• China says it’s a lie. that’s all the evidence I need.

    I promised myself a minimal amount of Corona posts on here–unless we’re talking the beer. But I never turn down an opportunity to mock a crackpot, so I’ll make an exception this time.

    I’m not a conspiracy guy, most of the time. Largely because most conspiracies are 98% BS and 25 “if you give me money I can make it all better”. Even if the evidence is later disproven, I like to at least have an idea where in reality a thing came from. If I disagree with a thing, I want to be able to point to this specific thing and say “that’s why”. Usually. But I’m also happy to make exceptions to that rule–particularly when the crackpots responsible for way too many conspiracy theories call a thing a conspiracy.

    China on Friday attacked the theory that the coronavirus pandemic may have originated as a leak from a Chinese laboratory as a politically motivated lie, after the World Health Organization recommended in its strongest terms yet that a deeper probe is needed into whether a lab accident may be to blame.

    Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian also rejected accusations that China had not fully cooperated with investigators, saying it welcomed a science-based probe but rejected any political manipulation.

    He also reiterated calls for an investigation into “highly suspicious laboratories such as Fort Detrick and the University of North Carolina” in the United States where China has suggested, without evidence, that the U.S. was developing the coronavirus as a bioweapon.

    So let’s see. We’ve got a World Health Organization with a… less than 80% accuracy rate now trying to figure out where they screwed up. And we’ve got the primary reason they screwed up calling it a lie and politically motivated–I’m not even touching the Covid as bioweapon theory. Of the two, even if I don’t trust either completely, I can pretty much tell you which one I trust more. Hint: it’s not China.

    I’m not saying the WHO is blameless for how we got where we got. They were hands off re: china for way too damn long. I am saying, and I’ll say it again, if China’s calling them out for lying… I’m now very interested in listening to what they have to say. Even if it ends up being useless, it’s got to be more useful than China.

  • If you own an M1 Mac, I’m a little jealous and a lot sorry.

    Every now and again, I consider either stealing a friend’s Mac for dinking around purposes or just buying my own–the latter option because hey, if I bust it, I own it. I’ve never been a huge fan of Apple’s walled garden approach, but I’ve also been an iPhone user for way too damn long so you’ve got an idea how much of a deal breaker that might be if you’re me. If I owned one, it almost certainly wouldn’t be my primary machine–often for two equally concerning reasons. Accessibility, and security.

    Yes, yes I know, Apple’s on top of the accessibility game. VoiceOver’s great, and all that. Sure. Except when it’s not. I do a lot of work within WordPress–this site runs on WordPress, and I get paid by the WordPress people. So I need to run circles around that software–and my employer’s particular modifications to that software. It’s… there, but could be better. There are proposed solutions on the WordPress side of things, but some of that responsibility also needs to fall on Apple. They’ve managed to figure out how to make remapping gestures on your phone/iPad be a thing, so they’re aware it’s an issue. On the Mac, they’re not there yet. For the guy with a personal site who maybe only updates once every couple years (Hey that’s me!), maybe that’s not a huge issue–I’d fight with it once or twice to update this site. But for the guy who interacts with user sites on a daily basis (Hey that’s also me!), I want it done as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Even if the Mac was my primary machine, doing this would be neither quick nor efficient. So while I’ve considered owning one and probably will as a test device, I can’t say it will solidly be my work/productivity machine. Now, if they fix these issues, then that’s one problem solved. My other hesitation is security.

    The Mac’s big thing is it’s supposedly more secure than Windows or Linux because reasons. Usually those reasons are around malware/viruses/whatever, which by itself is a questionable assertion to make given they’re starting to outpace windows in infection frequency. But the thing about a supposedly super secure OS is when someone discovers a security vulnerability, it’s usually a big one.

    Apple’s M1 chips have an “unpatchable” hardware vulnerability that could allow attackers to break through its last line of security defenses, MIT researchers have discovered.

    The vulnerability lies in a hardware-level security mechanism utilized in Apple M1 chips called pointer authentication codes, or PAC. This feature makes it much harder for an attacker to inject malicious code into a device’s memory and provides a level of defense against buffer overflow exploits, a type of attack that forces memory to spill out to other locations on the chip.

    Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, however, have created a novel hardware attack, which combines memory corruption and speculative execution attacks to sidestep the security feature. The attack shows that pointer authentication can be defeated without leaving a trace, and as it utilizes a hardware mechanism, no software patch can fix it.

    The attack, appropriately called “Pacman,” works by “guessing” a pointer authentication code (PAC), a cryptographic signature that confirms that an app hasn’t been maliciously altered. This is done using speculative execution — a technique used by modern computer processors to speed up performance by speculatively guessing various lines of computation — to leak PAC verification results, while a hardware side-channel reveals whether or not the guess was correct.

    What’s more, since there are only so many possible values for the PAC, the researchers found that it’s possible to try them all to find the right one.

    Suddenly if Apple ever solves the accessibility issue, I don’t think I’ll be using a Mac for work purposes–at least not work purposes with international travel implications. At least, not one of their newer models–give me a non-M1 Mac all day long at this rate. Which is a damn shame, because I want that hardware.

    I will never be an Apple superfan, I’m fairly sure–they do an awful lot of things I’m not a fan of, but I’m not on the anti-Apple pro-Google (or even just anti-Apple) train either. I want to use them as part of my toolset, not entirely unlike I currently use Google as part of my toolset (not originally my idea, but that’s another post). But they don’t make it easy. I’m lazy–I like easy.

    I love the idea of where Apple wants to go with its hardware. Not so thrilled that Apple needs to make virtualization harder to get there, mind, but you can’t have everything. For accessibility reasons and security reasons, I don’t know how open I am to taking that ride directly. For security reasons, if you’ve already taken that ride, I’m very sorry.

    , ,
  • I would absolutely love a self-driving car. It won’t happen in my lifetime.

    As a blind guy, and sometimes the only blind guy in the room, I get it a lot. “I bet you’re looking forward to the self-driving car.” And I mean I get it. I really, really get it. But my answer is always “yes, but no”.

    In theory, absolutely yes. I could move back to small town Ontario with the rest of my family and not have to rely on said family to get me from A to B. Or, if I didn’t feel like moving back there for any one of a number of still very true reasons, I’d have the option of deciding on a whim that hey, it’s the weekend–let’s do a road trip. I mean I’d still play the lazy card where possible and have groceries/food delivered, because it means I don’t have to deal with other people, but I’d have a lot more direct control–and, I mean, let’s be real that includes of where the money spent goes. I have 0 problem paying for an Uber, or otherwise putting money in someone else’s gas tank. But if you give me the option of putting it in my own instead, I take that option every time. Plus my hypothetical self-driving car won’t be unavailable at 11:00 at night if I decide I want to start paying to rent a space to work from and need a ride home.

    All that being said, in practice… that’ll be a no. A few immediate reasons spring to mind, but a couple stand out. First, GPS is still not as accurate as I’d like–in certain parts of Ottawa, if I want to navigate to a specific address, the GPS will often stop me a block or two away from that address (fortunately I 1: know that area well enough to know I’m not actually at that address and 2: no longer have a reason to bother going anywhere near that address, so that’s not a current issue but still an issue). Second and on a similar thread, I mentioned small town Ontario. Some of those small towns don’t show up very well on GPS, if they show up at all–I’ve driven through small towns that every navigation system I had access to wanted to tell me didn’t exist and that I was really in $MajorCity. I mean, I was about half an hour away, which if we’re talking GTA might as well be Toronto, but I promise I was definitely not in $MajorCity. If the GPS was driving, I would be.

    Speaking of if the GPS was driving, vehicle autopilot systems are… eh. Not great. Uber’s attempt at self-driving cars had so many issues they ended up selling the business just so it didn’t choke them. And if Tesla is supposed to be the gold standard, well… we’re in trouble.

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Thursday that it is upgrading the Tesla probe to an engineering analysis, another sign of increased scrutiny of the electric vehicle maker and automated systems that perform at least some driving tasks.

    An engineering analysis is the final stage of an investigation, and in most cases NHTSA decides within a year if there should be a recall or the probe should be closed.

    Documents posted Thursday by the agency raise some serious issues about Tesla’s Autopilot system. The agency found that it’s being used in areas where its capabilities are limited, and that many drivers aren’t taking action to avoid crashes despite warnings from the vehicle.

    The probe now covers 830,000 vehicles, almost everything that the Austin, Texas, carmaker has sold in the U.S. since the start of the 2014 model year.

    NHTSA reported that is has found 16 crashes into emergency vehicles and trucks with warning signs, causing 15 injuries and one death.

    The whole idea of the blind guy getting into a self-driving car is so that he doesn’t cause an accident–or, more likely, contribute to one–by, you know, driving while blind. If the car (keep in mind, this is with a human supervisor who can see) ends up causing or contributing to the accident instead, there just went any motivation I had for doing the self-driving thing. I may as well drive it myself.

    I’m not saying self-driving cars are an absolutely terrible idea. If someone can pull off a miracle and make one that 1: works and 2: doesn’t require a human supervisor with vision to come with it–thus defeating the whole idea of the blind guy using a self-driving car, provided they don’t end up selling for a million (okay, it will probably be two million), I’ll be all over it. I’m a man of convenience, and having a vehicle I can drive–or, rather, direct where to drive me–without needing to wait for a vehicle and its driver to become available would be convenient. I’m also a realist. And realistically, we’re nowhere near there yet and very well won’t be in my lifetime. At least not to a degree where it will be practical.

    I want to be proven wrong. I know several people who want me to take a random road trip to come see them who want me to be proven wrong. But here’s the thing. My insurance rates would probably be tripple anyone else’s just by virtue of the fact everyone loves a blind guy tax. They don’t need to be taken higher because my car can’t drive any better than I can, thank you kindly. And on the day if and when I am 100% proven wrong, I will happily sit there and let everyone tell me they told me so. Then I’ll start the GoFundMe to raise the million I’ll need to buy one. It… just probably won’t be a Tesla, and not because its founder and CEO is a raging moron–though if I were employed by that raging moron I might have some concerns.

    , , ,
  • Ontario votes Not The Liberals, again.

    I wanted to wait a few days before I wrote this for the smoke to clear in case someone who voted the same as me decides I must have voted the other way. Because, apparently, that’s a thing now–and while I’m not above offending the easily offended, in this case please save your offense for the system we live in. It won’t care any more than I do, but it’s the reason you’re upset, not me.

    So Ontario supposedly voted on June 2. I say supposedly, because while there was a vote, and a winner, and it was in Ontario, the voter turnout was less than 50%. So more like some of Ontario voted. And yeah, some of Ontario doubled down on our having bought us a Ford. But for the folks who want to say the low turnout is how we ended up with Ford, I have some unfortunate news for you.

    To put it out there, because if anyone actually still reads this thing despite my incredibly inconsistent posting to it the only comments I’m likely to get are the type I’ve written scripts to deal with, I voted Green. Mostly because as someone who used to be on ODSP they had the most promising offer. They had the least chance of being elected, but–I mean–unless you were asleep the last 3 months you knew the Conservatives were getting back in. I wasn’t voting to replace the Conservatives, and if you’re looking at it realistically, neither were you. So I didn’t.

    Now, all of that having been said, Doug Ford didn’t win this election so much as both the Liberals and New Democratic Party (NDP), the two most likely to have replaced him, lost. And I don’t know that it was their platforms that did it–I mean, were I not way too familiar with what people on ODSP go through I only write about it every when I think about it), I’d have probably voted NDP instead.

    The reason (and internet people, this is my opinion, so please don’t take it as fact unless you want me to mock you) the NDP lost, simply put, was Andrea Horwath–it’s a W, not a V, and as long as she’s been in the news I should not need to keep saying that. She’s been in 4 elections, lost all 4, and 2 of them to a drug dealer with no platform and half a clue. The absolute best result she got the NDP to was backing the Liberals in a Minority government in 2010, and she bungled that into a Liberal majority in 2014. How she didn’t resign after that is still a mystery to me. As is how she didn’t resign when the drug dealer with no platform beat her over the head with his half a clue in 2018. She at least had the good sense to get it over with after this election, so there’s still a chance for the NDP to become somewhat respectable. Horwath herself is toast, though–burnt, at this point.

    The Liberals are a lot more straightforward to explain. How do you take a McGuinty/Wynne string of elections that spans 15 years before crashing into a Ford-sized wall and decide yes, we’re absolutely going to go with more of that? But more importantly, how do you name your leader in 2020, then decide in May of 2022 that perhaps–just perhaps–the average voter might could use to be introduced to him? Did they just decide fuck it this cycle? I mean, they had 7 seats before the election and 8 after, so that’s kind of what it looks like. Like were the diehards on Reddit the only ones actually serious about the election this year? I don’t get it.

    The election’s conclusion was foregone. The only people who maybe didn’t/don’t want to hear that are the super partisans and the “at all costs” ABC’s. Those of us with no dog in this fight who wouldn’t be personally affected by any of the above winning (Ford won’t cut my taxes, Del Duca and Horwath wouldn’t have increased them–I’m not rich enough, and I’m no longer on ODSP–though the difference between the Liberals and the NDP there was in how fast, not necessarily how much) saw the writing on the wall forever ago. The only question that had yet to be answered was whether Ontario would be voting Liberal or Not Liberal for second place. And just like in the days of Kathleen “vote for me or the old white people win” Wynne, Ontario voted Not Liberal. Now, if the Liberals would be so kind as to get the hint, that’d be great. And if the NDP wouldn’t mind picking up that other half a clue Ford’s not using, perhaps the two will be on equal ground for a change. Unless that happens, I’d best not be hearing anybody giving anyone else hell for not voting. But let’s be real. I probably will.

    , ,
  • Ontario doesn’t do accessibility. Also water is wet.

    If you’ve spent time in Ontario, especially if you have any kind of disability, you become pretty aware pretty quickly we fail at disabilities. That includes, to the surprise of hopefully no one, accessibility for those who have them.

    Three years after the Doug Ford government received a key report on making Ontario more accessible for people with disabilities, its author says little has been done to achieve its goals and there doesn’t appear to be a plan in place to fix that.

    While he thought it would be “relatively easy” for the government to fulfil the report’s recommendations, David Onley says Ontario is still failing on issues such as employment equity, social assistance and even the physical accessibility of schools and other buildings.

    Now, I’m not saying every building in Ontario needs to be made super accessible immediately. I mean, it would be nice, but let’s try being practical for a minute. That being said, where’s the plan to hire–and actually tolerate working with–people with disabilities? There doesn’t seem to be one.

    I’ve had 3 jobs in my entire life. Two of them, including this one, were with US-based companies who treat their disabled employees several times better than their Canadian equivalents–not to mention, in general, just being better to work for. And Ontario’s perfectly fine with that. This isn’t a Conservative thing, or a Liberal thing, or an NDP thing–this is an Ontario thing. Don’t believe me? Ask anyone with a disability.

    Mark Wafer, a business owner and disability rights advocate, didn’t need to be told to hire more people with disabilities. Wafer is deaf and understands the challenges people with disabilities have finding work.

    So, he started hiring them.

    For 25 years at Wafer’s Tim Horton’s locations across Toronto, he hired nearly 250 people with disabilities. The effort, he says, not only improved the lives of his employees, but it was good for business.

    “I began to see a pattern and that is that people with disabilities required less supervision,” Wafer said in an interview.

    “They worked more safely. They were more innovative. They were more productive. I started to see a clear business case for inclusion.”.

    I mean these aren’t new facts. These aren’t even really subjective facts. But the only person who gets it, most of the time, is another person with a disability. That… is rather a problem.

    Whether we’re talking government, private sector, the big chains or your local mom and pop shop, the idea that the disabled are capable of anything but receiving pity is pretty well dug in. And while that idea isn’t strictly limited to employment (if it was, we wouldn’t fail so hard as a society), employment is where it gets noticed most–try often enough to get off the system only to have employers tell you you need to stay on the system and eventually you just decide it’s less of a headache to just stay on the system. That’s a problem, and that’s not a problem we’re going to fix by voting NDP–mostly because I’m pretty sure the NDP isn’t a whole lot more interested in solving that problem than the other two shmuck parties are. That problem gets fixed when society wants it to get fixed, and right now society’s just fine with things staying status quo.

    I’m not surprised we’ve made little to no actual progress on accessibility matters, and the areas we’ve made progress on have gotten there on the end of lawsuits–not entirely unlike I suspect will happen again before summer. I’m not surprised, because that’s what we want as a province. What surprises me is that, despite it being what we want as a province, this still makes the news. It’s like we enjoy talking about it, but not so much the doing anything about it.

    I had a conversation with someone on the Ontario subreddit earlier today in which essentially they tried to tell me that digitization was going to be terrible for the disabled. Of course they couldn’t tell me what they’d like to see instead, just that doing your admin crap online is apparently discriminatory. As someone who is actually disabled, that’s news to me. As someone who is actually disabled and has been actually poor, that’s just downright dumb. But that’s what we’re lead to believe in Ontario. And that, not necessarily the current ass warming the premier’s chair, is why we’ll keep seeing reports that we’re not doing the accessibility things we need to be. That, and making the disabled a news story gets clicks. If you want actual results, though, I’m afraid you’re in the wrong place. We don’t know what those are.

    , , ,
  • Tell me you didn’t see that coming.

    So we’re a little more straight-laced in Canada, usually. Sometimes a little too straight-laced for my tastes, but eh. That’s my country and I wouldn’t change it. But loopholes exist, and we create new ones every day. One gigantic loophole no one’s apparently thought of is 3d printing.

    See, you’re supposed to be licensed up to your eyeballs to own, whether purchased or otherwise, a gun. That’s, like, the law. We can argue whether it should be all day long and I’m happy to, but it is. The problem is, well, like I said–loopholes. When you can print your own, suddenly the law doesn’t matter a whole lot anymore.

    A 34-year-old man has been arrested and is facing charges for allegedly 3D-printing guns at a house in Hanover, Man.

    The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said the investigation began back in September when officers intercepted a suspicious package at a mail-processing centre in Mississauga, Ont.

    The package, which CBSA said was destined for southeastern Manitoba from the United States, had undeclared firearm components inside including metal parts and inserts commonly used to reinforce 3D-printed handguns.

    Now, honestly, who didn’t see that coming? If I had to guess, gonna go out on a limb here and say next time he uses UPS. Or, you know, shops a little smidge more local. Because I mean let’s be real here. We all, including the cops, know it’s going to happen again. It’s too easy.

  • In which WordPress lets me do with an interface what I used to do with code. 13 years later.

    I don’t even know what version of WordPress I was using when I relaunched this site back in 2008. 2.something, I’m fairly sure. Either way, I’ve been using it for a bit–and yeah, some of the code that used to make this site go is evidence of that. As so often is the case, this year means a new version, and with this new version, WordPress brings back a feature in user interface form that the previous iteration of this site let me do in Notepad. It’s a weird kind of full circle, with an accessibility twist.

    This site has existed off and on since 2006, December of. For a couple years it existed on LiveJournal (Remember those guys?), then was brought back here to the platform I’m using now. But in the very beginning, Movable Type powered this site. That… was a very different, and in a lot of ways way less flexible, experience. But here’s the thing now. The big feature this year is full site editing. And yeah, it’s a big feature. But it’s a feature I had before I made the switch–it took Notepad and MT’s templating language, but I mean similar to now, I did it once and pushed a button, and everything else was rebuilt more or less behind the scenes while I moved on to something more fun–like writing some new piece of content for my newly revamped and barely read website. So for me, as with so many things technology, I’ve essentially come full circle but with a prettier interface.

    I made the switch because I got curious, and because I built this website for two reasons–a place for me to brain dump on occasion, and a place for me to test out this or that new project in a way that won’t kill anyone–this place gets maybe 3 human visitors a week, so no one’s going to notice but me if I do a thing and it 500’s the server for 20 minutes (yes, that happened). I mean, if I do a thing and it freaking takes off, then awesome. But that’s very, very much a third-place benefit to me running this thing. So I got curious. And being curious, I decided fuck it, I had little to nothing to lose, and I took FSE for a spin.

    Couple things to note right off the top. If you hate the block editor, you’ll hate FSE. FSE is the block editor cranked up to 11 with a few extras thrown in just to make it interesting. FSE is still in beta (*), so it’s probably not going to do things the way you expect in this version. With a little luck, that changes when 5.9.1 comes out–whenever that is. But I mean, the block editor was released in December 2018 and it’s still being heavily worked on/improved/criticized 3 years later, so there’s room. I don’t personally mind it anymore (no, that’s not because I’m being paid by the WordPress people now–I’ve let fly with some unpopular opinions re: things that would be a lot different if they let me run the thing for a day), so I had a lot fewer concerns switching to full site editing than I did switching to the block editor–and it took me nearly the full 3 years to switch to the block editor.

    Like I said, though, I do have a few concerns–and I’m kind of hoping those get addressed before we rip the beta label off this thing. Notably, while the editor’s mostly accessible, there are still some things that only read properly if you navigate with browse mode turned off, or otherwise in the equivalent of JAWS for Windows’s forms mode.

    You can’t, yet–that I’ve found, but I’m open to learning I’m incorrect–resize the header or footer area with a screen reader. Or you can and I’m an idiot, but I’ve not as yet seen it.

    When editing templates directly, for example the “home” or “single post” template, you can’t immediately tell where the actual page content ends and your header or footer begins–you can if you know your screen reader inside and out and know when to rely on turning on forms mode/turning off browse mode, but the average user’s not going to be thinking about that. They’re going to be trying to design their website with a not quite completely accessible interface.

    Some of the individual blocks don’t read as well with a screen reader, again unless you turn on forms mode/turn off browse mode (I’m thinking, as an example, the various group/row/columns blocks), but that’s true when using the normal editor and doesn’t apply solely to the new site editor.

    Still, if you know these issues exist, and you know how to manipulate your screen reader in such a way that you can work around these issues, it’s usable. There’s an argument to be made that you shouldn’t have to, and I agree with that argument 150%, but until that gets fixed yeah that’s a have to thing. If you can work around these issues though, FSE isn’t a terrible idea. It’s also about 13 years late–at least if you’re me.

    If you can’t find a theme that gives you a left and right sidebar, just as an example, then find a theme that gives you most of what you want and build yourself a left and right sidebar using FSE. The entire right side of this site, such as it is, was built using FSE. It’s still a work in progress because–again, it being a beta and it not being entirely accessible–working with it takes a little longer than it should and I don’t feel like spending my weekend poking at it, but what’s there was built using FSE. The footer was slightly redesigned–again, work in progress–using FSE. The breadcrumbs were added (because search engines like them) using FSE–remember what I said about this website being a testing ground for my personal curiosities?

    I still have a lot of space to play with, and will probably find things to put there, but the point is in the old days, if the theme I was using didn’t support it, I either messed with code or found another theme. I don’t mind messing with code–I lived in the classic editor for as long as I did partly because I enjoyed writing the code for my posts by hand, and I may still switch to the code editor on occasion to do that just for fun. But if I wanted to be a WordPress developer, I’d be a WordPress developer. I don’t (at least not right at this second), so I’m not (**). I built this site largely as a brain dump. And yeah, over the years some of that brain dump has been code. But now if I throw a custom piece of code up here it’s because I want to, not because it’s meeting a need that isn’t met out of the box.

    FSE will probably piss me off. Hell, the Gutenberg editor will probably piss me off. It’s already responsible for a few of the things I’ve opened in GitHub because they annoy me (some of them are due to my employer, so I don’t count those). But they don’t stop pissing me off if I shut up about them. And I want them to stop pissing me off. So if some developer type reads this and thinks they can improve things, then it’s done its job. But if not, then it was pretty much just a brain dump–and well, that was kind of the entire point of this site when I set the thing up. I got away from doing that for a few years because, you know, Twitter’s all the rage these days, but one of the things I fully intended to do in the new year is get back into it. And hey, if nothing else, a new WordPress with a feature I haven’t seen implemented in 13 years is as good a reason as any. Plus, I mean let’s be real here. Mocking stupid people on Twitter is less effective in 280 characters. Apparently I’m more of a 1400 words person.

    (*): Who slaps a beta label on a thing then makes it a cornerstone feature of a production version of a major platform? This major platform, apparently. I really freaking hope you know what you’re doing, guys. I’m admitedly a little worried you don’t. That being said, I will beta test on the production box all day long, because it’s not like this production box is paying my bills or anything.

    (**): I have not ruled out eventually picking up a decent code editor and having at it. I just haven’t yet. But see the thing is, working for the WordPress people (no, this post doesn’t get the category when I eventually stop being lazy and create it) means if I decide I want to, they’ll cut me the slack I need so I can. So if I ever decide I want to, I can no longer say I don’t have the time. And if today I don’t have the money, then today I have a spending problem. I already fixed my revenue problem. But at this second, I’m most definitely not the developer type and have no immediate plans to correct that.

    , , , ,
  • Renewing your ID online is a good thing. So of course Ontario will screw it up.

    It’s no secret I’m a lasy S.O.B. None whatsoever. But see, I prefer the good, as in still productive, lazy–not the “I didn’t do what I needed to for 6 months because I didn’t want to” lazy. If you can do a thing without going significantly out of your way to do a thing, that’s my kind of lazy.

    Take for example doing my taxes–which yeah, that’s coming up soon. Dammit. I could collect all the appropriate paperwork, sit down with the forms, and manually work it out for myself. I mean, I know people who do that. Those people are weird, but they exist and I know them. Alternatively I could put together that paperwork, trudge on over to H&R Block and pay them to do it–slightly less effort on my part, but 1: that’s still effort and 2: that would require I deal with H&R Block. Or, you know, I could use any one of the way too goddamned many tax platforms that are out there today, file my taxes from my living room in my pajamas and be freaking done with it. I pick that third option every time. That’s lazy, but that’s the good lazy. Getting shit done, but getting shit done efficiently.

    Ontario has a system in place now wherein, when renewing some of your ID (health card, mainly), you can do that from your living room in your pajamas (maybe don’t take your photo like that). Awesome. Getting shit done, but getting shit done efficiently. I approve. But I live in Ontario, and in Ontario, we can’t have nice things. So a good system becomes a whole lot less useful than it could or should be because shut up.

    You need to provide ID to renew your health card, obviously. This is true whether it’s online, by mail, in person, or by carrier pigeon (you may want to have a fallback method if doing so by carrier pigeon). Logical, makes sense, cool. But now here’s where it gets messed up. Not all ID is created equal, and Ontario’s government’s in… we’ll call it a wee bit of hot water for the proclamation.

    The Doug Ford government is facing legal action over its policy for renewing Ontario health cards online.
    The online service is available only to residents with a valid driver’s licence, a rule that disability advocates say discriminates against people who can’t drive or don’t have a licence.

    “People who, like me, because of their disability, are absolutely disqualified from being able renew our health card online,” said David Lepofsky, a Toronto lawyer and chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians With Disabilities Act Alliance.

    They went the disability route with this, because I mean that gets more attention, but this applies to anyone who doesn’t, either by choice or otherwise, drive. People living in Ottawa on purpose don’t own cars because–when our beloved transit system is doing what a transit system should–they don’t need to. So many around here haven’t bothered getting their license. And why? The Ontario photo ID is as valid as a driver’s license, and can be used in nearly the exact same way as a driver’s license. So if you’re not going to drive, and have no intention of even owning a car, and couldn’t be bothered getting tested to qualify for a thing you’ll never use, the photo card makes sense instead–except, apparently, when the government decides it doesn’t.

    In person renewals are available, sure. And that’s a valid argument–in 2019. But here’s the thing. Even if we weren’t in the middle/coming up on the end of a pandemic, remember that whole thing I said earlier about good versus bad laziness? About getting shit done, but getting shit done efficiently? There’s nothing efficient, I don’t care who you are, about standing in line at freaking Service Ontario to get your shit renewed. I could be doing any number of other things that are not standing there with a bunch of other people who don’t freaking want to be there. But because I don’t drive (no, I’m not playing the “because I’m disabled” game), I get to go stand there with a bunch of people who’d rather be anywhere else. No thank you please.

    In its statement the ministry spokesperson said the government is “taking steps” to allow the online renewal system to accept the Photo Card.

    Guessing they end up losing this lawsuit before that happens. Come on, Ontario. This is not new. Get with it, will you?

  • The month in readership, January 2022.

    I’ve been doing this for a month now and I’m still used to writing 2021. I figure that’ll change by approximately 2023.

    January’s been weird, but the weird–for the most part–has stayed away from this space. I mean, partially because I haven’t been talking about it, but mostly because people haven’t been overly interested in looking for it–either that, or they have and because I haven’t been talking about it much they aren’t finding themselves here. Either way, I’ll take it. Still, the more things change/the weirder things get, in way too many ways, the more they stay the same. And that’s reflected in what people came here looking for last month.

    • 2012 was a not very good year if you were on ODSP. 2018-2022 haven’t been a whole lot better. And the bad ideas from 2012 are still alive a decade later. “Just get a job” is still not the right answer, Ontario.
    • Paramount Properties is still doing what Paramount Properties does, at least according to the folks who are still finding my issues with them from a few years ago. The second part to that soap opera has dropped down the list, apparently, so… maybe things are improving? Or is it more because pandemic so less fuckery?
    • You don’t hear much about the Canada worker Lockdown Benefit anymore. Probably because there still aren’t very many lockdowns. We heard a lot when it launched though–mostly because you couldn’t qualify if you weren’t in lockdown and well, no one was in lockdown. Smooth, guys. Real smooth. We voted for this (I did not).
    • Speaking of that second part to the Paramount soap opera, it’s right here. And yep, improving but not improved. I mean, get it together, would you please? Some of us have expectations. Minimal, but they’re there.
    • People are still trying to migrate their stuff to WebFaction. Which, I mean, I’m happy to help, but they’re kinda no longer with us in any form I care to acknowledge as decent. Now if you’d like to learn how to fire up your own Linode server and get the hell away from WebFaction, we can talk about that.

    I’m on purpose trying my level best not to post extensively about either Covid or the racists that want to pretend there’s no such thing as Covid, mostly because if you really want to hear about them every media outlet within 50 miles has a camera crew on site. That being said, the racists being racists are local to me, so… something will probably be written if/when they piss me off. At that point I expect February’s list to be… probably a little more colourful.

  • I thought that was what we called coffee?

    Okay, I’ll admit it–not that it’s a secret or anything. Not much of a Starbucks person. They have two drinks I like enough to justify going there regularly, both are seasonal, and neither are available now. So I almost never actually go there. Still, the impression I get from both knowing people who practically live there and the few times I’ve gone there is… well… isn’t the whole energy drink thing what their coffee’s supposed to be? Apparently, I know not of what I speak.

    Starbucks is giving customers new ways to perk up: a line of energy drinks called Starbucks Baya Energy and a bunch of fresh flavours in the grocery aisle.

    Baya will be available for purchase at stores and online starting this week, and will go on sale at U.S. Starbucks stores on March 1. The drink comes in three flavors: mango guava, raspberry lime and pineapple passionfruit. Each 12-ounce can has 90 calories and 160 mg of caffeine. It has a suggested retail price of US$2.89.

    I mean, okay, now I’m educated. Their flavour ideas could use some–or rather a lot of–work, but that’s largely Starbucks (see also why I have all of two drinks there I actually like). But still, given how much caffeine I swear is in their coffee… isn’t *that* their energy drink? At least, it worked for me–have one of those before a 10-hour work shift and don’t sleep the next day is apparently a thing. … But I suppose people who don’t drink coffee exist too. Weird.

recent Posts

Recent Comments