gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for January 2006

What goes around comes around

January 30, 2006 @ 23:41 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, Seen on the 'net

Wired is reporting that a hacker has been sentenced to two years in prison followed by three years of electronic monitoring under the U.S. Economic Espionage Act for selling a copy of the source for the Windows operating system.

The guy isn’t exactly new to the wonderful world of illicit computer use. At the time he was arrested, he was “on probation for computer trespass and eavesdropping after breaking into some private computers and installing keystroke-logging software.”

It struck me as rather ironic that the government is going to install monitoring software, which almost certainly would include keystroke-logging software, on the system of a guy already convicted for exactly the same thing.

It’s precipitating … uh, something

January 29, 2006 @ 12:33 By: gordon Category: General

Kathy’s travelling back from Peterborough today, so I thought I’d check out the weather there.

METAR CYPQ 291700Z AUTO 09012KT 1SM -UP OVC000 OVC010 OVC016 OVC025
01/M00 A2967 RMK PRESFR SLP056=

In all the METARs and SPECIs I’ve looked at over the last decade or so, I have never seen a precipitation type of -UP. I had to dig up my A.I.P. and check the Significant Present Weather Codes table (MET 3-31 in my out of date A.I.P.). It says UP stands for Unknown Precipitation. This is an AWOS-only code, presumably because sometimes the automatic weather widget can’t tell what’s falling out of the sky.

A few minutes later, this SPECI was issued:

SPECI CYPQ 291715Z AUTO 08011KT 1SM -RA BKN000 BKN010 BKN016 OVC024
01/M00 A2965=

It appears that the unknown precipitation was most likely rain and not something more exotic like frogs.

Looking back at the first year of VoIP

January 28, 2006 @ 23:52 By: gordon Category: VoIP

It’s been about a year since I started using VoIP for my home phone service. In all, I’ve spent about $150 on minutes with Unlimitel and about $30 for a DID from them. I’ve spent about $350 on IP phones, one wired and one WiFi. In terms of long distance, I’ve probably spent about $50 with sixTel and Link2VoIP. I use sixTel for inbound longdistance (I have a local number in Columbus, OH and a tollfree number in the US I use as a calling card when I’m on the road there) and Link2VoIP for my outbound longdistance. And, I’ve eliminated overseas charges to talk to friends in the UK.

Generally speaking, I’m very happy with things. Occasionally, the quality of the long distance providers is not as good as it could be, but for less than 2 cents/minute, one can’t really complain. On the other hand, my local service from Unlimitel has been excellent — audio quality is top notch.

So, in my opinion, the first year of experiments has been a great success. After the initial capital investment for the phones, I’m well ahead of where I’d be compared to traditional phone services.

Friday the 13th

January 13, 2006 @ 23:37 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, General

Today is my 37th birthday. To celebrate, I went to the Keg Manor this evening with Kathy, my parents and my Granddad. (He’s going to be 98 tomorrow and we tend to do the joint birthday thing, especially when our birthdays fall on the weekend.)

Dinner was amazing, I received some great presents and had a wonderful time. 🙂

A fDNF (first Did Not Find)

January 05, 2006 @ 23:55 By: gordon Category: Geocaching

Saw the new cache notification for Turn to Manotick (GCRT6B) at lunch so I grabbed my geocaching backpack and headed off to find it. Given that the cache was only an hour old, chances were good that I would be the first geocacher to find it. The coordinates took me to the only likely object within 20 metres so I figured I’d find it fairly quickly. After carefully searching the object, including digging in the snow at the base of it, I plodded off to a similar object about 30 metres away, just in case the coordinates were off. No luck there, either. Back to the first object for another look, without success. I drove off frustrated by the thought that the next cacher was going to have no problems finding it because it was hidden in plain view and I simply couldn’t see it.

To ease the pain of defeat, I went off in search of the next nearest cache, Long Island Mill (GCRR0N), and found it within a minute of parking the Tracker.

I emailed the owner of Turn to Manotick when I got home and showed him some pictures. He confirmed I was in the right place and described where it was. Two other geocachers after me both logged DNFs, so the cache container has disappeared before it was even published.

Welcome to 2006!

January 01, 2006 @ 03:03 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, General

Happy New Year, everybody!

2005 had its ups and downs for me. The “downs” list includes: waay too much overtime (it can be measured in terms of months) and not enough diving (because of the overtime). The “ups” list includes: meeting Kathy :); travelling to Florida last summer (with Kathy); and spending more time at the cottage (also with Kathy).

2006 is shaping up to be a better year: I start a new job at Statistics Canada in March; planning a trip somewhere warm in February (with Kathy) and maybe a UK trip (or two).