Conversations On tech, literature, art and business


Tis an Ill Wind That Blows

Newfoundland and Labrador's provincial used tire stockpile is to be eliminated, the Telegram reported this morning. The Multi-Materials Stewardship Board (MMSB) has decided to ship the provincial stockpile of 1.9 million used tires to Quebec. What will Quebec do with our old tires? Burn them for fuel!

Being from Corner Brook, this reminded me of the protest that took place in November against the Pulp & Paper mill burning tires for fuel. Sure enough, these are the same tires.

So, let me get the facts straight:

  1. We've decided that burning tires as fuel here is bad.
  2. We need to unload our existing tire stockpile.
  3. The MMSB will pay $4.3 million to ship these tires to Quebec.
  4. Cement plants Holcim (Canada) and Lafarge Canada will burn these tires for fuel.

Instead of burning the tires here under the supervision of our provincial regulatory boards, we will pay to make them disappear? And where do the pollutants from this process end up?

Junior high science reminds me of this little phenomenon called the Jet Stream:

Jet Stream

Jet Stream

For clarity, here's an overhead view:

Jet Stream

Ill Wind

Does anyone else question the logic here?


Corner Brook Dog Park

Dog Park

Happy Dogs

I'm seeing a lot of talk about the proposal for a dog park in Curling being rejected.

I understand why that particular site was turned down but is this the end of the question?


Why do we need a dog park at all? As someone on Twitter pointed out, everyone in Corner Brook and area live ten minutes from the woods.

To my mind, a dog park serves several purposes:

  • Gives the dogs some leash free time. Leash laws are there for a reason but leash free time is good for the dog.
  • Also the woods have other animals and people to contend with. Would we rather see dogs running around leash-less on the street?
  • Allows dogs to socialize. Really important for their behavior and development, especially with younger dogs.
  • Allows owners to socialize. Not just for chit-chat.  Also for breeding, learning about different types of dogs and their quirks.


One of the major issues is cost. Who will pay for this park and the upkeep? To answer a question with a question, what is done with dog licensing fees now? If these aren't available then perhaps a small membership fee? And I'm certain volunteers would be available from the dog owning community.

What do you think? Are you pro-dog park? Are there other solutions?


Spring Fresh

Spring is a great time for renewal even if you are just a blog.

Added a photo gallery this week. About time some of my mobile photos lived somewhere besides the import folder. In the process I discovered my old WordPress theme had some conflicts with the latest jQuery CSS for slideshows and lightboxes and such.  Rather than waste a lot of time figuring out the specific issue I copped out and took the opportunity to update the entire theme and my install version all at once!  Amazingly the site is still alive and posting.

I also added a new plugin that should theoretically send new posts to my sadly neglected Facebook account.  we'll see shortly.

If you do see this on Facebook, come on over and check out the site. Comments always welcome :)

For fun here's a single image from my new image gallery. Stickbugs on a garbage can in DC I noticed while waiting to get into work one morning.

sitck bugs

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Snow Serpents

This weekend was all about the snow. I'm sure we won't have many more like it. The conditions were perfect for building fun. My three year old and myself spent a lovely couple of hours sliding, tossing snow, and finally, building our sea serpent.

I rolled the larger pieces and he filled int he gaps with his shovel. I can't believe I'm typing this but I think I'm going to miss winter. We have a ton of fun and he goes to sleep easier than ever. Heh, so do I.

As you can see his scarf ended up taking residence on Nessie's neck. The afternoon ended abruptly when I noticed he was stomping around with one boot missing...

Do you have any freaky snow creations to share?








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SQL Last Friday’s Date

When you have a system that runs data on a weekly basis you often need to find the date of a specific weekday, past or present.

I've no doubt there are several ways to do this but the following is my solution:

--get most recent Friday's date
Declare @fridayDate date
print @fridayDate

In your procedure you can change the Datefirst to reflect the day of the week you are looking for, in my case I need Friday. Change the 0 to a 7 if you need the upcoming Friday. And finally, change the GetDate() calls to a variable if you want to pass in a date instead of using today.

If this is something you need often, toss it into a function.

Hope you find it useful!

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Rogers Bandwidth Limits Uncertain

Bandwidth caps are a hot topic in Canada the last few weeks. Caps have already been downgraded severely in Quebec and Ontario with the rest of the provinces to follow soon. The CRTC's recent decision to back up ISP bandwidth limits has been widely petitioned against and is now up for review.

Interestingly, Wikipedia seems to have the most updated list of caps for Rogers customers.

I've been holding back this post for a while waiting on an update from Rogers themselves.

As of Jan 31, 2011 the bandwidth restrictions on their website showed some major discrepancies when compared to the recent announcements:

Ultra lite has 60 GB limit! Right...

I'm happy (?) to report that as of this morning the site has been updated:

Rogers Hi-Speed Ultra-Lite provides a monthly usage limit of 2 GB (2,048 Megabytes)*

I mentioned the issue to @rogershelps on Twitter in late January and they were on the ball enough to get back to me via @RogersElise on Jan 31.

It only took 5 weeks for the site to be updated. Considering the size of the company the turn around time is decent. Especially since they never were liable due to the joy of small print.

FYI - I've been with Aliant since I moved back to Newfoundland. No hard set bandwidth limits at all at the time of this post. to quote their site, "As a guideline, in our experience typical residential bandwidth usage tends to be well within the range of 250GB per month". Hard to argue for Rogers in the face of those differences.

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Marvel Mouseketeers

Big news from the Twittersphere today: Disney is acquiring Marvel entertainment.



The main concern among Marvel fans appears to be the potential softening of some of Marvel's beloved but rough around the edges characters.  My fav quote on the subject this morning:

OH: First Narnia's war was bloodless, now Qtips will pop out of Wolverine's hands (Re: Disney buying Marvel) - AdeleMcAlear

On the Disney side, talk about broadening your audience!  The Marvel fan base is huge and they come out in droves to Marvel themed films, even if a large percentage pan the results.  The $4 billion acquisition will instantly add over 5000 new characters to the Disney cadre.

Personally, I can't wait for the first Disney Main Street Parade after Marvel is fully integrated.

What impact do you think this acquisition will have on the Marvel universe?

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Information VS Decision

Just saw this stat from  Did You Know 3.0 on YouTube:

"It is estimated that a week's worth of the New York Times contains more information than a person was likely to come across in a lifetime in the 18th century"

The New York Times is only one of thousands of newspapers viewable online.  In fact, USA Today is even available on iTunes for free.

With this content and billions of other pages on the Internet individuals have more information available than they could ever hope to process.  Financial tickers, how to guides, webinars, and tutorials on any conceivable subject, it's not hard to see how Google went from a noun to a verb in such a short time.  Then add the social media phenomenon to the mix - Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Plurk, Ning, LinkedIn, Bebo, DeviantArt,.... ok this isn't a contest, I'll stop. Big list here.

What Do You Do With It?

In short, there is no shortage of information available.  The question becomes, "What do we do with it"?

  • You're hungry, Google for restaurant picks.
  • Want to pick a movie, for reviews.
  • Want an opinion, toss out a TwitPoll.
  • Have a report to write?
  • You get the idea.

How much information do you need to actually make a decision?  Is it easier now with 50,000 articles, 2000 Facebook friends, and 2 Wikipedia articles giving you expert insight?  Is it faster?

Don't misunderstand me.  I love the great array of choices I have when I want to know something.  It's even fun to kick back and get a good overview of a subject from someone like Ethan Bloch at WSYK .

New sources are invented every minute! Plus mobile devices like the iPhone give us ubiquitous access.  But what's the next step?

Filter Me!

IMHO ("in my humble opinion" for newbies), filters are the inevitable and very much needed next breakthrough.  Aggregate and rate the data for me Internet, please!  Put all these sources together and tell me what actually makes the most sense.  NOT what's the most popular, but what's the most relevant and hopefully TRUE.

A fun step in the right direction: TweetNews: "this service boosts Yahoo’s freshest news search results (which typically don’t have much relevance since they are ordered by timestamp and that’s it) based on how similar they are to the emerging topics found on Twitter for the same query".  Thanks Vik Singh

A development I foresee is a news reader that searches for all my favorite topics, weighs in some factors determined by my habits or predefined rules, and gives me the most relevant data.  The best version wouldn't need a lot of setup by me, instead it would save my most popular search topics.  Even better it would have a work/productivity mode and a browse mode for fun topics.

Any fabulous innovators or startups want to chime in? Show me the product that addresses this and I'm first in line, cash in hand.

Warning:  Don't wait too long, some of my closest friends "code quick" :)


March Mayhem in Moncton

Spring officially sprung March 20th. After a longish cold snap the gradual increase in daylight and temperature was most welcome.

The Magnetic Hill Zoo took advantage of the amazing Spring to raise money for their tiger fund.

You know what they say in the Maritimes: "If don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes".

It wasn't cold Monday but the roads were treacherous. C'est la vie. I went for coffee with no jacket so I'm still calling it Spring!


Are You as Hip as the Dalai Lama?

The Hippest Lama There Is

The Hippest Lama There Is

The Dalai Lama. Source of inspiration, font of patience, and according to tradition a manifestation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion and patron saint of Tibet.

"Bodhisattvas are enlightened beings who have postponed their own nirvana and chosen to take rebirth in order to serve humanity." -

A maven, certainly, but a social media maven? Apparently so. His holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, or more accurately, his office and representatives are now on Twitter.

Yep, that's right check out - According to a tweet from earlier today:

"His Holiness thought it was prudent to make his office open and assessable to a more youth and technologically advancing audience."

Presuming it's not a fake account, I say well done. Forward thinking attempt to engage with a wider audience. I'm interested to see how it pans out. Just starting following @OHHDL, I wonder if they will actually engage their followers or just firehose tweets.

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