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Archive for October, 2020

Controversial Canadian Senator Backs Trump with Campaign Contribution

27-Oct-20 11:34 pm EDT Leave a comment

Senator Lynn Beyak should know that her resignation from the Canadian Senate should be immediate. She got caught red-handed making an illegal campaign contribution to Donald Trump’s re-election fund with money paid to her by Canadian taxpayers. The United States has a law prohibiting campaign contributions from foreign nationals, but Beyak’s office was saying only “it was a mistake” tonight in Ottawa.

Sen. Lynn Beyak’s office said she made a contribution to the Republican National Committee ‘in error.’ Source: CBC

Yup – a career-limiting mistake if things go the way they should and at least a fine from the Americans with a ban on her travelling to the US is probably in order too. SHAME ON HER!!!!!!!

Full story carried tonight via CBC News.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Saitek X56 Compatibility Issue & Missing Stream Content (2 Issues)

24-Oct-20 05:00 pm EDT Leave a comment

Microsoft Flight Simulator released gobally back in mid-August to generally positive initial reviews. Funtionality seemed initially sound and my Saitek X52 Pro HOTAS worked perfectly. This continued into early October — when Asobo Studio (the game’s developer, under contract with Microsoft’s Xbox Game Studios) suddenly stopped working on my PC. In the following days and weeks, I decended into a netherworld of support fixes, articles, drivers and other nitemarish tech support imagery and even XML configuration files with GUIDs and everything; all to no avail. That is until, I finally decided to abandon my efforts to rely on my Saitek X52 and instead upgrade to the Logitech/Saitek X56.

A Costly Endeavour

Thus began my search online for a new X56. Thanks to the COVID-19 virus which plagued our beloved planet throughout the 2020 gaming season, supplies of “stay-at-home” hardware in computer tech had dried up somewhat. For specialty gaming items as HOTAS controllers (like the X56 in particular) it was all but impossible to find a reliable supplier. After wrangling with a non-delivered package and laying out nearly $1,000 (CDN) I eventually obtained my X56 at a premium by visiting the US Aamazon sales website (https://amazon.com) and ordering it directly from Logitech (which is an Amazon-recognized seller).

Getting the New Hardware to Work

So I’d had to wait several weeks for it to arrive, but when it finally did, initially, it didn’t seem to help matters. I started repeating the troubleshooting tips I’d used with the X52 to no avail. Shockingly, these same steps actually worked with the newly-procured X56. (Click here for the details.)

A New Problem Erupts: Missing Content!

Satisfied everything was now set to go, I proceeded to load Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, confident I’d found all the answers I need. And then I found out as I soon as went to fly anywhere my range seemed rather short. It turns out I was confined to the range of either of the 2 starter package aircraft, the Cessna 152 or the Beechwood King Air 350i. What was going on?

Well it seems that when I initially had downloaded the Premium Delxue edition of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 from Steam, the loading software (the Steam client) had installed the full Premium Deluxe content. But in one of my earlier troubleshooting steps, I’d decided to try re-installing the entire game and now none of the content being sent to me via Steam included the extra content. As a new Flight Simulator 2020 user, I’d never used the Marketplace tab witihin the game which actually brokers this content once it gets uninstalled for any reason. As such the remainder of my content would have to be downloaded separately from Marketplace.

With all the missing content downloaded, and the hardware successfully re-installed my technical support nightmare was over. This was not aided by Steam support who’d I’d mailed about the issue in any way. Steam would be infintely better-off at least advising customers that missing Deluxe and Premium Deluxe content could be downloaded directly from Microsoft using the Marketplace with a message dialog (at least) — it’s not something Flight Simulator 2020 users are necessarily aware of when they buy the complete product and install it for the first time through their service. Indeed, it only serves to lengthier support engagements via e-mail a general confusion all-around.

There is no expectation here that Steam even needs to support DLCs in a general way by maintaining the inventory of all client software and associated downloadable content. Just a dialogue for this one title and its millions of users worldwide.

Conclusion

This article is intended as helpful content for users who encountered the same X52 Pro issue I did and also for those who’ve got themselves an X56. Should the latter fail following some future update, it would be my approach to first repeat the steps above to resolve any and all issues. That said, I’m hoping something like this doesn’t happen and that Ascobo will start conducting proper QA in their software development practices against all intended supported hardware with the latest updates to Windows 10 deployed (at minimum). It seems clear this was not done where the X52 is concerned and during the COVID-19 pandemic, it could leave users who’ve invested onerous sums in hardware in software without a solution otherwise. In my view, at speaking as a professional software developer, this would amount to bad practice and questionable professionalism.

I would invite you if you have comments or opinions on this article to share it with others since documentation online seemed lacking. I will try to answer questions dilligently, as time allows.

The ‘2nd Death’ of Sir John A. Macdonald

20-Oct-20 12:05 am EDT Leave a comment

Canada is, to some degree, disowning it’s first Prime Minister (PM), Sir John A. Macdonald. As every Canadian knows, Macdonald was something of a drunk and has been more recently cited as being an unrepentant assimilationist and among the lead architects of the residential schools programme (which, from Canada’s founding until the latter-half of the 20th century, took aboriginal children away from their families to a life of ritual abuse at the hands of government-funded authority). With aboriginal roots reaching well-into my own family, it might sound surprising that I am of two minds on the question.

First, Macdonald’s actions both on the aboriginal file (including the wrongful execution of Louis Riel from my home province of Manitoba), on the head tax levied against Chinese workers building the first railways, the CPR scandal among a number of corruption allegations, notorious alcoholism (including imbibing while sitting the House of Commons) and “fiscal insanity” according to a very forgiving review by a contemporary Canadian historian — there certainly is a lot to choose from when it comes to finding imperfections in this founding father of one of the world’s great nations. But as, secondly, as a student of history, I’ve always found it both difficult and unfair to judge the actions of our ancestors whilst living with all the creature comforts and morality of the modern age.

So here we are sitting with all the amenities of the early 21st century judging the rampant ignorance of those living in the 19th. What terrible people and fools they must all have been! Or so we say to ourselves — and not for the first time.

To take an example from the history of science, one could see with the benefits of 17th and 18th-century technology that Jupiter clearly had moons of its own and the Catholic Church’s original assertions that Earth must be the very center of the universe were clearly debunked by the Sun’s position there instead must also have seemed terribly ignorant. Indeed, there were those that said so.

Indeed, at first glance, Aristotle’s model of the solar system might seem a wireframe monstrosity gone horribly, horribly wrong. Until one factors in it’s a product of a unique genius making observations available to him with his own eyes, absent tools like the telescope living as he did in the 4th century BCE and with seemingly few people ahead of him in line making meaningful observations about the planets, the moon and the sun. Even after Aristotle helped spark further curiosity on the subject, by the Roman era people imagined the stars being phenomena hundreds of stadia away from the ground; or perhaps thousands. (The concept of a million as we know it was still to come down the road — not that even the nearest star could be measured in a distance meaningful in any way to a Roman citizen.)

Macdonald then was faced with challenges that bore out a considerable degree of immorality when judged by our 21st century standards. Of course the aboriginals had to be dealt with, sometimes harshly. He had a vision of Canada and the United States threatened that with invasion, as they’d done just over 50 years earlier in 1812. Claiming Cree and other tribal lands in Manitoba and elsewhere in the Canadian west was a priority to establish a Canadian-British claim on the territory, lest otherwise Canada not survive to see its own 50th birthday. And besides, as he would’ve seen it, bringing Anglo civilization to the ignorant, less technically sophisticated aboriginals could only be a good thing for them. The Spanish were the ones who’d used European technology to conquer their aboriginal peoples. Anglo civilization was gentler, more enlightened. So he’d have thought, surely.

So discredit where it’s due — but lets have the credit too, I say. Without Macdonald, we wouldn’t have Canada as we know it to hold up as a model for the rest of the world to follow. What he did to its aboriginal peoples was, of course, reprehensible, but assimilation policy was very British and the de facto approach when dealing with peoples that seemed irrationally resistant to its dominance (as happened in Ireland three centuries earlier when some bright folk decided that a certain “Ireland problem” needed dealing with). Macdonald it bears saying, with ample imperfections both personally and in policy-making, deserves to be credited with helping to forge the nation we’re all inextricably a part of today as Canadians and regardless of ancestral origin. A nation that embraces diversity in all its forms, conscious of social need and of being relied upon to (however eventually) fulfill its obligations to those it owes its friendship and duty, and fanatical in the pursuit of justice and service to its citizens.

Macdonald, whatever you may feel about him, helped create that nation undeniably. Maybe that means we rename a law school one day or remove a statue the next. But let’s not pretend he wasn’t among a tiny few to first and truly believe in something called Canada.

A continually-run D&D campaign, since 1982.

A continually-run D&D campaign, since 1982.

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