Greetings from Cafe D'Amour! The newly-established closest coffee shop in my neighbourhood finally opened today, so of course I'd promptly hunkered down there with a laptop. That's right, I'm being that guy today.
Let's crack open some ManLinkWeek!
[Policing, Politics and Public Policy: Flaws in the 2010 Winnipeg Police Annual Report]
Edmonton's crime problems are remarkably similar to ours in size and scope, and their police service had their annual report out by the middle of March. Producing the previous year's police report within a reasonable timeframe of turnaround allows police and policymakers the opportunity to more accurately gauge the year to come, plan more effective reduction and prevention strategies, and more clearly determine causality between initiatives and their intended results.
The Winnipeg Police Service 2010 Annual Report was released last Wednesday. Yes, the 28th of December. F'real. But at least, with the service having spent this entire year trying to explain the previous year, we can rest assured that the data and conclusions therein are accurate, right? Heh... heh heh. Heh. Yeah, uh, about that.
Yes, as former Deputy Chief of Police and current University of Winnipeg Instructor Menno Zacharias explains here, the data therein is wildly and quite hilariously askew; our Police reassure us that reported crime dropped by seven per cent last year, despite the actual numbers in the report indicating that crime rose by nine per cent. In fact, the Report was put together poorly enough to warrant a part two and a part three from Zacharias, and furthermore we can't even be entirely sure he's done yet. [Edit: he wasn't.]
[Winnipeg Internet Pundits: Goodbye, 2011]
Anyway, if the Winnipeg Police Service 2010 Annual Report is out, that must mean that 2011 is over. So here is a handy link list to thirteen local year-end roundups, discussion of which is entirely likely to seep into tomorrow's radio program.
[fenicnarfabc YouTube: Pierre Lalonde - "À Winnipeg" (les nuits sont longues) (avec paroles)]
My French is pretty roundly awful, so for obvious reasons my grasp on this song is tenuous at best. And yet, despite that, I have periodic episodes -- sometimes for up to hours at a time -- where my brain decides to cheerfully stick this song on loop in the back of my head, unbidden and for no particular obvious reason. But I can't sing the song properly, because I don't know the song properly, so anyone who happens to be near me might hear passing snippets of "À Winnipeg, les nuits sont longues... hmm-a-hmmm hmm hmmmmmm--"
I'm not building to anything in particular with this anecdote, really, I just want you to share in my problems. Enjoy the song!
[reddit Winnipeg: For you Winnipedditors who have a Telus smartphone plan]
One of my scandalous, not-so-secret shames is that I've been hitherto unable to afford entry into the exciting world of smartphones and mobile technology. I'm broke, man, I don't know what to tell you. You kids these days with your i-Berries, and your Black-Phone-Fives, and your I-don't-even-know-whats -- back in my day, telephones came out of the wall. Which was the style of the time! Now, to make a call cost you five nickels, and in those days, nickels had bumblebees on them. "Gimme five bees for a quarter", you'd say.
Now, where was I? Oh, yeah. My last (and only) cellphone was a hilariously old pay-as-you-go piece, one I was eventually forced to abandon when it ceased to receive calls and the hardware would have been cheaper to replace than repair. So one of my makeshift new year's resolutions is to get back on the mobile grid, partially just so people can find me -- I'm told I'm not an easy man to get ahold of -- but really more because I do a lot of driving in far-flung areas, and a cellphone is a smart thing to have in the event of a breakdown. But therein lies the problem! MTS has the best coverage across the province but (obviously) doesn't exist outside of it, so if I do find a permanent full-time library position outside of Manitoba I'd have to buy out any plan I might agree to. Rogers -- which exists nationwide and would thereby be less of a hassle if I had to move -- claims to have reception that covers most of the provincial population, but if there's one thing that you really shouldn't rely on it's the word of one of our national telecoms.
And Telus? My internet sleuthing into the matter brought up the thread linked above, and, well:
"I was a Telus employee and user for years. There is nothing you can do to convince me to ever go back to them."
"I used Telus for years and utterly detested them. The service is absolutely the shits."
"I assume that when Telus hires staff or signs a new dealer, they do a criminal background check. Anyone who doesn't have one is rejected."
"I'd avoid telus if you do any rural travel."
"Telus doesn't have decent coverage as soonas you leave the boundaries of the perimeter, even in the city it's pretty poor. I had a Telus phone for three years and hated every minute of it as I use my phone for work. I once dropped a customer calls six times in 3 minutes with full bars showing on Telus...horrible."
"Telus does not give a fuck about you as a customer."
"I have a pay-as-you-go phone from 7-11 that way outperforms anything Telus used to provide me."
"Before dealing with Telus, you should consider buying a phone off eBay from someone stealing and selling phones to support their crack habit. They'll have a better sense of ethics and morality than anyone at Telus. You're less likely to get ripped off, and you'll probably get better support from them."
So, uh, yeah. That sounds encouraging.
Ultimately, I'm most likely just going to end up getting another of the dirt-cheap pay-as-you-go phones, which will once again mean I'm locked out of the smartphone game -- a game that, as an information professional, I really need to start playing just to get and stay current. ALAS #firstworldproblems
[Observations, Reservations, Conversations: Rogers Closing Video Stores in Winnipeg]
Speaking of Rogers (and speaking of first-world problems), the rapidly-going-extinct video store is now that little extra bit more extinct than it had been before. I recognize in writing this that extinction is a binary concept -- a thing is either extinct or it isn't -- but I can't be bothered to bring myself to describe something like Rogers Video as "endangered", or as "threatened", because both of those words carry the implication of something being worth the attempt to save. Oh, no, not Rogers, please don't take Rogers away from zzzzzzzzzzzzz
Dobbin is right that the option to rent a video game was a handy one, but I also have to admit that I haven't rented a game from a store in who-knows-how-long either. (A lot of games now offer free downloadable demos, although it's impossible to determine whether this is a cause or an effect of game-rental decline.) When you think about it, video game rentals were actually the start of this whole mess; the rental ball of yarn really started unravelling when Blockbuster initially announced the end of late fees, a revolutionary step that resulted in probably-millions of video games going completely missing and a none-too-hasty backpedalling to "the end of late fees except for video games". Ah, those were the days.
[Twitter: TodayOnEbrandon (todayonebrandon)]
"Hey im just letting you guys know there is a thrift shop in shilo, i bought a brand new Ed hardey shirt there for 4 dollers."
"She was beheaded for miscarrying a male heir. It doesnt make their actual love story any less beautiful."
"i like the King Fu panda"
eBrandon brainwaves in concise, doubtlessly-out-of-context single-serving shots? Don't mind if I do!
[Uncommon Sense (Uptown Magazine): A goodbye — and a challenge]
Uncommon Sense columnist Mike Warkentin has announced he will be stepping down from the weekly role he has filled since mid-2006, ending an impressive five-and-a-half-year run of quality weekly content. It's safe to assume he won't be taking that time to slack off; as the founder of Crossfit 204 and managing editor of CrossFit Journal, his future endeavors likely include fighting wild bears and then flexing hard enough to burst his shirt like the Hulk. Look at this dude, he could probably crack all of us in half like toothpicks.
You may infer from this, alert reader that you are, that Uptown Magazine will thusly require the services of a newly-minted weekly columnist. But where might they find such a person? You can't see it, not through the medium of text, but I'm pointing at myself with both thumbs right now. (You can imagine how awkward that makes my typing, but I am very committed to this.) Yes, that's right! As of this coming Thursday's installment, I am very privileged and disproportionately excited to announce that I will be contributing weekly columns to Uptown Magazine for the foreseeable future. Get hype!
Ahh, man, is it ever good to not be in 2011 any more. Thank you for reading ManLinkWeek!