In January of 2000 I went to the south of France to celebrate the start of the last year of the millennium with friends. After the celebrations, I took the TGV high speed train to Paris for a week. 1999 was a good year, and I booked a first class seat, which meant I got seated in a cabin of about 8 seats at the front of the car.

There were three people besides me in the cabin. A rather strange fellow who both offered up scrawled, broken samples of poetry and kept on trying to convince me that I should be involved in Nigerian oil and diamonds (needless to say my comprehension of his French and broken English was surprisingly low that day) and an older couple who seemed to be rather disapproving of the both of us.

Eventually the hustler managed to pry from me the fact that I was Canadian. This had little effect on him, but the change in the older couple was profound. Suddenly they were fluent in English and more than willing to talk. What they had to say first stuck me: they thanked me for my country’s help in the war, for Juno beach. The man shook my hand, his gratitude some 55 years later surprised me.

Growing up not so long after the war, the contribution of Canada to the battle was something we knew well. We were taught to never forget¬† (although I mistakenly thought what we should not forget was to be intolerant of human rights violations, something we’d forgotten by the time Rwanda happened, but that’s another matter).

What we never really learned was how much our efforts were appreciated by those we liberated. By how much respect we gained by punching well above our weight in WW2, and to the extent that those we liberated would never forget our sacrifices.

I salute the amazing men and women who went to such extraordinary lengths to achieve such a great feat.

Hello Two Zero One Three

I’ve spent a good part of the holidays trying to reconcile the over-saturation in my life. Of the large number of things I’d like to be doing, I’m coming up against the realization that I’m attempting to do too many of them. The result is a spectrum of underachievement. (more…)

Lots Going On

Instead of maintaining an increasingly diffuse presence on this site, where not knowing what the hell I’m going to do next gets mixed visitor reactions, I’ve been branching out to multiple web locations, each with a clearly defined focus.

This blog will remain diverse in topics and erratic in frequency, but instead of following the “about everything” tag line so literally, I’ve started moving new things to their own topic-specific places. I figure this will make this blog slightly easier to label and the new locations will benefit from a tighter focus. (more…)

Long Weekends and the Home Based Business

These days things are really busy over here. Aside from neglecting this blog (partially Twitter’s fault), it’s a good busy. Too much work in a recession is a nice problem to have. I’ve been working early mornings and late nights to find quiet times when I can concentrate and keep up with the load.

So now it’s a four day long weekend. My spouse has the time off, my stepson is in town, and it’s going to be really hard to get stuff done. For a split second I resented the weekend as interference with work, and that’s when one of my alarm bells went off.

Let me back up for a moment. I’ve always been a little ahead of the curve. I started my first home based business shortly after university, in 1981. Back then it was radical, now it’s an established practice. There are many advantages to running a business from home, like my ten second commute to work. But there are disadvantages too, and one of them is that same ten second commute. Over the years I’ve learned to identify destructive thought patterns and to change course before doing much damage. “I wish everyone else was at work” is high on that list.

Over the past three decades, I’ve had times when I was so involved with my work that my friends forgot I existed. I did a lot of exciting work, but for the most part the results of my efforts have long since disappeared. Meanwhile most of my friends are still around. More poignantly, some of them are no longer around. The hard lesson is that the time I spent on work is time I didn’t spend with them, and now there’s no way to address the imbalance.

So if you find yourself resenting the long weekend, take a step back and get a new perspective. Most of us are working hard to bring benefits to our immediate families. Don’t focus on that to the point where you deprive them of what they want and need most… your full attention.

Plug for SpeedTest.net, Raspberry for Bell (revised)

[Updated: watch my line speed improve over time!]

There’s not much to say, these numbers speak for themselves. I figure I’m about 3Km from the nearest CO.

Okay, I lied 121ms pings?? Give me a BREAK!
I may just give up on DSL.

Hey my line went dead for about half an hour today (no dial tone even) and look:

Moving from “effectively non-functional” to “pathetic” Way to go.

More news… 7:40 on a Saturday morning, and finally things seem to be up to par:

Now we know the connection is definitely up to snuff, although the ping times are a little pathetic. The next question is how well does this hold up during peak demand. Even though the line isn’t shared, there’s network hardware at the other end that needs to keep up with peak loads. We’ll see…