Computer Upgrade Season – Part 1

Well it’s about that time of year again.  People are starting to take down their holiday decorations.  The snow is melting, causing rivers to start flowing and running high on their banks.  The grass is starting to grow, and flowers are starting to bloom.  People are going without jackets – some even crazy enough to wear shorts.  This can all mean only one thing…  The annual computer upgrade season is upon us. For those of you who have read some of my earlier posts on the subject, you’ll know I’ve had an on again/off again relationship with my Mac, and that I have nothing but hate and loathing for HP.  Well I’m going to start this tale with a telling of what got me into this situation – why I’m going to celebrate the upgrade season this year… Continue reading

View Wireless Network Info From The Menu Bar | Mac Tricks And Tips

This is a reblog, but amazingly handy info every now and then.  Attribution at the bottom…

For any one that has a wireless network and has the menu bar item, you will no that the items on the drop down list are a bit limited. For example you can’t see signal strength or any other factors, if you have a choice of wireless networks this could be a problem. As a result you could install a piece of software to do this for you. There is a work around for this. For example the first image below show what the drop down list would normally look like.

But if you press Alt and then click the menu bar it will give you a lot of information about the network you are currently connected to. This is great. You can have all of this knowledge which you can use.

The first number in the list is you MAC address which the wireless network card is connected on. The channel, is you wireless channel, pretty standard. The RSSI is your signal strength. A perfect signal strength is 0. The lower this number the worse it is. As a result of lots of wall and metal my signal strength is pretty low. The final number is data transmit rate, this is problem in mbits per second although don’t quote me.

As a result of a quick button press you can get a lot more information, which should be included by default. Many people have commented on not being able to see this easily. It is there all along, like most Apple products these features are not very well advertised.

If you want to find information about networks you are not connect to, just press Alt again while clicking on the menu item and hover over any network. It will give you the RSSI and the encryption type is shown. You can then make a more informed decision to connect to any networks since you can easily find out the signal strength.

If you have any more tips or tricks, or just a general comment about his tip please leave one below. I know from now on that I will be using this tip every time I am at a wireless access point or want to find out some general information.

via View Wireless Network Info From The Menu Bar | Mac Tricks And Tips.

What I Hate about Copy and Paste

I hate copy and paste. That is, I hate paste. That is, I hate pasting into a program that tries to preserve the formatting from where you copied it. Why do I hate this? It all has to do with formatting…
9 times out of 10 I don’t want the formatting from the source – I just want the text. I usually want to the format to match my document or my email – I don’t want it to look out of place, or worse. Most times the preservation is terrible – what you paste is just badly interpreted, and ends up looking like shit even if your trying to preserve the formatting!

Ideally, in my world, you should be able to paste anything, anywhere, without the formatting. However most programs don’t give you another option. This is the real issue.

So here’s my message to software developers: For the sake of all that’s holy – include a “Paste without Formatting” option. Like Evernote. Evernote has this option, and it’s the greatest thing since the screensaver. EVERY program should have this, but few do.

If you know of a program that supports pasting without formatting, please drop a comment with the name of it!

How to Set Up a Fully Automated App and Settings Backup on Android

How to Set Up a Fully Automated App and Settings Backup on Android

Whitson Gordon — In an ideal world, your Android’s apps, their settings, and your system settings would automatically back up to the cloud so that if you lost your phone, bought a new one, or installed a new custom ROM, setting up a fresh device with everything in place would be a piece of cake. The good news: This utopian Android backup actually is possible. Here’s how to set it up.

via How to Set Up a Fully Automated App and Settings Backup on Android.

Anyone have any experience with this? If it will backup and restore my Angry Birds progress, I may actually upgrade my phone again.

VMware Launches Open Source Cloud

VMware has entered the cloud game by offering an open source package called Cloud Foundry, a platform as a service that should strike fear in the hearts of its competitors, especially the likes of Microsoft and Rackspace. The platform will offer developers the tools to build out applications on public clouds, private clouds and anyplace else, whether the underlying server runs VMware or not. Like last week’s, Open Compute Project from Facebook or Rackspace’s OpenStack effort, Cloud Foundry is a pretty big deal.

via VMware Launches Open Source Cloud: Cloud Computing News «.

I know I said I would post less of this kind of stuff, but this kind of stuff is still fairly exciting.  To me.  Especially since it’s VMware, and I’m just such a huge fan of theirs.

To quote the dorky Microsoft commercial I mentioned earlier, “yay, cloud”

Netflix Cuts Video Quality due to Canadian UBB – Canadians Apathetic

More on Canada’s UBB Fiasco.  Even if you’re not interested, I encourage you to be…

Netflix is lowering the quality of its streaming movie service in Canada by default to deal with bandwidth caps introduced by ISPs there. the comapny said in a blog post Monday night. Ironically, this came just hours after Netflix gave Canadians more reasons to sign up, with the addition of new movie titles from Paramount Pictures.

via Bandwidth Caps Force Netflix to Cut Video Quality in Canada: Broadband News and Analysis


Last night saw a pair of new developments in the ongoing saga that is usage-based billing. Firstly, Bell Canada announced it was sort of withdrawing its plan to implement UBB while, a little later in the evening, Netflix said it was implementing a new option that will let subscribers lower the quality of their video and thereby use less of their monthly internet limit.

via Netflix and Canada: hey brother, can you spare a gig?

Thanks Netflix. But we as Canadians need to be less content about these sorts of things. Netflix shouldn’t have to adjust its service levels just so it can operate in Canada. Netflix is the shit. The CRTC is bullshit.

Edmund Burke noted that all that was necessary for evil to triumph was for good men to do nothing. Canadians are certainly good and worthy folks, but they suffer an excess of civil obedience, politeness and lack of civic rage that could be harnessed to combat political atrophy. At a time when Arabs risk life and limb for political freedoms, Canadians seem largely apathetic about the erosion of their democracy.

via Canada watches its democracy erode

Okay, democracy and bandwidth caps are largely unrelated topics.  Or… are they?

From an email sent to me by

But will this new scheme stop usage fees, expensive rates, and overall horrible telecom service? No, we’re afraid not.
Here’s what we know:

  1. Bell and other big telecom companies continue to impose usage fees on Canadians and they control 94% of the Internet access market.
  2. Sources tell us the scheme was crafted between major industry players behind closed doors.
  3. Big phone and cable companies do not want telecom price gouging to be an election issue.

Big telecom companies know that during an election, we have the ears of our representatives. They know that we have a unique opportunity to tell candidates that we want digital policy that will remove the Internet from the stranglehold of Big Telecom and stop price gouging, once and for all.

(original emphasis)

If you’re a Canadian and give a shit at all about fair competition in Canada, please keep an eye on these issues and make sure your voice is heard.  Sign up for email announcements from or follow them on Facebook to stay informed.