Turn me on

You want to turn on the room and not the devices.

Peter Lucas, Maya Designs Inc. [via CNN]

Maya and CMU are working on a truly universal remote control. It will control not only your TV and stereo, but your lights, heat, home security system, lawn sprinklers, dog door, etc.

I’d just like to say, “Finally!” I’ve looked a bit at home automation solutions recently and been mostly unimpressed. Things don’t seem to have progressed much since the days when I was learning about programming and technology on my family’s Commodore 64, except that the new company that had these cool remote light switches is now one of the most hated on the web because of their evil ubiquitous pop-up ads. (Thank heaven for Mozilla.) That’s a period of (eep!) twenty years, for those of you keeping track.

To be honest, though, I’d settle for a plain old universal media remote that can actually replace the six I have now (including three that claim some level of universality). I’ll wait for the rest.

The Bank Job, part 1

I took my first steps in changing banks yesterday, by contacting several banks to find out if they support current browsers and alternative operating systems. Initial contact was made via direct e-mail to Bank of Montreal, Citizens Bank of Canada, and ING Direct; banks that provide only form-based communication to their customer service departments were immediately ruled out. The only response I’ve received so far is an automated one from the Bank of Montreal, who promise that Every effort will be made to respond to your inquiry within 48 hours.

Granted, I sent my queries on the Friday afternoon before a long weekend, but I had hoped for better, particularly from the two banks that offer only online service. Contrast with the question I asked to E*TRADE Canada, which garnered a detailed personal response within half an hour.

More to come….

What was it about 1997?

I’d been hearing rumours of a new Dayna Manning CD almost since her first disc was released in 1997. After five years of those rumours, Shades is finally coming out in October. If the clip they’re using on her website is any indication, the long wait has been worth it.

With recent news of a new Loreena McKennitt disc in the works, now all I need is a new hit of Spirit of the West, who also haven’t released a disc of new material since 1997.

I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me

A slightly modified excerpt from e-mail to Donna of Sirens:

London seems to have an inferiority complex of sorts, which I find at odds with the city’s ultra-conservative reputation—nothing local is good enough, and we have to beg to get anyone to come here. I’m reminded of Chester, the yippy little terrier from a couple of Warner Brothers cartoons who tries to be best buddies with bulldog Spike: the powers that be keep saying look at us, approve of us until it comes across as desperation. The exception is things that have toughed it out long enough to become familiar—the Grand Theatre and the Home County festival seem to be doing well in spite of the environment.

Continue reading I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me

Something fishy

If a groupie is a girl who follows male bands around, is a guy who follows female bands a grouper?

I’ll be here until Thursday. Please tip your waitress.

I guess you know the earth is gonna crash into the sun

Today is not N.’s unbirthday. By an amazing stroke of luck, it’s also exactly 182.5 days away from her half-birthday. (Ladies do not divulge their age, and a true gentleman does not ask. So don’t even think about it!)

To celebrate, I plan to eat a lot of broccoli and drink a lot of beer. Since she hasn’t spoken to me in two months, I’m guessing she won’t be partaking.

Singing and smoking

Can someone please explain to me why smoking and singing are so closely linked? It seems to me that a singer’s greatest assets are the voice and lungs… the two things most easily and permanently harmed by the poisons in tobacco smoke. (For that matter, I don’t know why anyone smokes any more, but that’s a different post.)

I’m thinking of this at the moment because I’m making plans to go to Toronto in a couple of weeks to see Lenni Jabour and The Third Floor. While I’m more than happy that they’ve got a regular opportunity to perform, it’s getting harder and harder to make the trek to a place where I’m going to be subjected to this kind of thing. (To my knowledge, none of the group smokes. And it’s not like I haven’t encouraged them to play elsewhere, like London or Kitchener-Waterloo.)

Fortunately I live in a city that not only will soon have a 100% smoking ban in public places, but already has some sensible businesses—like Maggie’s and CopperField’s—that are smoke-free and book great live music.


thee = new Satan("Peter");
Consciousness() {
for(int i = 0; i < those.length; i += 1 ) {
  if( i.entering(this) ) {
return ( hare.getMadness(Date.MARCH).equals(madness) );