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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