Illegal cross-border pesticides


Why is your lawn brown and patchy while your neighbour’s is lush and dandelion-free? Well, you can’t buy pesticides legally in Quebec anymore — but you can still get them in Ontario . Hardware stores across the border say Quebecers are buying up pesticides like Killex and Grub-B-Gon by the cartload. Some people are reportedly stocking up for several years worth of the stuff. The Quebec Environment Department isn’t all that bothered, though. It considers cross-border pesticide shopping a marginal phenomenon.
Heard on CJAD 800 in Montreal on 31 July 2006

Are people that desperate to get a “perfect lawn” that they need to do this? My lawn is not perfect, not a pristine dandelion-free expanse of beautiful grass (as my neighbours will attest,) but it’s usually kept pretty neat. It gets mowed every week. Dandelions seem to have two growing seasons: late spring/early summer and then again late summer. If you just make sure you mow them down and try to keep your lawn as healthy as possible with fertilizer, which really does work, then you should be fine.

Published in: on July 31, 2006 at 1:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Video of my son playing hockey last winter

Published in: on July 30, 2006 at 3:38 am  Leave a Comment  

Blog visitor etiquette

This was originally posted on my Vox test blog, but I like it so much, I’m copying it here.

If you find something you like on this blog, or something you find useful, please leave me a comment. Even if it’s just to say “Hi, thanks for the info” or “Hi, you’re an idiot.

Now that I’m doing some blogging myself, I realize that it’s just common courtesy to say thanks, or just say you were here when you get something out of a blog you visited. I think it’s especially important if the blog you’re visiting has no comments or relatively few comments. By commenting, you are encouraging the blogger to continue. You are letting them know that someone is in fact reading what they have to say. After all, isn’t that why we’re all doing this.

I am guilty of not leaving comments as much as the next person for several reasons:

  • I can’t be bothered/don’t have the time
  • I don’t think I have anything interesting to say or to add to the discussion already underway
  • I don’t want to have to make the blogger deal with extra text on his/her page.

Yeah, I know that last one is a bit dumb, but I have always felt I was bothering the person if I left them a comment. Now I realize that comments are the lifeblood of blogging. It’s the reason we blog, for others to read and discuss.

I, for one, plan to leave a comment on every blog I find interesting, or get something out of. I read a lot of blogs on web design that have tutorials; tutorials that people have put a lot of work into. They deserve some feedback if their tutorials are being used. The 3 or 4 minutes it takes to leave a quick comment, is much better than having to pay for the information.

So, dammit, I expect to see some comments here, pronto!

Published in: on July 25, 2006 at 6:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Review: Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook

Web Standards Solutions:
The Markup and Style Handbook
by Dan Cederholm

I finished this a few weeks ago, sorry it took so long for a review.

Overall, I really enjoyed it. It was written well. Very easy to read and very clear explanations about everything he discussed. I would recommend it to anyone who has an excellent knowledge of HTML and XHTML and who has used CSS a little.
I learned a lot from this book.
Essentially, Dan Cederholm takes real world problems and shows you several ways to solve them.
I have two negative comments, but I want to make clear that overall this book was excellent!
Negative comments

  • The example images were in black and white, but he ocasionally referred to colors. Of course, it wasn’t hard to figure out what he was talking about, but it was a little annoying.
  • I found some of the examples were just a little simplistic and sometimes it seemed he was grasping, so that he could have several examples to fill a chapter. In chapter 1 “lists” for example, he said there were several ways to create a list using HTML including this:

apples <br />
spaghetti <br />
green beans <br />
milk <br />

and this

<li>apples <br />
<li>spaghetti <br />
<li>green beans <br />
<li> milk <br />

I’ve never seen anyone use the second example. If I’m not mistaken, doesn’t a <li> usually cause a line break anyway. And why would anyone use the first, when there’s a perfectly good set of tags with the <ul>’s and <li>’s that would work just fine.

Although, now that I’m re-reading what I wrote, if you didn’t know any CSS, you’d be hard pressed if you didn’t want any bullets or indentation.

In any case, it’s a good read, with a few minor things I didn’t like. Those few minor things however did not take away from the enjoyment of the book and the things I learned from it.

I recommend it.

Published in: on July 25, 2006 at 6:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Vox is not ready for prime-time

I’ve been experimenting with the Vox blogging system and while it looks OK, there are two (so far) fundamental problems I’ve found.

  1. You can’t edit your post’s HTML directly
  2. Visitors must sign-in to post a comment

Item 2 is all the more problematic, when you realize that since Vox is in beta, it’s on an invite-only system, so users can’t just pop over to the sign-up page and signup. They have to be invited. It’s just dumb.

I think I’ll keep an eye on it for improvements, but I don’t think I’ll be using it as my regular blog.

Incidentally, I have 1 invite left. If you want to be invited to start a blog on Vox, leave me a comment and I’ll get it off to you right away.

Published in: on July 25, 2006 at 5:57 pm  Leave a Comment  


Sadly, I won’t be able to attend (or afford) this, but Paul Boag will be speaking and I wish I could go.

Published in: on July 25, 2006 at 1:33 am  Leave a Comment  

North Bay windstorm

Tree on house Uprooted tree

My family and I visited North Bay, Ontario for a few days this week. At about suppertime on July 17th (the evening before we arrived) there was an intense wind and rain storm. It uprooted trees and sent some toppling on houses. Some ofmy in-laws (that’s who we were visiting) said while driving through the storm and just afterwards, they had to swerve to avoid the fallen and falling trees. Here are some pictures of the damage and there are plenty more here on flickr. Here are some more pictures on Flickr, taken by kden604.
BTW: These pictures were taken on my cellphone (motorola ROKR E1) and my camera (Nikon Coolpix 2200)

Published in: on July 23, 2006 at 3:53 am  Leave a Comment  


I guess lots of people have heard of this before, but I haven’t: It’s stock photography at really, REALLY cheap prices. Like $1, $2, $3 dollars. No, there are no zeros after those numbers. I had only ever seen where the prices are $100 or more. This is really great and I want to spread the word. You can also sell your own photos there and do other things to earn credits for buying photos.

Published in: on July 18, 2006 at 2:47 am  Leave a Comment  

tinyMCE and iBrowser

I just managed to get tinyMCE and iBrowser to work nicely together. They should, after all, iBrowser is a plugin for tinyMCE. tinyMCE is a WYSIWYG editor for textareas. It essentially turns a textarea in a web form into something more like MS Word. The picture below is VOX’s WYSIWYG editor, but it gives you an idea of what I’m talking about.

TinyMCE-shotBuilding Error

Now, it wasn’t all that easy to get it working. tinyMCE worked fine, but integrating iBrowser was a little harder. For the longest time, after setting it up, I was able to open the iBrowser window through tinyMCE, but I kept getting the error “error building image list!” I did everything I was supposed to do in the configuration file, but I still got that error. Well, just for fun I tried to make a change and see what happened. Here’s what I changed:

$cfg[‘ilibs’] = array ( // image library path with slashes; absolute to root directory – please make sure that the directories have write permissions array

‘value’ => ‘/home/stuff/thingy/site/upload/’

‘text’ => ‘Site Pictures’, ) );

TO ..

$cfg[‘ilibs’] = array ( // image library path with slashes; absolute to root directory – please make sure that the directories have write permissions array


‘value’ => ‘/upload/’,

‘text’ => ‘Site Pictures’, ) );

(I’m having trouble formatting the code above. The only change between the two is the path from the long one above to the shorter one below. ie: what comes after ‘value’ =>)

I removed the whole path that I thought was required and left only the actual folder I wanted to upload the images to. I think iBrowser figures out the rest of the path somewhere else in the script.

Theory of Relativity

That solved the problem of “error building image list!” I was now able to upload and download images (or I assume, any other type of file as well.) But, now when I clicked submit on my form, my next page was receiving a strange img src. Instead of pointing where I wanted it, it was sending to some strange non-existant folder somewhere three levels deep from where I was. Something was wrong. I did a little more googling and found that I had to make a change in the <script> I used to call tinyMCE in my <head>.

Here’s my current <script>

<script language=”javascript” type=”text/javascript”>
mode : “textareas”,
plugins : “ibrowser”,
theme : “advanced”,
theme_advanced_buttons3_add : “ibrowser”,
relative_urls : false,
remove_script_host : false,
document_base_url : “<?php echo $path_to_root ?>”

The bolded items are the ones I had to add.

relative_urls : false,
remove_script_host : false,
document_base_url : “<?php echo $path_to_root ?>”

For document_base_url, just add your own base path, something like

That was it. It now works.

My only problem now is that my other form fields get a yellow highlight when they are in focus (in FF, since IE doesn’t support pseudo class :focus yet.) But the tinyMCE window does not highlight. Wonder if there’s any way to fix that, anyone????

This post has been crossposted on my other blog I’m testing out at Vox.

Published in: on July 18, 2006 at 12:34 am  Comments (1)  


I’m testing out a new blogging system called Vox.  I think I might move part of my blog there, and keep some here.  Vox is in the not-ready-for-prime-time phase, although it sure seems pretty darn good to me.  Check it out.

Published in: on July 17, 2006 at 11:40 pm  Leave a Comment