August 2003 Archives

As long as you don't get caught

- "Hello again!" say I. I'd met her the previous evening sitting with a friend of mine in the self same bistro where we now were.

- "Hi! Can you watch my stuff while I get something to eat? I'm starving!"

As she walks to the counter I notice she is wearing the same trend making urban style she had on yesterday. The "stuff" I am asked to watch is shopping bags: urban fashion store and DJ record shop. Hm. It's mid-friday afternoon; never mind I'm not where I should be - work, that is - but where is she not? What is it she is not doing to be here doing this?

- "Hah, I just ate the same thing."
- "Mmmm, it's good." Smile.

A bit of chit-chat. I told her the rain this afternoon reminded me of Miyajima and how it rained as hard when I visited the Torii in the Bay there. She's been there too.

- "What do you do?" I couldn't help asking.
- "I... ah... I sell drugs..."
- "Ah... wow! Which specifically?"
- "Pretty much anything they want. I only sell to *friends*; people I know and trust. No weirdoes or strung out junkies."
- "Makes sense. May I ask how much you make, approximately?"
- "Sure! I'm kinda proud of it actually. I just did the math for this month and I should clear $10k. That's profit."

Obviously, there is something very wrong here. But I'm glad at least that such a seemingly nice and well-balanced individual is able to reach for her dreams, by hook or by crook.

Internet radio frequency patterns

Eigenradio - The top 20 singular values all day, every day!

Eigenradio makes its optimal music by analyzing in real time dozens of radio stations at once. When our bank of computers has heard enough music, it will go to work on making more just like it. Since we listen to so much music all the time, Eigenradio is always on and always live. What you hear on Eigenradio is the best of the New Music, distilled and de-correlated. One song on Eigenradio is worth at least twenty songs on old radio.

M3U stream

PLS Stream

Imagine doing this with all the telephone calls in, say, North America, in real time.

Glenn Gould comes to mind as I listen to this cacophony...

Fuzzy navels

Joho the Blog: Self-Referential Blogging

David Weinberger says:

I think it'd be more accurate to say that blogs are conversational.

For a little while I agreed, and for a little while it was true. It still is a little true, but only for a little longer.

As the numbers increase, I think we may find ourselves again alone in a crowd. Sometimes having conversations, sometimes making chitchat, often speaking to ourselves.

Blogging is as much a conversation as masturbation is making love. Sleeping around, dating, abstaining and finding our one true swinger group can all be groanfully real analogies we could entertain.

(I am not saying masturbation isn't making love, I'm saying the many nuances of who/what/when/where and quality are all implicated.)

Concert going advice needed!!

I very rarely go to live shows, especially these big outdoor production things. However tonight I will be going to see Björk.

I need to know something though: it says specifically on the ticket that cameras etc are not allowed. Do they search everyone? Do they use metal detectors? I want to bring my camera. it is small enough that I can slip it into my sock or even underwear if need be. No joke. It'd fit into a pack of cigarettes... hmmm...

So yeah, anyone wanna give me a quick low-down on concert security screening? Thanks!

To want or not?

Ok... I *think* I *may* want one of these SCOTTeVEST things. I hate carrying a bag around and since nobody has made an acceptable cellphone/PDA/digicam/MP3Player yet, I find myself lugging all this crap around or worse: leaving it at home.

This may just fit the bill. Too bad it's butt ugly. Hmmm. I know about a dozen local fashion designers. I bet someone could make something as functional that actually has some style...

Locales for PHP on Jaguar

Enable setlocale and strftime PHP functions on your MacOS X.2

Does exactly as it says. Merci SÈbastien.

Stats - beautiful, scaleable - stats


history flow

visualizing dynamic, evolving documents and the interactions of multiple collaborating authors

Aside from being quite beautiful, I find these rather fascinating. Context derived from patterns are central to how I think. Perhaps how we think? Hmm. More food for thought.


I also recently read a paper about "Digital Artifacts for Remembering and Storytelling" (Original PDF - Google HTML rendering) which reveals that essentially data patterns jog memories of social interactions and give one a whole fantastically deep wealth of context.

Pattern learning. Pattern thinking. Pattern recognition. Frequencies. Stimuli.

BBC Creative Archive

Taped at the BBC
Can the Beeb put its entire archive on the Web?
By Paul Boutin

For those of us still debating whether to shell out the 40-odd bucks for Fawlty Towers: The Complete Collection on DVD, BBC Director-General Greg Dyke may have settled the matter this weekend. At the end of his speech to an annual TV industry conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, Dyke announced that the Beeb plans to put its enormous TV and radio archives online and to allow anyone to download them --free-- for non-commercial use. "Under a simple licensing system, we will allow users to adapt BBC content for their own use," Dyke said. "We are calling this the BBC Creative Archive."

This is brilliant. Oh joy!
CBC, do the same! PBS, you too!

Japanese Films at MWFF

The Montreal World Film Festival will be held from August 27 to September 7, 2003. The schedule system on their website was done my a monkey on crack. I had to first run a search by country in one browser window, then call up the full event schedule in another, copy and paste the titles of the japanese films (from the first window) into a browser-based text search (on the second window), and then open each individual entry to get schedule and general info about each.

I won't say any more than this: whoever did this, you should not ever be allowed to work on such a project again. Shame on you. Nyah.

Here are the titles of the 8 japanese films showing at this years World Film Festival with URLs to their (english) info screens:

UPDATE: Wow, the URI's below are broken. Retarded. Sorry.









In the style of

Don Hong-Oai

Working with the style and themes of traditional Chinese painting and photography, Don Hong-Oai blends multiple negatives to create these timeless, poetic images of the landscape. Hong-Oai's calligraphy accentuates each image in the manner of Chinese painting.

Witness the fitness

Roots Manuva - Witness

The above song has really little to do with this entry, except for the first line of the chorus. Oh and aside from the fact it is an awesome track.

I'm at 155lbs now. Considering that's 30lbs difference over a year and a half incites me to add that this means I've lost substantially more weight in fat and have gained weight in muscle mass.

The best part of this is that I feel so much better; so much more energized, ready to go. Nothing is really stopping me from anything.

An interesting note: people who haven't seen me in a while say "you look really good" as opposed to "you've lost weight". I am not *that* much thinner: I am that much leaner, and stronger.

Bodily reconfiguration. Sweet. Witness the fitness y'aw.


Slowy getting to blogging more bits of last week's Toronto trip (I know I know, a week + later.. what can I say...).

As I said, I hooked up with Joey a.k.a Accordion Guy. Here's a small video montage of the illustrious one in action.

The first sequence was outside the Village Idiot before the DECONversation. The second was after. The closing shot is of the disabled fellow. For explanation of all this, see my previous post.

One day I will have a full picture gallery setup as well... sigh...

Euro Deli WiFi

I just stopped by Euro Deli on St-Laurent for an after dinner allongé & dessert canolli. I had my iBook out (yeah I got one...), writing up a blog entry about the jaunt to Toronto this past weekend, when an employee approached me and asked if I had a WiFi card.

Mike proceeded to tell me that in a week or two he and some friends will have set up a free WiFi hotspot there as part of their "IleSansFil" project.

Way cool. Though I must say I am surprised that the Twins are going for this. No matter. I'll be there more often again now. Maybe.

Cruise control


I really wanted to get home. I set my cruise control at 150km/h and cruised. Bloody Ontario drivers who never learnt that 1- the left lane is for passing and 2- when the guy behind you is coming at you at 150 and flashing his highbeams, you best haul ass into the right lane.

At this speed I make sure to be fully aware of a couple of things: all cars ahead and behind me and any possible spots the Highway Patrol may be lurking.

I let my guard down for 10 seconds. I had just pulled out of the rest area/gas station, putting away the wrapper of the candy bar I had just inhaled and was settling into my cruise controlled ride. Check the rearview mirror; damn. Damn damn damn.

Anyone who's driven down the 401 between Montreal and Toronto has seen the big signs which tell you exactly how much the fines are for speeding. They stop listing at 140km/h: $295CND.


- "Buddy do you have *any* idea how fast you were going?"
- "Holy shit man... erm.. no?"
- "I clocked ya at 148! Where in god's name were you going at that speed!?"
- "Oh man! I... I'm heading home to Montreal..."
- "Where you coming from?"
- "I just spent the weekend in Toronto.. I just reeeaally want to get home.. I didn't realise... Man I am SO sorry..."
- "Papers please... I'll be right back..."

Hoooooo nelly. Dozens of slomos I'd passed 20 minutes ago zip by, presumably laughing at me. Sigh. "You gotta pay to play" I thought to myself. This is gonna hurt.

- "I dropped you down to 120... fer chrissakes slowdown buddy... drive safe."
- "... thank you! I will!"

$130 ticket. Phew.

I was damn lucky. I behaved till I crossed back into Quebec. SQ don't patrol the highways so much around them parts.

*Click* cruise control.

Toronto Blackout!


Four and a half hours down the 401 and I'm in Toronto. I race up Yonge, twist around Dundas Square and park half way up to College, pararllel on Baldwin, behind the Deconism Gallery. Ken has already sensed my presence in the city and calls me as I walk towards the Gallery. He'll meet me there in half an hour.

Inside, bodies move about: preparations for tonight's Deconversation. Three men, Steve Mann, Maurice Benayoun and Patrick Levy, will philosophise in a hot tub while Derrick DeKerkhove eggs them on.

Time for a change?

Joi Ito's Web: Email is officially broken

Well, here's my take.

E-mail is modeled on postal mail. Anyone can send you something as long as they have (or guess) your address. Both afford us much spam/junk mail. I get 200 junk emails a day, and, despite the note on my mailbox outside, I get on average 20 pieces of unsolicited mail a week. One is very annoying, the other is as well, and ecologically retarded.

Now, let's look at Instant Messaging. It is modeled on social interaction (more or less; humour me), in that consent has to be given (more or less) in order for contact to be made. There's a whack more to it I know.. humour me I said. ;)

I've been lookign at Jabber lately and one very interesting thing is that it uses an email URI as it's IDs. Way cool.

So, if an IM Client has a buddy list, but also is hooked into an extended address book, all we really need ot add to it is email-client like archiving and presentation. Voila.

I have to know you for you to send me email. Or at least you have to "ask permission" first.

Not unreasonable.

Joi asked me what I thought the other day of his desire to stop using email entirely. My only issue with it was archiving/indexing, now that I think of it.

So let's have it! Jabber's done much of the work really already. Somebody wanna make a client? Somebody wanna shift the paradigm? ;)

Brand communities | Brand Management | Brand Communities

"... brand communities exhibit three traditional markers of community: shared consciousness, rituals and traditions, and a sense of moral responsibility..."

So where does that leave a company that longs for its own brand community to nurture and grow? The best bet seems to be in monitoring public discourse -- especially in such obvious places as Internet chat groups -- and watching for the early stages of brand community growth. Then the company can step in and offer resources while being careful not to censor community activities and discussions. A hands-off approach, coupled with consistent communication, seems to be the best way to create this unique but fragile form of communal spirit.


IKEA is swedish for... | IKEA Brand | Furniture Retailers

Ingvar Kamprad founded the company in Sweden in 1943. He named his fledgling business by using his initials and tacking on the first letters in Elmtaryd and Agunnaryd, the farm and village where he grew up.

Now you know.

Oh and this is probably the most genius-like aspect of IKEA:

Usually placed outside of urban areas isolated from other shops, IKEA has the customer all to itself, and it doesn't miss the opportunity to wrap the shopper in a 360-degree retail experience.

Toy story

GeorgeWBush.jpgElite Force Aviator:
George W. Bush
U.S. President and Naval Aviator
12" Action Figure at

Or is it more like:

Elite Republican Army: U.S. Dictator and Warmongering Chickenhawk - 12" Action Figure
Pre-order:†Available 09/11/03
Usually ships 1-3 business days after sobering up.

BBI proudly introduces the latest issue in its hilarious Revisionist History series of quasi-authentic military 12- inch figures, Dictator George W. Bush masquerades in naval aviator flight uniform. Exacting in detail and fully equipped with authentic gear, this limited-edition action figure is a meticulous 1:6 scale recreation of the Commander-in-Chief's appearance, if he had actually served in the military. On May 1, 2003, President Bush participated in an assisted-landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) in the Pacific Ocean, and officially declared that the evil bad guys had lost. While at the student controls of an S-3B Viking aircraft from the "Blue Sea Wolves" of Sea Control Squadron Three Five (VS-35), designated "Navy 1," he overshot the carrier by several kilometres before handing it over to the pilot and stumbling to the rear of the plane for another drink. Attired in full naval aviator flight equipment, the President then took the salute (not holding a dog in his arms this time) on the deck of the carrier.

This fully dyslexic figure features a realistic head sculpt, fully detailed cloth flight suit, helmet with nitrous oxide mask, AWOL vest, g-pants, parachute harness and much more. The realism and exacting attention to detail not required by today's right-wing figure enthusiast are completely dispensed with in this action figure. This incredibly detailed figure is a fitting addition to the collection of those interested in U.S. revisionist history, military propaganda and tinhorn dictatorial figures. Actual figure may vary substantially from item shown, and may not actually be in the box.

More dreams

I've dreamt about this day. I've dreamt about this IRC conversation and the phone-call it sparked. I've dreamt about every minute before it and every minute after it.

I've dreamt about the euphoria and anxious anticipation caused by the words exchanged. Just ideas discussed, and opening of doors.

I've dreamt of the floating footsteps as I head outside to clear my head before pull it out of the clouds and plant my soles firmly on the ground.

Opportunity is the usher of our dreams into this theater. Goals are the tickets to the show.

"My mind is going, Steve..."


"Jetzt wird's haglich" my mother would say. "Now it's getting down to the wire" would be an approximation of the sentiment expressed.

I absolutely must get a notebook computer a.s.a.p. Bouncing between the G4 at work and the one at home is driving me nuts. Not having my online brain synchronized and unified is driving me nuts. Not having something to pour my thoughts into when and as I have them (without having to transcribe or transfer later), is driving me nuts.

Things get forgotten. Tasks never get done. Ideas never get expanded and worse, never get shared. It's driving me nuts.

"So go get one man!"

Heh. Well. 12" Powerbook is too small. Such a small screen would, you guessed it, drive me nuts. 15" TiBook is a lemon and sure to be obsolete (hopefully) in a few weeks time. 17" inch... overkill. Financially and size wise. iBooks would make a good offboard separate entity but why do that when I can just have one Powerbook. Plus the G3 just don't cut it for my needs.

Steve, dammit, get those new 15" out already! I am going NUTS waiting!

Overheard in a dark place

Yo no naka tadashii koto bakari de wa arimasen. O-ki wo tsukete.

"In the world there are more than just good things. Take care"

Belonging and esteem

Joi posted a really interesting thought today. (The juicy part is after the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" quote.)

The point I sense he's trying to make has to do with how social software (to be specific, web- and cellphone-based expression, communication and social networking tools), which essentially allows for very easy community building by anyone, has at least one very positive side-effect: self empowerment (for lack of a better term coming to mind just now).

Depending on individual personalities of course, weblogging alone makes it really quite easy to start being involved in a community. That starts connections in the real world via such things as, for example, monthly weblogger meetups. Online, one starts posting to weblogs of peopel with similar interests, etc, and bonds are very easily created. In professional circles, one may be incited to attend a conference or presentation one would otherwise not heard of or felt qualified/"worthy" to attend. (In my case, SxSW and the 1IMC.)

Being a regular on Joi's IRC channel, #joiito, has had similar effect for me. A chance to discuss with peers, as equals, on far ranging topics, has not only elevated my feeling of worth, but has also helped my people skills tremendously. That's not to say I was "bad" with such things before, but i have definitely grown as a person, partly because of it (and partly because of "real world" experiences as well of course; some occurring because of weblogging/chatting and some not).

Previous to all this, my only online social interaction was with a small group of friends via IM and email. Though I solidified some great friendships (and very sadly totally failed one) via IM and email, it was totally contained, non-expansive, limited in some ways. This of course is part and parcel with the nature of the technology, and does not fall into the aforementioned category of "social software".

Joi continues with:

"I know that we've had tools for awhile now and online communities are not a new thing, but I think the barrier to entry continues to decline and the tools keep getting better".
Absolutely, and I agree with Marc Canter's comment on the subject, sort of. I take issue with part of his statement:
"create end-user experiences that so rock the house, that business models are the last thing we think about"
Marc, while yes user-experience is pa-ra-mount, a thoroughly thought out and well designed business model will see the thing survive and thrive. If not business model than at least some form of well planned (designed?) short-term goals. Don't get me wrong, I much prefer thinking of user-experience, but we have to keep all elements of a thing in mind.

The entry finishes with:

"I'm also quite interested in how this relates to mobile phones. hmm... "
Hmm indeed. Mobile phone address books/buddy lists, ubiquitous, though unintrusive, availability and connectivity (remember we are talking text-messaging and not voice calls) (and Mimi wrote a very interesting paper on the subject), and of course moblogs: the gateway to all the goodies of web-based social activities and endeavors.

This is everything I want to, and will be, totally into. Thank you, weblogging, for allowing me to allow myself to.



I went through a stack of old CD backups of mine. This picture is me circa the age of, ohhh, five maybe? Four?

I had totally white hair. Really.

I also found the "family christmas web card" I did my first year of doing websites. Christmas 1995.

Fixin' Safari

Oh joy! The one silly little thing that was keeping me from using Safari full time as my personal browser was the fact that Safari didn't like something in MT's bookmarklet javascript.

This evening I spent all of 45 seconds looking at the code myself and decided I'd rather not the headache. Enter Google.

Et voila!

Fixing the MT bookmarklet for Safari :: The Daily Journey ::

Thank you Mr. Allen!