My Canadian Experience
November / December 2007 & January / February 2008


Well this period started off with continuation of the problems in getting my new notebook into Canada.  As you know I had tried to purchase a Dell notebook from Canada but as all my cards were drawn on American banks they couldn't accept them. I thus ordered it from the USA but they couldn't deliver it to Canada so it had to go to my American address.

Steve then installed my software for me and also did a full backup of the web sites onto it and then he dispatched it to me here in Canada. 

It then got stuck in Canadian Customs in Quebec.  I wondered where it had gone when I got a letter in from Canadian customs asking me for my business number.  As I didn't have a number I then needed to drive up to Sarnia to complete a B15 form to import the notebook.  There was a compromise in that as a personal import I should have paid 14% tax GST/PST.  What I got was just the GST.  I admit we were both a bit puzzled how to handle this.  The notebook actually belongs to my US company so it's not a personal purchase and yet I'm quoted as importing it. 

They did want me to be registered for GST but as I explained I'm just self employed here and I actually purchase or sell very little in Canada and so by getting a number it creates a lot of paperwork for me.

And so at time of writing I've emailed a copy of the tax receipt and so hopefully the notebook will arrive in a few days :-)

And at long last the notebook arrived and none too soon either.  While I was transferring my data from the old notebook I just had one program to move over when the old notebook lost the hard disk.  WOW!

The external Logitek keyboard I got with the system was terrible. The lettering on the keyboard was so difficult to read that I had to put on my reading glasses to read them.  In fact I ended up buying another keyboard. 

In December I got a really interesting picture from Donna Flood...

On 16th December we got a wee snow storm...


Alastair spotted in Florida! :-)

I haven't really done that much this period other than doing a great deal on my ElectricScotland.com web site.  I note two deaths, one was Fern Crewe, Nola's mother, who died at the age of 102.  Also my friend Jim Shields, the artist, both in February 2008.

I at last got my scroll for my KCTJ...

During January and February I have mainly worked on my web sites as I want to take them to the next level which means I want to add a lot more interactivity to the sites.  The problem with all this is that it takes a great deal of time.  For example it was easy enough to add a Postcard program but it took many days of work to get up some 800 cards, give them descriptions, create categories, etc. Then is was on to add some small quotes, add poetry and stories, add music, etc.  All of this to try an make the program a good one for our users.

I've also added a recipe program.  Again this is easy enough but then you need to decide on what categories to offer, courses, methods of cooking, ingredients, etc.  Then of course you need to get at least some recipes up.

The one program that I think has the most potential is our "Article Service".  This is where visitors to the site can add their own stories.  I've always been fond of the saying "You're only limited by your imagination".  So I can see many ways in which this service can be used to inform us of so many things and by so many people, businesses and organisations.  I found when launched that I needed to add an intro page to give general advice on how the service can be used. 

And so it's not just a matter of publishing a new service... it's all the work getting it setup so it is useful from day one.  (I'm ready to become commander in chief on Day 1 <grin>). Then you have to promote it and tell people the many ways it can be used as there is a great deal of lack of imagination out there when it comes to how people use the web.

I have also purchased new software that will offer public and private messaging, blogs and image hosting but this will likely take another month or so to get configured.

And I have also had to purchase new newsletter software to get my weekly email newsletter out and have also added a new RSS feed. Again a load of configuration for all this.

During February I confess to being hooked on the US Presidential race and also wondering if we were going to the Elections in Canada.

More snow in Chatham this year that the previous two years.  Have done a deal with a new person to clear the snow and cut the lawn and have acquired my fourth house cleaner. All this lets me get on with all the work on the site.

I donated 150 of my Highland Clan Poster Maps to the Ontario Genealogical Society for their annual event where they expect at least 2,000 people to turn up.

I have attended a couple of board meetings of the Scottish Studies Foundation in Toronto and one meeting of the Knights Templar.  On the second I was charged with getting something up on the web about water.  That's one of the global initiatives to bring clean water to people around the world.

The SSF meetings have been about organising our Tartan Day event and seems we are making good progress on this.

And so you might say a pretty dull few months but to me, from a business perspective, a lot of fun moving my web site forward. I have been doing quite a few 14 hour days as programs we're installing are coming from places like the USA, Turkey, Australia, etc.


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