lutter pour le nord puis le net

May 29, 2008 under Charlie Angus, NDP, Net Nuetrality

It’s about time a politician with a clue in this country piped up and brought the Net Neutrality issue to the government’s attention. Charlie Angus, the MP for the Timmins-James Bay riding (of all places), is leading the charge for legislation of Net Neutrality.

This comes at a good time; right when Bell recently introduced their new online Video Store. Bell has to have quite the set of cojones to throttle its customers’ BitTorrent downloads, yet allow traffic to/from its Video Store to pass through its network unemcumbered. I’m a Rogers customer, and I can see them doing something similar. And while I have no problem bypassing Rogers’ throttling, less technical users might not know how to circumvent the throttling of a service that they’re paying for. Luckily for us, the NPD are applying some technical savvy to their history of fighting for every-day (and all) Canadians, while potentially setting a good example to other countries to follow suit.

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twelve down, four to go

May 24, 2008 under Uncategorized

The Stanley Cup finals begin tonight, which is welcome because the only other hockey to watch is the Memorial Cup – the Rangers take on the Chiefs in the finals tomorrow down at the Aud, BTW. Back to the quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup…

In the conference finals, I managed to successfully predict victory for the Pens, but mistakenly thought Dallas would have more jump than they did – you can’t blame Marty Turco, though. So who will actually win it all now? The Red Wings seem to have a lot of momentum, even if their fans don’t actually go to the games to cheer them on; do people in Detroit even care about their team or is the economy that bad that people can’t afford the price of playoff tickets? Either way, the knock that Detroit has against them is the “Captain Canuck” factor. The question is whether Nicklas Lidstrom can break the “Captain Canuck” factor, but he has a lot of history working against him. The Pens, on the other hand, are a youthful bunch, might have the edge in the goaltending department (let’s face it, Osgood looks good because he faces a mere 15 shots per game) and are probably the most entertaining team in the league to watch. For the sake of boosting weak TV ratings in the US, the NHL needs Sid Crosby hoisting the Cup.

My choice? Pittsburgh – in six games, if they steal at least one of the first two games in Detroit.

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the wonderous and magical world of csi

May 21, 2008 under Uncategorized

CBS tapped into something special when it gave the world the CSI television series. The original incarnation, set in Las Vegas, introduced viewers into the shock and gore that is criminolgy via “realistic” camera tricks. I’ll admit, having a bullet’s-eye view of a gunshot path was pretty cool at first. There’s something to be said about the sick fascination with seeing a bullet slowly pierce skin, travel through flesh and lodge itself in bone, all the while acompanied by squishing and crunching sounds. I guess studio executives thought it was all cool enough to spin off series for Miami and New York City locales.

Dena’s a fan of the Las Vegas series; possibly because, in her words, “William Petersen is pretty hot for an older guy”. I watched the show with her for the first couple of seasons, but there came a turning point when CSI’s cheese factor, specifically regarding the use of computer technology, was too powerful for me to ignore and lose interest in the show.

It all began with an episode where our ridiculously good-looking team of criminologists deftly identify the episode’s suspect from a reflection in the victim’s sunglasses. At first, the reflected image was blurry, but with a few clicks of the mouse, software was able to extrapolate a crystal clear image of a very bad man from a blob of pixels. The algorithms used in the software to perform this feat would probably make your head explode, should you even begin to try to understand them. These algorithms’ inventors could teach Donald Knuth himself how to write a serious computer science book. I don’t know what software or computer has that kind of intelligence and processing power, but sign me up! Anything’s better than the shitty interpolation on my camera phone’s digital zoom implementation, so this hardware and software that the Las Vegas crime lab is privy to would be welcome.

Following this episode, there have been numerous other examples of defying what technology is currently available. Usually, this involves matching smudgy fingerprints in an instant. Why the CSI series will remain true to accepted scientific facts from the worlds of biology, chemistry and physics all the while living a magical world of computer technology is beyond me. What really takes the proverbial cake is this clip from the New York City series:

She’s going to what?!? What will the “GUI interface” be used for? Developers have used VB for a long time as a tool to quickly prototype user interfaces for Windows applictions, and some people even [gasp] build entire applications with it. But the GUI is simply what the user will use to interact with the software’s intended functionality. They appear to want to track the location of somebody who is posting all crazy-like on a blog. I’m not sure how her app will accomplish this. I suppose it could search the web server’s logs for requests for the blogging software’s posting pages and check the refering IP address, but I don’t think you need to create an application just to do that – that’s what CTRL+F or F3 or some other “find” functionality found in most text editing/word processing/spreadsheet applications are for. Unless she wants to build a visual sort of Ping or Traceroute utility, but that seems like a waste of time. Where’s the functional specs for her application!?! 🙂

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conference finals

May 5, 2008 under Hockey, NHL playoffs

I’d like to forget that the previous round happened, since I went 0-4 in my predictions. Where did I go wrong? Well, the media will probably blame 20 year-old phenom Carey Price, but the Habs‘ high-flying offence that scored with the greatest of ease during the regular season, began to falter in the Boston series and went completely M.I.A. in the Philly series. The Rangers, and especially Colorado became infirmaries. The Sharks failed to live up to expectations again; I doubt Ron Wilson will be there come the fall.

So now it’s down to four teams. It’s the playoffs and anything can (and will) happen, but I’ll go with the following predictions, in bold, as per my usual:

Eastern Conference Finals
Pittsburgh vs Philadelphia

Western Conference Finals
Detroit vs Dallas

Now is the time when I start to employ the “Captain Canuck” factor. Since 1893, all of the teams who have won the Stanley Cup had a Canadian team captain except for one team; the 1999 Stanley Cup Champion Dallas Stars’ captain, Derian Hatcher, was an American. Detroit is the only team remaining whose captain is not a Canadian. We’ll see if the “Captain Canuck” factor continues to hold up.

Although the NHL playoffs don’t start up again until this Thursday, there’s still plenty of other hockey to watch. The Kitchener Rangers are bound for the Memorial Cup which is being hosted here in Kitchener, ironically. And Team Canada looks strong in this year’s IIHF World Championship.

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comments: 9 »