Saturday, December 31, 2005

Posting Pictures to Flickr

I think that I’ve really accomplished this goal. I just finished uploading my 4000th picture to Flickr, which is quite a number of photos to have uploaded. In 2005 I posted 2576 photos and in 2004, when I first joined, I posted 1424, so I’m up over 1000 photos for 2005. I’m not sure if I will keep up the record for 2006, but I will keep posting regularly.
I also was able to upload at least one picture a day from March to close to the end of December, which was a challenge at times, but I did it. One thing that it also made me realize is that I have connected to Flickr at least once every day for the past year. Maybe I should post fewer pictures next year and go online a bit less…

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Friday, December 30, 2005

Lowering My Flags

I use NetNewsWire and a lot to find and keep track of things and one of my favourite features of NetNewsWire Pro is the ability to flag entries. I use the feature to keep track of things that I want to write about or bookmark via I've been busy over the last few months, so my list of flagged items has grown larger and larger. Now that I have a little bit of free time before the end of the year I want to heavily reduce my flagged items by moving them into my bookmarks. Whew... there's a lot of good linking there.
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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Why I recommend "Blade Runner (The Director's Cut)"

by Ridley Scott

Blade Runner is a classic adaptation of a sf novel and a brilliant reworking of the material of the Philip K. Dick novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The brilliant touch that Ridley Scott brings to the material is to rework a novel that is heavily based on personal reality into the cinematic framework of film noir. The elements of “what is reality” are downplayed as the detective elements are emphasized. It takes a very internalized novel and externalizes through a detective story. The look, pacing and score still hold up and unlike some past favourites that don’t seem to age well, Blade Runner still is a remarkable film.

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Friday, December 23, 2005

A Beautiful, Empty City

by Frank Miller (II)

Visually stunning, but the style is so much more than the substance. It looks like a moving comic in the world of film noir, but somehow the translation from film noir to graphic novel and back leaves something out. It’s definitely worth seeing, but it ultimately becomes more of an exercise than a film that grabs you.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A review about "Donnie Darko"

Donnie Darko is an interesting film in how it subverts expectations and how it is constructed. I think that it’s a bit overrated and other films have done similar things, but I enjoyed the structure quite a bit. Since the film is built around a secret, I won’t reveal it, but it’s definitely worth seeing.

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

A review about "5X2"

A fascinating story of a couple told through five scenes, beginning with their divorce and progressing backwards to their first meeting. It starts off in a fairly disturbing way, but as the film progresses backwards in time you realize that you know less and less about the characters are more is revealed. The film is very carefully structured with a script that cleverly reveals (or hides) information that shapes your perception of the characters and the story. Not as enjoyable as Ozon’s 8 Women, which I loved, but still worth seeing.

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A review about "Heavenly Creatures"

Heavenly Creatures is a harrowing story that was the first film I saw by Peter Jackson and also was Kate Winslet’s cinematic debut. Visually it’s inventive and the editing is great as well. It becomes increasingly tense as it moves to the end and the circular structure lets you know that something terrible is about to happen. Great filmmaking with a fascinating combination of music and special effects that somehow fit into the story.

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Halifax Podcaster Meetup is a Hit

I had a great time last night and stayed up far too late talking about podcasting and technology with the great people from around Halifax who podcast as well as Tod Maffin, who is travelling across the country to meet with the grassroots of the podcasting movement in Canada. You can see pictures from Tod and at some point you may be able to hear audio recorded in one of the pictures. I find it amazing how many talented people there are around here. Stay tuned for my own podcast and accompanying site which will launch soon.
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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Halifax Podcaster Meetup

I'm still here!
I realize now that I've been fairly absent from this with energy going in to teaching and photographing and sharing things with my 43 Things, Places and All Consuming... but tonight I'm going to the Halifax Podcasters Meetup to meet some of the podcasting people around here as Tod Maffin heads across the country. My podcast isn't ready yet, but you'll be hearing from me soon.
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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Atlantic Film Festival Concludes

I did it. During the Atlantic Film Festival this year I managed to see 46 films in total. The breakdown is 16 feature films and 30 short films. I saw my last batch of shorts this afternoon and actually reached the 43 mark last night.
It’s been an exhausting week both physically and emotionally. The emotional exhaustion comes from the rapid shifts in tone from film to film. Each film that you see requires a bit of an emotional investment and I think that I’m a bit emotionally overdrawn and fragile now. Films that normally wouldn’t have a great effect on me seem to be more powerful than they should be. The steady flow of images and characters and stories on the screens in front of me is wonderful and overwhelming.
It all comes to a conclusion this evening with the closing party which is even more special as this is the 25th year of the festival. It should be fun and I’m looking forward to the party and also looking forward to being home and getting some rest.

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Friday, September 16, 2005

Atlantic Film Festival Opening Party

I went to the opening party of the Atlantic Film Festival last night. It was a very nice event that was held on a blocked-off street in Halifax. The gala film that opened the festival was Thom Fitzgerald’s 3 Needles which stars Lucy Liu, Olympia Dukakis, Stockard Channing, and Chlöe Sevigny. Ms. Sevigny was at the party which was exciting, but I didn’t talk to her. It was neat to have it outside and I had a chance to talk with lots of people from the business and many students and graduates and friends as well.

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Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Atlantic Film Festival's 25th

This year is the 25th anniversary of the Atlantic Film Festival , which is held in Halifax, Nova Scotia every year in September. It’s a great, friendly festival that is big enough to have a great selection of films, but small enough that you’ll get to know lots of people during the festival. I’m lucky because we’ve been able to integrate attending the festival with teaching people to make films, so attending the festival, seeing films and networking is part of my job. It’s one of the best times of the year and I’m hoping that this year I’ll see as many films as possible and I should be able to see at least 43 films (including shorts) in the 10 days of the festival.

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Carolyn's Mac mini

The Mac mini is a very neat machine. Carolyn's PowerBook was near the end of its life and it was becoming difficult for her to do much work with it, so we decided to buy a Mac mini as it was relatively cheap and would let her do everything that she needed to do. I found a refurbished Sharp flat panel monitor so we ordered it.
It arrived in about a week and everything seemed to be overpackaged. The computer is beautifully designed and is elegant as is the box that it comes in, but that box was packed in foam and two other boxes! So it was a huge box filled with packing material and other boxes.
The computer itself is almost impossibly small and quiet. Setting it up was very easy and simple and we used the setup assistant to move all of Carolyn's stuff over. Her account, applications, mail, preferences, and documents all moved over without a hitch.
The only odd problem was when we connected to our wireless network and everything got strange. For some reason the new computer disrupted our whole network. The network would be there, disappear and then reappear. A similar thing happened when I reinstalled OS X on a machine, so I figured that there was an update that I needed for the Mac mini to bring it up to speed. But how to connect to the network, since I didn't want to unplug the mini and all of the other stuff to move it to the router. What I did was shut off Airport on the mini and share the internet connection through FireWire on my PowerBook. It worked and after the update everything is working very well. Aside from the networking trouble at the end (which I think is a problem with our router) it was a painless experience.
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Friday, July 29, 2005

Ministers Island

Ministers Island is a short drive from St. Andrews and you can only get to the island by driving across the ocean floor during low tide. The name of the island comes from the home of an Anglican minister that was built in 1790.
The real attraction is the summer estate that was built by railway baron William Van Horne in 1890. An extension to the rail line was made so Van Horne could travel to the island in his hown personal train car.
As you go onto the island there is a road that is covered with cedar trees which makes it look like a tunnel and the buildings are spectacular. It’s a beautiful, pastoral island with many fields and interesting flora and fauna. There is a circular bathhouse where the tide comes in and fills the bottom so you could bathe. Now you only can go on the island as part of a two-hour guided tour, but it’s still would be interesting.

I was able to go onto Minister’s Island a few years ago before it was renovated when the Province of NB owned the property, but hadn’t decided what to do yet. We were shooting a film on the island and drove over at low tide and stayed on the island and shot until the tide went out again and then left. It was beautiful and the fascinating thing was that renovations within the buildings were made in the 1960s or 1970s and many of the excesses of the time were throughout the buildings… shag carpets, bright greens and oranges, which seemed to be a startling contrast to the stately architecture of the summer home. At the end of the day we rushed to finish shooting before the tide came in and blocked the road.
I’m assuming that it’s a lot different now with the guided tours and the restoration that has taken place. A few years ago I took a quick look around (I missed the tour) close to the gate after climbing past it. I want to go back and see inside to see what it was like in the past.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Tickets for the Chocolate Fest

The tickets have arrived for the tour of the Ganong Factory Tour which is part of the Chocolate Fest in St. Stephen, New Brunswick. They’re not golden tickets, but pink, probably because Ganong’s famous “Chicken Bones” candy is pink. The tour happens a week from tomorrow and it should be a lot of fun. One disappointing thing was to see that “jewelry and cameras” are not allowed in. So I won’t be able to take any pictures inside. Apparently there is still a lot of secrecy in the manufacture of chocolate and candy. It will still be enjoyable to see the process of making chocolate and candy (and I think that I may buy some of their products as well.)

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Monday, July 25, 2005

43 Places

I didn’t think that I had a huge desire to travel, but looking at my 43 Places makes me realize that I do want to travel. What is wonderful about the way 43 Things and 43 Places work are the elements of randomness and connectivity. You can find out where people want to go and what they want to do in an organized way if you like or you can just look at the thing or place cloud at the bottom of pages. I like to click on intriguing places and then cheer people on.
It’s fun and I’m discovering all sorts of amazing places (and people) and it also is helping me remember some of the places that I’ve visited as well as places where I want to go.

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Sunday, July 24, 2005

43 Things T-Shirt

I wore my 43 Things t-shirt today and when I was getting coffee I was asked, “what are the other 42 things that you’re doing”. It was kind of neat. While 43 Things is public, there is a level of anonymity that is connected with the sharing. I’m glad that I’m sharing the 43 Things vibe with the world outside of my keyboard and screen.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

My iPod Shuffle

I’ve had my iPod Shuffle for a few days now and I really like it. I’m thinking that this may be my iPod for a while now. When I ordered it with saved airline reward miles I thought that it would be a little thing that I’d use until I got a larger iPod, but I’m loving it so much I’m wondering if I need to get a larger iPod.
The iPod Shuffle is beautiful in the minimalist design and functionality. You can’t play games or look at your calendar or photos on it – you just listen to music. The interface on the front of it consists of a play/pause button surrounded by a ring that has left and right arrows for forward or back or scanning and plus and minus on the top and bottom for volume. An LED below the surface blinks green when you press one of the buttons and blinks continuously when paused. When it’s attached to my PowerBook it’s orange and blinks when it is transferring songs. On the back there is a slider that turns on the power and you slide it one notch down to play tracks in order or all the way down to play tracks randomly. There is also a small button on the back with a tiny LED to check battery status. You press it and it blinks green if it is full, orange in the middle, and red if the battery is low.
I just have it about half full (it’s a 512 MB model) and I have three recent albums on it as well as some other songs. Before I take a walk I’ll put one or two podcasts on it. I have to experiment with the autofill function which will randomly fill the shuffle, but for now I’m loving my tiny friend. I store it in a very low-tech Altoids tin with the headphones – simple!

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A Tale of Two Top Tens

I looked at the top 10 podcasts on Odeo and on iTunes to see if I can figure anything out from the lists.

Here are the top 10 from Odeo:
1. MAKE Magazine Audio Show
2. IT Conversations
3. SuicideGirls
4. The Odeo Channel
5. Engadget Podcast
6. this WEEK in TECH
7. Adam Curry: Daily Source Code
8. NPR's Science Friday
9. Free Radio SubPop
10. Future Tense

and the top 10 from iTunes:
1. CBC Radio 3 Podcast
2. iTunes New Music Tuesday
3. Quirks and Quarks
4. Z100 Phone Taps
5. Queer Eye Hip Tips
6. The Al Franken Show
7. Podfinder
8. Inside Mac Radio
9. this WEEK in TECH
10. ESPN Radio Podcast

What does this mean?
I think that both services have a lot of featured podcasts that show up in the top 10. I'm guessing that people see a featured podcast and subscribe to it (which makes sense). There are more mainstream media-based podcasts on iTunes than on Odeo. It's interesting how there are two CBC radio shows in the top 10 on iTunes and that's almost the entire CBC podcast lineup now.

The Odeo top 10 is closer to my own personal taste which is probably why I'm getting my podcasts through Odeo now (with my personalized RSS feed going into iTunes 4.9). Odeo users seem to be interested in more alternative music, technology, science and sex, while iTunes users are interested in music, technology, science, fashion and sports.

It will be interesting to see how the top 10 lists evolve as more people use these services and find new and interesting podcasts. With Odeo I'm a huge fan of tagging to generate categories and the ease of adding a podcast to the directory. You basically just add the feed and it shows up. While you can subscribe to outside feeds with iTunes, it takes a while for a feed to be added to their directory. But iTunes integrates it all into the iTunes interface, which makes it very easy to subscribe. But you can't change the category or add it it and your input (via iTunes) is limited to "Report a concern".

Another intuitive and neat thing about Odeo is how you can click on a link to update a podcast feed. It makes sense to let people do that. If nobody is wondering about updates it will automatically be updated the next time the system checks, but if someone wants to check sooner, it can happen. That's smart and simple and good.
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Saturday, July 09, 2005


A bat on a ledge
Yesterday a bat flew into the house through the chimney. I found out about it when everyone in the living room started screaming and yelling. I looked in and there was a bat flying around. Everyone was ducking as it came around. We managed to get it into the sun room and closed the doors and were able to watch it. It flew around and landed in various places. The dog was outside the door and she kept trying to get in and get the bat.
The outside door of the sun room was locked, so I couldn't open it from outside. But I noticed that one of the windows was open, so I went outside, took the screen off and then opened the window a bit more. Then we waited as the bat flew around and noticed the open window.
A bat is a fascinating creature. Tiny little claws and wings that fold up. Watching it fly around and try to figure a way out was kind of neat. Having the glass between us and the bat helped. Even though it probably woundn't have attacked me, I didn't want to go in and open the door from the inside. I think that Batman was onto something when he chose his symbol.
Our bat made several attempts to get to the ledge and managed to get a spiderweb tangled on one of it's arms. Then it was able to get to the ledge and pull itself up onto the ledge and then it flew to freedom. It was cute in a slightly scary way.
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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Language is a Virus

Language is a virus from outer space.

Stuck when you're trying to write something? Want to play some word games? Language is a Virus has a comprehensive collection of things to do with writing and language. Hours of fun if you're into that sort of thing.

(Via 43 Folders.)

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Monday, July 04, 2005

NetNewsWire 2.0

Sometimes you forget about something that's always there, and with NetNewsWire, it's the only program that I consistently use as much as or more than email, or even my web browser. It's transformed how I see the web and stay up-to-date. It's a simple, clean and essential application for me. I've used NetNewsWire since the beginning and it made feeds make sense and become useful to me. Version 2.0 was released recently and looking through a list of More features in NetNewsWire 2.0 you might not know about made me realize how I'm just scratching the surface of Ranchero's wonderful application. My personal favourite feature is flagging. I flag things that I want to remember and keep them around until I blog about them or add them to my links. I also use MarsEdit to edit and create some posts and as MarsEdit develops I think that I'll use it even more. NNW is one of the best software purchases that I've ever made and it's the only application that I use every single day for the whole day.
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Friday, July 01, 2005


While Apple has the dominant position with digital downloads and the iTunes Music Store is easy to use, I love BLEEP, which is the digital download service from Warp Records. It's simple and clean and works very well. The music is not DRMed and is high quality. While I've used the site for a while, it wasn't until yesterday that I realized something else about it - it's very friendly to write about on the web. When you're on a release you can click on the "WEB TOOLS" link and it gives you a hand URL for the release, but it also lets you configure and embed a player that gives you a picture of the release (if you want) as well as a track and entire album listing. That means you can preview the track or the whole album. It's a great way to let people know what you're writing about. I hope that more labels do this online.
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Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Art of Project Management

Scott Berkun’s The Art of Project Management is an essential book for those who manage projects. You can read it straight through and it serves as a comprehensive course in how to make things happen, keep them going and deal with people and political situations in almost any organization. You can also just keep the book next to you desk and dip into it from time to time for some solid advice on what to do in almost any situation that will come up. Written with a sense of humour and drawing on years of experience, it doesn’t provide an overarching philosophy or elaborate system, but practical and honest guidelines for getting your project completed and learning lessons from your team and the processes that you follow. I loved it and will probably use it every day.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Goodbye to Bell Road

Today was the last day of work for me before the Summer break. We're all moved in to the new location for the Applied Arts above Mountain Equipment Co-op in downtown Halifax now. I stopped by the old building on Bell Road today to pick up a couple of maps that were on the walls inside. It was strange to go in as the building is being stripped and it was dark inside, with all sorts things missing. It was an odd experience. Outside they had begun to put the poles in the ground to build a fence around the building to prepare for the demolition. See the two bas reliefs at the front of the building missing made the fact that this will be gone soon hit home.
I started working at the location on Bell Road three years ago and I'll miss the old building.

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Thursday, June 16, 2005


Happy Bloomsday everyone! I have to read Ulysses again...and I seem to have that thought every year on this day. James Joyce created an amazing novel that creates a vivid portrait of Dublin. Someday I want to visit Dublin, but I suspect that the version that is there does not completely correspond to the one that Joyce created.
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Monday, June 06, 2005

24 Season 4

I watched every episode of the most recent season of “24”. It’s a guilty pleasure, but I love Kiefer Sutherland’s character and performance and the constant cliffhangers are funny in their absurdity. What makes the show work is that it combines soap-opera-style personal relationships with an action-filled thriller. With dozens of separate plot strands, it’s tv that you have to watch closely as it doesn’t give you a chance to lose interest as it switches to a different plot.
It was fun and I’m surprised that I was able to actually watch every single episode as it was on. Nothing on tape. I haven’t done something like that for a long time and I think that it says a lot about that show that it kept me tuning in for so long.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005


One of the biggest challenges in any project is figuring out how to do things and manage the whole process. Whether it is making a film or renovating a house or developing software, if it involves more than one person, you’ve got to do some managing of the project. Scott Berkun has been writing some of the best essays and giving out lots of advice on how to manage projects and people. Through his essays and the great collected wisdom of the crowd of PM Clinic I often find useful advice that helps me a better teacher and project manager.
Now he’s got a new book, The Art of Project Management and I can’t wait to read it. It’s great to have a perspective and common sense for making things happen and keeping things going. If only more people would follow the advice, as it would be a calmer, more productive world.

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Monday, May 16, 2005

A Place For My Stuff

I go through cycles of organizing and throwing things out in the various places where I live and work. When it’s organized, it’s great, but when it’s not…it’s a bit messy. One of the problems that I have is that I tend to not throw a lot of things out. Keeping stuff isn’t a problem if you have a place to keep it, but if you don’t have a place for stuff it just piles up.
Things were more organized in my home office when I was working in there a lot, but now it’s not organized at all. What I need is to clean it out and then find a place to put everything and to put things in the proper place when I decide to keep them.
With a well-organized room, I think that I’ll use it more as well.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

All the Backpacks that weren't

One of my favourite new things is Backpack. I used it to get things organized for a trip that I took to Yarmouth today and I'm hooked. It reminded me to buy batteries and tapes, I had all the contract information I needed as well as maps of where I needed to go. It's like a magic backpack that expands or shrinks to fit everything. There is a great look at All the Backpacks that weren't on Signal vs. Noise. It's a neat glimpse into the process behind designing something that is simple, clean and works well. The 37signals rock so hard.
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Monday, May 09, 2005


I've started Geoblogging... which is putting the latitude and longitude into tags on Flickr photos, which is then combined with Google Maps to give you a map with the location of photos. It's very cool and it's something that I think should be more integrated into Flickr... the same as the date and time. It's very cool and you can see the map of my photos which will update as I add more pictures. A very cool example of the neat things you can do with information that is shared.
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Saturday, May 07, 2005

Big and Small

I've been thinking about what I buy and use and how I'll use some things a lot and other things not so much. Two things happened this weekend that showed me the difference between a large, established company and a small, dyanmic one.
I do my banking online and I want to move my bills to an electronic form so there isn't a stack of paper always piling up. So I went on the web site of the phone company and carefully clicked around and followed the directions for eliminating my paper bill. I thought that I'd start with my cell phone since the second thing (more about that later) has me thinking that I'll use text messaging on my cell phone a bit more. There is a tool that helps you analyze your usage to make sure that you're on the right plan. So I registered and followed all the directions and when I got to the final step it wouldn't work. So I called the phone company's tech support and was told that because I have a plan that includes my home phone, long-distance and internet connectivity I couldn't set that up because it was just part of the cell-phone section of the company. The other section of the company is only available during business hours, so I'd have to check back with them to see if it they could set it up. I lost interest for a while and forgot to call.
The other thing that happened (and indirectly prompted this) was that I've started to use Backpack a bit more and I find the reminders incredibly useful... I was able to send a reminder to myself that kicked in when I was at the grocery store... I would have forgotten the peanut butter... You may be thinking that I could use a paper list and it would work, but the problem with paper is that you have to look at it. If I'm moving a reminder that shows up on my cell phone is great. I usually don't have to even read it, but the timing is important.
When I was setting up reminders I noticed that my cell phone provider wasn't listed, but an affiliated company was. I tried that out and it worked. Then I dropped the Backpack team a note and they changed it to make it clearer. All within a few hours.
A large, established company can make it difficult for exciting and interesting things to happen. The structure can slow down or stifle communication.
Which of the two companies do you think I enjoyed my limited contact with?
Which company do you think I'd rather give money to?
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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Holga Photography

I’ve shot three rolls of film with my Holga so far and I love it. I went from film to digital and now I’m using both digital and film nad it’s neat to see the effect that it’s having on my photography. I love the plastic medium-format camera and it creates images that are distinctive and somewhat magical. I’m still learning what works and what doesn’t and I’m a bit up in the air of whether I like using colour or black and white film. Now I’m leaning a bit more towards colour.
Having only 12 images and working within a square frame are making me see the world in a different way again. I love it!

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Tuesday, May 03, 2005


I think that Backpack will be very, very cool. I've used Basecamp and been a fan of 37signals (and Signal vs. Noise) for a long time and Backpack seems like the culmination of a lot of things. I've just started to play with it and I love how it looks and works and thinks. For me to use something now I really have to connect with it on some sort of emotional level and I like it when something conforms to me and how I think and not the other way around. I think that by using Backpack I may ultimately end up using Basecamp more as I feel that I've always not used it to the full potential. Backpack is personal and flexible and it will be interesting to see how it fits in with all of the other online stuff that I use. It's actually becoming more like the world we saw years ago where you don't need a computer to do a lot. But this is real... I remember when I read about the Java version of WordPerfect and thought, "Wow! You won't need your own computer!" and then I tried it out and it was slow and didn't work that well. It's different now and I'm amazed how smoothly some of this stuff works.
Simplicity is wonderful and 37signals gets it and does it the right way. We need more people like them.
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Sunday, May 01, 2005

Ricky Gervais... Obviously.

I've been looking through the site of Ricky Gervais, which is a great place to learn more about the cocreator of The Office who is very funny, but is also quite talented. The site is comprehensive and fun with some nice little video bits, and it also has some glimpses and information about the new series from Gervais and Stephen Merchant, called Extras. I hope that it shows up relatively soon in Canada, but the good news is that it will be on HBO in the US, so it hopefully won't take too long to come here.
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Saturday, April 23, 2005


I’m buried in marking right now. It’s the end of the Winter Term and I have to finish evaluating everything to have all of the marks added up. I love teaching, but I don’t love having to assign values to the work. Providing feedback is great, but translating things into a numerical value isn’t as much fun. Enough whingeing… I should get back to marking…

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Saturday, April 16, 2005

How I Buy Things Now

I hadn't realized how completely my purchasing decisions are now influenced by the connectivity that we have with the web, blogs and RSS feeds. I ordered a new cordless phone because Mark Frauenfelder blogged about Buying his new favorite cordless phone. I looked it up and found out that I could get it from my phone company and it arrived on Friday (but due to nobody being home, it's at the post office waiting to be picked up). So the purchasing decision that I made was based on the recommendation of one person. It's interesting to me because I didn't really think about it a lot. I read about it, it made sense and I ordered it. It shows the difference that trust can make when it comes to buying stuff.
A few weeks ago we had some flooding in the basement and I needed to get a sump pump to clear out the water and stop the flooding. I realized this at 6 in the morning, so no stores were open. When I took a break from vacuuming out water (which is not fun at all) I was able to find out that the local Canadian Tire had sump pumps in stock and they opened at 8am. So I was there when they opened, got it and pumped out the basement.
I only purchased the phone from the phone company because it was easy to do. I read about it, did a little more research and followed the path of least resistance. The key to success online seems to be in enabling and easing connections. I love how much easier things seem to be now.
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Friday, April 15, 2005

Figuring Out the Moleskine

I’m starting to use my Moleskine notebook more now. The latest thing that I’m using it for is to write down notes as I take pictures with my new Holga camera. It’s a film-based camera, so the information about the picture isn’t stored with it. I’m shooting my first roll of film now and I want to see what works and what doesn’t work. Having a great notebook with me makes it easy to write stuff down.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Getting a Holga

I got my first Holga yesterday.
I carefully looked at the box (and photographed it digitally) and then unpacked it and read through the instructions. I didn’t load the batteries and film until today and a took a few pictures.
I’m quite excited about it and it’s funny how the camera is making me look at things differently. I’ve been taking a lot of digital photos lately and now I’m glad that I’ll be getting back into shooting more film.
It’s funny how I can go out and take hundreds of digital stills over a fairly limited timeframe, but I’m taking my time working through the 12 exposures with the Holga.

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Saturday, April 09, 2005


I want to learn to code using Ruby. I haven’t really coded much in a while, but a few months ago I saw Instiki, which was built using Ruby (and now with Ruby on Rails) and it was so simple and clean that I thought that I wanted to find out more about it. Basecamp rocks for project management and it uses Ruby on Rails. Then I looked through some of the Ruby on Rails stuff and was very excited. Anything more complicated or database-driven that I had done before took a long time and required much preparation and a lot of coding to get everything working the way that it was designed. So I kept thinking that I should learn more about it.
43 things runs on Ruby on Rails and to install the latest version of Instiki you need Ruby on Rails, so I installed it all. Now I can play some more with Instiki and then do some things with Ruby. I’m looking forward to doing some coding now.

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DVDs By Mail

To help me watch more films I’ve signed up with an online DVD-by-mail service called that is very similar to Netflix. I can have 4 DVDs out at a time and out of the first batch I’ve started watching them. I’m thinking that I’ll probably watch more films which will probably translate into 3 or 4 films a week. One of the things that I like about the service is that I add films to my list and then they show up. It’s a great way to fill in gaps and to add films when you think of them. I don’t know if it will eliminate me renting DVDs at my local video stores, but it should mean that I will see more. The best feature is that there seem to be more obscure films that are difficult to find. I’m loving it so far, but with the list that I have now (almost 100 DVDs) it will take about half a year to work through them. So there will always be something to watch.
Down the road I can see this switching from the DVDs to delivering the films electronically. Mailing things takes time which slows things down. But it does make me look forward to the mail more now.

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Doctor Who

I watched the new Doctor Who tonight and liked it a lot more than I thought I would. Christopher Eccleston is an actor whose choices I like and he brings a lot of energy and humour to the role. Doctor Who has always had a campy quality to it and Russell T. Davies seems to have fun with the new series while balancing the drama. The villians are silly and there is a joyful goofiness to whole thing that just seemed to work.
It’s junk food, much like 24, but one of the neat things was watching my son watch the show. He loved it too and he wanted to know more about the show. I’m enjoying seeing how things are updated, but John is seeing it for the first time.
I think that it has a lot of potential and I’m going to keep watching it. The other fascinating thing is how Eccleston has quit the role and won’t be in the next series. I think that he’s a great Doctor and would do a great job for many outings, but he walked away. I have to admire the courage that it takes to do that, especially after the high ratings that the premiere received on the BBC. It’s neat to see an actor who does good work in a series choose not to be typecast in a role.

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Saturday, April 02, 2005

Best Magazine Ever

I was lucky enough to get a copy of Make magazine from O'Reilly and I've been reading a bit every day. I'm savouring it and loving it. In an odd way it reminds me a bit of how I felt when I first read Wired magazine. It seemed to fit very well and I connected with it. I really want to make some of the cool stuff such as the kite-mounted camera or the cheap steadicam. I think that they've really got something here.
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Monday, March 21, 2005

Holga Photography

I love taking pictures and I’ve been taking quite a few digital images, but I do miss film sometimes. One of the fascinating things that I find are the different aspect ratios of different formats. When my 35mm camera and lenses were stolen I couldn’t afford to get set up again, but when I was in Winnipeg I bought a new advanced photo system camera… the film format is smaller, etc. but the camera was a Nikon and it was the aspect ratio that I liked… the native aspect ratio is 16:9 and not 4:3. When black and white film came out for it I shot mainly black and white with it and I like the way it looked. But now I would really like to be using a larger format of film and I like the perverse idea of using a larger format film with a cheap, plastic camera. The Holga is a neat plastic camera that takes 120 film and takes very distinctive looking images. I want to get back into film…

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Sunday, March 20, 2005

AKMA on the Yahoo Flickr Deal

AKMA hits the nail squarely on the head and sums up a lot of things that I've been feeling as he talks about Growing Up. Things have changed a lot around blogging and the web over the last few years and it is a bit sad. I've been remembering all of the other cool things that I've been lucky enough to be around... remember MOOs and MUDs... remember e-mail when you had to know which system people were on... I still have my old black notebook with notes about sites and the numeric addresses of sites and all of the login info for those things. But what AKMA made me realize is that what makes all of this so amazing and wonderful and exciting is not the technology, but the people and the technology is just another way to connect with cool people. It's still happening and will continue to happen.
AKMA also made me remember a time when I was working on a documentary film in New York and we happened to be interviewing someone in the same building where Woody Allen was shooting a film. It was neat to see all of the equipment and people, but what I remember most is how the location manager (or maybe it was someone else) saw our tiny crew carrying all of the equipment in our hands and he said how he missed the days when he worked on films with small crews like that. The web and blogging is kind of like that now... we're growing up and it's changing a bit. It's not really bad or good, it's just different and things are changing.

(Via AKMA’s Random Thoughts.)

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Holy Flickr!

Caterina confirms on the Flickr Blog that Yahoo Buys Flickr. I had to pause and think about it a bit. I was hoping that they'd stay independent, but with the rapid growth they've been going through I really couldn't see how they would be able to keep going without some sort of change. The slightly strange thing was that I was thinking that Yahoo has been around a long time and they are doing some neat things and are changing and embracing the whole api and sharing thing a lot more. I signed up for Yahoo 360 a few days ago and I was thinking that there is no way that they can have a photo sharing component that will compete with Flickr. Now it all becomes clear and I think that if Yahoo brings the spirit of Flickr into Yahoo 360 it will kick some serious butt. It's exciting and scary and I hope that it turns out well. I think that everyone has learned a lot from other purchases and realize how sensitive communities are when someone else takes over. It's a delicate balance and what is great is that more and more things are becoming easier and cheaper to do. This is probably good news for tagging as well... it's Flickr that really helped me understand how great tagging was. Lets hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
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Friday, March 18, 2005

Cory's Life Hacks Live! Notes

More great notes from Cory in Austin. Danny O'Brien and Merlin Mann have great tips for getting organized and you can read the notes from Life Hacks Live! and find out how to be better organized and more prolific as a geek. I can honestly say that the tips from O'Brien and Mann have got me a bit more organized and resulted in me using a notebook a lot more.
(Via Boing Boing.)
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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Cory's Folksonomy Etech Notes

I'm glad that Cory Doctorow gets to go to things like O'Reilly's Emerging Technology conference and that he takes great notes. It means that I can get a bit of the flavour (well, more of the ideas then the taste) of some of the sessions. His notes on Folksonomy, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Mess are from a discussion between Clay Shirky, Stewart Butterfield, Joshua Schachter and Jimmy Wales is fascinating. It brings together key people and ideas from Flickr,, and Wikipedia and helps you understand all of them and why and how they developed and what they do.
(Via Boing Boing.)
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CBC Podcasting

I'm a huge fan of the CBC and listen every day. The only thing that interrupts my listening now as I make the hour long drive to and from work every day are podcasts that I burn onto CD. The CBC started a trial of podcasting some shows and CBC technology pioneer Tod Maffin (who did the ground-breaking Todradio on CBC) who manages to popularize new technology trends on radio and via the web. He's at the centre of our national broadcasters new trial of podcasting and I'm glad to see that Tod reports that CBC's podcasting trial is a hit!. I provided some feedback and it's good to know that people are listening. My biggest request is that the amazing Ideas program be distributed via podcasting as it seems like the serialized flow of thought-provoking audio of that show would be very welcome.
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Tuesday, March 15, 2005


I finished reading Malcolm Gladwell's new book, Blink and I loved it. My review of Blink goes into more detail. Of course I had to take a picture to help link all of my online and offline stuff together. I completed another one of my 43things as well! technorati tags: , , ,

Monday, March 14, 2005

Bonne fête Vu d'ici!

One of my newer discoveries is Vu d'Ici which translates into English as "Seen From Here" and I like the perspective that she brings in both words and sounds and music (as well as with her art). Her blog is three years old, so it's time to say Bonne fête Vu d'ici!. One of the things that I miss about Montreal (which I haven't visited for far too long) is the great mix of art, culture, languages and food. I can get my Montreal fix vicariously through m-c as well as discovering all sorts of great music. She recently started doing some of her podcasts in French which provides a very welcome shift from the anglophone flood of podcasts. Happy Birthday and many, many more years of blogging, podcasting and whatever is next m-c!
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Saturday, March 12, 2005

Interview with Brent and Sheila Simmons

Designing software requires empathy, and so does writing your website and the documentation and, most importantly, communicating with the people who use your software.

One of my favourite (and constantly running) applications is NetNewsWire which I've bought and never regretted. I'm writing this entry with MarsEdit, which is also from Ranchero. There is a neat interview on DrunkenBlog with Brent and Sheila Simmons where they talk about a small software company, developing software for the Mac and the applications that I love.
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Creating Passionate Users: Your brain on multitasking

I multitask a lot and I like to think that it means that I'm able to get more things done in the time that I have available, but sometimes I think that it's not as effective as it could be. Creating Passionate Users: Your brain on multitasking confirms this suspicion. Maybe if I more completely focussed on one thing or at the very least multitasked a bit less, I would get more things done in the time that I have available. Usually I'll have several browser windows open and will jump around, answer an email, blog a bit, look at Flickr and then come back. Then I'll have something left or something that I forgot. I need to focus a bit more and multitask a bit less.
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Friday, March 11, 2005

south by southwest music

I really wish that I could be there for the film, interactive or music sections of the South by Southwest Festivals, but I've been spending some time listening to SXSW Songs that the festival has made available as a huge (2.6 GB) Bittorrent download. There is some great music there and I wish that I could go. I've already discovered a band that I hadn't heard of, Bedouin Soundclash, who I've fallen in love with. There are still several hundred songs for me to listen to...
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Sunday, March 06, 2005

Moleskine Notebooks

The hot new thing for geeks is paper and more particularly Moleskine notebooks. I’ve bought one and I’ve used it a bit, but haven’t completely embraced it yet. Most of my organizing and writing and scheduling is still done electronically, but I’ve always had a notebook, especially for taking notes for projects that I’m working on, so it’s not a new thing. But reading about how people use thier notebooks made me want to get one, so I’ve started to use it. I also got a new pen. I think that I’m not the only person who loves to buy office supplies as a way to get organized… isn’t that the fun part about the beginning of the school year?
I like the way the Moleskine works as it’s well-designed and fits into my pocket, but I still haven’t figured out exactly what I’m going to with it (aside from general notes).

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Saturday, March 05, 2005


I've been using quicksilver for a few weeks now and it's become part of how I use OS X. I didn't really understand what it did until I read a bit more about it and then I started using it more and more. What I love about it is that it's very subtle and understated. The only problem is that I don't think that I'm using it to the full potential. I first found out about Quicksilver from 43 Folders which pointed me to some excellent tutorials by Dan Dickinson that convinced me to try it out. Now I'm still discovering new tricks and it makes me say "wow!" (to myself and not out loud) from time to time.
But what does it do?
It lets you type in a few letters and find a contact, an application or web site and then do something with it. You can send or upload or manipulate files, move things around, pull things from recent copying and pasting or do tons of other things. It sits on top of whatever you are doing and lets you do something else with the minimal interruption. Very cool and subtle.
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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Tagging Tools

I use tags in most of the blogs that I post to and I very deliberately tag my entries on 43things,, and Flickr. When tagging is built-in it’s fairly easy to do but it’s a bit of a pain to tag things without having it as part of the regular workflow. I really hope that Blogger adds support for tags soon and with Blosxom I just have to figure out a better way to get the tags together. I probably wouldn’t be tagging as much as I am on my blogs without oddiophile’s technorati tag bookmarklet. But other things are a bit more challenging such as this entry which I’m making through 43things, but also posting to my bitdepth digest blog. The goal is tagged in the context of 43things, but it isn’t tagged on Blogger. It would be great if the 43things tags (along with a 43things tag) could be formatted as technorati tags in a similar way to the goals that are added in to the post.
What I do now when writing an entry on 43things that is cross-posted is create the entry on 43things, post it, then open it through Blogger or MarsEdit and then use the bookmarklet to create the tag and add it in. A bit more complicated than I want it to be, but then again, I don’t mind adding html tags manual at times, so I guess that it’s all relative.

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Monday, February 28, 2005

Walking to a Movie

I love going to movies and living in a small town in rural Nova Scotia means that seeing a movie usually involves a drive. But now there is a functioning movie theatre in downtown Wolfville and I can walk downtown to see more alternative movies. Last night I walked down and saw "I Heart Huckabees"... it was nice to have a walk and organic popcorn, but unfortunately the movie was a fascinating car wreck to watch. It had the feeling of a film that would have been made in the late 60s or early 70s and would have been hailed as brilliant, but decades later it would seem dated. But the theatre is still cool and I love the marquee that gets lit whenever there is a show.

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Saturday, February 26, 2005

A Consuming Experience: Technorati tags: an introduction

A Consuming Experience: Technorati tags: an introduction provides a solid and comprehensive introduction to the amazing things that Technorati is doing with tags.
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Monday, February 21, 2005

The Doctor is Out

We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.

Hunter S. Thompson is dead.
What an amazing journey he took us on. I haven't read everything that he wrote, but I've loved everything that I've read by him. When I picked up "Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas" I couldn't put it down and raced through it. The sentences and paragraphs flowed in a demented and brilliant stream that almost seemed impossible. In a strange way he blazed the path for many types of personal writing and could be seen in some ways as a patron saint of bloggers. But he wasn't a blogger - he was a writer who sought out the truth and didn't let the facts stand in the way. Always entertaining in his writing and his life and not afraid to say things that needed to be said. He documented the death of the American Dream with an eloquence and a swagger that few can ever match. It's a sad day when you lose a powerful intellect and a strong voice. I'm having a drink and thinking of a great writer now. Good bye and cheers to the founder of the journalism known as "gonzo".
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Sunday, February 20, 2005

Just Us Coffee Cooperative

Wolfville is a funky place. It’s a small town with a university and a tourist and farming industry. One of the neat things that I discovered when I first moved here five years ago was that there was a coffee cooperative that roasted fair trade coffee. They seem to be doing well and they recently raised money through a community investment fund that also gives you a tax credit. For the past few years I always think of investing around tax time. But money is a bit too tight this year, but I want to invest at some point soon to help them grow.

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Monday, February 14, 2005

Great Films on DVD

Two of my favourite recent films are finally coming out on DVD. One of my favourite films of 2002 was All About Lily Chou-Chou, (directed by Shunji Iwai) which I saw at the Atlantic Film Festival and it was a powerful, haunting, and challenging film about the lives of teenagers in Japan. All About Lily Chou-Chou is out on DVD tomorrow. The other film, which was on my 2003 favourite films list is Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself, which was directed by Lone Sherfig. Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself is another complicated, sad and beautiful film that doesn't neatly fit into categories, but it's one of my favourite films that resonated with me. Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself is out on DVD next week.
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Sunday, February 13, 2005

What's Next for Blogger?

I'm wondering what's coming up with Blogger. Things have been relatively quiet for a while, but there have been lots of amazing things happening in the Googleplex with great local stuff, maps, and the amazing Gmail, which I use many times a day now. Some neat Javascript stuff is part of Blogger now, but I'm sure that something bigger is waiting. I personally would love to have some tagging stuff added as it's a bit of a pain to manually put the tags in. I like the simplicity of Blogger and how it works, but what could be next? Some stuff with Google Groups? More templates? Community stuff? There are so many interesting and exciting things happening with Google, Technorati, Flickr,, and 43 Things that I hope that Blogger will do something neat and exciting soon.
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Saturday, February 12, 2005

Watching tv shows

I don't have a Tivo, but I do have a VCR, but there is something about watching a show when it is broadcast that feels a bit different than watching something recorded. I've been trying to watch all of the new season of 24 as it airs. I haven't missed any yet and it's good, slightly-guilty fun. What is it about live tv and radio, maybe it's the knowledge that other people are watching it at the same time, making it a shared experience. That's probably why people post to blogs and share things that they want to do as well.

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Sunday, February 06, 2005

Google Local

I've been trying out Google Local Canada and I'm impressed. It's very promising and an easy way to find out what is close to you. I like how you have a map and can get directions as well as limiting the geographical range that it searches within. It's great for Halifax, but not as great for Wolfville. You can find things in the area, but the maps lack the street names, which makes for an interesting and abstract map and it almost works if you know what the streets are, but if you don't, it's just a bunch of lines.
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Saturday, February 05, 2005

O'Reilly Network: Stewart Butterfield on Flickr

The O'Reilly has a interview by Richard Koman of Stewart Butterfield on Flickr. I'm still addicted to Flickr and wish that I participated more in the community. I think interesting people make interesting's not what software you use that matters, but the connections between the people. When there is love there it makes a big difference.
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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Snowshoeing Around the Yard

I finally was able to use my snow shoes today. I had used them once before, but never in Wolfville. So today it was a nice day and I strapped them on and walked around, took pictures and filled the bird feeder in the backyard. There is lots of snow and the snow shoes worked well. Now I have to go out again for a longer walk and to go somewhere else aside from the backyard.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Amazing Adventures of Joy B

Sometimes by chance you meet people. A few years ago I was invited to a conference in Moncton and travelled up in a van with some other artists including Birgitta Jónsdóttir, who lives in Reykjavik, Iceland and has the site, Womb of Creation and blogs about The Amazing Adventures of Joy B, which is a collaboration between Birgitta and theHand. Sometimes you spend a very small amount of time with people and it reminds you of how tenuous connections can be and how there are wonderful and amazing people all over the world. I want to get out a bit more soon...
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Google Video Search

Now in beta, the Google Video Search looks very promising. It searches through the closed captioning text of programs from a limited subset of channels (during the beta) to find matches. The results are returned with screenshots. The neat thing is that it also lets you know when the show is on next. The weak link, of course, is that you can't really view the content online. Now that would be very cool, but in the current DRM environment it's probably not going to happen unless things change dramatically.
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Monday, January 24, 2005

driveway is clear!

Well, it took just over 4 hours in total, but the driveway is finally clear. I'm sore, but probably less sore since I used my new scoop. Luckily the snow drifted around the house and beside the garage I could see grass sticking up under the snow, so I was able to push the snow up beside the house and made a large snowbank which was able to get the snow out of the driveway. If I had to throw the snow over the snowbanks beside the driveway, I don't think that I would have been able to do it. It was getting dark by the time I finished and I didn't feel like taking a picture. It's definitely easier using a scoop, but the key is having somewhere to dump the snow.

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Cleaning out the driveway

I love Winter, but it can be a bit of a pain having to deal with snow all of the time. Here in Nova Scotia we've just experience our third blizzard in a week (the last one is the same one that hammered New England) which means that it's becoming difficult to find a place to put all of the snow. The day before the blizzard I bought a scoop to make things easier (I hope). I'm halfway through the driveway and it seems to be working better.

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Digging Out

The storm has ended. It's still windy and snow is blowing around, but now the shovelling begins. I bought a scoop to help with the cleanup. It's easier on the back than using a shovel and throwing the snow over snowbanks that are taller than your head. The plow cleared out the street a while ago and the driver had to make several passes to clear the massive amounts of snow. If we recieved the amounts forecast something between 40 and 60 cm of snow has fallen and with winds gusting around 80 km/h there has been a lot of drifting. I think that it will take a while to clear out the driveway. I don't want to go out, even though the sun is shining - with the wind chill it is -23 degrees Celsius. Brrr.
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Sunday, January 23, 2005

Goodnight, Johnny

Johnny Carson has passed away. He set the standard for late night television with his monologues that captured the zeitgeist of the time. The show was reassuring and funny and corny. But Johnny was the person who held it together. He was a private man who seemed to put all of his energy publicly into the show. He didn't do lots of interviews or appearances, but retired and preserved his legend. The consumate performer, he apparently was still writing jokes that David Letterman would use in his monologues. I'll never forget the final broadcast that Carson did of The Tonight Show. The format was so familiar that a change to it was shocking. Johnny walked out and sat on a stool and talked. It was amazing, moving, personal and real. I don't think that it was until that moment that I realized that there was a difference between the public and private Johnny Carson. He shared a bit more then and I'll never forget it. I missed Johnny from late night tv since he left and now I miss him a bit more.
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Still Snowing

We're in the middle of a blizzard here in Nova Scotia along with much of the North East part of North America. I'm about to go outside to shovel a bit so things don't drift in too much. This is the third major storm that we've had in the past week, so I'm getting tired of shovelling.
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Saturday, January 22, 2005

Tagging and Blogging

It's quite easy to blog now. There are lots of tools to use and most work together quite well. With the rise of the tag (in the past few months and in blogs in the last few weeks) the tools are catching up. Right now I'm using the Technorati Bookmarklet from Oddiophile to tag blog entries. But this entry is being written as an entry in my list of 43 Things, which has tags which don't move over with the blog entry (hmmm... maybe that should be an option when posting). I'd use all of the same tags, but I'd add 43things as another one. It would be good if there was a tag line along with a title line in blogging tools. But the context matters and I'm thinking that there may also be a need for implicit or contextual tags. So all of the entries that I post from 43 Things would have a 43things tag that would show up on the blog, but not on 43 Things. It makes sense to me. Now I'll post this via 43 Things, but open it up, generate tag code from the bookmarklet and then paste that in so it just shows up on the blog (because the tags are there for 43 Things already).

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Google Blog: Preventing Comment Spam

The Google Blog annouces an initiative that will help everyone in Preventing Comment Spam. Comment spam is a major problem with spammers inserting links in comments to boost results in search engines. It was so bad on the old Screen Arts blog that some days I would spend an hour or so deleting them and closing comments. That's one of the reasons that I switched to Blogger (along with the switches at Movable Type to need to pay) as it allowed me to restrict comments a bit. Now with broad support, hopefully things will get a bit better with comment spam disappearing. It's a neat solution with just adding an attribute (rel="nofollow") for hyperlinks. It's encouraging to see cooperation to solve problems quickly.
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