How to Reinvent Grocery Shopping

Last week I outlined why grocery shopping is, in a word, dumb. It’s inefficient, wasteful, and has a significantly negative impact on the environment. What’s more, grocery shopping environments are designed to sucker every last penny out of us even as they tax the physical endurance of our sturdiest citizens.

So… why do we do it?

The short answer is: it’s how we’ve always done it. And that’s no answer at all. If status quo can be shown to be (I’ll say it again) dumb, then it demands to be challenged.
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The Horse Goes 1X

So the Big Boys from Bell were in the Horse this morning to usher in a new telecommunications era in the North: 1X digital cell. It may not sound lke much, but take it from me, that’s big folks. We’re now on a level playing field with the rest of Canada (if you ignore the fact that we still have just one internet pipe).

Our local Bell Boy, the one and only Chris McNutt laid a Motorola Q on me so’s I can really sink my teeth into this 1X thing (without racking up a killer bill on my own Treo). That’s the device I’m composing this post on, actually.

First impressions? It’s as good as other places I’ve had the opportunity to use 1X. Really why wouln’t it be? The botto line, really, is that’s it just awsometo have available. Like, I got stuck in a long line up at the CIBC and didn’t notice the time pass as I spent it catching up on the news on BBC’s mobile site.

According to Jim Jacques, Bell’s Senior VP, with the upgrade to 1X, overall cell service, including voice calls, should be improved. I’ve found this to be true. This afternoon alone I’ve placed several calls using this Motorola Q, including one that lasted over 30 minutes, and found audio quality to be vastly improved over just a few days ago. Of course, that may be due just to the device, but I’ll write more about the Q versus the Treo later.

That said, if there’s any doubt that cell service in the Horse is getting better, Mr. McNutt reported that December 1 will see a significant hardware upgrade to the local infrastructure, mainly to increase capacity.

At first blush, 1X in the Horse gets my seal of approval.

Yukon’s Million-Dollar Shopping Habit Hurts Environment

It’s been a busy, exciting week in the World of Geek.

In an echo of the Internet’s young and drunken dot-bomb days Google blew $1.6 billion on a popular home movie web site. Then in a classic hangover stupor, the company vomited its word processor all over the web.

Which begs the question: does the world really need yet another place to write letters? I’ll rant on that one some other time.

Here I’ll instead get all righteously indignant and ponder this: with all of that money, and all of the engineering and marketing talent that Google so clearly oozes, couldn’t this corporate web behemoth do something more meaningful? Heck, couldn’t anybody in the world of web? (Other than Spider-Man, that is.)
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Singapore Reads Wool Sock

Well, not really, but it’s interesting to see that country is already adopting some of the elements of GovOS I’ve suggested, such as subsidized technology and free broadband:

Singapore Plans Free Broadband

It’d be nice if the Yukon ever considered even a small portion of my progressive idea, but that’s unlikely considering that, with the re-election of the Yukon Party, we’re probably looking forward to five more years of oil, gas, tourism and pork-barreling.

Crafting the Yukon’s Killer App: GovOS

I don’t think anyone would disagree with the idea that the Yukon’s largest industry is government. Information technology, though it may surprise some, is also one of the Territory’s largest. According to government statistics, IT contributes almost as much to the Yukon’s GDP as tourism.

Unfortunately, the structure of the local IT industry is a bit wobbly and manifests as little more than a fractured external service arm for the government. Indeed, without government’s seeming never-ending stream of generally private and sole-sourced technology development contracts, there wouldn’t be much of a local IT industry to talk about.

One solution to this economic dead end, as I mentioned last week, is the partnering of IT industry and government to create a “social industry”. Instead of IT being inherently dependant on the closed, sporadic funnelling of the government’s fiscal goodwill, the two could work together to improve the overall quality of society even as they expand the economy.
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