May 2010

Meech to the Western Cabin

by alec on May 31, 2010

As part of our continuing effort to get ready for the family trip to the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail in BC, we set out yesterday morning on another trek through Gatineau Park.  This time it was from the Meech Lake side of the Eardley Escarpment, over the top along the old McCloskey Road (Trail #2) to the Western Cabin on the far side of the escarpment, followed by lunch, views, and the the journey back.  It was a total of 9.33 km walked, with approximately 200m of elevation gain, as you can see from the map and profile below.

Out of the parking lot, the trail rises steeply over the first kilometer.  Mountain bikers use this track, so you have to keep an eye out for cyclists hurtling around corners at top speed. As a result, the trail is wide and well groomed for cyclists, even if a bit steep.

Along the way, you cross small bridges over the numerous creeks and streams tumbling down the hills.  This one was at about the 500m mark, early on the initial ascent.

Just as we crested the escarpment, a little over 1 km into the trip, we spotted this young buck in the forest.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have my long lense with me, otherwise I would have been able to take a much closer shot.

The western cabin was our destination, at about the 4 km mark.  Here we ate lunch, and admired the incredible view across the Ottawa Valley to Dunrobin on the other side of the river. (Click to enlarge.)

There’s a fabulous bench along the escarpment side of the cabin where you can sit, watch the view, and admire the hawks circling above the cliffs looking for a meal.

The park was crawling with tent caterpillars too.  Not that I normally want to have much to do with them, but they do make a pretty photograph!

From the Western Cabin, we headed back up the trail to the ridge road (Trail #1), and then North to Trail 24 (the McDonald logging trail) to complete our loop back to the trail head.  The trip was just over 9.3km in length, and took us about 4 hours, including an hour stop for lunch at the Western Cabin.

Photographs taken with a Nikon D50 SLR, and stock 28:70 mm zoom lens, and edited with Photoshop Elements 7.0.  Maps courtesy of Garmin Topo and the Garmin GPSmap 60Cx GPS.

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iPhone 3G Calls With Skype 2.0
Image by Photo Giddy via Flickr

Sometimes you have to really shake your head at the quality of the commentary on the internet.  Fact: Skype has finally released a version of Skype for iPhone that supports calling over 3G networks.  Never mind the fly in the ointment that all the commentary is  stuck on – the fact that Skype wants to charge a “small fee” for you to use it on a 3G network.  Frankly, that’s noise.  People will pay for the ability to make a high quality Skype call on 3G, and not pay their carriers long distance termination charges in foreign markets.  So long as the fee is reasonable, nobody is going to object.

There’s no point in getting your knickers in a twist over the fee.  Skype needs to make money, like any other business, and the fact that they’re charging for this service is irrelevant to the larger story it represents.

So, what does this really mean?

  • The carriers, by permitting this use of Skype on their networks, are finally coming to grips with the fact that data is now more valuable than voice.  I wouldn’t care to speculate about whether or not the carriers will receive any of Skype’s small fee, but you can be darn sure they’re licking their chops over the data plans they’ll be selling.
  • Andy Abramson wrote last week that analyst firms are predicting mobile VoIP to overtake traditional telephone service. Mobile VoIP just got a huge shot in the arm. Any skepticism about that claim as been roundly dismissed today.
  • Skype’s SILK codec just gained dramatic credibility as it proliferates to millions of handsets.  This will put serious pressure on royalty bearing wideband codecs, as vendors will find Skype’s royalty free approach increasingly attractive.
  • When iPhone OS 4.0 finally ships, minute revenues for carriers may take an even greater hit as millions of Skype on iPhone users keep Skype running continuously in the background to receive incoming calls as well as making outgoing calls.

All in all, this one small change by Skype is a portent of a huge potential shift in the power base of the communications industry.  Not bad for a five year old band of bad boys from Estonia.  Not bad at all.

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Ottawa’s venture industry a shriveled husk of its past.

May 26, 2010

In 2001, when my family and I moved from Seattle to back to Canada, we had a choice between Ottawa, Waterloo, and Toronto.  At the time, Ottawa was booming.  Venture capital was pouring into the city, and it proudly proclaimed itself Canada’s Tech Capital, and Silicon Valley North. So we moved to Ottawa. A decade […]

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How web-based conferencing is impacting business

May 25, 2010

Tomorrow I’m kicking off a series of posts over on the Calliflower blog about how web-based conferencing solutions, like Calliflower, are impacting enterprise, especially the IT department.  The move to self service web models for providing traditional IT services is transforming the IT department and the costs associated.  So keep your eye open over the […]

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Hiking the Wolf Trail

May 23, 2010

Later this summer we’ll be heading to Vancouver Island for a couple of weeks of vacation.  As part of that vacation, the entire family will be hiking the Juan de Fuca Marine trail, exploring the west coast of Vancouver island and camping on the beaches as we go.  To prepare for that, we’ve been donning […]

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New Calliflower Web Presence: what did we do, and what were the results?

May 19, 2010

Folks who build websites are relentless information trackers.  With a mantra of measure, measure, measure, they track and massage every detail of what they’ve built and how it’s performing.  We had measured the old Calliflower site, and found it wanting. So, last weekend Calliflower quietly launched an update of our web page. New look, new […]

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GIPS acquired by Google. How does Abramson pick them?

May 18, 2010

It’s been a busy day in the blogging world as folks have chimed in on the Google acquisition of Global IP Sound.  Many have noted that GIPS supplies Google’s competitors in the voice world as well as Google, and wonder how long that relationship will continue. Over on the Voyces blog, I wrote that this […]

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Can 3.3.1 Kryptonite Kill Apple’s Super Powers?

May 4, 2010

On Monday, The New York Post published rumours that the US Government is close to launching an inquiry into Apple’s developer licensing terms, specifically the 3.3.1 clause in the developers agreement that bars developers from using any but Apple mandated development tools to create applications.  In today’s Wall Street Journal, one source said “Apple could […]

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