Photoblog: Sims everywhere!

Grabbed this shot on final approach to Calgary Int’l. It reminds me of SimCity when I look at the photo. Pulled the shot off by setting my digital camera to ISO400 and manually speeding up the shutter to max. We were travelling at 500 km/h at this point …

Photoblog: Gonna get myself connected…

This is at the top of the “mountain” in Stoney Creek. At first glance it looked like somebody was collecting dishes but then I started to notice all the television station logos. Apparently the big transmission tower in the background (and it IS big – it’s a kilometer away in the back) is known as the Hamilton TV Tower.

Photoblog: Morning Sunshine!

Took this photo in late September 1999 while visiting a lodge on Lake of The Woods. The photo was taken around 5:30 AM, and I recall it was quite chilly to stand out on the dock here waiting for a good photo-op. This was a fun trip, a business trip, but still a fun one – the company chartered fishing boats that day and I brought home some yummy walleye.

Photoblog: Deer Oh Deer

Came within 4 feet of this fella while geocaching along the Bow River in Calgary. Walking along watching the “goto” arrow on the GPSr and there’s a Deer head sticking out of the bush on the side of the trail. Couldn’t quite get the camera out quick enough for that photo, but did manage to snap this one. The Deer didn’t bother running too far — quite domesticated these Calgarian Deer are!

Photoblog: South Saskatchewan River – from 15,000 feet

Here’s a picture I took during our descent into Calgary Airport. Checking the GPS (which was running on the seat beside me) showed this to be a branch of the South Saskatchewan River, not too far from where the Bow River joins it. I found the erosion patterns to be quite striking from the air, and the Qu’Appelle valley region exhibits the same patterns. Whatever that soil type is down there, it sure is susceptible to erosion.

(normalized using The Gimp)

Radio: OVHFA Meeting

Just got back from an interesting day put on by the Ontario VHF Association at the Humber College campus. This is also where one of my geocaching (and ham radio) friends works. I’m starting to recognize some faces and call-signs from other club meetings and repeaters now.

The day itself was quite interesting, from the digital communications talks to the operator that worked at a major radio facility in Puerto Rico showing us sliddes of a dish 1km wide and the associated antennas 600M up from the dish. Definately not an environment I’d be working in, between the heights and the multi-megawatt power running through the place. They actually have a safety cutoff that does it’s job by exploding. That’s for safety. Wow.

There was also quite a bit of talk on DX’ing and contests, some of which may be interesting – I’m picturing an Equinox powered Rover unit in the future….

The meetings wrapped up with the usual pledge for volunteers and some other semi-formal topics before dinner and socializing. Next year’s meeting is going to be around Sept 30, and I’m going to go back to it. Fun day for sure.

Misc: Terminal 1 – or is it Terminal 0x0001 ?

Well, I’m now back in Halton Hills after my four day Calgary work trip. One thing that struck me on this voyage – I don’t like Toronto’s new Terminal 1. That and Air Canada’s new mandatory automated express check-in. This is like travelling with one of those blasted “Press 1 for this Press 2 for that” type telephone ADAD devices. There are some aspects of human life that call for human interaction.

From the parking to the airplane, Air Canada seems bent on removing humans from the equation. First, when you check in at Pearson you have to find your Aeroplan card, or your credit card — those of us flying on business where SOMEONE ELSE bought the ticket are bound to have problems – and there is no human being to query. Computers are great, as long as you stick to the script. But they really should have one human being around to handle all those “unique” cases. Good luck finding the “2 – Baggage Check” section in that blasted airport.

Fortuntately they’re still using humans at the gate, but I’m sure 5 years from now I’ll miss my flight home because some stupid machine couldn’t read my boarding pass properly and Air Canada will tell me it’s the ticket agency’s secondary computers that mixed up the OCR functions on the airport authority’s equipment and that they cannot be held responsible for that screw up and I’m on my own for arranging a hotel / return flight….. you know it’s coming. Right after the 175% fuel surcharge….

Even the parking lot at Pearson is all computer no human. I stood there looking at a machine with a green flashing light nowhere near the slot [ and there were about 7 or so similar looking slots ] that my ‘ticket’ was supposed to go into. Same thing occurred with the credit card part. I’d still be there trying to negotiate with that lump-o-junk, except the GTAA decided they should probably put a human there, either to help – or maybe prevent me from robbing the machine. I can’t wait until the next time Grandma decides to hop onto a plane.