What to Do When Life Gives You Lemons

When life gives you lemons



Hitler Finds Out About Final Cut Pro X

I thought that parodies of the movie Der Untergang (re-titled Downfall in English-speaking markets), in which Hitler’s nervous breakdown in the bunker were re-subtitled in all sorts of crazy ways, were played out, but Hitler Finds Out About Final Cut Pro X made me laugh out loud.

This article also appears in Global Nerdy.


Krista Erickson’s Incredibly Dickish Interview with Margie Gillis [Updated]

The “interview”, part one

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council is being overwhelmed with complaints about this incredibly dickish interview shown on Sun News Network (Canada’s new cable new channel, a very thinly-disguised FOX News clone) featuring host Krista Erickson and Canadian dance icon Margie Gillis. The interview starts with the mandatory faux-niceties but soon devolves into an attack on funding – a fair topic for debate – but in a way so applallingly rude that “dickish” is the only adjective that describes it properly.

The “interview”, part two

Erickson goes through both the standard list of logical fallacies and a laundry list of dickish conversational techniques in the interview (including the aw-shucks “I don’t understand highfalutin’ concepts” and “I’m just a Philistine” quips coupled with the most condescending tone of voice you’ll hear this side of a high school guidance consellor). Perhaps she’s trying to establish herself as Canada’s Ann Coulter. It’s to Gillis’ credit that she handles Erickson’s boorish treatment with composure and grace. This “interview” – it’s so much an ambush that I have to enclose the word in “sarcasm tongs” – is such a good example of the extremes of how to and how not to conduct yourself in an interview that it should be used as media training material.

The caption for the YouTube video provides some steps you can take. As much as I dislike Sun News Network, I don’t think they should be taken off basic cable. I do think that they could stand to have a little heat put on them, and I’m a firm believer in voting with your dollar: if you don’t like what you saw, don’t give their sponsors any money, and let them know why. And finally, no matter what your stance on arts funding is, give Gillis a “like” on her Facebook page, even if only for showing us that grace and kindness is the face of incivility and boorishness is still appreciated.

We can respond by filing a complaint with the the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council ( using the following information:

Sun News; Canada Live with Krista Erickson; June 1, 2011; 4:15 p.m.

When detailing your concerns, be sure to mention Sun News’ clear violation of Clause 5 of the CAB Code of Ethics (

Update: The CBSC isn’t taking any more complaints for this case; see the update below.

As well, you can send a written complaint, mailed to the CRTC (Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2), asking that Sun News be taken out of basic cable programming. Scroll down about half-way in this link to find the instructions specific to filing a complaint with them ( In your letter, be sure to write out the URL for the online video:

…so that they can still reference it even after the four week deadline for complaints.

You can also consider boycotting the companies that support Quebecor and thus Sun News. See Margie’s most recent post for the list. English:…

There’s also a twitition to sign:
and you can write to your M.P. and ask him or her to take the issue up in the House of Commons:

And finally, you can show your support to Margie by "liking" her Facebook page:


Milan Davidovic pointed me to this page set up by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council on the Erickson case. Here’s the key part:

While the CBSC wishes to thank everyone who has taken the time to send a complaint to the CBSC concerning the Krista Erickson interview with Margie Gillis on an episode of Canada Live, the volume of complaints already sent to us exceeds the Council’s resources.

In other words, the CBSC will be unable to respond individually to each and every complaint received on this topic, as it customarily does.  No problem, though.  The CBSC will deal with the substance of the broadcast via the Council’s normal process and a decision will be released publicly in due course.

May we also request that those of you who have not yet filed a complaint refrain from doing so?  It will not help the disposition of this file in any way since the CBSC never bases its decisions on the number of complaints it has received.  Decisions are always and only based on whether a broadcast has breached one of the CBSC’s codified standards.

So, many thanks for contacting the CBSC or contemplating doing so.  We have more than enough substance to go on to resolve the concerns regarding the interview with Margie Gillis on an episode of Canada Live.


DemoCamp Ottawa 16 Tonight! (June 29th, 2011)

democamp parliament hill

Creative Commons photo by Endlisnis.

You should think of DemoCamp as a grown-up version of “Show and Tell” for techies and creatives. Started by Canada’s very own David Crow as a way to bring Toronto’s then-hidden-away tech community out of the woodwork and talking to each other about what they’re working on, DemoCamp has spread to cities all over the world. I’ve seen firsthand the effect of holding DemoCamps: people have made friends, found work, discovered interesting projects, started collaborations and even landed VC funding. Great things happen when you gather bright, creative minds into a room to talk!

The 16th DemoCamp Ottawa takes place tonight! Here are the quick details:

I’ll be attending tonight – hope to see you there!

The Demos

The DemoCamp philosophy is simple: show us your project in action! Whether it’s complete or on the way there, we want to see a working application or device and be shown how it works, why you build it and what you hope to do with it. This is a technology demo, so it means no marketing – and especially no slides – are allowed. We just want to see your project in action.

There will be 5 demos at tonight’s DemoCamp, and they’ll all follow this format:

  • 2 minute introduction
  • 8 minute demo
  • 5 minutes for Q&A and discussion

Tonight’s demos are:

HIVE-secure – Human Intelligence Verification Engine

Presenters: Chris Ivey and Pierre-Olivier Charlebois

Forget CAPTCHAs.  Choose HIVE instead, and make your customer happy. 

Time Doctor

Presenter: Liam Martin (

Time Doctor is a collaborative to-do list to make you and your employees more productive. We are in open beta and would love to show everyone where we are and get suggestions on where we should go next.


Presenter: Grant Hall (

JetStreamHD brings all your home based media  (Movies, TV Shows, Home Video, Songs, Photos) to your iPad instantly over any 3G or WiFi wireless network.  We launched the app at Demo 2011 in California and are now ready to open our web store to ship the first production run to our customers.  This will be our final release candidate and we are looking for feedback and suggestions for new or missing features.

iWatchLife – Smart Video Security

Presenter: TBD

iWatchLife is a smart video security system that helps people watch their family, pets and property from any web-enabled device.  We launched officially in May 2011

Coin Collector

Presenter: Kyle McInnes (

Coin Collector is a demo version of a tablet-based showcasing tool we’re working on. Whether your customer is at a conference or in their livingroom, we provide a platform for you to showcase to them.

This article also appears in the Shopify Technology Blog.


The Richest Guy I Know

Hello from Seattle!


I’m here for the BarCamp Seattle conference, which took place this weekend. I had a great time, met some amazing people, had some enlightening discussions outdoors, by the water:


I also got to see a little more of the city, especially Fremont, took a tour of a distillery (and bought some bourbon of course)…

Distillery 1

Distillery 2

…hung out with some buskers:

Mackenzie 3

…and caught up with old friends and generally got to do the sort of thing that most of us working stiffs don’t get to do.

Since joining Shopify, I’ve been to Boston to hang out with the MIT crowd, Minneapolis to discover that it’s the new hacker hipster startup Mecca, Portland to see that the dream of the nineties is still alive and Seattle (fourth time this year!) to get smarter, see old friends and enjoy that rarest of Pacific Northwest treats: a sunny day. Plus, I’m living in a nice bachelor pad in a new and different city (Ottawa) this summer, and I’m enjoying having a new and different place to call “home”.

Although I’m not rich — and hey, in switching jobs from a Fortune 50 colossus to a startup, I took a pay cut — I’m certainly living rich while not living beyond my means. To borrow a very wise quote from my friend Lee Dale, “Pay cut, but lifestyle win!

I’m trying to see how much of the life that Ine and Catherine from, who talked about it at BarCamp Ghent in their session titled Don’t Be Rich, Live Rich. They’re doing it on a far grander scale than I, but hey, it’s inspiration, not a competition!

I’ve included their slides below:


At this moment, I’m the richest guy I know.


Seattle Trip Notes 1: Accordionists!

Mackenzie 1

This Morning

“Are you from around here?” asked the waitress at the breakfast restaurant at Hotel Five (I like it, and will write about it soon), where I’m staying while here in Seattle, asked.

“No, I’m from Toronto,” I replied.

“I just ask because of the accordion,” she said. “It’s popping up all over the my neighbourhood. There’s a lot of really attractive women who’ve taken up the accordion there.

“Oh reeeeeeally?” I asked. “Just out of sheer curiosity, not that I’m going to make a beeline for there as soon as I’m finished breakfast, where, uh, do you live?”

Capitol Hill.

“I think I have some drinking scheduled there later tonight.”

Mackenzie 2

This Afternoon

“Hey,” the busker outside Pike Place Market said, “I like your accordion!”

“Thanks,” I replied. “I like yours.”

Her name is Mackenzie, and she’s got great technique and a lovely voice. The numbers I heard her play were sea-chanty and French folks songs with lyrics translated into English. If you like songs of lost love that have the same flavour as The Decemberists’ The Mariner’s Revenge Song, you just might like her repertoire.

We talked accordions and even tried each other’s on. She was stunned by how light mine was. In the accordion world, “light” is a very relative thing.

“I got it because it fits in just about every airline’s overhead compartment,” I told her. “I travel a lot.”

“Nice action, too!”

Mackenzie’s accordion has an vintage accordion feel: it reminds me of “The Chick Magnet”, an accordion with strange powers that I still have to take out of storage and get tuned. It has a nice growl to it, and I played Plush by Stone Temple Pilots on it.

“It’s a grunge accordion!” I said.

Mackenzie 3

I bought the CD she was selling — she’s in a group called The Dandelion Junk Queens — and I’ll give it a listen later tonight. Here are a couple of samples I was able to find on YouTube:


The First World Problems Rap!

This should be the official anthem of everyone who participated in the Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots.