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October 26, 2003

Sci-fi is wierd at times

I'll freely admit to having watched most episodes of ST:TNG, ST:E, and ST:V as well as many episodes of TOS and DS9. Still, I have to say that there are some really wierd, fundamental inconsistencies in the show. For instance, one of the main themes throughout the shows is how technology and science can allow humans to create a better future. Often, organized religion is ridiculed and strict rational thinking is extolled. On the other hand, there are these odd, bizarre, illogical bits of the show that are sometimes quite central to the plots. Case in point is the Vulcan mind-meld. In STIII, Spock's personality is restored from Bones' mind after he is resurrected by the Genesis project. Perhaps I'm just not hard-core enough to know the technical explanation, but it sure strikes me funny from time to time.

Oh, and I just booked tickets for The Matrix Revolutions in Imax, for Nov 5. Yay.

October 24, 2003

A few tidbits

Just wanted to post a few interesting bits that came across slashdot today.

  • Today is Take Back Your Time Day in the US. Sounds like a good idea.
  • A case study in why open source software is good for developers and end-users. At the beginning of the month, a company called Appgen apparently went out of business. They sold a business accounting software package through VARs who purchased a development kit to customize the software for their end customers. There has been no information about what has happened to the company, and the many small companies who customized and resold Appgen software, as well as their end users are left high and dry with no ability to complete sales in progress, access technical support, or receive have bugs fixed. It seems like a classic example of one of the benefits of using open-source software: you're never left out on a limb if your supplier drops dead.
  • The future of energy is an op-ed in the economist about the first world's reliance on oil, and the inevitable end of the oil age. It basically points to hydrogen fuel cells and bioethanol as the two most promising technologies to decentralize energy production and reduce reliance on hydrocarbons. The author opines that the change could start happening in as little as ten or twenty years given the right policies in the US, but complains that the current US administration seems to be missing the big picture.

October 16, 2003

Boo NBC

NBC bumped new episodes of The West Wing and Law&Order last night, apparently to avoid going up against baseball broadcasts. Grrr.

YC Wrap-up

Family and friends know that last weekend I was in Corner Brook for YC Newfoundland. Overall the weekend was excellent, but I'll post more later, hopefully. Right now I just want to thank the bands for being so good to work with. Thanks Corey and One Reason, Cal and One Rich Fool, Andrew Burns and Jeff Deyo, and especially Todd Cromwell, Stephen Fee and Charlie Hall Band.

Charlie Hall couldn't attend because of a death in the family. Stephen Fee took Charlie's place, and did a fantastic job on short notice. As well, Todd dealt with our soundcheck delays and technical complications very professionally. I think that this YC was technically the best yet, but it wouldn't have been possible without the excellent co-operation from all of the musical guests and their techs.

I hope to work with you all again soon!

October 07, 2003

Thanks UPS

I have to say thanks to the nice woman at UPS that I dealt with this morning. I need to get something shipped from Montreal to Corner Brook Real Soon Now, and of course, I need to be out picking up a truck and getting ready to drive to Corner Brook myself as I type this, so I can't afford to wait until 10 when the store in Montreal opens, to see if they'll pay the shipping. No, I need an account number right now, so I can schedule this pickup and get out of here.

I applied for a UPS account online last night, but I hadn't received the email yet this morning, which isn't surprising. I explained this situation to the person on the phone, and she took my information for opening an account and went directly to the person responsible for online requests. It hadn't yet gone through, so she went ahead and opened an account for me on the spot.

Perhaps this is normal for the shipping business. I just know that in a lot of industries, trying to get something done with pressure on can be a lot of hassle and frustration, but this morning my problem got solved with very little running around.

Oh, and see you all at YC (and thank UPS that Jeff Deyo has a keyboard)!

October 05, 2003

Juan was more serious than I first realized

So, I guess I underestimated the damage from Juan at first. There are still people in the city without power, and there are 800 Army personel in HRM helping clear debris (mostly downed trees and branches). People in surrounding rural areas may be without power for many more days still, which is especially difficult for those who rely on wells with electric pumps for their water supply.

Several of the historic ships on the waterfront were damaged, including at least one or two sunk. A navy vessel broke its moorings and was loose in the harbor for a while. News reports earlier this week estimated that 1 in 3 houses or businesses in the area has some kind of damage, ranging from a few missing roof tiles to huge downed oak trees crushing them.

Things are slowly getting back to normal. Most schools and universities should re-open tomorrow. Many shops are open today, since the government has made a special exception to the Sunday shopping laws.

Hurricane Kate looks like it will pass east of Newfoundland on Tuesday, thankfully. I'm hoping that my drive to Corner Brook for YC will go smoothly. I'm taking some equipment in a cube van across the gulf on Tuesday night.

I had a few days work this week, which was welcome. The Matchbox 20 concert at the metro centre was Friday. I'll try to post a gig report on that shortly. Once YC is over, I'm really going to make an effort to restart my thesis in earnest.