Learning The Word No and Using It Liberally Might Be A Good Place To Start

As satisfying as it is to watch the Prime Minister of Canada absolutely torch Bell and others for the way they do business at all of our expense, I have to say that it would be much more satisfying if someone…anyone in government with any sort of real power had said some version of it decades ago instead of quietly allowing the sort of market conditions that create this very thing to do what they were designed to do while pretending they were doing the opposite. Both sides of the aisle have been so afraid to tell corporations “no, you can’t buy that” or “no, you’re not the ones setting policy” in any meaningful way that now we’re dealing with this in broadcasting, telecom, groceries, banking, you name it. And it’s only going to get worse if we don’t go beyond some tough words that feel good in the moment. These industries have gotten so big that they’re governing us instead of it being the other way round, and they don’t have to care what we think about it.

A fired-up Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unleashed on Bell on Friday, calling its move to layoff thousands of employees — including hundreds of journalists — a “garbage decision.”
“I’m pretty pissed off about what’s just happened,” Trudeau said during a press conference in Toronto.
“This is the erosion not just of journalism, of quality local journalism at a time where people need it more than ever, given misinformation and disinformation…. It’s eroding our very democracy, our abilities to tell stories to each other.”

“I’m furious. This was a garbage decision by a corporation that should know better,” said Trudeau.
“We need those local voices and over the past years, corporate Canada — and there are many culprits on this — have abdicated their responsibility toward the communities that they have always made very good profits off of in various ways.”

“We have been stepping up over the past years, fighting for local journalism, fighting for investments that we can have, while all the while fending off attacks from Conservatives and others who say, ‘No, no, no, you’re trying to buy off journalists,'” he said.
Trudeau suggested his government will be “demanding” better from corporations like Bell, but it’s not yet clear what that would look like.

“What Is The Nature Of Your Emergency?” “I Appear To Be Lost In An Administrative Loop”

This is hardly the dumbest 911 story we’ve ever seen, but something about it keeps saying “Steve, post me,” so who am I to argue?

Police say that on Feb. 2, the man attended the Superior Court of Justice to obtain help completing family court documents. After staff advised they are not permitted to provide legal assistance or help completing the documents, he called 911. A special constable working at the courthouse spoke to the man and cautioned him about misuse of 911.
On Wednesday, the man attended the same office and was again told staff could not assist. He told another special constable he was going to call 911 for help with the paperwork and was told if he did so he would be charged with mischief.
Immediately after receiving this warning, the man called 911.

And yes, he was charged with mischief.

I don’t know how complicated that paperwork is, but somebody probably ought to be expecting a call any time now.

You’ve Used Moderate In A Sentence. Now Try Using It Appropriately

I like this Daily Show segment because it gets at a media tendency that’s really been getting on my nerves. This thing where anyone on the Republican side who isn’t completely out of his fucking mind is a moderate. No. Stop. Being less insane than the most insane option does not make you not insane. Packaging doesn’t determine your moderateness. Your policies and positions do. Quit trying to make people like Nikki Haley into something they aren’t and in her case, something she says herself that she doesn’t even want to be. It’s extremely dangerous. You should all know this by now.

Rest Easy, Buzzer

When we stopped overpaying Bell for a landline in favour of only overpaying Rogers for cell service (what a country we live in), by far our biggest logistical hurdle was making sure that Carin and I both had access to our building’s buzzer so that either one of us could open the door if the other wasn’t around. In that post, I explained how I had stumbled onto a service called Easy Buzzer, and did a bit of excited raving about how promising it was and how nice the people were. Years later, all of that is still true…but not for much longer. Well, I’m sure the people will still be lovely, but they’re going to have to be lovely somewhere else, unfortunately.

A few nights ago, because she is a human calendar, it crossed Carin’s mind that it would soon be time for me to pay Easy Buzzer again. So when I got an email from them last night, I thought it was just going to be a renewal reminder. But since in my experience renewal reminders don’t tend to carry subject lines like “Easy Buzzer is Shutting Down”, that thought was quickly put aside and replaced with oh no, that sucks, what are we going to do now?

I suppose the first thing we’ll do is take a look at Ringo as suggested in the goodbye email and hope that we can talk about it without breaking into song every time.

Early returns suggest that we cannot.

And if anyone else has any alternatives or experiences with Ringo, we’d love to hear them, of course.

But for now, a big thanks to Daniel Fraser and everyone else who had a hand in Easy Buzzer over the years. Thank you for being so open to feedback and responsive when we needed you. We didn’t need you much, which is a testament to how well your system worked. It was truly the definition of set it and forget it. When there were problems, we could always count on them being our building not having its shit together. Whatever may have gone wrong with you folks was always cleared up before we even noticed it. I’m sorry to see it end, but congratulations on a nice run for a service that’s going to be hard to replace.


Unfortunately due to changing personal circumstances, I will no longer be able to support the Easy Buzzer and EveryDoor projects. Easy Buzzer and EveryDoor will be shut down permanently on April 1 2024. Please prepare as soon as you can to change your buzzer phone number at your building away from your Easy Buzzer phone number. The number will be deactivated and your buzzer system will no longer function. Billing will stop on March 1. In April, any yearly payments will be refunded for the remaining months. I suggest Ringo (useringo.com) as an alternative which has similar capability as Easy Buzzer, but there are many alternatives that are easy to find with Google.

If you would like to shut down your Easy Buzzer account now, prior to the end-of-service, you can do so here: https://www.easybuzzer.com/account/deactivate

I started Easy Buzzer in 2012 as a simple way to share the ability to answer and use my buzzer with my roommate living in Vancouver. Since then, Easy Buzzer has been used to buzz-in many thousands of food orders, party guests, students, short-term-rental guests, cleaners, dog walkers, and more. Years ago, we raised a small angel round of funding and launched a business product called EveryDoor, which helped companies manage AirBNB rentals and small hotels around North America.

Ultimately, I will be unable to continue to meet the obligations of running a reliable, secure, and useful service without investing a significant effort for which I don’t have the resources anymore. So, the best path will unfortunately be to shutter the service with enough time for everyone to change out their phone numbers before the call systems stop functioning. 

Thank you to everyone who encouraged, guided, and invested money or effort into the company. But most of all thank you to the customers, some of whom have used Easy Buzzer over 10 years, for entrusting us with the security and capability of part of your home. We had some highly supportive customers over the years who helped with testing and accessibility that helped make the experience better for everyone.

Please direct any questions to help@easybuzzer.com which will be monitored until shutdown and refund activities have completed. 


Daniel Fraser


A few moves I feel the need to comment on.

  1. Bell Canada slashing 4,800 jobs, selling 45 radio stations
    I didn’t realize there were that many people still working there.

    I kid, but only a little. In the last few years that company has been gutted until there’s nothing left to gut, and then somehow gutted some more. But in fairness, they only brought in $382 million in earnings this quarter, so what’s a struggling enterprise to do?

    At what point do we stop taking Bell seriously as a media organization? Its radio stations are mostly nationalized, automated husks of what they used to be, what’s left of the local news is getting more and more unwatchable all the time as people who work cheap assume positions on air that they clearly aren’t ready for not to mention that like half the stories on our Kitchener newscast come straight out of Toronto and are of little interest to anyone around here, the specialty channels are mostly slapdash garbage (The Comedy Network is nothing but reruns you can find on 100 other stations, Investigation Discovery spends several hours each day running the same three shows on a loop and what in the hell is the original Discovery Channel even supposed to be now? It’s a total mess.), and I’m sure I could go on. the product we’re getting screams “WE GIVE UP!” Why not just make it official, guys?

  2. Firing a president with a solid mind for and track record in his business, one who has the respect of many of those working under him and who brought the company to levels of creativity and respectability that it hasn’t had since maybe ever is certainly a choice. Replacing that guy with a fella who talks a lot about revenue streams and operational efficiencies? Also a choice. Wouldn’t be my choices, but I’m not in charge of TNA.

    Yes, anthem terminated Scott D’Amore, and it sounds like they did it for all of the reasons you would imagine a company doing something like that.

    “So you’re saying that the company is gaining momentum and that you believe the best way to keep things on the upswing is for us to invest in the product? Sir, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave. You clearly have no grasp of modern business.”

    We have to give the new guy a chance, of course. Maybe everything will turn out great. Anthem does deserve credit for keeping the company afloat when it damn near died a few years back, so I’ll wait and see. But anyone who pays attention to these sorts of things in basically any industry knows how it generally goes.

    Good luck to Scott D’Amore, and to TNA. I know which one I think needs it more.

  3. Vince McMahon. What the hell do you even say about something like this? I’ve wanted him gone for years because he sucked at many parts of his job, but having him go down in history as a horrific sexual predator wasn’t at all how I drew up the exit strategy.

    For me, Vince McMahon is the ultimate example of having to separate the artist from the art. Wrestling is, no joke, one of my favourite things in life, and Vince McMahon is a huge part of that. You can’t just ignore him and hope he goes away, but you also can’t let him define everything about the thing that you love or see yourself as endorsing him because you happen to love a thing that he spent decades making himself the face of.

    I don’t know if every single allegation made against him over the years is true. Chances are none of us ever will. But lord knows that there’s more than enough out there to make you think that yes, most of them probably are. And it’s nice that after all this time, it’s finally caught up to him. My only hope now is that he faces some real accountability before it’s too late. Shame isn’t enough, because he’s shown himself many times to be shameless. Banishment from his life’s work isn’t enough, because he’s still rich beyond belief thanks to that work. Making all of the people whole that he’s hurt in one way or another is impossible, but not being able to buy his way out of actual consequences for once would go a long way.

Menus4NoOne (Updated)

Update: Thanks to Leah in the comments for sharing the excellent news that the app won’t be going away after all!

By the way, we have a subscription now, and it’s already helped us out a couple of times. I think we’ve even sold it to one of our constantly travelling friends. He watched it in action for just a couple minutes and was immediately like “where do I get this and how much is it? I think I may need it.”

Original: A few months ago, I wrote about an app called Menus4All. It sounded like a very handy tool to have around, and now that stuff doing season appears to be kicking into high gear for us with friends visiting us the next few weekends and some trips on the horizon, this felt like a good time to give it a go. Sadly though, it looks like that won’t be happening.

According to an item in a recent edition of Access Information News, the app is being discontinued at the end of February due to low sales.

I know my subscription wouldn’t have saved the company by itself, but I do feel slightly bad for not signing up earlier. Going to restaurants just isn’t something we’ve gotten back into the habit of doing since Covid. When we eat out, it’s usually delivery. But then again, if I had subscribed sooner and gotten attached, this news would suck more than it already does. You hate to see a good idea not pan out.

Helen Fernety, CEO: Dear Menus4ALL Customers And Supporters: It is with heavy hearts that Stephanie and I announce the discontinuation of the iPhone Menus4ALL app effective February 28, 2024. Over the past year, we have been proud to offer over 1,000,000 US and 80,000 Canadian accessible restaurant menus to our customers. We believe that our app has not only increased independence but also added joy to special occasions, such as dates, holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays at restaurants. Unfortunately, due to low sales, we can no longer provide this service. However, we remain hopeful that someone else will create a similar app to support the accessibility needs of our customers. As an alternative, we recommend using Aira and Be My AI to fulfill your accessible restaurant menu needs. If you have an annual subscription, please feel free to cancel. If you have a monthly subscription, Apple will not bill you any further. As we are a vendor of Apple, everything must be handled through your App Store account. To learn more visit our website. Thank you for supporting this groundbreaking product.

So When And How Are We Supposed To Use The Emergencies Act?

Given that I’m about to spend a weekend with a friend with whom I’ve burned no shortage of hours discussing world events, I’m sure this question is going to come up sooner or later. And I have to say, this column from Matt Gurney sums up my feelings pretty well.

You can count me among those who supported it at the time, no question. It was a sad, disappointed support because there was no good reason we should have gotten to that point, but there we were, and something had to be done. Something had to be done, and it had become pretty clear after three damn weeks that neither the city of Ottawa nor the Ontario government was in much of a hurry to do it. Their inaction, either by design or through incompetence, had served to punt the issue up the chain and to their credit, the feds acted. Invoking wartime emergency measures should be the last thing anyone wants to see happen, but this had gone far beyond the point of peaceful protest. A city was crippled, people were being tortured by constant noise, there were armed border blockades, and there was no sign of it packing up and clearing out on its own, much to the chagrin of the wishful thinkers apparently inhabiting city hall and Queen’s Park. In that moment, the government took charge and made a choice. that choice, thank goodness, put an end to the madness.

But now, we have new madness. And as madness goes, it’s pretty bad. We have Emergency Commission hearings that say, reluctantly, that the government was justified in doing what it did. And we also have a Federal Court decision that says, reluctantly, that it wasn’t. No matter which side you fall on, I hope we can all agree that what we need right now is a rubber match. Not because it’s important to be able to say “My side won!”, but because it needs to be set out in the clearest possible terms when inaction becomes inability and what, in future, constitutes a true emergency and a true abuse of power. that line, as we’ve seen, can be a fine one. And it’s imperative that we get some solid direction as to where it is.