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)

Toronto Subway Station GPS Locations

After seeing the various nifty web-enabled transit maps, I realised I had the data handy to get things started. A while back, I georeferenced the TTC Ride Guide, and digitized all the station locations. I cleaned them up today, and in the hope of being useful, here are the files:

These are simple three-column CSV files, stating latitude, longitude, and station name. They should be in order of stations. Locations are probably within about 50m of real life, but don’t bank on it.

I’ll get these into more useful formats soon, like GPX and KML. For now though, if you can use ’em, go ahead and do something.

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.

blog entry for dad

My folks have been visiting for the last couple of weeks (we’re just about to leave for the airport), and Dad asked for some links we discussed. The following will probably make little or no sense to other readers:

Quigmans.com

Long ago, Quigmans.com used to be the web home for The Quigmans, a comic of slightly higher than usual amusement.

But now it’s not. It’s about The Quigmans, but not in a way you’d expect.

sorry, little dude

A garden spider had built a large and elaborate web between the fence and the green bin. It looked happy there, and I was sad to dislodge it to take the recycling out.

ididn’tBook

For a truly soulless evening, take yourself down to the BestBuy at Scarborough Town Centre.

STC is a mega-mall, with the obligatory huge concrete and asphalt deadzone around it. Its current sales slogan is For what defines you, which must mean that its denizens are in a pretty parlous state, existentially speaking. Its only slightly attractive feature is its derelict KrispyKreme store, which opened as a flagship, then frazzled almost as quickly as a KK’s dextrose rush. Abandoned donut shops are Canada’s ruined abbeys; places of worship gone to seed.

BestBuy itself is an outcast from the mall, in an especially ped-unfriendly way. Perhaps the only defined route there is through a monster split-level Wal-Mart, but I didn’t have enough hitpoints to make it through that particular slough.

I’d checked their website, and it said that the store had iBooks in stock, at $50 below retail. Did the store have any on display? No. The Apple section was set behind the customer service desk, which was a scrum of slightly disgruntled shoppers. So I left without seeing one.

I wandered in a bit of a post big-box haze to McCowan RT, a weird little station at the very end of the rails. At least I was rewarded with a beautiful sunset over the 401 at McCowan; all boiling red and purple. That’s about the best you’ll get near STC, and for free, too.

more web file managers

I’ve previously written about PHPFileExchange, but it looks like it has strange installation requirements. Cwfm and Owl might do the happy thing, but neither looks quite perfect.

S5: A Simple Standards-Based Slide Show System

Eric Meyer’s S5: A Simple Standards-Based Slide Show System is extremely cool. I’ve chosen it for my presentation on Thursday night, because it’s very simple yet quite pretty.

RIP Talk Energy

I haven’t heard a peep out of Talk Energy since 25 January, so I’m afraid to say it must have disappeared. The site no longer resolves for me. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. I wish Darrin well with his next (current?) project.

Oops, spoke too soon. Talk Energy has started resolving again. It’s just that their RSS feed was broken.

If Burlington = 95, Toronto = ??

143; if you’re Environment Canada’s Weather Office, that is.

Completely against the concept that Cool URIs don’t change, the Weather Office appear to have arbitrarily changed the URLs for their 5 day forecasts. In the old days, if you knew the local airport code, you could find the weather report, for it was at (f’rinstance): http://www.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/forecast/city_e.html?yyz. (And yeah, I grew up with siblings obsessed with these guys, so I’ve known Toronto’s airport code of old.)

Now the same page is at http://www.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/city/pages/on-143_metric_e.html, and for Burlington, it’s …/on-95_metric_e.html. It doesn’t make sense, does it?

Canada has weather that can kill you. Somewhere, someone will have scripted a page that scrapes the Weather Office’s data, and so somewhere I’m sure there will be a weather report that’s not updating. I can see no good reason for this change; I’ll see if Environment Canada has one.

now that’s what I call an URL!

Yes, there really is a HugeURL.com. Here’s one for this blog:

http://hugeurl.com/?MDRlNjU1YTRjMjZiZGMxOThiMjUxZTM5ODQwMDFiYmUmMTImVm0wd2QyUXlVWGxXYTJoV1YwZG9WVll3Wkc5alJsWjBUVlpPV0Zac2JETlhhMUpUVmpGYWMySkVUbGhoTWsweFZqQmFTMk15U2tWVWJHaG9UVmhDVVZadGVGWmxSbGw1Vkd0c2FsSnRhRzlVVjNOM1pVWmFkR05GZEZSTlZUVkpWbTEwYTFkSFNrZGpTRUpYVFVad1NGUlVSbUZqVmtaMFVteFNUbUY2UlRGV1ZFb3dWakZhV0ZOcmJGSmlSMmhZV1d4b2IwMHhXbGRYYlVaclVsUkdXbGt3WkRSVk1rcElaSHBHVjJFeVVYZFpWRVpyVTBaT2NscEhjRlJTVlhCWlZrWldhMVV5VW5OalJtUllZbFZhY1ZscldtRmxWbVJ5VjI1a1YwMUVSa1pWYkZKRFZqQXhkVlZ1V2xaaGExcFlXa1ZhVDJOdFNrZFRiV3hYVWpOb1dGWnRNSGRsUjBsNFUydGthVk5GV2xSWmJHaFRWMVpXY1ZKcmRGUldiRm93V2xWb2ExWXdNVVZTYTFwWFlrZG9jbFpxU2tabFZsWlpXa1prYUdFeGNGaFhiRnBoVkRKT2RGSnJaRmhpVjNoVVdWUk9RMlJzV25STldHUlZUVlpXTkZscldtdGhiRXAwWVVoT1ZtRnJOVlJXTUZwVFZqRndSVkZyT1dsU00yaFlWbXBLTkZReFdsaFRiRnBZVmtWd1YxbHJXa3RTUmxweFVWaG9hMVpzV2pGV01uaGhZVWRGZUdOSWJGZFdSVXBvVmtSS1QyUkdUbkphUmxKcFZqSm9lbGRYZUc5aU1XUkhWMjVTVGxKRlduSlVWbHB6VGtaYWRHUkhkRmRpVlhCNVdUQmFjMWR0U2toaFJsSlhUVVp3VkZacVJuZFNWa1p5VDFkc1UwMHlhRmxXYlhCTFRrWlJlVkpyWkZoaWF6VnhWVEJvUTFsV1VsWlhibVJyWWtad2VGVnRkREJoYXpGeVRsVm9XbFpXY0ROWlZXUkdaV3hHY2sxV1pGZE5NRXBKVm10U1MxUnRWa2RhU0ZaVllsVmFWRlJYTlc5WFZscFlZMFU1YVUxWFVraFdNalZUVkd4T1NGVnVUbFpoYTBwNlZHdGFWbVZYVWtoa1IyaHBVbGhDV1ZacVNqUlZNV1IwVTJ0b2FGSnNTbGhVVmxwM1YwWnJlRmRyZEdwaVZrcElWbGQ0YTJGV1pFZFNhbHBYWWxSRk1GWlVSbHBsUm1SWldrVTFWMVpzY0ZWWFZsSlBVVEZaZUZkdVJsVmhNRFZaVlcxNGMwMHhXWGxOVldSV1RXdHdSMVJzVWtOWGJGcFhZMGhLV2xaWFVrZGFWV1JQVTBVNVYxcEdaRk5XV0VKMlZteG9kMUl5UlhoYVJXUlZZbXR3YUZWdE1WTmpSbFp4VW10MFYxWnNjRWhXVjNSTFlUQXhSVkpzVGxaU2JFWXpWVVpGT1ZCUlBUMD0=

aarggh! delivery.ca and pizzaville.ca suck monkey bum!!

We like Pizzaville pizzas. We are shy, and can order them online at delivery.ca with no human interaction.

We ordered our favourite pizzas tonight, and waited. And waited. And waited! And waited!! So I call them. After getting hung up on once, they explain that the store we order from is closed, and so we can’t get deliveries. They claim that they called us. We don’t think so.

This is, frankly, crap customer service. We’re going elsewhere. The pizzas from 241 may taste of cardboard, but at least they deliver.

Oh yeah, and delivery.ca seriously endanger your credit card information by sending your data unencrypted to the server. I’d make that illegal, if I could. It’s the dumbest thing ever.

Grubbing about in the logs

Am I glad I’ve installed MT-Blacklist. I’m getting several denied comments a day. Most of these are from IP addresses 213.91.217.*, which if traceroute is to believed, are in Bulgaria.

Another weird thing is that someone’s been searching for bigha on my site. Now, I occasionally have bike things on it, but I’ve never written about Bigha, the recumbent that emerged from the wreckage of BikeE. Is this some form of super-stealth advertising?

too much caffeine, and Jeffrey Zeldman

Felt really grim this morning — running a temperature, headache, axious, blah. Not what you want to fell when you’re about to fly.

At 10:30, I realised I hadn’t had any coffee. Even the thought of making coffee made the symptoms lift a bit. Halfway through the cup, everything was fine. Yes, I think I’m a caffeine addict. But there are worse drugs than home-roasted organic Sumatran.

While I was recovering, I was reading through Jeffrey Zeldman‘s “Designing with Web Standards”. It’s extremely good. My only tiny nitpick — and this could be an obsolete concern — is that he says you don’t need to put in the width and height attributes in the <img> element.

Strictly speaking, you don’t. But if you include them, the browser can calculate the sizes of page elements without waiting for them to load. Maybe I’m too recently a per-second-billed dialup user to care about this.

style

I changed the stylesheet of this site. Nice though Georgia is, it doesn’t handle superior and inferior text very well. I suspect Jeff Walker has something to do with the new stylesheet, so: thanks, Jeff!