November 2003

Faxing in Panther


OS X 10.3 Panther allows you to send faxes from any application through the app’s print panel. Here’s an O’Reilly article on faxing by Wei-Meng Lee that, once again, I should note for future reference. I suppose I should plug the modem back in at some point. Though you can also fax through your mobile phone via Bluetooth, which is pretty cool. (As far as I can tell, faxing via a modem-equipped Base Station is not in the cards.)

Opus 1

Someone scanned the first Opus Sunday comic (via Jerry). Wouldn’t make a practice of doing that, mind you. Have yet to find out who carries it locally; couldn’t find a Saturday Citizen (Canadian papers run their thick, colour-comics-inclusive weekend editions on Saturdays) around the shop. (No, journalists don’t buy their own papers, silly.)

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Signal strength in Quyon

In Quyon last night to cover a public meeting regarding a proposed engineered landfill site, about which I hope to have a nice article next week. Quyon has a good spot for cellphone signal strength by the Lions Club and ferry dock: I was able to call home without difficulty. But by the time I hit Clarendon Street (Quyon’s main drag), the call began cutting out. In the Pontiac, at least as far as Rogers AT&T Wireless’s network is concerned, all cell towers are on the Ontario side; it may be a matter of being on the wrong side of buildings — something that is less prevalent in cities where there are more cell towers in more directions. Or does that make any sense? I’m just guessing.

SD WiFi card delays

Next spring? Oh, for crying out loud — how can SanDisk be almost a year behind schedule on their 802.11b SD card for Palm OS 5? This is something I’d buy just about instantly — in theory, the Bluetooth on my Tungsten T2 is more useful on the road, especially since there aren’t many WiFi hotspots in rural western Quebec, but it’d be nice to surf the web on my Palm at home. (Otherwise, I’d have to figure out how to enable Internet connection sharing via Bluetooth on Panther — the original hack under Jaguar appears to have been disabled as of OS X 10.2.6.) Serious grumblage.

Newsweek on ROTK

Newsweek gets the jump on breathless Return of the King coverage, with the usual amount of behind-the-scenes movie-making inside baseball, which is all you get because the movie isn’t out yet (via Slate). Entertainment-industry journalism: feh.

Whither the Press Gallery?

Don’t miss Paul Wells’s rant about the misplaced priorities of the journalists working in the Parliamentary Press Gallery. And oh, does he have a point. Political news coverage has always been too horserace-ish at the worst of times, but, as he points out, obsessing about the details of Jean Chrétien’s departure date, the makeup of Paul Martin’s cabinet, or the guest list at the Irvings’ fishing lodge, to the exclusion of all else that goes on in official Ottawa, is a bit much. His list of what the media has ignored is particularly telling.

Weekend update

While I’m on the subject of the weekend, we were also in Toronto for Markus and Cindy’s wedding Saturday. A nice small affair in downright opulent surroundings — an officer’s mess at a military college. Downright nice folks, which cast some discussions about friends and friendship that Jen and I had been having that very day into sharp relief.

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Slow sales at the reptile expo

Back from a reptile expo weekend in Toronto, where, naturally, we sold hardly anything — three garters for me, two corns for Florence, and Jen only sold a ceramic because some eager-handed little terror broke it. At least Jenny sold some boa constrictors. I’m getting inured to slow sales at these shows: I think it’s a result of too many vendors — lots of breeders selling at the show who’ve been at it for less time than even I have — chasing too few customers with too little money and too many animals already. At some point the economics of it will shake out some of the breeders and supply will start to approach demand again, but in the meantime it’s going to be a lean time.

Power to Go — for a price

Brighthand has a review of the Palm Power to Go, an external battery pack for Universal Connector-equipped Palm handhelds. At US$100/C$150, this clearly isn’t for everyone — not when car chargers and AC adapters are so much cheaper. Palm-branded accessories are usually pricey in any event.

But it sounds like a good idea in certain, limited circumstances. I can think of two: where you are using it heavily for prolonged periods, and it’s inconvenient to recharge it by other means (i.e., you’re using it with the battery pack clipped on), or you’re in a location where charging by other means is simply impossible — say, out in the field somewhere. Ed’s review has some other scenarios.

St. Rupert

I hereby nominate Rupert Boneham as patron saint of everyone who ever made the mistake of thinking that hard work on behalf of a group would make them be accepted by that group. Boy have I seen that before. (Someone photoshop him onto a “Think Different” poster, hmm?)

Four hours of The Two Towers

So my copy of the four-disc, extended edition DVD of The Two Towers arrived in the mail Wednesday. Bloody fast shipping time for Shawville: Amazon only announced it had shipped two days before. I picked it up from the post office around noon.

Guess what I did Wednesday afternoon? If you guessed that I sat, rapt and slack-jawed, in front of the screen for four hours straight … well, you’d be dead-on.

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Low blows

Newspapers love to cover their competitors’ bad news, but there’s a fine line between being fair, albeit enjoying it, and just being mean. A local case in point: this week, our competition published an article about a lawsuit between my paper and its former editor. (Nothing like having your competitor airing out your laundry.) This, after using a readership survey meant to show that people read community papers to claim, on the front page last month, that they “beat” us — a misuse of the data, and not exactly true. They’ve been running a table showing it in every issue since. They even argued that municipalities were wasting taxpayers’ money if they advertised with us! It’s one thing to compete, quite another to wish for your competition’s humiliation and destruction. Not nice.