Thursday, March 30, 2006

New Toy!

After having talked about it for several months, I bought a bike today! Kevin did much research for me, and answered many of my dumb questions, and I think we got a pretty fantastic deal on a pretty fantastic bike.

For now, it's sitting in my den, but taking it up in the elevator was a violation of my condo's rules. I need to get a clamp in my parking spot to hang it from. And I still need a lock, locking skewers, and gloves, at a minimum. But, I'm very excited. I can't wait to take it out for a ride!

In not so happy news, I was just about to take some pictures of it, and I dropped my camera. The lens won't retract, and it won't turn on.

So, to recap Dave's toy situation: +1 bike, -1 camera. Net score: a wash, I suppose.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Goodbye, Las Vegas!

My trip ended today, as I said farewell to the fabulously tacky world of Las Vegas and returned to good old Toronto.

I had a great time there with mum, but I've got to admit, it'll never become a favourite destination for me. It's just too big, too loud, too fake. And I don't think I'll ever get the appeal of gambling. I took another crack at slots, and I got so bored that I just wanted it to end.

Some of the sights were definitely impressive, like the fountains at the Bellagio the view from the mini Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas, and the inside of the Luxor. And I was pretty excited to get a cute new swim suit at the Fashion Show Mall (I had forgotten to bring one). Okay, not too cute -- I was with my mother, after all!

We saw the main attraction, Celine's A New Day... last night and it was just amazing. Apparently, it was the anniversary of the show's launch three years ago, so it was clearly a big deal for her and for the rest of the performers. She was so "on", I couldn't believe it. I've never heard such a flawless live vocal performance before. The dancing, staging and effects, as promised, were quite spectacular. "I'm Alive," "At Last," "I've Got the World on a String," "I Surrender," an Italian song that I didn't know, "I Wish," and "My Heart Will Go On" were especially effective. "The Power of Love" was just bizarre, with its strutting peacocks and weird technicolor wormhole background.

Well, that's the way Vegas went. Now it's back to the old grind.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

EclipseCon Wraps

EclipseCon is winding down. This morning's keynote was by Ted Neilson, the CEO of Borland. He's an ex-Microsoftie, and somehow I just didn't find him totally convincing explaining how Borland "gets it" with regard to open source. Well, if nothing else, it's pretty clear that Microsoft stands alone against open source. Right now, a consultant with both Visual Studio and Eclipse experience is comparing the two environments, and coming down quite squarely on our side.

Tuesday and Wednesday were excellent. Joel Spolsky's keynote was entertaining, if not overly insightful. There was something about emotional appeal and polishing and misattribution. But, most notable were the numerous pictures of pretty men. Hey, I'm not saying! I'm just saying...

Greg Stein, from the Apache Software Foundation (and Google) gave the keynote yesterday, and made several good points about software, licenses, and communities. His key point was that Apache is about building communities first, and creating code second. He seemed a little anti-copyleft for my taste, though. I'm of the opinion that licenses mostly get chosen in a sensible way. Whoever starts the project tends to choose a license that meets their needs and desires. Usually in an open source project, those align quite well with the needs and desires of the users, or the project will fail spectacularly. Obviously, for a project like Eclipse, started by IBM to enable itself and other companies to build proprietary products on it, the chosen license will allow that. For Linux, the GPL is a an excellent choice: it keeps it free, encourages its rapid development, and does nothing to interfere with the abilities of individuals and companies to make use of it. Linux is thriving, in part, because of the GPL -- certainly not in spite of it.

I saw many good presentations over the last couple of days, covering topics like VE, the TPTP GUI test recorder, open source business models, GMF, profiling, the Jazz project, BIRT, platform undeveloped operations, Apache Harmony, GCJ and GNU/Linux distribution packaging, and the JET editor. Phew.

There's lots of cool stuff going on in Eclipse. I'm itching to try out some of this for myself. But somehow, I can't help thinking about the next few days...Vegas calls!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


It's day two at EclipseCon.

We presented our tutorial yesterday, and it went reasonably well. There were some hickups with getting people started on the exercises, as some hadn't downloaded all the stuff they needed and a few were using the Sun 1.4 JDK, with the buggy Cirmson DOM implementation. But, once we got those kinks worked out, I think many people were able to follow the material and do the exercises.

By comparison, I was totally lost in the tutorial I attended in the afternoon. The exercises were ridiculously ambitious. I think the only people who had any success were the ones who had already been working with technology for months.

So now, I'm practically on vacation. Joel Spolsky, from Joel on Software, is going to be giving the keynote this morning. I'm mildly curious what he has to say, but I've never really taken him seriously since he said that Mozilla should have turned the Netscape codebase into something useful by refactoring, instead of rebuilding from the ground up.

(Interestingly, Tracksy tells me that 67% of visitors to my blog use Firefox, a mere 25% use IE.)

Then, there are a whole slew of presentations and demos happening today. Gee, I guess I'd better pick some...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Gastric Adventures

In my post this morning, I made an out-of-left-field comment about by stomach. Maybe you're wondering what that was about. Don't you just love a good mystery?

I'd intended to say more, but I didn't have time before the taxi arrived to take me to the airport. I'm now on the plane, and taking the opportunity to explain that. Though, actually, I don't really want to go into too much detail.

Last Monday I got food poisoning, which resulted in one of the longest nights of my life. I was really sick, severely and often. And, actually, in quite a lot of pain. It had passed by mid-morning Tuesday, but my gut is still pretty sensitive. So, I'm trying to be very gentle on it, and hoping for the best. It's really inopportune timing, since I'm going to have to eat whatever's available for the next week. I just can't wait to be done with the tutorial tomorrow, so at least I can return to a normal stress level.

I'm Goin' to California

I'm heading off to Santa Clara, California today for EclipseCon 2006. I'll be instructing a tutorial (on EMF, of course) along with Nick. Fortunately, that's tomorrow morning, which means I can just relax and enjoy the rest of the conference after that.

After the conference, I'm meeting Mum in Las Vegas for the weekend. I've never been before, and I don't think I'd really want to...if it wasn't for a certain show.

I shouldn't be so nervous, but I'm kind of afraid my stomach might misbehave...

Fingers crossed.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Shout Out to MSN Search!

A few weeks ago, I started using Tracksy to collect stats on visitors to my little blog. I figured it would be interesting to see how many people are actually reading it, where they're coming from, and so forth. Actually, it hasn't disappointed. Today, I found that one visitor had been referred by Looking closely at the URL made it apparent that he or she had simply searched for "human being". I decided to give that query a go, and the results surprised me!

Go on. Try it.

Yup, that's right: Another Human Being is the number 7 result for "human being" on MSN Search! How is that even possible?

I tried the same search on Google and looked through 10 pages of results before giving up on ever finding myself.

Anyhow, if you used MSN Search to find me today, a special "halla" to you! Oh, and some advice: use Google. As I've just demonstrated, it's clearly the superior search engine.

Monday, March 13, 2006

...But I Know What I Like

Yesterday evening, I went to Snap!, a photography auction to raise funds for the AIDS Committee of Toronto. I actually bought a piece in the silent auction, which I'm very excited about.

It's called Piki, and the photographer's name is John Fairley. Here is the photo, with a link to it on his Flickr site.

I can't get over how human her expression looks. And so mischievous -- she's definitely a heart breaker. I love the composition, too: the way her face is framed, and the other doll, out of focus in the background.

My empty walls are very excited, too!

Monday, March 06, 2006

WiFi for All!

According to The Star, Toronto Hydro is planning to roll out city-wide WiFi coverage, starting as soon as this Fall.

Bring it on! Bell et al. have totally missed the boat with their awful Hotspots at Starbucks and the like. Seriously, $7 per hour to use the Internet? What is this, 1995?

Yay for big government! Make it cheap, and drive those bums at Bell and Rogers out of business!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Unexpected Visitors

I'm working from home today, and I had a teleconference at 3:00 in the afternoon. I was quite surprised when, halfway through the call, there was a loud knock at my door. I opened the door, phone in hand, and found my condo developer's deficiencies team behind it.

They had finally come to address the various deficiencies that I, and the previous owner of the suite, had reported over the last 8 months or so.

I'd been trying to get some response about these deficiencies for ages, but the guy who handles this for the developer went silent weeks ago. Now, with zero warning, people arrive with hammers in hands. Oh well, better late than never!

I just went over the list with them, and I'm cautiously optimistic that most of the issues will be resolved today and tomorrow.

Support Kevin and Stu!

I've just added a link to Stu & Kevin's Friends For Life bike rally blog. This July, they'll be cycling, along with about 300 others, from Toronto to Montreal to raise money for the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation. Until then, they'll be blogging about their fundraising and training. Hopefully, they'll also find a way to do some audio blogging during the ride.

So, about that fundraising...they each have to raise $2000 to participate. Now, if you know Kevin and/or Stu, you've probably already heard about this. But, even if you don't know them, you shouldn't let that stop you from making a pledge. I mean, you know me, or at least you're sufficiently interested in me to be reading my blog. So, two degrees of separation and a really good cause should be enough to motivate at least a small pledge, shouldn't it?

You can find links to their pledge pages from their blog.