The view from my window

November 30th, 2015

Although I work for the TSX (or more accurately, the TMX Group), I’m not located at the main TSX office in The Exchange Tower. Rather, I’m up on the 10th floor of the CDS (Canadian Deposit Securities) building a block north on Adelaide. I have a rather depressing view of a bunch of rooftops and the back ends of the buildings on Bay Street. Just to the right side of my window, I’ve been watching a large condo tower going up during the last year. Friday, it got topped off at 47 stories. Urban Toronto has an article that shows the view from various parts of the tower. Unfortunately, none of the pictures show my building and me looking back.  The picture below is probably the closest as it’s looking west and would show my building if the camera had been pointed down.

Just behind my building (I can see it from the south window of our office) is the new EY tower which will be the future home of the TSX. It will be quite the building when it’s finished and we start moving in in 2017.

Another great Word site

November 30th, 2015

At work I have a reputation as “the Word guy”, not entirely unearned, I will admit, but my knowledge of Word pales in comparison to some of the true experts. One of these is Gregory K. Maxey, whose Word site is one of the best that I’ve seen.

He publishes, for free download, many useful Word add-ins, for example, tools to manage AutoCorrect entries, bookmarks, and content controls. There’s a VBA tutuorial that should get anyone up and writing macros if they spend the time to work through it. There’s a lot here – when I printed out the contents list so I could highlight the things that I might want to refer to later, it was 16 pages long.

I’m astounded that I’ve managed to miss this site until now, but you can be sure that I’ll be using it frequently in the future.

Humble Bundle – Prime SF and Fantasy

November 27th, 2015

It would be hard to go wrong with this Prime SF ebook Humble Bundle. I bought the whole thing – 12 books. Worth the money just for the best of the year anthologies alone, not to mention a novel by Elisabeth Bear.


November 26th, 2015

I’ve been following the Republican presidential race with dismay, now crossing into horror, as I read what the candidates have to say about the current situation in the Middle East. SF author, Jim Wright, has been watching too, and he puts his reaction into words much better than I can. You need to read this.

And then yesterday, Trump doubled down.

He now claims he personally witnessed with his own eyes, from the windows of his own Manhattan apartment, more than 80 people jumping to their deaths from the Twin Towers before the collapse – despite the fact that his apartment in Trump Tower is more than four miles away and it would have been utterly impossible for him to have seen any such thing.

This is a pattern with Donald Trump.

He plays fast and loose with reality on a daily basis.

Now, either Trump believes what he’s saying or he’s exaggerating for effect knowing his supporters don’t really care either way because they have been conditioned to believe whatever the loud wild-haired guy under the tent is saying, no matter how ridiculous so long as he waves the bible and stands pat on his version of reality.

Either way, by accident or with malice aforethought, the bottom line here is that Donald Trump is not operating in a reality based framework.

And neither are those cheering him.

Inconsistenty in Word’s picture sizing

November 24th, 2015

I came across an annoying, and puzzling, inconsistency in the way that Word 2013 handles picture sizing.

Generally, in earlier versions of Word, when I wanted to resize a picture (usually a screen capture), I would right-click on it and select Format Picture from the context menu. That opened a dialog box where I could resize the picture, either by absolute value or by scaling by percentage, and maintain the aspect ratio. In other words, I could change the width and the height would change to match.

In Word 2013, if you right-click on a picture, it opens side-bar with various options, one of which is Crop. Changing size in that will NOT maintain the aspect ratio. Instead, you want to select Size and Position from the context menu. That brings up the original Layout dialog box which lets you keep the aspect ratio intact.

Just to make things even more confusing, when you select an image, a Picture Tools Format tab opens in the ribbon. That has fields for adjusting the image size and they do maintain aspect ratio (and I don’t see a way of turning that option off in the ribbon).

So – three different ways of doing the same thing, one of which doesn’t behave like the others. Or four, if you count using the sizing handles on the selected graphic, but for consistency I prefer to specify an exact size.

2015 Prix Aurora Awards

November 23rd, 2015

The 2015 Prix Aurura Awards for the best Canadian science fiction and fantasy of 2014 were awarded at SFContario 6 this weekend. Congratulations to all the winners. Here are the fiction awards:

  • Best English Novel:  A Play of Shadow by Julie E. Czerneda, DAW Books
  • Best English YA Novel: TIE:
    Lockstep by Karl Schroeder, Tor Books
    Out of This World by Charles de Lint, Razorbill Canada
  • Best English Short Fiction: “Crimson Sky” by Eric Choi, Analog, July/August
  • Best English Poem/Song: “A Hex, With Bees” by Tony Pi, Wrestling With Gods: Tesseracts Eighteen, EDGE
  • Best English Graphic Novel: It Never Rains by Kari Maaren, Webcomic

I am especially happy to see Karl Schroeder win in the YA category for his excellent novel,  Lockstep, which I thoroughly enjoyed and which envisions a plausible mechanism for interstellar exploration in a speed-of-light universe.