kurtismccartney's blog

August 2010 Update

I haven't had the chance to publish much this summer on KurtisMcCartney.com and would like to go over a quick update.

  1. Trip to Northern Camp
    This little excursion was the second to the Northern Camp, and was an important lesson in setting up the space and staying safe in warm buggy conditions in the summer. An improved pack system is being explored for the next adventure.
  2. E-Bike Operational
    Transportation is an issue and without a stable flow of currency moving fast on the cheap was very important. A 2 ampere charger allows me to charge from an existing solar setup and the 5 ampere charger is good for when the battery runs low.
  3. Moving Alie
    It was a pretty big deal getting Alie into her new apartment, and though she is still collecting some missing items pretty much everything she needs is there and most of the things she wants. Her Kobo reader has been really useful and I hope to set her up with a couple more public domain classics.
  4. 25th Birthday
    It was a bit of a lul because I was locked far away but the support really came in for my birthday and I'm glad that I've passed a milestone that ushers in lower insurance rates and increased social pressures to become self-reliant.
  5. Editing "The Feedline"
    I joined the HAM operators to learn more about traditional scientific and infrastructure development. Many ideas have been exchanged but now my curiousity can be their call to action. Collecting information is futile without an outlet to share it and though I expect to receive multiple correction notices it should not deter my curiousity.
  6. Still looking for paid employment
    This is the biggie - Most of my efforts have been to learn to live a good life with very little money. Unfortunately that doesn't mean no money and my reserves are running dangerously low and my student loans remain. I have applied high and low to positions of prestige and minimum wage grease-factories. I am waiting patiently knowing that I have made an effort but my family is running short on that virtue. If you are reading this and can help please use the contact link at the top.

Otherwise I'm looking forward to the fall, and I hope to see you at one or more local events.

Editing NPARC News "The Feedline"

This is another task added to my to-do list, the NPARC's "The Feedline" is a members only publication used to spread relevant information around the group. It also serves as a log, detailing efforts and events not found in the general meeting minutes.

I approach this task with a critical eye. Coming from a world where printed information is very purpose driven - marketing, guides, and manuals means that I will have to incorporate some of the publishing and editing experience that I have from the digital world to fill in a couple blanks.

Criticism is not needed - assistance is. I've tossed the idea out there that a publication for the whole membership should be derived from the whole membership and I have been slowly encouraging active and passive members to contribute. There have also been non-member contributions recommended by members, which greatly expands our writer base.

Printing - even this has been slowly phased out in favour of e-mail distributed digital copies. Some holdouts will still collect the "dead tree" version as they either do not have the technology or the connectivity to receive the digital version. Of course this brings up the real issue - why continue a monthly publication when a rolling digital entity can be maintained and made available to members only. This means that the call for donations can be delivered faster, and notices about the growing number of silent keys can reach companion members before the funeral rather than half a month afterward. It will be a difficult change for some members and must be considered very carefully.

Imitating other publications is difficult when the reader base is so small, but that is the point - it is for the members. A separate journal could be a fundraising tool for the club that includes more product reviews guides to local equipment vendors and suggestions that could make it down to the civilian band types.

Sometimes consistency is better and there ideas are best left on the screen.

Electric Bike Completed 2010

This summer I finished converting my bicycle (Faster and faster, a Bonelli Ultima) into an electric bike with a new nickname.

The bike meets all the minimum requirements for an E-bike in ontario as of August 10th 2010, and is a breeze to pilot even with the 10 kilogram pack on the rear rack. Since the assembly was finished I've tested it on the escarpment, near the lakes, and in tight city driving. The only rough ride I've encountered in August was in Welland, where Fitch St. meets First Ave. because of the abrupt hill combined with high traffic and bad pavement.

The Motor and controller came from Conhis Motors, the battery came from Coddpower. Canadian options in the DIY e-bike area are few and far between and often feature lacklustre options, but I'd buy another Bonelli bike which is Canadian.

I've investigated the idea of swapping the kint to a trike for cargo - again the hardware is difficult to find at prices matching my transportation budget. No worries, most incremental upgrades fare better in the long run anyway.

The Air Conditioning Issue

It has taken some time for me to publish anything about the summer heat - mostly because I have been enjoying it. That warm and humid feeling is not a bad thing, it is natural and I am really surprised at who has the most trouble with it. Unlike in previous posts where I highlight the difficulties that different generations have with technology the air conditioning craze is more economic. It is the comfortable middle class that has the most difficulty without it.

Wealthy Canadians seem to have dealt with the heat in more constructie ways, by using their money wisely - investing in summer properties near the water or farther north, and the Canadians hardest hit by the recession have switched off non-essentials (If you feel as though your debt load has peaked and you're still shivering, turn it off now.). It is the comfortable middle zone that engages in the most unidirectional consumption, dishing out billions of dollars on energy to power their cooling systems. That money is never coming back, it is not making them healthier, and the noise pollution can be as bad as vuvuzela competitions. Aside from all that, I believe this luxury is deserved to all those that can afford air conditinoing but can't afford to get away from urban and suburban heat.

There are some solutions that we need to look at to make urban spaces more acceptable for all people. It may be time to bring back the trees alongside the warmest roads, to provide natural heat blocking. Aside from my disbelief regarding A/C I also believe the best sunscreen is none - wear appropriate attire and visit safe locations on high UV days. More tree cover and pavillions would expand this realm and promote the outdoor spaces in your city (which can help bring new customers into small and medium businesses.

Public fountains - both the grand picturesque and the small drinking varieties can aid urban spaces by keeping people and the spaces they are in naturally cool. Wait, before you accuse me of wasting space with a grand fountain you should know why. In most old cities where fountains have remained a part of the local tradition it was a place to stop for a drink (new water spouts only), wash your feet and hands after a long voyage, or natual cooling zone. The city of Welland recently installed what they are calling a fountain into the 'gazing pond' in front of city hall. It is flawed. It recycles the water for show only, with no drinking zone. It is off limits to everyone, due to the fact that they recycle the water - liabilities remain. The fountain is unshaded on the Southern side of the plaza - meaning that the water will pick up heat and produce humid moisture rather than cooling the area. To fix Wellands fountain - cycle water from the canal, allow access for wading (but ban soap and additives), provide a drinking fountain with a downward facing spout for bottle carriers.

It's not difficult to beat the heat, but it is difficult to make changes and everyone has to ask their neighbours, city, and nation to support them in their effort to be cool.

Get it...

Million Dollar Changes

This blog entry is not posted to the front page but is available through the search engine.

What would I do with One (1) Million Canadian Dollars. Lets presume the taxes existed as part of the sum above 1,000,000. Every self gratifying act is followed by a similar charitable act.

1) Pay down Debts (Student Debt and Personal Debts)
This activity would shave the first $30,000 off the top

2) Eliminate my Mothers Debts on House/Vehicle
I'll just level this off to $70,000 to complete the first $100,000

$900,000 Left

3) Declare Independence
The acquisition of a small property to live/operate Aridaria (my business), as well as bring in all of the equipment and supplies to start production on Aridaria products.

4) Liberate Alie
If I'm moving out I might as well bring along my signifgant other - she has mentioned dreaming of having a space completely her own - there ought to be a section of the property that can fulfill that need.

$550,000 Left

5) Go Off-Grid
Ok, so I'll still be connected to telecommunications but most of the bills will be killed. Photovoltaic Furnace, Stove/Water, Refridgeration, Recreation and Lighting. Five power zones. Of course this might cost more than usual - Lithium Batteries, etc. But at least I've recently acquired the property for it.

6) Contribute to the grid
Might as well get a MicroFIT set up too, and try to bring electricity costs down in Niagara, lololol.

$350,000 Left

Stop Spending the rest of this money must be kept forliving expenses in case Aridaria fails.

Paris Tokyo Bistro Review (Welland)

Paris Tokyo BistroOpened in late June 2010 the Paris Tokyo Bistro is the first sushi place I have seen in the city. Welland is a tough market for exotic cuisine. Luckily for Paris Tokyo Bistro it has the opportunity to capitalize on its french menu to offer something for nearly everyone.

Note: This Article Features images lost during the April-Aug23rd2010 Server Failure. They may or may not be replaced.

Positives

The "Welland" Maki Roll

This is worth the visit, a spicy roll with very safe and palatable ingredients. For sushi newcomers the Eel (Eil) may be a dealbreaker but rest assured that if you like chicken then this spicy morsel of meat will satisfy. I tried my first "Welland" Maki after a bowl of their Miso Soup, which is also recommended.

Comfortable Setting

All of the comforts of a luxury restaurant are there, without the rigid rules. An outdoor patio adjacent to the rear parking lot is available fo more pleasant days. The lighting is serene, and efforts can be seen hinting at gradual improvement on the theme of the restaurant.

Abundant and Adjacent Seating

Looking to bring in a larger group of your friends - there is room for them. The small foyer in the front hides the depth of the restaurant. Much like Palazzo Salon up the street there are many services availble by request that are not advertised very well.

Negatives

No Fusion or Mix Combos

Back of Paris Tokyo BistroNo fusion cuisine or meal combos which is fine but misleading. The menu is simple with individual items. Also, most of the French Cuisine lacks the detail about ingredients that the Japanese menu has. I'd love to see sushi and a slice of sugar pie, OR roasted duck with baguette beside tempura - which could be possible** by putting the blocks together separately.

** Note: There wasn't Duck or Sugar Pie on the menu, but those are some seriously delicious foods I associate with the French/Quebecois in my family..

Time Consuming Meal

The restaurant is new, so waiting was to be expected while the new staff and owners settle in. Best just to seat yourself if nobody is present out front - although if you want to use the patio, it would be a good choice to announce your presence the the Maitre D' if you want to see the menu. I wouldn't mind seeing this place be a great place to stop by while out for a walk along the canal - grab a confection and a beverage to go OR plan a picnicbut you would probably have to plan well in advance.

Menu Issues

The menu is presented on unbound sheets of paper with no distinct charachteristics separating French and Japanese other than some side annotations. Though robust and intriguing there were very few specialized options - Kids, Vegetarian, Also, there is no drinks menu

I will revisit the Paris Tokyo Bistro soon and see if the dining experience has been made more transparent, consistent, and timely. Repeat: Looking to know what I can order, that I can order it any reasonable time, and that it'll be presented in the right order and time.

Go there.

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Public Service Radio w/RSS

An amazing amount of data is sent across the internet on a regular basis - and for most users discovering something new and relevant is a highlight. The reality is that many Internet users are repeat visitors to the same set of websites - this is something I have accepted and had made going over the daily local, national, and global events much faster. It could be even more efficient, and I will steal a page from the Kindle to outline what else I think is possible. Build a system that will do the following:

  • Report User Selections for Syndicated Content
    Simple Yes/No, to determine what the broadcast list should be for that zone.
  • Receive Transmissions from one of two bands
    Local section of bandwidth for rich content, deliver local promotions and public addresses
    Greater Regional band for mainstream/popular content to offset use of the local band
  • Minimize power use by standardizing the transmission schedule
    Morning news, Evening News, Special Events
  • Share in one of two ways - Locally and by Recommendation
    Local share allows you to bounce a copy of a given article, video, or radio program to someone facce to face
    Recommendations bounce your media to an established peer on the next given cycle, if they opt-in
  • Library Access and Resoure Centres
    Current events are fine, but any of these tools will need a deeper research function to be considered a serious device.
    The combined 100+ years of publication of National Geographic, New York Times, or any other historical works can be put into a system the size of a suitcase with Libraries that pay for the content offering an AYCE media experience.

This would be deconstructing RSS feeds, Podcasts, and Television into a manageable communications standard. Aside from reducing power consumption it would also aid in actve dissemination by allowing users to share content that they might not have originally discovered. LARC systems allow for media to be safe from corruption, destruction, or augmentation and they may aid in separating commerce from academia if the system is implemented properly. (Note: Advertisers typically benefit most from new publications, allowing for an advertisment free archive)

This device could be your computer as it is with some modifications - the important part is that a decentralized information network would allow stronger local communities to develop. Also, send less money to large corporations that have not actively improved services like DSL or Cable Internet services in your community. NIMBY to reduce Cable/DSL subscription numbers and "Think of the children" to support liberated information.

Audio Element Test

The following is a test of the HTML5 Audio tag.

If the controls appear but the music does not play, you may not have a media player linked to your web browser.

Shortwave Radio for your Car/Stereo

As a HAM/SWL you may eventually come to the point when you ask "Why are there no Shortwave Radios in Cars?", aside from the small market for such specialized equipment you may discover that the best radio is the one you already have. Rather than messing around with a crummy in dash Shortwave radio, of which you probably only use three or four stations get a short range FM transmitter and build a dock for your portable shortwave unit.

Understandably you are going to have to do your own math and work to get a proper dock, antenna, and FM transmitter for your vehicle. It can be easier than trying to rewire the proprietary connectors in your vehicle, and much more affordable if done right. On the odd occasion I choose to listen while on the road I use a FM Transmitter from DealExtreme - a respectable vendor from Hong Kong. One antena configuration was in a triangle wire antenna between the front seats to the two clothes hooks in the back - it was too complicated and unweildy. A modified active loop antenna strapped to the top of the radio solved the problem.

Find the radio for you and take it with you.

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