Whither spring?

Yesterday the temptation plunged from a daytime high of 16?C to an overnight low of about -10?C. With the wind chill, today feels positively frigid. It’s a bit hard to stomach after a particularly long, harsh winter. Montreal has not been hit as hard as some other regions. At this time of year, I’ve grown accustomed to being able to shed the winter coat and the heavy boats.

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Bell Customer Service woes

If you’re connected to me on Facebook, you may know that we recently experienced some frustration with Bell customer service related to the installation of Fibe TV in our house. To sum up, we were Bell Satellite subscribers and we received a highly deceptive phone call from a Bell telemarketing representative informing us that our service was being upgraded and scheduling an appointment. What we were never told was that:

  • We had the choice to refuse;
  • There is a $100 “migration fee;” and
  • Channel packages are not portable and have to be re-selected post-installation.

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Road Trip to Chicago Part I

Day 3 of our road trip to Chicago draws to a close. We’ve packed in a visit to the zoo and two family visits since we left our home in Montréal. The kids love the zoo, and even though it was a long and tiring day, they both loved it. Seeing the pandas was a once in a lifetime experience.

Tomorrow it’s lunch with some friends in Burlington and then we hit the road hoping to reach Lansing or Kalamazoo for the night.

Québec Lower North Shore photos

Here is a gallery of some pictures that I took on my three trips (so far) to Québec’s Lower North Shore (a.k.a “The Coast”).

An accessibility tip for iOS 6 users

In researching affordable OCR apps for iOS, I came across this cheap alternative using full-featured software like GoQ’s WordQ, or Kurzweil to read printed documents aloud. ABBYY’s TextGrabber for iOS ($3.99 – iTunes App Store link) does a decent job at digitizing printed text. Once the text is digitized, the “Speak Selection” accessibility feature built-in to iOS 6 can be used to read the scanned text aloud. It’s not perfect, and works best on high contrast printed text, but it works quite well and is very affordable as long as you already have an iOS device.

Here’s a short tutorial I posted on YouTube:

A Manual focusing tip for Canon DSLR users

I am continually surprised at the new things that I learn about my camera. Despite having read much of the manual and used my Canon EOS 60D for more than 18 months, there are still a few tricks that I keep coming across.

I was taking some indoor photos in low light yesterday. The autofocus was not locking because of the low light and lack of contrast in the composition, so I switched to manual focus. Out of habit, I half-depressed the shutter button while I was turning the focus dial. Low and behold, one of the focus points in the viewfinder light up and the camera beeped as I adjusted the focus manually.

I went to the manual to find out what was going on, and sure enough, if you depress the shutter halfway while in manual focus mode, the autofocus sensor will alert you when you have achieved focus on one of the AF points.

This is a handy feature for me, because I normally wear glasses, and I sometimes find it hard to see accurate focus using the viewfinder. That small amount of assistance from the AF system could prove very helpful!