Saturday, July 31, 2004
The Secret Swing and Accordion Guy exposed in The Globe and Mail
Friday, July 30, 2004
I missed seeing this in last Year Toronto's International Film festival, but now its comming to "select theaters" August 6th
Code 46 is a love story set in a Brave New World-type near-future where cities are heavily controlled and only accessible through checkpoints. People cannot travel unless they have "papelles," a special travel permit issued by the totalitarianistic government, the "Sphinx". Outside these cities, the desert has taken over and shanty towns are jammed with non-citizens - people without papelles forced to live primitive lives.
William is a family man who works as a government investigator. When he is sent to Shanghai to solve a case of fake papelles, he meets a woman named Maria. Although he realizes she is behind the forgeries, he cannot help but fall completely in love with her. He hides her crime and they have a wild, passionate affair that can only last as long as his papelles: 24 hours. Back home, William is obessed with the memory of Maria. When the original investigation is inevitably re-opened a week later and William is sent back to finish the work he started, he tracks her down, only to discover she has been accused of a Code 46 violation and any further relationship is impossible.
Here's the IMDB link and the trailer site (which appears to be a IE only piece of sh*t)
Bouncing around Toronto and 2 post Singularity futures
Over the last week or so, Elicia and I have been able to spend some extra time doing stuff around Toronto
In addition to a couple of morning tennis matches (which made up for your schedule evening games rained out), and seeing a 2 very good movies ( SpiderMan 2 and Will Smith's I Robot) we also visited:
I also managed to polish off Ken Macleod's "Newton's Wake" and Chariles Stross's "Iron Sunrise", after much anticipation.
Of the 2 I enjoyed Surnrise more, but that may be because its a sequel (more familiar) and its story universe is a little more interesting (to me) and messy.
Ken's writing has a background about the collision of societies (and its ideologies), where as Charile's is about the collision of technologies (and its ideological implications), which inform the stories they tell.
I look forward to read more from both authors placed in these settings.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Via vowe dot net :: Need directions?. If offered, do accept....
Bloggers represent Community
Even if it's a Community of Interest or a community of One....
Via Globetechnology: "The presence of all the bloggers at the two political conventions suggests that there is still a need for the local angle in information, even if it isn't done with much professionalism (at least not yet)."
It also makes another point that : "stripping local news out of a newspaper is a better way of killing it than of making it more profitable."
Update : Dave linked to the story as well "Bloggers are rushing in to fill a void, one that was once held by local newspapers."
Ebook's done wrong
Cory takes a bat to the puffy PR piece on Gizmodo.
for addtional background to the subject : Cory's own paper Ebooks: Neither E, Nor Books, his talk to Microsoft on DRM, and Charlie Stross's very recent A brief rant about ebooks.
In a related convergence, Russel Beattie writting about celphone/moblie technologies notes :
There's got to be a tipping point where Powerful or Possible technologies become the Practical day-to-day items.
I might dispute the "got to be" (because there is no "right" for any technology to succeed; "should" is not "would"), but I agree with the intent : technologies only become main stream (dare I say Commodities) when they move beyond possible and become practical (and then become useful). Camera phones are there. Digital music players are there and got there before DRM started to get in the way. Ebooks are not (yet) and DRM slowing their emergence into "Practical" and/or "useful".
Myths and realities of nano futures
Via Howard Lovy's excellent NanoBot comes a link to BBC : Myths and realities of nano futures which set a more measured tone about where the use of these technologies and techniques are today without some of the typical cheerleading of either the magic "fantastic voyage" type or the fear mongering gray (or green or blue ) goo scenarios.
Enough material for a couple of sci fi novels in there or at least some good day dreams! One question is, of course time frames. By Short term is 5 to 10 years, with the list of "Nanotechnology in our lives" as direct examples on applications of the short term uses. The Long Terms list is more 20 to 40 years out. Industries that supply or use products in the short term list should certainly be thinking about how to take advantage of these trends, or risk becoming obsolete and/or out competed.
Short term Nano uses :
Some Longer-Term Nano Uses
Nanotechnology in our lives
1 - Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) for displays
2 - Photovoltaic film that converts light into electricity
3 - Scratch-proof coated windows that clean themselves with UV
4 - Fabrics coated to resist stains and control temperature
5 - Intelligent clothing measures pulse and respiration
6 - Bucky-tubeframe is light but very strong
7 - Hipjoint made from biocompatible materials
8 - Nano-particle paint to prevent corrosion
9 - Thermo-chromic glass to regulate light
10 - Magnetic layers for compact data memory
11 - Carbon nanotube fuel cells to power electronics and vehicles
12 - Nano-engineered cochlear implant
update 1 : from Berkeley Lab Notes :A Catalyst for Nano-Energy Innovation via Boing Boing
update 2 : Howard went and linked back to me Thanks!
Now with Google searching...
I've added Google search of this site to the Navigation bar, so I can find stuff.
Enter your query, hit return, and be amazed (or alarmed)! Only positive positives.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Friday, July 23, 2004
A arrest in Cecila Zhang case : Cecilia knew accused, police say
in Toronto Star
Cecilia Zhang not only knew the man accused of killing her but she and her family likely had no reason to think he would ever harm her, police say."
the Globe and Mail has info too
very very sad.
Currently no known motive. This guy's student visa was about to expire and I'm guessing that prompt the police to move sooner rather than later. Hopefully this is the guy, and we can get a good conviction.
I've noted this story before : Shortly after she went missing, in Oct and when the little girl's remains were identified, in March
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
To Vote Republican, One Must Believe The Following:
Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.
Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.
The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.
A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.
Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.
The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.
If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.
A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies, then demand their cooperation and money.
Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.
HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.
Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.
A president lying about an extramarital affair is a impeachable offense. A president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.
Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.
The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's driving record is none of our business.
Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness, and you need our prayers for your recovery.
You support states' rights, which means Attorney General John Ashcroft can tell states what local voter initiatives they have the right to adopt.
What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
There aren't any Big New Desktop Applications.
Joshua Marinacci writes Myth: There aren't any commercial apps written in Java.
A observation he makes is that all of the Desktop App, and make things that were once applications but are now part of the OS, have been either commoditized or monopolized (or both).
word processing, spreadsheets, email, web browsing. presentations
It kind of fits Jonathan Schwartz's blog about Commodities and IT, but with (on the desktop) Microsoft playing the role of Standard Oil
Joshua also observes 2 places where their is growth in software, and new applications :
Google's fraud squad battles phantom clicks: ZDNet Australia: Insight: Security
Don't miss the second page, dur to their bad web page design
Interesting tidbits (or timbits as we call them in canada):
some marketing executives estimate that up to 20 percent of fees in certain advertising categories continue to be based on non-existent consumers in today's search industry. ...
advertiser-paid search results are expected to grow 25 percent this year to $3.2 billion, up from $2.5 billion in 2003, according to research firm eMarketer. From 2002 to 2003, the market rose by 175 percent.
On average, advertisers are paying 45 cents per click this year, according to financial analysts, up from 40 cents in 2003 and 30 cents in the second quarter of 2002. In certain sectors, such as travel, legal advice and gaming, the cost can reach several dollars per click. ...
more fraud-detection technologies are emerging to help advertisers analyse their campaigns and traffic. Some advertisers and search-engine marketing companies say they are compiling lists of sites that generate a high number of clicks but not sales. ...
Coremetrics, Urchin and Whosclickingwho.com are just a few that sell technology to examine click rates and sales that result from paid searches. Alchemist Media, which charges flat fees for its consulting services, has detected fraud while acting as an intermediary between search networks and marketers.
ZdNet also has this related piece Supply shortage could drive up cost of clicks
A.J. had better watch out!
Monday, July 19, 2004
When dealing with a bully
from Advice Line by Bob Lewis: "When dealing with a bully you only have three choices: Push back hard, take it, or leave."
Great advice, both in general and in the particular.
Friday, July 16, 2004
The coffee-shop problem
Here's a scenario that I've come to call 'the coffee-shop problem' because it pertains to a local coffee shop, though it also applies to a home office that might receive visitors. You have a single DSL or cable connection. The challenge: offer Wi-Fi to visitors without exposing your connected computer (or LAN).
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Animated (flash) weblog's : Warning programming related humour
Cedar Creek Gallery Web Site
Just got word announcing the Cedar Creek Gallery Web Site @ www.cedarcreekgallery.ca
Physically located in Caledon (Ontario Canada, just north of Toronto) the gallery showcases the photography and travels of Marty and Marsha Rothstein to Australia, the Southwest USA (Grand Canyon, New Mexico, Utah) and Caledon. (What no Rome pictures?) Looking forward to Prague in the Czech Republic in the new year Marty.
Enjoy the Photo's and stay for the wine and cheese. Tell them Ian sent you!
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Xmas in the summer time, and presents under the tree for me.
Just arrived : Charles Stross' lastest Iron Sunrise and The Atrocity Archives, plus Ken Macleod's Newton's Wake.
Man oh man, I've been waiting for this....I think I'm going to give up on sleep for a week.....I think I may need to..maybe if I told wife and work that i have a bad case of the black flu?..oh well...living the post-Singularity life....at least in my pre-singularity mind
Sun Commodities and IT
President and COO of Sun Microsystems Jonathan Schwartz has an interesting take on the hand wringling going on wrt Nicholas Carr's article (and now book) "Does IT Matter?"
Jonathan has several points worth thinking about :
Oil & gas, Telco, financial services (bank and insurance). Because commodities are those products for which a universal and perpetual demand exists, and where opportunities for massive leveraging of scale exist. What are the exceptions?
Did some diging / url hacking and found this list on Forbes (after the ad) heres the top 20 : Citigroup (Banking ), General Electric (Conglomerates ), American Intl Group (Insurance ), ExxonMobil (Oil & gas operations ), BP (Oil & gas operations ), Bank of America (Banking ), HSBC Group (Banking ), Toyota Motor (Consumer durables ), Fannie Mae (Diversified financials )
Wal-Mart Stores (Retailing ), UBS (Diversified financials ), ING Group (Diversified financials ), Royal Dutch/Shell Group (Oil & gas operations ), Berkshire Hathaway (Insurance ), JP Morgan Chase (Banking ), IBM (Technology hardware & equipment )
Total (Oil & gas operations ), BNP Paribas (Banking ), Royal Bank of Scotland (Banking ), Freddie Mac (Diversified financials ), DaimlerChrysler (Consumer durables )
The only ones I'm might not list as being in a commodity industry are: General Electric, Toyota Motor, Wal-Mart,IBM, DaimlerChrysler. And even then i could argue either way.
I'm not sure I’m willing to grant this one. A different business model (lowest cost, or high quality or whatever) would be a required for a top firm to get and stay on the top, although there might be others: natural monopoly, government monopoly, and preferential access to resources. Again how they got that edge might not be due to technology. I’m thinking of the US telephone system prior to its breakup, the aircraft industry, national airlines, or other “national champions” (steel?). Question: how many show up on the Fortune 50 list? I looked and could not see any.
Jonathan then tries to tie this back to Sun and make his case that Sun has a future in the Fortune 50.
If anything it makes the case for Sun to try to standardize more of their stack in order to gain edge over the competitors. Of course, one way to do a de facto standardization is to Open Source!)
It is also interesting seeing a CEO do the blog, and strike the balance between trivia and writting (or ghost writing) a column.
update : Alan Williamson noticed the big J's semi-blog too.
Here's more related chattering by the Blogsphere
Sunday, July 11, 2004
Syndicated Ads, the next generation
ongoing posts on Syndicated Ads
Let me propose three kinds of syndication advertising feeds: a Temporary Shoppers Feed, a Permanent Shoppers Feed, and a Personalized Sellers Feed.¶
These kinds of modes are something that CentrSource addresses, so feeds of this kind would be the next step value add.
Friday, July 09, 2004
Top 12 Things A Klingon Programmer Would Say
- 12. Specifications are for the weak and timid!
- 11. This machine is a piece of GAGH! I need dual Pentium processors if I am to do battle with this code!
- 10. You cannot really appreciate Dilbert unless you've read it in the original Klingon.
- 9. Indentation?! -- I will show you how to indent when I indent your skull!
- 8. What is this talk of 'release'? Klingons do not make software 'releases'. Our software 'escapes' leaving a bloody trail of designers and quality assurance people in its wake.
- 7. Klingon function calls do not have 'parameters' -- they have 'arguments' -- and they ALWAYS WIN THEM.
- 6. Debugging? Klingons do not debug. Our software does not coddle the weak.
- 5. I have challenged the entire quality assurance team to a Bat-Leth contest. They will not concern us again.
- 4. A TRUE Klingon Warrior does not comment his code!
- 3. By filing this SPR you have challenged the honor of my family. Prepare to die!
- 2. You question the worthiness of my code? I should kill you where you stand!
- 1. Our users will know fear and cower before our software. Ship it! Ship it, and let them flee like the dogs they are!
But that's the mood I'm in....
Could be funny......
Alien in 30 seconds, re-enacted by bunnies..
Expose of Peasants' Plight Is Suppressed by China
In today's NYT's read about Expose of Peasants' Plight Is Suppressed by China, and understand why the people of Hong Kong match for more (any) Democracy:.
Peking Duck also noted and commented on the NYT piece.
In a related issue, the CBC recently re-showed a special on AIDs orphans in China, created by government corruption, and the Henan provincial government who realized that AIDS orphans are a money tree.
Thursday, July 08, 2004
Via SlashDot is a Vernor Vinge's adapted short story from his upcoming novel Rainbows End : Synthetic Serendipity
Very yummy. Vernor is both a CompSci / Math professor (From 1972 to 2000 SDSU) and a well know SfiFi author with a bunch of critical works like the short story "True Names" (in a collection of similar name), and such novels as "Marooned in Realtime", "A Fire Upon the Deep", and "A Deepness in the Sky". Get thee to the book store now if thee has not read'th of them!
The new Short is part of a IEEE spectrum special report called Sensor Nation, and includes a detailed s follow-up piece, "Mike Villas's World."
also, behind un protected url's, are other gems :
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
The Artwork of Greg Martin
Spiderman 2 the Lego Way
(also a tip of the hat to Graham's Page of Stuph for the find.)
VoIP hacks gut Caller I.D.
Via SecurityFocus HOME News
According to the article, using 'the open-source Linux-based PBX software Asterisk, used in combination with a permissive VoIP provider' can be used to fool caller id, and even get caller numbers that are supposed to be private." But don't blame the messager, the system has long been open to manipulation.
See more about Asterisk here and here
Update : Om a related item Caller ID Falsification Service
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Fluffy The English Vampire Slayer
Via Wired News: A Wretched Hive of Fan Films comes Fluffy the best thing since SunnyVale got turned into a crater!
Also from Foiled Productions is The Jedi who Loved Me. Great stuff!
and the there's Pink 5 and Pink Five Strikes Back. Chicks Rule! Can't wait for Revenge of Pick 5! Go Truly Dangerous.
Update on Lotus Formula Language > Developer tool: read/set document fields from view
An Update on a a bug in a otherwise very power (developer or Adminisrator only) tool for Lotus Notes / Domino noted Last week.
Now just a set document fields from view Tool.
Had a friendly email exchange with Mr Andre Guirard, with regards to the small bo bo (it give it it's techical name). Here's his updated code for R5 that does as much as is possible in the old version:
_choices := @DocFields;
_fieldName := @Prompt([OkCancelEditCombo]; "Field Name"; "Select Field Name."; ""; _choices);
_newValue := @Prompt([OkCancelEdit]; "New Value - " + _fieldName; "New value (use leading # for number fields, [ for dates, ~ for strings. Separate multivalues with ; (no space) )."; "");
_firstchar := @Left(_newValue; 1);
_fixNew := @Explode(@If(firstChar = "~":"#":"["; _newValue; @RightBack(_newValue; 1)); ";"; 1);
@If(_firstChar = "#"; @TextToNumber(_fixNew);
_firstChar = "["; @TextToTime(_fixNew);
@Prompt([Ok]; "Change field value"; "Conversion error!");
_newValue = "@DEL";
@SetField(_fieldName ; @Unavailable);
@SetField(_fieldName ; _adjValue)
Note the change doesn't always display in the Document Properties dialog right away.
Andre also comments that It not possible in R5 to detect the old type of the field and set the new value to the same type.
To use this formula, type # before a number value, [ before a date value, or ~ before a string. @DEL can be used to delete an item (I hope!). If you don't use a prefix character the formula will assume you mean a string. Use ; as multivalue separator. So for instance, type #14;9 to set the item to a number list containing the values 14 and 9. If you type ~14;9 or 14;9 you will set the field to a text list containing the string values "14" and "9".
Thanks again Andre!
Sunday, July 04, 2004
Time for a Redesign: Dr. Jakob Nielsen
- And I'll just mention one glaring mistake that most companies make: They divide up their networks or Web sites between products and supplies and service. There are typically three different places because there are three different divisions doing it. For a customer, however, if I have a certain copier, let's say the X17 copier, and I want toner for that machine, or I want to get it serviced—well, what I want is to go and find my copier and, once I find it, I want to get supplies for my copier, I want to get some trouble-shooting, self-service information. But it's a major effort because these are in different places. So that's something we find almost every time we do a study: that information is not structured in the way that people think of it. And that has been a problem for all ten years.
- Fail to include a tag line that explicitly summarizes what the site or company does.
- Neglect to use a liquid layout that lets users adjust the home page size.
- Don't use color to distinguish visited and unvisited links.
- Use graphics to decorate, rather than illustrate real content.
- Give an active link to the home page on the home page.
- several of these best intranets had reduction of e-mail as being one of their priorities in their project, finding ways of taking information away from e-mail and sticking it into a more kind of organized and searchable space on the intranet.
- To make the most of your B2B Web site, nielsen recommends that you "Help your fans help you" win their business. Provide the resources prospective clients' need to sell your products and services internally.
- White papers that demonstrate ROI. Make these short, and don't use PDF; standard Web pages make it easier for advocates to cut and paste text and images into their memos and presentations.
- Links to external press coverage that demonstrates that independent sources have covered you positively.
- Ongoing updates through an e-mail newsletter, which can offer advocates hints about tidbits to feed their bosses.
Web Functionality Testing tools
The trees fight back
Saturday, July 03, 2004
Java PowerPoint library
Root Beer: Java PowerPoint library
cool! I don't think you could do that.....
No more Advertising As Usual
Via The Doc Searls Weblog : Quit Envying The Dead
We could do that....
Friday, July 02, 2004
Beijing reports on a march by a few Hong Kong citizens
Following up on a earlier posting about July 1 demonstrations in Hong Kong for more Democracy:
according to Associated Press China's state media on Friday told the mainland's people about "a march by a few Hong Kong citizens", but didn't mention that the demonstrators were demanding more democracy or that half a million people marched.
The report, appearing on the paper's back page, didn't identify any people or groups.
...Nothing too see....go away....
Thursday, July 01, 2004
Still Lounge & Cafe, Toronto's newest Party Central!
Celebrating Canada 137th birthday at the launch party of Still Lounge & Cafe (458 Queen St West, at the corner with Augusta Ave - 416-703-6532), the newest project of Peter and Robert of Totto - Spa & Salon fame. I should get Accordion Guy since it is in Accordion City.
Peter & Robert were also very generous in buying a table and donating to the silent auction for last night's 1st Annual Councillors Ball in support of Variety Village. Despite the controversy, Mayor David Miller did attend.
Update:April 12th 2005. Still Lounge & Cafe close this month and is currently be renovated.
Hundreds of Thousands Demonstrate in Hong Kong demanding Democracy
Via the Scotsman.com, The Globe and Mail and Reuters comes news of a second year of mass - peaceful - demonstrations in Hong Kong on the seventh anniversary of the former British colony's handover to Chinese sovereignty. (There were also protest marches on New Years Day this year.)
Marchers - estimates range from 200,00 (by police)to 400,000 - filled all four lanes of a major downtown thoroughfare, peacefully chanting slogans, holding up signs and waving inflatable Mr. Tung dolls as they made their way to the fenced-off Hong Kong government headquarters.
Beijing ruled in April that ordinary citizens cannot elect Tung's successor in 2007 or all lawmakers in 2008. China Had promised before the handover that it would allow Hong Kong to retain considerable autonomy for 50 years, but many contend that this autonomy is being undermined.
Chinese officials also heaped abuse on activists and a number of Hong Kong people reported receiving threatening calls from China, telling them not to vote for pro-democracy candidates in September. Indeed, Beijing declared that Hong Kong, a territory of 6.8 million, would never get the democracy its middle-class professionals wanted because they were not Chinese enough, if not outright traitors.
Leaders in Beijing also worry demands for more democracy could spill over to the mainland and undermine their
cushy jobs one-party rule. Chinese state media have made no mention of the march and, In addtion, China drastically reduced the number of mainlanders allowed to visit Hong Kong this week.
Big White Guy drew my attention to a article in the Asia Times : Beijing kills Hong Kong's 'buzz' which speculates about the "method in the madness" even as the CPC destroys the core values of Hong Kong : the rule of law, a free press, freedom of expression, and I would add, adventure, opportunism, or a lack of much attention to social distinctions.
This tactic might prove to be the icing on the cake to the divide and rule tactics of a Communist Party of China (CPC) offering dialogue to those willing to accept its terms of debate and hurling threats, abuse and outright violence at those who stubbornly insist that democracy means choosing a government by universal suffrage.
In hunting around (and around), I found to new - too me - sources of Hong Kong news: