Canadians and their weather data

Canadians and their weather data

There's nothing that breaks the ice quicker between two Canadians than talking about, well, breaking the ice and other weather facts.
For example, Environment Canada has, after exhaustive study, determined that: “The sunniest city is Medicine Hat and the wettest is Prince Rupert. Whitehorse is the driest, Kamloops has the warmest summers, and the city for all seasons is Montreal.”
These and other fascinating weather facts are culled from an Environment Canada press release.
For journalists, though, what may be more interesting is all the historical weather data Environment Canada is making available via The National Climate Data and Information Archive.
A description:

The National Climate Data and Information Archive, operated and maintained by Environment Canada, contains official climate and weather observations for Canada. Climate elements, such as temperature, precipitation, relative humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind speed, wind direction, visibility, cloud types, cloud heights and amounts, soil temperature, evaporation, solar radiation and sunshine as well as occurrences of thunderstorms, hail, fog or other weather phenomena are warehoused in a digital database. Access to selected portions of this data, as well as related products such as CD-ROMs and climate normals and averages are available on this web site. Information regarding obtaining extremes, monthly summaries, microfilm, microfiche, paper documents and technical documents, is also available.

Blogs and editors

The New York Times today has a neat story titled: The Role of the Delete Key in Blog
From that story:

Is a blog still a blog if someone else edits it? A recent policy change at The Sacramento Bee has raised questions about whether taking an editor's pen to a Web log before it is published detracts from very nature of Web logs, or “blogs,'' as the online diaries are called?”

I say yes, it's still a blog, but it just may not be as valuable a blog as it would be if it were unfiltered. Actually, I ought to re-phrase that. It would have a different value. But the form — a diary of shortish entries presented in chronological order — makes it a blog, if you ask me.
This blog, by the way, sees no editors before it hits the Web . . .

Internet Stats and Experts

From Tara Calishain's ResearchBuzz:

Link List for Internet Demographics
Marcus Zillman has started a link list for Internet demographics. So all those of you e-mailing me asking about Internet demographic angels-and-pinheads, start here. This site features an alphabetical list of Internet demographic resources, unfortunately without any annotation (MAR-cus!). In addition to the demographic portal Marcus has also put together a listing for hoaxes etc. , a listing for Internet experts , and a cool listing for information futures markets.

Phoning Home From School

Dartmouth College in Hanover, Hew Hampshire has invested in a system to let students route phone calls over the Internet.
Interestingly enough, my alma mater, the University of Guelph is just about to do this as well. The Globe will next month publish a ranking of Canadian universities a la the Maclean's ranking. In addition to various overall rankings, the Globe's system also ranked Canada's universities based on technology use and adoption. I'm sworn to secrecy as far as the ranking goes (the Globe will reveal all in October) but I can tell you Guelph did very well.
For that special section, I wrote up an article on universities and technology use in Canada and talked to folks at Guelph and elsewhere about their plans to use and deploy new technology. For this year, Guelph and many other universities are building wi-fi networks all over campus. Next year at Guelph, though, the administration is spending millions to switch the entire campus phone system to a VoIP system. Numbers will be portable. Your phone will find you if you can find a device with an IP number. I'm told by Guelph and by some equipment vendors in this market that Guelph's will be the largest VoIP installation of its kind so far in Canada.

Fiddling part 2

Ross helpfully replies to my earlier observations about Blogware, which, I might add, I'm really warming up to. Mind you, while I hang around with a lot of geeks, I'm not necessarily as fluent in geek-ese as I ought to be so it's going to take me a minute to figure out some of his instructions 🙂 . I did, indeed, figure out how to change the defaults on the “Excerpt” setting (I now have it at 50 words, thank you very much.). And it looks like I'm going to be able to domicile this blog with a pointer off my domain at After that, it's on to fiddling with some of the look and feel of the place. Thanks, Ross! (I'm also trying this trackback thing for this first time. Some one please tell me if I'm doing that right!)

Scouting the scouts

I've been subscribing to one or several of the e-newsletters published by the Internet Scout Project since I had my first e-mail address back in 1992. The Scout project, based at the University of Wisconsin in beautiful Racine, simply scouts out new Web or electronic resources and comments on them. The group has just redesigned their Web site, prompting me to visit — it looks good — and I just found that it too has a blog for all the sites and new resources that project members find that don't make it into one of the newsletters.

I'm syndicated!

This is an edited version of a post that appeared on the Blogger-powered version of David Akin's blog.. Please note that as this site is currently a testing site, the Blogger version should be considered the true version of my blog although I'm going to try to mirror things pretty closely here. Even better, I can't syndicate from Blogger but you can get the RSS/XML syndication from this site..
I'm trying out a new blog publishing tool from the folks at Canada's Tucows Inc. (NASDAQ OTC: TCOW). Tucows, many Net veterans will remember, originally started out as “The Ultimate Collection of Winsock Software” (did you get that acronym?), a great place in the early days of the Net to get the software you need to connect to the network. Tucows still maintains that software repository but today it's big in the wholesale domain business. Its Blogware tool is an offshoot of this business. I'm privileged to be trying out the alpha testing version of this tool and so far, I'm pretty impressed. There's a robust feature set that gives a user much of the flexibility of a system like Moveable Type's without having the added user-side complexity. And, for me, the exciting part about Blogware is that I can syndicate comment. Now, as I mentioned, Blogware is still in testing so I'll continue to maintain this site as my main blog site but I'll try to mirror any posts here to my Blogware blog. If you're visiting here, I'd encourage you to head over to the Blogware version of this blog if you want to get more interactive and post your thoughts aboout anything I end up posting.

A national tower grid

A national tower grid?

Canada's federal government is embarking on a “National Antenna Tower Review Policy”, a good idea, it seems to me, as we see more and more wireless broadband providers take to the air. Wi-Fi proponents have already warned that really good tower spots are a scarce commodity and, if there's any role for a government authority, it might be in regulating the physical access to these tower point. Anyone interested in this issue is invited to contribute to the review but time is tight. Submissions must be in by October 17. Canada's tower review policy is being led by David Townsend, a law professor at the University of New Brunswick. The government says: “This … Review's objective is to lead the development of new, modern procedures for placing antenna towers, which embrace community involvement and expand the economic and social benefits of wireless broadcast and wireless broadband technologies across Canada.”

Fiddling part I

Started taking Blogware out for a little tour. First order of business, if I want to try this in a serious way is to domicile this blog at Right now, as you can see, this thing is sitting at and I want the URL to be — which, incidentally, is where you'll find my regular Blogger-powered blog.
Can't seem to intuitively navigate my way through the various Blogware controls to find a way to do that. I may not find a way to do that, as this is the pre-alpha preview release. Ross has helpfully provided us guinea pigs with a link for some help. But the scripts on that Help page don't run in Apple's Safari and the cause IE for Mac OS X to crash. The scripts work fine in IE on my Win98 machine.
Anyhow, nothing in the still evolving help manual about changing the blog's URL.
Still — managed to change some of the display attributes for this blog. The style you're looking at is “Minimalist Red”.
The feature set is awfully powerful, though, here — much more robust than some of the other Web-based blog tools and without all the complicated server-side stuff you get with something completely flexible like Moveable Type. Love the fact that I can syndicate here right off the bat.
One more thing I'm going to suggest to Ross — Can I control the number of words that are excerpted with the auto-excerpt tool?