December 02, 2009
October 30, 2009
It`s odd not to have the sailboat to work on in the fall. We used to spend weeks taking our sailboat apart for winter, removing sails, canvas, rigging, lifelines, etc. then rigging the mast cradles fore and aft to hold the mast. We unloaded the boat and winterized the engine, cockpit drains, holding tank and water system. Then after Thanksgiving we took the mast down. We rigged frames for the tarp, then wrapped the boat like a sausage with lines holding the tarp to the steel boat cradle. This year we went golfing and walking the beach instead and wondered how the new owner was making out. (We got an email from him in SC asking a few questions, but you can`t put 24 years of experience in an email)
September 12, 2009
Here is my personal list of services that will increase by 8% next July:
- new house purchase (over $400,000)
- lawyers fees & legal services
- hydro charges
- municipal water charges
- home heating fuels (oil, gas, electric)
- furnace installation & service
- Home services: plumber, electrician, other trades
- Professional services: lawyers, accountants
- postage stamps
- magazines, newspapers
- cell phone & internet services
- car/boat fuel (gas, diesel, oil)
- car repairs
- boat dockage & mooring
- boat winter storage
- boat repair & other services
- boat mast stepping
- boat haulout & launching
- boat holding tank pump out
- marine surveyor services
- brokerage sales fees
- safety equipment
July 17, 2009
So why can't Rogers Communications and Bell Canada figure out how to offer their customers a different service level that allows the Internet service providers (ISPs) to throttle when needed? Customers would know what to expect, and service to other levels for other uses would not be harmed. VPNs (virtual private networks) would work and file transfers could be done.
The companies could learn a lesson from our provincial hydro agency. When it wanted to solve power overloads caused by too many air conditioners on summer hot days, it came up with a carrot: a free programmable thermostat in return for occasional throttling your air conditioner for two hours.
Transparency is not just something people want from their governments. They want it from the businesses they deal with too. It would really make me angry to pay for service and not get it. Unless there is proper regulation, I might never know.
Pat Drummond, Manotick
April 12, 2009
I lost out on visiting a friend because she chose to email her invitation. Since she had forgotten to tell me her new email address, my "spam" filters didn't deliver it. I had been expecting this invitation, and wondered why it never came. With no reply, she probably thought I wasn't interested. By the time I found out what happened the opportunity was over.
Recently, I had another experience where a call would have solved a problem. I phoned and left voice mail to "phone" so I could ask about what was involved in a volunteer job he was leaving. He emailed instead. When he finallly called days later at 9 pm, I was slightly cranky.
Email, Facebook, Twitter, IM, text messages, etc. have effectively replaced people actually talking to each other. Although I have a Skype account, people prefer the occasional personal Facebook message or email. Ditto with Twitter, although even e-friends don't use it yet. (e-friend - someone you know more online than offline.)
There is only one living person who wrote letters to me. Then emails. Then she got Skype installed and called me. And now she updates her 'status line' on Facebook. Sign of the times.
February 17, 2009
Here is a short list of sites I have embedded into "ietab". Some are surprising!
February 06, 2009
President Barack Obama brought a complete overhaul of the White House website. The public now has the right to use any information on Whitehouse.gov as they see fit. In Canada, you must obtain written permission to use anything on gc.ca. Why on earth is government information (paid for by our tax dollars) not available for our use?
President Obama is also linking trade policy and intellectual property protection with other countries. He shouldn't have any problem with Canada, since Prime Minister Harper supports legislation that would make it a crime for me to record my favorite TV shows (time-shifting) and listening to my music player as a copyright infringement. How on earth I can be infringing copyright for creative output I have already paid for is beyond me, but they may not stop there. I always thought Canada was way ahead in technology and innovation, but we are falling right off a cliff. I support small 'C' conservative principals, but can't see how this kind of reactionary policy would help anyone. Talk about 'throwing the baby out with the bath-water'...
Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), which manages the dot-ca domain revised their WHOIS framework with some restrictions on the public accessibility of domain name registrant information - such as my home address. Unlike the Pleasure craft registration registry at Transport Canada that lists registered pleasure craft, complete with the owner's name and address for anyone to see -- and thieves to use. My husband enquired by phone and was told they have to publish the "vessel registry" by law. It used to be published in paper form only, but now everything is online. Listing a company address is a huge difference to someone's home address in a searchable web directory. I sent a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner but never received a reply, so apparently the government doesn't care about online privacy.
What ever happened to a new policy to stop spam? We had the studies, the public consultations, the reports (which were very good), and then nothing. Canada's new government should get off their tory bottoms and pass some legislation with teeth (unlike the worthless do-not-call list). I can't tell you how much time I've wasted dealing with spam before ISP's started developing mail filters. The costs to ISP's and users must be in the billions. The time LOST to dealing with spam, throughout the Internet, ISP's, traffic volumes, computer time, human time, is also huge. The only winners are spammers and antivirus software sellers.
There was a fight over Net Neutrality at the CRTC between independent ISP's (providers) and Bell was followed by a noticeable improvement in my Skype connections using Rogers Internet - coincidence? I bought a 'Skype-out' credit that allows me to use Skype software on my computer to call regular phones. I would often get annoying 'drop-outs' that only I could hear. Recently I've had only one problem - a disconnection (first time). Hmmm...
Canada-U.S. Border Paranoia
The new The new United States Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is being pressured by a few members of Congress and Homeland Security for a review of the U.S.-Canada border situation. Canucks are so very dangerous, eh? For all the changes requiring passports (to enter their country), it's interesting to note that Canada has never changed it's regulations for entering Canada. I was hoping the American paranoia would subside a little, but U.S. drones will soon be flying along the 49th parallel. The War on Terror is right here, kids!