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Thursday, 24 June 2010

Goodbye Fedora Linux

Goodbye Fedora Linux

For the past five years, I have been a die-hard Linux Fedora fan. I have sung its praises to the highest mountains. Fedora has the ability to do anything “Windoze” (intentionally misspelt) could do, only better.

Fedora Linux does not get viruses, it does not need defraging, and best of all, it's completely free. Software was also free. No pirating, No blue screens of death, just pure computing bliss. Linux did not even see the fancy copyrighting on CD's and ripped them to my personal library with ease.

I didn't mind having to play around and get mp3's to play. I loved the freedom of having most of the software I ever wanted at my fingertips. Most software.

Fedora was my best friend. I could run command lines like nothing else after just a few months. It was significantly faster than “Windoze” as well. It used less resources and makes even older machines run faster than they ever did brand new.

That is, of course until you needed something extra to work. Try to make your iPod work with Fedora Linux and you have a days work ahead of you. Visiting forums, running command lines, and ripping out your hair trying to get it to work.

Recently, I decided to take my writing career more seriously and wanted to be able to write in the peace of the outdoors. I wanted to be able to muse over past adventures and mishaps in the peace and quiet of the woods. I wanted to be able to use my computer anywhere and upload new stories, photos and chat with friends on Yahoo Messenger.

The simple answer to this, of course was an Internet stick. This small USB device allows you to access the internet wherever you can use a mobile phone. The bandwidth in Canada is very limited, but it would work well for the little bit I would use it.

Visiting a local mobile carrier, I proudly announced that I run Fedora Linux on my laptop and needed an Internet stick which would work with it.

The clerk looked at me like I had two heads. He had not heard of Linux and had no idea what Internet stick he had which would work with it. Some research on the internet revealed the Novatech U998 would be a good match. I signed the contract and hit the road expecting to enjoy my new found freedom.

I spent seven days attempting to get the Internet Stick to work correctly with Fedora Linux. I checked all the online forums. I made phone calls to my local computer stores. They did not support Linux. Nothing seemed to work.

A decision had to be made. Do I return the Internet Stick before I am bound by a two year contract, or continue to fight the uphill battle with Fedora Linux?

A third option came to me. I could Install the copy of Windows 7 which came with my new laptop.

I felt torn. Like breaking up with your spouse. I needed something new and useable, but the old had been there for thick and thin for over five years.

Freedom overriding nostalgia, I decided to install Windows 7 on my laptop computer.

I was surprised how fast and easy the installation went. After installation was complete, I promptly “activated” my Windows 7 and was very surprised.

Without spending an afternoon searching internet forums, Windows 7 connected to my wireless home network. The USB internet stick worked flawlessly. I was even able to install all of my favourite cross-platform Linux programs. GIMP (like photoshop), OpenOffice (like Microsoft Office), and even Pidgin (like Yahoo Messenger) all worked flawlessly with Windows 7.

Sadly I have to expect viruses, product keys, messy hard drives, and dozens of other shortcomings which made me leave Windows in the first place. But in the end freedom won out.

Freedom to create, talk, and publish articles and content from virtually anywhere.

Fedora Linux Logo

I will miss you Fedora Linux.
AUTHORS NOTE: November 2010 brought the release of Fedora 13 Laughlin. I have since re-installed Fedora 13 on my HP laptop and the wifi networking is phenomenal. I certainly won't miss Windows 7!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Hikers Haven - Oakville Ontario

There are two kinds of stores that seem to manage to always take my money. Military Surplus stores and Outdoor Outfitters. Like a bug to a lamp, I find them irresistible. I will often go out of my way to visit one, no matter where they are located. The sad part is, I have never been able to make it away from one of these stores without spending at least $100.00.

On Sunday, June 6th, 2010 I was returning home to Niagara-on-the-Lake, from Toronto Ontario. I passed a large grey store with bright yellow letters just off of Trafalgar Road on the Queen Elizabeth Highway. Although I had passed the store many times before, today I was drawn in, and stopped to visit.

The store was a little tricky to find as it lay off a side road which faced the Queen Elizabeth Highway. Out front were a myriad of tents, kayaks, Muskoka Chairs, and other outdoor equipment. Various signs were posted in the window promoting high-end outdoor equipment such as Mountain Hard Wear, Brunton, and Keen outdoor footwear. It looked exciting.

The front door had posters and notes about outdoor hikes, clubs, and other social activities which were to take place in the outdoors. It made the store look like it cared about the community and supported it any way it could.

Entering through the front doors, you come face to face with the employees and check-out counter. The friendly staff immediately greeted me. They asked me if I was looking for anything in particular, and gave a glance at my bare feet.

I smiled and said I was just browsing, and proceeded to make my way through the shop. The store was packed. At first glance it looked hap-hazard. Closer inspection reveals that the store was full of just about everything you need for the outdoors. A box of bandannas which ranged in colour from blazed orange to Jolly Rodger (Yarr!) sat beside a box of spare parts for backpacks containing clips, pull strings, and just about everything else that would break on a pack.

Heading deeper into the equipment jungle there were all types of lamps from the highest quality manufacturers like Sure-Fire and Petzl. There was a large water bottle wall which stocked every size, make, and shape of water bottle imaginable. The friendly staff said that all their selections were BPA free. Beside that a good sized section of equipment for the rock climbing enthusiast. Harnesses, uncomfortable looking shoes, carbiners, and chalk bags galore.

There was a large quantity of high end sleeping bags, sleep mats, tents, poles, and every other piece of equipment you could ever want. Not all stores carry the higher end manufacturers like Mountain Hard Wear and Ex-Officio. Hikers Haven does.

An unusual feature the store offered was an “international travel” section going under the guise of “Europe Bound”. Here I was excited to find power inverters, theft proof purses for women made of kevlar, and a range of other products designed for travellers. There were even special attachments for your backpack to attach it to a pole outside and visit a store without being a “bull in a China shop” when backpacking through urban areas.

For pet lovers, Hikers Haven carries a large selection of dog gear. Backpacks, Collapsible bowls, and even canine life jackets.

I entered the outdoor shoe section to be sized up by one of the polite and knowledgeable employees who suggested I try on a pair of their newest “barefoot shoes” known as Vibram five fingers. Hikers Haven carried a large amount of outdoor shoes from popular brand names like Asolo, Keen, Teva, and Vibram.

A large section of the shop is dedicated to outdoor clothing. Huge racks containing clothing from a wide variety of manufacturers such as Mountain Hard Wear, Misty Mountain (official outfitter of Scouts Canada) and Ex-Officio. There were few things you couldn't purchase here.

There was an archway which led to a newer section of the building which housed every kind of canoe, kayak, and human-powered watercraft you could need. The staff in this section were also very helpful and knowledgeable.

I purchased the Vibram fivefingers (which I will most likely rarely wear) and a few other small items including a blaze orange bandanna for my Husky Luka and left the store.

The friendly, knowledgeable and helpful staff made shopping at Hikers Haven a pleasure. If you are in the area, I would recommend stopping by.

After my visit, I sent a thank-you note to Lisa R, the store manager letting her know how much I enjoyed the experience. She kindly responded and advised me she was happy to accommodate my needs and I was welcome to visit her store anytime.

Hikers Haven

Hikers Haven is located at

166 South Service Rd E
Oakville, Ontario

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Frontenac Provincial Park Trip

At the end of May, I was lucky enough to be able to visit a rare and precious gem of Ontairo - Frontenac Provincial Park. The park is has many different types of terrain to offer and has a lot of history including old homesteads and abandoned mines.

The story can be found here

Dragonfly at Frontenac Park