Had an impromptu visit to Port Burwell today to fix a cranky cell modem. It was also my first experience of driving a stick shift — and not just any stick shift, one with 400Kclicks on it — on the wrong side of the road. It was weird, but since I neither wrecked the car nor hit anything, I think I got the hang of it.
Anyway, no trip to Burwell is complete without a visit to the Lighthouse Restaurant for fresh fried lake perch. While I was there, I got chatting to a couple from Chicago who were working on their plan to cycle round a Great lake each summer. By doing this, they were hoping to appreciate the scale of these huge bodies of water. Neat plan.
One day, when I’m a Celebrity Windfarm Designer with my own television show, I’ll take a summer off to go round Lake Erie.
The train journey back from Montreal last night should have taken about four hours, but it took nearer eight. Seems there was a derailment near Belleville, so we were sat on the train for three hours (just metres from Belleville station; had we known, we would have got out and walked somewhere). Then a bus came, and we got into Toronto about 1am.
I suspect, given that the speed the bus went (187km in under two hours), he’d been told by VIA to get us in before 1:15, the cut-off time that would have given us an 100% refund. As is, I suspect we’ll only get 50%, as that’s the refund for up to four hours. Grr.
I tried copying about 180MB of files from my old Thinkpad onto a USB key using the mini-ITX box last night. It’s supposed to have USB 2.0 High Speed, but it certainly hasn’t; it took several hours. It managed a little over 5 Kbytes/s on a single file.
By comparison, the iBook moved the same amount of data from the key to the desktop in under four minutes. That’s more like it.
I wonder what could make the mini-ITX box so slow? As far as I can tell, there are no USB1.1 devices on the bus. Unless the device was mounted ‘sync’ (where every write isn’t buffered, but immediately written to the USB key), it’s a mystery.
I scored a refurbed LaserJet 4M+ from Centennial Computer Solutions for $99. Plug it in, connect the ethernet cable, set some things on the front panel — and I’m printing from anywhere in the house. I like.
While I like my Cybershot P100, I can’t believe that Sony would make the Memory Stick Pro incompatible with older Memory Stick readers. It’s bad enough that Sony had to created their own expensive, proprietary memory card format (which does exactly what better than CF or SD?), but to make it incompatible between revisions of itself is beyond inexcusable.
Y’see, I scored a cheapo Lexar multi card reader from CWO the other week because it was quite small and takes both CF and MS. I discovered this evening, when it failed to read my MS Pro cards (in the adaptor) but happily read my mum’s plain MS card, that the two formats are gratuitously incompatible. Um, hello, earth to Sony R&D …
They’ve just installed a new crossing system at Kennedy & Eglinton. The crossing buttons emit a loud ping every second or so. I think this is supposed to help partially-sighted people find the crossing buttons to activate the signal.
This would be a good idea if the things weren’t so loud. I could hear the things a block south of the crossing, over the traffic noise of Kennedy, and the lunchtime playground at the school.
I wonder what Spacing would say? Noise pollution makes a huge dent in the amenity of public space.
Ah, New Tab Homepage brings happiness to this Firefox user. I rather got to like the lightweight Epiphany browser during my mini-itx odyssey. When you opened a new browser tab in Epiphany, it loaded your home page. The supposedly more advance Firefox never did this.
New Tab Homepage fixes this, and doesn’t add any other tab-related cruft that I couldn’t use.
I was pleased to see that Apple had included a comprehensive dictionary with OS X 10.4. The Oxford American is a decent enough reference tome, and the computer implementation isn’t bad at all.
The typography’s fairly clean, if rather heavy on the whitespace. Cross references are active; if one clicks on the small-caps word whitlow, you’ll go to its definition (if you have to; it’s kinda nasty). For some reason, the Dashboard version of the dictionary doesn’t have active xrefs.
Searching isn’t as good as it could be. As with most electronic products, it assumes you already know how to spell the word. The incremental search does allow that, as long as you have the first few letters right, the list of possible choices is quite small. Like all electronic dictionaries that I’ve seen, it’s not possible to browse the text in that spectacularly non-linear way that makes a real paper dictionary fun.
It does seem to have a good few Canadian terms, but a true Canadian dictionary should be shipped with Canadian Tiger. Correct spelling isn’t just optional. It also only labels British and Canadian spellings as ‘British’.
So, in summary, pretty good, but far from perfect.