Category Archives: Technology

Has LinkedIn Jumped the Shark?

I am seriously considering shutting down my LinkedIn account.

I just saw someone boast on LI that they had 30,000 connections.

Excuse me? How could you possibly know, and have worked with, 30,000 people?

The original premise of LI was that people who had worked with each other would connect, and vouch for each other. Or at least acknowledge that they’d worked together.

It’s completely debased. It’s now Facebook with a resume.

Another numbers game.

And LI is driving this debasement. Every time you accept a “connection” these days, it pops up dozens, if not hundreds, of other suggested connections. It wants to mine your email address books, if you let it.

I was wondering when I would see a cat photo on LInkedIn.

Today was the day.

Sigh . . .

Rocker/Stool Toe-Stubbing Menace

We picked up this Ikea rocker/stool set used awhile ago. It’s in great shape and looks sharp, but it’s a toe-stubbing menace.

Those legs on the stool are angled forward just enough that we’ve both whacked toes on them.

And those little projections at the front of the rockers, while perhaps needed for stability, also attract toes like magnets.

I hope eventually it will sink into the subconscious to automatically give these items of furniture a slightly wider berth. . .

ikea rocker stool set

I May Have Worn Out 18-200 Nikkor

I think my AF-S 18-200 Nikkor is dying. The zoom ring is stiff and jumpy, and the lens doesn’t seem to focus tack sharp any longer.

I’ve had it for ten years, and it’s taken several hundred-thousand shots. It’s been dropped onto carpet, linoleum, and concrete, from heights varying from 2 – 6 feet.

It’s been out in +35 C dry deserts, +35 humid Asian countries, and -30 Canadian prairies. It’s been canoeing, it’s been fishing, it’s been camping, it’s been hiking, it’s been walking in the rain, and shuffling in the snow. . .

I had it in for repair and a tuneup after the six-foot drop about five years ago. I don’t know if it would be worth it to try another tuneup.

I’ll give the Nikon factory repair centre in Toronto a call next week, but I suspect I may be better off in the long run by getting a new lens.

More Canon SX730HS Surgery

Canon SX730HS Surgery

From the Don’t Try This at Home files .

Performed additional surgery on my Canon SX730HS using my trusty Leatherman.

Yes, you read that right! I dropped the Canon on pavement a week or two ago, smashing the metal lens-cover iris that opens and closes when the camera is cycled on and off. Otherwise the camera functioned fine, so I pulled out as many pieces of the iris as I could.

Over the course of the last week a few more pieces worked their way loose, so out came the Leatherman this morning.

Yeah, I’ve got DSLRs but this is the pocket camera that I have on me nearly all the time.

Ah, the Computing Life. . . Sigh

As I set up my new (refurbished) Windows 10 computer, I wonder how many hours, days, perhaps even weeks I’ve spent on building computers, installing operating systems, installing software etc. since I got my first computer nearly 30 years ago.

For those who missed the tale, the latest Windows 10 update kept bricking my last computer — the update just couldn’t complete without the result being a completely frozen machine. After three or four attempts cycling through three or four backup C images, I threw in the towel. It appeared that machine had some weird combination of hardware that Windows 10 Update just couldn’t work with. And Windows Update refused to stop trying to update, no matter how many settings I tinkered with.

So I got a refurbished Lenovo through Best Buy for $469 — 12GB of RAM and a 3TB hard drive. I’ve got Office 365 set up and running, ClipMate set up (I put this wonderful utility on every PC I have), and am now installing Adobe Creative Cloud and all of its apps.

It’ll be awhile before I have everything on the machine. It’s going to be a “where is..? oh, yeah, I still need to install it. . .” cycle for the next several days.

Consequences of Car Crash Drag on for Weeks

A fellow ran a stop sign and T-boned our car nearly two weeks ago, and the recovery process is still dragging on. Thankfully it’s “recovery” as in getting life back to normal, not “recovery” as in being injured. I was fine, but our trusty 1998 Subaru Outback ended up being written off by the insurance company.

Dealings with the Insurance Corporation of BC have been great. Staff have been calm, courteous and helpful. While we’re not happy that it was decided to write our vehicle off, we understand there’s not much to be done for a nearly 20-year-old car, no matter how well we’d maintained it over the years. Unfortunately, we’re unlikely to get more than a few thousand dollars for it, but we’ll push for the most. I’m collating maintenance records, and bills of recent purchases of value like snow tires, new battery, etc.

Our insurance for replacement vehicle coverage will run out this week, so we have to get on with getting a new(er) car. ICBC extended the rental coverage by nearly a week because they’ve been inundated and haven’t provided us with a buyout yet.

So we’re shopping for a new vehicle, and while that’s exciting in some ways, it’s also stressful. All sorts of decisions to make like new vs used, cash vs finance vs lease, etc.

We’re pretty much settled on what we want. I want another AWD (all-wheel drive) vehicle. I loved the Subbie’s performance in winter conditions. My wife wants a hybrid, and unfortunately Subaru has none available in Canada.

You put “hybrid” and “AWD” together, and the result is Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, for the most part. There may be a few others that fit those parameters, but they’re too big  or even more expensive.

We test drove a 2018 RAV4 Hybrid yesterday, and it seemed huge compared to our old Outback.  Mind you a new Outback is also huge compared to the models several generations ago.

We’ve also considered used RAV4s, but it appears you’d save at most three or four thousand dollars if getting a recent “Certified Used” hybrid, so why not go new and get a full warranty, more financing options, etc.

Looking forward to getting this all settled as soon as possible!

98 Outback towed away
Saying goodbye to our faithful companion of nearly 20 years.

Lots of memories associated with this car.

Both of my late parents were still alive when we got it. It transported hutches, dining room tables, coffee tables, armchairs. . .

My wife and I did dozens of trips across western Canada over the years. Many camping and canoeing trips. . . North as far as Kitimat, west to Tofino and Long Beach, east as far as Brandon, south as far as LA and Joshua Tree. . .

Dropped My Near-New Canon SX730HS

I thought I had the strap secure around my wrist, but somehow I dropped my near-new Canon SX730HS camera about 4 feet onto pavement today.

I picked the bits out of the iris at the front of the lens that opens and closes when the camera is powered on or off, and it’s cycling OK.

Found that an old Nikon F2 body cap covers the now non-protected lens nicely in the retracted position. Glad to have found a fix, but. . . Sigh. . .

busted canon sx730hs

Dangerous Driving Getting Out of Hand in BC’s Lower Mainland

I’d like to add a few observations and experiences to the recent conversation about pedestrian deaths and dangerous driving. More people are driving badly in BC’s lower mainland, and we need significantly stepped-up education and enforcement to modify behaviour.

In the last year or two I’ve experienced the following:

  • Nearly getting T-boned, not once, but twice, at T intersections in south Burnaby, when drivers blew stop signs. In both cases, they didn’t even slow down.
  • Nearly getting rear-ended on a regular basis all over the lower mainland because I am apparently one of the few drivers left who actually stops at stop signs.
  • In a follow-up to the above comment, I estimate that over 90% of drivers who approach the stop sign on Rumble St. in south Burnaby at the intersection with Griffiths Dr. do not come to a complete stop.
  • Coming to a complete stop before turning right on a red light? Oh, please, might spill the coffee, eh?
  • In the only accident that I’ve been involved in in the last 40 years, I was rear-ended when I stopped at a crosswalk for a pedestrian. The driver who hit me had time to blow her horn, but strangely not enough time to hit her brakes, though the pedestrian was well off the curb and onto the road.
  • I have been passed several times in school zones during school hours when I had the temerity to slow to the 30km/hour zone limit.
  • I have had folks honk at me when I have stopped and clearly indicated with my turn signal that I am going to parallel park.
  • What about speed limits? What speed limits?! I’d say the average speed in some 50km/hour zones in Burnaby like the Royal Oak hill, the Southridge hill, etc., is likely around 75km/hour. If you do less than 65km/hour, you’re a hazard.

Some time ago I noted in a FB post that I used to enjoy driving, but it’s becoming stressful. I’ve driven Canada from coast to coast, I’ve driven much of the US, I’ve driven in major metropolises like Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Toronto, Madrid,  Barcelona, Sydney, Melbourne. . . And never felt as unsafe as I now do here at home.

I wish folks would wake up, wise up, take responsibility, and realize that driving is a privilege that requires practice, skill, and concentration.