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Via Rail: Windsor to Toronto

  Windsor Station iPad shot. Post made enroute.

Main attraction: Low price seniors ticket … 50 bucks. That pretty much covers the attractions. Seats: Uncomfortable. Ride: Bumpy. A cushion of some kind is a must. I have improvised one with a rolled up shirt I had in my satchel. 

Well, there is wifi … barely. It’s good enough to listen to podcasts and even watch some YouTube. Signal strength for downloads measures under 1 Mbps, often far under. There is an outlet under window seats for laptop power.

The trip is scheduled to take 4 hours and 6 minutes and we are only 15 minutes late. I got used to the discomforts after the first hour or so, so I’ll rate the service  Not Great But Adequate.

View from Dara’s balcony

  
I forgot my camera, so this is an iPad snapshot

That’s the Detroit River, with the Canada/U.S. border running along its centre. Detroit is on the other side. Danica and I are in Windsor, enjoying a nice family gathering. Dara is one of the clan. We are staying with her sister Andja, who makes us feel very much at home and feeds us well. 

We even got to see Danica’s sister Anna and Thorne, who have flown in from Victoria to attend a wedding.

There’s a lot to like about Windsor. The pace is a little slower than in Toronto, people are a bit more relaxed and friendly and the scale of things isn’t too huge. The city produces good women for marrying, too.

Jubilee Cakes to Budapest

Beach Hill’s rather mysterious Jubilee Cakes is being transformed into a Hungarian restaurant to be called Budapest.

The old bakery seemed to be frozen in time. Was it ever open for business? The sign offering sandwiches for $2.50 seems to belong to another era, that’s for sure. I never saw anyone in there, neither baker nor buyers.

budapest-debut
So the bakery is not a loss and the new restaurant is promising. Budapest is the creation of a pair of Beach Hill entrepreneurs who have already made a success of City Jug Milk, our local corner store. Edit Csomo and Lorie Ditchon know how to run a business.

I am documenting the transformation of the building, which involves a complete gutting of the old space. Everything is new, including the plumbing, wiring, ductwork and kitchen. A friendly working contractor named Darrin was happy to show us around but didn’t want to be in photos himself. Darrin is very well regarded in the neighbourhood. He knows his stuff and certainly doesn’t need a plug. He’s got more work offers than he can take.

The space looks narrow, and it is … but wait! There are plans! At present, the space next door is in use as a site office by the construction company building the Beach Hill condo next door. As soon as the condo is far enough along, the site office will move into it and the restaurant space can double.

budapest-details

Lorie and Edit are on target for a July opening. They plan to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Danica and I look forward to being customers. Meanwhile, I’ll go back for more photos as things develop.

souvenir-shots

Black monolith reference

Ins and outs of VPN tunneling

Ever wish you could tunnel past country restrictions to see web content denied to foreign visitors? Sometimes you can, using a Virtual Personal Network.

twister-bil

I recently purchased a VPN service that encrypts all of the web traffic between my computer and the source. It’s a good thing to have if you check your email via public wifi networks at coffee shops or the library. Your passwords and communications are kept private.

A bonus is that your point of origin is also obscured. I kind of like the fact that government spy agencies don’t like VPNs. China goes so far as to ban them. If Brits can watch our CBC content and I can see some of their BBC content, I don’t mind that either.

VPNs don’t remove all geographical barriers on the internet. Some content will still hit blockades. The main purpose of such networks is to frustrate the ever-increasing army of snoops, social platform profilers, marketeers and spies who monitor everything we do online.

Which brings me to a quote I admire, from Edward Snowden:

Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.

Use FAST and TTC in the same sentence

If you think the only way to meet the challenge is by saying something like “TTC    service is never fast”, you haven’t thought about wi-fi speed. Our public transit system may be slow at moving people but where it offers wi-fi, the web pages fly!

 

Downtown subway stations deliver a pretty good  (for North America) internet connection while we wait for a train to board. Our bank branch now offers wi-fi to customers in queues, too, but so far the connection has been too flaky to get a speed reading.

Solutions found for Gardiner and school budgets

Merging a pair of difficult problems delivers two solutions neatly. What to do with the Gardiner Expressway and how to bring education costs under control? 

This answer arrived as part of a set of photos circulating by email. The set was titled “Only in India” but we could do this, too.