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    Would you hitchhike?


    2013 - 01.07

    I don’t recall exactly how or when this came up, probably because of us both being sick, but recently we were talking about whether or not hitchhiking could be an effective way to alleviate traffic congestion.  We both grew up in an era where hitchhiking was illegal and generally considered dangerous.  I wondered if the associated fears and illegality of hitchhiking lead to increased car ownership.  Not a topic that either of us really knows anything about, but it was a briefly entertaining thought experiment.

    Imagine my surprise when today I found an article: “Spontaneous carpooling: Calgary’s new city planning chief suggests hitchhiking as a ‘grassroots solution’ to city’s gridlock“.

    Turns out the practice of slugging has been around since the 70s as a real method of public transportation… and here I thought we were just talking about some sort of crazy thought experiment…

    NAS: recommendations?


    2012 - 12.10

    It is time for us to invest in some Network Attached Storage (NAS), and since we aren’t currently invested in any particular ecosystem, it seemed like a good time to see what everyone else is using and liking.  There seems to be a large assortment of options out there, but in general everything looks good when you read the spec’s.  Features which seem important to us:

    • Support for at least one of RAID 5, 6 or 10 (or equivalent)
    • Support for at least 4 drives
    • Might be nice if it supported mixed drive sizes, or dynamic adding of discs later (or swapping in discs)
    • Should support at least 2TB drives (if not larger)
    • Should support Gigabit connection
    • Management software should be usable

    I’d also like to hear opinions on drives for use in a NAS.  So feel free to offer your opinion, educated or otherwise ;-)

    Practical use of Bluetooth


    2012 - 10.21

    Saw the following in a London Drugs flyer last week, not something that we need (but something I’d consider if we replaced our existing cordless phones): Clearsounds i700.  Basically it’s a DECT cordless phone system that includes Bluetooth support.  What that means specifically is that you can connect your Bluetooth enabled cell phone to it, and consequently use your cell phone while at home as though it were your home phone.

    Don’t know how well it works, but still seems like it could be a useful feature, this particular system supposedly supports up to 2 Bluetooth connected cell phones.

    I Sit Corrected


    2012 - 08.21

    A little while back, I made a joke about the father’s of our generation not being on Facebook.  Well that was the 2012 of two months ago, since then everything has shifted.  Karin’s dad is now on Facebook, and we’re all a little frightened… more for him than for us though…

    Shaw EXO vs. Telus Optik


    2012 - 07.09

    Considering making the change either to Shaw EXO or Telus Optik, just wondering if anyone has any arguments for or against one or the other of them.  I haven’t gone and done any of the research on our options yet (beyond knowing that both are available to us).

    So I guess the questions are:

    1. are you happy with what you’ve got? if not, why?
    2. if you had the choice to make over again would you make a different one? if so, why?
    3. did you get a great deal when you upgraded/switched?
    4. anything else you think is relevant?

     

    Disposable Clothing on the way?


    2012 - 05.24

    I was reading this article today about the fees that some airlines are charging for checked bags, or in some cases carry-ons.

    It’s not like I’m a frequent flyer or anything, but as these fees continue to rise it does open up some other possibilities.  It’s not uncommon in some science fiction stories to feature disposable clothing, or paper clothing.

    As far as I know no one is currently serving this market, or otherwise renting clothing or anything like that.  Now the baggage fees aren’t probably quite to the point that people would seriously consider it, but still it looks as though we might get there sooner rather than later.

    Might serve as writing prompt for someone who’s writing something in a near future era…

    Class Size


    2012 - 03.04

    This is the sort of topic that could get me in trouble, given how many teacher’s I know…  Back when I was in school, having smaller classes would have been a bad thing.  Most of my teachers will remember me as being a decent-to-good student who stayed out of trouble.  This fond recollection is made possible by large classes.

    If teacher’s didn’t need to supervise so many students there are countless things which would have been noticed and could have possibly tarnished that teacher-pupil relationship.

    Of course when I was in school there was a healthy respect (and a little fear) of teacher’s which doesn’t appear to exist today (among students or parents).  So maybe today’s kids are less concerned with being caught doing things that they shouldn’t be doing… and likewise perhaps the parents are less demanding that they don’t.

    Thankfully I’m not a teacher so I don’t actually need to deal with that situation directly, but it certainly does seem as though a lot of respect has been lost somewhere along the way, and that’s really unfortunate.  If you look at the turnover in teacher’s and if the loss of respect was actually due to any of the teacher’s, those at the bottom and most hurt by changes are unlikely to have had anything to do with it.

    It’s actually strange thinking back on being in school, given that I graduated nearly half my lifetime ago (that’s a little scary to realize), but schools and the world are a fundamentally different place.  Things which have occurred in the world and dramatically affected the lives of parents and children (and teachers) since then include (in no particular order, and not limited to):

    • Harry Potter
    • Twilight
    • The Internet
    • Cell Phones
    • Texting
    • Columbine (and other school shootings)
    • Integrated classrooms (e.g. special needs students in the classrooms)
    • Bullying
    • Dual Incomes

    There once was a time (and it’s still the case in some countries) where everyone was so pleased or proud to be able to go to school and receive an education that students and parents worked with teachers.  Now it seems that there’s such an entitlement to an education that this respect is no longer afforded teachers or even the education system.

    I’m enough of a realist to not try to defend all teachers and especially not the education system, there are definitely flaws in both at times.  The larger problem though is in a society which essentially requires that students achieve a University degree, but which doesn’t respect the educators which help make that possible.  That same society then elects politicians who share that view, and those politicians undermine the system as a whole.

    So I joke about not wanting smaller classes, but when I went to school although there were smarter kids and less skilled students, everyone was fluent in French and English; behavioral problems consisted of talking too much during class, or failing to follow instructions.  But even so everyone yearned for the teacher’s approval, hoping for positive feedback, or a stamp or sticker.  We were not concerned that a student might bring a weapon to school.  Bullying happened, but it was limited and it was not of malicious intent.  Fights happened, but they resolved issues and everyone moved on (in fact two of my best friends became my friends after such altercations, and we’ve been friends for about a quarter century now).  It was a different time, and dare I say a better time?

    I often think that when people colour the past and remember it as better than today that they are inventing a past which might not have actually existed.  I actually believe that the respect with which teacher’s were treated is something that has diminished over time and to the detriment of all.

    So smaller classes, I suspect that it would help in a lot of cases.  It would help the teachers, but especially the students.  But we would all benefit IF we gave teacher’s more respect for the education and expertise which they have and for the difficult job they do.  If we could repair and rebuild this respect, then maybe we could repair and rebuild the system, and perhaps then politicians would have the good sense to offer some deference and respect when addressing education related issues.

    Imagine a Glassy Future


    2012 - 02.07

    I can’t remember who shared this on Facebook, but I watched and enjoyed it, and decided I’d share it here.  Mostly because I think it’s cool.  Definitely some of the things I want right now, not later, others don’t seem that useful.  I’m not sure how many of the things are actually practical, but it’s still pretty cool some of it.  Anyway, here’s “A Day Made of Glass… Made possible by Corning.”

    Incidentally Corning has their own YouTube channel, haven’t watched any of the other videos though.