Category Archives: internet

Goodbye Torontoist

The latest branch plant to be closed by greedy corporate America is not a manufacturer but a blog. Torontoist will go off the air in the new year.

I wonder what will fill the general-interest city-centric void left by Torontoist. BlogTO will probably benefit in the short term, and it’s hard to imagine the newspapers stepping up to the plate – The Star and G&M [1] are especially crappy at the blogging game.

[1] It is almost tragic how poorly these newspapers blog. I didn’t even realize the Globe and Mail had blogs until I googled it just now (and I spend a lot of time on the Internet). That link points to only one blog, because there does not seem to be one single page for all blogs. Of all the newspapers, the National Post does it best with Posted Toronto, though some days it seems rely too heavily on newspaper-style crime reports, sans commentary, rather than actual blog content.


Mixed Use

Call it a lesson in specificity. I’m sure when the New Urbanists talked about “mixed use” they weren’t considering airports. The Economist reports on Mesa, Arizona’s city of the future:

The forward-looking part of the plan is that Mesa will be built around an airport. Rather than pushing air traffic to the fringe of the city, as most cities try to do, Mesa will build around its runways. It hopes to become what John Kasarda of the University of North Carolina calls an “aerotropolis”—a city as tied to air traffic as 19th-century cities were to railways.

It is one thing to recognize the economic opportunities of a major airport, but quite another to make the airport your downtown. This strikes me as a Corbusian scheme without regard for the human element.

Look! A wide-screen high-quality YouTube video

You have to click through for the promised qualities, unfortunately.

CBC Radio 2 sans Windows Media Player

Sometimes Microsoft deserves to a little slack. You don’t get to be Number One for nothing, right? On the other hand, there is no shortage of things to hate.

Like Windows Media Player. It’s choppy and clumsy and sometimes it won’t load at all when I want to stream CBC Radio 2 (and other online radio stations). So here’s a way to listen in just about any other media player:

  1. Select your preferred stream and quality from the Radio 2 website, for example, Eastern High.
  2. When the new window opens, right-click on some white space and select View Page Info (You’re using Firefox, right? You should be.)
  3. Under the Media tab, you will see a list of images and stuff found on the page. Right-click and copy the address which is labelled Embed. It will look something like:
  4. Now open that file with Notepad or an equivalent text program. It’s as easy as pasting the above address in the field File Name and selecting Open. Notepad will spit out something like:
    <ASX VERSION="3.0"> <ENTRY>
    <REF HREF="" />
    </ENTRY> </ASX>
  5. Copy the hyperlink between but not including the quotation marks and Open it in your media player of choice (but not iTunes). And that’s all there is to it.

Thus, if you live in the Eastern timezone and want the High quality stream, all the work is finished for you. All you only need to do is paste

into your media player.

The slow rot of Facebook

I miss the good old days.

There was a time, young children, when you needed an institutional e-mail address to open a Facebook account. It was Myspace 2.0; Myspace without the paedophiles and annoying profile music. It was a time when only your real friends were your Facebook friends. A brave new world of clean white profile pages and simple functionality. It was our social networking Google.

Now our beloved, metaphorical Google has degenerated into a bloated Yahoo portal. This is not just because of the latest, much-maligned changes to Facebook (but they don’t help). Its decline is partly due to its age; certainly, our “friend” lists have been diluted with no-longer friends, acquaintances and relatives. The casual interactions between friends, the same on the internet as in real life, have given way to micro-managed affectations of coolness and guarded conversations wary of strangers looking over electronic shoulders.

I don’t blame the people behind Facebook for making a buck (or a billion) off the site. That’s their perogative. I still use Facebook anyway, but mostly because everyone else does too. It’s becoming a necessity, like an e-mail address. If you don’t have Facebook, what are you, Amish?

It sucks though.

(photo credit)

On the A.V. Club

I love the combination of analysis and humour (The Daily Show Formula), and stayed up late waiting for the review of tonight’s Mad Men episode.

Sample from the comments:


I’m continually impressed that the show can be so dark and sad while rarely crossing the border into depressing.

12:54 AM Mon September 29, 2008

  • RE: Wow

    I generally agree, but the Betty thread is starting to make me feel icky inside. Something needs to happen there, or it’s going to feel too much like real-life depression – endlessly ongoing without much interruption.

    Perhaps I’ve said too much.

    1:00 AM Mon September 29, 2008

  • RE: Wow

    *HUG* Buck up, Mr Pinchot!

    1:04 AM Mon September 29, 2008

  • RE: Wow

    Thank you, Poland. You truly are one of America’s most steadfast allies.

    1:13 AM Mon September 29, 2008


I have two good podcast recommendations for you.

Thinking Allowed from BBC Radio 4 is an old standby. I’ve been listening for quite a while. The latest episode brought together a geographer, a social scientists, and a novelist to discuss “Imagination and the City.” The topics each week are varied – from hoodies to boxing to advertising.

Sound Opinions from Chicago Public Radio and American Public Media is brand new for me. I listened for the first time today and was so impressed I had to tell someone. Among other things, they talked to producer Tony Visconti of T. Rex and David Bowie fame.

Both are available on iTunes or from their websites.