Thursday, July 22, 2004

RUC2004 - Day 4 - So Tired

Okay here is the equation:

Cold Room + Late Night + discussion of persistence mechanisms = SLEEEEEEEEEEEEP

Okay and the guy was pretty dry. Now I am in a session on pervasive computing, its a lot more interesting. Imagine calling a computer airline booking service from your advance phone, asking with voice for "Flights from Toronto to New York" and then having the computer understand you speech and display on your screen all the flights instead of r e a d i n g t h e m t o y o u v e r y v e r y s l o w l y. Then you read through the list and say "I'd like to book the third one." Again with out blinking, not that computers blink often, the system understands, and begins to book based upon the information your have stored in your phone, it asks you to confirm. So you check the display, and oh wait that's your old address. Make a few quick changes, and then tell the system "Okay its good now." The computer then asks you for your choice of credit cards. Your phone beats you to it and offers up your default credit card, which you then key in your password for. The system thanks you, you hang up, and then a text message with your confirmation number and eticket number shows up on your display and gets stored into you on phone agenda with flight times.

Now that is what I call a cool idea. Now lets just see someone do it, now that the tools allow it.

Please, Please do not let this technology empower the asking of "Do you want fries with that?"

On the topic of fries, there is a fast food franchise in the States called Jack in the Box, which is advertising a new type of fry they call "Natural Fries" or something like that because they are fresh cut from real potatoes so as to keep there skins. The ad for these new fries has Jack, the mascot, in a news conference with a reporter from France, and the reporter is harassing him in a stereotypical way about not calling them French fries, and does he hate the French, and jack is like "yeah sort of." The new age of tolerance we live in! BAH!

RUC2004 - Day 3 - Rooting Tooting Shooting Good Time

Well with a title like that I really don't have much to add. I spent the night with a bunch of Canadian's from Toronto who all worked for one of the other major FI. Look out Abe, now I have contacts :)
The food was great, the beer cold, and I got to ride a mechanical bull twice, sadly my best time was about 14 seconds, and thats only because my iron ring got caught in the rope and nearly ripped my finger off keeping me on. The group of us also played some black jack, and armadillo racing. To those canuk's like me, armadillo racing is exactly what you think it, take a couple of armadillo's put them in the hands of some crazy tourists, and then when the start gun goes, you drop your squirming armadillo into its track and they run to the end. There were also trail rides, but by the time I got there, they were already all full up for the night, and you could get your photo taken on a texas long horn (aka a big ass bull!) Gun fights pervaded the streets, but I think the guns had blanks, because there were not nearly enough bodies to match gun shots. So it was a good time, these IBM boys know how to throw a good time!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

RUC2004 - Day 3 - I finally crack

I thought I could make it the whole week without sleeping through a session. I failed. It was a session on webservices security, and it was being presented quite well, but the pasta from lunch and general mental fatigue caught up to me. Oh well, c'est la vie, I have the slides and they are sending me a cd of the presentation, so I will review it when I get home.
I think I have put on a lot of weight here, there is just too much coffee, and snacks and good food, I'm trying to cut back today, but I figure it will take a few weeks after I get home to get back on track with exercise.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

New Links

I was taking a break between sessions, and I decided to add some commonly used links to my nav. The inspiration for adding the links was a new Strong Bad Email which I thought was particularly funny. Anyone who has ever been to Homestar Runner is probably familiar with Strong Bad but I wanted to share, and make it easier for me to navigate there, so I don't get an error page not that I mind, the error always makes me laugh. Another great part of the site is Teen Girl Squad, if you have ever seen one, then you know what I mean when I say they are "Soooooo Gooood!"

Also, I figured while I was updating, I would add my American news source CNN which I don't really endorse or object to, its just convenient.

Finally, I added a link to Ill Will Press which is a site filled with flash animated cynical squirrel rants.

I might move the Homestar and squirrel links down to the comics section, haven't decided yet. In any case enjoy!

"Jews, RUN! Terrorists, your winning."

Stupid Sharon, telling French Jews to give up and move to Israel is like telling the anti-Semitics and the terrorist to "keep it up, your winning."  Dammit man wrong way to go on that one, but of course he has gone the wrong way on a lot of things, like the Berlin wall, oh wait that's no what it is called, its the Israel Security barrier, like I'm sure that's going to work.   All I can say is where are you taking me and where did you find a hand basket so large as to carry me?

Nicholas Cage as Clark Kent ?!?!??!?!?!

Okay so the title is shocking and inaccurate, this article is about director of X-Man and X2 directing a new installment to the Superman franchise.  The title is about an installment which failed in preproduction that would have cast Nick Cage as Superman, that just doesn't seem like the right roll, Nick does that up tight guy, and Clark Kent was more home town nervous, I like Nick's work, but I think that would have been a terrible match.

RUC2004 - Day 2 - Key Note

Grady Booch is an interesting guy, sort of looks like Sean Connery from The Rock, but before the hair cut.  His topic was about what was and what will be in software, and he agrees with Chris Ness (a guy I went to school with,) that software is going embedded, and that the death of Moore's law is the answer, but he also agreed with me that OO is here to stay, just OO is going to go to the embedded platform, so Chris, if Grady is right were both right.  He did promise a continuance in the current style of display upgrades will continue for years to come, with more BIGGER monitors *grunt grunt grunt*.

RUC2004 - Day 2 - Jonesing for a Timmies

All this free coffee is fantastic, but its just not the real deal.   I miss my Tim Horton's, its such a great cup of coffee, this stuff is okay, but it isn't the same thing.  I'm not complaining about free coffee, just being a little nostalgic for the real stuff.  I will be in Calgary soon, so I will get the real deal then. 

Monday, July 19, 2004

RUC2004 - Day 1 - My Brain Hurts

Well we are entering into the end of the day here, Its actually about 4 pm Dallas Time, and we have been going since about 8 am. There are actually presentations and the such all the way until 8 pm, so I really haven't even entered the "home stretch." In spite of that, my brain still hurts. I will probably go to sleep right away, if I am smart I will go for a run, a swim and then sleep, we will see if I am smart. It isn't the good ones that are killing me, it was the last session which was painfully slow, and what is worse is it was painfully slow over content I already know, which just extended the length of a second towards infinite. I mean I may have been able to speculate the content from the synopsis, but I thought it was going to have a little more flash and dazzel, instead it was the most basic form of the work I have been doing for the last 8 months, so it couldn't help but be boring. I suppose to a person who has never done that stuff it was very interesting. I'm just a person who has done that stuff, so it was killer. I'm in a black diamond presentation now, that will start in a few minutes, so hopefully this is killer interesting, or at least over my head. I always learn best when someone throws me in the deepend and says swim or die. As opposed to the shallow end and telling me this is how you kick. We will see :)

RUC2004 - Day 1 - Cirque Du Soleil

That explains all the funky lights, video and sound, are opening act for this conference was Cirque Du Soleil, and man are they good.  There were lots of misc performers, but at the core of the act we had one of those girls who does all sorts of acrobatics on a rope high above the stage, and this guy with a big metal wire frame cube that he twirled about, it was very neat!  He made baton twirlers look like childish.  Anyway it was a great show, the speakers were pretty good too, they demoed the new rational tool, it was impressive to say the least, but I actually have seen it before, at a private demo.  I just wasn't allowed to talk about it, but I guess since they are show casing it here, let me just say, the eclipse platform is the ultimate integration layer! 
Anyways its time for my first regular session, as yesterday was just the jump starts, I must say before I depart that wireless is great!
g out

RUC2004 - Day 1 - Key Note

I feel like I'm at a rock concert here, I am sitting in the third row, the music is pumping the lights are flying everywhere, and there are too giant video monitors playing abstract video. Actually my first impression when I came in, is that this was the room back in late 70's that the girl with the hammer came from, to go smash the screen in the room full of grey people. This is definitely a cultural 180 for the company, but obviously that has been happening for years. What is really great is that the video displays that have crazy stuff on them are in fact largely made up of clips from the open sequence to the movie Contact. Oh lights are dimming, its time for the main show, I wonder what instrument the key note plays?

Sunday, July 18, 2004

ruc2004 day 0 - mmmmm java

Ah the joys of coffee, and software development in java.  Its all so good!  Today has been pretty good, better then I anticipated in fact.  Most of the presenters (sorry guys not all) are very proficient at speaking.  So it has been really good, the topics interesting warmups to the week, and the free coffee is flowing.  If I have a chance tonight maybe I will summarize what I have been to and what I learned.

Saturday, July 17, 2004


So as I sit on a plane, the panic Thursday seem so distant, but at the time it was hurry hurry hurry, flurry flurry flurry.  Since the reason I am on this plane is that I am on the first leg of a two week expedition.  The first leg takes me to Grapevine Texas, Grapevine is just outside of Dallas, so I will be landing in about 1.5 hours at Dallas Fortworth.  The purpose of this part of the journey is to attend IBM Rational User Conference.  A 5 day conference about software design with a UML/Model/SOA spin.  I'm really excited, there are some great topics, and it is the first time I have been to Dallas (actually there are a LOT of places that I have never been, Dallas just happens to be probably the farthest I've travelled (either that or Calgary, but Calgary has Tim Horton's so it seems less exotic.)  Anyways the conference is entirely paid for by my company, I just have to go there and learn.  I get one day, today, to myself to see the place, so hopefully I will get a chance to go out on the town and have a look around.  I have a strong encouragement from a guy at work to go to Resistol Arena for the Rodeo!  I think I will look into it, but you won't catch me playing Cowboy poker anytime soon. The second leg of my Journey will be... Calgary, where I have in fact been once before, this time around it is for my brother's wedding.  I will be going out direct from Dallas on Thursday, where I will meet up with the rest of my family, for what promises to be a great vacation, once we get past the wedding.  I wish someone would listen to me when I say I'm scared out of my mind, I think I have more cold feet then the groom.  You see the problem is, I am both the MC and the Best man, both of which involve an inordinate amount of public speaking, and at the moment I am stuck in a downward spiral of public speaking disaster.  My last great performance was my OAC English ISU presentation, (that's Grade 13 Independent Study Unit in layman's terms.)  Prior to that I acted in all sorts of school plays, but from that point on it all went down hill, each one worse then the last, until  I got a C in first semester of forth year, and decided for the safety of my group I would run the computer during our Thesis presentation.  It must have been the best run computer in the universe because it netted me a job interview with IBM, that didn't pan out to anything, but damn, that was so fly mouse work!  So with this in mind I think this is how the cycle works.

  • 10 presentationStress = 0;
  • 20 assignedPresentation;
  • 30 presentationStress ++;
  • 40 presentationQuality = 1/presentationStress;
  • 50 if(presentationQuality <>
  • 60 else(presentationStress --);
  • 70 goto 20.

So you see how this is a terrible loop, where quality continually gets worse, until at infinity the quality is 0!  So at the moment my presentation stress is at about a million, so I am just a little nervous, I have sometime to prepare, but I thought I would share my jitters with the empty void.

King Aurther

 Went to see it on Tuesday with the parents, okay movie, not great but okay.  A nice action-jackson historically inaccurate half epic, that had lots of sword fighting, so you won't hear me complain about it.  I recommend watching it on cheap night or video, but its worth watching for fun.

Guelph and Pizza Pie

 Wednesday I went to Guelph, hung out with Eri, and ate Toppers Pizza, nothing special, its just nice to have a super nice girl with whom you can just spend time, and it doesn't have to be loaded with complication and pretense, its just nice!

Demoday (note similarity to Doomsday)

 Catastrophe was averted as our project got the green light from the big boss today, it was a nervous one for EVERYONE, but it all worked out.  I just had to get up at 5 am so I could be at work for 6:30 am.  After the demo we went out for drinks to celebrate, in a bit of a Fruding slip my manager said, "This is a project is a career breaker or a career wrecker."  He corrected himself so that they won't both negatives, but we had a good chuckle over it, because he to a certain degree is right, but today was a good day, and no need to gloom on what if's, especially not while things are going good.

Raiders lose, again, with points!

 I'm getting sick of losing, so I won't go into to much detail, this team went easy on us, we actually got some runs, so I was happy, I was on base a couple times, and everyone had a much better attitude, so I'm not mad about losing, I just want to win, just once,  We just can't get it together as a team, oh well, its just a game.

Camping, the MAN WAY!

 So a little fatigued on Thursday wasn't enough to stop me, well at least not completely stop me.  I had intended to visit Erin in Guelph, but my parents wouldn't let me drive, they said I was too tired, I agreed and didn't fight them on the issue, so Erin came to visit me instead (she's so nice.)  We just hung out that night and I got packed for the camping trip, which is the real meat of this blog entry. So the next morning, up early again for a shortened day of work, coming down to the wire, big due date coming up on the following Tuesday, so I was actually in pretty good shape for the due date but the tension in the office was palatable.  In spite of that, I cut out early, (don't worry I still worked more then my 37.5 hours a week, actually, I don't think I have worked a week (on average) less then 40 hours in the last 4 months, and I don't begrudge that either, It means I am interested in my work and dedicated, but it also means I don't mind cutting out early on a Friday, actually I think it's a right that they should add that to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. So the reason for all this cutting out is the Camping Trip, the camping Trip was a sort of pre bachelor party for my buddy Rod who is getting married in November.  (The following I am only writing because no one reads my blog, if you are reading my blog please don't read the following, Sara and Erin, DON'T READ THE FOLLOWING.)  The description of this weekend Kevin (Rod's best friend and mutual school friend,) gave me for this weekend is as follows.  "This is not a bachelor party, this is a chance for me to get to know Rod's friends from his home town, so when we are at the REAL bachelor and I am licking jello off a French Maid's Nipple, I know who the guy is licking off the other one, Capiech!"  (Note Kevin isn't Italian...)  Moving on, so the people at this thing were: Rod, aka the groom (no this isn't Kill Bill with gender roles reversed.) Kevin, as described above Brad, mutual school friend, Trevor, mutual school friend (Rod, Kevin, Trevor, Brad and I all went to McMaster for Software Engineering and were in all the same classes, studied together, partied together, and hung out in the lab for many all nighters together. Chris, who went to Mac for Software, was a year behind us, but shared a house with Rod, and was a cool guy. Martin, same as Chris. James, guy rod knows from home, they studied martial arts together.   And now I'm getting a little fuzzy up top, there was 3 other guys, and they were cool guys, but I can't remember there names right now, maybe when I check my mail I will put them in. So what did we do that weekend? 
What did we do that weekend?  Well we went up to Arrowhead park, which is just outside of Huntsville, we shared two sites between the lot of us.  It is a really nice park, clean, well organized, not cramped, I mean you wouldn't go there to do serious camping, but for car camping its perfect.  So we set everything up so that there were three tents per site, but all the cooking and hanging out would occur at one site.  Then we proceeded to hang out.  We drank, told jokes, told stories, listened to some music, and had a good time, we cooked meat on an open fire, in the man way, and basically enjoyed the great weather.  We went swimming and played Frisbee and beach volleyball, we also played 500 up with a small foot ball and in the lake, that was good times.  Caught up on a little sleep and relaxed, good times!  Sunday we came home, I unpacked, and collapsed, ready for a stress filled work week : )

Where we left off, aka Bare Naked ladies and the Nits

     So going back to yonder days is going to be a little hard since a lot has happened since then, but lets see what I can remember.  Now I think I already told you all about the walk over and dinner, but let me reiterate that dinner at the Lava Lounge was meh at best.  The waitress was a little flaky and looked really weird.  Its like she had all the elements of a person who could be very attractive in a neat pile before she left the house, and as she went to assemble then she tripped and got them all mixed up, and tilted.  I don't want to slag the place to much more then that, but a review with out mentioning the food would be incomplete.  The food was inexpensive and cheap, and burnt, but I guess if it is the Lava Lounge I should expect that, hard to control the temperature of a volcano... Now on to the show, or at least the venue, I will get to the show in a moment.  So we walk from the lava lounge, and it's getting a little overcast, brad began what would become a repeated joke for the next while, and that was about rain.  He insisted that the weather channel had indicated "No more then 1 millimetre of rain.  So we are all in line in front of the place and it's getting gloomier and gloomier, and some one would say, "Don't worry there will be only 1 millimetre."  Brad would chime in, "Less then 1, less then 1."  Well it turns out both were wrong, because when the sky opened up, it got wet and FAST, fortunately we had partial shelter from a tree and they started letting people in, but I can assure you it was more then a millimetre. So the place the concert was held is called the Mod Club, which isn't the name of the building but some roaming entity that can be in any number of buildings, and that night it was in that building.  I think, but I may be too uncool to get 'it,' but I think Mod stands for post modern, as in retro, and that would go along with the d├ęcor, very Austin Powersesc.  My kind of place (for those who don't know it, Erin and I are definitely children of a different cultural era, but I wouldn't be willing to give up my technology era for my culture and style era, so we choose to have lots of electronic toys, and decorate in a way that pretty much offends the rest of the sensible world, but screw'm  (well I guess that is you, and so I just said screw you, sorry.))  Well that was a tangent; suffice it to say I liked the place.  At the time we got in it was maybe at 1/8 of its capacity, what was great it was a club more then a concert hall.  They had a stage at one end, an open floor in front of the stage, to the left was the main bar, and to the right was elevated area with a leaning rail and a bench of seats.  That was just the main floor, behind the entrance was a set of stairs that went up to a balcony over the bar, from which you could sit and enjoy the show.  It was full when we got there.  So we lined up along the leaning rail, chilled and waited.  So around 9:30 the Bare Naked Ladies role on to the stage with much fan fair and start into why they are here tonight.  As it turns out Kevin Hurn, (sp?) who plays keyboard, mandolin, accordion and 'other' for the band, is like the biggest fan of the Nits.  He attributes the Nits as one of his prime influences and an influence he has brought to the band.  Now the Nits are about a 30-year-old band from Europe with little to no following in Canada, but Kevin heard they were doing a North America tour of small venues and Kevin wanted to give them an audience.  So he, with the help of the band, put together the show I was at, the plan was BNL brings the audience and the Nits bring the music.  So I think there was maybe 400 people for an awesome set by BNL, it was an acoustic set, and just fantastic, they joked, they had fun, and they were really back to there small venue roots, just a great show, they even had the Nits join in for their last song, can you blame them it was a great segway.   When the Nits came on, I was a little disappointed with the audience; I really thought it was a part of the deal.  BNL kindly does this AWESOME show, and then the audience stays around and gives the Nits a chance.  To my disappointment, half the audience left nearly right away, what a bunch of jerks!  So it took about 15-20 minutes for the crew to change over the stage, we all relaxed and then when the nits came back out, they kicked off into a great set of interesting music.  I can definitely see some of BNL in the Nits, I guess I really mean I can see what part of the Nits that BNL has made a part of them, but I was a BNL fan first.  A little more electronic then BNL, with synthesizers and sampling, but very fun and up beat, some funny songs some serious songs, just good stuff.  My only complaint isn't about them, its really me, as they sing with a Dutch accent, it made it difficult for me to understand all the songs, but I could get the gist, and they had some great talent with the instruments as well. So the night ended the show was great, by the end their couldn't have been more then 50 people in the crowed and that included BNL because they came down to enjoy the show.  (They just really really like them.)  Kevin also got to play and sing with them. By around 12:00 or some I caught a cab with Brad and Jodi, and then a subway to union.  I missed the 12:20 bus home and hung out in the station until 1:20.  It was really funny because I watched these too really creepy/slimy Canadian's try and pick up these to tourists who couldn't speak English very well.  They were surprisingly successful, like disgustingly so, but I never thought being a tourist made one a floozy, so I guess those guys just tried the right lines on the right pair of girls, in either case it provided me with an hour's amusement, it was sort of like a train wreck, you know is a terrible tragedy but you can't stop looking.   So I got back to Mississauga around 2 - 2:30 I think, I was definitely in bed by 2:40, but the next day when the alarm went off at 6 am, I was exhausted!!!  I think I survived Thursday, but I don't recollect, I probably turned on the music, and got the coffee flowing and turned of my cognitive abilities and just got some programming done. 


To my loyal readers, my apology, its been nearly a week and half with out blogging, but its also been just about as long without more the 5 hours of sleep a night, so suffice it to say, I've been keeping busy. I will try and elucidated why I have been so busy, as I now have about 3 hours of quality time with my laptop, lets just hope the battery is as enthusiastic as myself.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

BNL and the Nits - Intro

I went to a great concert last night featuring the Nits, and opening for them was BNL, I will talk all about it when I get the chance, but I don't have time as I'm running late for my train. I just wanted to blog this before I forget, on the way to the concert my friends and I were about to cross a street when we simultaneously noticed the a) red light, b) 2 police officers on the corner. So we stopped instead of jay walking, not that their was any traffic or anything. The great part was, the cops jay walked, and as they passed us on our side of the street one of them said to us, "Well I guess I better right myself a ticket." Then he smiled and kept going. I nearly cracked up, but I thought better of laughing at / near the officer in case it got misconstrued as a request for a good night sticking.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Router Table

Here is a fast rant about my router table.

So I want a nice solid router table, good fence, something that will last, be comfortable to use, and more or less last me 10-15 years minimum. I would also like this at a reasonable price, I say reasonable because I am willing to spend a little more to get quality. So I buy one from crappytire (to non-Canadians Crappytire = Canadiantire = a large chain of stores which sell stuff like gardening equipment, tools, auto, sports houseware, and a few other things like that, it is like a department store with out the clothes, and twice the size.) Back to the table at hand, the thing cost me a lot more then I wanted to spend, so much more that I'm embarrassed to say, I put it together and boom, this is when I find out I need to drill and tap the holes for the router interface myself. Does this make anyone else nervous? I'm a beginner sure I could do this, but I don't feel comfortable doing it. In any case I am set on this course so manual makes a big hissy deal about 2 drill bits, one of which being a 3/4" steel countersink. So I go back to Crappytire, and what do I find, they don't care the bit that their product (it was specifically a Canadiantire Housebrand product) requires. What the bear? So by the time I get home I decided to take the thing back I think there is a more reasonable table I can get from Rona (another hardware superstore, like Homedepot,) and it is predrilled for my router. The whole affair is just maddening!

Tuesday, July 06, 2004 - Courier robots get traction in hospitals - July 6, 2004 - Courier robots get traction in hospitals - July 6, 2004

Here is a pretty cool article about r2d2 sized robots at work in hospitals. The future is now OOoOooOooooOO.

On topic of future, and computers and the such, my friend Chris and I had a discussion on where software technology was going, he was in favour of more embedded code programmed in C and the whole OO thing disappearing, where as I see service oriented architecture, model driven design and OO going forward. In either case I don't think either of these fully describe the next paradigm, or perhaps don't even scratch the surface, I wish I could tell you what it would be, but then if I knew I would be rich!

Here is my darling brother Colin and sister Jenn before I was born (so mud face can't be more the one or two years old.) This is the park near our house in Bent Oak Circle, and many a times in our child hood would we come barging in our front door just to get barged back out by mom so she could hose the mud off us. Ah the good old days, you just can't find such high caliber mud pits anymore.

Colin has a job

Good stuff Colin, my brother, who is getting married in just a few weeks got a job. More details to follow soon, all I know is he starts tomorrow (strictly speaking today.) July 6 also happens to be his birthday, so happy birthday!


Monday, July 05, 2004

Router Table

Well I built my router table tonight cost more then I wanted (don't ask) but its a good one. I just have to do the mounting plate, which is the MOST important, so I am worried. I also need to get 2 drill bits to do it. So here is hoping, and then I better start building stuff with it eh?

night all

Raiders lose

Raiders short staffed and injured try valiantly this evening but were crushed 2 billion to 0.

Going, going, going, going, going right into his freaking glove!

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Cottage gooood

Nothing quite like a weekend of sleep, swimming and power tools. That sums up most of the weekend, slept a lot, swam a lot. I also used Erin's Father Bob's new power planer to strip a bunch of hand rails on the deck, and then Erin and I split the task of sanding them, and then Erin and her sister Candace painted them. Then to add to my power tool joy I bought a new black and Decker 2 HP router and a palm sander. The sales guy also threw in a bunch of bits for the router free, and I saved like 20% because the box was scuffed, oooo woop-di-freaking-do. I figure the router will be a little scuffed too, its a power tool, not a ming vase!

Anyway that was my weekend and it was gooooood.

"So Trample off eh" --Moose Brother from Brother Bear