For a few good years, the Co-operators Insurance company in Guelph had a webcam pointing at the Church of Our Lady in downtown Guelph. I moved from Guelph in 2012 after living there for five years. While I was away, I kept an eye on my favourite Canadian town through this webcam.
Unfortunately, in August of 2017, the webcam went down and even though they had brought it back up after a quick message on Twitter a few times previous to this, it seemed that this time it was down for good.
I moved back to Guelph in April of 2018 and resolved to set up my own webcam to point at the same church, now known as The Basilica of Our Lady. Obviously, I can’t place a webcam in the same spot, but my apartment is close to their building, so it has a vantage similar to theirs.
Every thirty minutes, the webcam snaps a new picture. The pictures from my webcam are licensed openly, using Creative Commons. I’ve also provided the horribly written bash script I use to get it to fire via a cron job, information on the camera I’m using, and some weather data on Guelph.
Perhaps one day, when this webcam retires, someone else will pick up the torch.
There’s a currently growing trend in website design where website owners request access to send you notifications. I can’t think of a case where this would ever be required or wanted and yet many websites are asking, sometimes even before the content has fully loaded.
To block all notification requests and all notifications from all websites in Firefox, type “about:config” in the address bar and search for “dom.webnotifications.enabled”. Double click that row to set the value to false and enjoy a happy, interruption-free web browse.
The first resource pack, Faithful 32×32, a 32 pixel by 32 pixel improvement stays true to the original 16 pixel by 16 pixel art style of Minecraft, has lasted longer than a month, but recently I’ve combined it with the Default-3d Minecraft Texture Pack to give it an extra 3d kick. It looks great and gives some new life to Minecraft. You can, of course, simply run the Default-3d Minecraft Texture Pack with the default 16x textures, but they don’t pop nearly as well as they do when paired with the solid Faithful 32×32.
It was a trend during the dark days of the web (read: before html5, when the world required Flash for animations on the web) that designers would create custom, wacky, non-standard navigation elements on their sites in an effort to look more “hip” or “cool.” When you went to any given website that employed this tactic, the first few minutes were spent hovering over icons to figure out what each of them did. This is, of course, after you waited for the website to “load.” This sort of horrible design got so bad that it became known as Flashturbation.
Thankfully, I haven’t seen much of Flashturbation since around the time MySpace died (correlation, not causation, I’m sure).
Still, it crops up from time to time.
Why am I writing about this? I just wanted to call out Red Bull’s website and their decision to break the play button, which has been a dominant design standard since the 1960s. I got halfway down the page before my mouse accidentally hovered over the triangle icon and it was then I discovered that the images were actually videos that could be played.
It’s okay to style an icon. It’s not okay to break it.
As most of our players have noticed, since Minecraft Release 1.8.x, xWarp has been broken. It’s been a mixed blessing: it’s fun to play true, legit survival, but it’s a pain if you want to visit a friend’s build without giving up the ability to warp back home. Until xWarp is fixed (I may have to do it myself), I’ve taken the time to export the warps from their cage in the SQLite database to JSON format. It’s not the easiest to read, but here’s how you can find the X, Y, and Z co-ordinates of your warps:
Finally got around to updating my version of Notepad++. Was surprised but then delighted by this nugget that types itself out when it restarts:
Freedom of expression is like the air we breathe, we don’t feel it, until people take it away from us.
For this reason, Je suis Charlie, not because I endorse everything they published, but because I cherish the right to speak out freely without risk even when it offends others.
And no, you cannot just take someone’s life for whatever he/she expressed.
Hence this “Je suis Charlie” edition.
Let me set the scene: It’s 2001, pre-9/11, high school.
Having finally accepted the Dreamcast’s fate and being a major anti-PS2, Dreamcast fanboy (cut me some slack, I was 18 and lived in my parents’ basement), I became enamoured with Microsoft’s first foray into console gaming: The Xbox. I bought one on day one, fervently posted on all of the major forums, racked up hundreds of hours in local multiplayer Halo…
Then, to my happy surprise, I was to be part of the Xbox Live beta test. I was a bit of an online PC gamer at the time (Tribes 2 ftw) and had played quite a few hours of online console games on the Dreamcast.
Fast forward 12 years, and here we are.
I have been re-organizing my office since a number of people have given me boxes of their old videogame collections. In one of my chests, I found my Xbox Live beta tester box, which I received from Microsoft in September of 2002. Here are some snaps!
By 2004 I had moved almost exclusively to the PC. I bought an Xbox 360 but sold it to a friend shortly thereafter, unimpressed. I was also very disappointed that they gave away my Xbox Live GamerTag, which was supposed to be ours for life.
Last month, I bought an e-bike. It’s an Emmo Alien. I got it used on Kijiji for $600. Where I live, it doesn’t require insurance or a license to ride. It costs me nothing to charge since my rent includes utilities.
Like pretty much everyone in Canada, I’ve had at least one bike at any point in my life. I never once considered riding it to work. My mental picture of a person that biked to work was a sun-glassed, angry man in really tight spandex. I couldn’t imagine biking all the way to work, sweating the whole way there, angry at other drivers for cutting them off or not knowing the rules. It’s just not for me. It felt like riding a bike to work meant you had to join some sort of environmental cult.
The truth is, while I care very much about the environment, I’m a cheapskate. And I’m lazy. Riding an e-bike is free. And I don’t just mean free as in beer. It feels free, as in freedom. I haven’t used my car in so long, a tire went flat from sitting. The insurance on my car (never mind gas or repairs) per year pays for more than two e-bikes per year. I could actually buy a second one, put it into a dumpster, light it on fire, and I would still be ahead.
And, do you know what? Riding an e-bike is fun! It’s liberating. My girlfriend finds it empowering. She’s never gotten the hang of riding a regular bike, but she’s learned how to ride the e-bike. We do groceries (it has hooks to put the bags as well as two storage compartments), we go for picnics, we go out and get fresh air, we get some sun.
Sure, a cyclist looks ridiculous, but when a driver in a big pickup truck zooms past in a testosterone-filled money-burning pissing contest, who looks more ridiculous?
I’m a bit late in posting this, but June is Bike Month in Waterloo Region. The thing is, it doesn’t have to be just June or just Waterloo Region. Have you ever tried biking to work? Do it tomorrow and let me know what you think.
If you’re interested in some data, it takes about 7 hours to charge from completely empty to completely full. A full charge lasts me about 2 and a half hours of continuous use, or about 50-70km, depending on whether or not it’s just me or with a passenger. My trip to work (including to McDonalds for breakfast) is 7.5km, each way. I do this trip Monday to Friday, rain or shine.
While Inglis conceded in his NPR interview that at most oneterrorist attack mighthave been foiled by NSA’s bulk collection of all American phone data – a case in San Diego that involved a money transfer from four men to al-Shabaab in Somalia – he described it as an “insurance policy” against future acts of terrorism.
I saw a feel-good Amtrak post come up on the /newest section of Hacker News the other day which covered the new single-level long distance Amtrak cars being produced in the US. The first thing I saw when watching the video was the flag of The Netherlands painted across each of them.
I love trains and I hate to bash or bring negative attention to anything to do with rail. But, I feel that at least someone should point out this mistake.