• Do you still own a blackBerry? all 3 of you probably need a new phone, like, tomorrow.

    So. today I learned. I thought BlackBerry was dead ages ago-usually, a sign something’s not long for this world is when my former employer, Nova, takes an interest in it. Nope, turns out it’s still kicking–until tomorrow, when pretty much anything not running Android goes splork.

    I’ve never owned or used one, though I knew a couple people who did–10 years ago. And my former employer kept a couple around as testing devices for one particular customer who spent most of their time absolutely convinced blackBerry was still the gold standard (they were lawyers, so I mean come on). But aside from that, it didn’t occur to me they still had any significant market share. But, I mean, them flipping the switch that breaks the phones tomorrow I guess proves they do. Or did. Or thought they did. That the decision makes headlines is a slow news day, I guess? I mean, at least it’s not another goddamned Covid story.

    BlackBerry was cute, for its time. Its time was about 15 minutes 10 years ago, though. And now, the 3 of you who still have one have no excuse. So what’ll it be? Apple or Google? Sorry, no one has a landline anymore either.

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  • Any autotune is too much autotune. Change my mind.

    Or, you know, agree with me. Whichever–I’m easy.

    There are two universal truths that are still unchanged in 2022.

    • 1. We will always have autotune.
    • 2. Autotune was invented by the devil to trick people who can’t sing into believing they should even try.

    When you’d rather buy the album than listen to it live, because you know the artist is absolutely useless live, that’s too much autotune. When your choices are understanding the lyrics or making your ears bleed, that’s too much autotune. And when you want an excuse to mock autotune while demonstrating the entire reason autotune is bad for anyone who isn’t a software engineer, the song you turn to is called “Too Much Autotune”. And because I love me a good parody, well, of course I’ll demonstrate.

    TL; DR: Autotune is evil, unless you’re using it to mock autotune. Then, and only then, is autotune the best thing ever. But if I never hear another autotuned song again, it still won’t be long enough.

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  • The month in readership, December 2021.

    I may not have been as active with this thing as I wanted to be, and I may have started a little later in the month than I’d planned, but that doesn’t mean the site hasn’t been getting attention. It may have gotten a little more attention, but somewhere along the way we ran into an issue or 6–all fixed now! As I try to do better on that front, here’s a look at what happened while I sucked at it.

    • Paramount Properties, don’t ever change. I wrote about their fuckery in 2013, and here they are 8 years later apparently not changing. The two posts I wrote about them are still getting attention, though the last comment on either of them was posted in 2019.
    • Omicron snacked on the hockey season for a little while. I renamed it, then gave it an alternative meal. Someone apparently appreciates my choice in names for it. I wish I could take the credit, but I think they were looking for this meme (note: site’s currently throwing errors as of when I looked, but it’s cached). Either way, I’ll take the free promotion.
    • WebFaction sold its soul in 2019, but people are still coming across my instructions for migrating away from CPanel and to that service. The advice I give people now? Stick with CPanel, or switch to dreamHost. You’ll be better for it.
    • I still plan to post current event type things, but I’m trying to avoid posting anything to do with Covid–which basically means I’m out of current event type things to post for a while. I broke that rule a couple times and will probably break it again. But this being the time of Covid, I do have to wonder what exactly is going on in the world that this sexually frustrated current event is getting attention again.
    • Someone, or multiple someones, has apparently decided I’m a source for New Worlds Aderaan material. I haven’t played the game ever, and the one person I know who has… well… we’re at a distance for a good reason. Still, was this post what you were looking for?

    I’m still rebuilding things after the technical issues I mentioned above, and I’ve made a few changes here that may allow me to take advantage of traffic sources that didn’t exist when last I took up a major project to revitalize this site (2011), so it’s very possible when I do this next month it will look very, very different. But that’s December in a nutshell. Not bad for the guy who forgot how to write, even if the guy who forgot how to write says so himself.

  • In 2022, I hereby resolve to…

    I don’t normally make new years resolutions, because I don’t normally care. But given where I’m coming from, I figure I can get away with doing it this year by essentially keeping it to things that are very likely to happen, pending something beyond my control–like, for example, this current thing we’re dealing with sticking around for longer than people planned. Again. But if everything plays out, I fully intend to accomplish these things in 2022. Or fake it until 2023.

    • Haul myself the rest of the way out of debt
    • Save up enough that I can afford a halfway decent down payment on a house or condo that doesn’t look like the seller should have paid me to take it
    • Take the new job as far as it will let me, then turn it into something entirely new (this will require an explanation of the new job, which I also resolve to do)
    • Put myself on a bus, or plane, or even train, and just go somewhere besides either Ottawa or the valley, just to say I did–I hear nice things about Montreal these days
    • spend a lot more time doing what I want to, rather than what I have to, including spending a lot more time adding content to and maintaining this thing I’ve had for 15 years
    • Meet at least 3 people from my work, who are all working remotely by default, and have one hell of a time doing it–this may or may not involve booze, depending on the people
    • Blog about, both internally and maybe even on this site, my meeting of the above at least 3 people I work with
    • Put up with a whole lot less BS, and come down harder on the source(s) of said BS a lot quicker
    • Get incredibly drunk and, public health regulations at the time permitting, set every single solitary fucking mask I own on fire

    And as a bonus, just in case I need a consolation prize, I’m taking at least one cruise and forgetting the world exists for a week. because hey, that’s been on my bucket list for ages and now’s as good a time as any. well, not *right* now (screw you, Covid).

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  • 2021, reviewed.

    In comparison to the not hardly at all documented 2020, 2021 was a marked improvement. Still largely not at all documented, and still largely a ball of suck, but less of a ball of suck than the year previous–no, Covid was not the major thing that sucked for me.

    I was ordered, as pretty much a lot of people were in Ontario, to work from home in March of 2020. I’ve always said I’d love to be able–optionally–to work from home, and the job I had was pretty much doable from anywhere besides my desk–most of the devices/platforms I needed to log into weren’t even in this country, so sitting in the office to use them really didn’t make a whole lot of difference. The government ordering me to work from home proved that, and after some less than pleasant personal events in the summer of 2020, I proved it further by basically working most of that year outside of Ottawa. In 2021, I made that shift to working from home into a permanent one by switching jobs. And just as soon as we make up our freaking minds what we’re doing re: covid, I can make my permanent working from home arrangement into an optional one–as I’d originally intended–with my employer’s blessing. Now I’ve got more money, more freedom, and more time to get shit done. In short, where was this 5 years ago?

    In 2020, I became single after a relationship I essentially put everything I had into. Not going to lie, I was a mess for a bit. Surprisingly, the pandemic wasn’t related to the reason why we broke up–if anything, I think she enjoyed the fact the government was keeping me at home. I will say it was largely a difference of opinion. I’m smiling now, and it’s only tangentially related to that difference of opinion. In 2021 I formed a couple of new potential connections. I don’t know if either of them will actually evolve into a serious actual relationship for various reasons, but they’re important to me in their own way. Both of them have given me new perspectives I didn’t have a year ago. And, if ever I do end up in another serious relationship, both of them are helping–again, in their own way–to solidify what I don’t want in that relationship. Again, where was this 5 years ago?

    Okay, enough of the suck versus less suck comparisons. Partly because I’ve run out of things to compare to, but mostly because screw it. We all know 2020 was a dumpster fire. In 2021, I finally, *finally*, purchased the new desktop computer/server/test bed/general geek machine. I haven’t had one since the hand-me-down I was using kicked the bucket a few years ago. My personal projects once again live in a permanent, stable, default location. Conveniently enough, so do my new professional projects–more on that later, if I don’t forget. In short, this allows me to play with more heavy-duty developer things. Which in turn means maybe next year I’ll get off my ass and learn to code (I know, stop laughing).

    2021 also meant for me more hockey. Not just because the NHL hadn’t (until now, briefly) been nommed by Covid, but because the nature of my working now means I can be a lot more available to go to my nephews’ games. Which I’ve been doing pretty much every chance I get–again, until now, hopefully briefly. Being stuck in Ottawa taking care of someone, while I enjoyed doing so, came with drawbacks and that was one. While I have no trouble admitting I sometimes miss that, I have even less trouble admitting that if travel ever reopens for really real, or if I get fed up and decide to move permanently out of Ottawa, I don’t need to be tied to anywhere specific unless I want to be. So I can watch my nephews play hockey, still get paid, and life can be glorious.

    In 2021, I also finished–after nearly a decade of trying–completely pulling myself out of financial hell. The Ontario disability Support Program (ODSP) was pretty much no help here, which is part of what took me the majority of that decade, but 2021 was the year it became official that I didn’t have a dime in collections. Oh, I still have debt. But now every cent of it is trackable, and if at all necessary, reusable. And it’s dropping like a freaking stone. 2022 promises to continue that trend, pending another 2008.

    Speaking of the Ontario disability Support Program (ODSP), 2021 was the year I stopped qualifying for it entirely. That happened by virtue of the job change I wrote about above. I’m not throwing the “screw you, ODSP” party just yet (waiting to see if I’m still here in a year), but assuming I am, I am personally buying enough booze to give a Russian a hangover. Masks optional–if you’re fully vaccinated, for whatever definition of “fully vaccinated” at the time of the probably poorly planned and definitely poorly executed event.

    And speaking of 2008, I fell behind by a long shot when my job went and emigrated to India as part of Dell’s attempt to save a dollar. I’m still behind, but I started for really real catching up in late 2021 when my job changed. I’m… still by no means where I want to be (see also: the earlier mentioned financial recovery), but I’m a lot farther ahead staring down the barrel of 2022 than I was staring down the barrel of 2009. Or 2021, actually. I mean, I have retirement savings (CPP doesn’t count), which I couldn’t say I did in 2020. It’s not much, but it’s more than I had when I had to set fire to everything so I could qualify for ODSP in 2010, and definitely more than I had when 2021 started (I don’t have exact numbers from 2010, but in 2020 and into 2021, it was $0). Now if everything cost today what it cost in 2010, I’d be laughing. But, can’t win ’em all, and I like my small victories.

    I have no idea where 2022’s going. I still don’t entirely know where 2021 went. But I haven’t overall felt this good in a lot of years. Not being poor probably helps, but knowing the world isn’t speeding ahead of me as fast as it used to doesn’t hurt either. I’ll probably screw up, and things will probably go sideways, but I think as of this second I’m in a position to survive just about anything short of a catastrophic failure. And that’s something I haven’t been able to say in way too many years. Thanks, 2021. You weren’t as bad as you could have been and were probably better than you should have been.

  • In which I get boosted, and the world Juniors gets iced by om-nom-nomicron.

    So. good–if only for me–news first. I am now considered fully vaccinated plus (*). They stuck me two days ago, and I waited until now just in case it resulted in spectacular forms of crap–dose number 2 pretty much ran me over, so I was preparing. Fortunately, dose number 3 seems to have been kinder to me–the only evidence I’d been stuck is the expected arm soreness where they stuck me. I will of course blame the vaccine should I develop cold symptoms tomorrow, as one does.

    Now, the crap news–and again, screw you, Covid. the day after I rule myself relatively safe from immediately inconveniencing side-effects, the world Junior tournament of Hockey gets whacked by Covid. the move was a smart one, but dammit Canada was killing it! I actually managed to catch a couple of those games and was looking forward to clearing my schedule for a couple more. The olympics can go to hell, but I mean we might be seeing some of these guys playing pro in a couple years, if they’re not already, so I always look forward to seeing what they’ve got. Still, like I said, the move itself was logical, but screw you, Covid.

    (*): Two doses is still considered fully vaccinated (at least today) in Ontario, but I imagine once a significant chunk of us are boosted that’ll change. though as the pharmacist who stuck me pointed out, we can’t keep doing vaccines every 6 months or so. There’s got to be something else, though neither he nor I had a freaking clue what that something else might be.

    Now, off to install my first version 3.0 software update.

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  • It’s Christmas in the valley.

    It’s that time of year, and I’m where I pretty much always am when it’s that time of year. My family has a tradition–it doesn’t matter where we are or what we’re doing, we’re all home for Christmas. And home has pretty much always been the Ottawa valley–with only a few exceptions (me included), they all live here and very few of them have actually left here for any real length of time. So partly because it’s tradition, and mostly because it’s the one time I’m guaranteed to see them all in one place, I’m back in the valley for a few days.

    ONe of our family traditions is the Christmas music in the background of just about everything we do. Even in situations, like when we’re having dinner, where we don’t usually have music of any kind onb–usually there’s something. The radio, a CD, somebody’s Spotify playlist, whichever. That’s pretty nearly a central component of the day if you’re us.

    One of the songs I end up hearing at least once every year is “Christmas In The Valley”. IF not the original, then it’s because someone’s pulled out the guitar and we’ve decided to sing the thing. It’s almost become a staple in at least one Christmas playlist. So, because someone in this house will play it today, I’ll leave it here today. And, you know, if you’re ever in the Ottawa valley on or around Christmas…

    Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate, happy holidays to those of you who are either just thankful to probably hopefully have the day off or are waiting for December 31, and happy weekend to everyone else–the, like, 3 of you who actually read this long-neglected thing. In 2022, perhaps I’ll decide to do something productive. Or at least, if not that, then do whatever this is before halfway through December.

  • Om-nom-nomicron eats hockey. It should snack on the olympics next.

    I have two weeks off work. When I scheduled this two weeks off work, I fully intended to spend it either in front of the TV watching professional hockey, or in a local arena watching nephew hockey. And this is why I don’t make plans–they change. This time, om-nom-nomicron changed them.

    the local hockey season’s on hold or cancelled as of about a week ago, the NHL’s on hold in many places–including both toronto (damn) and Ottawa (Can we make that permanent?), and the NHL has officially bowed out of the olympics this year–which, essentially, means I’m bowing out of the olympics this year. Now if the trend didn’t stop there.

    I don’t mind the olympics most years. I mean, not just because that’s the one time I’m not the only one sitting in front of the TV watching hockey. But I wouldn’t lose sleep at all if they pulled the covid lever and bailed out of the whole thing. They won’t, but it would be nice if they did.

    I’m not going to mention the location they’re holding it this year, because neither the olympics nor the country deserve that much attention. Plus, if you don’t know by now you can know in about 5 seconds with Google’s help. But I will say the government of the country in question is of the opinion that rights, even for its own citizens, aren’t worth the paper they’re not actually written on in that country. And if you happen to 1: not be a citizen of that country and 2: useful as a bargaining chip in a diplomatic game of chess with another country, you have even fewer rights than their citizens. Personally I’d rather my country, or my country’s athletes, didn’t condone such behaviour. I’d rather the IOC didn’t either, but I gave up on them years ago.

    I can live without the NHL for a few weeks, or the rest of the year, for health and safety reasons. I’m a little bummed I won’t be watching my nephews play. But I will throw a freaking party if Covid becomes the reason there is no olympics this year. Human rights are a wee bit more important. And screw the IOC if it disagrees.

    Sure, I’ve had about enough of Covid, with or without om-nom-nomicron’s help contributing to the fed-up-ness. But if it grinds this year’s olympics to a hault, then to hell with it–I’m on Covid’s side. Perhaps if they can use Covid as cover, our politicians will actually do something respectable. Probably not, but I mean a guy can dream.

    Om-nom-nomicron made a meal out of my hockey life. If it’s still hungry, the olympics would make an excellent snack. Eat up, then die off, pretty please and kindly thank you.

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  • 11 years late, but I now work from home. Or anywhere else I feel like.

    I’ve always told anyone who’d listen that given the choice, I’ll always take–at a minimum–the option of working from home over shlepping to and from the office 5 days/week (or 4, per my last job). I’m not anti-office. Not even close. But I’m way, way more productive at home. And I never saw the point in your options being go to work because you feel like trash but can still work, or stay home despite the fact that your feeling like trash doesn’t automatically mean you shouldn’t be working.

    No one’s enjoying the last two years or so, but for better or worse, I had the opportunity to test my theory. when the government decided those of us who could be were now remote employees, I could not have been more thrilled. You mean I’m not tied to one specific place because that’s where my money comes from? What pure bliss is this? I could work from my parents’ place, or my bed, or–when they were open—-the restaurant I decided I’d be having dinner at. If their schedules allowed it, I could go watch my nephews play hockey in the afternoon and still get back in time for work. I could have, you know, a life outside of my job.

    That pretty much sealed the deal for me. If I went back to the office, it wasn’t going to be full time. Now, this put me at odds with my employer at the time, who was essentially looking to bring us back to the office at the earliest possibility. So, in a rather surprising–for me, anyway–turn of events, I changed that situation. And my employer. And now I am permanently working from home.

    When I’m a little more sure I’ll still be there in a few months (you know, typical new job stuff), I’ll go into more detail on what working for this particular company remotely means. But they have no offices, so everyone’s remote from the newest employee up to the CEO–who is awesome, just for the record. Which means when I decide I’m ready to go back to the office (hint: not even close), it will be an office I’m paying to rent as part of a coworking arrangement and not, as I’m used to, owned by or rented to the people who pay me. And that, I think, will be the perfect compromise–from home when I want/need to, from the office otherwise.

    It only took me 11 years, but I finally ended up largely where I think I wanted to be. Next on my list, a work from home apartment.

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  • The government really did not think this through. … Or they did, and that’s the problem.

    So we’re under a new Covid thing again. That thing, because otherwise Covid will bore the hell out of me, shall be known when I write about it as om-nom-nomicron. Naturally this means we’re also under a new Covid benefit again. I say “under” rather than “entitled to” because, well, there are no entitleds.

    The federal government has established a new COVID-19 support benefit, but it can’t be accessed because no one in the country meets its eligibility criteria, prompting criticism of the support. The Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (new window) (CWLB) officially came into existence last Friday. Like its predecessors, such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), it’s designed to provide temporary income support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike those programs, it’s only available to workers who cannot work due to a local lockdown designation, but no region is officially under lockdown.

    So. Basically.

    • 1: Create a benefit to help out during a pandemic (good).
    • 2: Slap some restrictions on that benefit so the guy making $100k who’s job hasn’t been affected by the pandemic doesn’t qualify (good).
    • 3: Allow the provinces to do, well, what the provinces will do, and shut down places that will contribute to Covid exploding–in Québec, this apparently means schools, gyms, bars, etc (good).
    • 4: Deny the newly unemployed access to the benefit you just created because their region’s not under lockdown yet (WTF, gov?).
    • 5: Profit, I guess.

    I mean I’m not an expert here by any means, but did somebody miss a memo? Yeah, the first round of Covid benefits were way too freaking unrestricted. I could have applied for them and my job wasn’t impacted in any way by Covid other than, you know, that whole being ordered to work from home thing. But methinks somebody might be overcompensating just a little much. either that, or we’re headed for another Christmas lockdown in Canada (note: ford, that is not a suggestion). I’d like to know what Ottawa was thinking, but I’ll settle for knowing *if* Ottawa was thinking. Or perhaps that’s the problem.

    Update: Looks like that memo arrived a little bit later than planned.

    The federal government is expanding access to pandemic financial supports, as much of the country grapples with surging COVID-19 infections and new restrictions are implemented across the country. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the measures in a news conference Wednesday, in which he appeared virtually. Trudeau said he was following local public health advice after six members of his staff and security detail tested positive for COVID-19. “For the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit and the Local Lockdown Program, you’ll be able to apply if you’re subject to capacity limiting restrictions,” Trudeau said.

    Think, then do, guys. The other way around never works. Let this be a lesson… that you’ll probably ignore.

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