August 20, 2013

My YouTube Rant about People Dumping Green Waste in Burnaby Parks

Posted by Paul at 09:12 PM

August 15, 2013

Good Men

I love older gentlemen (like my late Dad) born, raised, and educated in the 20s and 30s. They had/have a code, a creed. They keep keeping on as best they can. They may lose wives after intense, loving, despairing battles with dementia or other ailments, while dismissing their own ongoing bouts with prostate cancer.

Their buddies of 60+ years pass on, their children die before them, and they cautiously phone "pups" like me in my 50s, to let me know, hoping they're not intruding, though they've mentored me for decades.

They phone because they're not even on email, much less FB, and they would never, ever, whine in public, much less in a forum like FB about how busy or tired they were, or brag about what wonderful things they were doing.

They may call again, a day or two later, because yes, of course they're hurting and lonely, but there's no way they'd let on.

Perhaps the next call my wife answers, and they love talking to "a girl" who gives them undivided attention. They flirt, and tell stories about how at 89, they're watching out for their deceased buddies' wives, taking them to get groceries, and making sure they're OK. Not to mention the 85-year-old "girl" on the third floor with the lovely flowers on her balcony, who has also been enticed to participate in the group shopping trips and outings.

Being a man in those days meant taking full care and responsibility for your wife and daughters, and sons, and neighbours, and they still want so hard to do that.

And yet they're not patriarchal, or hegemonic, or whatever.

They're just good men.

Posted by Paul at 03:18 PM

August 07, 2013

Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby Runs Milky Blue

I noticed on a walk of Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby that it was running a milky blue color late this afternoon. I called it in to City of Burnaby environment staff, but havenít heard if they traced the source. Apparently another streamkeeper had reported similar colour in the creek earlier in the day, and thought it came from a construction site. Suspended clay silt?

Nothing but rain is supposed to go down street drains!

A view from the fish ladder just downstream of Griffiths Drive.


Posted by Paul at 08:27 PM

August 03, 2013

Computer Madness in my Office

It's been a wild and woolly few days in my office when it comes to computer madness.

At the beginning of the week I ordered a refurbished Mac Mini from the Apple Canada online store. (Check out the Apple Store refurbished/clearance section here.) It's the latest Mini iteration, with 4GB of RAM and a 1TB HD.

I haven't used a Mac in some 20 years, not since a Japanese System 7.1 on an ancient monochrome PowerBook 145B. A student of mine in Tokyo hacked the 7.1 interface so that the menus came up in English, for the most part.

I've continued to eye Macs, but Windows just kept getting better over the years. Windows 2000 was a major step in stability, while XP and 7 have been rock solid. And generic Windows boxen have been, and still are, way cheaper than Macs. And, I must admit, I was put off by the proselytizing, cultish attitude of so many Mac users.

But there are cool programs on Mac that I've been wanting to try, and I'm basically agnostic when it comes to the OS wars. I've happily run an Ubuntu Linux box for years in addition to my Windows machines, and Red Hat and other Linux flavours before Ubuntu. Not that I use Linux all that much, but I've always enjoyed playing around with other operating systems.

I recently added a Samsung T24C550 HDTV/monitor to my office, so had an extra screen to plug the Mini into.

So I took the plunge. I tracked my order via FedEx, and it was to arrive on Friday, Aug. 2. Great.

I got up Friday morning, and my main work Windows 7 box was wonky. I rebooted, only to get a dreaded BIOS message that the primary HD was fried. Well, the error message was somewhat more technical, but that was the gist of it.

Cue Twilight Zone music - obviously the Windows box was not happy that a Mac was arriving : -). I wasn't too upset because I use Image for Windows to image my entire HD once a week or so, I just wasn't looking forward to the PITA (pain in the ass) and time of having to install a new HD and reimage it.

I took the opportunity to replace the crashed 1.5TB HD with a 2TB unit, as I shoot a lot of photos, and gradually more video, so extra space is always welcome. I got the HD installed, and the image running, and then got to work on setting up the Mac Mini, and getting acquainted with it.

One issue, ugly, jagged fonts, was resolved with a bit of Googling. Turns out that often combo TV/monitors are not set up for optimal computer use. Sure enough, the "Sharpness" setting on the Samsung was at 50, when turning it down to 0 makes fonts look much nicer. Apparently the built-in Sharpness function and the Mac's own font shading/smoothing don't like each other.

The last day has gone better. I have my Windows 7 box back up and running (thanks Image for Windows!), and I have the Mac to play with. But it was pretty intense there for a couple of days.

Posted by Paul at 07:59 PM