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Microsoft wants to drive Windows 10 users to the Edge

On March 16, the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17623 was released in advance to a select group of Windows testers.

Among many changes that this package of possible Windows 10 updates includes is one designed to fix a long-standing problem with Windows 10’s default web browser, namely the fact that hardly anyone using Windows 10 is using Microsoft Edge.

A year and a half after the Windows 10 Anniversary Update of August 2, 2016, made Microsoft Edge the operating system’s default web browser, usage stats for Edge are hovering at an embarrassingly low 4 percent.

However, rather than addressing why Windows 10 users are avoiding Edge (hint: no extensions), Microsoft has chosen in its new Windows 10 Preview Build to brute force the adoption problem—by simply removing the ability of Windows 10 users to avoid using Edge.

As the Windows 10 blog puts it:

“For Windows Insiders in the Skip Ahead ring, we will begin testing a change where links clicked on within the Windows Mail app will open in Microsoft Edge, which provides the best, most secure and consistent experience on Windows 10 and across your devices. With built-in features for reading, note-taking, Cortana integration, and…”

yada yada yada! Read it all here, if you want.

In a nutshell, if you use Windows 10’s default email client (called Mail), any website links you click on will open in Microsoft Edge, even if you have changed your default web client from Edge to something else, such as Chrome or Firefox.

This will certainly drive new and unsophisticated Windows 10 users to Microsoft Edge but it will likely drive experienced users with strong browser preferences nuts. Forcing this latter group to use Edge will only further rub their nose in the fundamental shortcomings of the Edge browser, compared to Chrome and Firefox. Read more…

Spotting my first fake ladybug of spring

Ceci n’est pas une ladybug. It’s a nearly look-a-like Multicoloured Asian lady beetle.

All winter I miss the sight of ladybugs. Then comes the warmer temperatures and flowers and birdsong of spring and I still miss them. I will apparently go on missing them because, near as I can tell, the native Canadian ladybugs that I grew up with are a thing of my childhood, permanently replaced by a nearly lookalike invasive foreign species.

The little beetle that I saw March 14, roaming around on a window was one of these fakes. At first glance it answered to the general description of a proper ladybug. It had the ladybug’s characteristic six spindly legs, a wee head and—most characteristic of all—a glossy, reddish orange, domed wing-case (or elytron) marked with many black spots.

It was these spots, however, that gave it away—there were too many of them.

The native ladybug, once ubiquitous in B.C. and across Canada, is the Coccinella novemnotata; better know as the nine-spotted ladybug because it always has exactly nine spots. The lookalike I spotted on Wednesday had twice too many spots to be the real thing. Read more…

It’s 2018 Vancouver! Do you know where your homeless people are?

Christina and Ingrid—two of the Vancouver homeless count 2018 volunteers who came looking for homeless people in the Fairview neighbourhood.

It’s that time of year again, when the City of Vancouver takes two days to try and count its homeless population.

Yesterday (March 13) was the day to count the city’s sheltered homeless population, while today, volunteers combed through the 22 neighbourhoods—including, in a big way, the Fairview neighbourhood—to conduct a daytime street count. Read more…

Popular South Granville mural to be destroyed by condo redevelopment

The colourful, geometrical mural at 2319 South Granville Street that is threatened by a proposed condo development next door.

A popular mural in the 2300 block of South Granville Street, which was created less than two years ago at a publicly-funded cost of $20,000, is already facing certain demolition due to redevelopment.

Sharon Townsend, executive director of the South Granville Business Improvement Area (SGBIA), which oversaw the funding and creation of the mural in the summer of 2016, on the north wall of 2319 Granville Street, says that efforts will be made to convince the developer to replace the mural, which has become both a popular selfie backdrop and a signature visual in South Granville promotional material.

Read more…

Cali homeless camp wasn’t as messy as “shocking” cleanup numbers suggest

Reported annual waste produced per homeless person in a California encampment: a third of the above grey bin, two-thirds of the jar and two-and-a-half syringes. That’s all!

Reading the headline: “California Homeless Camp Cleanup Finds 250 Tons of Trash and 5,000 Needles”, you could be excused for thinking that the February 26 item on Newsweek’s website was proof of how especially filthy and messy homeless people are.

The story, put briefly, is as follows. On February 25, officials in Orange County, California, cleared the last 700 homeless people out of an encampment covering a 4.8 km stretch of land along the Santa Ana riverbed. The camp, which is described as being near Angel Stadium in Anaheim and not far from Disneyland, had been occupied by upwards of 1,000 homeless people for the past two years.

Besides mentioning that the county has promised to give either a month-long motel voucher or a shelter bed to each of the evicted homeless people, the basic tenor of the Newsweek piece is that homeless encampments are superlatively messy and Orange County isn’t going to tolerate them. Read more…

Twitter users rally to buy Ivan a second secondhand bike!

Ivan rides again! His new-old Trek 830—a beautifully refurbished meat-and-potatoes mountain bike from the 1990s!

Ivan’s second secondhand bike—purchased a week ago, with another batch of money raised by Vancouver Twitter users—is still doing just fine, thank you very much!

This is a welcome turn of the wheel in what has been a month-long cycle of giving and taking, where Ivan’s bikes have been concerned.

The secondhand bike that Ivan is now riding was purchased on February 20th to replace an earlier secondhand bike bought on February 7th—also with money from Vancouver Twitter users. That bike was intended to replace a bike stolen from Ivan on February 2nd, while he was sleeping rough in the Fairview neighbourhood.

Unfortunately, the first secondhand bike that Twitter users bought for Ivan was itself stolen seven days later, on February 14th, again while Ivan was sleeping rough, this time in the Downtown Eastside!

Fortunately for my middle-aged pal (who suffers from a bum leg) he only had to hobble around for four days, until February 18th. Then a serviceable clunker bike was found for him in the back alleys by another homeless binner.

And that…brings us back to February 20th, when I received an email from Charlie Smith, editor of the Georgia Straight.

Vancouver Twitter users, again led by the indefatigable Linda Lupini, executive vice president of the Provincial Health Services Authority, had raised another bike fund for Ivan. The envelope of cash, Charlie wrote, was waiting at the front desk of the newspaper’s offices on West Broadway Avenue. Read more…