When 1+1 not = 2

With the rise of populism all over the world, it is interesting that Canadians were not immune from this trend in recent elections.
The interesting part however, is that the new populist trend is not limited to vague promises of "Hope" and "Change" but rather actual promises of things that are not possible to fulfil due to pure faulty math. People always like the person who tells them what they like to hear, and while vague promises got people elected based on these promises, the new way of promising the impossible seems to have taken a new trend. One wonders if the electorate will clue on this, or simply keep switching to the one promising the impossible?
And while the Canadian federal liberal got elected by promising a lot of things with a side dish of deficit, Trump got elected on promises that violate the federal law (banning an entire religion or race from travel), building a wall and saying their neighbour would pay for it, and promising to fix trade when the problem is not trade itself but rather local laws that allows companies to ship manufacturing offshore with no consequences.... if you are not manufacturing goods, how do you expect people to buy from you?
Ontario on the other hand went a very different route, electing someone without even having the numbers to back up their promises (there was no actual platform to run on, just promises!) and the major promise of cutting spending without cutting services, as if math and logic don’t matter anymore. And if that wasn’t enough, they threw in the $1 beer. Though expectedly, their first order of cuts was cutting coffee from civil service, as if that was causing the runaway budgets!
And while the new trend is alarming, it is not dangerous on its own, as math always wins, what’s alarming, is what’s going to happen in future elections? What will they promise?

IIS Reverse Proxy Post with Form Parameters

So one of our servers was running a reverse proxy (via IIS URL rewrite module) as part of the site to connect to an external service, was working fine till form posts stopped working all of the sudden! At first we thought the problem was on the remote server being proxied, with a lot of troubleshooting we didn't get anywhere.
We then started to troubleshoot the ARR itself by setting up a test site with a simple form request, and sure enough the problem was there whenever there was a form post parameters.
But where is the problem?

As it turns out, the problem has to do with the hosting site. Whenever the hosting site touches request parameters, they get erased before it gets to the ARR and hence the remote server stops getting these parameters (actually the remote server continues to wait for these parameters but never gets them so it times out)
Basically the problem was caused by a code change we have made, we have some code in global.asax of the hosting site that checks for authorization, and we added code to check fo specific request parameters to perform special authorization checks, these changes caused ARR to stop working.

How to solve the problem?
Well, there are two ways to solve it:

  1. Change the filter (or global.asax) to check the URL and if it met the conditions to trigger the reverse proxy make sure to avoid touching the request parameters.

  2. Move the Reverse proxy to its own application, convert the ARR folder to an application to stop the hosting site filters from kicking in.

Toronto's toll delima

It is quite fascinating to see Toronto struggle with adding tolls to its two major highways. Ironically, from the political perspective, the Mayor was pushing for the tolls something his base would disagree with, and it was the Premier who pushed against it, something against what her base would want her to do.
But let's just step back to see what is the impact of adding tolls to the residents of the city.
First, whom would these tolls impact? If someone needs to drive downtown, they will drive downtown, if their area is not served by TTC there is no other option, so the whole argument that tolls will force people to use transit is just ridiculous. Having said that, the tolls might force *some* people into taking transit, but these people are in fact the disadvantaged, those who cannot afford the tolls. So in a sense, these tolls are simply against the poor. They will not solve any congestion because let's be realistic, even those disadvantages who cannot afford to pay tolls will simply take side roads adding more congestion instead of taking transit, because they don't have transit option in the first place.

Toronto is Canada's biggest city and the economic engine of the country, so it should have a major city transit, sadly adding tolls is not the answer to making people use transit, having a decent transit is what makes people take transit.

Tolls are just an inefficient way to collect taxes, it will cost significant amount of funds to collect and administer the toll fees while if compared to other methods (increasing property tax) that are already in place.
Another thing that boggles my mind is how property values have doubled in price in the last 10 years, meaning that property tax have equally doubled over the same period while inflation staying at historically low levels. Where is this money going?

Harper Economy

If you talk to most people around the globe, they most likely will tell you that conservatives are better at handling the economy. In many cases it is true, but in many others it is not true, and this is especially the case for Canada.
Take for example the misconception of Stephen Harper's superior handling of the economy, he keeps saying that over and over and over, but how about the numbers, do they support his claim?
Let's look at the last 10 years of Harper's Economy and compare it with the previous 10 years....

Data source: data.worldbank.org/country/canada

It is absolutely clear that in the last 10 years of Harper, Canada underperformed the previous 10 years. Canada's GDP grew less than half rate of the growth during the previous 10 years, let alone stagnant wage growth, or high unemployment numbers. Yet Harper continues to say that Canada was doing great, and how in "global uncertainty" we should do nothing and be afraid to invest aggressively in programs that grow the economy.... because you know what? it is doing just fine.
The danger with that kind of thinking is that Canada is being outranked globally by other countries, if you stand still other countries are not standing still, they are growing their own economy and surpassing you. In 2006 Canada was ranked the 8th economy by GDP, now it is no longer in the top 10 economies, it has gone down to 11th (surpassed by Russia, India and Brazil) and will soon be surpassed by Australia which currently sits at #12.

One thing the conservatives are good at however is the ability to articulate that they are best for the economy, the opposition is always trying to articulate their position but come short, very short, they somehow try to talk about how they can help the middle class, or the poor who in a sense don't see a direct corelation (at least not in the short term) between their well being and the country's GDP growth. I think this is a shame, because if the discussion turns into hard numbers we will all be better off, be it under non-conservative government that tracks the growth of the economy and makes sure it is growing or a conservative government that knows that it actually matters to grow the economy, not just perception that they are doing a good job.

CIBC car loans

Sometimes people have bad experiences with one company or another, and that can cause them to have negative reaction to that brand, but the problem with CIBC for me is that I have had way too many negative experiences to make undoubtedly make it the worst bank in Canada.
So my second interaction with CIBC (after trying to open a new bank account with CIBC as a new immigrant) was trying to get a car loan. The story starts after having been in Canada for few months, having a well paying job, I wanted to buy a car, and the financial department of that car maker told me basically that it was difficult to get a car loan through them, simply because I did not have a credit history, being a new comer and all, they explained to me that I need to find a bank that can give me with a car loan, but also be careful about how to get that loan,Collapse )

CIBC bank accounts for immigrants

A while back I have written posts about how CIBC mortgage advisors are the worst, and how CIBC is the worst bank in canada, period, but then a recent commenter on one of these posts wrote a comment about how similar experience they had, and like many others hated what CIBC have done to them, and that reminded me of my first experiences with CIBC, so I thought I should write those too.

Back in the day when I first moved to Canada the first bank I tried to open an account with was CIBC, so I walked into a branch and I asked to open a bank account. Having just arrived here, I was staying at a hotel and had no permenant address, I also had all my money in a draft cheque issued by Royal Bank (which is a Canadian institution!), with very little cash on hand...Collapse )

New Facelift for LiveJournal

OK, so I read that LiveJournal has a new facelift, which reminded me that I haven't written anything in a long time.
So Just trying out the new interface, hopefully this will make me keep my journal more current :)

Yes, Toronto does have a crack head mayor

Poor guy, things just keep getting worse for him. I have no idea why he wouldn't step down, I can rarely remember anyone staying in office after having a single scandal, but Rob seems to do one after one after one.
The story has changed from shocking to amusing to crazy to sad. Its like watching a train wreck in slowmo.

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Rob Ford Crack

I am a big Rob Ford fan as a councilor, and although he wasn't my councilor he was one of those most interesting people in council that would say something outrageous, and you laugh. He was also one of those that kept council in check, because you obviously don't want everyone at the city council to think the same. His conservative agenda is also a breath of fresh air, considering that Toronto is by far a left leaning city, and most council members would spend more money in a heart beat.
Having said all this, when he ran for elections as a mayor I was terrified of the idea of having someone like him run the city. The guy knows nothing about running anything besides a dictatorship. He would probably make a good business person running a small company in which everyone listens to him, but running public office is entirely different, you need to get consensus, you need to have leadership abilities to convince others to come to middle ground, or at least approve of what you are asking them to do, that he is not. He is also the kind of person that would consume the world with talking about him. I thought that if he ever was elected nothing will ever get accomplished at the city, and boy was I right! I never thought that the words "rob ford cocaine" can be put in the same sentence!
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The raise and fall of the iPhone empire

I have been off the journal for few months, unfortunately during this time some asshole started to argue with the victims of the fraud named Mike Preston, apparently there are idiots who think being victimized by thieves is funny. I digress.

Anyway, back to regular programming.
Recently Apple has been on the news quite a bit. I think this is mostly because there is so much expectation of that company that no matter what they do, they will disappoint. I have also been predicting this fall for quite some time, I wrote about it a while ago and although years have gone since that posting, Apple did not correct the direction they were taking the iPhone to.... the ditch.
They seem to be a little reactionary now, but so far there are no major changes to their attitude or the direction their products are going. This means that Apple will continue to milk the iPhone as a premium device till it hits a small market share.
So how about the iPad? well I think Apple noticed the drop in market share and reacted rather quickly with the introduction of the iPad. I have seen reports that Android tablet shipments have surpassed that of iPad, a little shocking as I have long thought that this will take few more years.
The iPad in my opinion remains the king of tablets but I think think it is also on the downward spiral unfortunately.
With all this gloomy news, Apple is by no means going down, they have tons of cash in the bank and tons of great engineers, it is just their strategy is not in the right place, and sadly, sooner or later they will lose the non-hardcore user base. We will have to wait and see I guess, but things don't look very promising.