RIM needs apps

Another quarterly results announcement has come and gone. More people (including myself) are frustrated, sad, but really not shocked. The biggest and best blackberry ever released is basically a year old and in mobile terms its a dinosaur. The problem for RIM is that they have released other phones which haven’t been accepted anywhere as well as that one and many are going onto the End Of Life shelves.

So whats wrong with RIM’s phones that people don’t want to buy them?

The phones are perceived to be old and a year behind when they come out which doesn’t help. While the BlackBerry Bold 9900 is a awesome phone and has great reviews its viewed as a couple years too late. While businesses have kept using the keyboard, many consumers have moved to the touchscreen phones. BlackBerry hasn’t of yet created a good touchscreen phone for the public. People are moving to larger screens (as shown by the 5.3 monster, Samsung Galaxy Note) in droves and companies are moving to meet the need. Unfortunately for RIM the largest screen they have put out is around 3.5 inches while the competition is in the 4-5 inch range. For success RIM will need to expand the size of there phones and decrease the number they build (models) to streamline the business. So far we have old (out of box) small screens and stuck in the good old days. What else is wrong with RIM’s phones? Well Research in Motion does not advertise well in the least bit, they are terrible. This doesn’t bode well for them as the average consumer doesn’t usually have the time to research there purchase and can buy on advise or trends. Which leads me to another interesting piece; in 2007, when BlackBerry was king they had a following that would purchase almost anything they put out. In 2012, that following is gone basically and they have migrated to Apple products. So we have old, bad marketing, no cult followers, screen size and stuck in the good old days (2004-2007)

What about Apps?

Currently, the biggest issue facing RIM is the number of apps it has in its lineup. In 2009, the two CEO’s of RIM thought that apps were a fad that would eventually pass and that it wasn’t worth investing in. Looking back, all I can say is WOW!. The number and quality of apps is the reason that RIM is failing and the failure of the past CEO’s to catch on to this fad was a huge mistake. Apple was at the forefront of app development and now they currently stand at around 500,000 apps. The fad is continuing, growing and looking to not be a fad but a necessary feature of the new mobile smartphone. RIM has tried different ways to help drive the number of apps on its system. It started off by removing the $299 fee to have an app on app world (BlackBerry’s app store). While this likely created some interest it wasn’t until the android player was opened to developers that things picked up. The playbook was released in April 2011 and found to be ‘half baked’. One of the things Blackberry did was to allow android developers to port there apps over to BlackBerry for free. Between 2009-2011 there was only around 50,000 apps, when RIM created the android player and started giving away Playbooks they really started to push apps. In a matter of a week 6,600 developers signed up and around 10-15,000 more apps have been added in a couple months. While this was a highlight for RIM the 60,000-65,000 is still much less then 450,000 (apple), 350,000 (Android) and the growing 70,000 (windows).

The biggest issue for them has been to get big developers to sign on to build for the brand. Many have apps for a couple of platforms but not for BlackBerry. Apps like Skype, Netflix, Draw Something, Instagram, Draw with friends etc all haven’t made there way to Blackberry and this is holding people back. My personal opinion is that RIM needs to create a fund that developers can apply for to help pay for there app build. In return BlackBerry would get the app on the platform, the developer would add to it and sign up for a 4 year contract. It could help smaller developers come to the platform but also may give bigger ones incentive to build for future phones. BlackBerry 10 phones are the ones powered by QNX and are the future of RIM. If the users don’t have the apps the phone will sell but it may not be great in number, and then the developers wont build for the platform. RIM needs to get the platform to developers otherwise the phones will not sell. So what is my plan?

1. Streamline the system and make it easy to build apps

2. Create a fund for developers to use for app building (Build the app if necessary for the developer)

3. Pressure big companies to build for the new generation

4. Market the phones and sell the numbers to attract developers.

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OAS moved from 65 to 67

While this doesn’t seem like important information to people it will actually affect a large number of the population. If on March 31st, 2012 you are not 54 or older then your OAS qualification date will be 67 instead of 65. This will allow the government to save a large portion of money when the baby boomers retire. This move is controversial and has points both for and against that someone could argue.

The government is looking to save money and keep a program healthy and prosperous for the rest of the people who will need to draw from this. This fund was designed for seniors that struggle and may not have a pension, or savings to fall back on. With a large portion of the working public getting ready to retire and many looking to this program for help. The government felt that it could become overloaded and cause the program to falter without extra funding. The 2 years will save the government millions in which can be used for the program itself or other programs. One problem that has been brought up by the opposition parties is that this isn’t needed since the program is properly funded and is for a long time. A local NDP MP stated that “We could cut funding for OAS tomorrow and there would be enough money for 75 years”. If this is true then why would the government need to add 2 years onto the program if for no other reason then to reduce payments.

The biggest issue with this age increase is the gap left between the provincial and federal plans now. Many people who access OAS are people who come from low income, welfare or have fallen on hard times. Lots of these people are single women and growing numbers are people of aboriginal decent. The 2 year gap between the plans leaves these people in the cold to fight for themselves. This could lead to more people living on the streets or being forced to use food banks. The provinces have said that there is not money for an extension of there plans and the federal government has no plans to expand transfers for it. The province of Ontario in its deficit reduction plan and froze many plans including welfare, social assistance, Ontario works etc. While for many that are close to the 65 age they will be safe, many who are younger but struggling will have a 2 year period of wait.

While for years the average life was expanding and people were living longer the trends seems to have been bucked. The newest generation is expected to live a shorter life span then there fathers and grandfathers. Even with new medical technology and lots of awareness of healthy foods, there is still a huge problem of obesity and associate diseases. The problem is growing among the younger generation and is expected to continue into generation unless a society change occurs. This would also create a vacuum of people who don’t make it to the 65 to accept this OAS.

As people get older and live longer the system will be tested. Healthcare and many other issues will arise but if its true that the OAS can be funded throughout the baby boomer retirement then we need to keep it at 65. I believe that if we force people into the streets and into food banks because of the 2 year gap that we will be doing an injustice to the people of this country. These people worked all there lives for a decent retirement and they should get it.

 

 

Will there be a reduction in prostitutes now?

Yesterday was a big day for the people with ‘the oldest job in history’. The courts found that brothels should be legal because they provide a place for prostitutes to do there work safely. While this may be scary for some it may allow for a couple of different positives to come from it.

Say a brothel opened in the North Core and the Simpson street area, they would provide taxes to the city and held to keep people off the streets. Currently, people stand along streets and try to communicate the service with patrons in vehicles. If this was brought inside the work would be taxable and provide profits for the city. There are more benefits to this then simply the money factor, there are lots for the customer and the provider.

If people are working in brothels they likely wont be trying to score there next fix. I’m sure a requirement would be to substance free or a recovered addict. There would likely also be a requirement of no drugs in the business which would cut down on addictions, diseases and more. Age would be a huge factor as well as younger children wouldn’t be allowed to provide the service. If they stayed on the street the police would be able to find them quicker and get them the services they need to return to a healthy lifestyle. Same with addicted prostitutes who are stuck on the street corner, they can be easily identified by police and given help to find homes, work and addictions help. Sexually transmitted diseases would likely also be reduced as safety would need to be a necessity for these to operate.

The current issue would be to integrate them with the neighborhoods. Personally, I wouldn’t like to see a red light district in the middle of the north or south core. I would like to see a nice building that doesn’t show the world its there to protect everyday shoppers and children. One of those, its there and people know it but people don’t want to know its there.

My idea

There is a building on the waterfront that caught my eye for originally the wrong reasons. It was the shoreline hotel and personally I thought it was a dump. The building was in huge need of a paint job, was outdated and from every review I seen it was terrible. I could see that it would need a huge amount of cash to bring it up to date if it didn’t need to be torn down and rebuilt.

Well, I think that day a mini fire was placed inside me to do something with this building. While it simmered for a little while the knowledge that the building was behind on taxes was a match. That means that the city will take the building, the land surround it and sell it. It will likely sell it for less the market value because the city doesn’t want to hold land when it can make it money. If the price was right then there could be a chance that it would work.

My vision for the building would make a resident look twice. The building as it stands is ugly but it does have some things going for it. It has a restaurant and a bar but the bar has competition as there is one across the road. If the owner was to focus more on the restaurant then it might have a better chance at making money. Cutting the bar would be my first move and either reassigning staff or letting them go.

The building itself is stuck in the 60’s and needs a huge makeover. With the layout of the building its hard to expand out without purchasing other properties. There is opportunity to build up but building design and safety might not allow for that. The outside of the building itself would receive a huge amount of attention, hopefully it would be one of the first things tackled but if not once some money was headed inwards. Windows and sunlight would be the biggest features of a renewed shoreline, having large efficient windows to create a shine. Painting the building would also be important and getting rid of the old blue. Replacing the doors with more modern and elegant looking ones would be important. Replacing the balconies with smaller french ones would be a must. While they would create a smaller area they would allow for privacy and add to the building. I would like to add to the top level of the building and have a glass encased area for customers and restaurant goers to eat at. I believe the view would be astounding and create for a wonderful atmosphere.

The inside would be gutted basically and updated. Efficiency would be a must by adding insulation, replacing lights and replacing old windows. A review of the building stated that “everything smelt like smoke, it was terrible”. This means that the rooms would need to be gutted including the walls and replaced which would likely be a huge job. This job while expensive would likely allow for repairs and upgrading to go on easily though. The reception area would have work done to it so that it was more welcoming. Basically the building would go through a huge renovation to make it safer, more elegant and stylish.

Security might be a problem with the bar so close to the hotel, hiring a security guard might be something that is needed to protect patrons of the hotel, their vehicles and the building itself. Working with the bar owner to keep as many intoxicated people away from the building might be an issue but it could also provide a good opportunity for income. Giving 10% off rooms to intoxicated guests may bring in some guests on quiet nights to help fill the place up.

Lastly, I think the name needs to get changed and the signs removed. The name has a bad reputation and the signs are ugly. Bringing new life into the establishment would be important to everyone involved.

In the end this is a pipe dream and likely no banks would ever give me the cash required to purchase and renovate the building. So I will watch and prepare for my opportunity, be it here or somewhere else.

Cost avoidence?

The biggest costs to governments in the future will be the aging baby boomers. Elderly people usually come with higher health care costs and a whole generation coming to retire will be a huge strain on the healthcare system. It seems like a huge problem that people are only now becoming aware of. So how do we avoid our prized healthcare system breaking under the pressure without taxing the working generation to death?

Well it might be easier then it looks and could be getting done in already. If Canada was to take a page out of Japan’s playbook they would be implementing different programs that keep elderly people healthy, fit and keep healthcare costs down. One of the easiest ways to keep them healthy is to place free outdoor work out area’s.

Work Out machine

As you can see that isn’t Japan its Vernon, British Columbia. This is the same context though that people and cities can use to keep others healthy. This area is enjoyed by many and it cost relatively little to make. The base is recycled tires and all together it cost 80,000. It is in a park enjoyed by the area and works together great with the local shopping area. This is a simply idea that helps not only elderly keep fit but young people too. If the city was to place these around elderly homes, in parks and create classes it could help get large numbers of elderly people working and active. The Japanese have one of the oldest populations in the world and they are getting them fit and healthy. This has helped to keep costs down for healthcare. They also have classes strictly for elderly that change from yoga to martial arts. Having these programs brought into the mainstream would likely cost less then we spend now to keep drugging and hospitalizing elderly people.

Canada obviously isn’t the only country dealing with this problem though. Russia and Germany have both the same problem as us. A population that is headed into retirement and the workforce behind it simply cannot keep up. While the approaches may be different to the situation the final plan is the same. They need to revitalize there working force to power there economies. In Russia, the government has given a prize give away and tax exemptions for people who have babies. There is even talk of a car giveaway if your baby is born on Russia version of Canada Day. There approach is that they can fill the void by having lots and lots of babies. While this would work it would take a long time and may cause a even bigger amount of pressure on the in between generation. If Canada took an approach that people had 3 babies per family it would increase our population and fill the future void. We will also need to allow in more immigrants who are ready to work to reduce the pressure on generation X.

In the end its about keeping our elderly fit and keeping them healthy. The healthier they are the cheaper they are for our system. Its not just about money though, these people have worked for a majority of there lives and keeping them healthy will allow them to enjoy life more.

Where were the friends?

Today, a 19 year old girl was pulled from the Neebing flood way as she drunkenly walked across it. She is still in dangerous condition with hypothermia as she was in the flood way for a while. The weather has made almost all ice uncrossable and unstable. Repeated warnings have told residents to stay off the ice but yet 3-4 people have been plucked from the ice. That number doesn’t include the people they removed from the ice earlier in the season.

The first question I have is where are her friends. If it’s 1 am then she couldn’t have taken a bus home she would have had to walk to been dropped off. If she was dropped off by a taxi maybe its time that we have drivers wait to make sure they get inside if they live by water. If it was friends, why didn’t they make sure she got inside her home? If she walked away from the bar, why wasn’t the sober one of her friends watching her. Its like a unwritten code that sober or semi sober people watch out for the intoxicated ones to make sure they don’t get hurt.

How do we protect people from drinking by the water and walking out to it. The principal of DFC is working to make sure his students know the dangers of drinking by the water. During the 5th estates episode of the DFC school and kids coming from reserves for schooling they bumped into a number of older aboriginal people drinking by the water. If this was the case for her (which is unknown) how do we protect people from doing this. She could have easily died had it not been for a lucky series of events and she may still die. Even though the connection between aboriginal people and the water is spiritual, we need to get these people away from the water. It’s incredibly dangerous for all people and maybe we need to look at ways of keeping people safe.

I hope this girl recovers and learns her lesson. I hope she has learned her limit in terms of booze and realizes that she has a long life to live still. Hopefully her friends may pay attention to her more. Life is something worth living and enjoying every moment of it. Cutting your life short because you wanted to get really “messed up” isn’t living your life to the max.

Afghan Massacres will continue unless the US changes

The biggest problem the US is currently facing is getting the Afghans to believe in what they are doing and to believe in them. This took a big hit and may be the final nail in the coffin after a US soldier killed 16 civilians in the dark. The problem that is facing the US and every area they have troops in is that this will likely happen again. So who is to blame in this tragedy?

The soldier in question was serving his 4th tour of duty and his first in Afghanistan. An average tour for Americans soldiers are over a year long so this soldier has spent over 3 years in combat. He finally broke after spending a couple months in Afghanistan and seeing his friend get severely wounded. The day before this rampage occurred he seen his friends leg blown off beside him as he walked on a IED. He also dealt with foreclosure and other issues back home. The US is the biggest spender on defense in the world by a huge margin. The biggest complaint from soldiers is that they don’t have the proper tools to deal with the stresses of war. After a tour a soldier will be tested and given mandatory time off to reconnect with there family. The question is how did this soldier pass the testing to go back?

This soldier was a ticking time bomb and likely shouldn’t have even been considered to return to duty. The problem for the US is support for the war and recruitment has dried up which is causing logistical problems. The US has also had problems keeping up with soldiers PTSD and other wounds as the war continues to rage on. Some areas that US soldiers were in, the army had not seen that much combat since world war 2. Unprepared for the problems their soldiers face and slow to react means that this is just one case.

The soldier was charged with 16 counts of murder and the prosecutor will likely be trying for the death penalty. He will likely spend the next couple of years in jail and unless he can get insanity he will likely be killed.

All of this for a soldier who spent 4+ years serving his country valiantly, seeing friends killed and being away from his family. They also dealt with foreclosure problems and other issues and now he may be killed.

While I will not sit here and say that killing innocent civilians is acceptable and by no ways is it. This man suffered for his country and how they are looking for his head. Its simply sad for all parties.