Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Walking

Masahito Yoshida is walking through Vancouver currently. He has walked from Tokyo to Portugal, and then from Toronto to Vancouver, over the last couple years.

His Japanese blog: http://alkinist.blog111.fc2.com/
His English blog: http://alkinist2.blog135.fc2.com/

I got to meet him this last weekend as he walked the last two hundred kilometers to Vancouver. The distance that I drove in a couple hours will take him four days to walk.

He pulls a cart with all his belongings and is an IT engineer.

The parents of the family I lived with in my second year of university have done equally long distances but on bicycle, and they met him two years ago. Since then they helped him plan his trip across Canada and will be housing him for a couple nights before he goes to Australia.
Chris and Margo's bike blog: http://legacyweb.triumf.ca/people/oram/cycling/

All very neat people!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Puppy agility and sheep herding

My aunt is starting a dog and trainer training facility on Vancouver Island! Her and a friend are working to start a buisness teaching: agility (a competitive race over standard obstacles), sheep herding (with real live sheep!), and obedience (self control for puppy and owner).

Even if you are an experienced trainer, these ladies can help you brush up on your puppy-human communication or teach you to train other trainers!

They are rather excited about it. And are great teachers and dog trainers!

http://westcoastcanineacademy.com/

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Income Tax: credits and deductions

So I was browsing the government of canada website when I ran accross the annual budget and saw some items related to new 'tax credits'. Not knowing what this really meant, I thought I'd do some research. (My dear mother has done my taxes for all years I've been eligible so far, but it's time to start understanding it myself).

Disclaimer: This is my current understanding only! I can't commit to this being correct. Please comment if you have corrections or clarifications.

One pays tax (surprise!), to various places but in this case I'm just going to look at federal canada.

The current tax rates should be here. Basically, If you earn $0 to ~$41,000 you pay 15% of that as federal tax. ~$41,000 to ~$83,000 you pay 15% on the first $41,000 and 22% on the rest. And so on.

There are tax credits and tax deductions.

Tax deductions reduce the actual taxable amount by the stated amount. So a tax deduction of $5000 reduces a taxable income of $35,000 to $30,000. Common tax deductions include a Basic Personal Amount of ~$10,000, and CPP contributions.

A tax credit is an amount and a percent. Say $1000 at 15%. Take the percentage of the amount, 1000 * .15 = $150 in this case, and subtract that from the tax you actually pay. Examples include transit passes. You have to actually pay the amount to get it, so that $1000 is actually a maximum and you get 15% of whatever you actually pay.

Resources:
http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/ncm-tx/rtrn/cmpltng/ddctns/lns300-350/300-eng.html
http://thegallopingbeaver.blogspot.com/2006/05/tax-deduction-vs-tax-credit.html
http://blog.taxresource.ca/what-is-the-difference-between-personal-tax-credit-tax-deductions/

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Frontpack

My observation
I've taken to walking from class to class wearing my backpack backwards. With the pack in front of me instead of behind.

It's nice, it means the weight distribution is different and so I feel like I use different muscles (or the same muscles in a different way). I can't say for certain obviously, as I'm not educated in anatomy.

I've spent the last 15 or so years of my life carrying a backpack, and it's been a great help, but I'm also guessing that it has done some interesting things to my posture. This change won't fix things, but it does seem to help.

Because I spend so much time in front of a computer, I spend a lot of time sitting down and hunching forwards. This would seem to catch the general muscle-use of wearing a pack on my back. In both cases I am contracting my front or bending forwards. This overlap increases the need for me to do daily activities that work other muscles.

For any designers or pack-makers out there
It would be really neat to see a pack specifically designed for wearing on the front. My current pack isn't too bad but it's not ideal. The shape of the shoulder straps seems the most in need of reworking.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Open process

In open source software, the sources code is made available to anyone who is interested. This means that I can go and look at the source code of, say, Firefox, and see how it works. Which means I can learn from it! YAY!

What if someone keeps a regular diary of their activities throughout a project and makes that publicly available? Perhaps someone can learn from that? Let's call it 'open process'.

I have a friend who is in interaction design who keeps really good records of what she is working on. She generally doesn't make it public, but I've had the chance to look through them (with her consent of course!), and I've learnt a lot from reading that. Not completely open process, but sharing one process so others can learn. Having people to learn from is one of the reasons I keep my friends around! :P

I've done this before with the MyHomeYourHome project here: http://dropbox-myhomeyourhome.blogspot.com/

Now I'm sort-of doing it for a directed studies course at University. It's not just my process, or all of it, but it's a regular blog about what I've been working on written for my friends/collaborators, and the prof who is supervising the course. It's also written for you! If you find it interesting, maybe you can learn something from it (then you can be one of my friends too!).