May 2005 Archives

Bang on

MJ on the "Lifecycle of Bloggers".

While I don't for one second believe there is any such thing as "one type of blog/blogger", this sums up very nicely what many many go through.

I'm at step 12 myself. Again. Not the purging part, mind you.

Atmospheric stabilization in folksonomic tag clouds

Visual display of how choice of tags on a URL stabilizes over time on

I blame "suggested tags" ;)


I did not share the words that came to me at that moment, watching a car turn a corner, a leaf fall from a tree, a cloud overhead.

one of those moments where the smallest event can take on unprecedented enormity... where every detail and every second is blown up, under a microscope, and then fantastically zoomed out and placed, just so, where it should be. the peripheries of one's view are then drawn together, folded over, collapsed and sucked inwards into that minuscule point of the world we might call familiarity.

That point that hovers, just so, between my eyes, just above my nose.

There is a creature, pacing in its confine: a square box I have set myself into, which no longer fits and whose edges are bombing outwards as my wants and needs balloon and rise.

There is an expression raging at the thought of being second-placed, yet again, grounded and forbidden to float by the vagaries of a perceived obligation to maintain some sort of mondain status quo.

Himiko water-bus

Himiko water-bus, originally uploaded by chipple.

I want to live in a plce where anime artists are commissioned to design public transport vehicles...

Not that I am a big anime fan or anything, it's just... I mean damn, look at that!

I wanna... I wanna... unleash a battery of mini missiles at it! Fwooosh!


[merci Patrick!]

Toronto subway station tile pattern buttons


... a collection of 1-inch buttons featuring replicas of the tile art and visual landmarks of Toronto's subway stations. Buttons are sold in packages of their respective subway line, or you can purchase a package of five stations of your choice.


Memories in dust

This morning I dreamt of a fire.

Monk's Point

About 12 or 13 years ago, we moved out of my childhood home. The day of the move, I was the first one with all my stuff out, and the first one all moved into the new house. I even had my own moving crew; a group of friends and a pickup truck.

We moved from a huge house, on a wonderful property - 4 1/2 acres, on the western tip of Île Bizard, with forest and waterfront - to a smallish house just on the edge of suburbia. I knew every creaking inch of that old house and every stone and blade of grass on that property. I was a part of it and it of me. I left as quickly as I could that day to not ever let it sink in that it was gone.

Since that day, most of my dreams have taken place in that house. No matter where I was or what was going on in my life, everything was brought back to that house in my dreams.

This morning, it burnt down, in my dreams. It burnt down and I risked my dream life scouring over its entirety trying to save every memory. Until I stopped and thought how futile.

I awoke somehow lighter.

Benji The First - Back, towards the river

My day rapidly turned somber for unrelated reasons, but I just emailed my mother and sister asking them to come visit me this week sometime and to take whatever memories they may still want before I throw them out or sell them off. They are merely gathering dust here and I do not want them anymore.

Shady fellows in the environs

what is aloft, George currency?
Oh, thou art aware how we proceed in this district.
How goes?
oh, merely striking the vixens and pleasing the strumpets...
Very well; carry on good fellow!
may I "notetaker-connected-by-electric-means" this conversation?
Indeed, daring would not I be to forbid thee from archiving this, our humble dialogue, within thy records.
(lightly edited)

Music chain

Ado passed on a blog meme my way and ... I "plead the 5th".
Carry on.

Men's roooooom

photo-852 07May05
Originally uploaded by sylvaincarle.

Sylvain moblogged this quite funny "men's room" symbol.

C'tait où, man?

Elsewhere everywhere

Elsewhere - iPod

David Bernal, a.k.a. "Elsewhere". The newest iPod commercial features this guy who's style is totally unmistakable. He's the second dancer, when the background turns green, also the very last, and 3 times during.

Elsewhere - Singing in the rain

You may recognize the fluid, biokinetic and sometime kinda freaky movement from the Volkswagen Gene Kelly remix of "Singing in the rain". In that one the CG artists mashed up ol' Gene's dance routine with movements from "Elsewhere" and two other dancers.

Elsewhere - Kollaboration 2001

Otherwise you may have seen him in one of a couple of "video memes" that have circulated in recent years. Interesting guy, not only for his moves.

WSIS, censorship & RSF

Michael is in Winnipeg participating in a UNESCO sponsored conference in preparation for it's presence at the WSIS summit in Tunisia in the fall.

This is serious, big boys stuff. ;)

He just reported something VERY disturbing:

The Tunisian ambassador to Canada has been here the whole conference (and some other guy from the Tunisian gov.) and he was a member of the welcoming commitee. The thing is - the internet in Tunisia is censored, so that Tunisians can't even visit the websites of the groups that will be at the conference. There's this human rights guy from tunisia and he keeps on bringing it up, and then the Minister get's all huffy and has to go and clear his government from blame.

This strikes me as not just ironic, but plainly idiotic.

Reporters Without Borders puts it thusly:

"President Ben Ali believes that the fact the UN agreed to hold a summit on the Internet in his country means the international community approves of his policy in this field," the organisation said. "We believe that, on the contrary, the Internet model advocated by Tunisia, combining censorship and crackdown, should be condemned by countries that care about freedom of expression".

No kidding.
/me is holding tongue... biting it even...

Poking around the Reporters Without Borders webiste I notice they have nominated a couple of weblog journailsts I know (even one who's site I built) for "freedom of expression blog" awards:
Dan Gillmor (Americas), Ethan Zuckermann (International), Rebecca McKinnon's "NKZone" (Asia), Hossein Derakhshan (Iran).

Great, congrats. Now, can we do something about the WSIS telling a president that it's ok to crackdown and censor access to information?

From WSIS's Declaration of Principles:

1. We, the representatives of the peoples of the world, assembled in Geneva from 10-12 December 2003 for the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, declare our common desire and commitment to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society, where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge, enabling individuals, communities and peoples to achieve their full potential in promoting their sustainable development and improving their quality of life, premised on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and respecting fully and upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

4. We reaffirm, as an essential foundation of the Information Society, and as outlined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; that this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Communication is a fundamental social process, a basic human need and the foundation of all social organization. It is central to the Information Society. Everyone, everywhere should have the opportunity to participate and no one should be excluded from the benefits the Information Society offers.

Gott es wullen, das gibt's ja doch neht! So ein verdamtes Bloedzihn.

Playing Flickr Peepshow

Playing Flickr

For one week in May, the diners in Restaurant 11 will be confronted with the photos the users of Playing FLICKR select. By sending a keyword through SMS, users can request all photos on the database that are tagged with that particular keyword.

Flickr peep-show

Users can interact with the installation by SMSing tags (keywords) to the server, after which the photographs on flickr tagged with those specific keywords will start showing up on the screens of the the installation.

Mediamatic. Good site. Wish it had a feed.

Free Murakami short story

The New Yorker published a new short story by HARUKI MURAKAMI, and graciously posted it, in print friendly format, on their I mean website...

(Whaaat... they appear in "reverse chronological order" and have permalinks... ;)
(Oh and please do note the lack of any copyright notice on that "page".)

Thanks Gen!

Backpack is the new Flickr

For the last 6 months it's been "Flickr this" and "Flickr that", "like Flickr does it!", "we want it more like Flickr..."
Don't get me wrong, I do so very very much love Flickr. Really. I'm just saying Backpack will be getting the top-level buzz shortly, and for the next few months.


You mean I can store all my stuff, not just photos? Yup.
You mean I have more control of who I share with and who sees what? Yup.
You mean it has tags, and snazzy Ajax-based UI twiddles? Yup.
You mean I can relate one bit to others? Yup.
You mean it's basically a wiki with a handful of preset data types? Yup.
You mean I can email content to any part of my backpacks? Yup.

[playing with it as I write this...]


Again, to be clear, Backpack does not equal Flickr replacement. Two TOTALLY different things. Just saying Backpack is the new "Insanely Great" web-app on the block.

And it is quite breathtaking an achievement. Bravo.

Disturbing meme

"I find your lack of" disturbing -faith

 Reference Anh Vadertie Vader 02Vtcby

I Find Your Lack of Star Wars Tattoos... Disturbing I find your lack of wires disturbing I Find Your Lack Of Banjo Disturbing I Find Your Lack Of Cream... Disturbing I Find Your Lack of Pitch Disturbing I find your lack of pants disturbing I Find Your Lack of Spuds Disturbing I Find Your Lack of Chives Disturbing I find your lack of Art disturbing I find your lack of milk... disturbing I find your lack of safety restraints disturbing I find your lack of underpants disturbing I find your lack of cake... disturbing I find your lack of pepperoni.....disturbing I find your lack of knowledge disturbing

And to get really absurd:

 ~Dewar S Vader Darthsye6

I find your lack of George Forman Grill disturbing
The power to make this place spotless is insignifacant to the power of the force
We would be honored if you would join us for some cheese fondue
They must have hidden the recipe in the escape pod.

Picture 1

And I leave you careening off into the Organic Trade Federation... Cuke Skywalker! Obi Wan Cannoli! Chewbroccoli! Ham Solo! R2-Tofu! C3-Peanut! The Death Melon!

Aright, I'm already sick of Vader and EP3 isn't even out yet. :p

Yes, Minister

It always seemed rather strange to even myself that I thoroughly enjoyed watching this British political satire situation comedy. The writing was simply superb, the characters equally profoundly witty, when not nit-witted, and the clever pace helped via laughter, one's supper along it's digestion route.

B's in hoity-toity complicated english mode...

I think the only other person I've ever met who let alone knew the show, but also enjoyed it's ludic linguistics, was Anders.

This evening, however, I stumbled upon a weblog simply titled " - a weblog in logic, philosophy of logic, and the philosophy of language". (I think, Anders, you will like this too.) Amongst the very, um, yes, how shall I say, profund (not a typo) insights, et cetera, were these choice quotes from the aforementioned television programme:

Sir Humphrey:
If local authorities don't send us the statistics that we ask for, then government figures will be a nonsense.
Sir Humphrey:
They'll be incomplete.
But government figures are a nonsense anyway.
I think Sir Humphrey wants to ensure they're a complete nonsense.
Sir Humphrey:
It is so difficult for me you see, as I am wearing two hats.
Yes, isn't that rather awkward for you.
Sir Humphrey:
Not if one is in two minds.
Or has two faces.
Sir Humphrey:
A clarification is not to make oneself clear, it is to put oneself in the clear.
Sir Humphrey:
East Yemen, isn't that a democracy?
Sir Richard:
Its' full name is the Peoples' Democratic Republic of East Yemen.
Sir Humphrey:
Ah I see, so it's a communist dictatorship.
Personally I find it hard enough to believe that one of us was one of them, but if two of us were one of them ... two of them, all of us could be ... um could be ... um ...
All of them.

More great quotes from the show here, linguist breakdown of The Simpsons here...

Yeah check this out:

Episode: Mountain of Madness, Episode # 812 4F10
Deixis in personal pronouns:
Homer has brought his family along on a business team-building exercise in the woods, and Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie are stuck in the National Park Service building while all the employees are off team-building. Bart is standing in front of a Smokey the Bear statue, who has an electronic voice and a little 'quiz' to administer. Bart and Smokey have the following exchange:

Smokey: (electronic intonation)
"Who is the only one who can stop forest fires?
(examines response panel, which has two buttons, marked "you" and "me". He presses "you").
Smokey: (electronic intonation)
"You pressed YOU, meaning me. This is incorrect. You should have pressed ME, meaning you.
For those not familiar with "Smokey the Bear", his admonishment, or catch phrase, is "Only YOU can stop forest fires!".

Brilliant. Good commentary on UI design as well right there. :)


It's not April Fool's is it?
Damn, I didn't think so.

Talkr provides a service that allows you to listen to your favorite text-only news sources rather than read them. If you can point us to an RSS feed (a machine-readable version of your favorite blog or news source) we will convert that feed from text to speech. Talkr can also provide you with a podcast of your favorite news sources.

I want the OPPOSITE service dammit. I want a service I can dictate to and it returns me impeccable text... for blogging of course... :p

At least the logo isn't pink and powder blue. Let the deluge of product/service names ending in "-ckr" begin!

Flickr is the new iMac! The new eCommerce even!

Someone take this coffee away from me.

Google aquires Dodgeball

"On May 11th was acquired by Google!"

The people at Google think like us. They looked at us in a "You're two guys doing some pretty cool stuff, why not let us help you out and let's see what you can do with it" type of way. We liked that. Plus, Alex and I are both Google superfans and the people we've met so far are smart, cool and excited about what they're working on.

Congrats to them I suppose... but I must say... if I read one more "and the folks at [insert new multibillion dollar multinational parent corporation] are really cool and really really like us and we really really like them" letter, I'll heave hoooo!

email overload

I mean that in both the sense that I am getting way too much way to fast on way too many different topics / related to way too many projects & tasks, and that my current email "solution" - hah! a misnomer if there ever was one - is about to buckle under the weight and cause me my 19th nervous breakdown in the process.

Apple's new presents some new opportunities, none of them "ideal" but eh, which I shall get into at a later date (I'm looking to talk to YOU, Karl and Francis!).

Oh and if you, like me, noticed Mail's Junk filter acting weird after upgrading to Tiger, trying turning it off and then back on again. Seems to kick it back into shape. (I was seeing weird stuff like all my outgoing mails being marked as Junk, etc...)

That said... um... I'll get back to you.

Oh fer pete's sake... Why oh why does Mail's "Smart Mailbox" filtering rules NOT include a status selector?!?!!?!? As in "Status != replied". I mean of all the useless filtering options ("In mailbox..." ??)... ARGH.

VW Mashup

This is sick, sick as in incredibly-insanely-cool-oh-man-I-want-it-so-bad.

Volkswagen Jetta // R32 - Daily progress reports

This project as you can see from these first pics is going to be a complete ground up build, I'm starting with a 100% straight and untouched 2004.5 Jetta GLI body with doors in PG.

Every part of this car is going to done from front to back top to bottom. The outside of the car will have the look of either a bone stock GLI or we have tossed the idea of making it look like a jetta R32 complete Jetta style R32 bumpers and sides.

Inside the car is either going to be complete R32 to include the R32 dash or stock 2004.5 GLI.

The R32 is a version of the VW Golf with basically an insanely awesome engine, 4 wheel drive and full-on tricked-out sports package (suspension, exhaust, interior/exterior styling, etc). The canadian market was deemed too small to warrant making it pass our safety specs so I couldn't get one up here. Then again, at that price point, I might as well get a BMW :p

Anyways, putting the R32 "package" into a Jetta means rebuilding the whole thing from the chassis up. Wow. Awesome car hacking project.

(thx Francis!)


Who woulda thought that one afternoon back in February would produce TWO photographic coincidences?

First, Karl and I.
Then, Jim and I.

Tokyo: Wed 07:53 AM

Picture 2

A quick email of the above screenshot - with message "One of you has a lifestyle/sleeping problem of some sort... ;)" - later:

Picture 3

After reading Jim's entry about what time he actually did wake up at and why:

Picture 4

Love you guys. I was in tears from laughing.

CMS themes = money

I found this funny. Looking at my "montreal" tag flickr stream I notice a picture of Guy Kawasaki. Hunh? Oh I see, it's one of these blog/flickr marketing tie-ins. I've done one or two of those myself. Feels slightly dirty but anyways... ;)

SO I Google for "ideasblog", and find myself here. A blog for an Autodesk promotional marketing tour.

Why is this interesting to me? It is interesting because that site reveals a lot about itself, and in so doing reveals a lot about the web industry today.

First of all, from the favicon, I see that the site is built in Drupal. Second, by replacing the "ideasblog" in the URL with "www", I find out the site is built by "Clear ink". (A quick whois also revelas that the cryptic domain "adskhost" - Autodesk Host - is registered to Clear ink as well. I wonder if Autodesk knows this.)

So we have a major software maker organizing a promotional tour and deciding they want some of this "Web 2.0 stuff".

"Hey! We should get a blog for this and put our pictures on Flickr!" they say.
If I had a nickel for every time I hea... oh wait... I do... In fact, I get a nickel every time I say it... cough...

So they go to a Berkley-based web-services bureau, who in turn says "Hey! Yeah! we can do that in Drupal!"

How much money do you think Clear ink got from Autodesk to quickly (and with sloppy all around execution, I must say... default favicon? C'mon!) hack up a Drupal theme? Hrmmm?

Can you say "high margin business"?
Stop asking me what I am doing these days. ;)

Tiger annoyances

Ok so I've been running Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" for a bit over a week now. Generally, it is smooth, and actually does feel quicker (apparently due to a once again totally revamped GUI rendering process).

While I haven't played extensively with any of the "new stuff", I must say the two much lauded "candy" features are totally useless to me. Dashboard does not integrate with my workflow at all and the UI on Spotlight is retarded. Way too many results, way to few keyboard controls. No context, no easy search restriction (without a lot of mousing about)... ugh. I use Quicksilver, which kicks Spotlight in the pants. I hope dude figures out how to add Spotlight indexing databases to Quicksilver's shelf.

But that's "whatever". I can just ignore them. What I can't ignore is the fact that Tiger decides to fade ALL icons when I have "Show Hidden Files" enabled. This feature has always worked flawlessly and now it's broken. Yay. I need to see hidden files cause I work with Apache .htaccess files every day, and I also like making sure I'm not uploading .DS_Store files all over the place... Oh how I hate those .DS_Store files... Previously, the Finder would display hidden files as slightly faded. Now, it just shows all files, when in Icon or Column view, as faded.

The solution for now is to disable "Show Hidden Files". (If you need to do this, you already know how...)

Next, icon placement on the Desktop. Amen Hallelujah they finally gave us a tighter grid (how about a slider so we the users can control that hrm? Please?), but man has stuff gotten jumpy around here! Trying to move something from here to there produces one of three results: 1- bull's eye! success, 2- close enough, we'll snap it to the closest grid point (same as it always was, same as it always was) or, must frustratingly, 3- Psych! No way josé! Back to where you came from! "Going postal" is a reaction that comes to mind when this happens.

Aside from that, like I said, everything seems fine. A couple of little application bugs here and there but nothing show stopping. So far.

I totally forgot another supremely annoying new bug: Menu Bar item launch sequence and the inability to reorder certain apps appearing there. From what I understand, Menu Bar apps come in two flavors. I forget the names, but basically some you can move around (Apple Key + drag), others you can't. I have two date/time MenuBar apps I use and previously they launched perfectly well in the same place every time. Now, all MenuBar apps launch willy nilly between reboots, seemingly randomly ordering themselves every time. I blame Spotlight. Anyone else?

"Meet the world" flags

 Home Flags Brazil
 Home Flags China
 Home Flags Columbia
 Home Flags Usa
 Home Flags Europeunion

We started to research relevant, global, and current facts and, thus, came up with the idea to put new meanings to the colours of the flags. We used real data taken from the websites of Amnesty International and the UNO.

A couple more here, and the designer's statement here.

Link via Stevsey.