Government to give monopoly, hardship money, to Rogers or Bell

 Posted on September 12th, 2014
 by Patrick – Won't you help brighten a lonely comment box's day?

The Toronto Star article opens with this:

The cash-strapped provincial government is banking on a bidding war between Canada’s largest telecommunications companies for its lucrative lottery business.

The lucrative business (why the OLG is selling access to it, obviously), is in the exclusive right to sell the OLG’s products and services through a network of the telecom’s own “specialists”; in other words, to run lottery and gaming operations in Ontario. The two companies currently involved in a bidding war for this are Rogers and Bell. Does this maybe have something to do with the OLG’s unquestioned power to violate privacy laws? Of course the process is fair and open to everyone (with lots and lots of money), so no problems there.

Even better, the government will enforce this private, for-profit monopoly for, obviously, everyone’s benefit.

“The service provider will be responsible for recommending strategies to maximize the growth and success of the lottery business, developing products and marketing plans, operations, and process and cost optimization,” the Crown agency announced in December.

“”It will also serve as a single point of contact for OLG by being responsible for everything subcontractors do and ensuring they deliver on OLG’s modernization requirements,” the corporation said.

“In the future, OLG will continue its role in the conduct, management and oversight of lottery. This includes setting the overall strategy for lottery, managing the market by approving channel strategies and approving products.”

Isn’t that wonderful?

And, because Bell and Rogers are such poor, poor corporations (and because the OLG is itself “cash-strapped”), the Commission will be handing out roughly $750,000 to the winning bidder for the harsh inconvenience of plunking a golden monopoly into their private, for-profit laps (paid for by taxpayers, of course).

Potential new operators will now see up to $650,000 of their costs in making a bid covered by the provincial agency.

OLG will also pay $100,000 of fees that bidders must pay to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to investigate them and ensure they are above board.

Finally, it wouldn’t be government if this wasn’t all kept a big secret:

In an email, OLG’s Tony Bitonti emphasized that “procurement involves information of a commercially sensitive nature.”

“As a result, details of the RFP (request-for-proposal) documents and names of pre-qualified service providers will not be released while the process is ongoing,” wrote Bitonti.

“There will be no further communication about the RFP until a service provider is announced. OLG expects to announce the successful service provider in fall 2015,” he continued.

Bitonti said no potential price-tag for the lottery could be disclosed because that’s part of the bidding process.

Ooh, “pre-qualified” … I wonder how that works, and who decided on the “pre-qualified service providers”.

On the bright side, it looks like karma is a thing after all.

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SocialCastr open sourced

 Posted on September 2nd, 2014
 by Patrick – Won't you help brighten a lonely comment box's day?


It’s not nearly as thorough as I’d wanted but I did manage to slap that open source license on all of the files and cut out a bunch of extraneous stuff in uploading SocialCastr (the personal broadcasting studio software). You can find the source code here:

This is certainly not for the novice, at least not at this time. There’s some advanced code in there and you need to know your way around Adobe Flash to actually compile it. I’ll be going into much greater detail on the project page but, basically, you’ll need to create (or import), a custom application certificate to sign your code, update the SwagCloud class with your own server address (and optional developer key), and work around any minor issues like missing fonts in the IDE (included).

Eventually there will be very clear details that can be followed verbatim (even by the novice), and by that point I hope to have the project ported over to FlashDevelop (the open source version of Adobe Flash), but until then I’m simply going to include these caveats.

However, if you really don’t care to get your hands dirty and just want to start broadcasting, visit to download the finished product.

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The Canadian Apocalypse

 Posted on August 31st, 2014
 by Patrick – Won't you help brighten a lonely comment box's day?

Those Australians are on to something…

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