Friday, August 31, 2007

If all else fails...

Sometimes the last thing you try should have been the first.

I was setting up a new laptop last night. A couple of weeks ago I picked up a wireless router and set up our desktop PC to use it, in anticipation of the new laptop coming. Everything went swimmingly, except for one glitch when I forgot to write down the IP address of the DNS server. No problem - switched cables, did an ipconfig and wrote down the number. Switched cables again, entered the IP address, and everybody's happy.

Yesterday the laptop arrived. I sparked it up, created a couple of users, and tried to find the wireless network. Nothing.

Ok, I was expecting that. I set up the security on the router to not broadcast the SSID. I quickly found my way to the networking setup in Vista and manually entered the network information. Nothing.

Damn. Now I have to read the manual. Wireless switch on? Check. Router on? Check. Hmmm... I turned security off, turned broadcast on. Nothing.

I rooted around in the Control Panel for a while, and stumbled on a Dell Wireless Configuration utility. That looked promising. I opened it up, scanned for networks, and voila - my wireless network! Ok, but how come Vista can't see it?

Now two hours have gone by, and I'm only to the point that I know the little bugger is beaming radio signals around my basement. All I can think to do now is reboot the laptop. Bingo! The network is found and I quickly set the security back on and the broadcast off - everything is working perfectly. Well, except I can't map a drive to the desktop PC yet, but that'll give me something to work on next week. In my defense, I'm a software guy, not a hardware guy.

This reminded me of the time The Champ and I were sitting at work at midnight, struggling with an impossible problem. We had tried everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. Morgan wanders over, says, "What are you guys working on?" We recap the problem and he asks us what we've tried so far. Fifteen minutes later we finish telling him what we've been doing all night. He shrugs and asks, "Have you rebooted?" The Champ delicately tells him to perform an anatomically impossible (or at least painful) act and he leaves. With nothing to lose, we reboot. Bingo! Everything works.

Lesson learned. The first step to computer troubleshooting - turn it off and on again.

Irony of the day

'Death by Chocolate' cookies could be hazardous.

You can't, however, accuse them of false advertising.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Quote of the day

In response to a posting about 'How to toilet train your cat', PatNolan writes:

"I have a wife and a daughter. I am NOT waiting in line for a fucking cat."

Classic. I see your wife and daughter and raise you another daughter. Good thing we don't have a cat.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Transcribe this!

I'd attempt to transcribe this, but it would just blow my mind.

Why can't Americans find the US on a map? Miss South Carolina attempts to answer this for us.

Monday, August 27, 2007

One in the hand is worth...

I'm a little worried about the new display driver I just installed.

I think it's going to make my breasts grow.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Just when you thought it was safe

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...

Turns out it's not.

Parks Canada has removed the word "safe" from its description of swimming conditions at PEI National Park, in the hopes of improving safety. We swam at the Cavendish beach twice while we were there this summer. One time the waves were up quite high - enough that adults were body surfing. The other time the water was still.

However, I wouldn't swim in these conditions (Cavendish Beach in 95kph wind):

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

How times change

A colleague was just at my desk, looking for a sample from my vast pharmaceutical supply. His complaint was, "I slept funny last night." Turns out his pillow wasn't placed correctly, and he has a stiff neck.

Strange how that term changes as you get older. Now, "I slept funny last night" means you have a stiff neck. In University, "I slept funny last night" meant you spent the night in the girls residence playing How Many Fingers with a girl and her roommate.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Here we go around, round round

You think that Waterloo Region's roundabouts are bad? Try this one.

For the record - I drive through one of Waterloo's roundabouts twice a day, five days a week. They're the best thing in traffic management I've seen here. Easily cuts 20 minutes a day off the trips to/from work.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

PEI National Park, Prince Edward Island

The final week we were in PEI National Park, at the Cavendish campground on the North Shore of Prince Edward Island. The park runs along an extremely sandy beach, with some large dunes and sections of PEI's famous red sand.

The water was much warmer than I expected, and we went bodysurfing in some big waves one day. We also swam at Basin Head beach, where everyone (including the six-year-old) was jumping off a 15 foot pier.

We toured some lighthouses and visited each tip of the island, where the girls received a certificate for the achievement.

The day before we left there was a terrific windstorm. Winds were gusting over 95 km/h (60 m/h), and several trees came down. The surf was spectacular, but it's hard to tell from the photos, since my hands were shaking in the wind too much to hold the camera steady. Our campsite was one row from the shore, so everything was covered with salt from the spray. The trailer and Jeep had a good bath when we got home.

More PEI pictures here:


South Mountain Park Campground, Nova Scotia

The next week we stayed at a "family campground" on the North side of Nova Scotia, in the Annapolis Valley. We visited Nova Scotia five years ago, but didn't see any of the North shore. I am so glad we did this time. There is so much to see and do in that part of the province.

We toured a winery, several historic sites, Mahone Bay, Lunenburg and Halifax. Halifax is one of my favourite cities in Canada, maybe THE favourite. Other than locking my keys in the car (thanks CAA!) it was a great visit.

The night before we left we had a lobster dinner at Hall's Harbour, a little fishing village near our campground. The photos of the fishing boats give you an idea of what low tide looks like.

More Nova Scotia photos here:


Buckle up, buttercups

On the way to Nova Scotia, we saw the only accident of the entire 5000km+ trip. It was a bad one though.

A car coming the other direction on a divided highway dropped the driver's side wheels onto the gravel shoulder. It appeared that the driver over corrected, jerking the car back onto the highway, with the car veering into the right-hand lane. The driver over corrected the other way, and the car went by us on two wheels, quickly rolling into the grassy median.

We were the lead car in our three car convoy of trailers, and I watched in the rear-view mirror as the car rolled over and over through the median and up the other side into our lanes. Debris was scattered everywhere across the highway. We quickly got on the walkie-talkie to see if the other two in our group had made it past the debris. The tail car was hit with a chunk of rubber from a destroyed tire, but that was it - no damage, other than a change of underwear at the next rest stop. The rolling car had taken one last big nose down flip before coming right into traffic on our side - if it hadn't done that it would have smacked our tail car.

The folks in the wrecked car weren't so lucky. The driver wasn't wearing her seatbelt properly, and was dead at the scene. The six-year-old in the back seat (in a properly belted car seat) was treated and released from hospital.

As I say to my girls, "buckle up, buttercups".

Fundy National Park, New Brunswick

We spent the first week of our three week East Coast trip at Fundy National Park, in New Brunswick. Fundy is a wilderness park, with tons of challenging trails, a couple of inland lakes (beautiful for swimming), and lots of trees. Most of New Brunswick is hills and trees, with a few towns scattered around to break up the drive.

The park has a saltwater pool with a nice view of the Bay of Fundy. You can lie on the grass by the pool and watch the tide go in and out.

About a half-hour drive from the park is the Hopewell Rocks (or "Hopeful Rocks" as the three-year-old calls them) and Cape Enrage, which Frommers says has the best view in Canada - the day we were there we could barely see anything in the fog.

We also had a chance to walk along the ocean floor at low tide, which is 45 feet below high tide.

More Fundy photos here:


Team "Secret Weapon"

This team has a secret weapon. Must be a big advantage between the sheets, as it were.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Conversation of the day

In PEI, our campsite neighbour was frequently dashing off in his car, returning an hour later, staying for a while, then dashing out again. After a few days of this, we started wondering where he was going.

Me: Where do you suppose that guy goes all the time?

Jennifer: Maybe he's frequenting the PEI ladies of the night.

Steve: Can't be. The only ladies of the night in PEI are in Charlottetown, and they're all dressed in period costume, so it's really not much fun.

Quote of the day

The kids were fighting in the back seat. The three-year-old had grabbed something of the six-year-old's.

The six-year-old shouts, "Why didn't you just ask me if you could have it?" and the three-year-old replies, "Because I thought you'd say no!"