Friday, July 31, 2009

Weather's more moderate today...

This is the forecast from The Weather Network for the next several days, and for more details please click here.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Another hot one...

This was taken at 9:17 PM, and the temperature is still 31 C on the balcony...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How hot is it today?

Taken just after 6 PM.

A flashback to Saturday evening....

This was a sunset during a thunderstorm Saturday evening, and it was spectacular.

There's some added comments under "More Windows 7" below, if you're following all that...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Another new roof coming soon...

The hammering caught my attention, so I took a picture of it. It's over in the next block.
When you're above the trees, it's amazing how sound carries.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

More Windows 7 for Monsieur Beep and others...

Starting with the bottom screenshot, here's the page that tells about the free upgrade for buyers of a new PC between now and October 22, when Windows 7 goes retail.

In the top screenshot, I tried to show how the Windows 7 taskbar displays little icons, and what happens if you mouse-over one of them. If you look in the taskbar, you'll see an icon of a camera, which is my own icon for the program PhotoStudio. Immediately above that, you will see a small thumbnail view of its program. Clicking on that thumbnail view will enlarge it to the full window. I don't know if that's quite what happens on a Mac, but it's probably something close to it. The point I was trying to make the other day is that these various operating systems are gradually progressing toward a 'universal operating system' which will have the best features of its predecessors. And that wouldn't be a bad thing.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tonight's moon

Our weatherman hasn't looked outside....

The forecast for the next several days calls for sunny and warm, but here's a look at it a few minutes ago. This is some kind of marine layer that moves in to cover the coast sometimes, and this is one of those times. Instead of hot and sunny, it's cloudy and cool.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Windows 7 goes to manufacturing....

At a company get-together in Atlanta yesterday, the boss signed a gold DVD of Windows 7 to signify that it's now ready to send out to the manufacturers to be installed on PCs and copied onto DVDs for retail sales.

The final version is build 7600, although there's very few changes between that and this RC version, build 7100, I'm told. Actually, after the first couple of months of the beta, back in January and February, when we were sending in feedback regularly on little problems, there really hasn't been much to complain about at all. We were cautioned not to use that beta on our everyday regular PCs, but most of us ignored that advice, and have been using Windows 7 now ever since last January as our first choice for an operating system. My other PC has XP on it, and I found myself neglecting that for days at a time - only turning it on to update its security.

I've seen reports from self-styled experts which are critical of Windows 7 because to change from XP will require a clean install, rather than an upgrade which preserves your data and programs. There's a reason for that - not all the suppliers of the programs which have worked on XP have updated those for smooth operation on Windows 7. Many do work on Windows 7, but some do not. The fuss over whether to make the change seems rather pointless to me, because you can't fight progress, and sooner or later, XP is going to be taken off life support, and that will be that.

Windows 7, ever since the beta, has been faster than either Vista or XP, and it is also much easier to use than Vista, and more convenient than XP. The ten million of us who have been testing it and enjoying the experience already know these things. It's the rest of you who need to discover all this for yourselves. Windows 7 is the best Windows yet, and once you spend a while using it, you likely won't find yourself wishing you had XP or Vista - trust me.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Today's bike ride...

Another nice afternoon at the park, and on the way back, a Belted Kingfisher on a wire.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Who says it never gets hot in Vancouver?

A picture is worth a thousand words....

Caught while passing....

Every day, many aircraft fly over on their way east, but most are too high for good photos. This one was within range as it passed by.

In today's Globe and Mail, there's an article 'Too much faith in mass screening' by my favourite columnist, Margaret Wente, and you can find it here if you'd like to read it. If you're wondering about all those medical tests, maybe you should see this.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Closer to home....

Some flowers across the street beside a very expensive back porch which was under construction for about a year. There's a tall hedge all around that back yard, so nobody can see these final results. And about the only time I ever notice anyone out there is when they are working on the flower beds or cutting the little patch of grass.

Moving along here, I got a new DVD player a couple of days ago. The moral of that story is that you shouldn't drop one of those on the floor while re-arranging the furniture. I had a nice almost-new one that got dropped, and afterward, all its images were constantly jiggling and jittering up and down on the screen. Obviously damaged the laser system.

The good news is, this latest new one works fine, and last night I watch three movies before finally nodding off. If nothing else, it resulted in a better class of nightmares than I've been having lately. I won't go into a big rant about people who get rich and famous pretending to be people they aren't. That's for another time, perhaps.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Zoom or no zoom...

Photo #1 - The upper terminal of the Grouse Mountain Skyride at full zoom.
Photo #2 - An A-frame chalet almost hidden by the trees, also at full zoom.
Photo #3 - The general area, without using the zoom, with arrows pointing to the locations of the first two photos.

Another nice day

This is a bit fuzzy because it's at high zoom, and the subject is about 4 Km away... but it did turn out anyway.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Today's weather report....

Enjoy your day, Everyone.

Friday, July 17, 2009

More about DVD image captures....

Does the method described below work on commercial DVDs like movies? Here's the short answer...

This, in case you don't recognize it, is from 'Spaceballs', just to show you it works.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Another Windows 7 discovery....

Lately, I've been surfing the web for something I didn't need to look for - a way to capture individual images from a video DVD slideshow playing in full screen on the monitor.

In Windows Media Player, the usual directions say to do this, you use hotkeys CTRL + i for "image" presumably. Sorry, but it doesn't work. The thing that works is something we were told would not work - simply hit the PrtScrn key to the right of F12. Doing this will capture an image which you can then view and modify and save using a photo editing program like Paint, or more recently Paint.NET, or others like PhotoStudio 5.5 ( my choice).

Hitting the Print Screen key works with the slideshow either running or paused, but if you do it while running, you need to pick an instant while an image you want is being displayed, naturally. This all seems simple enough, but I mention it because up until this latest Windows 7, the usual solution to grabbing images from a Video or Video Slideshow involved buying a special video capture program like Snag-it, for serious money. Now, we can do the whole thing with the stuff that's already in Windows 7. And if you need a photo editing program, Paint.NET is freeware, and works very well. There's a link on the right.

Lastly, here's another photo from yesterday at the beach.....

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Today at the beach...

It was another lovely afternoon at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver.

A little more about the computer...

Yesterday, I noticed that the oldest of my two computers was getting a bit sluggish during the starting up cycle, and didn't seem too healthy. I also have been thinking of a backup for both of them.

So I went to the nearby London Drugs, for a chat with the experts about that, and came home with an external hard-drive made by Seagate, 500 GB, which plugs into a power source and into a USB port. It can do automatic once-a-day backups, or you can do them manually whenever you wish. You can also use it on more than one computer. This model isn't the one that is advertised as portable, but the price is cheaper than those, and it's almost the same size anyway - so you could take it with you if you wished. It has its own built-in programs and doesn't need a setup disc to get started.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Boy, 3, floats 12 Km down Peace River on toy truck

You can read the article here about this little boy who doesn't know how lucky he is.
This is one of our province's major rivers, and is both swift and cold.

The above image is taken from Google Earth, and shows the place where the little boy began his trip down the river. The river is flowing away from the viewer, toward the distant horizon. The bridge in this photo is the bridge at Taylor, B.C., on the Alaska Highway.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sitting in the sun...

Looking toward Point Grey and University of British Columbia, from Ambleside Park in West Vancouver.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Don't know what this is, but it looks nice...

There's a patch of it in the park, beside the newly-paved bike path.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Yes, they swim at Ambleside Park...

On nice warm days like today, this is a very popular spot to see and be seen.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The WAC Bennett Dam, from the other end...

Most pictures of this are taken from the far end, where the main road comes into it, and where the switchyard and powerhouse access is located. Thanks to the new features of Google Earth, we can 'fly' over it, and view it from other directions. This is looking down at it from a northwesterly position, at an altitude of about 10,000 feet. Once upon a time, many years ago, I worked there. When this was first built, it was one of the 25 largest dams in the world, and it still puts out a lot of power. Using this view we get a better impression of why its original name was Portage Mountain. The mountain is just beyond it.

Today's bike ride...

Top: Flowers in the little park with the floral clock in West Vancouver. The clock itself is getting a make-over, so it isn't much to look at just now, but the flowers around it are.

Bottom: At another waterfront park in West Van, I took two photos of the bridge, and then spliced them together. It came out not too badly. Click inside it to enlarge it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Whistler-Blackcomb in 3D on Google Earth...

This is a view from the northwest, with Blackcomb on the left and Whistler on the right. The highway to and from Vancouver enters the village on the right, and these two peaks are now joined by a peak-to-peak gondola system.

Latest news from Google....

If Google does its usual great work, this ought to be an interesting development, and I hope that they make it compatible with Windows 7 and also the excellent 3rd-party software and open source that's already out there. My idea of the ideal operating system is one that can accept and run whatever I'd like to use on it, including programs from many different sources. I realize that is not always possible, but it is something to aim for.

I love Google's Blogger, as you can tell, and I also love Google Earth and Picasa. These are very well-made and thoughtfully-designed programs, and I look forward to seeing how this new O/S performs. Perhaps, it might be made to work on older computers which might not have enough under the hood to run some of these newer ones, and that would also be a nice idea.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More with Google Earth - closer to home...

This latest Google Earth is really something. As you see, it creates some great images.

This one illustrates what I'm pointing the camera toward whenever I take pictures aimed at our north shore mountains here. I've added a few labels for various areas of it. For a bigger picture, please click inside this smaller one.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mentioned in recent comments....

The Go-cart track mentioned by Monsieur Beep in recent comments. Lots of fun!

Today's bike ride was rained out...

Not a nice day for riding a bike, unless you don't mind getting wet. But this is what keeps our west coast rainforest green, and our air nice and fresh.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Gran Canaria: A closer look....

My thanks to Google Earth and Monsieur Beep for this little visit to Bahia Feliz on Gran Canaria. It looks like a great vacation spot. Just don't overshoot that runway at the Aero Club, unless you are a good swimmer.

Gran Canaria....

Gran Canaria on Google Earth. I didn't zoom in on it, because I was trying to fit it all into one image. But if you have Google Earth then you can.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

For Monsieur Beep in Germany....

When I said the tall timber is just minutes away, I wasn't kidding. Here are a couple of shots of the hiking trail that runs along the river toward a dam on Capilano Lake, about three Km from here. The top two are where the trail narrows down and gets a bit rough, and the bottom is of some wild Foxgloves growing beside the path. You might not suspect that you are in a park on the edge of Canada's third largest city.

More pictures while biking today

Top: An outdoor art exhibit at The Gallery, in West Vancouver.
Middle: The Gallery building, where that art exhibit is, out of the photo on the left.
Bottom: Park Royal South area, from the ramp on the north end of Lions Gate Bridge.

After already riding my daily five miles, I didn't have the energy to go over the bridge. That long gradual uphill climb to its high point near the middle is a real killer when you're 76.

Friday, July 3, 2009

A couple of pictures from today's bike ride...

From the top: Student sailors at Ambleside; Flowers beside The Gallery in West Vancouver; A native 'dugout' canoe just after launching from the boat ramp.