August 2007

Public transportation in the Pontiac, 1928-2007

Picked up a schedule for our often-maligned and frequently threatened commuter bus service — now that I’m working in Ottawa again, it’s good to do a little homework, especially since the car’s been acting up lately and my commuting partner is on holidays this week.

I also happen to have a copy of the CPR’s passenger train schedule for the line that used to run through this region — from the summer of 1928. I thought it would be interesting to compare the two schedules. Here is the weekday afternoon bus of today compared with CPR Train #543 of 1928, which was also a weekday-only service:

*Measured from Rideau Centre, the stop closest to the now-former train station.
Bus, 2007 Train, 1928
Ottawa 3:45 PM* 3:40 PM
Quyon 5:05 PM 4:55 PM
Shawville 5:20 PM 5:29 PM
Campbell’s Bay 5:40 PM 5:47 PM
Fort Coulonge 5:45 PM 6:25 PM
Waltham 6:05 PM 6:55 PM
Total duration: 2:20 3:15

It’s interesting that the 1928 train and 2007 bus leave within five minutes of one another (at least from my arbitrary start point; the bus starts from the station at 3:30 PM). The 1928 train is faster through the city, as you might expect from a train (especially one in a conurbation that was then much smaller), but steadily loses time versus the 2007 bus (which has the reputation of being driven by a maniac).

Exchange rates and .Mac


Every time Apple updates one of its products, it also updates its non-U.S. prices to reflect the exchange rate. This means that as the Canadian dollar has risen, their stuff has gotten substantially cheaper in Canada. With the Canadian dollar trading at nearly 95¢ U.S. lately, prices are approaching parity — in fact, in some cases they are at par. This week, after Apple’s product announcements, both iLife and iWork cost $79 ($99 for the family pack) — the same price as in the U.S.

So could someone please explain why .Mac, which costs $99 in the U.S., still costs $139 in Canada? (It’s at least one reason why I let my subscription lapse.)

Pretzel’s bad eggs

You may recall that Pretzel, one of my corn snakes, laid 17 eggs back in May. If they were going to hatch, they would have hatched by now. But they haven’t: they all went bad, one by one, over the course of their incubation.

Fortunately, Pretzel is showing no signs of laying a second clutch, so at least she won’t be wasting all that energy and body mass again — at least not this year. I must remember to get her away from Trouser before the next mating season: I meant to this year, but Trouser took advantage of my procrastination. With two years of nothing but bad eggs, and poor fertility the year before, it’s clearly time to give this pairing a rest.