50 years ago an American walked on the moon, today…

…we have an American being launched into orbit around the earth by the the Russians, because the Americans do not have their own capability to launch humans, even to low earth orbit. Not a lot of people would’ve have placed a bet on that scenario 50 years ago! Yeah, there will be a “made in America” launch solution soon, two, perhaps three solutions. But still, in 50 years the capability has gone backwards, first with the Shuttle’s LEO only capability, and then with there being no American human launch capability since 2011, already 8 years.
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San Francisco USA: New Country, New Camera

San Francisco Bay Pano SR600340
Unfortunately, one of the first things I did walking in San Francisco was kick a piece of garbage. This is walking down Market Street heading to the Ferry Building. I look around the street, and notice more garbage around, this being on a major walking street. I probably would have given it a pass, but I simultaneously noticed that there was more than one person walking around, picking up garbage on a Saturday. Despite this, there was still garbage strewn about, not tons, but enough to keep a couple of people constantly walking around picking the stuff up. Could use a few more garbage cans, but the garbage beside those cans I saw shows me some people still won’t bother. I now understand why Americans remark on how clean Canadian streets are, it seems we just try harder not to throw our crap all over the place.

Port of San Francisco SR600252 But things pick up from there. Continue reading

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You Are as Happy as Where You Are

There is an old saying, ‘the grass is greener on the other side of the fence’. I was watching the gathering of nomads at the RTR, thinking how great it would be to be down there, in the warmth and among so many interesting people. In fact, I was feeling a little sorry for myself being left out of most of the fun.
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Voting no tomorrow on the oy-limp-icks bid

Tomorrow is voting day in Calgary, we get a chance to vote on if we want to bid for the 2026 winter Olympics in Calgary. I’ll be voting ‘no’ – what follows is my reasoning.
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How to say goodbye to a friend that is dying

A good friend passed away recently. It wasn’t the perfect end to a friendship that one would hope for; indeed such a thing may not exist. But in passing she gave me an answer to a question I have pondered for years: How to say goodbye to a friend that is dying. It is an answer; not the ultimate answer. Be happy for what little wisdom you glean sometimes.
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New trend: Being a Hi Tech Nomad

I’ve been reading of late of a trend that I learned of on www.cheaprvliving.com/ The idea being, if you are about to lose your home or are squeezed to the limit just staying in your current pad, you can completely change your life for the better by just ditching the home entirely. You might be forced to live in your car after losing your home, but you also might deliberately make the choice. You might be looking to travel, but have no money. You might be retired, or you might work. In other words, going nomad might be the solution. This isn’t a new living style; the idea has been around as long as people had the ability to carry everything they own with them. So why am I talking about a lifestyle choice that has been around since the dawn of time? It’s the technology revolution in nomad lifestyle that interests me.
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Time to retire the Nexus 4 – hello Pixel 2

I’ve been slow to upgrade my Nexus 4 as I’m an old fart these days in the IT world, and old farts don’t like change. I’m so pissed off with Windoze 10, I can’t even write about it (someday, I may blast out about that, it would be a long frothing at the mouth rant). I’m happy to report my experience in the Android world has been much more positive since I got the Nexus 4 phone and Nexus 10 tablet. They just work. They upgrade without breaking my programs – mostly – my RBC Mobile app just disappeared one upgrade, no longer compatible with either my pad or phone. I was pissed off early on when a major upgrade totally change the icons, replacing the back arrow with a triangle, and the home icon with a box. That has to be one of my worst IT WTF moments as as when I turned on my phone after the upgrade and had no idea what these new buttons were. Hey, in the old IT days you upgraded your OS, in new Soviet IT world, your phone upgrades itself. You figure out after upgrade, comrade.
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IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad’s legacy

You probably didn’t know who Ingvar Kamprad was until the news hit today that he, the founder of IKEA, had passed away. It got me thinking about how big an influence he had, especially here in Canada. In my generation, pretty much everyone had some IKEA furniture in their place at some point. IKEA fits the Canadian mindset quite well – build it good enough for cheap. IKEA fit in with Canadian culture another way: at a time when a lot furniture stores were known for being full of pushy sales people, IKEA just left you alone to wander through a cavernous space, but if you had a question, there were staff around to help you. That suited me, thus after a while I just defaulted to heading to IKEA when I needed another piece of furniture. A lot of other people seemed to feel the same way, judging by the expansion of IKEA over the years. Continue reading

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Proper lite cell phone plans in Canada

It bugs me that people get pushed into paying ridiculous amounts for cell phone plans in Canada. It’s gotten worse too – I used to shudder at $50/month for a cell phone, now that is considered cheap! Go to the stores, or shop online, and you’ll get something put in front of your nose that is more like $70 – $80 dollars per month, with the added insult of a data cap in the 1-2GB range. You could be just fine on $30 – 45/month – but beware – cheap plans can bite you too with data overages, so read to the end and go do your own research before jumping (or not) on the cheap plan wagon.
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Civic Voting

Today is voting day in Alberta, for your local representatives to town and school. I’m pleased to report a huge turnout at my local polling station. According to one of the ballot minders I queried, it has been nutz all day. He figured if our polling station was typical, there was going to be a record turnout this time around for a City of Calgary election.

I’m not surprised the turnout was better – there was contradictory polls for who was going to win mayor, Ward Boundary changes, several councilors not running, at least two slates of candidates I knew of, and the bombshell issue dropped by the Flames on not getting an arena deal done, not that that had anything to do with the election going on… But even with all that, there were a lot of people out there – seems perhaps the combination of factors stirred a lot of butts off of the couch to go down to their polling station.

I was even torn on who to vote for councilor – I knew I wasn’t interested in my inherited incumbent, who in my opinion “mailed in” his campaign, and seems to share a different set of priorities from myself. But the choice was difficult – at least there were two good candidates to pick from – some of the bottom feeders seem unlikely to be able to run a food truck, much less a city. I had to pull additional data at the last minute in the form of who got the most signs out on lawns and around the ward. It’s not the worst way to gauge a candidate – you know they have a combination of support, organization and resources if they have lots of signs out. That is not always a plus, but when I’m trying to gauge if my potential choice might win, it’s definitely a factor in favor.

As always, it was a privilege to vote and frankly “voting day” is one of the few “days” I give a damn about; most of the rest being excuses for a day off or to buy, buy, buy! I hope you voted, but if you didn’t let me tell you I made sure to vote so you have that choice come next election.

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