gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for June 2006

Phone scam alert

June 29, 2006 @ 21:51 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, General

I had a call this afternoon from a very perky recording telling me that my online ballot was drawn and I’d won a vacation worth about $2400.  All I had to do was press 0 to learn more.

Should you receive one of these calls you should hang up.  Immediately.  Whatever you do, do not press 0.  Or any other button.  Let’s repeat that:


Pressing 0 will basically grant them the ability to fraudulently charge your phone bill.

How do I know that I really didn’t win a big vacation?  Well, it was an autodialer calling with a pre-recorded announcement that didn’t say who they were.  And, they were calling my Bell phone number which I keep around as a backup to my VoIP line — I don’t use it for anything else.  And my parents mentioned that they had the same thing call them up at the cottage.

So, just hang up on it.  And check your phone bill closely next time it arrives.

Ottawa Dragon Boat Race Festival

June 26, 2006 @ 09:04 By: gordon Category: General

This past weekend was the Ottawa Dragon Boat Race Festival weekend.  The weather was perfect for racing on both days — not too hot, not too cold, not too wet and not too windy.  We couldn’t have asked for better conditions.

I was steering for the PCL Singapore Slings who were competing in the Hospitality and Tourism challenge cup.  Our first race Saturday morning, which determined the winner of the cup, saw us clock a time of 2:22.76, a very respectable time which won us the Hopitality and Tourism Challenge Cup.

Our second race on Saturday, which was the last race of the day, ended up with a time of 2:29.  A lot of factors contributed to this slower time, such as there being a bit of a headwind and rougher water, having sat around for the whole afternoon waiting for the race, but mostly it was because there was a bit of chaos at the start line and we couldn’t hear the starter.  We had about 1 second’s warning on the start of the race, but the team quickly got in time within 4 seconds.  Later, we learned that every boat in that race wanted to file a protest because no one could hear the starter clearly.

Our best time from Saturday, 2:22.76, put us in 44th place out of 190 teams, so we advanced to Sunday.

The first race on Sunday saw us log a time of 2:21.00, almost 2 seconds faster than our best time from the previous day.  We were very happy with this time, but felt we could do better.  One of the people on the team challenged us to break 2:20 with the incentive that he would buy a round of beer if we did.  With an incentive like that, we finished our next race with a time of 2:19.93.  Heading back into the dock after the race, our caller had us chanting “Beer! Beer! Beer!” rather than the more mundane “Hit! Hit! Hit!” she usually used to keep the paddling rate even. 

Overall, it was a great festival and I really enjoyed steering for them.  So much so that I will be steering for them throughout the summer in preparation for The Fall 400 in Carleton Place in September.

Many thanks to everyone who sponsored me!  It helped raise a lot of money for good causes!

Happy Summer Solstice!

June 21, 2006 @ 21:51 By: gordon Category: General

Though the sun has set, today was the summer solstice.  The beginning of summer, it is also the longest day in the year.  (The wags out there will point out that the days are now getting shorter rather than longer, but then their glasses are probably half-empty most of the time.)

Carpe sol! đŸ™‚

Acts of war as PR tactics

June 11, 2006 @ 23:14 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, Seen on the 'net

I noticed the following stories on the BBC ticker this morning, listed in chronological order:

Has the American government inadvertantly implied that ‘acts of war’ are ‘PR moves’?  This would explain a lot.

Geocaching statistics

June 09, 2006 @ 19:42 By: gordon Category: Geocaching

One of the local geocaching forums I take part in had a thread talking about the closest caches to where people live.  This got me wondering about the profile of the 185 caches I’ve found so far, so I did a little analysis using GSAK and Excel.

  • The closest to home is 0.3 km (GCA49C – coincidentally the first cache I found)
  • The farther from home is 7735.6 km (GCJ162).
  • The average distance I’ve travelled from home to find a cache is 444.5 km, but half of the caches I’ve found are within 15.3 km of home.
  • I’ve gone caching in three countries (Canada, the US, and the UK).
  • Of the caches I’ve found, 24 (13%) are either disabled or archived.
  • In terms of cache ratings, the hardest difficulty I’ve found is a 5 (GC7C99 5/3). The hardest terrain I’ve cached on is a 4 (GCA846 3.5/4). Half of the caches I’ve done are rated 1.5/1.5.
  • I’ve found more caches by bluelamb03 and Captain Hook (tied for first place) than I have any other single cacher. Valpin and Zartimus are tied for second place in terms of people who have hidden caches I’ve found.
  • I have found 154 traditional caches, 14 multis, 6 virtuals, 5 events, 5 unknowns and 1 webcam cache.
  • The most caches I’ve logged in a single day is 11 (29 April 2006 – GAG8).
  • Over half of the 78 days I’ve found caches on, I’ve logged 2 or more finds.
  • It does not appear that I have found any caches by binthair, so far.

I’ve been making a lot of pivot tables at work lately.

Updated Unlimitel dialplan

June 07, 2006 @ 07:20 By: gordon Category: VoIP

I’ve updated my Asterisk-friendly Unlimitel dialplan based on the information provided by Unlimitel on 03 June 2006.  It’s available here.

Upgrading to WordPress 2.0.3

June 02, 2006 @ 18:02 By: gordon Category: General

I noticed in the admin dashboard this morning that a new minor release of WordPress, the blogging system I use. So, I dutifully downloaded the package and upgraded things. Like previous upgrades, it went fairly smoothly, except for a small problem with the way it was rendering dates on entries. For example, today’s date was being rendered as 2${1}June 2006.

After checking to make sure it wasn’t something I’d done, I started comparing the code from the new version of WordPress with the previous version and quickly found the offending piece of code around line 35 in wp-includes/functions.php. I checked the 5 lines of code in question back to the way they were in the previous version and everything started working properly again.

So, I checked the WordPress website to see if it had been reported by others and, sure enough, about 8 people had posted messages about it, but no one had come up with a solution. I posted my solution and almost immediately other people started posting messages that it had worked for them, too.

Were I running the latest and greatest version of PHP on the server, the code in 2.0.3 would have worked as expected. But I’ve long given up running bleeding edge releases. Changes in code like this should take into consideration slightly older versions of software. This could have been avoided with a simple if statement.

Still, this is the first real annoyance I’ve experienced since I started using WordPress, so I can’t complain about it that much.