Category Archives: Bad

Second Cup isn’t Fair Trade

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that Second Cup started sporting a Fair Trade logo on their signage. Being the kind of person that thinks people should be paid a reasonable wage, and knowing that coffee workers can be treated like serfs, I started stopping by Second Cup to grab the occasional cup of java. Then I started wondering. When I order myself a caramel corretto®, is it really fairly traded?

So I sent an email to Second Cup’s customer care. Their response was a little disappointing:

Thank you for your email and your interest in the Second Cup. I have included below our Fair Trade Coffee available through Second Cup. Currently this is the only coffee in our series that is certified. Please do refer to our website at to review our selection and how we are making a difference environmentally and socially.

So, even though Second Cup says “24 fairly traded coffees available every day”, they really mean they have one fairly traded coffee.

It’s back to Bridgehead, and their fully fair trade menu for me.

Blogs are about conversation

It might seem obvious, but it’s worth saying: blogs are about communication. Communication isn’t the same thing as dissemination/syndication, as it implies that readers can participate in a post with critiques, questions, and additional information. Reader participation makes a blog more than simple announcements, it elevates a blog from a simple homepage1 to being a bazaar of ideas.

Participation can take many forms: comments being the most immediate (since the reader can easily browse them when reading the article); but automatic backlinking works too (see pingbacks). The irony is that adding that kind of a system to a blog makes it intrinsically more interesting, both to the reader and the writer.

Rant trigger: some guy presents an idea without any mechanism of receiving feedback. Honourable mention: dmo asks for tips on his blog, without providing a mechanism for readers to comment..

Paying to give stuff away

I really like the idea of a community WIFI project. The idea is pretty simple: people who already have internet connections set up WIFI hotspots and allow others to use their bandwidth for free (or a minor charge). I like this idea because I dislike my ISP, and I barely use my connection.

I wasn’t aware of a community WIFI project in Ottawa until yesterday, when CBC did a story on ogWifi. It’s a quasi-community group that is giving away free access to other people’s bandwidth. The only catch is that they are charging the hotspot owner $50/year. That’s on top of the $80 for the router.

C’mon ogWifi! I’m a private residence. I don’t want to pay to give away something I’m already paying for. If you want to charge for-profit agencies who stand to make money on their connections, fine. But I’m not a for-profit entity. By signing up with your service I would have to do a lot of work. And you want me to pay on top of that? Good luck.

On the other side of the coin, I just got my FON router. The thing is tiny (about the size of a pack of cards), and, most importantly, free. You hear that ogWifi? FREE!