Halloween: World Traditions

936002_646599535370817_1229389718_nBlack cats, pumpkins, spiders… These Halloween icons are all pretty well known to Canadians, but when you look a bit further into Halloween history, you quickly realize that these are not necessarily common to other countries. Are you as curious as we are? Here’s what we found:

In China
The Chinese typically put food and water in front of pictures of loved ones on Halloween day to accommodate and feed their spiritual hunger.

In Germany
Germans put knives away to avoid hurting the spirits that are returning on that day

In Russia
Many Russians believe blue cats bring luck in Russia: one would see a Russian Blue, British Blue, or Burmese on that day and be lucky all year round!

In Spain
The Spanish get a special pastry called Bones of the Holy on Halloween day, which is shared with close ones.

In Nigeria
The Odo Festival is celebrated on that day to welcome the spirits who are returning to earth. Nigerians believe that they remain on earth for over six months. Their departure is quite emotional for Nigerians, as the spirits don’t return for two years.

In Estonia
It is believed that people who enter churches on Halloween day will find the benches filled with ghosts kneeling before a ghost priest at the altar.

In Hong Kong
Pictures of fruit or money are burnt during Halloween. It is believed that by doing so, one reaches the spirit world and comforts ghosts.

In Austria
Austrians leave bread, water and a lit lamp on the kitchen table on Halloween night to welcome the spirits of the dead on earth.

In Czechoslovakia
Chairs are placed beside the fireplace for the day – one for each living member of the family, and one for each spirit member of the family.

In France
Halloween is actually not celebrated in France – people believe the day is too Americanized to be celebrated.

In Sweden
The Friday before the Day of the Saints, Swedish universities open only for half of the day and schools are closed.

On behalf of the Shaw Direct team, whether yours will be traditional Canadian or a little bit of everything, have a very happy Halloween!

*Marie Michelle P.

International Animation Day

In honour of International Animation Day, here are 10 facts about the history of animation:

1. An early predecessor of the projector existed around 1650. This was called the “magic lantern,” and consisted of a translucent oil painting, a very simple lens, and a candle or oil lamp. The images would be projected in a darkened room, and often were used to convince viewers that they were witnessing something supernatural.

2. The flip book was patented as the “kineograph” in 1868 by John Barnes Linnett.

3. Thomas Edison announced the creation of a device he called the kinetoscope in 1889. This projected a 50 foot length of film in about 13 seconds.

4. Charles-Émile Reynaud is considered the pioneer of projected animated films. After inventing the praxinoscope, his animation Un bon bock was the first he showed publicly in 1892. It was shown alongside Le Clown et ses chiens and Pauvre Pierrot. In 1910, Reynaud threw most of his films into the Seine in Paris. Pauvre Pierrot is one of two that survived.

5. The first entirely animated film recorded on standard picture film was created in 1906. This was called Humourous Phases of Funny Faces, and was created by James Stuart Blackton. This featured scenes drawn on a chalkboard. Blackston is considered the father of North American animation.

6. In 1908, Émile Cohl created the first animated film using what became recognised as traditional animation – hand-drawing the images on paper. The film, called Fantasmagorie was made up of 700 separate drawings (cells), and is about 80 seconds in length.

7. Not one to stop trying new techniques, Cohl created another animation called En Route in 1910, which was the first paper cutout animation. This allowed the animator to save time by simply repositioning the paper drawings rather than having to redraw each new cell.

8. Walt Disney owned a studio in Kansas City called Laugh-O-Grams prior to opening Disney Studios. It went bankrupt in 1923, which is when Disney moved to Los Angeles and opened his new studio.

9. Disney originally wanted to call his famous mouse Mortimer. His wife disliked the name and suggested Mickey instead.

10. The first time computer animation was used for an entire film was with Toy Story in 1995. The last film of the franchise, Toy Story 3, was the first animated film to earn more than $1-billion worldwide.


Sun Transit – Fall 2013

You may have heard the phrase “Sun transit” before regarding a twice-yearly natural phenomenon that may cause temporary signal loss. But, what exactly is Sun transit?

Sun transit is also known as a “sun outage,” or “sun fade.” During the Spring and Autumn each year, the Sun lines up with all satellites in orbit, which can cause interference with services down here. This happens due to a massive amount of thermally generated radio frequency noise from the Sun. The interference can range from a bit of snow on your screen to a complete loss of services. Some people might not even notice any issue.

Sun transit impacts every satellite in orbit, so all satellite service providers and even cable providers may experience issues while this is happening. Because we currently have two satellites, the estimated interference times are different for each satellite, so you might lose signal on an English standard definition channel at a different time than on a high definition or French channel.

Here are the estimated times for possible Sun transit interference on both satellites across the country (all times are approximate and local):

Anik F1-R (English standard definition channels)

Location Start End Duration
Vancouver, BC 11:42 AM 11:56 AM Oct 7 – 14
Whitehorse, YK 11:40 AM 11:54 AM Oct 9 – 15
Calgary, AB 12:46 PM 1:00 PM Oct 8 – 15
Saskatoon, SK 12:49 PM 1:03 PM Oct 8 – 15
Yellowknife, NT 12:46 PM 1:00 PM Oct 10 – 17
Winnipeg, MB 1:53 PM 2:07 PM Oct 7 – 15
Resolute Bay, NU 1:50 PM 2:04 PM Oct 11 – 18
Toronto, ON 3:02 PM 3:16 PM Oct 5 – 13
Montreal, PQ 3:04 PM 3:18 PM Oct 6 – 13
Fredericton, NB 4:06 PM 4:20 PM Oct 6 – 13
Halifax, NS 4:08 PM 4:21 PM Oct 5 – 13
Charlottetown, PEI 4:07 PM 4:21 PM Oct 6 – 13
St. John’s, NL 4:39 PM 4:53 PM Oct 6 – 13

Anik F2 (All HD, French standard definition channels, Galaxie, radio stations, and Pay Per View)

Location Start End Duration
Vancouver, BC 11:59 AM 12:13 PM Oct 7 – 15
Whitehorse, YK 11:56 AM 12:10 PM Oct 9 – 17
Calgary, AB 1:03 PM 1:17 PM Oct 8 – 15
Saskatoon, SK 1:07 PM 1:17 PM Oct 8 – 15
Yellowknife, NT 1:03 PM 1:16 PM Oct 10 – 17
Winnipeg, MB 2:10 PM 2:24 PM Oct 7 – 15
Resolute Bay, NU 2:06 PM 2:20 PM Oct 11 – 18
Toronto, ON 3:19 PM 3:33 PM Oct 5 – 13
Montreal, PQ 3:20 PM 3:34 PM Oct 6 – 13
Fredericton, NB 4:23 PM 4:37 PM Oct 6 – 13
Halifax, NS 4:24 PM 4:38 PM Oct 5 – 13
Charlottetown, PEI 4:24 PM 4:37 PM Oct 6 – 13
St. John’s, NL 4:55 PM 5:09 PM Oct 6 – 13

At this point, information for Anik G1 is not yet available as this is the first Sun transit the satellite has experienced. If you are missing any of the newest channels that we’ve added during the month of October, and the outage lasts for only a few minutes, chances are that it was Sun transit. If the outage lasts more than 20 minutes, there could be an issue with your system, and we recommend contacting us.

If you want estimated times more specific to where you live, Telesat offers a sun transit calculator on their website. Just make sure you’ve selected Anik F1R and Anik F2 for your satellites, “Ku” for your frequency band, and 1 metre for the antenna diameter so you get the most accurate results. It’s not exact as our satellite dishes are smaller than a metre in diameter, but it will give you a pretty good idea of when to expect interference.

So, what are some things that could help you during Sun transit?

  • If you are experiencing any loss of signal, wait until the estimated time for interference is over before trying any resets or calling in for troubleshooting.
  • Wait until after the estimated interference time for your area is over prior to activating any new receivers, or adjusting your dish.
  • If you are a fan of Pay Per View movies, it might be a good idea to order something that isn’t during the estimated interference time so that you don’t miss part of your show.

If your service interruption continues after the estimated time (give or take about 10 minutes), please contact us for assistance. On that note, if you have any questions regarding Sun transit, or anything else, feel free to leave us a comment!