History of Nova Scotia
with special attention given to
Communications and Transportation

Chapter 34
1998 March




1998 March 9

Election Status Report

[Written 4:00pm-6:00pm, 9 March 1998 — fifteen days before the election]  I looked around the Internet to see what is the current status of the three political parties, in using the Internet to inform and involve the voters.

The New Democratic Party established an election presence on the Internet on Saturday, 7 March 1998, with a new website at http://www.ns.ndp.ca/.  This was an early version, with little content.  By Monday, 9 March, there was a list of candidates at http://www.ns.ndp.ca/candidates.html.  Each candidate's name was linked to a separate page with information about that individual candidate. Eight of these links — for the districts of Annapolis, Antigonish, Cape Breton South, Cape Breton - The Lakes, Halifax Chebucto, Kings North, Lunenburg, and Preston — returned error messages "Sorry.  The resource requested cannot be found."  The other 44 riding links returned pages with varying amounts of information.  One riding link gave a phone number but no street or mailing addresses.  Two riding links gave no phone numbers, no street addresses, and no mailing addresses.

In the NDP website http://www.ns.ndp.ca/, I looked at every candidate's data, to see how many are connected.  Two ridings listed candidates with e-mail addresses, and both of these had personal websites [last updated]:


The Liberal Party still has no web presence, with 14 days to go to the election.  The Liberal Caucus "What's New" page at http://www.liberalcaucus-ns.com/whatsnew.html was last updated at 9:57am 13 February 1998, and makes no mention of a Liberal Party website.





In the PC website, at http://www.pcparty.ns.ca/cand.html, I looked at every candidate's data, to see how many are connected.  This is what I found [last updated]:

[As of 6:00pm 9 March 1998, fifteen days before the election, that's the online status of the Nova Scotia Election.]


Note: On May 22, 2011 (long after the 1998 election), I discovered the following candidate's website archived in the Wayback Machine.  It had been available during the 1998 election campaign, but I was unable to find it at the time.  This "unfindability" condition was not all that uncommon in these early days of the WWW, when many people were not well-informed about how to make a new website findable – that is, how to make it visible to the search engines of the day (remember, this was years before Google was invented):
    Hinrich Bitter-Suermann, PC Candidate Chester-St. Margaret's
       (archived 23 July 1997)

This was the best candidate's website during the 1998 election in Nova Scotia (and, for relevant political information, it compares favourably against most candidates' websites a decade later).


[ICS comment (written in mid-March 1998)]:  The PC Party has made one of the most fundamental mistakes in organizing their new website — they have not set up an adequate management structure for the site.

For example, at the top of the candidates' page at http://www.pcparty.ns.ca/cand.html, we see: "This page requires use of a modern browser."  That's all.  They do not state just what they consider to be a "modern browser."  I am using Netscape Navigator 4.0, which I  would classify as being a modern browser at this time.

The latest survey (that I have seen, it covers the month of February 1998) of Internet browser usage, gives this:

Browser Total
Requests
Netscape 3.x 30.6%
Microsoft IE 3.x 20.4%
Netscape 4.x 17.9%
Microsoft IE 4.x 8.8%
Netscape 2.x 7.0%
WiseWire-Widow-1.0r 5.4%
Scooter/1.0
scooter@pa.dec.com
3.6%
Gulliver/1.2 2.9%
Microsoft IE 2.x 1.9%
WiseWire-Spider-1.0 1.5%

This report of recent browser usage tells me that my Netscape 4.0 is about as modern as there is right now, at least among widely-used browsers.  But there are some features of the PC Party website that do not work properly with my browser.  If my Netscape 4.0 is not able to cope with some features of the PC Party website, perhaps the problem is with the website design.

After all, this is a website for a political party, which, one would think, would prefer to reach as large an audience as possible.  When a website is designed by technicians they often want to use the latest technology gizmo, to show off their technical skills.  There is a need for supervision by someone who has in mind the main purpose of the website, to keep the project on track.  If there is a proposal to insert a cutting-edge technical feature which will have the effect of seriously reducing the number of people who are able to view the site properly with their current browser, the supervisor must decide which is more important — using the latest technical doodad or maintaining wide accessibility.

It is this conflict that the PC Party has failed to recognize in the management of its new website.  It is a typical weakness one finds when technical projects are implemented by an organization whose leaders have little knowledge of or interest in technology, and who are unwilling or unable to compensate for their lack by finding and utilizing competent advisors.
ICS




1998 March 10

Election Status Report

[Written 5:00am, 10 March 1998] An e-mail message that arrived a few minutes ago informed me that the Liberal Party now has a website, at http://www.nsliberals98.com/.  It went online on Friday, 6 March.  I tried to look at it, but it is so heavily into bleeding-edge technical whiz-bang that my browser was unable to cope with it.  During the initial download I got two error messages from my Netscape 4.0.  When the download ceased, my screen was cluttered with outline rectangles, vacant except for the broken-graphic symbol.

A second try got worse results.  This time, the Liberal website crashed my browser.  The screen froze solid, and I had to use the three-finger Vulcan Nerve Pinch to get away.  “General Protection Fault” message!  Had to reboot.

I was unable to look at the site to see the candidates list (assuming there is one), or the policy section (assuming there is one), or anything else.

[ICS (webmaster) comment:  And I thought the PC Party website was badly managed!  (See above)  At least I can look at the PC site.  But this new Liberal website is so far gone in the direction of "Look ma, what I can do" that I cannot even view the entry page (remember, I'm using Netscape Navigator 4.0, one of the most advanced browsers now generally available).  If you can believe it — the Liberal website is heavy with numerous graphics, and Java crap, and Applets running crawlers — as if this was the kind of stuff the average citizen is looking for in a political party website in the middle of a close election campaign.

I will look again at this Liberal Party website only with reluctance.  The design of this site is clear evidence of a breathtaking level of incompetence combined with bad judgement, when one thinks of the fundamental purpose of a political website. [IMHO]






[Written 3:00pm, 10 March 1998] In the NDP website, at http://www.ns.ndp.ca/candidates.html, the eight invalid links — for the districts of Annapolis, Antigonish, Cape Breton South, Cape Breton - The Lakes, Halifax Chebucto, Kings North, Lunenburg, and Preston — have now been fixed.




[Written 3:30pm, 10 March 1998]  By shutting down all other applications (a precaution that is unnecessary when looking at other websites) I was able to fight my way through the Liberal website to look at http://www.nsliberals98.com/nsliberals98/candidates/timberlea-pros.html, the page for Bruce Holland, the Liberal candidate in Timberlea - Prospect.  This page states: "Mr. Holland was appointed Minister responsible for the Technology and Science Secretariat in June 1997."  He still holds that position.  It speaks volumes that the current Minister of Technology in the Liberal government has neither a personal website nor an e-mail address.

At this point, the Liberal website again crashed my browser.  Apparently the site designer assumed that all viewers have pretty much the latest in computer technology, such as a 150 megahertz Pentium, with 56k modem on a T1 line, and with high-level plug-ins.  The website explicitly states:

"To find out who the Liberal Candidate is for your constituency, click on one of the corresponding ridings below or find it on our riding map by clicking on the icon to the right.  (map requires the "macromedia flash" plug-in to operate in your browser... Note: If the words on the map are too small to read, try hiding some toolbars in your browser using the View menu at the top of your screen.  The map will scale to a larger size."

There is no mention of what hardware capabilities are necessary to make this "macromedia flash" plug-in operate in my browser, so I have no idea whether my system is capable of accomodating it.  Apparently the Liberal Party is happy to exclude from its website all those who have computer systems that are a bit less than brand new, even though they still work fine on all the other party websites.  They are also happy to require that viewers all be comfortable with the arcane inner workings of complex software ("...try hiding some toolbars...").  They seem to be blissfully unaware that there is a substantial proportion of people who can get around on the Net if things do not get too hairy, but who are likely to be scared away by such rigid (and unnecessary) technical skill requirements.

My question is — Is this a smart way to design a website for a political party?

Obviously, my answer to that question is No.  My main concern is that the political leaders have allowed themselves to be misled by a few people who put flashy technical gimmicks first, and making the site widely accessible second.




Embarrassing, Hilarious and Sad


Here's a quote from Jim Carroll's Ten Things to Watch Out for in the Future (see below for an archived copy of this item).  Mr. Carroll was making a general comment, which was written a year before the three Nova Scotia political parties got their websites running.  But his comment is so close to the bone, and so apt for those in charge of these political websites, that I quote it here.  IMHO, this should be printed in large type, framed, and displayed prominently in the office of each of the three political party leaders, along with the offices of their most influential advisors.
There are those who think that success in the wired world is all too easy. Those organizations which believe they have mastered the wired world, by jumping in with much enthusiasm but little commitment, will discover rather sheepishly that success comes not from technology, but from management vision.  Their failure will be embarrassing, hilarious and sad at the same time.



The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this document:
Ten Things to Watch Out for in the Future
According to Jim Carroll

Archived: 1998 February 15
http://web.archive.org/web/19980215193804/http://jimcarroll.com/survival/
      surv_tenthings.htm

Archived: 1999 February 03
http://web.archive.org/web/19990203110943/http://www.jimcarroll.com/survival/
      surv_tenthings.htm

Archived: 1999 April 27
http://web.archive.org/web/19990427180140/http://www.jimcarroll.com/survival/
      surv_tenthings.htm




1998 March 11

Havre Boucher
Community Access Project

Havre Boucher and area have received a $27,540 grant to help fund a Community Access Project (CAP) site, located in the Havre Boucher school. In partnership with the Strait Regional School Board and the Strait East Nova Community Enterprise Network, Havre Tech 2000 site provides Internet access to Havre Boucher residents. Havre Tech 2000 Community Access Committee secretary Cheryl Mycroft reports that the Committee has been upgrading the existing computers in the school for Internet access, using $1,000 donated by the Havre Boucher Home and School Committee. The room has been renovated and two software programs, Resume Maker and Corel Suite 7, have been donated to the site. Internet use is now available. Operating hours of the CAP site in Havre Boucher are 9am - 3pm week days (by appointment only by phoning 234-2000); 3pm - 8pm for walk-ins; 10am - 4pm on Saturdays, and 12noon to 4pm on Sundays. Havre Tech 2000 Community Access Committee members include Alicia Vink, Linda Arsenault, Cheryl Mycroft, Chuck Tibbo, Derrick Landry, Sharline Tibbo, and site supervisor Denise Pelrine-Deon.
[The Casket, Antigonish, 11 March 1998]


1998 March 12

Draft Joe Clark Website

On this day, a website http://www.blackeye.com/joeclark/home/home.htm supporting the potential candidacy of Joe Clark appeared on the Internet, as part of the process for selecting a new national leader for the Progressive Conservative Party.
[Thanks to Pierre Bourque http://www.bourque.org/, whose report was the first news that reached me, of the existence of this site.]

As far as I know, this is the first time in history that there has been a website for the purpose of promoting any candidate, or credible potential candidate, for the position of a national leader of any Canadian political party.



1998 March 12

First On-Line Debate Between Election Candidates

On this day, an e-mail message was sent to the members of the Internet discussion list Electronic Democracy in Nova Scotia:

To Subscribers of NS-Politics
and Nova Scotians at Large:

The Nova Scotia Electronic Democracy Forum is pleased to announce the first ever on-line debate between three provinical candidates in Nova Scotia. This debate will take place on this list between the 16 and 20 of March, 1998.

Participating in the debate are Robbie Harrison, Minister of Education and incumbent Liberal candidate for Kings South and the two education critics from the House of Assembly. They are Ernest Fage, incumbent Progressive Conservative candidate for Cumberland North and Eileen O'Connell, incumbent NDP candidate for Halifax-Fairvew.

The NS Electronic Democracy Forum will submit two questions to the three participants on Thursday, March 12. One of these questions was kindly suggested by a group of political science students at Acadia University. Participants will submit their responses to NS-POLITICS.

The first answer will be submitted no later than noon, Monday, March 16. On Tuesday rebuttals will be submitted by noon. Wednesday, answers to Question 2 followed by a rebuttal on Thursday. On Friday, the participants will be given an opportunity to submit a closing statement and the moderator Dan Bunbury will wrap up the debate.

The Schedule
Thursday 12 March — Questions submitted
Monday 16 March — Answer 1
Tuesday 17 March — Rebuttal 1
Wednesday 18 March — Answer 2
Thursday 19 March — Rebuttal 2
Friday 20 March — Wrap up


It is hoped that this debate will generate some good discussion on the list. In order to make that discussion as broad as possible please forward this message to three people.

Cheers to all, Dan Bunbury
Listowner, NS-POLITICS
Manager, NS Electronic Democracy Forum

Check out our website and subscribe from there:
http://ccen.uccb.ns.ca/edemoc/


Dan Bunbury wrote the following introduction:
NS-POLITICS is an e-list which is the participatory heartbeat of the Nova Scotia Electronic Democracy Forum.  The forum is hosted and supported by the Centre for Community & Enterprise Networking (CCEN) of the University College of Cape Breton (UCCB).  This list is open to all Nova Scotians, and those beyond its borders, who are interested in political issues and electronic democracy.  The purpose of this list is to provide an electronic forum for the discussion of all matters political and social pertaining, first to Nova Scotia, and as they relate directly or indirectly to Nova Scotia, matters more national in scope.

By 19 March, the list had more than a hundred subscribers.

If you want to subscribe to this list, just send an ordinary e-mail
To: listserv@ccen.uccb.ns.ca
leave the subject line blank, and in the body of the message
subscribe NS-Politics Napoleon Bonaparte
except, instead of "Napoleon Bonaparte" insert your name.




[18 March 1998] The debate questions and answers are archived at
    http://ccen.uccb.ns.ca/edemoc/debate.html




The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this document:

Nova Scotia Electronic Democracy Forum
Description and Participation Guidelines
for NS-POLITICS- electronic mail list
University College of Cape Breton (UCCB)

Archived: 1998 April 29
http://web.archive.org/web/19980429042219/http://ccen.uccb.ns.ca/edemoc/guide.html



The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this document:

Nova Scotia Electronic Democracy Forum
Election Connection '98
NS-POLITICS- electronic mail list
University College of Cape Breton (UCCB)

Archived: 1998 July 13
http://web.archive.org/web/19980713061351/http://ccen.uccb.ns.ca/edemoc/frame2.html



The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this document:

Nova Scotia Electronic Democracy Forum
Question of the Week
NS-POLITICS- electronic mail list
University College of Cape Breton (UCCB)

Archived: 1998 July 13
http://web.archive.org/web/19980713062216/ccen.uccb.ns.ca/edemoc/quest.html





1998 March 15

Election Status Report

With nine days to go to the 1998 General Election, I looked around the Net to see which candidates have their own websites.  There are 52 seats in the Legislature, and each of the three parties is running a full slate of candidates, making 156 candidates contesting the election.  As of this day, eleven of these candidates have websites in operation, which are listed below.  There are four Liberal sites, four PC sites, and three NDP sites.  All of these were verified by looking at the entry page in each site.

Political Candidates' Websites
  • Cape Breton South
    PC — Anna Steele
    http://www.auracom.com/~steelead/

  • Dartmouth - Cole Harbour
    NDP — Darrell Dexter
    http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/ddexter/

  • Dartmouth - Cole Harbour
    L — Alan Mitchell
    http://fox.nstn.ca/~amitchel/index.html

    [This is the only candidate's website to invite the viewer to make use of one of the most important characteristics of the Internet, the ability to handle fast, low-cost, and potentially-effective two-way communication between Them and Us, that is, between a government and the people governed.  At http://fox.nstn.ca/~amitchel/survey.html there is an on-line survey of citizens' opinions.  The first question in this survey is:  What do you think is the most important issue facing the province today?  As of this day, none of the three party websites has anything like this.]


  • Halifax Atlantic
    L — Darren Watts
    http://www.ceilidhconnect.ns.ca/watts/

  • Halifax Fairview
    NDP — Eileen O'Connell
    http://www.navnet.net/~fairview/

  • Kings North
    PC — George Archibald
    http://www.glinx.com/users/archibald/homepage.html

  • Lunenberg West
    NDP — Eric Hustvedt
    http://www.tallships.istar.ca/ericndp/

  • Pictou West
    PC — Luke Young
    http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/luke.young/

  • Sackville - Beaver Bank - Hammonds Plains
    PC — Stephen Taylor
    http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/stephentaylor/

  • Sackville - Cobequid
    L — Jack Brill
    http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/jackbrill/index.htm

  • Truro - Bible Hill
    L — Eleanor Norrie
    http://mwcanada.simplenet.com/trurogrits/


ICS (webmaster) comment — None of the three party leaders — Chisholm, Hamm, and MacLellan — has a personal or campaign website.  Remarkably, neither the current Minister of Technology, Bruce Holland, nor the immediately preceding Minister of Technology, Gerald O'Malley, has a personal or campaign website, although both are candidates in this election.  The current Minister of Education, Robbie Harrison, does not have a personal or campaign website, even though he is the driving force behind the $30,000,000 "Harrison High", a new high school currently under construction in his riding which has for years been promoted as a showcase of modern educational technology, with up-to-date electronic communications and information technology playing a prominent part in the plans.

The most glaring grammatical error I saw during this extensive tour of political websites, was in the Liberal Party site at http://www.nsliberals98.com/, which includes this statement: In Nova Scotia, unemployment has fell from (a percentage) to (another percentage).




1998 March 17

Election Advertising Mentions WWW Site

First Ever

On this day, in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, there was a large display ad, 16.0cm × 54.5cm, inserted by the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia. The ad included, in reasonably prominent type, "...or visit our website at www.pcparty.ns.ca". (It made no mention of the PC party's e-mail address pcparty@netcom.ca which was in existence at least five weeks before this ad ran.)  The same ad ran the next day.  This was the first ever newspaper ad placed by a Nova Scotia political party (that I saw, and I was keeping a lookout for this kind of thing) that informed voters of the existence of a party website.

The Liberal Party's advertising on this day, full-page ads in both the Halifax Chronicle-Herald and the Halifax Daily News, made no mention of its website or an e-mail address.  The NDP's advertising has so far not mentioned the existence of its website.

On 18 March, in the Halifax Daily News, Stephen Taylor, the PC candidate in Sackville - Beaver Bank, ran an ad 14.7cm × 16.2cm with complete contact information: street address (which, for that location, was also the mailing address), telephone number, fax number, personal e-mail address, and personal campaign website URL.  This was the first election ad (that I saw) by any candidate that included both an e-mail address and a website address.

[ICS (webmaster) — In the history of communications in Nova Scotia, I put this development in the same category as the first advertising to include a telephone number.  In future elections, there is no doubt that party and candidate advertising will routinely include Internet and WWW contact information, in the way that, now, it is taken for granted by everyone that contact information includes a telephone number.  Nowadays, it is understood that candidates and political parties have to have a telephone number and they have to tell people what it is, but it was not always thus.  In the history of electric communications, one of the significant milestones is the time when the telephone reached a level of acceptance that it was thought to be of sufficient importance that businesses and other organizations began to include a telephone number in newspaper advertising. The earliest Nova Scotia newspaper ad I have found that included a telephone number was printed in 1888 — that is the earliest I have found so far, but my research in that area has barely begun and it is highly likely that earlier examples exist.]




1998 March 25

Judique Gets Web Site

by Rankin MacDonald

At the Judique-Creignish School tonight, Wednesday, March 25th, there will be an open house, to give the community a first look at Judique's new web site, called "Celtic Music and History — A Judique Perspective", located at http://www.schoolnet.ca/collections/more/celtic/. The demonstration will take place in the J.C. MacIsaac Memorial Computer Lab at 7:00pm. Creating the web site was a collaboration between the sponsor, Judique-Creignish School Council, and Industry Canada, which makes grants available to local groups to get on the information highway. Industry Canada, in an attempt to put more Canadian content on the Internet, instituted a program called the School Net Digital Collections Project, which hires young people between the ages of 15 and 30 to do research on Canadiana and put it on a web page. Hired to create the site were Donald Holder, Suzanne MacDonald, Mac Morin, and Chris MacNeil, the Development Team. Besides music in the web site there are 13 different links or topics, including a Celtic time-line, Celtic history, local folk tales, eight Celtic performers, a section on the community of Judique, a live ceilidh (kitchen party), an instruction page (piano, fiddle, Gaelic and step dancing), a Celtic photo gallery, a resource page for students and teachers, a site map, a Celtic book mark section with tourism information, a guest book, a project site with credits and information you just can't do without about the beautiful community of Judique.

[The Inverness Oran, Inverness County's weekly newspaper, 25 March 1998. Oran is Gaelic for "song" — "song of Inverness County." "Ceilidh" is pronounced CAY-lee. The Oran began on 9 April 1976, and is published 52 times a year. E-mail: orannews@auracom.com]


1998 March 25

The Day After The Earthquake

On this day, the day after the Nova Scotia earthquake of '98 (otherwise known as the General Election, in which the three parties got 19, 19, and 14 seats in the Legislature — the first election tie in our history), I surveyed the websites of the three political parties to see what they had done to update their websites to reflect the election results. This survey was done shortly after 5:00pm, the regular close of the working day.

The Liberal website entry page at http://www.nsliberals98.com/nsliberals98/index2.html was last modified on 12 March, twelve days before the election. In this site I found nothing more recent than that.

The PC website entry page at http://www.pcparty.ns.ca/index.html was last modified on 20 March, four days before the election. There was a link to PC Party News Releases, which also was last modified on 20 March. In this site I found nothing more recent than that.

The NDP website entry page at http://www.ns.ndp.ca/ was last modified at 12:18pm 25 March 1998, today. Most of the page was occupied by a letter signed by Robert Chisholm, Leader, Nova Scotia NDP. The letter began: "Friends, Nova Scotians made history on March 24, 1998. We won our greatest ever NDP vote, and our greatest number of seats. There are NDP MLAs from Yarmouth to Cape Breton..." Near the top of the entry page, there was a link to the "Riding by Riding results" at http://www.ns.ndp.ca/results.html which was last modified at 12:18pm 25 March. This page contained the vote count for each candidate in all 52 ridings; the candidates were listed in the usual alphabetical order within each riding.


1998 March 27

Appearances of the Word Internet
In The Early Days

From 10 in 1993 to 5055 in 1996

Paul Schneidereit wrote: ...The Net has been accepted as a vital thread in the fabric of society. Not everyone is wired, of course, and there are still many beginners trying to figure out what it's all about. But thousands of Canadians who are online almost daily, who work and play in cyberspace, would tell you in a second that it has enriched their lives. In other words, the Internet has become part of the mainstream.

I was curious to see just how quickly the Internet had grown in public perception (in Nova Scotia) since 1993. Using our electronic library, I recently looked up the number of times certain words came up in stories in a given year. The term e-mail was used exactly twice in The Chronicle-Herald and The Mail-Star in all of 1993, 11 times in '94, 20 in '95, 60 in '96, 29 in '97, and a half-dozen times by March 23 of this year. World Wide Web had slightly larger numbers: none in '93, 14 in '94, 146 in '95, 173 in '96, 148 in '97, and 32 so far in '98.

But the most dramatic indication of growth comes with the word Internet, which had just 10 references in '93. That grew to 167 in '94, 2810 in '95, 5055 in '96, 1117 in '97, and 253 so far this year.

The numbers reflect how the Internet exploded into our consciousness just a few years ago and, interestingly, also how we're all becoming more blase about the importance of cyberspace. The peak for 'Net references was in 1996. My theory is that was the year the majority of journalists, like so many other people, finally realized this Internet thing was HUGE and REAL. As a consequence, lots of stories were written about the 'Net and editors weren't shy to use them. By 1997, it seems the newness had worn off and journalists became more selective about what they wrote on cyberspace. That's normal, of course, since by definition news is something out of the ordinary. Today, I regard 'Net access the same way I view cable television or the telephone: as a utility...

[Excerpted from Paul Schneidereit's column titled "Wired World Now Taken For Granted", in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 27 March 1998]


1998 March 29

Sambro Lighthouse Goes On, Off, On, Off...

by Linda Pannozzo
Special to the Daily News

After two and a half centuries of guiding ships and boats around barren and treacherous rocks, the oldest operational lighthouse in North America is in the dark. For two months, the light in the Sambro Island lighthouse has been off and on, but mostly off, said Chris Mills. He lives in Ketch Harbour and can see the light from where he lives. "Every time I look, it's off," he said. Mills has made several reports to the Canadian Coast guard of the lights not working, but repairs have all been short-lived, he said. "They come out to fix it but then two days later it's out again," Mills said.

Joe LeClair is the coast guard's superintendent of aids to navigation. He said the light is out because there is a break in the underwater electric power cable about 240 metres off shore of Sambro harbor. A diesel generator has been powering the light for the last two months. When the fuel runs out, the lights go out. But lack of fuel isn't the only problem, he said. "If the light is out now, it can't be the fuel because we just refuelled it. There could be a problem with the lantern bulbs or the generator itself," LeClair said. In the meantime, patching the power cable may happen only in late April when the weather is better, he said. Replacing it altogether isn't an option. "Cable is fairly expensive so we may decide to power it by solar power," he said.

Captain Bruce Stewart of the coast guard said the situation doesn't present a danger to boats and ships. "All ships listen to the Coast Guard reports and we keep the 'notice to shipping' going until the light is fixed," he said. According to Mills, big ships may not depend on the light or foghorn because they use expensive global positioning systems. But not everyone has this system, he said, so the lighthouse has to remain operational. In l988, the Sambro Island lighthouse-keeper was replaced with an electronic system to monitor the lights and horn. But that system has since been discontinued. In l995, it was replaced with what the coast guard calls a "user monitoring system. We only know it's not working when someone reports it," LeClair said.

The lighthouse, first built in l758, was declared a heritage site by the federal government last year. Restoration to its structure is set to begin this summer. "After two and a half centuries of use, it's seen sea battles and shipwrecks," said Dan Conlin, chairman of the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society. "But it has suffered quite badly from neglect," he said. Conlin attributes much of this to "bureaucratic indifference." Emergency repair work to the structure will hopefully get the lighthouse back to its turn-of-the-century splendor, he said.

[The Halifax Sunday Daily News, 29 March 1998]


1998 March 30

CCTA Comments To CRTC

CCTA Comments made on this day before a CRTC hearing in Saint John, New Brunswick. This transcript begins:

My name is Richard Stursberg, and I am President of the Canadian Cable Television Association. With me today are: While this hearing was located in Saint John, and the immediate focus was on NB Telephone, the policy matters under discussion were of immediate interest in Nova Scotia, and across Canada. This transcript contains discussion of such matters as: All of these are of immediate and pressing interest in Nova Scotia. (Mr. Gregory Keating, President of Access Communications, and Mr. Robert Radchuck, President of Halifax Cablevision, are influential figures in cable television in Nova Scotia.)

There may be additional material of interest in the CCTA website at http://www.ccta.com/ but, for some reason, the CCTA entry page is blank. All I get is a solid black background, with no text or graphics, thus there is no way to proceed. The link (above), using a URL I got from a search engine, works okay, but that's all. Attempts to parse that URL don't work because Access Is Denied to the directories. Thus entry to the website is not possible unless you first have the complete URL of the destination file. It is a very strange way to design a website, but that's how it is, as of 18 August 1998. (I was using an up-to-date browser, Netscape 4.0, during my attempts to obtain access, but the CCTA website wasn't cooperative.)



1998 March 31

MT&T Long Distance Revenue Down Ten Million Dollars

MT&T's long distance revenue decreased to $46,000,000 for the first quarter of 1998 compared to $56,000,000 for the same period in 1997. Total conversation minutes for the first quarter of 1998 increased by about 42 million minutes or 24.4%. Average revenue per originated minute is down by 7.6 cents or about 29% year over year. This information was reported by Ron Smith, MT&T Vice President Finance, on 29 April 1998. The "first quarter" covers 1 January to 31 March.
Historical Notes about Maritime Telegraph & Telephone Company




1998 March 31

Electronic Democracy in Nova Scotia

An Electronic Mailing List Operated
by the University College of Cape Breton

The Wayback Machine has archived copies of
a few fragments from this Electronic Mailing List:

Electronic Democracy in Nova Scotia
University College of Cape Breton (UCCB)


Date: 26 Jan 1998 Chernobyling
http://www.mail-archive.com/futurework@dijkstra.uwaterloo.ca/msg02589.html


Date: 26 Jan 1998 Chernobyling
http://www.mail-archive.com/pen-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu/msg23927.html


Date: 29 Mar 1998 Michelin loans forgiven
http://www.mail-archive.com/futurework@dijkstra.uwaterloo.ca/msg03185.html


Date: 9 Apr 1998 Michelin loans are forgiven !
http://www.mail-archive.com/futurework@dijkstra.uwaterloo.ca/msg03180.html


Date: 4 Apr 1998 Child Welfare in N.S./Cape Breton
http://www.mail-archive.com/futurework@dijkstra.uwaterloo.ca/msg03161.html


Date: 22 Apr 1998 Virginia a New IT Development Pole, IT development in NS?
http://www.mail-archive.com/futurework@dijkstra.uwaterloo.ca/msg03225.html


Date: 29 May 1998 Counterculture Is Over – Is a Backlash Next?
http://www.mail-archive.com/futurework@dijkstra.uwaterloo.ca/msg03413.html


Date: 31 May 1998 LA Times column, 5/25/98 The Next Big Thing
http://www.mail-archive.com/futurework@dijkstra.uwaterloo.ca/msg03427.html


Date: 30 Mar 1999 Business chooses Metro Hfx over CB 19-0
http://www.mail-archive.com/futurework@dijkstra.uwaterloo.ca/msg04047.html


Date: 12 Jun 1999 Study paints bleak job scene in Canada
http://www.mail-archive.com/futurework@dijkstra.uwaterloo.ca/msg04343.html

Date: 13 Mar 1998   Nova Scotia Election E-Debate - Education
http://lists.umn.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9803&L=do-wire&P=979


Date: 13 Mar 1998   Nova Scotia Election E-Debate - Education
http://lists.umn.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9803&L=do-wire&D=1&P=979


Date: 6 Apr 1998   Power To The People:
            The Role of Electronic Media in Promoting Democracy in Africa
https://listserv.heanet.ie/cgi-bin/wa?A3=ind9804&L=AFRIK-IT&E=0&P=222924&B=--&T=TEXT/PLAIN;%20charset=US-ASCII




1998 March 31

Y2K Bugs: Still Being Created

It is often stated (even by knowledgeable engineers, analysts, and reporters) that year 2000 bugs are caused by programs written in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.  This misperception is dangerous, as it encourages people who depend only on modern programs to think that they are not at risk.  In fact, year 2000 bugs abound in programs from all eras, including programs written during the 1990s...

The Wayback Machine has an archived copy of this document:

Y2K is getting closer and more complicated


Date: 31 March 1998   Y2K-bugs-are-not-just-a-legacy-problem
http://www.mail-archive.com/futurework@dijkstra.uwaterloo.ca/msg03130.html







Go To:   History of Telegraph and Telephone Companies in Nova Scotia
    http://ns1758.ca/tele/telephone.html

Go To:   History of Railway Companies in Nova Scotia
    http://ns1758.ca/rail/railways.html

Go To:   History of Electric Power Companies in Nova Scotia
    http://ns1758.ca/electric/electric.html

Go To:   History of Automobiles in Nova Scotia
    http://ns1758.ca/auto/automobiles.html

Go To:   Nova Scotia History, Chapter One
    http://newscotland1398.ca/hist/nshistory01.html

Go To:   Nova Scotia in the War of 1812
    http://ns1758.ca/1812war/war1812-atlantic.html#war1812-novascot

Go To:   Nova Scotia Historical Biographies
    http://newscotland1398.ca/hist/nshistory00.html#ns-historical-biog

Go To:   Proclamations: Land Grants in Nova Scotia 1757, '58, '59
    http://planter2010.ca/proc/proclamations-ndx.html

Go To:   Statutes of Nova Scotia, 1805, edited by Richard John Uniacke
    http://ns1763.ca/law/ns-statutes1805-titlepg.html

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    http://newscotland1398.ca/index.html

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