Tuesday, 27 July 2010

WWILTPITFTW

Who would I like to punch in the face this week?

Can't say.

I really intended for this segment to deal only with imaginary people like people on commercials or celebrities or politicians.  The threat of me actually punching such a person would be ridiculous to the point of being humorous (hopefully).  But today, oh fuck, today I want to punch somebody real.  And I can't say who it is because then, in the eyes of the law, it's assault.

Bah, this isn't funny at all.  Shoulda stuck to the original guidelines.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Consolation

My faith in gadgetry had been rocked this last week with the whole Nexus fiasco.  But what's the best cure for gadget disappointment?  More gadgets!  Decided to console myself by clearing out my Sony Points from my soon to be terminated Sony Mastercard.

I'd been thinking about getting an e-reader for some time.  I used to be an avid reader but that activity had slowly been pushed aside by video games and podcasts.  It's been over a year since I actually read a book.  And it has really affected my vocabulary.  These days I mostly communicate with a series of motions and grunts.  And what better way to get back into the habit than a shiny new gadget?

Clearly I am no rookie in justifying unnecessary purchases.  I wavered between Kindle and Kobo and Sony Reader for months, weighing the specs and prices of all of them.  Finally, in this spastic reaction to my Nexus let-down, I finally ordered the Sony Pocket Edition reader, some accessories, and a cool alarm clock.  All for free!

Got my hands on my purchases yesterday.  I love unboxing gadgets almost as much as using gadgets.  Convoluted cardboard origami, plastic shields, bubble wrap, twist ties, warnings, supplementary info, user manuals, fun, fun, fun.  Eventually I did get down to the reader, charged it up and gave it a test read.

I've played with these readers before in stores but you really have to use it in a normal, book reading environment to appreciate how great the e-ink display is for reading.  There is a refresh when you turn pages that is a little slow and disconcerting but you definitely get used to it.  When reading a page the text is crisp and just "solid" when comparing to a computer screen.  The battery life is another big plus with these readers.  Apparently you can go weeks without recharging but I'll have to wait and see how the real life performance fairs.

After sampling the book excerpts that came with the reader, I needed to get a real book.  So I installed the Sony Library software and started browsing.  One book I had to get was The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  Been hearing rave reviews about this book for quite a while and figured it would do for a first read.  Found the book in the library, added to my cart, filled in my payment info, and then.....nothing.  NOT AVAILABLE IN CANADA.  Are you fucking kidding me?

This drives me nuts more than anything else in this new digital age.  Here I am, wanting to give somebody money for their product, and they won't take it because all the legalities and distribution deals haven't been sorted out in my backwoods, cluster-fuck of a CRTC-ridden country.  It's the same thing with music, with movies, and now I find out the world of literature is no different.  So what am I to do?  With all respect to the estate of Stieg Larsson, I went straight to bit-torrent.  Within minutes I had a pdf of the book I wanted.  It blows my mind that this revenue loss hasn't been figured out yet.

Ah well.  Fuck 'em.  So far I'm very happy with my latest gadget.  Looking forward to reading up a storm.

Oh yah, my new alarm clock is pretty cool too.

Friday, 23 July 2010

TBone's Legally Rented Movie of the Week - The Losers

Found myself looking to kill some time.  Thought I'd give the Roger's On Demand service another try.  I'd already been burned by renting an "HD" movie before but I thought I'd give the more reasonably priced standard def offerings a shot.  At $6 it's still a stupid price compared to Blockbuster, Itunes, Playstation Video, or the movie cube over at Walmart.  But, as the last couple weeks have shown, I'm never too smart to throw money down the crapper.

So, in my oh so stupid frame of mind, I wanted a movie of adequate stupidness.  And The Losers seemed like it would fit the bill nicely.  I pressed all the necessary buttons, popped some popcorn, and settled in to watch some mindless violence.

The first thing that hit me is that the movie was being presented in a cropped 4:3 format.  And in regular stereo.  Obviously, I knew I wasn't going to be getting high resolution but I WAS expecting, at a minimum, the same specs of a DVD movie.  Which includes wide format 16:9 display and surround sound.  So, for $4 more than a DVD rental from the movie cube I get lower quality video AND sound.  Sweet fuck, why would anybody use this system?

So this was to be my last movie watched on Roger's On Demand.  At least it was going to be a good one, right?  No.  This movie is terrible.  The characters and premise were engaging but the execution was severely lacking.  Apparently based on a comic book, but very similar to the concept of the A-Team.  You can see how this could have been an awesome stupid movie.  Instead it's just a stupid stupid movie.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Exit The Nexus

Last thing I'll say about this phenomenal phone (unless they screw me on the return).  All packed up and waiting for FedEx to pick up.  It had such promise.  So many features that tromp the iPhone.  And it was carrier independent so I didn't have Telus getting in the way of updates.  But I got a lemon and so ends the experiment.  Google (through HTC) won't be making any more and I don't want to risk getting another rebooter.  I've learned my lesson.  Don't fight the system.  Stupid system.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Nice Latch

There's not much about being an engineer that you could call "cool".  But one thing that comes close is seeing something you have designed out in the real world.  A skidder at the side of the road or a backhoe at a dealership or passing a garbage truck, I'm always looking to see if it has any of that trademarked TBone-ness.  That's why I was pretty excited when a buddy of mine forwarded a picture of something I'd designed during my early days at John Deere but had never actually seen on a working tractor.



See that circled bit?  I did that!  It's a latch to keep the loader on the tractor.  Not my proudest design achievement but it's still cool to see in use.  I could just stare at that picture for hours.

Cheers to Jody for sending it along.  Dude spends hours on the internet, every day, looking for pictures of....tractors.  Thanks man!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Enter The Nexus

So, yah, I got the Nexus One.  I was practically giddy unwrapping the packaging.  THIS was the one gadget to rule them all.  Fuck the iPhone.  Fuck Telus and their sad samplings of outdated hardware.  THIS was a serious fucking piece of gadgetry!

I popped in the battery and reached for my usb charger cord I had from my old phone and SON OF A BITCH!  Different USB port.  Give me a fucking break.  I thought we had gotten past this nonsense.  My old blackberry, my TomTom, my Hero, my digital camera, practically everything I own has a mini USB port.  Except the Nexus One.  Google decided it was necessary to go with MICRO USB.  Fuckers.

Okay, okay, little ticked off but I can deal with this.  Unwrap the cords that came with the phone and start charging.  The only thing slower than watching a pot of water boil is waiting for your brand new gadget to fully charge before turning on.

And eventually the green light came on and I spastically turned on my brand new phone!

And this thing is so friggin AWESOME!  So smooth, so sleek, so intuitive.  Light years ahead of any other phone I've used.  The screen is gorgeous!  The touch reactions are instantaneous.  The typing is flawless.  But I suppose I should actually try making a phone call with this bad boy!

I rang up my sister and she patiently listened to me brag away about my awesome new phone but just as I was extolling the brilliant display technology, I noticed I was talking to myself.  My phone had rebooted.  Hmm.  That was weird.  So once it fully rebooted, I called my sister back and laughed about how my brand new phone had crapped out on it's first phone call.  When I finished chuckling I noticed that once again I was chuckling to myself.  Reboot.

Fuck.

Okay, okay, no big deal.  Maybe some updates were happening once it got on the network and it just had to reboot a couple times to get its bearings.  I'll put the shiny newness down and let it figure itself out overnight and we'll try again in the morning.

Next morning I spent about an hour before work fiddling away with the precious and no spontaneous rebooting.  One of the cool new features in the Nexus OS is the Google navigation app.  Supposedly a TomTom replacement and I was very keen to give it a trial run into work.

I set up the car dock and plugged in precious.  Automatically the phone enters Car Mode and I'm ready to select a destination.  Sweet Jebus I love this phone.  Instead of typing in a destination I can just speak the address.  And the phone nailed it on the first try.  I nearly wet myself.

So off I go to work.  Giggling every time my sparkly gives me a new direction.  The giggling came to an abrupt end when, 10 minutes out, the fucking phone started rebooting again.  And not just once.  It rebooted 3 or 4 times until I finally had enough and removed the battery.

Fuck.

All that pent up adoration waiting to be unleashed on an epic piece of gadgetry and it's all wasted because I got a lemon.  It was a melancholy morning at work as I googled my problem and found that several others had experienced the same problem.  Everyone seemed to have solved their problem by returning the phone and getting a replacement.  This didn't make me any happier just because of the complications of shipping to Canada and spending even more money on non-reimbursible shipping and handling fees.

But I made the call.  Talked to a SUPER upbeat Google representative who sounded like she JUST got off her surf board to answer the phone.  She was SUPER sorry I was having this problem and she was going to go all out and pull out the BIG guns and get this thing sorted out for me.  Which means I'm sending my SUPER phone back to Google for a refund and then I'm free to reorder.  While I wait for my FedEx return label to show up, I'm wavering on whether I will actually reorder.  It IS an incredible piece of technology but holy fuck what a mess when something goes wrong.

Fuck the iPhone?  Fuck Telus?  Fuck me.

Shipping

So, following through on my threats, I ordered my Nexus One from Google last Monday night.  Because I'm an obsessive type, I spent most of Tuesday hitting the refresh button on my order page.  Finally, Tuesday night, I got confirmation that my order had shipped.  Cool, I thought.  Shipped Tuesday night, should have the phone by Thursday.

Still, needed to know exactly when.  Wednesday morning was another round of browser refreshing.  It was truly fascinating to see how quickly an object can travel across the continent.  From California to Iowa to Ohio to Hamilton to Kitchener to New Hamburg all in less than 20 hours.

I know you could have probably flown direct in about 5 hours but to think of that little package making all those stops and transfers to make it to my doorstep in less than a day is pretty spectacular.  Good on ya modern day shipping!

Monday, 12 July 2010

WWILTPITFTW - #5

Who would I like to punch in the face this week?



Fuck Telus Mobility.

There exists in the world, right at this moment, a software update for my cell phone.  But I can't update my phone.  Because Telus says I can't.  Google released the OS update in January.  The phone manufacturer finally finished diddling the update and released it for my phone (HTC Hero) in June.  But Telus has decided that they'll wait until late August to release this update to their customers.  Maybe.

The Aussies seem to be in the same boat but everywhere else in the world, people with HTC Heroes are getting updates.  And that pisses me off.  I hate the Canadian cellular industry to start with.  Bell and Rogers are equally deserving of punches to their faces but Telus is who I'm with now and it's Telus's face I'm itching to punch.  The president, the CEO, any one of their Vice Presidents.  Hell, I'll even take a swing at one of their insufferably cute mascot monkeys.



I'm so pissed off that I just spent a retarded amount of money (think IPad retarded) on an unlocked google phone just so I can get my updates without delay.  I should have punched myself in the face after clicking the Process Order button but I'm still going to blame Telus.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

What's TBone Drinking?

Been giving the scotch a rest for a while.  Aside from a bottle here and there (thanks again Andrea!) it's been mostly about the beer.  I'd thought I'd found my summer beer for this year when I found Corona in a can at the LCBO.  But it was a spectacular dud at the lobsterfest a couple weeks ago.  This week I noticed the wheat beer Grasshopper from Big Rock Brewery is now available in a can.  I scooped up a six pack just to try it out and I'm very impressed.  Smooth, light, with some detectable wheatiness.  Think I've found my summer beer!

Monday, 5 July 2010

WWILTPITFTW - #4

Who would I like to punch in the face this week?



Dalton McGuinty.

How is this guy still the premier of Ontario?  I still need a better explanation of how the HST is going to create 600,000 jobs in Ontario.

Please, please, please vote anything but Liberal in the next Provincial election.

Assholes

A little while ago I was talking to a former co-worker from Boart and he invited me up to do some fishing this Canada day weekend.  I was pretty pumped.  Fishing in southern Ontario has been a bit of a bust and I was keen to get my kayak back on the trusty old fishing holes of last summer.

So back to Haileybury I went.  I had visions of the entire town gathered at the city limits to welcome me back.  Surprisingly, that didn't happen.  Town's pretty much the way I left it.   Probably a little too soon for nostalgia to be kicking in.

But fishing was the focus.  My buddy Mike and I sat down over a map and planned out the weekend.   There were some sentimental favourites that had to be on the itinerary as well as some potential spots to try out some of our fancy new rigging.

Mowatts Landing was to be our first destination.  We had a couple great days on this lake for both bass and pike last summer.  Mike suggested we start there and then mosey on down the river to Latchford.  One of his friends had said he'd done this stretch down and up in the same day.  Bopping down a river and randomly casting out some lines sounded like a great way to start the weekend.  So we dropped off one vehicle in Latchford and drove back up to Mowatts to start the day.

The fishing was crap.  I caught a little pike right off and then it was an hour of slogging through the weeds until I finally caught another.  Mike was still working that goose egg so we decided to start down the river.  Turn after turn, weed bed after weed bed, drop off after drop off, we cast and cast and got nothing in return.  There were so many stereotypical bass spots on this river, we should have been hauling the wee bastards in.  But nothing.  We finally hit some pike in some rock formations but that dried right up too.  Three hours in and it was 1 for Mike and 3 for me.

We hadn't really been paddling much and there wasn't much of a current in this wide deep river.  We decided we'd had enough punishment and that we should concentrate on paddling if we were going to make it down to Latchford by night fall.  We knew there were some rapids on the map at the halfway point and we still hadn't run across them.  The wind was right in our face but we just had to bear down and keep at it.

Each turn in the river we hoped we'd get a glimpse of the rapids but we were let down again and again.  At one turn we looked up and saw what looked like a "T" in the river.  As we got closer it definitely seemed like the river came to a full stop and you either went left or right.  We kind of looked at each other and said "What the fuck?".  Neither of us remembered seeing anything like this on the map and neither of us had thought to bring a GPS.

And that's when it hit me.  This is it.  This is how assholes die.

Two douchebags head out into the wilderness thinking they've got it all under control and 5 hours later they make a wrong turn on the river and, not having informed anyone of their travel plans, wander aimlessly, unlooked for, until finally dying a diarrhea fueled death caused by poisonous berries.  Or get eaten by bears.

Son of a bitch.  But we finally reached the T and found that the one branch was more of a long cul-de-sac.  My imagination downshifted a few gears but I still was keeping an eye on the banks for bears.

We continued paddling and Mike eventually said "Hey, I know where we are!".  Apparently we'd gone through the rapids without even realizing it.  Probably because the wind was so strong that it was pushing the water upstream.  But Mike filled me in on the bad news that we were still North of Portage Bay and that the worst of it was still to come.

We turned the last of the corners and the river opened up to Bay Lake.  Bay Lake is a long, carrot-shaped, formation with us and Portage Bay at the North end and Latchford on the South and a whole heap of wind being funneled straight at us.

This is where I became really happy with my choice in kayak.  My ride is big and heavy enough that the wind and waves were minor annoyances.  Mike almost got swamped a couple times in his more traditional rig.  Also, the pedal drive on my kayak meant that I'd been using my leg muscles the last 7 hours instead of my arms.  I wasn't doing great but Mike had pretty much turned to jello.

We didn't have much choice in the matter.  We had to keep trundling along.  Spent the next two hours paddling away with one eye on the quickly descending sun and one eye on Mike to make sure he didn't keel over at some point.

We finally made it to Latchford and what a sorry entrance we made.  Barely able to stand, let alone walk.  But we had made it.  More importantly, we had made it before the LCBO closed.  There was no sweeter beer I've tasted in my lifetime than that beer I cracked after making it back to Haileybury.

So, Friday turned out to be a crippling start to the weekend.  We scaled back plans for Saturday and just spent a couple hours at the most productive fishing hole in the area, Crosswise Lake.  Mike's poor luck continued but I finally snagged some bass and another pike.  After Cross, we packed it in as far as fishing.  Focused more on beer, burgers, and bad movies.

Despite the rough start, it was a fun weekend.  Cheers to Mike for reminding me that there are things to be missed about my days in Haileybury.  Don't regret leaving Boart Longyear for a second but those two days of fishing topped any of my expeditions down South.  Good times.