Anton Aylward

Iterations ..

A basic litter box and a bag of litter

A basic litter box and a bag of litter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I went, yesterday, to PetSmart to get some cat letter.
Normally I but the oversized package that weighs almost half what I do, but crunching the numbers, I chose the smaller size which was on
discount, just $7.99+tax.

At the checkout the lady there told me that I should keep the receipt as it meant a $5 discount on my next purchase.

I put the cat litter in the trunk and looked at the receipt. This discount was valid though to Jan 31, 2014, but there was nothing saying
when it was valid FROM.

Today? Now?

I could save myself another trip.

The next receipt, for which box of cat litter I paid just over $3, also had a $5 discount on it.

I drove home with five boxes of cat litter. That was all the trunk had room for with all the other stuff that was in it.

I thought of hiring a pick-up truck but that would have been too expensive and too time consuming doing the step-and-repeat.

I’m going back tomorrow, once I’ve unloaded the trunk.

I’m not sure where to put all these boxes.


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Anton Aylward

Walmart: An economic cancer on our cities

Not a new idea.
Back in the last century I took a vacation to lake Placid and they had successfully passed a city ordinance banning Wal-mart and a few other ‘big box’ stores.

Much has bee written on how the likes of Chapters/Indigo has destroyed the small bookstore.

Reality is big malls have destroyed the high street stores. That goes for the big supermarkets as well. Yes old downtown – not least of all Danforth and similar, still has the High Street with small groceries and butcher shops, but that seems absent from new Town in the outskirts of the cities. Large Malls are more efficient. And the ‘indoors’ more suited to Canadian Winters. But that doesn’t explain their popularity in warmer climates.

Jane Jacobs had a lot to say on how the high street forms an important part of the social fabric of the city in a way that a mall simply cannot.

The logic of this article applies not just to Wal-Mart bt to the whole principle of big box stores and the ‘efficiencies’ they have. Manpower costs, and reducing manpower though automation, be it RFID tagging or through the use of self-serve checkouts as we are seeing in Loblaws and Metro/Dominion are all cost-reduction exercises. Such machinery counts
on the the books as an ‘asset’ and has tax advantages whereas employees are an ongoing cost and come with an increasing set of liabilities, legal, operational and otherwise.

This too, Amazon understands.


Anton Aylward

Sometimes storing electricity makes no (energetic) sense

It depends on how one is storing the energy.

In Wales there are “hollow Hills” as a result of coal mining.  Water is pimped there  at night while the country sleeps and then drained to power turbo-electric generators during the day when demand is high.   This balances the demand for power.  It only makes sense because the ‘Hollow Hills” are already there.  If we had to excavate those ‘reservoirs’ specifically for this purpose then the energy costs would be too high.

As it is, this kind of storage works best with nuclear power plants which are run at near constant output.


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Anton Aylward

On the real cost of wind farms

Please read “ELECTRICITY UTILITY PHILOSOPHY” and ask yourself questions like:

  • Have the “greens” high-jacked the agenda?
  • Have our politicians succumbed to popular opinion rather than hard economic facts?
Wind farm wide

Wind farm wide (Photo credit: rarebeasts)

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Anton Aylward

Canada’s counter terrorism strategy

Here in Kanukistaniland, Vic Toews (remember him? Check the archives for Febuary of last year to see an example of him being idiotic in his role as Minister of Pubic Safety) has published a “2013 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada”

You can read it at the above URL.
You can see a photo of the gentleman there as well.
I ask you, would you buy a used Huawei router from someone who looks like that?


Canada (Photo credit: palindrome6996)

The map/infographic has, you will note, a large number of grey areas.
There is no legend referring to that colour. Are we to take it that grey means ‘zero’? In which case having Indonesia grey is very interesting. Of course China is grey, the authorities will not permit any terrorist activity since that would mean people are acting out grievances against the state. As opposed to, say, foreign cartels that are employing under-age workers, which is against Chinese law.

Do note that in Canada terrorist activity or affiliation is an offence under the CRIMINAL code. Unlike many InfoSec-bad-things.

Anton Aylward

New evidence may shed light on mythical sea monter

Shonisaur Painting at Berlin-Ichthyosaur State...

Let’s leave aside one of Clarke’s laws – the one about reputable scientists saying what is and isn’t so (heck, I’m an engineer and engineers take a dim view of the limitations imposed by physical laws) but lets just focus on how some scientific theories were pooh-poohed for a long while.

Most pre 1970 authorities and encyclopaedia classified ‘tectonic plates and drift’ as ‘junk science‘, pretty much in the same class as Velikovski. Issac Asimov wrote a long science article on that.

And why shouldn’t giant whale-sized ichthyosaurs have predators?

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Anton Aylward

Cool App – GTD based on TiddlyWiki
Inspirational Quotes Dale Carnegie Getting Thi...

This is one of the Get Things Done derived tools.
Its a HTML app written entirely in Javascript and is quite portable across all architectures. All you need is a browser, any browser that
can handle Javascript. Which excludes the text-only ones.

So this can live on your thumbdrive and you can use it anywhere.

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Anton Aylward

What happened to ‘Storybook’?

storybook-iconThis last weekend I started my copy of Storybook 4 Pro and got the message that my pro version is no longer valid, and the software changed back to the free version. I could no longer access the Pro facilities, which included the ability to print and export the work I had done.  It turns out that the internet addresses of do not work any more. It seems that the licensing mechanism ‘calls home” to verify the license and the site being down it can no longer do that.

I’ve tried updating/reinstalling Java and reinstalled Storybook from the zip file. Zilch.

So what is Storybook?

Essentially, the software allows you to organize, track, and chart your book’s characters, locations, plots, and chronology (among other things). The Pro version also lets you chart various plot pieces to ensure that nothing remains unresolved or forgotten.  It lets you keep track of characters and plots and scenes: which characters appear in which scenes and which scenes belong to which plot-lines.

I found it well developed, reliable to use and very comprehensive.  For example, Pro, offers some export and print tools that include .txt, .pdf, .html, .rtf, .odt, and .csv.

I’m sorry its gone.

Now the domain ‘’ is back up, or at least there is a notice there.  Its in German and I’m unsure whether its a ‘for sale’ sign or as some people are saying, a notice that the site has been shut down for unpaid taxes.  So the message when starting Storybook does not appear any more, because the site is up again, but it is not doing the licence verification. Obviously, the software has been discontinued.  I say ‘obviously’ because there is no trace of the source on SourceForge any more.  I’ve tried contacting the author via Google+ but got no response.

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Anton Aylward

No, A Severed Finger Will Not Be Able to Access a Stolen iPhone!
Finger binary

I’m sure that’s a great relief … to people who find out after the fact.

Perhaps its important that this is publicised as widely as possible — especially among the “bad guys”. Telling purchasers of the 5D might increase sales but it won’t actually guarantee their digital integrity.
They are not the ones that need to know.

Ah, communication!


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