gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for October 2008

Only 8 days left

October 20, 2008 @ 16:50 By: gordon Category: BlackBerry

There’s only 8 days left before the $75 bounty for a location-driven profile manager expires.

I’d gotten my hopes up that someone I know who is a BlackBerry developer was working on something because he’d asked me some questions about it on Facebook, but nothing has yet to manifest itself.

Basically, I’m looking for an application that will run on my BlackBerry Curve that will determine the active profile based on location.  For example, if it notices that I’m near the building I work in, it would automatically switch to the vibrate profile so that it doesn’t go off in a meeting.  You can read all about it in my original post.

The original bounty was $50.  Since then, someone else has added another $25 to the pot.  If the bounty expires, he’ll get his contribution back, but I’m hoping it will have been claimed before that happens.

A tip o’ the hat to the crew at BlackBerry Cool for picking up my original post.

37 days later

October 14, 2008 @ 23:09 By: gordon Category: Current affairs

So, the 37 days of chaos are over.  What do we have to show for it?

We still have a Conservative minority government, which Harper said would put him "in a stronger position in the next government".  Well, he’s got a second minority, so I guess we’ll find out exactly what he’s going to do with this "stronger position".

It appears we’re living in Interesting Times.

Do your part for democracy

October 14, 2008 @ 12:56 By: gordon Category: Current affairs

The polls are now open in all parts of Canada and the voting has begun.  In a few hours, we’ll know who is going to be running the country for next while.

Some people vote for the party regardless of who their local candidate is; others cast their vote based on the merits of the candidate; some vote for the person their family/friends are voting for; and some vote for the incumbent because they’re the incumbent.  There are probably people who vote for the first, last or nth person listed on the ballot or vote by closing their eyes and randomly picking someone. And some people spoil their ballot or refuse to accept it when they truly cannot decide how to cast their vote.

I met someone recently who told me they were voting for their NDP candidate because back in 1942 when the government was rounding up Japanese Canadians and putting them in concentration camps, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) — the pre-cursor to the NDP — was the only party to vote against Japanese Canadian internment. (The person is a Japanese Canadian who has served in Canada’s military and is very proud of this fact.) Clearly, a dark period in Canada’s history is still having an impact on the events of today.

Regardless of who you vote for, you should fulfill your responsibility as a Canadian and cast your vote. If you don’t know where to vote you should visit the Elections Canada website where you’ll find all the information you require.  If you don’t know who to vote for, there’s still time to visit the websites for the various parties and learn about what they stand for.

Remember, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain when the government does something you don’t like.

More effects of “zero means zero”

October 11, 2008 @ 09:21 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, Environment

The mayor’s “zero means zero” policy has reared its ugly head again. Yesterday’s 24 hours, Sun Media’s free daily newspaper, had a front-page story with the headline “Fuel plan may cut OC service”.  Basically, the Eco-Driving Plan’s goal is to reduce the city’s consumption of fuel by 25%.  Since OC Transpo accounts for 76% of the total fuel consumption, they’re going to take the bulk of this cut.

The report is scheduled to be tabled at a meeting of the transportation committee next week.  It proposes massive cutbacks to OC Transpo, including an across-the-board 25% reduction in service and the elimination of 20 bus routes.  Even the core Transitway routes, the 95, 96 and 97, are going to subject to both regular- and peak-hour cutbacks.

Naturally, service cuts like this are going to affect the number of users and thus the revenues.

There would likely be decrease in public transit ridership of between 10% and 15%.  This would translate into a loss of 32,000 to 48,000 passengers per day. — the report

This plan, if enacted, will result a huge increase in the number of vehicles on the road, particularly as most people drive to work alone. More vehicles on the roads means more wear and tear to the roads, so they’ll have to be inspected and repaired more frequently. This is going to be a problem since the city recently decided not to increase the number of road inspectors.

And it begs to be asked how this plan is consistent with the four main goals of the City’s Environmental Strategy, which are:

  • To be a green city where greenspace is preserved and enhanced
  • Development in harmony with nature through better ecosystem planning and design
  • A focus on walking, cycling and transit to encourage sustainable transportation choices
  • Clean air, water and earth as resource use, waste, emissions and energy use are all reduced.

Clearly, more vehicles on the road is going to result in an increase in emissions and energy use and this plan can hardly be said to “encourage sustainable transportation”.  Expect air quality to decrease as the number of vehicles on the road increases.

But traffic and environmental problems won’t be the only result. It will also almost certainly increase unemployment in the city.  Fewer bus routes and a reduced level of service means they won’t need as many bus drivers.

Hopefully, this report is an extreme what-if scenario by city staff to drive the point home that the city cannot continue to operate under “zero means zero” cutbacks. I would question the suitability-to-lead of any councillor who would vote to support such an irresponsible plan.

More pictures from Quebec City and some geocaching

October 02, 2008 @ 15:36 By: gordon Category: Geocaching, Out and about, Quebec City 2008

IMG_1427I was finally able to do some geocaching here in Quebec City.  Since arriving, I’ve scoped out some caches, but wasn’t able to actually find any of them because there were too many people around.  I remedied that by doing some late night geocaching.  One I found was near the fountain in front of the Quebec legislature building (GC154TJ).  Naturally, the geocoin I’ve been carrying around for a while was too big to fit in the container.

The other one I logged was a virtual geocache.  There’s a tree in the Old City that has grown around a cannon ball and to log the cache you have to take your picture with it. (GCHKWJ)

IMG_1444-croppedThis bumper sticker was stuck to a number of things in the Old City, so I thought I’d take a picture of it for Trashy.

Pictures of it and some other pictures I took since the last update are in my gallery.