Category Archives: Tech

iSilence Day One

Celebs and Media, Tech, Toronto

I’ve been stewing over an article by Andrew Sullivan wrote a while back claiming that the iPod is the first horseman of the apocalypse.

Even without the white wires, you can tell who they are. They walk down the street in their own MP3 cocoon, bumping into others, deaf to small social cues, shutting out anyone not in their bubble.


Get on a subway, and you’re surrounded by a bunch of Stepford commuters, all sealed off from each other, staring into mid-space as if anaesthetized by technology. Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t over-hear, don’t observe. Just tune in and tune out.


Technology has given us finally a universe entirely for ourselves – where the serendipity of meeting a new stranger, or hearing a piece of music we would never choose for ourselves, or an opinion that might actually force us to change our mind about something are all effectively banished.

What gloom and doom! Goodness! Its like he’s never heard of the New York Times vs The Post and the fact that there are open minded people out there who read both. Or that people post things (usually with links) to their blogs that might challenge our thought processes, as Mr Sullivan did with his blog (it would seem the irony is lost here but I am sure its due to his iPod). I remember clearly back in the late 70s when Sony’s Walkman hit the market. The exact whining that the fabric of social interaction was going to unravel like a machine washed Prada sweater went on and on, even so far to see the walkman deemed illegal in certain situations. In my opinion, the acceptance of drugs and alcohol have more to do with the downfall of social interaction than a device that brings us music.

(I) realized I had left my iPod behind. Panic. But then something else. I noticed the rhthyms of others again, the sound of the airplane, the opinions of the cabby, the small social cues that had been obscured before. I noticed how others related to each other. And I felt just a little bit connected again. And a little more aware. Try it. There’s a world out there. And it has a soundtrack all its own.

I decided to “try it” and leave the iPod, Gameboy and books at home while travelling on public transit for seven days (the only time I actually use these to shut out the world). No distractions. Pure observations. I will record what I’ve heard (and seen if its of any importance to my spiritual growth) here daily. This may bore you and I hope it does. Apparently Mr Sullivan wants you to experience “life” in its yawning fullest.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Day 1!

Woman on cellphone: “I know. I am on the streetcar right now. I am headed to the office. No. No. (pause) (heavy sigh) NO. Look. No.” (it continues in this vein. She’s getting looks from people around her with each “no”).

Asian couple behind me engaged in conversation using a dialect I have no hope in deciphering.

Couple of students too far away to actually hear what they’re saying but the explosion of laughter makes a couple people sitting near me turn their heads to look.

Many people without iPods or CD players still block the doorway of the subway and even less move to allow people to get on or off.

More people reading papers than iPod/music players. Small percentage of that have both book/music player combo. Good for them for reading, I can hear Andrew say.

For the most part, not a lot of people were talking which has been pretty much the norm as long as I can remember and I’ve been taking transit in Toronto since the late 70s. As for the “serendipity of meeting someone”, there was not one single person who stuck out in my mind, not even a good looking bear I wanted to snog. I did notice that Newsweek put Martha’s head on a great body and slapped it up on their cover. But that came from sneaking a peek at a newspaper story. I guess I could have engaged the person beside me regarding this “technological wonder” but I would have been deemed a “streetcar freak” because you just don’t do that on public transit.

iSilence Day 2

Distractions, Tech, Toronto

Friday, March 4th, 6:30pm, Carlton Streetcar

“What nigger do I know with the name Cameron with a Winnie the Pooh hat? Hold on. (fudges with his phone) Hulo? Hullo? (repeat seven times). Beet? I know no nigger with that name.” (This guy would be Andrew Sullivan’s nightmare: he was on the phone, talking simo on two lines AND had walkman ear buds with music coming out of them still in his ears as he tried to wrangle callwaiting. The conversation went on from there but as soon as he used the N word, the white people in the car got all “I’m not really listening but I AM”)

“This is Carlton. At Yonge, it turns into College. You’re going the wrong direction.”

“I cannot operate this streetcar while you are over that white line. You will have to move in or get off.”

“What does he think this is, a Democracy? Tell the asshole to get off the steps.” (of the front entrance to the streetcar)

“Just going to squeeze past your napsack there. Its a bit like country dancing.”

Asian guy with a folding chair much like they use on WWE, trying to get on a ful streetcar.

Guy on subway who looked alot like Fabio with his leg up on the centre pole, looking alarmingly drunk.

This was a rough trip without my iPod. I got home hating humanity especially having to put up with this double standard racism in my ear. I dont even like using the word “fag” when referring to my friends.

The Party is Over


I just went to a site and nearly clicked on a popup ad that had bypassed Firefox’s anti-popup software.

It was one of those “phake” ads that look like system messages. I had become so use to not having any ads in the last while I was actually hovering over it ready to click on it to say OK.

I bet lots of people are going to do that in the next little while.

Did… did I just say that?


Copyscape is an interesting little tool to see who’s been quoting your website.

Putting in gets two results. An ass-crappy shopping page that “extracts” posts from blogs and an actual Battle Beyond the Stars fan page (I got my quote from

I’m kind of insulted I’m not copied more…

Asteroid 2001 DA42 Gets a Name

Celebs and Media, Tech

Orbiting the sun at 358 million kilometers from the sun, between Mars and Jupiter, the rock in question was named Douglasadams by the Committee on Small Body Nomenclature. Pretty fitting since he died in 2001, his initials are DA and 42 is attached to the end of the designation.

“I couldn’t trust the thinking of a man who takes the Universe – if there is one – for granted.”


Personal Bits, Tech

The Shuffle and the Mac Mini are hardly unexpected, what with all the lawsuits Apple has been handing out like they were XP Windows Updates. Already GAB has called the iPod Shuffle the “iSuppository”.

But why do I want them so?!? Is it the Sans-Serif font on all their product? The clean design? The fact that I find Steve Jobs sexy (for his brians, only, of course)(though, I bet he’s hairy under that turtleneck…)(where was I?)?

I am thinking, however, that my Da would like the Mac Mini, to get him off the 500mhz Aptiva he’s on right now. Its so slow and buggy, you’d think you were using a 486 on a 14.4 modem. He already has a flatscreen monitor. And the “service calls” I get when I go over for free dinners would be reduced greatly (you know the ones: “I dont know where the camera downloaded the pictures to” or “My email is broken” etc). iLife would solve lots of his worries. Hmmm…..

Fighting The Amazon Part 2


You will recall I sent an inquiry to Amazon (click this post’s title for refreshment and koolaid). I got a reply:

From: “ Customer Service”
Subject: Your Inquiry

Thank you for writing to with your comments about the pop-up window.

Customer feedback like yours is always important to us as we continue to determine ways to improve the shopping experience for everyone who visits our web site. I will be sure to pass your message along to the appropriate people in our company.

We will forward your comments and feedback to the appropriate department for consideration. Customer service is not in a position to make changes to web site features or functions. Likewise, we cannot make promises that other departments will make changes at our request. The most we can do is to be sure that your comments are forwarded to those who have these responsibilities.

Please let me assure you that I have done so.

Thank you for your understanding and for taking the time to write to us. We hope to see you again at

Best regards,

Sara D. Customer Service

Pop Up windows? Am I talking to a robot? I never mentioned pop-ups…

Here’s my reply:

Hi Sara D.

I am usure what you mean by “pop up window”. My inquiry was regarding unsolicited links placed on my site to your “phantom” URLs (

I am hoping my request was directed to your accounts receivable because of the links your automated spiders keep on putting on my private site, paid for by me, out of my own pocket, my non-money making site, my virtual money pit, the thing that doesn’t make me any money (as opposed to your multi-million dollar, publically traded site). I would be happy to keep your links there if you are willing to pay for them. Seeing how they keep appearing after all my attempts to block them, I will take that as an agreement you are willing to pay for advertisement on my site. I need to know who to send my measly, hand-written invoice to.

Lets save each other the embarrassment of awkward silences and broken promises, shall we? Why not just give me the email of who I need to speak to? I don’t want Amazon to incur any outstanding charges due to late payment and I want to stop wasting your time as well as mine.



Apple Cored


Rumour has it IBM will partner or buy up Apple outright while dumping it’s PC division to the Chinese. My fave Slashdot quote about that is:

“Q. What do you get when you join Apple and IBM?


Screw the market analisys and business speculation crap! I think it would be the best reality tv show out there. Imagine the Mormon-esque, ill-fitting short sleeved shirt ‘n solid-coloured ties-wearing, thick rimmed taped up bespectabled geeks setting up cubicles beside the highly creative, hacki sacking, pot smelling kids at Apple. Call Burnett, I smell Survivor: Cupertino!

Seriously, if they can merge, then I think they would compliment each other nicely, thrusting simple and easy computing to everyone like the matter/anti-matter mix chambers pouring out the warp field that propels the Enterprise to the farthest reaches of the galaxy!

I have to go wash now that I used that analogy.

More geek wispering out there in the Net is that Apple may get into flash drive players, creating iPods under $200, and further speculating that Apple will capture 30% of the music player market, much like Walkmans did in the 80s. Expect something when the Turtleneck’d guy takes to the stage in Jan ’05. Can’t wait!!

What’s on your mind?

Distractions, Tech

What’s that game where people try to get the minimal amount of Google results with certain words? Or is it just one word?

B2evolution (which by the way, rocks for all your independent blogger needs) provides these crazy stats. One feature is the seach string to which people come to your site. That one up there was the weirdest, resulting in one Google hit. Yay obscure me! Yet with “Cabbagetown Adrianne Clarkson” I am last of 21.

Posting the word Fauxhawks usually gets me a few hits.

Fauxhawks you say? Yes. Fauxhawks.

Who would have guessed that the word fauxhawks can garnish traffic to your fauxhawks-free site? Fauxhawks!

And there are some sick people out there: google Joan Collins Foot Fetish and I am #10. My mention of Addidas shorts and my budding fetish of man-parts peeking out from them, was an inbound link for a while. Am I really that pervy?

I should have been a statstatticcian or something er other…

Expect an interesting post soon. This is Wonderland-y.

Still My Dreamweaver Gently Weeps

Tech, Work

What an eye opening week I’ve had.

I’ve discovered that the Webmaster for the company I work for does not give one frikkin toss about web standards and has been designing one of our division’s web site using Dreamweaver’s Properties Drop Down Menu Window.

(If you’re not HTML-literate, I suggest that you skip this post, it might get a bit too technical. Why not visit one of my outbound links at the side there and come back when this post is done?)

For those of you familiar with Dreamweaver, you know that it magically creates CSS tags on the fly! Fine and dandy if you dont already have an external CSS page linked to the page you’re amending/editing. Which he’s been doing. Our webmaster is behaving exactly like some college dude that comes home and spreads all his stuff all over the frikkin apartment. Let me show you:

<!– #BeginEditable “doctitle” –>
<title>My Slave Driving Job Inc.</title><br>

Here we see our intrepid Webmaster using a line break tag within HEAD tag. <sarcasm>Sheer brilliance. </sarcasm> I dont know what he thought would happen…widen the title bar on the browser?

// End –></b>

Look deeply inside this Javascript “hide from old browsers” comment tag, still nested within the HEAD tags. See that poor little orphan closing BOLD tag? Weep with me people. Its all alone! And yes, it did screw up the page royally.

The next is a doozy:

<TD> <span class=”formtext”><font color=”#000066″><font color=”#000066″><font color=”#000066″><font color=”#000066″>*Province/State</font></font>
</font></font></span><span class=”style6″><font color=”#000066″>
<font color=”#000066″><font color=”#000066″>
<font color=”#000066″>:</font></font></font>
<font color=”#000066″><font color=”#000066″><font color=”#000066″>
<font color=”#000066″></font></font><span class=”style2″>
<b><b><b><font color=”#000066″><b><font color=”#000066″><br>

Various FORM information…

</font></b></font></b> </b></b></span></font>

Gaze upon the horror is that is Dreamweaver mangling code beyond recognition! Look as a Webmaster completely turns his back upon web standards, good code and neatness for the sake of “getting it done”. Weep with me as we think of the poor slob who will be stuck cleaning up after his thoughtless stream of HTML diarrhea.

You are looking at our Webmaster’s attitude in code form right there. This is what I have had to put up with all week. I am on the verge of saying full on to his face: “If you dont like your job then fuck off.”

Thing is, I am unsure if he is doing this because he doesn’t know better or he’s a lazy slob. He’s fresh out of Media school and I think they soaked him for his tuition. What school would allow this past their doors into the working world? DeVry?! Academy of Design? When I showed him this code he snorted and said: “I think there’s a spelling error in there too, Ted.” and turned away. Which makes me believe he’s a slob.

But today. Oh today. I learned today that he allowed one of our divisions’ websites to link to our main corporate site within it’s frameset


Think about it. You’re walking into Sears and within the first set of doors is another set of doors into a Dollar store. Would you not get confused and leave? I am not suprised to see the stats for the site are hovering around 10 to 20 seconds in lenght of stay. Effectively, the site is confusing the hell out of visitors and they are not booking online at all. No wonder. The trust between the company and visitor is ruined within seconds when they see a new website open up under the banner of the site they are currently in. It says to the guest “This site is poorly coded, and we don’t care.” Would you hand over your credit card number to these people?

So I am asked to redesign this site. Looks like I have a bit of work in front of me.

Damn. And I just got Half Life 2