Category Archives: Truro NS

Don’t Fall, Do Winter.

I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, and I discovered my gmail account finally has IMAP functionality too. Actually, I’m not using it as of yet. If you’re not familiar with the background of e-mail: your ISP generally provides basic POP3 services. POP3 is just a protocol to store and retrieve (download) your messages to your desktop computer. The moment you download your messages, references to these messages are deleted (not completely true: your local law enforcement authoritities may require ISPs to retain your e-mails for a while). This means that if you’re using multiple computers there’s no way to share your mail over these computers. IMAP, however, centralizes your e-mail storage and allows e-mail programs to synchronize e-mails over several clients.

Alfons forwarded me a link: One of his photos was selected to accompany an article about Fall and bicycling at About.com (which is part of the New York Times, since, when?)

And on a good note: it looks like we’re going to bunker down for the first major tropical storm (Noel!) of the year. This is going to be fun. No. Really.

Landed

I must Flight 861 has landedadmit that Halifax International Airport (or Stanfield International Airport as it is called nowadays) has changed for the better in some parts: The observation deck is one of them. We were right in time to see Alfons’ plane land and taxi to gate 24, which is right on the left in that photo above. The plane was right on schedule too: there’s a couple of monitors downstairs (and on the ground level) that show locations of airplanes flying towards and from the airport, and in this case, at the time of our arrival, we discovered that flight 861 was already somewhere above Cape Breton.

Weatherwise (and other news)

We’re going through some sort of ‘heatspell’ (if you can call it that way) with temperatures ‘clocking around’ the 20 degrees. Which is generally good, but then, the temperature has been going down fast at night: a couple of nights ago, the thermometer hit -1 degrees Celsius. Time for the trees to drop their leafs.

Last week, a couple of items got my attention: First there was the Carol Anne Gotbaum case (over at the Gothamist): a 45 year old woman died while in police custody. The only reason why I mention this is because it reads like something surreal. Apparently you can kill yourself when you’re handcuffed. Don’t try this at home.

You may have heard about the Blackwater incident but the real story seems to be in the details: employees who by accident kill Iraqi guards and then get flown out with the State Department’s consent. Or, what about that story on Blackwater employees linked to the Pentagon.

On a lighter note, RawStory also has an AFP story about this year’s hurricane season: Forecasters predict that two Atlantic hurricanes will form in the remainder of the hurrican season (which ends at and around November 30th). It has been a rough ride for Mexico this year, I hear.

Enter and Exit

This weekend, we Exit the old, enter the newattended a wedding ceremony plus the dinner afterwards and managed to shoot some photos too. Here’s something I noticed: it looked like everyone was carrying a digital camera. Many moons ago you wouldn’t even think of taking a camera with you to a wedding because, it was actually pretty expensive to have the film developed. Additionally, you were never certain if photos actually turned out or not. If they did turn out, you were either extremely lucky or just plain gifted.

During the first quick browse through my photo set (the morning after the wedding), I ended up throwing out between 20 to 30 photos: most of them out of focus ones. While I had a flash, I was frequently switching between auto-focus and manual focus: the camera had a (tremendous) hard time to focus on subjects particularly at places where it was (apparently) too dark. Luckily, most people were wearing some white (or light coloured) clothes [reflection is what made the auto-focus work again].

I don’t mind making pictures of people though. There’s something rewarding about having the perfect picture (from a different angle) of people caught with mixed emotions during ceremonies like marriage.

Not the Net

Apparently there was an high-speed outage this morning, lasting up to noon. Remarkably, the router was able to connect to my provider’s gateway plus it was (assigned) a correct IP address. Routing on the provider’s end, however, completely failed. I decided to loop up what went wrong, but it seems that even the Aliant’s network status page isn’t updated that frequently. As of today it still says:

Network Status: There are no known outages at this time. Last Update: 5/2/07 12:50 PM

Brilliant: I guess reporting network status is so Eighties.

I read an article at the CBC’s about wind energy and its potential in Nova Scotia. The provincial government has released online maps that show where wind turbines would be productive. It doesn’t surprise me that Cape Breton is one of the windiest places. The maps can be found at the Department of Energy website (PDF file alert).

We reserve

We’reWhat rights? in the midst of a heat spell: today the temperatures went past the 30 degrees Celsius, making it a rather too hot day to run errands. We made it out to the mall though, but I didn’t happen to find what I was looking for (ed. blazers). In these cases, I miss the ‘Amsterdam runs': there are so many stores that you’ll always end up finding what you were looking for.

On the other hand, at my age, you generally worry less about how people perceive you.

Cold. Huh?

The weather at night seems to be going slowly downhill: tomorrow morning we’ll be hitting temperatures between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius. This is probably a good thing, hurricane-wise (I was thinking of hurrican Dean), albeit a bit too early in the season. It’s still supposed to be Summer.

Earlier we managed to go by everyone’s favourite super store (which I shall not name here) to pick up a copy of the ‘Band Of Brothers’ DVD set (it’s priced around 64 CDN). While looking around, I jokingly told the better half that even the (in-store and on-display) macaroni-salad is made and produced in China nowadays.

The NS Provincial Exhibition (NSPE) will open its doors until next Saturday: I’m not sure if I ever mentioned this before, but the NSPE is the single biggest event in this region. And this is probably remarkable: In the years I’ve been living here, I’ve never been there.

Sol

Today, I received my Solaris kit. The good news is that it arrived here ‘unharmed’. The bad news is that it didn’t come with a sticker. What, you mean, Sun can’t afford sending stickers? And no, Solaris 10 does not run in VirtualBox.

I mentioned the ‘Imcooked’-site in an earlier entry but I ran into another couple of sites I’ve been watching with much curiosity: I tend to ignore sites where links hit the main page because they get the popular vote (sites like Digg). Another one of them is ‘Buzzfeed’ (“The web is a 24/7 popularity contest”), which purports to be the site that tracks down the most favourite topics discussed on the ‘Internets’. Right. The other one is probably more interesting for people who love independent or alternative rock music: The Hypemachine. The site tracks blogs that discuss music and provides an interface for MP3s found on those blogs. Yes, you read that right. In most cases, this means (if you look for the Pixies, for example) full-blown listening pleasure (Gentlemen/women, grab your Audacity [and earlier]!). I was in heaven too the other day, when I found a much-loved (and missed) musical piece by Yo La Tengo called ‘Moby Octopad’ (The CD should still lay around somewhere). Thanks-a-bunch.

Spoof attacks

Earlier, when logging on normally I discovered that my Internet connection had literally come to a crawl: simple pings to google.com took over 3000 ms. Then I remembered that I may have mentioned it here before (or earlier), but I can’t find that particular entry:

Some (fixed/reserved) Aliant IP-addresses are frequently under attack. I’m not sure why or which IPs, but the the one allotted to me this morning was literally under fire every each second. The firewall held up good, but came (as said) almost to a standstill.

Next time, I should remind myself to collect those ‘dirty’ IP addresses and forward them to Aliant: not that I expect them to be able to something about it.

You, bug

I get a kick out of hardware bugs: unexpected (but consistent) behaviour in normal electronic devices. Maybe electronic devices were a bit more foolproof back in the early 80s, basically because they probably had a couple of simple transistors that were easy to program. Nowadays, everything seems to come with (some sort of) operating system.

  • My very first MD Player (Sony, I can’t remember the modelnumber, but it’s not listed here, and it was one of the very first models released in Europe) had such a crappy ‘randomizer’ that I could predict which track it was going to play next. Now, I know that writing a good randomizer is a true art, but I wonder if Sony’s engineers were in a time crunch to get the first players out.
  • My DVD player (which does run some kind of custom OS) goes in complete lock-down mode whenever there’s an unreadable disk in it. I expect the player to say ‘Uh-Oh. I can’t read this’ and then barf at me.
  • My laptop’s fan is running on high whenever the computer comes out of hibernation. It does not quit. This can be quite funny when it’s running on batteries. The only way to get it to stop is to restart the computer.
  • Pressing the snooze button on my alarm-clock always seems to turn on the radio (naturally, it has a button for that too and it’s called ‘Radio On’). The worst part is that there’s no way turn the radio off after that, except for pulling the plug.

Maybe we should go back to ‘Made in Taiwan’ devices.

Power2

I woke up late this morning to notice that the alarm-clock was blinking. It had been blinking for 22 minutes already: which means that we had a power outage around 9:00 AM. This is not spectacular news, albeit that today’s it’s Canada Day. I assume this is Nova Scotia Power’s way to say ‘Happy Canada Day’.

This reminds me that a couple of months ago, I sent NS Power an e-mail regarding the early DST this year and the power savings thanks to that in the US (hint: bar none). I quote:

Two years ago, the US congress passed the Energy Policy Act, which included an extension to Daylight Savings Time for 2007. According to US Congress, extending Daylight Savings Time was going to conserve energy.
With Canada following suit this year, my question is, was there a noticable change in electricity usage in March?

Thanks,
Arthur

The reply from NS Power was short and brief:

Thank you for contacting us online. Usage for March 2007 has been consistent with other years usage and as a result we have not noticed a significant decrease in electricity.

So, there you have it.

Freaky Thunder

Last night and this morning, we had some freak thunderstorm: I’m probably not the only person who had a hard time sleeping. Additionally, the storm brought several power outages: I hear that there are still people without power this PM. Having no power this morning meant lugging around one of the water bottles, playing around with bowls and lots of improvising. And lots of cold instant coffee.

The local radio says that another thunderstorm is heading this way. You wouldn’t say that if you’d look outside the window right now: it’s sunny, quiet but yes, extremely muggy.

Visual

While working on billing software, I was planning to write something on visual inheritance in Visual Studio Express (C#): this feature is ‘amiss’ in the lower end versions of that programming environment. I decided not to because the concept is simple (and natural for all object-orientated languages). I like the way how it is implemented in Delphi, naturally, where all forms that work as your base class are stored in a central repository so that they can be reused for other applications as well.

Earlier we saw ‘Babel’ (2006), which I can only describe as ‘a complex story with a happy end’. I thought the end part was surprising, were the viewer finds out that that single phone actually happens in the past. The movie is rated R (nudity, violence and some drug use) by the MPAA.

I read that the bald eagle is soaring in the US. I’m not sure if I mentioned it here before, but there’s a pair of bald eagles living around Middle Stewiacke. I thought this was ironic (More on bald eagles in Nova Scotia).

And last but not least, I ran into one of those ‘ErrorSafe’ popups (it wasn’t stopped by FireFox). If you run across it, the (general) advice is to pull the plug of your ethernet before it starts downloading. In my case it didn’t make the download but if it did, Symantec has a page describing how to remove the program manually. (ErrorSafe was sighted around about.com). I used fandro to verify recently changed or created files.