Tag Archives: Canada

The CRTC upholds net neutrality in Canada

It may not seem obvious, but preventing ISPs from providing zero-rating is actually support for Net Neutrality.

I generally see Net Neutrality as a good thing, though the ISPs have something of a case here. That said, Net Neutrality is a good thing to stick with, especially because what the ISPs give they can also take away.

More on the CRTC ruling here: CRTC ruling against zero-rating a boon for businesses, experts say (via IT Business)

Advertisements

The legendary runner Ed Whitlock Dies at 86 

Ed Whitlock running
The legendary Canadian runner Ed Whitlock has died. (Source: Masters Marathon Legend Ed Whitlock Dies at 86 | Runner’s World). There are so many things to say about Ed, but the article in Runner’s World gives you a sense of just how amazing he was. From his simple running routine to the records he broke, he was a great and unique individual. R.I.P., Ed.

(Photo: linked to in article, by K.C. Armstrong)

Blackberry has a new Android phone coming

And I think it could be successful. First off, it looks good, and it has the famous BlackBerry keyboard. Plus it will work with BlackBerry Enterprise Servers. For some users, this is the best of both worlds. For BlackBerry fans who also want to tap into the benefits of Android devices, this could be for you. More details, here:  BlackBerry Priv — the Android phone formerly known as Venice — is on the way | IT Business.

What and where are the most delicious cheap eats in Canada? Buzzfeed has a list

I’ve eaten much of the food on this Buzzfeed list, more than I should admit. All  the ones I have eaten were delicious. That’s my way of saying that if you get a chance to eat any of the 23 Most Delicious Cheap Eats In Canada, then you should. 🙂

(Image via their article)

On class, Tim Hortons, and Starbucks


While there is alot being written about the Tim Hortons/Burger King merger from the point of view of taxes and finances, this piece in the blog Worthwhile Canadian Initiative touches on something else: class

Can’t we at least get a decent class analysis of this question? There are two sorts of people: Starbucks people; and Tim Hortons people. And this class distinction is far more important than anything based on superficial differences like income and occupation. As a Tim Hortons person, who feels deeply ill-at-ease in a Starbucks, and who does not understand the menu, I cannot stop myself asking the “barista”(?) the subversive question: “Can I have a small double-double please?”

In my experience with going there, Tim Hortons is an establishment that seems to be staffed sith and patronized by working class people. As opposed to Starbucks, which seems to be staffed and patronized by middle class people. This is not to say that one class is better than another, but there appears to be this class distinction that differentiates them. The blog post linked to above talks about cultural or educated classes, but I think there is a case to be made that this also has to do with economic classes as well as a rural / urban / suburban divide.

Economically, the lowest coffee advertised by Tim Hortons is closer to one dollar (in Canada). In Starbucks, the lowest coffee advertised is closer to two dollars. While that may seem like much to some, for working class people, it makes a big difference. (Never mind that alot of the coffee bought in Starbucks is over three dollars once you start getting it from the espresso bar versus from the coffee carafe.) Likewise, a coffee and a donut costs less than three dollars in Tim Hortons, while a coffee and a snack at Starbucks is closer in the range of four to five dollars. (Based on the many coffee / snack combos I have bought at both.)

In terms of rural / urban divide, Tim Hortons has been over time making a move into the downtown core (at least in Toronto), while Starbucks has been slowly expanding outwards (e.g., Sydney, Nova Scotia recently got a Starbucks).

Those of you who say you have good taste may say: yes, but Starbucks is better. (And there will be others that say both are terrible and only indie coffee shops have good coffee.) I believe it is better too, though I don’t think Tim Hortons’s coffee is bad. (I have drunk bad coffee, and Tim Hortons is not bad.) I think for Tim Hortons customers, coffee is a hot beverage with caffeine that is good to drink while driving and at work.  Having it cost less makes a difference. Tim Hortons advertises that their coffee is fresh: that is the quality it has. Starbucks will talk of their coffee in terms of where it comes from and with terms you often hear wine experts talk about: those are the qualities it has.  Your values will determine where you buy your coffee from.

By the way, one of the stereotypes was that only middle class people (and pretentious ones at that) drank lattes. Now Tim’s has machines that make lattes and a wide range of milk based coffees too. They may not be as good as those in other places, but they are not bad and they have two other qualities: they are fast and they are lower in cost. Those two qualities are valued by working class people. And working class people like to try things too: they are no different from people with more money and more education who live downtown in the city.

Coffee is about class. It’s about the different classes we have in our society that center around money, education, where you work and where you live. Starbucks and Tim Hortons are based upon that as well, though as each attempts to grow more, they are expanding from their class base. As someone who comes from a rural working class background but lives an urban middle class background, I am comfortable in and recognize the value in both.

In Canada, we don’t talk about class much, but it is everywhere. Including the coffee shops we patronize.

Getting a new iPhone? Maybe you should want to get a new plan too. Read this

This June 2013 article (What’s the best, cheapest Canadian cellphone plan out there? | Globalnews.ca.) has a good rundown of the various cellphone service providers and their lowest cost plan and everything that you get with that. Even if you don’t want the cheapest plan, knowing that can help you negotiate the plan you really need. Highly recommended.

Get the new iPhone (if they have it) and save money on your plans. Good deal.

The 2009 Giller Prize Longlist is worth a look

The Giller Prize short list was announced this week. Among other things, the chattering classes were talking about Margaret Atwood being left off said list. Whatever.

What is noteworthy is that on the Giller Prize web site is also the long list. I think this is good, because anything on such a long list (be it for the Giller Prize or the Booker Prize or any other major prize) would be worth paying attention to. I wish more organizations would share their long list. For if you don’t like those works on the short list, there is likely something on the long list that makes you think: that is something I want to read. Something like Atwood’s new book, for instance.

For great Canadian literature, check out The Giller Prize web site.