big ole bagel

City Cafe Bakery, at the corner of Victoria & Strange (!) in Kitchener has the best bagels.

I hadn’t been there for years. Last time was with Steve Izma (typesetter and BTL Books guru) and his family, who are regulars.

Being Scottish and consequently dough-addicted, CCB is heaven.

a good day

Lots of walking today. Went to the Vancouver Aquarium – which is beyond nifty; they even had some Corys, even though I’m supposed to mention the sea otters and belugas. Then I took a long walk through town, ostensibly heading to MEC. The Van MEC is huge!

I walked about half the way back to the hotel. This was probably far. My feet hurt.

The Apples in Stereo – Lee’s Palace, Toronto – 20 February 2007

In haste: The Apples in Stereo – Lee’s Palace, Toronto – 20 February 2007
(now updated to include better MP3s)

  1. (intro)
  2. Go
  3. Please
  4. Can You Feel It?
  5. The Rainbow
  6. Energy
  7. Strawberryfire
  8. Radiation
  9. Do You Understand?
  10. Open Eyes
  11. I Can’t Believe
  12. (apples in stereo mini-theme)
  13. Skyway
  14. (mini theme/tuning)
  15. Motorcar
  16. Tin Pan Alley
  17. Sun Is Out
  18. Same Old Drag
  19. (theme interlude)
  20. What’s the #?
  21. Ruby
  22. (encore intro)
  23. Play Tough
  24. Baroque

Fresh Apples from Toronto

I’m still midway through splitting tracks, but I thought you might like to hear:

 

The Apples in Stereo - Please (live in Toronto, 20 February 2007)

The Apples in Stereo – Please (live in Toronto, 20 February 2007)

Complete show to follow. I’m not really in a place that I could torrent this from, alas.

avec wings and beer

so we met last night; including Rannie, Eva (happy birthday today!), Arieh, Graham, and a bunch of other good folks (hey, I’m bad with names). We had beer and wings.

Rannie taught us a nifty prefocus trick for quick portrait grabs. I shall be sure to use it.

“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.

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.

the great lost opportunity

I’ve always thought that Adobe missed a great opportunity when they didn’t make their basic PDF writer freely available for Windows. Other OSs now have transparent print-to-PDF options. If you’re lucky, a corporate PC might have MS Office Document Image Writer installed, but a 300dpi monochrome TIFF can’t compare to a PDF.

Still, one can always install PDFCreator (if you have admin rights to the PC, of course). It’s a shame they decide to bundle a marginally dodgy toolbar/spyware package with it, but you don’t get that if you use the MSI installer package.

see, I told you ages ago

Trendy roof turbines are not as green as they look says The Observer. <smugness/>
Paul Gipe has some thoughts on this:

The last one has a couple of pictures I took when we were in Scotland.

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.

house concert!

We went to a house concert last night to hear Chris Coole & Erynn Marshall play some Kentucky duets. Erynn’s back from BC to record with Chris; today’s a long day in the studio.

Great music, nice venue, excellent evening. Maybe we’ll eventually get enough money to buy Chris a new banjo head; his current one looks stricken with some dread skin disease …

still walking in the parlor

I’m currently intrigued by a Lee Hammons tune that Chris Coole taught me — Walking in the Parlor. It’s very simple, never straying beyond the second fret, yet packs in enough drop- and double-thumb in a short piece to still make it challenging.

wily fish

I took ten of the small platys over to Mike’s store last night. Catching the wee things was hard; I doubt the expression as difficult as catching platys in a planted aquarium will ever catch on, it’s definitely true. Maybe I should have tried thinking like a platy. On second thoughts, maybe not; all our ones seem to do is ingest, excrete and procreate.

In order to replace our dear departed cory, I picked up a couple of tiny Oto cats. They’ve been happily smooching the algae from the rocks ever since they were released.

back home

Jetlag is bad, but all is well. Canadian Affair are pretty good for a budget airline.

Most of the eentsy platies made it. They were hiding in the water sprite, which is now the size of a lettuce.
Now to sort through the 268 pictures I took …

big boy’s book of big things

Christmas came early. With money from Carlyle, I bought a reproduction of Knight’s American Mechanical Dictionary, a three-tome work from the 1870s which catalogued mechanisms, devices and machinery known at the time. It’s the ultimate nerd read.

You can browse two electronic versions online:

  • at UMich; large page images.
  • at Princeton Imaging; in DjVu format, this is a little easier to read if you have the right plugin.

I have to say, though, that the dead tree version is a splendid read.