Tag Archives: red

the reluctant rockstar of climate change

I was at Nicholas Stern‘s presentation to the Economic Club of Toronto today (as was Bob, David, Deb, Glenn, Paul, and about 490 others). He was very low-key; not sure if his dry sense of humour got the response he expected. The CBC covered it.

this is not graph paper

The PhotoSmart has an ability to print various ruled paper forms: lined, todo lists, and graph paper. But what they print for graph paper is merely squared paper:
HP’s non-graph paper
Graph paper’s the stuff with 1mm squares. Personally, I was disappointed that it wouldn’t print log ruled and Smith charts, but that’s just me …

GO Transit, you suck!

I discovered last week that GO don’t have a central announcement system. That means that unstaffed stations like Kennedy and Exhibition always leave their passengers in the dark. Plus, the e-mail announcement system only alerts you if the train is more than 30 minutes late. I think by that time I would have gone home.

No sign of that train yet …

“It will feel strange …”

Leo Marks, on hearing of an old couple who died within days of one another, and were buried together:

It will feel strange
Not to nudge you
Or to talk to you
Or keep you warm
When you’re lying there
Only a few feet away
Or perhaps even less
But we shall get used to it in time
Of which we’ll have plenty

We always treasured silences
In which we said everything
We shall continue to treasure them
And to say everything
Throughout the longest silence of all.

 — from Between Silk and Cyanide: A Codemaker’s Story 1941-1945.

All the printers I’ve ever owned …

bird you can see: hp print test

  • An ancient (even in 1985) Centronics serial dot-matrix printer that we never got working with the CPC464. The print head was driven along a rack, and when it hit the right margin, an idler gear was wedged in place, forcing the carriage to return. Crude, noisy but effective.
  • Amstrad DMP-2000. Plasticky but remarkably good 9-pin printer. Had an open-loop ribbon that we used to re-ink with thick oily endorsing ink until the ribbons wore through.
  • NEC Pinwriter P20. A potentially lovely 24-pin printer ruined by a design flaw. Print head pins would get caught in the ribbon, and snap off. It didn’t help that the dealer that sold it to me wouldn’t refund my money, and required gentle persuasion from a lawyer to do so.
  • Kodak-Diconix 300 inkjet printer. I got this to review for Amiga Computing, and the dealer never wanted it back. It used HP ThinkJet print gear which used tiny cartridges that sucked ink like no tomorrow; you could hear the droplets hit the page.
  • HP DeskJet 500. I got this for my MSc thesis. Approximately the shape of Torness nuclear power station (and only slightly smaller), last I heard it was still running.
  • Canon BJ 200. A little mono inkjet printer that ran to 360dpi, or 720 if you had all the time in the world and an unlimited ink budget.
  • Epson Stylus Colour. My first colour printer. It definitely couldn’t print photos very well.
  • HP LaserJet II. Big, heavy, slow, and crackling with ozone, this was retired from Glasgow University. Made the lights dim when it started to print. Came with a clone PostScript cartridge that turned it into the world’s second-slowest PS printer. We did all our Canadian visa paperwork on it.
  • Epson Stylus C80. This one could print photos tolerably well, but the cartridges dried out quickly, runing the quality and making it expensive to run.
  • Okidata OL-410e PS. The world’s slowest PostScript printer. Sold by someone on tortech who should’ve known better (and bought by someone who also should’ve known better), this printer jams on every sheet fed into it due to a damaged paper path. Unusually, it uses an LED imaging system instead of laser xerography, and has a weird open-hopper toner system that makes transporting a part-used print cartridge a hazard.
  • HP LaserJet 4M Plus. With its duplexer and extra paper tray it’s huge and heavy, but it still produces crisp pages after nearly 1,000,000 page impressions. I actually have two of these; one was bought for $99 refurbished, and the other (which doesn’t print nearly so well) was got on eBay for $45, including duplexer and 500-sheet tray. Combining the two (and judiciously adding a bunch of RAM) has given me a monster network printer which lets you know it’s running by dimming the lights from here to Etobicoke.
  • IBM Wheelwriter typewriter/ daisywheel printer. I’ve only ever produced a couple of pages on this, but this is the ultimate letter-quality printer. It also sounds like someone slowly machine-gunning the neighbourhood, so mostly lives under wraps.
  • HP PhotoSmart C5180. It’s a network photo printer/scanner that I bought yesterday. Really does print indistinguishably from photos, and prints direct from memory cards. When first installed, makes an amusing array of howls, boinks, squeals, beeps and sproings as it primes the print heads.

penticentenary (if that’s the right word)

I’ve been driving for 20 years. Seems a long time since I took that Mini Metro (which stank of Insignia aftershave – the instructor used it to clean the glass) from the BSM depot in
Pollokshields and puttered around the south side.

No speeding tickets, no parking tickets, and only one insurance claim. The insurers must be making a fortune from me.

ack bleah

I picked up a pack of Wrigley’s Doublemint Kona Creme Coffee Flavored (as they say) Gum in Missouri last week. I strongly advise that you don’t.

To use the crude but apt expression coined by Jay Primeau to describe a badly-mixed Kahlua cocktail, it tastes like coffee flavoured ass. While chewing, it causes the gorge to rise (I think it’s the slightly minty edge of the gum base), and has an aftertaste akin to latte barf.

Canada’s own Thrills Gum may still taste like soap (as it says on the package, and they’re not lying), but this is just … eww.

iCaved

Yeah, I caved in and bought a 2GB iPod Nano at the weekend. I had various gift cards and cheques come in, so…

It’s a lot better than the Shuffle was. I still don’t particularly like being tethered to iTunes, but I can live with it.

Dexit® INSTEAD? No, Dexit is dead

dexit tag

I see that the number of Dexit terminals has reduced to almost nothing, and now they’re offering refunds of outstanding balance. Looks like it’s dead.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Dexit. It was almost a great idea, but offered no significant advantage over cash from the bank machine. I wonder how long it will be before you can buy the old terminals in Active Surplus?

all the stars came crashing down

Saw the Decemberists at the awful barn that is the Kool Haus last night. The place was fairly busy, but not full. A scalper offered me a derisory price for a spare ticket, so I don’t think they sold out.
They were pretty good; great in parts, kind of tired and meh in others. Naughty Chris Funk lit up on stage; that’ll mean a fine for the venue. That’ll teach him not to play banjo on stage.
Sensitive wee Scottish folkie Alasdair Roberts supported. He was good enough for me to buy the CD.

tired

I’m hanging out near Warden and Danforth while I get snow tyres (I still can’t kick that spelling) fitted. It irks me that I could buy a nice fixie for the cost of these wheels, but that’s owning a car for you.

tunes I must learn (eventually)

Not all of these could be classed as banjo tunes, but I’d want to try, anyway:

  • The Coo-Coo Bird (it’s not optional)
  • The Old Plank Road (Uncle Dave’s delivery, which was more demented than the Rounders)
  • Hot Corn, Cold Corn (like HMR; just how does one spell moo’m moo’m moo’m de boo’m boo’m de boo’m?)
  • I’m Going In A Field (Nic Jones style)
  • Bridges & Balloons (Joanna’s song’s just crying out to be covered with a broad Glasgow accent)
  • Needle of Death (too many banjo tunes are too happy)
  • Ghost (the Neutral Milk Hotel one)
  • something by Sufjan (even if Peter Stampfel says he plays banjo kind of boringly)
  • I Love How You Love Me (like Mangum, not Spector)

about to be gone

This corner of Bloor & Bedford is about to be gone:

244 Bloor W

It has memories for us, as the first place we stayed when we arrived was just up the road. Breakfast was at Country Style (which became a Booster Juice after the massive Tim’s opened across the road), lunch was from Pita Factory, the daily paper from Gus at the Mac’s, dinner was sometimes at Swiss Chalet #1; all on the same block, all going to be gone.
If you look at the bigger picture, you’ll see that hugin neatly severed a couple of heads. It might smart a little, but with some bactine and gauze, it’ll grow back in the morning.

not the smartest loaches in the tank

Came home, said hello to the fish, and did a quick count; I was one loach down, and the CO2 generator had an orange tail …

Seems that one of the loaches had decided it was way cool to get wedged up the back of the gas generator, and couldn’t get back out. I gingerly pulled off the device from the side of the tank, and the loach fluttered off, a little dazed.

No sooner had I put the generator back did another loach zoom up and get jammed. It must’ve been told that you got a “wicked headrush, dude”.

And for this reason, loaches don’t rule the earth.

mame is lame

I suddenly got a retrogaming jones on, and had a strong need to play Robotron. So I downloaded MAME and some ROMs, but no dice — every archive was missing files. Seems that to get the few games I need, I have to download a 16GB torrent of ever game that MAME supports.

My arcade game sensors withered about 18 years ago, so nothing past about 1988 registers with me. You could probably fit every pre-’88 ROM onto a couple of floppies. And it’s not like I’m not allowed to play the ancient Williams games; I have the Arcade Classics CD somewhere which has the games in licensed (but MAME-incompatible) form.

back to 32-bit

I think I’ll have to install Ubuntu for i386 on the Sempron box, as too many hardware things don’t work. At the moment, I’m stuck with unaccelerated graphics and wired etherent; the via graphics driver isn’t yet 64-bit clean, and none of my wireless adaptors have 64-bit drivers, either.

Maybe at the next release I’ll go 64-bit.