Monthly Archives: February 2007

West Islanders are never happy

Street planning always seems to have winners and losers. West Islanders who are tired of being stuck in rush-hour traffic are constantly complaining about the missing but long-promised Cavendish extension which would link Ville Saint-Laurent with Cote Saint-Luc, N.D.G., Hampstead and Montreal West.

And I’m sure some of these same people are bemoaning an extension of their own. This Week Beaconsfield voted to open up James Shaw Street (look at all those swimming pools!) to Highway 40 near the Chemin Sainte-Marie exit. The street’s residents are unhappy of course because it means more traffic for their protected suburban enclave.

It’s kind of silly how cities manipulate traffic flow to apease residents’ concerns, even to the point of nonsense.

Take Jacques-Bizard Boulevard for example. One might think that “Boulevard” would mean a lot of vehicular traffic. And a quick look at the street shows it has enough space for a good five lanes of traffic. A look at the map would show that the boulevard leads to a bridge to Ile Bizard on one end, and a medium-traffic street with a blank field beside it which is clearly designed for future expansion into more lanes.

Despite this, people bought houses on Jacques-Bizard Boulevard in Pierrefonds, and its extension Sommerset St. in Dollard des Ormeaux. Then, when the traffic coming off the bridge from Ile Bizard started driving up their wide boulevard, they complained to the city.

My response would probably have been something along the lines of “you know what you were getting into when you bought the place”, but clearly I don’t know how to deal with homeowners. Instead, the city forced all traffic to turn left or right onto Pierrefonds Boulevard, adding to the already clogged St. John’s and St. Charles thoroughfares.

I wonder: what would traffic be like in this city if homeowners weren’t so greedy?

Welcome to the 21st Century

Some bloggers are buzzing about Bell Canada’s new unlimited plan which allows two local Bell customers (landline or cellphone) to talk as long as they want for just $10 over what they pay now.

Of course, this may have something to do with the fact that wireless number portability is only two weeks away. Starting March 14th, the big providers (Bell, Rogers, Telus) will be forced to allow customers to change providers and carry their phone number with them.

All of this is only about five years behind the rest of the developed world, which has had unlimited plans and number portability for quite a while. Now many of them offer unlimited use regardless of provider.

Now all we have to do is get rid of those ridiculous three-year contracts most of them force us to sign.

Yet Another Social Networking Site

Midnight Poutine has a review of another presenter at DemoCamp:, a social networking site for amateur athletes.

It’s an interesting idea to get people to find others who want to play the same sports, though such a thing would require a pretty high critical mass before it really gets interesting. One question I wanted to ask but didn’t get time was how having people sign up for this site could be more convenient than simply joining a local sports group on Facebook or MySpace.


I came back from DemoCamp where I was scouting Wikitravel guru Evan Prodromou for an upcoming article. He was one of five presenters demoing some form of web-based technology.

What was most interesting about this gathering was the crowd: about 50-60 local geeks, most in their early 20s (and yes, mostly male), a group of geeks and geek entrepreneurs you probably wouldn’t find anywhere else.

More attention for a Montreal band

The manager of Montreal-based singer/band Dee (couldn’t he pick a more search-engine-friendly name?) emailed me today to let me know that this music video, a parody of renowned video diary fraudster lonelygirl15 which I wrote about last year, has been (finally) chosen as a featured video on YouTube’s homepage, and that another song by the guy/group is being used for a big Ford commercial that a lot of money was spent on but is not original in any way.

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Rgrs iz krstl clr in itz txt msgs lol.

Rogers, my cellphone provider, felt it necessary today to text me this message:

Change that boring ring ur callers hear 2 a cool tune w/CallerRingTrax. It’s fun & easy! Reply YES 4 more info. 2 opt out of mktg msgs reply STOP

Aside from the fact that it’s spam that I never asked for, and the fact that it’s insanely inconvenient and insults my intelligence, I can’t help asking the question: What is a 55-year-old technophobe who doesn’t speak l33t supposed to do when he receives this message and wants to stop further ones? Is it just assumed that everyone with a cellphone writes messages like a desperate-for-acceptance 12-year-old?

Speaking of Craigs

Canadiens General Manager Bob Gainey showed he has the poker face of a champion by trading longtime (and hard-working) Hab defenceman Craig Rivet.

Hopefully Bob still has something in his cards that will give us a forward who can score goals.

Meanwhile, the blogosphere is starting to react.

Some are doing it philosophically:

We who follow the Habs have known for a while that Craig Rivet might be traded, and there had already been considerable debate amongst fans about the value of that decision. It was a difficult, wrenching discussion, since it almost completely centered on the concept of ‘intangibles’.

Others not so much:


Meanwhile, the media in California seem to think this is a good deal for them too.

Dollar Cinema is dead. Long live Dollar Cinema

Tonight, in order to overcome an incredible surge of boredom, I went to Dollar Cinema to catch Casino Royale with the new Bond, Daniel Craig.

As I entered I noticed the Dollar Cinema is now a $2 cinema. It’s still worth going (popcorn and soda are still $1), but on principle it seems strange. Kind of like seeing stuff at the Dollar Store that’s more than a dollar.

The movie itself was OK. Craig makes a believable (though incredibly naive) Bond. But … is there a second part to this movie or something? I feel unsatisfied. He doesn’t even get a girl at the end! (Sorry if that spoiled it for you)