December 2002 Archives

juvenile geek moment

baby, I have l337 PHP skillz...
Ok, back to work...

The Night Before Christmas 2002

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the land,
not a critic was stirring, for stirring was banned.
A thousand brown prisoners, snug in their cells,
all held without charges or tinsel or bells;
and mamma was wrapped in the national flag,
while we sang ".Where there's never a boast or a brag."
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the TV I flew like a flash;
I then watched "Survivor" and reruns of "Mash."
The fireworks, exploding above the new snow,
gave a luster of objects to people below.
When what saw my wondering eyes in the flashes:
a miniature George Bush and eight tiny fascists!
Their jerseys were blue and said "WORLD DOMINATION";
I knew right away this was not just claymation.
More rapid than eagles the warlords they came,
as the little Bush whistled and called them by name:
"Now, Daschle! now, Ashcroft! Now Strom, don't relent!
On, Poindexter, Rumsfeld! on Henry and Trent!
To the top of the globe, while the crowd's at the mall,
nowbomb away, bomb away, bomb away all!"
His sack had a war game for each girl and boy;
his pocket, four billion from just Illinois.
Far up on his high seat the driver did mount,
with more massive weapons than Kofi could count.
And then, I heard sounds from away off somewhere,
the booming of bombs that were bursting in air.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
down the chimney old Dick Cheney came with a bound.
He said not a word, nor disclosed his location;
he wiretapped my house in the name of the nation.
Then holding the strings of his little Bush puppet,
he went to the chimney and quickly rose up it.
The sleigh was still running, but Dick didn't hurry;
gas guzzlers, it seemed, were no longer a worry.
He popped the champagne and exclaimed as he served it,
"The world is now ours, and GOD DAMN, we deserve it!"

Interfaces and data management

Karl, Francis; pour vous:

Haystack Prototype

The project started with an attempt to address the information overload problem seen too often on a computer user's local machine. With the amount of e-mail and documents increasing everyday, the personal information corpus becomes unmanageable. The aim was to make use of user-entered and machine-mined metadata that elaborates and augments the user's personal information to enable more sophisticated search with better accuracy of retrieval.

The Humane Environment

The Humane Environment (THE) is as easy to learn as a GUI (or easier) yet as fast to use (or faster) than the command-line systems we struggle to learn but love to use.

Thank you Michel.

How to Ruin American Enterprise

Brain Eno sez:

"Do you know what I hate about computers? There's not enough Africa in them."


Where do I order?

Get my mind out of the gutter.

Google Search: gay japanese DTP job

If my blog is a sort of extension of my mind, which it is, and it keeps coming up in really weird search results... what does that tell you?

Artsy put-down.

Like all of Picasso's work, you are retarded and liked only by people who secretly hate themselves.

Technorati: Sidebar

Technorati: Sidebar

When you find an interesting site or blog, simply cut-and-paste the URL into the Technorati sidebar, and get an up-to-date list of blogs that link to that URL. It's like getting instant reviews and commentary on what's going on on the web.

Brilliant. Think "authority gauge".

Consider this:
A blogger writes an entry about subject X. 100 people read it. 10 of those people link to it from their blog. You come along and see this entry. You want to know what degree of credibilty it has ("authority"). By using the Technorati "Cosmos" service, you can see the 10 links that previous readers established.

Granted, a link is non-qualificative: i.e. a link doesn't mean the linker agrees or disagrees. It is up to you to follow th elink and see what the linker thinks. This analoguous to any healthy social system where you learn with experience. Consulting others' expepriences ads to yours, etc... It's very organic.

It's aliiiive!!!


They really know how to put a creepy spin on things these americans, no?

I actually I saw something somewhere else about htis.. apparently it's a modified Palm device and works horribly.

Wola... poking around this site a bit more... as scary as it is that the US military is researching this stuff, um.. erm... where do i sign up to join the research team? Damn.

Communicator? EARS? FutureMap? Awesome stuff, if you strip away the "Homeland Security" crap.

"Total Information Awareness"

Oh my god this is scary.
TIA is a great concept, here put to horrifying use.

Painfully funny

50†† ††Most Loathsome People in America, 2002
Oh god, my stomach is cramped...

"The right ones in the right order"

December 18, 2002 [dive into mark]
Excerpt from a Stoppard play. Love it, live it.

iSpeak It

"Reads" text into soundfiles which you can then load onto your iPod, etc...

Works incredibly fast. Just have to figure out if I can change the "voice" (should be prefs for this, but there aren't in the app itself). Nice nonetheless.

Oh damn.. somebody stop me...

Somebody remind me how utterly financially irresponsible it would be of me to go and buy an iBook right now.

or a T68i.

Argh!!! Damn you hyperconsumerism!!!

The power of voice

Phonetic searching.
All we need is IO's to this and integrate it with OS's... and polish off voice recognition software and bingo: bye bye keyboard!

High-pitched whine

I had a root canal done about 4 months ago. Now contrary to what I'd been told, it was a totally painless affair. Chalk it up to state-of-the-art dentistry I guess.

Anyways, point is that ever since I've had discomfort in the area where the work was done. It would flame up and be sensitive, especially after eating sweets. This apparently perplexed my dentist no end.

So this afternoon... he redid the root canal. Drilled it out again, refiled.. going 25 millimeters into my palate (biiig roots!), and refilled.

Ouuuuaaaaaannnnn... ouaaaan ouaaaannnnn!

Hehehehe... at least he was recounting jokes from the comedy show he had seen recently.

In the epicenter

I truly don't know what got into me. Wait, that's not true; I do.
It's not like I bought everybody drinks. Wait, that's not true either; I did.

You know when everything just comes together? When everything you know and love, every fiber of your being is engaged in the endeavor, every facet of your persoanlity and experience are coordinated and syncronized? Great things happen. Mihaly Csikszentmihaly calls it "the state of flow".

This weekend was epic. And I was, humbly, in the center.
["Oh god! Bind me in a nutshell and call me the king of infinite space!"]

Sustain ability

Living in a perpetual state of sustained debt.

You won't find these videos at Blockbuster |

"Video is taking over as the medium of choice for artists, reinventing the language of art."
I always thought that if it weren't web, I'd be in video. It's just time-codes I can't handle so well... sequenciality is foreign to me.
But you know... I think I hereby proclaim to endeavor learning more vid prod.

The art of war.

Mac Rumors: Apple considering Marklar?
Sounds like a finely sharpened strategy. Time will tell.

Finding files by their contents

From The Mac OS X Help:

The Finder can search the contents of files for specific text.

To search for the content of items, choose Find from the File menu. Type the word or phrase you want to search for in the "content includes" text box, then click Search.

If the Finder doesn't find an item you expected to find, you may need to update the index. To update an index, select the disk or folder that contains the files you want to search and choose Get Info from the File menu. Click Content Index, then click Index Now.

Now, I've always known that MacOS runs a content index... nightly in fact, if you turn it on... (I remember the ex and I would howl everynight at 12 when sitting at her PowerBook and the Indexing would start... wait that sounds funny.. whatever...)

Anyways, yeah, I always thought of it as an annoyance, and I never searched by comments so what the heck...

But you know (listening Karl?), I can setup to make this thing search my mail folders... and my IM/SMS archives... and my Bookmarks folders... Oooh...

So now I wonder why Apple split off Sherlock into just a web-search-tool when they could have turned in on itself and presented local data in a web-happy way? (Show me my email to Joe last week and let me click on the links again... etc...)

To be investigated...


I tried LaunchBar for Mac OS X a couple of months ago and didn't "get it"... Now I "get it"... Oh wow. Type a few letter and it shows you just about everything on your hard drive that has those letter in it... within MILLIseconds.


Stop Nonoxynol-9!

Stop Nonoxynol-9!
I do pro bono webmaster work for the "Canadian Women's HIV Study". Every month they send me their "E-bulletin" to publish. This month's contains an article I think is important to spread around.

Endorsed by 61 organisations and 27 scientists to date, the Call was developed to address the fact that many individuals are still seeking out and using lubricants and condoms containing Nonoxynol-9 in the mistaken belief that they offer added protection against HIV and STDs. In fact, these products may increase the user's risk of infection.

Important to note:
  • The main three condom makers are still refusing to remove N-9 from their products. (why is that always the case? It costs them nothing, in fact will save them money! Damn!)

  • There's a condom brand called "Elbow Grease"! Yeeehaw!!!
Happy lovemaking y'all.

Oh wow! Oh wow! Oh wow!

GPS Gallery
"Drawings" done by GPS tracking!

"Free as Air, Free As Water, Free As Knowledge"

Bruce Sterling's 1992 speech to the Library Information Technology Association

Ladies and gentlemen, there's a problem with showing Mr Franklin the door. The problem is that Mr Franklin was right in 1731 and Mr Franklin is still right! Information is not something you can successfully peddle like Coca-Cola. If it were a genuine commodity, then information would cost nothing when you had a glut of it. God knows we've got enough data! We're drowning in data. Nevertheless we're only gonna make more. Money just does not map the world of information at all well. How much is the Bible worth? You can get a Bible in any hotel room. They're worthless as commodities, but not valueless to humankind. Money and value are not identical.

What's information really about? It seems to me there's something direly wrong with the ``Information Economy.'' It's not about data, it's about attention. In a few years you may be able to carry the Library of Congress around in your hip pocket. So? You're never gonna read the Library of Congress. You'll die long before you access one tenth of one percent of it. What's important --- increasingly important --- is the process by which you figure out what to look at. This is the beginning of the real and true economics of information. Not who owns the books, who prints the books, who has the holdings. The crux here is access, not holdings. And not even access itself, but the signposts that tell you what to access --- what to pay attention to. In the Information Economy everything is plentiful --- except attention.

(stolen from boing boing

More BlogMind tools!

Popdex : the website popularity index
This is getting more and more interesting. PopDex is like BlogDex and DayPop, but they will "weigh" the links, like Google's "PageRank" algos.

Essentially, the more a particular blog or blog entry is linked to, the more authoritive it is considered.

Karl mentioned that there is one caveat here: a link is not qualified. In other words, I may link to something (and a system like PopDex would take that as a "vote for") when in reality I may say something like "what this guy says here is bull!" (i.e. a negative vote).

(Ted Nelson would then say "Ha! Silly hypertext web people! Had you used my Xanadu or ZigZag architectures instead of the web, you could make such things explicit!" Sillyness. The precise reason for the successful existence, growth and evolution of the web is precisely this lack of "control-points", as David Weinberger calls them. It's totally organic. There is no god, no MCP, no laws or guidelines. If there is anything, it is an embrace of chaos and it's patterns. is that not what Zen fundamentally wants us to embrace?)

To get back to Karl, I say this is not necessarily true. Consider the whole thing like any other human or natural environment. Just becasue I speak of something doesn't mean I speak ill OR well of it. The fact of linking does NOT automatically mean I support it. Also, it allows for auto-policing, to a certain extent.

Consider this: Pundit Joe posts something at 9am. By 10am, 20 people have read it. 10 of them have linked to it from their blogs and comment on it. It appears in blogdex as a hottopic. Does this mean it is right? Not at all! It means it's hot. 8 of the 10 people who linked it and are commenting on it are denouncing it as false. Some may say "yes but that original post is still there and someone who never sees the denouncements will be mislead. So what? This happens all the time in daily "real world" interactions as well. It is up to the individual to 1- weigh the information he/she encounters and 2- to further research the issue.

(I am reminded of two things here: Tao: "he who knows does not speak, he who speaks does not know"... "he who knows a site is full of bull does not link to it, he who does is full of bull himself..." or something like that... and Hamlet "Nothing is so bad but thinking makes it so".)

In case you were wondering...

What's A Weblog?
Numbers 9 and 10 are especially à propos

all noise - all the time

On Professionalism
RageBoy is quickly becoming a favorite read.

The 500 mile e-mail limit

Rather amusing if you know what sendmail is.

"Process Is More Important Than Results."

[...] to achieve results, you've got to do something.† If you do something, you'll make mistakes.† Mistakes are, by definition, a process violation.
The context is public service (government mainly), but it's interesting to consider it outside of that.

Ok, here's the deal:

I am going to write... something... a book or an attempt of some such thing, entirely online. I've set up a Wiki system and anybody will be allowed to comment, annotate, spell-check (hehehe) the texts.

I'm aiming mid-january to begin, seeing as I am quite busy right now with another project. Also, I have a stack of books I need to read as research.
The books include:

  • "Small pieces loosely joined" by David Weinberger
  • "The Cluetrain Manifesto"
  • "Internet Dreams" by Mark Stefik
  • "Smart Mobs" by Howard Rheingold
  • "The triumph of the narrative" by Robert Fulford
  • "Cyborg" by Steve Mann
  • "Skin of Culture" by Derrick DeKerckhove (if I manage to get my copy back...)
  • "Art, the arts and the great ideas" by Mortimer J. Adler

    Oh and if anyone can direct me to a good book wherein Glenn Gould's ideas and process for his radio production pieces (like "The Idea of North") are discussed (preferably by himself!), please let me know.

  • Way to go!

    The Biobus Project - Press Release
    I don't use public transport so forgive me for noticing this 9 months late. This rocks. I am very happy to see this. It is a step in a good direction, at very least.

    "The Société de transport de Montréal is proud to be a partner in this biofuel demonstration project. In its scope, this urban mass transit project will be the largest such endeavour ever implemented in North America.

    Bravo STM.

    NORMOS: Internet Engineering Standards Repository

    At first I thought "this is a great idea"!
    I still think it's a great idea I just think they sadly did a poor job of it... (I won't get into keeping UI design out of engineer's hands.. sigh... the Eternal Battle.)


    So Doc, calling it "[Cluetrain] [prehistory]" links us to a fun piece RageBoy blogged up, where he goes on about Zen Buddhism and pop song lyrics. (Didn't Bono also sing "Every artist is a cannibal, every poet; a thief"?)

    How to explain the pattern I discern?
    (Let me be clear that I am not refuting or slagging rageboy's post, just adding it to my pattern)

    Literary theory, semiotics: intertextuality, recognition, interpretation. While wonderful tools they are, applying such notions can be... decieving. (Did the Torah really predict JFK's assassination?.) Umberto Eco's "Foucault's Pendulum" explores this concept rather thoroughly.

    On a side note: one Fabio Rambelli seems to be spending his time researching the semiotics of buddhism. To what end? To achieve a deeper understanding of Zen, presumably. That, to me is akin to studying my shoes to gain a deeper understanding of how blood flows to my toes. Or how I walk... hellooo Sherlock Holmes!

    Hmmm, I seem to be irrevocably off course now. Allow me to finsih with some Borges quotes, just so's I look smart. ;)

    From "The Fearful Sphere of Pascal":
    "It may be that universal history is th ehistory of a handful of metaphors."

    From "The Library of Babel":
    "The universe (which others call the Library) [...]

    Hmmm.. apply Borges' writings against the Internet. Speak to me of order in chaos. Speak to me of patterns. Comfort me with apples.

    The Poetry of Programming

    The Poetry of Programming
    Looks fascinating. Will read later. Thank you Anders.


    Just chatting with a friend at one of the major New York "Webdesign companies" (if you can call them that nowadays), which recently got bought by a mormon compnay (name changed to protect the innocent):

    Mustahfa says:
    The funny thing is I really don't care, that's what a souless bastard I've become

    Bopuc says:

    Mustahfa says:
    You could have told me some guy named Lucifer had bought us and wanted us to build an extended enterprise portal for This is what happens whe you start using a PC I guess

    Bopuc says:
    Wait I thought u guys already did that contract...

    Mustahfa says:
    Yeah but we fucked it up

    Bopuc says:
    Hahahahaa, so Lucifer sent the mormons after ya!!!

    Mustahfa says:
    Exactly, he's a real bastard

    Bopuc says:

    For absolutely no reason

    Every now and then, I get this overwhelming feeling... for no reason really.. I am not particularily happy or joyful or anything.. just hyper...
    Perhaps these thousand words express what I want to do right now much better than I possibly could.


    On crack and it's only wednesday...

    pee! eye! zee zee eye! see ay tee oh 5!
    pee! eye! zee zee eye! see ay tee oh 5!
    pee! eye! zee zee eye! see ay tee oh 5!

    and while on the theme of japanese musical genius, check out Cornelius... one of my all time favorite musicians ever ever ever.

    Also I find this VERY intriguing. Kahimi Karie is also a favorite of mine. She has performed music with Philippe Katerine (She did "Jamais je n'ai dit que je t'aimerai toujours, oh mon amour" on that album, and he produced her album K.K.K.K.K., but I digress...)

    It is interesting because she has also done alot of stuff with one MOMUS, a man who collaborated with Bran Van 3000 on their last album. In fact at the time he did so, he was in town on his North American tour with Kahimi... So this album cover is clearly a reference to BV3000's first album cover (Glee), or more specifically a combination of the cover (the bunny) and a special connect the dots insert it came with.

    Also super cool is Takako Minekawa's Cloudy Cloud Calculator.

    (Interesting aside.. i just messed up an amazon search for bran van and it recommended Takako Minekawa and Cornelius! hahahahahaha.. weird...)

    "It's the little guy who suffers"

    Anti-Spam Legislation Opposed By Powerful Penis-Enlagement Lobby

    Some of you may have already read this but it's too damn funny. It appears that The Onion dropped it from it's database, oddly enough...

    GUI design and dumplings

    Here I am agonising over how to present the reeeeaaams of data the engineers want to display on the "wireless bridge stats" screen of our product's web-based GUI (which I am the Lord and Master of, thank you very much).. and all i can think of is the little dumpling restaurant I visited 2 weeks ago on Spadina in Toronto's Chinatown.

    $2.50 for enough Won-Ton soup for 3 people! $3.50 for 12 pork and bok-choi steamed dumplings! (Gyoza to the japanese... they tasted just like the ones my ex used to make ... sigh...)

    Has anybody been to the dumpling place on St-Laurent? The one between Pine and Prince-Arthur.. across from Go-go Lounge... Actually i think there may be 2 or 3 in that one block span... Sigh... maybe I'll venture down and give 'em a shot tonight (before heading to YULBlog, of course...).

    Well put...

    A comment to a blog posting about MBTI

    Thinking, but because I'm raised by a psychologist who emphasised the importance of being aware of other people's feelings I as a very rational thinking child added "emotions" as a datatype to be considered in my thought processes.

    So while I occasionally make decisions which look as if it is an emotionally based one it generally is a result of a "logical" process.

    Don't like plans, generally. Prefer goals, knowing which direction you're taking. The rest tends to come from that.

    I wasn't raised by a psychologist, but rather someone who could have used one... however this is right on the nose for me too.

    XFML for information architects

    dive into mark/December 03, 2002
    This has the data structuralist in me drooling! It's like having that pile of Lego in front of me again!

    Over a quarter mill, eh?

    727-200 Airplane home or bar for sale on ebay
    Only slightly larger than a Winnebago... and with that you can always up and outta there when the neighbors get ugly.

    Just what I was waiting for

    Ananova - Tattooing robot unveiled at hi-tech trade fair
    Brilliant! Unique, automated, moderne und Östereichisch!

    Z'is ja'r a Vahnzinn!

    News: IBM touts voice, handheld tools

    Yes, TheFuture? Right this way please.


    I was asked this morning what my favorite {something} is. Thought about it for all of 10 seconds and realised that I don't have a favorite anything.

    10 more seconds and I came up with these thoughts:
    - too much good stuff around and so, invariably, too many "candidates".
    - I enjoy most of what this world has to offer. I tend to see *some* good in everything. Sure there are some things I still "like" "more" than others, but that's normal right?
    - Doesn't calling something your favorite tend to preclude you from enjoying/liking other things of similar ilk? "Try the red bean ice cream!" "But I must have vanilla! It's my favorite!" (This kind of exchange makes me ill.)
    - "by calling one jewel a favorite you deny yourself all the others."

    On the other hand:
    - there is nothing I utterly and totally dislike either. hmm, dislike may be wrong word because whil eyes there are some things I am not particularily keen on, i can see how they may be appealing to others, or at the limit accept that others may like this.
    - "Nothing is so bad but thinking makes it so."

    Argh. I just realised something. This may be directly related to the maddening tailspins I put myself into once I am in "serious relationships"... "I do love you my dear! But... but... that girl over there is soooo pretty!"

    Sigh. Better straighten this one out before I make another mess.

    Potty humor

    My apologies... but it makes sense, even if Dave yuks it up... ;)

    There is a big enough consumer market to offer such a device to retail?!?

    Arctic Twister Ice Cream Mixer

    Oh Sony...

    I am a mac person myself, but I LOVE the stuff they do. It is SO hard to resist buying into Sony.

    Damn this thing is purdy!

    Monday mooonday

    Ok, I'm in a dastardly mood today. Has to do with going on a bender all weekend and basically wasting alot of time recovering from the hangovers.

    And then I have to read this. (By way of Doc who also commented, though nothing to do with my point of view.)

    Sigh. To wit:

    Girlism is about owning your own sexuality as a woman and letting men understand that it's something you like -- sex. And it's something you like on YOUR terms, not on their terms. Women don't need men to define female sexuality. We need to define it ourselves and we need to own it and then teach men how it is. It's beyond Feminism.

    Okay... 1st sentence: No problem, sounds great, here's hoping I meet many of you (women who can actually incarnate this.. still not that many... apparently and unfortunately)

    2nd sentence: Sure... Sometimes on your terms sometimes on my terms, but you know what? isn't it best when it's on BOTH OUR terms (I mean both the man and woman's at the same time)?

    3rd sentence: and men certainly don't want/need women to define male sexuality! Not all the time anyways... ;) Again... share and share alike! Give and take! No point going from one extreme to another here!

    4th sentence: Yeah I guess that may be required. I can live with that myself. Just don't get pushy. I respect you, you respect me, everybody's happy.

    5th sentence: this is where I agree with Doc actually. How about we get beyond "ism" altogether.

    Hmmm. I'm actually in a bit better mood now. Perhaps I'll go out (again) tonight and see if I can't find a "girlie".