This one isn’t quite law related or quite technology rated, though it sort of touches on both. Just wanted to share something quite remarkable I saw this evening.

I was riding home in a cab with my wife and young son, going down Bay St. at about 8 pm this evening. While stopped at the lights, I casually noticed a gentleman, sitting in the car beside us, obviously very preoccupied with something, looking at his Blackberry  with some degree of concentration and furiously typing away with his thumbs It was quite easy to see given the backlight of his BB was very bright.

After a few seconds the light changed, he sped onwards, and so did we. And he continued to type, with some degree of vigour, apparently fully preoccupied with his urgent e-mail.

So, you ask, what is so remarkable about this, you ask? Surely this isn’t the first time I’ve seen someone tapping away on a BB in a cab, right? And the answer to that would be no. Definitely see it all the time. In fact, do it myself sometime. Great time saver.

So what’s the big deal? He was the one driving! Certainly understand perhaps taking a quick peek at your BB when stopped at the lights. But amazingly, this fellow that I saw simply continued to tap away busily while pressing the accelerator and speeding away. Neither of his hands were on the wheel, and it was quite clear to me that his vision was focused on his BB and not the road (though admittedly he did see the light turn green). I couldn’t tell if he perhaps was guiding the wheel with his elbows.

The stretch of Bay St. we were on is fairly straight, so I imagine someone could just take their hands off the wheel for a stretch and continue relatively unscathed. But do so, and at the same time also try to write an e-mail to someone? What sort of e-mail could possibly be so important to worth risking your life (and the lives of those around you)? Moreover, what kind of person would be so pressed for time that the could not let the e-mail wait a few minutes until they pulled over somewhere to compose it? I can’t imagine that he did a very good job at either.

While nothing much happened this time (he managed to make his left a bit later – too out of range to see what happened to his BB (but obviously with at least one hand off of it) I do wish him the best that karma may have in store for him.

to disclose or not to disclose – that is the question…

A good writeup on about the very, very unfortunate case of AiT and Deborah Weinstein, their lawyer. The (very) short version: AiT signs a non-binding letter of intent to get purchased by 3M. Apparently shortly thereafter there’s a leak of the deal (which causes a runup in its share price). AiT issues a press release, saying its exploring alternatives but doesn’t mention the deal. The deal is only disclosed two weeks after the leak, when a definitive agreement is signed (i.e. the deal is binding). Read more about it on the OSC site. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. One of the partners of our firm is quoted on that point:

Gary Girvan, an M&A specialist with McCarthy Tétrault LLP, says “the stakes are very high” for directors to disclose merger negotiations early because civil liabilities legislation introduced by Ontario last year could cost board members personally if they fail to disclose material events in a timely fashion. The combination of the new legislation and the AiT case puts more pressure on boards to reveal potential deals earlier, Mr. Girvan said, but the consequences can be devastating for shareholders.

“The danger is that you end up with a lot of announcements that do not come to fruition and the stocks of the listed company become volatile. Investors will be reacting to news about a deal that hasn’t crystallized,” he said.

The company and its CEO have settled with the Ontario Securities Commission (the provincial equivalent here of the SEC) but Ms Weinstein has indicated she will vigorously defend herself. As, I think, IMHO, she should.

A Real Quantum Computer – This Week!

Sorry, been off sick. One very quick entry from Techworld, about a BC company, D-Wave, that will be debuting a real Quantum computer this week!!

Twenty years before most scientists expected it, a commercial company has announceda quantum computer that promises to massively speed up searches and optimisation calculations.

D-Wave of British Columbia has promised to demonstrate a quantum computer next Tuesday, that can carry out 64,000 calculations simultaneously (in parallel “universes”), thanks to a new technique which rethinks the already-uncanny world of quantum computing. But the academic world is taking a wait-and-see approach.

If it turns out to be true, this will be revolutionary news. I mean, truly revolutionary. If it works, well, say goodbye to most of the cryptography industry, as a quantum computer should easily be able to defeat the most sophisticated encryption methods currently known by simple brute strength. Amongst other things. This is nearly unlimited computing power in a box. Stunning. Assuming, of course, it actually works.