gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for November 2008

More on the CUSA Shinerama scandal

November 27, 2008 @ 13:02 By: gordon Category: Current affairs

Ken wrote about the CUSA Shinerama scandal, like some other people I know.  He ends his entry with some information on how to contact Brittany Smyth, CUSA President, in particular how to send a message to her cell phone.  He didn’t do anything stalkerish to find this piece of information out — it’s in a press release she issued.

I noticed her cell phone number in the release when I read it yesterday and sent off the following SMS to her phone:

To: +16132611668

As a Carleton graduate of the class of ’97, I have to tell you that I am appalled that the president of CUSA would have entertained the discussion of such a disgusting motion, namely the decision to no longer support the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, because CF affects primarily white men. Shame on you! You have embarassed Carleton’s good name and call into question your fitness to lead. But more importantly, you have caused unnecessary hurt to those who suffer from CF or have family or friends who do. They deserve an apology, too. Shame on you!  Signed, G Dewis, BA Hon (1997)

There has been no reply (not that I really expected one).  I wonder exactly how many text messages she’s received on this.

There are a lot of unhappy people on Facebook who sound like they’re organizing petitions to recall the members of the CUSA council (except for the 2 who voted against it).  I wish them luck.  If there’s a petition for pissed off alumni, I want to sign it!

WordPress 2.6.5

November 26, 2008 @ 19:50 By: gordon Category: Meta, WordPress

WordPress 2.6.5 has been released. It fixes an XSS security problem concerning blogs running on Apache 2.x using IP-based virtual servers and there are three small non-critical bug fixes. You can download the fix or use Subversion to pull them down thus:

   1: svn sw http://svn.automattic.com/wordpress/tags/2.6.5/

As usual, it took me longer to log onto my server than actually do the upgrade itself.

If you pay attention to things like version numbers, you’ll note that the numbers skipped from 2.6.3 to 2.6.5.  That’s because there is a rogue version floating around calling itself 2.6.4.  If you’re tempted to install it, DON’T!!!  It’s not a real release.  There will never be a WordPress 2.6.4.

Shame on the Carleton University Students’ Association

November 26, 2008 @ 15:39 By: gordon Category: Current affairs

I must admit that, like others, I was stunned when I learned that the Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) decided to stop supporting the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CCFF) through its Shinerama campaign during the frosh week activities because it “has been recently revealed to only affect white people and primarily men“.

Yes, that’s right: CUSA decided to stop raising money for a disease that affects primarily white men. (UPDATE: The CCFF has posted information on their website containing accurate information about cystic fibrosis, as opposed to what CUSA used.)

Since the news was reported by the CBC, CUSA president Brittany Smyth has been doing some major back pedalling and released a press release saying…

“It has become clear that there is not an appetite at Carleton to change from Shinerama”
said Ms. Smyth “The responsible thing to do is to reverse the decision.”

… and …

“I both respect and admire the students’ commitment to the cause of raising funds for
cystic fibrosis.” stated Ms.Smyth “I believe this issue has been blown out of proportion
but the motion was never meant to imply that raising funds for Cystic Fibrosis research
was not a worthwhile cause. I do apologize for the negative attention Carleton has

(You’ll note the distinct lack of apology for the insensitivity of the motion in the first place.)

The responsible thing, Ms. Smyth, would have been to rule the motion out of order in the first place.  The issue has not been “blown out of proportion”.  You are experiencing precisely the sort of attention on this matter that is deserved.

According to an article in the Charlatan, the motion was moved by Donnie Northrup and seconded by Meera Chandler and passed 17 to 2.  Those 17 people, particular Northrup and Chandler, should hang their heads in shame.  They should also resign because clearly they are not fit to represent the students at Carleton.  Had this taken place when I was a student at Carleton I would have stopped supporting CUSA immediately.

Hopefully, the CUSA council will get their heads out of their asses, individually and collectively, (except for the 2 who voted against the motion because clearly they aren’t experiencing a rectal-cranial inversion) and reverse this decision.

I’ve texted my feelings on this to Ms. Smyth, too.  I wonder how many other people have.

To Callright Marketing: No means no

November 11, 2008 @ 20:12 By: gordon Category: General

I just had a call from Callright Marketing who were calling on behalf of the Ottawa Citizen.  They started to explain why they were calling (apparently the Ottawa Citizen is running a pre-Christmas subscription campaign) and I politely said I was not interested and told him to put me on their do-not-call list.  He then proceeded to offer me a different subscription option, to which I reiterated that I was not interested and again told him to put me on their do-not-call list.

He persisted, albeit politely, and asked why “for their records”, to which I repeated I was not interested, wanted to be put on their DNC list and was now considering a complaint to the CRTC.  He started to respond, but I hung up.  The call should have ended the very first time I indicated I was not interested.

A quick check of the logs on my Asterisk system shows that this was their ninth call since the 29th of October.  Most of the time they did not wait long enough for the voicemail to kick in, though they did reach it one time (but they didn’t leave a message).  I’ve put some rules in place in my Asterisk system so that future calls from them will be met with a fast busy signal.

Now, I have registered all of my phone numbers with the CRTC’s National Do Not Call List, but we’re still within the post-registration grace period so Callright is allowed to call me.  Given that the lists are updated every day, there’s no reason that telemarketers should have more than four weeks from the time someone subscribes to the list to the last day they can be called.  A clever telemarketer would download the lists every day and identify new numbers as they appear on the list and call them before the grace period expires.  From a technical perspective, I can understand why a short delay (a day or two) is understandable, but four weeks is too long.

It could be pure coincidence, but I can see from the logs that the calls started about four days after I registered with the National Do Not Call List.

Remembrance Day

November 11, 2008 @ 08:00 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, General

Today is the day when we stop to remember all those who have made the supreme sacrifice in order that we may have peace and freedom.

Thank you seems so inadequate.

Do you recognize these people?

November 09, 2008 @ 11:10 By: gordon Category: General

While making my way back to my car after the Ottawa Wine & Food Show Friday evening, I found a 64Mb SD-RAM chip in the Lansdowne Park parking lot on the south side of the Aberdeen Pavilion where Samko & Miko Toy Warehouse was taking place.

There are eighteen pictures on the chip and they were taken by a Kodak EasyShare C533 digital camera, according to the metadata in the pictures.  Most of them are of a little boy dressed up as a brown and white cow, probably after going out for Hallowe’en trick-or-treating.

little_boy_head guy_head woman_head

Also in the pictures are two people who are probably his mom and dad.

If you recognize any of these people, could you tell them that I have their chip and I’d be happy to return it to them.  I can be contacted via email at lost-and-found AT dewis DOT ca.

Ottawa Wine & Food Show 2008

November 09, 2008 @ 10:51 By: gordon Category: Out and about

I went to the Ottawa Wine & Food Show at Lansdowne Park with some friends Friday evening. The last time I went was several years ago when the show was still at the Congress Centre. We bought tickets for the Tasting Alley, which ran for the first two hours of the show. It consisted of about forty different wines that probably averaged about $25/bottle. Unlike the main show, unlimited tasting tickets for these wines were included in the admission price, as was a free coat check. We had some very good wines and a couple of we dumped after one taste.

At the end of the two hours, we made our way into the main show via the VIP entrance, bypassing the line-ups.  That alone was worth the extra cost of the Tasting Alley.

The main show was absolutely packed and I have to admit that I didn’t like this venue as much as when it was at the Congress Centre.  One major flaw with the VIP Entrance is that there wasn’t a coupon booth where we entered, meaning we had to wander around the show for quite some time until we came across one of the booths.  Also, I didn’t think the selection was as good as it was the last time I went to the show.  I didn’t see any booths offering port or madeira, for example.

Still, I had a fun time and we stayed until the show closed at 9pm, at which point we made our way to the Barley Mow for some post-show food.  After sobering up there for a couple of hours (yes, sobering up at a pub — well, some of us), we headed our various ways.

Would I go again?  Probably.  I thought the Tasting Alley was an excellent value for the money and would happily try it again.  One thing thing they could add to it would be to provide little tasting notebooks so you could rate them as you went along.