Thursday, September 30, 2004

Well here is the house this week, coming along at a fair clip now, our neighbors practially have their first floor framed, and we are expecting ours to be not to far behind. Its quite awazing to watch it grow, I need to standardize the pictures I take to form a movie later on, but for now, I'm just happy.

Erin and I actually snuck, (by snuck I mean walked in, in broad daylight,) into another house just like ours that is in much later stages of development. Seeing it with the walls nearly up, really put the size into perspective, and I am thinking its just the right size for us. Nice big windows too, I won't post the pictures, becuase that seems rude, but the one thing I am glad of is that we have a lot looking onto the woodlot, becuase they were backed right up against another set of towns, and we could see from the front window of the house we were in, through the back window, into the back window of the house behind, out their front, and into the front of the house across the street, and that was just a little to cozy for comfort.

Anyways I am going to fix these pics up proper later, but here they are for now.

Our Window

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Gmail is creepy? And your a bunch of tin foil hat wearing nut bars

I'm always hesitant to give credence to an article running around waving an "its evil" banner, they are too reminiscent of placard toting "end of the world is nigh" or Salem witch burners, neither being a particularly creditable group, as the world has neither ended, nor do witches weigh as much as ducks (re: Holy Grail.) I think the people of are suffering more from disillusionment then paranoia,

"Google's policies are essentially no different than the policies of Microsoft, Yahoo, Alexa and Amazon. However, these others have been spelling out their nasty policies in detail for years now."

So does also not reply to mails from Hotmail and Yahoo? Does exist? This point is further reiterated in one of the articles linked to by this article. ( this link was recovered from this screenshot on 'Problem 4: Inappropriate ad matching')

"In some key technological aspects, Gmail works no differently from those other sites. All these Web-mail options demand that you trust a distant site to store and send your e-mail reliably. None lets you peer behind the scenes to verify that they're doing what they promised with your e-mail. Brin noted that Gmail's scanning system isn't that technically different from the message-scanning that most other Web-mail services undertake to detect viruses and filter spam."

Some of which (this same article points out) you pay for this privilege. So maybe your mails is being read by the fbi at gmail, but maybe all the mail that goes through your ISP is being picked up by FBI snifferware. The only sure fire way to protect that privacy is to use some end point security, like PGP, and perhaps some tinfoil for your head. One of my prof's made a statement (arguably under duress of having his pc stolen and all his data in the hands of a nefarious criminal (who considering he used brute force to remove the computer from a locked office was probably more concerned about resale then data theft.) Regardless of reasoning, paraphrasing he said 'Everything put to paper, or bits, is effectively public, no security is 100%, and eventually it will get out. So don't put anything to paper, or bits, that you don't want public, so that "600 years from now my great great great great great great great grandchildren don't say, Man why did are great great great great great great great grandfather write such a cockamamie email, we are so embarrassed, he has shamed our family."'

In all things I think that the decision is a personal one, you must balance convenience, privacy and security. Gmail surely does provide a great convenience, and from a security aspect you have your own record of your emails secure and immortal to use in your own defence should you every be accused of this that or that other thing. You also lose privacy and run the risk of losing mail. It is any individuals right to use gmail or not, or reply to gmail or not, but I am revelling my right to think those who refuse to respond to gmail are a bunch nutters. (I also realize attacking the arguer and not the argument is poor form, but you welcome to attack me for that one.)

As for 'Problem 2: Google's policies do not apply' I'm not really sure they made a point here, and so I'm not making much of one either, basically they are saying google already has a track record for keeping your data, and that they have a creepy contract, no real qualification about what is creepy, so nothing I can really say to refute it, and the fact that they have a cookie to track you, well you can block there cookie if you like. Also, so does everyone else, which doesn't make it a good thing (re: all your friends jump off a bridge) but if you are going to boycott the one search engine boycott them all. Except maybe if you use the public library to look up information, your research assistant will get to know you personally, and keep a mental record of everything you lookup, and maybe even suggest other works which you might enjoy, I can just feel the privacy being breeched.

'Problem 3: A massive potential for abuse' back to the triangle, and picking what's best for you. Interestingly, if you never break the law, or participate in illicit behaviour (or at least never talk about it in your email.) Then you are generally safe from worry even if they do look at your email. And if you happen to be Cat Stevens and get barred from he country then maybe they have gone to far, but the fault doesn't like with those who store the data, but the society which freely abuses its existence, and again your personal choice if you want to expose yourself to that risk. Lets face it every time you dial your phone or use your bank card you have exposed yourself to that sort of risk, but billions of people do so each year without 'the man' coming down on them. I am certain that each year records are appropriated under warrants that may or may not have been obtained with valid legal grounds that do damage to an individual, and I am sure individuals lives are ruined by it, even if innocent being accused of certain crimes can shatter your life. This is not right, but the greater good is often served as these same tools are used to capture guilty criminals as well. Perhaps the only way to prevent the misuse of this data is in fact to record more not less. If we knew the location of every person at every second, what they said and what they did, then no one could be convicted by mistake again. Not likely to happen, and I'm sure has flaws of its own, but that is the extreme example where we have 0% privacy, and 99.9 % security.

'Problem 4: Inappropriate ad matching'
I don't know, a few off base ads vs. the regular glut of the internet? I prefer relevant ads, which I occasionally follow compared to 'emoticons for sale' I mean really how many smilyies do you want to buy? I contrast with TV which does target adds for their viewer ship, would Spike TV sell women's deodorant? Probably not, does that mean no women watch spike? No, just they have targeted the majority audience. Perhaps the reader of the article about cross boarder prescriptions, found the article based upon the desire for cross border prescriptions? Now at least they know they are running a risk of breaking the law, and incidentally who to break it with. I'm not saying the system is perfect, but I do believe it is an improvement over the chronic display of adds for x11 camera's, and smiley icons.

So is and (the latter operates the first by the way,) bad? By no means, why I find their view point contrary to mine, I think privacy and security are concerns, and only through public discourse can we prevent the erosion of our privacy and security. I do feel that they poorly formed their arguments, and/or their arguments are lacking real content, this doesn't invalidate their point, just their ability to make it.

To conclude, I'm a young cynical, left leaning capitalist socialist, read I don't quite fit any particular pigeon hole. I don't live with a tinfoil hat on, nor do I put blinders on and assume the world is working for my best interests. That being said, I really like gmail, and am not 'creeped out' by it.

Finally, what is the deal with the bi-partisan dual press conference? I mean debate!


Friday, September 17, 2004

A sock, a rock, a Canadian icon

The T-Star is 2 for 2 today.
This is about a great Canadian, and another Canadian who many think is also great (I don't have a strong opinion either way, and I think that would be an indicator that he isn't great, at least not yet.) Anyhow the first, and definitly indisputed is Terry Fox, and the second is Douglas Coupland.

By far my favourite quotation from the article was this:

Coupland says he purposely kept celebrated Canadians out of the first volume of Souvenir of Canada.

"The thinking being that every time you mention a famous name, it pisses somebody off. But there was one name that everybody could agree on - of course - Terry Fox."

I think he is right, I don't want to hack any more out of the article because it said it all so well, but its about Douglas, Terry, a Calander, and a Sock, and perhaps the Canadian Identity.

Fit or fat? BMI comes under fire

A well written article in the Toronto Star, that points out 2 key issues.
  1. Media has over simplified, and exasperated the fit/fat health issue
  2. BMI isn't a good measure of health.

Dogs with no Skin 2, or See Milla Jovovich's boobies (or lack there of)

This Wednesday Erin and I watched Resident Evil: Apocalypse. It was exactly like I expected, with a small twist. What I anticipated was a mindless romp of zombie killing and plot holes, and I got it. The twist was that the secret laboratory, sinisterly referred to as 'the hive,' is buried bellow Hawthorn Village. What I'm saying is a perfect job opportunity for Erin in the mad scientisting business is just a short drive from our new home (which is part of Hawthorn Village.) To her disappointment the Hive doesn't really exist, and if it did, it doesn't any more as they nuked it, and all of Toronto while they were at it. (sorry, excuse me, "Raccoon City.")
I enjoyed it, but it is definitely a movie you have to turn the brain off for. For the record Erin and I noticed at least one big 'mistake' in the movie. There are a number of 3d animations of Milla when she is in drug induced comas at various mad scientist labs through out the movie. These "medical scans" of her depicted that she has breasts, ample ones in fact. These images are in fact contrary to the very truth they show on the screen, as you in fact get full upper body frontal nudity with Milla, and she in fact has no bosom at all. So they gave the artists some creative license, because it sure didn't look like her, but whatever, I just think it was funny to point out, and now some one googling for boobies, bosoms of breasts might find my site (and since its in reference to Milla, they might think they are getting celebrity pron as well.) So let the hit counters roll!

International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Avast m'harties, tis back once more!
This Sunday, September 19th 2004, its International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
TLABD that is, when all ye scurvy scallywags can crawl forth from the bilge, and stand tall for your crooked pirateness. Take the time to shiver someone's timbers, and see what crawled out of the bunghole! Run up the Jolly Roger and set sail for booty and adventure, and swagger like you mean it!
Now off to it sea dogs, and let out a jeer, Arrrrrr!

And a Yo Ho HO and a bottle of RUM!
and for ye pirating engineers out there remember, that
Sir Francis Drake and all his man set out for Calyis Bay,
They heard the Spanish rum fleet was headed out that way,
But the engineers they beat them by a night and half a day,
And though they were drunk as hooligans you still could here them say,

We are, we are, we are, we are, we are the engineers,
We can, we can, we can, we can, we can, demolish 40 beers,
So come, so come, so come, so come, so come along with us,
For we don't give a damn for any old man who don't give a damn about us!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

I'm no that religious, but sometimes I find wisdom in that old book!

Solomon's Wisdom in Judgment (1 Kings 3:16-28)
16 Later, two women who were prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17 The one woman said, "Please, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house; and I gave birth while she was in the house. 18 Then on the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. We were together; there was no one else with us in the house, only the two of us were in the house. 19 Then this woman's son died in the night, because she lay on him. 20 She got up in the middle of the night and took my son from beside me while your servant slept. She laid him at her breast, and laid her dead son at my breast. 21 When I rose in the morning to nurse my son, I saw that he was dead; but when I looked at him closely in the morning, clearly it was not the son I had borne." 22 But the other woman said, "No, the living son is mine, and the dead son is yours." The first said, "No, the dead son is yours, and the living son is mine." So they argued before the king. 23 Then the king said, "The one says, 'This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead'; while the other says, 'Not so! Your son is dead, and my son is the living one.' " 24 So the king said, "Bring me a sword," and they brought a sword before the king. 25 The king said, "Divide the living boy in two; then give half to the one, and half to the other." 26 But the woman whose son was alive said to the king--because compassion for her son burned within her--"Please, my lord, give her the living boy; certainly do not kill him!" The other said, "It shall be neither mine nor yours; divide it." 27 Then the king responded: "Give the first woman the living boy; do not kill him. She is his mother." 28 All Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered; and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him, to execute justice.

Coming soon: TLAPD

Yes an exciting post will soon be right here!!!
All about TLAPD!!!!
TLAPD, whats TLAPD? you ask.
I will tell you, when I get home from work.


New Game! Yeah! Got my paws on Fable just before the game, so I didn't get a lot of play, but its good so far. For those of you who haven't heard yet, Fable is the next game from the creator of Populous, and Black and White, as such its all about open ended, and morals. The game play is good; I think my only disappointment was with the XP system. I was expecting your character to just grow into the character you are playing, ie fighter gets big and beefy, mage gets all twiggy. Instead, you get general xp, and then special xp for strength, skill and will, and then you buy skills, but your special xp can only be spent on related skills. So a fighter still gets beefy because he gets almost exclusively strength xp, but it happens mechanically when the player opts to spend that xp, and not organically from within the game. Please understand this doesn't seriously affect the game or my opinion, it is in fact the ONLY bad thing I have encountered, and there are about a million reviews out there ready to extol its virtue so trust me when I say it's a great game, I just can't wait to get deep into it.

Good, Bad? I'm the guy with the gun. -Ash (not Ash Catchum) Army of Darkness.

World Cup of Hockey aka Canada beat the Fin's

Well if you didn't watch the game, it is probably because you didn't care, and if you did care and couldn't watch the game you probably know already, and if you didn't care, then you don't need to read this. So in light of all that, I will just redundantly comment that Canada beat the Fin's for the 2004 World Cup of Hockey championship, and now I hope you all have you fill of Hockey, because there isn't going to be much for a while.

Finger fing's no more

It was the bottom of the zeroth, a high fly ball to right rover, a high throw fly ball to right rover, not like hit there or anything. Geoff backs up, backs up, backs up, its dropping, dropping, oh wait he has backed up to far. Or has he?
Apparently not, or so says my finger, the ball came in higher then I had expected and I had dropped my glove hand to catch the ball low, well I reacted quickly to try and knock the ball down that was coming for my face with my non-glove hand. That's when my finger stopped finging (if that is what fingers do?) The ball basically made my entire right pinkie finger compress, following that it got real numb and swollen, following that it got painful. In the time between numb and pain I managed to score a triple for the Raiders, but after that I was to pained to either throw or swing well. It didn't matter in the end anyway, the opposing team really turned around their fielding performance, and the Raiders lost. It was a lot closer game then we are used to, but I think we could have won.
That night when I got home I iced the finger hoping it would be okay, by morning it had pretty much swollen up to the size of a house and I couldn't move it. As fate would have it, I was taking a work at home day to deal with some blood tests my Dr needed. So I figured I would either go to my Dr, or the walk in and see what I could do. My Dr was booked solid, so that walk in is where I ended up. The first thing I did do was go to the lab for my blood tests, I should have known better, the mornings are always packed full of people doing 14 hour fasts for cholesterol and blood sugar tests, so I waited there for close to an hour for then to take one small vial of blood. On the up side the nurse had the magic touch with the needle, in and out without feeling a thing, which I think was great since last time I had Helga the Destroyer who I felt was using a rusty battle axe to draw my blood. So I told her as much, I figure not enough people get compliments on there work when its good, just negative remarks when it was bad, so I let the nurse know how great I thought her needle work was, I hope it had a good effect on her day, because I think service industry folk often get crapped on by the public at large.
So then it was off to the walk in... I get there, show the receptionist, she flinches at the sight of my swollen and twisted finger, and says she is sure the Dr will want to x-ray just have a seat it will be a while. Two hours later!!!! I get in to see the Dr, and she was slightly less horrified, and was pretty borderline on if it was a fracture or not, so it was off to x-rays (note it took like 2 seconds with the Dr to accomplish this.) So off to x-rays, another hour of my life ticks by, now this was where things just got weird, the Dr asked me to being the x-ray's back to the walk in, and when I asked the x-ray people for them they looked at me like I had 3 heads. Then they gave them to me anyways and said I had to bring them back when I was done. Then back at the clinic, now mysteriously empty, empty as in I was the only person in the waiting room as opposed to the 20 that were continuously there all morning. Dr take my x-rays and looks at me like I had 3 heads, I wonder if I was sprouting extraneous heads yesterday, I hope they didn't look like Zaphod's.
As it should happen, it wasn't broken, but she wanted it splinted none the less. Basically the joint, or the tissue around the joint was pretty swollen, and the best thing was to just immobilize and let it heal. So that's done, and I returned the x-rays and then it was close to 2 pm, this fiasco, for reference, started at 9 am. So I got a few more hours of work in, and called it a day, but boy does this just reinforce the fact I am retarded when it comes to sports or what?

Finging For a Better Future Peart

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Here is the house this week, you can see we have a basement now!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

My brother and my future wife at Takkakaw Falls


The ground rules rant was put in place, as nearly the first post, because I felt it was important to have... ground rules. If anything was inspiration it was the about of flaming and inappropriate content floating through Usenet, and other forums. As my site is hosted for free through the graces of an old friend, I would rather not do damage his reputation or that of his domain by hosting slanderous rhetoric.

As for my trite response to the Israeli wall, and more specifically Sharon's comments to French Jews. I was so trite because I was so mad. I was mad because the plight of the Jewish people is near and dear to me and my family, and at least two of my very close friends. Its not a topic which I regularly discuss, because rightly so people's religious choices are there own, and I'm sure many a Jewish person would scoff at the level of observance with in my family, but we are Jewish.

Largely I would say that our family has lost much of its heritage since world war 2, when the patriarch of our family lost his belief in god. He was fortunate enough to fight as a scientist in Canada, and not as a soldier, but the stories he tells are frightening. Not the ones of Nazi death camps and German cruelty, but the ones of global Anti-semitism. Imagine escaping the round up only to find yourself turned away at every boarder, stuffed on a train and sent right back to Germany, and death, even Canada was guilty of that one.

Even after all that death and destruction, lessons in horror, still hate pervades much of North America. The Jewish people represent barely 15 million of the worlds 6 billion people, and yet extremists and regular folk of both Christian and Muslim descent blame them for all their problems, Native American chiefs from Alberta are spewing Hitleresc rhetoric against the Jews.

So Israel the last sovereign out post of the Jewish religion, and probably the most highly contested pile of kitty liter in the world. As an aside I wonder if there is any where in all the history of man that more blood has been spilled for?

So people are fighting and dieing there daily, have they ever known true peace? What are the fighting for, they are fighting to end anti-semitism and to be left alone, for once. That fight isn't restricted to Israel, it is a global battle, happening on many fronts, and what really chapped my ass was when Sharon told the anti-Semites of France, and thus the rest of the world that they were succeeding, he was telling Jews to run, they have lost the fight, regroup in Israel. I realize that part of the purpose of his message was to try and bolster the population of Israel to help maintain the Jewish population and propagate the religion. The idiocy of it is that he is begging for more hate, its like sending a letter to a pack of lion's telling that the herd is filled with weak stragglers for culling. In the end we just lose, but I wonder if we haven't lost already. Even I realize that there is very little hope for Judaism. I was never bar mitzvahed, officially my brother and I can't have Jewish children as we are marrying Christian's, and my sister has professed the unlikeliness of her every having Children. So there is one more branch of Judaism that will be cut off, and I'm sure this pattern is repeating across the world. So be it cultural erosion or suicide bombers, we still lose in the end.

What really sent me reeling on this particular rant, was 1. the attitude that having a friend as part of a minority (or a majority) that one does not belong to, gives one the moral and personal authority to be offended, or make offensive comments on their behalf. Thats the when you for example make a distasteful joke about homosexuality, and the follow it up with the "Its okay I have a friend who is gay" statement. Did you check with your friend that they weren't offended by it, would you make that joke to them? This is mildly hypocritical of me, because I am sure I have done it as well, but it doesn't make it right. The number 2 was the assumption I didn't have an equal or greater moral or personal authority to comment on it. For example, being Jewish, but you not knowing that, I made a comment or joke on Judaism, and you respond with "thats inappropriate I have Jewish friends." How do you know I don't have Jewish friends, or that I'm not Jewish, or that their might be something more to my comment. So when accused belittling the situation from a position of ignorance, and detachment I respond with, I am very attached, and not ignorant. I was trite because I was enraged, because I strongly disagree, and am concerned for the life of my friend who is now moving to Israel for a 16 month internship.

Pictures worth a thousand words.

Well if it is true that a picture is worth a thousand words, I want you to know that I have had an unprecedented level of blogging of late with nearly 30-40 thousand words in the last day or two...

But seriously, these are just a handful of the pictures from my summer trip, and there are a lot more I might post as I sort through them.

In an effort to clear out my inbox of accumulated links of interest here are a bunch

Apparently this first one is a programer classic, but its new to me, funny in any case.
How To Write Unmaintainable Code

Here is a wicked table I found

A slashdot book review on an interesting sounding software engineering book. Actually, I am going to try and follow up on this with an actual comment on software engineering, but not tonight.

A good fish article from the onion.

Chocolate = Health food? CNN has the scoop.

Anyways thats all for now, but that definitely cleans up the inbox of a few emails.

Bah-dum-da-dumb bada-bum-bum

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Ahhh stalker! Actually its just my grandpa.

Peyto Lake

Here is my younger brother Alex at Takkakaw Falls

Here is my sweetie of the mountains.

Here I am above Malaign lake, this happens to be most of the picture that makes up the old 20 dollar bill.

Well here we are in the proverbial belly of the beast. Or at least we are on the way there.

This was a harrowing moment for myself as I almost plumeted to my doom in the Alberta Badlands

"Oww, stupid Pachyrhinosaurus thats my bum!"


Well I am going to go photo blog crazy to catch up on stuff. So here is one of many. Erin and I ankle deep in cold cold Lake Louise water. Due to the angle and the sun the distinctive colour is washed out, but there we are. Actualy we aren't in the water but it was a posed gag photo to recreate one Erin's parents went out west years ago.

Pebble Bed Reactors

The following article is from, and I am repeating it here with out permission. I was forwarded a copy of it from The Science & Environmental Policy Project an interesting group my grandfather directed me to, they advocate an interesting breed of politics and science, and caution that Kyoto is a misdirected effort towards the wrong bogeyman. I find myself largely agreeing with them, and noticing that a lot of science is also shoring up their opinion. I do believe in environmentalism, and preserving our planet, but I don't believe CO2 is the bad guy. Any ways here is the article it is about China and Pebble Bed Reactors, they are good stuff.

Okay I cut the article, it looked like crap, just follow the link and read it there :)

Finally here we are, the happiest new hole owners you ever did see.

Here we are from down inside the hole. Oooo Ahhhh :)

Here are our neighbors

Here is our street.

Here are more of our neighbors

Here is an upclose of our hole. You can see the outline of the porch, garage, and the graveled area is the insides.

Here is our back yard, that is pretty much how it will look when they are done. The wood lot is staying, and the grassy field at some point will be turned into a bike path. Pretty nice I think.

Here I am cooking in the kitchen, yes cooking, that is what I am doing, with all those new fancy invisible appliances.

Here is erin having a nice relax in our great room, the future home of sofa's and other relaxing furniture.

Well big news, Erin and I have a hole! Heck we even have a cement base from which the rest of the foundation will be built. Its sooo exciting!