Tuesday, January 30, 2007


I used to say "miscellaneous" but I noticed my friend Ed says "varia". Ed is much better educated than me, and imitating this one expression of his is much easier than getting a PhD and learning four additional languages. So "varia" it is. 8-)

Boeing announced they will not be offering a wireless network on their 787 Dreamliner. There were potential licensing issues in many of the countries where the Dreamliner will fly. But just as significant is the fact that the wireless network was going to add 150 pounds more weight to each plane than the more traditional wired network. Airliners are BIG, but the engineers have very strict weight budgets, and 150 lbs extra in one place means 150 lbs less in another. The interior of the Dreamliner is REALLY neat. Surf over to the Boeing website and have a look at the future of aviation. First flight is in August of this year. Still, it would have been nice if they built the Sonic Cruiser they had planned.

I placed an order with Christian Book Distributors last night. The total came out to more than I had expected, so I looked into it. It turns out their shipping fees to Canada went up some time ago. Instead of the 8-12% they were a few years ago, shipping to Canada is now 25%. So, does anyone know of a book distributor in Canada with fairly technical Christian books? I've ordered enough books from CBD over the years to buy a small car, but I just can't stomach 25% shipping fees anymore.

I worked from home this afternoon, while Hannah slept and Karen went out. Today's VPN technology is pretty seamless. I connect my laptop to the Internet, click a few buttons, and I have an encrypted line into the network at work over the Internet. I was able to do some programming, pick up my email, and go to some sites on our internal network. The neat thing is that it's no longer just big corporations that can do this. There are even freeware programs like Hamachi.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

More from Jack Layton

Jack Layton has another bee in his bonnet, and as usual his rhetoric runs ahead of his common sense. Layton said, "The NDP believes hard-working Canadians should not be charged by their banks when they deposit, withdraw or transfer their own money using an ATM." Sounds good. Gets him some press. But runs a bit counter to reality.

The banks aren't making anything off me, if I choose not to use their services. But if I choose to deposit money in Bank X and use the ATM machines of Bank Y, then yes a fairly significant convenience fee applies. And that is what I'm paying for; convenience. I can use the ATM machines of my own bank for little or no fee, but if I want the convenience of being able to withdraw money from whatever ATM machine happens to be closest to me then sure, it costs me something.

Now if you really believe the banks are getting rich off the backs of poor working class folks, do what I did and invest in bank stocks. And while you're at it, invest in some oil companies too (which is also what I did). Of course I resent Layton's implication that those of us who have worked and saved and invested in banks are somehow less hard working than other Canadians. Like many Canadians, both poor and rich, I work hard.

Finally, when Layton is spreading his rhetoric, does he realize how many Canadians he's hurting? It's not just guys like me who have invested a few thousand in some banks. It's the retired folks who are counting on the dividends Canadian banks pay, in order to fund their retirement. It's the countless Canadians who have invested in mutual funds. And it's all the pension plans of unionized NDP supporters who need a good return from their bank stocks in order to pay the pensions out to their members.

Think Jack. Think before you find a new bandwagon to jump on.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

More Talks with K

I was talking to "K" at work again today. I was curious about something so I said, "K, do you know how a magnetron works?" He started to sketch one out on my white board, but paused and said, "First I need to teach you something about the theory of antenna design." So I got two for the price of one. K told me he learned about the design of a magnetron from an encyclopedia when he was growing up.

As an FYI, a magnetron is a very clever invention that makes your microwave oven possible. It's also used in radar.

Churn in the Liberal's Stomach

I imagine a number of prominent Liberals are wondering what they got themselves into when they elected Stephane Dion. Oh sure, they'll toe the party line in public about what a great leader Dion is. Liberals are great at toeing the party line. But privately they must be near despair every time Dion steps near a microphone. Today Dion mused about reinstating some Liberals that Paul Martin permanently banned from the Liberal Party for their part in the sponsorship scandal. After all, they've gone a full year without being members of the Liberal Party. How much punishment should they be expected to endure?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

It Happened While Driving My Car

It happened while I was driving my car. It's a good thing it didn't happen when I was eating because I probably wouldn't be here anymore. If you burst out laughing while eating you tend to choke, and when you choke you tend to die. In any case I was driving, I burst out laughing and I didn't cause any accidents.

What was so funny? The afternoon news of course! Stephane Dion accused the Conservatives of copying the Liberal Party's entire environmental plan. Amusing in and of itself. I guess the Liberals claim the rights to every environmentally positive idea. Providing funding for renewable forms of energy. If the Conservatives offer funds, the Liberal cry "foul" and claim it was their idea. Brilliant, but that's not what made me laugh. What made me laugh was Dion's statement that the Conservatives could copy the Liberal's environmental plan, but they couldn't copy Liberal values. This from the leader of the most pragmatic political party Canada has ever seen. This from the leader of a party that got tossed out of office because of corruption. Stephane, you're right, the Conservatives can't copy Liberal values. And they wouldn't want to.

Later, when I got home, I found out Dion was referring to convictions about social justice. Personally I find this insulting. Conservatives may have different ideas on how to achieve social justice, but to suggest we have no convictions about the matter or don't care is utter rubbish. We recognize that some people need a helping hand, but we balance this against personal responsibility. We believe the government can and should help the weak and needy, but that it is not the government's place to solve every problem. We're glad to pay our fair share (and then some), but we don't want to be taken for granted. We believe in equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. We believe a compassionate capitalist system brings the most economic good to the most people. We believe private enterprise can create far more jobs than any government jobs creation program. We don't believe any nation can tax itself to prosperity. We believe the middle-class needs tax breaks, while the poor need decent paying jobs. And we believe the drive and ambition that allows an entrepreneur to become wealthy is a trait worth emulating, not something to be disparaged. We believe there are different ideas worth learning from, but we don't pretend all ideas are equally valid. We are interested in the contributions new Canadians can make to our Canadian culture, but we're not afraid to declare that Canada already has a distinctive culture of it's own. We believe crime should be punished, that the repentant should be given another chance, and that the innocent should be protected. And we believe nobody is more innocent and needing of protection than an unborn child. In short, we believe in justice and opportunity, but we don't pretend wrong is right, we don't pretend capitalism is evil, and we love our country.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Forcing an Election

I left the following extended comment on Andrew Prescott's blog, but I thought it was worth reprinting on my own blog:

I think the Liberals will try to force an election sooner than later. There are a number of reasons:

(1) previously the Liberal just had to wait until a Conservative MP said something stupid. But Conservative MP's are taking their marching orders from the PMO and are for once acting disciplined. The Liberals and the MSM (Main Stream Media) are left complaining about the dictatorial PMO. Of course they're going to complain; it was great fun when the Conservatives were shooting themselves in the foot.

(2) speaking of shooting themselves in the foot, the Liberal have to call an election before Dion gets any more "opportunities" before the microphone. I'm surprised Dion hasn't called for oil companies to work together with him on a New Environmental Plan (short form, NEP).

(3) it would be good for the Liberals to force an election before enough Liberals defect to give Harper a Majority without an election.

(4) the Liberals need to force an election before Baird can do something dramatic on the Environment issue. Right now the Liberals can campaign on their ineffective handling of the environment as compared to the Conservatives ineffective handling of the environment. When Baird has about 3 months to make some changes, they'll be running their sad record against a strong and compelling environmental plan.

(5) the Liberals need to force an election before the Conservatives bring in a popular budget in March.

(6) the Liberal need to force an election before the MSM turns on Dion. They saw what happened to Paul Martin and they should fear it happening to Dion. The sharks are in the water, and they can already smell the blood.

Friends, Places and Things

It was quite a busy weekend. We hosted Andrew Prescott for a few days while he was in Ottawa for a model Parliament. Andrew is a popular member of the “Blogging Tories” at http://canadaconservative.blogspot.com/

Sunday I was speaking out in Winchester, giving an introduction to the theology of the Bible. I always enjoy meeting with the folks out there. I wolfed down a potluck lunch and drove back to Bridlewood to hear B.J. Raymond sing and speak. B.J. was talking about presenting ourselves to Christ.

Sunday marked the close of the Wish List for the Open Office Project Management tool open source software development. A number of us are working on an additional component for Open Office, which will do project management. Open Office is an office package, featuring a Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation program and vector drawing program. It is available free of charge are www.openoffice.org, runs on Windows, Linux and other platforms, and runs under multiple languages. As an Open Source project, the source code is available for whoever wants to download it. My task over the next month will be to take the Wish List and boil it down into a set of high level written requirements.


People are so... interesting. As I was leaving work today I noticed how cold it was. In fact, the wind chill was minus 23 degrees. That's cold. And then a guy walked past me wearing a short leather coat, no hat and no mitts. Outstanding.

went to the supermarket and as I passed the bin for the Kanata food bank I noticed someone had donated a bunch of winter mitts and hats. But the food bank doesn't accept donations of clothing. Outstanding.

The Ontario government has just announced a program for High School drop outs. Under this program they can get high school credits for doing administrative work for the government. The spokesman said these kids just need a chance. Humm.I guess we're all soft hearted and think that there are lots of great kids out there who just need a chance. But I suspect the reality is somewhat different, particularly given the GenX/dropout/slacker culture our society is currently experiencing. Most of the kids had hundreds chances, and blew every one of them. Giving them another chance isn't going to help, particularly if it involves cheapening the value of a High School Diploma and alienating the administrative workers in the Provincial government. Outstanding.

And now for one that really is outstanding. Don't know where it happened, but an older couple was driving in a pickup truck and got caught in one of the blizzards they're having out west. The engine died, the temperature hit minus 40 degrees and they were stuck for days. They survived by putting their tires in the back of the pickup and burning them. The tires provided heat and led searchers to them. They refused to quit, refused to die, and used their ingenuity to stay alive. Well done!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Kind of Neat

When I take my glasses off and look at the minute hand on my watch, I can actually see it move each time the second hand counts off another second.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Is it just me?

Is it just me, or is Jack Layton spectacularly ineffective. Have a look at this:


Layton finally gets a chance at real influence in Ottawa, and he sets the conditions for his support so high that he ensures he'll be ignored by the Conservatives. Way to go Jack!

Sunday, January 07, 2007


As usual, I have a number of books on the go.

"What we Can't Not Know" by J. Budziszewski, about Natural Law and what all mankind knows

"Preaching" by Calvin Miller, an interesting book about preaching. Not done yet, but I recommend it to those who preach.

"America Alone" by Mark Steyn, about the demographic threat of Islam

"Genius"by James Gleick, about the life of Nobel Prize winning Physicist Richard Feynman

There are a bunch of others, but these are the main ones.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Ever notice that the people who are in favour of embryo research and cloning won't eat genetically modified foods? It's OK to mess around with human life, but we draw the line at corn!

January Showers Bring February Flowers?

It's January 6th and pouring rain. By golly this global warming thing is great. I was worried I was going to have to buy a snow blower.

OK, I'm being a bit "tongue-in-cheek". But let's have a reality check. First, the environmental movement has totally focused on global warming. As far as they are concerned, you're either on the global warming bandwagon, or you're an enemy of the environment. One or the other and no middle ground. But reality is somewhat different. We can't afford to concentrate solely on global warming. Responsible environmental policy needs to include clean air and clean water, it needs to control harmful chemicals and deal with waste disposal. Sure, a balanced approach isn't as much fun. You don't get to yell and scream and denounce Conservative politicians and get interviewed by the press, but a balanced approach is the right thing to do!

Next, let's talk about global warming itself. Is it real? I have no idea. The notion of global warming is so thoroughly entrenched in many minds that to question it is environmental heresy. But there are only so many dollars to go around. Our national budget and our private economy can only afford so much. So we must make sure we spend it in the right areas. Asking questions about the science behind it is not an excuse for doing nothing. But there's no excuse for spending money when we're not sure if there is a problem or how to solve the problem. It's a shame that asking scientific questions is politically incorrect and brands you a heretic.

Finally, let's talk about our rainy January. In the popular mind, an unseasonably warm January is proof of global warming. Unfortunately a single data point is scientifically useless. I know, the popular mind doesn't know what I'm talking about when I refer to a single data point, but I suspect many of you do. An unseasonably warm January is a single data point, which combined with other data points might indicate global warming, but by itself establishes nothing. Of course, even if it did establish global warming is occurring, it says nothing about the cause of global warming. Is it a natural phenomenon, or is it man-made? Global warming might be a natural phenomenon? Oops. There I go with my heresy again.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Hot and Colds

The weather is unseasonably warm. Yesterday it hit 8 degrees, and later this week it might hit 10 degrees. No complaints from me though.

We're all battling colds. I dragged myself around work today , but I'd say Bethany is sicker. Karen has been OK until today.

We ordered in Chinese food tonight. Hannah watches me order food, then goes over to her telephone, presses some keys and says, "Hello? Hi. I want some food. OK, bye."

Speaking of Hannah, she put together a 24 piece puzzle in 5 minutes with minimal help from me. About 2 weeks ago, she really couldn't do a puzzle. The idea of taking a piece, moving it around 180 degrees and seeing where it went was really beyond her. And now all of a sudden she's got it. One of the things I enjoy most about being a parent is watching my children learn new things.

And here's another Hannah story. Over the holiday I went to change her diaper. She said, "Daddy, I want tickles." I replied, "I don't have time for tickles, I'm doing diapers." So she looks at me and says, "Not diapers Daddy. Just one diaper." I was amazed.

I took Bethany and Joel out individually over the holidays. They each wanted to go to the new War Museum. It's really well done, and now I know the layout like the back of my hand!