Powder Room Reno

Tiles in

Tiles in
Originally uploaded by Ken Dyck.

We’re renovating our powder room. You can follow our progress on this Flickr photoset.

Update (2006-11-06): Added some photos of the grout job, painted ceiling and patched drywall. Check out the photoset.

Update (2006-11-23): Almost done now. The vanity is installed. Trim and accessories, too. More photos in the photoset.

Portrait #2: Smirking Girl

Smirking Girl

Smirking Girl

Originally uploaded by Ken Dyck.
Here’s my second portrait.

This one is based on this photo by bauvana.

It was meant to give me practice drawing straight hair.

I need more practice.

I’m happy with how the eyes and nose turned out. Even the lips turned out better than I was expecting.

Maybe I’ll get the hair right on the next one.

My Favouite Things: Mozy online backups

Mozy logo

Before I found Mozy, I was a bit of a slacker when it comes to backing up my files. I knew that the only way to protect them against a hard drive failure, or some greater catastrophe, was to back them up regularly and store the back-ups in another place, but it was such a pain — searching through all my directories, zipping them up, burning them to a CD — that I only mustered the will to do it about once a month, if that.

Then I found Mozy. It’s a free online service that gives you 2GB of storage space to back up your most important files (there’s a for-pay service available, too, if you need more space). You just install their client application, pick which directories you’d like to have backed up, then click a button to make it go. You can back up as often as you’d like, and if you go without for a week, the client warns you that it’s time to press the button again.

After the first back up, which can take a while, the time it takes to do subsequent backups is fairly quick because the client is smart enough to only transfer files that have changed since the last back up.

Mozy sure beats burning your own back-ups. Highly recommended.

Doing something about breast cancer

My step-mother-in-law is a breast cancer survivor.

A friend of mine wasn’t so lucky. She lost her fight with the disease a few years ago.

None of the other important women in my life — my wife, mother, sister, mother-in-law, or sister-in-law — have ever been diagnosed, but statistically speaking the probability that one of them, or somebody else I care about, will be is quite high.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society breast cancer statistics page, one in nine women is diagnosed in her lifetime. One in 27 dies of it.

That sucks.

Let’s do something about it.

I’ll tell you what… I’ll walk 60km if you make a donation to the Princess Margaret Hospital.


KW Symphony facing bancruptcy

The chair of the board of the our local symphony orchestra, the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony, claims that the organization is on the brink of bankruptcy. If the group doesn’t raise $2.5 million by the end of the month, they will likely disband.

Larry wrote that this stinks of mismanagement. If it’s true, I’d have to agree. You don’t just wake up one moring and realize that you’re several million dollars over-budget.
Larry also sees it as political grandstanding; a ploy to get local governments to bail them out. This is definitely a possibility, but I also wonder whether they might already have a private sponsor lined up to play the hero at the last minute.
Regardless, I made a small donation to the orchestra when I heard about the news, mostly because I’d already been meaning to make a donation for quite a while. Although I don’t attend very often, I like to know that I have the option to take in some classics when the mood strikes without having to drive all the way out to Toronto. It’d be a real shame to lose our local orchestra.
Anyways, if you feel the same, you can make a donation by the phone: 519-745-4711.

Advice for early morning bicyclists

If you insist on illegally riding on the sidewalk along wide poorly-lit roads on dark rainy mornings in dark clothing, ride on the right side of the road so us drivers have at least a chance of seeing you before entering the intersection that you are barrelling through.

Inkling fun

Inkling Markets Logo

I’ve been having some fun lately with Inkling. It is a site that hosts prediction markets, the kind that James Surowiecki writes about in The Wisdom of Crowds.

Prediction markets, for those of you who haven’t heard of them before, are like stock markets but instead of trading in shares of a company they trade in shares of possible outcomes of current events. So, for example, I’m invested heavily in the market tracking the Canadian Liberal Leadership Race.

The cool thing about Inkling is that you can create your own markets. I’ve set one up to predict the winner of Survivor: Cook Islands, for example. (Somehow the market I set up to determine how many roads a man must take before you call him a man was rejected).

All the trading is done in an imaginary currency called inkles (whose symbol, by the way, remarkably resembles that of the dollar) so you don’t have to risk any real money to participate. It’s all for fun… or bragging rights… or predicting the future… or something.

Anyways, if you’d like to have some fun guessing who will win Survivor, I invite you to sign up with Inkling and place some bets.

My Favourite Things: GFX Password Generator Bookmarklet

Everybody knows that to be really safe, you should use a different password for every web service that you use. When you use the same password for every account, you risk having all your accounts compromised if any one of them is. But who can be bothered to remember all the different passwords that you’d need?

This is the problem that GFX Monk’s Password Generator Bookmarklet solves. With it, you only need to remember one master password. Based on that master password, it generates a unique one for every account that you hold.

It’s dead simple to use. After you have dragged it to your bookmark bar, you just click on it whenever you hit a login page. Up pops up a frame that will prompt you for your master password. When you hit enter, it automatically fills the password field of the page with your unique password.

You obviously need to change the password for your accounts first so they will recognize the generated ones. That’s just as easy. Just click on the generator when you are on the change-password form.

This is a great little tool that I use every day. I don’t know how I’d get by on the web without it.