Monthly Archives: March 2008

The great Stafford Beer puts his ideas on Designing Freedom into practice in Allende’s Chile

There is a fascinating article on how Chile Tried to Find the Right Software for Socialism in the New York Times. Quote:

“When military forces loyal to Gen. Augusto Pinochet staged a coup here in September 1973, they made a surprising discovery. Salvador Allende’s Socialist government had quietly embarked on a novel experiment to manage Chile’s economy using a clunky mainframe computer and a network of telex machines.  The project, called Cybersyn, was the brainchild of A. Stafford Beer, a visionary Briton who employed his “cybernetic” concepts to help Mr. Allende find an alternative to the planned economies of Cuba and the Soviet Union. After the coup it became the subject of intense military scrutiny.”

I have always been a big fan of Beer since I read his great book Designing Freedom: Stafford Beer (
which was part of the Massey Lectures. It’s a very small book, based on the lectures he gave, but it is packed with thought provoking ideas that may just be coming into play with Web 2.0 and social networking technology. Perhaps we need to go back and look at his work again.

See the article at the Then get his book from Indigo…for under $5, no less! (And try the other books in the Massey Lectures series…there is alot of brilliance in a number of small books.)

(Photo: Joao Pina for The New York Times)

Why I love my iPod touch: wireless!

I am a big fan of iPods. I have four: the original Shuffle, the new Shuffle, a Nano, and the Touch. I love them all, but I especially love the new Touch. While it has alot of great features, what has surprised me is how useful the wireless feature is. I expected only to be able to use this at home, but I have found that there is free wireless almost everywhere, if you go looking for it. And the Touch makes it easy to find. As a result, I am able to surf the web via Safari, watch YouTube videos, and check my email from many places. It’s great, especially since in Canada, you cannot officially get an iPhone. I am wondering if I need it! 🙂

Find out more about this here: Apple – iPod touch – Features – Wireless

Dining for a Dollar (ok…99 cents)

The has a great article on how it is possible to create great meals from low cost ingredients. It’s a great story, and there is a slide show with links to rhe recipe and the article.

The slide show is here: Dining on a Dime fromThe New York Times in the Dining & Wine section

The article is here: How to Survive in New York on 99 Cents

And here’s the recipe for what is pictured above, namely Almond Nougat Parfait With Orange Coulis

(Photo: Evan Sung for The New York Times)

When is food seasonal in Ontario? See this chart

Over at Food Down the Road is a great Seasonal Food Chart that highlights when certain foods are seasonal in Ontario. I was surprised at how many foods are local and seasonal for longer periods of time than I thought.

If you are interested in the 100 Mile Diet or things like that, you will want to see this chart.

(image of Ontario Apples from

“Traffic Shaping” comes to Canada

This activity, which has raised an interesting debate in the U.S. — do a web search on “Comcast” — now appears to be in Canada, too, according to the CBC. The CBC itself has an article on it, ISPs limit access to CBC download, users say in which they say:

“One user received a notice that it could take 2½ hours to download, while another was quoted 11 hours. The bottleneck is occurring because ISPs such as Rogers and Bell limit the amount of bandwidth allocated for file-swapping on BitTorrent. The controversial practice, called traffic shaping, is meant to stop illegal downloading through BitTorrent. But it also slows the times on legal downloads such as Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister.”

I expect this to be a much discussed topic all over the world.

25 Ways to Simplify Your Life with Kids from Zen Habits

The very wise Zen Habits has a great list for anyone who is a parent and who finds life stressful sometimes (or most of the time). Try even some of the things on the list, and based on my experience, you will naturally find yourself become a better parent. For the whole list, and lots of great advice, see 25 Ways to Simplify Your Life with Kids | Zen Habits

You can buy alot of books and magazines on parenting, or you can start with this list. I would go with the list first. 🙂

Great photographs at

One of the great things about blogging is coming into contact with great people you would never get to meet ordinarily.

I wrote about a piece in the and I credited Andrew M Daddio. He wrote me a nice email back asking if I could include his web address. I will do that, but I would also like to highlight his web site. He has great photographs over there you really should see. So go to and check them out.