Live Dead in Chicago

July 4th, 2015
This article pretty much nails it about last night’s Grateful Dead show: “The consensus around the Santa Clara shows was that they were skillful, soulful and perhaps a little bit slow. But Friday night’s first act at Soldier Field was a strong signal that the Grateful Dead still has plenty of rude, mule-kicking rock ‘n’ roll in it — and can still rip holes in space-time fabric long enough for Deadheads to get a peek through the cosmos.”
The thing about the Dead that kept fans (and me) going back for more was that moment, which almost always happened at least once during a show, when “the music played the band” and that invisible wall between the audience and the band dissolved into a swirling shimmer of light and music. I am deeply envious of those who will be lucky enough to experience it once last time in Chicago this weekend.

2015 Locus Awards

June 29th, 2015

The winners of the 2015 Locus Awards have been announced. The Best Novel award for SF went to Ann Leckie for Ancillary Sward and the Best Novel award for fantasy went to Katherine Addison for The Goblin Emperor. Both of these are also Hugo nominees. These are the novel nominees and winners.





- See more at:

A slight hiatus

June 17th, 2015

Yes, I’m still here. Just busy. Nothing bad, but I just don’t have the cycles to devote to this blog right now. Expect few, if any, posts until the end of the month.

Running DOS word processors under Windows

June 11th, 2015

If you’re of a certain age, your first word processor may have been WordStar, Microsoft Word, or WordPerfect running under DOS. While these programs lack the bells and whistles of modern word processors like Microsoft Word, they have a lot fewer distractions and are perfectly adequate for writing fiction. SF author Robert J. Sawyer still uses   WordStar to write his books (he just finished his 23rd novel), and has updated his instructions for running WordStar under current versions of Windows. You ahould be able easily adapt the instructions for running other programs like Microsoft Word for DOS (my favourite DOS word processor).

My favorite word-processing program is the versatlie, customizable, and powerful WordStar for DOS, last updated in December 1992. Running it under Microsoft Windows can be difficult, particularly with 64-bit versions of Windows, and especially with recent versions (Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10).

But a new, free, open-source MS-DOS emulator released in 2014 called vDos makes it easy to run WordStar for DOS (and many other MS-DOS programs) under all versions of Windows from XP through to Windows 10, whether 32-bit or 64-bit, with excellent printer and clipboard support. WordStar’s graphical Advanced Pa

Is the Harper government the worst ever

June 10th, 2015

If you ask me, I would have to say that the Harper government is the worst in Canadian history. I’m not the only one who thinks so – for evidence see this two-part article by Bruce Livesey.

In fact, unlike his predecessors, Harper has seemed Teflon-like in respect to how corruption scandals have clung to him. Even the trial of Senator Mike Duffy has not dented his veneer to any great extent – although this may soon change.

Yet corruption is among the litany of reasons why Stephen Harper might go down in history as Canada’s worst prime minister (a case we began to make here in Part 1 of this two-part series).

A more recent example of Harper’s proclivity for corruption was buried in the 2015 budget. After the government got rid of the long gun-registry in 2012, the RCMP was ordered to destroy its records. By then, however, an access to information request for this data had been made. The RCMP eviscerated the information anyway – which is a criminal offence if an access request is being processed. Suzanne Legault, Canada’s information commissioner, recommended charges be laid against the responsible RCMP members – which included high-ranking officers.

Stream new Richard Thompson album

June 9th, 2015

Richard Thompson has a new album, Still, coming out soon and NPR is streaming it for the next couple of weeks. The album was produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and if the couple of tracks I’ve heard so far are any indication, it should be a great followup to his last album, Electric.