September 2003 Archives

"To hell with culture"

To Hell with Culture
Sir Herbert Read (1893-1968).
Leading poet, publisher, educational theorist and social reformer, who was one of the most influential art critics of the twentieth century.

Having only read the introduction thus far, I wish to share with you some excerpts of it which I find highly relevant today, in the context of the cultural phenomena we are observing with the advent of weblogging et al, and the political ideas which have begun to float because them, "Emergent Democracy" chief among them. I also am personally fascinated by the roles of the artist, personal freedom and social expression.

You know it's time to go when

So finally had a sit down with my "boss-boss", the guy who founded the company and came for me and pulled me into this job over 3 years ago.

My two main responsibilities here were 1- for the R&D department, doing the web-based GUI for our line Wi-Fi APs (usability, design, implementation, etc...) and 2- for the Sales & Marketing department, company webmaster. I had also become a general swiss-army knife for all things graphics and CDs and and and, but whatever. I joined the company for the R&D position; the webmaster stuff was a "complimentary service".

So I am sitting there and he says to me: "... for your R&D responsibilities, we'll replace you with some very junior programmer, but well, we don't have a webmaster... would you be available for adding press releases etc?"

Obviously, these people have no clue. Aw well. 5 more days. And they will be very light days indeed.

Apple's first step into blogging

Apple .Mac

Free iBlog Blogging SoftwareóUS$19.95 value
Offer good through Nov. 25, 2003
Easy-to-use iBlog lets you publish weblogs of news, reviews, commentary, and journals on the Internet without worrying about formatting, archiving, or site maintenance. Add photos and movies from iLife, and publish your weblog right to .Mac.

iBlog maintains local copies of your entries and uploads them, in HTML, to your .Mac webspace.

Of course, no comments or trackbacks built in. Tsk tsk. It's a start though...

They should bundle TypePad...

Truth for lies

Michael : Michael Moore responds to the wacko attackos...

PS. From now on, I will deal with all wacko attackos on this page. If you hear something about me that doesn't sound quite right, check in here.

Read it, then link it up on your blog as well.



Neat. Silly, unpractical, but neat.

Found translation

The New York Times has posted a translation of one of the key scenes in Sofia Coppola's brilliant film "Lost in Translation" which is entirely in japanese, without subtitles.

The scene is brilliant, and seeing this translation in hindsight makes it even more so.

"High profile"

I've been thinking a lot about a topic I mentioned here a little while back. One of the (many) issues/concerns facing "high-profile" people who should blog, is negative feedback. It is of course inevitable. Politicos will get flamed, intellectuals bashed, people in a position of influence, badgered.

On a purist level I am inclined to say: so what, deal with it... it is human expression and an important part of all of this. I can, however, fully understand it being a problem; from signal-to-noise ratios all the way to sheer emotional drain on the individual in question. Not to mention raw bandwidth costs. Michael Moore gets more traffic than I can imagine... his blog would be on top of DayPop within an hour and burst his host's already straining pipes and systems...

So what do we do for these folks? Well, first of all, obviously turn off comments. Hit one. Turn off trackbacks; hit two. It's gonna be hard enough getting these folks into the mindset and lifestyle of "blogging" (read: share their minds) in the first place, that a trade off at this stage is definitely necessary. Compromise is the word.

What a rush

Some folks are getting fired for or because of blogging (and some folks are talking about them).

I, always one to go against the crowd... just handed in my letter of resignation... for blogging.

Seeing double

Design Media: Are U drunk

This not only scews with my eyes and brain, but it also hurts to look at.
(Work safe - one of those vision/brain phenomenon thingies.. except using the face recognition part of the brain.. or so I guess...)


RowBoat: SP-LOG? BL-AM?
Gees, sometimes I wonder about myself. In the above linked entry, I quote Gen Kanai, then say "I think that's entirely the wrong route", and then proceed to discuss how I implemented something exactly as he suggested.

Duh. Somehow in my head what Gen said registered as "we need SPAM filters for blog comments". Which is not what he said. At all.

Sorry Gen. :\


I've set up a photo gallery.

What is interesting about this development for me is how, almost immediatly, my attitude towards taking pictures has changed. It has changed in exactly the saem way my attitude towards writing changed when I started blogging.

"If I'm going to bother writing this down/taking this picture, then I bloody well should be able to share it in as easy a way as possible. Becasue I sure as hell ain't doing this just for myself. I want to share. If it were for myself, I wouldn't need all this stuff as my memory is quite good thank you very much."

For years I never took notes, never took pictures, because I knew it was all stored in my head (which it all still is). But I want to share. And it should be easy to do so...

Ahhh thank you CMSs! Now I can easily share! And more!

Please take note that the gallery has a Commenting feature. Please use as you see fit!

Hrm.. all this said... I think I may hack an MT set up and use it as my gallery....


Lost in Translation

Is it possible to be homesick for a place you've only briefly visited?

Anyways, I thought this was a great movie. Great job on every level. Bravo!

Get On The Mic

Paul's Boutique Samples and References List

Thanks Gen!

This is a cultural document. It lists all the samples the Beastie Boys used on their album "Paul's Boutique", as well as references made (quotes, inspirations, etc) and the full lyrics. All this is searchable and indexed by song. Essentally, it is an index of one of hip-hop's seminal works.

The cultural intertextuality of the work is thus revealed and shared, adding to the experience of it. Think of it as road map to the inner workings of the pieces.

I am reminded of an english professor I had in college who, as we began dissecting Umberto Eco's "Name of the Rose", stated "to get what's going on in this text you need to be at least passingly familiar with 400 works of the western canon, begining with the King James Bible, al the way up to the modern detective stories."

"Every poet is a cannibal, every artist is a thief." - Bono

What was I thinking?

I had a coffee after dinner... at 9pm... I'mnot going to sleep anytime soon...

But I have to be up early tomorrow to move into my cubicle!


This how it should be

Sitting in my living room, WiFi to iBook, shared iTunes music library, coffee, smoke, writing.

Tomorrow I go back to the office where I will be forced to move from my cubby to a cubicle with 3 other people. How long do you gather that will last?

Blogged bookmarks

Francis asked me last night how I am managing bookmarks, and I told him I'm sort of floating around between my browsers and my RSS aggregator, basically forgetting sites I want to visit etc...

I mentioned however I was hacking an MT weblog to use as a bookmark manager, and, well, tonight I finished it.
(Not much in there yet... )

You'll notice the categories have RSS feeds so that I can subscribe to them in my RSS aggregator once and use it as my "bookmarks list".

I also use this to generate my "Blogroll" on this site.

Using MT templates I could easily generate XBEL archives as well, but this is useless since the only browser that uses XBEL is Mozilla (I think... not even sure of that) and it would use a local copy and not one it could fetch from the webserver (like RSS does...) and besides why would I? I can use my RSS aggregator as explained above.

How do I add Bookmarks? Easy: I use a Movable Type bookmarklet which allows me to make entries from the page I am on and wish to bookmark... It automatically, through the joys of JavaScript, pastes the URL and title of the page into the entry fields. I can also enter notes or excerpts or keywords into extra fields which then allow me to do a search of my bookmarks.

I've also left on Comments and TrackBacks on and leave the site open to whoever wants to see it. I figure I'm constantly sending emails and IMs to friends and we laugh or make comments.. this way it's all in one place and I'm not pestering anyone. ;)

Not too shabby eh? It IS a CMS afterall... ;)

Sleep time!

I was warned...


I can hearby report that I-86 definitly is one seriously heavily patroled stretch of highway. The cars are dark greyish-blue in color so they blend in VERY nicely with the surroning forest shadows, especially near dusk.

I managed to slip past 4 of 5 highway patrols on my drive back home from NYC. Number five here clocked me at 90mph - and that was after I spotted him...

Lest you think i am proud of this, let me reassure you: I take no pride in getting caught, nevermind paying the fine. ;)

Auspicious portends?

Standing on Park Avenue after dinner tonight, watching people walk by, I thought to myself: "Is it really possible... Will I meet the Dalai Lama someday?"

A buddhist monk, garbed in orange and ochre, walked by at just that moment, and smiled at me.

Here I am.

Left Montreal at 8:30am. Arrived in New York City at 1:45pm. Ride like the wind.

Union Square, W Hotel; parked the car in a garage, took a shower. Had a glass of wine with Joi and Anil in the lobby, and now I'm off to meander on my own for a bit. First stop: Republic Noodle "place" (recommended by Joey last night).

So far, so blog.

- "So.. has blogging changed YOUR life?"
- "Why yes... yes it has..."

MontrÈal, are you ready to ROCK?!

Well, this weekend I finally make it down to New York City, but more importantly, Joey DaVilla, a.k.a. Accordion Guy is visiting Montreal! In exchange for lodging, Joey agreed to feed my cat. Fair deal, methinks. :)

So if you see Joey and his accordion say hi! Or, you can also say "hey Accordion Guy, play us a song and we'll buy you a beer!"

Have a blast Joey!

Put yourself in perspective

Global Rich List

Deceptive name for this site. I plopped in my rounded off, modest salary and was told I am in the top 0.899% richest people in the world (but there are still almost 54 million people richer than me...)

That's not to say I am rich... that's the point... I make a decent salary for a young single guy; just getting by here in one of the cheapest metropolitan cities in North America...

in any case.. gah!

Joi interviewed by Lydon

Joi Ito's Web: Dialog with Christopher Lydon

Interesting. They covered alot of ground.

Others in Tokyo while I was there

I'm a bit nostalgic for my little trip to Tokyo this past summer. Remebered that there were pics of me taken by other people and put up by them in their own weblog souvenirs.

Here are some (some with me, some of time/space coordinates I was present at):

Hmm. Jim took about a million pics while we were hanging out and I caught him more than once taking one of me... Jim? I'd love to see some... :)

Move over, Rover

QRIO - Sony Robot

Sony's new QRIO humanoid robot.

I never wanted the Aibo. I do want QRIO though. He's just too cool. I don't read kanji but I can make out that he seems to be able to shoot video, play MP3's, probably remotely interface with all of Sony's other new toys, check mail, etc...

Oh and he walks erect, on TWO legs (watch the Flash). Hello!
I wonder if he has jet rockets in the soles of his feet?


Power Mac G5

Beautiful pictures of a beautiful machine.


Ok I am going to New York City this weekend. I could drive myself but I hate long distance (snooooze...) highway driving. I am considering taking the Greyhound bus, probably the late one the night before I am due to arrive (heh that puts me on the road to NYC on September 11th...).

Can anyone share pros and cons of taking Greyhound bus from Montreal to New York City?


Euro Deli WiFi Update

About three weeks ago I blogged about EuroDeli getting WiFi.

Well, Mike from IleSansFil told me that the WiFi should be up, on probationary basis, in November.

What this means, of course, is that we must ALL go to Euro Deli at least once (a week ;), have some pasta, a coffee and a canolli... Hang out for at least 30 minutes (and not too long...), to show the management it's a welcome addition to their space...


p.s.: I just TrackBacked to one of my own entries. Let's see what happens...


Gen Kanai (Gen: sorry for the dual Trackback!) blogged about "ZipCode", the blog comments spammer, whom I have been affected by as well.

Gen says:

We may need to implement some kind of anti-spam comment posting mechanism in the not-too-distant future.

I think that's entirely the wrong route. Witness how well it is working for email... NOT. ;)

We need to put locks on our doors. Many ways to do this. Authentication, identification, etc...

Or how about one of those little sliding slits where you speak the secret and you are shown in?

I have used a little PHP and some GIFs to demonstrates how this may work. Go post a comment on this entry... You will notice a field titled "Secret" with a 5 character, randomly generated image based "secret" you must retype exactly in order for the comment to get posted. Well... not really... I don't have the wizardry to actually make this work.. it is just for show... (oh wait.. i can make it more convincing using JavaScript.. I will do this later tonight!)

Lemme know what your thoughts are on this.

Velcome Vee

I'd like to welcome my old friend "Nika Vee" to weblogging.

Check out her Typepad-hosted blog, AD HOC.

She writes goo eh!? Fuuuunnay!


Please weblog

I want everyone to blog. More importantly I want people who could be considered as "the crazy ones" to blog.

I have found myself recently trying to explain what blogging is and have come to realise it is a hopelessly silly task. "Online journal" makes most people scrunch up their nose, while "connected intelligence" makes them scratch their heads. Besides, the Content Management Systems which make blogging possible are versatile enough already that a weblog is whatever you want it to be. Or rather, whatever you want to put in it.

So yeah, I want some folks with really important things to say to blog as well. I am not say there aren't any, nor am I saying the "A-list" bloggers and current super stars of blogging aren't saying anything interesting (to the contrary). I am saying we need more. Much more.

Ok we now have two U.S. presidential candidates sort of blogging. Big deal. While a good thing in itself, I can't help but smell hidden agendas and "riding the trend" mind-sets.

No, I want the real deal.

I want , for example, Michael Moore to blog. I want Noam Chomsky to blog. David Suzuki should blog. I want every truly outspoken, vocal and already known "crazy person" to blog.

Why you may ask? These people already publish, appear on TV, make movies, etc. Why blog?

Grafitti war?

12" Stash - NYC Edition

I do not understand this. Ok, I know some grafitti artists are elevated to celebrity status (and yes I can even consider some graf as art, definitly), and, sure, we live in such a culture which has room for 12" action figures of just about anyone.

What I don't understand is this: why does Stash have a rifle? He's a graf artist, and by the looks of his theortically life-like reproductions here, a pasty white dude with rosy cheeks, bad haircut and who's still dressed by his mother.

Yay, 1/6th scale Nike AF1's. Is that what this is about?

Must be... the shoes?

Wherefore art thou, cameraphone?

Japan Media Review -- Camera phones changing the definition of picture-worthy

... "camera phones capture the more fleeting and unexpected moments of surprise, beauty and adoration in the everyday" ... "they invite sharing that is more immediate, ad hoc and ongoing" ...

Extremely disturbing

Article examining George W. Bush's upbrining and it's effects / ramifications.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | So George, how do you feel about your mom and dad?

/me raises hand

Six Log: Gathering at Madison Square Park

99% sure I'll be there. :)

Turn your tongue one hundred times before speaking.

Smart Mobs - Cell Phone Recording May Breach Privacy

Folks are going ape about cellphones with call-recording features. Privacy this and privacy that.

On the above linked entry I commented:

Very simple: never say anything that you will regret. What's the big deal? The issue here is not privacy, it is discretion. The person recording your conversation is the person you are having the conversation with in the first place. When I have conversation with you via email, we both have records of it. Same for IM, or weblog commenting/trackbacks.

I wish I had recordings, and transcripts, of every phone call I ever was involved in. Not for legal issues, or blackmail, but for a record of memories and ideas and people.

and then further added:
if you cannot say things you won't regret, don't regret the things you say.


BBC NEWS | Africa | Congo's football officials 'go deaf'

Congo's football authorities have come up with a new idea to end mounting corruption at the turnstiles of its stadiums.

They have decided to replace the old officials on the gates with people who can neither speak nor hear.

... I am left.


Sort of a blog of the Yamanote line, the JR train line which circles through the hearts of Tokyo.


(Merci Karl.)

It's just words...

Disgruntled Asian Tattoo Artist Inks His Revenge

Reads like an Onion article which makes me think it's an archived copy maybe, but definitly a joke.

Update: Joi tells me the tattoo on the girl's back reads "Yellow Cab".

Freedom of press

I just got back from a jog up Mont-Royal, where I stopped and read Noam Chomsky's "Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda". More on that later, and here are links to good Chomsky stuff: [ author profile, The Noam Chomsky Archive, Noam Chomsky's page at MIT].

So back to timing... this arrived in my mailbox while I was out:
Reporters Without Borders publishes the first worldwide press freedom index..
The article and index itself are old news (I seem to remember seeing it months ago), but the RSF site is a heaping serving of sobering disillusionment.

After a nonetheless pleasant afternoon of reading Chomsky, in the same park where I usually try to cleanse my mind of illusion, and being reminded of the harder to swallow realities which are hidden from us... I don't know how to finish that sentence. Sometimes swallowing too much causes hiccups.