Etc Etc

Surprise, Surprise. The top post for Canadian Observer during its first year of operation is one of the earliest and least political of posts.  Indeed this little post generates over 100 hits a day and although never achieving the one day record of some of our other posts it just keeps bringing them in.  As such, overtime, it has become the single most popular post to date.  We guess all those pennies really do add up.

For those of you who have not read it, we reproduce it below. Keep in mind the price of copper has changed as such so has the value of your penny jar.

What a Canadian Penny is Worth


We were at the bar the other night having a drink. We made the passing observation that a Canadian penny (pre 1997) is worth over twice its value as copper. The other patrons were skeptical. So never wanting to loose when we are right here is the math.

1 tonne of copper = 1, 000, 000 grams

Spot price of a tonne of Copper=8,301US$= 9174.66CDN (as of May 29th,2006)

A)1 cdn Penny pre 1996= 2.5 grams of copper
x 400,000 pennies = 1 tonne of copper

B) 1 cdn Penny pre 1980= 2.8 grams of copper
x 357,143 pennies = 1 tonne of copper

C) 1 cdn Penny pre 1979= 3.2 grams of copper
x 312,500 pennies = 1 tonne of copper

So as you can see

In case A, a single penny is worth 2.29cents as copper.

In case B. a single penny is worth 2.57cents as copper

In case C a singel penny is worth 2.94cents as copper


So if you were to spend 4000$ buying pennies at the bank and smelted them down you would have a tonne of copper worth 9174$Cdn which is a 229% rate of return. Try getting that out of a savings account.

It should be pointed out that it is a Federal offence to smelt national coinage. This is for educational purposes only.


One Expensive Dog?

By Goodwin Ginger

Some of you may have read todays Globe coverage of Microsoft’s launch of their new operating system Vista. Apparently sales are but a trickle. The Globe cites increasing competition from Linux and online programs along with the ability to purchase Vista online as the main reasons for its poor showing in stores. These factors may all be true but we think there are other reasons why Vista is finding few early adopters.


First, the main benefit of switching to Vista at this stage in the game are the new visual effects: eye candy. Interestingly, both Mac and Linux users will have been using most of the visual enhancements contained in Vista for some time now. Microsoft may be a victim of its own success: i.e., the dummying down of user expectations when it comes to the aesthetics of their desktop environment. Indeed, windows users are, by now, so use to the general aesthetic malaise of both their vanilla PC boxes and their desktop environment that those who have higher aesthetic standards will already be a Mac owner or the owner of a custom Linux PC.


Yet there are other reasons outside of aesthetics that we can expect that Vista will only be adopted slowly. The onerous hardware requirements needed to take advantage of all the visual and functional improvements in Vista mean that for most consumers Vista will have to wait until their next PC purchase when they will most likely receive a copy of Vista included in their bundle.


Moreover, there is a confusing array of choices when it comes to Vista with 4 different versions (8 if you include upgrade and full versions) all presenting the consumer with a different level functionality and features. Indeed, the entry level version of the operating system (OS) does not come with any of the visual enhancements; none of the system and data recovery features; none of the home entertainment integration; nor the capacity to make and burn DVDs. In short, all the features one would be looking to improve upon from their XP home and Pro operating systems. In fact, a quick review of the different versions of Vista reveals that it is only the Business and Ultimate editions that contain the features that most consumers would be looking to most improve upon from their XP OS experience. With the Premium Edition Upgrade running at $299.00 cdn this is a fair chunk of change for a couple of new features and some eye candy (note, some of these features can be had for free e.g. Google Desktop search and others from third party vendors).


The other draw back to this OS is that between Microsoft’s paranoia around ensuring only valid copies of their products are in use combined with the new digital rights management regime (DRM), to which MS has whole heartedly supported by deeply embedding (DRM) in its OS, Vista is a virtual lock-down of your hardware and content. To be sure if you are not pirating software and HD content this will be less of a problem but it is not just nefarious users who will be inconvenienced (indeed they get work-arounds in pretty short order). Backing up a copy of your children’s favorite DVD is going to be a big pain the arse, not to mention the absurdity of having to fight with MS should you decide in the future to upgrade key hardware components of your PC. In short, it is the law abiding consumers (albeit abiding by absurd laws many of which are untested in the courts) who are going to be most inconvenienced by all this intellectual property rights enforcement masquerading as “security.”


Lastly, the main reason perhaps sales of Vista are bombing on its debut is that early adopters tend to be tech savvy consumers looking for real performance enhancements, and visuals aside, Vista is a lazy dog compared to XP Pro. If you do not believe us just check out these performance comparison charts over at Toms hardware guide. Why would you pay more for an OS that actually slows down the performance of you PC?


For all these reasons I am going to stay with windows 2000 pro on my server and XP on my laptop both of which are already running Linux OSs to boot. Indeed, if Open Office can polish-up their word processing package just a little the days of an MS OS on my PC are limited.

We have decided to sell off Canadian Observer.  We are willing to take raw cash or a paragraph about why you are the individual or individual’s to take over the blog.   The blog is well established and has good potential for growth.

Interested parties can reach us in the comments section.

In what appears to be the second pillar of the Cons attempt to reach out to their Taliban foes in Afghanistan the Cons are introducing legislation to see if they can’t get parliament to deny gay and lesbian couples the right to marriage. This falls on the heels of the Cons earlier attempted cultural liaison with the Taliban when they all but abolished Status of Women Canada. When Taliban leaders were queried on the Harper government’s motion they responded “it is a pity, we have so much in common but they still insist on bombing us.” Apparently Randy White has been dispatched to Afganistan to see if there is anything else the Cons could learn from the Taliban in their fight against human rights. Originally Stockwell Day was to go but he decided to stay home and work on the Cons summary execution legislation.

Now we finally understand the experience that the Fraser Insititute feels that all of us poor bastards were deprived of by being forced to go through Canada’s ho hum public university system. It seems down at Columbia sex education is a big draw. We just knew the private sector had more fun.  But do the kids get a better education? Depends what you mean by education.

Wild sex 101
S&M clubs, nude parties, porn, X-rated romps rule at Columbia

Famed as a hotbed of debate over academic freedom, New York’s most elite school is also a playpen for sexual hijinks, sophomoric antics and the wacky indulgences of the children of the rich.While their parents shell out $33,246 a year in tuition, Columbia University students doff their clothes at naked parties, flock to sex toys workshops, broadcast porn on campus TV, bake anatomically correct pies for the “Erotic Cake-Baking Contest” and heat up the steps of the Low Library in a mass makeout session called the “Big Kiss.”

And of course, there’s always the stimulating game, “Guess the Number of Condoms in the Jelly-Bean Jar.”

Others volunteer for the bullwhip at Conversio Virium, the university-sanctioned S&M club that means “exchange of power” in Latin. It calls itself a “discussion group” that provides “education and peer support” and promotes “safe, sane and consensual play.” But the club doesn’t just talk.

This is our first ever Tech Spek let us know what you think.

Last spring the Linux community was a buzz with the news that Sony intended to ship PS3 with a pre-loaded version of Linux operating system. With the launch in Japan and in NA later this week it appears that Sony has made good on its promise. Indeed the PS3 is being shipped with a boot loader that allows for multiple operating systems to be installed. Make no mistake the PS3 is a full blooded desktop computer in a more appealing package than your average PC.

For Linux enthusiasts this is a real sweet deal. Game console makers tend to sell their consoles at a loss a make back their money on the sales of game titles. The PS3 is no exception to this rule. Current figures being bandied about on the internets suggest that the price of the PS3 only represents 50-60% of its cost to build and deliver to markets. For your Linux enthusiast this means one can purchase a PS3 and have a working Linux desktop subsidised by Sony. Contrast this to Xbox where Micro$oft has spent a good deal of time and trouble to ensure that the Xbox 360 can only run, you guessed it the M$ operating system.

What does all this mean for the average game player? Here there is some good deal of debate. Many argue that a games console should remain a games console and that consumers should not be forced to pay for a fully functioning computer when all they want to do is play games. For this segment of the gaming community clearly the PS3 @ a street price of nearly $700 is simply too steep.

However for those who want to own a Home Entertainment PC (HTPC) the PS3 may just be the most cost effective method of building a high definition home entertainment centre on the cheap. For the $700 Sony is asking the would be home theatre builder gets a PC that is designed for high definition including a Blue Ray DVD player which alone has a street price of 500$. Add to this that with the installation of Linux the PS3 can be used as a powerful digital editing desktop.

Yellow Dog Linux was contracted by Sony to provide a PS3 specific Linux port. What this means is that Yellow Dog Linux should be one of the most well designed linux desktops on the market because the OS builders were given the exact specs of all the hardware such that all drivers should be well tailored and integrated with the OS. Indeed user friendliness was apparently a large emphasis in the design of the YD Linux OS such that they are promising a single click installation processes.

While the hard core gaming community will have to decide if the graphics and game titles make the PS3 worth the price, HTPC and Linux enthusiasts can expect a large ROC (return on consumption).

A less restrictive regime of comment moderation has been enabled. Under the new regime once you have made two comments which have passed moderation you will be free to comment without moderation. The idea here is to stop both commercial and individual spam. We hope this makes our blog a little more user friendly.

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