If this keeps up, I’m going to end up vegan and running a Mac

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So, after much kvetching and grumping about how it was all going to work, and how was any of this possible, Arwen happily let herself be convinced by a telemarketer to move our phone service to the same company that handles our television.  Unlike my recent excursion into the deep waters of RRSP transfer and 19.75% Visa cards that *I* went though, Arwen simply was nudged that last 1% into making the move.  We were sorta happy, and a little nervous about how VoiceOverIP was going to work, but we were jumping in.

As an added bonus, we also got highspeed for the same price we were already paying at Telus.  Here’s the kicker though.  It really WAS three times faster than we’d had before.  Being the “just stick a cable in it and see what happens” type, I hopped off our Telus network and onto the new ugly Shaw modem to see what would happen, and here’s my result.

Hauling Packets Through the Kestle Run

See those numbers there?  Yes, that’s about 5 megabit.  That means around 500 kilobytes per second.  That means AROUND 10 minutes to download a CD image (and I do a fair amount of that, in my travels as a Linux-boot-CD loony).  The only thing that’d been keeping me with Telus was the whole “They guarantee the speed you pay for” argument, which is all fine and good, unless the speed I PAY for keeps being lowered, with more and more restrictions about what I can and can’t do.

For comparison, here’s our Telus numbers.

Two or so years ago, without warning, and allegedly for my own protection, Telus flipped a bit in their firewall that meant I could no longer run a mail or web server on their services without “going pro,” which meant suddenly paying double ($108/mo) for highspeed at 2.5mbit per second.  So that meant Telus was now literally TWICE as expensive for HALF the speed.  That, and the whole Telus blocking the union that serves them.  Seriously people, th’hell?  Won’t block kiddie porn or hate speech, but when a site shows photos and videos of people breaking the picket lines?  Oh, suddenly Telus is The Deciderer about what I can and can’t get to on the internet.

After I moved the server up to the fabulous and freakishly service-oriented Fused Network folks, we backed off the Pro package and went back to “standard,” which was only $45/mo again.  Fair enough, we’re back where we started.  Whatever, I’m not running a server any more.  Fine.  Except that now, instead of the 200K/sec I was used to, we seemed to be getting somewhere around 150K/sec.  Actually, it was consistently 159K/s.  Works out to about 1600 in the numbers show in the graphic up there.

Yeah, 1.6MBit.  It was consistent, but consistently crappy.

After a few visits at homes in the area, and doing some testing of THEIR speeds, I found that people on Shaw were getting somewhere between 4500kbit and 7000kbit without paying any more than I was.  And those numbers are all after the “honeymoon” phase with things like free first months, and free super-uber-duper speeds before they put you back to normal.

They lost me as a cel customer after six years because I got a “bare minimum” deal for Arwen and I to have two cel phones, and ended up having a $20/mo deal that actually cost $45, once I added the “extra features” that I suspect most users would consider standard.  (Caller ID, Voicemail, and forwarding TO VOICEMAIL).  I’m sorry, do you know ANYONE who has a cel phone, but only plans on calling OUT?  If I had missed a call during that time (I was unemployed, and needed a cel so I could get out of the house instead of sit at home trying to come up with new ways to NOT just sleep all day), I probably wouldn’t be working where I am now.

And DAMN do I love working where I am now.

and now, for our friends with highspeed and speakers, some music that makes me smile when I’m fighting the proverbial man.

Posted on December 2nd 2008 in Hardware, Hey Cool, Music

21: Release The Hounds

Movember Day 21

Movember Day 21

Can you believe this?  What the hell, right?

Yes, that’s me (scary, I know) and yes that’s a moustache under my lip (scarier).  Alarming, huh?

21 days and this is about as good as I’ve got.  There’s a lot of salt in there, which makes for a sorta transluscent stache.  Last night, I had to cut back the “chops” a little, ’cause at the bottom of my mouth, my moustache goes WHITE.  Not just mostly silver, but platinum/white.  I think maybe I should have left it, but GEEZ.

So until the end of the month, I’m going to become more and more of a skeegy-lookin’ dude.

I’m loving the responses from people over the last few days.  From “Oh hey, are you doing that Movember thing?” to “What’s the uh, the deal with, uh… are you growing a… uhm…” and they point as if I had glued glitter, spaghetti, and gummy bears under my nose.

Oh!  Maybe next year I’ll do THAT!

Why am I doing this?  It’s Movember, and to get bring attention to men’s health issues (’cause men should be talking to their doctors about more than things we get spammed about all day).  Cancers and things?  They don’t spam us about those things.  Probably a good thing, now that I think about it.

Oh, and if you’d like to donate a few bucks online to the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Canada in honour of my horrifying moustache, please click this link to donate on my behalf, or send a cheque (it’s like a check, but Canadian) to

Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Canada

Attn: Movember
145 Front Street East
Suite 306
Toronto Ontario M5A 1E3

Please help out, since I’m one of only 8000 or so Canadians.  Australia?  100,000+  I bet there’s one in every photo on Flickr right now.

Thank you, good night, and may your Mo, go with you.

Posted on November 21st 2008 in General, Music

Thursday the 13th


I must be doing something right, I’m getting more spam in my filters in the last week than I have in the last year.

Found out something cute today, as a sorta followup to something fun Arwen found out a few years back.  When she was doing some research for her degree, she was reading something about “Sniffer” programs (used to watch/capture network communications), and came across a German article talking about “Shnuffleprograms,” and we had a good giggle about it.

I mentioned it to someone at work who speaks German, and they pronounced it for me.  It’s even cuter than Arwen and I originally thought.

It’s pronounced “Shnewfil-program.”

Click here to read more.. »

Posted on November 13th 2008 in Brainfarts, Friends, Music, People

12: I’m indirectly annoying people overseas, h’raaaay!


Arwen was going through our inbound links, and found out there’s an IT videoblog overseas (well, maybe not, maybe they’re just both English) that’s using a track (titled He Feels Guilty Now) from my first album as their closing credits. This is seriously surreal, since that track was started some time in ’97 or so, back when I was using a freakin’ DOS program to make 8-track “music” called FastTracker, and wasn’t finished until 1999, for the album “Through the Windows of the Temple.”

I often wonder what the music for certain commercials or radio shows are (Johnny Vancouver and I did a whole podcast about television and movie music), but it seems the folks at www.ITIdiots.com are asked often enough that they put it on the main page of their site.

Music Used By The Shows

Friday, 21 December 2007
We thought that based on the number of requests we receive for information on the ITidiots show music that we would give you all the info and downloads directly from our website.

Opening Credits ITidiots is by FuriousBall and called So Funky It Stinks which you can download here.

Closing Credits ITidiots is by Gecko Temple and called He Feels Guilty Now which you can download here.

HD Car Run is by Samantha Murphy and called I Wanna Go Home which you can download here.


Click here to read more.. »

Posted on November 13th 2008 in General, Hey Cool, Music

N7: I’m a walking drugstore (currently being robbed by drunks).

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Just a quickie hello to the world, ’cause the Mighty Mighty MoxieSnacks is over, and we’re getting our drank on. It’s a thing that happens every few weeks, and usually when it’s deeply crapulent weather outside (as opposed to what – the weather inside?)

Oh, so I don’t have the headache today, but I am crackling some sorta tinfoil in my chest that makes me cough when I lie down, and my nose decided to have a gushing freakout, so I raided the bathroom cabinet.

So I’m on:

  1. About 2000cc of vitamin C. Couldn’t hoit.
  2. One daytime antihistamine/allergy thing (Sleep? Hah!)
  3. One nighttime sinus cold thing (Staying awake? Hah!)
  4. A cup of coffee (to smooth me out).
  5. A glass or two of Arrogant Frog “Ribet Red”. $12/bottle
  6. A glass of Peller Estates “Proprietor’s Reserve” $13/BIG BOTTLE

So I’m not writing much today, but I’m sure as hell yammering a LOT. Srsly. Shut. Me. Up.

Karla got to me, and I signed up to Twitter. It seems that NONE of my friends are on Twitter (with the same email address that I have for them in my messenger).

So yeah. I’m doing that.

Oh, and our soundtrack tonight was brought to us by RadioParadise. Thanks to Clara a few years ago for pointing me towards them.

Posted on November 8th 2008 in Brainfarts, Friends, Music, People

I’m not deep – I was just looking for a bug, I swear.

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So it’s a Saturday night, during fireworks in the West End, and I’m in a deep chair with big ol’ armrests, and I reach over for my glass of scotch (thanks, Claudia!), and I end up sitting there for about three minutes, turning the glass round and round, watching the liquid seep down the sides of the slightly squared glass, like something out of Blade Runner.

Until I notice it’s like something out Blade Runner, and remember that I started turning the glass because I’m pretty sure I saw one of those little flies go in there, and didn’t feel like ingesting another no-see’em today (I swallowed one during the bike ride home about a week ago, and so I’m good for a bit, mmkay?)

Where was I?  Oh yeah, bending my head a little tonight, that’s right, I forgot.

I need to relax about my kids.  They’re kids, and they’re being kid-like.  Doesn’t matter how refined and and high-strung the West End is, my kids are being KIDS.  They’re six (going on fourteen) and two (going on three), and I just need to chill out and let them be kids.  Yes, they make noise, and get stuff on their faces, and drop things, and knock stuff over, and are just generally little human beings trying to figure out how to have fun and do things they wanna do.  Who am I to mess with that when they’re not hurting anyone?

So yeah, more going to the park, and less “shushing” on my part.  Really nothing to be gained, there, if the truth be told.

So what brought this up?  A new (to me) album by some guy named Tom Baxter, by way of Radio Paradise.  Tom Baxter sounds (almost too much) like the lead singer of Elbow, with a healthy dose of Damien Rice in there, too.  I hit AllMusic.com, and looked up Mr. Baxter (and queued up some Damien Rice and was reminded how much I heart Lisa Hannigan’s deliciously overwrought vocals – she manages to come dangerously close to the shark-jumping ranges of Tori Amos, but missing it somehow), AND THEN read the blurb about him (Tom Baxter, remember him?) and his latest album, Skybound

There was a popular term slung around in British music-critic circles a few years back, “dad rock.” That is, anything that middle-aged men could point to in an attempt to prove that they were still as hip and with it as they had been when they were teens, and which they mostly liked because it was so baldly derivative of what they liked when they were teens. Wilco, for example, is probably the ultimate dad-rock act, with Coldplay not far behind.

and I thought “This?  This is dad-rock?” but after reading a little further along, there’s a slightly snooty reference to Tom Baxter’s stuff being “mom-rock” in counterbalance to bands like Coldplay.  Seriously, the review reads sorta like one of those “It works, don’t act like you invented it” kinda comments.  There’s just a hint of “How come this guy’s album is selling, and I’m stuck writing reviews on AllMusic.com?”

Yeah, so I’m sitting around listening to a largely acoustic album, and not listening to the idiots who went to the fireworks six hours early, and are now bombed, and staggering home with their sunburns and aggression, and thinking I… uh… like this album.  Not quite in the same jaw-dropping way I responded to Damien Rice’s stuff, or the way I was floored by the wall of clangy angst I felt with Elbow’s first album, but hey, nice stuff.  This album makes me wanna sit here and write, instead of getting out on the porch, and yelling “Yeah, yeah, flashy light go boom, now GO HOME!” at the drunks and tourists who are flabbergasted that anyone actually LIVES down here, where there might be, y’know, THE GAYS.

(Didja know you can italicize a period?  Well you can.)

So go pick up a copy, and grab a few for your moms and dads out there, and let them decide whether it’s sexist or misogynist or somehow stereotypical to enjoy it.

Or maybe I’m just buzzed from the scotch (or is it “Scotch?”)

Pretty sure I didn’t eat a bug though, so, win-win, really.

(Thanks to Cheeseblog, who first told me about Radio Paradise, WAY back when Napster was a thing, not an example.)

Posted on August 2nd 2008 in General, Grumpy Old Man, Music

Oh, are you still here?

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This was going to start as a little piece talking about how much more time I spend at Facebook, but I don’t spend much time AT Facebook, I’ve been spending time chatting with friends VIA Facebook.  See, there’s this chat system, and it’s meant to allow users who are on FB to chat with others on FB, “live.”  It’s their way of keeping you at the site, and hopefully looking at the odd advertisment for whatever it is (I seem to have a well-developed set of side-banner blinders, to the point that I’ve been at “dark underbelly of the web” sites looking for information about a server exploit or something, and had my then-very-young son point at a picture on the sidebar and ask “Where’d that lady’s clothes go?”)

So yeah, so I don’t see the ads, sorry Facebook, sorry Google.  I don’t see ’em.

Even worse though, is that I no-longer even VISIT Facebook any more, since my Blackberry has a Facebook app that handles messages, pokes, photos (including uploading, how “this just in” of me), status updates, and wall posts.  See?  Almost everything you need to do on FB is on my BB.  But no chat.  If I wanted to chat with my FB friends, I had to visit the site.

A few weeks ago, Digsby changed all that.  Digsby handles email notifications, instant messaging, AND Social notifications (including Facebook, including the chat feature).  Don’t need to go there any more.

OH, and it does this weird little chat widget thingie.  I think it’s over on the right there somewhere, right?

Yeah, pretty hip.

So, I’m going to try to write a little more about all the nerdy stuff that’s going on.  I’m learning things again, and that’s good.  I wasn’t learning much at EA any more.  There were things I didn’t know (believe me), but I wasn’t learning any more, ’cause I was too busy writing up documentation for people who wouldn’t read it, so when they freaked out that the latest version of something was (omigod) DIFFERENT, we could try to defend ourselves by showing glossy versions of what was freely and widely available in the way of documentation online.  Sad.

Whew, was that a bitter moment?

Yeah, so if you hit my Delicious list, you’ll see what sorts of things I’ve been linking/saving, including Timbap, which is this crazy “plug a turntable into your computer and then put a timecoded record on the platter, and BOOM, you’ve got the ability to play MP3s…” thing, and I was like “I can spin MP3s on my computer and my turntable for $12 instead of $250?” until I realized that it was just a way to SELECT MP3s and then hit play.  Not a way to control how fast they play (at least, I don’t think so).

What else?  Oh yeah, I went to NewType Computer Workshop and playing with an ASUS EEEPC, which was a sorta-failed attempt at making a laptop for kids.  They crazy cheap (most models under $400), very small, reasonably fast, and look sorta like the big brother to a Nintendo DS (not the Lite, but the big plastic & MarioKart style).  I tried it out for a minute or two, and thought this is really cool, if I was about 30% smaller, all over.  It’s a neat machine, but I am too big for it.  My fingers wouldn’t really ever get “fast” on one of these things, and I didn’t see a mouse for it, so control of the mouse would be non-existant.  All in all, a cute device, but not something an old Road Worrier like me would use to keep in touch with the office.  I have a Blackberry for that, I guess, and I can type pretty quickly on that, so I’m good.

I’ll have to check out Dell’s new “E” series laptops when they hit the shelves.

What kinda nerdery are YOU folks up to?

Posted on July 30th 2008 in Hardware, Hey Cool, Music, Places, Software

Show 14 – April Randomness


As usual, metric schwackloads of swearing (if you’re shocked by this, I guess you haven’t heard our show before), so watch out.

Here’s April’s show. Right-click to SaveAs… instead of streaming it from your browser.

01 – Talkybit 1
02 – Broad Daylight – Gabriel Rios
03 – New Violence – White Williams
04 – You Are Never Alone – Socalled
05 – Talkybit 2
06 – Hustler – Simian Mobile Disco
07 – Can You Dig It (Bullet Proof Dirty Dub) – Journey Man DJ
08 – I Go Hard, I Go Home – The Presets
09 – Talkybit 3
10 – Certified Air Raid Material – edIT
11 – Ready For The Floor – Hot Chip
12 – Burial – Archangel
13 – Talkybit 4
14 – Istanbul – The Breeders
15 – Wata (Water) F. Mutabaruka – Beat Pharmacy
16 – A&E – Goldfrapp
17 – Talkybit 5
18 – Message FromOur Sponsor – Jello Biafra
19 – Anyone Else But you – The Moldy Peaches
20 – Testy

Posted on April 14th 2008 in Friends, Music, People, Podcast

Unknown Origins Podcast #13 – Only 150 Days Later Than Planned

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89 Minutes and 50 Seconds of us talking, with the occasional song thrown in to make it seem like there’s a point to it all.

Enjoy. Download here. More (faster) download links to come soon.
Download from here, too.
Alsoplus from Mediafire, too.


  1. Talkybit 1
  2. Time to Pretend – MGMT
  3. Boy With A Coin – Iron and Wine
  4. Magic Doors – Portishead
  5. Talkybit 2
  6. Saturated Vietnamese Radio – Orientalist
  7. Never, Never Gonna Give You Up – Cake
  8. Reasons (Saturday Night) – Faithless
  9. Talkybit 3
  10. Run (I’m A Natural Disaster) – Gnarles Barkley
  11. Artsy – edIT (feat. The Grouch)
  12. I Got a Man – Positive K
  13. Talkybit 4
  14. Top Drawer – Man Man
  15. Race In – Battles
  16. Reasonable Ability – General Fuzz
  17. Talkybit 5
  18. Lust – Raveonettes
  19. Trust Me – Martina Topley-Bird
  20. OutTakes of Two Idiots Doing Soundchecks
Posted on March 26th 2008 in Friends, Music, Podcast

Oh, and know what’s weird here?

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People here will say things like
“Go on with your bad self.”
and aren’t being funny, or quoting anything, and they’ll be saying it in response to things like (it seems)…

“I think that application you reinstalled for me remotely is working properly again.”
“Go on with your bad self.”

…and I imagine that the person on the other end is either an ex James Brown Allstars Member, OR some very tense person, who is vibrating with pent-up rage on the other end of the phone, while tied to a 2L SODA bottle full of coins.

Oh, and I was told “Aw dawg you d’man,” for figuring out which chocolate bar I “wanted” (some sorta monsterized “Two Stick Kit Kat” thing) in order to “accidentally” knock this guy’s chips from their jammed position in the vending machine.

Shhhhh….   I should be sleeping.

Dinner tonight at Chillis.  Not bad.  Like Red Robin, with more… spicy.

Oh, and this morning when I woke up to the local hiphop radio station, it was the Fugees’ “Ready Or Not.”  I think everyone should wake up to the sound of Lauryn Hill droppin’ science.

I play my enemies like a game of chess, where I rest,
No stress
If you don’t smoke sess, lest.
I must confess, my destiny’s manifest
In some Goretex and sweats I make treks like I’m homeless
Rap orgies with Porgy and Bess,
Capture your bounty like Elliot Ness, YES
Bless you if you represent the Fu
But I’ll hex you with some witch’s brew if you’re Doo Doo
Voo Doo,
I can do what you do, easy, BELIEVE ME
Frontin’ niggas give me hee-bee-gee-bees
So while you’re imitating Al Capone
I’ll be Nina Simone
And defacating on your microphone.

Go on with your bad selves.

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Posted on February 4th 2008 in Hey Cool, Music, Places
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