One of my last posts was about Fat Cyclist and his amazing fundraising efforts for both LIVESTRONG and World Bicycle Relief. While he had amazing prizes that I’m sure helped his cause enormously, he still made the task of raising over $100K seem easy peasy – I mean he accomplished it in only a few days!
I, on the other hand, am having a hell of a time even raising $1K. Granted, I have no prizes to offer, and I don’t have as many people who read this little blog, but this task is seeming harder than it was last year when I didn’t have the advantage of an online donation page, but still managed to bring in $1230!
This year I’ve got a page set up with the Canadian Cancer Society for online donations, but like I said, I’m having a bit of a hard time reaching my goal. So consider this my plea for donations – if I haven’t hit you up personally yet, I probably will, so why not save us both some time and just go donate right now. When it comes to raising money for charity, and specifically for cancer research, I really don’t mind pestering you! ;)
For easy reference, my donation page can be found at: http://convio.cancer.ca/goto/haggaret
And of course, HUGE THANKS to those who HAVE sponsored me already – you guys rock!
It’s days like today that scare the hell out of me. I’m sure everyone (at least those that live in Ottawa) has heard about the Ottawa police officer that was murdered today. For me the scariest part is that this wasn’t an act of revenge or anything like that, but rather a random act against a random police officer. It could have easily been my wife, or one of our good friends. I’m kind of at a loss for words right now.
For those of you who take the police for granted, and sadly I think that is most people, have a read through the poem below by Adam E. Hutton and remember it next time you curse the ‘damn police’ for coming down on your for something stupid YOU did.
I can’t imagine what the family of Constable Eric Czapnik is going through right now, and I hope to God that I never have to find out. MY prayers are certainly with them.
“Pray for the Men in Blue”
It takes a very special person to wear the blue.
Most people do not understand what we do
We made a commitment to protect and serve.
We work hard to provide the safety you deserve.
No normal shifts, not nine to five.
We work 24/7 to keep you alive.
Holidays and weekends don’t mean a thing.
We work night and day, just give us a ring.
Our loved ones and children pray every night.
That we will return at the break of daylight.
We carry guns and wear vests to help us get through.
You couldn’t imagine some of the things we must do.
We see accidents and blood and small children crying.
We also see death and it’s not just old people dying.
Abusive spouses and parents that don’t seem to care.
These are just a few of the things, to make you aware.
Drug dealers and drunks are a regular sight.
We go to the bars for fight after fight.
Responding to calls day after day.
Not allowing our personal lives to get in the way.
You complain all the time when you see us on a break.
We just drive around in cars and oh, the money we make.
Stop for a second and try to assess
Who’s always there to clean up the mess.
We do all we can to help and provide.
To make you feel safe and secure inside.
Please remember all of the things that we must do.
And next time you pray, include the men in blue.
Adam E. Hutton
This is one of the coolest stories I’ve heard in a while. The short(ish) version is this: Elden, THE Fat Cyclist (you can read about him here) wrote up a post where he said (in jest) it was time for a career change and he decided that a pro cyclist sounded like a great job. In this post he included an open letter to Johan Bruyneel, who is the manager for Team RadioShack – the new pro cycling team that Lance Armstrong is on. Unexpectedly, Johan replied to ‘Fatty’ (I can’t figure out a way to link to an individual blog post on Johan’s blog, so you’ll have to look in the archives for the 1st reply) and told him he’d be welcome to come to training camp if he could raise $10K for LIVESTRONG and $10K for World Bicycle Relief, and then set a stretch goal of $25K each with the reward of a Trek Madone road bike!
According to his next post, Elden describes how he thought about it and came up with a great strategy. He decided that, assuming he made it to the stretch goal of $50K, he’d give the bike away as a prize to one of the lucky donors. In addition to that, he managed to also get his hands on a 2010 Gary Fisher Superfly mountain bike, which he would also give away – again, provided he made it to $50K. I like the way he associated the Gary Fisher bike with the LIVESTRONG charity and the Trek Madone with the World Bicycle Relief – I guess his thinking was that most Lance fans would be more apt to donate to LIVESTRONG, but they’d also be more apt to want the Madone as opposed to the Gary Fisher. Very clever.
Well, in no time, he hit the first goal of $20K ($10K to each charity) which means he’s off to training camp with Team RadioShack, and it didn’t take long to hit the stretch goal of $50K either which means the bikes WILL now be given away to someone who has donated.
Once Johan saw that his stretch goal of $50K was hit so quickly, he upped the stakes again – go read his current blog post and you’ll see that he’s now sweetened the pot even further with a trip to France to see the final stage of the TdF if Fatty can reach $100K ($50K to each charity) by this Friday. Elden has updated his contest to include this trip, and he WILL make it to 100K, I can guarantee that. As I’m writing this post, he’s sitting at $39,695.00 for LIVESTRONG and $42,038.00 for World Bicycle Relief and it’s only Tuesday. Funny that the World Bicycle Relief amount isn’t a multiple of $5…
Anyway, as I said, I think this is a pretty cool story. If you want to donate, and get a chance at these awesome prizes, or maybe you just want to feel good that you helped out some great charities, then I’ve included links below for both. At the very least, check out how close Elden is to reaching that crazy stretch goal of $100K.
World Bicycle Relief page
Good luck at training camp Elden!
UPDATE: The winners have been announced! Sadly I wasn’t one of them. :)
A while ago I was trying to decide on which twitter iPhone client I was going to use. There are a ton of them out there and I wanted to make sure I got something that worked for me. I narrowed it down to either Twitterrific or TwitterFon (which is now called EchoFon), which seemed to be the most popular at the time. The two clients were similar enough, but each one had features specific to it that I wanted. In the end I decided on Twitterrific – things like the ability to configure what a single/double/triple tap on a tweet would do sealed it for me. There are (or at least were) things I liked better in TwitterFon at the time, but I can’t remember them now. :)
I’ve been using Twitterrific Premium for a while now and I’m still liking it, but there is one bug in it that is driving me crazy! I’ve informed the Twitterrific folks of it, somewhat indirectly I guess, through twitter, but I’m not convinced they are listening. Here is what the problem is, and you may think this is a very small problem – depending on how you use the feature. Whenever I favourite, or star, a tweet in the iPhone client, it shows up as a favourite on the web as expected. If I un-favourite it on the client, it disappears from my list of favourites on the web. All good so far. If I favourite something on the web, it shows up on the iPhone client. Still good. However, if I favourite something in the iPhone client, and then un-favourite it on the web – it still shows up as a favourite on the iPhone client. I have to specifically un-favourite it again in the iPhone client to get it to disappear from the list. I find it really annoying!
Like I said, may be a small issue for some people, but I use the favourite feature to mark tweets that I want to read later – sort of a bookmark. They may be things that I think would be better viewed on my computer rather than my iPhone, which makes it doubly annoying when I can’t un-favourite them from the web after viewing them on my computer.
I’ve checked out a couple other twitter iPhone clients, EchoFon and Tweetie, to see how they behave around this feature and neither of them had any issues clearing favourites from the client list when it was un-favourited on the web. I really wish Twitterrific would fix this.
Do you have a favourite twitter client that you use on your iPhone? How does it handle this feature? Thinking of switching at this point…
I’ve got a bottle neck in my blog post process, and that bottle neck is uploading photos to Flickr. I normally like to have at least one photo, or video, to go with each blog post, but I am so far behind on uploading of photos and video to Flickr, that it has brought my posting to a standstill. I’ve decided to forget about adding any media to my posts for a while in the interest of actually getting some new content on the blog. One of these days I’ll catch up with my photo uploading and then my posts will be a bit prettier again. :)
So as the title of this post suggests, Grace is walking now. She started walking probably a few weeks ago, and is really on the move now. She definitely has the same spirit as Liam, in that not only is she walking, she is also climbing on anything she can manage to get her knee / leg up on. She has gotten very good at getting herself up on to the wooden rocking horse that is about as tall as her. I guess she got bored with the little rocking giraffe that we borrowed from the Keans. We’ll have to give that back soon – thanks for the loaner.
I’ll add a picture or two and maybe even a video to this post once they are available on Flickr.
I saw this on Twitter today and thought it described most organizations perfectly.
An organization is like a tree full of monkeys, all on different limbs, at different levels. Some monkeys climbing up, some down. Monkeys on the top look down and see a tree full of smiling faces. The monkeys on the bottom look up and see nothing but assholes!!!
Or maybe I’m just jaded because of my current situation. :)
The new Facebook iPhone app is a big improvement over the last version, that’s for sure, but I’ve noticed some strange behaviour with this new version that I didn’t see before. I’m not sure if this is a new attempt at privacy or just a bug in the application. See screenshot below:
Note where it says “Facebook User” instead of the person’s name, but for some reason their profile picture is still displayed. If you then ‘click’ (or tap is I guess a better word since we’re talking about an iPhone) on their ‘name’ (in this case “Facebook User”) then it takes me to a page that actually shows me their name, but not the profile picture that it had previously shown me. See below:
If you’re going to allow me to click through and find out the person’s name anyway, why not just display it in the first place?? Also, if the picture isn’t meant to be displayed – probably shouldn’t display it.
Here is what is looks like through a brower:
As you can see – names, but no pictures, which is probably what they (the people who configured their privacy settings) were going for.
I downloaded this WordPress iPhone app a while ago, well before I was actually running on WordPress, in preparation for when I would actually be running on WP. Just now getting a chance to try it out. Seems VERY basic – no way to easily add photos, taken with the iPhone or otherwise. That’s too bad really.
Update: my mistake, there is an easy way to add in photos from the iPhone. I don’t think you can control where they go though, they just end up at the bottom of the post.
Another thing I noticed was that the app doesn’t seem to have the current list of my categories – between connecting this app to my blog the first time and now, the list of categories has changed, but there doesn’t seem to be a refresh option. Not sure how to fix that other than maybe deleting my blog from the app and re-entering it.
Receiving a call in the middle of an edit (has happened to me twice already in the short time I’ve been writing this) doesn’t seem to phase the app too much, when the call ends you end up back at the main screen, which made me think I had lost everything, but when you select the blog you were writing an entry for, it pops up a message saying that previous edits have been saved and then takes you to review them. You can then pick up where you left off with editing.
I’m glad to see a little blue ‘Save’ button at the top right of the screen this time around – the first time I tried this, there was no save button and therefore no way for me to actually post anything. Not sure what that was all about, I guess some sort of first time use bug.
One nice thing is the ability to save the post as a local draft – handy for when you might be without Internet access but want to write down your thoughts so you don’t forget – you can easily publish the post later when you’re more connected.
After trying this, I think I’ll pop over and try posting from my site with the WPtouch plugin installed and see how it compares.
I’ve been thinking about switching from Drupal to WordPress (or perhaps I should say switching BACK since originally this blog was a WordPress blog) for a while now. I think think one of the driving factors was the WPtouch plugin, written by Duane and Dale of BraveNewCode, which basically automatically themes your site for optimal viewing on iPhones, iPod Touches, and Android devices. It really is awesome – if you’re running a WP blog and you don’t have this plugin installed – go install it now! With these guys writing cool plugins (another one I like is the Earth Hour plugin) I figured now was the time to bite the bullet and make the switch, afterall – I can always switch back if it doesn’t work out for me right? :) Note that I have absolutely nothing against Drupal, I just think that WordPress seems to fit my needs a bit better.
To get started, naturally I hit up Google to see who had done this before and see if there was an easy one button press type solution out there already. While I didn’t quite find the one button solution, I did find some good resources. In the end, I pretty much followed this guys instructions word for word and things worked out well. There was a bit of cleanup needed, but for the most part everything looked pretty good. Some things to note: I was converting from Drupal 6.13 to WordPress 2.8.4 (the latest at the current time); my Drupal site was basically a one user blog, and the conversion mentioned above doesn’t covert user accounts – so you’ll have to do that manually.
Here is some of the cleanup that I had to do post conversion:
- I used pathauto to automatically generate permalinks in Drupal, so I used this file to help get my wordpress links to match up with links pathauto created
- even after using the above script, I still had a bunch of links that were ending in “-” which I had to find and clean up manually (turns out I use the ellipsis a lot in post titles)
- ideally I’d like to set something up to redirect old Drupal /node/# links to the appropriate WP post but in the meantime I’ve used the Redirection plugin to redirect specific links that I know were in use
- I seem to have lost comment titles – in Drupal you have the option to enter a title for each comment, these were lost in the conversion, I’ll probably manually move these over eventually
I think that was about it. I did the conversion nearly two weeks ago now and was unfortunately busy immediately afterwards so I didn’t get around to writing this up until now. One other thing I’d like to mention is the plugins that I’m currently using – these replaced drupal modules with similar functionality obviously.
- Askimet – using this to replace Mollom – essentially a comment spam plugin
- Earth Hour – “turns off” your blog during Earth Hour
- FD Feedburner – plugin for redirecting default WP RSS feeds to your feedburner feeds
- Flickr RSS – get your latest Flickr Photos and display them
- Google Analytics for WordPress – track your stats
- Google XML Sitemaps – submits your sitemap to Google (and others) when you update your site
- MyOpenID – use your site as your OpenID
- Redirection – redirect old links to the proper URL
- WordPress.com Stats – similar to Google Analytics, but slightly different data
- WordTwit – tweet your posts out to Twitter – another excellent plugin by BraveNewCode
- WPtouch – make your site usable (and look great) on mobile devices
EDIT: I’ve just replaced Akimet with Mollom, after realizing that there was a WordPress plugin available for it.
UPDATE: Just found something else that I had to fix. In the wp_comment table, there are two fields for the comment date: comment_date and comment_date_gmt. During the conversion, the comment_date field was populated, but the comment_date_gmt was left at the default value of 0000-00-00 00:00:00 for all comments. It seems this is the field that is used to determine sort order for displayed comments, so I had to fill it in. Since my timezone is 4 hours behind GMT (during DST, 5 hours otherwise) I just used the MySQL addtime() function to simply add 4 (or 5) hours to the comment_date value and store it in the comment_date_gmt field.
Last year we had borrowed JK & Dana‘s TomTom for the trip to PEI, and once on the island, it took us a way I don’t think I had ever gone before (not that I remembered anyway) to reach our cottage, but this year we had my iPhone and Google Maps. I had pre-planned our route there, and so when Amy started complaining that she had to pee and wanted me to alter my route on the fly – so we could get there faster – I had to refuse. I’m a slave to technology afterall, “I can’t turn there, the GPS is telling me to go straight!” So just like last year, Amy REALLY had to pee by the time we rolled into our final destination. Last year she had a reason for having such a chipmunk sized bladder (she was pregnant) but this year she had no excuses. In her defense (and mine too really) I did actually offer to stop after she told me she had to pee, but she opted to just keep going, what a trouper. ;)
Other than Amy’s pea sized bladder, the trip from Fredericton to PEI was actually pretty good. The closer we got to PEI, the nicer the weather became. By the time we rolled into the cottages where we were staying, the sun was shining in clear blue skies. It was the start of a week of beautiful weather – a welcome change from last year’s rainy stay. During this trip we only saw one day of rainy skies, whereas last year I think we only saw one day of sunshine.
Once again this year we stayed at Windermere Cottages in Stanhope. My family has been staying at these cottages for over 30 years now. I have very fond memories of the time we spent there when I was a kid – things like playing horseshoes with my dad, buying candy at the little store they had onsite, walking to the beach down what I considered to be our own private pathway, watching lobsters crawl around on the kitchen floor before we boiled them up, or even catching a budgie bird from the trees around the place. Without a doubt though, the times playing at the beach and in the sand dunes was my favourite. Anyway, suffice it to say, I’ve got an attachment to the place. This year was different though, and I guess that’s to be expected with new owners.
Jack and Deb sold Windermere over the winter, but took care of the bookings for this year. That was their only involvement with the place this year, and sadly it was all too apparent. If I could sum up our experience from this year in a few words I’d say this, “Reduced service for way more money.” That’s obviously not a good thing.
It started immediately after we arrived – we had booked three cottages, and they were all supposed to be side by side – they weren’t – there was a cottage between each of the ones we rented, which made things like group meals a bit of a PITA. Apparently payment was expected upon arrival, instead of at the end of your stay. Perhaps this is standard at most places, but I can’t say I’ve ever been asked to pay up front before – and certainly never at Windermere. We didn’t end up paying until the following Friday, most likely because we simply weren’t around when the lady came looking for us, and since she was only there for a very short time each day – it’s not surprising she missed us until then. Yep, there was nobody staffing the office, just a once a day visit to check messages, that was it. None of our cottages had been cleaned before we got there, that was all too obvious. They had rationed us to a certain number of dish clothes (2!), etc and had a nice little sign that said something to the effect of, “This is all the linens that you get for your stay, if you require more, there is a laundromat located at such and such a location, about 10 kms away.” If you’re going to pull something like that, at least make a (coin-operated if you must) washer and dryer available in the little store building that was sitting idle – all locked up – instead of making your guests waste their precious vacation time sitting in a laundromat. As I just alluded to, sadly there was no store on site anymore – the kids were disappointed because that meant there was nowhere close to buy candy anymore. Also, the horseshoe pits had been ripped out, for no apparent reason. On top of all that, the price was $200 more this year as compared to last year! I can’t really complain about the actual cottages since I knew exactly what we were getting into, having stayed there so many times in the past, but I guess we looked past some of the inconveniences before because of the excellent service we used to get. This year all those little inconveniences were way too noticeable unfortunately. But anyway, enough about that, I think I’ll just say that I don’t think we’ll be back again, and I think that’s really sad considering the 30+ year history with the place. :(
The plan, for us (the Ottawa Haggertys) at least, was to spend the week relaxing, visiting the beach, and just hanging out with family who we don’t get to see very often. We were especially excited that Liam (and Grace) would get to spend lots of time with their cousins. I brought my bike along in hopes of getting out for a ride with my brother, but sadly that never happened. I did get out once on my own though, for a short 43 km ride where I only suffered one flat, which felt like no bother at all compared to Trev’s epic 5 flat ride from the week before.
I do have to tell the story of our deep sea fishing trip. My brother Mike, Dad and I headed down to Covehead wharf one afternoon in hopes of finding a boat to take us out fishing. Last year, at the end of June, we went out and didn’t have much luck, catching a few cod that we weren’t allowed to keep and nothing else. This year it was a completely different story! We arrived at the wharf and starting looking around to see who was available. We got wrangled up by a guy who was working for “Fishy Business” and taken down to the boat. Before long we were off. Before starting the fishing, the captain talked about how the fisheries were screwing them, etc as a pre-amble to saying that we’d basically have no luck at catching any cod. Our first stop, however, was to fish for mackerel. The captain gave a quick demonstration of what to do – he said to let your line drop for about 5 seconds, then lock it off and then reel in your fish, which he did! Somebody made a comment to the effect of, “What are you paying the diver you got down there?” To which Chris, the captain, replied, “Not as much as you guys are paying me.” Everybody got a good laugh out of that. In the end though, it ended up being just like his demonstration for me – I’d drop the line, wait a few seconds and then reel in the fish, sometimes two at a time. Final tally by the end of the afternoon was 58 mackerel for me, and my brother was a close second at 43. I think my dad brought in 7 or so – but he was busy helping other people out on the boat, which I think he likes to do. As expected, unfortunately we didn’t catch any cod. We took a couple of bags of mackerel filets back to the cottages with us and cooked them up on the BBQ. Pretty tasty – I think my niece Cicely enjoyed it the most.
Not much else to tell, which I guess is expected when you spend the week relaxing. Add to that the fact that I’ve got a memory like a sieve and it’s been a month now since we were there and that may explain why I’m drawing blanks for any other highlights from the trip. Perhaps Amy will pipe in with some stuff that I’ve forgotten. As always, lots of photos to check out over on Flickr. Also as usual, any with the kids in them have been marked as private to friends and family so if you’re not already marked as a friend and want to be, send me an email. I’m actually still in the process of sorting through the photos and uploading them, so you may have to check back a few times before you see them all.