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  • Kate 19:10 on 2018-01-17 Permalink | Reply  

    The news cycle starts again: we’re already at OMG potholes.

  • Kate 19:06 on 2018-01-17 Permalink | Reply  

    The expensive concrete barriers Denis Coderre bought for his Formula E race may be repurposed to create dikes for future flooding. Item also mentions a flood report from last spring: 430 homes flooded and $8 million spent by the agglomeration.

  • Kate 07:01 on 2018-01-17 Permalink | Reply  

    The city is getting a wave of notice this week: a mental ability test administered on the U.S. president is called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment test because it was designed here by neurologist Ziad Nasreddine. CBC emphasizes in a headline that Nasreddine is an immigrant, and in its text, the kind of immigrant openly despised by the president.

    It’s one of those odd spikes in searches for the city that doesn’t directly concern us, like the Montreal Protocol, but we’ll take what we can get. Warning on that CTV link: photo of Donald Trump.

    • Chris 09:09 on 2018-01-17 Permalink

      The MoCA test is great and all, but it’s something that you can prep/study for. The Donald probably had coaching.

    • lj 09:40 on 2018-01-17 Permalink

      You can see how trivial the test is here. Most people, I would imagine, can recognize a lion from its picture, but that does not necessarily imply the intellect necessary to be president.

    • Ali Bear 09:45 on 2018-01-17 Permalink

      How hard is it to wear ties and read from a teleprompter?

    • Chris 18:22 on 2018-01-17 Permalink

      lj: trivial because you are (presumably) a healthy adult. Try again when you have Parkinson’s / Alzheimer’s. 🙁

    • ant6n 19:37 on 2018-01-17 Permalink

      > How hard is it to wear ties and read from a teleprompter?

      Don’t you know People are saying Trump Can’t Read!!!???

    • lj 22:01 on 2018-01-17 Permalink

      Chris: I have been doing AD and related research since the 90s and of course you are right, the test is designed to give low scores for those in cognitive decline. But the point remains that a proper test for presidential mental fitness would be very different from a test for AD. In this case, passing this test is trivial compared to the mental sharpness (and many other qualities) that should be expected by those in these positions.

    • Chris 22:30 on 2018-01-17 Permalink

      lj: I agree entirely.

  • Kate 06:57 on 2018-01-17 Permalink | Reply  

    Two cultural honchos write in Le Devoir about their hopes for the city’s cultural life under the Plante administation.

  • Kate 06:48 on 2018-01-17 Permalink | Reply  

    Four thousand trees will have to be cut down on Mount Royal because of the emerald ash borer.

  • Kate 21:30 on 2018-01-16 Permalink | Reply  

    A new web directory of social services available in greater Montreal has launched. It’s called 211 Grand Montréal.

  • Kate 20:09 on 2018-01-16 Permalink | Reply  

    Every time city hall opposition makes a demand – even a noble-sounding idea like resources for the homeless in boroughs outside downtown – they should be reminded that you can’t expand services without collecting taxes, so kvetching about tax increases while demanding more services is simply illogical.

    • SMD 11:38 on 2018-01-17 Permalink

      And that they had at least four years (many of them have been there much longer than that) to work on many of the problems that they are suddenly worried about now – like their recent cry that the city’s new anti-harassment rules don’t go far enough when they themselves didn’t propose a single measure during their tenure.

    • Blork 17:12 on 2018-01-17 Permalink

      Well, it isn’t necessarily illogical.

      You can theoretically pay for one expanded service by contracting another service. After all, politics is largely an exercise it setting priorities; with this group of politicians we spend more on A and spend less on B. With the other group of politicians we spend more on B and less on A. And the role of council meetings is for the opposition to continually assert what their priorities are without any real expectations of money being spent on them until they replace the governing politicians.

      That’s politics when viewed as a game. Sadly, that’s how many politicians play it out.

  • Kate 20:03 on 2018-01-16 Permalink | Reply  

    A resident of Verdun will face charges after he emailed threats to the mayor. Item says he was already known to police.

  • Kate 18:40 on 2018-01-16 Permalink | Reply  

    Emmett Johns won’t be having a national funeral, but there will be a vigil Wednesday at 17:00 at Émilie-Gamelin park, followed next week by a visitation at city hall and a funeral at St Patrick’s.

    I’m seeing tweets suggesting something in town should be named for him.

  • Kate 08:37 on 2018-01-16 Permalink | Reply  

    The Museum of Fine Arts had a big year last year, propelled by their Chagall exhibit and the 375th.

    • Zeke 13:30 on 2018-01-16 Permalink


      Can anybody find me an article (or reference) as to when The Museum of Fine Arts (or Tourism Montreal, for that matter) had a bad, or down year?

      And am I the only one who does not judge the quality of something, by the numbers of people who do/see/subscribe/click, etc to/on it?

    • Kate 13:38 on 2018-01-16 Permalink

      If they do have a low year, they’re not likely to issue a press release about it.

    • Lucas 16:34 on 2018-01-16 Permalink

      Attendance numbers are critical for the MMFA to provide to its funders. Hitting the 1.3 million visitor mark puts it into a serious global category and helps to justify further acquisition, expansion and more ambitious programming. This is excellent news.

    • Lucas 16:36 on 2018-01-16 Permalink

      ** ALSO – depending how the ROM did in Toronto, the MMFA might be able to claim to be the most visited cultural institution in the country. The ROM had 1.35 million visitors last year, which represented a 23% increase over the previous year. If they haven’t kept pace that gives MMFA an enviable title.

    • Zeke 21:40 on 2018-01-16 Permalink


      Kate; my point exactly. Kind of like issuing a press release that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow. Or more succinctly, why is this news?

      Lucas; the most watched TV show in Canada is the Super Bowl. Coast to Coast AM is the most listened to radio show overnight in Montreal. Or more succinctly, absolute numbers mean nothing. And even less when dealing with art.

      If they feel obligated to put out a press release, I’d much rather hear about how many students (and in which grades) saw what exhibits and who paid for their entry. I’d much rather read about how much time each visitor spent in the galleries. Heck! the technology is cheap and available, I’d love to hear/read about which object caused their visitors to gaze at it for more than a minute (or in a 21C clickbait title, the top ten longest viewed objects at the MBAM).

  • Kate 06:54 on 2018-01-16 Permalink | Reply  

    Festivals have been doing business with a bar staff company that recruits “volunteer” workers who don’t declare an income based entirely on tips.

  • Kate 06:37 on 2018-01-16 Permalink | Reply  

    Quebec is doling out money for school renovations including $286 million for Montreal. Meantime, the CSDM is running out of space for new classes it needs to start next September.

  • Kate 06:36 on 2018-01-16 Permalink | Reply  

    A report says the city is using obsolete software. Despite talk about the “smart city” it’s still using some applications from the 1970s. But now it’s adopting a policy of using open source software.

    • Blork 10:31 on 2018-01-16 Permalink

      Hmmm. I’m not sure open source is the best idea for large scale deployments like that. While philosophically it’s a great idea, the reality is that open source software can be buggy, requires frequent updates (and the updates are not always well vetted), and can suffer compatibility problems. Also, nobody is responsible if it messes up.

      There’s something to be said for swimming in the school when it comes to enterprise-level software, instead of bolting off on a tangent.

    • Michael Black 14:44 on 2018-01-16 Permalink

      I always think about the assembler program I bought in 1985, it was expensive for me at the time. I wanted to print listings to keep in a binder, but there was no left margin. So I had to disassemble the program (luckily some searching of the program meant I only had to deal with a small portion of the program) add a patch, figure out where to put the patch and then do it. Having the source would have made it simpler. I couldn’t share that effort, the license prohibited me from disassembling the program.

      I suspect at least some of the software in question was custom written, but decades later no source code to fix problems or port to new computers or languages. Open source would fix that in the future.

      Maybe off the shelf is almost right, open source means someone doesn’t have to start from scratch.

      And this could be a variant. Use open source, but hire people to look for bugs and fix them. Not as “free” as downloading, but hopefully cheaper than custom programs. If it’s just off the shelf open source, you’re probably still ahead. Yes, one is dependent on someone being interested enough to create the software, and keep it going, but the source is there in the future. An interested party can always look at the source code and/or modify it, but closed source always relies on having access to the code or the creator.

      I’ve run Linux since 2001, because I can. I would have done it earlier, if I’d had a good enough computer. It’s overkill for my need, but it never cost me anything in terms of effort. I know it, so I trust it. The only problems have been hardware related (ie bad RAM). I have seen people trying to get in, but they fail. At times I have been slow to upgrade, but nothing has happened.

      I “regularly” have problems on this Surface 2 tablet, including the time an upgrade went wrong. Lots of restarts, of the browser if not the whole tablet. I’m not in charge, so I don’t feel as safe.

      There’s lots in between. Use Linux and run custom or commercial software on top. It depends on whether the OS or the applications present the biggest problem. It’s not just about saving money.

      In the old days, you were important if you were a source of information. Montreal wants to be something, lure in software and other tech companies. Maybe being part of open source would help, if the city actually participates and finds bugs and fixes them, and shares utilities and applications. Open source works both ways.


    • dhomas 19:07 on 2018-01-16 Permalink

      I’m with Michael Black on this one. Open Source does not necessarily mean entirely volunteer-based development; that would be FOSS (Free & Open Source Software). There are plenty of examples of commercially supported software that is also open source. For example, you can get Red Hat Enterprise Linux from Red Hat and pay for support, bug fixes, post-sales services, etc (similarly to how you can do with Microsoft for Windows). The advantage is that, since Linux is open source, you have access to the source code in the event you ever do want to make changes yourself. Case in point, CentOS has created a fork of Red Hat Enterprise Linux which is stripped of any proprietary content (pretty much Red Hat logos) which they distribute freely. The difference with CentOS is that you’re on your own when it comes to support. Android is another example of Linux that anyone can modify.

      All that said, there is precedent on a city trying to go fully open source which did not go so well. If anyone is interested, search for “Munich Linux failure”.

    • Blork 19:23 on 2018-01-16 Permalink

      By the sound of it, they’re talking about multiple systems, from payroll all the way down to desktop systems.

      As for payroll, you’re usually better off going with an established system that that has been thoroughly tested and has accountability behind it. Enterprise-level systems are big business and there’s a lot at stake. When you try to roll your own you end up with boondoggles like the Phoenix Pay system that has never worked, will likely never likely, and doesn’t even have someone behind it who you can sue or get your money back.

      At the other extreme is desktop systems. Linux is nice for technically minded individuals and small groups, but when you have hundreds or thousands of people who need to link their documents, their messaging, their payroll, calendars, their various management systems, on desktop and preferably mobile, and it all has to work with industry standards (read: MS exchange, etc.), then no.

      Bearing in mind a large percentage of people — even people who work in offices — still think that Google is the internet and have no idea what a URL is or a what “file name extension” means. Yes, I know it’s 2018. I think people are dumber on those things now than they were 10 years ago because we have a whole generation of people who never had to learn those things because they get it all by touching a screen. If you’re a technically-minded person and you manage to step out of your bubble for a few minutes your mind will boggle. It’s like stepping out of the Matrix.

      And BTW, this is coming from a guy who has little patience with Microsoft, Apple, and Adobe as corporations. It’s coming from a position of defeat.

    • Raymond Lutz 02:49 on 2018-01-17 Permalink

      industry standards == SMTP
      industry standards != MS exchange
      Munich Linux ‘failure’ == political choice (yes I searched it)

    • Raymond Lutz 03:46 on 2018-01-17 Permalink

      Au sujet du Munich Linux ‘failure’ :

      “Microsoft had fought hard to retain the business, offering deals and discounts, with CEO Steve Ballmer interrupting a ski vacation in Switzerland to pay a personal visit to Munich’s mayor about the issue, the city said.”

      Tout est dit… Ce type possède une fortune de 39 milliards USD et il se déplace personellement pour influencer les élus! Plutôt: Munich Linux ‘failure’ == $$$ for some guys (not the tax payers). Eh, peut-être que lors d’un Grand-Prix de F1 Ballmer viendra visiter Plante?

  • Kate 21:25 on 2018-01-15 Permalink | Reply  

    This is not the first time cold weather has delayed commuter trains and it likely won’t be the last.

    • Brett 00:39 on 2018-01-16 Permalink

      I think you accidentally linked to a hella disturbing story in the second link..

    • Kate 05:21 on 2018-01-16 Permalink

      Yes. Thanks. Fixed.

    • Roman 05:30 on 2018-01-16 Permalink

      This is ridiculous. They close the highways and tell people to use public transport. And that doesn’t even work well.

    • Faiz Imam 10:11 on 2018-01-16 Permalink

      With the winning bidders of the REM build being announced in a couple months, It seems like particular focus will need to be paid to it’s ultra cold weather performance and reliability.

      If it works effectively, it’ll quickly be lauded by the public in contrast to these issues (admittedly caused by underinvestment for decades now).

      A high frequency line is inherently more resilient, because it runs so often it does not allow switches to freeze up and snow/ice to accumulate.

      But it’s also designed to have greater automation, which can lead to disaster if something serious goes wrong.

    • ant6n 19:43 on 2018-01-17 Permalink

      Running close to capacity, without staff nearby isn’t resilient.

      If the trains are high capacity running at medium capacity (say every 10-15 minutes) on the branches, then after a shut-down of an hour, it’s possible to yank up capacity by running a couple of trains every couple of minutes to get people moving again. If you’re already running close to capacity at all times, your SOL. Plus, if there’s really no staff nearby, it’ll be a problem if any manual intervention is required (unless there’s a bunch of staff everywhere, in which case the idea that you can save money via automation is a lie).

  • Kate 21:00 on 2018-01-15 Permalink | Reply  

    City hall opposition doesn’t think the Plante administration’s proposed ethical code goes far enough, particularly on the point about sexual harassment.

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