Smoking Laws in Ontario, Quebec

On a different note, I thought that I would talke about an idea I had for an amendment to the existing Ontario bylaws that prohibit smoking in public buildings, places or private automobiles with a child present. It is illegal in most municipalities in Ontario. It's getting better in Quebec, but Ontario is a bit further ahead. The biggest problem, in my opinion, is smoking in the home around children. Certainly, there have already been numerous studies that indicate without a doubt that smoking in the home around children is harmful, but why isn't it illegal? I suppose that one could argue that it interferes with a persons rights... to smoke... and ... err... slowly poison their children (!?). Ridiculous, right? In some cases such as mine, it isn't even a volountary decision, and I would really prefer not to have any member of my family, but especially my son, slowly poisoned.

In Montreal, it's common to rent and live in small buildings where each floor is a residence in itself. In some older buildings, smoke actually travels very easily through areas of flooring (or ceiling), through ventilation, or even through plumbing! I live in such a dwelling, with my 2 1/2 year old son and his lovely mother. And the tenant that rents the residence below us, refuses to smoke outside, even when the weather is clearly warm enough to do so comfortably. The second and third-hand comes up into our apartment through various sections in our fairly old 3-story apartment building - we live on the top floor - and at times it is so dense that we can actually see it in the air. Clearly in those circumstances, we open the front and back doors to our balconies, and use a fan to properly ventilate the apartment. Actually, we need to use 3 fans, since the apartment is rather long and old fashioned, and there are no other sources of ventilation aside from the front and back balcony doors. However, we cannot leave our doors open all day and all night, since it would basically be equivalent to inviting people to steal from us, and we would freeze to death in the winter. Not to mention, that it probably has a measurable effect on our heating & electricity bill. So when we come home, we often find that the apartment smells awful. To be specific, it smells like a mixture of cigarette smoke and fabreeze, which our neighbor downstairs thoughfully uses to mask the odor. Thanks for the thought, but the fabreeze really doesn't make it smell any better, and it certainly isn't reducing the health risks to my son.

I find it particularly bothersome when I hear my son cough in the middle of the night and I go into the kitchen to get him a glass of water, only to be greeted by a cloud of carcinogens. It's really no wonder why he's coughing. 

It's most certainly not healthy for our son, or us, at any time of the day or night. I've asked our neighbor politely to only smoke on the balcony, making specific mention about my concern for my son, and I've even asked the landlord to speak with our neighbor, but this hasn't made a difference and has only made our neighborly relationship less pleasant. Actually, our landlord lives in the building too, and he shares the exact same cloud of carcinogens coming up through the flooring. He also said it's intolerable at times, but unless there's a law about it, there's really not much more he can do. Moving is not an option. We really like our place, and from the landlord's perspective, he's stuck - this building is his property, business, and home. We live near a great park and we get a great sunset on our balcony. The kids in the neighborhood all seem happy, it's minutes from downtown and just far enough to be not down-towny, and ... well, there's a really great park across the street!

When will smoking laws catch up with common sense!?

I think this is a reasonable suggestion to the committee responsible for making smoking laws. Although the residences in question are not public buildings, there are direct effects on the health and safety of members of the public. It's basically the same logic that requires drivers to drive slowly in an area where a deaf child lives, even if it's not their child. Logical, right? Complaints would probably be followed by a building inspection and a mandatory no-smoking sign. I'm just hoping that maybe someone in the Ontario & Quebec governments will read this post and decide to finally take some action so that smoking laws catch up with common sense.

Will NVidia Follow Suit of AMD's Doc Disclosure?

Recently, AMD committed to releasing technical documents for their GPUs in order to assist open-source software developers to write better 2D and 3D graphics drivers. AMD actually followed through with that committment as well, and you can find the technical documentation here, if you're interested. Thanks AMD!

Although AMD will continue to release binary-x86* Linux drivers, the release of their chipset documentation (actually for R300 R500 and R600 series), is intended to improve the 'out-of-the-box' experience for PC users.

AMDs chips are entirely x86, from what I can tell, although I think i remember a rumor that they licensed some of their graphics technology to Apple for the chips that went into the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Aside from that AMD has no (publicly visible) vested interest in having graphics drivers that are architecture independent.

On the other hand, NVidia actually purchased an ARM License and produces their own Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9 silicon with integrated NVidia graphics (Tegra, Tegra2), so they have both an x86 and an ARM presence now. Not only that, but NVidia continues to be the sole surviving GPU company, since AMD bought out ATI.

However, NVidia seems to be encountering production delays trying to get (Linux-based?) Tegra2 products to market. I can only assume that they aren't having silicon issues[1], so it really must be an issue getting the hardware to work well. They have opened up their Tegra2 site to Linux developers, offering a development board, source code, and binaries. However, I'm really left wondering if they could also benefit from disclosing some documentation of their graphics cores and perhaps the Tegra2 TRM, so that the next generation of NVidia-powered mobile devices would also provide an excellent 'out-of-the-box' 2D and 3D user experience.

Will NVidia follow suit with NDA-free documentation disclosure? Lets hope so... it would definitely be enough convincing to get me to buy a Tegra2-based device.

[1] as in: whoops! this graphics subsystem only processes data at 1/2 the necessary rate! .... ahem... maybe you know who I'm talking about