October 2004

Railroad photo albums

My father’s been visiting since last week, and the three of us have been doing the train thing like nobody’s business. On Saturday we went to St-Constant to visit the Canadian Railway Museum and oohed and aahed over the vintage railway equipment. Unless you are also the sort of person to ooh and aah over such things as a Fairbanks-Morse Trainmaster or a Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson, you wouldn’t understand. As is traditional, I took a whole whack of photos.

Then on Monday we took a ride on the Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield Steam Train. Packed with tourists, many of whom from tour buses — it’s the fall season after all. It’s run with Swedish equipment, from the two locomotives — a 1909-vintage 2-8-0 Consolidation class and a 1960s-vintage diesel, presumably there for backup and support — to the rolling stock. Reasonably comfortable, though the animation was a bit overdone. Track conditions kept the train quite slow: 32 km covered in 90 minutes. Once again, I have photos.

On Tuesday my father and I went off to Lark Spur Line — the largest model railroading store in the area — and came away with a few model freight cars each. Lark Spur is really good for freight cars. We’ve been building things ever since. I was working on a flat car earlier tonight; now Jen and my dad are working on wooden kits of a CPR caboose and refrigerator car.

Still to come: Railfair on Saturday, after which we all may well be heartily sick of the subject.

Murphy’s Point photos from 2002

I’ve been procrastinating again. I’ve been meaning to put some reptile photo albums online for some time, but I wanted to have a homegrown photo-gallery thingy — similar to that for Trails — running in the reptiles section. The hell with that: I’ll use my .Mac web space. To start with, here are photos from a June 2002 field trip to Murphy’s Point Provincial Park.

Between the Flickr stuff, putting up older photos, and the new photos associated with my father’s visit (more on which anon), expect an awful lot of photography in the near future.

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Stupid reptile thread

The answers in this thread epitomize why I avoid reptile communities: it’s not worth it to get worked up about stupid people giving stupid advice. The problem is that it’s impossible to get people who know nothing about the subject to shut up. How Ask MetaFilter manages to stay useful is beyond me — maybe it’s because the average age is more than 14.

E-mail announcements

My Magma.ca e-mail is being discontinued. Most of my contacts have moved over to my other address, but in case you haven’t, consider yourself notified.

Lately I’ve been consolidating my personal e-mail at my main address, and my mailing-list e-mail at my Gmail account. I don’t use my Mac.com e-mail much, but it’s dandy webmail (what with the address book integration) so I’ll probably forward my regular mail there when I need to use webmail on a regular basis, assuming I can work out a couple of wrinkles.

Want a Gmail account? I have a ton of invites to give away, and no one to give them to. My only proviso is that we have to be acquainted already (i.e., our first introduction shouldn’t be your Gmail request — if it is, I’ll ignore you). Write me if you want one; if you know me, you probably already know which address to use.


As you may have noticed, I now have a Flickr account (my photos). This is allowing me to do all sorts of neat things with my digital photos. So far I’m using an RSS feed to put my reptile photos on my reptiles page, and I’ve got a random photo generator at the top of the sidebar on each page. More as I find uses for all the little features. There’s an iPhoto plugin (see their Macintosh group) that makes uploading my photos absolutely painless.

This isn’t going to replace iPhoto or my .Mac photo galleries, but it’s an easy way to share photos as I take them. The social-networking functions will make this really neat too: I can view my friends’ and contacts’ photos, or search for photos based on the tags that have been assigned (such as snake or trains).

I’m sending out invites. Sign up. Seriously. Free, and it looks like there are good people behind it.

(Note that they’ve been having some DNS trouble over the past day or two, and that outages will affect my pages as a result.)

Site changes

I’ve been a busy bee.

  1. The sidebar has been redesigned to reduce clutter. There are some changes to this blog’s navigation menu as a result, but for the better, I think.
  2. Minor changes to the style sheets in the same vein.
  3. The reptiles section is back to its former strength: it now has a page about my collection and a summary of my field herping activities (not just my life list). Both pages will almost certainly be expanded in the near future, but at least something’s up now. However, the big news is that, after much delay and procrastination, I’m selling snakes via this web site again (the FAQ is back up too). I think I’ve mellowed enough to be able to deal with customers again.

Still to do:

  1. More reptile galleries: the 2003 spotted turtle survey, mudpuppying, and 2002 Murphy’s Point adventures.
  2. Flesh out the field herping and collection pages.
  3. Redo the photos page.
  4. Update my résumé and put in a cover-letter style introduction in the “hire” section.
  5. A new front page.

PalmOne Tungsten T5 announced

PalmOne announced the Tungsten T5 this morning (coverage: Brighthand, Gizmodo, Palm Infocenter). In some ways this is more an E2 than a T5, in that it uses the Tungsten E’s form factor, abandoning the slider from the T/T2/T3. It’s still running OS 5, not Cobalt, and it still has built-in Bluetooth (it’s compatible with PalmOne’s new SDIO WiFi card) and the 320×480 screen. A part of its 256 MB of memory is flash memory that can store any files (not just Palm documents and applications) and that can be mounted as a USB storage device, which is kind of neat. On the other hand, it eliminates the voice recorder and uses a new connector format, which is kind of irritating. My snap judgment: I still like my T2, and would probably buy a Zire 72 if I was shopping for a gadget today. This one’s kind of meh.