January 2003 Archives


Victoria College Academic Program

Semiotics is the science of communication and sign systems, in short, of the ways people understand phenomena and organize them mentally, and of the ways in which they devise means for transmitting that understanding and for sharing it with others. Although natural and artificial languages are therefore central to semiotics, its field covers all non-verbal signalling and extends to domains whose communicative dimension is perceived only unconsciously or subliminally. Knowledge, meaning, intention and action are thus fundamental concepts in the semiotic investigation of phenomena.

Congress Meets Wall Street

State of the Union Poster

"How Big Corporate Campaign Contributors are Buying America...And What the Rest of Us Pay"

Oh wow!!!

Celestia: A 3D Space Simulator

This is a dream come true! I can't wait until this is super clean and perfected... but as it is, it is already a load of fun!

What ails America?

perfectly feasible possibility

Dissociation is a mental process which produces a lack of connection in a person's thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of identity. During the period of time when a person is dissociating, certain information is not associated with other information as it normally would be.

Wakey wakey!

The Globe and Mail: Privacy under 'unprecedented assault'
Somehow I get the feeling that Washington is pressuring Ottawa.

At least we HAVE a "Privacy Commissioner" who can table such reports!


I got a letter today from the Internet Search Registry.

A *real* letter, as in "in an enveloppe, with a stamp in my mailbox"

It's not a letter so much as it is a "bill", or rather, in the words I can already here them using to describe it, "a convenient way to subscribe to our service". Looks just like a telephone or cable bill.
They want $100, righ there right now, to submit my site to the search engines.

"- Draw qualified new visitors to your web site"
"- Extremely cost effective"
"- Let the search engines do the work for you"

These are bold statements. Especially for something as touchy as search engine ranking. What stikes me especially about this letter though that they make it so "easy" to send them $100, but nowhere offer any proof of legitimacy, accountablilty, etc... They don't even ask yu to open an acocunt of some sort... It's literally: "hey send us a hundred bucks! Why not?"

Anyways, i will certainly use the included return enveloppe, but no money or payment stub will accompany it. A nice hand written note will they recieve.

The gist of the note? "You must be joking."


Data stored in multiplying bacteria

The scientists took the words of the song It's a Small World and translated it into a code based on the four "letters" of DNA. They then created artificial DNA strands recording different parts of the song. These DNA messages, each about 150 bases long, were inserted into bacteria such as E. coli and Deinococcus radiodurans.

Free books

University of California Press eScholarship Editions

350 volumes made publicly available. Some interesting stuff in there.

I guess it's time...

Learning to program

One more thing to add to my to-do list.

Yes, sniffles, I am faux-geek. ;)

I killed my Safari

A friend wondered if it was possible to have Safari's built in google search do it's thing on google.ca instead of google.com.
So I searched the contents of the Safari package, found the instances of google.com in "/Safari/contents/MacOS/Safari" and replaced them with google.ca.

It no liked that. Safari wouldn't launch at all. Undid the change. Safari would bounce twice and crash.

Sigh. Downloaded a fresh copy. All's well again.

The moral: no google.ca searching from the menu bar. Though they probably should make that a configurable option: select which localised version of google the user wants to use...


Troll Touch Touchscreens

If this allows to write on the screen and have Inkwell do handwriting recognition, I am in love...

Strong Bad!

Animated funny-ness.

Thank you sniffles! :)

Oh Sony!

The Civil War Inside Sony

This is a brilliant article covering not only the turmoil of Sony, in it's unique position, but also of the entire IT and Entertainment industries.

The Cheeky Girls

'The worst act ever'?

Their mother scribbled the simple but catchy lyrics to "Touch My Bum" in half an hour: "I never ever ask where do you go. I never ever ask what do you do. I never ever ask what's in your mind. I never ever ask if you'll be mine. Come and smile, don't be shy. Touch my bum, this is life. Oooooh. We are the cheeky girls, we are the cheeky girls. You are the cheeky boys, you are the cheeky boys."

Pyongyang Dynamo Power Punch!

Kim Jong Il Unfolds Into Giant Robot

Too damn funny.

Someone's always comin' round here


No one's gonna fool around with us
So glad to meet'cha, Angeles

Forgive them Father,

for they know not what they do...

The Guilt-Free Soldier

GM: "On s'améliore pas..."
RB: Je veux pleurer.

"I am weak... and materialistic."

State of the Union... Not Good
Video cut-up of Dubya's State of the Union.

Human Spontaneous Involuntary Invisibility

Not sure what to make of this.


Watched "p" for the second time last night...

"Eleven seventeen, note to self:
<strumming lips> WOOLOOWOOLOOWOOLOO</strumming lips>"

Still unimpressed with this movie. Bad acting throughout (except for that main Hassid character), overly dramatic, and I take issue with the further stereotyping of highly intelligent people as mentally defective.

Seeing nature for what it is is not insanity inducing in all cases.


He danced on snow.

Sad news.
This man. Craig Kelly. Not only was he the Michael Jordan, Tony Hawk of snowboarding. Not only was he four time World Champion. He was also a truly remarkable human being. I have never forgotten, nor will I ever, the man who took time out to show a young kid what he was doing wrong in that half-pipe on Blackcomb that late June afternoon, 1989.

I hope he dances through the sweetest heavenly powder forever.

Any takers?

Long Bets
Related to The Long Now Foundation

It seems to me that many Californians have too much time and too much money. It also seems to me that so should I... ;)


Sony's New Day
Wild, beautiful... frightening as all hell.
Of special interest/concern, everything after "IN THE SONY ZONE".

Why the mixed feelings? Because it sounds absolutely wonderful.. until you realise that it is not meant to further humanity as much as it is meant to further Sony's bottom line.

C'est pour quand?

Printemps été - Jean Leloup

C'est le printemps et c'est l'été
Et les filles sont déshabillées

My comment

On this thread.

Hrm... an OS with all apps integrated, apps "as OS". What I think we should do here is step back a moment and look at our computers as a tool, and not a tool box.
Nevermind the industry that has grown around software development... do you really want one compnay to make all your apps (*cough*microsoft*cough*)?

Also, you'll still be clicking around separate windows. Sure tabs are sweet for websurfing, but I quite enjoy having my Photoshop, Safari adn BBEdit open in separate windows. "Yeah but they could all be based in the same app... youc an still have separate windows!" Uhuh... yeah one big app that "loads modules" as needed... Sounds pretty much like the paradign we already have, no? One big app (the OS) that loads modules as needed (Apps)... Sound familiar? If anything, this exactly what Mac OS has always done, and what MS has tried desperately to do also. Apps are tool modules.

Besides, we have to deal with content first. And filesystems.. etc... Is this not what we are hearing whispers of already? "Every client a server, every server a client"... "The semantic Web"... think of the effect such technology has for the "desktop". Rich metadata, local Google searching (ahem, Zoe?).

Oh and pssst... Apple's doing it already. Look at all the pieces of OS X, and wonder at the grand scheme unfolding beofre us.

Repeat after me.

The word "cloaca" has been popping up in my head all morning. Literally. It'll just "pop up"... cloaca cloaca cloaca...

For some reason I thought it was that little bulbous thing at the back of one's throat...

So just before posting I searched Google for cloaca, to make sure I had the spelling right. Well, the spelling was right, but boy was I wrong about what it meant...

Now the odd thing is that yes I had read about this... thing... twice before: once when it was first unveiled in Belgium and then when it went to New York. What I want to know however is this: why the heck has the word been repeatedly popping up in my head all morning?!

Maybe I need to go to the washroom.


Despite the stack of "theory" books I want to get to, as well as the two recently gifted Murakami novels (thank you!), I sat down with an earlier acquisition which was still staring at me from the coffee table: "You shall know our velocity" by one Dave Eggers.

Thirty pages in and I've already got about a million quotes I'd like to share with you.

It's not terribly interesting so far, plot wise. It is however... very... familiar... If I wrote a novel, it would feel something like this one. Schizophrenic, drifting in and out of ... the real world and one's perception of one's internal processes...

People say I talk slowly. I talk in a way sometimes called laconic. The phone rings, I answer, and people ask if they've woken me up. I lose my way in the middle of sentences, leaving people hanging for minutes. I have no control over it. I'll be talking, and will be interested in what I'm saying, but then someone--I'm convinced this is what happens--someone--and i wish I knew who, because i'd have words for this person--for a short time, borrows my head. Like a battery is borrowed from a calculator to power a remote control, someone, always, is borrowing my head.
I opened my mouth but couln't think of any way to answer. Someone was using my head to power a coffeemaker"

It's been done!


Bread in a glass

I saw a TV commercial last night about getting St-Patrick's Day to be a national holiday.
It ended with "Imagine, a day off for St-Patty's! Now who do you think came up with that? ..."

... And then they flash the logo and the URL.

Société des alcools du Québec

Musique to my liver

The great thing about living in a place where booze is regulated and sold by a governmental body is that I can go to their website and know that the outlet down the street from me has exactly 5 bottles of my favorite vodka in stock as of right now. The down side: it costs almost twice as much as anywhere else in the world... then again quebecers drink twice as much as anyone in the world too... imagine the money they make! and still we have the worst roads in the developed world.. sheesh.

What is this world coming to?

Feline dance classes...

Somebody please tell these ladies those are STUFFED cats... sigh...

Nevermind monkeys and typewriters...

Drunken monkeys hold a clue!

Biochemical studies from the St. Kitts colony also indicate that the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin in steady and binge drinkers have altered functions, which may be exaggerated by chronic alcohol abuse.

"We tend to think that chemicals like nicotine and alcohol have reversible effects on the brain," says Palmour. "Once your brain has had a lot of experience with nicotine, it may not be the same brain that it was before.

Oh ca-risse! Ok, I gotta stop smoking and drinking NOW!!! Eeek! Eeeeeek!

BBC Auto-Personalisation

Great idea!

"Information mapping"

chez Jon Udell

Pattern mapping is something I LOVE.

Information design

Edward Tufte: Ask E.T. forum

Check out his books. They are wonderful.


Ashes To Ashes

They got a message from the Action Man
I'm happy, hope you're happy too
I've loved all I've needed love
Sordid details following

The shrieking of nothing is killing me
Just pictures of Jap girls in synthesis
And I ain't got no money and I ain't got no hair
But the planet is glowing

Second wind

After a sleepy day spent meeting a new friend for coffees, watching "Pi" and just generally lazing about and getting nothing much done, I try to go to sleep at 1am. Wouldn't you know it, that's when I wake up. Can't sleep. It's 2:30am, I have to be up in a few hours and all i can do is sit here, surf and code.

Sheesh. ;)

Somebody's on crack...

Neil Diamond Song - Crunchy Granola Suite

I got a song been on my mind
And the tune can be sung and the words all rhyme
Deedle-ee deet deet deet deet deet deet deet dee dee


A procrastinator's work is never done.

Engrish T-Shirts!


Fortune cookie mishap...

Chinese buffet for lunch with co-workers today.
"You will get what you want through your charm and personality."
Never has there been a greater case of a fortune cookie fortune being given to the wrong person.
At least that was the joke around the table when I read it out for them.

Sigh... and people wonder why I want out of here. Oh well. ;)


New CMS... PHP based... Looks interesting. Created by this fellow.

Did someone say "Library of Babel"?

William Gibson

Will comment later.

Later is now:
Broges' "Library of Babel" is "The Universe". ("The Library, which some call the Universe,...") Think of it this way: every particle in the universe is one of 25 characters and is recorded in any number of innumerable books. Not only that, but the 'life" of every particle is intimately documented in all possible languages (its movement, position, properties, etc...). Borges on top of that puts mirrors (he loves mirrors...) in every gallery of the library, essentially doubling infinity.

Don't dwell on it too long: it'll drive ya nuts. Just look at what happened to me... ;)

Case in point: I like to attach this view to the classic proposition that "nature is an unintelligible sphere whose center is everywhere and periphery, nowhere. The Judaïc tradition (I've seen it in Christian demagoguery) would replace "nature" with "God". Buddhists may say that Enlightenment or Buddhahood is the realization that this sphere is everything, us included (and that there is no sphere hahaha!). All is one and all simply is. Again, for christians: God is omniscient and omnipresent, God is within us all... ergo we are all one.

Ok ok enough of that.


Jesus 'healed using cannabis'

This "discovery" is not surprising in the least. Sadly though it will be derrided by well meaning brain-washees. Aw well.

"Yo Jee, don't bogart that joint!" Hehehe.. sorry couldn't resist... ;)

(p.s.: I don't smoke pot anymore. Only because it makes me nauseous now.)

Ces petits riens

Serge Gainsbourg
Mieux vaut n'penser à rien
Que n'pas penser du tout
Rien c'est déjà
Rien c'est déjà beaucoup
On se souvient de rien
Et puisqu'on oublie tout
Rien c'est bien mieux
Rien c'est bien mieux que tout...


Le bonheur
dans les cinémas
sur les bancs de bois
des églises catholiques

le bonheur est écoeurant

Trop drôle ce mec.

Salmon Day

one of those days where you swim upstream all day only to get screwed and die in the end
(thanx to michel - http://shakylegs.blogspot.com/ )


I just finished watching the last installment of "Tuning In: 50 years on the CBC" (http://www.cbc.ca/tv50th/tuningin/index.html) hosted by that guy there... whatshisname... Rick Mercer, right. Realy quite enjoyable! I even felt nostalgic... and proud! That's saying alot for me, actually. National pride is something I eshew almost fervently.

Anyways, in the last few minutes of this last episode they of course spoke of very recent things. Coverage of 9/11. I have 2 reactions to WTC stuff: "ugh" and a sudden overwhelming urge to cry. VERY odd since I watched the real thing live, and much of the subsequent coverage without ANY emotional reaction really, mainly due to the overly.. hmm how do I put this sensitively? "mooshy" and nationalistic formatting. (However when objective reporting of the human factors of the event were shown, I was also overcome with the desire to cry.. which I remember at the time blew my mind because I am not generally affected by human tragedy.. dunno why...)

They did not stay on that topic for long - though the lump had already formed in my throat. They quickly segued to the 2002 Winter Olypic games in Salt Lake City (the segue taking form in the parading of the amercian flag that had flow at WTC Plaza). Now here is what blew my mind even more: they spoke, of course, of the double gold for men's and women's hockey which we canadians won. I burst out into tears! Total basket case! Why is this strange? 1- I could not care less about hockey, 2- i could not care less about Olympic gold and 3- national pride isn't, as previously stated, a very big thing chez moi. I don't know what to make of it, and honestly don't particularily care to do so.. I mean make something something of it. Just recording for posterity I guess. ;)

I then switched over to watch Charlie Rose. Always interesting.

Tomorrow night (2003-01-07) on PBS: Kofi Annan - Center of the storm. Hopefully I'll remember to watch it. From the preview, I can say there is a slight chance that Mr. Annan uses an Apple Titanium PowerBook. Aw yeah. ;)

What makes IE so "fast"?

Bad TCP/IP...
Amazing if true...

And now this...

I've been very quiet lately. Languishing in a limboish haze of holiday partying and extreme procrastination. The site I've been obsessing over for the last 2 to 3 months is ever so near to completion, and has been a painful exploration of XHTML and CSS layout. While all this web-standards stuff is brilliant, I fear that the browsers are still our enemies.

Enough of that for now.

It seems my refridgerator is about to render it's ghost. It cackles every 2 minutes, trying in vain to start the compressor, and feeding my anxiety in the process. Will I have to miss a day of work to get a repairman? Or to find a replacement and wait for delivery? I surely won't buy a brand new one. A trip to the east-end seems inevitable.

Feeling like I fall in that specific demographic - late 20's early 30's and tired of finding nothing more than flights of fancy in the local club/bar scene - i imagined as I napped this afternoon what a personal ad of mine may read like...

"Summer is sexy, autumn is sexier"
"What we do with technology is cool, what technology does with us is cooler.

"Age: physically: 28, otherwise: anywhere from 5 to 60, depending on any number of factors."
"Height, weight, build: 5'11", 160lbs, straddling the fine line of average and in-shape.

"Why you should get to know me: Because on bad days I may force you to re-examine everything you ever held to be just and true, while on good days I may just smile and nod. We should all have the luxury to be aware of our illusions and to have hand-picked our delusions."

"I am looking for: Someone who is detached enough from the world to walk through it unscathed. Someone who agrees that integrity and respect are at the core of everything... and can live with the fact that most people don't. Someone who doesn't need me in order to be happy, but is damn glad I am around. Someone who is intelligent, beautiful and sexy... and knows it, but not more."

Should I mention I may be a social alcoholic and/or manic-depressive, or neither...

The fridge goes into the final rattles of it's demise: the dripping of the now de-icing freezer draws out the plans for my sunday afternoon. Damn.

"I'm no fucking buddhist"

Alarm Call