Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Manitoba Links Weekly: HC SVNT DRACONES, dot ca (ManLinkWeek 23)

ManLinkWeek was written before a live studio audience of two dogs staring at me.

The housesitting obligations I've taken on have delayed this post somewhat, but let's kick off this week's installment with a bit of investigation into recent technical misdirection:

[The Winnipeg RAG Review: Blogger .ca-ification of Canadian Blogs]
If you've tried navigating the local blogosphere as late, you've no doubt noticed that Blogspot-hosted sites based in Canada -- such as this one -- now end up with the country-specific URL suffix of .ca no matter what address you originally typed in to reach them. Blogger (and, thereby, Google) covertly rolled out this new and mandatory autocorrection without any prior notice to users, not even a form email, which is a far enough removal from their usual behaviour as to warrant suspicion; if you had deferred Google's recently modified Privacy Policy at any point, or if you've stuck with the 'old' Gmail for any length of time, you are very well aware of how doggedly Google will pursue you when it wants you to know about something changing.

The corporate explanation is buried deep within Google's support site, but the long and the short of it is that the move allows them to more easily censor and remove content when grouped by country -- a less immediate concern for Canadian sites than for sites elsewhere, perhaps, but a cause for concern all the same. (The move came after legal pressure from, and this wouldn't have been my first guess, India -- which is also the first country that Blogger implemented the redirection in, despite claiming publicly that the move was unrelated to the court case.)

You can imagine what a mess this has made of trying to track website and referral statistics correctly, in the meantime. But what does this mean for you, the reader? As yet, nothing; Canadian sites -- such as this one -- can still be accessed from the same bookmarks and links as before, and are also accessible with the .ca suffix. Which is nothing new itself; even before this change came in, you could just slap whatever national suffix you wanted on any Blogspot site and have it work. So, just... just keep doing what you're doing, we can get this sorted out later.

tl;dr: Yes, it says ".ca" in addresses now, and no, you don't need to type it in if you don't want to. Moving on!

[the cold cold ground: cp rail yards - cbc's 'the next big thing']
There are piles of challenges that would make this plan difficult to implement, but hell, if we're going to dream, we should dream big. Lots of potential room in there, as you may have noticed any time you've gone over or around it.

The post was written in response to The Next Big Thing, a new CBC Information Radio series about the city's largest proposed changes and progressing megaprojects. The accompanying website includes a big old map of major ongoing or oncoming alterations to the city, twenty-eight in total, and... well, here's the distribution across the city, although 'across' may not be the word for it.

Two things that struck me:

1) The Chief Peguis Trail is the only reason that everything east of the Red isn't just marked "here be dragons", and
2) There is a downtown under there somewhere, right? I don't mean to accuse our too many cooks of having spoiled the broth, but gadzooks. I dare suggest that this sort of blitz wasn't how the more vibrant and desirable neighbourhoods in our city were developed.

And speaking of neighbourhoods:

[ Is your neighbourhood a community? Mine isn't.]
People need places to live, and when they live in those places they also need places to eat and places to buy food and places to hang out. It seems the Broadway / Assiniboine area has a decent supply of living space, and fewer issues with vacant properties, but none of the accompanying supplementary spots; this post argues that "[the neighbourhood's] primary problem is that it lacks sufficiently small spaces for niche markets to emerge to support the area's residents", which strikes me as being a particularly difficult nut to crack.

The easiest theoretical solution would be to convert some of the seemingly endless parking space downtown into small commercial opportunities, but that would be vastly more risk than lot owners here have shown themselves willing to accept; our parking zones are more likely to suddenly contain coyotes than they are to suddenly contain retail or restaurants, and no, that isn't hyperbole.

There are worse problems to have, of course:

[A Day In The Hood: A Day In The Hood Has Left The Building]
"I can no longer deal with the issues facing me on my street in the North End. It is not just the garbage in my back lane, or the illegal dumpers who think they can leave all their unwanted crap in my neighbourhood. It is not just the sirens, not just the helicopter, not just the constant fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars on my street. It is not just the graffiti now appearing in my lane. It is not just the partying that goes on all night long, and the yelling that we hear on the street. It is not just the drug houses on the street and the youth we see in neighbouring yards where they don't belong, uttering their threats as they look at us. It is not even just because someone broke into my house in the middle of the night when I was sleeping. It's the whole package. And I am sorry, but I just can't do it anymore."

After two years of prolific blogging and five years of living in the North End, Rae Butcher and her longtime North-Ender husband have decided to cut loose from the constant frustration and discouragement of the neighbourhood and move on to, as she writes, "happier times". While the news is disappointing to read, and while her street-level perspective and reports on the state of the area will be missed, it certainly sounds like the best personal decision given the circumstances.

The Butchers plan to spend their time adventuring around North America in a motorhome, which sounds pretty great, and I wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

Speaking of moving out:

[Observations, Reservations, Conversations: Richardsons to Buy Part of Viterra]
"I wonder how long it will be before we ask: how do we preserve the old Wheat Board building or what should go in there?"

Yooooo, speculation time! Gimme five bucks on "the building sits abandoned for six years, then the Provincial Government moves some random department into it".

On the bright side, though, the CWB building will find new life loooong before the Public Safety Building does. That's comforting, right? Certainly more comforting than other stories I could mention.

[Winnipeg Sun: Katz 'won't quit' till city has infrastructure funding]
"Mayor Sam Katz left a door open Friday to a run for re-election in 2 1/2 years, insisting he wants to stay on the job until Winnipeg gets a long-term regular source of funding to improve its infrastructure."

And, finally:

[ Brandon Wheat Kings vs. Calgary Hitmen: Sunday, March 25 at 6:00 PM (and March 27th)]
Hey, anyone here like hockey?

The Royal Manitoba Winter Fair has displaced the Brandon Wheat Kings from their arena -- y'know, again -- so if you figure you might enjoy some junior hockey, you've got thirty bucks kicking around, and your schedule is free on Sunday or Tuesday (or potentially Thursday) night, this may be worth looking into.

A quick check confirms that there are oodles upon oodles of seats available, so I figure I might catch the Sunday one, because what the hell. How often does something like this come along? (The answer is 'pretty much yearly' -- or, if Winnipeg eventually lands a WHL team, somewhere around thirty-six times a year. See, this is why I need to cut down on rhetorical questions.)

Thank you for reading ManLinkWeek! The next week is going to be an unusually busy one for me, but I'll do what I can to get something up.

1 comment:

Giggles said...

Thanks for clearing up the .ca issue!! I have been google searching this issue for a few days now! Finally a resolve! Thanks again!!

A Fellow Canuck