PEIBlogs.com: the definitive Prince Edward Island blogroll since 2004.

Welcome to PEI Blogs, an aggregator of weblogs (blogs), news feeds, and tweets about or located in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada. Email me (link below) to add or change sites. Click on the black subject link to expand an entry, or the red blog name link to go to the entry in the blog. Click on the Sources links below to view an entire blog.

PEI Blogs is provided as a public service on a non-profit basis. Information comes from individual websites, through RSS syndication, and from a Twitter list, and is displayed automatically by PEI Blogs, who have no control over information posted. Opinions expressed by posters are not those of PEI Blogs. Information posted will not be suitable for all readers, or all age groups. Sites may portray themselves as objective, but present a very biased point of view. Please make your own decisions as to the objectivity of any site or post.

- Derek MacEwen, PEI Blogs Aggregator

PEIInfo PEIInfo, PEI's Community Website and Message Forums since 2002. Visit us at www.peiinfo.com.

Aggregation of selected recently-updated blogs, news feeds and tweets:

Thursday April 9, 2020

22:01 New Haven »Pedaling PEI
22:01 Floral Friday Fun »justpictureit
photo - Floral Friday Fun

Yes, just hilarious....

20:32 Disney lowers the boom on Dana White. UFC 249 is cancelled! Events postponed indefinitely! »John Cairns Blog
Breaking news today is that UFC 249 set for April 18 at Tachi Palace has been cancelled. All future events are also postponed. Presumably, that means Fight Night in Saskatoon in June is also off. Dana White went on ESPN and confirmed it all, and he made it clear that it was the highest levels...
19:05 Folk On Foot Front Room Festival »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

Coming up on Monday, April 13, 2020, the Folk On Foot Front Room Festival:

Help us to stage an amazing virtual folk festival on Easter Bank Holiday Monday – and support musicians who’ve lost their livelihoods during the coronavirus lockdown.

The Lineup: Bella Hardy, Beth Porter plus the Bookshop Band, Jon Boden, Julie Fowlis and Éamon Doorley, Karine Polwart, Kerry Andrew (You Are Wolf), Kris Drever, Lisa Knapp and Gerry Diver, Martin Simpson, Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, Peggy Seeger, Rachel Newton, Sam Lee, Seth Lakeman and Steve Knightley — all playing sets of up to 30 minutes each in their front rooms.

When: Easter Bank Holiday Monday 13th April from 2pm for over six hours of unique music.

Where: from the Folk on Foot YouTube Channel and Facebook page – direct to your front room.

That’s 2:00 p.m. GMT, which is 11:00 a.m. Atlantic Time.

(via musician Karine Polwart’s email newsletter, which is worth a subscribe; she appears on an episode of the Folk on Foot podcast in 2018)

17:55 Sign Language Interpretation Now »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

When the PEI Council of People with Disabilities advises government of the utility of having sign language interpretation of government pandemic briefings, the correct response is to immediately secure the services of sign language interpreters.

17:51 Artifacts of the Pandemic »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

Sign at Maclauchlan's hotel

16:25 Neutron Bombs and Essential Services »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

Like Matt Webb, my childhood featured a bomb that would make the people disappear, but leave everything else intact:

I grew at the tail end of the Cold War. My unquestioned assumption was that I would probably live out my life in a nuclear wasteland.

One of the things we’d talk about was the neutron bomb. This type of bomb would leave cities buildings intact, and it had very little fallout so the city would be safe to occupy after it was dropped, but the people would all go. Not die, that wasn’t the myth of it, but somehow vapourised — raptured up to heaven, really. It was called the “clean” bomb. The mental image was of an urban Mary Celeste.

This wasn’t science fiction for me: I remember the stories on the news making it seem a very real possibility.

Webb goes on to ruminate on “key workers” and the “key economy”—what we call essential workers and essential services—and how they have been separated from the economy in a way that renders then distinct and as we could never see them before.

I’ve been wondering about what the long-term effects on those deemed non-essential of being furloughed will be: it’s bracing to be told that your role in society is a “nice to have” not a “need to have.”

12:37 Are we going to take a year off tourism? »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

Via the Institute of Island Studies newsletter, a link to the OTOK Podcast, “a podcast about and for islanders.”

The second episode features Nenad Starc discussing the impact of COVID-19 on the inhabited islands off the Croatian coast:

Nenad Starc is professor emeritus at the Institute of Economics in Zagreb, Croatia and one of Croatia’s most prominent island scholars. We talked about islands as places of refuge in the time of COVID-19; the shortcomings of public policy that doesn’t account for island specificities; and the impacts pandemic will have on tourism industry.

These are issues we on Prince Edward Island are going to confront in the weeks to come: are we going to bite the bullet and take a year off tourism? If so, what will this be like? (And what if we like it so much that we decide we don’t actually want the tourists to return after the all-clear?).

Wednesday April 8, 2020

22:01 Beach Dreams »justpictureit
photo - Beach Dreams

Being a good example; Patiently isolating Do I have any choice with that giant footprint and pair of beady eyes?

17:16 Snow/wind expected tomorrow night across PEI. »peistormchaser
Wednesday, April 8th 5:15pm… Weak ridge of high pressure across the region gave a  mix of sun and cloud to the island today. Low pressure will develop over New Hampshire tomorrow afternoon then intensify as it tracks NE along the … Continue reading
14:38 Pandemic, part 4 »Diary of a Squirrel




11:04 Weekly Learning Seminar »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

At 100 Prince Street we’ve been working to rebuild some semblance of a new routine upon which to hang our hats.

Some of the elements of this new routine, like nightly Crazy 8s, are novel. We use Invisible Playing Cards. And Bicycle rules (no turning over the stock when it’s exhausted!). We were tied 5 wins to 5 wins until last night when I jumped into the lead. I suspect this is temporary, though, as Oliver is improving every night, and I am not.

Photo of me and Oliver playing Crazy 8s at the dining room table.

Some of the elements are adaptations of Stars for Life routines.

Every Tuesday at Stars for Life, clients take turns making a presentation on a topic of their choice; we’ve reconstituted this at home as Weekly Learning Seminar. Oliver takes one week, I take the next, and so on.

Last week was Oliver’s turn, and the topic was Nikola Tesla. Tesla was born in Smiljan, a village that’s a 19 minute drive from where my Croatian grandfather was born, so we have some familial affinity for him. But his story is fascinating even without that connection: so much of what we consider “modern convenience” was born of his invention.

Yesterday it was “Introduction to Human Sexuality,” my turn. Because if fathers and sons can’t talk about labias during an pandemic, when exactly are we going to talk about them. So we talked about sex, and consent, and what stimulation means, the importance of talking–a lot–and the particular challenges that autism might bring to sex.

Oliver’s told me that I can pick his topic for next week, and that it can be anything I want.

Otherwise, the most obvious change in our daily routine has been a pushing forward of our meals: although I get up at the usual time–earlier, in fact, this week–Oliver gets up mid-morning, which delays lunch until mid-afternoon, and supper until well after the usual 6:00 p.m. dinner bell. Last night, because we dashed to the waterfront to see the Pink Moon, we didn’t eat supper until 8:30 p.m.

Photo of the Pink Moon behind a crane at Charlottetown waterfront.

Back in the early days of blogging, if you were a late-nite talk show host and wanted to parody the medium, you’d go on about how bloggers were inward-focused chroniclers of the minutiae of daily life.

It turns out that reading about the minutiae of others’ daily lives, during this time when we’re all shut-ins, is extremely salving to the soul.

That’s why I love reading Elmine’s chronicles of life in Amersfoort every morning, and Brent’s occasional tales of virus avoidance in Seattle, and Clark’s despatches from across the river.

Maybe there’s a Weekly Learning Seminar topic in there?

10:02 So Do You Know Your Farmer Now? »Food Matters (Ian Petrie)
08:41 Canadian Maritimes Failing To Stay At Home During COVID-19 »NJN Network
A startling Google survey on April 2, 2020, shows that up to 67% of Maritimers are ignoring the Provincial Government pleas to stay at home. On average, only 41% of Canadians are taking the same carefree approach to COVID-19 pandemic.
01:02 It’s official, Dana White is a madman. Wants to hold UFC fights on a private island! »John Cairns Blog
I gotta say, UFC boss Dana White is absolutely determined to stage UFC 249 — even without Khabib Nurmagomedov, who can’t get out of Russia due to all the travel restrictions. Even without a major arena venue anywhere remotely in civilization. You know what the reports are? The reports are that White is going to...

Tuesday April 7, 2020

22:01 Summer Dreams »justpictureit
photo - Summer Dreams

Keep an albatross' wing span apart Or isolate.

19:02 Time for Tea »Aiken House & Gardens
18:41 "It was my last handshake." »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

Danny Caine, proprietor of The Raven Book Store, writes about an event the store held, just as the world was shutting down, with author Louise Erdrich.

He finishes:

As we walked over to the fire, the caretaker stood, unfolding his lanky frame. He nodded at us. Louise crouched and pulled some sage out of her bag. She crumbled off a few leaves and tossed them into the fire. They missed, landing on a cool spot away from the flame. She reached her hand right in there and grabbed the sage, placing it directly on top of the embers. She didn’t flinch.

Standing, she said, “thank you for tending this fire. What’s your name?”

Junior,” the caretaker said. “Yours?”

I’m Louise, and this is Danny.”

Junior reached across the fire to shake our hands. It was my last handshake.

The entire story is spread over two issues of Quoth The Raven, the store’s excellent email newsletter

If you’re at all interesting books, authors, reading, words, small towns or Kansas, you really should subscribe.

16:54 More sun expected tomorrow across PEI. »peistormchaser
Tuesday, April 7th 5:00pm… Unstable air today has resulted in afternoon cloud build-ups and few snow pellets/rain showers. High pressure current;y over Quebec will drift eastward cresting over the island later tomorrow. Sunshine and light winds will accompany this feature. … Continue reading
14:54 Remember interoperability? »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

Remember back in the day when there was interoperability between messaging platforms? When the hope was held out that we would all be able to seamlessly chat, with a single app, a single account, with anyone, just like we can send and receive email with anyone, regardless of how and where they manage their email.

Remember?

Now I have this:

The many messaging apps running on my desktop all the time.

Skype, Slack, Teams, Android Messages, Telegram, Zoom, Signal. Oh, and email.

I have all the same apps running on my phone too.

Where did we go wrong?

14:35 ホームレスの疎開先 »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

Enjoy this video from #Vanlifer Yohei Murakami in Japan either in the original Japanese, or with YouTube subtitles turned on; it’s enjoyable either way.

00:10 The news of today is that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in intensive care!! »John Cairns Blog
I have had Britain on the brain the last couple of days. Yesterday I tuned into that stirring address by the Queen. Just what the world needed to hear — that calm and reassuring voice that people yearn for in these crisis circumstances. She even brought up “we’ll meet again” which was straight from Vera...

Monday April 6, 2020

23:21 Survivors of the Spanish Flu »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

Among those who survived the 1918 Spanish flu:

  • Raymond Chandler
  • Wait Disney
  • Lillian Gish
  • David Lloyd George
  • Franz Kafka
  • Edvard Munch
  • Georgia O’Keeffe
  • Mary Pickford

Also on the list: Woodrow Wilson, President at the time, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, who went on to become President.

22:01 Lone Some Horse »justpictureit
photo - Lone Some Horse

The Isolation Series This shot was supposed to accompany yesterday's post.

20:48 »The Annekenstein Monster
View on Instagram https://instagr.am/p/B-qEBFHJ0u-/
17:17 In Conversation with Small Business Minister Mary Ng »AmberMac
Small businesses across the country are struggling right now. I’ve seen all your tweets, DMs, and comments. While there are extensive new federal government measures in place to support your organizations during COVID-19, there are also a lot of questions. After all, Canada is home to more than 1M small businesses, which employ 7 out […]
16:29 Remember 'other places?' »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

I started with The Beatles song In My Life:

There are places I’ll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone, and some remain

All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends, I still can recall
Some are dead, and some are living
In my life, I’ve loved them all

Walking across the street from 100 to 101 this morning, I remembered coffee shops and libraries and bookstores and friends’ houses and the forest and the beach and the movies.

Other places.

Remember ‘other places?’

Remember 'other places?' printed in red on a brown card.

Printed in 30 pt. Futura Medium (with its odd question mark), in red, on unbleached heavy card stock from Yu Yo in Halifax. Limited run of 32.

Email me if you’d like me to pop a copy in the mail to you.

Remember other places card, photographed on the ink disc.

Remember other places, on the sidewalk

Red ink on the Golding Jobber No. 8 letterpress ink disc

13:34 #TheFeed: Genetic Hacking; BarterPay; & Babbly »AmberMac
TF209: Jamie Metzl, author of Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and The Future of Humanity, answers the big questions about biology, technology, and our DNA. Plus, CEO John Porter reveals how BarterPay can help businesses through the pandemic. Also, Babbly CEO, Maryam Nabavi, discusses how their tool uses A.I. to help parents with their child’s speech development. […]
09:43 "Do they still want to hear what I say?" »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

I am convinced that the zeitgeist, which is shape-shifting at a dizzying pace, is going to make a dramatic turn this week; some of us are going to go to ground, some of us are going to flower.

My friend Henriette is going to flower:

It’s so weird that during this Corona Virus Isolation, it seems like everything is fucked up outside of the garden and in here everything is sunshine, grounding as well as birds chirping away. Occasionally the cat comes to visit on the little porch I have in the front.

I do very much still want to hear what Henriette has to say.

09:32 Memories of Row 142 »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

Six years ago this morning I was in the letterpress shop printing coffee bags for the late, reborn-as-Receiver, Row 142.

07:46 Rain ending by noon across PEI. »peistormchaser
Monday, April 6th 7:45am… A north-south oriented cold front is sweeping across the island with it’s associated cloud and rain showers. Skies will clear by noon as this feature moves east and high pressure builds in from the west. A … Continue reading

Sunday April 5, 2020

22:22 Cake »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

Oliver took this photo of me, about to blow out the candle on my birthday cake.

22:01 Unreal;Real »justpictureit
photo - Unreal;Real

I do jest a lot here but honestly, I feel like life has turned upside down. Straight conversion to greyscale. Black and white did not work at all. This first video is from 2010. Since the Pandemic, Mary Chapin Carpenter has been singing songs from her home with her cat and dog wandering around, doing what cats and dogs do. I have tuned in several times and have seen many other concerts from other singer's home events. Mary Chapin Carpenter has just an unaccompanied acoustic guitar in these Songs from Home sessions. The second song is from those sessions.

19:50 54 »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

I turned 54 years old today.

The day started with calls from loved ones, followed by our usual Sunday waffles (I added some cocoa, because, well, it’s my birthday). After lunch I helped Oliver make me a birthday cake (lemon cake from the kitchen of Betty Crocker, with improv chocolate frosting using icing sugar helpfully provided by Catherine).

As the cake was chilling we had round one of gift opening, a nap, a little work, and then dug in to fulfill Oliver’s dream of cooking a “medieval vegetarian supper,” which ended up being navy beans and shallots stewed in broth, mushroom soup, and English muffins topped with cheese. Those medievals and their brown food!

We organized an impromptu birthday cake reveal Zoom at the very last minute, and had drop-ins from California, Ontario, PEI and Sweden (thank you all!). A second round of gifts were opened.

I’m now just coming down off the sugar shock and might tuck into a rousing game of “Set: The Family Game of Visual Perception,” which rode in on round one.

If you’re going to have a birthday during a fucking pandemic, this was a pretty good birthday to have.

Here’s Oliver’s take on the day.

54

Photo of Trubarjeva cesta 54 in Ljubljana by duncan c
Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

16:54 A Little PEI Love Bar with Chef ILona »Welcome PEI!
During this time of social distancing and staying safe, there’s no better time than to get creative, learn a new skill, and put those idle hands to work! If you’re ready for break from Netflix and puzzles and are craving a little something sweet, PEI’s Chef ILona Daniel is the … More
11:45 Khamor/Athon: The Needed DONKEY »Hebrew Word Lessons
DONKEY: khamor (male, masculine noun) (2543) & athon (female, feminine noun) (860).  Root (khamor): חֲמוֹר  Root (athon): אָתוֹן Sounds like: kha’more and ah’tohn. So those who know me well know that I have an affinity for donkey’s. My three favourite animals are cats (I live with three of them), skunks (we go way back), and… Continue reading Khamor/Athon: The Needed DONKEY
10:04 Pain au chocolat »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

Because, fuck the pandemic, I’m ordering six pain au chocolat.

06:54 Bit more sun expected today across PEI. »peistormchaser
Sunday, April 5th 7:00am… A weak ridge of high pressure centered over the Maritimes should give a bit more sunshine today before it drifts off to east. A cold front currently located NE-SW through Ottawa will also move east sweeping … Continue reading

Saturday April 4, 2020

23:34 Help me celebrate my birthday with "First and Last" »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

I’ve been chewing on an idea I’ve called First and Last for a many years now; my 54th birthday, on Sunday, amidst a pandemic, seems as good a time as any to try it out.

The original idea was to rent a theatre once a month and to screen to the pilot and series finale episodes of a television show, separated by a thematic intermission (“Newhart Martinis”), and followed by some sort of group discussion.

Given that we’re all storm-stayed until whenever, with Oliver’s help I’ve reimagined First and Last for the digital realm.

Want to join in?

The first show I’ve selected is The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which ran from 1970 to 1977—between the ages of 4 and 11 for me. In its original run, and then, later, in reruns, the show was frequently watched in our household.

Watch both (it will only take you 48 minutes), then discuss in the comments

21:01 Maple Ave »Pedaling PEI
21:01 We Clouds Will Get Together Again »justpictureit
photo - We Clouds Will Get Together Again

Isolate please. It is working on our Island where there is no community spread; all cases are related to travel. Two songs from Joni Mitchell's album Clouds and her later version of the second one.

17:09 Better Living Through iPad Text Editing »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

I inherited Catherine’s iPad, and find myself using it more and more: I watch TV, edit photos, browse the web, FaceTime my mother. And I write blog posts, like this one, via email.

I haven’t used an iOS device regularly for a long time, so I’ve become rusty on iPad text editing niceties; this helpful guide from Apple taught me a bunch of things I didn’t know, especially about the different ways to move the cursor (“insertion point” in Applespeak).

16:59 FaceTime Advice from Tom Ford »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

It’s time we all upped our video chat aesthetics game; designer and filmmaker Tom Ford has some simple advice:

Put the computer up on a stack of books so the camera is slightly higher than your head. Say, about the top of your head. And then point it down into your eyes. Then take a tall lamp and set it next to the computer on the side of your face you feel is best. The lamp should be in line with and slightly behind the computer so the light falls nicely on your face. Then put a piece of white paper or a white tablecloth on the table you are sitting at but make sure it can’t be seen in the frame. It will give you a bit of fill and bounce. And lots of powder, et voilà!

11:22 Spring, 2020 »Mumblin Jack (poetry(
April. Already Magnolias contemplate white Silences to come. How many will we see wither And die while May petals fall?
08:15 Some sunshine expected this weekend across PEI. »peistormchaser
Saturday, April 4th 8:15am… A weak ridge of high pressure along the St Lawrence River Valley will drift SE today crossing the region tomorrow morning. A mix of sun and cloud today as this feature approaches. A cold front sweeps … Continue reading

Friday April 3, 2020

21:01 April 3 »Pedaling PEI
21:01 Caturday »justpictureit
photo - Caturday

Kenz From long ago.

20:02 Cheerful Yellow »Aiken House & Gardens
20:01 The Office: Deleted Scenes »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

Longtime readers may recall my 2013 remix of a Vinyl Café episode, wherein I took advantage of the pause-filled speaking style of the late Stuart McLean to take apart and reassemble the audio Into something completely new. The result sounds like it should make sense, but it most certainly doesn’t.

I get the same sense watching the “deleted scenes” videos from The Office, like this one. Unlike the Vinyl Café, these are the bits that ended up on the cutting room floor, the bits we never got to see. Stitched together they end up as “episodes” that seem like they should make sense, but don’t. As if The Office writers were incapable of writing plot.

16:42 Junk Drawers »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

Catherine was very much of the “we might need this someday” school, where “this” could be gift bags, kebab skewers, random nuts and bolts, or bits of ribbon. As a result, our house has not only one, but several junk drawers, junk shelves, junk buckets, junk nooks, junk boxes. Oliver and I have been using this fallow time to deal with these, using this guidance from The Guardian as our guide:

This is the time to be ruthless. Empty it out, says MacKenzie. Give the inside of the drawer a vacuum and a wipe with a damp cloth. Then “only put back the things you use. If you think: ‘I might need that one day,’ no, you won’t because you haven’t used it in the last year. I used to have a dish full of keys and I never knew what they were for. One day I just threw them away. Did I come to any grief? No.” Rehome items to the places they belong.

16:29 Ten Days Later »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

I ventured off-world today to grocery shop for the first time in ten days, proud of my ability to feed myself and Oliver, with little food waste and optimal leftover usage, for as long as I did.

Since I was last at Sobeys, systems were updated: a makeshift border wall has now been constructed out of overturned shopping carts, and we shoppers were guided to line up, 2 metres apart, each of us waiting for one person to leave the store before one person was allowed in. At the entrance we were presented with pre-sanitized shopping carts, and a new iteration of keep-your-distance signage was evident.

Inside the store there were new directional arrows taped to the floor that were only partially adhered to, but everyone kept their distance, and waited patiently for people to move along. Cordiality was in abundance.

I did lose my head a little, what with the “I may never shop again” feeling coursing through the air. Peri peri sauce ended up in my cart why, exactly? Just in case I need to whip up some Portuguese chicken? But otherwise I stocked up on the things we truly need, and I figure we’re good until at least mid-April as long as Purity can keep me in milk and Receiver can keep me in coffee and bread.

I left the reusable bags at home on purpose, opting for paper bags instead (which appear to be free now). Sobeys is on an everyone-bags-for-themselves plan now, and I will be downloading Tetris later today so that I am better at this next time.

I was in and out in about 20 minutes, back on the home planet in 30.

Oliver has declared today Friday Fun Day, so now that the groceries are all packed away, let the hilarity ensue!

13:41 100 Drachmas »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

In my pants pocket this morning I found a Greek 100 drachma bill.

I have never been to Greece.

Greece has not used the drachma since 2002.

I suspect sleepwalking involving time travel.

12:48 When is Sobeys busy? »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

If you Google your local grocery store–Sobeys, in my case–one of the things that Google Maps will show you is when the store is typically busy on any given day, and how busy it is right now. Useful information to have when you’re trying to minimize contact with other shoppers.

Here are snapshots of four Prince Edward Island Sobeys for a Friday; don’t use these as an actual guide, because they’re evolving and will be inaccurate in the future:

Montague

Popular times at Sobeys in Montague

University Avenue

Popular times at Sobeys University Ave

Stratford

Popular times at Sobeys in Stratford

West Royalty

Popular times at Sobeys in West Royalty

Because this is Google, and thus closed and proprietary, there’s no way of knowing the sample size–the number of mobile devices that Google is detecting at each location to develop its approximation of busyness–and the charts are only useful in a relative not an absolute sense. Also, the data was gathered during a time when Sobeys was open longer hours; hours are now 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and that means that visits are distributed differently now, even more so with so many people not working and so able to shop at unusual times.

12:46 4 Apps & Tips to De-Stress at Home »AmberMac
Presented by GROHE Canada. I can’t imagine going through this pandemic without technology. It can help us to stay connected, add structure to our days, and provide helpful de-stressing activities. If you’re struggling to find moments of calm during this chaotic and uncharted time, take a deep breath and check out some of these tools. […]
12:37 Personal Surveillance in the Time of the Plague »ruk.ca from peter rukavina

Two ways that I’m using surveillance to manage the changed reality.

First, I’ve been having Google surveil me for many years via Google Location History, wherein I give the Google Maps app on my phone permission to drop digital breadcrumbs to Google as I move about the world.

For most of the last three weeks my timeline looks like this:

Google Location History map showing me moving back and forth between work and home.

Through the timeline I can keep track of when I last went grocery shopping (Tuesday, March 24 at 10:46 – 10 days ago!), when the last time I went for a drive was (March 22), when the last time Oliver went to Stars for Life (March 16), and when the last time I went out for coffee, casually and without a care in the world (March 8).

Mostly this surveillance is of casual interest, but it also means that if, say, it was announced that someone carrying the coronavirus was somewhere I might have been, I have a way of confirming or denying that. Never has where and when I’ve visited been of more potential health value than now.

Second, I’ve turned on the motion detecting features of our Ring video doorbell.

When I installed the Ring last August, it was primarily to allow me to miss fewer courier deliveries (at the time we were getting regular deliveries of cancer meds that required a signature); it seemed like an innocuous enough piece of of technology, with the greatest civil liberties assault being to those that rang the doorbell.

Since that time Ring has evolved into becoming part of a burgeoning police state, and my discomfort with the technology has grown; But, for the time-being, police state actor or not, the Ring has proved helpful. Here’s what it looks like to set up “motion zones” in the mobile app:

Screen shot of setting up Motion Zones in the Ring app for Android

The idea is that I want to be alerted when something moves in our front vestibule, but not when someone walks by on the sidewalk. This turns out to work frightfully well, with no false-positives at all over the last two weeks.

The end result is that whenever someone enters our vestibule, I get an alert on my phone and on my computer, and I can watch an instant replay of what happened.

Here’s me leaving the house at 10:48 a.m. this morning, jaywalking across Prince Street, and walking into the St. Paul’s Parish Hall:

Being able to know what’s going on in my vestibule has proved useful mostly because I know when things get dropped off or picked up, our vestibule serving as a kind of DMZ or airlock during these infective times. So today when the Receiver Coffee delivery of bread and meals gets dropped off, I’ll get a ping on my phone and I’ll know to run over to put things in the freezer.

Both of these “personal” surveillances have dark sides (“WTF, the Internet has video of me dropping off your bread?!”, a kindly Receiver staffer might justly ask; to say nothing of the “according to anonymous cell phone data” that seems to be part of every second story in the New York Times this week), and the darkness extends, at least in part, because the data that’s being vacuumed up sits both under my control and well beyond it.

So I’m actively developing alternatives: I’ve got the parts here in my office to build an alternative doorbell that doesn’t stream video into the repository of the surveillance industrial complex, and I’m experimenting with using PhoneTrack on my phone and my Nextcloud instance to drop my geolocation breadcrumbs to myself, not to Google. I’ll report back as these projects progress.

12:18 New Website »Women's Equality PEI
For new and recent content, please visit us at our new website, www.peistatusofwomen.ca, and update your bookmarks. Blog posts will be posted at http://www.peistatusofwomen.ca/news/. We will be retiring this blog and our very old InfoPEI website in the coming weeks. Any content that is taken offline will still be available by request to the PEIACSW […]
08:42 Diminishing NE winds expected later today across PEI. »peistormchaser
Friday, April 3rd 8:45am… A strong ocean storm remains located east of Cape Cod this morning will move slowly SE away from the region today allowing for some sunny breaks and slowly diminishing winds. High pressure to the north will … Continue reading
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