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senatorhung's pad
ramblings of an information troubleshooter

dark fantasies in writing

permalink Sunday, 22JAN2006:

spent the afternoon finishing my monthly comic book order. highlights included:

  • 'conan: book of thoth', featuring the spooky artwork of kelley jones (of sandman fame).
  • corporate ninja #2 - an issue that features cigarettes for pets and the shenanigans that ensue when they can't get their fix
  • the sandman papers - a collection of academic essays critically analyzing the trailblazing graphic novel series by neil gaiman
  • star trek: borg collection dvd set
before heading up to the astro to catch 'capote', i did a load of laundry so i'd have some pants for work tomorrow. julian showed me a neat trick to help out with drying clothes. philip seymour hoffman deserves his golden globe award for best actor. he unflinchingly portrayed unabashed egotism, and what a poker face ! catherine keener, chris cooper and bruce greenwood all performed admirably as well. the movie was an engrossing mix of biographical character study, true crime and an examination of the process of researching and writing a non-fiction novel.

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election night in canada

permalink Monday, 23JAN2006:

the candidate that i was rooting for in my riding was unable to unseat the incumbent who sailed to victory based on the personal rapport that she had built up with her constituents during her tenure as mp. the freakiest thing is that the marijuana candidate came in 4th with over 7% of the vote, so we have clear confirmation that there is a sizable contingent of nunavummiut who favour legalization of the weed.

nationally, i was pleased to note that both heritage minister liza frulla and her parliamentary secretary sarmite bulte were both defeated in their re-election attempts. maybe politicos will learn that the internet-aware are a growing population that will need to be accomodated in future copyright policy developments. bev oda did get re-elected for the conservatives and is in line to become heritage minister, so we'll still have to be wary as she also has accepted campaign contributions from some of bulte's 'friends'. on the plus side, charlie angus, the ndp heritage critic who questioned some of the worst excesses of the bulte report, was handily re-elected in timmins.

went over to mark's to watch the t.v. coverage of the election results as they came in, along with the post-mortem speeches by each leader. gilles duceppe was predictably nonchalant about the results, vowing to stand by his pledge to work with whoever would provide goodies to quebec. martin finally gave a speech that felt like it was coming from him and not a handler. jack was obviously stoked to be joined in the house by a sizable crew of new democrats, including his spouse. harper ... well we'll see.

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re-descending underworld

permalink Tuesday, 24JAN2006:

underworld: evolution had extremely unappetizing reviews, but i liked the original so much that i thought i should at least give this one a chance. it wasn't nearly as bad as the critics had implied, tho maybe my expectations had been sufficiently diminished by their forewarnings. kate beckinsale in black leather was indeed the feature attraction and the gratuitous sex scene was an added bonus. it did feel a bit creepy knowing that the director was filming his own wife miming passion in another man's arms.

org.chart of underworld characters
all the plot threads and characters left hanging from the original flick were wrapped up neatly by the end, tho i didn't notice too many 'hooks' that future sequels might be hung from. derek jacobi was fabulously austere as the patriarch who could have prevented all of the internicine warfare over the centuries, but could not bear to sacrifice his family to do so. bill nighy's almost-cameo performance was also a juicy treat. the black and blue and shiny cinematography and art direction were a good fit for the pic's themes of betrayal and family honour.

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half a broomball game

permalink Wednesday, 25JAN2006:

iqaluit broomball chronicle:

players: mark, marco, kerry, sebastien, me

with only a limited number of players, we decided to have a single netminder and play 2 on 2 on half the ice. i was in net for the first half hour and only got beat twice by marco - it's almost like he times his shot to coincide with my eyes blinking. when i got out onto the ice with mark, he set me up beautifully numerous times but i wasn't able to convert the passes into goals. kerry played superb defence in front of the net and sebastien was also solid in net when his turn came.

after the game, i wandered up to the storehouse to take in wednesday wing nite. unfortunately, i had to wait in line for a good half an hour (i'm not known for my patience) and by the time i finally got waved in, i was not in a very good mood. i wolfed down an order of wings and then headed home to sulk.

  • link of the day: more fun than horoscopes, typelogic gives a quick overview of jungian personality types.

  • i can't find the original source link of the blog that pointed this out, but it seems that most lawyers are INTJ and when i read the profile, i could see myself in that frame pretty clearly, especially the bit about not getting small talk (and here i thought it was just an attempt not to emulate the small-town gossips that surrounded me growing up !) however, when i took an online jung typology test, my type result with that was ISTJ, with the strength of the preferences being 78 1 62 78. i especially relate to the type comment "truth wins out over tact". according to, SJIT folks make good librarians and legal researchers - maybe my career meanderings towards legal librarianship haven't been quite as random as i had thought ?? :)
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chatting up a storm

permalink Thursday, 26JAN2006:

there's been a lull recently at work so i've been able to hack down some of the piles of materials around my office so that they are a couple of inches shorter. however, by the afternoon, my lack of sleep was causing me to droop, so i decided to get outside in the brisk cold air to try to revive. i stopped off at the northmart to drop off the latest previews catalogue with curtis and chat a bit about comics. from there, i wandered over to the museum to talk to brian about a possible donation for the bmff raffle.

after work, i attended the city council chambers for the monthly waste management committee meeting. jim gave us a presentation of his thoughts on the benefits of composting. there seems to be quite a bit of antagonism between community groups and city administration and after the meeting, i talked to jim about 'process' and how he might be able to be more effective in getting recycling / composting thru the administration's agenda.

  • link of the day:'s andrew leonard discusses the virtues of industrial policy
    But what's fascinating is that 
    China and India made their march 
    forward, according to Rodrik, 
    not by willy nilly opening up 
    their markets with neoliberal 
    abandon, but with great attention 
    to policy choices, and with 
    explicit government involvement 
    in the economy that can only be 
    described as industrial policy. 
    The same was true of many of the 
    East Asian nations who developed 
    earlier, like Taiwan and South 
    Korea, which only started to 
    seriously open up after they had 
    achieved substantial economic 
    growth through a mix of 
    protectionism, export subsidies, 
    and other policy choices.
my feeling is that a sound intellectual property framework that enhances access to information and knowledge while providing an environment for businesses to leverage and add value to that freely accessible knowledge, might be one of the planks for a successful industrial policy for the 21st century.

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cache-ing in

permalink Friday, 27JAN2006:

yay for payday today ! (too bad most of its going to pay off my visa bill for the month)

  • ip link of the day: a Nevada district court judge has ruled that the google cache constitutes fair use.

  • i posted the following comment to slaw in response to this post by steven:
    keep in mind that i'm just a lay 
    internet user with interests in IP 
    and not an IP lawyer.
    first, i'll admit that i have very 
    little sympathy for the argument 
    that a website publisher is being 
    damaged when google indexes their 
    site.  if you don't want to tap a 
    global audience, then pull up the 
    drawbridge, force users to use a 
    secret login and password and turn 
    away the large portion of 'drive-by' 
    browsers who might stumble across 
    your brilliance.
    yes, the technical 'standard' of a 
    robots.txt is not ideal, but 
    neither was splattering a © on 
    every original work.  the advantage 
    of the robots.txt is that it allows 
    the indexing to happen automatically 
    without human intervention and the 
    corresponding judgement / fallability.  
    the plaintiff in this case made 
    things difficult by being web-aware, 
    with prior knowledge of how spiders 
    and the google cache worked, and 
    ignoring the possibility of excluding 
    spiders with a robot.txt file.
    i think that the bad faith efforts 
    of this plaintiff definitely gave 
    impetus to the judge to look for ways 
    to rule the way he did, but the 
    question this leads us to is, would a 
    clueless plaintiff have had more 
    success ?  the judge made a very 
    detailed analysis that relied very 
    heavily upon google's expert opinion.  
    i'd be interested to see what would 
    happen if the plaintiff had found an 
    expert of the same caliber to provide 
    support for the IP rights side.
    if i had been the plaintiff, i would 
    have proclaimed ignorance of how the 
    web worked, pulled the material from 
    the website and put it behind a pay / 
    password combo and then sued google 
    when the cached version was still 
    available.  if you search google for you will an example of a 
    cached page that has disappeared from 
    the web for more than the 14-20 days 
    cited in the safe harbour portion of 
    the decision (CIRA 'reclaimed' the
    domain when i was unable to supply
    personal info to match the faulty
    data that i had submitted to their
    leaky whois database).
    the litigation then might have 
    revolved around whether google's 
    opt-out provisions were sufficient 
    to ameliorate the economic damages 
    incurred between when the material 
    was pulled from the web and when the 
    plaintiff realized that the material 
    was still available in the cache.  
    all of this would presuppose 
    ignorance by the plaintiff of how 
    the web is indexed and would still be 
    a stretch for anyone professing to 
    be trying to use the internet to 
    distribute material for profit.
    what would have been nice to implement 
    as a technical standard would be a way 
    to 'whitelist' approved spiders, while 
    excluding all others, including the 
    rogue spambots.  i can understand the 
    hostility in the webmasterworld forum - 
    the search engine spiders do have an 
    impact on site stability and there is 
    indeed a valid argument about how much 
    copying is too much, but again, if no 
    one can find your site or find info on 
    it (webmasterworld has just disallowed 
    all search engine robots, while 
    attempting to roll their own sitesearch), 
    your audience mindshare may be diminished 
    to the point where your advertising 
    support will look elsewhere.   
i also posted my inaugural comment on michael geist's blog entry about nettwerk's brave and bold move to support the legal defence of a music downloader who is being sued by the RIAA. i have been boycotting nettwerk for the last 2 years due to their use of copy control software on an 'oh susanna' cd, but it seems that they've since had a change of heart. if this is true, then i will gladly rescind my boycott and start scarfing up nettwerk product to support their pro-music-lover stance.

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trappings of identity

permalink Saturday, 28JAN2006:

iqaluit broomball chronicles:

players: mark, marco, JF, christian, kerry, me

with more players than on wednesday nite, we were raring to go, but were stalled by the fact that there was a midget hockey tourney taking place at the old arena all weekend. since mark had just started a new position this week, simon wasn't able to get hold of him so we had no advance warning of the ice cancellation. ah well, this will give my knee a few more days to recover from my run-in with the boards on wednesday.

in the evening, i wandered over to the inukshuk high school for the latest music society coffee house. performers included sylvia cloutier and celina kalluk (throatsinging), ian kanayuk (inuktitut song), alysa d'argencourt (kate bush), geoff rigby, road to nowhere band (mary chapin-carpenter), higher ground (gospel), errol fletcher (his own song about taxis) and jennifer wakegejig (her own song about blizzards).

  • bruce schneier wonders if we need to do away with anonymity or do we just need to ensure accountability ?
    In a perfect world, we wouldn't 
    need anonymity.  It wouldn't be 
    necessary for commerce, since no 
    one would ostracize or blackmail 
    you based on what you purchased. 
    It wouldn't be necessary for 
    internet activities, because no 
    one would blackmail or arrest you 
    based on who you corresponded 
    with or what you read.  It 
    wouldn't be necessary for AIDS 
    patients, members of fringe 
    political parties or people who 
    call suicide hotlines.  Yes, 
    criminals use anonymity, just 
    like they use everything else 
    society has to offer.  But the 
    benefits of anonymity -- 
    extensively discussed in an 
    excellent essay by Gary T. Marx 
    -- far outweigh the risks.
    We live in a world where the 
    police and the government are made 
    up of less-than-perfect individuals 
    who can use personal information 
    about people, together with their 
    enormous power, for imperfect 
    purposes.  Anonymity protects all 
    of us from the powerful by the 
    simple measure of not letting them 
    get our personal information in the 
    first place.
this again brings to mind my frustration at losing my domain name '' almost a year ago now. CIRA was just beginning to introduce a privacy policy that would shelter personal private info (name, address, etc.) from the globally accessible whois database, but somehow decided that it would also be the perfect time to snatch back domains from those who had initially signed up with 'false' info.

now, i don't dispute that when i signed up, that the fine print in the agreement authorized them to take such an action. however, CIRA could easily have offered a limited-time amnesty for individuals given the new privacy policy that was being introduced, and would have enhanced the goodwill that the policy had already generated. instead, they gave little notice, made me jump thru hoops with my original registrar, did not guarantee what they would do with the info that i did send to confirm my identity and still took away the domain name from me in the end.

to my mind, the fact that the email address was live made me accountable enough that the false name 'senator hung' and old phone number (still kept by my brother in calgary) would be sufficient to establish my accountability if not my identity. i mean, i paid with a bloody credit card.

it just reinforced my disgust with bureaucracy that is removed from intended purpose. while i still have to use CIRA for work websites, there's no way i'll have any dealings with them in the future for personal webwork and will recommend to others, who have a choice, to stay away.

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