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Hyack floatplane terminal in Victoria sold

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012 Leave a comment

Hard to say what this announcement means for the embattled Vancouver terminal, but it looks like a possible competitive service to Harbour Air on the Vancouver-Victoria floatplane route.

Fudging Vic+ to work in FTX PNW

Sunday, August 28th, 2011 4 comments

Bert Pieké has had some success combining key elements of Victoria+ with FTX PNW.  This is for the knowledgable user, not recommended for folks not used to manipulating folders and files.  No warranties expressed or implied!!

1. Create a new folder in Microsoft Flight Simulator X\Addon Scenery called VicPlusLite

2. Create \scenery and \texture subfolders in Microsoft Flight Simulator X\Addon Scenery\VicPlusLite

3. Copy all files from Microsoft Flight Simulator X\FSAddon\VictoriaPlus\VicPlus Higher Priority\Texture to your new texture folder.

4. Copy just the files listed below found in Microsoft Flight Simulator X\FSAddon\VictoriaPlus\VicPlus Higher Priority\Scenery to your new scenery folder

5. In your scenery library be sure you do not have VicPlus enabled, and add VicPlusLite to your library.  Order should be:

  • CYYJ (2011) – top (if you have it.  Be sure this is installed with the PNW option)
  • VicPlusLite – next
  • ORBX PNW – lower

Files to copy from scenery folder (step 4):

 

 

 

 

 

When you’ve done this, also follow the instructions in Birdguy’s post on this page.

What (not) to do in an Earthquake

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011 Leave a comment

In this post I outlined sources of information to use for guidance in preparing for, and responding to, an earthquake.   It appears that some misguided information is also finding its way around the internet once again: the Triangle of Life promoted by Doug Copp.   It may apply in some third world countries, but guidance in North America still says to drop, cover and hold on.  Follow these links to learn more:

The problem here is not Doug Copp, it’s folks who do not take the time to verify the validity of information.  Google makes this easy now, and a simple search will quickly give you guidance as to whether the information is credible.  So the rule is: don’t pass on any advice on any life/safety issue unless you’ve verified it with a couple of credible websites, or it comes directly from someone who you know personally is an expert.

As an aside, I was surprised to see people standing around or running out of buildings in videos of the recent Japanese earthquake.  That’s the wrong thing to do, and in any case don’t think you’ll have that much mobility.   The earthquake was well offshore and the ground shaking in Tokyo (where much of the video was from) was much LESS than we might experience.  You may not be able to walk or even stand.  Most injuries occur (according to the American Red Cross statement above) when people try to run out of a building: stepping on broken glass, being thrown about or falling down stairs.

This article shows that Tokyo was subject to ground accelerations peaking at 0.16 g (VII on the USGS scale).    To put this in perspective severe ground shaking (X+) was recorded of up to 2.7g in Miyagi prefecture, more than 15 times higher.  A human would be thrown about like a ragdoll at such accelerations.  Unless they had dropped, covered and held on.  Tight.

Could it happen here?

Saturday, March 26th, 2011 Leave a comment

Coastal British Columbia is in an active earthquake zone, and recent events have raised awareness of the risks.  Although in Victoria and Vancouver we are largely protected from Pacific Ocean tsunamis, a damaging tsunami from a near-shore earthquake may occur, and it’s worth restating that your best protection is to be prepared and know how to respond.  In BC, the organization ultimately responsible for your safety is your Local Authority (municipality, district or First Nation) so contact them with any questions, and lots of useful information can be found at the Provincial Emergency Program site, with particular attention to their Earthquake Preparedness and Tsunami Preparedness documents.

Some videos from a recent Kirtan in Victoria

Thursday, October 28th, 2010 4 comments
Categories: Entertainment, Music, Victoria

Toasty roasty

Sunday, May 16th, 2010 1 comment

My (now older) machine is running a bit hot.  How hot?  Well when running FSX core#0 gets as high as 94C.  Yikes.  And that’s just a Q6600 quad core at 2.4GHz.  No overclocking.  So I’ve minimized using the machine the last few days, and will take it into the shop for a cleaning and cooling system upgrade, and a pinch of overclocking (it always did run too warm, 80C or so when stressed).

Holger and I decided to hold off a bit on the Victoria+ FTX PNW patch as it turned out to be more complicated than we thought, and we felt it best to focus on Van+ V3 first.  I’ve been working on the seasonal photoscenery: we have to have two complete sets, one that matches the Van+ custom ground textures, and one that matches the PNW textures.  As well, PNW adds a “hard winter” month (snow) that Van+ didn’t have, so PNW users will get that texture as well in V3.

CYYJ (2010) Released

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 4 comments

Don Grovestine has released CYYJ (2010).  Here’s what this offers at no charge:

CYYJ (2010) portrays the Victoria (British Columbia, Canada) International Airport (CYYJ) and surrounding area as it appeared in early 2010, including the Coast Guard station at Pat Bay and the nearby industrial parks. It is fully compatible with Victoria+ (both FS2004 And FSX versions), Ultimate Terrain Canada/Alaska for FS2004 and Ultimate Terrain X – Canada for FSX, other FS9 road and shoreline upgrades for the area and ORBX’s FTX NA Blue. CYYJ (2010) includes aircraft, flight plan and traffic files for a realistic AI scenario other than scheduled airline operations. (Use BC Regional AI – also available from this file library – for scheduled traffic). CYYJ (2010) updates Victoria+ FSX and all earlier versions of standalone CYYJ. Version 5.04 fixes known bugs, includes a few minor enhancements and adds compatibility with ORBX’s new FTX NA Blue Pacific NorthWest offering.

Congrats, Don!

Timing of Vancouver+ updates

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 Leave a comment

We’re taking our time to add some goodies (like lots of new condos in downtown Vancouver, the Olympic Athletes Village, etc.) to Vancouver+ V3, the version that will be compatible with FTX PNW.  The installation and configurator will have some complexity as well.  So it’ll be a bit (no dates!) until we release that version.

In the meantime, Holger is working on an interim patch that will disable files in the existing version of Vancouver+ which conflict with FTX PNW.  No dates on that either, but watch this space!

And some users have reported successful compatibility between FTX PNW and Victoria+ by just disabling the “VicPlus Lower Priority” scenery folder in the scenery library.  Give that a shot.  We know there will be some conflicts and funnies, but it may provide some of the goodies you yearn for.

FTX NA Blue released

Monday, March 1st, 2010 4 comments

FTX North America Blue aka FTX Pacific Northwest (PNW) was released today from ORBX.  For more info and to purchase, click here.

As noted earlier we will be releasing compatible versions of Vancouver+ and Victoria+ before too long.

Victoria+ restored at AVSIM

Saturday, January 30th, 2010 2 comments

Victoria+, both the FS9 and FSX versions, was a victim of the AVSIM hack, and not available for download from that site.  They’ve now been restored.

FS9 Version

FSX Version Part 1

FSX Version Part 2

For the FSX version you’ll need to extract the files into the same folder before running the installer.  If you already have these addons successfully installed, there is no need to re-install.

An embarrassment for Victoria

Saturday, October 31st, 2009 1 comment

Rather than going on at length about the protests last night that disrupted the Olympic torch relay, here’s some comments.

In my opinion, there are legitimate concerns about the cost of the Olympics, where money could be better spent, who really benefits (is it really the children as claimed?), etc.  But the disruptions last night only served to discredit the protesters and their issues, while impacting everyday folks who wanted a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

One poster commented on the cost of helicopters and security.  And why was that cost necessary, protesters?

Who was the audience for the protesters?  Who is going to be enlightened by this?

The intolerance in the protesters only mirrors the intolerance they perceive in corporations and government (which I agree often exists).  The protesters are no different, and they only serve to perpetuate division and fear. 

Sad.

Categories: Politics, Victoria

Moved!

Monday, July 6th, 2009 1 comment

Apparently our brains release a chemical over time that softens and romanticizes memories.  I guess that’s why I’ve moved home a few times in my life!  What a shenanigan. MiniMove (moving company) was a mess arriving 4 hours late (everyone I talked to there said, “not my fault” and I was told the “complaints department” would call me back, which they never did), and Telus took 3 days to get the landline working.  Overall though, with the help of friends, the move went well and I’m happy in my new home in the Fairfield area of Victoria.  I moved on June 29th, and I’m almost unpacked: what’s left to take out of boxes will have to wait until I buy more furniture to hold it.

I’m 20 minutes walk from work, 10 minutes from Beacon Hill Park and about 10 minutes from the ocean.  Paradise.  It took 6 months of searching, but it was worth it. 

I’m having fun with a free 3d home layout program experimenting with placing furniture.  It’s very usable as long as you’re ok with the models not quite matching North American furniture styles.  Be sure to go to the download page and download the installer, the Java launch is flaky.

Categories: Home, Victoria

Soundings guest appearance with Nomad

Monday, June 15th, 2009 Leave a comment

Soundings will appear at a concert by Nomad, the world music duo with guitarist Michael Waters (from Victoria, BC) and Kinobe (from Uganda) who is a wizard on many African instruments including kora, adungu, and kalimba.

Soundings will be singing with Nomad on four pieces, including the well-known song “Kothbiro”, composed by Kenyan singer Ayub Ogada. Also we will be performing a new setting of  “God Bless the Rain” by Soundings director Denis Donnelly, a unique rendering of a Rumi-like mystical poem by poet Gregory Orr, and a brand new version of the popular past Soundings number “Jabula Jesu”.  In all these we will be collaborating with Nomad, who will be backing us up and alternating leads with us.  It’ll be fun!

Samples of Nomad’s music can be found here.

Saturday, June 27, 8:00 pm at Gordon Head United Church, 4201 Tyndall. Tickets $15 at Lyle’s Place in Victoria, BC, and at the door (if not sold out).

Categories: Music, Victoria

Upcoming Soundings concerts

Saturday, May 16th, 2009 Leave a comment

The theme for the Soundings concerts this season is “Songs of Earth and Spirit”.  F rom the website, “Beginning with music from Renaissance Europe, we move through songs from Austrailia, the Appalachians, Cuba, and Ireland, and on into contemporary songs, includings works by Soundings members Brian Grady and John Hilditch.” 

In other words the usual eclectic mish-mash.  If you’re in Victoria, BC, we’re singing May 29th and 30th.  We’re also dropping in on Nomad to sing a few later in June.  Details at www.soundingsmusic.com.

Categories: Music, Victoria

A new home

Friday, May 1st, 2009 2 comments

So after my adventure looking for a condo, I finally bought one.  It was a tale straight out of one of those TV reality shows, with multiple bids at the last minute, calls back and forth, changing documents, scanning and emailing.

This week was full of the dance of paperwork: inspection, appraisal, financing.  Even though my financing was pre-approved there was still a shenanigan as the lender wanted a lot of documentation. 

And oddly enough I paid almost to the dollar what the assessment came in at.  This after paying $21k over list, and having to pay my realtor a few as the seller was using a low-cost realtor and I had to pay the difference.  The selling realtor was quite clever: listing below market value to attract multiple bids.  In fact my bid was accepted just 53 hours after the property came on the market.

So I’m looking forward to moving in at the end of June.

Categories: Home, Victoria

Guessing

Saturday, December 6th, 2008 3 comments

 OK, with the latest Victoria real estate report out at the Victoria Real Estate Board, I’ll make some guesses as to what will happen next with home prices here.  And thanks to Tony Joe for a straightforward report this month.  (Note that Tony’s reports aren’t archived, so beyond January 1, 2009, you won’t see November’s report anymore.)

Guess #1 – the very low sales/listings ratio, now at 6% (down from a peaks of 46% in March 2005, and nearly 28% in May 2007), will drop a bit in December due to seasonal lethargy, but will not go much lower, if at all, in the new year.  Here’s how it has behaved over the last couple of years.

Victoria, BC - Sales/Listings Ratio - 2006-2008

Guess #2 – Home prices will continue to fall, but the actual amount won’t be clear.  Although the average sale of single family homes fell by 7% and condos fell 15%, this could be skewed by groups of sales at higher or lower value.  Victoria doesn’t compare the price of equivalent properties month to month.  Witness townhomes, where the average rose 15% from October to November, but apparently that was skewed by 2 high value properties amongst a small number of sales.  Here’s the trend (thousands of dollars) in the six month moving average on condo prices in Victoria.  Without the smoothing, the drop from March to November is close to 22%.  Percentage change is relative to March.

  Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov
Average Price 339 328 324 320 306 303 295 293 284
Change in price 0.0% -3.2% -4.4% -5.6% -9.7% -10.6% -13.0% -13.6% -16.2%

Guess#3 – the economy itself will take a couple of years to transform, and will not stabilize for that time, although it may appear to for short periods.  When it does stabilize, the “rules” may be different and/or more variable than they we thought they were now.

Update: per the comment below, Roger points out that he posts statistics on his photoshare site.

Categories: Business, Home, Victoria

Homehunting continues

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 1 comment

So I’ve been hunting in earnest for about a month, and I’ve looked at perhaps 25 properties.  Mostly condos, but a few townhouses and one duplex.  I found three or four places I really liked, but all had some sort of showstopper.  Prices are dropping slowly on condos over the past 6-8 months, not so slowly on townhouses.  What is changing dramatically is the number of properties sold.  Filtering out the market-speak of the Victoria Real Estate Board and looking at the hard data, the ratio of properties sold to properties listed is falling dramatically: from 27.9% in May 2007, 21.4% in October 2007, 19.9% in April 2008, to 6.8% in October 2007.  So the pressure on sellers must be intense, and I’d expect to see prices start to drop more.  Sales of very expensive properties (over $1m) are even slower, only 7 selling out of 176 on the market in October, or 4%.

It’s a bit tough to judge by the stats month to month, as different types of properties are sold each month (condos for example can vary dramatically in quality and price), so I track a 6-month moving average to give better guidance.  The most expensive 2-bedroom condo now available is asking $1,250,000, while the least expensive is $149,000.  If a few of the 39 condos priced at over $1m sell, the numbers can be quite biased.  With the smoothing of the 6-month average applied, the average condo in the City of Victoria has dropped from $339k in March to $293k in October, a drop of 13.6%.  Prices in other areas of Greater Victoria have behaved differently, but I didn’t track them.

In Vancouver, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver has a much more factual summary without the mushy verbage of the VREB (they say “drop” not “soften”), and they use benchmark properties to measure true price variations.  I can’t find where they provide the excellent detail that Victoria does though.

Overall I’m eager to get out of my tiny (540 sq ft, 50m2) rental apartment, but I do like the short walk to work and it’s an odd time to invest in real estate.  Predictions vary of course on what will happen in Victoria.  It must be tough on the agents right now though, with reputedly 1,366 of them in the area, there were only 316 sales in October.

All stats quoted here are publicly available.  As a buyer, my realtor gives me access to more detail on property listings in my scope of interest, and I can see how much people are selling for vs. asking price, and what properties are selling or not.  I can’t comment on those stats.

Installing Acceleration? SP1? SP2? Land where there should be water?

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007 5 comments

The biggest confusion for folks installing FSX Acceleration (or patching to SP1 or SP2 when it comes out) is that it modifies an essential file (terrain.cfg) that can cause problems with certain addons, such as Victoria+, Vancouver+, Ultimate Terrain, Megascenery and VisualFlight UK products.

In all cases it’s easy to fix.  First close FSX.

For Victoria+:  Start ->(All) Programs->FSaddon->Victoria+ FSX->Repair Victoria+ FSX

For Vancouver+:  Start ->(All) Programs->FSaddon->Vancouver+ FSX->Uninstall Victoria+ FSX then select “Repair”

(some version of Vancouver+ will have the Repair option like Victoria+)

When you select repair, if you get a “file not found” error, please uninstall the product and reinstall.  That’ll only take a few minutes.

For other products, consult their support folks.

And finally up on AVSIM ….

Monday, November 19th, 2007 Leave a comment

Some bad behaviour on my part has been corrected on Victoria+ for FX is now available on AVSIM:

http://library.avsim.net/download.php?DLID=112674
http://library.avsim.net/download.php?DLID=112675

So lots of choice now …

Jon

Categories: Flightsim, FSX, Victoria

Single file download link for Victoria+

Monday, November 19th, 2007 Leave a comment

For those downunder or in Asia, or wanting a single link for the download of Victoria+, the Jay Kae and the good folks at VOZ provide this link:

<Link no longer valid, download from AVSIM under “Available Products” to the right.>

Thanks guys!

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