Archive for March, 2011

The compressed air blog….

March 30, 2011 Leave a comment

….has moved:

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A thought while sitting on the toilet.

March 29, 2011 Leave a comment

It seems to me that given enough time, money wins out over idealism.

When a group is formed for idealogical reasons it pursues its goals passionately and remains true to its principals.

What I believe is that after a certain point many organizations come to exist simply for their own sake; to preserve employment, power or influence for its directors.  Of course the original mission can’t be ignored or patronage will dry up but you’ll only see a minimum, lip service really, given to the founding ideals.  The effort made will seem lame when you scrutinize it; the passion of relative newcomers might conceal the rot higher up the ladder.

Maybe you’ve seen it in your church, union, or even book club; it can happen anywhere.  Maybe you’ll think that the passion associated with the novelty of something fades and this is natural but maybe if your passion fades you should pass the reigns to someone more keen; maybe we need to make it easier for someone in this situation to do it without losing face.

To what degree will you tolerate it?  Is it all right if somebody does good work only to make a job for themselves if some good comes out of it?

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Buckley’s, labour relations, and keeping up appearances.

March 29, 2011 1 comment

Their tagline says, “it tastes awful but it works.”  Well, I think I know how it works:

It works because it tastes awful.  If you take a dose, you’ll insist that you’re cured or else you’ll be obliged to continue taking more; it’s not ingredients but the flavour that creates an aversion to coughing.

I imagine a spoonful of sugar with turpentine splashed on it would taste like Buckley’s and I can’t believe that anything that’s sold for human consumption and tastes like that couldn’t be strong medicine.

Seriously, though, I was thinking about a conversation with a supervisor in a plant where I used to work where a common feeling amongst the workers was that our lives were only worth the cost of training replacements.

We were talking about worker morale and I suggested that was that was only important that we believed the company cared about our wellbeing; it didn’t matter whether they genuinely cared  or not so long as we didn’t know the difference.

If you believe the ends justify the means then it doesn’t matter how it really works so long as it does.

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Shaw and usage based billing in Nanaimo.

March 28, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve promised to offer my impressions of the meeting and here they are:

First of all, there were lots of empty chairs at the meeting and I know who was there; if Shaw implements UBB you’ve forfeit your right to complain too loudly. The silver lining to that situation was that there were a lot of sandwiches left for me to eat.

I’ve had some experience with public consultations like this and, though there was some of the usual BS like people squirming under direct questioning an people who just want to complain about their lives(always a whiner in EVERY meeting), this session was fairly pleasant.

Here are a few quick thoughts an impressions:

  • I’ve attended meetings where the decisions were already made and the consultation was just lip service and didn’t get that feeling this time…except when they asked us what ideas we had about a billing scheme that was fair to both Shaw and its customers in light of continuously increasing usage: I assume they’ve considered many options and didn’t feel so much like they wanted our input as that by remaining silent about their own ideas they would force us to spend their time and energy coming up with suggestions rather than criticize.
  • Their visual aides indicated that the trend in customer traffic volume has always been upward and when I asked if, over time, they would adjust their standard for what was normal or exceptional use, I didn’t get a definite response.
  • While others at the meeting had also noticed a dramatic increase in their internet usage last autumn, the Shaw employees seemed very surprised to hear about it.
  • What came out during their presentation was that current congestion issues occur at what they call their nodes; systems that direct traffic to a group of households. When I asked why the discussion of price increases couldn’t focus on node costs, the main source of their cost increase, I was told that it wasn’t a simple matter to throw a few more nodes; attempts to clarify my point were cut short. I realize that the information would come from more than one cost centre but don’t believe that it’s impossible to calculate; my wife thinks they haven’t looked into the node costs.
  • They cite the figure of two cents per gigabyte of traffic that everybody is throwing around as their cost only for connecting to networks outside of their own.
  • It is likely that in the future Shaw will be offering multiple speed and volume tiers of service with overage charges.

Drop me a line at if you want to go into detail.

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Yet another compressed air blog.

March 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Over the years I’ve become a bit of an expert on compressed air systems so I sat down and wrote an outline for about a year’s worth of blog posts on the subject and thought I’d start writing them.

I just have it hosted on Google Sites right now and while it isn’t too flash, the price is right and I’m going to play with it for a while; the content can be ported to another platform later.  -It’s now located at:

It will take a while finding the time to put together enough material to start being of any real value to anybody but it will happen, honest. If you think compressed air systems are sexy then check it out and check back occasionally; it’ll keep me motivated to write.

The Compressed Air Guy

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The other kind of stereotype.

March 17, 2011 Leave a comment

I was thinking about stereotypes tonight. There’s the common and obvious form that attributes negative traits to a group but I’m talking about the funny phenomenon of the kind that makes a positive, though equally spurious, suggestion.

What made me think about this was seeing a jeweler named Mordecai on TV. I thought that for a lot of people that name would be a credential on its own and had a good chuckle. I’m sure you’ve heard somebody, maybe an Archie Bunker-esque relative, say something stupid like, “Sure, he’s a good machinist; he’s German!” I use this example because it happens that I know a German machinist who really hates people assuming he can work miracles in record time simply because of where he did his apprenticeship.

I had an experience of my own many years ago. I was in a job interview and the interviewer said to me, “Cameron is a Scottish name, right? Good, you’ll be thrifty with my money.” He wasn’t joking. I was surprised and though I wasn’t offended, it convinced me that the man was a mush-head and I didn’t want to work for him….I do wish I had the gumption to reply to that remark with, “Yes I will, and if you need a good mechanic, I’d like to recommend my friend Hershel….”

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She just doesn’t get me.

March 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Sometimes my wife teases me for being predictable. When she does, I explain that it must mean that I’m really smart because when you’re really smart, you’re predictable because you invariably choose the best option in any given situation.

She likens my predictability to that of a baboon rather than a savant. That might make her sound mean but the truth is she’s soft-hearted when it comes to dumb animals.

My wife’s teasing aside, I do maintain that if you want to outfox a smart person all you need to do is anticipate them making the best choice. This assumes, of course, that they’re not aware that you’re after them.

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