Category Archives: Ottawa

Improving the VrtuCar reservation page

The VrtuCar reservation page sort of sucks. It works, but it’s ugly:
It’s also hard to use, as it:

mixes available cars with unavailable cars,
gives tables varying widths,
places the reservation buttons inconsistently.

My greasmonkey script makes the site look a little better:

If you’d like to improve the look of your VrtuCar reservation page, grab the script from the GitHub repo.

Planning a Wedding in Ottawa

Here’s a quick rundown of my experiences with the vendors I used for my wedding. These vendors are in Ottawa, and, for the most part, they did a decent job at a reasonable price.

cgycVenue and catering: The Carleton Golf and Yacht Club hosted our wedding. We were looking for an all-in-one venue that would handle the ceremony, the reception, and the catering. The CGYC clocked in at about $60-$70 per guest. The cost was less than other locations we looked at (notably Strathmere), and the hall was nicer than either the Monterey Inn or Bearbrook Farms. Laurie O’Brien, the clubhouse manager, did a fantastic job at ensuring the reception hall was properly decorated and that everything went smoothly. She (and her staff) were fantastic. Highly recommended.

Transportation: Because our venue was out in the middle of nowhere, we chartered a school bus. The driver knew how to pacify a bunch of drunk wedding goers (turn out the light, natch), was friendly, and knew where he was going. We also hired a moving truck as we had many things to move from location to location. We hired Ottawa Movers: Trinity Moving. Very happy and I Recommended.

Photographer: We went with Julie Young Photography. She (and her lovely assistant) did a great job at herding the wedding party and composing us into something that I hope is photogenic. We haven’t gotten the final pictures yet, so I’ll hold out on my assessment.

DJ: First Choice Entertainment (613-830-7009) satisfied our music and MC needs. The owner, Greg Fedor, was easily the most energetic vendor we hired. His posse had a good selection of music (even if they didn’t know a good track to foxtrot to), and good equipment. They provided music for the ceremony as well as the reception and dancing. Recommended.

Officiant: Lynne Langille of Exceptional Wedding Ceremonies in Ottawa presided over the ceremony. She did a good job, given the various hiccups we threw at her (collapsing chairs, wrong rings, and a giggling bride and groom). Recommended.

Limousine: We hired Elite Limousine to ferry us from our photo venue to reception/ceremony venue. The driver got lost en route, making us 20 minutes late for our own wedding. Disappointing.

Cake: We ordered cupcakes from the Buttercream Bakery. The cupcakes weren’t bad, but they didn’t have the richness I had hoped for. I can take part of the blame for that – I should have bailed when we did our tasting. Similarly, a cake we ordered for the cutting proved to be pretty bland. What’s worse, a day before the reception, we called them to make sure they had the right address for delivery. They didn’t. Recommended with reservations. If you go with these folks, call at the last minute to make sure they have the right address.

Rings: I tried various jewelery stores, but I didn’t see anything I liked until I went to Magpie. They had a wider selection in styles and materials than we found elsewhere. Their stuff has a bit of a hippy look, but some of us like that kind of thing. Recommended.

Paying to give stuff away

I really like the idea of a community WIFI project. The idea is pretty simple: people who already have internet connections set up WIFI hotspots and allow others to use their bandwidth for free (or a minor charge). I like this idea because I dislike my ISP, and I barely use my connection.

I wasn’t aware of a community WIFI project in Ottawa until yesterday, when CBC did a story on ogWifi. It’s a quasi-community group that is giving away free access to other people’s bandwidth. The only catch is that they are charging the hotspot owner $50/year. That’s on top of the $80 for the router.

C’mon ogWifi! I’m a private residence. I don’t want to pay to give away something I’m already paying for. If you want to charge for-profit agencies who stand to make money on their connections, fine. But I’m not a for-profit entity. By signing up with your service I would have to do a lot of work. And you want me to pay on top of that? Good luck.

On the other side of the coin, I just got my FON router. The thing is tiny (about the size of a pack of cards), and, most importantly, free. You hear that ogWifi? FREE!