Over $500K housing is 20% of the Canadian market

Mortgage rules in Canada have been tightened up again, with the hope that the high prices of some markets will be reigned in. I keep seeing the media parroting the line “The changes affect properties that cost more than $500,000 — a small percentage of the overall market” I got to wondering if this really is a small percentage.
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So you pissed it all away again…

Oil is sitting at under $40 a barrel. If that has you worried about your job in Alberta, good – you should be worried as the longer this lasts, the higher the unemployment rate is going to go. If you look at a long term inflation adjusted graph of oil prices, it was only 15 years ago we saw an extended period of under $40 oil, so be prepared for history to repeat itself. For those of you thinking this is really bad right now – you have seen nothing yet. Call me when unemployment rates in Alberta crosses 10%, and stays there.

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Shedding some light on Monday’s Canadian Federal election

My analysis of the federal parties, in light bulb jokes:

How many Conservatives does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: None! We cut light bulbs from the last budget so you can save more taxes.

How many Liberals does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: I dunno yet, but here are some light bulbs I bought on credit?

How many New Democrats does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: Two! We need more light bulbs!

How many Greens does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: None! We plan to replace light bulbs with environmentally friendly LED lights!

Now put down that light bulb and go vote on Monday!

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St. Patrick’s Island NEW Park!

One of the things in life that takes me to my happy place is being able to explore a new park. It goes back to when I was eight years old and first allowed to go exploring on my own in Berlin, Germany while my mom was visiting with yet more relatives that I had never met before. The wonder of coming around a corner and seeing what came next in the greenery never has left me, so I was looking forward to exploring Calgary’s newly renovated St Patrick’s Island park. “Renovation” is a bit of understatement, more like rip things apart real good and put them back together in a new way is more like it. Even with the extreme makeover, the island is big enough that they managed to leave a good part of the old trees, and some of the landscape as is.
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10 things I didn’t know about cell phone until I started supporting them for a living

My current job involves supporting “mobility devices” in the company I work for, which 99% of the time means cell phones. Now, I have been a bit behind the times in having the latest and greatest phone, but since I got my Nexus 4, I’ve come a long way, to the point of suffering from “discharge anxiety” if I’m too long away from a charging plug. So, here are 10 things I have learned about cell phones:
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It’s alive

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Nexus 10 review

I decided to drink the Google kool-aid and buy the Nexus 10

Not my best work or illustrative of what the Nexus 10 can doHaving used it for almost a month now, I’m somewhat surprised at how much I’ve used this tablet around the house. I’m a first time pad user, but I’ve got a lot of work experience with smaller portable devices for data entry. What follows are the thoughts of an old-school computer user learning the new-school portable device paradigm.

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Canon Image Square

Went to the Canon Image Square store last week. I wasn’t really that impressed, but YMMV. I decided to try them out on three things retail sucks at:
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Your next great photo is just around the corner

I decided yesterday to walk over to the mailbox to drop off a letter. The temperature had climbed to a balmy -16C and I was tired of being in the house all day. I took the DSLR with my 10-22 zoom (equals 16-35mm film) along as it was late in the afternoon with a bright sun going down in the south west. Good light can much improve the possibility for a good picture. Besides, I need more practice with the wide angle.
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Viewsonic 15″ digital frame

Since I took the time to post on amazon.ca, I might as well re-quote it here:

Viewsonic’s 15″ digital frame is a cut above the no-name brand frames in terms of both picture quality and frame quality. The frame has a nicer fake cherry wood veneer, with a cream colored matte, much less harsh than the standard black with white matte of most other frames. Be careful to not scratch the frame – the veneer will come off, especially on the corners revealing the light particle board underneath. Fit and finish are good – expect the quality level of a nicer frame from a department store.

The picture quality is very good, IF you can view the picture from the right angle. The LCD has no problems on horizontal viewing, but vertical is another matter. The image will go dark & change colors when viewed from below – making the frame a poor choice to hang on a wall. You will be able to see your photos just fine standing at eye level with the frame, when you sit down to admire your work, you will see darkened off-color images. The frame is clearly designed to sit on a desk, where you tend to view from above. The problem is, this is a pretty large frame to put on a desk, similar to size of a monitor. It is a shame really, because if you can set this frame up on a low shelf or TV stand, it displays colors as good as a monitor, and does a nice job of downsizing to the frame’s 1024×768 native resolution. I estimate the optimal view angle vertically to be from zero to 30 degrees up – only slight darkening above that. Any angle of view below darkens immediately to unacceptable levels. The frame is unusable in portrait mode – unless you can keep the viewer on the “good side” of the frame.

I’d still buy this frame again due to overall better quality. I would not hang this frame on a wall. Note that many other frames suffer from view angle issues – you may want to look at some on display in a store before you buy.

I’ll add to this that nothing has changed since my 3:2 rant from 2010, other than quality has improved. I see at Adorama that they have a 17″ size from Digital Spectrum now. It is 1280 x 1024 which is a 5:4 ratio, even more square than the 4:3 of consumer digital cameras. This means the 8 X 10’s that you expect from a portrait view are native in this frame, and look properly proportioned. 4×3’s still look a little too tall, but most people will find it acceptable. I’d have to buy one to see if the viewing angle is workable or not, perhaps a late Xmas present for myself is in order, we will see.

If you want bigger, you pretty much are buying a large TV to display your images on, which is not classy, and not even close to the right ratio to display images. I still think there is a market for some really big frame you wall mount – especially since such sizes are well under $1000 now for something that would fill a modest sized living room.

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