gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for April 2008

Should they move the houses in Gatineau that were evacuated? No, or at least not before checking for leda clay.

April 25, 2008 @ 00:13 By: gordon Category: Current affairs

There’s a group of houses in Gatineau that were built at the foot of a hill where they shouldn’t have been built.  Somehow the builder(s) obtained permission where it now appears older geologic assessment reports said nothing should be built.  Hydro workers inspecting something at the top of the hill noticed a large crack in the ground and alerted the province who immediately ordered the evacuation of the homes.  Since then it’s been determined that they can’t ever be reoccupied.

Hindsight is 20-20, isn’t it?

So, the home owners who bought the houses in good faith are now faced with the prospect of losing their homes.  The Quebec government is offering up to $100,000 in compensation.  The City of Gatineau is offering an additional $75,000, but only if the owners agree to give up their right to sue.  (For reference, at least one of the homes was reportedly worth almost twice that total amount.)

Basically, the home owners are screwed because someone didn’t pay attention to a map that said “don’t build here” or something similar.

CBC reported on Thursday that the City is looking for lots that the houses can be moved to.  Now, moving a building is a non-trivial task that can costs thousands of dollars.

I haven’t seen an in-depth discussion of the geology in that area in any of the reports, but chances are it’s similar to what’s found on the Ontario side of the Ottawa River: leda clay.


Happy Earth Day!

April 22, 2008 @ 17:53 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, Environment

Today is the 28th Earth Day. Ok, some people would argue that every day is Earth Day, but that’s not the point.

Or is it?


Separatist top-level domain proposal by a PQuiste

April 16, 2008 @ 08:29 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, Seen on the 'net

The Globe and Mail’s website has a Canadian Press story that reports that Daniel Turp, a Parti Québécois member, is petitioning ICANN, the organization responsible for managing the domain namespace on the Internet, to create a .qc top-level domain.

Turp says that because both the autonomous region of Spain known as Catalonia and Greenland, which belongs to Denmark, have their own top-level domains, .cat and .gl respectively, that this is justification enough for Quebec to have a .qc top-level domain.

Last time I checked, Quebec was still a contiguous part of Canada. It’s not like Greenland, which is separated by hundreds of miles of ocean from Denmark, nor is it an autonomous region like Catalonia. It’s a province of Canada.As such it already enjoys a distinctive second-level domain on the Internet: .qc.ca.

Hopefully, ICANN will refuse to grant this proposal, otherwise you know that Turp will use this as absolute proof that Quebec is an independent nation, which it isn’t.

A tip o’ the hat to Michael Geist for writing about this in his blog.

You know it’s Spring when…

April 14, 2008 @ 13:01 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, Weather

There are many indications that Spring has finally arrived: the arrival of the first robin, crocuses poking up through the ground and bicycling, to name a few. For people who work in Tunney’s Pasture, there’s another: the return of the Hotdog Guy.


Why preventing the sale of MacDonald Detweiller and Associates to Alliant TechSystems is a Good Thing

April 13, 2008 @ 20:37 By: gordon Category: Current affairs

Both the CBC and The Globe and Mail reported Thursday that the government announced that the takeover of MacDonald Detweiller and Associates Limited (MDA) by Minnesota-based Alliant TechSystems Inc. is not going to be approved because it’s not in the interest of Canada. 

This is a Good Thing.


Replacement for my Unlimitel dialplan

April 11, 2008 @ 22:44 By: gordon Category: VoIP

When I started using Voice over IP technology, I acquired a wholesale DID from Unlimitel for an extremely reasonable monthly cost. Shortly thereafter I created an Asterisk-friendly version of the dialplan information they provided and made it available for download. It was a very simplistic set of Dial() statements, one per areacode-exchange combination. This resulted in a large number of statements and as Unlimitel’s on-net service area grew, so did it. It also meant that it was easy for my dialplan to be out of date as new exchanges were added. If you wanted to do anything before the Dial() statement you had to either create another context with a pattern that caught what you wanted to do and then went to your outbound Unlimitel context or you had to take my dialplan and insert new statements.

Way too much work and also way too many statements.

I had thought about writing a small Perl program to parse the dialplan information and collapse it to match with broader patterns, but never found the time. And when I had the time, I really didn’t feel like it because, frankly, things were working for me so I didn’t feel like changing it.

When I upgraded my blog a few months ago, I dropped the dialplan from my website during the migration. I hadn’t updated it in months and I knew that Unlimitel had made whole sale changes. A reader looking for my dialplan asked me if I would put it back up.

Recently, I overhauled my dialplans and made things more efficient with macros rather than explicit Dial() statements for every combination of areacode and exchange. For various reasons, I use a couple of different providers to provide outbound paths. Since most of my calls are local, I first try to send the call out via Unlimitel. If Unlimitel doesn’t handle the destination, I then try to send it out via Link2Voip.

The result is that I have eliminated most of the lines being loaded while eliminating the need to maintain an unwieldy dialplan.

Here’s how I did it…


Here we go again

April 11, 2008 @ 00:02 By: gordon Category: Weather

A few minutes ago I checked the terminal area forecast (TAF) for Ottawa for the next 24 hours or so:

TAF CYOW 110238Z 110324 32008KT P6SM BKN220
FM1000Z 03005KT P6SM BKN120
FM1400Z 08012KT 11/2SM -SN VV015 PROB30 1419 P6SM -FZRA -PL
FM1900Z 08012KT 4SM -SNRA BKN012 OVC050 TEMPO 1922 2SM -SN BKN008
FM2200Z 07012KT 11/2SM -RA BR BKN006 OVC012

So, we can probably expect to see snow and rain, both individually and together, and maybe some freezing rain and ice pellets.

Only about 6 weeks until I go to Greece…