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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
Huge orange flying boat rises off a lake / Thousand-year-old petroglyphs doing a double take / Pointing a finger at eternity / I'm sitting in the middle of this ecstasy
— Bruce Cockburn, Wondering Where the Lions Are
September 27, 2011

Vancouver is Awesome; Your Civil Liberties Aren’t

Bob Kronbauer is the editor of that bastion of quality journalism, Vancouver is Awesome. The site’s mandate demands that nothing negative is ever said about Vancouver and nothing means nothing—they flat out refused to talk about the cuts to arts funding that have savaged the city’s cultural institutions (lack of funding Is Not Awesome® it seems) and that’s typical of how they deal with anything controversial: they just tiptoe around it like it’s not happening.

Kronbauer is a prolific tweeter at the @viawesome twitter account, but he also runs his own at @bobkronbauer Twitter account where he’s noticeably less prolific.

In a moment of inspiration it seems, Bob recently sent out this tweet:
Bob Kronbauer Hates Your Civil Liberties

The message was sent on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center in New York: an event which, had it happened here, probably wouldn’t have been mentioned on Bob’s site since it was most definitely Not Awesome®. That big hole in the ground? What a great opportunity for urban renewal! How’d it get there? Uh…good question.

You can see the tweet for yourself, by the way. I didn’t fake it. I didn’t make it up. It’s real.

Apparently Bob thinks your government should be tracking your online comments and having Canada’s national spy agency following up on the ones he doesn’t like. This is practically the definition of a police state. It happens in China but that country is, you know, a dictatorship. My understanding of Canada was that it was a democracy.

It seems that while Vancouver may be awesome, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms of the most important documents in the country—is not. Your right to privacy? It seems that if it hurts someone’s feelings in an online comment, Bob thinks you’ve waived it.

It’s this sort of thing that makes me happy that public policy in our country isn’t made by someone who makes at least a part of their living by photoshopping fake eyes onto inanimate objects.

Sometimes, a little criticism goes a long way. Sometimes, a complete lack of it can be the start of a slippery slope.

Vanocuver is a great place but all those googlie eyes don’t paint over the flaws and problems of the place, and they aren’t helping make it better in the future.

Posted by skooter at 5:37 PM This entry is filed under Vancouver.
Tags: Bob Kronbauer, Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Journalism, Vancouver is Awesome

Windows Interface Nightmares: FoxIT PDF Viewer

FoxIT PDF Viewer

These days I swap between a Mac and Windows fairly frequently. Windows applications never cease to surprise and amaze me with interfaces that are poorly thought out and sometimes just obviously poorly designed.

FoxIT Software makes a PDF reader that’s a popular alternative to Adobe’s own spectacularly bloated Acrobat Reader program. Up in the right hand corner of the window of the application there’s the standard three windows buttons—Maximize, Minimize and Close—but along with a fourth button for the Change Style preference.

This button, yes, lets you change the colour scheme of the program.

It’s ideally positioned for accidental input (which is how I noticed it) and introduces an unfamiliar element to a very standard location. The three standard buttons control window behaviour, while this has nothing to do with it. I’m wondering if any usability research was done to show that people needed to be able to change their window colour preferences so frequently that a dedicated button—I’d normally expect to find this in a preferences panel—needed to be added to a high traffic location.

This isn’t, of course, Windows’ fault: it’s FoxIT’s. They made the decision, though I’m surprised the Windows API allows for a button to be added here at all.

Posted by skooter at 6:55 AM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Foxit PDF, Interaction Design, Usability, Windows

September 18, 2011

Fall is in the Air

Leaf at Burgoyne Bay

Posted by skooter at 11:27 PM This entry is filed under Camera.

September 13, 2011

Ruffled Feathers at the Vancouver Fringe Festival Bar


On a warm dry night, there’s not a better place in the city to catch live music when than the Wild Horse Canyon Stage at the Vancouver Fringe Festival. The Ruffled Feathers did a nice job of showing why

September 8, 2011

Kathleen Edwards at the Black Sheep Inn

Kathleen Edwards at the Black Sheep InnKathleen Edwards at the Black Sheep InnKathleen Edwards at the Black Sheep InnKathleen Edwards at the Black Sheep InnKathleen Edwards at the Black Sheep Inn

It’s been a music soaked couple of weeks around here, and it’s not looking like it’s slowing down anytime soon. Kathleen Edwards & Julie Fader played the Black Sheep Inn around and about my fourtieth birthday, and I was lucky enough to get out there for the show (hot on the heels of the Harvest Picnic, which included both Daniel Lanois and Emmylou Harris.) I wrote a little review of the show for No Depression.

There was new material played, so its no surprise to hear the announcement of a new album. Wakusp is a beautiful song that’s been released as a preview.
Kathleen Edwards - Wapusk (featuring Bon Iver) by Kathleen Edwards
Things aren’t slowing down here either: there’s new albums coming from Dan Mangan and Wilco at the end of September, and I’ve got quite a few shows lined up between now and mid-October including Blue Rodeo & Mavis Staples.

There’ll be time enough for sleeping when I’m dead, I’m sure. I’m putting that off for a while though.

Continue reading "Kathleen Edwards at the Black Sheep Inn"

Posted by skooter at 10:06 PM This entry is filed under Music.
Tags: Black Sheep Inn, Blue Rodeo, Kathleen Edwards, Mavis Staples, Soundcloud, Wagons, Wapusk