Monday, September 26

Rabinovitch Out

Rabinovitch Out

Any CBC radio listener will agree, this man has to go. CBC locked out workers for many reasons, but the truth be told, outsourcing is probably the main ingredient for this craziness by a mis-managed CBC.

From the following explains the irony that any fool can easy see through, even most politician on Parliament Hill:

When the CBC boss was asked if he would like a "short-term contract" he replied, "sure".

The irony here is that when his contract was up for renewal he renegotiated it from a two year contract to a three year contract. Giving himself a longer term.

Time to rid the country of the CBC corruption of managers and bring back our lifeline to reality - CBC Radio.

One other sad issue is the fact that most politicians hid during their summer vacations, deciding not to speak out on any opinion regarding the country's loss of a national radio, however now they are back in session and in the limelight, well guess what, the CBC lockout is now, all-of-a-sudden, an issue. Lights, camera, and action?

CBC management should be fired, and held responsible for the million plus dollars a day that they seem to be not accountable for over the past forty days plus. What has happened to the regular million dollar a day funding to the CBC to cover the regular programming costs and the wages of over 5,000 CBC workers?

Martha warmed up the cell, maybe some of these CBC corps could cool their heels there as well. Although, maybe jail is too good for Rabinovich and his gang of theives. Maybe a stink on the sidewalk would do wonders for these corporate neanderthals of the the media world.


Thursday, September 22

Writing Block Cure

After nearly five years of study at Athabasca University, an English degree at that, I am still pursuing this endeavor to the end...if there is one. Writing technology articles is not my real forte, however it is becoming increasingly interesting and it is an amazing learning experience.

Of course I would love to fulfill my lifelong dream, ever since that Journalism course in Toronto at Centennial College, of writing a fiction novel. Sure, I have a draft manuscript, thousands of notes on other ideas, and even a good murder/mystery plot at hand, however, I just do not have the time to sit down on a daily basis and pound out the pages. Now I write tech stuff.

So, tech articles seems to fill the literary gap I have a yearning for these past years.

As Editor for SCUG Report, I mostly cut and paste, size and resize, chase people for articles, and of course write the odd thing myself. For me, this is a simple matter of time, yet I do enjoy this function immensely.

Another writing project I have on hand is my technology column in Business Trends magazine. Each month I have to research tons of data and come up with some article that not only makes sense, but is technically correct. These two things are a challenge.

First of all, who am I writing for, or rather who is the audience that reads this stuff? This is important, as I cannot write about a Linux system bio, when most people are hammering away on Microhoweversoft Exploring software. How do I know that what I write is for the "average" user, a term my editor used when I got hired.

Ah ha! My wife. Yes, she is quite literate in writing, and illiterate in computers. So, she is the perfect candidate for editing my columns. I do not have to worry as when she reads them, basically she is reading similar to how the "average user" would read the articles. If she has not a clue as to what is being said, well then its back to the "drawing board" again to rewrite the article to make more sense.

"Writing", it is said, "is a very lonely occupation."

No kidding. You read alone to get your research fine-tuned, you draft your article alone, in an effort to get a final copy...But the fun part is banging ideas off other computer geeks...This is where the real learning takes place.

Once I connect with these geeks, ideas flow and finally I come away with tons of new ideas, writer block gone and back in the grove once more.

Tech writing is certainly not Hamlet's cousin, however I do have some other ideas on the back burner - an outdoor, backpacking, canoe book? Who knows...maybe Hemmingway will give me a nod in the right direction soon.

Wednesday, September 21

Sarnia Drops the Anchor

Where Did Our
Cultural Aspect Go?

The ocean-going ship, The CV Columbus stopped at Sarnia today, but the passengers did not disembark to view our city. It seems there is nothing here for them, other than strip joints, donut shops, and other junk food joints. Sad...

In fact, last summer the ship docked at Sarnia and dozens of crew members ventured around our downtown, however it was a Monday and not much
was opened...they were not impressed. I wonder what they thought about all the shops that were boarded up due to the Walmart/Canadian Tire and Lambton Mall taking all the business out into the subburbs? Why is it that Sarnia promotes hockey and rock concerts, yet drops the anchor on the Arts and Cultural issues. We need more of the liberal arts programs, more culture less of the redneck attitude!

This ship is not going to stop in Sarnia anymore. In fact, the last time it stopped last year, ""dozens of the crew members took their few hours off duty to walk to the downtown core [Sarnia]. The wanted to shop but it was a Mond
ay and nothing was open, Columbus said, "So they weren't too happy."" (Sarnia Observer 050917).

The sad thing is that nobody was around the ship, other than "Tourism Sarnia-Lambon intends to man an information table near the ship to hand out brochures and maps." (Sarnia Observer 050917)

Isn't that great. I wonder if they
setup their both near the security fence and guard? How come Sarnia does not have a promotional plan in place, other than a table and chair and a few maps?

The entire situation here is a disgrace. May I suggest you write your local Council-person. If you can find one that cares. We need more culture in the Sarnia society, not more strip bars, bingo halls, hockey rinks, or tattoo shops.
Unboard the downtown now.

After a while the Police boat left and thus the only human aspect other than the lonely security guard who was pacing back and forth behind the security fence, probably out of shear boredom.

Sunday, September 18

B O R E D - Who could be this?

Many People Today Claim Boredom...Why?

So many people today are bored. Not just the retirees who never took the time, while still employed, to take up a hobby or outside interest; no, many retirees are bored due to the fact that their job was their life, it is a simple as that. But what about the other people? Those people who do have jobs, even those who work at home with families, why are they bored?

I am not qualified to answer the above question, but I must question why these so-called self-confirmed "bored" humans are in fact bored, especially considering that here in Sarnia, we have a most wonderful spot, a Carolinian forest that is located at the mouth of the St.Clair river and where the waters of Lake Huron flow into: Canatara Park.

This park can defeat boredom, however there is a prerequisite: walking, a feat that would take most
away from the "Idiot Box", that machine that most humans stare at for hours on end without making communication to anyone, including the aliens they appear to be searching for on the screen.

As you can see
, to the right, there are many unique artifacts in this forest to view; the beech and very old oaks are plentiful, as humans are not allowed to destroy anything within the bounds of Canatara Park. While walking in the forest be on the lookout for the thousands of acorns that are dropping off the oaks - the black squirrels are busy scooping them up while you pass on by.

Of course, after a while, you will bet t
ired and need to take a break from this long walk...a well deserved break will warrant this spot I have choosen to take in the sights and sounds of such a magnificant forest. However, beware of, what my wife calls, "the hitchhikers"; they are tiny burr like klingons that attach themselves to everything, including the hair on your legs if you have any LOL.

The realism of the ma
gic here is the lack of human traffic. It reminds me of backpacking the Bruce Trail up at Red Bay, another great spot on the shores of Lake Huron, just south of Tobermory. Peaceful settings are getting fewer and fewer and we must enjoy the beauty of these parks and certainly respect those that fought to maintain their everlasting presence in a society that is such gung-ho on deforestration.

Once you get outside of the Carolinian forest, you head northward toward the more public area of the park. To get to the top of the park at the edge of Lake Huron, you walk around a small inland lake that is home to many Canada geese, beautiful white swans, turtles, carp and many others of nature's finest. This small body of water is named: Lake Chipican, after the native indians who once were the main settlers of Lambton County, until our society moved in and began construction of a city of cement and asphalt. The view during the walk around Lake Chipican is wondrous to the eye.

Canatara Park is a stone's throw from the USA border, at the least it is a good swim away to the west. Swimming is excellent on the miles and miles of clean white sandy beaches, the most bluish of waters, similar to the Carribean waters.

Today there are hundreds of sail boats, mostly gathered out to the
east in a huge cluster, possibly saying goodbye to old friends and summer.

When you saw the old man in the picture at the top of this blog, did you believe the poor soul to be one of the "bored retirees"?

If so, you were wrong...the man and his dog were admiring the specticle of the fountain to the right here, one that is in the infamous Canatara pond, home to the most beautiful white swans.

You see, there is more to life; all you have to do is discover it in a magical place such as this pond.

If you look closely you will see there is a canal that leads into the park's animal farm, home to hundreds of farm animals, foul of all kinds, and of course the wild residents that call this place home on a year round basis.

And here is the farm and the canal that leads into it from the swan pond. This animal farm is a year round host to continuous bus trips carrying all kinds of visitors to marvel at this site.

This is a feastive place, celebrations of all kinds, from Easter egg hunts, Christmas campfires and sing songs, to many special events by local groups such as Scouts Canada.

Check out this fabulous park yourself. All you have to do is throw your TV remote into the garbage, leave your car keys at home, put on the old runners, grab the dog and WALK on over to a very wondrous place: Canatara Park.
Now there is no excuse you can dream up to get out of this walk to reduce your boredom. Nope, the map above is quite explicit. You can see Lake Huron at the top, St. Clair river to the left and to the right, near the top is Lake Chipican and Canatara Park.

If you are still procrastinating on this because you say you cannot read the text for the proper road routing, well hey, no problem - click on this.

As they say at Timmies (a future blog for sure), "Have a nice day eh."


Saturday, September 17

What the Heck is a Podcast?

"CBC locked out workers do. Technogeeks do. And many other people are now using this..."

Who Uses & Listens to Them?

Technology today is on fire, the ideas are burning from the midnight oil. First we had the WWW, of which most could not fathom this concept: "A Global Village."

Next popular tool came the now infamous Email programs that has connected the world as one place tied together by one click of a button.

Now we have a new program on tap: Podcasting. So, just what is this that some are talking about, and most haven't a clue what they are saying?

To keep it in the "KISS" form, I will try and keep it simple...Podcasting is a home radio station broadcast. The term comes, in part, from the iPod and the cast from broadcast. The Podcaster downloads a free program from the Internet, possibly one such as "Audacity" whereby they can edit sound clips. All the hardware needed is a microphone, a computer, and a computer recorder...most come equipped with the recorder in Windows. Some

Podcasters are also using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), a computer telephone that one can make long distant calls anywhere in the world for free. People call in to the show in a Q & A format. This recording is edited with music and other such feeds and the final product is uploaded to the Internet as an mp3 file. A one hour file in mp3 format will download in minutes and easily fit onto any mp3 player.

Why bother to podcast?

If you have to ask, you have not listened to a podcast. I personally listen to a few technical podcasts to get computer related information. A group of podcasters have formed a podcasting society on the Internet and are growing fast. Check their shows out at Tech Podcasts and you will be amazed at the variety of compter online radio shows, with excellent quality and great information.

Another area of podcasting is just emerging online and that is business usage. CBC locked out workers are making their own radio shows in the form of podcasts. These shows are very professional, and to some extent, they are superior to those that were aired on the AM/FM band by CBC. These locked out employees are not restricted by corporate and goverment politics. These X-employees are not restricted in content or programming. A breath of fresh air I must say. Don't forget to check out Radio Free Winnipeg, a university site that is allowing locked out CBC workers to perform on air podcast shows. The truth be told, as an avid CBC listener myself, I much prefer these new Podcast shows by the locked out bosses to boss them around...freedom for the writers, directors, and performers/broadcasters. Great stuff CBC workers - keep it going on these great Podcasts.

I like to download my favourite podcasts to my mp3 player and listen to my shows while working out, driving the hour drive to our hideaway up north, and for long walks with Sam, our chocolate lab.

You do not have to download the podcasts to listen to them, simply click on the mp3 tag on the website with your audio player on and the shows will automatically begin to play.


To check out podcasts go to Podcast Alley and click the button on the drop down box for Genre. There are topics from Business, to Health and Fitness, to Travel, to General topics and of course Technology. One of my very special tech podcasts is: Homenetworkhelp .



Everyone Has Done This One...

Tech Gets Better

Picture yourself in a Walmart store, you spend an hour walking around the store, up and down isles, getting the things you need, and then cash out. You feel really good, the sales were excellent and they even had your size in the shoes and clothes you just bought. God bless Walmart.

After safely gliding through the door security, you head across the parking lot, trying to figure out where you parked. Silently you find yourself cursing for being so foolish as to forget where your car is parked. You reach into your right hand pocket of your jeans to fetch out the keys, knowing that with one click on the remote the car will give off a beep and let you know where it is.

o keys to be found! "I never put them in any other pocket other than my right front jean pocket, never," you say out loud now that you are talking to yourself.

Others are staying clear of you, suspecting some shictzo freek on drugs is in their midst - you are being avoided but you don't care; "Where are the damn keys," you cry out aloud. More people move away.

After searching all the pockets three times over, you finally admit that you have locked the keys in the car. The embarrassing thing about this is that when your wife did the very same thing last week you laughed so loud she didn't speak to you until this morning.

What to do?

A tow truck guy will soak you a fortune to use that crime tool they slip down inside the window to crack the lock. You have no cash on you either. And to boot, it is now starting a downpouring of rain, heavy damn rain.

"Hey, wait a minute," you yell out loud while the old lady across the lot flicks on her emergency key locks and stays inside her vehicle ranting away on her cell phone to someone, probably the 911 lady.

Anyway, you remember what the computer geek was saying at the last meeting of the Sarnia Computer User's Group. "Yes, I do remember," you now whisper to yourself as you smile.

Why is this guy smiling now?

Simple: He remembers exactly what the computer guy said:

"If you lock your keys in the car and the spare keys are at home, call someone at home on your cell phone and ask them to get your car key with your remote device. Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the other person at home press the unlock button on your remote while holding it near their phone. Your car will unlock. Distance is no object here. You could be hundreds of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the "remote" for your car, you will be able to unlock the doors (or the trunk) this way!"
(Kay Gutmann, Orange County IBM PC, User's Group member)

"Hey, I can't do that," the guy says as he begins his long walk home to sneak in the back door and get the spare keys. It seems that the only one home is his wife, the one who he had laughed when she did the same thing last week.

Author's Note: I do not know if this works, however it comes from a reputable source. Well, there is only one way to find out, isn't there! If it does work, boy what a great trick.

The moral of this story is that you must never laugh at your wife for loosing keys, as payback is hell.


Friday, September 16

Sarnia Drivers Worst In North Amercia

Where Are The COPS?

Is this scene all too familiar? Can you tell what caused this common mishap in Sarnia?

A truck driver wrote a letter to the editor of the Sarnia Observer a while back wherein he voiced his disgust for Sarnia drivers. In fact, he stated that he drove all over North America and found "the worst drivers are right here in Sarnia, and I am from Sarnia." Getting back to the above accident scene, the reason this happens is that Sarnia drivers do not know what lane to go to when making right and left turns at intersections.

Don't believe me?

Well, just go for a little drive today. While at an intersection watch how the drivers turning turn. Lost ya?

Let's look to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act - Section 133 wherein it states (6)"Where a driver or operator of a vehicle intends to turn to the left into an intersection highwayl, he or she shall, where the highway on which he or she is driving has marked lanes for traffic, approach the intersection within the left-hand lane provided for the use of traffic moving in the direction in which his or her vehicle is proceeding or, where it has no such marked lanes, by keeping immediatel to the right of the centre line of the highway and he or she shall make the left turn by entering the intersection to the right of the centre line or its extension and by leaving the intersection in the left-hand lane provided for the use of traffice moving in the direction in which his or her vehicle is proceeding where the lane is marked or, where no such lane is marked, by passing immediately to the right of the centre line of the intersecting highway."

Lost ya yet? Don't worry, the simple matter of this situation is that when
you make a left turn you stay in that same (left) lane after turning. The same goes for the right-hand turners, they stay in the right lane, thus allowing the left-hand turners to turn withou a crashup.

Why do people insist in turning into the other person's lane? You gotta love those ones who stay at the intersection allowing all oncoming traffic to make their turn so they can make their own illegal turn.

You have to wonder if most believe these illegal turns are actually legal? Scary thought, but it could ring true in too many cases. Alth
ough, another reason people risk these hazzardous illegal turns is that their vans and SUVs have a high roll-over factor and they refuse to slow down a tad to make any turn.

As a driver from Toronto, (over 20 years living there and driving), and one who travels to Toronto 3 days a week, I must say that there is very little times when you find the illega
l turns that are highly prominent in Sarnia, Ontario.

One of the most interesting things I have found in Sarnia, at intersections, is that when you make your right turn into the right-hand lane and there is a person making a left-hand turn demanding to go way over into the right lane, instead of their proper left-hand lane, these people insist on waving their hands, mouthing obscurities to you, and finally giving you the infamous finger. Imagine that!

Can you imagine if we had one of these in Sarnia? Even the cops would have to go back to learning how to drive.

Many blame new drivers, senior drivers, and even foreigners, but how about putting the blame on these terrible drivers where it rings true: Most Sarnia Drivers, including cops.

What is needed is for drivers to pay attention to the laws of the road. But we know this is not going to happen. Where is everyone going, at such a fast rate of driving, when Sarnia is only a 4 mile sq. postage stamp, compared to the Big City?

If you are one of these drivers, referred above, do us all a favour and read over the Ontario Driver's may just save a life.

Coming Soon Here: Bumper Huggers at Timmies, Walmart Shoppers, Dog Crap in Parks, and much more. Stay tuned to

You can also read Greg's articles on computer-related issues in his Tech Trends column with Business Trends magazine.

Thursday, September 15

Parking Authority Thieves?

No Coin - No Park?

Did you know that if you have to go to the Sarnia General Hospital, there is no place to pay to park, unless, and only unless, you have some coin in your pocket. Yes folks that does mean that loonies, toonies, and goonies will be sadly ticketed because there is no place to park for longer than 2 hours without dropping in coins at the municiple parking lot, located directly across the street from the hospital.

Think about this one...A family member awakens at four thirty in the morning and is in serious pain. You jump into the vehicle and rush them to the Sarnia General Hospital. On the south side of George Street you see the parking lot is almost empty. "Great", you say to yourself as you wheel in after dropping off your family member at the emergency entrance. At the box where the parking lot attendent used to be is now a box with slots. No humans around, no stores open, and this box requires you to fork over coins. You reach into your pocket and guess what? Yep, no coin.

Now what do you do?

A woman mentioned that you "just take a chance on getting a ticket." Yes, you can try that, or even you can park on the street at the spots where there used to be meters, but now there are signs that state: 2 hr Parking.

Try this on for size...

You see that at this early hour there is nobody around. Hey, there wasn't anyone inside the emergency waiting to be se
rved. This could mean that you won't be very long, as per usual, so why not take a chance and simply park on the street? "Surely we won't be longer than two hours," you say to yourself and park.

inside the hospital you get the news that it is more serious than you first believed. The doctor is making appointments for blood tests, Xrays, ultra sounds, and who knows what, so now what do you do?

You have two choices:

1. You set the alarm on your watch and run out every one hour and fifty-seven minutes with the coin for the meter, or you move the vehicle to another spot, thus rotating the chalked tires that the Meter Maid drew on almost two hours ago.

2. You stay with your loved one for moral support, as well you do not want to hear what the doctors have to say about the many tests as they are perfomed.

What is wrong with leaving the human taking the cash at the booth in the parking lot, as we have enjoyed for years?

What is wrong with taking those two hour warning signs out. They took out the meters and installed the damn signs.

There is a third choice with the above...charge the Parking Authority with Grand Larceny. But you may just be better off writing your councilperson haha.

Good luck, and as they say at Timmies: "have a nice day eh."


Wednesday, September 14

Scouts Canada for the Well-Healed Only?

Is this organization getting toooo ex$pen$ive?

Scouts Canada made the financial decision to raise the cost of a boy who wants to join.

In fact, this increase is rather high and now the cost to put a boy in Scouting is a whopping $140.00. Imagine if you have more than one child who dreams of becoming a Scout?

Ok, I can hear some out there, yes the "other activities are expensive too." But, not these "other activities" include uniforms, some equipment, and pay for the final special "hot dog day" or whatever special celebrations they offer in the initial cost of the said activity? Of course they do!

But not Scouting. Nope!

Scouts Canada requires a boy to, besides the $140.00 cost to join for one season, purchase their own uniform. This my sad friends is not a cheap expenditure, no Sir.

Add this up:

Shirt - $30.00
Pants - $30.00
Sash - $ 7.00
Book - $ not sure yet
Camp - $20.00

Let us take a look at SMAA Sarnia kids baseball league. The cost for the season is $140.00, the exact same cost that Scouts Canada charges. The one difference is that in baseball everything, shirt - pants - hat - championship sessons with food and trophies, are all included in the one price. That's right, you do not have to pay for the accessories or the special event such as camping.

Personally, I believe the cost of Scouting is out-of-line with the other sports.

Having said that, it must be said that there is no better organization for boys around. Scouts teaches boys to follow society rules and regulations, to respect authority, to share and care with and for others, and most of all Scouts Canada gives the boy the opportunity to gain self-assurance and to work with others...something our current society lacks.

Albeit the costs are expensive in all sports, thus making it quite difficult for those families on lower incomes and families with several children all wanting to join in on these expensive programs.

The programs are necessary for the develop of our children. It helps make for better citizens down the road, so why doesn't the local, provincial and federal goverments keep a better watch on the rising costs that are segregating the better off from the less than better off?

Because you and I allow it; we do not voice our opinions - we simple either pay or the kids do not play, and that my friends is sad.


Tuesday, September 13

Back to WORK

The End of the Line

This assembly-line style of working extremely long hours with very little sleep makes me look ever-so-much to my retirement, in the first quarter of next year. The time cannot pass too quickly.

Thirty-four years and counting for the past ten. Many old rails, there are few left still working, will confirm that railroading in the 2000's is not the same. Things have changed, they say the times have changed, but it is the people who have changed. Profit is the bottom line today. No care for humanity, just the greenbacks.

I have many good memories that I shall always cherrish, however those memories are from long ago; today each trip is a challenge. Lack of sleep plagues most out there; most complain of a constant "jet-lag" sense of reality.

But all this will be my history soon...It will be like the meek, who are born again, starting a brand new life. Many retirees fail in their self-awareness and satisfaction
, simply as they have nothing to do. Sadly, the job was their life and now once the job is gone, so is their life.

I have not that fear. I plan to be more busy next year than I have ever been before, even with the ninty-hour-plus block of time missing each week. It will easily be filled up with volunteer work, hobbies, and simply enjoying life.

The previous blog is not complete, this is due to my extremites in life, my busy schedule that begins each fall, however that is what keeps me going, keeps me ticking, and I fear not the loss of that 100 hour block of missing time.