Archive for March, 2007

Sparta at the Commodore Ballroom last night

Sparta @ The Commodore

Photo credit: Rebecca on Flickr

Absolutely amazing show. We’ll have a RadioZoom episode posted of our interview with Keeley Davis from Sparta within the start of next week.

Blogging code of conduct

I’ve heard this term being tossed around in light of the Kathy Sierra situation. For those not in the know, trackback to what Scoble wrote about taking the week off because of the personal attacks towards his wife and the effects of threats on Sierra has had on him. That saves me time explaining it, but the basic lowdown is that bloggers are finding themselves in the line of fire. Thus, a “blogging code of conduct” has been mentioned to help the situation.

To me, this already exist, but on a very unspoken level. There are some things that you do and don’t do if you want your online presence to be respectable. For some, having that level of respect is the last thing they want, and this is not about respect in terms of popularity. It’s about not being an ass, plain and simple.

Death threats, defamation, slander, and everything else negative that is going on in relation to the already mentioned situation is simple human behavior. It’s an elementary school playground.
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Blog: Ikea Hacker

Ikea HackerI showed this to Rebecca this morning before she left for work, and she asked me where I had discovered Ikea Hacker. For the life of me, I cannot remember. I’ve been reading it for the past few months, enjoying the neat creations that people have cobbled together to make there own breed of Swedish furniture. It’s something I am really curious about doing myself, but even I scare myself with the possible monstrosities I could create.

It was this recent post that came through to me this morning that really peaked my love for this blog. Take an Ikea desk, computers, throw some cable management at it, and holy crap is my mind full of ideas now. That’s the brilliance of this site. My courage is getting stronger to try something crazy myself.

True that some of the posts are nothing spectacular, but I can always use some sources of inspiration to get me going again. The desktop PC of Rebecca’s sits on this little Ikea workstation that we got from some of our good friends. They were pretty impressed when I mounted our network router underneath the bottom shelf with some twist-ties. Now I have all sorts of ideas. Just need more ties.

Vancouver Blogger March Meetup

Running into David Drucker at the Massive Tech Show on Wednesday, he clued me into the March Vancouver Blogger Meetup that was taking place that night. I gathered Rebecca kind of last minute and we made our way out to The Whip for our first venture with this group, but this isn’t the first time that we’ve heard of these meetups. It was about time that we crashed the party though.

Vancouver Blogger Meetup
Photo credit: Rebecca on Flickr

There were a number of familiar faces, and this will completely sound like a Wizard of Oz moment. There was David and MJ, who we met at our first meetup ever in Vancouver, but that was for podcasting. And Pete was there, Tanya from NetChick.ca, Nancy, Jonathon, and Jan was there, too!

It’s always fun to bridge that gap between people you know through their postings, and this meetup allowed me to do that a little bit more. Rebecca has a nice follow-up on this, and Jan did the same in as well as posting a review of The Whip itself. I’ll echo his thoughts and say that it was a pretty swanky place, being my first time there. I hear it has changed, and they might see me there again if I’m ever in the area. Yam fries are tasty, and the beer selection is… Well, it’s good, but I just hadn’t heard of nearly all the things they had on tap. Don’t think anyone complained though.

All in all, a really good time with lots of great conversation. I think it’s natural when people of the like mind get together like that, it’s hard to not talk, especially at great lengths, about the things you are passionate about. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be there, right? It’s those reasons that encourages me to go to meetups like this.

300

I saw 300[imdb] about two weeks ago, but it didn’t hit me to mention anything about it until now. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. Was it not memorable enough that I had to rush home and write up something about it? Not particularly. I think the main thing to blame is the fact that it was St. Patrick’s Day and we caught the Canucks on HD at our friends on the north shore that night (but that’s a post for another time).

300Let me just say that I am sick of people saying that it has historical flaws. You think?! It’s based on a graphic novel[wiki], which is just another way of saying “fancy comic book”. The story is based on an actual, historic event, sure. But it’s still a graphic novel, meaning amazing, conceptual designs by creative minds not bound to traditional forms of storytelling.

It’s words with really cool pictures. I think it’s safe to say that anything can happen.

With that out of the way, I liked it a lot. Nearly everything is touched with CGI, but it doesn’t get in the way of the film itself. It’s a great story with just the right amount of acting for a movie on this scale.

300 - Ripped SpartansI do want to know the secret of getting that buff though. Is it a Spartan thing, blue screen technology, or what? Regardless, it paid homage to the legend that the Spartans mostly likely wanted to leave behind in light of the story that this film portrays. Well, maybe not completely.

There was a moment just after a battle where the Spartans were standing there in victory, music faded away, and it was all quiet in the theatre. Someone in the back whistled at the shot on screen in a very loving manner. A bunch of sweaty, blood covered, dirty warriors stood there as the camera slowly panned back, all wearing their capes, Spartan speedos, sandals, and not much else, maybe a helmet. The whole place laughed at the perfect timing.

On a note of the music, there is a little bit of the industrial rock vibe here and there, but it doesn’t hurt the film as a whole like I feared it could. Orchestra pieces waver in and out of the movie as well, but that Nine Inch Nails vibe comes at perfectly timed moments, especially the battle scenes, which there are a few of.

So on a personal level, I was entertained for close to two hours, and that is the one thing that I ask of any movie. Shot well, great story, and it didn’t feel like I was watching Gladiator at all. The only thing that made me uncomfortable was some of the battle scenes, but that’s not a bad thing. Make me feel a little squirmish, I don’t mind. Movies that make your emotions trigger is all good.

Yahoo Mail is going googolplex

Quite often when someone asks me about getting a free email account, my response is always GMail. I don’t use its web interface very often, but watching Rebecca fly through it tells me that it’s powerful. However, it’s the storage that always made it a no brainer to me.

Well, that’s not so easy anymore. Yahoo is saying, “Limits? We don’t need no stinking limits!”

And today? Yahoo has announced that Yahoo Mail’s new limit is…well, it has no limit. You get infinite space for your e-mail. Let me repeat: infinite space. As in you can store all your e-mail. Even if you have an unlimited amount of it

The company says not all users will get limitless storage immediately–it needs time to roll this new feature out. One can only imagine: It must take awhile to buy and install an infinite number of hard disks. [pcworld]

I haven’t ventured into the Yahoo Mail realm for a long time, and when I did, it wasn’t that much time spent. For the simplicity of things, it’s worth noting for those users who are not so tech minded. If storage like this will become the norm, it’ll be more of a battle of user interface than how much junk mail you can get crammed into your email account.

And what, Hotmail is still around 100Mb for a free account? The UI there is such an eyesore, but at the Massive Technology Show yesterday, I heard people giving out their email addresses a lot. What were they? Hotmail. Yuck.

Venturing around the Massive Tech Show 2007

20070328(004).jpg I’m just back from the Massive Technology Show at the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre, and it’s safe to say that this was indeed a massive show. There might be others that beg to differ, but when you think that the previous two years had this thing crammed into Science World, this location seems seemingly brainless for such an event.

Not being all too familiar with what the MTS was or is, I wasn’t all too sure what to expect. To me, it was a total melting pot of various technologies, holding true to the show’s name. I ran across a variety of vendors looking to sell their products, ranging from IP routers, telephones, VoIP, and all forms of web presence. Hardware, software, mobile technology, and so on, not to mention fun gadget stuff like segways, electric scooters, and gaming. There was also a fair amount of online education booths as well.

Oddly enough, for an event of this scale, there were a fair amount of empty booths, probably one or two in every other row. As successful as this event has been, it makes me fairly curious if some exhibitors decided to not show up, but they missed a fairly good opportunity to have some tiptop exposure.

20070328(001).jpgPersonally, I had a good time discovering various bandwidth providers in and around Vancouver. These companies tend to specialize in small business, but they prevent some nice alternatives to the standard cable provider that we have at home now. Worthy of a replacement service? I’m not too sure yet, but when I find out that their field techs will show up to your location at a specified time, instead of an anytime within a five hour time window, then I am very interested. Oh yeah, and the bandwidth they offer is noteworthy as well, but I’m not going to give out free advertising just yet.

I didn’t make my way into the conference area, but the presentations that were listed did not strike me as noteworthy. Chances are, I might have missed out on some good topics being presented upstairs, but the reason might come from the way the sessions were marketed. Call it a matter of personal preference, but there wasn’t much that struck me as something to not miss.

20070328(002).jpg I do feel for anyone who tried to watch any of the presentations on the main stage though. I’m not sure that the PA was loud enough to hear the speaker over the crowd on the main floor, which was just mere feet away from the back row of seats to watch these things. Two projection screens at each side of the stage were showing slides, but even I had a hard time seeing exactly what was up there. Of course, I didn’t watch too many of these, but the one I caught about ten minutes of was the experience that I just described.

Bottom line, there is good stuff at the MTS. This is the first time in this location, and it is bound to get better and better. According to David Drucker, this year is very evident of that. I would hope that they would continue to be in a location like this in the future, but imagine what the new expansion of the convention centre might hold for a show like this once it is completed. MTS might be developing a tech show with wide reaching appeal if they play their cards right.

20070328.jpg One last note, I am bothered by the MTS blog, especially the fact that it hasn’t been updated since the end of February. For a tech show, this seems near sacrilege, especially with the amount of web identity and marketing companies that were there today. There should be someone live blogging the event, posting live pictures, or some form of interaction with its website, especially on the day of the event. Something tells me that it might not be “that type of conference”, but it should be.

Uber final note, big shout out to the Bryght crew. Roland’s first question out of his mouth was if I have found a job yet, and the answer is that I’m trying. :)

Update: Big thanks to Jeremy Latham for catching a “typo” on this post, and I also wanted to point out this review by John Chow. He says some things that I was thinking, but in a much better way. Also makes me wish I would have played with the segways a little bit.

Why I will never have an alarm system for a car

Somewhere in a block radius of home, there is a car that has an uber-sensitive alarm. At this point, when I hear a heavy truck, maybe a semi or garbage truck, roll down the street, I pause. Wait for it… wait for it…

There are two outcomes. One is some beeping that is that early warning part of the system that says, “stay away from this car because it has really annoying sounds that will start blaring if you don’t step back.” The other is all of that before plus the really annoying sounds that go off for about a minute or two.

It’s been like this for the past two days. It’s almost a game, making bets if the car alarm will go off or not. And where is this person who owns this car? It’s like they just use it as a system of telling themselves, “Oh hey, I can hear my car outside. It’s still there!” At this point, I think the battery might drain itself because it has gone off so many times. And if I could find the source, I’d report it. For all I know, it’s missing a stereo system by now.

Bum Rush The Charts follow-up

Bum Rush The ChartsInstead of tacking on an update to my original posts here and here about Bum Rush The Charts, I thought I would throw a few more thoughts into the aftermath that was. After all, I helped promote this event/movement, and you probably assume thoughts that I have on it. Yes, I liked the concept, but the discussion in the spheres of blogging and podcasting urges me to think out loud a little bit more.

GZExpat is a long time, non-supporter of all things iTunes, and The Reverend Don Deeley has presented me with numerous theories of everything that is wrong with DRM[wiki], which is what every single thing you can buy from the iTunes Music Store is laced with. It’s that thing that prevents you from duplicating, copying, or moving the file in which you purchased within certain parameters.

Some people are unaffected by this, but that’s like saying you can drive the car that you bought here and here, but you can’t drive it here, park it there, or you have to give up your car after you drove it for six months. So let me be in agreement, I am all for opening up DRM across the board, just like what Steve Jobs proposed in his little white paper that he lofted at the music industry nearly two months ago.

Bum Rush The Charts resultsIn a slight manner of speaking, that is what BRTC was about, except it goes a little further than this. The ultimate goal was to push an independent artist to the top of the iTunes charts. It fell short, but the results still showed an effect. Will major music executives care? Probably not, but it shows that independent media can push independent music in a user driven capacity.

Don’t think for a minute that Billboard Music Charts[wiki] work this way. The only reason someone sits on top of that chart is because of the millions of dollars that is spent on marketing that artist. It’s a funneling of big music pushing their focused, narrowed down product to big radio networks who only play a certain amount of artists in their regular rotation on the hot hits stations. It’s what they want to sell and make the maximum amount of profit, not necessarily what you should or want to hear. And if you find that hard to believe, remember when ska was hot? Don’t hear that much on the radio these days because some marketing trend guru says the most amount of profit potential lies in some other genre.

Dave Slusher made a post as to why he was abstaining from BRTC, and I completely respect the idea he presented. However, the aspect of getting respect from traditional or mainstream media is not the reason I bought into this. If anything, I saw this as a really great experiment of what is possible through the combination of blogging, podcasting, and combining that with independent music.

In the end, it proved that it has the potential of being very effective. You can argue all you want about the over all method, but science works the same way. You run an experiment, test the results, and then look another way to test the hypothesis in order to validate your data. That’s not to say that this will happen again anytime soon, but no one can say with complete sincerity that this trial produced some results that are worth raising an eyebrow at.

Massive Tech Show 2006

I know there hasn’t been much for updates as of late, but it’s been a hectic time. A combination of job searching and projects has kept my mind pretty awash in the last week.

I will be hitting the Massive Tech Show tomorrow in downtown Vancouver, thanks to some free, all access passes. To tell the truth, I’m not all too sure what to expect. There’s a conference plus trade show and exhibition. I imagine that means that I’m going to come home with a bunch of pamphlets, pens, and other promotional goodies that will clutter up my work space after their novelty wears off. Then I can say, “I got that from the Massive Tech Show.” Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.

This will also be a great opportunity to search for potential employment opportunities. How and what and where, I can’t really tell you. I just like doing geeky things, and someone should totally be paying me to do those sorts of things for them. Watch for on location posts, but no promises.