It’s been a long time coming, with the deluge of technology content that I “read” on a regular basis. Engadget, Gizmodo, Xbitlabs, The Verge, AnandTech, Neowin, Ars Technica, CNet, PocketNow, BGR; they all populated my feed reader. That’s not even mentioning the spiderweb of links that go from those sites, out. Most of the content is not original (meaning, a short blurb of largely personal opinion, followed by a link elsewhere). And more than that, the quality and integrity of most of the content was completely in the gutter.

When the primary goal is to increase the number of eyeballs on your publication, be it for ad revenues or something else, the only reason for any level of investigative integrity is to ensure readers don’t become completely disenchanted with nonsensical content (and sometimes that’s an attraction, in of  itself) and go elsewhere. Today, too much content is generated without the least bit of investigation, insight or integrity. A superficial scrape of the most obvious facts is then spun into a headline and content that is most likely to grab a reader’s attention, reality be damned. I’m tired of reading it all.

So, I spent some time migrating from a service that laid out extreme amounts of content well (Netvibes) to something that’s a bit more focused on reading (Google Reader) and cut back the number of subscribed feeds. Beyond that, I’ve also put an increased focus on some insightful, personal sites, where the content is less tainted by crazed pursuit of views. Here’s what’s in my reader now:

  • The Verge
  • AnandTech
  • Ars Technica
  • Rands in Repose
  • Scott Hanselman
  • ongoing by Tim Bray
  • Yanko Design
  • A List Apart
  • Reuters Global Markets
  • BBC

One category I’m trying to fill out is photography. Any ideas? I’d love a photo technique or C&C blog to follow.

Pheonix Coyotes Bankruptcy via CoverItLive

The topic and contents aren’t really the important thing here, but I’m pretty psyched about online news reporting after seeing a ‘live conversation’ on the CBC website regarding the Pheonix Coyotes bankruptcy hearings. Through CoverItLive, the media can open up the topic to commentors as a conversation of sorts and allow your average Joe to participate in news reporting. I can’t remember the number of times that I’ve watched the news on TV or listened to it on the radio and found myself yelling at them in frustration or agreement.

In this case, a couple CBC reporters twittered the events of the court proceedings live, and readers could respond both to their musings as well as the thoughts and opinions of other commentators. Pretty cool!

Bolt Wins 200m

I was lucky to have watched Usain Bolt run in the 200m finals today live. What a guy. Not only is he not stony-faced like most of the other sprinters, he blew away the world record time of 19.32 seconds, despite running into a headwind. Down the stretch, you could see him glance over at the clock and I just knew he wasn’t going to let up one bit going into the finish line to try and break the record.

And perhaps to appease his detractors, his celebration was quite muted, occurring only after passing the finish line. He seems like such a confident, happy kid, not much older than I. And how appropriate that today was his 22nd birthday – the stadium sang happy birthday to him. I can’t imagine the feeling that must have been: gold and a wonderful birthday celebration.

Congratulations Bolt!

Happiness on the East Coast

Happiness is on the East Coast, at least that’s what recent research from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research says. A survey, designed to gauge the quality of life, as felt by the people themselves has listed the top 10 ‘happiest’ cities as follows:

1. Saint John
2. Quebec City
3. Charlottetown
4, 5. (tied) Moncton, N.B., Kitchener, Ont.
6. St. John’s
7. Saskatoon
8. Regina
9. Winnipeg
10. Halifax

I think it’s no coincidence that 3 of 5 and half of the top 10 most content cities in Canada are in the Atlantic provinces. Top contributing factors to this were the sense of community and trust in neighbors. Sense of community has been something I’ve mentioned numerous times, especially when it was lost, after arriving here in Ontario from PEI, over two years ago. The ability to walk down Queen Street in Charlottetown and know so many people, to just stop and chat with someone spontaneously is something that I’ll always miss. Trust in neighbors and the entire community was quite prevalent as well. Houses would be left unlocked, and not accidentally either.

It’s easy to note that none of the very large cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and so forth made it on the list. I figure large cities came about because they were focal points for industry and work. Unfortunately, the hectic lifestyle that accompanies the climbing of the corporate ladder isn’t very conducive to getting to know neighbors and developing a sense of trust. Making money may allow one to buy things, but it sure doesn’t seem to make people terribly content with their lives.

I’m somewhat surprised that Kitchener made it in the top 5 no less. Must be all the university students.

Links for Friday the 13th

No More Mail in Rebates

A couple weeks ago Best Buy announced that it was eliminating mail in rebates from manufacturers. I’m not sure how many times I’ve seen a great sale on a flyer, only to check the asterisk for more details and see that it’s actually $5 and an additional $50 in a mail in rebate. I’ve had a pretty good track record for actually getting mail in rebates back, but the fact is, they’re a pain to fill out. That’s not mentioning the fact that you still have to pay taxes before you can send off that rebate. And I guess it’s only natural that FutureShop (which is owned by Best Buy) has now eliminated mail in rebates as well.

Actually it’s not a great situation for some; the people who take the time to fill in rebates (such as myself) may lose a bit in value. Chances are, with manufacturer rebates gone, sale prices are going to look a little less tasty down the road.

Video Game Texture Piracy

You don’t hear about this sort of thing everyday – there’s talk around the ‘net about a major game ripping graphical assets from other games. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl has been accused by some of blatantly taking in-game textures from Doom 3 and Half Life 2. I mean if you’re going to take someone else’s game files you might want to at least change their filenames…

Vancouver and Dallas Go At It Again

I’ve been secretly rooting for the Canucks all year and the opening game of the Vancouver-Dallas series was quite the thriller. In fact, it was the sixth-longest game in NHL history, requiring over 78 minutes of extra time to end.

The two teams play again tonight.

Canada Buys Tanks?!

Not so long after the idea of scrapping the entire tank fleet and replacing them with Mobile Gun Systems (which are based on the Stryker platform, which is in turn based on Canada’s LAV III, which is in turn based on the Mowag Piranha) the Canadian government made it known that Canada will be replacing its fleet of 100-plus Leopard 1’s with 20 new Leopard 2A6M’s from Germany and up to 100 used Leopard 2’s from the Netherlands. The 20 advanced Leopard 2’s from Germany will be leased and sent directly to Afghanistan while the older Leopard 2’s from the Netherlands (which have been in storage for 10 years and actually never deployed) will be shipped to Canada later and refitted with, among other things, an air-conditioning system.

One of the main faults of the 30 year-old Leopard 1 is the lack of any sort of climate control inside the tank. As a result, under the Afghan sun, temperatures are reaching into the 60’s Celsius.

Hopefully the new tanks will make a difference – it’s sad to see so many of our soldiers dying.