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senatorhung's pad
ramblings of an information troubleshooter

i'm all out of love

permalink Sunday, 20NOV2005:

malcolm and i had a chat about the challenges of love in the north. one screw-up with the wrong person and you're branded all about town. you can't even go to the 'next town over' because there is no next town over. if the point of keeping myself insanely busy is supposed to distract me from this, well, it ain't working for me.

got re-hooked on a mix i made a year ago that bewilderingly still matches my current predicament. whenever she's around, it's like i have a proximity sensor that knows exactly where she is in the room. why is it so hard to let go of the ones who logically are just not meant for you ?

sadly, i'm almost looking forward to returning south as much for personal reasons as for professional. if a particular relationship doesn't work out, you can readily move on to another. while that maybe results in shallower relationships, it's still better than floundering around directionless and gasping with gills open in a tiny puddle.

  • link of the day: the top 100 canadian books as determined by the literary review of canada. from their list, i own these 5:
    #51: fifth business - robertson davies 
      (thanks to a university english class)
    #77: neuromancer - william gibson
      (one of the few sf titles on the list)
    #91: the jade peony - wayson choy
    #92: the unconscious civilization 
      - john ralston saul
    #97: no logo: taking aim at the brand bullies 
      - naomi klein
      (still sitting on the 'to-be-read' pile)
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cautionary tales

permalink Monday, 21NOV2005:

felt an illness coming on - just about everyone else at the office has been sick over the last couple of weeks. however, i chalked it up to them getting the proffered flu shot while i abstained. however, i might have caught a chill standing in the coatcheck lineup at the legion on saturday so i'll have to take it easy for the next few days if i don't want to crash.

  • ip idiocy link of the day: sony-bmg gets plenty of black marks for its inept implementation of digital rights management:
    After it was discovered that XCP
    opened gaping security holes in
    users' computers -- as did the 
    method Sony BMG offered for 
    removing XCP -- Sony BMG was forced 
    to recall the discs last week.  
    Some 4.7 million had been made and 
    2.1 million sold.
    Factor in lawsuits that Sony BMG 
    could face, and it's worth
    wondering whether the costs of XCP
    and its aftermath might even 
    exceeed whatever piracy losses the 
    company would have suffered without 
    That's not even accounting for the 
    huge public relations backlash that 
    hit Sony BMG, the second-largest 
    music label, half-owned by Sony 
    Corp. and half by Bertelsmann AG.
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setting out on the road to success ?

permalink Thursday, 24NOV2005:

so i finally got laid out by this flu-type thing that's going around. skipped broomball last night and spent most of today in bed. hauled myself out in the evening for a couple of hours to accept a certificiate from the city for volunteerism along with about a hundred other recipients. then it was back to the hacienda to collapse into bed again.

however, i did take a few moments to browse a series of anecdotes from IT luminaries about how they got into computers. a lot of these stories brought back very fond memories. my first exposure to PC's was a Commodore PET in the high school computer lab. my continuing preference for neon green text on a black screen likely springs from that time. for some reason, i had the impression that this was an IBM model for a good decade before my erroneous remembrance was revealed to me.

anyway, that box didn't really do much for me, altho it did help me get my first summer job other than working for my father in the restaurant. the RM office had a computer in its back room with some kind of accounting program that had to be run daily and just knowing what a computer was qualified me for the position.

next up were the VIC-20's which used cassette tapes for storing data and programs. i remember playing a few of those tapes back on the stereo, looking for the 'hidden messages' similar to spinning vinyl records backwards. but things really got cooking once we moved on to C-64's with colour screens and beautiful sound. i would spend hours randomly typing in POKE and PEEK commands to weird out the screen or make the machines screech with horror. the first word processor that i used was a program called 'paperclip' that resided on an external grey-blocked chipped that would plug into a port at the side of the keyboard. now, whenever i see a USB key, i think about how little has changed.

and those games ! hours after school were spent playing 'raid on bungeling bay' and what i recall as 'kickman' (stacking balloons on top of your character's head while moving across the screen on a unicycle, 'kicking' balloons that were below your head back into the air). if i had spent a bit more time hacking the games instead of playing them, i suspect that i would have fallen into the deep end of the pool. however, i let myself be distracted by school and working at home and never became one with the machine. one of my high school classmates did succumb, and i believe he's still working as a computer consultant somewhere in the desert heat of arizona.

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kicking up a storm

permalink Friday, 25NOV2005:

managed to make it thru the work day by doing stuff that didn't require too much brain work. i was feeling good enough by the end of the day that attending stef's b'day party didn't seem like too much of a strenuous prospect. adding to the food that she had received as presents in the mail from the south, i brought my usual nav chow mein dish and joanne threw in some flavourful faux-middle eastern dip. odile, vinnie, john, sheila, mike and geoff were also in the house to help stef celebrate her latest step towards infirmity.

odile suggested that we play the card game 'mal' that erin had taught us when she was in town last week. again, the newbies got picked on, but it was still good fun. a great debate then ensued as to which activity we should do next, with a cha-cha nite at the francophone coming with a $10 cover, a pliable d.j. at the storehouse for dancing, or the default legion lineup which we would avoid since we had 3 members in the group.

while stef was mulling where next to go, blizzard-like conditions were beginning to kick up outside and by the time we called for a cab, the wind was puffing something fierce. when i went outside to act as a spotter for any wayward taxi, the breeze was strong enough that i tried to achieve liftoff, but every time i came close, my feet would slip in the powdery snow. when a cab finally came, we all piled in as the cabbie warned us that many drivers had already decided to go off the road.

so, we hit the legion and ran into a few other folks like malcolm, chris, joe, hallauk, sara and monte. i wandered over to the pool room where table 3 had just opened up and i managed to win the table after si scratched on the black. joe then came over to play a round and even surprised himself with a few of his shots. a couple of the regulars commented that they hadn't seen me there for awhile, and i was so taken by that, that i let them take me for a few bux as well.

levi pounced when i missed my first shot after the break and ran every one of his balls off the table (deja vu !). kilabuk jr. also let me have a go at him, and i belatedly realized how wretchedly i was playing when i noticed that i had only sunk 1 ball by the time he was shooting for the black. after paying them off, i gave up on pool for the night and wandered back over to the club side to dance away the rest of the night in my snow boots.

  • ip idiocy link of the day: michael geist comments on the negative impact on DRM thanks to sony's rootkit boner
    Finally, just when it appeared that 
    Sony had hit bottom, analysis of the 
    rootkit revealed that it included
    open source software code contrary 
    to the applicable license.  In other 
    words, Sony itself may have infringed 
    the copyright of a group of software 
    programmers and be on the hook for 
    significant copyright infringement 
    While the Sony saga has still not 
    ended, it is increasingly clear that 
    it will have a long-term impact on
    consumers and policy makers.  The 
    incident has alerted millions of 
    consumers to the potential misuse of 
    TPMs as well as to the need for 
    consumer protections from such 
    systems.  While policy makers have 
    raced to provide legal protections 
    for TPMs (known as anti-circumvention 
    legislation since the provisions 
    prohibit attempts to circumvent the 
    digital locks), the real need is to 
    protect against the misuse of this 
    The Sony case provides a vivid 
    illustration of how TPMs can create 
    real security and privacy risks.
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how do you spell vicissitude ?

permalink Saturday, 26NOV2005:

watched the director's commentary for 'spellbound' after being woken up by the wind outside. i was a precocious speller in my younger days, winning a $5 woodward's gift certificate in grade 3 in edmonton after getting 50 out of 50 on a spelling quiz. i think i might even still have the blue cardboard billfold that the award was tucked into. i think i bought a mickey mouse watch with it after my mom sprung for the remainder of the cost - which i realize now was a luxury at the time for our family.

even moving to a small town of 500 didn't slow me down as i recall achieving a grade 12 spelling level when i wrote a spelling test in grade 5. however, there wasn't any infrastructure for me to follow this up and i think i still feel a bit bummed that this talent withered without further development. i do alright these days at scrabble, and the facility with words always comes in handy, but i always have this nagging sense of what could've been. would i have become more innately self-confident or would i have just become an awesome boor ?

the power went out a couple of times last night as the pelting rain must have frozen and weighted down some power cables. i thought that i had everything back ship shape, but i found out otherwise when i wandered over to the broomball game ... at 16:15, a good 45 minutes late. however, i got a good 10 minute workout, banging my helmet hard against the ice after a slip. the only injury sustained was to my shoulder, so i was able to shrug it off and keep playing. i even got to assist on kerry's goal.

i started the evening off at the museum where an arctic photography exhibition was opening. the craft of the photos was excellent, but i question whether the topics focused on provide any insight to an audience that already resides in the north. however, i will return tomorrow to take a couple of snapshots of my fave snaps (holy recursiveness, batman !)

the next and final stop on my evening adventures was the inukshuk high school gym where another coffee house was in full swing. i got there in time to catch the last few sets, including jennifer and the french connection. said hello to all and sundry before fading back into the night in an anti-social funk. went back home to drown my blues with jack de keyzer and meatloaf off of a couple of those old-fashioned cassette-type thingies - i'm sure you've seen pictures of them in those historical magazines.

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