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DFW: First Major U.S. BPL Rollout

February 19th, 2006  · stk

In the United States anyway, it's happening sooner, rather than later. Two million customers in the Dallas - Fort Worth Metroplex will soon have access to "Broadband over Power Line". This technology will provide speeds up to 3 megabits per second through a home's existing electrical sockets, at prices that are anticipated to be less than that of cable or ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Lines). This will make every electrical socket both a source of power and a high-speed internet connection.

As a follow-up to an October story, it is interesting to note that the first major U.S. rollout of BPL will be in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, starting later in 2006.

The $10 million dollar project was jointly announced by TXU and Current Communications Group in December. More information can be found in the original article.

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Updated: 25-Feb-2006
Web View Count: 4558 viewsLast Web Update: 25-Feb-2006

Roaring Dinosaurs

February 5th, 2006  · stk

Alberta, Canada soil holds the largest oil deposit in the world. As high oil prices dominate World markets, activity in the northern part of Alberta has reached a frenzied state. So great are the profits, that Alberta has given each resident a cheque for $400 - a one time rebate.

Prosperous Alberta: A Fist-full of Petro Dollars

There's been long lines at local banks, as many Albertans wait to deposit their one-time, $400 resource rebate (AKA prosperity check). Our family's portion totaled $1200. Even pint-sized Alex was counted as a whole Albertan and rebated accordingly. We may be paying more at the pump for gasoline, but these checks more than makes up the difference. It's a great time to be Albertan. ;)

The checks are part of this year's Provincial surplus, which is mainly due to high prices for oil and gas, upon which Alberta collects royalties. The surplus was anticipated in September and firmed up in November. Consummated just two weeks ago, our checks arrived just in time for tax season, it seems. Local businesses have been vying for a slice of the windfall, running television ads and many are offering twice face value, if you use your rebate check at their store.

Water cooler talk is centered on what everyone will do with their windfall and most, it seems, plan on spending it. We've squirreled ours away, for the ironic purpose of a move out of the Province and back to British Columbia.

For an informative video on the Alberta oil sands, Alberta's rise in power, the impact this will have for Canada (and the World) ... read on ...

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Updated: 5-Mar-2011
Web View Count: 122557 viewsLast Web Update: 5-Mar-2011

Orange in Edmonton

January 5th, 2006  · stk

The Penn State Nittany Lions football team finished #3 in the Nation during regular season play. They also won the Jan 3, 2006 BCS FedEx Orange Bowl against FSU (26-23)! It took a record-long, triple-overtime to win. See video highlights of the game ...

Penn State Nittany Lions win FedEx Orange Bowl
Takes Record-long, Triple-Overtime to Top FSU 26-23

I know a thing or two about oranges, growing up in soCal with citrus trees growing in our yard. The intoxicating, fragrant smell of orange blossoms in the spring. The tree-ripened sweetness of oranges, tangerines and grapefruit.

The downside, is knowing what good citrus tastes like. It's rare that oranges purchased from an Edmonton grocery store live up to that standard. They're usually pithy and dry (frost-bitten), bruised, green or over-ripe. Even when they're juicy, they lack that tree-ripened sweetness.

So ... knowing oranges ... a blessing or a curse?

A Penn State football fan, I knew about the January 3rd Orange Bowl meeting between the #3-ranked Nittany Lions and #22 Florida State University Seminoles. The problem? Living in Edmonton, Canada. Here, New Years Day isn't synonymous with College Football Bowl games. I didn't check (because I was busy remodeling a certain bathroom), but I don't think ANY bowl games made into local programming on New Year's Day.

So, without on-air reminders, the evening of January 3rd appeared like any other New Year night.

Fortunately, while I was checking my email, I noticed someone reading the Geographically Challenged article on our web-site. "OMG," I realized, "I'm missing the GAME!!"

By the time I tuned into a radio broadcast, it was near the end of a (scoreless) 3rd quarter and Penn State was holding a narrow 14-13 lead. Depressed about missing the majority of the game I listened to a 4th quarter that looked like it would end with a Penn State win in the waning seconds ... as it turned out ... there was still LOTS more football than that!

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Updated: 5-Dec-2008
Web View Count: 16859 viewsLast Web Update: 5-Dec-2008

Astonish Me

December 11th, 2005  · stk

After a year working with b2evolution, I've decided to join forces with a British programmer, combining our efforts and creating a value-added website presence at a soon-to-be-announced web location. Initially, our goal will be to provide b2evo-specific add-on features, tutorials and plug-ins. Many of these features will be free, in the spirit of Open Source software, but because we both hope to continue full-time development, we'll be accepting donations, offering site subscriptions, and taking on website consulting work. And we're planning on extending support, articles and features beyond b2evolution, covering such diverse topics as CSS, XHTML, site maintenance, design and a number of other open source applications.

Pooling our efforts should result in more popular and well-documented plug-ins and features for the b2evolution blogging community at large. We want to promote a savvy, active and strong b2evo community, raising the bar, across the board. Both as a tribute and acknowledgement, we'll be donating 10% of our gross to (or to whichever open source application we've earned money from).

To start, it will be the two of us, but we're interested in adding to the team and we're looking for dynamic, prolific, well-organized, enthusiastic contributors that can add value to our services. If you're interested, please drop us a line.

We're excited by our joint venture and hope that you will be too. By combining talents, one with 20+ years in programming and developemnt and the other with a similar experience in user support and technical computing, we hope to offer superior enhancements which are easily deployed and well documented.

With a major version release on the horizon (i.e., "Phoenix"), our efforts are timely. We can increase the adoption rate, provide sought-after features and in the process, strenghten the b2evo blogging community. We're both active on the b2evo forums and will remain so. Our individual blogs will continue to be a source of information, but will likely direct you to the new website for detail and downloads. Our goal isn't to make a financial "killing", but we do hope that there's enough monetary support to justify a full-time effort.

Make a list of your desired enhancement requests and features, because we'll be looking to you to help set our direction. What would YOU like to do with b2evolution that you can't do now?

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Updated: 6-Feb-2006
Web View Count: 5299 viewsLast Web Update: 6-Feb-2006
Filed in:Noteworthy

International Appalachian Trail

October 22nd, 2005  · stk

Mt. Katahdin to the tip of Gaspé Penninsula

For many thru-hikers on the AT, the trail ends atop Maine's Mt. Katahdin. No longer. Now thru-hikers can elect to continue north, following the IAT to the true geographical conclusion of the Appalachian mountain chain, at Cap Gaspé, where they dive into the Atlantic ocean.

The trail is only a few years old. Not all of the land has been acquired, so there remain sections of the trail that follow roads, rather than a wilderness track. Still, the scenery is amazing and while walking along the northern shore of the Gaspé Penninsula, one can spot Killer Whale, Seals and other marine life.

We have a "dream list" of adventures that we'd like to do. We've done one long hike, the PCT, in 2002, from Mexico to Canada. Perhaps, one day, we'll do the AT as well. (If not the whole thing, then maybe the northern portion, including the IAT - which appears to be a very intriguing addition to the AT.)

More information on the IAT:

SIA-IAT Website - Good slide shows, history and description of the trail sections.

IAT Organization - Trail history, maps, membership & official trail association.

Budder Ball and Zokwakii's 2003 IAT Journal - After hiking the AT in 2002, these two thru-hikers turned their sights to the IAT in 2003.

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Updated: 26-Feb-2006
Web View Count: 28735 viewsLast Web Update: 26-Feb-2006