Categories
o canada

Somewhere between Fallowfield and Smith’s Falls

This is what quite a lot of the train journey between Ottawa and Toronto looks like:

somewhere between fallowfield and smith’s falls

Categories
computers suck o canada

not available in your country

As a minor celebration of our 8th anniversary of arriving in Canada, I give you (with explanation later) the collected transcripts of my Google Voice calls:

  • Hey, gimme a buzz me back this is Ron man, you know. Lamb oxen, this is Ron 205, buzz me when you get a chance later.
  • That probably in about a.
  • Hey from A D this is Ron man and 12 5 man If you are a I’ll buzz me, man. I’m gonna do some business man, so pick up you know of a receive, a. My, but alright with equating later.
  • Hello, this is not. He wants to join for your learn, not you, that fallen off. Bye.
  • Hey, Got this way about you could give me a call back and give me a call. Real quick, I’m outside. Thank you.
  • Hello.
  • Hello, Would you know that. Love you all River Run them.
  • Not available at the. It’s.

In a moment of boredom while visiting the US, I must’ve signed up for Google Voice. I’m not entirely sure what my number is, and I can’t access the account inside Canada. I haven’t given the number to anyone, yet I’m getting these voicemails. What can it mean? As a wise person once said, “Lamb oxen, but alright with equating later.”

Categories
computers suck o canada

No Canadian weather? That sucks, Asus!

I just got a ASUS O!Play HDP-R1. It’s one of the current crop of media player boxes, like the WDTV. I suspect they’re all the same MIPS hardware/Linux firmware inside. (Hey, you can telnet into it! Whee! Or something.)

At first, I couldn’t get it to work with my network share, but after a firmware upgrade, all is good. The new firmware offers web content, including weather. So I hopped along, and tried to access Toronto weather:

Err, some of us live outside Asia, Europe and the United States, y’know …

Categories
o canada

spring comes to toronto

first roll up the rim of the year

Categories
goatee-stroking musing, or something

ringthink

Paul Hart just released Your cellphone’s virtual receptionist – Ringthink. It’s rather clever. Voice recognition is a bit messed up with my thick n’ heavy accent, but it’s not bad.

(and if anyone says that Google Voice does this, well, it does – but not in Canada.)

Categories
o canada photo

autumnal

autumnal

Categories
o canada

Open letter to Jason Farris

Jason Farris is President and CEO of Citizens Bank of Canada.

Dear Jason,

So you’ve decided to “no longer offer savings and loan products“. For a company called Citizens Bank, your new business plan sounds neither much like a bank, nor of much benefit to citizens.

I moved to your bank less than a year ago. I love the public ethical standards that you hold.  I love the online banking facilities — they’re almost as good as my UK bank was offering back in 2001, so that means they’re stellar for Canada. I love the way that if you’re kept on hold for too long at Citizens Bank, the bank will call you back in five minutes or less — and actually does. I love the way that your employees go out of the way for clients — your Toronto account manager came to my house in the evening to help fill out the paperwork. (Never mind that you let him go a few months later when the “current economic conditions” hit.)

I moved to Citizens because my other bank holds the Canadian platinum-iridium standard for absolute bloody ineptitude (actually, I suspect they had it, but lost it somewhere). In the very rare occasions they can help, they charge you for it — even using their bank machines with their card will give you a monthly charge. I did look into a local alternative bank, but they were rude and unhelpful, rather more interested in tallying up and closing in half an hour than helping me with my enquiries.

You’re giving me the option to move to TD. This is my impressed face. What are they but yet another big downtown bank? What’s their ethical policy? Where’s their community reinvestment? Will they return my calls, or help me set up accounts out of hours? I think you know the answer, Jason.

I’m very disappointed, Jason. I’m also embarrassed, as I recommended your bank to many people, some of whom opened accounts, and will now have to close them. You’ve let me down badly, just when I thought I had found a bank I could trust.

All Good Things,

Stewart

Categories
choons

Bob Briehl, the autoharp man in Canada

After ferrying Catherine around for another exciting adventure in LibraryQuest, we took my autoharps to Appalachian Instruments in Oakville for a repair. I have half expecting Bob to declare at least one of them a junker, but apparently they’re more than salvageable. Indeed, the older Type A is apparently a rather nice 1950s wood-bar black felt Silvertone, and the Type B, despite the warped top, is a good little player except for a couple of weak springs. Bob’s busy repairing and generally refurbing them, and we should get them back in a week or two. Should we form an autoharp folk duo?

Bob’s the local luminary of the autoharp, and has many models and spares in stock. It’s best to leave a message on the store’s phone, as he’s not always there. He also teaches, and does house calls.

Appalachian Instruments
117 Westside Drive, Oakville ON L6K 1P2
171 Solingate Drive Oakville ON L6L 3S8
(905) 845-0638

Update: Bob advised of a change of address.

Categories
o canada

The Hinzman Family gets to stay

U.S. deserter wins stay of deportation.

Categories
banjo

yeah, us long neck banjo players are a bad lot …


Still from 1964 NFB docudrama Nobody Waved Goodbye, as mentioned in a nostalgia piece in Spacing.

Categories
goatee-stroking musing, or something o canada

the cure for hockey

• • • •

• • •

• • • •

The above is a pictorial representation of the 11 additional pucks required so that they wouldn’t need to fight over one. Please donate generously, and you can help Canada become a world-class country with a proper sport …

Categories
o canada

make that six

Catherine and I have been in Canada for six years now.

Categories
o canada

define:irony

How strange that ads for Outragenl.ca | Take Action Against Violence happened during Hockey Night in Canada.

Categories
o canada

no mail like junk mail

Maybe a good idea: Red Dot Campaign | Say no to Junk Mail.

Categories
books computers suck

indigo’s most overpriced yet

I saw the most obscene markup in indigo this evening: the Linux Format OpenOffice.org special edition was priced at a hefty $34.95. This costs £10 in the UK.

The thing is, UK prices are quoted tax-inclusive. The ten quid you see is the ten quid you pay. Not so in Canada. In the most boneheaded move ever, our prices don’t include tax, so that $34.95 really costs you $39.84 (in Ontario, at least).

According to Google, £10 is $20.53. Indigo’s markup is almost 100%

Categories
o canada

a lot of letter writing, but …

definitely worth it: The Canadian DMCA: What You Can Do.

Categories
cars suck

no hybrids for canada

I was looking to perhaps rent a hybrid for a longish business trip. My company’s preferred supplier, National, doesn’t do them in Canada, but does in the US:

no hybrids for canada

Why do they get them, and we don’t? Don’t say there’s no demand; I‘d rent one …

Categories
o canada

sometimes, I’m ashamed to be canadian

Ottawa prepares WTO challenge on Belgian seal ban

Categories
books o canada

Gutenberg Canada

Project Gutenberg Canada / Projet Gutenberg Canada opened its doors a couple of days ago. It’s gone through several organisers since I first heard of its imminent launch in 2002, but I’m glad it got going.

Categories
o canada

a landmark day in Ontario

Tim Hortons finally got Interac in Ontario. Western Canadians will no longer be frustrated with their eastern siblings. (well, I’m sure there will be some other bones of contention ….)

Oh, and we technically implement Kyoto today.