Home offices

This weekend was spent getting the basement prepared for painting and moving everything down into this new area for my desk and stuff. Of course everyone has a good idea on what they want their home office to look like but in the end there is a lot of give and take. The advantage of this new space is that it is out of the way and well lit. And it should be much cooler in the summer. Looks like I will need another gallon (whoops 3.67 litres) of paint to finnish the other side of this room.

On Saturday Fleming and I attended a 6 hour workshop at Lee Valley Tools on the Leigh jig. This is a tool, when used with a router, that will produce beautiful dovetail joints. We spent some time learning about the setup and had a little project to complete. To my amazement the project turned out beautifully. Woodworking is pretty good therapy, nothing like making something with your hands. The smell of fresh cut wood also helps!

The Olympics

Haven’t paid much attention other than the medal winnings of Canada. Funny that when we get a great womens hockey team that is head and shoulders above the competition, then someone wants to change the rules. Can anyone say summer Olympics – Mens basketball? The most interesting thing to date is the gold medal winner from Australia, mogul skier Dale Begg-Smith. One really can’t disagree with the view on this site. And it is very humorous that the Globe & Mail this week published a front page photo of this guy. Given they are a business oriented newspapers he probably cost most of their company business readers a lot of time and money.

Once upon a time…

So Mr. Moore launches his lawsuit against Bertuzzi for $15 million plus. Right in the middle of the Olympics. Great for the game isn’t it. Could have done it a few weeks earlier but waited for the last day. By doing this he sure makes a huge wave in the hockey world and we get to relive the moment once again. Though what TB did was wrong, when does this thing end? Maybe Moore is suing for so much because he would never have ever made close to that amount as a hockey player and this is his one shot at it. So when is enough enough. I remember attending that game and that pool of blood that was left on the ice is a pretty haunting memory. Before they started playing for the final minutes the referees were trying to scrape the blood colour out of the ice like the goalies do before the games starts. No matter how hard they tried it just didn’t go away. Seems this event will just never go away for TB, Canuck fans and now all hockey fans.

Our view

I was reading the blog entry at Posthegemony for October 5, 2005 titled speed. He opens with the typical depiction of Latin America as a place of languor and lassitude and goes on to refute this perception. In fact it is exactly the opposite. But why have we viewed it so differently? What gives our culture such exclusivity that it can define any other culture in such absolute and sometimes senseless terms? What arrogance we maintain and the horror is that we don’t even view it as that. We in North America sometimes can only view the world through a T.V. set, no matter which channel is picked.

Northern Voice Day 2

A very different day than the first. Quieter and less energy maybe due to the difference in the attendees. There were more neophyte bloggers and a much larger crowd.

I thought Julie Leung’s opening keynote was good. It was powerful and full of imagery. There was a full exploration of the theme “storytelling” which is essential to any good blog. It brought much of the human element into the sometimes purely technical world of blogs.

Dave Sifry and Tim Bray were good. Dave will really churn out ideas and has a passion for blogging and his business. Tim always has a unique point to bring forward. They would be great as a podcast team.

I thought Nancy White’s – Snow White and the Seven Competencies of Online Interaction was the highlight presentation of the day. If you ever have a chance to see Nancy run, don’t walk to her presentation. It was excellent and touched on some wonderful ideas and issues. She has posted the presentation on Flickr.

The afternoon sessions were much easier to fathom. You have to remember your brain can only work at 100% for only so long. Blogging in Education was very academic, Geek Out has some great tips and technology presentations and last but not least Five Ways Your Blog can Change the World with only Rob Cottingham (the other 3 presenters weren’t there for various reasons) was pretty good considering. I felt sorry for Rob. Can you imagine being part of a group of 4 for an hour presentation and ending up doing the whole thing yourself. They did make a connection with a cell phone to one of the other presenters for some of the time.

Was it as good as last year? Yes but in a different fashion. Blogging has a bit more age and depth to it now. It is taking a different form that was not apparent before. And having moved into a maturer methodology/technology it becomes less vibrant for some. It hasn’t lost it’s excitement, it has just become more common. The venue is great even if it was crowded at times and it is close to some great eating spots for lunch. The people who put in on really do a fantastic job. Most of them get little time to attend the events making sure everything in the background is running smoothly. The big difference was seeing the people and meeting the individuals. For over a year now I have read numerous blogs and really started to understand various peoples points of view and events in their lives. You get to “know” people in a way that is really very different. (someone is going to have to come up with a word to describe that kind of relationship) And so when you finally get to meet them it is pretty special. Northern Voice really sets the stage to encounter the person behind the blog. I don’t know how it does it but it works for me. And that is why I’ll be there again next year.

PS Only one suggestion – have a quick closing with everyone gathered. It puts a proper closure to the event.

Northern Voice 2006 – 1st day

Just getting my head together after an event-full day at this blogging conference. Today was the MooseCamp. Excellent speakers and dialogue with not one dull moment. You have to prepare for an event like this by keeping your brain prepared for the plethora of ideas that are presented.

The DabbleDB demo with Avi Bryant and Andrew Catton was very good. This is going to be a very sought after web app by individuals and business. Simple and elegant. And definitely fills a need.

Michael Tippett spoke on NowPublic. Interesting how the real time reporting by anyone can also be an agent of change. Interesting question to ask– Isn’t anyones perception of any news event just as valid as anyone elses?

David Sifry gave a great presentation on Leadership Hacks with some thought provoking input by a lot of the attendees. This says a lot about how the conference has a strong sharing attitude by everyone.

More tomorrow.

Stoplights and accidents

Yesterday when we were moving the kids to their new place there was a power outage in the area of Costco in Burnaby. In fact Costco was closed when we drove by at noon. The stoplights in the area were out. Now if there is anything I remember when taking the driver’s test it was the question on what to do when you come to an intersection with traffic lights that aren’t working — it becomes a four way stop. Simple. Takes time but works. Always a few that forget the rule but what the heck.
After a few trips back and forth we noticed that the first light off the Gaglardi exchange was not working and it was the most dangerous. Most of the traffic off the freeway was not stopping. They just drove right on through. We all were pretty sure that there was going to be an accident. Sure enough on our final trip home there was. Someone must have been cruising through just off the freeway and broadsided the car making a left hand turn. Ambulance, Fire Deparment, the whole works. It didn’t look too good.
Once again the question to ask — how do some of these people get their drivers licence? from a cereal package or what? Driving is a privilege not a right but it seems most don’t even bother to think in those terms.

Northern Voice

Jan brings up a good point about coasting. Stepping out of the comfort zone and taking on new challenges. But after spending your daylight hours at work doing just that, how does one get the energy to do anything but coasting? In fact it isn’t coasting that is the problem. Everyone needs a little coasting. It’s habitual coasting—that is not a good thing. And of course in our lives we meet those that are perma-coasting. So indulge yourself a little, coasting in small doses isn’t all that bad.

This Friday is Northern Voice. And I am even more excited than last year about going. There are quite a few people who were there last year so it should be fun meeting up with them again. When one reads what has been happening in various peoples lives over the year you really look forward to seeing them and having that one on one conversation. Bloggers are a very different group of people. Expressive, passionate, very quick, genuine, just a great bunch to be with for a few days. The credit union I work for is co-sponsoring this event (with 12 others) and though our budget doesn’t allow us to give some expensive schwag I think what we are giving out will be different and appreciated.

Tomorrow is moving day for my son and daughter-in-law. There should be a lot of people helping and they don’t have a mansion’s worth of stuff to move so it should be more fun than work. It is a big step and one that you always know is coming when you have kids. It is just that you didn’t expect it to be so bittersweet.