Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for January, 2007

The Telemarketing War: I Fight Back

Thanks to Landon (a co-worker and regular reader… I think) for passing along a link to the Canadian Marketing Association’s (CMA) website which includes a registration form for ‘Do-Not-Contact’.  Granted, your contact details are only passed along to companies which are CMA members, but every little bit helps, right?

Landon registered a while ago and noticed a drop-off in calls and mailings, so I’m hopeful this will help, if even a little bit.

You can fill out the form here.

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RSS, ST, TML and Shoveling

First off… RSS.  Thanks to Karim (who in turn, thanks Brian), I learned of the joys of Netvibes last night.  It’s like an internet based dashboard that keeps track of all your feeds (if you’re confused, do some reading on RSS), news sites, to-do lists… it’s ridiculous.

I learned about Netvibes while sitting and talking about the upcoming relaunch of everyone’s favourite online arts zine that’s run out of Toronto and co-edited by the writer of this blog.  Any guesses?  That’s right, SilentTalkie.  The old splashpage is gone and some new content is up, but look forward to our Valentine’s Day launch, and in the meantime, you can vote in our poll.  It’s fun… or something.

All of this happened after I headed to The Wheat Sheaf to watch the Leafs game, but quickly lost interest after eating WAY too many wings.  The wings there are great though, and they have lots of TVs for sporting events.  It’s also Toronto’s oldest bar, so there’s that.

Before that happened, I shoveled our walk and sidewalk at home for the 10th time in 6 days.  For the most part I enjoy it, but it gets a little tiring after a while.  That, and our shovel (that I bought last week) sucks.  It’s always getting caught on our swastika stone-work (our interlocked brick looks like a swastika… I’ll post pictures).  I shouldn’t complain.  After all, I wanted to live in a house, not an apartment.

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Death to Telemarketers

Dear Telemarketers,

Thanks so much for calling my house with your auto-dialing computers and hanging up the second I race out of the shower to answer the phone.  It’s reassuring to know that the ringer on my phone still works.  Without your calls, I would have to ask friends and family to call at awkward times to relieve the fear that something might be wrong with my phone.

Thank you for interrupting my dinner, my television shows and my focus while trying to fix something on my computer.  Without that break doing things I enjoy, I might actually have relaxed and enjoyed my evening.

Most of all, I’d like to thank you for calling my house at 6am this morning and scaring me into immediate alertness with the fear that I was getting a call that a loved one had passed on in the night.  It was nice to enjoy the early morning light as I fought to get back to sleep for that last hour and a half before my alarm went off.

It’s really too bad that you hung up when I answered (and that my call display only showed you as a ‘Private Caller’ so I couldn’t call you back) because I’m more receptive to sales pitches for long distance and duct cleaning around sunrise.  In the future, stay on the line and prepare yourself for the sale of a lifetime.

In closing, I hope you can detect my sarcasm (because I’m laying it on pretty thick), and the only thought that helped me fall back into even the lightest slumber was me dreaming of you being torn apart by angry, rabid dogs.


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An Up-Rounding of the Weekend

Friday night we headed to a birthday party for a friend of Danielle’s.  It was a pretty classic house party in an old apartment building (circa 1930s or 1940s) in midtown.  I was blown away by how beautifully designed the space was, and how functional it still was after 60 (or more) years.

Saturday was a lazy day spent at home playing Wii, fiddling with Linux (which is pretty well up and running) and shovelling our walks and driveway in anticipation of freezing temperatures.

Sunday was physical fitness day.  Danielle and I headed up to Hardwood Hills near Barrie to do ‘a little’ cross country skiing. The facilities and trails were top-notch and well-maintained.  Our skiing skills, on the other hand, were not.  By the time we finished the first 5k, we had worked out most of the kinks and decided to try a longer but less difficult trail.  When all was said and done, we’d skied about 11k and despite being in pretty poor physical shape, I’m feeling good today.  Danielle is in better shape, so I’m guessing she feels great today.

Hopefully we can head up there after a good dump of fresh powder snow to do some snowshoeing, and I’ll try to get more pictures of the beautiful woodland trails.

After skiing, we headed into Barrie for a prime-rib dinner at The Keg.  The warm restaurant and huge meal of good red meat worked like a strong tranquilizer and I had to focus hard to get us home on 400.

Once home, I was excited to watch the new episode of The Simpsons, but was horribly disappointed.  The only laugh came at the very end during the credits.  So sad.  I hope their upcoming movie fares better.


Snow… Don’t Go! Because Ice is Nice!

Sorry to go on about the weather again, but the long-term forecast is calling for temps around -10 and snow on and off for the next little while.  I’m not sure if Mother Nature is teasing me, but my long-dashed hopes of building an igloo this winter are returning to my daydreams.  Oh, to be nestled in the silent comfort of a cozy snow-womb… glorious.

Now that I sound crazy for wanting very badly to sleep in what many of you would see as a giant coffin made of ice (which it isn’t), I can move on to more pressing matters.  Reading.  I need a new book to read, and I’m open to suggestions.  What have you read recently that you enjoyed?  Do you think that I’d like it?

I have a spare ski jacket and some extra winter gloves and toques that are looking for a good home in this frigid weather.  Does anyone in Toronto have a local homeless person who could put this stuff to good use?  There aren’t many regulars in our neighbourhood that I see around, so finding someone is actually quite difficult.  Suggestions would be welcome.  I’ll probably stuff the pockets with goodies (chocolate bars, Tim Hortons gift certificates and gum) to help with those cold days and nights.


I’m a Ramblin’ Man

So after much labouring and gnashing of teeth, I’m back on Ubuntu (with Gnome) for my operating system. I reinstalled from scratch last night and installed all my necessary programs (email, FTP, bit torrent, web dev, image processing and iPod & music) and codecs (for video). Now I just need to fiddle with all those little settings that make an OS your own (Desktop image, resolution, font sizes, installed fonts, screensaver, etc).

Once I’m back up and running, I can get back to working with pictures and maybe we’ll have some more in here… maybe. There’s rumour of a x-country skiing or snowshoeing trip on sunday that would result in some pretty awesome pictures if this cold weather holds out.

Speaking of cold weather, I’m as happy as, well… you know. Once it gets below -10 and the air gets sharp and clear, for some inexplicable reason I feel very alive. I should move further north, or at least away from the lake.

In other news, I got sick of getting invitations to Facebook that I couldn’t access, so I joined up. I didn’t bother putting up any photos or postings (since I have this fancy-dancy site, and all) so I just point people here. Anyways, I’ve noticed an increase in traffic here since I put the link up there and I’m wondering if Facebook is the reason. Let me know if that’s how you ended up here, either in the comments below or by email.

I’ll let the more judgmental of you decide if I’m pandering for comments or not, but I’m pretty curious at how my readership here seems to be evolving, and yet so many of you choose to remain silent. Perhaps it’s time for a poll… or maybe you fear being roped into writing for SilentTalkie (a very appropriate fear) or being converted to Linux (not a real fear… it’s not for everyone).

Speaking of good times


Hopin’ Source

So, you’re probably wondering where that review of Linux is that I promised a few weeks back. In response, I’m going to encourage you to learn a little patience. Seriously though, I don’t really think I can write a review yet, since I’m still not up and running at full speed.

A few things I can say are that it takes some time and skill to get things working the way you’d like (two things I have very little of) and be sure that your hardware will all work with your particular build of Linux. I had to switch from Ubuntu to Xubuntu (which is a sort of lightweight version of Ubuntu) and it’s running much better.

I still have yet to install my media codecs, Bit Torrent software, FTP software and functioning CD burning software (the default burner doesn’t finish discs). I have a media player that works with my iPod, but I haven’t had the time to configure it yet… there are bigger fish to fry right now… like how come my keyboard is screwed up?

In non-Linux news (now that I’ve scared away the non-nerds), a midday dentist appointment means that I get some quality reading time on the TTC (it’s quite a commute to the dentist’s office). I’m also hoping to jot some notes on a few ideas for the re-launch of SilentTalkie (coming in less than a month!).


This Little Piggy Went…

So last night, Jared leaves the house in the early evening for about 40 minutes and comes back in with a box under his arm and a grin as big as a truck on his face. In the box, is a brand new Wii. Weeeeeeeee! He had a floor hockey game later in the evening, so he hooked it up and we played some bowling together. Once he was gone, I had it all to myself.

I had no interest in the Wii before, but I was hooked pretty quickly. The remote controller thingy is SUPER-responsive to all your movements, and the system is highly tweakable (Jared and I have already created our Miis).

Just when I think I might be on the outside of cool technology (because I happen to be getting pretty old), something comes out that drags me right back in. Bah.

(Note: This entire post was written without the use of apostrophes or quotation marks. I did an OS upgrade in Linux to one that uses less system resources, and I am having a little trouble getting my keyboard to do everything it should. On the plus side, it is FAR more efficient.)

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