Posted by – October 13, 2012
Now that I’ve finally moved on to bigger hardware, I can officially retire my 2008 DV-5 1157-CA (this link doesn’t exist anymore). It has served me well, while costing me two harddrives, because, well, it obviously lost one fan at one time resulting in overheating. As you know, the number one killer of harddrives is heat.
While we’re at it: I’ve decided to steer away from major brand laptops like HP and Toshiba: I have had both brands and have seen the quality dwindle down. Current models look ugly and are extremely fragile. I don’t mean that you should be able to drop a laptop from 20 feet or so.
My favourite part of the DV-5 was the fact that it could play recent games fairly well (see category) because of the size of the video ram: For a general all-purpose laptop in 2008, 512 MB was a lot. Additionally, the laptop is not extremely hard to take apart: heck, at one time, HP’s site had elaborate instructions how to do it yourself and where to order spare parts from. Maybe that’s all we need from laptop manufacturers: sell laptops that one can repair and upgrade yourself.
For now, the DV-5 is running the latest Ubuntu flavour.
Posted by – September 30, 2012
Summer’s been over now 10 or so days and looking outside, it feels like Fall (or Autumn) snapped in here before we could even think of typical Fall things, like seeing the leafs colour and/or raking them up. I believe our trees started shedding their leafs early, only because of the extremely hot temperatures back in July.
That said, this Summer we actually managed to ‘hit the road’ for a change and visit the amazing places that NB has to offer: Saint Martins, Saint Andrews and which ever places are in between these towns. The most remarkable place we ended up visiting was New River beach park: We happened to swing by it (accidentally) at low and high tide.
At one time, a while ago on this blog I complained about the fact that, when living in NS, that there were so many NB tourism commercials. Now that I’ve been living here for over 4 years, there are indeed many reasons why you’d want to check out NB during the Summer season.
Posted by – August 4, 2012
We seem to be slightly going back to normal temperatures here in SJ: that is, cooler temperatures particularly in the morning. You might say that this Summer was one of the warmest: Even Accuweather seems to be suggesting the very same. If I recall correctly, we had 2 weeks of scorching temperatures and even now, I don’t think we’re totally out of troubles yet. But yeah, the temperature changes in the morning (and the dew and our famous fog at that) are refreshing. One could say, I’m almost ready for Winter.
So, the state of the yard is so – so: This was the first year, I’ve seen brown grass patches around the yard. Partially, I blame myself for rigorously cutting the grass too low. There seems to be a good part to the story tho: We cut some of the banks and weeds so low that the wild berry bushes and thistles have been thriving which in turn attracted a lot more ‘good’ insects (bees and monarchs) to our backyard. I believe last year I mentioned I would never take down thistles as they literally serve as ‘lunch rooms’ for foraging working bees. This year the same holds true.
When our oldest cat passed away, there was generally no doubt that we’d get a new one to accompany our other cat, Puffy (right here!). To be frank: Puffy the black cat is just not photogenic. Kitty (“Katherine”) was, Puffy not.
So, our new cat, Molly (“Millifred”) brought home a cold, flees and a bold new change of the guard as she, now over a month in, she’s bossy and tender. She’s obviously a young thing, but I don’t recall Puffy being as bad. Ever. They do get along so once and a while.
Which reminds me that I’ve slowly attributed human skills to these cats, which obviously my wife finds extremely unfair: Kitty was an extremely smart cat who could turn on and off light switches and who preferred human heat. Puffy, is the fuzzy sort of cat who at this age still does not cover up her, well, messages. And Molly? I fear she’s going to be a troll, who does not give any damn if you’re bigger than her.
On preview: I should go back to reading my books.
Posted by – March 25, 2012
When Imoved to Canada and married my wife almost 12 years ago, I automatically begot two pets, Katy the wonderdog and Peanut (nee Kitty). We lost Katy 2 years or so ago (previously). Last Wednesday we put down Peanut: for three of four days she had refused to eat solid food and she had lost so much weight that she could hardly stand up. During her illness, she was fairly fief tho: her last days she would never give up on purring her head off. Literally.
The death of Peanut feels like it marks the end of a an amazing set of years: Both dog Katy and cat Peanut were part of a 12 year adventure of fun, sadness, love and determination. Unsurprisingly, our cat never ceased to amaze and aggravate us and I guess, those are the stories of her that we will remember for, well, until we cease to exist ourselves.
As an atheist, I’ve never believed in a heaven or hell for humans. If there was a heaven or hell, I’m so hundred percent certain that this cat would have been a prime candidate for either place. If there was such a thing like ‘Feline History’, I’m sure her antics would have gloriously been part of that. For now, I’m glad that we were able to bury her next to her pal Katy.
Posted by – March 18, 2012
I‘ve mentioned Yo La Tengo before on xsamplex (right here); as part of my ‘Past The Bridge’ series, I (slightly) proclaimed my likeness for the NJ based band.
If you’ve been on the Internet, you are probably aware of the band’s yearly “Yo La Tengo is murdering the classics”-gig, where the band takes requests for the illustrious radio station WFMU. I recorded one such session in 2008 (briefly discussed here), which was exactly right before I moved to work in SJ. Ever since then I missed the opportunity to listen, well, except for like 2 weeks ago, were a timely reminder (Metafilter, props) reminded me to get my recording gear in action.
Today’s ‘Past The Bridge’ sample is the full track of Yo La Tengo’s rendition of The Clean’s “Tally Ho” – the full track can be found in my media section. Compare that with the original, and judge for yourself (Single Youtube Link)
I have not yet sorted through the whole setlist: I recall that during a couple of songs I slightly lost connection here and there. Generally though, it was an excellent session. If only I had time to separate the tracks out for both 2008 and 2012 sessions.
Posted by – January 29, 2012
On the personal side: This month the weather has been really wet and mild. The weather has been hovering around the -5 to +7 degrees. I recall we only had 2 or 3 days really cold weather (-19s). Additionally, we had a couple of snow days, but since the temperature still goes up during the day, most of the snow has melted and/or changed into ice. It definitely doesn’t make for good photo opportunities.
Continuing on that post I made earlier this month on Elite and X3 (here): I decided to get Evochron Mercenary. From the initial screens,the impression I got is that this game strongly resembles Elite. It looks like fun (you know, that is if you like these free-form games) but you can’t compare it to the X3 series. Evochron seems to focus on the Newtonian flight model: to be honest, the flight model is not all too different from X3. When I find time (time is precious), I’ll take a closer look at EM. Get it or not? Well: it’s not badly priced. If you’re into games with a steep learning curve, you should check it out.
Having spent almost 100 hours on X3:Albion Prelude, I find the game itself sort of boring: this is mostly because there are no real missions in this extension pack. Sadly, X3:AP does not include the X3:TC missions and as far as I can tell only contains one true mission. Egosoft promised to reintroduce the PHQ (Player Headquarters) in a V2 of X3:Albion Prelude, but the emptiness has quite some people upset. Lets hope I can run X Rebirth on my laptop.
Posted by – December 27, 2011
The main event that marked 2011 was most likely the Japanese tsunami back in March, which triggered that nuclear disaster at the Fukushima power plant. I mentioned the disasters in a posting on March 20th (here), where I mainly focused on how the media presented the disaster to the public and how “hot” news events like that, slightly fall below the news radar because reporting the death of thousands of people sells.
On the Canadian side: the most important events circled around the Canadian general elections (May 2nd), where the CP managed to get the majority of seats in the House. Surprisingly, the NDP decimated the Liberals and ended up becoming the Official Opposition party. Not long after, the NDP’s leader Jack Layton retired from politics and died of cancer back in August. Layton’s funeral was most likely the number one story in Canada. I’ve not mentioned this year (I think) but I was eligible to vote. This was not as much as an emotional event as when I accepted the citizenship back in 2010. However, it was definitely a memorable ‘first’.
As usual, for a more detailed Canadian outlook of 2011, the CBC has put together a list of the most visited stories on their site, ordered by month.
Update: I’m totally aware of the Arab Spring, the death of Khadafi and even, the death of Kim Jong-il: too be honest, while interesting I have my doubts that things will be changing for the better any time soon in the affected countries. If so, I’ll surely bring it up.
Posted by – December 11, 2011
I‘ve been mostly reading books these days: The Iconia I bought for my birthday (review) is the ideal reading device. Well, mind the glare then: I’m sure that future devices will have touchscreens sans gloss. What’s the point of having a tablet if you can’t use it outside?
Anyway: reading books. I was finally able to finish off a bunch of book series: I finished all of the Hunger Games books. I also finished off the ‘Sword of Truth’ set: while I liked it, I thought the writing quality had its ups and downs. I thought the Harry Potter books were pleasant: as with the movies, they did go from ‘light-hearted’ to mostly ‘dark’. Well, with the traditional happy end, because these are kids books, mostly. I have this feeling that JK Rowling will not produce anything of substance after finishing off HP.
I’ve kept track of most books on Twitter: sadly, Twitter is not the best media to store ‘historical’ data. Since I’m mostly using the Amazon Kindle reader, I was surprised to see that Amazon doesn’t really track which books I read. With envy I look at the Kobo reader, which has an excellent ‘social’ media ‘tie-in’ and ‘achievements’. I do find electronic books rather expensive. Oh well, back to reading my book
Posted by – September 18, 2011
Exactly a week ago, it was the 10th anniversary of 9-11: it looks like the (re)construction at the former Ground Zero has made substantial progress. To be honest, I’ve never followed the progress on the 9/11 memorial (official site) but personally, I like the idea of the water falls. The last week, we had our share of remembrances and that: I wasn’t planning to elaborate on my personal thoughts. Here, have a link to the Archive’s excellent TV News archive (link).
We had our first frost warnings of the years, which means that most likely Fall will be short. One of our maple trees got really hit during the last storm (Irene). Strange enough: I believe we went thru the worst part of hurricane season. That is, the last hurricane I’ve heard of was Maria (CBC news) which only hit Newfoundland earlier this week.
And last but not least, a pet peeve. Now that I’m using a tablet (Android based) I noticed that a lot of companies have mobile variants of their websites: By default it’s these mobile variants that are shown. I find this irritating, particularly knowing that most of the mobile browsers have no problems showing a full website.
Posted by – August 28, 2011
By now you have read about hurricane Irene: For a change it made landfall in the US and it’s expected to hit mainland Canada (via Quebec) later this night. Canada’s Weatheroffice has it’s expected path plotted on this page, where you can also see that they’ve started tracking hurricane Jose. Obviously, it’s tracking a more eastern path.
Irene is full-up mentioned in the news, particularly by US outlets, where the lower parts of several states are under flooding watch: the main gist is that it could have been worse: the current death count stands at 19. The expectation is that the situation here in Canada will be less severe: In NB, NB Power currently reports at or around 10,000.
Around here I’ve only noticed the casual strong/torrential rains. Additionally, the humidity has gone up, which is generally another sign of a tropical storm passing by. I don’t expect the power to go off, but hey, hurricanes are unpredictable: stay inside and most important of all, have a good sleep.
Update: Pretty images from the Space station (link)
Aug 30th, 2011: Aftermath in Canada (CBC)
Posted by – July 31, 2011
We bought a hibiscus (Wikipedia) the other day at the local Sobeys. They had them in assorted colours, but we opted to go for red. Again. We used to have one before when we were living in Nova Scotia and let me tell you: this is the only houseplant I’ve ever known that is so picky that you want to yell at it. However, for some reason, that makes us more persistent to get the one we bought growing as it is supposed to be. Mind the dead leaves and flowers it dropped on the carpet. Yes, I almost forgot it does that too.
I’ve slowly picked up the ‘Chronicles of Thomas Covenant’ (Wikipedia): I’ve read these before when I was a young kid and just 5 years ago, I bought the first 3 books of the series. However, SF chronicles tire me out. Not as much as George W. Bush’s “Decision Point”, tho.
Now that I got an Android Tablet (earlier), I find I spend my time more using the Tablet than my Windows PC. Interestingly, this has also resulted in me using my Linux laptop more than usual: this laptop now functions as a buffer between the Tablet and my multimedia collection (books, video and audio files). On the Tablet I use ‘ES Explorer’ (marketplace) to copy files forth and back (via SAMBA, no less). I managed to get the Tablet connected to the Linux laptop also, via the direct/USB cable: However, WIFI is so easy.
Posted by – June 25, 2011
If I eliminated statistical weather data, I would say that this year’s weather is going to beat all records. First we had too much snow. When March came, we slowly went to wet weather. Which is about the same weather we have right now, and it’s the end of June. Not that it’s cold: it just appears that it has been raining now every weekend. Obviously, this is good for the grass and the weeds. As for the birds and other animals: besides the groundhog around the property, I highly doubt they love this weather.
I read that Canadian geese are not welcome in some parts of Canada. The NB town of Nackawic (Google maps) has applied for permits to cull some of these birds. According to CBC, there’s even a Facebook page dedicated to these geese. Apparently.
One of the first things that came to my mind when I came to SJ was that it was an ‘artsy city’. On top of that, I thought there were too many derelict buildings around. Take for example the former Kings Square Cinema theatre: It must have been empty for ages now. Last year, it looked like someone was doing some construction to the front and facade, but, today, the building looks like it needs to be demolished. Hopefully that will be soon.