Friday, September 28, 2007

Put Paul in the Hall

It was 35 years ago today when Paul Henderson scored the goal to give Canada the win in the 1972 Summit Series with Russia. This moment is such a part of the Canadian psyche that everyone can tell you where the were when it happened. Even I remember where I was when the goal was scored and I wasn't born for another 2 years. It was that big of a moment.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007

Spook Country

Spook Country is the latest novel from William GibsonFlag of Canada. I love the fact that this is a science fiction novel set in the past, in this case 2006. There is a wonderful follow up article where Mr. Gibson discusses that science fiction is not about predicting the future but a reflection of the present day. Which is something that I feel most people don't really get.

Spook Country is a double entendre which refers to the current state where the Spooks (CIA, FBI, DHS, etc.) seem to be running the country and GPS driven art where you can only see the Spooks if you have the GPS and a URL. You can really see from it's humble beginnings where the art could evolve into a number of channels that we could all tune into to overlay our own "reality". This concept is wonderfully expanded in John C Wright's The Golden Age trilogy.

The novel proceeds along telling the story from multiple points of view each one with their own plot threads that eventually begin to interweave their way to a satisfying conclusion.

Hollis Henry, former indie rocker now freelance journalist is writing a story on a new art form that exists only in virtual reality, Bobby Chombo, a GPS software specialist who provides the software that enables the virtual reality art, is tracking a mysterious cargo container that drops on and off the grid, Agent Brown is tracking a young criminal named Tito who he hopes will lead him to the cargo.

This was a real quick read for me and I highly recommend it. Especially if you are a fan of the afore mentioned Golden Age trilogy.

Misc:

Cory Doctorow reviews Spook Country.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

Apple Picking

On Sunday morning we were up bright and early to make the 45 minute trip to Mountain, ON where we went apple picking at Mountain Orchards. This was the same place we took Anna for her second birthday and we wanted to get back there earlier this year as it would be a) warmer and b) more apples would be on the trees.

We started and ended the day with some of the delicious apple cider mini donuts from the bakery. But in between the kids had fun going through the corn maze, picking apples, riding the tractor and playing in the hay.

Click here for more pictures.

Cory Doctorow's Short Story Scroogled

Cory Doctorow has released a new short story called Scroogled on Radar. I have created a .lit version for Microsoft Reader for those of us who like to read on the go.

RIP, Robert Jordan

Boing, Boing is reporting that Robert Jordan has passed away. Jordan is the author of the immensely popular and Wheel of Time series of fantasy novels.

I have been following the series for 15 years and I'm deeply saddened that it will never be finished. When an author dies we are not only deprived of his presence in the world but also the presence of all of the characters which he has created.

Terry Fox Run 2007



So the Terry Fox Run is over for another year. I've collected $1255 which surpasses my $1000 goal.

My team mate, Paul Brun, and I decided to walk the 10 km as he's got a busted ACL and I have a broken ankle. The entire "run" took us an hour and a half during a beautiful fall day here in Ottawa.

It's still not too late to support my participation by donating.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Terry Fox Run Friday Update 5



Continued to fund raise for this year's Terry Fox Run with the run taking place this Sunday September 16th. I collected another $180 in donations this week. To bring me up to a total of $980 of my $1000 goal.

Please support my participation by donating.

Thank You For Smoking

We rented Thank You For Smoking this week and it is one of the funniest movies I have seen in a very long time. The movie centres around Nick Naylor, played by Aaron Eckhart, who is a Washington lobbiest for big tobacco. Its Nick's job to spin the truth into something that is favourable for big tobacco. A scene early in the movie highlight's Nick's ability while he attends his son's career day at school.

Little Girl: My mommy says cigarettes are bad for you.
Nick Naylor: Is your mommy a doctor?
LG: No
NN: Is your mommy a research scientist?
LG: No
NN: Then she doesn't sound like a very credible source.

As Nick says to his son, winning an argument is not about being right it is about showing how the other person could be wrong.

Based on the wonderful novel by Christopher Buckley.

This movie is a great rental for any evening when you are looking for a good laugh.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Doctor Who Season 4 and 5 News

Please do not read until you have finished watching the third season of the re-launched Doctor Who. You've been warned.

Doctor Who returns for a 5th season, Yay! But not until 2010, Boo!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

New Blog Template

My new blog template is called The Cup and it is courtesy of FinalSense. I think it more accurately represents my caffeine addiction.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

BookSwim vs the Ottawa Public Library

Did you ever want to rent a book? Well you can with the new site BookSwim. You choose the books you want to read on their web site, they ship books to you, keep the books for as long as you want, and you return books with pre-paid postage. All for $20 a month.

Um, did these guys ever hear of a public library? Let me compare and contrast the service offered by BookSwim to my local library, the Ottawa Public Library.









On-line interface?YesYes
Free shipping?YesNo, you have to pickup your books
Rental timeUnlimited3 to 12 weeks
Cost$20+Free


While BookSwim has a few advantages as it allows you to keep books for as long as you like I don't see why someone would want to pay $20 or more a month to get a service that your local library provides for free. My advice is to save your money and donate to your public library to make sure it gets the funding it needs.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Terry Fox Run Friday Update 4



Continued to fund raise for this year's Terry Fox Run with just over a week to go. I collected another $120 in donations this week. To bring me up to a total of $800 of my $1000 goal.


Please support my participation by donating.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Update Twitter Using Jott

Jott has just added a new feature which allows you to update Twitter by jotting. Jotting is the process in which you call a tool free number (US only) and use speech recognition commands to complete a task.

To send a tweet your voice is recorded then processed by Jott's speech to text interpreter. Then it sends a tweet to your Twitter account. I tried it out last night and it worked quite well. The only downfall is there is no 1-800 number for Canada. In order for it to work you must call a Toronto area number so long distance fees do apply.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

M.C. Escher in Lego's

Ack! This hurts my brain but at the same time makes me want to drag out my old lego sets.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Tweetr


I was reading Warren Ellis Bad Signal post from September 3rd and a one off comment from him led me to Tweetr.

Tweetr is a desktop application that runs on the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), so it is cross platform, that allows people using Twitter to send and receive messages from their desktop in 140 characters or less. Tweetr supports automatic url shortening, file sharing, webcam photo updates and three views for tweets, replies and direct messages.

Here's a sample screen shot:


I've been using it for just about a day now and I find it to be a great replacement for the constant refreshing of my Twitter home page.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Casanova Volume 1: Luxuria

I'm a huge fan of Matt Fraction's work with Ed Brubaker on The Immortal Iron Fist so I decided to pick up the first trade of Casanova Volume 1: Luxuria.

What a strange ride! Let me see if I can sum it up. The series introduces you to Casanova Quinn who is the quasi criminal son of the head of his world's top cop. Then a pan dimensional baddie kidnaps him to impersonate his counterpart on another world where Casanova Quinn is his father's right hand man in law enforcement. At this point this really got weird but wonderfully enjoyable as Fraction skewers spy novels and time travel.

I can't really do it justice so listen to the Around Comics guys interview Matt.

Gabriel Ba's art and muted colours are bang on for this title.