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StartUp Weekend Saint John

As most of you know I have volunteered at ROGERS tv for going on 19 years. Bi-weekly there is a talk show that I work on called What Matters most. A few weeks ago the had someone on as a guest from the Momentum Group to talk about a then-upcoming event for a Startup Weekend. Long story short that episode didn’t make it to air and was instead put on YouTube. Therefore you can watch the following 13-minute interview to get the idea of what it is about.

Or not… I guess I can tell you what it is about.

The premise is that you pay money for a ticket and choose if you are a Developer (can code), Designer (can design stuff), or Other (smart person, marketing person, money person, et cetera). Then on Friday you show up raid the buffet spread, socialize, network, and assess the competition.

Then you get to listen to speeches, “The is is how the weekend is going to go down”, “we love business”, “entrepreneurs are awesome”, “there are so many services you have never probably heard of that you are going to get a taste of”, “your community needs you”, and lastly “who has an idea!”.

This is the first taste of the opportunity where you get to line up and present and possible idea, everyone claps for you presenting your idea, then you walk off to write your idea down on a big piece of paper and stick it on the wall. After all the ideas are presented comes the fun. Everyone in the room goes an puts a post-it note on the idea they like. Then the top several ideas get selected and then they get moved around the room that the idea person stood beside their idea and if you liked their idea you could join their idea team. If an idea had at least 3 people it was then a team.

We then spent a few hours planning out the idea. Then we went to socialize at a special after-hours gathering at the new Saint John Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club.

The next morning we arrived to have a light breakfast. Then go off to work. It was this portion of the day where we got to choose the local business people and entrepreneurs we would talk to in a type of speed-dating to understand our idea and it’s potential best future best. Of course, we then had an amazing lunch. Then back to work on the afternoon working on the business plan, the supporting market research, prototypes of ideas, and to build a blow-away presentation for the next day. Then a large supper arrived and it was back to work into the night.

The next morning involves a lot of fine-tuning the presentation, and practice of the presentation. Our group used Prezi for the presentation and there were a few points where we had to add a few seconds of fill to transition the topics for the visual animations that done well, nails the presentation and, not appearing to be filler.

Then we got to do a test presentation and got some great feedback from the event organizers. Using the feedback it just made the presentation stronger. Then lunch arrived I think this one was from Toro Tacos and it was a rice bowl that was incredible.

Then it was presentation time. This was the first time I ever used a presenter button (or TV term GPI) it is so much better than hitting the arrow keys on a laptop and makes it easier to present. After the presentation, I was relieved that that was it. Now to listen to the other presentations. There were nine teams in total with prizes for the first, second and third place teams.

When the third place team was announced, I was a little surprised. The criteria I thought of that would make a great idea was not what the judges looked for. There were great but impractical ideas in the pack, some that when it went from the idea Friday night took a turn for the worst. Then there was some that got a whole thot better after research. The thirds place idea was one of those and in reflection well deserved and was championed by someone truly invested in the limitless potential of their idea.

My team won second place and again I was in shock not because I didn’t believe our idea but because I had spent the last hour being won over by some of the other ideas.

Then when the first place was announced it was definitely the one I expected. I’ll link to a CBC interview on the winning idea.

After the awards it was a bit more, socializing, networking, and business talk on where the ideas can go from there.

There is going to be another one in Saint John hopefully in the Spring, and there is going to be one the first weekend of November in Fredericton.

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Home and Escape

I’m going to move the story along and will in the future write more hallucination stories.

Once it was determined that I was going to go home, the nurse told me and I wanted to bad to leave Brampton. Mostly because I believed that the whole town wanted to kill me in the riots. I was still having lots of difficulties staying awake.

I thought that so was moved onto a ship and was going to sail back to Saint John. I was stuck in a small little all-white room. We then stopped, a giant rock had collapsed the passage and this Newfie came down from the bridge and said: “She’s between not good and not so good.” I knocked over something and the ship caught on fire and sank. I was so scared I wasn’t going to make it back.

Then I woke up (October 23, 2016) again and remember the nurses and air paramedic trying to switch over my breathing machine but it was the wrong size. They eventually did something but I got bored and blacked out again. I then woke up and I was outside and it was cool, they then put me on the plane and I felt strapped against a wall. I had tons of stuff and equipment beside me. Then the plane took off, and I blacked out.

I remember that we landed. During the flight, I had this metal rack thing with me and I was not supposed to play with it and I couldn’t help myself and be stuck in it again by the time we landed. I was taken out of the plane and they decided to get me out of it by dropping me upside-down on to another hospital bed. It really scared me. Then I black out.

I wake and we are in the hallway of the hospital on the 4th floor headed into the ICU and then moved into the pod. I then black out again. After several days they performed another round of IVIG treatment and then the night of November 4th, I had this weird dream. I was in an amusement park house on the West Side. I was pulled out of the collapsing building and then was put back in my hospital bed. Then I started winning against the ropes that we keeping me in place. The little animal thing that was robotic was biting me and I was trying to get my clamps off my had but they keep ending up back on. The animal thing is attached it’s leash to my right arm and decided it wanted to take off and jumps off the bed punning me down. Then this drunk naked guy falls down on me and passes out on my left leg and right shoulder. I wake up and I can move my right leg, left elbow, and right wrist. Over the next week, I transitioned into breathing myself. 

Around November 8th the breathing machine was removed and I started to eat liquids then real food. I finally got the water I craved. Honestly, I tried to do this in terror of blacking out again. Then November 11th, I was moved after lunch to the Neuro floor and I was so excited!

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It’s Showtime!

Show Poster

Now to continue the story. The biggest point of fear is the moment before doing something. However, I have at this point completely learned my part and it is showtime for the final full rehearsal and there are a limited number of media and a few other people in the audience. It makes this effectively the first show. I’m standing behind the curtain waiting for my cue, which was in the second part of the first act, and am trembling because although I’m not on stage yet, I have no way to escape out of doing this. After two months of faking it, pretending to be an actor, I step out on stage. I don’t remember much of that show I was in character and pulled it off.

The next day, the first day of paying guests, I trip on my way to work, rip open my knee and elbow, but the most tragic event happened. My coffee cup exploded all over the sidewalk and I lost it. A world without coffee is not a great world. That night I was faking it again and really was focused and didn’t even notice the audience. Each night after the show I got to meet some of the audience. The reason why the story started here was that after the Friday show, I invited my mother to travel with me to see London and Paris on the fateful trip when the story gets interesting.

I did absolutely love the acting and had auditioned again the next year but have never gotten a chance to do it again yet hopefully as I heal, I will get a part in the future. The following April I did perform with my friend Tony in a Shakespeare open mic a bit from Coriolanus. Unfortunately, he messed up his line. (sarcastic supportive emoji 🙄)

It was also at this point that I convinced myself that it was time for Contiki trip number 4. My friend Tony also wanted to join me for the Contiki and to do a post-tour trip to visit Pompeii and Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. (Do I even need to state it is in Germany. Doesn’t everyone know Munich is in Germany?)

Later, my mother sent me a list of things she would find interesting like the Tower of London, the English Moores, Normandy, and where in Paris that Princess Diana was killed. (Moan, not Paris again…)

So the plan is to bring my mother for a few days, send her home. Meet Tony and then go on Contiki, then a post week of exploration.

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Fox, Time Warner Cable reach deal to avoid blackout – Yahoo! Canada News

In the view of what may be in line for Canada over the next year in the camps of the Fee-for-carriage debate between “Save Local” and “Stop the TV Tax.” Although this seems unfathomable in the current landscape, the near future will see broadcast, cable, and satellite a thing of the past to internet based distribution methods.

Why pay for 100’s of channels that you do not watch? Why can the creators of the content not just distribute themselves? With devices like the Roku player, Apple TV, PS3, Xbox 360, and many others, we can feasibly get HD to your TV. Problems with getting broadband will als be a thing of the past soon as 4G LTE cellular networks with 51 mb/s connections will make getting fast internet to people easier and cheaper. Even more so in less that 5 years with 5G

“In the last 12 months talks between cable operators and program providers have become even more tense. Programmers have been seeking better affiliate fees as they have seen advertising revenue hurt by the U.S. economic downturn and remain uncertain about the future of TV advertising as more marketers turn to the Web.”  Yinka Adegoke for Reuters.

Fox, Time Warner Cable reach deal to avoid blackout – Yahoo! Canada News.

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The Future

Last weekend I received my LSAT score back and it was not what I had expected. It got me thinking about what I really like doing and to a greater extent what I want to do.

Lately I have been obsessed with words of the day on various online dictionaries and one of my favourites Wiktionary had the word “tranquil” on Saturday when I first opened by LSAT score e-mail. It became a matter if irony of that words full definition in relation to the experiences of the weekend.

Wiktionary defines it as “Free from emotional or mental disturbance.” which has firmly been at odds with my passions, in fact I have had to turn down many paths to make this transition fit. Paths that would have led more to the path that destiny seems to have written.
In the class Modern Europe History: Renaissance to the French Revolution one of the main figures in Protestant Reformation is John Calvin. John believes that our salvation or destiny is predetermined to the extent that our actions cannot make a difference and that we can cannot fight nature. Which is interesting with tranquil or brought further tranquility the calm inspired by nature, can further derive that by fighting nature will prove fatal.

It brings us all to finding a balance or equilibrium in our path. Economics also agrees greatly with this matter. When Dr. Young C. Jing started the first class of Intermediate Macroeconomics, it was an example of the Marginal Costs and benefits of going to School at a younger age, which is a surreal example if the way things are at with my life at this moment in time.

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Thought Piece

When reviewing the subject of the course I am reminded of when I started to research something a while back. I started writing and entry for my blog on whether the “Digital Revolution” was really or not a revolution that lead to a bigger philosophical question of other revolutions throughout history. Then, I started to ponder the question about revolutions in general. What does it take to make enough people to take the big jump to start the revolution?

The larger question that also I keep asking myself if it was considered before a revolution begins: “Will the king end up dead, and do we really care?” I then proceeded to start an introduction that was never finished. It is suited to be used here since these are some of the questions that I am hoping to be able to answer by taking this course.

Over the course of recorded history, revolutions have changed the course of the future to countless Peoples. To these ends certain questions would be asked, and answers pondered. The first question is why would people change the comfort of the things as they are to instate change. How bad do things have to get for revolution to happen? What is required to meet that turning point? Does success or failure matter at the turning point of the situation? Is an end game plan necessary to avoid a splintering of the effort? How far can it be taken before it becomes a “bad” regime? What justifies a revolution?

Out of curiosity some of the situations that fascinate me include the French Revolution, Bolshevik Revolution, the military coupe in places like Uganda. I am also extremely curious about events like the “5 October 1910 revolution” in Portugal and others the ended eras monarchies, more to ask of what caused to people to flip and change to the conventions of centuries of orders.

I think that a revolutionary is a person that wants or needs change. Perhaps it could be a forward seer or one that sees the winding path up the steep rocky mountain to the peak of hope. Whereas, a radical would be someone who wants change and does not need the slimmer of success. I think of a radical as one that antagonizes others or one that will do anything for their cause without thinking the situation through.

From my experiences during a Student Debt rally during budget day in 2002 outside the Legislative Assembly in Fredericton I think the “Big angry shouting mob” as the revolutionaries where especially the 150 or so that sat in the Member of Parliaments office for an hour, where the radicals were the 20-30 that started to shake Minister Margaret-Ann Blainey’s truck as she was drive to the Legislature as we were parading. Or the guy that climbed the flagpole and cut part of the flag off to symbolize getting our fair share.

Radical seems to defiantly be negative term, mostly since it gets intertwined often with a fanatical or terrorist, or freedom fighter. Whereas, revolutionary does not seem to be as bad. Revolutionary is a good person in my perception as they are looking for the change. The revolutionary does not even have to really believe in the cause they just have to believe that doing something is better than doing nothing. Some examples of revolutionaries that I feel made a large difference would be Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States of America, Mahatma Gandhi in India, and Nelson Mandela’s movement in South Africa. A radical, is more of having nothing to lose, or not really caring about what they would lose by a fanatical belief that their God told them it was a good idea.

From my past being in University during the aftermath of September 11th and over analyzing what a terrorist is, I would say that a Radial could be a terrorist, but does not have to be a terrorist. The persons living in fear may be limited to those in the highest power. Do you think the common people during the French Revolution lived in fear, no! They were part of the angry mob.

Then again, it seems that the revolutionaries could not be terrorists if the “Angry Mob” is the majority of the population. Using the terms as extremists would seem to fit more of the radicals, but the King or those in power could also be the extremist resulting in the cause of the average person of the population becoming a revolutionary, or depending on haw bad the conditions were a radical.

I think revolutions are very good and necessary. It interests me when governments do whatever it takes to keep power and how far they will go. Some prominent recent examples would be Adolph Hitler in Germany, Ide Amin in Uganda, or Vladimir Lenin in the Soviet Union. The necessity or desirability depends on what the majority of the population feels on the status of the current government, regime, or system. Including those that don’t care or don’t take sides. If the government is doing well, the population is doing well, and the economy is doing well then there is no reason to change. Change for the sake of change cannot be guaranteed to be good or bad in the end.

I think it is when peoples’ lives become so intolerable are usually because external forces be it an oppressive or uncaring overlord or natural condition and offered no help there is nothing else to lose. It is like backing a wild animal into a corner, it has nowhere to run but to attack. Sure they may lose everything, even their lives they feel it is more productive for the whole then to find a corner and kill themselves to make the emotional pain go away.

As, I was writing this it seems that losing everything may go beyond religion. Religion is what people turn to during the bad times, to make them feel better. Losing everything must also mean losing sight of the beliefs that keep you warm at night turning one into a radical, where a revolutionary changes their belief to better their situation. Perhaps a revolutionary has not lost their beliefs and morals then, they just decide that the hope of better is greater than the cost of what would be lost.

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Open Letter to my MP on Fee for Carriage

Today I checked my e-mail hand found this letter from my cable television provider Rogers Cable.

Dear Rogers Cable Customer:

{snip}

I am now writing to inform you of yet another broadcasting policy proposal that is under consideration by the CRTC

After rejecting it twice, the CRTC has reintroduced the idea of having a fee-for-carriage: a payment to Canadian over the air broadcasters that could ultimately end up costing cable and satellite TV subscribers between $5 and $10 per month!
The proposal is being championed by over the air television networks such as CTV and Global (Canwest Media). These companies also own highly profitable specialty channels, such as TSN and History, and therefore overall are financially healthy.
Furthermore, the CRTC has suggested that if the cable and satellite distributors don’t go along with the fee-for-carriage scheme, the television signals of American network stations, (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX and PBS) which we have distributed since cable TV began, will be taken away.

The “fee for carriage” proposal is strongly opposed by Rogers and most other cable and satellite distributors.
You as a cable TV customer can take a definitive position to oppose this new tax, called “fee-for-carriage”.
To do so you should contact the CRTC before September 14.

Simply tell the CRTC what you think of the idea of “fee-for-carriage” by clicking on this link: http://support.crtc.gc.ca/rapidscin/default.aspx?lang=En
• Then Click on the 2009-411-3 under the heading “Notice # / Deadline Date”
• Select the “Comment” option in the drop box
• Fill out your comment.
• Follow the remaining instructions until you are done.
You may also contact your Member of Parliament by e-mail, regular mail or telephone. MPs always appreciate hearing from their constituents.

Philip B. Lind
Vice Chairman, Rogers Communications Inc.

So, I’m going to put the following letter in the mail on Monday:

Mr. Rodney Weston
Member of Parliament – Saint John
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6

September 4, 2009

RE: Fee for Carriage

Greetings Mr. Weston

The proposal before the CRTC concerns me greatly. Many of your constituents rely greatly on power of television as one of the only sources of knowledge and entertainment. With the coming decommissioning of analogue TV signals across Canada and that fact that digital signals do not have the range of an Analog signal many are or will be forced to bring in signals via the use of an intermediary such as a Cable, Satellite, or future IPTV provider would be not only a benefit but a necessity.

It is also not level in fairness either since many of these stations provide their programming or parts of as streams or downloads via IPTV (over the internet). If a fee for carriage is introduced it should also come with an opt-out to receiving those selected channels or be charged to users the receive OTA (Over the air Signals) as it is not fair to charge some of the potential viewers of the signal and not others.

In addition, this is a tax on the poor in out community, demographic research proves that largest demographic of viewers in Canada is the low to fixed income bracket. It is proven that this area of the population of subscribers subscribe to Cable and Satellite services, as it is one of the more affordable means of entertainment for larger families. This is truly a significant proportion of your constituents in Saint John.

In conclusion, the local television content providers not only should but also must find a different model of producing content. This must not be allowed to be it.

Yours truly,

Charles E. Frees-Melvin

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Saint John Transit and Google Transit

I sent an e-mail to Saint John Transit offering a suggestion :

I recently read on CBC News the plans to incorporate an text messaging system which is great, however the currently the method of displaying the schedules in PDF remains unreadable by 90% of cellphones.
The new Google transit system works with most cellphones (minus the maps for some) and for people with GPS Enabled cellphones it can use the Google Transit to find the closest bus stops an times. Best of all it’s free.

And here is the responce from  Chris Campbell at Saint John Transit:

Good morning Mr. Frees-Melvin. The system we will be using is from a company called Grey Island. There will be an interface with Google Transit, but not immediately. You will be able to text a 5-7 digit code from any cell phone and we will be adding a 5 digit numerical code at every stop in the city. Text that 5 digit number specific to the stop and the next bus arrival time will be sent to your phone. This will be in real time, not scheduled time. We hope that in the future people with a PDA will be able to access this new site and see the bus on a map. Google transit will come on line later next year enabling trip planning. You will see details in the media in late January or early February.
 
Thanks you for your note.

Chris Campbell

This leaves promise in the future and I think a really good idea.