Vic’s Web Site

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Vic

Welcome!

Welcome to my web site! Its purpose is to discuss topics of interest to me that I wish to share with others.¹ At the present time, more than two-thirds of its content is devoted to Cape Breton Island, a scenically gorgeous place populated by wonderful, friendly people who love to share their vibrant living heritage of Scottish traditional music and dance, maintained by its many world-class performers: this site allows me to give something back to them for all of the richness and joy they have brought into my life. Much of the rest of the site is given over to concerts in the Northeast, mostly of traditional Scottish music. Eventually, I hope to get around to other subjects, including the North Country where I grew up, but my passion for Cape Breton and its music keeps getting in the way…

Even though this web site² is now ten years old and holds over five gigabytes of photos and information, there is still much I wish to add. Nevertheless, I hope you will find the considerable amount of information that is already here as useful as others have said they have. I continue to work on the site as time and other projects allow, update it often, and frequently add new information and photos, so it is continually expanding. Enjoy your visit and come back often!

If this is your first time here, you should read this entire page before proceeding. Otherwise, use the navigational aids at the top of this page to proceed to your topic of interest.


¹ This site is not a blog, which is defined here as “a biographical web log: a type of diary (=record of what someone does each day) on a website that is changed regularly, to give the latest news. The page usually contains someone’s personal opinions, comments, and experiences.” My site is not a diary; its text does not change regularly, i.e., periodically at regular intervals; nor does it attempt to provide or interact with the latest news. It does reflect my personal experiences and opinions and is updated often. As of 2013, I do collect my daily Facebook posts chronicling my Cape Breton trips, which in the aggregate do form a blog, but the web site is not updated daily with these Facebook posts, but only once after I return home.

² Since its creation in 2006, this web site had been hosted using Apple’s MobileMe service at http://homepage.mac.com/vicmf. Because, effective 2012 June 30, Apple chose to terminate its MobileMe service, I had to move it to a new web address: http://vmfaubert.com. All of the old site’s content has now been transferred here; much of it has been brought up to date and converted to HTML5, including all of the photo essays, which now have the much larger photos that appeared originally only in the most recent essays. Most of the reviews of Northeast music events before 2012 and of Cape Breton concerts and festivals prior to 2011 remain in the old format, but I will continue working on the conversion to the new format as time allows.

HTML5 and Web Browsers

HTML5 is a relatively recent web standard that is sufficiently mature that most standards-based browsers already support that small subset I use here; the significant exceptions are all of the released versions of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer before Internet Explorer 9 (Internet Explorer 9, which requires Windows 7 or Windows Vista, is said to include excellent HTML5 support and Internet Explorer 10, which was released in 2012 and requires Windows 7 or later, is said to have even fuller support).

With the notable exception of the photo essays (which I built for a different environment and only archived on my site), the previous version of this web site used XHTML 1.0 Strict in a two-column format with contrasting colours, with navigation and administrative information in the left column and the actual text in the right column. As I realized only some time later, this format reduced by 25% the screen area in which to display photos in landscape orientation, many of which lost significant detail when they were compressed to fit in the available space. This format also somewhat complicated this web site’s use on smaller screens, such as those on mobile devices. Finally, in 2010, all further standards work on XHTML, long moribund, was officially terminated: once the “wave of the future”, but which Internet Explorer never properly supported and which was implemented with annoying quirks in other browsers, it is now a dead end. Its replacement, HTML5, is much more capable and significantly more precisely defined; nearly all contemporary browsers now support it. That should make it much easier to build web pages that are consistently rendered across browsers conforming to the standard.

In late 2010, I decided to transform this site’s layout to its present form in order to remove or reduce these problems, hopefully without introducing others, and, at the same time, to convert it (including the photo essays) to HTML5. Consequently, a browser that supports the subset of HTML5 used on this site is required for its pages to be readably displayed as I intend; other browsers will likely mangle the pages on this web site. I develop this site using BBEdit (11) and Safari (8) running on Mac OS X (Yosemite (10.10)), but I also test each of its pages using the latest versions of Firefox (38), Chromium (45), Google Chrome (45), and Opera (32); I also test against my iPhone5 running iOS 8.3. I do not have access to a Windows machine (real or virtual) on which to test, but since these browsers all support the parts of HTML5 I use on this site, I expect that they will display there just as they do on my Mac. If your browser does not display this page as described in the next topic, I recommend that you install the free Firefox browser (which contains the requisite support on Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows), the free Safari browser (which contains the requisite support on Mac OS X and Windows), or some other HTML5-savvy browser.

The Safari browser for early versions of iOS (at least up through iOS 4.2.1) apparently had some kind of a fixed memory limit that precludes it from displaying more than a fixed amount of photo data on a given HTML page. This limit is occasionally reached on some of the pages in this site, so pages with more than six 900-pixel photos will display only the first five photos and show question marks for the rest, although, for reasons unknown, a page with exactly six 900-pixel photos will display all six. For photos of other pixel sizes, the limit may be reached at other points, more generous for smaller pixel photos and less generous for larger pixel photos. My cousin confirmed that the same problem occurred on his iPad. This limitation appears to have been lifted (or made much more generous) in more recent iOS versions—the photos on all of my web pages I have tested are shown in iOS 7 and later. The later photo essays and many of the St Anns concerts do have more than six 900-pixel photos on some pages and I have decided to leave them as they are; for such pages, you will need to use either a newer version of iOS or a desktop browser.

I would note that the reading experience on the iPhone 5 (and likely other iOS devices) is considerably improved by using Mobile Safari’s “Reader View”, accessed by tapping the three-full-line-and-part-of-a-fourth-line icon at the left of the address bar. The two letter A’s that then appear allow you to control the font size, making the text much easier to read. Next winter, I will take a look at other improvements to the HTML and CSS for mobile device browsers, the underpinnings of which are beginning to be implemented.

If you are already using a standards-conforming browser and you notice an anomaly in the web page rendering, please use the feedback address at the bottom of this page (and every page in this web site) to report the problem to me; include:

If you can create one on your system, a screen shot of the misrendered page would also be extremely useful (for Mac OS X, a screen shot can be taken by using the command-shift-3 key combination). I will attempt to correct the reported problem promptly.

While converting each page to HTML5, I also expect to recheck it and to revise and update its contents as necessary, looking for broken links and fixing any found, and incorporating knowledge I have acquired since the page was originally written. Because this is a fairly significant undertaking that has not yet been completed in 2013, the site will appear somewhat schizophrenic until the conversion is finished, with both the old and new formats intermingling unhappily. Please bear with me as I work through this conversion.

Web Page Organization

The current single-column format I have adopted for this web site uses two different colour schemes to distinguish the page’s main content from its ancillary information:

The pale green background at the very top of each page holds the navigation block, which is intended to make it easy for you to move around this web site. Two horizontal rules subdivide it into three distinct lists of links:

Since the page you are currently reading is the home page, the page location list has only a single link; however, as you descend the hierarchy, the page location list at the top of the page will expand to show additional links giving the route you used to reach each page you visit. You may ascend back up the hierarchy by clicking one of the page location links, which will return you to the corresponding level in the hierarchy.

Subordinate topic links in red, rather than teal, are place-holders for topics I currently propose to eventually discuss (and I may add others in the future); however, the web pages for those topics do not yet exist and clicking on such a place-holder link will just take you to a place-holder page. In other words, only the links in teal actually lead to useful information. The red place holder links will be changed to teal over time as I add pages for the corresponding information to the site.

Some topics, such as photo essays or performance descriptions, are sequential in nature, rather than hierarchical. Such topics are split across several web pages all logically at the base of the hierarchy. In such a case, instead of a tack, the subordinate topics list will contain small labelled icons to allow you to move sequentially forward and backward through the sequence, to move to the start or end of the sequence, or (when available) to move to an index page that allows you to reach any one of the pages in the sequence directly.

The pale green background at the very bottom of each page holds the footer, a collection of mostly administrative information relating to the web page. It consists of the following elements:

Window Size

The size of a window is, of course, constrained by the size of the screen on which it is drawn. I have attempted to design the pages on this site using a “liquid layout” that should adapt reasonably well to many different window sizes. These days, a 13" Apple laptop has a screen size of 1280×800 pixels; even smaller screens are still in use, but nearly all of those are capable of supporting windows 1024 pixels wide. I have therefore, in this rewrite, resized photos in landscape orientation to 900 pixels wide (up from the previous 630 pixels wide), which should considerably improve their sharpness and detail. However, if you decrease the width of your browser’s window much below 1024 pixels for pages containing such photos, you should expect to have to scroll horizontally to view the entire photo.

Larger photos with less compression inevitably mean slower download times. Given the widespread availability of broadband connections, I trust this will not be much of a problem for you.

For my personal viewing, both of this site and others, I set my browser window to roughly 1100 pixels wide and the full length of the screen (or most of it), yielding a browser window of about 1100×1300 pixels on my current display.¹ This is also the size at which I develop these web pages and judge their æsthetics.

However, I also ensure that I test each page against a minimum window size of 1024×550 pixels; while these pages will not look their best in such a reduced window, they should still appear reasonably well, though some vertically oriented photos will require scrolling in so short a window. Moreover, I also test these pages on my iPhone 5 running iOS 8.1, which has a screen size of 1136×640 pixels; it renders those pages very well, though it does occasionally break captions at spots desktop browsers do not.


¹ For the past ten years, I have happily used a 22" Apple Cinema Display™, “a flat panel monitor that displays superb color and graphics on a screen impressive for its size and clarity.” [manual accompanying the monitor, p. 5] With a resolution of 1600×1024 pixels, it was the ne plus ultra of monitors when it was initially released: its large, clear, and brilliant screen was a welcome relief to my eyes from the days of cathode-ray tube monitors with their ambient radiation, a danger to one’s health if one sat too close. I am now using a 27" iMac with an even more impressive display and an astounding resolution of 2560×1440 pixels, an incredible gain in screen real estate!

Fonts

I do not restrict the characters I use on this web site to a small set and instead draw as appropriate from numerous segments of the huge Unicode repertoire, which is well-supported on current operating systems. Because it provides a larger subset of Unicode characters than is available in most other fonts and because it is very highly readable on the screen, I have formatted this web site using the gorgeous Gentium fonts, which are available free of charge for all current platforms by following the “Download” link on this SIL web page.

For most of my site, the Gentium fonts are not strictly necessary, but pronunciations and those areas which are language-oriented will most likely not display properly without it or some equally capable Unicode font that supports the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) character repertoire. If you see question marks or black boxes or outlined boxes in places they do not belong (and particularly if external links, such as the one at the end of the preceding paragraph, are preceded by such a “missing character” indicator), you do not have the minumum Unicode support to view this site correctly. The most likely solution to this problem is to install the Gentium fonts for your operating system.

At the moment, Gentium Plus itself does not support bold face nor bold italic face. The Gentium Basic and Gentium Book Basic fonts, available from the same Gentium web site, do provide bold face and bold italic face for the Latin characters of Gentium; these variants will eventually be merged back into Gentium itself. To properly see headings and other bold face text on this web site, you should therefore download and install these additional fonts; otherwise, the default for bold face text will be Times, which sets up a bit of a visual clash. I have installed Gentium Plus and Gentium Basic without problems on my system and strongly recommend that you do the same.

Spelling and Punctuation

While I generally belong to the descriptivist (rather than the prescriptivist) school of thought in matters of language, if we as users of the English language are unable to systematically simplify and improve the way we spell and write it, as we so manifestly are, I generally prefer retaining historical niceties to the simplifications of recent usage. So, for as long as I have been writing English, I have preferred spelling behaviour to behavior, travelled to traveled, judgement to judgment, catalogue to catalog, and the like; these spellings were usual in the North Country where I grew up and are still regularly seen throughout New England. I do, when writing in US English, generally use center (and  ‑er rather than ‑re, except in theatre, where I exceptionally use ‑re), plow, color, license, jail, and the like, so there are nevertheless considerable traces of Noah Webster’s reforms in my US English spelling. However, like The New Yorker, I use diacritics and ligatures freely in my spelling, so you will see façade, naïve, coöperate, rôle, reöpen, reäction, lacunæ, and the like here. I strenuously dislike seeing the vowel collisions in reaction and cooperate, where (unlike ready and [chicken] coop, say) the vowels are in two distinct syllables, and I much prefer the diacritic to the hyphen as a way of separating them.

When writing of Cape Breton or for a Canadian audience, however, I adopt the variants used in Maritime Canada; thus, you will see centre, colour, licence, learnt, and the like in those areas of my web site, where I am generally guided by the Canadian English spell checker (which tends to be a bit more British than actual Maritime usage). I have been told that plough is not in regular use in the Maritimes, which is borne out by the spelling in The Inverness Oran, so, even though the Canadian spell checker objects to plow, I have overridden it to accept Noah’s innovation.

The suffix ‑ise/‑ize is particularly vexing; for some words, even in US English, ‑ise is mandatory (e.g., televise, compromise, etc.), reflecting the strong influence its French heritage retains in English spelling; in other cases, ‑ize is required (e.g., capsize, prize). In British English usage, when there is a choice, the Oxford spelling, used by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and the publications of the Oxford University Press, systematically spells ‑ize, as the US spelling does, but the Cambridge spelling in ‑ise seems to have won the day in Britain and the former British empire and has even been adopted by the European Union for its English publications. Both variants are found in Canada, with the ‑ize variant considerably more common, so that is what I have used here. For more on this subject (and on English spelling variants generally), see the excellent Wikipedia article American and British English Spelling Differences; for more on Canadian spelling, see the Wikipedia article Canadian English.

I write French place names as they appear in standard French; thus I write Grand-Étang, rather than the anglicised Grand Etang that appears on local road signs. Newpapers in France tend to drop the accents from capital letters, but the standard usage¹ is to retain them, as Canadian newspapers written in French usually do.

I, along with a few other hardy idiosyncratic American individualists, sin against the punctuation rule that dictates that punctuation marks appear inside quotes at the end of a sentence or clause (this rule is much less vehemently enforced in Britain); I instead place a punctuation mark inside quotes only when it is actually part of the quoted material—that’s what the quotes mean, right? In most other respects, my punctuation follows current norms, except that I insist on a comma before and and or in lists and use the comma, as I was taught, far more liberally than seems to be the contemporary practice—given my syntactically complicated sentences, commas are a requirement if the reader is to follow along!

Most of the spelling and punctuation “errors” you see are therefore idiosyncrasies that I do not consider to be errors. However, occasionally, an inadvertent mistake does slip into one of the web pages due to a moment of inattention. If you should see such an error (i.e., one not covered by the points above), please use the feedback address at the bottom of this page (and every page in this web site) to report the problem to me and I will promptly correct it.


¹ §86, a; §101, N.B.: in Le bon usage, 13th revised edition, by Maurice Grevisse and recast (refondue) by André Goosse, Éditions Duculot, Paris, 4th printing, 1997 [ISBN 2-8011-1045-0].

The Photos on this Web Site

I’m not a professional photographer¹ and I’m frankly amazed that my photos have turned out as well as they have, given my inexperience and lack of extensive photographic knowledge—it’s indeed a tribute to those who built the cameras:

The Nikon D40 works much better at night than either Olympus did and the Nikon D5100 works even better still than the Nikon D40, especially when using the SB-400 Speedlight external flash I acquired for it. I was sometimes unable to convince the Nikon D40 to do as good a job with scenery and landscape photos as the digital Olympus; it often, for example, failed miserably in rendering greens properly, making them far more faded than they appear to my eye. Nevertheless, over the four years I used the Nikon D40 (nearly exclusively), I got happier with it, having learned how to better compensate for many of its failings, both on the camera before shooting and in the post-shoot photo editing software (originally iPhoto and now Aperture) that is frequently necessary to clean up a digital SLR’s photos. Those taken since I acquired the Nikkor 18-105mm lens in the spring of 2009 also have much better detail than those before and are now competitive with those taken with the second Olympus. So far, I find the Nikon D5100, which uses the same Nikkor 18-105mm lens, significantly better than the Nikon D40 at properly rendering scenery and landscape photos. Before my 2013 Celtic Colours trip, I also acquired a Nikkor 70-300mm lens; on that trip, I found I frequently had to switch between the two lenses, as 70mm didn’t work for the wide-angled shots I wanted to capture and 110mm didn’t get the long views I wanted. In 2014 and 2015, I have used both the D40 and the D5100, allowing me to switch between the 18-105mm and 70-300mm lenses without having to physically swap them out of the camera, a practice that is prone to introducing dirt into the interior of the camera.

As discussed above in Window Size, JPEG compression (which preserves an amazing amount of detail considering the amount of data it removes) has been applied to nearly all of the photos on this site so that neither dimension exceeds 900 pixels; the originals are much larger (3696 × 2448 pixels for those taken with the D5100, 2256 × 1496 pixels for those shot with the Nikon D40, 1600 × 1200 pixels for those taken with either Olympus, and nearly all of them taken with the “medium” image size and “fine” quality settings on all four cameras).

Unless otherwise noted directly below the photo, I took each photograph on this web site and I hold the copyright to it. Photography is a hobby for me, not a business, and I do not offer my photographs for sale. I do, however, make them freely available to others for non-commerical use (e.g., adding Cape Breton scenes to a web site) or for commercial use in a cultural context (e.g., for use in the packaging or liner notes of a CD or illustrating a book or magazine article). For such purposes, you probably want to start with the originals and not the reduced versions. If you contact me with your usage scenario, I will be delighted to make the originals available to you at no cost; all I ask in return is that you place the notice “© Victor Maurice Faubert” beside each photo I supplied for your use. As for the photos credited to other photographers, which have been used here with their express permission and to which they retain the copyright and distribution rights, you will need to address your requests for their use directly to them; if you lack such a photographer’s e-mail address, contact me and I will forward your e-mail to that photographer.


¹ I would be remiss if I did not thank my family for resuscitating my interest in photography: until they gave me the first Olympus camera as a Christmas gift, I hadn’t taken a photo since the 1970’s—I found the fiddling necessary with a light meter and 35mm film camera far too distracting to allow me to enjoy what I was looking at. After I discovered how much cameras had improved, my family also gave me the second Olympus to cut down on the expense and problems introduced by film processing, which were disastrous for the photos I took in 2004. After I destroyed the D-540 Zoom they gave me by an unexpected dip in the water off the Little Narrows dock, I purchased a second one, identical to the first, which served me well until I bought the Nikon D40 in 2008.

Contacting Vic

Inquiries and feedback about this web site should be directed to

webmaster@vmfaubert.com

I will continue updating the contact information in the footer of each page of this web site to reflect this address.

For all personal communications, my contact information is as follows:

Victor Maurice Faubert
549 Frank Applegate Road
Jackson, New Jersey 08527-4222
+1 (732) 928-5607 (when I am in the US)
+1 (902) 302-4026 (when I am in Canada)
vic@vmfaubert.com

As the e-mail addresses above indicate, I have moved my e-mail to the facilities provided by my web host, which provides somewhat better mechanisms for sifting the wheat from the chaff. Although my gmail address continues to work and will be available into the foreseeable future, I request that you update your address book to use my e-mail address given above. If, for some reason, you should fail to reach me using either vmfaubert.com address above, you can try vmfaubert@gmail.com. Any other e-mail addresses I had in the past are no longer valid and mail sent to them is unlikely to reach me.

My unlocked iPhone6s Plus carries a T-Mobile SIM when I am in the US and a Telus SIM when I am in Canada. The US telephone number given above will reach me when I am in the US and in range of T-Mobile’s network; you can leave a voicemail, but I prefer e-mail. The Canadian telephone number given above will reach me when I am in Canada and in range of Telus’ network; you can leave a voicemail, but I prefer e-mail. Since only one of the SIMs is active at a time, calls and voicemails to the other number will not be noticed until the SIMs are swapped, which may be a long period of time. If you are unsuccessful in reaching me by phone, use e-mail, which I check regularly and often multiple times each day.

When I am away for an extended period of time, I place a notice in red to that effect at the bottom of this section. When no such notice is showing, you should receive an answer to your e-mail within a day or, when I’m away for a concert, two days; most times, however, it’s much quicker than that, as I take feedback on this web site or questions relating to it very seriously.

I am on Facebook (search for “Victor Maurice Faubert”) and I do respond to messages sent to me there when I have wi-fi access. However, please do not send me e-mail using the Facebook-provided e-mail address ending in “facebook.com”, as I do not check it and apparently cannot disable it. I will normally reply to Facebook messages using your usual e-mail address as I do not care for Facebook’s message facilities.

Notice: I will be travelling in Cape Breton from 4 August to 7 September. My tentative trip schedule is here. I much prefer e-mail, but if you need to reach me by phone, use my US phone number when I am in the US (4 August and 7 September) and my Canadian phone number when I am in Canada (5 August to 6 September); note that I do not answer the phone when I am driving, as I will be on 4-5 August and 6-7 September, but either voicemail or texting to the appropriate number should reach me when I stop or quit. Thanks to wi-fi at most of the accommodations I stay at, I normally will be able to read incoming e-mail on my iPhone; replying at any length on that device, however, is tedious, so I will usually reply briefly and defer a fuller reply until after I return home.