Fun With Maps and EI Down a Little

Stats Canada announced yesterday that the number of folks on the EI rolls have dropped a little last month (down by 31,500 to be a little more exact), which is down from the high of last month. Does this mean more people have found work and no longer are on the EI ? Maybe, that could be the case, but some of these folks may be folks whose benefits have expired as well. Hopefully it is the former reason and not the latter.

EI Graph

EI Graph

Fun with Maps

Stats Canada put out a funky map on their web site with this data that shows the increase in EI claims by area superimposed on a map of Canada. Some of the data is quite striking, not the least of which is just how sparse the Canadian population is in comparison to the size of our country, but also the 100-400% increases in Northern Alberta are quite scarey to see as well.

EI Map of Canada

EI Map of Canada

Wild stuff, interesting also to see that the Maritimes did not really see huge increases in EI claims whereas Souther Ontario really took it on the chin.

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Costco Mortgages?

A classic off-the-cuff commentary from 2009. Not sure if this service is still offered in Canada, but it is provided in the USA.

Exciting things you can buy at Costco are aplenty. My wife informs me that she and a friend saw that you could get a Mortgage from Costco (kind of) on Saturday.

My wife and Michael James wife actually went to Costco to see what the Portable Massage Tables (another exciting thing that Costco sells) looked like. These items are not usually in stock, not a high number of sales, but you can order them online. Given that part of their shopping expedition was fruitless, they looked around. After picking up Pizza on the way out (another exciting thing sold at the commissary at Costco), they saw a young man advertising Mortgages.

I have checked on the Costco website, and you can’t seem to order your Mortgage online. It would help if you went to Costco to get a mortgage (the Kiosk may not be associated with Costco, since Primus sells their wares the same way (and they are selling Internet, Cell and home phone something else to check, I guess)). Still, my wife could not get any more information on it, as the young man at the Kiosk was busy with another potential customer.

Does anybody know about this “Mortgage”? Do I get points with it? Do I have to get 10 Mortgages since it is Costco? Do I get free food samples? Do I have to buy a trailer home? Anybody has any info on this “mortgage” or the Primus Internet stuff. Please comment.


Why do they make pennies

This was posted before the penny was taken out of circulation. Sometimes I miss the penny, but my trouser pockets don’t.

OK the film from the NFB is actually HOW they make pennies, but as I asked last weekend, the better question is, WHY do they make pennies?

Look at the process and you will appreciate the talents of the folks who design and press these coins, but honestly, come on, a Penny? How much longer do we need to live under this tyranny?

If you are in Ottawa, drop by the Mint, it’s a fun tour too!


Random Thoughts on a Dieing PC

Don’t Taunt the Bear

Yes, I must remember the “Mojo will get you” if you complain too much about things, and sure enough the day I write about the “Techno Vulture: Fix Your PC” business sure enough I got the Blue Screen of death (from Vista, I didn’t even know you could get a blue screen of death from Vista, but I digress). I also got a nice note from TD claiming that due to the “Credit Crunch” they were going to jack up my Line of Credit interest rate another Quarter Point to a full 1% above “Prime” (remember their Prime, not the real Prime (neither of which is a Prime Number right now either, but again I digress)).

Random Thoughts

In the Blogosphere this week aside from me tilting at Windmills and messing with the Karmic Wheel (at least my own Karmic Wheel), some interesting posts came to light:

  • Michael James continued his Quixotic adventure with Credit Card Interest Personal Battle Update, he continues to keep his credit card in his pocket for fear of incurring more interest charges. If he starts singing, “To Dream The Impossible Dream”, I’m outta here.
  • The Canadian Capitalist reviewed a set of Cartoons from the New Yorker in The New Yorker on Money, I have always enjoyed money humor (as long as it is at someone else’s expense).
  • Larry MacDonald thinks the ETF Revolution has Gone Too far, why, are they stoning Mutual Fund Managers now?
  • And Gail Vaz-Oxlade puts it all nicely into perspective with Put Up or Shut Up, I really like the way Gail writes in her blog, a little grittier than her TV show, Testify Sister!

My weekend will be spent extricating my PC from the Karmic Wheel I have run afoul of…

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How Much to Fix My PC?

PC Repair For Fun and Profit?

After reading an article in Wired about the Geek Squad I am astounded at what passes as genuine good customer service. I have seen more articles about “We’ll Come Fix Your PC at Home” services (maybe I should copyright that name) and what they charge. These services really do make me scratch my head.

I am one of the folks that people call when they aren’t sure what to do about their computers. By no means am I an expert, more of a well informed “noodler of technology”. The stuff I know, I usually have learned through trial and error (emphasis on error). I am glad to help friends who ask questions or need help. I am also quick to point out when I am in an area I have little experience in. Most of the people I help, usually pay me back by helping me in other areas. Sometimes they let me drink their liquor or beer (which is fine payment by me).

The “We’ll Come Fix Your PC at Home” seem to offer similar services, but with highly inflated fees. They do have overhead costs, but not that much. I wonder if this is really not just a “mugs game”.

Who really uses these services? Let’s assume small businesses use legitimate service providers in these areas. The folks that are using this are families and folks that do not know computers,. This makes them easy prey to these “Technology Buzzards”, who can do what they want to your system. You won’t know whether they caused the problem or not (much like a lot of Car Repair shops work, but let’s stay away from that subject for now).

How can consumers protect themselves from this techno-scurge? Find friends who know computers and ask them questions, most folks will gladly help out (but make sure they know what they are talking about too). Take courses at your local community college, if your PC is an important part of your life maybe you should know how it works? Only use repair services that have been recommended by people you respect and who you think know computers, better still ask the folks at work that support your computers about things, sometimes they are glad to help out too.

Don’t pay $249 to get someone to come to your house to do an Operating System Installation/Upgrade. If you really don’t want to do that, then Caveat Emptor is all I can tell you.

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