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Time To Ditch Your Cell Phone?….

One of the peeves here in Canada, for me and a few others by the sound of it, are cell phones and their ludicrously high costs. I may have a solution….

I’ve looked on the web and seen a few people doing it, so it may be a go-er. If so, it’s going to make telephone calls a doddle, even when we’re out and about or traveling, (also, thinking about it, instead of needing tri-band, or quad band phones when you go abroad, expensive roaming charges and so on, you simply take your Skype number and iPod Touch wherever you go!), not to mention, and this is the best bit, virtually free….

The iPod Touch, you know, the full screen one, has the ability to run Skype and other VOIP applications. So, with this in mind, I think it is may be possible, to use this as a phone, as long as you have access to WiFi when you’re out and about and, I assume when you are at home by plugging into the computer, or your router. Although, when at home, I use the computer for all my calls anyway. (If you want to do away with your home phone line, you’ll need to access a WiFi signal from somewhere, which may be tricky. Or simply let your calls go to voicemail, again provided by Skype and check them the next time you are in your favourite coffee shop or library, or WiFi hotspot.)

So, in a nutshell, here’s what I’m thinking of doing….

  1. Get an iPod Touch. As large a memory as you can afford may be wise, but it has to be one of the new ones.
  2. Download the Skype App for it.
  3. Get a Skype In number. (If your country isn’t one of the ones on the list, either pick another country, or do a search on the Internet for other providers. As to be expected, Canada isn’t one of the ones provided for, the telecommunications here is nuts. But then, I’ve always wanted an office in New York…)
  4. Get some Skype Out credit, or sign up for a Skype Out subscription, allowing you on some plans, unlimited calls to certain countries.
  5. Use this for all my calls.

Anyone got any thoughts on this? If not, I’m off to get an iPod Touch, no one tell the missus though, eh. She want’s a puppy….

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Here We Go Again….

Just when I thought I’d be blogging about something new, the Terrace Mountain fire has flared up again….

Terrace Mountain Forest Fire

As we sat on the beach in Peachland, I saw an odd cloud appear over the mountain, a familiar looking thing, out of place, as the sky as far as could be seen up and down the Okanagan was clear blue. Then, as we drove home and got this shot, with the radio on, we learnt that the Terrace Mountain blaze, still not under control from a couple of weeks back, apparently flared up

Evacuation orders all over the place for the Fintry areas, 2500 at the last report, so here we go again. For up to the minute information head over to the local radio station, at www.am1150.ca or the local web news site, www.castanet.net.

Normal blogging will resume shortly, eh….

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A fireman, says….

Just had an email and comment, from a fireman….

I thought my readers would like to see what he says;

im battling up in rose valley and fintry as of this whole going on with the wildfires umm 40 % contained in glenrosa tryna tackle rose valley but steep terrain is keeping us at bay as we strategize our next move .. other fires ( small ones are being taken care of as I speak ). ill post more info after

Stay safe, m8. Our thoughts are with you.

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West Kelowna Glenrosa & Rose Valley Fire, Day 3…

We’re heading into the 3rd afternoon….

I may have to eat my words. There was a calm over West Kelowna earlier this morning, as I said, things ticking over as normal, well, as normal as can be expected. People were heading off to work, if they’d been evacuated, in the clothes they were evacuated in and things looked promising. As the radio lady just said, “one thing that’s great about the people here is there relative calmness right now.” I agree. It felt like that this morning!

As the morning has gone on though, what started out as a fairly clear morning, blue sky and so on, has become a hazy smoky afternoon. From my viewpoint, I can’t see much, other than smoke right now, but I just got this from one reader, who lives, almost between the 2 fires…

The Glenrosa fire seems to be stronger on this side in the last 1/2 hour, it was predominately on the other side of the mountain last night and this morning. It is at the top and not close to any homes that I can see. I can see glowing orange and at times black smoke. They are working hard and fast with the helicopters and buckets, sometimes flying over our house.

I think they may have a direct view between the 2 hills, straight along the highway almost, so can see a lot more than me from their angle.

The helicopters are aggressively water bombing the Rose Valley fire right now, and evacuation orders have been extended for another 72 hours, I think for areas around there. It’s holding at 150 hectares they say, although due to the steeps sides of the valley, it’s still too dangerous to attack the fire fromthe ground

Also, on the radio, I just heard that the fire is moving up over towards Peachland, with no containment of the fire on it’s southern flank, about 400 hectares. Nothing to worry about just yet though. I’ll keep listening….

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The Calm After the Storm…

Things seem to be calming down, from what I can see, but I realise the fight goes on….

Fires are still burning but the Glenrosa fire seems to be almost half contained now, again, pockets of smoke are still rising from various parts. I can’t see Rose Valley from where I live, so until I go out in a moment, I’m not 100% certain of that one!

West Kelowna centre is getting on with it, as they say. I just called the library and they said that the roads out of West Kelowna are still shut down, but you can get about if you tell the RCMP that you’re going to the shops and offices and so on.

The air quality is not good, although I can now see down to Peachland again, pretty clearly, so no strenuous gardening or exercise outside for me….

So on that note, I’m off to the library and I’ll report anything major, any serious developments, or non serious, if I get anything. If you want up to the minute news and stuff, head over to the 1150am radio website, for live internet radio, www.am1150.ca

Fingers crossed for a good day! It’s apparently going to be a hot one, in the mid 30’s they say….

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West Kelowna and Rose Valley Forest Fire, Updates…

I just took a quick drive around as far as I could….

Roads are still blocked so I couldn’t get too close, plenty of smoke, not many flames to be seen, but this is what I got;

Rose Valley….

Rose Valley Tonight 4

Rose Valley Tonight 2

Rose Valley Tonight 3

Rose Valley Tonight 5

Rose Valley Tonight 1


West Kelowna…

West Kelowna Tonight 3

West Kelowna Tonight 1

West Kelowna Tonight 2

Time now is 9pm. I’m off to get a hour or so sleep. I want to be awake for when it gets dark. The interesting time is coming up, as the air crew have to stop at sundown, it’s too dangerous, so the ground grew have to fight the fires. But Rose Valley, from what I have heard is too far in to be fought from the road, there’s no access. Only the helicopters have been going in.

One question I do have, if anyone can answer me, is why have the bombers not been used? Surely there25 odd tons of water, every 15 mins or so would do some good? I hope to have the answer soon.

Stay safe, good luck to the firemen and support staff and I’ll be back shortly.

JB

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Early Evening Update…

Here’s what I’m seeing right now….

6pm Shot...

Not a huge difference to this afternoons shot, but it is clearing slightly, although through the afternoon it has been see sawing backwards and forwards. If you look carefully, of click on the photo to get over to Flickr and see a larger version, smoke is starting to billow up from behind Goats Peak Mountain, heading over to Peachland. And if you look really close, you can see the 3 helicopters hovering above the smoke.

I’m still trying to get some shots of the Fintry fire. If anyone know a good site I can link to or recommend, it would be much appreciated. From what we’re hearing, it’s really got bad this afternoon, doubling in size in a matter of hours and expected to get much worse.

A reader has asked me about sorting out a Google map of the area, which I’m going to have a crack at. Any advice, greatly appreciated!

I hope everyone is OK. We’re getting there, slowly, but it’s not over yet.

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This Afternoon’s Update….

Currently, 1.30pm, this is what I am seeing, over West Kelowna….

ThisAfternoon

Haven’t been able to see much, so the pictures aren’t changing a whole lot at the moment, which is no bad thing… Rose Valley sounds like it is getting bigger, half of West Kelowna has been evacuated and smoke is in the air, we’ve been told to stay inside and not do anything to strenuous outside. You can smell the smoke, obviously, everywhere. Eyes are starting to sting, ever so slightly, throats are drying out a little, but we’re hanging in there.

Thanks for the comments and emails I am getting. It seems hardly anything to keep adding the odd picture and write a bit here and there, but from the feedback you’re sending me, you’re finding it useful just to see what’s going on as you are finding it hard to get in touch with families and friends here. So I’ll keep going!

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West Kelowna Fire….

Latest view….

The Morning After (7am)

Not much change, so to speak, a few pockets still refusing to go out.

I just jumped in the Jeep and headed round Mt. Boucherie to see what I could see of the Rose Valley situation…

Rose Valley Forest Fire

All smoke, you’re seeing what I saw. A load of evacuations as well as warnings underway for the Rose Valley areas. Check out www.castanet.net or the radio station that I’m listening to, www.am1150.ca for lists.

The helicopters and air support have begun, dropping into the bay down at Gellatly for water.

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The Morning After…

I fell asleep at the computer blogging, snapping and Twittering, around 1am! I know I’ve got a few readers with relatives here and are keeping up to date…

5am and this is the view…

The Morning After....

As I type, small fires are flaring up again on the mountain to the left.

So the latest, as I hear it on the radio, 20,000 people and over 6000 homes evacuated, the highway closed both ways.

More to come….

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