Friday, August 31, 2007

Terry Fox Run Friday Update 3

Fund raising for this year's Terry Fox Run. I collected another $125 in donations this week. To bring me up to a total of $680 of my $1000 goal.

I did get some bad news though as my team mate, Paul Brun, may not be able to make it this year as he has a torn ACL. Combine that with my sprained/broken ankle and we may be going very slow during the run this year.

Please support my participation by donating.

Caffeine Level of Common Soft Drinks

Researchers report what most soft-drink labels don't: how much caffeine is inside.

Note to Canadian readers, our Mountain Dew does not contain any caffeine as Health Canada states that caffeine cannot be in non-cola food products. So don't be surprised if you are not getting your caffeine high off the Dew.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Illustrated Guide to Coffee Drinks

Need to know the difference between a Caffe Latte and a Caffe Americano? Well this guide will tell you how.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Terror

While I love the multiple award winning author Dan Simmons I was initially reluctant about picking up his latest novel The Terror. My reluctance stems from the fact that the cover of the book reminded me of reading a book by Cassie Brown in eighth grade English entitled Death on the Ice.

Death on the Ice recounts the 1914 Newfoundland sealing disaster in which two thirds of 132 men died as they were left alone on the ice for two days. While The Terror is the fictional recounting of the doomed expedition of Sir John Franklin to find the Northwest Passage.

Both books deal with the horrible trials encountered by men lost on the ice but The Terror brings things to a whole new level as the sailors are also being stalked by a super-natural entity which I can best describe as a Wendigo but is more accurately called a Tuurngait.

The story is told partially in flashbacks and from multiple points for view, most notably Captain Francis Crozier but remains quite easy to follow.

I highly recommend this novel even if you are not a fan of the setting as it is a well crafted suspenseful story with great characterization. I believe that most people would love to be as noble as Dr. Goodsir.

Update: Podcast interview on NPR.

58% Addicted to Blogging

Thanks to Alexandre for the link I now know that...

58%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Terry Fox Run Friday Update 2

Fund raising for this year's Terry Fox Run was a good week. I more than doubled my donations collecting $360 this week. To bring me up to a total of $555 of my $1000 goal.

Please support my participation by donating.

Podcast Interviews With Some of My Favourite Authors

A quick round up of interviews with some of my favourite authors:

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mug Guides You to Pour the Perfect Cup of Tea

Suck UK has created a mug with a color coded guide inside that enables your to pour the perfect cup of tea every time. Also available in a coffee version.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Replaced Bell with Rogers Today

Today I had a guy come in from Rogers to replace all of my Bell services. All of my phone, internet and cable are now through Rogers.

Here is a speed test I did last night on Bell when I was subscribed to Sympatico High Speed which was supposed to offer 4-5 Mbps.

Here is a speed test I did today with my new Rogers Hi-speed Internet Express which offers speeds up to 7 Mbps.

My internet access is now 19 times faster than it was yesterday. Who thinks I made the right decision?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Top 100 Fantasy and Sci-Fi Books of All Time

I saw this article on Digg that led me to a site where they keep track of the Top 100 Fantasy and Top 100 Science Fiction books. I've read 47 of the fantasy and 52 of the sci-fi.

It reminds me of an old list which hasn't been updated since February 2003 that I used to follow.

The lists are not perfect by any means but they are a fair representation of the best novels that have reached critical mass.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Peyton's Third Birthday

Today our friends Ted and Janice got everyone together to celebrate their daughter, and Anna's best buddie, Peyton's third birthday. We all hung out at Walter Baker Park in Kanata where the kids played in the sprinkler park and playground. Later we had pizza, a cake shaped like Lightning McQueen and opened presents. It took all of Anna's restraint not to blab to Peyton what her gift from us was.

More pictures can be found here.

Anna Going Out For Supper

A one minute video of Anna getting ready for a night on the town.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Terry Fox Run Friday Update 1

Fund raising for this year's Terry Fox Run is going pretty well. I have already collected $195 of my $1000 goal.

Please support my participation by donating.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Fantasy & Science Fiction's September 2007

As I mentioned earlier I was one of the lucky ones to receive a review copy of Fantasy & Science Fiction's September 2007 issue. My copy arrived over vacation so it had been waiting for me for a few weeks. You can follow the reaction to this promotion and read other reviewers comments on this message board.

I was very pleased to see, after glancing at the front cover, that it included a story by Ted Chiang who is an amazing writer. He has only published ten stories to this date of which the first eight are collected in Stories of Your Life, and Others. That collection will blow your mind.

The tenth story contained within this issue is called, The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate and it is the true gem in this issue. Basically an Alchemist in ancient Baghdad discovers wormholes and how to use them to allow his customers to travel through time.

Also noteworthy was John Langan's Episode Seven: Last Stand Against the Pack in the Kingdom of the Purple Flowers. Which left me wishing there were parts one through six. Robert Reed's If We Can Save Just One Child... which is an allegorical look at some of the top issues of today. I just loved how he portrays the all consuming fear of bootleg cloning even though the actual occurrence of such a crime is exceedingly rare.

Overall, I really enjoyed this issue of F&SF. Not enough to sign up for a yearly subscription but I will certainly be looking for it at my local books stores. Whenever one of my favourite authors has a story in that issue I will not hesitate to pick it up.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Death by Caffeine, Almost

A UK teenager nearly kills herself after overdosing on caffeine. Apparently she downed seven double espressos while working at her family's sandwich shop, hilarity ensued.

This got me to starting thinking, how many double espressos would it require to kill me? According to the Death By Caffeine website the answer is 70 double espressos.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Mii on a T-Shirt

As I have mentioned before I love my Wii. So last night an idea struck me, wouldn't it be great to be able to put an image of your Mii on a T-shirt? I even thought that there may be a market for this shirt.

The engineer in me immediately started to work on how it would be possible. First I would need to find a way to download the Mii from the Wii which can be accomplished by using the Wiimote Data Management Library. Then I would need to reverse engineer the structure of the Mii data which has already been done. Figure out a way to export this data as a JPEG file which is where the on-line Mii Editor would come in handy. Finally, upload the image to CafePress to order a shirt.

Now as I said I was doing this all late at night so when I told my wife the idea this morning she thought it was great but asked, "Has anyone else done it before?" To which a quick Google search turned up offerings from Mr. Cloud and MiiWare. Great, now my life is a plot point from the movie Knocked Up which Kate and I both thought was hilarious by the way.

So the moral of this story boys and girls is next time you think you have a great idea for an internet business focus less on the how and more on the should.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Brazen Careerist

I just finished reading Brazen Careerist by Penelope Trunk and I just have to say that she gets it. She really understands the changing attitudes that Gen X & Y are bringing to the work place.

As a generation X'er I was taught by my elders to get a job with a good company work with them for 25 years and then retire. Sadly that's not the way that the world works anymore. I still remember the near coronary that I gave my father when I told him I was leaving Nortel after two years to pursue a job at a small private Ottawa software firm.

Now you need to be responsible for your own career and you can't expect your company to take responsibility for you. This book is that handbook that everyone from my generation should read.

For more of Penelope's writing please check out her blog.

Friday, August 10, 2007


So I've started using the TwitterFeed site to redirect my blog posts to Twitter. Now each of the posts on this site automatically get posted on my Twitter blog which saves a lot of time. The beauty of it is that it automatically truncates your posting to the 140 character limit that Twitter can handle as well as putting a TinyURL link to the original post in your tweet.

Setup is fairly simple one but it does require an OpenID to login. Luckily I was able to use my old Yahoo account. Next step is to tell TwitterFeed the address of your blog and the frequency to scan for new items.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Terry Fox Run 2007

Once again I'll be taking part in this years Terry Fox Run. The run will be taking place on Sunday September 16th where I will participate with the Blades@Ease team. We are adding another member to the team this year and if you are interested in doing the run on roller blades please contact me.

My goal in fund raising this year is $1000. Let's work together to end cancer and keep Terry's dream alive. All money raised goes to cancer research; please support my participation by donating.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay Flag of Canada is his first novel since his Fionavar Tapestry series in which the story takes place in present day. The story is set in Provence, France as a young Canadian boy is accompanying his father, a photographer, on a photo shoot. Almost immediately the reader along with Ned, the boy, stumbles into the middle of a story that has been going on for a very, very long time.

I purchased this book at a reading by Guy Gavriel Kay that was sponsored by Perfect Books at the Clocktower Brew Pub in Ottawa. It was a real treat to hear Kay speak about the time he spent in Provence researching the places he describes so eloquently in the novel. After a dramatic reading by Kay I did get a chance to meet the author to which I had a typical fan boy moment which is better left undocumented.

I absolutely loved this book and I devoured it over two days. I cannot recommend Kay more highly to anyone who wants to read some truly beautifully realized fantasy novels.

Updated 2007/08/11: My friend Alexandre reviews Ysabel as well. Alexandre was with me at the reading by Guy Gavriel Kay.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Last Colony

The Last Colony by John Scalzi is the third in the series preceded by Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades. In this novel Scalzi completes the shift from space opera action to political intrigue that he started in the second offering in the series. Fans of the series should be satisfied with the ending but I couldn't help but wish that it was a bit longer as some of the other characters and situations could have used some fleshing out. In the epilogue Scalzi mentions that this will be his last novel with John Perry and Jane Sagan as the lead characters but he is planning on revisiting the universe he created so I may get my wish.