didn’t make it

One of the little guys didn’t make it. There’s a sad little grey fuzzy corpse in the back yard, already pulsing with disco rice and greenbottles.

Danish Modern in Ringkøbing

I’m currently checked into a hotel which reeks of 70s Danish modern — blonde wood, bare brick, smoked glass surfaces — and, like many places in Denmark, cigarette smoke. Being in the presence of an authentic Beocom phone makes up for it though:

Beocom Phone

Also, there’s a cute little wind farm outside; a few Vestas V27s (or smaller) on lattice towers at 56° 7′ 22.11″ N, 8° 13′ 48.94″ E:
Little wind farm near Ringkøbing, Denmark

best beat neat nest

Beware, nerdiness follows: I generally like my BlackBerry 7130e, but its multiple letters per key can sometimes give the wrong result. Using word frequency lists from the British National Corpus, sqlite, and way too much programming time, I determined that the key sequence with the most possible word results (81?2) produces best, beat, neat or nest. The device itself suggests also brat and bray, so I should try a longer word list — in my copious free time, of course.
The longest (common words in the corpus) that have the same key sequence are employers and employees, which might briefly cause hilarity in an HR or legal context.

Free the Laserjet 4!

I love the HP LaserJet 4+. Built like a tank, good print quality, and now available used/refurb for pennies. Sure, they weight about as much as a Sherman, and suck power like there was no tomorrow, but one of my 4+s has nearly a million on the page count, yet prints crisp and clean.

Last weekend I scored a 4+ with built in duplexer from eBay for very little. It didn’t want to print at first (giving a cryptic 13 PAPER JAM error), but removing the rather beat-up full-ream paper tray fixed that. It may need a new cartridge (at almost twice what I paid for the printer), but I’m happy.

Wonder if I can direct-connect one of them to the ethernet port on Catherine’s eMac? I know my router won’t talk AppleTalk, so we can’t network just one printer.

Standard Offer is Go – March 21

From OSEA:

The moment we have all been waiting for has arrived! The Ministry of Energy, the Premier, David Suzuki and OSEA will be announcing the Standard Offer Program on March 21st. We are organizing a celebration and press event in partnership with the Ministry of Energy that will take place at 3 pm at Exhibition Place, Toronto, home to Ontario’s first community wind turbine.

Please mark this date in your calendar and watch for further notices (via email and at www.ontario-sea.org) on details regarding location, speakers and entertainment.

This is a celebratory event – please everyone, let us celebrate the positive role the Standard Offer Contract program will play in Ontario for renewables, for community power, for cost effective power, and for our air quality and health!

Thanks to everyone for their efforts!

If the province has got this right, we really will see a lot more wind power in Ontario.

J P Martin Speaks!

Tony Bannister writes in liontower that James Currey gave him some tapes of J P Martin reading some of his Uncle stories. He hopes to restore the tapes and release a CD.

Uncle: His Master’s Voice!

What is a shrove, anyway? What size batteries does it take?

I hope they still have pancakes at the Chateau Lacombe, for today is their day. Bet they won’t have the one true topping, being sugar and lemon juice.

Vaguely related Bob The Angry Flower content: The Time Looker-Forward Tube (caution: swerries, pancakes).

shavin’

They’ve just discontinued my razor of choice — the Wilkinson Sword/Schick Diamond — so I’ve decided to go old-school. Now that Wilkinson Sword has the four-blade Quattro, and Gillette their five-bladed monstrosity, I’ve realised that the whole multi-blade thing is a load of hooey.

Consider this: if the first blade was supposed to do most of the work, then draw the hair out a bit to be cut below the skin level, further blades would have less and less effect. It’s just as likely that the whole multi-blade cartridge thing was a scam to sell more, and non-standard, blades that could easily be made obsolescent by the time generic manufacturers caught on —  the old Instamatic effect.

So I bought a Merkur safety razor (from Toronto Salon Supply, at Bay and Dundas), and a bunch of Merkur blades. I didn’t shave particularly close today, but it’s just as close a shave as the old twin-blader I used to use.

The plus side is that I’m throwing away no plastic with every blade, so I’m shaving the planet.

my letter to etymotic

To: Etymotic Research Inc. Customer Support

I recently placed an order with you for accessories for my Isolator ER-6i headphones. I was very disappointed when UPS added an additional brokerage charge of approximately US$27 (plus taxes and duties) to the order. Since the value of the the order was only $43, your courier’s brokerage charge was almost two-thirds the value of the goods ordered.

Please consider using another courier for Canadian orders. USPS/Canada Post’s brokerage charges are much smaller, of the order of $5.

I would also like to note that none of your agents in Toronto seems able to stock these spares. I visited all three of the dealers mentioned on your website:

  • Long & McQuade had no stock, and didn’t seem particularly keen on ordering any for me.
  • Carbon Computers, though very helpful, only had eartips for the ER-6, and didn’t know that they wouldn’t work with the ER-6i.
  • CPUsed sold me an incomplete bag of ER6-14 eartips; only 6 tips for the full price of 10. When they weren’t assuring me that they’d work with the ER-6i, they were trying to sell me a set of Shure E2C headphones, which they said were better.

Up until now, I have been widely recommending your products. Until I know that you’re serious about supporting your Canadian customers, however, I cannot recommend your products to anyone in this country.

first day new job

I had a good day. There was a lot of administrivia, setting up e-mail accounts, form filling, and learning about the network, but that’s all once off. The afternoon was mostly spent fighting with my new BlackBerry (a 7130e, you nerds), which works as a very nice phone, but the e-mail isn’t set up.

My cube has a view, and the transit is great. I’m happy.

manitoulin sunset

There was supposed to be a picture of a nice — if low-res and a bit squinty — sunset over McLean’s Mountain on Manitoulin Island here, but 1&1’s webmail isn’t too good on attachments.

Update: Here it is:—
manitoulin sunset
(The vertical lines are guy wires, btw)

“The clean air choice of Earth Day Canada.”

So, what would you think would be “The clean air choice of Earth Day Canada“? A bicycle, perhaps? Some kind of renewable energy? Some really brilliant Canadian enviro-social development, like a biodegradeable donut?

Nope, a car; the Toyota Prius. Last time I checked, it still used petroleum (with its high environmental and geopolitical toxicity). It still causes gridlock; I see Priuses (Prii? Your moon-pie eye!) inching along the Gardiner from the GO train with all the other wretched junkers. The way I see it, it’s not looking like part of the solution. It’s a bit like having an official assault rifle for the the International Day of Peace.

Toyota also give out $5000 Toyota Earth Day Scholarships. I mean, that’s nice and all, but it’s hardly giving back. If you look at all the scholarship materials, it’s carefully arranged so it looks like the event is called Toyota Earth Day, with the ‘scholarship’ on the next line. Nice cooption. Good greenwash.

the monopoly on free money

from a familiar note
It’s a licence to print money! Well, Monopoly® money, that is. But you can’t have everything; it doesn’t stop people from trying, though.

The above image is copyrighted, trademarked, service-marked and intellectually-propertized 15-ways-to-Sunday by Hasbro. I hereby acknowledge that I’m a very naughty person to have nicked it for my website, and have felt good and contrite for at least the last 5 (five) seconds. But then, since Hasbro own the rights to my earliest published writings (long story: they bought Database Publications, for whom I used to write) and are sitting on the goldmine that is the film rights to Stardodger (my first, and only, game), I think they’ve done okay from me.

OS bad craziness

DSL running on top of Windows XP
Yes, it’s really a linux box booting inside windows. Thank Damn Small Linux and QEMU for that.

It opens up an X session, and passes through most system services — so I was able to print to my network printer.