Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

My New Year Brain Dump

January 2, 2008

I hope everyone out there had a safe and happy holiday. Happy New Year to all.

I just got back from a 4 day mini-trek down to Lockport NY to celebrate my daughter’s 6th birthday and New Years as well. And while we had a laptop and high-speed connectivity at the hotel, it just never got plugged in. And you know what? It was kind of nice.

Of course it’s back to the proverbial grindstone/rat race tomorrow but I feel somewhat refreshed and I’m ready to start chipping away at everything once again.

I’m not big on New Years resolutions. I’m one of those people that figures if you want to make a change, then you just go ahead and make it no matter what time of year. But I guess it’s an excuse to at least pony up some ideas. One of mine is to scale back and simplify. No, I’m not selling my house and living in a mud-hut off the grid – although that actually sounds cathartic at times. But I’ve got several goals which I intend to chip away at. Even if the chipping is just a little more aggressive than last year, I’ll be a happy camper. If you set the bar low enough, you can succeed at anything. 🙂

Some of the goals floating around inside my graying noggin at the moment:

  1. Eat less. Not salads and tofu. Just a little less of everything. I tend to eat well past the point of comfort sometimes. And many times when I’m not even hungry. And not a wholesale change of menu either. I’ll take my fancy for pizza, cereal and apple pie to my grave. I’m talking about quantity reduction. Not masochism.
  2. Exercise a little more. No Tai-Bo. Not looking for ripped abs in 10 weeks. I just want my pants and shirts to fit better. Nothing revolutionary – just less sedentary.
  3. Finish the blog and website. The website and blog theming are about 60% of the way there. It’s just going to take a little diligence and effort to get the job done – at least to the point where it’s presentable and not embarassing. 😉
  4. Simplify simplify simplify. Both online and in the ‘real world’, I plan on slowly removing things that are useless or counter productive. One by one, bit by bit. I have too much useless crap cluttering up my mind, my house, my desk at work and on my pc. I’m going to fight the pack-rat in me and try to give more crappy stuff the heave-ho.
  5. Move the focus points. Family, happiness, enjoyment and achievement. Less wasted time doing things that don’t further those things. And this does not preclude work either. I’m doing fine in that realm, but there is plenty of room to ‘sharpen the saw’ in all of those areas.

This post isn’t really meant as a goalpost or some highbrow social contract with myself. It’s just like most other blog posts, a brain dump just to get the process rolling.

Over the past week I also purchased a few interesting books and magazines. Whether they belong here in this post I don’t know. I may review a couple of them if I get the chance in the near term:

The Plenitude – Creativity, Innovation and Making Stuff by Rich Gold. This is a rather short, but interesting book. Rich Gold was a designer, inventor, writer, artist, and composer among other things. He worked at Xerox PARC and for Sega and Mattel. I’m halfway through this one and it’s very interesting reading. To me anyway.

Bulletproof Web Design by Dan Cederholm. This book is about improving the flexibility of web sites with XHTML and CSS. And while I’m very much an XHTML and CSS newbie, it seems to give some very valuable advice. Also, just going over the various sections, it seems like it will bolster my understanding of the basics as well.

Issue 100 of Linux Format magazine. I’ve read this mag in the past and quite like it, but the price is steep for me (around 20 bucks(!!) when purchased here). So I don’t buy a lot of these, but this one was special since it had an article on Linux related podcasts. I haven’t thoroughly read the article, but after skimming it I’m pretty sure I’m not entirely in agreement with their reviews on several fronts. Podcasts are highly subjective things. The review seems to read quite the opposite. We’ll see.

Design It Yourself edited by Ellen Lupton. This one is quite a nice inspiring book to browse through. It encourages creativity of the graphic design sort. There are lots of wonderful examples of practical projects and ideas. It’s far from a design reference and doesn’t pretend to be. It’s fun to read, and like I said, very inspiring for someone like me.

So there you have it, the first brain dump post for 2008. I hope everyone tries to make the most of the year ahead. Thanks to all for reading.

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Un-FunWall

December 19, 2007

I have had a Facebook account for at least a few months now. It has proved useful for one thing: reacquainting with school chums from long ago. I log in about  twice a month – usually only to read and reply to a private message someone has sent me.

One email notification thingy I’ve seen popping up repeatedly is that one contact or another has written something on my “FunWall”. Oh Joy. And up until tonight, I’ve resisted signing up to see what they’ve written there.

Turns out that the times they are a-changin’. Instead of sending out forwarded chain letters and un-funny photos via email, they’re posting them on my ironically-named FunWall. Better yet, each one is accompanied by the typical ‘Forward to three friends or get bad luck’ or the more succinct “Forward!!” message  tacked on the end.

Send over the paperwork. I’m ready to sign. I’m officially a Facebook-hatah.

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Uber-slick and simple paper airplane animation site

December 11, 2007

One thing I’ve loved doing since I can remember is making paper airplanes. If you’re looking for a few neat paper airplane designs to keep the kids (or yourself) busy?  Check out the ultra-neat site at: Lowe-Tech – portfolio for a few models described in deceptively simple and attractive folding paper animations.

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Woohooo… cough cough

November 27, 2007

I’m not sure if it’s just a Canadian thing, but this recent AutoTrader commercial made me laugh – especially the last part of it. Dunno if it’s the coughing or the howl at the very end. This reminds me of more than a couple of my high school friends:

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The Splogs are at it again

November 23, 2007

Several months ago I noticed that my posts were showing up on spam blogs every once in a while. Then it all stopped. But in the past week or so I’ve seen 4 or 5 a day come in through my highly egotistical technorati and google blog searches that I keep in my Google Reader – hey I need to have something to stroke my ego, no one else does. 😉

Anyway, I’m not sure why it’s happening now all of a sudden. Just chance or are these slimy guys just proliferating.

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A Lesson in Humility (or is that Stupidity)

November 13, 2007

So after my accidental but terribly embarrassing Stumbleupon spam mail earlier today I finally got up the courage to crawl out from under my desk and I have the following interesting facts to report:

1. The vast majority of my work-related contacts paid no mind to it. It seemed to be a kind of ‘wuzzat?… I ignored it’ reaction. Web-Ignorance I sincerely thank you.

2. Three or four people actually took the opportunity to join the service (they send you an email when one of your invites is acted upon). Glad I could be of service. 🙂

3. I received two or three re-acquaintance emails from people I hadn’t talked to in a while. (eg. Ah nevermind… but say, long time no talk – what’s up?) This was actually a nice by-product, and served to ease the pain ever so slightly.

4. I got a few truly comforting emails (‘no worries – shite happens’, ‘no big deal – don’t worry about it’ etc.). These people now get preferential status. Hehe.

5. Heathenx gave me a right proper ribbing. I would have expected no less. 🙂

Not too bad. But just when I thought the whole internet had gone soft, John L. saved the day with this little diddy in reply to my spam:

“Go fuck yourself ebay lover.”.

Ebay? I didn’t even know Ebay had acquired Stumbleupon. So to John, thanks for educating me and restoring my faith in all things Internet. You’ll get your free pen1s enlargement patches sometime next week.  🙂

The moral of the story? Triple check that page before hurriedly clicking those nice shiny buttons.

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Curl up and Die….

November 12, 2007

Excuse me.. Two phone calls so far… I'm going home right now to curl up and die.

:<

Damn You Stumbleupon!!!

November 12, 2007

I just inadvertently spammed 270 of my contacts. And I’m PISSED about it.

Sincerest apologies if you received a Stumbleupon invite/reference from me.

I like Stumbleupon. I think it’s fun. But when I saw the ‘see your friends reviews’, atop my Greader page, I thought it might be interesting.

So I get there and sign on, but the layout there is tricky (to me anyway). It lists your Gmail contacts that are already on Stumbleupon (there were 5 of them) and has a nice shiny button to connect them up and thereby see what it is they’re recommending. Good stuff….

But wait! There are all your other Gmail contacts (270 of them) lower down on the page and THEY ARE ALL SELECTED BY DEFAULT. It will then email them all a Stumbleupon invite!

FUCK!! (profanity is fully and completely allowed in this specific post btw).

My bad for not reading and comprehending well enough, but crap StumbleUpon.. you should make it more clear before potentially spamming hundreds of people I consider friends or at least acquaintances.

Again – My apologies to all of you.. I’m thinking of sending out a mass apology. I don’t know if I’m over-reacting, but damn I feel slimy right now.

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Facebook: Ugly Irrelevance

November 7, 2007

I visit my Facebook page every few weeks just to see what’s up. I find my distaste for FB growing with each visit. All I see is a steady stream of invites for something called the ‘Funwall’, or ‘iLike’ or some other 3rd party Facebook app. Even Steve Gillmor is trying to leverage Facebook in his recent call out for people to listen to his most recent ‘Gang’ podcast by joining a Facebook Group.

I’ve checked out some of these things and find the whole FB thing useless and a navigational mess. A hot steaming pile if you get my drift. Sure, there are no starry backgrounds (likely copyrighted by Leopard anyway) or animated gifs (yet!) but it sure doesn’t feel or look like the social app of the future to me. Every time I visit there just seems to be more and more crap squeezed into every nook and cranny of my home page. It actually looks busier than Yahoo.ca. And that people, is no mean feat!

Maybe I’m just behind the times, but I can’t for the life of me find any real value in Facebook.

Just give me a decent browser, Google Search, Google Reader, and GMail and I’m all set.

Do you frequent Facebook? If so, Why?

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I’ll take a new Ruby logo and a thick skin please…

October 30, 2007

I’ve entered a few logo contests in the past just for fun. It’s been a creative outlet for me and always ends up being a learning experience as well. But today I came across the winner of the Ruby logo contest. It’s definitely not what I would have picked as the winner, but over and above that, I’m glad I never knew about the contest – especially if I got the ‘shoe-ing’ that the winner seemed to get in the comments to the winning results post.

I’m simply not sure my skin would be thick enough.

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