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Twenty-Four Thousand Four Hundred And Fifty-Five

This is not a random number, it is a big one, but not random. I woke up on the morning of September 2nd, 2016 full of energy and excited as hell. I was about to embark on the most epic trip to date. I thought to myself this is one trip that I will never forget. I remember it was a sunny day. I got up early and walked to McAllister Place and caught the bus uptown to start the day off by doing the same thing I have done for almost 3 years of Saturdays, I went to Billy’s Seafood for breakfast. I remember that I had my favourite menu item the Smoked Salmon Omelette and lots of coffee. Billy’s I always tell people is like dinner theatre the staff especially Billy the owner are a hoot.

For most people, they would have already done the packing rather than go out for breakfast, but that is not my style. After breakfast, I went home and had 90 minutes to get ready for 28 days of travelling. So at this point, you would think I would pack right? Nope! I shaved and took a shower (for 60 minutes.) After 20 minutes of running around to not forget anything, I have my bag packed! Then to weigh it 33kg. Repack 28kg. Repack 27kg. Repack 25kg. Repack 24kg. Repack 26kg!!!! Repack 23kg (cue fireworks!)

I then called a Simonds Taxi and to the airport, I was off! I arrived an hour early for my flight checked in and relaxed there was no turning back. As the plane arrived, I took lots of close photos and emailed them to myself. You never know when and air accident investigator will need them. This was part of the feeling of impending doom that was in the back of my mind from my mother begging me not to go.

I got on the plane and it was a rather unremarkable journey to Montreal. Once at Montreal’s Trudeau International, I went to find my gate, and then to find Starbucks for coffee.

I then got on my flight to London’s Heathrow airport. On the flight, I ordered the beef meal. That was a mistake, the bean salad is to die for, as in your will die. I spent the whole night with the worst gas since the last time I had the bean salad in 2013 on the same flight. It was the overnight flight but I got very little sleep.

We land in London and the first experience with “British Unholy Queueing” happened at the customs halls. This is where people use the seatbelt ropes, and keep changing them so you have no clue how long it is going to take and as you get close… nope, the line has changed again.

After I cleared the UK Border control, I went to the main lobby and picked up my Lebara SIM card so I didn’t pay the ridiculous rates Canadian cell phone companies charge. One of the perks of an unlocked phone.

Since I didn’t want to pay for luggage on my plane to Copenhagen, I decided to drop off my main suitcase at the Contiki basement. So I bought an Oyster Card and hopped on the tube.

“Please stand clear of the doors. Let customers off the train first please.”

“This is a Piccadilly Line service to Cockfosters” (giggle)

“The next stop is Russel Square. Alight Here for the British Museum, please mind the gap between the station and the platform.”

I got to the Contiki Basement and dropped my bag off and then wandered Camden, headed to St. Pancreas train station for lunch and then walked to Russel Square, Then to Green Park where I was a bit tired and had some time to kill so I slept for two hours and then walked by Buckingham Palace to Victoria Station and got on my “National Express” bus to London Luton airport. (That is nowhere near London) It is literally like calling the Fredericton Airport the (Saint John-Fredericton Airport) and assuming it was anywhere close to Saint John.

After a two-hour bus journey, I make it to Luton and the bus stops at the front door. The airport is smaller than a lot of big city airports and was very under construction everywhere. However, in typical British fashion, there was no problem everything was fine. I was really early and hungry and the airport check-in for my flight wasn’t open yet. I asked the RyanAir agent where the food places were and they ended up being on the other side of security. I looked really disappointed. However, the agent early checked me in and I was off to get food.

It seemed like forever that we waited in line and the line was long and was mixed with another flight going to a place I never heard of. I kind of thought I wanted to go there instead for a while. I turned out to be some place in Romania.

As I got on the plane, I once again took photos of the plane and emailed them to myself. This plane was like nothing I have ever flown in. The seats were very basic, no seat pockets, advertising on the bins, no leg room at all, and very friendly flight attendants. (Flight Attendants are always nice.) As we flew we had very bad turbulence and I was scared to death that this was where my mother was right and this was going to be the end, but we landed safely.

I got off the plane and got my passport stamped for country 24, Denmark. This was big as it was a while since I added Turks and Caicos on my quest for 40 countries by 40.

The Copenhagen airport was massive and it was late at night (10:30 pm) I walked to the subway station and then got on the train to my hostel, The Generator. On the train, there was a very drunk man that got on with his big bottle of hard liquor and was rambling in what I assume was Danish. It was heavy raining that night, and I was wet and tired, so after check-in, I went straight to bed.

The step-count on my fitness tracker … 24,455.

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Hands-on with Nokia’s PureView 808: “You shot that with a PHONE?!”

I was reading this article about Nokia’s newest phone that has an amazing camera. Beyond that the thing that caught me first was that it was running Symbian OS. Despite being on an iOS device for the last 4 years I still love some of the intricacies of Symbian.

The only real problem I have is that there are too many megapixels for the opening of the camera. Let’s face it a photon of light is only so small, and the pixels are smaller than a photon.  The second issue is the lack of optical zoom. If I am getting that much resolution I am going to want a zoom to replace my point and shoot camera.

Hands-on with Nokia’s PureView 808: “You shot that with a PHONE?!” | MobileSyrup.com.

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LED vs. LCD

This week I was looking into buying a new TV. I know for sure that I’m not looking at a plasma. When the sales representative was explaining the different TVs she started describing LED TVs as better TVs. This led to the question, isn’t a LED TV a LCD display. The answer I got was no it is better than a LCD, that it worked like a LED stop light that the LEDs change colour.

This is wrong! All LED TVs are LCD TVs but all LCD TVs are not LED TVs.

What is LCD? It is basically like the old fashion calculators, as an electric current hits a liquid crystal (the LC in LCD) it rotates the crystal changing the wave lengths to make a RGBK {Red, Green, Blue, and Black} (or in a few RGBYK {adds Yellow})  to the back light.

Then what’s the diff?

The difference is in the back-light. A TV referred to by the store as a LCD TV is in-fact a lit in the back by a fluorescent back-light. This back-light will last a ;long time but will eventually burn out.  This is similar to the monitor that you are likely reading this on, like a laptop or cell phone screen (most anyways).

The LED (Light Emitting Diode) is the light bulb used to light the LCD panel. Seems to simple eh? While it is, there are two main types of LED TVs edge lit and local dimming. With edge lit the LED Bulbs are around the edge of the display and light the display. Where local dimming has lots of smaller regions that can be dimmed on and off to give a better black.

A really good website that for further reading is LCD TV Buying Guide.

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Tethering on McGuinty TTC Cuts NB Power Deal Dead

Since I am in Toronto for WordCamp Toronto 2010 this weekend, I thought I would take this time to update my posts more often. I’m still deciding on my plans of what I’m going to do, but I started the day with some news. First, lets start with some amazing news from my cell phone provider Rogers Wireless. They are announcing something totally new for a phone company, that they actually listen to their customers.

This must be only the second time that they done something like this. Remember back to July 2008 a revolutionary (changes the way people think of phones) device came to Canada and Rogers after public protest created the $30 6GB data plan. While todays news is better according to the Rogers Blog all (non-roaming, non-shared, 1GB or greater or non-bundled with voice) smartphone data plans will include tethering in their usage as a permanent feature and not a promotion until May.

The second thing I wanted to talk about was not so much about that when the budget was released yesterday that the new TransitCity project to increase the LRT routes, and station renovations. But that it was hidden in the budget and not even mentioned. Come on people, with Toronto being the centre of the Canadian media universe, did they not know that it escalates the fact that you’re a sleaze ball for not helping progress Toronto like a modern city, but that you a bigger sleaze ball for not having the back bone to stand up in Ontario parliament and tell the people why. In addition, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is the biggest sleaze ball for taking publicity in all the public funding announcements that you are going to do this TransitCity project.

In the end, McGuinty is not as bad New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham that mis-managed the proposed sale of NB Power. The original deal was one that was of a huge mutual benefit to both New Brunswick and Quebec, then made changes to make the deal one that took away the benefits from both parties. Now the only thing left is the benefit of popularity gains to the Progressive Conservatives for going against a bad revised deal. However, they should not be forgiven for their opposition to the original deal.

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This Kid’s a Text Maniac – New York Post

THIS KID’S A TEXT MANIAC – New York Post.

Now I had seen this posted on Shocking News on Yahoo! News and tracked it back to this New York Post article. Now in my past experiences in the wireless industry leaves me seeing this as not a “shocker” I have personally dealt with accounts that the list of usage was so massive it was impossible to do anything. about 21,000 text messages in a month are about the max I have seen to date. But this article goes to those cases where people say with a teenager, “$10 for 2,500 message who would ever use that many?” remember this article.

Now in my personal usage I use 25-60 SMS messages a month, which is mostly to 2-3 people both yonger than I. and personally I only have a plan with 125 messages.

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Saint John Transit and Google Transit

I sent an e-mail to Saint John Transit offering a suggestion :

I recently read on CBC News the plans to incorporate an text messaging system which is great, however the currently the method of displaying the schedules in PDF remains unreadable by 90% of cellphones.
The new Google transit system works with most cellphones (minus the maps for some) and for people with GPS Enabled cellphones it can use the Google Transit to find the closest bus stops an times. Best of all it’s free.

And here is the responce from  Chris Campbell at Saint John Transit:

Good morning Mr. Frees-Melvin. The system we will be using is from a company called Grey Island. There will be an interface with Google Transit, but not immediately. You will be able to text a 5-7 digit code from any cell phone and we will be adding a 5 digit numerical code at every stop in the city. Text that 5 digit number specific to the stop and the next bus arrival time will be sent to your phone. This will be in real time, not scheduled time. We hope that in the future people with a PDA will be able to access this new site and see the bus on a map. Google transit will come on line later next year enabling trip planning. You will see details in the media in late January or early February.
 
Thanks you for your note.

Chris Campbell

This leaves promise in the future and I think a really good idea.

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I still need a new phone

Why do the cell phone companies make it so hard on you to find a phone that suits “you.” I have been on the hunt now for the predecessor to my Nokia 6620 that is now cloning in on a four-year old design of a phone. I wasn’t even lucky enough to have a battery covered by the recall since that is the main issue I am having with it.

My phone runs off of the S60 second generation Symbian OS, and I really like it, now if I could just find a GSM phone with the 3rd Gen. But nobody seems to offer the thing, sure some people play music on their phones but I have an iPod Nano so that is not really important to me, neither is cell phone gaming, but I like the option to install whatever programs I want as the Symbian OS has loads of programming that in most cases is higher quality than a lot of what you can get from the Java that most phones offer.

I also like that GSM is more secure as it never goes back to analog mode, and the ability to move my contacts from phone to phone easily on the SIM card, and the global nature of the GSM technology. So CDMA/1X-EVDO is not really an option.

Anyways that is my rant. I really like the Blackberry Pearl but a $35 data plan for 4MB is crazy.