Category Archives: Canada

Week 1

This week the CBC sent most of its employees who could reasonably work remotely home. It came fairly suddenly on Monday shortly after the federal government announced it’s formal recommendation, formalizing something that was starting to happen organically in various parts of the organization late last week.

The Data Centres team routinely is required to connect to systems remotely to deal with support requests and other operational needs off hours, so for us this is a lot less disruptive than it might be for a journalist or somebody whose primary job function requires a lot of face-to-face meetings. It’s still a strange experience. I’ve had jobs in the past where I often chose to work from home, but since I’ve been a member of the Data Centres team, I’ve generally only been working remotely when I’ve been sick or had an appointment or delivery that I needed to be at home for. This is a big adjustment. Not only is it less than ideal to not have my primary workstation setup, I’ve also been thrust into coordinating team meetings and other collaborative activities via telework tools that we don’t have a lot of experience with as a team, and with almost no warning.

The positive side of things is that everybody’s been pretty helpful and seems to be doing their best to adjust to the new circumstances, under the conditions there’s not much more I could ask for in this respect. We’re all in this together, and it could be a long haul depending on how things go and how seriously Canadians decide to take our guidance with respect to social distancing — a term we didn’t know a few weeks ago.

I’m going to make an effort to log the experience here. Even if this has been a very busy week that has left little time to dwell on the situation, I’m sure that once things settle in I’m going to have a lot of time to think about things, so this is as good an outlet as any. Might as well make lemonade out of this and try to do some non-work related writing, something that I’ve been doing much less of in the past several years.

It’s my birthday tomorrow, this is likely one that I won’t forget!

Social Distancing HOWTO

Toronto is now is an early stage of a pretty strange situation that none of us have probably ever faced before. I’ve been working from home for the past two days now and I’ve been trying to figure out just what the rules are.

The good news is that it turns out that not only are you allowed to go outdoors, at least for the time being, the official medical advice is to do so for your own health. Just try to avoid close contact with other people. So with that in mind I thought I’d share this useful guide that the City of Toronto has put together for people trying to navigate the current confusion.

COVID-19: Practicing Social Distancing

COVID-19 Information and Resources

A few people who know I like to read have asked me questions related to the current coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), but I’m just some dude on the Internet and I’m not qualified to give any kind of advice. Here are some of the reputable online information sources I’m aware of on the topic.

If you believe you may have come in contact with the 2019 novel coronavirus and are feeling ill, the Ontario Ministry of Health has published an online self-assessment page to help you determine what to do while reducing the stress on the health care system.

I will update this page from time to time if I come across additional useful information.

Most recently updated on March 18, 2020.

Public Health Agency of Canada

Canadian Regional Information

International Public Health Agencies

Asking all Canadians to vote on October 21, 2019

At the best of times politics can be complicated and there are a lot of reasons to avoid its discussion online these days!

The 43rd Canadian general election will be held on Monday, October 21, 2019. Elections Canada has a very good website dedicated to information on a variety of topics including how to ensure you are registered to vote, what sort of ID is required, and how you can go about casting your ballot.

Frustration with Ottawa’s seeming inability to govern in a unifying manner and the divisive nature of modern politics leads to at lot of less than ideal outcomes. This situation has had the effect of pushing people away from the process instead of engaging the public with the issues that face us in the 21st century. I’ve always felt that one of Canada’s strengths is that collectively we are pretty reasonable people even when the political class and populist politicians engage in pointless and self-serving grand standing. Broad public participation is one form of insurance that our representatives in Ottawa remain engaged in the hard work and compromise required to maintain peace, order, and good government in the immense country, of not insignificant complexity, that is our inheritance and charge.

With this view I ask that you consider voting on October 21st.

Sincerely,
Gabriel

The End of the Arctic

It’s a somewhat breathless title, but I understand why the producers chose it since we are all unwitting witnesses to the end of a lot of cultural practices and the quite sudden destruction of an ecosystem that humans have been living on for thousands of years.

I’m not going to opine on the particulars since this is a set of issues that I’m just learning more about myself.  I think it would be a good thing if a lot more Canadians in the South watched this video.  It’s put together by the guys who run the AsapSCIENCE channel, though they’ve chosen to keep this video separate from their primary content which is a general science education channel and doesn’t usually delve into political issues.

It’s essentially about climate change and how it’s already beginning to seriously impact Inuit people, which most Canadians should already be aware are one of the most marginalized and most poorly served communities in the entire country.  It has been produced in collaboration with Greenpeace, but don’t let that scare you off, if they did have a say in the production it was a very light touch and regardless of the conclusions or the call to action, the video itself helps to build more knowledge on the topic.

The short documentary is a deep background to a video featuring Bill Nye on as part of their normal science topics discussing Arctic ice melting as it relates to climate change and changes in the Arctic Ocean basin.  It’s also a good watch.

If you’re interested in signing the petition mentioned in the documentary it can be found on the Greenpeace website here.

Sometimes I Love My Job

It can be tedious working for a crown corp and the CBC certainly has its moments, just like any other job, but then there are things like this that you just don’t get to see anywhere else.

It’s pretty strange to be at a point in your life where pop heroes from your childhood are now being retread as kids entertainers of your middle age.  But it was still pretty neat to see the parents almost as excited as the kids!

Sorry for the bad quality, I didn’t expect to see Maestro, let alone be taking video of Let Your Backbone Slide so I wasn’t exactly prepared.

100Mbps Internet Service

So for the first time at home I have what until relatively recently would have been viewed as LAN speed for my Internet service, and with an unlimited, and reasonably managed bandwidth policy.  I’m not an abusively high user, I’ve almost always stuck inside my current cap on my DSL service, but I do appreciate that a good service provider should manage their networks during extreme congestion.

My experience with Teksavvy has been positive enough over the years, I’ve been a customer since 2006, and I’ve only ever had one provider that was better and this was back in the .com bubble days when Ottawa was crawling with technically savvy and responsive providers!  So I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt that they will not do anything naughty with their traffic shaping policies.   Continue reading

Because it’s 2015

There are a lot of symbolic things that Trudeau and his new government have done today, especially when it comes to telegraphing that they will be serious about issues which have faced aboriginal Canadians.  But the best soundbite of this morning’s ceremonies was his answer to the question of why the cabinet should be comprised of 50% women and 50% men.

“Because it’s 2015.”

I’m fairly realistic, I don’t expect this new government to be that dramatically different from other Liberal governments in the past, but it is pleasant to see them bowing to reality and facts for a change.  The fact that women are underrepresented in leadership positions is something that was within their power to address at the top level so it is refreshing to see some action.