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    June 2010
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Poetry in the Fourth Dimension

Back from almost one week without connecting to the internet, a pleasant surprise on the Hugin-PTX mailing list.

Every WordPress user knows that code is poetry.  David Haberthür took the Hugin code from its new Mercurial repository into the fourth dimension with Gource.  Inspiring.


This was the reflection of a glass of milk in his eye!


Living in Quebec we were customers of Hydro-Quebec, the state monopoly electricity utility.  Unsurprisingly for a monopoly, Hydro-Quebec does not know how to deal respectfully with customers, particularly with privacy:  you can’t opt-out from their spam – the dead tree as well as the electronic varieties.

They had a web-based “personal page” with information about your electricity consumption, electricity saving tips, and a few transactional functionalities.  However the service came with a string attached:  the registered email address ended up on their spamming list.  No opt-out possible.  After trying with customer service I had no choice but to edit an invalid email address into my profile.  That was five years ago.

Fast-forward today.  To disconnect service before moving I logged on to the “personal page”.  I re-instated a valid email address to get notifications regarding the disconnection.  I assumed that disconnection / closing of the account would also close the “personal page” and the spam problem.  I paid my last bill, moved out of province and forgot about Hydro-Quebec.

Until today their spam landed in my inbox again.  Five years later, still no way to opt-out.  Worse: because I am disconnected and don’t have a contract anymore, I can’t edit nor delete my “personal page”, even if it is empty.  Lucky me the valid email address I gave them is just an alias that is now diverted to /dev/nul at the server.

I wrote this post while waiting on the phone for one of their customer service representative.  The post was finished long before I could speak with somebody there.  What a spammer, Hydro-Quebec!

A Good Day for Taxpayers and for Free Software

The Quebec superior court ruled that Quebec’s government purchase of Microsoft software without considering alternative vendors was illegal.  Unfortunately it was not practicable to revert the transaction but in the future the government will think twice before wasting 720.000 CAD of taxpayers money on the “upgrade” of 800 workstations to Windows Vista and Microsoft Office when there are viable lower cost alternatives that can do what those computers are asked to do, based on Linux and Open Office.

The full ruling text should be available online in a few days in French and maybe in English too.

Update June 4: The ruling was raised at the Quebec National Assembly during the question period.  The exchanges showed little understanding of the issue and were merely an attempt to score points against one another.  The government ministers were on the defensive, hiding behind the fact that there are thirty days to study and eventually appeal the ruling.  Apparently the civil “servants” do want the government to appeal the ruling. To be continued.


What’s that round thing in his eye, just under the pupil, slightly overlapping it?

Neither a microscopic contact lens, nor a sensor impurity.  What do you think it is?