April 2007 Archives


Sometime while I was away this winter, IleSansFil, the Montreal free community wifi service, crippled all their hotspots, by disallowing any and all traffic without login. (Or so it seems, I've only tried at 4 or 5)

The ISF service requires web/browser based authentication before they let any traffic through from your *device* to --or from-- the network.

Previously, they allowed email to pass through without authentication. This is no longer the case. I have gotten no clear reason for this, or any clear indication of at what level this was done. I've heard wishywashy mealy-mouthed eyes averted mumblings about "precluding the sending of spam email".

For me personally, this renders the ISF service totally useless, as I relied on it to be able to do data transactions on my mobile device. Authenticating via a web browser in this context is a non-realistic and non-surmountable barrier to use.

Their argument might be "well our whole purpose for creating the ISF network was not to blanket the city in WiFi but rather to provide community web portals." That's all fine and dandy, and when I am sitting with my laptop, that's great, really. But ISF just silenced my mobile capacity to express myself and stay in touch with my FTIC. And it hurts. Badly. Especially with the extortionate cellular data rates in this country.

Isn't ISF's tagline "free | wireless | internet"?

In any case, I'd like a clear statement as to what happened and why. And who I can talk to figure out a better solution than treating every Montrealer as a criminal.


Not much to say at the moment. Busy as usual. All's well. Carry on. :)

I called it

Of totally no interest to anyone, and just of passing to myself, but I so called it.

WordPress is inching towards Drupal, and Drupal towards WordPress.

They will never meet or overlap of course (or maybe they will one day who knows), I'm just saying there is certainly an homogenizing trend.

Drupal gets more user friendly, cleaned up code, separation of admin and public site.
WordPress just decided to introduce taxonomy tables in their database to handle categories and tags. The plugin architecture is mature enough that you can do just about anything with a plugin/module. Making a plugin that creates and manages a whole new taxonomy--like say geo--will be a snap.

That is all. Sorry to bore you. ;)

A place or a feeling?

Bruno throwing snowballs at me and Ty
Originally uploaded by Shawna Nelles.

Last night at Laïka, I had a brief conversation with Michael, founder of Ile Sans Fil and good friend, about various things, including how places are not just geographic coordinates or a point on a map or an intersection of two streets or a corner of a neighborhood: they are communities, shared experiences, stories (as Matt Jones said somewhere sometime somehow I don't remember).

One example of this is how the Flickr isflaika tag, which get aggregated into Laïka's ISF portal login screen slowly morphed from showing cups of coffee and glasses of beer, to people hanging out, to pictures of the staff... then increasingly to pictures related to the community of Laïka (former staff member on the beach in Thailand, me in Shinjuku, one of the regular DJs, Vincent Lemieux, playing in Tokyo, etc...)

This picture is of Bruno, the big boss, caught in his afternoon fun today of throwing snowballs at neighborhood regulars as they came by. The photo was snapped by Shawna, whom I met one evening at Laïka and who is now one of The Officemates.

I know where that corner is: it's in me heart.

"It's all about taste"

New friend Patrick went on a fantastic tear about how fascinating Karl Lagerfeld is after I showed him The Sartorialist and we scrolled over his picture.

The above video was a 2 minute promotional made to announce Lagerfeld's line for H&M afew years ago, which apparently many regarded as a sellout move of sorts. The piece fiercely parodies the fashion world, and much of Lagerfeld's own clientèle...

... his retort to being called "cheap" at the end is golden:

"It's all about taste. If you are cheap, nothing helps."

A few years ago, Mike said something similar to me: "Taste is all you have. Without it, who cares?" (something along those lines ;)


Global Voices Online

After months of work, we finally launched the Global Voices Online redesign. This is just the beginning of many many more awesome things to come.

Many thanks to all who helped! and congrats to the whole GV community.

Just a band

Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip 'Thou Shalt Always Kill'

"thou shalt give equal worth to tragedies that occur in non-english speaking countries as to those that occur in english speaking countries." (1:54 in)


Sir Richard Branson in Casino Royale

Richard Branson in Casino Royale Bond

Noticed him and looked into it. Sure enough, it's Branson.

In 2002 or so I did a mockup of a public access WiFi portal to be used by Virgin that I know he saw. Haw haw.

Who's uncivilized?

Call that humiliation?
No hoods. No electric shocks. No beatings. These Iranians clearly are a very uncivilised bunch
Terry Jones
Saturday March 31, 2007
The Guardian

I share the outrage expressed in the British press over the treatment of our naval personnel accused by Iran of illegally entering their waters. It is a disgrace. We would never dream of treating captives like this - allowing them to smoke cigarettes, for example, even though it has been proven that smoking kills. And as for compelling poor servicewoman Faye Turney to wear a black headscarf, and then allowing the picture to be posted around the world - have the Iranians no concept of civilised behaviour? For God's sake, what's wrong with putting a bag over her head? That's what we do with the Muslims we capture: we put bags over their heads, so it's hard to breathe. Then it's perfectly acceptable to take photographs of them and circulate them to the press because the captives can't be recognised and humiliated in the way these unfortunate British service people are.

Satire. Useful steroid for a weakened 5th estate. Love it. 'Specially Python style. :)

(thnx Shawna)