Pat Drummond :: life & technology

November 12, 2019

Why can't Canada Post 'deliver'?

Buying online has its problems - mostly delivery. Today, Canada Post did not deliver my two packages from Hudson's Bay. I don't know what 'expedited delivery' means but  I received a notice to pick up two recent orders from at the nearest postal outlet - 2 hours I'll never get back. 

Bottom line - I would shop in a real store if I didn't want it delivered at my home. Pickup notices is not what I expected or paid for. 

After 2 years of this 'no delivery' model, I recently gave up trying to contact Canada Post and contacted people at individual stores. I started with and to use other delivery services (Puralex, Fedex), which they agreed to. But taking an hour per store to arrange 'delivery' other than Canada Post is time consuming. To make it harder, online store do not provides an option for delivery. The first time you know who's delivering your package is when you get a tracking code from the seller - too late!!

Yes we had snow today, but it was well cleared at 1:30 when the notice was put in the mail kiosk to pick up the items - I discovered this online. I was so pi**ed I called the postal outlet (a subcontractor Shopper's Drugmart) not expecting a thing.  I've been a feminist for 50 yrs but have to admit that a man that answering gave better response than any woman I talked to over the last 2-3 years.  Hmm.  He even took the time to look up my tracking numbers, explaining the possible excuses - dodgy neighbouthood, store delivery restrictions, weather. etc.) I assured him there was no excuse possible except maybe Hudson's Bay doesn't deliver (even when they say they do). 

Tomorrow I plan to try again to get someone from Canada Post on the phone. Wish me luck.

September 23, 2019

Protect Yourself from E-transfer Fraud

E-transfers from your online bank account to someone by email is not quite as secure as the banks imply - and you may be stuck with the loss if someone hacks your email and reroutes the money. If someone hacks into your email account and reads the transfer email that contains a security "question", and is able to figure out the answer, they can easily reroute the funds. It might sound unlikely, but many people make it easy to hack their email by using simple passwords and then use security questions that are far too easy to find the answer for. Here's now to protect yourself.

1. Change to a more secure email password

Using uppercase, lowercase, numbers and special characters makes a password very hard to crack. Check yours using the GRC link below. (My email isn't easy to guess and would take 47 centuries to crack by brute-force online.) Two-factor authentication is extremely secure when you log in because only you will know the code sent to your mobile phone.

2. Set up (register) bank Auto-deposit to receive e-transfers

Using a question and answer sent by email to complete a transfer in your online bank account is vulnerable to someone who has gained access to your email account. However, once your account is registered, email is no longer involved in the transfer and the funds cannot be intercepted using your email account. When the sender begins an e-transfer to your email address, they are shown your "Name" so they can confirm the email is for the correct person. Once the e-transfer is sent, the funds are immediately deposited in your account. You are only notified by email after the funds are deposited in your account.

3. Ask everyone to use auto-deposit so you can safely send funds to them

If you send funds to people who use auto-deposit, the money can't be accessed by someone who's hacked their email. Everybody wins except the hackers.

June 29, 2019

China is a Rogue State

China  has imprisoned two Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor for six months now. Bully tactics. How would you like six months of daily torture, sleep deprivation, and interrogation. This should have been a wake-up moment for all countries that deal with China, but instead there is silence. Someone has to stand up to these bullies. Someone has to hit back. Someone has to stop playing pussy foot.

Jean Chretien's suggestion to simply not extadite the Huawei executive to the United States is ridiculous. No one is safe if we bend to their threats. China seems to think that Canada is their entry into controlling North America - I hope they are wrong and countries wake up to how China does business.

Banning the Chinese United Front agents in Canada would be a great start.  We must never delude ourselves into thinking that China is anything but a bully state who does not recognize any kind of democratic rule of law. They are used to getting their own way - Canada and the USA must wake up and play hard ball - the only thing China understands.

May 20, 2019

Reaction to the Ontario Amber Alert May 14

Just after midnight Tuesday, the guardian of a 3-year old boy reported the mother had not returned him. At 3:05 am Sudbury police confirmed the pair had taken a bus from Sudbury to Toronto on Monday evening. The Amber Alert went out Tuesday at 5 am to all of eastern Ontario using the Public Alert System. The boy was found in Toronto 2 hours later.  (more...)

Discussion about the Alert on social media:

"I think Amber alerts on phones are a fine idea, but they should target them. Don’t wake people up when there isn’t a snowballs chance in hell that they will be anywhere near the suspects."

"(Alert for child on a bus to Toronto) Yes, I am suggesting that the bus company would be able to contact one bus to find out where it is. If the powers that be are willing to wake up the whole &*#$ province, they can inconvenience slightly the passengers on one bus to ascertain if these people are one it."

"If you have a home full of mobile devices, I feel for you as the alert hits each one at different times."

"The last amber alert turned out to be vengeful parent and the police didn't check before sending out the alert ... that boils my blood."

"It's ineffective security theatre to use the same system and mode of operation for amber alerts as for evacuation alerts and imminent disasters."

"On my phone all alert noises get blocked by 'do not disturb' settings, which is a problem when it comes to an actual emergency that affects me personally."

"I fear an accident if that thing blares while I am driving. At least, I don't have to worry about my phone, because it doesn't receive any of these."

"I saw a cylist get shocked dangerously by the prev. Amber alert. He was passing a long line of people on the sidewalk, so 30 phones went off all at once .."

"My understanding was that in the US, alerts have multiple urgency tiers. The Ontario implementation mandates the use of the top, presidential alert, tier."

"I fear an accident if that thing blares while I am driving..."

"Was watching tv with earphones.. nearly had a heart attack!"

"when I got the tornado alert, my priority ..was making the alert be silent as quickly as possible rather than reading it. It's sheer chance that I didn't drive into the tornado itself because I'd already developed the "silence this quickly" reflex from the amber alerts."

A few things to know about Public Alerts:

Canada's National Public Alerting System (NPAS) provides emergency management organizations with the ability to rapidly warn the public of life-threatening hazards through radio, television, email, text services and on compatible wireless devices.
  • A compatible wireless device that is turned off will not receive an emergency alert. When the device is powered on and the emergency alert is still active and the user is still in the alert area, then the wireless device will display the alert.
  • The alert alarm volume uses your phone's volume setting.
  • Android users can find the alert here it's still active:
        Messenger app > Settings > Advanced > Wireless Alerts
  • If you are receiving repeated alerts of the same message, your device may have a "Reminder" feature turned on, which you will need to turn off.
  • You will only receive Canadian emergency alerts that occur where you are located in Canada. When traveling in other countries, alerts would be based on the rules for that country.
  • If your wireless device is set to silent, no sound will accompany the emergency alert message. However, this behavior may depend on your wireless device. In some instances the alert sound may override your user settings.
Canada's Emergency Alert System:

April 14, 2019

Treating a cat in pain

My senior cat tore her ACL (cruciate ligament) and had a bad limp. The vet ordered drugs and keeping her in a cage for a month to get better. (They don't do surgery on small pets so this is not a cure.)  Unfortunately, she reacted to the antiinflammatory/pain drug Metacam. The alternative was opiods for the pain. The vet would not recommend CBD oil (aka didn't know anything about it).

I bought Fortify250 for small cats and dogs online. On March 25 I started her on the recommended half-dropper (5 mg) A few days later she went down the stairs for the first time in a month. Coming back up at an angle with 3 good legs was not elegant, but she made it. Then jumped on the bed!

I had read online that cats don't digest plant oils very well - and this product has MCT coconut, hemp seed and pumpkin seed oils, so I searched for pure CBD isolate powder.  I had trouble finding a Canadian source so ordered from Colorado (10g $120usd). Too good to be true?  Yes - the package was stopped at the Ontario border. UPS tracking stated "the product that is to be imported is prohibited."  I found a CBC news story "Cannabidiol oil won't get you buzzed but it could get you busted". CBD apparently is a controlled substance.  It isn't made from cannabis plants (but can be) and it has no THC at all (so no "high"), but I can't legally import it. Even the company I bought if from didn't know. How crazy is that?