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False Positives Adventures in Technology, SciFi and Culture from Toronto

Monday, February 28, 2005

GeoURL (2.0) is back!

GeoURL (2.0) and Added to the Sidebar....

Saturday, February 26, 2005

TIP Copyright Conference Talk Now Online

As reported by Michael Geist, webcast video from the Sixth Annual TIP Conference:"Sound Bytes, Sound Rights: Canada at the Crossroads of Copyright Law" is now online (realpalyer .RAM format). Much more info on Boing Boing and previously here. Time to see what was said or not.


Startup digs out network worms

EE Times profiles Seaway Networks which Using intelligent packet preprocessing and hardware matching, Seaway's Trident NCA2000-L7P adapter card scans for familiar byte patterns that signal the presence of a worm or virus on the prowl. The card can scan for up to 16,000 patterns at a data rate of 2 Gbits/second of its dual Gigabit Ethernet inputs.

Friday, February 25, 2005

now with Blogroll and OPML

I've added a Blogroll (definition: a collection of links to other weblogs That I follow/steal from) via Bloglines (lower right) and a way to export my public Blogroll with OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language) via Bloglines (upper right), plus a OPML badge icon thing () with credit to Dr. d2r (Diego Doval)

River of Gods, techno-Hinduism

River of Gods (ISBN:0743256700) by Ian Mcdonald, has got a thumbs up from SciFi Blog Big Dumb Object and Cory. It's going on the WishList to read. Note that it's available in Canada and the U.K. but not the USA? 2 sites for more would be: The SF Site & the Ian Mcdonald page.


Thursday, February 24, 2005

Panorama BC, 2005

As might have been guessed from my lack of posting last week, ET and I were away last week skiing at Panorama British Columbia, about 2 hours west of Banff. The flight out was interesting, the Skiing was good, although they were lacking in the expected snow (predictably they have gotten more snow since we left, but Toronto?s had more!) and much fun was had.

We booked this trip thru Club SkiCan and the local SkiCan hosts Julia & James did an outstanding job letting us know what was going on and advocating for us when necessary. Thanks Guys!

The Panorama resort had seen some improvement, in particular the Quad chair to the Summit (a vast improvement over the old T-bar!), and the whole new Taynton Bowl runs.

The outstanding dining experience of the week belongs to the independently owned Early Grey Lodge, set menus (~$CND70 per person + liquor +tax), advance reservations a must, but well worth it.

We also did a day trip out to the relativity new Kicking Horse resort on Panorama?s Wednesday shuttle (see village guest services). Despite a very late departure (someone screwed up) we had a good time and enjoyed the challenging bowl runs and better snow.

All in all a very enjoyable time.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Ci Barcelona

Via Cory we have "The LeCool guide to Barcelona" (Flash) an insiders guide to that city, which brings back many happy memories of last years (Nov 2003) trip to Spain, of which was the best part. @ 8 Euro's, I think this goes on the wishlist. (and I just got a email from the Spanish Airline Iberia about a 3 March 2005 re-launch of their site)

Monday, February 21, 2005

How to destroy the Earth

@Sam's Archive: Destroying the Earth is harder than you may have been led to believe.

Category://Things to do on a slow day

Rich Interactive Web Clients via Ajax

Jeffrey Veen writes on Scrubbing Innovation into Interaction: Ajax, and links to a essay on Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications at Adaptive Path (where he is a Partner).

That's Ajax as in "Asynchronous JavaScript + XML" (+XHTML+CSS+DOM) aka "XmlHttpRequest Object" as in Google Maps, Gmail, and other things Google. Thus the "The rise of the Weblication". (now on SlashDot.)

Also (via) worthy of note is a Developer Shed article on Debugging in Javascript on the use of Venkman, Mozilla's JavaScript Debugger (code named after Dr. Peter Venkman).

Category : /RichTextApps

Canadian recording industry wants a "free market" of government subsidies and monopoly protection

Via Boing Boing, Michael Geist gives his view of The University of Toronto hosted "Sound Bytes, Sound Rights: Canada at the Crossroads of Copyright Law" (as previously mentioned , unfortunately I was unable to attend (went sking)). (The hand out is worth a read (pdf)).

But, Joe Clark (toronto web accessibility guy) did go and has blogged his notes on the Conference (Here's a quote :Sarmite Bulte: Exceptions are not the basis of good public policy. “The only time an exception is warranted is if there’s been a market failure.” ), and over at the Disssion area of Digital Copyright Canada, Russell McOrmond has some notes.

Again, the industry says "free market" but lobbiess for more taxpayer money and "copyright" reform amied at reducing consumers rights. Lets see if the Canada Federal budget (due this week) with extension of the CND$95 million (over 3 years) Canada Music Fund (which is due to expire this year).

Michael Geist's talk "Copyright and the Internet: Is There a Canadian Way?" already online and hints that a webcast of the conferance may go online (soon).

category :CopyRight

i, robot by Cory Doctorow

A new short story by Cory Doctorow on The Infinite Matrix : i, robot. Enjoy:

Arturo Icaza de Arana-Goldberg, Police Detective Third Grade, United North American Trading Sphere, Third District, Fourth Prefecture, Second Division (Parkdale) had had many adventures in his distinguished career, running crooks to ground with an unbeatable combination of instinct and unstinting devotion to duty.
plus a very meaty interview I seem to have missed the first time around (March 2003) on Strange Horizons. Lots of interesting stuff : nerd determinism : "Our superior technology will trump your silly laws"...nerd fatalism : "Politics are so irredeemably corrupt, especially compared to the elegance of code and logic, that there's no reason for us to get involved in it. There's no reason for us to partake in politics."

Categorized under /

Hula, open source mail and calendar server, and GroupWare bad.

Nat Friedman announces the launch of Hula, a new project to build an open source mail and calendar server and Rich Web Client, with some different ideas. (but will it allow for Tags and Folksonomies?)

Plus Jamie Zawinski focus them on calendars in Groupware BAD, Users GOOD, Calendars USEFUL, or why Jamie is running a lounge. (which is more than I'm doing)

Jay Ingram, Science Guy

Flying out to Calgary last week I was seated next to Jay Ingram well known co-host and producer of Daily Planet, the hour long science magazine on Canada's Discovery Channel, Toronto Star columnist, Author (most recently: The Velocity of Honey : And More Science of Everyday Life; Talk Talk Talk; and The Barmaid's Brain)and all around science guy.

He was off to attend the 2005 annual general meeting (in Banff) of the Canadian Bacterial Diseases Network (CBDN , a nation-wide virtual research organization comprised of Canadian researchers whose focus is on bacterial diseases that affect humans, animals, fish, plants and the environment and part of the Canadian Networks of Centres of Excellence program), and was scheduled, amougnst other things, to lead a communications workshop titled "“How to Communicate with People Who DON’T Have PhDs”".

I had the pleasure to talk with Mr. Ingram on several topics, and look forward to reading his newest book when it's published this Fall (2205). I hope the pleasure was mutual, that I didn't pester him too much (I tried to contain myself, really!) and his conference was a success. Mr. Ingram was very pleasant, and patient. A nice guy.

Marketing as if the Customer Matters.

Robert Scobleizer rips a MS marketing droid a new one for disrespectting his customers, in "No RSS? No downloads? No interaction? Fake content? You're fired!", which has some interesting comments, including a link to RSS for Journalists (Here's my own attempts:What's a RSS News Aggregator? and Explaining RSS to your Boss)

Also mmeiser (Michael Meiser) makes some good points in "Blogging, wereWhere the tire meets the road, where marketing meets reality", and Dana observers Site Stickiness is Dead and links to Corporate Blogging Roadblocks.

Marketing that does not treat the Customer as King (or CEO) is over. Cute is over. Useful and Time saving is in. Impostors will be revealed.

The Economist dubbed "the Scobleizer" as "Chief humanising officer" earlier this month.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Happy Darwin Day !

Charles Robert Darwin was born February 12, 1809; he published On the Origin of Species at age 50.

To help celebrate check the "Darwin Day Celebration" web site for an event in your area. Or you could bake Trilobite Cookies!(Via /.)

Friday, February 11, 2005

Alcohol in the Star Trek universe

Via Modern Drunkard Magazine Online inculdes a drinking guide to ST:TOE, , A Quick Guide to Alien Alcohol, and Top Ten Signs Your Starship Captain is a Drunkard :

10.) When Spock mind probes him, Spock gets hammered.
9.) Wakes up next to a Klingon chick at least once a week.
8.) Starts the ship’s self-destruct sequence just to fuck with the yeoman who blew him off in the officer’s lounge.
7.) Each time you discover a new planet he tells Spock to scan the surface for cheap scotch and loose females.
6.) The first thing he says when negotiating with Romulans is, “So, what’s the ale situation?”
5.) McCoy tells him, “I’m a doctor, Jim, not a bartender!”
4.) He keeps slipping down to the engineering room to “discuss ancient Scottish traditions” with Scotty.
3.) Giggles every time Spock says they should launch a “deep space probe.”
2.) Whenever a female yeoman brings him a clipboard he tries to open a tab.
1.) Is willing to make beer runs into the neutral zone.

Filed under:/

Chief humanising officer

The does Robert Scoble, and asks if he as "celebrity blogger on Microsoft's payroll, herald the death of traditional public relations?". (Congradulations!)

My own answer would be no, but it does challenge the tradition value that "traditional public relations" bring to the table. Corporate blogging is also useful for things smaller than a News Article or PR posting would consider like : Internal milestones, hiring events below the C-level. Call it Nano People Relations. (PR without the spelling?)

Round up on the week of the Cell processor

Now that most people who where there have had a change to reflect and post (wait till mArch till the hardcopy based sources get their word out) what is the view after this weeks International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC)

Via SlashDot we have David T. Wang's analyses and the briefing slides, we also have 7 Myths of the New Cell Processor culled from an earlier SlashDot post by Gizmodo, and a few words from Robert Cringely, als well a early thoughts from Ars Technica and Dana Blankenhorn.

The result seems to be that this looks very (very) good, but it might be a major pain to code for, and the first shipping to consumers is early 2006 (Xbox will be first with it's straight up PowerPC). Also, althought it has huge potential there, its going to be 2+ years before it has a change to remake the landscape. So don't count out Intel (or AMD) yet. They can still pull the rabit out of the hat, and will a move gradual path.

As always we tend to "overestimating the short term and underestimate the long term impact". (Does this have a Name other than Moorse Law?) So Apple still has time to do the core rewrites to OS X need, I would expect a G5 powerbook and only Steve Jobs knows what the Mac Mini is going to evole into (like a Media Centre/PRV/game console? iPlay?)

No new info expected until Sony show the first PS3 console in May at the E3 show. back to sleepwork.

The CEO Consumer

I'm very happy to welcome my boss, Bob Westrope @ CentrSource, to the wounderful world of Blogging in: The CEO Consumer and his perspective on permission-based direct-to-consumer marketing. Please Check it out and give us your feedback.

One cool banner

Thanks Tararam! That reminded me to link the banner back to the original post, which explains the banner. Also big credit for it should go to Joey deVilla aka "Accordion Guy".

As a follow up check out David Brin's other blog and the several of essays on Modernisum which started in December:

  1. The Issue is Modernity
  2. The Radical Notion Of Modernism
  3. Modernism Part 2
  4. Modernism Part 3: the Era of Can-Do
  5. The Second Phase Of Modernism
  7. Modernism Overcomes Setbacks
  8. and more...
tremendous reading!

again: "I am a member of a civilization." (IAAMOAC)

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Starting the Year of the Rooster

Kung Hei Fat Choi

In order to start the Year off right, ET and I will be off to Panorama B.C., where it will be all Steep and Deep, and No Net. For those of you reads at Home Vis a RSS reader, I've add a Blog roll on the Lower left via Bloglines, 263 of the main Blogs I track. for you to read while I'm carving up the snow.

Introducing the IBM/Sony/Toshiba Cell Processor: the SIMD processing units & the SIMD processing units

@ Ars Technica lots of details from this weeks International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) and followup on Further Details of Cell processor and other things MultiCore.

Also Dana Blankenhorn has a take on this in More On Cells in that with the Cell, Moore's Law now applies to chip design.

XML encoding a string in JavaScript

Via SearchDomino and Ronald Pijper:XML encoding a string: XML strings must be encoded to conform to standards. Unfortunately, in Domino there are no XML encoding functions like @URLEncode.

The code is a JavaScriptLotusScript version of this function. It encodes the five specific entities into their XML encoded ones. For all characters outside of the basic ACII, set it to encode these with the character code.

Update:Rich Schwartz correctly points out that the code was LotusScript. That's what I get for doing a quick blog post (before dashing out to dinner) with out trying the code myself. Interestingly the SearhDomino guys changed their post, after, to reflect that it was LotusScript. My bad.

Toronto's SciFi BookStore, Bakka Books moving back to Queen St, March 1

Via Boing Boing (and ex-Bakka boy Cory Doctorow) , BAKKAPHOENIX is Moving! back to Queen Street West, their old haunting grounds, to 697 Queen St. West, half a block west of Bathurst, on the south side of Queen. Google Map. Just around the corner for C&C&E. I'm so jealous!

Filed and tagged under : /.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Further Details of Cell processor expected this week

As mentioned in MultiCore: Cell Architecture Explained, this week at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) more details of the Cell will be present by STI (Sony, Toshiba, and IBM).

The New York Times (reg req) has the advance story for the non technical reader: "Smaller Than a Pushpin, More Powerful Than a PC":

The Cell chip, computer experts said, could have a theoretical peak performance of 256 billion mathematical operations per second. With that much processing power, the chip would have placed among the top 500 supercomputers on a list maintained by scientists at the University of Mannheim and the University of Tennessee as recently as June 2002....the Cell architecture is distinguished by the fact that it controls an array of eight additional processors that the design team refers to as synergistic processing elements, or S.P.E.'s. Each of the S.P.E.'s is a 128-bit processor in its own right.
So, Supercomputer on a chip?!..128 bit processor (leaping over 64 bit processors) NYT's go it wrong, rather "128 x 128-bit registers"...BBC has a similar piece.

MacsimumMews talks about The Next Wave: Apple's Connection to the CELL Processor, and The Next Wave: A Closer Peek at Sony's CELL Patent: What Are We Missing?

JoyStiq worries Will Sony Kill the Cell Chip with Security, based on a ZdNet article and comments that "a number of on-the-chip security measures, mostly aimed at preventing unauthorized copying or distribution of copyright content". This is very briefly mentioned by Nicholas Blachford under DRM in the Hardware, and maybe a side effect of the Cell grid on a chip Architecture, but sounds a lot like "Trusted Computing". (See EFF:Trusted Computing: Promise and Risk piece for background).

The Register has an excellent analysis in:The Cell chip - what it is, and why you should care, plus The Cell Chip - how will MS and Intel face the music?

Also in regard to the Nicholas Blachford article : Cell Architecture Explained, Ars Technica criticed it in Cell "analysis" a mixed bag, Nicholas reponded with Updates, Clarifications and Missing Bits and a direct Rebuttal.

See MultiCore for more.

Update: from Electronics Weekly, Wired and some pictures (via episteme.arstechnica we have links to images

Sunday, February 06, 2005

2005 Super Bowl Ads

The best part of the "Game" @ IFILM or AdLand Ad-rad. Here is last years (2004), disappointing batch.

Filed under: advertising

Saturday, February 05, 2005

And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon by Paul Di Filippo

Via Boing Boing we have a Paul Di Filippo novella (>6 Kwords) :
"And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon", a tale of disturbed processing gone wrong in a world similar to The Gizmo Society of End Users and Spime wranglers. (when Blobjects go bad)

Filed under SciFi

Friday, February 04, 2005

HVD Alliance forms around 1 TeraByte disc

Via Engadget. That's One TeraByte of data on the "Holographic Versatile Disc"! Here's the press release from Optware:

Six companies including CMC Magnetics Corporation, FUJI PHOTO FILM CO., LTD., Nippon Paint Co., Ltd., Optware Corporation, Pulstec Industrial Co., Ltd. and TOAGOSEI CO., LTD., advocates of "Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD)" announced today to form "HVD Alliance" to accelerate the development of HVD, to develop a marketplace and to promote this revolutionary technology and products. A technical committee, TC44 to discuss the standardization of "Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD)" was approved at 88th Ecma International General Assembly on December 9th 2004. The first TC44 meeting will be held in Tokyo on March 3rd and 4th.
Go Big or Go Home! Well, that will cast a shadow over the Blu-ray and HD-DVD guys, maybe put enough fear into them to get them to sort things out (like now). Yes, it will be many years before the HVD disc is in the market, but it nice to know they are working on it.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Using nested elements to show Weighted Tag Lists

Tantek cleans up the Technorati Tags home page using nested <em> elemets in a unordered list, rather than raw <font> elements and font-sizes.

Interesting post in that it also showed the process he went though (one of the points of blogging). Why, for example, he chose <em> rather that <big> and <small> as suggested by Joe Clark. Answer : <em> adds semantic weight, it's also 1 letter shorter.

So what to call the result? I had been thinking of Tag Maps (similar to Topic Maps), Matthew Mullenweg sometimes calls them "heat maps" , Joe Clark calls the "Weighted Lists", although "Semantic Weighted Lists" could work too, but might start the whole Semantic Web fight again. Weighted Tag Lists?


Update:1) Tantek has kindly linked back to me, and some other addtional commentary. 2) Firasd pipes in with Semantics in Markup of Ranked Tag Lists, and argues for a two column table of data (Tag Name and Significance), with is correct use of the table emlement, and then applies various CSS styles to get the desired effects as demonstrated. This has the bonus of being a bit more informed if the CSS is disabled or fails.

Google Local, and new definitions.

Google Local, Google's search engine for locating neighborhood stores and services, based on zip (or postal code) or the name of a town or city, is now a tab on the Google Home page.

Still marked as "Beta", and only searches for locations in the United States and Canada. Content is still rather sparse for local stuff here in Northern Americas capital city.

Also Google is now using for definitions, rather than

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Rick Berman and Brannon Braga have corrupted the Timeline.

"It's Dead, Jim"

Via SlashDot, it's official : TrekToday - UPN Cancels 'Star Trek: Enterprise'. The TheAngryMob Editorializes... over at Bureau 42 says it best:

It doesn't seem quite fair, now that the show has hit a decent stride. Sure it deserved cancellation after seasons one and two, but now?

I know I'm going to hear the same old tirade: Trek should go away or take a hiatus. I disagree. There's nothing stale or dead about the Trek Universe, you just don't get good Sci-Fi when designed by focus groups, marketing execs, and yes flaming morons. Catsuits and wrestler guest stars does not good Star Trek make.

Manny, you did your best and I applaude you. You turned the ship around and gave it a meaningful course. For that we won't forget what you did.

Rick and Brannon, a little tip: Avoid conventions for awhile. Let's just say you're not welcome.
Ironically, with this weeks episode, "Babel One", we final see more of the outlines for the founding a Federation of Tellarites, Andorians, Vulcans , Humans and others, plus, maybe, the First Romulan War. Which is what seasons 1, 2 or 3 should have been about, if B&B could have story arced their way out of a paper bag. I had thought the UPN might need "The Franchise" bad enough to keep it going, now that is was going it a decent direction, but no. I'm very unlikely to give UPN another change for a few year. B&B never. I will watch the end of this season, but its going to feel like a wake.


Push Patterns

Futurismic has published Push Patterns by Jay Campbell.
Can you say "Wolfram Pattern's"? Good stuff. Another author to look out for. 2 apophenian links: 1905 and Wolfram Reality

Category: SciFi

Tuesday, February 01, 2005 :new online magazine & Hammy Hamster

New @ CBC is which hopes to be "Canada's new online magazine covering ideas and trends in arts, media and entertainment". Canada's answer to and, eh! (If so they need a stylish name starting with S. Send you nomination's here!) Happy Happy, they have a RSS feed as well.

To start the ball rolling Hammy Hamster has been Inducted into the Alternative Canada Walk of Fame! for "honourable service in the field of children’s entertainment and for giving buck-toothed rodents a voice."
Image Hammy Hamster
Hammy's big break came in 1959 with "Tales of the Riverbank". Sadly, Paul Sutherland, friend of and writer for Hammy Hamster, died May 15th 2004 at age 73.

Amongst the expected guests will be Casey and Finegan, The Friendly Giant with his pals Rusty the Rooster and Jerome the Giraffe, and old pal G.P. will visiting from Mojave, California where he's working on his current project (see episode 44).

Category: Canada

Annotating Google

How about annotating Google search results with tags from, as suggeted by googler Tony Chang?

Very similar to Matt Biddulph's demo

Category: ; Via helge.

Toronto Copyright Confernence, Feb 11

Via Boing Boing : Sound Bytes, Sound Rights: Canada at the Crossroads of Copyright Law, a one-day academic conference at the University of Toronto (details here), Feb 11 2005

Speakers inculde : Michael Geist, Bob Young (co-founder of Red Hat Software), Sarmite Bulte, my very own MP (and the chair of the 2004 standing committee), plus others.

The conference will be held in Flavelle House, University of Toronto Faculty of Law, 78 Queen's Park, Toronto, on Friday, February 11, 2005 from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. Lunch will be provided and a wine reception is planned. Admission is CND$30.00 for pre-registration, CND$40.00 at the door. Admission is free for college and university students but registration beforehand is essential.

Category: CopyRight

Folksonomies Tap People Power and More

Via Wired News: "Folksonomies Tap People Power" and Suw Charman talks about More on Technorati tags and brings up the issue of Language with respect to tags and Blog's.

I had been wondering about the possibility of using a lang="en" attribute in addition to rel="tag", although Technorati does yet use it.

I have also added a "Content-Language" META tag in the Header here. Do the various web translate tools use this Meta information to get at least the "from" part right. Might Google someday allow me to show only results in Canada English "en-can"?

Cheap Eats at the Semantic Web Café is also a great roundup on the state of the tag.

Category: (surprise!)