c9: (System report)
Note: this is just being posted for me in case I need it and for those poor long-suffering google searchers who can't find this solution easily as it's pretty well-hidden!

The problem: make an event in Outlook (single event or recurring), and invite people to it. Later, your synchronization app like Google Calendar Sync syncs everything up like it always does. However, the next time you want to modify that meeting (like add another person, or cancel it) you can't, because Outlook no longer believes you're the owner!

Note: THE FIXES BELOW ARE NOT MY CODE. DON'T ASK ME HOW TO CHANGE IT PLEASE. I don't know VBA. This is just to help you get a head start if you need it, and for my own reference.


The fix! )

c9: (transit)
For Torontonians who take the Bloor-Danforth subway: you know that really old subway train with the vinyl seats and no air conditioning? Those are called “H4” trains, and the very last one of those goes out of service forever in about 20 minutes. Hooray!
The H4 cars were ordered in 1973. So smart transit decisions matter, cause you’re stuck with them for a few decades!
Over the next year or two, the TTC is getting lots of the new Toronto Rocket (“TR”) trains for the Yonge line, and the red T1’s are switching to Bloor, and the orange/brown H6s will disappear too! (they’re being sold to Nigeria)

New transit vehicles aren't everything the TTC needs, but they're something.
c9: (Cam Computing)
Putting this here for my later use, and for anyone else interested.

Have you ever wanted currency in Excel to be red when it's negative, so your bad budgeting mistakes leap out at you quickly? Well that's easy: just select the cell, hit Ctrl-1, and choose "Currency" on the Number tab. Pick one of the red options. No biggie.

The downside to the currency format though is it is a bit crowded - the currency symbol is mashed right against the number, and the number's mashed right against the margin. So some people prefer to select Accounting instead. It gives you great indenting and plus it replaces "0" with "-", which looks super-slick.

But it has a downside too! In accounting there is no red ink (which strikes me as ridiculous, btw). So how do you get the great arrangement of Accounting with the cheerful judgement of the colour red? Easy: just paste this in the Custom box:

_-$* #,##0.00_-;[Red]-$* #,##0.00_-;_-$* "-"??_-;_-@_-

This concludes today's tiny Excel tip which managed to become an entire blog post.
c9: (Contrails)
This weekend I happened to be near Parc Downsview Park with some time to kill, and I decided to try and find the Canadian Air & Space Museum, as I had never been. In fact, I didn't even know it existed until it hit the news a couple months ago, when its landlord (the federal government) served them with an eviction notice. Apparently their site is slated for redevelopment as a 4-pad hockey rink.

Members and volunteers at the museum are understandably upset about this. Hurting for funding and volunteers, and now losing their home, they're fighting back with letters to decision-making politicians and influencers, a petition, and an information campaign to help people realize what's happening. They even got some help from Harrison Ford! One challenge: they compete, in a sense, with the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, plus other aeronautical museums out in western and Atlantic Canada on and off military bases. All of these museums have amazing stuff to offer and funding needs, so it's very hard to figure out whether they all should be kept.

Avro Arrow, Canadair Regional Jet 700-series, and de Havilland Beaver

One thing the Canadian Air & Space Museum has that none of the others have is an historic building at 65 Carl Hall Road that hosted some amazing elements of Canadian aerospace history. It's the original 1929 home of de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd -- maker of the Dash-8 and many many more incredible aircraft. This building and others beside it (long gone now) were home to warplane and engine design and assembly, even satellites were built here. The Downsview site was hugely important in Canada's war efforts (and therefore Britain's too), and the building itself is really in good shape due to good construction. Sadly, the museum's funding is almost nonexistent -- over $100k behind in rent, for example, though the situation was improving when the eviction notice came. When I drove up there was an engine part sitting outside in the rain - a big problem for any museum that has more history to display than it has space to store.

I can't say for sure that I believe that building should be saved. It would be easiest for the museum, and Downsview has a LOT of space -- surely a hockey rink could be located across the parking lot, for example. Being forced out would result in the loss of several amazing pieces of history that would be damaged in the move, and if no storage could be located who knows what could happen to the many one-of-a-kind mid-restoration aircraft? It's scary to contemplate the death of a museum.

If a new location and sufficient storage space, and stable funding, were to be found, then I'd be OK with them changing locations. The building holds great meaning, but if the choice is die a slow death there or potentially grow and find new visitors elsewhere... it's all awful timing since the new York University subway extension will have its first new subway station only a couple hundred metres away. So many potential visitors! But that makes the land worth even more as something else of course.

Without official heritage designation, 65 Carl Hall Road is at risk. The locks have been changed, and a lockbox sits on the front door, but there are still volunteers and staff inside maintaining the museum. When I found it Sunday morning I tried the door just in case it was open. It wasn't, but a volunteer quickly ran to the door and let me in. He explained that the museum was closed to the general public by order of the landlord, but that members were still welcome... would I like to become a member? It took be about 3 nanoseconds to decide that I would like that very much indeed.

The gift shop helped me with my heavy wallet...

I'm so glad I went. I spent over two hours wandering the museum, photographing as much as I could. I knew that the chances of getting back to the museum soon, or ever, were slim. My photographs and captions can be viewed in this Facebook gallery. Sorry, non-Facebookers, but it appears to be accessible to all even logged out.

All photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151021988855593.767591.610245592&type=1&l=3e576d5ff0

I highly recommend a visit. Buy your membership online, throw in a small donation maybe, and head up there soon! TTC bus route 101 will take you right there from Downsview (soon to be Sheppard West) station. Let me know if you want somebody geeky to join you - I'll clear my calendar!
c9: (Batman)
Wired senior editor Adam Rogers:

"I love Spider-Man like a brother, but do you really want to compare win-loss records? Batman recovered from having his spine snapped, defeated Darkseid, and managed to return to the present from the beginning of time. Spider-Man finds Doctor Octopus challenging, and every time he gets sad he thinks about quitting. More than once he was nearly killed by his own costume. Batman always has a plan. Spider-Man can't even get to work on time."

(can't find this online, but it's the June 2011 issue)
c9: (System report)
Some of you know I've been having troubles with my iPhone 3G. The phone was a gift, used, and has never been stellar or shiny or anything but it was much better than the old phone, and therefore I loved it. Still do. Except...

It has always been kinda flaky. Crashes, freezes, that sort of thing. Not super often, but more than I found tolerable. But I learned to adapt.

More recently, a new problem found its way into the mix: the built-in GPS location services, which let you do fun stuff like figure out where you are on a map and so forth -- very handy on vacations, let me tell you! -- stopped working consistently. Normally, iPhones figure out your location (when you allow it) by combining GPS signals and cell tower locations. They can even do this indoors, though not as well. But my phone decided that indoors was out. And then outdoors was unreliable too. If I found a clear view to the south, then it was fine. Later, it had to be a much more clear southern view, so the spots in my daily life that qualified dwindled. Finally, it got to the point where I needed to face south at the lake, or above Riverdale Park, or my phone "Could Not Determine Your Location".

Last month as [livejournal.com profile] 1_2_ready_go and I traveled the world, I had my phone in airplane mode pretty much exclusively. This saves on me accidentally answering a phone call and being charged eight zillion dollars of course, plus it extends battery life (which ain't so pretty in an old smartphone). But once in a while I'd switch the phone to regular mode so it could pick up a signal, and I'd try to see if it could figure out where it was. Ideally with wifi connected, so it could also load maps and show me, rather than just thinking about it. This worked in Australia, but without a data plan you end up in silly situations like what's shown at right.

But as long as I had wifi connected, no worries. As our trip continued, I tried connecting in Seoul, South Korea. The connection was fine, and the phone figured out where I was no problem. I left wifi disconnected again, so while I couldn't use it for anything the phone at least had a new set of coordinates to believe in.

Anyway, here's the problem: now I'm home, and NONE of my locations for getting the phone to learn its location are working. So the phone, while able to load maps, can't determine my location no matter where I go or what I try. This means that apps that require location services to work, don't. Some apps are OK with this sort of situation though: they simply use the last stored location and chug merrily along.

So the upshot of all this is that when I load Grindr, everybody's Korean. So it's time for a new phone. :-)
c9: (Star Trek)
In sci-fi, it's common to create a link with the reader's "reality" and the reality of the book, or the "in-book universe", through mentions of how a familiar thing has changed over the time/space involved. The one that comes to mind most often for me is when a character is talking about great scientists in history. They will say something like, "This is amazing! We will join the ranks of Einstein, Hawking, and D'al-Aqqwttl'a!" That last name being, of course, made up to show that there were famous scientists between the reader's time and the book's time.

To be honest, those sentences stick out like such a sore thumb to me, but I get why they're there.

I bring this up because today I encountered one of those sentences in *reality*! The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada -- home of the Blackberry! -- today is announcing the funding of a new position at the institute.

...the first of five endowed chairs Perimeter’s director, Neil Turok, wants to establish. (The others will be named after other historic discoverers, Maxwell, Bohr, Einstein and Dirac.) The stated goal is “to attract five of the most influential theoretical physicists of our time.”
I have no idea who Dirac is. Time to waste the day on Wikipedia!

Read more: Ideas You Can Take From The Bank

Learn about who this Dirac character is here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Dirac
c9: (Banging my Head)
My iPhone stopped connecting to the wifi at home yesterday. Worked fine for months, worked while in Paris last week, worked when we got home, but then stopped. Tried resetting the phone, the wifi router, the network settings in the phone, turning off WPA, changing SSID... nothing worked. So obviously the phone has the problem.

...except when I got to work, wifi on the phone works perfectly on the work wireless network. So obviously it's the wireless router at home that has the problem.

...except that my laptops at home (1 mediacentre laptop, 1 netbook, 1 work laptop) and Vincent's iPhone all connect to it fine, and have forever.

...except that Vincent's laptop keeps losing wireless at random intervals, even when wifi is stable and fine for others. And when friends visit, their iPhones can't connect to our wifi (2 weeks ago at a party) even though it's worked in the past.

I have a backup wifi router I'll try, but ARGH. The whole point of this exercise was better more reliable internet and less electricity usage. My blood pressure is ridiculous over this.
c9: (Drumbone)
So long, grandfathered DSL from Bell* - with your sweet sweet unlimited downloads** - and hello FTTN Fibe6. Pretty nice throughput in tests, but if I were Bell I would consider giving preferential treatment to these packets just to keep the geeks off my back.





Now to (a) start really testing and pushing to see if it's consistent, and (b) mark my calendar to start watching our usage to avoid overage charges.***

* A day early! I'm sure the utility gods have something nasty planned to balance this out.
** And your high high price!
*** It's like third-world country**** Internet I swear.
**** No not really of course.
c9: (Roomba530)
The cats have a new friend to play with!




I guess I need to replace this usericon with an updated one now that I have a shiny new pretty Roomba*. The Roomba carcasses in the basement will have to be sent away so it doesn't get scared.

Update: Now pictured in usericon. Wooo!
c9: (Default)
How long will _____ last, and how much are we using in North America? US-centric but applies to Canada too - http://ping.fm/IB3Ls
c9: (Banging my Head)
It's happening on all sorts of sites, not just this Microsoft one, but their approach creates a perfect screenshot for why the whole world has gone insane.



http://blogs.technet.com/mslcommunity/archive/2009/03/16/get-on-the-bus.aspx
c9: (Obama)
So I'm all nutso over the US election and have lots of information in my head, but you might not. Here's a handy set of info and links in case you're not doing something (anything!) more interesting tonight.

Most important: California is voting on a referendum to make all same-sex marriages illegal, destroy the existing ones in the state, and amend the state constitution to prevent any equality in marriage. This despite the legislature (twice), the governor, and the courts all agreeing with equality. Sadly, it's a toss-up, and could go either way. This could be a big setback for equal marriage in the US. California polls close at 11pm Eastern.

Some sites to surf while the TV is talking about boring things:

- http://www.fivethirtyeight.com - polling, predictions, and explanations of every race. Baseball stats guy uses power for good instead of boring.
- http://www.electoral-vote.com - Andrew S. Tanenbaum (yes, that one for the CS crowd) does election predicting. Interesting stuff, poor HTML.
- http://www.politico.com - lots of news and links, seems roughly impartial as far as I can tell
- http://frontloading.blogspot.com/ - fun electoral college-proportional maps
- http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/ - live results, very frequent updates, heavily left-wing site (for Canada, this would be a slightly-left-of-centre Liberal site)
- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ - frequent updates, very large fonts, heavily left-wing site
- http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/ - gay right-wing war-booster who realized a few years back that he'd made a horrid mistake, and now spends all day hating Bush. Obama supporter, but still right-wing, flat-tax, war-on-terror-just-maybe-


If you want to spot things early, here are the states to watch:

- North Carolina: if it goes Obama, he'll probably win a huge victory
- Florida/Virginia: if Obama wins either, this would basically make a McCain win impossible. If McCain wins both, the electoral map could be repeating history and all the inspiration talk meant nothing. Could be a long night.
- Pennsylvania: McCain can't win without it, in almost every scenario.

This all depends on the polling over the past few months being reasonably accurate. If there's a 5% Bradley Effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradley_Effect), the whole game changes.


TV options:
CTV: Daily Show / Colbert Report special, starts at 10pm EST
CNN: holograms. WTF?
NBC: transforms Rockefeller Plaza’s ice rink into a giant U.S. map
ABC: takes over three massive screens in Times Square to display results in real time


Some Predictions: (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/11/02/election-predictions-pund_n_140149.html)

Karl Rove, Evil Genius: Obama 338-200
George Stephanopoulos, ABC News Anchor: Obama 353-185
Mark Halperin, Time editor: Obama 349-189
Nate Silver, fivethirtyeight.com statistician: Obama 347-191
Fred Barnes, Weekly Standard editor: McCain 286-252 (ha!)
Markos Moulitas, DailyKos founder: Obama 390-148 (also ha!)
... and many more at the link above. Only one had Obama losing, and the Weekly Standard is not considered to be an unbiased source. Visit here to build your own prediction map for your blog:
http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-votemap,0,2338623.htmlstory


Finally, a word of caution: it's not over until the voters actually have their votes counted. If things go nasty tonight (which seems unlikely), please remain calm and await instructions from your flight crew. Things will be OK. Although, in the words of Chris Rock: "if you have anything in your life Wednesday that involves black people, that shit ain't getting done."

(I think it was Chris Rock, but I can't find a link)

See you on the other side,
Cam
c9: (Banging my Head)
Found in a large corporation's project plan just now:

"Deliver customer sessions in FY08Q4/Q5"

This is the sort of elegant shorthand that could be 100% clear and really be a nicer way of saying "end of this year, maybe the very beginning of next" but I can see people adopting this and then someday nobody will remember what the Q used to stand for.

I try not to be such a prescriptivist*, but god.

* Linguistic prescription means "this is the rule in English and it must never change". I bitch and whine about spelling and apostrophes a lot, for example.
c9: (Politics)
There's gonna be an election in Canada, starting in about a week. There's plenty of reasons not to, evidence either way, blah blah blah, but here's the rub: the Prime Minister just ordered the Governor-General to stay home instead of traveling to Beijing next week.

I was planning on working in the byelection and making some money, and now I'll lose that chance and have to work the main election instead. I hope the date is good so I can still be a Deputy Returning Officer!

Expect my politics tags to get a bit busier soon.
c9: (Earth)
I'm kinda pleased with how my cover letter turned out, so I thought I would share. Try to find the cutesy thing I did to amuse myself, since I figure this is my last involvement with the Canadian Space Agency. (answer at end)

All my life I've wanted to be involved in the space program. As a child in British Columbia my room was plastered with space shuttles, rockets, planets, and stars. I was forced to leave one wall blank white just so my mother wouldn't feel claustrophobic entering my room.

The Canadian Space Agency sits at the intersection of three things I hold very dear to my heart: space, Canada, and the importance of space sciences to understanding the world around us. The opportunity to become a part of this incredible enterprise is one that I could not pass by, and one which I know in my heart I would stop at nothing to help make it successful.

I know that CSA needs strong scientists to ensure that missions are a success, and I have followed the achievements of our previous astronaut candidates with interest. But I worry that CSA also requires communicators, and this is where I would excel within the team. We are surrounded today by strong conflict around climate science, evolutionary science, peak oil, and many other game-changing events for our civilization, but our decision-makers do not have the scientific backgrounds required to separate fact from fiction. CSA and its partner agencies around the world help with that endeavour, and astronauts form a large part of the public face of that effort.

As a Canadian astronaut, I would work tirelessly to bring both the excitement of discovery and the potential for innovation to the public. I work with students every day in my adult education classes and I love nothing more than to see their faces light up with the thrill of understanding technology and learning to better their careers and their lives. Science has brought us incredible improvements in our way or life and our ability to learn about our planet and our universe, and that thrill is needed more than ever as we confront new and greater challenges to our health and the health of our home.

I see my role as being a challenger to the status quo. While governments and corporations each seek answers by looking inward and by reacting, our scientific exploration must look outward and must by nature travel in unexpected directions. Our astronauts are not just cogs in the mission machine, matching this component to this module. In fact, our astronauts are the human face on the CSA budget, the excitement on the scientific journal article, and the inspiration for thousands of Canadian children to pay attention to science and bring their own accomplishments to our country.

To this end, I bring extensive teaching, team management, and communications experience to your team. I am trained and certified in teaching, communications, and team management (see resume for details). I regularly have to transcend language barriers, bias and prejudice, and learner competency levels to ensure requirements are achieved, deadlines are met, and clients are happy with their classroom experience. My experience with defusing conflict and ensuring clarity of communication can only add to the success of CSA and my team.

Not only can I teach, but even more importantly I can learn. As a technical trainer, I am regularly called upon to learn new technologies even before general release of the product, and then effectively design and deliver training to a highly technical audience with specific timelines and requirements. My client evaluations show success in this endeavour, with satisfaction scores averaging over 95%.

From watching Marc Garneau on Challenger and Roberta Bondar on Discovery making Canadian history, to seeing Steve MacLean on Atlantis and Dave Williams on Endeavour continuing Canada’s and humanity’s achievements, I have dreamed of bringing anything and everything I have to the Canadian Space Agency and the Canadian Astronaut Corps. I look forward to seeing further successes for CSA, and I hope to one day be a part of making them happen.

Sincerely,

Cameron MacLeod


If you spot an error, then I'm screwed, because it's due at 9pm eastern and I'm going to be out of the house until after that. God, I hope there's nothing stupid in there. :-)


* I included all the different Space Shuttle names in my text in non-space contexts. The only one I couldn't do without it being awkward was Atlantis, so I included it by name in my final paragraph.
c9: (Blue Man Group)
...by using https for all communication.

Google explains the always use https option.
c9: (truck)
We're on vacation down east, and took the ferry to PEI on Wednesday. The ferry had a bulletin board with a photo of something called a "Voith Schneider Propeller". I didn't know what that meant, so I texted it to myself to look up when I next had internet. That is now.



So cool!

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