30 October 2019

Wireless Mesh Networks & goTenna - The Future Is So Bright, I Need To Wear Shades!!

 It has been a very busy semester at school. The work load is quite a bit larger this term and the one extra course is really taking the wind out of my sail. Regardless, I am learning a lot and it is time to share one of my school projects.

For those of you who are into tech, this project may truly catch your whole interest. For those who are curious about new technology this project may stir your interest. And, those of you who are here with open minds and no fixed interest this may change that...or not.

Wireless Mesh Networks (WMN). What the heck is that? Glad you asked. Think of the internet at the beginning....
 You had to direct dial modem to modem to connect to another computer. Then, eventually you could go online and network with a few folks and eventually millions of other computer users.

Well, WMN, is like that; in that it connects people together. But, it has the ability to create its own network. Devices called nodes are the infrastructure that connect other devices like cellphones together. Until, recently only the military and big corporations had this ability. It cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars per unit.

Welcome, goTenna and the whole goTenna family of products: goTenna, goTenna MESH, Pro, Pro-X.
goTenna lets you connect your cellphone to text message other cellphones that also have a goTenna without cellular service or Wi-Fi or any other internet connection. Let that sink in.

With goTenna, you and your cellphone and your friends with their cellphones and goTennas can go to a concert, festival or to the great outdoors and stay in contact. Imagine being out canoe camping at Bowron Lakes in British Columbia. No power. No cell towers. Spotty satellite reception. However, if each canoe unit had a cellphone and a goTenna you could text between canoes. Not important on a sunny afternoon, but if the weather turns foul and the waves 
 get big enough to swamp or capsize canoes; it is now very important to stay in contact. Not all those canoeing can paddle to the next campsite. Some may have to make for the closest safe harbour and take emergency shelter until the storm passes. Now, your 6 or 8 canoes in your group maybe scattered a few kilometers apart. With the goTenna MESH and cellphone and the required software app you loaded on all phones before the trip; you can now contact each other and ensure everyone is safely ashore. From first to last may be too distant to directly  communicate , but thanks to the nodes your message can "hop" through the other nodes to the person you need to contact.
 That is wireless mesh networking!!

So, even in the most remote places that have no communication infrastructure; you can now decide if you want a network and how big it will be. Realistically, with enough nodes in a given location, you could communicate over an area of bout 16 square kilometers, depending on the topography or terrain and the possible line-of-sight interference obstacles. The good news is, you can float a relay unit in a weather balloon or attach it to a drone in a high orbit to keep everyone in your party connected.
 My school project focuses on using the goTenna Pro-X system to deploy to areas post-disaster to rescue those who are in the danger zone. Disaster Management and Disaster Response Teams would be entering area devastated by disasters and the regular infrastructure for communications are either overloaded or destroyed. These response team will need the capability to communicate between teams and to command centre.

This is very versatile technology and has a huge potential. I encourage further investigation at: https://gotenna.com/
Until next time....Don't be afraid to learn something new!!


21 August 2019

Veteran's Business Boot Camp #2 - Ottawa 29 October - 01 November 2019

Sunset Yugo 1994 (Photo by V.A. McMillan)

Veteran's Business Boot Camp #2 has just been announced, the VBBC will run from 29 October - 01 November, 2019 in Ottawa, ON. This program is open to Veterans of the Canadian Forces and current serving members. Here is the link to the program details: VBBC #2

I had the distinct pleasure to attend VBBC #1 in Calgary earlier this year. Here is the link to my post on The GOOD Plan Blog: VBBC #1
I highly recommend all CF members who have an interest in being their own boss and running their own company to sign-up and attend this program. I, also, suggest registering early as this program fills up very quickly.

Thanks to Mr. David Howard and The Canadian Legacy Project for providing this opportunity to those who served or serve our nation on the frontline. 

Best success to the new class!


14 August 2019

Dystopian Penny Stock Options For A Cashless Economy - Part Two

Fort William, Ontario - July 2012 (Photo by V.A. McMillan)

Toilet Paper - Popular Trading Item
Zippo Lighter Flints & Fuel
Time to revisit penny stock options for a dystopian cashless economy. Here is the link to part one: Part 1
As you may recall, in the first post the three items suggested were: Strike Anywhere Matches, Tealight Candles and .22 LR Ammo. Now, if you are looking to diversify your dystopian penny stock portfolio I will make a few more suggestions.

In our modern society few appreciate the simplicity and refreshing action of wiping one's butt with nice green leaves. This practice has become a social faux pas. So, in this spirit of staying socially correct, the first item I suggest this time around would be toilet paper. In a SHTF event, it will not take long before toilet paper rises to the top of the "wants" list for those who failed to prepare. Meaning, you will have a willing market for trade. I prefer and recommend toilet paper that is packaged in individually wrapped rolls. 2-ply 450 - 500 sheets per roll is a convenient sized roll. Now your initial investment will be more than when stocking up on matches but your ROI (return on investment) should also be much greater.

And fire made it good! Without fire, we have devolved to before the caveman. Stocking up on items to support the Zippo lighter could be a wise investment. Flints and lighter fluid top my list of items to hold a small supply of for trading. Right now flints for Zippo lighters are quite cheap, less than a dollar for each of those plastic containers in the picture above, which each will hold six (6) flints (although, I believe only 5 are included when you purchase them.)
Fishing Line (& Fish Hooks)
Safety Pins - Large 2" Size

If there is water in your region, then fishing supplies will make for popular trading items with those who failed to be prepared. Fishing line, fish hooks, sinkers and swivels would be good investments. Ten thousand yards of monofilament fishing line would cost less than a carton of cigarettes and would have a better ROI. 

Last item would be the safety pin. When purchased in bulk. these 2" safety pins are very affordable. I do not recommend stocking up by purchasing those small packages at the grocery store. Find a sewing supplier and buy them by the pound or by the hundred or thousand count. If there is a dystopian future waiting for us, not everyone will be practiced at mending their own clothes and gear and safety pins are well known for fixing tears and missing buttons, at least for a short while.

Until next time...think outside the box for the solutions that matter.


12 August 2019

Mount Robson & Neighbourhood (2003) - Part Three

Mount Robson - from the Visitor's Centre - July 2003 (Photo by V.A. McMillan)

Falls of the Pool - Berg Lake Trail (July 2003) 

Berg Lake Trail in 2003, the adventure continues. Like in Part One (mount-robson-part-one) and in Part Two (mount.robson_part.two) These are a collection of photos taken along the Berg Lake Trail and areas nearby in July 2003. Waterfalls and Mount Robson being the central focus. 

Camera continues to be a 35mm with a fixed focus running Fuji or Konica film. 

Side trips include Snowbird Pass and Mumm Basin; as well as, a stroll to the far end of Adolphus Lake in Jasper National Park. 

Photo credits: V.A. McMillan and links back to this blog post would be appreciated.

Until next time...capture some snapshots!


Emperor Falls - Berg Lake Trail (July 2003) 

Emperor Falls & Mt. Robson (July 2003)
Emperor Falls - Berg Lake Trail (July 2003)
Rearguard & Mt. Robson from Mumm Basin - July 2003 (Photo by V.A. McMillan)

Mount Robson & Robson Glacier - July 2003 (Photo by V.A. McMillan)
Mount Robson from near Snowbird Pass (July 2003)
Adolphus Lake, Rearguard & Mt. Robson (July 2003)

Berg Lake & Mt. Robson - July 2003 (Photo by V.A. McMillan)

26 July 2019

Mount Robson & Neighbourhood (2001) - Part Two

Whitehorn Across Kinney Lake
The next visit to Mount Robson and the Berg Lake Trail was in July 2001. This trip was a family and friends trip. Everyone was eager to get into the hills and enjoy a great time.

The weather was starting off very well. This first snapshot was looking across Kinney Lake at Whitehorn. Although, it was a bit cool at the trailhead, it was quickly heating up.

Up behind the Kinney Lake Shelter, I noticed this nice turret of rock. I have not found what it is called. Doesn't appear to be a large enough feature to make it onto the map. A mystery, I guess. I am sure some of the folks at the Alpine Club of Canada have at least a nickname for it.

It was a hot slow slog up the trail out of the Valley of a Thousand Falls. The next photo is from Emperor CG looking up Emperor Ridge on Mount Robson. You can just see a bit of the Mist Glacier on the left side of the photo.

A Turret of Rock Behind Kinney Lake Shelter
Looking from the creek at Robson Pass CG back at Mount Robson. This trip I scored mostly snapshots of Mount Robson. Which worked well for the family photo album. Have only selected the better ones for posting.

The next three pics are from Robson Pass CG as the sun is setting and the shadow line is creeping up Mount Rearguard, but Mount Robson is smiling in the evening sunshine.

Three of us made it to the summit of Mumm Peak. It was not as clear as me last visit, there is a lot more cloud in the picture. It was a great hike. The view is outstanding from Mumm Peak.

Then it was time to hike out and Mount Robson did not have a cloud anywhere near. This is such an awesome place to go hiking and if you enjoy snapping pics, there are no bad directions to point a camera.

Until next....Grab your camera and shoot something!!

Emperor Ridge, Mount Robson - July 2001 (Photo by V.A. McMillan)

Mount Robson from Robson Pass CG - July 2001 (Photo by V.A. McMillan)

Mount Robson - July 2001 (Photo by V.A. McMillan)

Mount Robson Catching Clouds - July 2001 (Photo by V.A. McMillan)

Mount Robson, Fading Sunshine - July 2001 (Photo by V.A. McMillan)

Mount Robson from Mumm Peak - July 2001 (Photo by V.A. McMillan)

Mount Robson, Hiking Out - July 2001 (Photo by V.A. McMillan)
The Link to Part One:  Mount Robson & Neighbourhood (1996) - Part One

12 June 2019

Mount Robson & Neighbourhood (1996) - Part One

Mount Robson from Berg Lake Trail 1996 - Photo By V.A. McMillan

Mt Robson from Berg Lake Trail July 1996 - VAM
 July 1996 was my first hike along the Berg Lake Trail, the most popular trail system of the Canadian Rockies, or so I am told. I had also heard that Mount Robson is a very difficult mountain to photograph without having the peak stuck in a cloud. I therefore find myself to be very fortunate to have enjoyed seeing the exposed peak for 6 of 7 days during this first journey. 

Basecamp was established near the warming hut at the far end of Berg Lake. Established tent sites were being constructed at other sites along the Berg Lake Trail, however, the Berg Lake Campground had not yet been so constructed. I found a favourable site on the far side of Toboggan Creek, while others in my party pitched their tents closer to the warming hut.

I found the variety of trails that radiate from the warming hut to be exceptional. From easy strolls across Robson Pass to Adolphus Lake in Jasper National Park, to strenuous hikes like Snowbird Pass (around 20 KM's return)  or up Toboggan Creek to The Cave. Or the moderate Hargreaves Glacier - Mumm Basin Loop (around 15 KM's for the loop).
Mount Robson from Snowbird Pass Trail July 1996 - Photo by V.A. McMillan

Mt Robson & Berg Lake from Hike to Mumm Peak
Left to Right. Mt Anne-Alice, Steamboat Ridge & Mumm Peak - July 1996 Photo by V.A. McMillan
One thing is certain, there are no bad views around here. In every direction there is something to see and capture on film. Mount Robson has so many good sides and poses so well. My only complaint was not knowing how many rolls of film to bring. Which, I did not bring enough. 

My personal greatest achievement was reaching the summit of Mumm Peak (9718') and being able to capture the photo of Mount Robson (last photo on this post.)

I will endeavour to add at least two more parts to this series on Mount Robson over the summer.

Until next time.....Take a Hike!!!


Mount Robson from Summit of Mumm Peak - July 1996. Photo by V.A. McMillan

17 May 2019

Collective Capitalism, A Concept

Stonehenge, Salisbury Plain, England
Capitalism, the root of all evil; according to every socialist or communist who has ever stood upon a soap box. 

Socialism, is communism for slow learners; according to many meme's on the internet.

Communism, the system where everyone is equal....except those at the top who are more equal. 

Every political theory ever presented to Earthlings has its flaws and no system has ever been used in its perfect form. In theory, all these political systems work. However, they all overlook a very fundamental flaw....humans. We humans are not perfect, and we tend to corrupt all that we touch; intentional or not.

Today, I want to explore capitalism, identify the primary flaw and then present a possible solution. Until, the peoples of this planet decide to evolve above a money based economy, it is best to present a solution that will work with the systems we are currently familiar with. Capitalism and the free market economy is a fair, honest and open system of commerce. Fellows like Adam Smith (The Wealth of Nations 1776) go it great detail explaining how the free market economy is the best system to operate by. The greatest flaw of capitalism is the perceived unfair success of the very few at the expense of the many. Of course, if you switch your point-of-view, this flaw or weakness, is also the greatest strength; if you are willing to work hard, you can enjoy unlimited success and wealth. So, does this mean the people who cry the loudest about how unfair capitalism is are also the laziest people, not willing to work hard for their personal success?? Sounds harsh, but it may have some truth to it. Humans are lazy in general and unless motivated, they are willing to accept less if they can stay in their comfort zone. Those willing to take risk or are self-motivate will always get more than those who are not willing to put in any effort. To this end, capitalism is a good system, it is self-regulating; the more effort you put in, the greater your rewards. However, there is but one lingering flaw.......even the most successful company or corporation, did not make all their success without help. 

Let us explore the idea of collective capitalism. First, let me define collective capitalism - as a system of free market economy that differs from classic capitalism, in that a group objective is at the core of success, instead of an individual objective. Instead of the blood, sweat and tears of a thousand employees making a single owner rich beyond their dreams; have a successful company where the owner makes a healthy profit and lives very comfortably and all those employees who made the success possible get a greater share of the profits. In this way, the employees are finding it worth their while to give their blood, sweat and tears to the company and the company rewards them for their sacrifice. There is a symbiotic relationship in companies that are successful - the company and the employees need each other for success. When greed enters the relationship it skews the symbiotic relationship out of balance/harmony and the company fails. It does not matter where the greed comes from top or bottom. The skewing will rob the symbiotic relationship of the synergy that generated the success.

Through the life cycle of a company it would be difficult to assign a fair division of income to labour. However, in the beginning, it would be reasonable to expect that risks are high, revenue are not, but if the employees believe in the potential of where the company could go, you have the nucleus of synergy to go to great heights. In the early days, if their is great leadership, great company vision and great employees who believe; the potential for success is very high. When this company succeeds in a collective capitalism environment, the more the company succeeds, the more those who make the success possible will be rewarded. As success can ebb and flow, I would suggest a wage & profit sharing formula as being a fair method of rewarding the employees. In the start, wages might not be as high as they will be later when the company is making success and profits. Risk is thus shared by those who get in early. The owner risks everything to make success and so do the employees who join early for the future payoff. As success increases, wages should be high enough to pay for life and keep staff turnover to a minimum. Whether the company calculates profits quarterly or annually, a possible formula for distribution could look like this: The Owner is paid 25% of the profits, 25% are reinvested in the company infrastructure, 25% are saved and 25% are shared with the employees. With a wage plus profit share program, the more successful the company, the more the employees are rewarded. In theory, the more you are rewarded, the more effort you are willing to put into continued success. This works right up until you have enough. Once you have achieved enough, the motivational power of money ends and then time becomes the motivator. In that I want more time off to live life with my enough money. If this is respected by the company, then everyone works hard, plays hard and lives well. 

This is not limited to working at the company level (single company, single location). With the right leader, this could work at the corporate level (single company, multiple locations), community level (multiple companies, same location), county level (multiple companies, multiple locations), country or continent level. This is merely the process of working together to achieve common goals. It worked in Canada during WWII. It could work again. We just need leaders with vision and employees who believe and a system to reward everyone's efforts fairly. Reduce the wage difference ratio between those at the top of the company and those who are working hard at the bottom. 

Together everyone achieves more = TEAM. This acronym is flaunted at almost every team-building exercise, ever. If we can curb greed, just a bit and share just a bit more; the whole cycle will grow. When more employees make more money, they buy more, when they buy more, more companies need to hire more and the cycle grows. 

That is my simple solution to make capitalism better. 

Until next time...create solutions, not problems!