Maybe you’ve heard about Amazon Echo or Alexa. Maybe not. You’ve almost certainly heard of Siri.
Alexa is Amazon’s Siri-type verbal interface. It’s available here and there, embedded in this and that.
The Amazon Echo is a new box it comes in – well, a cylinder, really. You can buy one come June, if you’re in the US and you have $180 to throw at it. I don’t, plus I already have Siri on my phone and she knows where to dump a body. Alexa’s only advice is “Call the police.”
I know that because I have tested Amazon Echo. So can you. Online! Amazon has a verbal interface that lets you use Alexa in a Web page as if you had an Echo sitting in front of you. If you click the virtual Echo button and ask, “Hey, Siri, what is the weather?”, you will get Alexa and Echo talking over one another. Siri will give you local weather; Alexa will let you know what it’s like in Seattle.
Give it a shot, and marvel at the world we live in.
Can you tell that part of me still pines for Netsurfer Digest?
Dear Conservative Party,
We want an adult to lead our country, but not a paranoid, neurotic adult who refuses to recognize the consequences of his actions.
Dear National Democratic Party,
Yes, you were the official opposition, but that one ad that claimed you were a better choice because you had less ground to make up made you sound like a petulant seven year old. And desperate. Your whole campaign was immature.
Dear fans of proportional representation,
You should start posting of Facebook about how unfair this election is. Some 60% of the country voted against the Liberal Party. The Liberals should receive only a minority government of 134 seats (they expect 184 as I wrote this), the Conservatives should get 108 seats (instead of 102), the NDP should have 66 (41), the Bloc Quebecois 16 (10), and the Green 11 (1). Additionally, there could be an independent and maybe a Libertarian.
Dear Liberal Party,
Here’s your ball. Run with it until you trip.
I have volunteered to take part in the CRTC’s bandwidth-measurement campaign, which follows on the heels of similar projects in the EU and by the American FTC.
It’s a simple process. You sign up and the company running the project, SamKnows, sends you a router which you plug into your home Internet feed. Exactly how it works depends on whether your modem and router are in the same box. Our modem and router (Ethernet and Wi-Fi) are separate devices so the structure of our home local-area network (LAN) looks like this, which I scanned from the installation instructions:
(I apologize for the quality of the image, but I had to scan it since I can’t find that document online.)
The text instructions are even easier to follow than the image and, indeed, I got it up and working in a minute or two. Everything was working as before, almost. One nifty thing about the Whitebox is that its antennas passively pick up Wi-Fi traffic but only record the bandwidth. It’s not actually a wireless router itself. Ethernet connections do pass through it.
As (very) faithful readers may remember, I run a Plex media server on my iMac. I was downstairs and wanted to watch something on the Plex server through the PS3 but the PS3 had lost the media server link. That happens once in a while, but this time the PS3 couldn’t the media server when asked to. That was altogether a more worrisome problem.
I rebooted the server on the iMac. Our iPad could find the Plex server but still the PS3 could not. This called for research.
Aha! The PS3 use DNLA to access media servers. Although SamKnows doesn’t explicitly admit this anywhere, I suspected their Whitebox device does not. And users cannot get into the device to wiggle its settings.
I was looking at the LAN structure when I had an idea. The iMac, on Ethernet, sat behind the Whitebox. If I moved it to our established router, the PS3 could get to Plex without passing through the Whitebox – but that would mean either going on Wi-Fi (I love me my physical connections) or ignoring the Whitebox entirely, which runs counter to the point of having it.
So, I thought, what if I activate the Wi-Fi network on my iMac while maintaining the existing Ethernet connection?
Yeah, that works, as the PS3 can recognize Plex through our router without having any of that traffic pass through the Whitebox. Problem solved.
SamKnows and the LAN would be a great name for a band.
I have a client I set up with an e-mail workaround. His domain service provider provided only POP e-mail while he, like most people with multiple devices, needed IMAP (which these days you’d call cloud e-mail).
I kept his work domain but routed everything through Gmail, which had the added benefit of the best spam filters in the world. His e-mail looked like it came from his-domain.ca, and all replies to him went to his-domain.ca, but Gmail was the way station between his-domain.ca and all his desktop and mobile devices.
Everything worked great for years until yesterday. His Mail application (I dislike that name even more than I dislike the application itself) stopped sending and retrieving his e-mail. I thought it was a problem at his domain provider and told him to hold tight while they no doubt fixed it overnight. This morning, things were still awry.
His other devices could access and send mail just fine. He called his domain provider and they recommended he access their IMAP server directly. Then he called me in.
It sounds like it was an authentication issue, right? I could log in to his Gmail page in a browser without a problem, so I knew I had the correct password and account name, but using them in Mail did not help. A quick look at Mail’s Connection Doctor showed that we could not access Gmail to get mail or its SMTP server to send mail.
While waiting for his domain provider to call me to help work this out, I had an idea. The browser passwords are stored separately from the system passwords. What would happen if I deleted all traces of his Google account from Mac OS X?
I opened the Keychain Access utility and looked at all the Google entries. There were four. I forget exactly what they were, but one was an authentication expiry, one was a new deadline, etc. I looked at the entries and nothing seemed particularly troublesome, but since I knew how to log in, deleting them would do no lasting harm.
I tried deleting the youngest first, but the entry would immediately be rebuilt – no good. So I deleted them starting from the oldest. In doing so, I got a system notification that I would have to log in again, which heartened me.
I closed Keychain Access and went back to Mail. I put in the requested password and poof – everything was working perfectly.
I didn’t find this solution when I looked, so I decided to write this to advance such obscure human knowledge through Google searches.
Some arch-villain in my family brought this home.
There are a few different brands of speculoos spread on the market. Go ahead. Try some.
If Costco set up a tasting booth for this, they would sell this by the barrel. The first hit is free.
“Speculoos” is Belgian. I’ve know the Dutch equivalent, speculaas, because my Dutch grandfather used to buy the cookies for us and my dad used to snarf them.
Seriously, this spread is dangerous. It will strip you of any shreds of civilization and make you claw the jar with your fingers. Child 1 couldn’t find bread so used old hot-dog buns on which to spread this. I scrape icing off cupcakes and replace it with this spread.
I’ve been slowly and steadily losing weight for a year and a half. I have a few setbacks: when my mother comes to town, when I visit friends in Oregon and have little to do but eat, and when this infernal, tasty cookie spread entered my home.
Our washer has had a slow leak for a while, but Sunday it stopped spinning, too. A washing machine that stops spinning probably has one of the following things wrong with it:
- A slipped or broken belt
- A broken or jammed rotor
- A burnt-out motor
- A burnt-out or shorted circuit board
The first two items are easy and inexpensive home repairs. The latter two cost $160 or so each for parts – and then there would be labour. Our washer is a 14 years old so our best option is to buy another one.
We looked at Kijiji and Craigslist and performed a Web search. The best deals seem to come from an outfit called AA Electroménagers, which refurbishes equipment. They offered the exact same model we had for $350. New washers start at $700, more or less.
It was 8:30 p.m. at that point and the place was open until 9:00 p.m., which was enough time to call but not to go there. We called the to say we’d but that washing machine and asked if we could pay online. The owner said no, but that we could come by the next day to pay for it and they would deliver. We agreed that I would show up at 12:00 noon.
I showed up at 12:00 noon. The owner said he sold the washer to somebody else that morning. I was not pleased. he said they might have another one in a week.
I asked him why he did that and he said he had no guarantee I was coming. I explained that some people stick to their word. I asked why he didn’t hold the washer until noon and tell whoever wanted to buy it to wait a few hours, or to come back in a week. He then yelled at me, “Are you telling me how to run my business?”
I yelled back that I wasn’t, I was telling him how to be a decent human being.
I decided to write my experience in a review or two. What do you know? Others have also had poor experiences. Here’s the Google Plus page for AA Electroménagers with five negative reviews and no positive ones. The Yelp page has three negative reviews and no positive ones. Uh, make that six and four, respectively.
And then there’s this YouTube video, which has no reason to be a video, but the comments are enlightening.
I especially like this comment (I paste it here unedited).
I worked for this shit whole company doing deliveries. I had so many complains about fridges not working after 1 or 2 days, They would deliver a Oven and when we plug it to see if it works at the clients well it wasnt working at all. Also this motherfucking muslim piece of shit is refusing to pay me what he owes me for my last week of work. When I finaly received my check it was missing the holiday (8hours) and some hours he owed me in bank. This business is a RIP OFF I STRONGLY recommend to stay away from it. Most fridges will work for a week or 2 and youll have to exchange it and lose your food again. And IF you are lucky and get passed the 3 months of warranty itll break soon after that and youll be stuck with no fridge and your money gone STAY AWAY FROM THIS place
What a miserable and non-ethical person, with crappy products (big surprise). Avoid this place at all costs.
Since my finger has sort of healed (it’s still a bit sensitive), I have lived an uneventful life, and that includes a week in Oregon.
Here are the salient points of my life in photos since December 1.
The removal of the stitches was the most painful part of the whole ordeal. I assume the physician did not use dissolving stitches because he wanted the cut sealed for ten days.
If you’re squeamish, do not scroll down or read further.
The Bantam A team I’m helping out this season had a full-ice practice last night but only one goalie, so I threw on my pads and took a net.
Aside from the incredibly tiring effort that it takes to face shot after shot after shot (repeat 150 times), it went well. I was too tired to drag my gigantic goalie bag into the house when I got home so I left it for this morning.
This morning, around 9;45, as I was hauling my bag over the raised threshold of our front door, the plastic handle of the bag snapped. One sharp edge sliced a joint of my poor left forefinger. I dripped a considerable amount of blood into the sink while Elvi bandaged my finger with gauze and tape. That seemed to stop the bleeding, so we went to to brunch with my mom, who’s visiting this week.
We got home before noon and I decided to check out the wound. Upon removing the tape and gauze, my finger started pouring blood again. I got Elvi to patch it back up and off to the emergency room I went.
In triage, the nurse wanted to look at the cut. I told her to bring over a garbage can because I was going to bleed all over her office otherwise. Good thing she listened to me.
A doctor finally saw me around 4:45. He took the triage nurse’s bandage off and, yes, blood started pouring out of my finger again. There was no way he could see inside the wound to check for damage or sew it up without stopping the flow of blood. The first thing he tried was to put my hand in a rubber glove and roll back the glove finger of my wounded finger so that the tight roll would form a sort of tourniquet. As you can see below, that didn’t work.
What did work, finally, was using a strip of the rubber band normally used on the bicep for IVs. I would have a pic of that, but my phone ran out of battery. In all, I lost about half a cup of blood. That pool of blood in my palm inside the glove clotted into a cool jelly-like mass.
I have no tendon or nerve damage, but I do have four new stitches. I did almost throw up, but only after the doctor had finished all the sewing. There’s been surprisingly little pain after the original slice.
Morgan Rielly’s temporarily tying goal lies on the shoulders of Lars Eller, but not because it bounced off his torso and trickled through Carey Price’s five hole.
Eller had two decisions to make before Rielly got near the puck, and chose unwisely both times.
(Pardon the screenshots with the faded play button in the middle. I’m not patient enough to wait for this to appear on YouTube so I used the NHL highlight.)
Fifteen seconds before deflecting the puck into the net, Eller took control of loose puck along the left boards in the defensive zone.
He makes his first poor decision in choosing to swing in front of his own net instead of taking the puck behind it. Taking the puck behind the net, he has a potential outlet pass on either side or can run a set play. By taking the puck through the slot, he boxes himself in between the two forecheckers and his net. The Maple Leaf players can predict his path in the short term because he can only keep skating left.
The Leafs see this and block Eller’s further movement right and can intercept any pass to PK Subban. Eller must take the puck behind the net now, but the pursuit is much closer than it was when he first picked up the puck.
Ever since both Leafs followed Eller, Alexei Emelin has been standing all alone. He sees Eller swing around the net and prepares to accept a pass they will lead to an easy breakout along the left with three Leafs in on the right side. Eller, though, is fixated on Subban and looking back at him. Eller never sees Emelin. Eller instead dishes the puck backwards along the boards to Subban, his second major error. It’s not a strong pass given that he’s skating hard in the opposite direction.
By the time Subban gets the puck, a Leaf is on him and another is about to join the scrum.
The Habs lose possession of the puck, which will eventually lead to the tying goal.
I have been retired from coaching the kids so you’ll have to put up with me doing this. Sorry.
Here’s the video.