Alaska, Rocky Mountaineer, and TripAdvisor

Last July we went on an 16-day combined tour provided by Vision 2000. It included airfare, transfers, a 7-day cruise (Holland America, Nieuw Amsterdam) to Alaska, Rocky Mountaineer (which included Whistler-Blackcomb, gondola rides, 2 days on an all-glass train, various bus stops (Jasper, Kamloops, Lake Louise, Banff, Calgary.)

Not cheap. And worth every penny.

On the Alaska Cruise we had pre-booked three side trips, including Tracy Arm and Glacier, White Pass and Yukon Railway, and I think Ketchican with a boat trip (explaining crab traps, and providing incredible shots of a bald eagle they throw fish to, followed by an all-you-can-eat crab lunch.) (Ketchican, Juneau, and Skagway from memory.)

Service on Holland America is impeccable. There were a few tiny glitches, yet overall it was extremely pleasant and we felt ‘covered’ at all times.

The Rocky Mountaineer is only two days, but it is spectacular and service on the train is unbelievable. It is preceded and followed by bus tours. All part of this package.

Whistler included gondola etc. It’s essentially a created tourist town, so it’s not cheap.

The bus tour between Rocky Mountaineer and Calgary was extremely well done.

This was one of our ‘lifetime trips’ comparable perhaps to Ecuador/Galapagos.

Overall rating: Excellent Plus.

I always create a trip report for our travel agent. I point out what went really well, and what was annoying or disturbing. I think that’s fair: the travel agency can laud good delivery and question problem instances.

I usually put the results (cleaned up a bit for public viewing) on TripAdvisor.

Shortly after our return, I tried to do this (TripAdvisor.) I got frustrated as the combined trip could not be ‘entered’ into TripAdvisor’s website.

So, today, I decided to try again. No dice.

I can’t find a way to get Alaska Cruise into their system.

I can’t find a way to get Rocky Mountaineer into their system.

I think they are focussed on selling hotels.

Two messages here, maybe three:

  • TripAdvisor doesn’t tell you about all trips. It won’t let me tell you about ours.
  • This trip is exceptional, but pricey.

I don’t know if Vision Travel, aka Vision 2000, will offer this again. If it does, budget for things like meals not included; not cheap. When they open the cruise side trips (I think 60 days ahead, refused earlier) go for it. I waited 3 days and one trip only had 1 seat left.

I hope this is of use or interest to at least some of you.

Presto! (and now you don’t) – explanation

A young boy was recently denied access to public transit because his Presto card was empty.

His mother had arranged for that Presto card to reload $20.00 every time it came close to zero.

Nevertheless the Presto card was empty and the driver refused the child (13 I think) entry, leaving him alone in the cold without money or transit.

The ‘explanation’ is the part that enrages me as a citizen and one-time architect of business software solutions.

Apparently a clerical systems person ‘accidentally hit the wrong key’ and voided thousands of Presto cards.

I worked in the Bank of Montreal mechanization project. I wrote some of the Configuration Management transactions for that system. Those transactions could open and close individual terminals, complete loops of terminals, all concentrators. One could crash an entire bank or banking region
those transactions were designed with a ‘mother may-I’ interface with the following characteristics:

  • No single keystroke error could create a situation that was difficult, expensive, or impossible, to recover from, and
  • The confirming keystroke had to be a different key from the original. (So if you ‘tremble’ over a killer key, you haven’t confirmed your first keypress.)

I knew this s..t in 1972. That’s 45 years ago. How come our Presto system does not have such basic protections built-in?

I might remind all of us that Presto is late, demands we pay for their card, and is only used by 16% of all TTC passengers (recent Toronto Star article.)

For me and my spouse, seniors, not being able to pass each other tickets will be a pain in the ass. You can’t move a Presto credit from one senior card to another.

This sucks.

This is my first post under my new category, Activism. Now for the dumb question:


Your Win10 Computer wakes itself up?

There are many ways your computer can be waking itself up. Three versions of Win10 wake up at or after 10:00 am, for example.

I will give you some of the things you can do to prevent your computer from waking itself up.

Control Panel > Device Manager > Network Adapters > Realtek PCIe Family controller (or something similar) Right click Properties PowerManagement  Turn off Allow this device to wake the computer. Also walk down Advanced and disable Wake on Magic Packet and Wake on pattern match.

and while you’re looking at Network Adapters, if there are any weird other network adapter entries starting with WAN, research them. You’ll probably deactivate them (I did) and they’ll probably not even be there after your next restart.

Control Panel > power options > change plan settings > change advanced plan settings
sleep: allow hybrid sleep (I turned this off)
allow wake timers (disable).

Control Panel > administrative tools > task scheduler > library > microsoft > windows
xbl game save – if you’re not using an Xbox, you can delete this
rempl > two triggers. Right click each one in turn, properties, conditions, uncheck Allow this task to wake the computer.

back to task scheduler > library
sort on last run time, newest on top, and look through these. Again, any whose condition includes wake the computer to run this task, you should un-check that option.

When I went though this, I discovered that tasks related to GoToMeeting and GoToUpdate were being scheduled, so I used Control Panel > programs and uninstalled these items. I for sure don’t use them and don’t need extra c..p running on my machine.

Net Net:

That’s what I know right now. Useful input (give this website your eMail address, it won’t be published) will be posted here. Questions? I’ll answer what I can find out.

Since I often end with a dumb question, here’s a few:

  • why do these tasks need to wake my computer?
  • why are there so many of them?
  • why is rempl (running remsh.exe) only on three specific versions of Windows 10?
  • why are there so many versions of Windows 10?

We have one zenbook on Windows Professional and four other computers on Win10 Home. Two were upgraded from Win7 and handle removable devices differently. There are subtle differences between all 4 Win10 Home operating systems. Again,


Trump, Change!

Some quotes:

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

Albert Einstein.

Lest anyone gain the impression that President Donald Trump is feeling any regret over his recent provocations of North Korea — calling its leader “Rocket Man” and threatening to “totally destroy” the country with “fire and fury” — recent days have only seen an intensification of the president’s rhetoric.

FP quote.  (

The NRA should wake up here. If warfare ‘degenerates’ to sticks and stones, there won’t be anyone making new bullets (or assault rifles, either.) (me.)

Here’s more:

For the next six months, [Democratic presidential candidate and then-Vice President of the United States, Al Gore] is going to smear you as the enemy. He will slander you as gun-toting, knuckle-dragging, bloodthirsty maniacs who stand in the way of a safer America. Will you remain silent? I will not remain silent. If we are going to stop this, then it is vital to every law-abiding gun owner in America to register to vote and show up at the polls on Election Day.
So, as we set out this year to defeat the divisive forces that would take freedom away, I want to say those fighting words for everyone within the sound of my voice to hear and to heed, and especially for you, Mr. Gore: ‘From my cold, dead hands!’

Charlton Heston.

No, Mr. Heston. From your fried dead hands. They may glow in the dark. You won’t be able to buy bullets.

So here’s today’s dumb question:

Who do you trust and believe?

  • A self-identified NRA puppet and ex-actor?
  • A psychopathic POTUS?
  • Albert Einstein?

Have a nice life, what’s left of it.

Rogers Cable and POP eMail – where do you think you are? Canadian, eh? Not!

IMAP versus POP. Two ways of getting eMail. Warning: long post. Sorry.

Several months ago, Rogers warned me that I’d need to set up a weird separate password if I continued to use ThunderBird for POP eMail. I did that.

They reminded me at least twice afterword. I think I did it correctly, as I can still get eMail from my Rogers eMail account via Thunderbird and POP (Post Office Protocol.)


lately I notice that the POP  login to Rogers from ThunderBird is a Lot slower than all my other eMail probes.

So I did a bit of digging. I’m not a ‘real techie’ anymore but am not totally ignorant either.

Rogers POP email is now processed in a server in California. That might surprise you if you thought Rogers was a Canadian company and that Toronto was in Canada.

Here’s some of my proof: (warning: technical copy&pastes from Internet interactions)


Pinging []

which Arin Whois tells us is: (abbreviated for readability, do this yourself if you don’t trust me.)

% ARIN resource:

# The following results may also be obtained via:

NetRange: –
NetHandle: NET-74-6-0-0-1
Parent: NET74 (NET-74-0-0-0-0)
NetType: Direct Allocation
Organization: Inktomi Corporation (INKT)
RegDate: 2006-02-13
Updated: 2012-02-24

OrgName: Inktomi Corporation
Address: 701 First Ave
City: Sunnyvale
StateProv: CA

Now for Lacnic Whois:

You searched for:

Net Range –
Handle NET-74-6-0-0-1
Parent NET74 (NET-74-0-0-0-0)
Net Type Direct Allocation
Origin AS
Organization Inktomi Corporation (INKT)
Registration Date 2006-02-13
Last Updated 2012-02-24
RESTful Link
Function Point of Contact
See Also Related organization’s POC records.
See Also Related delegations.

Name Inktomi Corporation
Handle INKT
Street 701 First Ave
City Sunnyvale
State/Province CA

If you got this far, congratulations. Now you know that is now hosted in California on computers in that state.

This might not bother you. It bothers me a lot.

  • American ‘legal access’ to data is a lot more loose than in Canada. Now all your eMail is in the USA. (I might mention that Brazil went to a Lot of trouble to route Internet traffic around the USA, including laws that information not be kept outside Brazil, because Brazil understands the security and privacy issues.)
  • California is not as close as Mississauga. I have a website. It is hosted in I think Mississauga (west of TO for sure.) WiFi access from, say, Jasper was equal (actually better) than from my dwelling in Etobicoke. Rogers obviously has a Very Large Data Pipe from wi-fi enabled hotels in BC and Alberta. It was as fast from Kamloops as it is from my desktop. It is now slower than a snail for eMail from my desktop.
  • I think Rogers is getting ready to sell out. Sell the eMail traffic, and who knows what else.

Does that bother you? That’s today’s dumb question.

NAFTA cannot die. But it can be polluted. And it can be corrupted.

NAFTA is NOT a trade agreement. It is an owners’ agreement. It allows the means of production to be moved to wherever production profit will be higher.

As such, NAFTA canNot die. Those large corporations who moved production thither and yon won’t allow it to die. Why should they? (Trump does not understand this, imho.)

This is about garments and computer components, real assembly work done in other countries.

Extraction is another question. That is real work that cannot be easily moved. If the gold is in country X, you need to mine in country X. If the food is grown in country Y, you need to import from country Y.

Ahh, but there are environmental standards on extraction,you might think. And worker standards on bulk labour. That’s what part of the ‘new NAFTA’ is all about. It’s about corrupting standards of:

  • minimum wage
  • worker safety
  • environmental protection
  • gross access of a country to its own assets (mineral and energy)

to make what happen?

To increase profitability from large American corporations.

Trump thinks he can stop this? Even change it?

Fake Documents – nobody cares

This is a cut&paste of a post on my website. Fake documents are available for sale.

Author: HermanMub (IP address:, Email: URL: Comment: Our team is a unique producer of quality fake documents. We offer only original high-quality fake passports, driver’s licenses, ID cards, stamps and other products for a number of countries like: USA, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom. This list is not full. To get the additional information and place the order just visit our website: www.

This really bothers me for two reasons:

I get a post like this every once in a while. It’s annoying to have to delete crap from my website and inbasket.

More importantly,
attempts to get the authorities interested have all failed. Toronto police, and the RCMP, don’t take eMails. Reporting suspicious behaviour produces no useful result.

(I once noticed a vehicle in the Bloorlea School parking lot. It had different license plates front and back. It had different colours on every side, including the roof. It had a logo that was not for the vehicle that it was. I reported this to the police and they showed up more than three hours later.
Who has a vehicle with all those attributes? And is in the bus shelter using a cell phone while I’m noting the license plates?
I’m guessing either a drug dealer or a robbery escape driver.

So why did the cops take three hours to show up? Because we don’t count here.

I live in the neighbourhood where a woman successfully sued the cops for using her as bait for the second story rapist.)

Fake documents are like misleading license plates and deliberately confusing paint jobs.

But, I can’t get the authorities to give a damn.

Concrete Question

Concrete failures: I have three examples:

  • After a large earthquake in China
  • After a large earthquake in Haiti
  • After a large earthquake on the Iraq-Iran border.

I am writing from memory, so feel free to google and fact-check me. Posts with relevant input/corrections are always approved here. (I’m providing no hotlinks as my internet connection sucks today.)

The China response was instructive. In less than 90 minutes military aircraft were parachuting water, food, and medical supplies.

The Haiti non-response is equally instructive. Some seven years later almost no non-IGO facilities have been reconstructed.

The earthquake in Iran is, ‘interesting’.

In China, BBC News among others showed clips of how an entire row of homes collapsed, while a nearby row was all still standing. There was some murmuring about ‘sea sand’ having been used in the failed cement.
I think the unlucky developers of the collapsed homes are in jail, if they’re still so fortunate as to be alive.

In Iran, apparently low-income housing built under the previous ayatollah collapsed, while nearby structures did not. Iran’s leadership is strongly looking at who’s responsible for collapse, injury, and death. I fear for the builders here too.

However in Haiti, the inconvenient fact that water towers are concrete, and none collapsed, has been conveniently overlooked. Buildings for people and government collapsed. IGO headquarters did not.

You’re scanning for the dumb questions, right? Well, here are a few:

  • How come bad sand was used in construction in China?
  • Should builders who construct unsafe housing be punished? Manslaughter?
  • How come bad cement was used in construction in Iran?
  • Should builders who construct unsafe housing be punished? Manslaughter?
  • How come bad cement was used in construction in Haiti?
  • Should builders who construct unsafe housing be punished? Or should we send more and more money for reconstruction that does not happen?

Feel free to comment. Provide a real eMail, which will not be divulged on this site.

Siege – against Iran?

Who profits here?

Saudi Arabia recently led a blockade against Qatar. Now they are doing something even more serious (war crimes?) against citizens of Yemen.

Here you will find (of many, one) page on the latter. I will content myself with a quote. Emphasis mine, as always:

The UN and the Red Cross said a “catastrophic” situation threatened millions who rely on life-saving aid.

Saudi Arabia justified the move saying Houthi rebels were being supplied with weapons from Iran, and has accused Tehran of “direct military aggression”.
Iran denies arming the rebels, who have fought the coalition since 2015.
On Saturday, a ballistic missile was intercepted near the Saudi capital.

and this:

In response to the attack, the coalition announced the “temporary” closure of all Yemeni land, sea and air ports, tightening an existing blockade, but said humanitarian aid could continue to enter Yemen under strict vetting procedures.
However, the BBC’s Imogen Foulkes in Geneva says aid agencies have reacted with dismay and anger to the border closures.
The Red Cross said its shipment of chlorine tablets, vital to combating a cholera epidemic which has affected more than 900,000 people, had been blocked.

So, Saudi Arabia first blockaded Qatar, and now Yemen. Qatar is seen as being pro-Iran. One of the factions fighting in Yemen is seen as being backed by Iran.

Siege means, denying key resources. In mediaeval times, that meant food or possibly water. In Yemen it means anti-cholera chlorine tablets. Oh, and no food imports either, except those supplied by Iran and I think Egypt. Through ports that are now closed.

America recently sold a lot of armament to Saudi Arabia. So did Canada.

Why? Who profits here? That’s not the dumb question. Here is that one:

Are we (USA and Canada) in effect terrorist countries due to selling weapons to this regime?

Apparently Iran is, though their sourcing of a single missile is a lot more poorly documented than Canada and the USA’s supply of armament.

Not Needed: US Government ‘posts’

Here you will find an interesting analysis of appointments by POTUS that require Senate confirmation. I will summarize:

Some 268 posts have not even started the confirmation process. 261 have no nominee.

POTUS, a.k.a. Donald Trump, has an explanation which you can find here.

I will content myself with a single quote, emphasis mine:

President Trump says: “I’m the only one that matters” in setting U.S. foreign policy, thus downplaying the importance of high-level jobs such as the assistant secretary of state, which is currently vacant.

“Let me tell you, the one that matters is me,” Trump said in an interview that aired on Fox News on Thursday night. “I’m the only one that matters, because when it comes to it, that’s what the policy is going to be. You’ve seen that, you’ve seen it strongly.”

The president was responding to a question from Fox’s Laura Ingraham, who asked him, “Are you worried that the State Department doesn’t have enough Donald Trump nominees in there to push your vision through?”

Apparently, when you’re Donald Trump, you don’t worry, especially about facts.