Introducing the "Computing Devices" Section

Category: Computing Devices
Sat, 26 Jan 2008, 17:16

I've been involved with computers for more that thirty years now. I've always been tempted to comment on the subject, but for some reason up until now, I've tended to air my opinions in other on-line fora. That will change. As you can see, I have strong opinions on a variety of topics. And the realm of computers is no exception.

My first real exposure to computer programming was in first year university. Officially, I was registered in a mathematics program, which required a couple of computer courses. After a week or so, though, I knew my future would be with electronic computing machines. If I was really smart, though, I should have immediately dropped my physics and chemistry classes and taken on some more useful classes instead, like German or philosophy.

After getting a B.Sc. (Honours) degree in Computing and Information Science, and dropping out of grad school, I found a job in a large multinational computer company, where I would spend the next 26 years. For most of that time, I enjoyed working with IBM midrange computers, such as the S/38, AS/400, and iSeries. But my last three years were on a zSeries project, which wasn't nearly as much fun. When my manager chided me for not using PowerPoint for a presentation, I finally knew for sure it was time to leave.

Since my departure last summer, I've enjoyed spending time with my family and my hobbies. But I can't stay between jobs forever. I would like to find an iSeries programming job close to home, in the Scarborough, Pickering, Ajax, or Whitby area. Others can claim expertise in RPG, but I can genuinely claim to know that language inside and out. Unfortunately, iSeries jobs are pretty rare around here. If you know of any iSeries opportunities in this area, please let me know.

Finally, a few words on the icon at the bottom of the posting. The sign with the cross and three upward points is the ancient chemical symbol for "essential oil". This is appropriate for this section since computing devices have such an essential role in todays society. Of course, the word "oil" also has some negative connotations, as in the term "snake oil"

Omnifariously yours, Hans.

path: /Computing Devices | permanent link to this entry

glass
 

A New Garbage Day

Fri, 18 Jan 2008, 09:45

Here in Guildwood Village, today is the first day of using the city's new blue bins for our recycling garbage. Unfortunately, not everyone seems to have gotten the message that the new bins are to be used now. Come on, guys, get with it!

photo of our street on garbage day

Like many other cities, Toronto is running out of places to dump our garbage. Most of it now is shipped to a landfill in Michigan, which is politically unpopular in that state. So alternatives need to be found. The city has a goal of reducing the waste sent to landfill by 70% by the year 2010. The new bin program is one more step along that road.

photo of our garbage bins

In our home, garbage is separated into four streams. First, non-animal compostable waste goes to our backyard compost bin. Second, other compostable material goes into the green bin which is picked up every week. Third, recyclable material goes into the blue bin. Finally, all the rest goes into the traditional garbage can. In this household, the vast majority of our waste goes into the recycling bin. This week, our blue bin was full up to the top.

The classification of waste at the curb is an important and easy way to keep garbage out of the landfill. But there's a lot more that can be done. We also need to get the message out to businesses to reduce the amount of packaging. Consider my latest visit to that popular membership-based bulk warehouse store. You can get cheaper prices on many products (some we actually use), but you also get a lot of garbage along with the deals. Take for example the case of juice drink boxes. There's plastic wrap and cardboard around the 30 boxes. But wait, there's more! For some reason, each group of three boxes is wrapped in yet another layer of plastic. All that plastic will end up in the landfill.

Then there's the packaging around the ink jet cartridges. You could buy a small paper box containing two cartridges at Staples. Or, you could go to that wholesale warehouse store and buy a large plastic container containing three cartridges. What do you do? The package of three with the horrendous plastic package offers a price discount of $5 per cartridge!

Our governments need to pass legislation requiring manufacturers and retailers to be more responsible for the garbage they generate. Consider laws in some European countries which require companies to be fully responsible for the proper disposal of their products after use. Imagine that: In Germany, for example, once you've driven your car for ten years and you need to get rid of it, you take it back to the dealer or to the factory, not the dump. This gives the manufacturer a good incentive to make the product recyclable, or to make parts of the product reusable. Here in North America, we need to get to that point too.

Hans

path: /Toronto | permanent link to this entry

the city