January 2006 Archives

New île sans fil logo

Mike linked to the announcement of the new ISF logo.

Here's what they unveiled:

Isf Logo

Here's my suggested fix:


Basically, I lined things up, centered the text-mark, instilled some harmony by adjusting the kerning a bit better, got rid of the little green blurry nugget (I know it's supposed to be the "accent circonflexe" from île, but I think the waves can cover that duty themsleves) and changed the font of the URL.

Can you tell this isn't my forte? The edges of the radio waves aren't rounded and I totally not happy with the kerning and alignment here but I'm tired... ;)

Anyways. I stop here. The original's a pretty good idea and start to a logo... I just felt like tweaking it a bit to fit into the grid I see in my head. ;)

The Mac OS Binder

Not Finder, Binder.

Simple app, basic UI on top of a database and a few APIs.

Allow me to manage all my tags, local and remote. Remote tags could be stored locally for apps like ecto, 1001, Cocoalicious; local tags for things like MailTags, Quicksilver's File Tagging Plugin, etc.

Allow me to manage "Project" labels, or Bundles. Give me a basic hierarchical system to use if I want to. Just like the directory system I am already used to. (Whatever happened to the rumored "Piles" and "File Cabinets" functionality in the Finder? [please no hemorrhoids jokes])

Use open standards and document your interfaces sufficiently so that other developers can easily communicate with you.

Bind my data so I can Find what I am working with at any given moment: *This* email is part of *this* project which uses *these files* in *this folder*, with *this To Do and Task list*, on *this schedule* in *this Calendar*, with *this outline of notes*...

So... very... close...

While it is a closed, commercial application, Omni Group's "OmniOutliner" allows storing Aliases to files and folders from within outlines. VERY useful. More useful would be if I could bind my MailTags projects to one Outline file each. Just thinking out loud.

Peach, plum, pear

from "The Milk-Eyed Mender" by Joanna Newsom


We speak in the store
I'm a sensitive bore
you seem markedly more
and I'm oozing surprise

But it's late in the day
and you're well on your way
what was golden went gray
and I'm suddenly shy

And the gathering floozies
afford to be choosy
and all sneezing darkly
in the dimming divide

And I have read the right books
to interpret your looks
you were knocking me down
with the palm of your eye

So now now now now now now
now nownow now now...

This is unlike the story
it was written to be
I was riding its back
when it used to ride me

And we were galloping manic
to the mouth of the source
we were swallowing panic
in the face of its force

And I am blue
I am blue and unwell,
made me bolt like a horse.

Oh now now now now now now
now nownow now now...

Now it's done.
Watch it go.
'n you've changed some.
Water runs from the snow.

Am I so dear?
Do I run rare?
And you've changed some
peach, plum, pear,
peach, plum

MailTags + Apple Mail + iCal

Mailtags iCal

What you are looking at is a dream come true. It is not released yet but version 1.2 of Scott's "MailTags", whose Mail tagging feature set alone was worth a donation now ties Apple Mail to iCal as well. Back and forth. Real time. Tagable, Searchable, Smart Mailbox-able.

In his own words:

How it works is it ties the calendar to the project -- creating a new calendar if need be (if project is none, uses "MailTags" as calendar)

If you update the information in MailTags, it will update in iCal -- you can change title, notes, duedate, calendar etc and item will update in ical
-- and vice versa -- change title of todo, complete status, etc in ical and revisit related message in mail and the data will reflect change (sorta right now -- I have to improve that part a little) --

it will add a link to the message in the url part of the todo so if the right mouse the url and select go to location-- it brings up the message in mail (even if you move the original message to a different mailbox) .

You should also be able create smart mailboxes based on presence of todo/ and todo complete state.

So integration is more than just making a todo and forgetting about it (like most applescripts)

Another awesome feature is conversation filtering, where typing a search string reveals the usual options slice and when you select "Conversation" it shows you only matches where the "To:" and "From:" (and I believe "CC:") contain matches. Sort of like Google Mail.

MailTags was created to be used with Scott's other Mail plugin: Mail Act-On, which allows you to map keyboard strokes to Mail Rules. Combining these two, you can have a Rule which tags a message as "To Reply", and then have a Smart Mailbox that displays all "To Reply" tagged emails, etc etc etc...

You might remark also how similar the MaitTags panel looks to ecto's sidepanel. This is indicative. ;)

Now all we need is for the Finder to be re-invented as the "Binder" and we'll be just slightly better equipped to face the data deluge...

Had another email exchange with Scott and we may yet see some very awesome Finder and Spotlight integration.
*Click Project name* -> Reveal a Folder you Aliased to that Project OR anything tagged with said Project label, system wide... Drooling.

Give and take

(to no one in particular, and if nothing else, a reminder to myself)
Are you really so rich, not necessarily in possessions, but in knowledge, wisdom and experience, that you truly believe that you can afford to be so cynical, so elitist, so blasé and dismissive? Do you really believe you have acquired everything you possibly ever could or could want or need? How magnanimous! Thank you for leaving something for the rest of us!

And if so; if you have taken all that you could and all that you need from the world in your short time here, what have you given back? What have you shared? What have you furthered or made better?

As an obstacle to progress and evolution, idleness is death.

歲歲平安 Suìsuì píngãn

(Everlasting peace year after year)

恭喜发财 Kung hei fat choy to my chinese friends celebrating the new year; may it not be a dog.


Sadly ironic, my sister's puppy somehow managed to asphyxiate itself with a plastic bag yesterday while everyone was out of the house. As she cried, my 4 year old nephew consoled his mother by saying "at least it wasn't one of us..."

Local Government Organizations (LGOs)

ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiative) - Local Governments for Sustainability

We provide technical consulting, training, and information services to build capacity, share knowledge, and support local government in the implementation of sustainable development at the local level. Our basic premise is that locally designed initiatives can provide an effective and cost-efficient way to achieve local, national, and global sustainability objectives.

UCLG - United Cities and Local Governments

United Cities and Local Governments is a new world organisation dedicated to promoting the values, objectives and interests of cities and local governments across the globe. It is the largest local government organisation in the world, with a diverse membership that includes both individual cities and national associations of local governments.

United Cities and Local Governments is the global voice of cities and the main local government partner of the United Nations. It promotes the policies and experiences of local governments in key areas such as poverty, sustainable development and social inclusion.

Urban Ecology Center

The goal of the Urban Ecology Centre is to build and share expertise concerning the most viable approaches to sustainable urban development and how they may best be implemented in our neighbourhoods and city.


Long story but yesterday over lunch with my new good friends John and Colin, I committed to building this side-by-side comparison of Google China and Google in Chinese for the OpenNet Initiative.

The reason for doing this is explained thusly:

On January 25 2006, Google launched Google.cn, a self-censored Chinese-language search service, a policy shift which follows Yahoo! and Microsoft's recent decisions to provide censored internet services in compliance with Chinese state censorship policies. Google informs its users when their search results have been filtered (to date, Microsoft and Yahoo!'s Chinese search services do not), and provides users with a link to the unfiltered Google.com home page.


Well, no election for me...

Canada's upcoming federal election is this coming monday. By the time the polls open I'll be sitting on the tarmac on my way to Cambridge for 3 days.

"But you could have voted in advance!" Yup, had I know i was going to be out of the country. This trip was planned and booked on Wednesday, the day after the deadline for any sort of advance voting.

So I entrust our country to you fine people. Please don't make me come home to a right-handed majority! ;)

Where's my head?

It's not that I am going senile or any such thing... it's just that...

"my memory space is being flattened, in places, especially recently, by prolonged use of asynchronous text-based tele communication"

In other words, I am beginning to suspect that the use of such things as Instant Messaging and email is somehow confusing the brain, which is normally used to associating experiences with way more environmental clues (such as person's face, lighting in the scene, sounds around, geo context, etc) than you get with an email or an IM chat.

I've already mentioned that I sometimes imagine conversations with people, in my head/telepathically, as if I were actually having them/via IM. I suspect this is akin to ghost limb syndrome. My brain just assumes I can continue the communication, regardless of TCP/IP stack (er, IM software and internet connection). Whether the person is there or not is irrelevant because as far as my brain knows, it's all imaginary anyways right? I mean, there's no live person in front of me, I did not displace myself to interact with this person, etc.

Now I am also seeing the effects of this, theoretically, on my memory as well. My brain is actively "flattening" my memory space of all my other communication modalities as well, as if to compensate following some sort of "lowest common denominator" rule for how much meta data to store, or at least, to keep actively "close by" and easily accessible.

What that means is, I will remember the message of a communication, almost word for word. But I will need to greatly labor to recall a) WHO the conversation was with b) WHEN the conversation took place c) WHERE it took place, be it in physical space or via which network protocol, and of course all three are related and cross referenced. (If I remember who it was with, if it was with a local, I will have to look further for environment clues such as "was it live conversation?", "was it on the street, or at Laika?", etc etc.)

Of course I make this sound far more drastic than it is, but I also am merely scratching the surface of this phenomenon which I can sense is very definitely happening to me.

(The title of this post is taken from my light hearted impression of my mother who can sometimes be a bit absent minded.)


Justin's made his backchannel experiments an official project at the USC IMD, where he is studying.

Having experienced several types of backchannel setups myself, though never of the intensely focused and tweaked 14 screens of the ZML, I can say it is definitely not for everybody. You have to not only be of the kind of mind that can assimilate multiple input streams at once[1] and need to prepare yourself beforehand: being aware is key.

[1] This reminds me of the warrior's gaze, as explained in Miyamoto Musashi's "Book of Five Rings":

In regards to the Gaze of someone, he notes that a person must be able to perceive that which is all around him, without moving their eyeballs noticeably, which is said to be a skill which takes an enormous amount of practice to perfect. He notes that this is again one of the most important parts of strategy, as well as being able to see things which are close to you, such as the technique of an enemy, or far away, such as arriving troops, or enemies, as that is the precursor of battle, in that your actions go off what you see.


ConstellationW3 had a setup like this as well apparently at their last big thing at the S.A.T. (I missed the event and the site seems down so nyah...)

Self medicating... sort of

I imagine it may possibly be a placebo effect but... I started popping some pills about a week ago and holymoly do I feel better as of yesterday! More energy, able to concentrate, and the winter blaaahs don't seem so heavy anymore!

What am I doing? Well, I'm making a little experiment. Every night before going to sleep I take one melatonin and one St-John's Wort. In the morning, I swallow a Ginko Biloba, vitamin D and vitamin C.

Since all this stuff is harmless and my dosage is totally moderate, and I'm not convinced it's not psychosomatic, I'll definitely keep at it for a bit and see what happens.

Any thoughts?

freedom vs. liberty

Dictionary definitions of these two terms, just to make something clear:

the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint : we do have some freedom of choice | he talks of revoking some of the freedoms. See note at liberty .
• absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government : he was a champion of Irish freedom.
• the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved : the shark thrashed its way to freedom.
• the state of being physically unrestricted and able to move easily : the shorts have a side split for freedom of movement.
• ( freedom from) the state of not being subject to or affected by (a particular undesirable thing) : government policies to achieve freedom from want.
• the power of self-determination attributed to the will; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity.
• unrestricted use of something : the dog is happy having the freedom of the house when we are out.

1 the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views : compulsory retirement would interfere with individual liberty.
• (usu. liberties) an instance of this; a right or privilege, esp. a statutory one : the Bill of Rights was intended to secure basic civil liberties.
• the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved : people who have lost property or liberty without due process.
2 the power or scope to act as one pleases : individuals should enjoy the liberty to pursue their own interests and preferences.
• Philosophy a person's freedom from control by fate or necessity.

freedom, independence, liberty
The Fourth of July is the day on which Americans commemorate their nation's independence, a word that implies the ability to stand alone, without being sustained by anything else.
While independence is usually associated with countries or nations, freedom and liberty more often apply to people. But unlike freedom, which implies an absence of restraint or compulsion (: the freedom to speak openly), liberty implies the power to choose among alternatives rather than merely being unrestrained ( | the liberty to select their own form of government). Freedom can also apply to many different types of oppressive influences ( | freedom from interruption; freedom to leave the room at any time), while liberty often connotes deliverance or release ( | he gave the slaves their liberty).

Notice how the two definitions are very different except for in one instance; both include "the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved". Somewhere along the line, this convergence of definition allowed for a flip in the popular culture to occur, where simplistic freedom replaced the far more sinewed--and thus complicated--liberty in the public discourse. This is a tragedy.

Freedom and liberty are NOT the same thing. Freedom is devoid of responsibility ("nothing left to lose"?) and awareness for it's environment, people and society included...

"My freedom ends where yours begins"

This maxim speaks directly of the true nature of what it means to live in a group (which connotes a society, which connotes all sorts of things like laws and politics.) If "freedom ends", then it is not by definition freedom, for freedom has no limits. If I accept that there is a self and an other, and that we have met, then it is with liberty that we must live together. I am free to kill you, but living in a group it goes further than mere freedom, for I have the liberty to choose to do so and suffer the responsibility such an act entails.


"Have the courage to change what you cannot accept,
the strength to accept what you cannot change,
and the wisdom to know one from the other."

I've long admired this proverb but it never quite sat well with me. I know why now. Or rather I always sensed why, but now I can explain it.

True wisdom lies in accepting all, including what may seem unacceptable.

The trick lies not in the acceptance, but what you do with what you have accepted. To not accept is to reject, and when you reject something, you are finished with it; you no longer have any possibility to do anything with it, be that change it or place it on the back shelves of your consciousness.

When the world presents you with a gift, you accept it. Now you can choose to do many things. If it is repulsive to you, have the courage to change it, or the strength to hide it away and bear the weight of doing so. If you cannot change it yourself and you feel you must, have the temerity and drive to recruit others to help you.

Equally important is, if the gift is joyous, have the generosity to share it others. :)

This has been on my mind for a very long time. Very often when speaking of buddhism and zen with people, their perception of these philosophies is that they are dismissive and lead to complacency because of their focus on accepting the world as it is. This is very far from the truth however. One cannot truly appreciate anything without accepting it when it appears before us. Accepting something affords us to chance to inspect it and to know it more deeply.

I accept that there are atrocities in the world. So far I have shouldered the burden of merely carrying this knowledge along with me, all the while being mindful of it, watching it, learning it, and my relationship with it. All of this is by no means an excuse for inaction--another misunderstood concept of zen and buddhism; action and inaction. I accept also my actions/inactions but know that they will eventually move into directed action.

The lesson here is that acceptance is not a destination, it is a starting point. Once you have accepted something, you must choose what to do with it and how you will live the relationship with what you have accepted.


On a whim I poked around Flickr's obey, obeygiant and andrethegiant tag aggregators.

Why I would do such a thing might be explained here. This evening it started with finding a Space Invader in the Flickr japan tag aggregator and showing it to Karl.

Here are two photos, taken about a month apart over a year ago and posted on the same date, by two people who apparently do not know each other nor of each other's photo, of the same Obey The Giant graffiti in New York City.

October 20th, 2004 & November 26th, 2004

Seems that part of town is heavily pasted.

re: 101 word short story contest - 9/6/95

"The year after the Last Century"

Nobody expected not to wake up; so nobody didn't. No one thought it was strange and, even if one had thought of it, no one thought anything of it. The fact was, that nothing really exceptional had happened, and consequently no one noticed.

No self-elected prophets foresaw or preached "it", and so, no warning was heard.

So the moment passed.

It happened somewhere, it happened everywhere. It continued, unmeasured and unaccounted for. That i show it was, is and will be; until someone notices it and gives it one hundred and one names.

(found in a box)

Notes from a bookstore visit

(CCA Bookstore, summer 2005)

Aberrant presupposition & Aberrant decoding, Umberto Eco

Eco reworks the standard communication model by expanding the message as a text subject on the side of the addresser to presuppositional influences (private biases, orienting circumstances, ambiguities relating to the encoding of expression and content planes, the influence of subcodes, suppositions of shared knowledge) and for the addressee to 'aberrant' presuppositions (private biases, deviating circumstances, aleatory connotations and interpretive failures, as well as the appeal to subcodes and the actual depth of the addressee's knowledge), all of which are further subject to uncoded external influences.
As Fiske explains: "Aberrant decoding results, then, when different codes are used in the encoding and decoding of the message." [See Note 3] He continues: "This is encoding [by the young man] that fails to recognize that people of different cultural or subcultural experience will read the message differently, and that in so doing they will not necessarily be blameworthy." Aberrant decoding is the exception in narrowcast codes, but the rule in broadcast codes since the range of subcultural experiences is simply too great to guarantee any univocity of meaning.

Kuwayama's taxonomy of logos and logotypes & Weckerle's 9x9 taxonomy. Sadly very little of either of these people's work is findable online. I'll have to go back to the bookstore.

Peirce: representamen, triadic relations.

A Sign, or Representamen, is a First which stands in such a genuine triadic relation to a Second, called its Object, as to be capable of determining a Third, called its Interpretant, to assume the same triadic relation to its Object in which it stands itself to the same Object.

Fasces. Good to know.