Recent Activity

New beginnings

I’ve posted a new entry over on my site detailing my goals for following Tim Ferriss’s Slow Carb Diet.

January 5, 2011

New MacBook Air

As I’ve mentioned on my CanuckInBermuda site, I just bought a new 11” MacBook Air. This thing is slick. It is based on Flash storage, and it is tiny, quiet, and responsive. The keyboard is great, which Apple always seems to get right and the trackpad is perfect as usual.

I have the same resolution in 11” as I do in my 15.6” work laptop. Sharp to say the least. However, one thing I noticed after I installed a few of my usual apps was this strange blipping noise which would intrude on me at seemingly random times. I knew it was coming from somewhere but wasn’t sure what. In fact, I could remember something like this happening before on my last new machine. So the purpose of this post is to remind me when I get a new Mac again that it is Skype which is the culprit. By default it has a notification sound whenever someone on my list signs in. Argh. Not useful at all really.

November 9, 2010

Change of scenery

No, I haven’t moved. But I have been pretty bad at keeping up to date on the website. Part of it has to do with an insane amount of work, and part of it has to do with everything else I do outside of work being pretty un-newsworthy.

The change of scenery has to do with the fact that I’m now blogging over at

This site isn’t going away, but might see a change of focus (and hopefully a redesign, this one is getting really old. :/ )

October 11, 2010

iPad: First impressions

Some of my friends and immediate family already knew this, but I got an iPad a couple of weeks ago. It was the 2nd of May to be exact, purchased in the US by a coworker who was there for a conference. As I’ve lamented about before, it is often tricky to get certain goods in Bermuda. If not tricky then expensive, as I paid a 25% import duty on the device plus the accessories. And although I wanted to write about my experiences sooner, I decided it would be best to hold out and wait until the initial fan-boy excitement wore off. I feel that three weeks in, the time is right.

For those who skim paragraphs, the iPad is amazing.

First a quick introduction. The Apple iPad is a device which is roughly 9.5” tall by 7.5” wide, which is essentially a tablet computer. It has a full screen with multitouch capabilities similar to the popular iPhone. If you’ve seen or used an iPhone the iPad will be very familiar. In fact most of the iPhone applications run on the iPad without change. However, the larger form-factor brings along certain key difference from the iPhone which I will outline in my discussion.

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May 22, 2010


Anyone who has ever traveled to a foreign country knows how important their passport is to them. Losing it or having it stolen is a huge inconvenience, especially if it happens while you are traveling. Now, I’m in a situation where I’m not resident in the country where my passport is from, and I can’t get a passport in the country that I’m resident in. My recent concern was that my passport was due to expire.

Canadian passports expire every five years, so this is something that people need to deal with on a somewhat regular basis if they are the traveling type. And usually it is when you are preparing to take a trip that you look at your passport and see that you are expired or soon to expire. In my case, I was well aware of my passport expiry since I’d written the date on so many different forms over the years. That date was approaching and since I am resident abroad, I knew it was important for me to renew.

Renewing a Canadian passport from Bermuda

Fortunately, renewing a Canadian passport from Bermuda (or the US) is reasonably pain-free. A former coworker had gone through his renewal process a few months before and provided some excellent advice.

The first thing you want to do is go to the Passport Canada page for Canadians living in the US or Bermuda. If you qualify, your easiest option is the Simplified Renewal Form PPTC 054. This form is only a couple of pages and doesn’t need anything signed or done by a guarantor. The PDF document itself helps validate your data as you type it in and contains a lot of instructions to make sure that the application is complete. In some places, the form and website make it seem like the form is for the US only, but I assure your that as of the time of this writing, it also applies to Bermuda as well.

In particular, when entering your address in the form, the available options under Prov./Ter./State didn’t include anything which would indicate Bermuda. In the end, I just filled in Bermuda by hand after I printed the form. I also had to attach a sheet to supplement my two year address history, but that one is based on your personal situation.

I also found out that if you want to pay an extra $5, you can get a double length business passport. It has 48 pages for those people who end up collecting a lot of stamps or visas. Given that the passport fee is already $97, the extra five seems like a no-brainer. However, there is no option for this on the application form itself, I ended up attaching a cover letter which indicated my desire. Totally up to you. For payment you fill in the credit card authorization slip which is on the first page of the form.

The only other consideration is the photos. There seems to be only one place to get Canadian passport compliant photos done in Bermuda, at least according to my coworker. That is Mall Passport and Portrait Studio in Washington Mall (Hamilton). It costs $17 and is done while you wait. All said and done, it was a pretty smooth process.

More expensive is the cost of couriering the finished application, along with your old passport to the facility in Canada which handles the processing. This was around $50 for me. But considering I’m including my passport, it was well worth it. The address is on the form that you fill out. End to end, the process took me a bit over two weeks. Two weeks without a passport, but now that I have my new one, I’m breathing a bit easier. Since all flights from Bermuda are international, going anywhere (like back to Canada for a wedding in August) requires my passport. I’m glad the process was as straight forward as it was.

Permitted to work

In addition to needing a new passport, my initial one year work permit in Bermuda was also nearing completion, so the company started the process to get me a new one. This time it was a three year permit since it would seem that I am going to be living here for a bit longer. At one point that would have been daunting news, but now that I’m settled here, I couldn’t imagine leaving any time soon.

Bermuda immigration isn’t really all that easy to deal with. They need lots of information and even then, the decision as to whether someone gets a permit or not feels somewhat arbitrary. But even with a passport soon to expire, I was granted my three year permit. And of course we have since updated their records with a notarized copy of my new passport. But it is all sorted now.

So if you need me, I’m safely and legally in Bermuda for the next few years.

May 16, 2010

Review: Area 7

I haven’t written anything for a while, and the last review of a book I did was ages ago, so that must tell you something about being compelled by this book to write something about it.

And in this case, compelled by positive factors not negative ones. This book was great. I was introduced to the author through his Jack West Jr. series, starting with the Seven Deadly Wonders. I’d heard of his other series, the Shane Schofield series, which he has written first and had tucked it away in my mind to read sometime. That sometime became a reality on my recent trip to Vancouver where I bought the book as something to read on the plane ride back. I did start it on the plane, and despite being very busy at work right now, found time to finish it this past week. Normally I don’t read after work, but I found this book stealing time from my regiment of TV shows.
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April 17, 2010

International Intrigue: FedEx style

Just a piece of advice that I’m going to float out onto the Internet in case anyone else finds themselves in a similar situation as I was. Actually this was my second time and perhaps writing about it will make it easier in the future.

If you have an invoice from FedEx as a recipient (for duty or taxes or whatever) but you are now in a different country from which the package was received, there are two things to know:

  1. You can’t pay for it online. I think this is true even if you aren’t in a different country. But you can do it by phone.
  2. The contact number for FedEx may not direct you to a place where they can help you. At all.

Case in point: you have an invoice from Canada (because you shipped yourself or your family something at Christmas from the US), but you are now back in Bermuda where you live. You click on the Canadian FedEx site thinking this is a good place to start. You find a contact number. It is toll free which might work from Bermuda, but may or may not actually be toll free. Calling this number connects you to a Caribbean/Bermuda contact centre. If you try to explain you have an invoice, the best case is you are transferred around for a while until you find someone who can help you. Worst case, you dead end on someone who can’t help you (or transfer you apparently).

The trick is as soon as someone answers (after 1 for English, and 0 for a human) is to ask for “Canadian billing” (or whatever country your invoice is from). Now you should be talking to someone who can actually help you. They may have to involve someone else but they actually know how to properly transfer a call. Have the invoice number and a credit card handy and you are good to go.

I don’t know how many of these invoices they serve, but this is my second inside of a year, so you would think that they would allow for online payment, since you can do most other things online. I guess I’ll have to enjoy my international scavenger hunt each time.

February 18, 2010


Bermuda: 15°C
Halifax: 0.3°C

Backpack: Get Organized and Collaborate
The most common way to get usability wrong is to listen to what users say rather than actually watching what they do. — Jakob Nielsen