Friday, July 10, 2020

Release The Kraken (Not)

And the candidates for Kraken of the Year 2020 are:-

- SARS-CoV2, the most terrible coronavirus ever
- Donald J Trump, the self-impeaching POTUS
- Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil
- COV-IDIOTS .. don't worry, be happy
- The Economy

Meme  What does it mean?

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Defend Your Castle With Security Key

Castles of yore had multiple layers of defence. They had thick and high stone walls,  moats, and more walls.  It was very painful and expensive for attackers to breach these defences.  Internet security in the modern world is like this .. black-hat hackers create more clever attacks while security experts devise more defences.

It seems there is no absolute security with this neverending battle. But one can make best use of existing defences. For example, some WWW services use two factor authentication (2FA) when you update an account.  The server sends a clear-text SMS message which you enter into your application page. Hackers have tools and tactics to intercept and exploit this procedure.

A hardware security key mitigates this weakness because it has unique encryption codes which can't be modified by software hacks.  The key shown is made by Yubico to plug into a standard USB port. When you add this key to your account on Google or Facebook, the service requires you to plug in the key and tap it for login. Then you are good to go.

Keep the key with you as if it were a credit card. If your computer fails or is stolen, you can use the key on another computer.  Some phones, such as Google Pixel 4, have a Titan security chip which you can use for account setup.  Nobody  should use an App or SMS messages for account security.  If you have a business which stores private client information, it is more important to use this technology and consult a security specialist.

Yubico Example  .. Breaches come to those who wait!

Friday, March 20, 2020

The CoronaVirus Mayhem

There are many alarming reports about 'coronavirus' but that word is a just type or category. It should be mentioned by name "COVID-19" just to avoid any confusion. Next year there might be a different coronavirus which causes more chaos.

Under an electron microscope, the COVID-19 appears as fuzzy blob with many legs. The image above is more artistic.  The spikes on the ball may remind one of the sun's corona.  These spikes attach to a human cell which the virus uses to clone itself.  Fortunately, it's fatty tissue can be destroyed by common detergents.  I use a mixture of water and Dawn in a spray bottle to clean my countertops.  Handwashing with soap is better than using alcohol-based cleaners which don't remove the dirt while the alcohol irritates the skin. The alcohol-based is ok for portable use.

Apparently, the virus slowly meanders through the human body such that it takes a week or more for the infection to become evident. Symptoms vary from mild to menacing. People with pre-existing conditions are most vulnerable. If the virus attacks the lungs, the person may drown in their own fluids unless attached to a mechanical ventilator.  This is just my interpretation of what the experts explain.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

The Bailed-Out Plane

Bombardier designed an excellent jet named the CS300 produced in Mirabel.  Online reviews suggest it is a nifty aircraft designed for efficiency and comfort. You should give it a try on your next trip within North America.  Air Canada has about forty of them.

Airbus has a majority stake in the CS300 and probably earns more from it than does Bombardier. They renamed it A220-300.

The original CS300 was late entering production and got a big bailout from the Canadian government. Executives got big bonuses paid for by you, the citizen-taxpayer. So when you fly, there should be a least a seat with your name on it and a free pack of goobers.

Keep Bailing

Looking Good

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Heal Mind and Body With Vibroacoustic Therapy

Vibroacoustic therapy is the use of low frequency vibrations to stimulate body cells into therapeutic states of relaxation and healing. Low frequencies of about 40hertz work best. This can be heard and felt like the open string of a bass guitar. You can buy some pricey tech to sleep on or just get a cat that purrs loudly. Note that white noise machines are not for this purpose.

Unfortunately, the "Sound Oasis Vibroacoustic Therapy System" is no longer available. Fortunately, cats are plentiful.

Tibetan singing bowls have been used for centuries to provide pleasing effects. You can simulate the affect using a wine glass. First, fill the glass and drink all but a few teaspoons. Dip a finger in the remains and run it gently around the rim of glass so that it starts to resonate. A large glass is better for low frequencies.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Meet Mr Black

My client, Mr Black, spent two years in the slammer for the crime of Green-Bin-Cracking. The judge released him today when I proved it was the raccoons that did the dirty deed -- my client just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now he is living the good life in a safe house with a new identity.

All kidding aside, Mr Black is a six year old male Domestic Short Hair/Mix adopted from AVA -- Action Volunteers For Animals. AVA does not have a fixed place, it puts cats in foster homes where they are prepared for adoption in fur-ever homes. They also have a deal with PetSmart which provides a cat coop where hopeful cats are displayed. Volunteers care for the cats. Mr Black was returned to AVA with four cats from a seven-cat home. The owner was "downsizing". He named all his cats with the letter 'B'. So Mr Black was "B.C." which could mean anything. Best Cat, Bad Cat, Big Chicken .. who can say. Unfortunately, his microchip record name is "BC" which I can't change arbitrarily. So I call him "Bix the Cat" which explains BC.

Bix cried on the way home in the pet carrier but shutup when he realized this was not a trip to the Vet. He was skittish for a few days but is comfortable now. He has an ideal weight of 10 pounds and a glossy coat which does not shed like the layered undercoat that Tabbies have. He circles my chair or jumps on my desk to get attention. Most photos of him look like a shadow with eyes. I got one almost good with no flash and the window behind me.

Buffy, Brownie, and Bix

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Collision Course: Pedestrian Killers

The Guardian has an interesting read about the North American increase in pedestrian deaths caused by cars, trucks, and SUVs.

Twitter Long Read
Article by Peter C Baker

Friday, September 20, 2019

R. I. P. -- Brownie The Cat -- 2001-2019

Brownie warmed my home for 18 years like a good cat. But her kidney disease was discovered last year and her appetite was diminishing in recent weeks. Instead of eating her food she was just licking it. She never complained but I brought her to the vet for the last time today. I sat with her in the comfort room while the vet inserted the heart-stopping needle via catheter. She went to sleep immediately without pain or fear.

Buffy, Brownie, and Bix

Monday, September 16, 2019

Kitchen Upgrade With Corian Countertops

My laminated kitchen countertops lasted twenty years. I never gave them a thought until recently when I noticed spots of the yellow underlayer showing. So I decided to upgrade with durable Corian for a hygienic, modern look with more space. I describe the process and include photos on this page.. Corian Kitchen

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Elegant Calgary Library

Gillian Steward praised the elegant new Calgary Central Library in the Toronto Star today. It has received international acclaim for it's architecture and for it's welcoming vibe. And it was completed on time within budget.

Such a project would never be done in Toronto because the federal and provincial governments, and the city council would debate forever about who designs, who pays, and when it will be done.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Instant Potpourri

I like the Instant Pot which cooks all the food for a meal at the same time in a removable, stainless steel inner pot.  I have the Duo Mini (3 quart) so the pot easily fits in the dish washer.  It has seven modes of operation.  Some pots have more modes.  There is an expensive Immersion Circulator add-on device for Sous Vide. But I only need Saute and Pressure cook modes.

There are tons of recipes on the WWW.  I just make spaghetti or stew with beef or chicken. Saute is optional for meat because the blending of flavors during pressure cook makes it seem unnecessary.  Pasta recipes with tomato sauce need to have the sauce added last to prevent scorching.

The Full Release valve emits a startling blast of steam.  Steam is bad for kitchen cabinets so I place the pot on the glass-top range and turn on the ventilation fan before releasing.  Also I tap the valve several times to lessen the initial blast.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Can You Be Manipulated?

Can you be manipulated?  That is the question posed by the Netflix documentary "The Great Hack".  It considers the Donald Trump 2016 election and the surprise Brexit vote in Britain.  Cambridge Analytica was hired to provide voter data which it acquired from social media.  They collected data points on millions of voters.  They wanted to know likes, dislikes, Google searches, et cetera to profile undecided voters which they bombarded with biased political ads.

Take care when you connect to the Internet World Wide Web (a.k.a  World Wide Waste of Time).

Sunday, June 09, 2019

James Naismith, Father of Basketball

Naismith was a Physical Educator who invented Basketball.  His students who thrived on rigorous outdoor sports were too rowdy when confined indoors during the winter.  So he designed Basketball to minimize body contact.  The goal was placed high over the players heads to make it unguardable.  There is an interesting description of the games inception here  The origin of Basketball

I watched the recent Raptors-Warriors game 3 battle.  It was a feisty, exciting game with plenty of body contact. The local pub had a noisy crowd standing room only.  Eager fans are already gathering at Jurassic Park for tomorrow night's battle.

Naismith earned many awards in Sports Halls of Fame. He was born and raised in Almonte,  Ontario. So another Canadian game, eh.