December 2003 Archives

Skipping stone

I grew up on a four and half acre piece of forest where the Lake of Two Mountains flows into the Rivière Des Prairies. Our immense Tudor style home was on the western tip of Ile Bizard, at the end of Monk's Point road. If it sounds surreal, then you'll already know me a bit better.

One of my absolute favorite pastimes was going down to the waterfront and skipping stones. My father had taught me how at a young age and I soon fancied myself a real pro, often imagining myself winning stone-skipping world championships.

One... two... three... four, five, six 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14... Fourteen skips! Perfect straight line, clear across the river! Yeah!

Though I never managed it, the river being about half a kilometer wide, I tried so hard to land that stone on the other side, in Pierrefonds.

After a while, I stopped counting.

Tac... tac... tac, tac, tac, tac, tctctctctctctc shloob.

Hm. Shloob.

After such a glorious flight... shloob... the stones disappeared. Caught by the surface and pulled under, into the depths.

Whatever became of the moment when one first knew about death? There must have been one, a moment, in childhood when it first occurred to you that you don't go on for ever. It must have been shattering - stamped into one's memory. And yet I can't remember it. It never occurred to me at all. What does one make of that? We must be born with an intuition of mortality. Before we know the words for it, before we know that there are words, out we come, bloodied and squalling with the knowledge that for all the compasses in the world, there's only one direction, and time is its only measure. (He reflects, getting more desperate and rapid.) A Hindu, a Buddhist and a lion-tamer chanced to meet, in a circus on the Indo-Chinese border.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard


We have relationships with every person we meet/know.
We have relationship networks which connect all these people to us and to each other.
We manage relationships by being nodes and establishing identities (identity facets).

So if we think of ourseleves as a node in a network... Liken the node to an atom. The atom has neutrons and protons... The node has facets...

We can be multinodes in multiple neworks, each node with multiple facets.

Interesting idea came up tonight in conversation with a friend. Do networks have a tendency to draw unto themselves? Sorta like maybe surface tension? Pulling everything to the center? Or how magnetic fields between .. Err... (forgive my lackadasical knowledge of basic physics.. Sheesh!) protons/neutrons.. Or planets... If so, do identity facets have a natural tendency, or "desire", to collapse?

Relinquish the Ego on The Way...

I'm just wondering.. Is there any evidence of this concept in any existing human belief system? The Buddhist "letting go of self and other/multiplicity" for example?

Just thinking out loud... What do you all think?

Happy happy

I wanted to send out some sort of holiday greeting to my friends, but it is
so difficult in today's world to know exactly what to say without offending
someone. So I met with my attorney today, and on his advice (and after $299
in attorneys fees) I wish to say the following:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an
environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, nonaddictive
gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within
the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or
secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular
persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice
religious or secular traditions at all.

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically
uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar
year 2004, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other
cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great (not
to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is
the only "AMERICA" in the western hemisphere), and without regard to the
race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, or sexual
preference of the wishes.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms: This greeting is
subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no
alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to
actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void
where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the
wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual
application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance
of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is
limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole
discretion of the wisher...

Drugged and abandoned

Well well well...

Correspondences - News By the People For People: Who captured Saddam Hussein?

Hussein was betrayed to the Kurds by a member of the al-Jabour tribe because Hussein's son Uday had raped a daughter of the tribe. Saddam had previously paid 7 million pounds in blood money to the tribe with the warning that he would wipe out the entire tribe if it ever came out. (Sify report)

He was then handed over to the Kurdish Patriotic Front who negotiated a deal with US forces for political power before drugging and abandoning Hussein for pickup. Ultimately he ended up in the hands of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) led by Jalal Talabani (Aljazeera)

Hussein could not escape the hole in which he was recovered because the entrance had been sealed.

Dirty deeds done dirt cheap

From a mailing list I am on.
(My comments follow)

"I try not to forward too many depressing articles. But this rates up there with the biggest outrages. Not only is the deed itself an abomination, but the way it was passed, signed, and ignored by the media is equally obscene. Bush signed this the day of Saddam's capture while no one paid attention. And the new provisions were insidiously tucked away in a bill passed by voice vote with no debate on Thanksgiving. And no one cares ... this is America ... this can't be happening .... so it's not happening ... but it is."

Bush signs parts of Patriot Act II into law - stealthily

On December 13, when U.S. forces captured Saddam Hussein, President George W. Bush not only celebrated with his national security team, but also pulled out his pen and signed into law a bill that grants the FBI sweeping new powers. A White House spokesperson explained the curious timing of the signing - on a Saturday - as "the President signs bills seven days a week." But the last time Bush signed a bill into law on a Saturday happened more than a year ago - on a spending bill that the President needed to sign, to prevent shuttng down the federal government the following Monday.

By signing the bill on the day of Hussein's capture, Bush effectively consigned a dramatic expansion of the USA Patriot Act to a mere footnote. Consequently, while most Americans watched as Hussein was probed for head lice, few were aware that the FBI had just obtained the power to probe their financial records, even if the feds don't suspect their involvement in crime or terrorism.

The Bush Administration and its Congressional allies tucked away these new executive powers in the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, a legislative behemoth that funds all the intelligence activities of the federal government. The Act included a simple, yet insidious, redefinition of "financial institution," which previously referred to banks, but now includes stockbrokers, car dealerships, casinos, credit card companies, insurance agencies, jewelers, airlines, the U.S. Post Office, and any other business "whose cash transactions have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax, or regulatory matters."

Congress passed the legislation around Thanksgiving. Except for U.S. Representative Charlie Gonzalez, all San Antonio's House members voted for the act. The Senate passed it with a voice vote to avoid individual accountability. While broadening the definition of "financial institution," the Bush administration is ramping up provisions within the 2001 USA Patriot Act, which granted the FBI the authority to obtain client records from banks by merely requesting the records in a "National Security Letter." To get the records, the FBI doesn't have to appear before a judge, nor demonstrate "probable cause" - reason to believe that the targeted client is involved in criminal or terrorist activity. Moreover, the National Security Letters are attached with a gag order, preventing any financial institution from informing its clients that their records have been surrendered to the FBI. If a financial institution breaches the gag order, it faces criminal penalties. And finally, the FBI will no longer be required to report to Congress how often they have used the National Security Letters.

Supporters of expanding the Patriot Act claim that the new law is necessary to prevent future terrorist attacks on the U.S. The FBI needs these new powers to be "expeditious and efficient" in its response to these new threats. Robert Summers, professor of international law and director of the new Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary's University, explains, "We don't go to war with the terrorists as we went to war with the Germans or the North Vietnamese. If we apply old methods of following the money, we will not be successful. We need to meet them on an even playing field to avoid another disaster." (1)

Opponents of the PATRIOT Act and its expansion claim that safeguards like judicial oversight and the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure, are essential to prevent abuses of power. "There's a reason these protections were put into place," says Chip Berlet, senior analyst at Political Research Associates, and a historian of U.S. political repression. "It has been shown that if you give [these agencies] this power they will abuse it. For any investigative agency, once you tell them that they must make sure that they protect the country from subversives, it inevitably gets translated into a program to silence dissent." (2)

Opponents claim the FBI already has all the tools to stop crime and terrorism. Moreover, explains Patrick Filyk, an attorney and vice president of the local chapter of the ACLU, "The only thing the act accomplishes is the removal of judicial oversight and the transfer of more power to law enforcements agents."

This broadening of the Patriot Act represents a political victory for the Bush Administration's stealth legislative strategy to increase executive power. (3) Last February, shortly before Bush launched the war on Iraq, the Center for Public Integrity obtained a draft of a comprehensive expansion of the Patriot Act, nicknamed Patriot Act II, written by Attorney General John Ashcroft's staff. Again, the timing was suspicious; it appeared that the Bush Administration was waiting for the start of the Iraq war to introduce Patriot Act II, and then exploit the crisis to ram it through Congress with little public debate. (4)

The leak and ensuing public backlash frustrated the Bush administration's strategy, so Ashcroft and Co. disassembled Patriot Act II, then reassembled its parts into other legislation. By attaching the redefinition of "financial institution" to an Intelligence Authorization Act, the Bush Administration and its Congressional allies avoided public hearings and floor debates for the expansion of the Patriot Act. (5)

Even proponents of this expansion have expressed concern about these legislative tactics. "It's a problem that some of these riders that are added on may not receive the scrutiny that we would like to see," says St. Mary's Professor Robert Summers.

The Bush Administration has yet to answer pivotal questions about its latest constitutional coup: If these new executive powers are necessary to protect United States citizens, then why would the legislation not withstand the test of public debate? If the new act's provisions are in the public interest, why use stealth in ramming them through the legislative process? (6)

1- What utter nonsense. The argument holds absolutely no water. It addresses not a single issue involved here. Party-line whitewash.

2- See, the opponents DO make sense. Historical precedents are plentiful! Look at the evolution of EVERY system of governance in human history which focused power to the top. Monarchies (most), fascist and dictatorial regimes (all)... Wake up America.

3- Slipping, slipping... Hello Federal Republic of America! Remove the potentiality of the people from democracy and you get fascism. With a charismatic enough, or hyped enough, "leader", that slips into dictatorship.

4- "Ram it through Congress"?! That's the way to do it! See comment 3.

5- Befuddle the People with semantic ping-pong. Ambiguity is the devil's volleyball.

6- An oh-so-innocent way of saying "Um, hold on a second.. what's going on here? Are you guys serious?" Yes, Virgina, they are serious. You are dealing with despotic leadership.

They say "absolute power corrupts absolutely". That may be so, but I suspect that the thirst for absolute power corrupts just as absolutely.

Revisiting ironies

I just got an impulse to drive out to the suburbs where I grew up and visit the private french school I attended for eleven years. It was the kind of business where we wore uniforms, stood when the beloved leader (principal/owner) entered the classroom and were repeatedly told we were being shaped to be "Les leaders de demain!" ("the leaders of tomorrow"... many ironies here...).

Over the years I've learnt that most if not all my fellow inmates profoundly despised, and continue to despise, this school. I know more than one whose lives have been inextricably affected for the worse by having gone through it's doors. My oldest friend, whom I met in first grade, once declared: "I love my parents, absolutely, but I will NEVER forgive them for having sent me there." Harsh words. I've heard desires for class-action suits around reunion dinner tables.

Oddly, myself, I never minded it. I was so... hmmm... oblivious/unreachable. My eyes and ears were open and i just took it all in, stored it in the databases and made loose connections. Never asked questions and never studied for exams. Nothing affected me. And I was always in the top five, grade wise. Remarkably unremarkable.

Aside from the math, history, grammar and latin, I learnt one thing very well which our fuhrer probably didn't intend. I learnt, intrinsically, how fascism works, and how absurdly perverse it is. How it parades about in a luster of pretense and false justness. How, on an educational level, it seeks to "instill knowledge", rather than "foster understanding". How, through rigid application of discipline, it seeks to destroy individuality in an effort to maintain order.

I think this is why I was not affected as others were by my detention in this school... to me it was a big joke, utterly comical. For someone who went home everyday to the woods and the river and the trees and and the animals, it all seemed so unnatural and otherworldly. "This can't be serious! Nothing can truly grow and prosper this way." I didn't rebel though since I also knew that it was a safe and clean environment to get at least some of the basics of a "good" education. Well, in all honesty, that was lack luster as well, but anyways.

No Comment

As part of my cable television package, I ordered EuroNews. Nevermind that the news reported is from a european perspective (a welcome change from the CNN et al), but there are two other major characteristics of this All-News network I find fantastic:

First of all, there are no "anchor people". No spin doctors with gussied up hair and fake plastic airs giving you a rehashed, opinion-infused narrative. What you get are voiced-over introductions, as well as translations where necessary, of video reportage of events. Oh and no sensationalist crap - this is real news.

Then, they take it one step further.

A segment called "No Comment". And that is exactly what you get. Real, raw video footage, no reporter, no words, no stories, no crap. Just a look at what's going on. Bombings in Iraq, in Gaza... people running, screaming, pleading, dying.

No comment.

At one point, I tried a little mind trick on myself. I said to myself: "ok, you are not watching this on TV; you are watching this "on the web", a streaming video feed in someone's weblog."

The trick worked. I sat back, blown away, and overcome with weltschmerz. No, that word is not strong enough... grief and sadness.

They make these videos available on the web. Go look.

Content & Relationship

During a "Content" conversation, I was brought to realize that things like "bar talk", "chewing the fat", "shootin' da shit", et al... are Relationship conversations. It was further pointed out that these are just as important as "real", or "Content", conversations, as they build bonds (albeit weak ones often, but nonetheless more or less important).

DUH! Of course! Why hadn't I made the conscious connection?! (Probably because I'm a loner by nature and that despite my quite good socializing skills, I DID spent the first 18 years of my life totally oblivious to the concept of "society" and "community"... )

This adds all the more weight to what I was saying about weblogs... ;)

(sans the Google screed)

The Merry Blues

Manu Chao
listen (temporary)

So many nights
With your shadow in my bed.
So many nites
Baby you whisper in my head.
So many nites
Sing along the Merry Blues.
So many nites...
I told you once.
I told you twice.
The Merry blues
The Merry blues

I can not sleep
Haunted by your pretty body
I can not sleep
I want the world set on fire
So many nites
Can't keep from goin down loose...

I told you once.
I told you twice.
The Merry blues
The Merry blues

Hello nadina do you do do do do do
I feel so happy when I see see see see you
You make me sing a like a douba doubad
I know you like it like a zoumbou zoumbou

Hello nadina do you do do do do do
I feel the moody like to picky picky you
I know you like it like a rub a dub stylee
I know you like it like a zoumbou zoumbou

So many nites
Sing along the Merry Blues.
So many nites
Can't keep from goin' down loose.
The Merry Blues...

Michael Moore publishes letters from U.S. soldiers in Iraq

I just received an e-mail from good friend and former employer, Warren Wilansky. Warren and the gang at Plank Design do all of Michael Moore's websites.

He sent me the text of the latest Mike's Message.

A small excerpt:

What they are saying to me, often eloquently and in heart-wrenching words, is that they were lied to -- and this war has nothing to do with the security of the United States of America.

Also just made available are 20 letters that U.S. soldiers have sent to Mr. Moore.

There are two basic messages in this: 1- the war in Iraq was/is a sham and 2- things over there right now are far far worse than we are being told.

Please read some of these letters, as well as Mike's Message.

AND, if you are lucky enough to live in a place where, for example, your television service offers European or other non-U.S. news outlets, subscribe to these channels now and see for yourself. (Here in Montreal, Videotron offers "EuroNews" which pulls together video reporting from many european journailsts in Iraq right now. It is frightening frightening stuff they are telling us...)

Oh and blog about this message too... It is important!

On a related note: if you can get your hands on a copy of "Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War", a film in part funded by the Voter Fund, it is well worth it.

Remix culture

Creative Commons put together a Flash animation, Reticulum Rex, giving an update on what's going on with their effort.

Re-democratization of "culture". Remix. Author? Editor.

"The Library, which some call 'The Universe'..."

I lied and the Ville de Montreal are jerkoffs

I ended last night's entry about the whole snowclearing/parking fiasco by stating that by 3am my street had been cleared. This was a lie; a bit of poetic license I exercised to give the story a nice ending. Not to mention I figured since the monsters where working on the next street over, surely they'd have mine done within the hour.

It is one in the afternoon the next day, and, lo and behold... My street is NOT cleared. They have even removed the little orange signs saying that they would clear the street.

Nevermind that I am parked now in a spot one street over where I am quite safe for a few days at least, but... eatshitanddie, Ville de Montreal.

Oh and while I'm at it I send out a hardy "fuck you" to whoever completely destroyed my passenger side side-view mirror last week. Much appreciated.

Sigh. Ok I feel better now. My apologies for the expletives.

Oh I so didn't need this though

Car in Snow, before and after

After the trek up Mount Royal, I came back to see that the signs were up indicating the snowplows would be clearing the side of the street I was parked on, sometime between 7pm and 7am.

So I shoveled it out. Fun fun. But the real work lay ahead. You can imagine with this much snow (snowbanks were at about 2-3 feet), the amount of available parking space is drastically reduced. Add to that the fact that everybody of course wants to park overnight somewhere were they can leave the car till morning. It was past five. The working class was home and had claimed all available spots.

This would be a game of checkers...

So the wait began. The wait for the tow trucks that make three passes blowing sirens alerting the owners of cars still parked on the to-be-cleared side that the plows are coming. Miss the third warning and you get towed and fined. $45 for the parking fine, $40 for the tow.

Nine o'clock, the first siren blows. I get dressed and trudge out. I have a plan. I'll drive down to China Town and have dinner at my favorite Vietnamese Pho joint.

Ten o'clock, return to see that the street has not yet been cleared. Damn. At this point, forget parking: the natives are restless and every spare inch is parked. Plan B: up to Kilo in the Mile End for a slice of cheesecake and (horrifyingly bad) coffee. Desperate times call for desperate measures, after all.

Eleven o'clock, return to see the street has still not been cleared. Damn. What the hell. Ok, run upstairs, grab book, iBook, notebook, pencil and pen. Gonna hope for a space a few streets over and have a glass of wine at Laïka and read. (This is where my logic got screwed... if I find a spot a few streets over, what the heck, leave it there and come home... duh.)

So I actually find a spot a few streets over. I am exactly half way between my place and bar. What do you think I do? Bar. Monday night at Laïka... should be dead, nice and quiet, right? Wrong. Staff party. Dammit all.

The idea that I could just go home still hasn't come to me. It's not because I somehow need to go to the bar. It's the singleminded determination to wait for the street to be cleared and park right in front of my place. I can be severely daft sometimes.

So I trudge to my second home. Two Guinness, one chapter, one good conversation and a smattering of bar-talk later, I figure "Ok it's one o'clock. The have had to have passed by now.

Argh. They are clearing the next street over. Oh well. Park it there.

It is now quarter past three in the morning. There are about 20 clean and clear parking spots outside my door. I will be DAMNED if I go out there and move the car now.


Oh I needed that

I haven't gone jogging since about mid-October. Two months, and I've been feeling it.
As soon as I woke up today (at 2pm) I decided I'd go Up Mount Royal, in the Snow. Pictures!

Especially worthwhile is comparing some of the winter shots with their summer counterparts.

Like these:

Read on Emergent Leadership

I few months ago, I wrote about a book I had started reading: Herbert Read's "To hell with culture".

The volume is essentially made up of a number of papers Read published between 1941 and 1961. The aforementioned post was some notes on merely the Introduction of the book, which on it's own was an eye opener.

Due to time constraints and stretching myself across a number of interests, endeavors and obligations, I must admit that I am only now at the third of the papers, and of that, half way through it. I return to this work now, however, because ideas and insights I have thus far gained from it continuously revisit me, on a daily basis, and I am wont to glean more.

The order in which the articles appear in the book impress upon the reader the overall "view" which Read wished to impart. The Introduction, résuméd in, again, the above linked entry, could have been a paper of it's own accord, expounding on the role of (truly knowledgable, intuitive and involved) artist, poet, free-thinker, in society and its governance. Extolling the importance of these "disruptive elements in society", as they stir things up, if you will, and make things happen. "Here's to the crazy ones", right?

Stick this in your Google and smoke it

In a comment on Joi's site, Stewart Butterfield remarked:

I have no idea how to settle an argument about this, but I contend that, for the overwhelming majority of blog readers and writers, blogs have almost nothing to do with 'content', and everything to do with identity and relationships.

Yup. I have to agree entirely. To be precise, not all weblogs would be about content (few are) and not all weblogs would be "identity & relationship building". Many turn out to be a bit of both, in varying proportions (as well as being any number of other things, of course).

For example, predominantly "content-focused" weblogs would be maintained by their authors with the desire and belief that what they are publishing is worthwhile, relevant, interesting, etc... The validity of said belief is beyond the scope of my point, and the desire is at least notable. Among these we can count blogs by Journalists, blogs by pseudo-journailsts (no negative connotation implied!), academics, hobbyists blogging about their hobby, etc. Their goal, if I may say, IS to "publish and share hopefully, somehow, relevant content and perhaps elicit conversation/communication revolving around said content".

Examples of this would be Dan Gillmor and Jon Udell (tech journalism), Anders Bell's Phluzein and danah boyd's Connected Selves (academic/specialized interest), etc...

On the other end of the spectrum we would find the often maligned "what I had for lunch today" style weblog. Here, the idea is to share a bit of one's self and one's life, much as one does at the family dinner table or when "shootin' the shit" in light social settings and daily interactions. "Hey I saw such and such movie last night. I liked it." This essentially identity and relationship management. You get to know a heck of alot about somebody quick by reading their entries of this nature. You get to know them, as much or as little as they want you to, and they get to know you, as much or as little as you want them to.

Again, no absolutes: I am merely setting a possible scale.

So, why mention Google in my title? Well folks, my little RowBoat here leans heavily to the "identity and relationship" side, and as such it seems rather pointless for it to be involved in the ongoing Google-washing that his happening. You wouldn't believe how many referers I get from search engines where people want a picture of a rowboat or to know where to rent a rowboat. If I actually wrote about rowboats, it'd make sense, but as it is, it is merely a silly title I thought up when I was asking myself the perennial newbie blogger questions: "what is this weblog of mine? and what shall i call it?"

So, as of today, using the wonders of the "robots.txt" file, I will disallow search engine crawling of my archives. Also, more serious stuff (content I feel may be of some value/genuine interest) will be remanded to a separate weblog, which I will announce in due time,and which will not be closed to search engine crawlers (spiders, robots, what have you).

The effect of this, I expect, will be that I will be more inclined to fill up RowBoat with stuff about me and my life (fun eh!?)(as you opined, Mike), as well as actually post more of the smarty pants theories I come up with... and they will be much better written and researched of course (as you suggested Anders).


Today I took some drastic first steps.

Today, I switched from Bell Sympatico DSL to Videotron Cable Internet access. So far, the speed increase is, to put it mildly, reality-bending. I also switched from crappy old normal cable TV to digital with a selection of some fine fine "stations".
Tomorrow I will deactivate my Bell Sympatico DSL account.
Sometime in the coming week or two I will give in and buy a highfalutin' expensive cellphone (Nokia 6600 is the current favorite), switch cellphone providers and kill my Bell landline.

Believe it or not, aside from the expensive cellphone, this move will save me approximately $20-30 a month.

So, why is this drastic? I know a few people who have done exactly this same thing. Well, my intent is somewhat different. I am not doing this merely to save a few bucks on a redundant (and not used) landline. Nor do I intend to use the cellphone so much for voice calls...

First of all, the increased Internet access will finally allow me to set up a full local network, corporate services stylee. Dynamic DNS, VPN server, local mail and maybe Jabber server, internal DNS for development work, etc...

Having a cellphone platform as feature rich as the Nokia 6600's Symbian OS6 will allow me not only to synch contacts and calendars (like I use calendars sheesh... yet!) via Bluetooth locally, but with approriate client software (and server software on my home network) I can use it as well as my main communication gateway AND availability manager. Yes folks, soon you will be able to IM me on my phone, if I want you to, and if need be call me. If you don't see me in IM, there's only a slim chance I'll answer your phonecall... ;)

(that's just one example...)

Moblogging is just the beginning.

A great Canadian scandal

In a "Life and Times" TV profile of Canada's exiting Prime Minister, Jean Chretien, in regards to a corruption scandal he was accused of a few years back involving some investments in a golf club and a contentious phone call to his buddy, the head of the Bank of Canada, Jean quips:

It was a great Canadian scandal! No sex, no violence, and I lost a ton of money!


Talking to myself

Continuing on the cyborg theme, I thought to myself:

I've been here on the sofa all afternoon, fumbling with my awkward iBook, and yet it is here, with this sub-par setup, that my thoughts flow most freely into the computer, and not at my desktop. It must be the relaxing recline of the sofa, for the larger screen and use of a mouse, instead of the restrictive 12" inch screen, clumsy trackpad and awkward keyboard navigation, are far more conducive to my interaction with the machine.. but not with my thoughts.

So, mobility wise, what do you want?

Well, let's see. For starters, a heads up/goggle-type display with an enormous "Desktop" (no need to go architecting 3D UI OS's), voice navigation and voice dictation. Added to that a pair of gestural data input gloves. With this, an application which presents everything I say (commands excluded or in a meta window) as text which, via the gloves, I can "copy paste" wherever I need it: chat with Joi, comment reply to Aaron, email to ... whoever, blog entry, etc...

To continue on the concept that conceivably the brain can "learn" to use new virtual artificial extensions to my "self", my two hands could merely be triggers or "training wheels" to new, multi-tentacled, again, virtual interfaces (read: fingers). Think of the special robotic multi-fingered hand prosthetics in "Ghost in the Shell". Why lob off one's hands and replace them with robotics when their existence could be fully virtual, yet controlled by the brain? It IS feasible, I have SEEN it.

I posit that with less effort than to learn sign language, our brains could learn to use virtual extensions like these.

It's like riding a bicycle! Right Marshall? ;)

This is also a basic theory of "good design". You know "how" to use a tea kettle just by looking at it. By making it intuitive, as opposed to a language learning process, you make it more useable.

It all comes down to wasted CPU cycles in the brain. The less I must process "how", the more I can process "what"... and where, who, when...

Lawnmower Man meets the Puppet Master

Part of an e-mail exchange with Aaron:

> I WANT what Kevin Warwick is working on! Hrm... Garr... :\

Ah come on, Boris. I know Kevin's all about thinking inside the body but try thinking outside the blog. You want to implant a chip with a copy of MT, the moz-gesture stuff and an 802.11b connection on it. Then you can stand around waving your arms like one of those airport dudes posting stuff to your weblog.

... you could surely get Canada Council money if you recast the idea as a modern dance project.

What happens when you start getting hammered by trackback pings and comment spam is a whole other story.

You *are* fuct in the head but who loves ya' anyway? ;-)

I almost fell off the sofa reading this. :D

Working in timezones

timezonesFor Mac OS X users who need to keep track of time and date across timezones, Aion does a great job of it.

You tell it which timezones you want, which one is your default et voilà, menubar International time. A nice feature would be placing a user-configured timestamp in the clipboard.

Some small good

I'm not going to get into the politics of Québec's "Office de la Langue Fran√ßaise" (a.k.a. "The Language Police"), but at least there is some small good that comes of it: Le Grand dictionnaire terminologique is one heck of a English-French dictionnary site and resource.

And it now does Latin as well! Hrm.. well it says it does anyways... Oh I see, it looks up latin in specialised terminologies - like law, medicine, etc... - and gives you the french, english, vulgate term... Neat.

And on that note

Cleaned up in here. No more violet. Decided not to drive myself batty with color choices, so grayscale it is, with a touch of red.

Four thirty in the morning. Sheesh.

Odd, possibly tangential observation. Three hours ago I was not too terribly interested in listening to anything in my 30+ Gig music archive. I pressed play anyways, on shuffle as always, and for the first time in ages I actually didn't feel the compulsion to skip 80% of the tracks. Either way, time to raid some friend's CD and MP3 collections.

Ohhhh design

I few years back I worked in an honest-to-goodness (emphasis on the goodness) design firm. Small, cool, fun, good friends, great space... sigh...

Back then, I was surrounded by design. Everyday I'd check out the various design websites and the magazines we had laying about. I'd actually look at everything around me. Then I left for the "souldeath corporate job".

The last two months I have been hacking MovableType templates sans cesse (two just today!) and this evening I hit burnout. Dry as a bone. Been feeling hollow on that front for a little while now but it hit me full frontal this evening.

After a hot shower and a glass of wine, I decided to step away from the machine. But what to do? Can't sleep. It's one am and I can't sleep. Don't feel like reading, don't feel like going out. Back to the machine.

Somehow, I stumble on this.
(Somehow = Foolong => Book of Styles => Wannabegirl => CSS Vault.)

Hellooo design! Hellooo inspiration! Been a while! I've been "going though the motions" but hardly really applying myself.

Hrmph. Now I really can't sleep. And I really have no more wine either. Conundrum. ;)