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Once again, NAFTA fails to level the consumer playing field. This time, I ended up shopping in the United States for a Motorola MR350R two-way radio. I can't even get the bloody thing in Canada, at the moment. Find out why.
Motorola TalkAbout MR350R Two-Way Radios
On January 6th, 2009, Motorola unveiled its 2009 collection of TalkAbout two-way radios at a trade show in Las Vegas. On June 8th, 2009, Motorola declares the MR350R two-way radio is a "Perfect Father's Day Gift for Adventurous Dads".
I didn't know anything about the Motorola MR350R two-way radio until just prior to Father's Day, when I spied it for sale in a Canadian TigerDirect catalog. After reading the specifications Motorola MR350R Specs Key Features · Range of 35 miles · 22 channels (each w/121 privacy codes) · Dual power (3 AA batteries & NiMH pack) · Battery Life: 27h (Alkaline), 9h (NiMH) · Built-in iVOX hands-free · Built-in LED Flashlight · 7 NOAA & 4 EC Marine Weather channels · Weather alert mode · 20 call tones & "VibraCall" mode · PTT Power boost · Keypad lock, audible low battery, emergency alert, flexible charging options. Click pop-up/link for specs at Motorola's website , the MR350R radio did appear to be an excellent communications tool for around our 5-acre property and floating cabin. Because both locations have spotty-to-no cell phone coverage and the radios also receive government weather alerts, they would be as much for safety, as for convenience.
Unlike most power tools I want, it didn't require a lot of convincing to sell the idea to Rachel. Yay! It looked like I might indeed be getting a cool "Father's Day" gift! All I had to do - I thought - was telephone TigerDirect and order it.
That's when problems began.
To learn why I ended up - again - purchasing the MR350R Motorola two-way radios in the United States and not Canada, why Canadians aren't getting a fair shake from NAFTA and how companies - like Motorola - downplay the Canada marketplace ... read on.
Scott and Alex attend the Grand Opening of the new Chase River RONA store. (RONA is a Canadian-based hardware store). They were thrilled to get some free hardware swag! The new store cuts our hardware store driving time from 32 kilometers to 13 kilometers. Yay!
Rona Hardware Store: Grand Opening in Chase River
This morning, I mentioned to the Oop, "Rona is having their big Grand Opening today at 9 AM. If we go, we can get some free gifts!"
Being a lover of hardware stores (and gifts), Alex was immediately excited!
"I wanna go! Let's go! I'll go get dressed, right now" she said, bounding from the chair in which she was sitting and abandoning the computer game she was playing (Webkinz World).
We drove to the new hardware store in Chase River (just across the Island Highway from South Gate Center). It's a good thing we got there at 8:30 AM, as the gift bags were for the first 100 customers and there was already a line-up of about 50 people or so.
We waited a half hour (which is like a day and a half in 5-year-old waiting time). Towards the end, Alex's patience was wearing thin, despite the prospect of free stuff. As we finally walked through the front door, we were each greeted by a Rona employee, who handed us a re-usable shopping bag, filled with a Rona ball cap, a tape measure and a $10 gift certificate.
In addition to a bag, the Oop also got a helium balloon and (several) cookies. Dad bought a 4-foot piano hinge (to be used as a project with Alex, in making a dozen or so new bird houses, which we'll nail to trees around the yard and pasture).
For more about the Rona Grand Opening adventure and what it means to us, read on ...
Randsco No Longer Supports Internet Explorer Six
Last month, we made the decision to drop support for Internet Explorer version six (IE6). Visitors using this eight-year-old browser will see a pop-up information box, when they land here. The box says:
Update Your Browser
As of May 2009, we no longer support Internet Explorer 6. The reasons for this decision are many.
We strongly recommend that you upgrade your browser to a newer version. The current version is Internet Explorer 8. The upgrade is free.
Hint: For a better browser, use FireFox.
To learn about our reasoning for this move, what it means for visitors, the problems with IE6 and why FireFox beats IE hands-down ... read on.
Why We Dropped Support for IE6
IE6 is listed as #8 of The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time
Below is a short list of some of the reasons behind our decision to drop support for Internet Explorer 6:
- IE6 is old and antiquated
- IE6 is crappy compared to modern alternatives
- IE6 support costs web-developers frustration & time
- IE6 needs to go - now
IE6 Is Old
The release date for Internet Explorer Six is Aug 2001. That was before the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center! IE6 is older than the iPod, the television show "24", IE5 for the Mac and the Hummer H2.
At its peak, in 2003, IE6 commanded roughly 95% of the browser market and created for Microsoft, a browser monopoly that resulted in a U.S. Justice court case against the company.
Success of IE6 is attributable to a number of factors:
- Unlike early version of Netscape & Opera, IE6 was free
- It was bundled and integrated with the most popular O/S - Windows
- It was the best browser available at the time and competitors were lacking
IE6 Is a Crappy Browser
IE6 may have been the best browser in 2001, but this is 2009 and eight years is an Eon of time, technologically speaking. Compared to modern browsers - which are many and all free - IE6 is wildly inferior. Here's a brief list of some reasons why:
- IE6 is much less secure against malware, spyware & viruses
- IE6 lacks new features like native tabbed browsing
- IE6 doesn't support transparent PNG graphic files
- IE6 doesn't support many CSS directives (e.g., :hover, :first-child & min/max-width)
- IE6 doesn't support web standards well
- IE6 work flows are slow
compared to modern browsers
Finding Directions in IE8
A good comparison of modern -vs- ancient work flows can be demonstrated by looking up directions to an address contained in an online email:
1) highlight the address in your email;
2) right-click and "copy";
3) open a new IE6 window;
4) find or type in a mapping website URL;
5) paste the address into the mapping site;
6) press [Enter] and wait for a response;
7) return to email to pick up where you left off. IE8 (modern):
1) highlight the address in your email;
2) Right-click and "Map with Live Search" As you can see, IE8 can dramatically speed up this work flow in this example, by eliminating 5 (or more) steps. Click for other new features in Internet Explorer 8
IE6 is one of The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time.
I have John of wow-factor.com to thank for turning me on to an amazing mashup of music by an Israeli named "Kutiman". Kutiman has mixed a variety of disparate YouTube videos, creating amazing new music. Rarely does something cross my desk that astounds me. This did.
Israeli Musician "Kutiman" Mixes YouTube Videos to Make a New Vibe
Every once in a while, you run across something on the Internet that blows your socks off and redefines your very understanding of the world. So it was for me, when my Australian mate turned me onto Thru-You, an online album of recycled YouTube music.
"Wow," Scott said, replaying the music again and again, in an effort to digest and fully comprehend the creative genius at work.
"The vision, patience, technical and musical knowledge that's required [to pull together unrelated YouTube videos and mix them into a completely new sound] is just astounding," Scott claimed, upon watching (and hearing) "The Mother of All Funk Chords", which is the first of seven songs contained in this online album.
See if you agree. Watch Kutiman's YouTube mix and learn more about the controversy that it created!
Nanaimo - Record snow fell on Sunday, dumping 33 centimeters overnight and in the morning. Record cold temperatures accompanied this record snow dump, changing what had been a mild winter thus far, into something a tad more extreme.
Thirty Six Centimeters of Snow
Rachel and the Oop were off visiting grandparents in Vancouver, so they missed witnessing yesterday's record snowfall.
"When I went to bed on Saturday night," Scott said, "there had only been a light snowfall that afternoon and nothing after that. When the fire hall pager went off at 5:30 AM Sunday morning, I woke up and looked out the window. It was a white winter wonderland!"
Thirty three centimeters of snow had fallen, during the night. Outside, Scott flipped "the beast" into 4-wheel-drive and plowed his way to the North Cedar Fire Hall, seven kilometers away. There, personnel put chains on the front-line pumper (Engine 1), back-up pumper (Engine 7) and the water tender (Tender 6).
Another 3 centimeters fell Sunday morning, bringing the December 14th total to 36 centimeters. This beat the previous December 14th record of 19.8 centimeters, which was set in 2000.
For more Nanaimo snow records and photos ... carry on.