Category Archives: Tech

Dead Robot

September 4, 2013

Due to a recent hacking attempt, I’m forced to change pretty much all my passwords.

With this new requirements most sites are putting upon you for strong passwords, I am forced to write down all my choices. In pencil. And keep it on me. In my wallet.

I have become my father.

I has a sad

Tech, You Stupid Dick 2 Replies

allergicIn the last month I’ve come across a few news stories that make me wonder if parents are teaching kids that it’s ok to blame other people for their own stupidity.

Like the parents who want Tide to change their laundry detergent packs into something less colourful because kids are eating them. Google it. Apparently there are hundreds of kids dying every second of the day because parents are not storing these pods high up enough on shelves. Or keeping an eye on them long enough so that they can move stacks of books into place to get up to where parents have hidden them.

Or the parents who just haven’t taught their kids to NOT EAT LAUNDRY DETERGENT.

The news is littered with stories like this. And ladies and gentlemen, here is where I get up on my front porch and yell at anyone within shouting distance:

When I was a kid (Oh here he goes…) we had toys that would shoot pointed plastic darts out of them. Right at your eye if you weren’t paying attention. We had toys that would heat plastic to dangerous temperatures so that you could make rubbery spiders you would throw at your sister. When I was a kid we had one freakishly scary cartoon PSA on PBS warning kids about the danger of the stuff under the sink. Where the soundtrack would make me wet myself if I even heard one second of it.

Tonight, CTV news did a story about parents who believe their children to be “electrosensitive” and are fighting to ban WiFi signals in school.

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

Seriously. Electo – Senstive. Meaning the parents believe that their children are allergic (?!) to WiFi signals. Or some such shit. I googled it and came across so much bullshit Facebook posts that I thought I was going to cry.

Thought: how are parents actually posting to FaceBook about this crap while their kids are in the same house? I digress.

I wish only the worst for these parents. I want them to wildly wonder why their kids are being left behind when it comes to career opportunities that involve new technologies. I want these parents to wonder why their kids are shoveling shit.

Whew. Ok. Done. Move along.


Personal Bits, Tech, You Stupid Dick 4 Replies

Want to see something cool?


It’s my URL, right? To anyone, these look like two nested subdomains belonging to me, purely because the “dotcom” is in it’s proper place and all that.

Okay go ahead and click it – no worries, I’ll wait.

Ta Da! That site is Not Mine. In fact I have no clue why this site comes up. That page is a perfect copy of this page. I suspect it’s in place for some nefarious reason that I really don’t want any part of.

How did I discover this? I got an email from a chap in Australia saying that this page

is phishing for sign ins on his site,

Of course I’m mortified. I’ve checked all my logs and stats and quite frankly I’m baffled. I have no clue how they’re redirecting to their subdomains while using my domain name.

While trying different combinations of subdomains, I ran across that example above. Someone has my “brand” and is fucking with it. I’m not happy.

I’ve passed this on to my host provider but for the first time in my career as a web guy, I feel old. I feel like I’ve been bettered. That dreaded feeling that technology is passing even ME by.

You Pod, I Pod

Distractions, Tech 2 Replies

When podcasting started to trend back when iPods and iTunes hit it’s third generation, I gave them little attention. Now that I  have more than an hour to and from (and at) the gym, and about 45 min to get to work I’m finding them extremely entertaining. Here’s a list of my current faves in listy list order:

5. Humble and Fred. “For 20 years Humble and Fred destroyed commercial radio” is the intro for these two ex-jockeys who I’ve been following for …uh… 20 years. I remember when they started at The Edge and enjoyed their banter. Glad to see them back. I’ve subscribed to them without hearing a full episode, but trust them based on their past …uh… 20 years of experience. I like them, I trust them to bring a funny and occasionally thoughtful show. You should too.

4. Imagineering My Way. I’ve just found this Blue Sky Disney podcast after dropping two of the most popular Disney podcasts out of frustration (See below) and I’m finind it curious and engaging, two shows in. It’s filling my nerd gap between my Disney Travel trivia and my Disney tech organs. While the show isn’t put together by an Imagineer as the title suggests, it’s culled by someone who likes to think he is, which makes it identifiable and opinionated – but not in an obnoxious way. The companion website is a bit… 1998, but the podcast has moments of quirky brilliance.

3. Laser Time. I stumbled upon these guys via iTunes search when looking for “games, nerd, tech”. They deliver this in spades. I have no idea about their back story, but their first ‘cast mentions past transgressions on another podcast that I suspect got too big and too close to their careers, which they might have let loose a couple disparaging opinions on. Whatever. They start their first podcast with a knockout subject for nerds – Star Wars! But sadly they dropped a couple off colour gay jokes within the first 20 minutes. I overlooked that and shouldered on. I loved the banter but they need to reduce the amount of soundboard audio inserts by half. Its like listening to a cheesey morning show. But, three episodes into it, I’m liking what they’re doing.

2. Pod is My Copilot. I found “Pod” through Taylor’s Instagram feed. It’s weird finding a podcast via a picture app but you really do discover gems when you read people’s profiles. These three have literally no taboo topics (okay, facial gimps freaks out Taffy but she will gladly discuss sexing up her husband in the back seat of the family minivan in a mall parking lot) and the three have a great dynamic: Rodan the sex fiend, Taffy the sex fiend fag hag and Taylor is the apparent “prude” (air quotes – he can dish out the odd tryst and dirty story).  Their show is nothing more than discussing their experiences from the past week and allow meandering down conversational paths which makes you feel like you’re sitting in on three friends dishing at the table next to you. I’d like to know the history of these three but the site is without any kind of “about us” page. UPDATE: Yesterday with the release of their 200th episode, the three of them did a big production of being “replaced” with other hosts from three other low level podcasts. Right on the heels of being nominated for best LGBT podcast? Odd. I hope it’s a joke…

1. Nerdist. I’ve been following Chris Hardwick since he would fill in on Attack of the Show – where he talked about tech, gadgets and nerd topics, and then onto his own Web Soup, where he discussed web videos for full comedy effect. For the last couple years, he and his two best friends Jonah Ray and Matt Mira, have been discussing all things nerdist but with a heavier slant on stand up comedy (evident by the list of guests they’ve had over their podcasting history). It’s been fun to watch this show snowball over it’s lifetime and seeing the fanbase grow – a lot like a comic con but without the sweaty freaks and packed retail floor. Chris’ close proximity to celebrity A-list geeks and nerds affords him a great list of guests: Billy West, the voice of Fry and many others from Futurama; Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller, who tells a wicked short person vs monkey story; the cast of Dr Who; the cast of Walking Dead (pre-fired Frank Darabont) and many more, so the show is always interesting, even when they’re doing a “Hostful” show – sans guest – where they just sit around and converse.

I’ve recently stopped listening to the two highest rated Disney Info podcasts: The Dis Unplugged and WDW Radio for bi-polar reasons.

I unsubbed The DisUnplugged for being a bit too opinionated: in the beginning, I liked their honest approach to Disney, often lambasting the House of Mouse for whatever reason – I found it refreshing that they thought Disney was not without reproach. But in the last 6 months I’ve noticed they’ve tipped over into negativity that seemed unwarranted. Their last three shows where they reviewed their Adventures by Disney trip to London and Paris was a symphony of complaints bracketed by “But it was the best trip I’ve ever taken”. Literally, Pete the host, started out each of the 3, one hour episodes saying how he had only ONE complaint (his emphasis) but yet managed to gripe about every segment of their trip they reported on. Food, shopping, cleanliness, host attitudes, guide descriptions, weather, tours, tour subjects, the Mona Lisa, crime, room temperature and many other topics were trashed. But yet they infuriatingly finish the show with a negated, throw-away acceptance comment that they had a great time. Remind me never to book group travel with them.

I’ve stopped listening to WDW Radio for being too treacle. The site and the podcast are a cornucopia of Disney information, history and trivia but without any kind of back up of personal commentary, it gets a bit grating on the nerves. After a while the podcast comes across as a travel agent pitch or a hour-long resume to Disney. The tipping point for me was when Lou Mongello, the host, made veiled gay jokes when suggesting holding hands and skipping through the park with one of his male podcast guest. Repeatedly. Across 3 episodes. Ugh.

Canada’s Google

Tech, The Bad, You Stupid Dick 1 Reply

I see that Rogers is getting into the home security business.

This fills me with such dread I can barely contain myself. Thank god I have a blog.

Information is the currency of the internet. The more you have, the more power you wield. And who wields the most information in Canada? Righto, my tin foil hat followers – Rogers! Okay I’m not going to go conspiracy theory on you but I will speculate something here: Imagine a large corporation collecting data on what time you came home, when you usually took vacation, when your kids were online, when you take breaks at the office to check up on your house. Basically all your “down time” collected in a nice pie graph so that they knew when you could be reached for…ads?

Would that not be the greatest thing Rogers could sell to their own marketing people? Or third party ad agencies for a delicious price? Why else get into the home monitoring business? It’s such a innocuous vertical that it baffled me at first – why not update their dinosaur like On Demand channels or improve their digital media streaming infrastructures and make millions like iTunes?

Because right now the money is being made online is knowing where you will be, what you will do and how best to market to you. Rogers has never done anything out of the goodness of their corporate heart and I see this “protecting your family” garbage is the warm piss flying into your face while they take note of when’s the best time to hit you for an iPhone upsell.

Then again, reading through all their online crap about the service makes me think they’re just bumbling their way through another product launch, and that wiring up your home with crap wifi and web cams is a cheap way for them to make a buck. I could be 1000% wrong.

Steve Jobs

Celebs and Media, Tech, You Magnificent Bastard 5 Replies

I’m profoundly sad.

I’m not one to get caught up in the death of a celebrity. I didn’t know the man, I only know what I’ve read and seen in cheesey made-for-TV movies. I can’t say if he was a “nice” guy or a shrewd business tyrant. I didn’t follow the man, Steve Jobs, that closely.

But I do know his product. And I know how his product changed the world.

Back in 1996 I won $5000 in a bingo hall while on a weekend trip to Vancouver. I came home with a promise that I would use that money to make my life better. I decided that I was going to go back to school and finish getting my Graphic Design diploma and start working in this “new media” that was touted as the future of how we did things, how we entertained ourselves. The internet was starting to explode.

The first thing I did was purchase an Apple Performa 530. I loved that one piece. I remember being all excited about the 68040 CPU chip inside and how strong it was. I learned as much as I could about how it worked, it’s limitations and it’s strengths and started to create “things” with it… digital files, images, sounds, funny movies.

Speaking of movies… that Performa was my first window to the internet. My first video I ever saw not sourced by TV was The Exploding Whale – a 3:30 minute video that took over 5 hours to download. I started to download it in the morning and then came back to it after a day at work – hit play and pissed myself laughing.

I also got my first internet date from that little box. It went horribly but I can remember telling a friend that I just had sex by picking someone up off the internet. I literally was shaking with excitement. I had successfully bypassed the bars and got laid without drinking or sorry excuses!

The future was going to be awesome.

Wired June 1997 cover

I traded it up for a stronger PowerPC Performa (a tower) and continued to stay with Apple through some pretty rough times for that company. After years with the Tower, I fell in love with the colourful Mac line up. I had a Blueberry ‘Tosh, the one with the funny puck mouse, which I shared with my boyfriend at the time. I can still remember tearing a strip off the Bell customer service rep when they told me that the “guy who handles Mac calls was out for the night” and that no one could help me with my internet connectivity. Thus was the bane of Mac ownership back in 1999.

I left Mac for a while there, convinced by a (now ex) friend that PCs were cheaper and much more modular. Yes they were. Still are. But when I think back to the number of times I had issues with the damn beige box, compared to the number of times I’ve contacted AppleCare (twice in all the years of ownership), I’m reminded of this quote from Steve Jobs:

When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.

I got the iPhone a solid year before it was released in Canada, thanks to a man I do truly love. That lead me down a dangerously obsessive road of hacking and ultimately questioning Apple’s closed mentality towards their hardware and software – when the hackers broke open the phone, allowing it to be used on any network, Apple would release a patch, along with insanely great new features. You’d have to re-lock your phone if you wanted to be part of the fun. After a year of jailbreaking and reinstalling dubious code downloaded from mysterious strangers off the web, when the iPhone finally did come to Canada, I stopped cold turkey and embraced the concept of a “Walled Garden”. I now chant “it just works” and like it.

I came back to Apple 2 years ago after a 7 year hiatus. It was a great day when I transferred what I could from that Frankenstein PC over to the PowerMac I bought second hand. And even better when I upgraded to my current iMac 21.5, which I’m using right now to type this. To my left is my iPad, my iPhone and down there in the junk drawer is my Newton 130. Awesome products that allowed me to make some awesome things.

I tear up every time I see or hear that scratchy video of Walt Disney dedicating the opening of Disneyland, back in July 1955. But those are tears of happiness. I know the strength behind those simple words, spoken in a barely contained supernova of pride. Now, tonight, I had a good cry over the loss of a man who was a visionary, just like Disney who loved bringing the “next insanely great thing” to the masses. I can’t help compare the two.

I never knew Mr Jobs, but have enormous respect for him and his accomplishments. I must thank him for the tools that shaped my life.

Steve Jobs – 1955 to 2011.

Thank you!