Tuesday, June 27

I AM Really Free Now & NOT BORED!!!

"Bordedom" is a term for which I cannot find a definition, or at least it does not reside within my lifestyle.

This week concludes a very busy time and now I settle into a more relaxed phase of retirement, well at least for the next two months. My volunteer duties are suspended for the summer - YEA!!!

Oh, don't get me wrong, I love all the things I am involoved in, such as:
Although, I will continue writing my technology column for Business Trends magazine, as this is an all-year-long committment.

This summer I have planned several trips, canoeing, camping, fishing, hiking, reading, writing, and simply enjoying the fact that I do not work for CN Rail anymore (CN Rail is for another Blog, especially now since June 8, 2006 the company has restricted all employees from taking retirement at age 55 and forcing them to work another 10 years till 65 - a move to kill off many of the older workers to beef up the pension plan? I planned my ESCAPE for five long years, and managed to take my commuted value and run. Like I said, another day I will write about this horrifying subject, maybe - maybe not. Maybe it is just time to move on and forget about that horrible place called CN Rail - good idea!

One thing I do plan to attempt is the art of hacking into computers. No, I am not interesting in getting someone's bank account, or debit card numbers. I am simply interested in the Wifi connections and the safety therein.

Since I use my Wifi connection while out-of-town (most weeks now), one of my concerns is how safe is my laptop and its information in wireless cafes? I am also interested in the "how-to" of hacking wireless systems.

My first move is downloading a program called: NetStumbler. I can see many people cringing right now as they read this, however the question remains: Is using a Wifi connection that is broadcasted to the public areas legal? Is it ok to use a broadcasted Wifi connection that you can easily connect to, because the owner of that system has chosen to not secure his/her wireless system?

"It's a gray area," said Paul Stamp, an analyst at the technology consultants Forester Research. "By not restricting access it could be argued that your're implicitly making that available." (source CNN)

Obviously, those who do not concern themselves of security, it is quite possible that they are simply allowing visitors like me to free use of their Wifi connecti
ons as a "good neighbour" gesture?

I am not a computer cop. I am not a thief either, and I do not intend to use this information in any way that will compromise anyones data. I merely want to learn how the bad guys hack into wireless systems so I can better prepare my own systems. And I will use open Wifi accesses.

Of course, I must admit, this subject does interest me from a James Bond type of aspect. George Orwell is smiling.

I will report on my findings this summer...all the easy Wifi hotspots I come across and I intend to write an article about the necessity of securing your Wifi signal, unless of course you are of the "good neighbour" type who simply offer Wifi to anyone who may be seeking such a service.

NOTE: If you do not want anyone using your wireless computer system SECURE IT.

If you do not know how to do this, do a Google search on your Wifi router, look it up in the Help section of your wireless router, or call the 1-800 number provided by the company from which you purchased your wireless router. If not, well, BEWARE.

Friday, June 23

Gimme A Break!

They say that many, too many, people who retire find themselves bored after the first three months of retirement. In fact, there are hundreds of reports questioning people's plans, not financial, but their psychological plans.

Recently, I read a statement whereby it asked:

"What are you doing after work? Canadians are retiring earlier than ever and can expect to live an average of thirteen years in good health following retirement. While good financial planning is key to a comfortable retirement, the move away from the world of work also requires emotional planning to ensure a smooth transition."

This seems to be a true statement. I had so many people ask me "what are you ever going to do with your time?" Or they say, "You'll be back to work in no time because you will be bored." Those people are probably similar to those who, in a study by the Conference Board of Canada found, "that one-third of all Canadians have trouble adjusting to retirement." That is sad!

The report found that the main reason for this "dissatisfaction" is "boredom." They do not have the daily routine that work provided and that "many people find themselves feeling alone and disengaged from their usual social circle."

Surprising as well is the fact that most people plan for their financial future, however they spend very little, if any, time planning what they intend to do with their new found extra time. The report suggests that people should plan what they will do after they leave the workforce:

"The best thing to do is to think of retirement as a new opportunity. The average person spends more than 40 hours a week at work. You now have an extra eight hours per day to pursue your own interests, such as returning to school, traveling the world, volunteering for a favourite cause, starting a new hobby, or even moving to a place you've always wanted to live."

Getting back to my title of this Blog, I should mention that I now need a break from my breakaway from the workforce. I have been retired for almost seven months now and have been extremely busy doing volunteer work at Sarnia's Imperial Theatre working in the Box Office and computer repairs, as well I am the Webmaster for 3 non-profit groups (see my links in the sidebar), editor of the Sarnia Computer Group, and also I write a regular column on computers for Business Trends magazine. I am a Scout leader and an avid canoeist and camper.

The last on the above list will be acted on in one week. As I am taking a break from all my activities. You see, my groups I belong to close for the summer and next week is the "last of the Mohicans".

My summer plans include several canoe trips, camping, fishing, spending lots of time at my trailer, reading, writing, watching my Grandsons baseball games, and of course banging away on my computer.

So, as you may have guessed, I do not fall in the category of the "bored" pensioners, but I do need a break, a time to slow down and just appreciate the fact that I do not work anymore...At least I do not work for money haha.

Monday, June 19

Algonquin: Canoe Tripping Level 1

ORCA Canoe Tripping Level 1 Certification

- A SUCCESS!!! -

I know, it has been quit some time since my last Blog, however I have been very busy. The dust still has not settled and the waves are still rolling as they should.

This Blog is not my trip log (will be posted at a later date), it is a rhetorical message of sorts, a thought out loud if I may.

The picture says it all, nothing more, nothing less.

Many people ask, "Why would you ever want to go there with all the bugs, wild animals, and nothing to do?"

I simply shake my head, and then I attempt to explain the Algonquin interrior. The beauty, the peace and tranquility, it is all there.

Although, if this picture d
oes not make you languish a contemplation for a canoe trip, well nothing will I suppose.

Last month we completed our final segment of the ORCA Canoe Tripping Level 1 certification in Algonquin. Our trip began at Lake Magnetawan and con
tinued the first day into Ralph Bice Lake (which can be treacherous) where we set up camp. The above picture is a view from the south/east side of the our camp; it is a site to behold forever.

Here before this great rock, Dale and Brian, two other students of the
course, are heading south/east on Daisy Lake to explore, after we set up camp on an island at the west end of Daisy. Some of these rocks in Algonuin are amongst the oldest rocks on the planet, leftovers from the PreCambrian Shield.

Yes, the bugs were plentiful, the temperature was rising, and the portage was a long, long, training session. But when it was said and done, we only remember the team work and developed friendships that got us over the rough terrain, safe and sound.

We learned alot about ourselves during this trek, an adventure never to be forgotton any too soon.

This portage is 1450 meters long. We did it is planned segments, the same ones we practiced in our classroom setting this past winter. Although the trail was much different than inside a nice, comfortable classroom. Careful was the word of the day, safety was of the utmost, and we hiked in pairs not only ensuring safety but developing friendships.

This portage is between Ralph Bice And Daisy lakes.

Of course, canoe tripping is not all bugs, heat, heavy lifts, and long exhausting hikes. It is also about relaxing, taking time out for lunch, and enjoying important things life has to offer; canoe tripping is far removed from the conrete world we surround ourselves each day. You could almost say that "Heaven is a canoe trip" and you would not be too far off the mark.

Hang in there, a complete canoe log is forthcoming...as soon as I find the time.