Saturday, April 13, 2024

Close Your Good Eye

Close your good eye was a joke back in the the day when I designed programs to turn lasers on and off.  They had to be tested in a secure lab with everyone protected by special optical googles matched to the laser under test.  The lab door was locked so no one could wander in by accident and get blinded.

I believe viewing a solar eclipse is risky if you remove your eyesafe protection at the moment of totality because it is not precise.  You don't know exactly when the sun will peek out again.  In order to be safe you need to keep your protection on for the entire event.  Suppose you have to supervise children at the same time. 

I am surprised that some people in the modern world believe that a solar eclipse is an omen of something bad soon to happen.  But this is silly because eclipses happen periodically as predicted by science.  The earth, the sun, and the moon are in motion all the time.  They are unaffected by human concerns.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Zorro Chases UFOs

 Zorro the cat is doing fine and likes investigating new things such as owner flossing his teeth and UFOs flying around the room. These "UFOs" appear only on sunny winter afternoons and are caused by my computer disk platters hanging in the window as wind chimes.

..[Zorro, Bix, Brownie, Buffy]                           ..[Computer Disk Wind Chime]

Tuesday, November 01, 2022

R.I.P. Bix The Cat

A few weeks ago, Bix stopped eating and drinking. He was on Prednisolone for two years and blood tests revealed an improper amount of a certain protein. The Vet suspected Bix might have cancer. So we decided to put Bix gently to sleep.

Bix, seen here guarding my keyboard, was a fine companion animal. Sometimes he was a pest but in a nice way. Mostly, he liked to lounge on the sofa or nearby where I happened to be. (Oct 14)

.....[ Buffy, Brownie, and Bix ]

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Empire Dreams From Russia

Russia has eleven percent of the world's landmass. It is almost double the size of Canada, China, or the United States but with only half the population of the US. Yet the Putin Regime believes it is necessary to annex or obliterate the land of other countries which were once part of the old Russian empire. But we see that England, France, Spain and other countries have given up most of their colonies, if not all.  Empires are obsolete in the modern world because they cannot be managed and are doomed to collapse.

The Putin Regime allegedly poisons or kills anyone who protests.  There is no free press to call truth to power. There is only propaganda such that the common people do not believe reports from relatives outside of Russia. The Russian Army is apparently the last refuge of brutes and murderers.

I believe Russia does not need more land .. it needs more people.  There are plenty of people looking for a country to live in peace where their families can thrive.  But first Russia must shut down the war machine.  It needs to replace the vinegar of war with the honey of peace.

  • Establish a free press
  • Scrap the war machine
  • Rights and Freedoms for every citizen
Vladimir Putin is allegedly about to undergo cancer surgery, with rumors continuing to circulate about his health following Russia's invasion of Ukraine -- Newsweek

Monday, February 07, 2022

Freedom Convoy Is Free-Dumb


Protesters sometimes gather on parliament hill to express their grievances. Such events are usually peaceful and the people move on after a day or two.  But the current protest in Ottawa is a big mess because the protesters have parked their monster trucks on various city streets.  They make noise and mess which makes life miserable for Ottawa families in the neighbourhood.  The trucker-protesters are making a big mistake because they will get no sympathy from Ottawa citizens who don't deserve the stress from this unusual campaign.

There is no need in Canada to protest for freedom since all citizens have equal rights and freedoms. However, there must be limits on individual liberty such that one persons's freedom does not infringe on the freedom of others.  You can choose not to wear a mask or get vaccinated but then you must isolate yourself.  You are not free to infect other people.

This protest was organised to eliminate the mandate for border-crossing vaccination. But it has attracted all sorts of yahoos waving hate flags and pissing on public streets.  The police are not prepared to handle this sort of unusual protest.  It is not practical to tow away these monster trucks without the assistance of the driver or owner.  The heavy-duty towing companies fear backlash from the trucking companies who are their customers.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Labatt Beer Shelf Life

Labatt and some other beers have a six month shelf life.  I wrote to Labatt asking how to interpret the date stamped on the box of twelve bottles. It means that the case I bought at the beer store was only two weeks old.

Hello Robert-


Thank you for taking the time to reach out. I am sorry for the delay in response. We appreciate your patience. Please see below for a breakdown on how to read the label on your bottle of Labatt Blue.

Ex: M06L14-03:50
M = Month (December)
06 = Date
L = Brewery (London)
1 = Year (2021)
4 = Production Line
03:50 = Time Stamp

This translates to your beer being bottled on 12/6/2021 at our London brewery. After this date, you bottle has a shelf life of 180, or 6 months, so your beer will be freshest enjoyed before roughly 6/6/2022. Beer is okay to be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator. The main thing is that you want to keep it stored out of direct sunlight or in heat for prolonged periods of time. Hope this helps clear things up. Let me know if you have any further questions.

It's always a pleasure serving you. Write back any time, and thank you for reaching out to our Contact Centre.



The format is awkward because date and location codes are mixed.  I would prefer to see something like:-

Brewery-Line-year-month-date-time .. L4-21.12.06-03:50


Thursday, December 16, 2021

Quebec Bill21 Has Religious Bias

Canada succeeds as a multicultural country because religious beliefs have no place in politics. There are 10000 distinct religions worldwide (says Wikipedia) and Canada can neither prefer nor reject any of them.  All citizens must be treated equally.

There has been much media chatter recently following the reassignment of a Quebec Grade 3 teacher for wearing a hijab.  Objections to Bill21 are reasonable because the Quebec law violates the principle of religious neutrality.

Religious or cultural symbols such as hijabs, crucifixes, and turbans are only special to people who have certain beliefs or cultural traditions.  Everyone else should call them clothing and jewelry. 

Religious Neutrality Explained -

Thursday, September 09, 2021

Go Hard, Go Early


The COVID-19 pandemic has been with us for what seems like forever.  Will it ever end?  New Zealand, for example, has a "go hard, go early" strategy which works better than the "go late, go easy" practised in Ontario.  Lockdown wrestles the virus to the mat but stopping too soon lets it rise again.

A small but loud segment of the population have gone nuts about health practices. Not only are they unvaccinated, but also unmasked while gathering in mobs to protest at political events.  They even mob at hospitals or homes of people they don't like. The police have been lenient with them so far.

From a software programmer perspective,  current society seems to be caught in an endless loop of viral desperation.

  1. Virus mutates and becomes pandemic.
  2. Government imposes restrictions to limit spread
  3. Health care practices are eased too soon.
  4. "Free-dumb" mobs resist vaccines and masking.
  5. Virus mutates and spreads among the unvaccinated.
  6. Goto 2
  7. Pandemic ends eventually
  8. Wait for next pandemic, goto 2

Jacinda Ardern      Tower of Song(Cohen)

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Vaccine Games

Got another Pfizer dose from the Richmond Green Sports Centre. The clinic was perfectly organised just like before.  However, getting appointments in Ontario continues to be difficult for almost everyone because the software is very poor quality.  Toronto has pop-up clinics when delayed vaccine shipments finally arrive.  These do not require appointments but thousands of people start lining up at 1:00am for an 8:00am opening. Many are disappointed.

I live in Richmond Hill which is in York Region which is in the northern part of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).  Richmond Hill does not have pop-ups but some doses are available at pharmacies and hospitals.  I prefer the large clinic at the hockey arena.  Unfortunately, it is out of reach for people without cars.

I checked for covid19 appointment slots three weeks ago. Only age 80+ were eligible then and there were hundreds of open slots because of low demand by that cohort. I was informed to wait until June 14. Meanwhile, the second 80+ week was opened for 70+ but I did not notice until midweek when all the slots were taken. So I phoned the Ontario booking line which offered an appointment after twelve weeks which would give twenty-three weeks between shots. Never mind that.

On the next Monday, I logged in at 8:50 just before the 9:00am official booking time.  I could see slots opening and disappearing on the first day so I picked a slot for the next day.  I was put in a queue for a few minutes. After that, my slot was gone because someone ahead of me in the queue had taken my selection. Since the first days were first choices,  I selected another slot near the last day of the session which worked.  All the slots for seven days 9 to 6 were taken within ten minutes. 

No software was designed specifically for vaccine appointments. Instead, an existing system was hacked.  This system was intended to schedule after-school activities for parents and children. It does not have the capacity for the surge of vaccine demands so a first-in-first-out queue was added. But the hackers made a mistake.  They only put the person identifier in the queue. The slot was left open for others to select.  Imagine you have an Amazon shopping cart with several items and when you decide to check out, some of the items were already sold to another buyer.  That is the experience when attempting vaccine appointments.  Another bug is the ability to make multiple appointments but take only the most convenient.  Some selfish people will do that no matter the cost to others. It's the Trumpian thing to do.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Risky Login To CRA With CellPhone SMS

Communication with the CRA is mainly by HTTPS which is a secure protocol for everyday Internet activity. However,  they have introduced an additional login procedure which they call Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). But "multi" is an exaggeration, it is better known as Two-factor Authentication (2FA).  They send a one-time, temporary passcode to your phone by SMS which you must enter on the login page to satisfy the procedure.

If CRA needs to contact you, they do not send the content of your concern, they post the content to your account and notify by email that you need to login and read the content.  This avoid exposing your personal information in email.  So they care about security.

It is probably ok to use SMS passcodes for social media and other amusements where money is not involved. However, billions of dollars flow through CRA which is an attraction for bad-actor hackers. And hackers have tools to capture SMS codes while logging in as you.  Cell phone networks have security bugs so information passing through them needs to be encrypted.  This can't be done with SMS which is plain text.

Google "risk of sms for authentication" and it's all bad news. The best advice is don't use SMS for 2FA/MFA.  It actually weakens security for CRA business.  


Monday, May 31, 2021

The Toronto Maple Leafs Protected Their Vacation Time

Since golf clubs are opening soon, the Leafs went on vacation and brought in some beer-league look-alikes to take their place in the playoffs. Just kidding.

The Canadiens could beat the Leafs because they are a big, determined team backed by a super goalie and that team could defend the entire ice rink.  They gave the Leafs little time and space to make plays.  It does not matter what skill the Leafs have unless they have an answer to whatever tactics the other team tries. I only watched a part of game 7 and I saw a lot of small mistakes. Generally, the Leafs were slow and clumsy as if they were in an unfamiliar environment .  Playoffs require a special energy, not just skill.

It is insane to bring in high-salary players just to repeat the games of old. The Maple Leaf organization needs a fresh perspective starting with a name change to one that suggests energy or power.  Consider names like Lightning, Avalanche, Bruins, Golden Knights, or Jets.  They have energy to blow away the wimpy Leafs.  How about a name like Toronto Tornadoes.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Doorway Pull-up Rack For Home Exercise

A Doorway Pullup Rack, seen here suspended from a bedroom doorway, is a practical tool for home exercise. Body weight pull-ups and chin-ups, work the arms, shoulders, back, and abs.  This rack comes with optional straps that support easier exercises such as chest and bicep press, flys, and back row. It can be placed on the floor for tricep dips and pushups.

This steel rack can support 440 lbs. The hooks can rotate so that the rack is flat for storage.  There are no screws so the rack can be quickly hung or removed.  The padded grip bar is offset at angle so that a person's weight makes the rack fit more firmly.  Do not do jerky motions or hang from the unpadded bar.


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Pfizer Jab Against Covid-19


Got the Pfizer jab for covid19 yesterday. The clinic was in a sports complex and was very well organised. It took 10 minutes to walk through the various check points, get the jab, and then linger for fifteen minutes in case of shock. I was pleasantly surprised given that there has been much grumbling and frustration concerning the vaccine rollout.  This whole week was fully booked as soon as the online portal opened last week but I was lucky to see a few slots open when I made a random check this week.  However, only two percent of Ontario people have been vaccinated and another lockdown is looming.

Canada was once a world leader in developing vaccines or solutions for Polio and Diabetes. But various governments decided to sell the excellent research facilities. They also got sloppy with the maintenance of PPE for health care workers. Now the Canadian government is finally woke to the fact that we can't rely on other countries for health care materials.  Vaccine labs will open up next year. Better late than never.