for more information contact skot@penguinstorm.com

current
On Trump
Bob Dylan - Wisdom is Thrown Into Jail
Bob Dylan: Tempest
Adam West voices the Dark Knight
Apple's Calendar Inconsistency
Is Pono Dead?
Inbox Zero is Old News: Welcome to Inbox Negative One
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Effects Reel
Evolution of Stop Motion Photography
7 Story Cycling Centric Apartments


recent
What Happened to Jai Alai?
Greatest Text Conversation Ever
Quarry Rock in the Rain
Careless Reckless Love
Electricity, Heights and Women
Daniel Lanois and his AC30
How Can You Just Leave Me Standing Alone in a World So Cold
Today Was a Tough Day
The Resonant Frequency of Love - Rocco DeLuca with Daniel Lanois
Dan Mangan - Forgetery
Birch Tree: Toronto, 2016
Japan's Disposable Workers
Jeff Tweedy Plays Charades with Ewan McGregor
Steph Cameron at the Railway Club (February 1, 2016)
Wilco at the CityFolk Festival, Ottawa (September 20, 2015)
Rice Lake, North Vancouver
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Running Away
Stanley Rohatinski: 1925 - 2015
Chewie...we're home!


archives
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
October 2015
April 2015
March 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
August 2014
May 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
July 2003
June 2003
January 2003
November 2002
October 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
May 2001
April 2001
January 2001
October 1999


categories
America
Books
Camera
Canada
Cycling
Design
Entertainment
Family
Food
Friends
Inanities
Marketing
Music
Narcicism
Nature
Penguins
Politics
Quebec
Science
Sports
Technology
Travel
Tweets
Vancouver
Words


randomness
your blue hood
Thin Systems
Listen to the Bell, Mr. Premier...It Tolls for Thee
Gordon Campbell Won't Run Again?
Bike Maintenance Lessons: Disc Brake Pads
Cycling is Mainstream Transportation
Brave New World: The Musical
Perennial Also Ran?
Daniel Lanois and his AC30
Dan Mangan - Forgetery

I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
Meanwhile in the forest / In a parliament of trees, The ink will crack and dry all up, But the compass will swing anyways. And we don't need mathematics / And we don't need submarines
— Rheostatics, Northern Wish
March 26, 2008

This Is Not News

Let’s not pretend the Liberals and the NDP haven’t been doing this for years. Why it’s suddenly news because the Harper Conservatives are is a mystery to me.

Conservative headquarters scripting calls to radio shows
ALEXANDER PANETTA
The Canadian Press
March 25, 2008 at 6:15 PM EDT
OTTAWA — Next time you’re listening to your favourite radio phone-in show, those pro-Conservative opinions you hear from callers might not be as spontaneous as they sound.

Some of those apparently ad-libbed musings are actually being choreographed at the Conservative Party of Canada’s national headquarters.

The governing party has produced talking points for grassroots supporters on a variety of issues, feeding them lines on everything from climate change to child care.

The technology angle is nice though. In the past, these types of talking points have gone out by email, usually by back room organizers.

Posted by skooter at 2:08 AM This entry is filed under Canada, Politics.
Tags: campaigning, Conservative Party of Canada, Liberals, Media, Media Bias

27.3 Kilometres

27.3 Kilometres is the length of a return trip on my new commute to work, largely along Vancouver’s Midtown bike route out to Boundary Road, crossing every major street in the city. It’s quite pleasant really, a bit hillier than I’d thought, but not too bad.

I pass a cemetery, several chinese restaurants, the Purdy’s Chocolate factory, the biggest liquor store in the city and the headquarters of Burnaby’s Electronic Arts Inc.

This is twice as long as my old commute, and it takes about twice as long to ride it (about an hour door to door, including time to get changed.) I’m not sure how it will feel when winter comes, with its relentless rain: new, more powerful, headlights might be a good idea but that’s a decision that can wait for a few months. Spring (with its promise of summer looming just around the corner), is a great time to change jobs for a bicycle commuter. It’s just nicer to ride with long days of sunshine (such as it is in Vancouver, of course.)

Tonight it rained on the way home, quite a bit as it turns out. I didn’t mind too much: at least I was on two wheels.

Posted by skooter at 2:01 AM This entry is filed under Cycling, Narcicism, Travel, Vancouver.
Tags: Commute, Cycling, Vancouver, Work

March 22, 2008

Skis at Cypress Bowl

This isn’t every pair of skis I used this year: sometimes I forgot my cell phone in the car, and I didn’t take pictures the first couple of weeks I went up. It’s a pretty good representation though.

Pictures are in the order they were taken. Some pairs repeat, some don’t: O’Malley was a favourite pair, and the first night I skied on Willis the phrase What’chyoo talkin’ about was used more than once…that was a great night.

Continue reading "Skis at Cypress Bowl"

Posted by skooter at 6:26 AM This entry is filed under Camera, Sports.
Tags: Cypress Bowl, Exercise, Skis

March 20, 2008

The Two Canadas

From Foreign Policy, Number 81, Winter 1990—1991 published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Written by Jeffrey Simpson. It’s interesting how much this post-Meech pre-Charlottetown paranoia has simply evaporated from the political system, despite the fact that Quebe politics continues to be dominated by le Bloc Québébois

Twenty-five years ago, a royal commission investigating relations between English and French-speaking Canadians warned that “Canada, without being fully conscious of the fact, is passing through the greatest crisis in its history.”…

Today, despite myriad institutional and policy changes over the past two and a half decades designed to smooth relations between French and English-speaking Canadians, the commission’s words still aptly describe Canadian reality…in the aftermath of the June 1990 collapse of a constitutional accord desired by the French-speaking province of Quebec.

Continue reading "The Two Canadas"

Posted by skooter at 4:41 AM This entry is filed under Canada, Politics, Quebec.
Tags: Jacques Parizeau, Pierre Trudeau. Separatism, Referendum

March 19, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke

Words cannot express how much of a loss this is. 2001: A Space Odyssey, Rendezvous With Rama, Childhood’s End list could go on forever of influential works that Arthur C. Clarke was responsible for.

If you haven’t read his work, there will be no better time.

Arthur C. Clarke, 90, Science Fiction Writer, Dies
By GERALD JONAS
Published: March 19, 2008
Arthur C. Clarke, a writer whose seamless blend of scientific expertise and poetic imagination helped usher in the space age, died early Wednesday in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he had lived since 1956. He was 90.

Rohan de Silva, an aide, confirmed the death and said Mr. Clarke had been experiencing breathing problems, The Associated Press reported. He had suffered from post-polio syndrome for the last two decades.

Posted by skooter at 6:20 AM This entry is filed under Books, Technology.
Tags: Arthur C. Clarke, Authors, Books, Obituaries

March 15, 2008

For An Independent Quebec

For An Independent Quebec appeared in Volume 54 of Foreign Affairs in 1976. It was authored by René Lévésque.

Launced in 1967—68, the Parti Québécois, whose platform is based on political sovereignty, now fills the role of Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition in the National Assembly—as we nostalgically designate our provincial legislature.

The next election might come any time now; this year in the fall, just after the Montréal Olympics, or at the latest in the fall of 1977…The present provincial government, a branch of the same Liberal Party which also holds power at the federal level under Pierre Elliott Trudeau, is obviously on the way out. It has been in power for six years, and ever since its send and Pyrrhic victor in 1973 (102 seats) it has been doing steadily downhill.

Continue reading "For An Independent Quebec"

Posted by skooter at 4:44 AM This entry is filed under Canada, Politics, Quebec.
Tags: Pierre Trudeau, Quebec, Rene Levesque, Separatism

March 14, 2008

Canada Votes for Separatism

No…not now, but back to 1978 again. From The Economist, October 21, 1978, Vol 269.

Canada Votes for Separatism
If Quebec still rejects the tories while the rest of Canada turns sour on Mr. Trudeau, the coming general election may break the country

Canada now stands poised for a fateful choice: a choice that will determine whether it continues to exist. Monday’s mini-election…revealed the perilous weaknesses both of Mr. Trudeau’s Liberal government and of the opposition Progressive Conservatives… [Mr. Joe Clark’s] own party, while triumphantly capturing no less than five Ontario seats formerly held by Liberal minister, failed once again to penetrate Quebec.

…the separatist tide that had swept Mr. Lévesque into office came up against a formidable barrier: the existence in Ottawa of a strong Liberal government. headed by a Québécois, committed to righting French Canadians’ ancient grievances….They held four fifths of the Quebec seats in the house of commons; his party held only three fifths of the provincial assembly seats, and it had won them on a minority (41%) vote.

…this is no time for Mr. Lévesque to beat the big drum. it is a long time since he has used such words as “independence” or “separation.” His party’s formula is “sovereignty-association,” and when he expounded this in the Quebec assembly on October 10th he emphasised that “We do not want to break our union with the rest of Canada, but rather to transform it radically.”

Posted by skooter at 2:08 PM This entry is filed under Canada, Politics, Quebec.
Tags: Articles, Pierre Trudeau, Quebec, Rene Levesque, Separatism

March 13, 2008

Looming TTC Strike

I bet this doesn’t last four months

TTC workers vote 99.2% to reject offer
AARON HARRIS/TORONTO STAR
Transit union chief had urged members to reject company’s bid for concessions on benefits
Mar 13, 2008 04:30 AM

Toronto Transit Commission workers voted overwhelmingly yesterday to reject a contract offer, less than three weeks before reaching a legal strike position.

Posted by skooter at 2:39 PM This entry is filed under Politics, Vancouver.
Tags: Politics, Public Transit, strike, Toronto, TTC, Vancouver

March 9, 2008

Quebec Separatism circa 1977

From The Economist’s February 12, 1977 edition (Vol. 262) a survey of the country prepared by Roland Bird, on the eve of that great referendum that fired passions as few political events have since.

Must the Unthinkable Happen?

Canada can never be the same after November, 15th….

Before Quebecers are consulted on whether they want to stay in Canada, the Lévesque government has a stupendous job to put Quebec’s finances straight, to get its economy moving, and to deal effectively with labour movement…

[Mr. Lévesque’s team] conceivably represents the best in ability that has ever been installed in provincial government throughout Canada’s history….he deals in an endless stream of political philosophy and of equivocal French concepts, rather than administrative practicalities.

He sees himself…as having some sort of “national mandate”, independent of any English vote or of any big business support.

Continue reading "Quebec Separatism circa 1977"

Posted by skooter at 9:13 PM This entry is filed under Canada, Politics, Quebec.
Tags: Pierre Trudeau, Quebec, Referendum, Rene Levesque, Separatism

March 8, 2008

Headwater, CBC Studio One

Headwater at CBC Studio One Headwater recorded a set of their tractor jazz for CBC Radio’s Canada Live on Thursday. The youngest fan in the crowd is just visible on the right hand side of this photo.

Posted by skooter at 3:53 PM This entry is filed under Music.
Tags: AltCountry, Concerts

March 7, 2008

Henry Dorsett Case’s Airstream?

Airstream Trailer at William Gibson's house That’s not a trailer, it’s an Airstream. This isn’t Chiba City, it’s Vancouver’s Shaughnessy neighbourhood. The phalanx of Volkswagens has been replaced by an extension cord running out of the house.

Posted by skooter at 1:01 AM This entry is filed under Books, Camera, Travel.
Tags: Shaughnessy, Volkswagen, William Gibson

A Sensible Decision (at last)

I’ve never understood why anybody is allowed to ride without a helmet, which happens in B.C. As usual, Ontario makes quite a bit more sense.

Judge rules against Sikh challenge of helmet law
Last Updated: Thursday, March 6, 2008 | 10:57 AM CBC News

A judge in Brampton, Ont., rejected a human rights challenge to an Ontario law on Thursday, ruling that motorcyclists must wear helmets while riding because safety concerns outweigh religious rights.

Posted by skooter at 12:51 AM This entry is filed under Canada.
Tags: Articles, Helmets, Motorcycle, Safety

March 6, 2008

Aquarium Drunkard - Grieving Angel (or, What Happened to alt.Country)

A nice article at Aquarium Drunkard tracks the rise and apparent demise of AltCountry (or, if you prefer, Alt-Country.) Coming on the same day as the release of a new album by Ottawa’s Kathleen Edwards it tracks an interesting trajectory.

I’m not sure that I agree with the premise that AltCountry (I dislike the aesthetics of the dash) is over, its best days behind it, but I don’t fundamentally disagree with any of the individual points the article makes.

Ryan Adams performs 200 More Miles on the new Cowboy Junkies Trinity Revisited album. Stunningly beautiful, it’s my new favourite tune.

Posted by skooter at 4:33 AM This entry is filed under .
Tags: AltCountry, Music, Ryan Adams, Wilco

March 5, 2008

Solid State Gorilla Detector

This article, of course, reminded me so much of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew’s Solid State Gorilla Detector I had to laugh. Especially that last paragraph. (The emphasis is mine.)

Shark Snacks on Supposed Shark-Repelling Gadget
By David Becker, March 04, 2008

Let’s say you were in the business of creating a new type of shark repellent, and it was time for product testing. What is about the worst thing that could happen? We’re guessing a shark swimming up to your gadget, taking an angry pass or two and then trying to eat it.

Which is precisely what happened when skeptics of the Shark Shield, which generates an electric field that supposedly repels the beasties, tested the device off the coast of South Africa. An 11-foot great white registered its opinion by chewing on the thing like it was a surfer’s femur.

The manufacturer says the researchers erred by not arranging to have a wave-free ocean to test it in and rejects any theory that electric currents might actually attract sharks.

Posted by skooter at 3:24 PM This entry is filed under Science, Technology.
Tags: Articles, Muppets, Science, Sharks

March 4, 2008

Gary Gygax

Gary Gygax, the man who invented Dungeons & Dragons and provided me with many hours of entertainment when I was younger has passed away.

In recent years, he was seen on Futurama:

Al Gore: To my left, you’ll recognize Gary Gygax, inventor of Dungeons & Dragons.
Gary Gygax: Greetings it’s a…
[rolls dice. checks result.]
Gary Gygax: … pleasure to meet you.

Posted by skooter at 8:08 PM This entry is filed under Entertainment.
Tags: Dungeons & Dragons, Obituaries

March 2, 2008

Cyber Circles

From the October 1998 edition of Report on Business Magazine

Cyber Circles
The Do’s and Dont’s of Creating “Virtual Communities on your Corporate Web Site
by George Emerson

…’What starts off being a group drawn together by common interests ends up being a group with a critical mass of purchasing power—based in part on the fact that in communities, members can exchange information with each other on such things as a products price and quality.’ Hagel and Armstrong say.

Building a vibrant on-line community doesn’t have to be difficult—it just takes a good idea and dedicated execution.

Continue reading "Cyber Circles"

Posted by skooter at 6:33 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Business, Canadian Tire, Marketing, social networking

Intuit and Piracy

In general, finding someone to say anything good about Intuit’s relationships with its customers is difficult these days. They act like one would expect a virtual monopoly to act.

In 2003, they made a good decision:

Intuit’s lesson for MSFT and Hollywood
May 19, 2003: 11:00 AM EDT
By Eric Hellweg, CNN/Money Contributing Columnist


When Intuit launched the copy-control program, it predicted that revenue would increase, since customers who had previously purchased only one TurboTax program would have to buy a separate copy for each computer in the house. That assumption was dead wrong. Instead, the move triggered a consumer backlash the likes of which Intuit had never seen.

Dropping the activation feature from TurboTax was the right move for Intuit, and the company is lucky that the mistake didn’t do more damage to its financials. And therein lies a cautionary tale for investors: Keep your ears tuned to customer complaints about overly restrictive DRM policies.

Trying to activate a new copy of Microsoft Office these days teaches a great lesson in this, aggravated by the fact that Microsoft now likes to sell media free licences. No media means that when you move to a new computer it’s extremely difficult to take an existing copy of Office with you, despite the fact that it’s perfectly legal to do so.

Posted by skooter at 6:24 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Intuit, Microsoft, Microsoft Office, Piracy

Gnutella: Unstoppable By Design

Hollywood and the recording industry like to talk about the problems of piracy. An article from Wired “describes the now relatively benign Gnutella network as unstoppable”http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.10/architecture.html and also touches on the Napster phenomenon that started it all.

Napster is virtually dead (again) and Gnutella has faded, largely replaced by the faster, more widely distributed network of torrents, with no end in sight.

Posted by skooter at 6:04 PM This entry is filed under Entertainment, Technology.
Tags: Bittorrent, Gnutella, Napster

Wired Schools: It Takes a Village

An old C|Net special report called Wired Schools: It Takes a Village offers insights that are still useful.

Computers are not a panacea for the modern education system, and the article makes an important point that teacher training is critical.

Worth reading. Originally published in 1997.

Posted by skooter at 5:58 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Education, Schools