Monthly Archives: November 2008

More great uses of tumblr: 1001 rules for my unborn son

Over at the is a great tumble log called 1001 rules for my unborn son. Go see. I like this one:

276. Surround yourself with smart people.

That’s why I have my blog: because I am surrounded by smart people.

After you read it, you might want to start a similar log of your own life lessons. Hey, the world needs your wisdom.

(Tip to Cup of Jo).


Google problems: free speech

There is so much that is great about Google that it is easy to overlook the problems that they have and the problems that they might cause. A very good exploration of that, with regards to free speech and censorship, can be found in this article: Google’s Gatekeepers.

The article explores how Google –the corporation and the people that work there — deal with the demands around the world to censor or block material provided by Google and YouTube. As for article shows, it is a very demanding job.

I think the article is fair in showing all the sides of the issue. If anything, it gives Google and it’s employees the benefit of the doubt. And that’s the part I have a problem with.

Things I would have liked to seen is an exploration of whether or not there should be an American law for free speech similar to the antiboycott laws in place since the 1970s. If it can be illegal for U.S. companies and citizen to particate in a boycott, a similar law could be put in place to uphold free speech.

Another thing that should be explored is whether or not the approach Google current has in untenable. I believe it is untenable for three reasons. First, I believe that their current piecemeal approach is eventually going to collapse or be unmaintainable as exceptions and contradictions are exposed. Second, I believe that Google as a corporation should not have that much control over what I can see and do.Third, Google as a corporation has a conflict of interest between supporting free speech and growing business is countries that want to restrict it.

Now Google is not the State. I still have freedom of association and the press. If I want to post videos or blog things or search for things, I don’t need to use Google. In fact, I don’t use Google for a number of those things. However, most people do. And that really is the root of the problem.

P.S. There is a semi-hagiographic quality to the article. I am not sure why. I think Google can stand for less of that, not more.

The world’s first digital camera

This, believe it or not, is the world’s first digital camera.

According to, it was invented by Steve Sasson from Kodak in 1975. And since it was 1975, the recording device for digital media was a cassette tape. What is surprising is that some of the technology used then is still used in digital cameras now (though thankfully not the tape). For more on this and other interesting firsts, see Oddee.

What is portable light?

In the wealthier parts of the world, we take light and illumination for granted. Imagine how much harder your life would be if you could not take it for granted. Light provides us safety and comfort, but it also allows people, especially people who work long hours, to read and educate themselves and improve their lives.

So I thought this project, Portable Light, was a great idea. Not only does it provide for low cost lighting for people who can least afford it and who most need it, but it does it in a very ingenious way. But rather than tell you, I’ll leave it at that and strongly encourage you to go to the site.

(Tip to for this).

Want to be part of a project that involves Web 2.0, mobile technology and microfinancing?

Then go over to the blog AfriGadget and check out this post:  Support AfriGadget’s Young Mobile Reporters.

As for me, everything I believe that is going to matter in the 21st century is tied up in this project, so how could I not contribute? You can too. It’s sounds like a worthwhile initiative.

BTW, this blog was rated one of the 50 best web sites of 2008. A very good addition to your bookmarks or RSS feeds.

Starbucks and (RED): every nickel counts

It looks like Starbucks is joining Apple, the Gap, and others,  on the (RED) campaign to help save lives in Africa. You can too. See Starbucks and (RED) – Do Something Good Everyday

Hey, you were going to buy that latte anyway, so do something more with your purchase. Click the link to see how.

In the market for headphones? You must go here

The web site HeadRoom has a wealth of information on anything regarding headphones. Ratings, prices, lots of photos, and very detailed reviews. I’m looking at these Grado 60s, for example: great value “cans” for under $100 (Canadian).

Want to listen to your iPod or get a gift for someone who does? See the Fatman

I am not an audiophile, but I love the look of this “dock” for the iPod. I am sure it sounds alot better than most iPod docking stations most of us are familiar with.

Like the name of the product too.

In Toronto, you can get this line at Bay Bloor Radio.

For more information on the product itself, surf on over to Fatman iTube Red-i with Speakers

Buying home electronics? Consider for advice

There are lots of sources of information on the Internet regarding home electronics. (For example, I am in the market for a wireless-N router like this one.) What I like about is the clear yet thorough reviews that I came across. Perhaps some are not, but the ones I read were very informative. If you are shopping for gear (or, or course, books!) then consider going there.

The Madness of Black Friday in the U.S.

For folks outside the U.S., it is hard to appreciate the craziness that happens during the “Black Friday” weekend in the U.S. I am sure that even people who experience it must at least shake their head when reading the story about the Wal-Mart Employee Trampled to Death (in the

To get a sense of what it must be like, here is a snippet of the shopping frenzy here:

(No, I didn’t film or caption this…)

(Found on

My favourite new blog, LOLFed

Honestly, the pictures alone are worth the visit. See LOLFed. Emo Bernanke, LOLTraders and Schadenfreude, Oh My

(Tip from Paul Krugman’s blog)

Everything but the Squeal – for pork lovers

There’s a great review of “Everything but the Squeal,”  by John Barlow Pursues in the The book tracks the author as he tries to eat every part of the pig. It’s not an easy thing to do. Fortunately, he lives in Galacia, where they know how to do this sort of thing and there are a splendid variety of pork dishes. (Ok, some are not so splendid…but there IS a wide variety.)

 Vegetarians might not warm to this book, but it promises to be funny in the Bill Bryson style of writing, which could make it a great holiday read.

So…enjoy! (The book or your pork chop..or both!)

Free Fallin’ with John Mayer

This was a great song when Tom Petty did it. John Mayer slows it up a little and makes it more poignant somehow. Give it a listen:

YouTube – John Mayer – Free Fallin’

A simple test to see if the email you are getting is a case of fraud/phishing

I got this email this morning. It looks very legitimate:

Dear Capital One Bank customer,

We recently reviewed your account, and suspect that your Capital One Online Banking account may have been accessed from an unauthorized computer. This may be due to changes in your IP address or location. Protecting the security of your account and of the Capital One Bank network is our primary concern.

We are asking you to immediately login and report any unnoticed password changes, unauthorized withdrawals or deposits, and check you account profile to make sure no changes have been made.

To protect your account please follow the instructions below:



Please click the following link, to verify your account activity:

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and appreciate your assistance in helping us maintaining the integrity of the entire Capital One Bank system. Please login as soon as possible.

Thank you,
Capital One Bank Security Advisor.

Unlike alot of obvious fraud, this one looked pretty legitimate. Still, I was suspicious. So I did a little test.

I ran my mouse over the hyperlink (the “https”) part and looked at the status area at the bottom left of my screen. What I see is that the hyperlink does not go to “https://onlinebanking….” but another hyperlink (”) which appears to have no connection to the Capital One web site. (Plus, it is a non-secure PHP page as opposed to a secure ASP page, making it even more suspicious).

So, I marked it as spam and notified Capital One.

If you were to try to login to this fake site, they would have your userid and password and they would rip you off.

So beware.

P.S. I missed this earlier, but there was also a typo: “you account profile”. Typos are a good sign of phishing too.

Quote of the Day

Happiness Quote

stopping companies from being “too big to fail”

A quote that often comes up in discussions during a financial crisis is “company X is too big to fail”. Companies that big are determined to be in need of assistance from the public.

Given this, I think companies should be banned from getting that big. All companies should be able to get as big as they want as long as they can fail. After that, they should divest.

They have to divest anyway, but at the worst possible time for them and the public.

An independent agency could determine what limit of companies that hit the limit and force them to sell. Failure to do so would result in jailtime for executive management.

Sharesholders could be reimbursed via dividends, who could then invest in other companies.

No one should be too big to fail.

Why I read (and not

They are both great papers, but the former has an advantage over the latter: recognized that I am viewing it on a mobile device and switches the page to make it readable to me. So does and the Not to mention

I think any major news or business magazine or newspaper needs to do this ASAP or lose readers in the process.

Get Busy with Sean Paul

Speaking of Sean Paul, this is my favourite version of “Get Busy”. I am not sure where this video was filmed, but this seems quintessentially Canadian to me, what with the parkas, the winter setting, the unfinished basement, the references to the furnace (!) and the split party going on (young people downstairs, older people upstairs). I love the little kid who sneaks down and gets down (before being whisked back upstairs), and I think the older man complaining about the banging on the “furnace” is priceless!

Sean Paul: Get Busy

Mixing in a little Justin Timberlake into Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”

This song is hard for me to take seriously. (Maybe if I was younger I would.) Fortunately, with this mashup that incorporates a very funny Justin Timberlake, I don’t have to!

Good Friday Night Music…

is anything by Estelle, it seems. Here she is with Sean Paul with “Come Over”

Estelle has a nice groove going here and a sweet soulful sound.

It is interesting to compare this to her American Boy video with Kanye West. There’s alot of similarities even though visually they are superficially different.

Estelle reminds me of Amy Winehouse in how she seems to be channeling much older styles of singing but making it fresh and contemporary.

The Twitter Rules

Anyone who is using twitter should consider this. Andy Piper has put together a list of rules for users of twitter that I think are bang-on. I try to follow them myself, and like Andy, I tend to drop people who break them often.

Besides Andy’s blog, you should also follow him on twitter: if you do, you will learn alot. Trust me.

P.S. BTW, he works for IBM, not Moo. I just thought I should point that out. 🙂

Good news! GM is giving up 2 corporate jets! Bad news! They have 3 remaining!

Perhaps someone can explain why they have ANY corporate jets, given the trouble they are in. After all, if you were close to bankruptcy and people found out you had 5 sports cars, do you think just giving up 2 of them would be sufficient? I didn’t think so, either.

As I said before, these guys need to try alot harder. Or perhaps someone else should take the job who is willing to try harder.

For more details, see Think Progress » GM execs give up some private jets after embarassing hearing.

A blog for coffee lovers…

…is Coffee Drink Machines Blog. Anyone who loves coffee will enjoy the posts there, including this brilliant YouTube video of a very talented barista making illustrations:

Who rocks? The UC Men’s Octet does!

Not only can the UC Men’s Octet sing, but they have a great sense of humour too! Look no further than:

They have lots of videos on YouTube. Check ’em out. And let’s hope they get some quality recordings out soon.

(Found at the fashionable blog, Fazed-girl who also has Tom Jones doing this!)

The misuse of Web 2.0 “stuff” :)

To see what I mean, go to the blog Aviary and see Redesigning America 2.0. To be fair, I think it is in jest. I hope! I like this idea, though:

America should be a positive experiment, always changing.

Analyze your blog/blogging with typealyzer

Have a blog? You have to try the Typealyzer! When I gave it this blog, it came back with this:

“The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generelly prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.

The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.”

I think that is just about right for the first part. I am not sure about the action and risk part: perhaps my blog is partially a form of wishful thinking! 🙂

Try it out! (Thanks to for the tip)

Essential tools: my blackberry camera

One thing I love about my blackberry is the camera. While it is a 2 megapixel camera, the quality is only so-so. (Compared to my 6 year old Kodak digital camera that is also 2 MP and takes much better pictures). The photo quality may be so-so, but the blackberry camera has some excellent features:

  1. It’s always with me, partly because I rely on it heavily, partly because it is easy to carry (unlike some cameras).
  2. I can email images that capture as soon as I capture them. This allows me to do things like post them on Twitpic or my Tumblr tumblelog immediately.
  3. I can capture images at work. This is very valuable when working on a whiteboard or some other temporary work environment. I can easily go back and review my “notes”. (Something I am doing right now! 🙂 )

Late night thoughts

Muscles are made stronger by tearing them, and that the heart is one of those muscles.

A reminder

From the good people at The Poster List: Pop Art Posters!

You have walls: you need posters! So go and buy their posters: they’re hot!

How not to beg for money: fly in a private jet to the meeting

It’s a simple rule of asking for money: look like you need it. Instead, today we had the spectacle – there’s no better word – of the Big Three auto CEOs flying to Washington on private jets to ask for taxpayer money (

Apparently they couldn’t fly on a commercial flight for “safety reasons”. I hope someone asks them about that. The bigger risk they took was coming to Washington looking like fat cats. That was “unsafe” for their companies and their careers.

I have often heard people in business deriding people in government for not being as savvy as they are. But most people in public office would have enough of a clue to figure out how bad this looks.

Businessmen and women looking for public money are going to have to try a whole lot harder. Painfully so. Starting with getting rid of the corporate jets.

Feast for the eyes! Life photos archive hosted by Google

You can see it here: LIFE photo archive hosted by Google. (Thanks to for the notice!)

What’s a good wine for the (recessionary) times?

It could be this:

The blog, A CUP OF JO has a few details, but I would like to get some more.
Great marketing, regardless of how good the wine is! 🙂

Think that free financial advice that you are getting is truly free?

You might want to think again. There are lots of ways that the real cost of the advice is hidden from you. For examples of how you can get tripped up, and what you should ask about, check out this post:

Ask the Mole: Beware of free financial advice – Nov. 19, 2008

(Very appropriate remake of the U.S. dollar from Simon Davison’s photostream on flickr)

Alexander McQueen and Target

When talking about Comme des Garcons at H&M, I joked that Alexander McQueen should be up next. Well, according to the blog, The New York MiNute by, it looks like McQueen will be coming to Target instead. Check out that blog for lots of details.

Essential wardrobe item for men: the solid black suit

If you  search for Tim Gunn’s Fashion Essentials on the Web, you will find a number of things he recommends for women. To some degree, many of these things — classic white shirt, jeans, trench coat — work for men as well. But there is one thing on that list that women have had for a long time as an essential, namely the “little black dress”, that men should also have. Except it is the “solid black suit”.

I’ve read that if men are buying their first suit, they should go with a navy suit. Navy suits are great. But if I were recommending an essential piece of clothing for men, it would be a solid black suit.

A solid black suit is tremendously versatile. If you wear it with a white shirt with French cuffs and a solid coloured tie, it is the height of dressing up (save for wearing a tuxedo). If you replace the shirt and tie with a high quality T-shirt or a bold print shirt, you can wear the same suit to a gallery opening or a night club. You can wear it to weddings, funerals, and pretty well any special event in between. It travels well, doesn’t show stains or wrinkles as easily as some other suits, and if you have to pack light, you could add some light gray or beige pants and make the jacket coordinate with those slacks for extra business attire. You can even wear the jacket with the jeans if you want to mix it up.

I think solid black is more versatile than one with stripes. As for the cut of the suit, that should be one that works well for you. Since you want the suit to be versatile, the cut should be versatile as well. And get the best one you can afford, especially if you will be wearing it often.

There are lots of great articles of clothing a man should have in his wardrobe to look his best. A basic black suit should be one of those.

To see what I mean: if you want to see just how elegant such a suit can look, you can check out this post with Tim looking great as usual in a solid black suit. Meanwhile, this post on the new line of Comme des Garcons wear at H&M illustrates how to make such a suit look more casual.

Round Midnight

There are many many artists who do great versions of this song. While I enjoy most of them, I believe Miles Davis still owns this song.

Here he is:

There is also this link: YouTube – Miles Davis – ‘Round Midnight – Complete Concert (3 of 4)

Viva la difference!

U.S. Presidents, from Patrick Moberg via

In France they kiss on Main Street

I think this is a great blog: A CUP OF JO

Among the many great things on the blog is this photo:

Which made me thing of this song:

With Web 2.0, everyone is a historian

I accidentally came across this photostream on flickr tonight: World War II. The person who posted it said that it is a…

“collection (that) belonged to my grandfather, Arthur John Strenge, who documented his experiences while serving in the United States Marine Corps from 1944 through 1946. His service took him from working as a combat engineer with the Second Marines at Betio atoll – Tarawa, through the landings at Saipan, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and finally to Nagasaki with the 28th Pioneer Battalion immediately following the atomic bomb drop.”

When the World Wide Web started, it was striking to see any historical photos online. Gradually, institutions started posting photos and other historical artifacts. With Web 2.0 we have an opportunity for people outside of institutions to post material for others to see. If this were to take off, it would be an incredible archive. Web 2.0 could bring on History 2.0. I’m looking forward to it.

(This is from the photostream of Nagasaki’s Valley of Death.)

How to Christmas shop this year, or, more on art interiors’s great “Festival of Smalls”

Ok. Christmas is coming. You need gift ideas. Start here. For as little as $25 (!!), you can get someone a fantastic gift and support Canadian artists (and a fine Canadian art gallery). For example, there is a  work, by Lori Doody of a purse…only $25.

Or work by my friend and very talented artist, Rebecca Cowan of lips…a perfect gift for someone you love. $100 (What’s $100 for someone you love?)

And Kelly Grace is also represented here. I have a piece by her on my wall….it’s highly evocative and I wouldn’t part with it for anything.

Finally, there is the artist, Emily Bickell, that I really love for her semi-abstract work in the $200 range.

And this is a small sample of the great work at art interiors. You really should check out their site.
BTW, when you do go to the site and look for this work, you will see some of it is SOLD. So! I recommend you get over there and buy the works you love online before it is too late. And if by chance you can get to the gallery, I highly recommend you do so. You can go, buy some art, then pop downstairs at Starbucks and have a gingerbread latte and enjoy your new purchase.

It is Christmas shopping at it’s finest. 🙂