Ontario Scalper Bill Debate

The proposed law to regulate ticket scalping and the use of bots is being debated for the last time today in the Ontario Provincial Legislature. But apparently, some ticket companies are complaining that the proposed 50% above ticket value cap will simply drive scalpers to other sites.

As an event ticket purchaser, I can reassure them that I will never go out of my way to find more expensive tickets. And quite frankly I would distrust these rather shady scalpers, as would anyone else, especially if they sold their tickets on unregulated, questionable sites.

I suspect that most of these tickets would be fake so where’s the argument against the 50% cap, really? How exactly would legitimate sites profit by selling these fake tickets?

Steps need to be taken against the utter nonsense that’s happening. And this is simply the first step.

New Tablet

Amazon Canada has just released their 8″ Fire tablets in Canada, enabling people to access Netflix, Spotify, Facebook, Kindle, Prime Music and Prime video for 12 hours on one charge for less than $130.

The device has a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor and is available in with either 16 GB and 32 GB internal storage, which can be expanded by another 256 using a MicroSD card. It also has front and back facing 720p HD cameras, though these are 2 MP.

I personally don’t use my tablet for photography so I wouldn’t mind the lower resolution. But I prefer a larger screen, although this compact tablet would be great for those longer train or plane rides. I’d definitely consider one for those trips over my significantly more expensive Samsung tablet, which doesn’t have as much battery life and storage capacity as the Fire Tablet.

Yes, Youtube, Google Play and Gmail will not likely be available via an app on this tablet because of the ongoing issues in-between Google and Amazon. But you should be able to access these services through the tablet’s browser and Plex is available on this tablet, an app that allows people to access media on their personal computer.

Overall, i’d say it’s a great tablet for the price.

Canada Post & Vinyl LPs

It appears that Canada Post may have decided to classify record LPs as fragile items, in essence removing their liability as per their section 12.1.2 (c) of their General Terms and Conditions :

“Canada Post shall have no liability for damage of shipments containing Fragile Items. Fragile Items include but are not limited to ceramic, glass, porcelain, mirrors, crystal, pottery, china, perishable items or items requiring refrigeration or temperature-controlled transportation.”

I have personally never received broken LPs by mail, having last received a rape LP in the summer. But this causes me to be a bit nervous, although i’m sure most retailers will do their best to package vinyl correctly.

I guess I would suggest that you choose a courier other than Canada Post/Xpresspost or Purolator when shipping rare items that are fragile. The later also has a policy removing liability on fragile items and “Collectors’ items”.

Federal Express will insure collectible items up to $100 according to their policies (pdf) and UPS will require prior approval on these items. But shipments originating from the United States may have better coverage through these services so you might want to investigate your options when you order vinyl records and collectibles from abroad.

Parcel Theft : Options

The media has been reporting on the theft of parcels lately so I thought i’d give you a few tips :

1. Signature required. If you’re shipping out gifts you should choose this option, which may cost you about $2 on most shipments. And this option is available from several online retailers, some of which are free.

2. Ring Doorbell Option. Some retailers offer this option or allow people to leave a note to their delivery person to ring the doorbell. Look for this option when placing an order online or consider a small sign instructing the courier to ring the doorbell whenever they deliver a parcel.

3. Delivery Notification. Some online retailers, shippers and courier companies offer this option, which can be sent to you by text and/or email. This will also give you a heads up if you’re at home or on your way home. And if you’re at work, you can always call home to get someone to bring it in after getting one of these notifications.

4. Drop-off / Pickup Points. Many retailers offer the option to pick shipments up at your local store, post office or a dedicated pickup point. In the case of Amazon you can either pick your shipments up at a Canada Post outlet near you or Amazon Locker in Toronto or Vancouver.

5. Security. Security cameras help but unfortunately it’s normal for people to wear balaclavas or other winter face masks during winter in some areas, so some people wouldn’t think twice seeing someone walk off with a parcel or two, even from apartment buildings. It can be a good visual deterrent though.

6. Insurance. Many shippers offer a basic amount of coverage but if you are personally shipping something out, you can always consider insurance on your shipments.

7. Package Guard. This device has been available from Amazon.com for a year or two and sends notifications via an app whenever someone places a parcel on the device. Placing a parcel on the device also arms a loud alarm that cannot be disarmed without the app.

8. Canada Post Options. If you’re going out of town and are expecting parcels via Canada Post, you can always place a hold on your mail, which can be done via this online form. You can also forward your mail and temporarily relocate your mail. And some of these options may be available from other shippers so contact them in regards to their programs.

If I think of any more tips i’ll add them to this blog entry.

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Cyber Monday

Looking through the Cyber Monday sales there still appears to be a few good deals to be had from Amazon.ca, its international counterparts, Best Buy Canada, Barnes & Noble, Indigo, NewEgg Canada, Second Spin, Sonos Canada and other retailers listed on my previous blog entry so i’ll be busy shopping around today.

I’ve already found a significant drop in price for the Deluxe version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tango In The Night” and will be keeping my eye out for other deals. 🙂

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