Owen Sound

On the road writing from the Owen Sound Library here on the shores of Georgian Bay. Not as grand a trip as this or this but you do what you can.It’s grannie-in-law’s 87 and, as she has been a mad hockey fan since before she attended the opening night of Maple Leaf Gardens, it is a good time to be among the caring and knowledgable given Ottawa’s loss of last night. Mrs. Penny is a cousin to Ken an Dave Dryden [1st,R1], Murray Murdoch [3rd], Andy Blair [1st] – who got her Leafs tickets throughout the 30’s – and the Syl Appses Sr. [2nd], Jr.[2nd,R1], III [2nd,R2]and the up and coming Gillian [2nd,R2] all via the one but mi’chty Dryden clan [of which Peter Rukavina is a member and suffers from my fifth cousin in law status.] EP knows her stuff.

Owen Sound is as perfect a small city as I have ever seen. A park in the middle where the river splits the town. A small working port with a car ferry to the North Shore of Lake Huron. A diversity of churches including a corner lot for the Christian Scientists where formerly Lutherans and Temperence Unionists met. An OHL team and a great farmer’s market where I should be now buying asparagus for the pahtay.

PS: Did I tell you she and I did B-52’s on the night the Blue Jays won the World Series?

Logs, Diaries and ‘Zines

Has Google jumped the shark? Every good IT company sooner or later does a odd thing which may herald a downturn of its fortunes. Didn’t Xerox give away windows in the late 60’s because it would never work. Didn’t IMB give away the PC as, surely, no one could reverse engineer their stuff. Apple – well, Apple will overcome one day…

Google may have entered that lofty pantheon as it has started “Googlewashing” by which they are ridding searches of their bloggy results. Why they would care to is a bit understandable – it seems people want “real” answers not opinions on the topic they are looking for…so they go…to the internet. That hotbed of fact. Go figure. Beyond the problem of identification of the media it works within, how will Google know what to wash out of the search? What is a blog?

Some blogs are like the pre-webs topical ‘zines. After friends got married in 1995 or so, I realized I wanted a way to keep in touch collectively after everyone was married off. I started a photocopied ‘zine called “People Who Know Al” – one and a half issues made it to print before I took the on ramp to the information super highway and got email and a browser to call my own. Fellow travellers AOV and CEO Blues are pretty much interactive ‘zines on their relative topics of web related innovation and business theory. Others, like Ian William’s are pretty much a personal exploration through a diary. Still others, such as Tomalak’s Realm, continue the original links concept.

What I don’t get about Googlewashing is this – if I wanted to know what it was like to try and put a movie together, Ian William’s site would be a great resource. If I wanted to know what was new in web related things, AOV is a great resource. Apart from the hubris of believing that it should direct the web substantively based on its definition of what is a blog, what does Google think it is doing making it difficult to find one of the best things the internet does well – provide opinion.

Radio Boy

There are certain personal interests one is wise not discussing during courting. One of mine is the habit of listening to long distance radio in the middle of the night. I have about ten radios including a real nice wind-up model originally designed for third world listeners to BBC World Service, a Sony ICF-2010 as well as the little Sony I got in grade 4 with which I listened to reports of the raid on Entebbe in ’76 from my bed in the Annapolis Valley care of a New York all-night news station, hockey and baseball games from the US Mid-West fading in and out on waves of propagation, coal miner shift bulletins from WWVA, Wheeling West Virginia.

It was not until 20 years ago that local all-night radio was becoming common in the Maritimes. CBC’s night service started with the old CBC Stereo service’s Brave New Waves which used to be formatted in the early 80’s with increasingly obscure and hardcore music as the show moved deeper into the night. By four in the morning, during a King’s campus police shift, we would be well beyond Bragg, past punk and listening to Berlin industrial an hour and a half before Mac Campbell came on at 5:30 am with the Maritime Fisheries Broadcast with an update of conditions on the Sable, Fourchu and Banquareau Bank.

During really nerdy phases, I have even been a member of DX clubs like CIDX, BBC World Service Listeners Club and ODXA. Meeting other members of such groups in person can be quite uncomfortable. Once a guy on vacation driving around the Maritimes listening to every broadcast band transmitter – AM to the uninitiated – stopped in at the manse at Bible Hill. All I can remember about the event was that he wouldn’t stop picking at his ears. I was something of a celebrity at the time having logged in the CIDX monthly news letter and confirmed via a casette tape of my reception of a local East German am station on 1044, just above CHUM. [Are you starting to get the point about not talking about this before she says ” i do??].

Since Archimedes, radio is the second most important technological advance after the harnessing of electricity. With the growth of the unfortunately named WiFi – with its echoes of 1960’s suburban rec-room parties around the stereophonic Hi-Fi and Mitch Miller sing alongs – the internet is catching up. I came across the term RLAN last week, radio local area network. Now I want a dedicated RLAN internet radio player so I can listen at work where Bell apparently has a public hot spot. Something with good sound for about $59.99 would be good, thanks.

Trip to Trana

I haven’t taken a short haul train trip since Mulroney killed off the local trains in NS. Ah, those were the days – summer job in Truro, hop on a 7:00 pm train Friday, a couple of cold Olands Ex’s in the bar car with Capers and a short hop from the train station in Halifax to the Seahorse to rub elbows the other regulars.    Trains are great – 3 hours from my house in Kingston to downtown Big Smoke. Snacks on route. A good look in everyone’s backyard for 230 km past towns with OHA teams.

Anyway, I was in the land of my birth to go to the IT.Can course at the LSUC for two days. Had dinner with Chip and Jenny at this place.    Talked about Phil Sedor, The Guys at the Library, Blackpool and Kearney Lake Road.  Over all, however, Toronto is not looking so good.   Hotels are cheap and empty.   The homeless are as utterly abandoned as I have ever seen.   People running by me at 5:02 pm down Bay to Union Station to catch their 5:15 pm GO train.   My VIA train sat in Oshawa station for a few minutes as a GO train unloaded – a thousand people as one rushing from the train they rushed to get to, to get into their cars in the mega mall sized parking lot to rush to the traffic jam at the parking lot exit.

VIA has first class and coach.  GO is steerage.