Yvan Rodrigues' problogue

(like a blog, but with less effort)

Disconnected ramblings about software development, iOS, FreeBSD, anti-social networking, kittens, drosophilidae, small business, Android, web services, finches, Windows, electrical engineering, XML, rental cars, rye, or ... FIVE dollars??!... something something beer.

Businesses I predicted would fail

Name Date of Prediction Date of Failure Reason for Prediction Destiny
Blackberry 2007 2013 RIM decided to focus on the saturated consumer market and ignore its enterprise market. I sold my shares for a tidy profit. Less than 2.3% market share and $6 billion loss in 2014.
Eaton's 1992 1997 No focus, decline of department stores, overpricing, poor marketing choices, understaffing, closure of key departments. Bankrupt and acquired by Sears
Zellers 1994 2011 Entry by Walmart into Canadian market, poor inventory control, inconsistent brand, degredation of physical stores, poor upkeep of displays Liquidated, real estate bought by Target.
Target 2011 2015 Chose to enter Canadian market at time when Zellers failed and Walmart thriving, no e-commerce, poor online presence, poor market research, failure to replicate US stores in Canada. Ceased all Canadian operations.
Sears 1997 waiting Competition between catalog and in-store sales. Confusing e-commerce strategy, decline of department stores, understaffing, fragmented business strategy.  
General Motors 1995 2009 Brand fragmentation, poor choices in product line. Filed for bankrupcy protection in 2009. Discontinued failed brands.
Syquest 1995 1998 Slow reaction to success of Iomega Zip drive Bankrupt and acquired by Iomega
Quark 1999 debateable Lack of innovation, leaving a captive market for Adobe InDesign, failure to release OSX version of product until 2003 (two years too late), overpricing. Went from 95% market share to immeasureably small.
Apple 1999   PC market share falling from 10% rapidly, fragmentation of product line, poor licensing choices. I got this one wrong. One word: iTunes. The dollar-a-song model reestablished revenues that funded the R&D for iPhone and rescued the recording industry.

Looking for an objective about your business? I can help.

Chris, the Ramones, and the summer of '89

The Ramones

Sensory memory. I's when a sound, smell, taste, etc. takes you back to latent memory.

The CBC just played Teenage Labotomy and I was instantly transported to the summer of 1989. It was a summer that I hope most kids get: the indulgence of doing as little as possible.

I spent most of that summer with my best friend Chris.

Chris and I both lived on Pine Grove Crescent in Lisle Ontario. More accurately, Pine Grove Crescent was a "suburb" of about 50 people about a kilometre outside the metropolis of Lisle, population 300 or thereabouts.

Chris got me my job at the Sweet 'n' Spicy Restaurant in Alliston. We worked together as dishwashers. We worked hard, and we had a lot of fun. We weren't old enough to drive yet, and so we spent many nights together at 2am riding our bikes the 15km or so home, usually with a couple of beers under our belt.

Much of that summer was spend hanging around the neighbourhood. Chris was into skateboarding, the Ramones, and Thrash culture. He usually (willingly) dragged me along, and I even picked up a few moves on the quarter-pipe.

Most days included a bike ride into downtown Lisle (where the two roads intersect) to the the gas station/restaurant/movie rental place/arcade (all the same tiny place) to play pinball, video games and flirt with the girls.

Chris, if you're reading this, give me a call.

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Xmas List

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Days in which everything works the first time look like this.

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How to add a tab to a Table of Figures in Word

You have a Table of Figures in word and the descriptions do not line up, and some of the lines wrap. Since there isn't a tab after the figure/table number, lines do not wrap correctly.

There isn't a way to do this by setting a format when you create the table. You have to start when you are creating each of the captions.

You have to add a tab in each caption e.g. Figure 23:<tab>A photo of a kitten.

Then once you build your table you can set up tabs for the style used in your Table of Figures.

We miss you so much, Maggie.

We never expected to lose you so soon.

You are sweet and gentle and kind; quiet, but ready to give a non-intrusive tap on the shoulder when you need a pat or fell left out.

I know you often felt stressed out, but I hope you enjoyed spending the last eight years with us.

Xamarin Certified Mobile Developer

I took my exam yesterday. If you know anyone who needs cross-platform mobile apps, let them know that you know a Xamarin Certified Mobile Developer.

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No, I didn't mean tampons.

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How to use ActivStats for Data Desk with Minitab

So you are taking a statistics course, and the textbook includes a DVD-ROM with ActiveStats for Data Desk, but the course requires you to purchase ActiveStats for Minitab.

The bad news is that ActiveStats for Minitab will cost you another 60 bucks or more.

The good news is that Minitab is an excellent statistics package and it is way better than Data Desk; and if you're willing to make a tiny effort, you don't need to buy ActiveStats for Minitab.

What we are going to do is let ActiveStats open data sets in Data Desk, and then copy-and-paste them into Minitab.

There are two circumstances you will need to do this.

  1. An instructional exercise asks you to plot or analyze something.
  2. A homework assignment asks you to plot or analyze something.

They both work the same way. Let's look at an example.

For every exercise in ActiveStats for Data Desk, there is an equivalent one in ActiveStats for Minitab. They are not always named the same thing, but they are otherwise identical.

In chapter 7-4, there is an exercise called Examine Mortality and Education Using Data Desk. We'll do it in Minitab.


If we click the icon, the exercise is opened in Data Desk.

One of the little windows contains the data set. Select the each of the data columns by holding down shift while clicking each one. Ignore the once called Reference.

Now copy these by pressing Ctrl-C or Edit|Copy Variables. You will be asked if you want the variable names in the first row. Click Yes.

Now fire up Minitab with an empty project. Position the cursor by clicking in the grey cell that is one over and one down. Press Ctrl-V or Edit|Paste Cells. Poof! There is your data set.

Now all you need to do is complete the exercise in Minitab. You may need to use your brain to find the equivalent function in Minitab for each in Data Desk, but they are both statistics software and the terminology is similar or identical.

For this exercise we need to calculate the Pearson Product-Moment correlation, and plot a Scatterplot. Hmmm... I bet Scatterplot is under the Graphs menu... yup. And correlation?

Found it!

Enjoy learning about statistics and sticking it to the man. If this article saved you $60, please consider donating $10 or more to the Guelph Humane Society. The pups and kitties will be grateful.

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