Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Restrictions on new drivers in Ontario

Edit: I was not aware that the 1 passenger limit only applies for the first year of a G2 license. For the full text of proposed changes, see here.

This blog has been neglected for the past while. However, I believe it's important to get the word out on an important issue.

Today, new legislation will be proposed in the Ontario parliament to increase the restrictions on young drivers. These new restrictions are
  • A zero-tolerance policy with regard to blood-alcohol content
  • A zero-tolerance policy for speeding
  • A limit of one (1) passenger under the age of 19 at any time
Now, let it be clear that I fully support zero-tolerance for drinking and driving. However the one passenger limit is unreasonable and may actually do more harm than good. Many young people rely on carpooling to get from point A to B, especially in suburbs and rural areas. Also, the practice of appointing a designated driver would not work nearly as well if there could only be one passenger per car. Finally, such a restriction would have a negative impact on the environment, since it would put more cars on the road.

The new proposed legislation is also flawed in that it came to be after an advertising campaign headed by the father of a 20 year old who was killed while driving impaired. It is understandable for a father, having lost his son, to push for laws that could have prevented death had they been in place. However, in this case, if the son in question had been obeying current laws, he probably would not have died. This shows that even with tougher regulations in place, those who are truly reckless would not obey the law and remain a threat to the rest of society. The people who will suffer the most under the new laws are the law-abiding drivers and their friends who will lose their means of transportation and be forced to spend extra money on gas and pollute the environment.

If you do not support the new Ontario legislation, pleas sign the petition at

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Garfield is awesome, without Garfield

Everyone has heard of Garfield, that lazy fat cat. Well, someone has had the brilliant idea of removing Garfield from his own comic strip, with, in my opinion, surprisingly good results. For example:

With Garfield:

Without Garfield:

See more here:

Thanks to Emma.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

wget for windows

For all you Windows users out there who need a program to download files quickly and easily, check out wget for windows. This is a port of a fantastic unix/linux command line program that supports HTTP and FTP with many advanced options, as well as download resuming, with the -c argument.
It's also included in the unxutils package I mentioned in the previous post.

For a little more fun, you can easily crash Windows and make it beep loudly by downloading a binary file to standard output like so:
wget -O - [http://binaryfileURL].

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Correction of my position regarding Windows Vista

I noticed that in the very first post of this blog, I'm very enthusiastic about the Vista Beta 1.

Just to clarify: I no longer endorse Windows Vista.

I am sad to say that I did actually buy a Windows Vista license; it came with my new laptop. As soon as it arrived, I made a Ghost image of the drive and prepared to wipe the drive to make it available for better things. But then I thought "Let's try and use this 'Vista', to see what people can possibly like about it."

So I booted up the new laptop. The first thing I noticed was that the Windows logo was conspicuously missing from the Windows splash screen. A bit odd, in my opinion...
Next, I was presented with two license agreement windows, one from Acer, the other from Microsoft. After this, I was asked to set up the usual things, like language and time.

Then, Windows decided that it wanted to "measure [my] computer's performance". Now this was annoying. Not only did it take about 20 minutes (that's how long it takes me to install a complete Ubuntu system), but it did not display any information about what it was doing. Why this 20-minute mystery process Microsoft?

Finally, I got to my brand new Vista desktop. My first thought: "Ooh. Shiny!" I then proceeded to set up and use Vista for just over three hours. After that, I'd had enough.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Unix command line tools for Windows

Since about 1999, I have been experimenting with alternative operating systems. Today, my main PC triple-boots Mac OS X (thanks to the InsanelyMac community!), Windows XP and Ubuntu Linux.

Two out of these three operating systems provide the very powerful bourne again shell (bash). While in Windows, most administration tasks can be accomplished using the pretty (or sometimes not-so-pretty) GUI. This is becoming increasingly possible under Linux, thanks to distros like Ubuntu and SuSE. However, to get maximum control over *nix based systems like Mac OS X or Linux, one needs to get comfortable with the command line terminal.

Since 2 out of my 3 OSes are *nix systems, they provide the very powerfull bash shell. As a result, when using Windows, I used to long for the basic unix commands like cat, head, tail, grep and the like (in addition to getting annoyed at constantly getting "Bad command or file name" after typing 'ls').

After a bit of googling, I found this site: The zip package available there provides most of those unix commands I missed the most when using Windows. (Finally, grep and wget in cmd.exe!)

Notably missing are the usual Linux text-editors like vi/vim, emacs, nano or pico. These can be found here:

Finally, for playing media files from the command line, there's MPlayer:

And that's it. You now have the familiar unix tools for those times when you have to use a Windows command prompt.

The Revival

There hasn't been a post on this blog in almost three years....

So this is the Revival.

What has happened since the last post:
  • A few years have passed.
  • I graduated from high school and the IB program.
  • I got older.
  • I've done things with friends. Notably prom after-party at Wasaga beach, Culturefest...
  • I've done things with family. Notably visiting the West Coast.
  • I've moved to Ottawa for university.
  • I read some books.
  • I met many people.
  • I heard lots of new music.
  • I got new computer hardware.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Back to school

Hello, now for the first entry of the school year. Yay IB!... yeah right. Well anyways the September has been ok... not much to write about though. Well English is nice and useless as usual, but The Odyssey movie is entertaining. Also, people: join XC (Cross-country running), or those who already have: go to Kingston!

For those who came to my place on labour day, ere is a pictures.

Now the tech part:
  • anyone who hasn't tried Google Maps... try it! there's a satellite view of pretty much the whole world, pretty cool
  • Ditch Hotmail, if anyone needs a Gmail invite, i have 50, or just get Yahoo! mail. For those of you who like your MSN Messenger, all you have to do is go to and enter your non-MSN/Hotmail e-mail.
  • Google Web Accelerator is back!
  • Forgive me if I sound like a Google fanatic
  • Games for your TI-83+/84+:
  • [Firefox Propaganda] Get Firefox! Tabbed browsing, faster, more secure, no spyware!
  • If anyone wants MandrivaLinux or Windows Longhorn/Vista(2006), i'll burn you a copy.