Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on August 27, 2010 @ 11:05 pm

“kindle”

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on August 26, 2010 @ 7:08 pm

Today I seriously considered buying one of the new Amazon Kindles. I had never really wanted one before, but the new ones are relatively cheap, and seem like they could be useful.

Amazon.ca is advertising them on the front page, so I clicked and went through the steps of ordering one, until I got to the shipping part. Then I realized that I wasn’t purchasing it from Amazon.ca, I was purchasing it from Amazon.com, which means that the 139 they were advertising it for on Amazon.ca was not 139 Canadian dollars. False advertising, kind of? Also, there is no free shipping as is advertised when you click on the link, and you gotta pay duty, too. I sent the following message to Amazon.ca:

Why do you have the new Kindle listed on the front page of the Amazon.ca website, advertised as costing $139, but then switch me to Amazon.com when I click on it, where it tells me I qualify for free shipping, only to then tell me that I have to pay not only shipping but also duty when I’m actually about to buy it? Didn’t you guys just open up a real shop in Canada? Why do you hate us?

Not that long afterwards, I got the following reply:

Thank you for writing to us at Amazon.ca.

I apologize for any misunderstanding regarding the Kindle listed on the home page of our Amazon.ca website.

“kindle” is currently not available through our Canadian web site and is only available for purchase with our partner site Amazon.com.

To make purchase of Kindle convenient for our customers from Amazon.com, we have listed kindle on our home page by which when you click on it, you will be directed to our partner site Amazon.com where you can place order for kindle to a Canadian address.

However, I have passed your message about your interest in “Kindle” to the appropriate people in our company for their consideration. It is always important for us to hear how customers react to all aspects of shopping at Amazon.ca.

Since Kindle is shipped from Amazon.com (US fulfillment centers), the purchase to Canadian address is considered as International order.

International orders are subjected to custom duty. Since, Amazon Kindle and associated digital content can only be purchased on Amazon.com, we are unable to provide further information about the shipping charge and custom duty.

For more information about purchasing kindle, shipping charges and customs duty, I request you to contact our partner site Amazon.com using the following link.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/contact-us/general-questions.html

Our international websites operate independently of each other and don’t share order information or customer service representatives.

We are always expanding our selection, so you may want to check back occasionally to see if we have added kindle to our offerings. Any updated information we have will be listed on the website as soon as it is available.

I’m sorry again for not being able to provide you further help.

Thank you for your interest in Amazon.ca.

WTF

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on August 22, 2010 @ 7:06 pm

helmet laws

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on August 17, 2010 @ 11:07 am

Something that really upsets me is when people are so cavalier about taking away the freedom of another person, especially when the freedom in question has no effect on them. Same-sex marriage, for instance, is opposed by many people for whom it does not affect, including some people who call themselves “libertarians.”

Something else that seems to be coming up a lot lately is the argument that Toronto (or Ontario, or any jurisdiction that does not have it already) should implement mandatory helmet laws. This morning on the radio, I listened to yet another debate over this. As a cyclist who usually chooses not to wear a helmet (but sometimes chooses to wear one), this idea particularly upsets me. It usually seems to be proposed by people who aren’t cyclists, as a sort of punitive measure, similar to recent-ish musings by a Toronto city councilor that all bicycles should have to be registered and that riders should pay a licensing fee. The radio show featured a debate between a traffic officer who was in favour of helmets, and the head of the Toronto Cyclists’ Union (who I don’t usually like, but who was pretty good today). The host was unabashedly in favour of helmet laws, even though he kept pointing out that he is a cyclist. I generally cringe whenever I hear him talking about cycling in Toronto, because he’s always going on about how dangerous it is. While there are a lot of bad drivers out there, I don’t think that cycling in Toronto is particularly dangerous. I hear a lot of people who don’t ride bikes talk about how dangerous it is, though, which tells me that our culture of fear is working. Let’s stop spreading it, people. Cycling in general is pretty safe, and would probably be safer if people actually obeyed the rules of the road (including bikes). Far more people die every year in automobile accidents, or from the air pollution that cars create, but nobody in the mainstream is talking about banning cars.

Bicycle deaths are pretty rare. There hasn’t been some huge epidemic of them or anything to bring on this discussion, so I don’t understand why we have these moral panics.

A cliche that often creeps into the debate is that cyclists who do not wear helmets should be forced to pay for their own healthcare costs. On the radio, the police officer brought it up. I’m not exactly sure where it started, but it’s a pretty scary argument if you think about it at all.

Basing health care coverage on somebody else’s assessment of the personal risks you take is an incredibly dangerous precedent to be setting. It’s also completely arbitrary, when it comes to cycling. Why should cycling without a helmet be considered any more dangerous and worthy of punishment than:

– rock-climbing

– skating without a helmet

– tobogganing without a helmet

– playing hockey

– playing any contact sport

– eating “unhealthy” food

– breathing polluted air

– being lazy

– smoking

– etc.

I could obviously go on. All of these things can all be shown to lead to injury and death. There are already people who would want deny health care coverage to smokers. The point of a public health care system is to ensure equal access to health care, not enforce a code of morality, and a system that uses your behaviour to judge whether or not you get medical treatment would be just as scary as the American system. I don’t see how it could be enforced, either.

Wear a helmet if it makes you feel safe. I personally choose to wear one when I’m going “road biking” or when the ground is slippery, such as after a snowstorm. From a safety standpoint, though, it’s much more important to avoid getting hit by cars in the first place. A helmet isn’t going to protect you much if you actually get hit by a car, and it wasn’t designed to do so. Be visible, follow the rules of the road, don’t ride directly next to parked cars, and take the lane if you have to. And keep your lousy nanny state laws off of my body.

Rhythmbox

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on July 26, 2010 @ 8:09 pm

I was going to write a pretty long response to the G20 bullshit that happened a month ago, but that’s kind of fallen by the wayside. Cops are jerks, some people who call themselves anarchists are fooling themselves, some protest organizers are fooling themselves, politicians are scum. Two controversial opinions (for a self-described anarchist to have, at least) wedged between two acceptable opinions. I guess I can leave it there. On to other things.

I have this iPod. It’s a 6g “classic” model, 80gigs. I had set it up with my old iBook G4, just because I had a lot of music on it then, and my only other computer at the time was my Eee PC (if I’m remembering properly) which didn’t exactly hold much music (it only has 4 gigs of storage, at least half of which is taken up by an operating system. Over the years that has included Xandros, Mandriva, Xubuntu, Ubuntu, Fedora, Arch, Debian, and back to Fedora). I eventually got a cheap barebones desktop type computer that has also served as a file server running Ubuntu, as well as another cheap barebones computer that is a file and print server running Debian. But by this time, my iPod was already formatted for OSX. Rhythmbox could read the iPod, but not write to it, because the OSX formatting includes an “HFS+” journaling filesystem that Linux can’t write to. It seemed I would have had to format the thing on a Windows computer, and then transfer all my music back from the iBook, and it would have all been a colossal pain in the ass. And then I would have had to do something to get past Apple’s dick filesystem encryption to prevent non-iTunes applications from writing to the later generation iPod Classics. I had once helped a guy do this with his Windows-formatted iPod Classic (once you add music, the iPod reports having no music, just unreadable data, until you fuck around with GTKPod. Or something like that. I forget exactly what we did or how it worked, but it did work. I just wanted to point out what dicks Apple are), so I was mostly just concerned with having to transfer all my music around.

Today I was once again thinking about having a go at fixing my situation, where my iPod has a bigger hard drive than the frigging laptop it is tied to and I can’t just transfer all my music to it without a lot of pain in the ass backing up and deleting things from the iBook to make room to add new things. I came across the following command to run in the OSX terminal:

sudo diskutil disableJournal theIpodVolumeName

It pretty much instantly disabled the journaling, and so I tried plugging it into my Ubuntu-running Thinkpad. It now actually transferred files to the iPod. I ejected the iPod, and the music was still there! No mysterious disappearance of everything. Hot dog.

I only have a little bit of music on my Thinkpad, since most of it is on my two file servers. I thought back to a while ago, when I was magically able to transfer files to an old iPod Shuffle through Rhythmbox’s DAAP sharing, taking stuff off of my server and putting it onto my Shuffle via the EeePC. It seemed almost magical, but then it stopped working one day, for reasons that are unclear to me. Today, however, I was able to start filling up my iPod, plugged into my Thinkpad, through DAAP shares from two different file servers. Even though DAAP is an Apple protocol, they definitely don’t let you transfer shared music onto an iPod in iTunes (well, I think they now have some sort of DRM-lite, where you can synch your music on a set number of computers, but it’s really not the same thing).

Also, my iPod had a bunch of albums it wouldn’t play (like, a bunch of songs off of the Reagan Youth collection CD, which for some reason would play just fine on the Shuffle, my computer, and a Sansa Clip+), and a bunch of albums where it won’t play the songs in the correct order (Discharge: Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing comes to mind first). So, I deleted the songs and then put them back on the iPod with Rhythmbox, and lo and behold, it plays them just now. For several years, I have had an 80gig iPod where I could only put about 9 gigs of music on, and which was severely limited, and now, thanks to Linux, it could be pretty awesome.

Basically, I love that Rhythmbox and Ubuntu, which are obviously not supposed to work with the iPod, are able to do a better job and give me more functionality than fucking iTunes. Fuck you Apple.

G20

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on June 22, 2010 @ 1:02 pm

The G20 bullshit is nearly here. I work within the security zone, so I’ve had riot cops outside of my workplace since yesterday. Every time I come or go, I have to walk by a bunch of police officers carrying helmets and plastic handcuffs and guns and batons. It’s kind of terrifying. Our bicycle parking is slowly being removed, and will all be gone by tomorrow. I ride my bike to work everyday, and do not take the TTC, so tomorrow I’m going to have to park my bike in the building. Basically, everything is going to be a huge pain in the ass, all so that Stephen Harper can look like a big man on the world stage.
Anti-globalization protests used to be my bread-and-butter, but I’ve had no real interest in protesting the G20. I’m not opposed to international or even free trade per se, and I find that a lot of the protest issues kind of conflict with one another. Back in 1999, the whole Teamsters-Turtles coalition, where labour and environmental activists were working together despite the perceived conflicts of interest between the two groups, was touted as some great sign of things to come. For me, the contradictions haven’t really gone away.
I don’t really believe that mass protests at international summits make any difference. This stuff has already been worked out in advance, and the meetings aren’t really anything more than an expensive photo op. Protesting at them just seems like a colossal waste of time and energy. It would be much more useful, I think, to focus that energy on coming up with actual alternatives, like non-hierarchical organizations, free software, or whatever else could help make the world a better place to live.
But all this security stuff has gotten me pretty angry, so I guess we’ll see.

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on June 9, 2010 @ 8:18 am

Toronto to Montreal by bike

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on May 9, 2010 @ 3:42 pm

I kept a sort-of diary of my bike trip from Toronto to Montreal, through emails I sent to myself on my phone. I was supposed to be going with a friend, but he injured himself the day before we were going to leave. I wasn’t sure what I would do when that happened. My friend and I were ostensibly riding with another group of people, but they left before us, and we figured we would just catch up with them, because they were planning on going a little slower. I thought that maybe I’d just ride to Brockville, where I have a place to stay, and then turn around and come back. In Brockville, I decided to keep on going. Montreal was closer than Toronto at that point.

***

Mon, May 3, 2010 at 6:04 AM

I am on the GO train, headed for Oshawa. I feel both excited and scared. This is going to be both my biggest one-day distance, and my longest solo ride. The weather hasn’t been as bad as I worried it might be, but that didn’t stop my father from trying to scare me out of riding by claiming it was “pissing down” (it wasn’t even raining at all when he said this) and suggesting it was dangerous.
There are more people on the train that I thought there would be, but the stop after Mimico is Union, so I assume most will be getting off there, and I will have the train more or less to myself.

Mon, May 3, 2010 at 12:15 PM

I am in Colborne. I don’t think I am going as fast as I’d like to be going. This route dicks around too much. At the beginning, there were all these paths and gravel roads you couldn’t go very fast on. Anyway, I was very, very thirsty, so I stopped here for pop and water. I have to piss really badly, but I’ll wait till I get out of town to do that.

Tue, May 4, 2010 at 6:55 AM

I decided to stop yesterday nearish to Kingston, and got a motel room. It was 59 dollars, which is I guess how much money I would have theoretically paid for the first three nights of staying with the UTCC, and I got to where they’ve supposedly gotten in one day.
My body feels mostly ok. My right “knee-pit” (what is that called?) feels sore, as do my right shifting fingers. My junk feels kind of numb. I think my face is sunburned, probably because the early rain washed off my sunblock.
It is 89km to Trudy’s house, acccording to Google maps. I will probably lie here a bit longer, and then get going. Hopefully I can get there by around lunchtime.

Tue, May 4, 2010 at 8:28 PM

I got to Brockville in the earlyish afternoon. It seemed like it was so far away, and then I was suddenly there. I am in a bunch of pain, and my right middle finger is numb. I really don’t want to be riding tomorrow.
Nick and I watched Star Trek and played video games, and he made me a tasty soup. I wonder where the U of T people are right now.
I feel so tired, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep. I’m going to try, though.

Wed, May 5, 2010 at 8:34 PM

It is Tuesday night and I am still in Brockville. My plan is now to ride to Montreal tomorrow. Lizzie is going to meet me there and we will do Montreal things for a few days. This is probably going to end up costing me more money than I wanted to pay for this trip, but if I don’t ride to Montreal now, I probably won’t have a chance until next year.

Thu, May 6, 2010 at 10:50 AM

I am in Cornwall, later than I would have liked to be. I think I always underestimate how long it will take me to go long distances, and overestimate how long it takes to go short ones. I am almost in Quebec, so that’s good, but I still have the equivalent of riding to Guelph and back ahead of me. It’s starting to rain, so I should get going.

Thu, May 6, 2010 at 8:27 PM

I think I got to Montreal earlier than I thought I would, but then I took a wrong turn somewhere and got lost. Then, I had a hell of a time getting to my destination, as I had gotten so used to just reading directions off a page. Also, I think that Montreal’s system of one-way streets and bike lanes probably makes sense if you are a local, but it just gets confusing if you’re a tourist. I’d rather just be able to ride my bike in whatever direction on (just about) any main street, like in Toronto.
But I’m here, and that’s nice.

***

random pics:

Port Hope"lawyer name fail"ferrysleepless goatsome towerborder signair force barroute vertsoulange canal

linux for anarchists

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on April 7, 2010 @ 7:22 pm

gbby and I are giving a workshop on Saturday, at the Toronto Anarchist Bookfair and Gathering. It’s called Linux for Anarchists. I don’t really know how it’s going to go, or if will be more practical or theoretical, or if neo-luddites are going to show up to harass us or if anybody is even going to come at all. I hope it’ll be informative. We started working on a wiki for the workshop, which can currently be found at linux for anarchists wiki

vegan recipe ethics

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on March 31, 2010 @ 7:31 pm

I got a vegan cinnamon bun recipe off of a website a while ago. It was amazing. Best homemade cinnamon buns I’ve ever had. I emailed the link to myself. I had also emailed a recipe, in the same gmail thread. I haven’t made them in a while, but I decided to make them tonight. I thought that the recipe that was in my email seemed wrong, but when I went to the blog I got it off of to check, the blog had disappeared. It’s off the internet. No google cache, no archive.org version that contains the recipe. So, I could not confirm whether or not it was the right recipe.

As I was making them, I realized for sure it was wrong. Searching through old papers, I found a printout I had made containing the correct recipe. I re-typed it out, and emailed it to myself so that I would always have it. I’m going to post it here, too. I don’t know the name of the author or anything. I guess I could go back to the archive.org version of her blog and get it (well, if she even used her name on the blog), but I figure it no longer exists, so maybe I shouldn’t. I don’t know. A sticky ethical issue to go with sticky, delicious cinnamon buns. These vegan cinnamon buns are awesome, and the world needs them.

vegan cinnamon buns:

1/2 cup water, warmed
2 tsp yeast
3/4 cup soy milk, warmed
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons margarine, at room temp.
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour
filling:
1/3 cup margarine, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
icing:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 tablespoons water or soy milk
in a small bowl, add the warm water and sprinkle yeast on top. set aside. mix aside the soy milk, sugar, margarine, and salt until well combined. add 2 cups of the flour and mix again. add the yeast mixture and the rest of the flour and mix until the dough is easy to handle. knead dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5-10 minutes. place in a greased bowl and over to rise until doubled in size, about 1-1 1/2 hours.
preheat the oven to 350. when the dough has doubled in size, punch down dough. roll onto a floured surface into a 15×9 inch rectangle. spread the melted margarine over the dough, leaving just a tablespoon or so to grease the pan. mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the melted margarine. starting from the long side of the rectangle, tightly roll up the dough. slice into 1 inch thick slices. grease the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan with the rest of the melted margarine. place cinnamon buns close together in the pan and let rise again for about 40 minutes. bake for 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown.
meanwhile, combine ingredients for the icing, adding more or less water to get desired consistency. ice the cinnamon buns when they have slightly cooled. makes about 16 buns.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace