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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
You go your way / I'll go your way too
— Leonard Cohen, Leonard Cohen
January 29, 2007

Mouse Party

A lesson in addiction science called Mouse Party provides a nice example of interaction design for educational purposes.

Posted by skooter at 9:36 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Information Architecture, Interaction Design

Vancouver makes the New York Times (again)

Once again, Vancouver has made the New York Times and what a great headline:

Its Wild Heart Broken, a City, Like Its Eagles, Rebuilds - New York Times
By CHRISTOPHER MASON
Published: January 29, 2007

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Jan. 24 — No matter how high the office towers and condominiums get in this fast-growing city, those who live here still cling to the laid-back way of life that draws so many to Canada’s west coast, where spandex and a yoga roll are as common a sight as a suit and briefcase.

Nothing symbolizes this dichotomy more than Stanley Park, a 1,000-acre forested oasis next to downtown Vancouver that juts into the Burrard Inlet.

The same article appears in the International Herald Tribune.

Posted by skooter at 12:28 PM This entry is filed under Vancouver.
Tags: Articles, Weather

January 28, 2007

Business Reporting & Contradictions

The Globe and Mail offers a wonderful lesson in editing a newspaper in this weekend’s edition, with two articles from the business section that directly contradict each other.

The first advocates paying down debt instead of contributing to your RRSP, the second advocate increasing your debt load in order to contribute to your RRSP.

Continue reading "Business Reporting & Contradictions"

Posted by skooter at 8:53 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Articles, Globe and Mail, Personal Finances, RRSP

Google’s Interface Single Mindedness

My Personalized Google Homepage

People praise Google for the simplicity of its interface, but in many cases this simplicity is taken to the extreme.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the new features offered on Google’s personalized home page service.

Continue reading "Google’s Interface Single Mindedness"

Posted by skooter at 6:58 PM | TrackBacks (1) This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Google, Information Architecture

January 25, 2007

The NHL Finally Gets the Internet

I don’t think it will help hockey’s popularity in America one bit, or save a troubled league but it’s nice to see professional sports getting the Internet a bit.

Posted by skooter at 12:21 PM This entry is filed under Sports.
Tags: Hockey, NHL

Until I Found You

John Irving’s Until I Found You is a long book that rambles through both North America and Europe before coming to its fairly predictable conclusion. Along the way it touches on his classic themes of older women, lost fathers, and wrestling.

At this point I’ve read just about everything Irving’s writen. A Prayer for Owen Meaney is without a doubt one of the best books I’ve had the pleasure of reading, but the rest of his work has been somewhat inconsistent. The Fourth Hand was horrible, Son of the Circus was pleasant but not great, and The Cider House Rules was good but I wouldn’t rave about it. I haven’t yet read The World According to Garp but I may yet.

If you’ve got time on your hands, Until I Found You might be a pleasant read, but I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way for it.

Posted by skooter at 8:17 AM This entry is filed under Books.
Tags: John Irving, Reviews

January 24, 2007

Cousin Bush

“Sorry, I didn’t catch that last name” I said into the receiver. I’d heard the first name was Janice but I hadn’t quite understood the last.

“Bush. Like Cousin Bush…the President.”

“Oh. Sorry.” I apologized. Maybe I wasn’t quite paying attention. “Is that something you’re proud of?”

“Let’s just call him the black sheep of the family.” was the response from the other end.

I think this bodes very well for the Democratic party.

Posted by skooter at 12:51 PM This entry is filed under America.
Tags: America, Democrat, George Bush, President, Republican

January 23, 2007

Very Good Questions About CBC

A Globe & Mail article about Groupe Videotron caught my eye.

Videotron pulls plug on Canadian Television Fund payments


“We fail to understand why the public broadcaster CBC/SRC should, in addition, receive a significant contribution and guarantee from the Canadian Television Fund, which is funded primarily by the private sector,” Quebecor added in a release.

Videotron is suspending its payments immediately, the company said. It was not known whether Shaw has done the same.

These are very good questions, and ones that need to be asked. The sheer volume of methods the CBC uses to receive public money is astonishing.

Posted by skooter at 6:26 PM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: CBC, Television

Brico Restaurant, Island Highway, Vancouver Island

Posted by skooter at 6:18 AM This entry is filed under Camera, Travel, Vancouver.
Tags: Black and White, Boats, Vancouver Island

January 22, 2007

Reasons Not to Work at Starbucks

These days, pretty much every teenager works at Starbucks instead of McDonalds. It’s not always a good choice.

Man charged for stalking, threatening barista
By HECTOR CASTROP-I REPORTER

A man who tried unsuccessfully to buy an assault rifle pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he stalked and threatened to kill a teenage barista when she rebuffed his advances.

Posted by skooter at 9:19 PM This entry is filed under Vancouver.
Tags: America, Articles, Starbucks

Toronto, Adelaide & York, December 27th, 2006

Software Development Services

Posted by skooter at 6:19 AM This entry is filed under Camera, Science, Technology, Travel.
Tags: Software, Work

January 21, 2007

Pickton Trial

Tomorrow is the first day of the Pickton trial.

If the Gulf War(s) were the first wars with theme songs, and the O.J. trial was the first American trial with one, then this surely ranks as Canada’s first trial with one. It’s being sold as an event five years in the making on CTV, the trial of Canada’s worst serial killer everywhere else.

It’s going to be very interesting to see what the evidence brings to light, given that the mass media in Vancouver appears to have already come to its conclusion.

Posted by skooter at 10:00 PM This entry is filed under Politics, Vancouver.
Tags: Media Bias, Pickton

Online Passport Applications

It seems like I may be in imminent need of a passport, and the Canadian government is reporting significant delays thanks to new U.S. Travel Regulations.

Using the online system to complete an application is now recommended, as it ensures that applications are properly complete.

Unfortunately, the online application system doesn’t work with the Macintosh.

Continue reading "Online Passport Applications"

Posted by skooter at 7:24 PM This entry is filed under Canada.
Tags: Information Architecture, Usability

January 18, 2007

Weirdest Headline Ever

As it turns out, the green economy is good for the planet but bad for Mexico:

Mexico signs deal to hem tortilla costs
By IOAN GRILLO
BW Exclusives
MEXICO CITY

President Felipe Calderon signed an accord with businesses on Thursday to curb soaring tortilla prices

I’ve never felt so decadent as when I ate tacos last night. Apparently the shortage of corn for tacos has been caused by a surge in demand for corn for use in Ethanol.

Posted by skooter at 12:14 PM This entry is filed under Inanities.
Tags: Food, Mexico

January 17, 2007

Perspective on Obama

Slate Magaze puts some perspective on Barack Obama’s announcement and current status.

Barack (Almost) Jumps In
Dissecting Obama’s campaign biography.
By Andy Bowers and John Dickerson
Posted Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2007, at 7:28 PM ET

Sen. Barack Obama has launched his presidential exploratory committee…

He’s exploring. He’s not in the race yet.

I still say Hillary with Obama as VP. Obama has time to wait.

Posted by skooter at 12:36 PM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: America, Clinton, President

January 16, 2007

Globe Home Page, January 16, 2006 0500hrs

Globe and Mail Home Page

Either technology coverage has increased quite dramatically at the Globe — the main headline says Application Error — or something is very very broken.

Continue reading "Globe Home Page, January 16, 2006 0500hrs"

Posted by skooter at 5:33 AM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Globe and Mail, Information Architecture, Technology

January 14, 2007

Snow, Granville Island

Bike on Granville Island

Posted by skooter at 9:34 PM This entry is filed under Camera, Vancouver.
Tags: Bikes, Granville Island

January 11, 2007

Scooby Dooby Doo…where are you?

Scooby Doo’s creator has passed away.

The legacy of Scooby-Doo creator Iwao Takamoto
By Chris Suellentrop
Posted Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2007, at 1:25 PM ET

Perhaps the most interesting thing I learned was this:

After learning illustration from other inmates at a California internment camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II, Takamoto pursued a career in animation

Posted by skooter at 7:58 AM This entry is filed under Inanities.
Tags: Cartoons, Hanna-Barbera, Obituaries

An Inconvenient Apocalypse

Tragically, this is not a joke. The emphasis is mine.

Anybody who thinks the separation of church and state still exists in the United States clearly hasn’t experienced enough fire and brimstone.

Federal Way schools restrict Gore film
‘Inconvenient Truth’ called too controversial
By ROBERT McCLURE AND LISA STIFFLERP-I REPORTER

This week in Federal Way schools, it got a lot more inconvenient to show one of the top-grossing documentaries in U.S. history, the global-warming alert “An Inconvenient Truth.”

After a parent who supports the teaching of creationism and opposes sex education complained about the film, the Federal Way School Board on Tuesday placed what it labeled a moratorium on showing the film. The movie consists largely of a PowerPoint presentation by former Vice President Al Gore recounting scientists’ findings.

“Condoms don’t belong in school, and neither does Al Gore. He’s not a schoolteacher,” said Frosty Hardison, a parent of seven who also said that he believes the Earth is 14,000 years old. “The information that’s being presented is a very cockeyed view of what the truth is. … The Bible says that in the end times everything will burn up, but that perspective isn’t in the DVD.

Al Gore’s speech at the TED conference is well worth watching.

Continue reading "An Inconvenient Apocalypse"

Posted by skooter at 6:36 AM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Al Gore, America, Creationism, Environmentalism

January 9, 2007

Apple Computer Inc. R.I.P.

The newly announced iPhone from Apple is a thing of beauty, as is to be expected. Whether this is available in Canada in time to be useful to me is a more complicated question.

Perhaps a bigger indication of a new future is the fact that Apple Computer Inc. is no more — replaced by Apple Inc.

Apple gave birth to the era of the personal computer with the Apple ][. Today is the end of that era, and the dawn of a new one.

Posted by skooter at 1:34 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Apple, iPod

January 8, 2007

Ottawa, Byward Market, Christmas 2006

Shopping for Cheese Mittens at Byward Market

Continue reading "Ottawa, Byward Market, Christmas 2006"

Posted by skooter at 10:44 PM This entry is filed under Camera.
Tags: Christmas, Churches, Family, Ottawa

January 7, 2007

Schadenfreude

Far be it from me to take pleausure in the suffering of others, but it’s hard not to chuckle at this a little bit:

Would-be copper thief electrocuted
Canadian Press

MONTREAL — A would-be thief is dead after breaking into a Hydro-Quebec tower to steal valuable copper wire.

The man in his 40s was electrocuted when he cut the electrical wires atop the tower in the north end of Montreal.

According to city police, such thefts are becoming commonplace with the soaring price of scrap metal, including copper.

Across the country in the past year, there have been reports of manhole covers torn out, aluminum siding ripped off homes and aging church roofs stripped for scrap.

Posted by skooter at 10:58 AM This entry is filed under Inanities.
Tags: Articles, Christmas, Quebec

January 6, 2007

Bell HotSpot’s Usability Problem

Bell HotSpot home page

I sat down in a Starbucks today and connected to a Bell HotSpot. Bell is runing their HotSpots as a user pay wireless service. With blocks of time that can be purchased by the hour, the day, or the month. Vacouver’s FatPort operates on a similar business model, and has been doing it for about five years now.

Here’s how Bell is making a big mistake.

Continue reading "Bell HotSpot’s Usability Problem"

Posted by skooter at 5:11 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Bell, Information Architecture, Usability

Seattle vs. Vancouver

There’s a fairly gentle rivalry between Seattle and Vancouver. Generally speaking the people who live in either city like the other equally well (if not more) but there’s a recognition that these cities are…twins. We share and we compete and the same time.

A large investment in Seattle’s port for cruise ships is not going to be good for Vancouver’s port.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Port files to build new cruise terminal
Plans $60 million site at Magnolia

By KRISTEN MILLARES BOLT, P-I REPORTER

The Port of Seattle has filed applications with the city of Seattle seeking permits for a $120 million project to move its cruise terminal from Terminal 30 to Terminal 91, reconverting Terminal 30 to container use.

Posted by skooter at 7:48 AM This entry is filed under Travel, Vancouver.
Tags: Cruising, Economics, Seattle, Vancouver

January 4, 2007

Starbucks Five Fruit and Banana Muffin

At the local Starbucks they’ve been sampling the new trans-fat free Five Fruit and Banana Muffin.

Since I know the local baristas pretty well, and I was a bit confused I asked (quite innocently, I might add) “Is the Banana one of the five fruits, or is it in addition to the five fruits.”

It turns out it’s a more complicated question than it seems.

Continue reading "Starbucks Five Fruit and Banana Muffin"

Posted by skooter at 7:46 AM This entry is filed under Marketing.
Tags: Coffee, Fruit, Muffins, Starbucks

January 1, 2007

Step Aside 2006, it’s time for 2007

2006 was year that started with good friends having a baby and ended with good friends having a baby and a visit to my Grandfather for the first time since he passed away.

In between I worked at a new job, took a motorcycle to California for my 35th birthday, bicycled to work almost every day, met some phenomenal and astonishing new people, took a very good and informative course at Simon Fraser University, logged significant quality time on Bowen Island and played a really small but enjoyable part in the lives of two other new babies — Benjamin and Elizabeth, and cheered as my friends had their own personal triumphs from taking part in marathons to triathlons to getting married.

If you’d asked me three years ago I wouldn’t have guessed it, but the year I turned 35 has been the best year of my life.

There’s a whole new year in town, and this means a whole new list of things to get done.

Continue reading "Step Aside 2006, it’s time for 2007"

Posted by skooter at 5:18 AM This entry is filed under Narcicism.
Tags: Cycling, Resolutions, Vacation