.
Water
Is there anyone that thinks there is an unlimited supply of fresh water anymore? So why do people act as if there is. We water our lawns, flush toilets & clean our walks with fresh tap water. We pour all types of toxic cleaning solutions into water, dump oils and other contaminants, and more or less use waterways as garbage dumps. Toxic solutions have been found in virtually all underground water sources. Perhaps the oceans are showing the impacts we have seen in Canadian lakes due to things like acid rain. There are now many lakes in Canada that have no fish or other living animals due to this pollution. If so we can only expect there to be less fish available.
Cradle To Grave
This concept is long overdue. It is simple… You make it, your responsible for the environmental impact throughout the life of the product. Including impact to manufacture, use and dispose of the product. When a product comes to market it is assessed for environmental impact and charges are applied to cover these hidden costs society currently pays. Products are continually reviewed for impacts and charges are adjusted accordingly. Companies that create unique problems must provide solutions BEFORE the product can be released for sale. This transfers responsibility from society to the rightful owners. Furthermore it would reflect a more accurate “true cost” of a product.
We can no longer dump garbage somewhere else. I hope we have learned that everything happens in our backyard. The problem can be created on the other side of the world but we still feel the effects. This is a global problem that requires ground roots implementation. No one government or business is going to make a change but millions of us screaming in politicians ears can get some action. The longer we wait the harsher the impacts will be.
We have the ability to eliminate garbage and clean the air, water and land. Now we need the commitment.

Power Solutions



Updated 2009-11-25
Well oil went to just under $150 which really makes the original publication even more relative. Even now oil is around $80 which is 8 times as much as it was in 2003 when I originally posted on this issue. This is one of my pet peeves. We can do something, it  is simple if the political will was really there. You just subsidise the good with taxes on the bad. It is amazing how money seems to suddenly find a way to make things work. We have subsidized the bad for far to long. Let’s try something different and promote the good for a change.
I am embarrassed by the Canadian record on environment and wildlife. The reality is most Canadians don’t know what large corporations are doing to the lands. properties are clear-cut just to a point where you can’t see it from the road. Many companies work away from the public so we are not aware of the damage being done. Once we find out the company simply moves to another country and leaves the mess for us to clean up($$$). We need the agencies that are supposed to protect these things to have the power and ability to enforce the rules. It seems virtually all these agencies have been destroyed either by no budget or no enforcement power. The people in these roles are trying but there is only so much they can do until the government motivation clearly shows them that they have the power, money and backing when push comes to shove. Like many other governments ours seem to talk the talk but is barely crawling let alone walking. Things like the tar sands are not helping things. Sure jobs are made but at what cost. Companies have to be held accountable for the damages their products create. We really need a “cradle to grave” solution so companies that cause the most damage pay the most. 

Published 2003-03-10
It’s funny to think that numerous cultures, hundreds of years ago had better power solutions than we have now.
First off, we have more available power than we need in the foreseeable future. All we have to do is look outside the oil/nuclear box for far superior solutions. Once governments around the world subsidize clean, renewable sources instead of oil/nuclear the advances will be far beyond any of our expectations.
The biggest problem I see in providing clean, renewable sources of power is governments lack of commitment. Sure they all talk environment but then subsidize the large corporations creating dirty, non-renewable sources of power. In Ontario, Canada the provincial government subsidizes Hydro… Technically they don’t… They tell Hydro what the rates will be to the consumer and if Hydro over spends it can borrow the money from the government. This has been going on for over 30 years and now Hydro owes our government billions and is forced into charging $0.043 per KWH for the next 5 years. Far less than the “cost” of the power and it’s distribution. How can renewable sources compete.
Furthermore, infrastructure has to be put in place to promote better solutions. Perhaps a surcharge for non-renewable, dirty fuel that directly passes to discounts for renewable, clean sources. The only way to succeed is to make the old ways expensive and the new ways profitable. Only then will society change in mass numbers. We could also expect more investment would create cheaper methods of harnessing power. Thus creating an increasing demand for cleaner power.
The key to future success for any society will be their ability to create infinitely renewable environmentally neutral power sources. Societies that base their power solutions on oil, nuclear or plant sources will eventually fail. Societies that generate more power than they use will become much more powerful in the near term future.
Given what we already know about future power requirements wind, solar, water and lightning are going to be in demand. Once electric cars become more popular these renewable sources may become a necessity.
With Canada’s resources we should be one of the largest power generators in the world. We have large space to put up wind and solar farms, huge water sources, geo-thermal sources and of course then there is lightning. I would like to see us provide enough power for the world. If it were possible to get all the world governments together just think of the solutions… Desserts, mountains and oceans would become huge power generating locations.  
We have everything we need to provide unlimited clean, renewable power. Now we just need the political motivation. Countries like Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden are leading the way. As a Canadian I am embarrassed at our lack of commitment. I would easily pay double the cost if it ensured future generations had clean renewable power sources. It will never be cheap but sometimes you have to consider more than money. I do not want future generations paying for our lack of foresight. In this case even the stupidest person can see clean renewable sources are the way to go.
Internal combustion engines must die. Inherently they “burn” fuel and create emissions. Even solutions like fuel cells may increase precipitation as they emit water droplets. There is little need to use “burning” solutions given all the available options. They have demonstrated long-term unacceptable impacts on our environment. 
Below are several power sources and my simplistic assessment of each.
Oil/Natural Gas Sources
Sucks up valuable natural resources, creates an environmental nightmare and there is a dwindling supply. Is there anyone that thinks this is a long-term viable solution any more? I certainly do not! The recent mess where oil has gone from $10-$40 only emphasizes how little supply is really available. To rely on this power solution will only ensure a collapse of a society… Just a matter of when. A transition away from this form of power must be immediate. Dwindling supplies will only increase the cost unless alternatives are found.
Nuclear Sources
What are you crazy??? They have demonstrated their impacts already… Just waiting for the next disaster. 
Plant Sources
To burn plants for fuel does not make sense. They can be used for much more productive uses. “Burning” for power will create problems even if it is as slow as global warming and should be avoided where possible. Besides we need these sources to enrich our current soil without chemicals.
Geo-Thermal Sources
Taking heat generated from the ground is a great power source as long as we only take heat from the first 1km or less of earth. If we start going deeper for thermal sources I have concerns about eventually lowering the earth’s core or creating a man-made catastrophe. Countries like Iceland where this source of power is everywhere are showing us how to benefit. They have so much extra heat they heat roads and sidewalks in cities. No one has a hot water heater in their house, hot water comes direct from city water. They also use it to generate electrical power. Unfortunately not many countries have the abundance that Iceland has but this concept can be applied in every country.
Wind Sources
The next 3 of these were used thousands of years ago to harness power but somehow we got sold on the “cheaper” bang for the buck in oil. Wind is infinitely renewable and has no known environmental impact. It does have some draw backs… You need wind to generate power, the current wind mill is not pretty and consumes real estate. I have often wondered why no one has created a fan similar to venting fans you see on house roofs. It would seem to be a more effective solution to catch cross flowing winds. Used with solar or water sources makes a complete solution. 
Solar Sources
Solar is infinitely renewable and has no known environmental impact. It does have one draw back… You need sun. As technology improves this solution will certainly become common place. Used with wind or water sources makes a complete solution. 
Water Sources
Water is infinitely renewable and has no known environmental impact. It does have one draw back… You need constant flowing water. The problem is not in the power source but our implementations to harness it. Large power plants like Niagra Falls and super damns should be a thing of the past. They were implemented so only certain people would control power. We need to integrate into the environment to obtain our needs, use the natural flow of water, not force it. As technology improves this solution will certainly become common place. Good water flow can make a complete solution by itself.
Lightning Sources
The power of lightning is awesome. Working on ways to harness this power would seem to be a worthwhile adventure. Creating a world net that draws power from lightning could in itself provide all the power the world needs in the foreseeable future. This has the potential that usage of power is promoted rather than conservation(at least for a while ;-) ). Only concern is that we might draw too much electricity and somehow our planet becomes negatively charged.