As I write this, some parts of the world are less than two hours away from 2015 but in my part of the world, we still have about twenty-one hours left.

As with previous years, I am planning on having a very quiet New Year’s Eve. It wasn’t supposed to be like this as I was going to host a friend from out-of-town for the end of the year. My grad school friend, who hails from Alberta, was going to spend the holidays in Victoria with the rest of family. While they were going to back home after Christmas, he was going to hop over to Vancouver so we could celebrate New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, his family got ill and the trip to Victoria got cancelled which meant he wasn’t coming to Vancouver at all.

Perhaps that was for the best anyways because at the end of the last weekend, I developed a bit of a sinus cold. My right sinus has been bothering me, producing some interesting substances. I also seem to have a bit of a sore throat in the mornings. There appears to be some minor fatigue and lethargy that hangs over me. I’ve definitely had worse colds but I’d have to say I’m not 100% either.

Anyways, I’m looking forward to staying warm and having a fun evening at home for the last night of 2014. I hope whatever you do for your New Year’s Eve, it is enjoyable, safe, and memorable.


As I type this, the current air temperature is -3 degrees Celsius, which is very cold for the greater Vancouver area. Despite putting on some warmer clothes. I wimped out and turned on the heat in my bedroom for a portion of the evening. The heat will be off again when I go to bed because I don’t want to use any more electricity while I’m sleeping.

In a related matter, if you were curious about how much extra electricity I’m using now since I’m all the time, I know this now. A few weeks ago, I received my electricity bill for the months of October and November. Usually when I’m working, I’m not home for a good portion of the day, meaning that many of appliances like my computer, lights, hot water dispenser, and stove are off. Now that I’m not working, many of these are running a lot more during the day since I’m not out as much. Normally, the bill comes to just over $20 a month for electricity. Since I’ve stopped working, that’s increased to about $30 a month. That’s not going to bankrupt me but that’s definitely a cost of being home all the time.


In a previous post, I mentioned how I was changing Internet service providers in an effort to cut those costs by about 50%. It turns out there might be a few complications to my plan. First, it may actually be impossible for the independent ISP to get service to me. The reason for that is because the indie ISP has to rely on Telus to run the proper copper wires used for DSL to my building. I’m almost 100% sure that Telus chose to actually run fiber optic lines to my building for Internet instead of copper because fiber is way faster. Apparently, Telus can apparently refuse to do any more wiring to my building because the fiber is already in place. Without having any copper wires for DSL in my building, the indie ISP won’t be able to provide service to me since Telus won’t let them touch the fiber lines. If this is the case, I’m stuck with Telus if I want to use DSL. If I’m ok with changing over to cable, then I could go that route but I’d have to choose another indie ISP that offers cable Internet.

Now assuming everything goes through fine (which is very uncertain at this point), I unfortunately will have to go through about a six-day period from the new year on where I won’t have in-home Internet access. The new ISP is supposed to hook everything up on or about the sixth of January. I could have made my Telus cancellation date on the same day but I would have been forced to pay an entire month’s worth of access for just those six days. Because I’m cheap, my cancellation date is now on the last day of this month. For those six days, I’ll be forced to use my smartphone’s mobile data and set up a mobile wi-fi hotspot so my tablet and laptop can have Internet access. My main computer, a desktop, will have to go without during that time.

So, things are a bit murky right now. I was told the indie ISP will tell me this week if the changeover can proceed but there’s a good chance I’ll be stuck with Telus again.


Connecting to AOL...

Recently I looked at my bill for Internet access and realized Telus was charging me $58 a month for the lowest tier of service. I decided that was way too expensive for what I was getting. Around 1999, I acquired DSL high-speed Internet access for my home. I was charged $19.99 a month from Telus and that price was more than worth it. Over the years, Telus has increased the amount I have to pay, without a proportionate increase in download speed or value. Telus always trumpets the increasing cost of doing business and maintenance of their networks for the need to raise rates but I personally think there’s some hand-waving there. I don’t doubt inflation has something to do with it but when the company keeps boasting about profits all the time, it’s hard not to think there’s some money-grabbing going on.

I’ve had enough so I am canceling my Internet service with Telus. I am going with an independent Internet access provider. Such companies basically rent access to equipment and networks from the major Internet service providers, like Telus or Shaw, and sell that Internet access to consumers. In nearly all cases, for the same download and upload speeds, such independents charge less than the big boys.

In my case, for the same download and upload speed, I will now be charged $30 a month, instead of the $58, a savings of almost 50%. Of course, sometimes it’s not so black and white. I took advantage of a promotion where lots of fees, some one-time and others monthly were waived. I avoided a one time $75 general activation fee and another $37 dry copper fee. I also was waived on a $5 network access fee and another weird $10 fee, all monthly. Had I been forced to pay for all those, I might have thought twice about it.

In the end, I didn’t get away scot-free. I still have to pay about $40 for a DSL modem (which I get to keep) and a $100 fee for some wiring work that needs to be done in my building. By my count, after five months, the switch to the new ISP will begin to pay for itself, which is fine by me.

In Canada, we have a dearth of real competition amongst Internet service providers and cell phone companies. This leads to situations where I was paying 3x the amount I originally paid for the same level of Internet access. I encourage you to look for alternatives out there because the big companies rely on consumers to be static and just go with the increasingly expensive flow. Someone recently posted on social media a list of alternative companies for Internet access. There are some BC specific companies out there but if you live in Canada, have a look and maybe you can some money!


I finally sold my very first item from Craigslist today. As you might have read previously, I’ve been trying to sell some of my extra computer parts I have lying around. It hasn’t been all that successful but one guy agreed to buy one of my video cards.

We agreed to meet at a Starbucks right next to a Skytrain station in Burnaby which made it quite convenient for me. I’d never sold or even bought anything from Craigslist before, so this was my first time meeting a total stranger to conduct a business transaction. I got there a bit early so I bought a green tea and waited outside at a table for the buyer. I had previously texted him my description but there weren’t many dudes sitting outside with a video card in an anti-static bag.

While I waited, I actually got a bit nervous for some reason. I’m not sure why. I wasn’t worried about my safety because there were tons of people coming and going. Maybe I was just nervous meeting a stranger? It kinda felt the same way when you meet someone on a first date. That’s definitely odd feeling when it was a dude coming to buy computer parts off me.

Anyways, the dude did show up and I gave him the card to inspect it for himself. He gave it a really quick once over and then handed me a $20. I’m about 99% sure it wasn’t counterfeit since it was one of those new plastic $20 bills. We went our separate ways after that.

I don’t think I’d want to make a living sell stuff off Craigslist but I guess it’s a good way to make some extra cash.


No titties here...

I was checking my visitor logs where I happened upon the entry you see above. I’m guessing by the search terms that were used and that a Sony PSP was involved, some young boy was looking for some Playboy boobs. The kid needs to develop his Google-fu if he ever wants to find real, quality porn but we all were in a similar position at one point. Keep at it!

For those who are curious, the post he looked at contained absolutely no naked Playboy breasts.


Hell yeah! Business!

It wasn’t until someone on Facebook linked to a stock market web page today that I realized that shares of Electronic Arts had been trading above $40 since about Halloween. I’m a fool for not knowing this because as this previous post points out, I had just over 100 shares that were worthless since I bought them at or just above the magic $40 mark.

For most of these shares, I have waited since 2008 for this day (well, I guess I waited until Halloween but I was clueless on that day). I didn’t find out until after the market was closed today so I couldn’t act on it right away. To refresh your memory, I have two sets of shares that were purchased at just over $40 and two at basically $43. The stock closed at $47.24 today. So the question is, what to do?

I always said for these shares I just wanted to break even. Yes, it kinda sucks that I essentially gave away thousands of dollars for about six years or more and I just want it to come back even Steven. I’m ok with that. I’ve already put it in a limit order for one set of shares to sell at $47. I did this because I didn’t want to sell all my shares just in case the stock went up again tomorrow. Yes, after saying I just wanted my money back, which I could have done by selling all my shares right away, I am possibly repeating my original mistake by waiting again.

As I write this, the markets won’t open for another three and a half hours. I can see the “cancel order” button in my other browser window. Part of me wants to cancel my initial sell order and do another one where I sell all four sets of shares. If the share price rises tomorrow I will lose out on some profit but is this the time to be greedy again? That’s what got me into this predicament in the first place! Every single share I have that used to be worthless will now make me some profit at $47.24. I need to take my evening shower and cleanse the various folds around my body. I’ll use that time to think about it. When I return it will on a new paragraph, I’ll be right back.

Alright, I’m back from bathing with clean(er) genitals and a clear mind. I have decided to honour my original intention to just get back the money I put in for these stocks so many years ago (plus a tiny bit of profit). I will cancel the order I put in earlier this evening and do another one where I sell all the shares at whatever the market price is in the morning. Once they are sold, it will complete this long journey.

In the summer of 2012, the stock dipped to down to almost $10 a share. I had no clue I just had to wait another two years for it get back to $40. I was sure it would take at least five years, possibly even a decade. To any of my co-workers who held onto shares at $50 or above, I wish you all the best in the coming weeks and months. I, for one, am getting off this stock market roller coaster.


When I started this latest stint of unemployment, I had a few things on a list I wanted to accomplish while had this luxury of free time. Some things, like upgrading my computer, I got on right away without delay. Others became victim to my weakness for procrastination, a flaw of mine that I wholly admit to. One of my high concept goals was to make my own game. Now that goal could lead to disappointment in so many different ways if I didn’t scope it correctly. A former co-worker of mine had the same goal of making his own game and it took him years and it exhausted his life savings. Oh sure, he’s successful now and made all that money back several times over but that’s not immense undertaking I want to start on.

My more modest goal is to just get a simple mobile game out on the Google Play distribution platform. My impetus for doing so isn’t because I think I have a great idea for a game that will entertain millions. On the contrary, the game design is the thing that I’m devoting the least amount of time to. My focus is on the setup and usage of all the tools and infrastructure to develop and support a limited scope mobile game. I want to use a popular and well-regarded game engine to make my game and then go through the steps of submitting it to Google Play. In my case, the journey itself is definitely much more important than the destination. In fact, I think the game itself will be quite boring to play and likely be lowly rated but that’s ok.

Now, I dragged my feet on this for several long weeks, mostly because it was just easier to stay up late, sleep in, play video games, and eat fried foods. Slowly but surely though, I made small steps towards reaching this goal. Recently, I downloaded and installed Unity3D, a popular game engine and development platform for mobile games. For small independent developers, which I guess I fall into that category, Unity is free to use. I’ve had some experience with Unity at two different companies. I’ve also installed and setup the Android software development kit, which is required if my game is to target Android platforms. Last night, the last piece of the software puzzled was installed, that being Perforce, my source control solution. Perforce allows me to have version control over all the files used in my game development. For those not familiar with version control, it’s like having access to all the revisions of an essay you wrote in Microsoft Word.

So with all the software installed and ready to go, you might be wondering if I have an idea for a game. Well, that part stumped me for a long time. Partly because I’m not really that good of a game designer and partly because I really didn’t care about the design. Thankfully, I thought of something fairly simple and stupid for the basis of my game. I’m pretty sure there are already some existing mobile games that use the same idea. I don’t care because if there are a dozen Flappy Bird clones out there and then I can make own stupid game as well (which has nothing to do with birds).

Of course, the hardest part is next, the actual making of the game. Let the real work begin now.