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senatorhung's pad
ramblings of an information troubleshooter

more playback

permalink Sunday, 13NOV2005:

for the second day of the playback workshop, we rehearsed the forms that we had learned yesterday, and also went to the full chronological story playback. attendees today were lori, orla, odile, erin, chris, taravan, david, christa, malena, bella, robert and myself. ulaaju couldn't make it back today. we made plans to rehearse again on tuesday night with a public outing set for saturday in the early afternoon.

after that strenuous mental workout, i ended up crashing for a few hours after, meaning that for the day, i only had a pepsi, an OJ and a small pastry for sustenance. with my schedule, it seems that sleep is way more critical than food :(

  • ip link of the day: google vs. copyright:
    But if copyright law stands in 
    the way of Google's grand aim, 
    isn't it time we thought about 
    changing the law ?  That's the 
    most salient question raised in 
    the fight over Google's effort 
    to build a digital library.  The
    company -- and the host of other 
    firms that will surely follow in 
    its path -- is poised to create 
    a tool that could truly change 
    the way we understand, and learn 
    about, the world around us.  A 
    loss for Google would echo 
    throughout the tech industry, 
    dictating not just how we use
    technology to improve books but 
    also how other media -- movies, 
    music, TV shows and even Web 
    pages -- are indexed online.  
    Can we really afford to let 
    content owners stand in the way 
    of Google's revolutionary idea?
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trading blues - must be monday

permalink Monday, 14NOV2005:

went home at lunchtime to undo 1.5 of the 4 stock trades that i made less than 2 weeks ago. it pains me to note that these included my first 2 locked-in losses in over 3 years of trading since july 2002.

first of all, by buying on nov.1, i missed the october distribution for the clean power income fund. since the level of the income being kicked out is likely not sustainable until their major project is completed next spring and begins producing electricity, the stock promptly took a nosedive. i sold half of my shares to free up some cash but will keep the rest and hope that the future disbursements will at least cover the cost of commissions.

the other booboo was picking up some shares of websidestory (WSSI). now, i really like this company and what it does, having used some of its earlier free tools on previous websites to check whether visitors were navigating the site the way that i expected them to. however, the announcement early monday morning that google analytics would be available for free took my breath away and caused the stock to go into freefall.

the sad part about this situation is that i used the proceeds of today's sales to buy a measly 10 shares of google, which i had considered as an alternative to purchasing WSSI. the idea was that google has likely plateaued and that WSSI was sort of bubbling under the radar. however, since then google has gone up another 20 bucks (5.3%) while WSSI has lost 2 bucks (12.5%). the result is that half of the interest proceeds from my 5-year GIC that matured in october were lost in less than 2 weeks. ah, hubris dies hard, neh ?

even worse was that the losses were in my rrsp account instead of in my individual trading account, so i can't even claim them to offset the gains that i have made this year in that account, currently 85% to the good. the sask wheat pool purchase that i did make in that account has since gone up swimmingly. so, just because i wanted to try to goose the returns in my rrsp account, i ignored simple risk management - boring, safe stocks should reside in the rrsp, while riskier growth stocks should swim in the trading account. the fact that i have to pay taxes on the profits of my trading account shouldn't bother me as long as i'm still making a profit at the end of the day.

received my monthly comic book order today. first on the reading pile was 'daredevil' by bendis and maleev. wow. wow. wow. superb setup of a whole bunch of characters from the daredevil mythos. this is how a character crossover should be done. the dialogue was spot on and the buildup was exhilarating. i can't wait to read what happens next !

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writing the world

permalink Tuesday, 15NOV2005:

there was talk of a blizzard today, but it was all just a bunch of hot air (haha). instead, the skies stayed clear and the wind just swept snow around from here to there and back. however, this was enough to cancel the playback rehearsal that was scheduled, so i made it to this month's 'first draft' writers group meeting instead. also present were jurate, carolyn and stephen (who are all participating in the 'national novel writing month' online cult) along with matty and malcolm.

after that, i hit the astro to catch 'north country' with neil, anna and odile. the flick featured great acting by charlize theron and sean bean. there were lots of echoes / homages to previous films set in courtrooms. i actually got choked up a couple of times, even tho the full-on hollywood chutzpah didn't make an appearance until the 'oh captain, my captain' courtroom finale.

following up on yesterday's ruinous stock fiasco, here is an analysis of the implications of the google analytics service.
WebSideStory Chief Executive 
Jeffrey Lunsford says he has 
little cause for concern.  His
company sells products tailored
for big, sophisiticated 
businesses.  Its software costs
about $40,000 a year -- not $500.

Lunsford notes that the stock 
also took a hit when Google 
bought Urchin, and when it cut 
the price to $200, though neither
affected his business.  "If 
cutting the price in half didn't
materially impact us, I don't
believe cutting it to zero will
impact us," he says.
now, i actually think that the company might actually continue to be able to sell to those large corporate customers - the example of mainframe computers existing alongside desktop PC's was sustainable for a couple of decades. the fact that WSSI might have better technology right now doesn't mean too much as google will already have the mindshare. as windows proved in the '90's, people are willing to settle for second-best software if you make it ever-present. given the pace of development and google's brand, i don't think that the market will treat WSSI's stock kindly, so i'm happy to have bailed out while i could.

the more interesting thought that i had was how google can leverage the acquired analytics to improve search relevance by increasing the rankings of the pages on websites that people actually click thru and decreasing the rankings of the pages that are ignored. this would then reward pages and sites that are well-designed so that people can get to the information that they are looking for, and penalizing websites that ignore usability. this would be yet another geek-friendly feather in google's cap.

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the whole rink to ourselves

permalink Wednesday, 16NOV2005:

iqaluit broomball chronicle:

team white1: mark
team white2: me

it seems that wing night at the storehouse was popular tonight as no one joined mark and i at the rink. since we were paying for the ice anyway, we practiced shooting on each other in net. i worked on pulling the trigger near the net and mark worked on hammering the ball into my shins at close range. i stumbled home bruised but unbowed.

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collective widsom

permalink Thursday, 17NOV2005:

had to take a nap after work before heading up to neil and anna's place for another mahaha production meeting. malcolm and odile accreted themselves to the group as neil went thru the storyboards that babah had done up over the weekend. neil then showed off some of the test footage that they had shot over the last 2 winters.

  • link of the day: walter benjamin on book collecting:
    Every passion borders on the 
    chaotic, but the collector's 
    passion borders on the chaos 
    of memories.  More than that: 
    the chance, the fate, that
    suffuse the past before my 
    eyes are conspicuously present 
    in the accustomed confusion of 
    these books.  For what else is 
    this collection but a disorder 
    to which habit has accommodated 
    itself to such an extent that 
    it can appear as order?
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alterNative views

permalink Friday, 18NOV2005:

went over to odile's place tonight as she was hosting a viewing of the video of our production of alternatives from the summer of 2004. it was great to see the whole production from start to finish, rather than having to listen to some of the scenes from behind the backdrops. my timing was a bit off as some of my lines were obscured by audience laughter from the preceeding lines.

odile and erin had soap opera reactions down pat and their verbal battle was almost visceral. vinnie luxuriated in his role as their object of lust. lori was the epitome of an alternative warrior and aluki was very convincing, both as a lush and as a committed and impassioned activist. the sound was much better than i had been lead to believe, and there were only a couple of rough spots in lighting where the levels or colours changed a bit too abruptly.

afterwards, alison ferried us around town, dropping off joanne at her place, lori at the storehouse and erin, robert, bella and i at the legion so erin could work off some of her boundless energy on the dance floor. kevin and lila were also in the house, so it was a good wrap-up to the evening.

  • link of the day: the hollywood librarian - the writer / director has an MLIS and is making a documentary film about librarians and their stereotypical portrayal in hollywood films. i decided to kick in a few bux to help finance the production.
    The Hollywood Librarian will be 
    a unique blend of film clips, 
    humor and critical analysis of 
    the popular image of librarians. 
    It will create a new-found empathy 
    for the profession by revealing 
    the diversity of individual 
    librarians and the importance of 
    what they do.  This film will
    increase the public's awareness 
    of the complex and democratic 
    nature of librarianship in the 
    age of technology, and be a step 
    toward librarians redefining 
    themselves as not only more than 
    a stereotype, but also as a 
    cultural imperative.
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heartaches all around

permalink Saturday, 19NOV2005:

we had a public playback performance at the joamie school in their theatre with roof-high windows looking out over the city and the bay. taravan, chris, lori, christa, bella, orla, erin, gaby and myself re-enacted the stories provided by the smallish but enthusiastic crowd.

iqaluit broomball chronicle:

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

another hard fought game ensued, with team white holding the upper hand thru both halves, even after jacques and kerry switched places when we remixed the sticks. mark griped that his shots weren't very accurate, but being on the receiving end, i can attest to the fact that they were shriekishly hard - and i have the welt above my heart to prove it !

mark and christian made some very nice plays together while the french connection of marco and jacques also hit paydirt a couple of times. siobhan and kerry were able to keep dan and i in check for most of the game.

saturday nite is karaoke nite at the nav, but debbie, the current operator will be leaving town on monday, so all the regulars showed up to give her and her family a grand send-off. brad wowed the crowd with his joyous renditions of classics 'stagger lee' and 'bad bad leroy brown', leonard did a bang-up job at dare-oke with 'the rose', debbie channelled 'i try', and erin serenaded us with 'call me' and 'you're so vain', the latter dedicated to robert. me, i piped in with 'walkin' after midnight' as my sole contribution before heading on to the legion.

the cbc gang had persuaded the legion to bring in the marc nelson trio from ottawa for the evening. they played covers of canadian songs, most with a countrified twang that had the crowd two-stepping away. cbc matrons fiona and joanna had seen them play in ottawa and had encouraged them to come north to play. i made the rounds, chatting with malcolm, chris, monte, fletcher, ken, susanne, karen, stef, derek, odile, joanna, fiona, shannon, joanne, becky and hunter.

as it takes a lot of energy for me to be 'up' around people, i came close to hitting the wall of socializing fatigue. feeling punchy, i decided to play it safe and head home before i caused any trouble. once safely hermetified, i finished up my monthly comic book order and an episode of the WPT tour dvd.

  • link of the day: how google can take over the internet:
    There will be the Internet, and then 
    there will be the Google Internet,
    superimposed on top.  We'll use it
    without even knowing.  The Google
    Internet will be faster, safer, and
    cheaper.  With the advent of 
    widespread Googlebase (again a bit-
    schlepping app that can be used in a
    thousand ways -- most of them not 
    even envisioned by Google) there's 
    suddenly a new kind of marketplace
    for data with everything a 
    transaction in the most literal 
    sense as Google takes over the role
    of the trusted third-party 
    info-escrow agent for all world 

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