So I Bought An iPod Touch

In spite of Apple’s many transgressions, I finally caved, and bought a Touch.  What transgressions?

Ok, they’ve actually retired that NDA, but there are other offences.  The highly vaunted Apple user experience has been a bust for me.  I tried and tried, but couldn’t get into the App Store, which is the ONLY WAY to download programs onto the platform. Continue reading

Firefox: Resetting the Feeds Default

Firefox has a terrific feature which allows you to select one of many feed handlers.  So, what’s a feed?  And what’s a feed handler?  We’re going to cover all that right now.

Websites with more or less regular content generation, such as blogs or news sites, have syndication feeds.  There are two types of feeds: RSS and Atom.  We’ll just call them feeds for now.  A feed is a file that other programs or sites can read on a regular basis to see if any new content has been added.  You can tell a site has a feed when it displays the feed broadcast icon in the address bar.  It looks like the image at the top of this post.  It used to be orange; but for some reason, Mozilla changed Firefox’s feed icon to blue.  Dunno why.

In any case, when you click on the feed icon and, by default, Firefox will invite you to subscribe to the feed with one of a number of what are called feed aggregators.  Moreover, you have the option of always using the aggregator you chose to subscribe to all future feeds you click on.  Which means, Firefox won’t ask you which one you want to use anymore.

Great.  But what if you want to see that list again, and possibly change your aggregator?  Well, there used to be a way of resetting the default, but that seems to have gone bye bye.  Now you have to go mess in Firefox’s configuration data.  It’s not rocket science, but if you’re not careful, you could seriously trash your Firefox setup.  So, I’m now going to walk you through this scary surgery.

  1. Start up Firefox.
  2. If you don’t have one already, open a new tab.
  3. In the address bar type: about:config
  4. In the Filter field type: browser.feeds
  5. Right click the top entry (browser.feeds.handler) and select Reset
  6. The value should return to ask

And there you go!  Now, when you click on a feed icon, Firefox will ask you which aggregator you want to use.  You lucky bastard.

Why Farmed Salmon Is a Bad Idea

I’ve been watching season 2 of Boston Legal.  In one episode, Denny takes Alan fishing in the wilds of beautiful British Columbia.  There they meet a lawyer who introduces them to the problems caused by open-net salmon farms.

In a subsequent episode, Alan, on a date in a fancy restaurant, makes a scene when offered farmed salmon.

The problem is most people don’t understand why farmed salmon is so bad.  In fact, they don’t know the difference between farmed and wild salmon.  you can be sure the salmon farming industry goes out of its way to insure people can’t tell one from the other.  Certainly no labeling will be found.

Our friends at Watershed Watch have put together an animated film which clearly explains, without preaching, the dangers of farmed salmon.  It’s a 7 minute video.  I encourage you to take the time to watch it and do your part to save wild salmon: stop buying farmed salmon.

Vote For Net Neutrality

ABC: Anything But ConservativesYou can’t swing a cat these days, it seems, without hitting a federal election.  The American election has been going on for years; and thanks to Stephen Harper’s transgressions of his own rules, we’ve got our own to deal with.  Well, bully for us!  Too bad the media are allowing important issues to remain buried.

But we have an opportunity at election time to send a message to our officials about what is important to us and our country.  How many parties pay attention to the issues that mold our quality of life?  Consumer protection, net neutrality, the protection of water and other natural resources.  The Conservatives and Liberals take these things for granted.  They trade them away for a song.  (Well, not the Conservatives, of course.  They don’t believe in the Arts.)

Now is the time to decide how we want Canada to grow and develop in the Internet Age.  We can vote for the things we know are important to us and our country.

This October 14th I’m voting for the Green Party of Canada.  Here’s why:

One last point: your vote translates into dollars to the party you vote for.  Every vote garners the party $1.80.  So, if you vote for a party you don’t really believe in, you are, in fact, also supporting them financially and putting money in their coffers!  Worse still, you’re taking money away form the party you really do believe in.  So don’t fall victim to the lie of strategic voting: by voting for the party you do believe in, they’ll have more funds to get their message out next time.

So, that’s where I’m coming from.  Whatever you do on Oct 14, please vote.  If you’re thinking of voting Conservative, please read the links above first.  If you’re still thinking of voting Conservative, I entreat you to consider moving to the US.  Possibly Michigan.

News Update

It’s been over two weeks since I blogged.  It’s been busy: lots of projects at work, my sister and her husband came in to town and stayed at our place, my mother-in-law had health issues so my wife and her sisters were visiting her.  As I say busy, busy.

In the meantime, I’m participating in my Green candidate’s election campaign, putting up signs, canvassing and managing the fauxharper attack blog.  I attended an all candidates debate at Beth Emeth synagogue, but the clueless moderator turned it into a very boring, single issue debate.  It was all Israel, Israel, Israel.  Of course, Israel is an important issue, deserving of our support, but let’s not lose sight of the fact we live in Canada, and we’re under attack here as well, from the right-wing policies of Stephen Harper and the Conservative party.

I received a phone message from Ken Dryden after blasting his campaign workers for ignoring my request for face-time until they needed my support during an election.  He promised to call back, but never did.  I spoke to him briefly at the debate, but he basically wouldn’t commit to a position on either net neutrality or copyright.

Onto more pleasant subjects: I bought an electric guitar off craigslist and took my first music lesson.  Sadly, I’ve been too busy to practice much; but I’ve already started to turn that around.  This is important to me, so I pledge to dedicate time to this.  I’m shooting for at least 15 minutes of practice a day.

Well, that’s it for now.  See you in the funny papers.

National Do Not Call List Goes Live

Finally!  The CRTC’s Do Not call List, as implemented by our friends at Bell Canada, throttlers of Internet feeds everywhere, has gone live today.  Then keeled over and died because Canadians across the nation pounced at the opportunity to shield themselves from the nefarious effects of telemarketers.

If you want to register, and I recommend you do, you can reach the website at or call one of these toll-free numbers: 1-866-580-3625 or 1-888-362-5889.  Telemarketers will then have 31 days more with you, then they need to stop.

Update: By mid-afternoon, on the first day of the DNCL, over 1.2 million phone numbers had been registered.