What a Storm

Last saturday an absolutely wicked storm blew through the Edmonton area. It was truly one of the most damaging storms I have ever seen. It was matched only by the massive storm that caused flooding few years ago. And while there was little to no rotation in the clouds, to many, the storm reminded them of Black Friday, when a Tornado touched down in the city in 1987.

The Clouds were easily the darkest I have ever seen. I had a wonderful view of the storm. I was over at a friend's condo that night. He lives in the river valley on the 7th floor of a condo building. He has a beautiful view of the river valley from which we could see the storm. The lightning was intense, and the wind was fierce. On the 7th floor balcony it was quite intense. I could feel the wind pushing me. I could see large tree limbs being pushed across the parking lots like they were pieces of paper. The first front passed by quickly.

The second front, about 45 minutes later, was not quite as windy, but it brought the rain. Easily the hardest rain I have seen in years. It came down very hard, very fast, and very large drops. Even with the patio doors closed while we were inside, we could hear the rain. That lasted for about 30 minutes. We never lost power there, but the lights flickered numerous times. While I was driving home, large portions of my trip home were dark, and without power. When I got home, it was obvious that the power had been out, probably for about 3 hours, and had just recently come on.

I did not take any really good pictures, however, many edmontonians did. Linked is the photo gallery from iNews880 of the damage that was done. Thousands of trees were destroyed, buildings damaged, the pictures really are amazing.

Once again, Twitter played a large role in this storm. There were many, many tweets during, and after the storm, pictures being relayed in real time, and first hand accounts being displayed in real time, as it was happening. This allowed coverage of the storm that simply would not have happened in the past, and is truly amazing. Also linked is Mack Male's blog where he talks more in depth about social media than I would. It's a must read.

[Read] - iNews880

[Read] - Mack Male's blog

Some Sunday Thoughts

I don’t have enough to really talk about on any single topic today for a blog post, so I’m going to write about a bunch of things in a single post.

First, I can happily say that I'm writing this from my backyard.  It’s 30 degrees today in Edmonton, and barely a cloud on the sky.  It’s the first day of the year that truly feels like summer, and was long over due.  I enjoy the winter months.  I really do.  But even I have a limit.  We had a late start to our winter, but paid for it with a very cold winter, and a cold spring.  While I like winter, I acknowledge that Edmonton truly comes alive in the summer, and I’m glad to see it, as long as I can find a piece of shade.

Now, I want to talk a bit about Apple. On Monday they announced the iPhone 3G S. Now, the iPhone is a non-starter for me, because I will not go to Rogers.  The 32GB iPhone 3G S is a very compelling device. A good camera, video recording, battery battery life, and voice control make it a step up from the iPhone 3G.  However. if you’re an iPhone 3G owner, it is not worth the upgrade.  If you are a 3G owner, you will have to pay the full price for the 3G S, since you will not qualify for the subsidized price.  instead of $199/$299, you will have to pay $499/$599. Way too much. If you are not an iPhone owner, and want to move to Rogers for it, there is no reason not to.  The 3G S is worth it.  I, however, would not buy the 8GB 3G at the $99 price point.  Sure, an iPhone for $999 is nice, but for the type of device it is, 8GB of storage is simply not enough. throw 500 songs on, a couple movies, a couple TV shows, and some apps, and you’re already full.  Skip the 8GB iPhone and go for at least 16GB, 32 preferably.

Now, the MacBook Pro upgrade.  This took everyone off guard.  All I will say is that the 13” MacBook Pro is a very compelling device.  You will not find a better laptop for the price point. Overall, the price drops make a Mac somewhat more affordable, which is very welcome. If you’ve been thinking about buying a Macbook, there is no better time than right now, or the near future.  I know that if I needed a computer today, the 13” MacBook Pro would be the one I buy.

All this, and I haven’t even touched on Snow Leopard yet.  Some new things, nothing mind blowing, except the price.  $30 to upgrade from the previous version is a steal, and a direct shot at Microsoft.  Very interesting indeed.

Lastly, my city councilor, Tony Caterina, says that the proposed service cuts in the 2010 budget are something we can “live with.”  I was appalled by this statement.  As the city hacks and slashes services, I don’t know how they can live with it.  They want to close 2 hockey rinks, because 2 more are coming online this fall.  But what he doesn’t see is that the reason 2 more rinks are being built and brought online is because the rinks the city currently has are pretty much at capacity.  They were building new rinks so people could have more ice time, so more teams could play.  Hours are being cut at swimming pools starting in July.  Lifeguarding hours have been cut, quite literally putting peoples lives at risk.  I wonder if Mr. Caterina could live with those cuts if they were services he uses ever day.  He should talk to the people of his riding that do use these services, and see if they can live with it.  The reason there are all of these cuts, is that council wants to keep the 2010 tax raise as low as possible because it’s an election year.  Sure, they can spin it anyway they want, but fact is fact.  The city is willing to cut services to keep the “magic number” that everyone pays attention to low, which is a political move, and it’s going to hurt a lot of people.  It’s too bad.  both of my councilors have already lost my vote, we will see about Mayor Mandel.

Well, that ended up being a little longer than I thought it would, but at least I got to write this post outside. Now, back to my weekend.