Ed Bilodeau

This weblog had moved: http://www.coolweblog.com/bilodeau/

# Notice (Oct 19/05): So ends my stay here on Blogger. This morning Google implemented an anti-spam 'feature' that forces me to answer a challenge phrase when I want to post to my own blog. No notice of the change, nothing. Worse is that it doesn't even work! I type the phrase, submit, "An error occured", post deleted. Damn you, Google. Chances are I will revive my blog somewhere else, sometime soon. I'll post the new coordinates here as soon as they become available. (BTW, I'm unable to post anything to my RSS stream, so I'd appreciate it if readers could spread the word and ask people to take a look at this notice)

Update (Oct 19/05, ~noon): After a frustrating few hours (and not just trying out alternatives to Blogger), I've decided that this is a good time to take a break from all this. A day? A week? Who knows. But I need to step away from it before I pass a heavy magnet over the whole mess.

Update 2: According to this post, the reason I'm seeing the CAPTCHA (challenge phrase) is that Blogger has classified my blog as spam. Thanks. User for five years and now I'm spam. I searched the Blogger site, but there is no mention of how to get the spam flag turned off. There is also no way of contacting anyone at Blogger. Wow. Spam they say I am, so spam I must be. Maybe it is time to take a break.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Learning Perl : Also against my better judgment, I've started a background process to learn Perl. Thinking about tags has got me to thinking that there are some tools I really need to make this stuff work. Also, I think these tools really need to be decentralized and local, not running off some main server. And so, Perl.

A few of my ground rules:
- All my code will run locally. No need to worry about writing secure code, or supporting n users, etc. This is really just for me.
- I won't release my code. Like a personal diary, I don't want to have to worry about other people reading it.
- I won't worry about code reuse.
- I will worry about making the code do what I need it to do.
- I have no timeline for this.

(OK. The real reason I want to learn Perl is so that I can understand that stuff that Aaron does!)

I've started with Learning Perl on Win32 Systems. Just reading, right now. No coding. I've also taken out Programming Perl, but I think it will be a while before I get to that text.

In the meantime, please feel free to let me know about any resources that would be of use to Perl beginners.
Expect more on tagging : Against my better judgement, I signed myself up to give a talk on tagging (aka folksonomies) at GSLIS in mid-March. I'll post the details and reminders here, since it will be open to all. It would actually be great if a few Montrealer's interested in the topic showed up to participate (I'm planning on doing an intro to tagging, demos of delicious and flickr, then put some questions to the LISers-in-training as to what they think this means for them. It should be fun.

Anyway, expect to see more of my thoughts on the topic posted here as I try to pull together a cohesive presentation on the topic. See also: http://del.icio.us/ebilodeau/adhoctags
Reading weekend : Although I did set out from the office on Friday afternoon with rather lofty intentions (and a rather heavy backpack to go with them), by the time I got home, I realized that it wasn't going to happen. My expectations changed, I was from then on able to enjoy the weekend.

Not that I was just going to watch TV all weekend (although there was some of that as well). Its just that I can't sit and work all weekend, while neglecting the household work that has piled up. Cleaning, groceries, more cleaning: it just has to get done.

With the remaining hours (lets say 6 or so out of the weekend), I've decided to spend most of the reading. Rather, I'm re-reading Wenger's Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. I'm supposed to working on a draft of a short version of my research proposal, but I ran into a wall when I realized that it had been sometime since I thought seriously about the theory underlying CoPs. Wenger's text, IMHO, forms the core of that theory, although I know I have other reading to do as well.

(There is also a creeping feeling that my re-reading of Wenger is a somewhat effectively disguised act of procrastination. I mean, how can reading Wenger be a waste of time? But I know, and now you do as well, that the work that my research proposal is going to require worries me on many levels. I've avoided it for the past few weeks, but now I don't have much choice but to jump into it.)

It would be great if I was a speed-reader, but I'm not. Boy, am I not. And so I read.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Document Camera : A while back I wrote about the fancy overhead projector I have in my classroom this semester. I have since learned that the proper term for this piece of technology is a document camera. I love it. Last week, I left my laptop behind, and just used printed versions of my slides. Much less hassle and less risk of something going wrong. Why carry around a $3000 piece of technology when a dozen sheets of paper do the same job?

(Yes, this is essentially a very expensive overhead projector, except that I don't have to mess around with transparencies. It works with the tools I already use.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

del.icio.us social network browser : Java app showing my 'network' based on my delicious subscriptions.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Fully Situated: Episode 4 : A rough attempt at getting back in the saddle. Enjoy!

Monday, January 24, 2005

She said yes : Nathalie and I are engaged to be married! We've been together for over five years now, so I'm sure most would say that this engagement is long overdue, and I would be the first to agree.

Having been together for over five years, I must say that I wasn't quite ready for how this has me feeling. I expected to be happy, but not *this* happy. It really is a wonderful feeling!

The closest thing we have to a date right now is Spring 2006, so we have lots of time to plan. And, yes, we've already bought a few wedding magazines. Ouf! :)

Friday, January 21, 2005

Homeland Security Enlists Academia To Fight Terrorism :
Recognizing that information is a powerful tool that can be used to combat terrorism, the Homeland Security Department has for the past year established research centers throughout academia in an effort to better prepare for, and possibly prevent, future attacks. Homeland Security last week introduced the University of Maryland as its latest center of excellence with a three-year, $12-million grant.

I'm not sure why the US would bother with research, when they are clearly not all that interested in reality. From what I understand, there are aren't many security and military experts who agree that their policies and actions to date are going to produce the desired results. Why would they start listening now?

Scott Rosenberg's review of Bush's inaugural speech sets the context nicely:
This speech wasn't just soaring rhetoric. It was a lighter-than-air burst of helium verbiage -- lofty language untethered from the perplexing world we occupy and from the messy events of the last four years, sentences floating off into an empyrean of millennial vagaries.

My guess is that the government will be very selective in the findings it chooses to acknowledge. Ahh, maybe I should be more optimistic...
AMD's Personal Internet Communicator :
The PIC is a low cost, sealed fanless PC with pre-installed software designed to help provide 50 percent of the world's population with internet access and computing capabilities by the year 2015 - an initiative dubbed 50x15 by AMD.
Mac Mini Benchmarks : The hard drive is apparantly the bottleneck. The recommendation, upgrade the RAM from 256MB to something reasonable, otherwise the system will have to rely constantly on virtual memory, which, since it uses the hard disk, will result in a more-sluggish-then-usual experience on your new Mac.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Anjo Anjewierden on Tufte :
I also talked to some colleagues who have read Tufte. They don't like his books. A possible explanation is the following scenario. Imagine you are a Ph.D. student and your supervisor says: 'Read Tufte'. You get the book, have your marker ready and you start reading. After reading more than half of the book you still have not used your marker. You get worried, suppose the supervisor asks specific questions about the book.
del.icio.us/tag/folksonomy : God, no! People, please can we use a different term? Are we too late? Can't we turn back the tide? Wait, I have an idea...
One does not simply walk into Mortor... : Heh! :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

AppDev Firm Aims To Compete With Offshore Outsourcers : Not the first story we've seen of 'local' outsourcing: development work is outsourced to local development companies rather then oversees. The result, among other things, is a downward pressure on IT salaries.
Babylonian treasures damaged by coalition troops :
The ancient city of Babylon has suffered extensive archaeological damage during the US-led occupation of Iraq, warns a report issued by the British Museum on Saturday.

The report states that prehistoric brickwork has been crushed beneath military vehicles, precious stonework used to fill sandbags and important historical sites damaged by newly dug trenches.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

KM tags in delicious : In his post on KM online discussions, Denham Grey notes the following:
Another emergent way to stay in contact with the KM 'community' is to follow the KM related tags in del.icio.us.

He links to the following tag:


which is fine, expect, because of the typing overhead, I use the abbreviated version for my own KM entries:


At first glance, this might seem to be a problem, since users are using two different tags to categorize the same thing. However, if you click on either of the links above, over on the right-hand side of the page you'll see a list of 'related tags'. These are generated by delicious automatically, I'm assuming based on the multiple tags people use to categorize items. So for 'km', I can see that 'knowledge_management' also used to tag these kinds of terms.

At this point, I might want to change my tags to adopt ones that are more commonly used (feature request: make it easier to visualize this in delicious). In this case, I won't, because typing 'knowledge_management' is too inefficient. In any case, at least delicious lets me know these other tags exist. Very cool.

While delicious does allow you to AND tags using +, there is no way to OR tags (i.e. list all items tagged with either 'km' or 'knowledge_management'. I would guess that you would probably want to be able to use something like RDF to specify the relationship between tags in use, and then be able to use these RDF files to specify which tags to display. You could have auto-generated RDF (emergent relationships) as well has human-created RDF (explicitly created by users based on their understanding of relationships).

You could obviously spend a lot more time on this. What is cool is that the tools like delicious and flickr are created large databases of tagged items. These will serve as useful testbeds for developers to build the tools that will make these ad-hoc tagging technologies truly useful.
Update : Good morning, from a very cold morning here in Montreal (-24/-37)!

Things have continued to be busy since getting back from vacation. My new organizational tools (i.e. 43 folders) are working quite nicely, although I still have to work on being realistic about how much I can hope to get done in a day. I still end up stuffing way too much stuff into the 'tomorrow' folder.

I've also acquired some new gear for the office: a new keyboard and mouse. I was getting a bit tired of having to type on the laptop keyboard all the time, esp since the docking station lifts it a few cm off he table, making it slightly uncomfortable. With a normal keyboard, I can also move my monitor a bit closer to me (the laptop screen used to force me to keep it just a bit farther then I would like). I'm still getting used to the full-sized keyboard, though: everything is just slightly in the wrong place!

I also managed to find a place that sells Moleskine notebooks here in Montreal (Update: see this followup post for location info...), so I bought one. That story another time. The quality of the notebook is quite good, so much so that I'm reluctant to mess it up with my writing. Or maybe it is more that I haven't had much time to work on my PhD much (for which the Moleskine will be dedicated)? We'll see.

Finally, I am in the process of securing finding for a new digital camera. I have my eye on the HP Photosmart R607. High points are the size and rechargable battery. I don't care much about megapixels, and would probably settle for less if it would mean a cheaper camera. I'm open to alternatives if anyone has any to share.

Monday, January 17, 2005

CHI 2006 to be held in Montreal : I haven't be able to find details an the ACM site. Here is the SIGCHI page, where I expect details will be forthcoming.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Climate Change Desiccating the Planet, Researchers Conclude :
The results reveal that widespread drying has occurred in large regions of Canada, Europe and Asia, as well as western and southern Africa, and eastern Australia. The U.S. experienced the opposite trend, exhibiting increased wetness over the past 50 years. By controlling for rain and snowfall, the scientists determined the amount of drying caused by increasing global temperatures, which lead to elevated rates of evaporation. They found that about half of the change is a result of rising temperatures, particularly in areas at northern middle and high latitudes.
F.B.I. May Scrap Vital Overhaul of Its Outdated Computer System :
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is on the verge of scrapping a $170 million computer overhaul that is considered critical to the campaign against terrorism but has been riddled with technical and planning problems, F.B.I. officials said on Thursday.

In a last-ditch effort to save the program, the bureau has hired a research firm at a cost of $2 million to evaluate the mounting problems in creating a 'paperless' work system and to determine whether any parts of the project can be salvaged, officials said. One idea under strong consideration is for the bureau to use off-the-shelf software instead of the expensive customized features it has unsuccessfully sought to develop.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Oracle to PeopleSoft: The pink slip's in the mail :
Oracle appears to be adding insult to injury in its merger with PeopleSoft--taking the unusual step of notifying workers of their termination by sending pinks slips via express mail to their homes.

Shipments to thousands of PeopleSoft employees across the country are expected over the weekend, according to sources close to the company. Those spared pink slips will get packages too--containing new Oracle employment contracts.
Photos: Rush for Tsunami Relief : Photos from the recording session where Rush who, along with Bubbles (Trailer Park Boys) and Ed Robertson (Barenaked Ladies), re-recorded Closer to the Heart as part of the Canada for Asia concert last night.

I was teaching, so I missed the show. I'm hoping the video of Closer to the Heart will turn up on the Web somewhere.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Apple iProduct : Heh! :)
Apple jabbed by price point :
And selling the stripped-down Mac mini for much beyond $500 (Cdn.) isn't going to do the trick. Even the $599 street price being charged by the University of Toronto Bookstore ($725 if you want the 80GB hard drive model) still seems a lot for a basic computer these days. For that money you can get a Dell PC with Windows that kicks butt — and it will include a monitor, a keyboard and mouse. Some retailers will even toss in a printer.
"Wintry" in Vancouver : You just know Aaron had something to do with this! :)
Mozilla Update : I'm not sure when the site redesigned, but it is much better then before. Check it out. If you are not already using Firefox/etc, this may convince you to give it a try.
How Companies Turn Customers' Big Ideas into Innovations :
The truth is, most successful product innovation requires imaginative insights and incisive action from heroes in the lab and in marketing. Indeed, whether it was wizards in Menlo Park or Xerox PARC who came up with the concepts, the most effective product development and commercialization processes have always been based on a dynamic and complex exchange of ideas and interests among engineers, marketing experts, and, most importantly, the end-consumer.

Yet few companies are good at managing this exchange, particularly when it comes to capturing and incorporating customer insights into product design, according to product innovation experts at Booz Allen Hamilton and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. While it’s difficult to measure the cost of such missed opportunities, these experts say that this failure to incorporate the customer’s perspective often seriously limits the potential financial and competitive value of corporate innovation.

You may need to register (free, I think) to access the full article.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Knowledge management—Past and future : This piece by Alan Pelz-Sharpe and Chris Harris-Jonesin the January 2005 issue of KM World is positioned as a 'state of KM' article. Given that the magazine's byline is 'content, document, and knowledge management', you can see that this isn't what everyone would be considered a KM mag, despite the name. Anyway, on with the quotes:
We are not, as many seem to believe, moving at top speed toward a flatter, more open and democratic management style. Ask anyone who works in an outsourcing situation where things are headed, and he or she will tell you that it is back to strictly hierarchical working methods. I recently encountered an outsourcing center that measures how many workable minutes there are in the day and how many tasks they expect each worker to complete in the day, then reviews on a weekly basis the worker's performance by second or minute against each task. We may not like it, but the world of business is a complex and contradictory place.

While I do not doubt that nightmareish work environments such as these exists, I'm still a long way from throwing in the towel and accepting them.
We expect to see over the next 18 months the re-emergence of KM in the workplace. In many instances, it will not be labeled as KM, and the term information management will come more and more to the fore.

When KM was allthe rage, information management rebranded itself as KM. If this trend reverses itself, as suggested here, it will be a good thing for IM and KM both.
Again to quote my colleague Eric Woods, “Knowledge management should reinforce the need for human values in an increasingly automated world." That is true, but cynicism and the relentless drive to reduce costs is more likely to be the key driver over the foreseeable future.

Fortunately, as an academic, it is my responsibility to work towards a world as it should be, and not settle for the one that is.
Henning Pauly.com : Blog, studio journals, w/ video etc for a prog rock project with Seb Bach on vocals. Great use of the web to build support a music project. If only more bands did this.
Macintosh: It's a Madison Avenue thing :
Still, consumers pay for the style of Mac Mini. The $599 model comes with a 1.42GHz PowerPC processor, 256MB of memory, an 80GB drive and a DVD/CD-RW drive. A similarly configured Gateway 3250 (2.66GHz Pentium 4, 80GB drive, 256MB memory, same drive) costs $499; $100 less with a rebate.

But the Gateway also comes with some important extras--namely a keyboard, a mouse and a 17-inch screen. The Mac Mini has none of this. Cool industrial design with an artsy interface or a monitor? It depends what you're looking for.
43 folders : Aside from a meeting to discuss the upcoming advertizing for our e-commerce programs, I spent a good part of the morning setting up my 43 folder tickler file. I've been thinking about this ever since I came across Merlin Mann's excellent site a while back. But it was reading Liz's blog post (scroll down) on it that, for whatever reason, gave me the push to set up my own system.

Now we'll see if the system will save me more time then it took to set up! :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Linux Show is dying dead : I dug this story up while listening to "last week's episode" and hearing talk of it being the last show. It was a good show. Sad.
Classroom Design Forum : Although primarily of interest to those responsible for designing and building classrooms, this is also worth a look-through by those of us who merely use classrooms. (It is always interesting to see the thought that did or didn't go into our workspaces!)

Speaking of classrooms, this semester I'm teaching in the new Trottier CS/EE building. Very nice classrooms. The one I am in has two projectors, which you can have display the same feed or two different feeds. For example, if I could get the projector to work (haven't tried, mind you), I could display my slides on one screen, while projecting handwritten adhoc notes on the other (I don't know the model, but the projectors work with plain paper: no transparencies needed!). The classroom also has wireless network coverage, which I don't really need while I'm teaching, but is nice to have.

I'm not sure what the student experience of the room is, but from where I'm standing, its pretty nice! It will be hard to have to go back to other, older classrooms.
Controversial use of RFID : The January 5th episode of Off The Hook has Bernie reporting from the South East Asia (island off of Cambodia). He has a story about a controversy regarding the use of RFID tags to tag non-asian bodies (to aid in later identification), while the 'local' bodies are disposed of with no such identification. His report starts at around 27:00.
Reminder: Connections 2005 : The deadline for submissions to our LIS PhD conference in January 31, 2005.
Engadget blogs Jobs' keynote : No QT feed. Doh! Looks like we'll have to settle for the text feed.

Update: Mac mini... 499USD... who knows what that will be Canadian, or how much that comes out to once you add the Mac display, kybd, mouse, speakers, etc. But still, it sounds good.

Update #2: The Apple web site has been updated with the new products.
Doug Rushkoff - Renaissance Prospects : Any summary I write here won't do this talk justice. Well worth listening to.
Liz almost says something negative about an Apple product :) :
First of all, I just installed Adium as an alternative for iChat. Don’t get me wrong—I love iChat. I love the way it works, the way it looks, the AV support, etc. But it only allows me to log into an AIM account—and only one AIM account at that. I maintain two AIM accounts, one for day-to-day personal and professional work, and one specifically for students and office hours. It was a pain to have to log out of one to be in the other, or to have to run two different programs.

It is OK for a Mac user to say something negative about a Mac product, as long as they also say something positive in almost the same breath. The positive statement should come before the negative one (and ideally should be restated afterwards as well!).

"No, its not you. You're great. You're wonderful. It's me, that's all."
Karl is off to South East Asia : Karl is off to South East Asia for a vacation. Hope he will return safely.

If you read his last post on his blog, he is making much ado about the fact that he will be off the grid and unreachable, something he has mantionned a few times in the past weeks. Although it was written as if for an external audience, it almost sounds like he is trying to convince himself more then anyone else! :)
Joi Ito: Arrogance at Apple : To speak bad about Apple is blasphemy. What is good is what Apple does. What is bad is what is done against Apple. Apple can do no wrong. To question the inherent goodness of Apple is to tarnish my brushed-metal soul.

Monday, January 10, 2005

McGill School of Environment: Sandra Postel on January 24 :
Dividing the waters: Can We Live Sustainably and
Harmoniously in a Water-Short World?

Sandra Postel, Director, The Global Water Policy Project
Monday, January 24, 2005
Moyse Hall, Arts Building, 853 Sherbrooke Street West
6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Free Admission. Open to the Public.

Renewable but finite, fresh water is increasingly scarce in many parts of the world. Mounting competition for water is evident between countries, between states and provinces, between cities and farms, and between people and ecosystems. One of the biggest challenges now facing society is to satisfy the food and water demands of a growing human population while simultaneously safeguarding the health of aquatic ecosystems and the valuable services they provide. Meeting this challenge will require a fundamental shift in how we use, value, and manage fresh water.
Q&A with Jim Torczyner :
McGill University's Middle East Program in Civil Society and Peace Building has a big name, a small budget -- and a strong influence in the region. Launched in 1997, it trains Palestinian, Israeli and Jordanian social workers in Montreal -- on the condition that, after they get their degree, they collaborate on helping the region's poorest residents.
Indonesian victims include scholars with ties to McGill University :
The connection between Banda Aceh and Montreal's McGill University runs deep. Since 1989, funding from the Canadian International Development Agency has allowed young Indonesian scholars to pursue graduate degrees from McGill.
Universities in trouble: Board of Trade :
Montreal's Board of Trade is worried about the state of Montreal universities and is proposing a series of measures to make universities healthier and more competitive.
They are calling for more funding and a rise in tuitions (currently frozen by the government and the lowest in Canada).
Focus on tsunami may sink other causes :
Although keenly aware that it often takes a disaster to pry open a donor's wallet, charities are eager to remind the public that it is mundane diseases that actually kill far more people in the Third World.

And as tsunami relief swells to a torrent, there are growing concerns that the vast amount of money earmarked for that one cause will deflect much-needed attention away from other problems in poor nations.
This is why we have CSS, folks : OK, I promise to stop playing with the site layout, at least for a while. I wish there was a place where I could download simple Blogger templates.
Treehugger: Q&A: Retail Carry Bags - Paper or Plastic? : Neither, as it turns out.
Cringely on Apple's rumored PC :
But what if they priced it at $399 or even $349? Now make it $249, where I calculate they'd be losing $100 per unit. At $100 per unit, how many little Macs could they sell if Jobs is willing to spend $1 billion? TEN MILLION and Apple suddenly becomes the world's number one PC company.
I doubt, however, that Apple's manufacturing would be able to scale up to meet the demand for the machines (assuming that 10 million units is an accurate measure of the pent-up demand that exists). I think Apple is more likely to be a bit more cautious and see if the machine takes off. Then they might drop the price. And they would sell a ton.
Google: 20 Year Usenet Archive :

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Universal Business Language (UBL) Ratified As OASIS Standard :
Royalty-Free, International Standard for XML-Based Electronic Business Documents Approved


"Joanne Friedman, CEO of business-technology advisory, ConneKted Minds Inc., observed, 'The combination of a fixed tag set for electronic business (UBL) together with a transport protocol designed for the same purpose (ebXML messaging) is analogous to the foundations which built the World Wide Web. Where HTML provides consumers with information ubiquity, and HTTP a transfer protocol designed for the same purpose provides universal access, the UBL/ebXML combination will bring industry the boundary-less, barrier-free information needed to catalyze economic growth and foster inter-industry global trade."
InfoWorld: Product Guide: RadView TestView : Infoworld gives this web testing application an excellent score. Not cheap at $26k, but if I was running a serious site, I would look into this.
InformationWeek: E-Commerce: Promise Fulfilled : A brief state-of-ecommerce report, noting (among other things) the increased use of instore kiosks to drive multi-channel sales.
Evans Data Corporation: Web Services To Dominate Enterprise Application Integration :
"EAI used to be a big-budget project that required the building of an entire middleware layer of composite applications that replicated legacy processes. With the standardization that Web Services brings, applications can be linked with fewer lines of code, and often within a much shorter time frame," said Joe McKendrick, an analyst with Evans Data. "The savings potential of Web Services is enormous."
InfoWorld: Intel reaches Pentium 4 speed limit at 3.8GHz :
The Pentium 4 570 processor at 3.8GHz will have the fastest clock speed of any processor available from Intel for an indefinite period. Intel has decided to cancel a planned 4GHz Pentium 4 processor and improve the performance of its desktop chips by adding cache memory.

This is old news (Nov 2004), but I'm just now going through a backlog of magazines and linking to the items of note.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Nightmare of a boss :
We have site-monitoring technology, and Brent is constantly checking, catching errors. When he sees a problem, he calls several people to see what's going on. It doesn't matter what time it is, he calls. He calls me at 1a.m. and 2 a.m., and then he follows up at 7 a.m. I don't think he sleeps at all. I can't imagine him lying prone for more than a few minutes at a time. I think it frustrates him that other people do. One weekend, we were rolling out a software release, and I had been in the office for 24 hours. Brent was there too, and he had me call someone from marketing at midnight to find out about a voucher deal. She was stunned and appalled to hear from me.

I don't think Brent is ever happy, and I think that's a good thing. If he was happy, we just wouldn't do as much.
Matt Raible: How do you become an independent consultant and get contracts? : Be sure to read through the comments.
Microsoft Anti-Spyware : Links to reviews and downloads. Probably a very good idea if you are using IE.
CBC News: Montreal patients need new exams after computer glitch :
Nearly 40 Montreal patients will need follow-up exams after their abnormal radiology exam results disappeared in a computer glitch at a new hospital.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Daring Fireball: Plugging Leaks : John Gruber summarizes the case of Apple suing Think Secret for leaking info on upcoming products. Gruber's summary suggests that Apple doesn't really have a case against Think Secret, and that the lawsuit will only increase the buzz around the products in question.
You may disagree with Apple's vigorous pursuit of leakers, but this is not a case of big bad Apple putting the screws to a little guy. Fried's report at CNet makes it clear that Apple Legal has warned Think Secret (and, one presumes, other rumor mongers) repeatedly in the past few years. [...]

If Think Secret wasn't prepared for this, it's because they're foolish, not because they weren't fairly warned.
Can you think of any other company that could find public support for this kind of behaviour? Amazing.
Slashdot: Future Skills for a Budding Web Designer? : Reading through the comments is always interesting.
Globe and Mail: CNN dumps Tucker Carlson :
CNN said goodbye to pundit Tucker Carlson on Wednesday, and with him likely the Crossfire program that has been the granddaddy of high-volume political debate shows on cable television.

CNN will probably fold Crossfire into its other programming, perhaps as an occasional segment on the daytime show In side Politics, said Jonathan Klein, who was appointed in late November as chief executive officer of CNN's U.S. network.


The bow-tied wearing conservative pundit got into a public tussle last fall with comic Jon Stewart, who has been critical of cable political programs that devolve into shoutfests.

“I guess I come down more firmly in the Jon Stewart camp,” Mr. Klein said.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Job opening at NCS for McGill student : Marc Lanctot posted the following job opening to the McLUG mailing list:
The job is sysadmin-like. You'd be in charge of maintaining 3 Redhat Enterprise Linux IBM eBlade Servers which provide services web-based services for the campus. When not maintaining the servers, you'd be coding in PHP and/or Perl working on separate small projects each involving setting up a test environment on the server and then later putting it into production. You'd also working with Oracle Application Server, JDeveloper, and J2EE. Honestly, the nice part about the job is that you're never really doing the same thing.

- You must strictly be considered a student (ie. registered)
- You must be very comfortable working in Linux: installing it, setting it up on machines, installing/building software, using package systems, building kernels, setting up devices, etc.
- You must have some experience in either PHP or Perl (pref. both).
Database programming in either or both scripting languages an asset.

It would be for 21 hours (3 days: Mon/Wed/Fri) but that's negotiable.

Anybody that's interested or have questions please send me their CV.
IE bug : I just realized that IE doesn't render my weblog properly. The column on text is left aligned in IE, when it should instead be centered. I'm sure there is a quick fix for my CSS, but I don't have time right now to work it out. Everything looks fine in Firefox, however.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Anne Galloway: Under My Skin :
Added to this knowledge is the sickening understanding that before and since the tsunami, tragedies of even greater magnitude have gone ignored.
Folksonomies - Cooperative Classification and Communication Through Shared Metadata : This paper provides a summary of the issues surrounding the collaborative categorization that takes place with services like Fickr and Delicious.

These tools make categorization easy through trivializing the process and revealing the categorization scheme that emerges from the user behaviour. Little is said of how useful these systems truely are. Or rather, I see them more a proof-of-concept systems that will hopefully evolve to provide the functionality necessary for them to become truely useful.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Academe: Balancing Faculty Careers and Family Work : The Nov/Dec issue is dedicated to the topic of balancing the academic and family demands in your life.
Joel Spolsky on why you shouldn't let outsourcing fears stop you from a career in software development :
First, trying to choose a career based on a current business fad is foolish. Second, programming is incredibly good training for all kinds of fabulously interesting jobs, such as business process engineering, even if every single programming job does go to India and China. Third, and trust me on this, there's still an incredible shortage of the really good programmers, here and in India.