Photoblog: Row Row Row your …

Took this picture a few years ago while we were in Boston as part of our honeymoon. This rower was plying along the Charles River in Boston, I believe that’s the Prudential Building in the background. The picture was taken from the grounds of the Massachutteses Institute of Technology – one of the pillars of modern technology.

Boston is one of my favorite places to visit, we spent a lot of time wandering Boston Common (watch out for the squirrels). The Museum of Fine Art is so large that the admission fee is valid for several weekends. [ F80 / scanned ]

Photoblog: Patio Lanterns

Took this picture last October at the Festival of Lanterns 2004. The Festival is an annual production at Montreal’s Jardin Botanique. It was quite nice walking around the garden waiting for the sun to set, and watching the magical transformation of the park with the lights. Quite a show.

  • Link: Jardin
  • Computers: For the “weird” file….

    Working on a laptop computer this morning I found the keys on the right hand side were not working. So I popped off the keyboard overlay to take a closer look. The keys on that side of the keyboard were not functioning, because they were gummed up underneath with candle wax. One has to wonder what these people are doing with their company laptops sometimes!

    Does this person have *any* idea how difficult it is to clean wax off the
    underside of a keyboard?

    Radio: 24 Hours later….

    I’ve been hanging around at some of the local radio clubs, namely the Peel Amateur Radio Club and the Halton Amateur Radio Club. I’ve actually been to a meeting at the Peel club, and I visited their ARES meeting last night to find out what that’s all about.

    Found out what the (+) in my listing on the Rac Website is – that’s the method they’re using to identify the basic licences with HF priveledges. Didn’t stop the other club members from joking around that it must be some kind of important mark – the kind of thing that gets you volunteered for running Field Day.

    I’m finally up and running with my data cable, and I’ve tested with my wife’s eTrex. Was pretty neat watching a bunch of callsigns start appearing and moving around on the map screen. This is going to be a LOT trickier on the eXplorist though, that sucker has a USB interface. I do believe that I can get it to send data to the radio (not sure about getting data FROM the radio though). There is a webpage that describes how to get the eXplorist working as a ‘real’ serial device over at, but I’m going to have to learn a bit more about this kind of thing before I can pull that off.

    I’ve also been able to talk to the radio from my laptop computer, but not in a place that can see any radio signals, so I’ll play with that later.

    Going to be a busy couple weeks coming up. I’ve had a few contacts on the brampton 2M repeater already, and some limited success hitting the Georgetown 70cm repeater.

    Radio: Got my callsign now! VA3GDP

    Checked this morning and it wasn’t there, but a later check and I’ve got my callsign after all. There’s a little (+) after my last name, which makes me curious and messes up the RAC search page at the moment. If you want to search for my call-sign, look for last name pleau(+). Odd.

    Now the fun starts though!

    Photoblog: Closest to the pin, from the pin’s perspective

    One of the events at the geocaching picnic I attended yesterday was the “closest to the pin” event. People marked their geocaching handles on popsicle sticks, and took a reading on their GPS to find the location of the co-ordinates they are given. Closest to the real spot wins! This photo was taken from the perspective of the pins after the real spot was identified with a flag bearing the logo.

    Radio: Got a radio, Got an antenna, where’s my Call-Sign?

    Well I made a trip out to the radio store yesterday and picked up a nice little handheld radio. It’s a Kenwood TH-D7 series with a TNC and APRS support. This is nifty stuff. Eventually I’ll be able to plug my GPS into this thing and send my location out to others. I wonder if it’s possible to collect this data and record my tracklines on a computer that I can review when I get back home.

    First thing’s first though – Industry Canada has to issue me a callsign before I can actually use that “transmit” button. Good thing the radio lets me lock out the TX features so I can play around with it. Already I’ve listened to a few ‘Nets, dialed up the Environment Canada weather forecast (162.400 MHz for that one around here) and even marvelled at the APRS data as it comes into my unit. Can’t wait to hook this thing up to my computer and dabble with packet modes. For now though, the cool stuff is going to have to wait until Industry Canada issues that callsign.

    New Server Hardware

    Nothing like walking into an amateur radio club meeting and walking out with a motherboard/cpu combo that’s three times the speed of your webserver – for $10. Well that’s what happened. It took me a week or so to find the time to do it but now it’s done. So now the website is running on a “screaming” 900Mhz machine 🙂

    One nice thing about Linux – when I put the new hardware in and booted the server up for the first time, the OS figured out all the hardware without any intervention on my part. The website was back running before I got a login prompt!