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senatorhung's pad
ramblings of an information troubleshooter

winter is here for good

Sunday, 30OCT2005:

flew out of a sunny ottawa and landed in a snowy iqaluit. i was planning to crash in bed for the rest of the day, but hauled myself out to go to a rehearsal at the french school. we were a bit worried, tho, as the wind was kicking around the snow something fierce, and there was talk of a potential blizzard. however, by the time we finished, the winds had calmed down and we all made it home ok, slippery roads notwithstanding.

  • ip link of the day: douglas j. masson wrote an article in 1997 about how copyright's fixation on fixation is no longer sustainable in a digital environment:
    [Current copyright laws] are 
    inadequate because they ... relied 
    on the premise that works have to
    manifest themselves physically in 
    order to be communicated.  This 
    premise is becoming less frequently 
    true, and mistakes made in domestic 
    laws are spread throughout the 
    world by virtue of international 
    intellectual property treaties as 
    well as by perpetuating the 
    paradigm of fixed copies.  Future 
    intellectual property law must 
    recognize the increasingly flawed 
    nature of that premise.  This 
    area of law must find a way to 
    work with the changing state of 
    intellectual property ...
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hallowe'en surprises

Monday, 31OCT2005:

snoozed for a good 15 hours overnight before being woken up by a phone call. turns out the high school is putting on a series of plays later this week at 2 of the other schools and they wanted some technical advice on how to work with the spotlight. i swung by the school after lunch and gave a quick outline of the issues with each venue and how to operate the spot.

later in the day, bella called to advise me that she was shuttering our production of 'rez sisters'. with constant cast turnovers, the cast has not been able to gel as well as she had hoped, and we don't have enough time until the projected december production date to get up to speed. a smaller and more feasible production is being considered and she'll let me know later this week if that gets the go-ahead.

and for the first time in my 3 years in this apartment complex, i had trick-or-treaters come by to knock on the door. luckily i still had the goodie bag from the party that i attended on friday, so i could oblige without having to dig into my stash of caramels that i've maintained for my library patrons.

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back to the work (out)

Tuesday, 01NOV2005:

after 13 days away, i returned to my office expecting a disaster zone. however, as i didn't have to slink thru piles of mail to find my way to my desk, i can consider myself lucky. the stack of emails in my inbox was another matter altogether. anyway, among the pile of mail that arrived today was a package sent from ottawa on the 20th via express courier. so much for 'overnight delivery' when it comes to northern destinations.

amongst the catching up, i managed to pull the trigger on a couple of stock trades to soak up the spare cash from a GIC that had reached maturity and also the proceeds from my previous sales late in the summer. as i had suspected, i found out that i was unable to trade stocks in the 'over the counter' market with my rrsp account. i'll use this week's paycheque to top up my trading account and buy some from there.

after work i attended a meeting of volunteers for the banff mountain film festival. everything seems to be coming together smoothly, with fundraising letters going out next week and major prize donations already being lined up. i outlined what i would do on the tech side, including making a tentative booking for a tech from ICSL, confirming bryan's SOCAN status, and filling out the tech prep report once the BMFF folks make it available on their website.

after that, i wandered over to the gym to try to make up for my month-long slackerly absence. they had a couple of new machines - a standing ankle-raise machine and a pseudo-rowing machine - both of which i will try to make part of my regular routine. malcolm, curtis, michelle, Q, alistair and fletcher also made appearances this evening. i think it's likely a good sign when i start to know more people at the gym than i know when i walk into the bar.

  • link of the day: are netlabels the model of the future for the music industry ?
    These indie grassroots online 
    music labels are everywhere, and 
    are datapoints for a 
    transformation in the music world. 
    In the words of my brother-in-law, 
    "almost no one is making money in 
    electronic music anymore, except 
    for going and playing places." 
    There was an excess of music
    production, beyond the ability of 
    traditional labels to distribute 
    it to listeners, so these new 
    labels sprang up to fill the need.
    They succeed because they make 
    everyone happy.  Listeners get 
    music for free, of course. 
    Artists get to have their music
    distributed in high-quality 
    versions with good metadata, 
    album covers, etc. rather than 
    crappy low-fi rips with no
    guarantee their name is on it. 
    But most of all, artists and the 
    labels build brands.  The music 
    sells the artist's live shows 
    (if they have any), and the 
    quality of the music found and 
    distributed by the netlabel 
    builds the reputation of the
    person behind the netlabel. 
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aged ramblings

Wednesday, 02NOV2005:

iqaluit broomball chronicle:

team white: mark, dan, jacques, marco
team black: siobhan, kerry, julian, me

while they played a bit sloppily, making quite a few turnovers, it was a team white rout in the first half and team black was not able to capitalize. with almost a complete shutout of team black at the half, we threw in the sticks to centre ice to draw again.

team white: dan, julian, marco, me
team black: siobhan, kerry, mark, jacques

again team white dominated the scoring, even tho the play was just about even. while i managed to score a goal, just about everyone else did as well. it was a good free-flowing period and we didn't even notice that our time was way up until the buzzer sounded and we got heckled by the next event's ref.

when i got home, i traded out the 4 pairs of pants (waist size 29) for the 4 new pairs that i picked up in montreal (waist size 30). could the paunch of old age be finally catching up to me ? an even more significant sign of my onrushing dotatge is that i jammed out on going to the storehouse after the game just so i could catch up on the laundry that was still piled up from my trip. egadz ! of course, i spent plenty money down south, so it would serve me well to be a tad prudent.

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doing what you're good at

Thursday, 03NOV2005:

got my performance review back today - no minuses, so i guess i didn't screw up anything too badly this year. i must say that my job is not nearly as captivating as the one performed by the arms dealer portrayed by nicholas cage in 'lord of war' which i watched tonight at the astro theatre. it was very spooky when he explains why he continues in his role even tho he knows that it's truly unjustifiable.

jared leto's character echoed his junkie character from 'requiem for a dream' and i found it ironic that a drug addict was the voice of morality in a film about arms dealing. ian holm plays a ruthless competitor who uses his arms deals to play politics. bridget moynihan is picture perfect as the seemingly clueless trophy wife who finally reaches her limits. when she pleads with her husband, "we have enough", i wonder whether she fears for his safety or is just starting to understand her own complicity in ignoring how he provides for her.

another notable detail was that the film was mainly set in africa, similar to 'the constant gardener', but without the colourful cinematography that leavened the brutality undercutting each scene. also, jeff buckley's 'hallelujah' made another standout appearance on the soundtrack.

returning home, i warmed up some lasagna leftovers from last night and finished up some mixes for the trade arranged by kira.

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press club impressions

Friday, 04NOV2005:

after skipping last month's press club meeting, i made a (late) return appearance tonight. bill riddell was the featured guest speaker and instead of just talking about himself, he acted as a moderator to introduce a topic and frame a very insightful group discussion. when i decided to join the press club this year, it was exactly this type of conversation that i was hoping the group would facilitate.

now, one of the press club rules is that anything said there is completely off the record so that people will feel free to say whatever's on their mind. this can make things a bit difficult, but also perhaps more honest. however, i don't think anyone will mind if i use this platform to rehash my own contribution to the discussion on the 'culture of poverty'.

first, i tried to deflate the idea that the shuttering of marginally viable communities would never happen, considering that some of the communities never existed 50 years ago. a grand repeat of the interplay of two competing societies with different sets of values and strengths, the social experiment of northern canada may finally have run up against the rock that folk heroes like tecumseh or louis riel ran into in their struggles against the colonial powers-that-be.

it doesn't matter if you have a 'voice' in the system, if the system itself rejects your entire cultural infrastructure, even if inadvertently. 'this is the way things work' is a truly evil refrain, but one that is the crutch for many otherwise unjustifiable policies or methods. the lack of institutional respect for inuit values that is already baked into the systems that we've inherited undercuts any soundbite platitudes.

i brought up the analogy of the 'buy vs. build' programmer's choice, where you can go the economically most efficient route of buying software off the shelf or you can follow the more time-consuming, more difficult, but also potentially more rewarding option of rolling your own. the 'buy vs. build' choice comes down to whether what is sought is a core function - if so, you build, if not, you buy or outsource.

instead of using the strengths of inuit culture to build something new, we have simply 'bought' the idea of settlements (to facilitate service delivery), political systems and concepts of justice. now that the feds pay the bills, they're in charge of the the frills. inuit societies will only survive if they wean themselves off of this tepid tap and decide which bills are worth paying and which elements they can provide for themselves.

i think that there is a community of non-inuit that would support these aims, but the longer the people themselves don't agitate for a better deal for their own lives, the more disheartened these qallunaaq will get. the civil rights movement was a grassroots battle against a society that was entrenched and unwilling to recognize the rights of those purported to be equal. i truly hope that the north will not have to endure a similar battle before it stumbles upon a better model.

my final comment was that being poor is not the problem, but the fact that people have no hope of being anything other than poor, and that the current system of privilege prefers to reserve the fruits of the capitalist consumer economy to those few deemed the winners in the social lottery.

now, on to another sort of press club. tim o'reilly updates his stats and comments again on the googleprint controversy - Oops - Only 4% of Titles Are Being Commercially Exploited:
Making intermediate electronic 
copies in order to create derived 
works that are themselves fair 
use is one of those technological
changes that requires us to 
rethink the narrow interpretation 
of copyright law that old-line 
companies would have us hold onto. 

In short, I believe that the AAP's 
position is intellectually dishonest. 
They are pretending that opt-in is 
a real solution to the orphaned works 
problem, when by the numbers, it 
clearly is not.
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happy housewarming

Saturday, 05NOV2005:

iqaluit broomball chronicle:

team white: jacques, marco, julian, colette, yoan
team black: mark, dan, kerry, me

julian's first shot from the slot dribbled in behind mark to put team white in the lead early. yoan slid around to put it in the side of the net while i was sprawled to the other side. mark snipered one in from the slot as did kerry. it was a very close game with strong pressure in offensive zones by both teams. similarly, both teams had trouble clearing the puck from their own zones.

mark sustained a near-grievous injury from a point-blank shot by jacques but managed to recover after a brief spell. colette made an awesome save on mark at the finish after i dispy-doodled my way down the boards past jacques. the final tally was even steven at 4-4, with mark, kerry and marco scoring 2 goals apiece and yoan and julian getting singles. dan's apparently waiting for his lucky stick to arrive in the equipment order before he unleashes his scoring fury.

after the game i picked up some nav supper to carry over to vinnie's housewarming party. it was pretty quiet to start with, so i just hung out with robert, jack and vinnie by their wood-burning stove and watched the hockey game. after the elimination draw closed at the legion, more people started to arrive and by 11 the joint was hopping to the rafters as vinnie showed off the new dvd player he had picked up from the source.

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