July 2005 Archives

Crazy mum...

Email from my mother:

Yepeeeeeeeeeeeey , MAUI is great, getting my rental gear now.
Was flying business class , now I am spoiled for life :)

The next day, an IM while I was away:

crazy windsurfing conditions here, need 3.4 to 4.4 m sail. for comparison, back home in Florida, my smallest sail is a 4.5, and I use it very seldom. am bruised all over

Here's a picture of mom, last year:
Mom Windsurfing

Mom was born near the end of Word War 2. You do the math.
Now, choice of helmet and wetsuit colors aside, that's pretty cool, eh? ;)

Have fun, crazy. :)

Your rights to photograph

Your Rights and Remedies When Stopped or Confronted for Photography

The general rule in the United States is that anyone may take photographs of whatever they want when they are in a public place or places where they have permission to take photographs. Absent a specific legal prohibition such as a statute or ordinance, you are legally entitled to take photographs. Examples of places that are traditionally considered public are streets, sidewalks, and public parks.

Members of the public have a very limited scope of privacy rights when they are in public places. Basically, anyone can be photographed without their consent except when they have secluded themselves in places where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy such as dressing rooms, restrooms, medical facilities, and inside their homes.

Taking a photograph is not a terrorist act nor can a business legitimately assert that taking a photograph of a subject in public view infringes on its trade secrets.1

On occasion, law enforcement officers may object to photography but most understand that people have the right to take photographs and do not interfere with photographers. They do have the right to keep you away from areas where you may impede their activities or endanger safety. However, they do not have the legal right to prohibit you from taking photographs from other locations.

Good to know.

[1] interesting juxtaposition here: "Taking a photo is not a terrorist act" AND "taking a photo of somrhting in full public view is not an infringement of commercial trade secrets." I venture to say that if not already then very soon, so-called "acts against corporations" will be considered tantamount to terrorism. "You're terrorizing our profit margin! Die!"

Found via Digg & © 2003 Bert P. Krages II (woah! more meta!)


Wherein all things can be likened to kung-fu movie story lines / ancient chinese philosophy.

The Wu Wa Wei Clan are warrior monks who live, study and train in a temple over on the mountainside. One of the nearby villages - San Fan Se Cho - has an active commercial environment with many many business minded individuals. Most of them are perfectly happy and fulfilled going about their business with very basic fu skills and knowledge.

As can be expected, there are among them some individuals who feel their fu is superior to that of the Wu Wa Wei monks; that the knowledge of an individual in a granary, unfettered by thus-percieved stodgy dogma and forged in so-called "real-world environments" is far superior than that of the combined gaze of many, over many generations, pondering on a single grain of rice: where it comes from, how it is cultivated, why it is important, how best to store it and distribute it, etc...

Courageous individuals, such as Wi Ne, Che Lik, Roo Bee and Ping Ge, often cross paths with the monks. But differences of personality and opinion always make for tense encounters.

The monks, however, just smile, for they see the rice and the granary, the field and the workers, the bowls and the hungry. They know that sooner or later, the village will figure it out. And the village should know that they can always, always count on the monks to give a few words of advice.

for Karl. and Aaron. Cause you asked for it. Sorta.
(I could have made this far more profound, if not obscure, but hell I'm busy too...)

Oh yes.


My my. Two groups of system-defined and managed "cross posting slugs" (for reBlog goodness via slug-based RSS extraction1), author specific "tags" AND suggestions, based on all three arrays.

You, whoever coded the del.icio.us tags UI on the post page, I kiss you. :*

[1] I'll explain this some other time, but basically I am going with reBlog in this case because it does full attribution AND makes sure you don't post the same item twice. Otherwise I would have used the Atom API. Oh and because Michal is a really ace dude, awesome techhead and designer.

Letting go, moving on

Slowly but surely this "weblog" will be completely taken apart and rebuilt.
I just unhooked the combined feed functionality. No more photolog and links in the main feed. I'm undecided as to whether those will be turned on at all, reason being for the photolog I get more mileage on Flickr. I'll still cross post, but that's just for my own archiving. Links is dead. I may finally hook up some del.icio.us affair. Blogroll... give me a break. ;)

So yeah, this was step one. I'm too busy to do much more right now so I will wait for MT3.2 to go final and then I will start fresh. Like, totally fresh, yo. Yeah.

Tags in MT admin interface


It took a few hours but I've gone and done it. I hacked out the "suggested tags" UI goodies from del.icio.us and grafted it into the Movable Type admin's "Edit Entry" template.

Now for my purposes, the "suggested tags" are a set of set slugs; terms another component of this behemoth of a project seeks out via a nice SQL LIKE statement and then republishes elsewhere. However, the core code allows me to use it to, say, feed in all my aggregated tags, suggested tags, popular tags, etc...

Movable Type's new "AltTemplatePath" config directive (3.16 up) makes hacking the UI much easier and less worrisome when upgrading time comes around.

And no, I didn't even open Hacking Movable Type yet. I swear.

Raye in India

Raye In India

Stunning gallery of travel photos from Raye Fukuda, a web designer I met in Tokyo.

Local Google Map "Point of Interest"

In Tagzania I found the (so-far) only Montreal tagged Google Map point.

This particular spot is pointed out as showing 3 seasons in one spot. The spot in question is just after the north bound access ramp to Highway 13, a place I know very well as it was the highway I took many many many times when I was a kid. It's the highway that led to (what used to be) Mirabel International Airport and the Laurentians where I skied and snowboarded for the first 20 years of my life.

If you drag the map and follow the 13 up, you'll find both. Or if you drag the map west to the tip of Ile Bizard , you'll find the house I grew up in.
(Yes, I grew up on a street called Monk's Point, in a place called Bizard Island. That's not quite as odd as my father's being born just outside Transylvania.)

A nice surprise

Bopuc Google Pagerank


"I'd liek to thank teh Academy..." [sic]

"We're not afraid!"


Police guard a cul-de-sac on Scotia Road in Streatham, south London, Saturday July 23, 2005. Residents described Saturday how police raided a house in the street earlier in the afternoon. One neighbour, who only wanted to be named as Marcia, said several police vans had stormed into the area before armed officers rushed to the address and ordered residents to get inside their houses. She said: 'They had already sealed it off and then the officers with guns came along telling us: 'Get inside or you will be arrested.' (AP Photo/PA, Lindsey Parnaby)

The man shot and killed on a subway car by London police in front of horrified commuters had nothing to do with this month's bombings on the city's transit system, police said Saturday in expressing their regrets. They identified the man as Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year-old Brazilian citizen.

FEAR, UNCERTAINTY and DISINFORMATION pulled the trigger five times into an innocent man.

If you weren't afraid before, be at least very concerned now. And not about "terrorists".

"We're not afraid! We're not afrai... Oy! You! C'm'ere! I said c'm'ere! Hey! HEY! ..."

*bang bang bang bang bang*

"He.. he.. was carrying a gun, I swear! I'm sure I saw a bomb in his jacket! No really!"

Fear wreaks havoc on the mind.

Caption of above photo:

Police guard a cul-de-sac on Scotia Road in Streatham, south London, Saturday July 23, 2005. Residents described Saturday how police raided a house in the street earlier in the afternoon. One neighbour, who only wanted to be named as Marcia, said several police vans had stormed into the area before armed officers rushed to the address and ordered residents to get inside their houses. She said: 'They had already sealed it off and then the officers with guns came along telling us: 'Get inside or you will be arrested.' (AP Photo/PA, Lindsey Parnaby)

Bad. So bad.

How da??

Somehow, I find myself in the unenviable position where I, a non-programmer, must figure out how to do tag intersections in PHP + SQL.
How's that for meta? :D

And it's such a beautiful day outside...

CC license jurisdictions

After my "set your Flickr license to Creative Commons!" post the other day, Mikel pointed out jurisdiction issues.

I pinged Joi about it and he gave me a quick cryptic response (WiFi in airplanes rots your brains!), but one which did extended my thinking on the subject.

If I deliberately select a CC license, I indicate my intent to share more easily this data object I am publishing. I don't care who, what, when or where. I may care about "how" though. By Attribution. Non-Commerical. Share Alike. No Derivatives.

So, say I license a picture with Canadian CC BY-NC-SA license. One day I am walking down Times Square in NYC and see this huge lit up billboard advertisement and HOT DAMN there's a piece of my picture!

Legally, what is my recourse?

This is of course purely theoretical. Myself, I would laugh and take a picture of it... ;) (Hrm, then I would publish IT, again with a CC license. Then the advertiser would see it, and sue me for copyright infringement on their ad... Then I would go ask Professor Lessig to kindly take up my case in court please.)

Now, this all started when Rebecca mentioned to me that she was contacting Flickr users around the world asking for permission to republish their photos on Global Voices. She said they were all more than happy and willing, and that when she told them about CC, they had no idea. That's where the "educate Flickr users on CC licenses" campaign started.

Related, Anil points out that MT 3.2 includes CC license jurisdiction selection support.

Attention Siobhan

You just sent me an inquiry via my contact form. But you did not supply a valid email address.
(I need to pop in some kind of validator...)

Flickr & Creative Commons


Help push the more widespread awareness of the use of Creative Commons licenses on Flickr.

You can copy and paste the code below into your Flickr Profile's "Describe Yoruself" field:

And of course pick a license and use it yourself...


if (!isset(“guru”)) {
    $bopuc = “lethargic”;
    echo “oh-oh!”;
(Yeah, it's bad.)

Getting the job done

CTIN511 - Larry Gertz, originally uploaded by JulianBleeckr.

Super impressive backchannel setup at the USC IMD.
While a visiting lecturer speaks, the class takes notes and group-edits a single document (using SubEthaEdit), one person acts as "Google jockey", searching for stuff and pasting relevant bits into the document and the group AIM chat which is also going on... all of it projected on giant screens. I wish I had school like that when I was a kid. ;)

Better late than never.

Yes, we have no bananas

There are NO air conditioning units left to be had (from the "big box" style retailers) anywhere on the Island Of Montreal.

On the other hand, I now have THREE bicycles sitting in my living room. All of them more or less useless as it is too damn hot to move.



Damn... I'm on the verge of popping a reblog feed of Andrew's blog in my sidebar...

The Karl Rove situation is a litmus test for just how far the Bush administration is willing to go to cling to power and lie to the American people, and just how Bushwhipped the mainstream media has become. Bush should have already been impeached over the Downing Street Memo. If he attempts to gloss over this with self-righteous rhetoric, y’all need to take to the streets.
You should read the whole thing.

Equally stinging is Steven's remix of the US Department of State's "Consular Information Sheet" on Cuba.

Zingers, gentlemen, zingers!

Free Montreal WiFi Google mapped

Michael barked at me that "it's in WifiDOG CVS now!" the other night and I guess it's cause I haven't sparked my aggregator in a week that I missed it but...

Here's a standalone GoogleMap of all Ile Sans Fil free community WiFi hotspots in Montreal. Very cool. Even cooler is that "it's in CVS", which means any of the other community wireless projects around the world who have started using ISF's "WiFiDOG" software, can have this feature too. :)

Bit Torrent Opera

Yahoo/AP reports:

The upcoming Opera 8.0.2, now available in a test version, will try to make BitTorrent downloads seamless, just like any other download using HTTP or FTP for transfers. The exception is the appearance of a warning that users will be sharing content they receive.

Krogh said Opera isn't trying to encourage piracy but considers the tool, BitTorrent, more efficient for transferring large, legitimate files such as Linux, and now Opera, software.

This is very interesting indeed and I hope Mozilla takes note and follows suit.

In fact, I'd like to see development of this also branch out into another endeavor: browser cache sharing via a Bit Torrent-like architecture.

Over dinner some weeks ago, Karl and I riffed about how to seamlessly allow chinese Internet users to bypass the Great Firewall of China. The idea we came up with was a plugin for webrowsers (Firefox perhaps) that would act as a caching proxy and request manager. Everything would go over http, encrypted and content would be shuffled around and distributed Bit Torrent style. There would be no way to filter such requests since they are not bound to any domains or IP addresses, and text strings could not be filtered for either as it would all be encrypted.

Of course, lots of issues arise, (control of what cache items are shared, privacy, etc) but the core idea may just be feasible. I am seriously thinking of making it one of HelpPush's first OSS (Open Source Software) projects.

[thx for the link Oblivia!]

Long ride

14 miles... 21 kilometers.

Olympic Stadium and the "Biodome" geodesic dome on Ile Ste-Helene.
We stopped for japanese dinner at Osaka on way home. :)

Microsoft says

Teach your kids the basics of safer blogging before they start

Dated July 7th, MS published this article in their "Security At Home > Child Safety" webzine. Interestingly, much of it applies to everyone, not just kids:

- Ask yourself if you are you comfortable showing any of the content to a stranger.
- Check out other blogs to find positive examples for your kids to emulate.
- Never offer any personal information.
- Never post provocative pictures of yourself or anyone else.
- Assume what you publish on the Web is permanent.

I suppose that as with all child-rearing guidelines, it makes sense but ...

[link via IM from Stevey. For someone who "isn't a blogger", you sure find some deep and obscure and not yet blogged about stuff dude...]

Remote backup script...

I've got an idea for a shell script/program that would be very useful to me, and probably countless others. In fact I bet countless others have already coded something like it up...

I don't care what programming language it's written in as long as I can run it more or less easily from the terminal or cron. Keep in mind it's gonna be doing a lot of network and system level stuff. Shell(?), Perl or Python are probably the top contenders.


  1. Take as input a list of server addresses, username and passwords and paths to directories to be processed, as well as local destination paths. May be multiple paths for individual servers. List can be within the first part of the script or in a separate config file.
  2. SSH to each server, cd to the directory above the one we want to backup, tar-gz it using a dated naming convention (something like SERVERNAME-DIRNAME-YYYY-MM-DD-HH-MI.tgz).
  3. Download the archive to the specified local path.
  4. Delete the archive from the server.
  5. rinse, repeat, exit.

Ideally, I'd also like to do remote SQL database backups this way... SSH in, take a (MySQL) dump, targz the file, pull it down, clean up, exit.

Who is game to hack this up for me, and for how much? Perhaps we could set up a pool on fundable for it.

Maybe I should Learn Perl the Hard Way myself... ;)

Some Soundsystem

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah, yeah... yeah, yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah, yeah... yeah, hey, hey, hey, hey

Everybody keeps on talking about it... nobody's getting it done
I'm gettin' tired, tired, tired of listening, listening... knowing that the shit's gotta run

Everybody keeps on pushing and shoving... nobody's got the goods
Everybody keeps on pushing and shoving... nobody's got the guts
You owe me ti-ti-time, now they're writing me in... I never act like I should

Everybody keeps on listening in... Nobody's listening up
We've been try-try-trying now to let you in... And, you just got let in by luck

Everybody keeps on talking about it... nobody's getting it done
I'm getting tired, tired, tired of listening, listening... knowing that the shit's gotta run, shit's gotta run

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah, yeah... yeah, hey, hey, hey, hey

... And nobody's falling in love
Everybody here needs a shove
And Nobody's getting any touch
Everybody thinks that it means too much
And nobody's coming undone
Everybody here's afraid of fun
And nobody's getting any play
It's the saddest night out in the U.S.A.

Beat... a connection
Beat... communication (x6)
... ... ...
Confuse... confusion
Refuse... confusion
Refuse... illusion
Confuse... illusion

Global Voices

So, we launched our redesign of Global Voices this evening. We absolutely had to "let 'er rip" today for various reasons, and as such we've allowed a few loose ends which I need to nail down over the coming days.

I've had tremendous fun building this site. A lot of coding, and a lot of learning, and a lot of good interaction with Rebecca and Ethan. Good stuff all around and I look forward to continuing on the site.

Which I'm having to get back to right now in fact...

(Doh, Gen, in the rush to get it out, I forgot to take screenshots of the old version!)

Flagged as "To Reply ASAP"

to replyI'm

Sorry! :(

From my referer logs...

Haven't done this in aaaaaaages...

Someone from "Distrito Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina" searched for:

And roughly 11 hours later someone from "Region Metropolitana, Santiago, Chile" searched for:

Obviously, their curiosity was not satisfied.

Also a bicycling weekend...

Basically the last 4 days have been wake up, code code code, eat, code code design code, bicycle bicycle eat, design design code, sleep.

Most excellent Michael Lenczner has lent me a most craptasic 15 year old stolen-and-repainted-numerous-times mountain bike with shot front air shocks. I am having a totally wikkid awesome time riding around The Plateau and Mile End, going for coffees, drinks, breakfast, getting sun, breathing night air... all between mad frenzies of hours and hours of work, and totally wearing myself out.
It's sunday night, I have a deadline to launch a major site tomorrow, I have to practice my Hiragana... and all I want to do is collapse in bed.

Hehehehehe. Feels damn good.
Thank you Michael!

Wordpress weekend

OMG! I can write plugins!!!

OMG! I HAVE TO write plugins...


Yes, I will be releasing two things:

  1. a WP plugin that extracts media file URLs from posts, allowing you to link them with a nifty icon or text somewhere outside the entry.
  2. an extension (piggyback) framework to the Subscribe2 plugin which allows for Cron-scheduled post digest emailings.

This of course does wonders for my trying to get people to understand that I am NOT a developer... Aw well.

Little PHP help pleeeease?

I'm wanting to write a little function to use in a WordPress template which will do the following:

Taking an input haystack (which would be an entire weblog entry), find the first occurrence of the needle ".mp3". First chop off anything that follows it, then move backwards until you find the beginning of the second needle, "http://", and chop off everything that precedes that.

In other words, I want to extract the full URI of an MP3 embedded in a weblog entry.

The reasons must be obvious if you consider some of my most recent postings.
This code would probably get released as a WordPress plugin once I've put it though it's paces. There's loads of functionality that could be added but this is all I need myself for now. :)

I'd really really really appreciate any help anyone can provide. Credit will of course be given where credit is due. ;)

(Oh and if you know of such a plugin already in existence, advance thanks for marking it out.)

Mappin my route

Too cool.
My jogging route. 4km each way. 4km uphill, 4km down. Be sure to check out the satellite view too (eventhough there are dang clouds in the way).

(PDF for posterity)

Sophisticated krishnas

The Hare Krishnas from down the street just went by. They seem to have hired a new arranger cause instead of just chanting, they had an accordion and some real bongos and were doing the traditional "hare hare krishna krishna" thing in a very ... moderne arab/parisian/world style. Sort of a mashup of the original chant, Yann Tiersen ("Amerlie" soundtrack), Manu Chao/Mano Negra and Les Negresses Vertes.

Pretty catchy... ramaaa ramaaa... *snaps fingers*...

Andrew emailed shortly after my posting this to say:

The head Krishna also appeared to be wearing a headset of some kind. To coordinate what, I don't know."

Hiiiihihihihihiii. Their ascension to the big love-in the sky of course! (Yes yes I know, Krishna have nothing to do with love-ins etc... it's funny to me tho :p

Fair and balanced?

I'd like to point out that, assuming that the terrorist attacks in London were perpetrated by Al-Quaeda / Muslim "extremists" - Der Spiegel and BBC Monitoring have reported a claim of responsibility by "Secret Organization - AlQuaeda in Europe" as an act of retribution for UK involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq - having various western "leaders" condem the attacks as barbaric and inhuman is pretty poor sportsmanship, if not outright "whiny little spoiled baby-ish".

What do you think the majority of civilian Afghan and Irqi casualties and their surviving relatives think of what the UK did to them? That's right, barbaric and inhuman. Which it is. Both situations are. Once you accept THAT, then you start frantically trying to stop it.

"You're killing me, stop!!"
"NO! You're killing ME! YOU stop!"
"NO, YOU!"

My sympathies to all involved and affected. All of this is going to get much much worse before it gets any better, and it won't be in any of our lifetimes. :(

A brief history of Podcasting

Blank Reg
The first Podcaster

Max Headroom
The first Podcast Celebrity.

Coca Cola anybody?

Most ironic thing heard on a Podcast Today:
"Indie nine one one, the best in unsigned, independant and undependant music... Sponsored by Audi!"
- Indie911 Podcast Channel

This must be the fastest full medium pickup ever in the history of media. About a year? Six months? Ted Koppel and "Queer Eye" have Podcasts. Don't get me wrong; I think it's neat. I'm just awestruck by how fast the levy broke on this one.

One more stupid word to deal with though. ;)

Slow motion cold

I've had a raw sore throat for well over two weeks now, and horking up small wads of mucous from the back of my throat. At first it was just annoying and, in typical fashion, I just bore it and grinned.
It got more pronounced and more annoying over the last 4-5 days.
This morning I woke up with a full-blown chest cold.

Some things that are mystifying me:
1- Why am I seemingly getting sick so often lately? My diet and health are otherwise really good. I exercise, and eat well etc...
2- I quit smoking 3 months ago. I haven't felt any kind of physical change since, other than I don't stink and I have somewhat more energy. If anything, I have felt more sickly since quitting. Oh and I gained 5-10lbs unceremoniously. :p

The worst part is, I don't have the time to be sick. I don't have the time to spend nursing myself, nor do I have the time to wait for 4 hours at the local CLSC for a doctor to sit me down for 5 minutes and write me a prescription for antibiotics without looking me in the eyes. I don't think I even want to then be told "take this poison for 2 weeks and then you'll be fine." I want to be fine NOW, and I want to STAY fine, dammit. hehehehe

I just spoke to my mechanic (hah! no no, my car's been sick too and IT'S gotten the attention it needs) and mentioned how I was feeling and he said he's had a sore throat for a week too... is this going 'round? A slow motion cold virus?

This has been an entry titled "Whining out loud."

Can hate be good?

"Hate something, change something."

That's what was on the mind of Honda engineers when they supposedly made a better diesel engine. Interesting. I think it is an all-out race to not only find any and all alternatives for fossil fuels, but also try to clean up as much as possible the existing processes of them.

via Stevey

Holy map!

Mobile GMaps is a free piece of software that displays Google Maps and Keyhole satellite imagery on Java J2ME-enabled mobile phones or other devices.

Apparently it is super slow, and I imagine it sucks up alot of limited expensive bandwidth... but... drooooooool...


This may be old news but it's new to me; as Francis says,

No joke. WebObjects is included with Tiger. For free. Amazing.

While this *is* cool, it's sad too. Nevermind that the learning curve is high, it goes up against the now defacto PHP, Python and Ruby (*cough* Perl?) communities AND it has to overcome the fact that afterall it IS an Apple *product*. I.e.: closed, owned, untouchable. This may be a good thing, but I don't see it gaining any traction in the DIY web-world.

Had they done this 4-5 years ago, and pushed it ever so slightly, as the geeks started their migration to OS X and looking for web frameworks to work with, they may have had something. But as it is... zippy-dee-doo-dah-day.

Also, try to find a webhosting service that happily runs WebObjects... ;)

Pointing thataway

I just want to point out that Joi's recent entry on the whole Live 8 thing has the best comment stream I've seen over there in a long time. (Sorry Joi... it's not you, it's the nutjobs and relentless pessimists that get me down.)

I've nothing much really to add to the conversation as it seems to me to be right on track, at least in civility, however most interesting to me are two things, both brought up in these comments:

a) how much awareness is actually raised, how is it raised, what ideas and views are actually implanted, how effective are these ideas in spurring action, and how efficient is this methodology?


b) who's really benefitting at all? I'd hate to think it is the WaBenzi (link via Ethan's del.icio.us stream, well worth adding to your inbox), though it looks like it is. As more than one commenter says, corruption is the biggest barrier to relief. In nature, as in all things, corruption and decay invariably lead to death, which makes room for rebirth, renewal and change. In human affairs though, the greedy desire for maintaining the status quo, trying to maintaining some system of forced control, stretches that time out, often with the result of passing off the death and dying to innocent bystanders...

It won't end

It won't end until I have run away and hidden myself so far and so deeply, that never will I know that you have left us.
For without us, I could not continue.

Ça ne finira pas
Ça ne finira pas tant que je ne me suis pas caché si loin et si profondément que jamais je n'aurai à savoir que tu nous as quittée.
Car sans nous, je ne puis continuer.

(Tellement plus beau en français, n'est-ce pas? ;)

Apple Podcasts

I wonder if the next OS X "Security Update" will include an updated spellchecker which will recognize the word "Podcast", seeing how Apple now pretty much 0wnZ it... ;)

Hrm... lemme spark up GarageBand here and...