The Clever Shark

A selection of links and rants by Tony A. Emond

An open letter to the NSLSC in Ontario

Hi there.

This letter is not about myself. I do not have any student loans outstanding, mostly owing to the dubious fortune that my father died shortly before I entered university and his life insurance settlement covered my various needs while I was studying. And I was no longer a resident of Ontario by this point anyway. Thus I am writing about someone else, who shall remain unnamed in this letter.

So my friend, clearly, has student loans from your organization. She holds a PhD and so her debt level is rather high. She is also a single mother and thus responsible for getting her kid housed, fed, clothed, and put in day care so that she can go out and work everyday to earn a living. She has been fairly successful in the academic world and is a professor at a university.

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Wed, April 16 2014 » Article, Funny, Health, Money, Silly, Stupid, Tasty » No Comments

The new diet that has Halifax abuzz!

Are you overweight? Tired of the “miracle food of the week” and pain-in-the-ass exercise? Sick of eating so-called “healthy” foods? Studies show that people who lose weight through diets just go on to gain it all back soon after. There’s got to be a better way!

Fri, April 4 2014 » Article, Funny, Health, Silly » No Comments

Orange with impatience

Had to call ING Direct earlier,  was on hold for 25 of the 30 minutes the call lasted… I guess they really *are* becoming more like a real bank all the time :-(

It’s especially annoying given that I was calling from my mobile.

Fri, April 4 2014 » Links » No Comments

An experiment in cryptocoin mining

Cryptocoin mining is something I’ve been interested in for some time. First there was the daddy of cryptocoins, Bitcoin; since the BTC’s popularity rose there have been many offshoots. The most notable of those is Litecoin, but there are pretty much as many alternatives (dogecoin, pandacoin, PPC PEERcoin, etc.).

For two months I started an experiment in mining Litecoin (LTC). Why LTC and not BTC? The answer to this is simple — BTC mining with GPUs in 2014 is like fishing with a rod right behind a fishing boat with a trawler net. It’s pointless. The past year or so has seen the appearance in the mining market of machines that are designed to do nothing but mine BTC. Such machines, called ASICs (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) are built to “mine” BTC far more efficiently and using a fraction of the power of a “traditional” mining PC, which still uses parts designed for general computing. ASICs are available that promise 35GH/s of computing power for 500W, while a similar amount of power on a PC+GPU setup will yield 2GH/s at the most, and that’s using top-of-the-line, expensive GPUs. GPU mining for BTC at this point in time is little more than pissing in the ocean. You’ll spend a lot of money on electricity and get virtually nothing in return. What’s more, the ASICs have also made the increase in difficulty level skyrocket so that the return on investment is continually shrinking. Even for ASICs, which are getting cheaper, the break-even point is tending towards infinity, which means that you won’t recover the money you spent on the mining hardware. So, forget that.

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Mon, March 24 2014 » Article, Computers, Money, Technology » No Comments

A Reboot for 2014

After a brief period offline altogether and a longer period of inactivity, this blog is rebooting. Why was there no activity for so long? Well, to an extent Facebook is to blame as I’ve been doing most of my “blogging” through it, being the path of least effortresistance. However while it’s quite good to share, say, a picture or a video through Facebook, it’s not really conducive to discussion of complex subjects where 5 lines of text aren’t sufficient to make one’s point, so it’s back to conventional blogging for the time being.

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Fri, January 10 2014 » Site news » No Comments

Dream final?

Oh boy, FIFA’s gone and done it again. Its own site proudly trumpets “Dramatic semis produce dream final“, and the article goes on to proclaim that a Japan-USA rematch is “the gold medal match fans the world over were hoping to see”.

Well, it’s the final that FIFA was hoping to see, clearly. When you put things in those precise terms, FIFAbots, people might at some point assume that the result of the Canada-USA match was rigged. And given FIFA’s own notorious problems with corruption and people at very high levels passing brown envelopes full of money up and down the chain to ensure expected results (let’s not kid ourselves, that’s how Qatar got the next world cup) it really should make more people wonder whether FIFA has perhaps taken a position on the match that was not exactly impartial.

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Tue, August 7 2012 » Sports, Stupid, canada » No Comments

Image of the day

Just a little something I threw together in Photoshop…

Thu, June 14 2012 » Photoshop » No Comments

The continuing crisis…

Against all expectations Paypal did restore the access to my account on Saturday, but for some stupid reason they are still pursuing disputes on my behalf that I never filed or asked to be filed. So now I’m receiving some emails with the title “We’ve decided in your favor”, but these seem to be for items that are already on their way to me (and Paypal is aware of this). And this is after me writing to them on several occasions to clear up the fact that these are things I willingly purchased. I know this because they sent some largely incoherent responses to my previous communications yesterday.

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Wed, May 16 2012 » Money, Net, Stupid » No Comments

The continuing Paypal saga

Every step in dealing with Paypal just leads to further steps. And at no point is there any indication that progress is being made, or even that the person handling the case now is even aware of the steps that have already been completed. It’s like Astérix Chez Les Romains, you know, that sequence where Asterix has to fetch a form (“le laisser-passer A38!”) and is sent on a wild goose chase through a building known as “the building that makes people mad”. Asterix of course completes this task by driving the people who work in the building mad themselves, but I seriously doubt that this is a realistic option for me (regardless I’ll give it a go).

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Sat, May 12 2012 » Money, Net, Stupid » No Comments

Paypal lies to its merchants!

So, my Paypal account is still suspended. They wanted a proof of address, I sent them one, then the next day that didn’t work for some reason and now they wanted a photo ID, which was promptly sent. Since then, nothing. So I went to hit a few golf balls, come back, check out the resolution center and Paypal has now taken the liberty of telling people I purchased items from on Tuesday that the charge was unauthorized, like someone had stolen my account credentials.

Paypal is lying. Paypal is not telling the truth. Paypal is dishonest.

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Fri, May 11 2012 » Money, Net, Stupid » No Comments