Friday, December 26, 2008

A $20,000 hybrid?

Honda plans to release a new version of the Insight, a cost-effective and fuel-efficient hybrid vehicle. The official unveiling will be on January 11 - I'm excited!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Bank of Canada

It seems the Bank of Canada is responsive to changing economic times, as it should be. The Government of Canada is most certainly not - can we finally do away with misleading qualifiers like technical recession and structural deficit?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Stockwell Day slept with the Bloc

The Conservatives are a bunch of hypocrites.

"November 27, 2000: Canadians made it clear they desired Members of Parliament from the Canadian Alliance, the Bloc Québécois and the Progressive Conservative Party to govern. In order to govern effectively, we will be required to govern by consensus."

Source: Bloc part of secret coalition plot in 2000 with Canadian Alliance

Monday, December 1, 2008

Minority government

In the midst of Stephen Harper's posturing in the threat of defeat, may I remind him that 62.4% of Canadians voted against the Conservatives in the last election. If anything, having a minority coalition between the Liberals and NDP is more democratic and more representative of the will of Canadians.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Medical Variety Night

Buy tickets for MVN - Medical Variety Night online! Show dates are Thursday-Saturday, November 13-15 in Grant Hall at 7 pm.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ventilating a goat

Who knew that a goat could receive mouth-to-mouth resuscitation?
Be sure to click on the Photogallery to see pictures!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sobering thought for Péquistes

From a recent article in The Globe and Mail:
"In a new era when government has become the guarantor of financial stability and the lender of first resort, nobody wants to touch those countries whose banks are bigger than their economies.

Scotland's independence movement may suffer the same fate: Last week, the British government bailed out the most famous Scottish banks – the Royal Bank of Scotland, the Halifax Building Society and the Bank of Scotland – by buying up their shares as part of a bailout package that cost more than the entire annual output of the economy of Scotland.

'People are realizing that if Scotland had been independent, it would not have survived this situation.'"

If Quebec sovereigntists had won the 1995 referendum, would they now be clawing their way back into Confederation?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Deficits

Number of budgets it took the Liberal government to fully eliminate the previous Conservative government's $43-billion deficit: 4.

Number of budgets it took Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty to return Canada to the brink of deficit: 3.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Monday, September 15, 2008

Textbook and Technology Grant

A reminder to all Ontario students to apply for the Textbook and Technology Grant. It's $150 for post-secondary students, no strings attached!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Order of Canada

Individuals who do not respect women's rights to choose should not be part of the Order of Canada. Canada's highest honour has no place for intolerance and regression. Let them return their honours.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Logitech G3 Mouse

I picked up a Logitech G3 Mouse from Canada Computers today. It's got 5 (five) buttons, a scroll wheel, plus a middle button for changing DPI sensitivity on-the-fly. The DPI toggle is hard-wired, so it isn't dependent on drivers.

The laser mouse works perfectly with my MacBook Pro (running Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard), and I was able to configure each of the buttons to do different things with Expose and Dashboard. No drivers needed!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sydney too!

Apparently, Sydney faked their Olympic opening ceremony music too, in 2000, when they hosted the summer games. What a disappointment!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Asbestos exposure

Like many of the homeowners affected by the propane explosion, I am disturbed by the a lack of public and media information regarding the risk of asbestos exposure in developing cancer. However, a search of the scientific literature reveals some hard numbers. Although chronic environmental exposure to asbestos increases the risk of mesothelioma (asbestos-caused lung cancer) by seven times, such exposure needs to be prolonged.(1) Most cases develop after an average of 18 years of continued exposure.(2)

Public health authorities need to convey this information to residents affected by the blast so that concerned homeowners can understand the facts, and not degenerate into screaming matches at press conferences.

Update: This post was published as a Letter to the Editor in The Toronto Star (Saturday, August 16, 2008, Page AA5).

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Saturday, July 26, 2008

China and The World

In a long, articulate piece published in The Globe and Mail, Marcus Gee looks China's attitude to the world and how the Olympics can be a turning point in China's global position in the international community, or could result in retrogression to its oppressive communist roots.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Rogers following VeriSign?

Similar to VeriSign's SiteFinder "feature" several years ago, Rogers has now begun redirecting failed DNS lookups to their own advertisement-ridden page. What a terrible change...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Blogger

As a blogger, can I call myself a Personal Information Publishing Specialist?

MacBook Pro SuperDrive repair

I recently discovered my MacBook Pro (Late 2007, 2.2 GHz) couldn't burn DVDs. Every time I tried with a DVD-R, it would come up with this error:
This disc can't be burned, because the device failed to calibrate the laser power level for this media.


When I tried to burn a DVD-RW, I got this error:
Burning the disc failed because communication to the disc drive failed. (Error code 0x80020022)


Uh-oh. I tried everything, including creating a new user account, some strange hints, rebooting, trying different discs. I ended up taking my MacBook Pro to the Eaton Centre Apple Store Genius Bar last Sunday. They took it in, replaced the SuperDrive, and I got my laptop back on Monday. Works great - kudos to Apple for superb warranty service!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

UofT Alumni E-mail and Poutine

Are you a University of Toronto alumnus? Your @utoronto.ca address will eventually expire, and you will have to forward your e-mails. University Advancement offers Gmail-enabled @alumni.utoronto.ca accounts, and you can register for one for free!

On a lighter note, the Canadian Embassy in Washington is under fire for using the image of Samuel de Champlain holding a plate of poutine to promote Canada Day celebrations. I honestly don't get it - what's wrong with that? It's pretty funny to me, and I think it's in good taste (no pun intended).

Monday, May 26, 2008

Security leak

Looks like the gossiping busy-bodies were not the Liberals or Bloc Québécois, but Maxine Bernier's girlfriend... Bernier resigns.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mac Music Video

Three months of video work culminates in 2 min 47 sec of Macintosh bliss...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Falun Gong dismissed from Tulip Festival

In a move that prides celebration over protest and division, Ottawa's Tulip Festival organizers have dismissed Falun Gong from their festival. The Tulip Festival isn't a venue for protest: imagine if native groups were marching for land rights or Greenpeace started marching with anti-seal hunt banners.

I recall past Santa Claus Parades in Toronto where Falun Gong was also a participant. When their marching band passed, Falun Gong activists passed out leaflets to parents and children promoting their cause. Organizers in Toronto ought to take a stand against such political activism in a family event, and put a stop to these ridiculous, thinly-veiled charades.

Friday, April 25, 2008

University library proxy bookmarklet

I've always found it annoying to type proxy.queensu.ca (Queen's University Library) and/or myaccess.library.utoronto.ca (University of Toronto Library) after URLs that I want to access through the library proxy for journal articles. So, I made two bookmarklets that will automatically "proxy" the page that you are viewing.

Queen's Proxy
UofT Proxy


You can install them by simplying saving the links above as a bookmark. You can keep them in your Bookmarks/Favorites menu or you can drag it to your bookmarks toolbar. When installed, you can proxy a page simply by choosing or clicking on the bookmarklet!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Fixing .doc.dot and .ppt.pot

After upgrading to Safari 3.1.1, I had trouble with extra extensions appended onto downloads of Microsoft Office Word (.doc) and PowerPoint (.ppt) files. Files that I downloaded ended up with an extra extension, becoming .doc.dot and .ppt.pot.

I'm running Mac OS X 10.5.2 with Microsoft Office 2008 12.0.1.

After some investigating on Apple Discussions, I rebuilt my LaunchServices database and everything is well again.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

WDS

I've managed to set up WDS with the following configuration:
1. Linksys WRT54G v3.1 (stock Linksys firmware version v4.21.1) connected via hardwired WAN port to internet
2. Linksys WRT54GL v1.1 (Tomato firmware version v1.17)

Installation was hassle-free - I followed the instructions posted on the Tomato FAQ:
a) WAN was set to Disabled.
b) LAN IP address was set to 192.168.1.2, default gateway 192.168.1.1 (that of the WRT54G AP), and static DNS was set to 192.168.1.1 (that of the WRT54G AP).
c) WRT54GL was configured to Access Point + WDS.
d) SSID, radio channel, encryption (WPA Personal, AES), key were set to the same as the WRT54G AP.
e) WDS was configured to "Link with" the MAC address of WRT54G AP.

The WRT54GL was rebooted - and voila! Extended wireless network with minimal firmware flashing.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Office 2008

I purchased Office 2008 and installed it on my MacBook Pro (4 GB/2.2 GHz/Mac OS X 10.5.2), only to find it to suffer from extremely slow start up times as reported by many users on various Mac sites. I did some investigating, and I believe I know what is wrong.

1) The problem cannot be rectified by reinstalling, trashing preference files, removing Normal.dotm, or any other Microsoft-related file that I can imagine.
2) The problem cannot be rectified by disabling WYSIWYG font menus or Project Gallery on startup, as suggested by a blogger.

When Word 2008 is launched normally with all the fonts included with a standard installation of Mac OS X Leopard enabled, Word opens properly, showing "Optimizing Font Menu" on the splash screen, then displays a blank page. At this point, disk activity use spikes to 15-20 MB/s, saturating the Read activity of the computer. This is what causes the dramatic, crippling slowdowns that other users have been reporting, and why there is often a delay with the user interface (e.g. scrolling, typing, clicking menus). At the same time that this HDD activity is peaking, two processes are allocated CPU power: ATSServer and diskimages-helper (I have FileVault enabled).

I checked out what files ATSServer had open during the HDD spike (through Activity Monitor) and I saw the following (see below). The listing changes every second or so, and I was able to grab two snapshots (below).

Therefore, I think Microsoft Word is doing something disk-intensive with enabled fonts AFTER it has "Optimized font menu".

I hope that Microsoft releases a solution to this problem soon...

First snapshot:
/Library/Fonts/Verdana Italic.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Microsoft/Consolas Bold.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Microsoft/Consolas Italic.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Microsoft/Consolas.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Microsoft/Corbel Bold Italic.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Microsoft/Constantia Bold Italic.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Microsoft/Constantia Bold.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Microsoft/Constantia Italic.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Times New Roman Bold Italic.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Trebuchet MS Bold Italic.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Trebuchet MS Bold.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Microsoft/Corbel Bold.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Microsoft/Corbel Italic.ttf


Second snapshot:
/Library/Fonts/Raanana.ttf
/Library/Fonts/MshtakanBoldOblique.ttf
/Library/Fonts/MshtakanBold.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Microsoft/Lucida Console.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Mona Lisa Solid ITC TT/..namedfork/rsrc
/Library/Fonts/MshtakanOblique.ttf
/Library/Fonts/MshtakanRegular.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Nadeem.ttf
/Library/Fonts/NewPeninimMT.ttf
/Library/Fonts/NewPeninimMTBold.ttf
/Library/Fonts/NewPeninimMTBoldInclined.ttf
/Library/Fonts/NewPeninimMTInclined.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Papyrus.dfont
/Library/Fonts/PlantagenetCherokee.ttf
/Library/Fonts/RaananaBold.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Party LET Fonts/..namedfork/rsrc
/Library/Fonts/PortagoITC TT/..namedfork/rsrc
/Library/Fonts/Santa Fe LET Fonts/..namedfork/rsrc
/Library/Fonts/Savoye LET Fonts/..namedfork/rsrc
/Library/Fonts/SchoolHouse Printed A/..namedfork/rsrc
/Library/Fonts/Sathu.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Silom.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Microsoft/Candara.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Microsoft/Consolas Bold Italic.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Microsoft/Lucida Sans Unicode.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Microsoft Sans Serif.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Optima.dfont
/Library/Fonts/Osaka.dfont
/Library/Fonts/Palatino/..namedfork/rsrc
/Library/Fonts/Skia.dfont
/Library/Fonts/Snell Roundhand/..namedfork/rsrc
/Library/Fonts/Stone Sans ITC TT/..namedfork/rsrc
/Library/Fonts/OsakaMono.dfont
/Library/Fonts/Microsoft/MS Gothic.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Microsoft/Meiryo Bold Italic.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Microsoft/Meiryo Bold.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Microsoft/Meiryo Italic.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Microsoft/Meiryo.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Microsoft/MS Mincho.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Microsoft/MS PGothic.ttf
/Library/Fonts/Microsoft/MS PMincho.ttf
/usr/lib/dyld
/private/var/db/dyld/dyld_shared_cache_i386
/dev/null


/private/var/folders/4R/4RH14KX8ETeITGjham8VZ++++TI/-Caches-/com.apple.ATS/font
/private/var/folders/4R/4RH14KX8ETeITGjham8VZ++++TI/-Caches-/com.apple.ATS/annex_aux
/Library/Fonts/Synchro LET Fonts/..namedfork/rsrc
->0x53c5c38

Updated:
When I installed Mac OS X Leopard, I chose to install "Additional Fonts" which added Japanese, Korean, Hebrew, etc fontsets to my computer.

I ended up removing all existing fonts from my computer (in both ~/Library/Fonts/ and /Library/Fonts/), and used Pacifist to extract system fonts from "Essential System Software.pkg" from the Leopard DVD. I then re-installed Office 2008 from the Microsoft DVD, and my programs launch without a hitch and no spike in HDD activity.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

We got into Hansard

CFMS Lobby Day was a great success, and we got one "Statement by Member" (Hon. Carolyn Bennett, Lib.) and two Oral Questions (Hedy Fry, Lib., Judy Wasylycia-Leis, NDP). Of course, we didn't get any real answers from the government, but what do we expect from a Conservative government?

Hon. Carolyn Bennett (St. Paul's, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Federation of Medical Students, representing over 6,000 medical students across Canada, is visiting Parliament today. The students are here to discuss their rising debt load. A first year resident in Ontario has an average debt of $158,728.
These debts are stressful and interfere with medical residents' ability to serve Canadians well.
Furthermore, this financial situation prevents some young people from going to medical school, discourages medical students from choosing to specialize in family medicine, and makes it more attractive for new graduates in medicine to practice in the United States to pay off their debts.
As we are facing a doctor shortage crisis in Canada, we should be doing everything we can to support our medical students.
The Canadian Federation of Medical Students is asking the government to take action and provide some relief.
I do not understand why the Minister of Health is refusing to talk about this fundamental issue.

...

Hon. Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the government is silent on wait times, one of the Conservatives' so-called priorities.
Canadians are still waiting for tests, waiting for care and three million are still waiting to find a family doctor.
The Canadian Medical Association says that we need more doctors. The Canadian Federation of Medical Students says that we need more doctors but the average medical student cannot afford the staggering $158,000 debt that he or she faces.
Will the government fix the student loan program so more Canadians can become doctors and ease the problem of wait times?

Hon. Tony Clement (Minister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, it is a delight to stand and talk a little about our wait time strategy.
As the hon. member might recall, last year we announced funding for wait times reductions through our patient wait time guarantee with the 10 provinces and 3 territories.
I would remind the hon. member, if she has not seen the media on this, that I was in Halifax this past Friday announcing additional wait times guarantee projects with the Government of Nova Scotia. That will roll out across the country as well.

...

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, the health minister has done nothing of substance to deal with wait times in this country, except break his government's promise in the last election.
The government has ignored the good advice of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students that says that Canada needs more resident spaces, that post-graduate programs must be transferable and that nurse practitioners must be trained and used properly.
At a bare minimum, will the government tell Canada's future doctors that their student loans do not have to be paid back while they are still learning and training as residents?

Hon. Monte Solberg (Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, it is a serious issue. The government pledged in the last budget to undertake a student loan review. We have done that. We have received submissions from across the country.
The member knows we will be announcing the results of that review in the upcoming budget, which apparently is on February 26. I am really looking forward to it.

Want to read more? Read the Hansard for February 11, 2008.
CFMS Lobby Day was a great success, and we got one "Statement by Member" (Hon. Carolyn Bennett, Lib.) and two Oral Questions (Hedy Fry, Lib., Judy Wasylycia-Leis, NDP). Of course, we didn't get any real answers from the government, but what do we expect from a Conservative government?

Hon. Carolyn Bennett (St. Paul's, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Federation of Medical Students, representing over 6,000 medical students across Canada, is visiting Parliament today. The students are here to discuss their rising debt load. A first year resident in Ontario has an average debt of $158,728.
These debts are stressful and interfere with medical residents' ability to serve Canadians well.
Furthermore, this financial situation prevents some young people from going to medical school, discourages medical students from choosing to specialize in family medicine, and makes it more attractive for new graduates in medicine to practice in the United States to pay off their debts.
As we are facing a doctor shortage crisis in Canada, we should be doing everything we can to support our medical students.
The Canadian Federation of Medical Students is asking the government to take action and provide some relief.
I do not understand why the Minister of Health is refusing to talk about this fundamental issue.

...

Hon. Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the government is silent on wait times, one of the Conservatives' so-called priorities.
Canadians are still waiting for tests, waiting for care and three million are still waiting to find a family doctor.
The Canadian Medical Association says that we need more doctors. The Canadian Federation of Medical Students says that we need more doctors but the average medical student cannot afford the staggering $158,000 debt that he or she faces.
Will the government fix the student loan program so more Canadians can become doctors and ease the problem of wait times?

Hon. Tony Clement (Minister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, it is a delight to stand and talk a little about our wait time strategy.
As the hon. member might recall, last year we announced funding for wait times reductions through our patient wait time guarantee with the 10 provinces and 3 territories.
I would remind the hon. member, if she has not seen the media on this, that I was in Halifax this past Friday announcing additional wait times guarantee projects with the Government of Nova Scotia. That will roll out across the country as well.

...

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, the health minister has done nothing of substance to deal with wait times in this country, except break his government's promise in the last election.
The government has ignored the good advice of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students that says that Canada needs more resident spaces, that post-graduate programs must be transferable and that nurse practitioners must be trained and used properly.
At a bare minimum, will the government tell Canada's future doctors that their student loans do not have to be paid back while they are still learning and training as residents?

Hon. Monte Solberg (Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, it is a serious issue. The government pledged in the last budget to undertake a student loan review. We have done that. We have received submissions from across the country.
The member knows we will be announcing the results of that review in the upcoming budget, which apparently is on February 26. I am really looking forward to it.

Want to read more? Read the Hansard for February 11, 2008.

Monday, January 7, 2008

If Canadians were American...

... the Democrats would win by a 4-to-1 margin, regardless of who led the candidacy.