This is a letter I wrote to the Calgary Herald's editors, after yesterday's news that the courts shut down Uber's Calgary operations.  I CC'd it to my councillor, Sean Chu, and Uber itself to show my support.

The courts shutting down Uber in Calgary reminds me of the time Blockbuster
Video filed an injunction against Netflix right before the Christmas movie
season and won... in a parallel universe.

Granted, Uber was operating outside of Calgary’s livery transport bylaws, but
this was a service that this city badly needed and Uber knew it. They were
trying to work with the city, but the city was taking too long to change the
bylaws (some might say the taxi companies were slowing them down) so they took
the initiative like an entrepreneur and launched with 500 Calgarians now earning
money driving their own cars.

My past experiences with taxis were terrible, so I used Uber a few times the
last month and loved it. I was even able to summon an UberX car at 4:30 AM in a
residential area and it arrived in minutes. Try that with a Calgary taxi cab,
especially now that the Christmas party season is coming so good luck waiting
even longer for a cab ride home. Calgary’s taxi monopoly got Uber shut down,
and they’re going to punish Calgarians for even thinking there’s a better

But a major area of concern was that the city wanted Uber to use with the taxi
companies a “city-approved smartphone app” that confirms driver and passenger
identification, offers estimated fares and allows customers to reject the trip.
I don’t want the city knowing that stuff about me, and Uber’s own app does that
already. Plus, in other cities Uber licenses their technology to taxi companies
so you can hail and compare Ubers and taxis all in one place. Besides, I don’t
want the city to build an app for taxis or ride-sharing or anything else in
particular. Remember the debacle that was the Calgary Transit Connect card?

I have a ticket to see the new Star Wars movie on opening night, in an area
where public transit is practically non-existent after 6:00 PM. Now that Uber’s
gone, I may have to reconsider my plans.
AuthorJason Montgomery

PAX Prime 2015 was my sixth PAX so here are some of the moments from my weekend.


Flew into Seattle from Vancouver, and made my way to the hotel.  This year, I stayed at the Renaissance Hotel as I was last there in 2013.  I had one of my own PAX traditions to do, and that was my pre-PAX dinner at Blue C Sushi.


I sometimes arrive a day early for shopping and sightseeing.  I took the monorail to the EMP Museum for the Star Wars and the Power of Costume exhibit.  I also saw at the museum the exhibits for indie games and Chuck Jones.

For shopping, I always pick up for the family a box of salted caramel chocolates from Fran's and some chocolate covered Chukar Cherries for the office and me.

That night was Nerd Night Out at the Columbia Tower Club, a charity event on the 76th floor of the tallest skyscraper in town.  There was a fancy buffet dinner, followed by lots of board and card games.  I was a little out of my comfort zone here, but I got over my social anxiety and checked out a copy of Ticket to Ride from the lending library.  (As that was the only game available that I had any experience with, and then only digitally.)  I set up on an open table, flew up a "Looking For Players" balloon, and introduced three new people to the game.  A fun night for a good cause, but I don't think I'll go again.  Next year, if Microsoft hosts another Xbox open house on their campus, I will darn well make sure I will be there.


Started the first day of PAX at the opening keynote (better known as "storytime") with Portal designer Kim Swift, then stayed for Q&A with Gabe & Tycho. Always a laugh riot.

I then hit the expo hall, cruised around for a while, and I got to try LEGO Dimensions' Doctor Who level, and Mini Metro at the Indie Megabooth.

That night, I went to the Cards Against Humanity panel, as that's one of the hot tickets at PAX and it's always hilarious.  They asked the crowd to help them reply to actual customer service emails.

Jason @ #PAX: Day one complete. I am now a dragoon. #FFXIV

A photo posted by Extra Life Calgary Guild (@extralifeyyc) on


Started the second day of PAX at the Final Fantasy XIV music and lore panel, and then went back to the expo hall.  I hit the PC freeplay area and got to try Rocket League.  I went to the Xbox booth and got to try Forza Motorsport 6, then the Square Enix booth for Lara Croft GO and to take the FFXIV battle challenge and win a t-shirt.

Jason @ #PAX: Couldn't be a better way to close out day two at Console Freeplay.

A photo posted by Extra Life Calgary Guild (@extralifeyyc) on

After dinner, I then went out in the pouring rain to a late-night comedy show hosted by Cards Against Humanity.  Improvised Star Trek and The Nerdologues performed and it was hilarious.


Jason @ #PAX: WITNESS ME!!! And I won't charge the surge rate.

A photo posted by Extra Life Calgary Guild (@extralifeyyc) on

On day three I hit the Harmonix booth and got to try Rock Band 4.  I also met the local Extra Life guild at their booth and and talked shop for a bit.  I then saw Capcom and tried out the Mega Man Legacy Collection and Vector Unit's Riptide GP: Renegade.

Jason @ #PAX: Hanging out with #ExtraLife Seattle.

A photo posted by Extra Life Calgary Guild (@extralifeyyc) on


Tried to fit in as much as I could on the final fourth day.  I visited Nintendo and waited three hours in line to try Star Fox Zero.  And it was worth it.  I then went to the upper levels where most of the indie creators have their booths and tried Mekazoo and caught a live demo of Superfight.

Lastly, I wrapped up PAX by going to the final round of the Omegathon tournament, where is was revealed that the final game was Super Mario Maker.  The last two competitors had to finish a Nintendo-designed, PAX-themed, insanely hard final level.  And the winner said earlier he was not a console gamer, has never played Super Mario, and this was his worst nightmare.

And PAX Prime was over for another year.  Exhausted, but wanting to go back next time.

Jason @ #PAX: And PAX Prime 2015 is over! This is Jason for Extra Life Calgary, singing off!

A photo posted by Extra Life Calgary Guild (@extralifeyyc) on

AuthorJason Montgomery

Wednesday night was David Letterman's final show, and I was a big fan in high school.  So I went digging through old Word files I still had from my senior year, and found this gem I wrote for Humanities class. We were nearing the end of studying George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, so I presented/performed this for my study group.

From the Party home office in London, Airstrip One...


10.  Those damn Eurasian bastards!  (Or is it Eastasia today?)

9.  Goldstein's book is selling better than mine, "12 Easy Steps to World Domination."

8.  There's nothing on the telescreen late at night except that gap-toothed dimwit.

7.  When people call me "B.B.", the proles think I'm a gun.

6.  Windows 84

5.  All those posters don't bring out my natural highlights.

4.  Xylophone music. (Oops, that from a list of everybody's pet peeves.)

3.  Doubleungood tenlist.

2.  How would you like it if you were just a physical manifestation of a political movement?

1.  I can't subscribe to "Pornosec Monthly"!

AuthorJason Montgomery

For Easter yesterday, Mom got me a LEGO Minifigure foil pack, which turned out to be the Egyptian Warrior.  Now I don't know how Egypt fits into Easter, but that's besides the point.  A few days ago, I found that LEGO posted this:

And I just had a horrifying thought.  What if LEGO decides to release foil packs of Doctor Who minifigs, like they've done before with The Simpsons and The LEGO Movie?  I can see that from both a business and a design point of view.  It would be more economical to release a full LEGO set with, say, The Twelfth Doctor and Clara minifigs and then go back and release lots more characters in those random foil packs.

And with me and my completionist streak a kilometre wide?  This will not end well.

AuthorJason Montgomery