May 13

Technology is the overriding theme in this month’s edition. We take a closer look at the personal computer and whether it is slowly being phased out in favour of smaller more streamlined computing devices such as tablets and smartphones. Sales are down drastically, especially with consumers, but there’s reason to believe the business sector won’t be so fast to bail out. We take a look at why in our cover story.

Technology and real estate make for an interesting combination as you’ll read about in an article by Nataleigh Ballantyne, Technology Coach with Re/Max. We also held an exclusive interview with an executive from Microsoft Canada, who speaks candidly on cyber crime and what businesses need to do to be protected online.

Ontario’s Drive Clean program. What a scam! I’d be first in line to sign up for getting those pollution- causing rust buckets off our streets. Nobody wants to breathe in plumes of black smoke that come belching out the tailpipes of those decrepit old jalopies. But changes implemented as of Jan. 1, 2013 have gone well beyond the initial intention of cleaning our air and now instead focus on a number of unrelated issues, including faulty computer technology onboard the automobile. The Environment ministry claims the new testing equipment – on-board diagnostics – works faster than the previous tailpipe test and is more accurate by reading the emissions information stored in each post-1997 vehicle’s built-in computer. But that’s not where it ends. Your vehicle may give off very low toxic emissions, but if your Check Engine light is on the test cannot be conducted. Expect to pay handsomely to get the light problem corrected for any one of a number of reasons. In speaking with several auto mechanics, at different locations, each candidly revealed that since the program changes were invoked, the average cost for the consumer coming in for repairs has averaged between $400 and $500, with some reaching beyond $1,200. Quite often the warning light has nothing to do with excessive pollution, in parts per million. This program doesn’t need tweaking. It needs an overhaul.

I repeat – what a scam!

Turning to politics – the Liberals believe they have found the man to lead them to the Promised Land. Justin Trudeau is the new Liberal king, following in the footsteps of his late father Pierre. In fact, he ascended to the top of the party at 41, seven years younger than dad, albeit with markedly less experience. Pierre served as Justice Minister and Attorney General under Lester Pearson before taking on the top job. Justin managed to get through the front door without so much as any minor bumps or bruises following those waste of time party debates and equally predictable leadership vote. The head-scratcher is that polls indicate with Trudeau as leader, he’d easily ride the red wave into forming a new federal government. The fact he’s never proven himself worthy seems to hold little consequence. He might turn out to be a great politician – maybe the best ever. But he’s also just as likely to be a dud – we simply don’t know. What’s really sad is the commentary it provides about the political knowledge, or lack thereof, within the general public. As the late British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill famously stated: “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” Truer words may never have been uttered. Churchill passed away before I was born, but it seems to me that we could use more of his ilk in these ridiculous political times.

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