Posted onSeptember 30, 2021|Comments Off on September, 2021 pandemic highlights and ramblings (a newsletter, in blog form)
Happy Autumn to you. It’s the end of September, one of my favorite months. It’s been a good month for me, despite the pandemic. I’ve travelled to Nova Scotia and Montreal. In many ways, travel felt “normal”, save the masks and vaccine passports. If those things mean we get to get around and see the people and places we love, I am all for it.
Not only are businesses having trouble getting back to “normal”, but many of them cannot find enough workers to do the job. In the restaurant industry, many former worker are tired of the job and are more than happy to say so. But it’s not just restaurants: lots of industries including the gig industry are losing out. Here’s a good analysis by Noah Smith on why that is. As for Canadian workers, most picked up side hustles during lockdown and plan to keep them.
If you were around during the early days of the World Wide Web, you remember webcams. People would point a camera at something like the sky or a coffee pot and others would use their browser to check it out.
You might be thinking no one does that any more, but if you did, you’d be wrong!
To see what I mean, go here. That is specifically for the Northern Lights, but if you scroll down you can see many others as well.
Still a nice way to see the world without leaving your room.
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Posted onSeptember 30, 2021|Comments Off on How to easily redirect your Netfirms domain to another domain/web site
Recently I wanted to take a new domain registered at Netfirms (netfirms.com) and point it to another domain, so that if people put the URL of the the Netfirms domain in their browser (e.g. berniemichalik.ca), their browser would get redirected elsewhere (e.g. blm849.github.io).
I thought: this should be easy to find out how to do in 2021. I was surprised it wasn’t easy or obvious. Much of the advice was dated and not useful.
Now that I found out how to do it, I will show you what I did to get it to work in 7 easy steps:
Click Under “Pointer Type” and set the value to “URL Standard”.
In the box to the right, under “Directory”, put in the URL of your web site (note, put the entire URL, including http:// or https://).
Click the “Save” button.
Test it. Point your browser at the Netfirms URL and see if it gets redirected. (For me, if I type in berniemichalik.ca I get redirected to blm849.github.io). It may take some time, up to a few hours. But it will work. (If it doesn’t seem to be, try different browsers or ask someone else to try.)
That’s it. I hope this helps! Good luck!
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First off, if the upcoming Love Park being built looks as good as it does in the drawings of it, it should be a great place to visit. Toronto has many great parks and this looks like a fine addition.
That said, it’s too bad the new park doesn’t include the pillars that were left after that section of the highway was torn done. I was working down at Queen’s Quay when the demolition happened and they were left standing. There was something beautiful about them. They represented a transition, not just of the road to a park, but the potential transition of the city from being car oriented to being people oriented. I liked that about them. Plus they had a natural sculpural quality about them. I liked that too.
I mean, if people in your province are dying at 4X the rate of the other provinces because of direct policy changes you made, you are essentially killing people in your province under your leadership. I don’t know how else to put it.
Also, Jason Kenney should not speak for the Prairies or the West. Both Manitoba and British Columbia are doing better than Alberta and Saskatchewan. It’s not just right wing leaders either. Other right wing provincial parties have been much better stewards of their regions. Kenney and Moe and their leadership are to blame here.
It is terrible when leaders fail their provinces. But this is way beyond typical failure. I feel great sympathy for the people of this province who have died unnecessarily on their watch.
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Posted onSeptember 28, 2021|Comments Off on A different kind of notebook: The Anti-Anxiety Notebook
Yesterday I recommended a paper planner. Today I am recommending a different type of paper product, The Anti-Anxiety Notebook. If you suffer from anxiety and cannot get the help you need to deal with it, such a notebook can help you. If you can get help, this notebook could supplement it.
It’s a well-designed book for dealing with anxiety and the approach they recommend I found useful in my dealings with my own anxiety. If you are interested but unsure, talk to a medical professional about it. But please check it out if you or someone you love suffers from anxiety.
Posted onSeptember 27, 2021|Comments Off on It’s Monday. You need help planning. Maybe a better planner can help
As someone who does most of his planning digitally, it seems weird proposing people use this paper planner I found in a piece at Yanko Design. Even weirder, this planner comes to you via a kickstarter promotion, and I am reluctant to promote such things given my own bad experiences. But weird or not, this is a very nice planner at a very nice price, so if you are the type of person who likes paper, I highly recommend you go to their kickstarter and check it out.
The planner has many different types of pages: not just to-do lists and calenders. I can see it really helping people to get better organized and helping them to come up with new ideas and approaches. It might just be what you need to get better focused with your planning.
Head over to the kickstarter and decide for yourself!
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I can’t remember how I came across Cafe Cancan on Harbord Street, Toronto, but once I did, I couldn’t wait to go back. I love French food, and their menu was full on French. They had classic dishes, but there were also innovative ways of cooking that felt both new and traditional at the same time. I wanted it all.
One of the things great about Cancan was their prix fixe. It was reasonably priced and extensive. You’d order and sit back while the servers brought out dish after dish of delicious food. Even better were all the extras. You might believe you would get five dishes with the prix fixe and you would end up with 7 or 8. Plus you would get an amuse bouche when you sat down and once while settled in at the bar they brought me a little additional sweet at the end of the meal. I felt pampered everytime.
The restaurant itself was a gem. The tables were fine, but it was equally fun to sit at the bar. What was especially great was sitting on the back patio during the warmer months. Whenever I was sitting there I wanted to stay all night.
The wine was always good, and they had Tawse rose on tap for cheap. Oysters were plentiful too, but even here they would come up with innovative mignonettes to make them extra special.
Sadly the pandemic hit it hard, as it hit other restaurants. In the first summer they opened but the menu was very different. Now they are gone.
Posted onSeptember 24, 2021|Comments Off on Friday night cocktail: tonight’s is actually a mocktail.
While cocktails are great, it is good to see the rise of mocktails too. Once they were rarities at a bar; now more and more places are serving them up. If you feel like you want to make some yourself this Friday evening, here’s 25 Booze-Free Mocktail Recipes That Aren’t Just Juice from Bon Appetit. That list has a range of drinks, from lemonades and others that are perfect in the summer, to the PG-13 Singapore Sling shown above.
It’s Friday. Time to relax. Make yourself a drink. The booze is optional. Cheers!
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One of my favorite words is lox,” says Gregory Guy, a professor of linguistics at New York University. “The pronunciation in the Proto-Indo-European was probably ‘lox,’ and that’s exactly how it is pronounced in modern English,” he says. “Then, it meant salmon, and now it specifically means ‘smoked salmon.’ It’s really cool that that word hasn’t changed its pronunciation at all in 8,000 years and still refers to a particular fish.”
That’s a great piece. Not just for the story of the word “lox”, but on the study of language and its origin. Recommended. It makes me want to run out and get a plate!
Posted onSeptember 21, 2021|Comments Off on No time to mediate or do other relaxing things? Why not try making risotto?
Yes, making risotto is a highly relaxing thing. It’s a dish I love to make just for the way it calms me down (not to mention it is delicious). You have to be mindful when making risotto. You don’t have to be constantly stirring it, but you do need to be attentive to it. Steam rises off it as you cook it, and that is relaxing. Once you get the hang of it, being mindful of the transformation of the dish is also relaxing.
Posted onSeptember 21, 2021|Comments Off on On the recent moot election, September 2021. A brief note…
Well that was an odd election. If anyone came out ahead, I can’t see who it was. The Liberals did not get their majority, yet none of the other parties made any significant gains at their expense. Canadians voted to maintain the status quo and maintain it they did.
The one significant thing I noticed was line ups on Election Day. I’ve been voting for decades and I’ve never seen anything like it. As for me, I voted in the advanced poll and while I saw lots of good measures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 the whole process was still pretty quick. I imagine those good measures slowed things down on Election Day.
It will be interesting to see if there is more voting via mail and via advanced voting in the next election. I expect we will have another one in a few years from now, though I would be surprised if the Liberals will be the ones to bring it on.
The next thing to pay attention to is what happens to the leaders of the various parties. I expect the Greens are going to have to make some difficult decisions. As for the other parties, I have no idea. I thought the leaders all performed well, but members of their parties might think differently. Let’s see.
After that, I’ll be very curious to see what Trudeau and his team do next. I hope they focus on the pandemic and what is needed to get to end of job in that with an eye on the economy and other promises they made.
I tend not to touch on politics on social media: it’s tends to be all downside with little upside. But this election was so odd I had to comment.
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Posted onSeptember 20, 2021|Comments Off on It’s Monday. You should update your resume (especially to deal with bad AI) and your LinkedIn too
It’s Monday. End of Summer. There are many things you could be doing in the last quarter of the year. One of them should be updating your resume, regardless of whether or not you are looking for a job.
Don’t leave off skills, even if they seem basic. Are you proficient at Excel? List it. “Your odds of getting an interview and a job if you have a facility with Microsoft Office goes up hugely,” Fuller said.
Don’t leave unexplained gaps. If you took a year off to write the Great American Novel, say so. Otherwise, it will look like you were doing nothing, and you might be screened out.
After you update your resume, make sure your LinkedIn is up to date and consistent with your resume. If you say you have five years experience doing XYZ and XYZ does not show up on your LinkedIn, employers will wonder why. So be consistent.
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The website FiveBooks.com will pick a topic and highlight five really good books on it. They have done it again with self help books. However, they seem to have decided that there are many types of self help books, so this piece has dozens of the best Self Help Books by various experts. You will no doubt find something there to help.
Get some sleep. Read some books. Make a good life better.
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Posted onSeptember 18, 2021|Comments Off on What this potentially leaked image of the iPhone 14 tells us about the flaws of iPhone design
I’ve complained before about the design of the iPhone with it’s bulges, not to mention the notch. Apple and it’s fans have continually made excuses for them, but that’s doesn’t excuse these flaws imho. This potentially new design of the iPhone 14 (below) shows that they may be finally dealing with problems by eliminating the notch and smoothing out the back of the phone.
So Facebook has teamed up with RayBans to make the glasses seen above. One of the features of these glasses is you can tap them and record pictures and videos. Mike Isaac has a good write up on them, here. I’d like to highlight one quote from that piece:
“Facebook is not naïve to the fact that other smart glasses have failed in the past,” said Jeremy Greenberg, policy counsel for the Future of Privacy Forum, a privacy nonprofit that is partly financed by Facebook. But, he added, “the public’s expectations of privacy have changed since the days of previous smart glasses releases.”
Yep. Pure Facebook. An org funded by Facebook indicated that people are cool with potential invasions of privacy.
From a design point of view, this partnership has made a better looking pair of glasses than Google did with their Glass product. From a privacy point of view, however, these things things are at least as bad if not worse than Google’s product.
I had planned to write something, but that piece is so good I can’t possibly express my meh feelings to the empty activism and her presence there better than that piece does. For example, this is just one sliver of goodness from the Atlantic piece:
Ocasio-Cortez has fired up her base, raised her profile, and reminded everyone that she is the standard-bearer for today’s activist left.
At the same time, the Met Gala is essentially a costume ball, which removes the potential for actual subversion…the Met Gala red carpet is now an arena where people go to make statements, which inevitably robs those statements of their power. No one here is rebelling against the Man. The Man loves the extra publicity; it helps sell more $35,000 tickets to socialites who love a frisson of revolution as long as it’s safely divorced from the threat of actual tumbrels. … The Met Ball is … a safe space for political statements that all attendees will applaud, regardless of whether they truly believe them. … no one gets booed, or thrown out, or shunned by their peers for wearing an ensemble supporting any progressive cause to the Met Gala. … So what is the risk of wearing a sloganeering outfit to the Met Gala…? For Ocasio-Cortez, that’s just a day ending in a Y. (Emphasis is mine)
I like AOC for her intelligence and her seriousness and I like the Met Ball for it’s vapid ridiculousness. The two don’t mix. I am glad she got to enjoy the party and wear a great dress and support a good designer, but either go and acknowledge you are part of the ridiculousness, or stay serious and avoid it.
Posted onSeptember 13, 2021|Comments Off on On being acknowledged at work for what you are good at
I have found over my many years at work there are:
1) Things you are good at / like to do
2) Things you get acknowledged for doing
And the intersection of the things you are good at and the things you get acknowledged for is a very small sweet spot.
I try to focus on doing things I am good at. Others I know focus on doing things that gets them recognition. If you are like me, you will find times when you wish you were in the circle on the right. All I can say is that many in the right circle wish they were in the left circle. The good feeling of acknowledgement is great but it doesn’t last long. While the good feelings from doing things you are good at and like to do last a long time.
If you can find work that you like to do, are good at, and comes with much recognition, then you have a good job and you should stick with it as long as you can. Meanwhile celebrate all those acknowledged and congratulate them. Then go back to what you do best.
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Posted onSeptember 13, 2021|Comments Off on Read this when your motivation is still on summer vacation
Sometimes you come back from vacation, all rested, and you can dive back into work and be more productive than before you went away. Other times that productivity can be hard to find. If the latter is you, I recommend you read this piece: Is Your Motivation Still on Vacation?
Get the most out of your vacations, including refilling the tank that your motivation comes from.
That piece has several of his works on display, including the one above. Not only are they well designed, but seeing them gives you a valuable American history lesson. For example, this one below uses text and imagery to show how the population of African Americans changed over time in proportion to the rest of the population:
Well worth checking out that article to see more of his work.
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Here on my blog I love to highlight furniture designed around cats. So when I saw the piece above, I had to share it. I mean ostensibly it is for humans, but the way it is designed, it’s really for cats, although humans can share it. If that’s not the best definition of what it can be like to live with a cat, I don’t know what could be better.
As for me, I am not sure what effect it will have. I do know the owners of Tiffany have a ton of money to acquire this picture and I am glad it is getting some display. I always love seeing the work of Basquiat and I especially like this one.
Posted onSeptember 9, 2021|Comments Off on Why you may not want to send smart home devices like Google Nest to university with your kids
I decided to send my son off to university with a Google Home device (a Lenovo Smart Clock). He could use it as a clock, to get the weather, to play music and to provide rain sounds. You may be thinking something similar.
The problem is that at least for some of these devices, they assume that the wifi works like a home network. Home wifi networks often only need a password to join them. However for my son’s university the wifi network needed a userid and password. There is no place in Google Home to provide the userid, so I was unable to set it up for him.
Something to keep in mind.
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Posted onSeptember 9, 2021|Comments Off on On connecting a Chromebook to a wifi network using LEAP like the one at Dalhousie
Here’s the problem: you are trying to connect your Chromebook to a wifi network like the one at Dalhousie University that uses the LEAP protocol. That protocol is likely well and good if you use an up to date Windows or MacOS computer. But as I found, it’s no good for the Chromebook I had because it did not have LEAP as an option. What to do?
Well if you get into the network settings and you go with the EAP-TTLS with the settings above, you can get your device to connect. (The above does not show the user I’d and password fields, but you will need those).
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Recently I came across this story about the new Vermeer painting and like him it is blowing my mind a bit. It takes restoration to a whole new level. It seems restoration work is getting bolder these days. I remember some of the controversy regarding the Sistine Chapel restoration and how some thought the people restoring it had crossed the line by making the colours so bold. This Vermeer restoration takes things to a whole other level by changing the image and its composition. I’ll be curious to see if we see more boldness like this in the future.
It’s a treat to hear Cumberbatch read it, but even if you don’t, go and relish that one. You might want to write you own afterwards and send it unsolicited to organizations. They might enjoy it and want to have a chat with you!
If you are like me and a lot of people, you take on many (too many) assignments and tasks. You feel like you are getting a lot done but it may not seem satisfying or even worthwhile. If so, take the approach outlined in the article and focus on a few things and cut out the clutter.
More and more I find the secret of being successful is saying no to most things. You need to Marie Kondo your todo list and work on the tasks that bring you joy. It’s not always possible, but more possible than you think.
New York was revitalised by the High Line, a ribbon of parkland floating above Manhattan on a disused elevated railway that has become one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions. Now the High Line’s designer hopes to give London its own green thread, after being chosen to create the Camden Highline.
James Corner was picked last week as the lead landscape architect for the structure, a linear park on three-quarters of a mile of railway viaducts running from Camden to Kings Cross, which he believes will give London a similar boost after the trials of Covid and Brexit.
For more on the Camden highline, go here. More on the New York version here.
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Ali Slagle does a great job of helping you put together a meal using a simple formula. So if the thought of getting out a recipe is painful and the thought of ordering take out is equally so, check out that piece from her.
(Photo: Linda Xiao for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Monica Pierini.)
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