SfaUT: Top 5 Posts of ALL Time

Well, actually it has been about 1 and 1/2 years since I started blogging, and I wanted to see if any ‘Unifying Theme’ has popped up.  Also, for anyone who has watched network TV, you eventually get to that episode where the money and/or creativity runs out, and they resort to running a ‘retrospective’ episode of clips cobbled together from previous episodes.  This is the blog post equivalent…

Maybe it is different for other bloggers, but I doubt it: the posts that you really, really like are NOT the ones that get the most hits!  Based on the number of hits, I should create a blog about Rogers or RBC rants, or perhaps a restaurant guide.

SfaUT Top Posts

The top post, which still receives more hits a day than any other post, is a rant about the high data roaming charges that Rogers bills its customers, which I experienced on my trip to Asia earlier this year.  Apparently this is a common experience with a lot of people, which has led to a lot of traffic to my site.  If you type “rogers data extortion” into Google, my post is the top hit (as of today).

Next, in #2 position, is a post I did about Google.  I was watching Google regularly releasing applications that I am sure others were building their entire business case on, and had a thought:  What is happening to the web start-up industry as a result of Google’s deep pockets, and free applications?  This got picked up by a web aggregator called Ycombinator at the time, and has since been changed to ‘Hacker News’.  Of those >1000 reads, about 80% were in a single day, and has since dropped to zero reads a day!

#3, and deservedly so, is my assertion that Singapore Restaurant is the best restaurant in Ottawa, and why.  It shows up on about page 6 of a Google search on Ottawa’s best restaurant, so it must only be really determined people that find it… or they are using some other search tool.  With 662 views, I hope at least a few of those people actually gave it a try, Abba and Foo deserve the business!

#4 was another fee-based rant:  This time the target was RBC Visa and their overlimit fees.  Since I don’t carry balances on credit cards this was actually a sympathetic-rant for a friend I was helping with some financial counselling.  I actually got quite angry on the phone with the RBC representative and accused them of taking advantage of people that were not financially savvy.  Now I wish I had recorded it, it may have made a good audio clip for the blog.

Finally, to maintain my lack of a ‘Unifying Theme’, the last in my Top 5 list is about an observation I made of how similar Klee Irwin and John Waters look… judge for yourself! This was my second post about Klee, who came to my attention in his hilariously funny infomercials on dual-action cleanse.

It appears that I am STILL Searching for a Unifying Theme…

Shure SE530 – Perhaps the Best Earphones Ever!

During my Asian vacation, I purchased a pair of SE210 sound isolating earphones which I reviewed for the purposes of air travel.

I got used to how well this style of headphone worked in noisy environments, but started to wonder just how much better the top-of-the-line SE530 would sound.

While I was attending NXTComm 2008 in Las Vegas for work, I had the opportunity to attend the InfoComm show as well.  Shure had a booth at the show and their full range of sound-isolating earphones available for test drive.  This is where I fell in love with the SE530’s!

The retail price of these babies is pretty dear in Canada, around $500 I believe, so I took advantage of the wonders of eBay to pick up a pair for less than $400 including an adapter to use the earphones as a headset for my iPhone.

I really enjoyed dealing with ‘The-Deal-Spot’ because I had some problems with the first set they sent (weird distortion on one ear) and they sent a replacement set with no hassles.  This is particularly important since Shure really doesn’t support earphones that are not sold through their dealer network.  Another important thing I learned was to keep all my paperwork from the shipping, since if I wanted to get my taxes back on the original set that I sent back, I would have to use the paperwork from the original shipping to satisfy Canada Border Services and get my refund… still looking…

Unlike the good-sounding SE210’s, which have a single audio driver, the SE530’s have 3: two for bass and one for the high range.  This translates into GREAT sound, which you can enjoy even more when you are in a noisy environment, like my favourite office: Starbucks.  Those coffee grinders, overly-caffeinated patrons, and barista machines make a lot of noise!

The Floating Village – Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia

If you take a trip to Siem Reap Cambodia, or in fact just about anywhere in SE Asia, you will quickly suffer from an overdose of temples. While they are stunning works of art, and feats of engineering, after a couple days of visiting them they start to look very similar!

To take a break from temples, I asked my guide to take me to Tonle Sap lake. It interested me because of its significance to Cambodia:

  1. It is the largest freshwater lake in SE Asia.
  2. It changes in size from 2700 sq. km to 16,000 sq. km depending on the seasion and goes from 1 to 9 meters deep
  3. The Mekong river actually changes direction from outflow to inflow into the lake depending on the level
  4. 60% of Cambodia’s dietary protein comes from this lake

$25 got me my very own boat for the day, not a boat for a single person, rather it could have easily handled 20! Based on the age of the engine, I think we spent that much on gas! Perhaps this is why the captain took advantage of the trip to run some errands at the floating hardware store.

The first event worth note was the sudden appearance of an extra person on the boat, a very small person carrying drinks. Perhaps due to some instinct triggered by travel in a foreign land, I had taken count of the passengers on the boat, and hackles were raised when the math no longer worked! I think I was at the lake on a slow day, because we could have been boarded 4-5 times to be sold drinks, and my skipper actually had to wave some off.

After some travel through the murky water of Tonle Sap, we arrived at the floating village.

Since the people that live on the lake are subsistence fishermen, I think living in floating houses solved the problem of needing to be near the water, and dealing with the massive change in both the depth of the lake, and the location of the shore. Everything was floating, even the Christian church!

I was informed that the majority of the inhabitants were actually not Cambodian, but Vietnamese. You can see from the picture here that for children, independence comes in the form of a cooking pot! Rather than asking for the keys to the family car, they raid the kitchen!

Obviously the child in the picture is missing something. While I did not get his particular story, it is a very common site in Cambodia to see people missing limbs. This is due to the scourge of land mines that still plagues the country. Apparently there are still more land mines than people… not a good ratio!

The poverty was hard to believe… poverty that can only exist in countries where the weather allows survival when you truly have nothing!

But at least they get to enjoy awesome sunsets!

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