Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cool technology of the week...

Pretty amazing... the Lytro is coming out next april, at a 400-500$ price tag.... It is a "light-field" camera, which means basically the camera takes in all light which falls within its field, and you can focus the picture after you have taken it. Depth of field is digitally constructed. Of course, one result of this is that your picture files are very dense and very large. The form factor is based on the optics required, but also looks nice.
Lytro: The Biggest Thing to Happen to Photography Since Digital
The Lytro is the world's first consumer light-field camera. Here's the backstory of how it's made and why it's so different from other cameras on the shelf.

Friday, December 16, 2011

For those Football Fans who remember...Happy...

Quoted for #refrigerator... When I was a kid, I thought William "Refrigerator" Perry was cool because he had his own GI Joe. In retrospect, that was pretty cool.

For those Football Fans who remember...Happy 49th to William Refrigerator Perry...Great DT who played for the Bears and Eagles...I think he was one great Defensive Lineman

Monday, November 28, 2011


Several years ago, an acquaintance of mine started a project called "Topic Tag Tuesday". This was back when we were both spending more time on Twitter, and it was great entertainment. In order to hone my own writing, I would like to do something similar on Google+ to see if the entertainment value still holds up.

I am curious if the a Google+ Circle will lend itself to this sort of project, so I'm creating a new Circle, called Story ("Story Circle," see?). On Tuesdays, I'll post a blurb in the Public stream asking for topics. Comment on the blurb with a topic, and I'll add you to my Story Circle. Later that day, I'll write a short story incorporating one of the topics and post it back to the Story Circle, completing the loop.

If you're interested in this idea, follow me on Google+.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Quoted for #refrigerator... this xkcd comic is truly a masterstroke of overdetermination.

Money: refrigerator / if I had a million dollars...

Hour long, but really good

This is kind of a follow up to the Zizek piece from the Guardian below. What can be done to reform the Republic for which it stands. This video is an hour or so, and you should watch it.

youtube.com - In an era when special interests funnel huge amounts of money into our government-driven by shifts in campaign-finance rules and brought to new levels by the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal...

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Waking the MoonWaking the Moon by Elizabeth Hand
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rereading this book... read it when it was first out in the early nineties after loving Hand's earlier Winterlong trilogy. Didn't like this as much at the time because it couldn't compete with the overabundance of wow that were Liz Hand's science fiction - including Mars Hill, I suppose.

In retrospect: I have two favorite writers, Liz Hand and Guy Kay. Kay's novel Tigana features this crazy Benandanti vignette based on Carlo Ginzburg's historical writing in Night Battles, and the Benandanti in Waking the Moon offer a great companion to this. If I was going to recommend a first book to read by Hand, I would suggest Glimmering or Mortal Love because both of these are steeped in wow. Or Winterlong, which still ranks in my 5 or so favorite books.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Grahame Grieve on National Projects and Standards

From his Health Intersections site, this is Grahame Grieve on National Projects and Standards, and the tension between the two. I'm a standards geek, and I live for this sort of discussion. In this very concise article, Grieve discusses why projects at the national level rely on international standards groups, and how this introduces stress factors into these projects.

I also appreciate Lloyd McKenzie's comment about the interoperability across borders. This is one of the promises of using international standards, but in reality, it rarely comes up, and comes with it's own host of issues. Interoperability between two sibling releases of a standard can be trying enough, let alone between two nations localization to the same standard.

But that is what makes the work exciting.
National Projects and Standards « Health Intersections Pty Ltd
  There's a difference between the goals of the national project, and the value proposition of using standards, and this difference can create considerable tension...  

Right to bear arms meets right to ride bears

Artist Jason Heuser Creates Alternate Bad-Ass United States History
The illustrated artwork of Jason Heuser creates an alternate historical reality where famous figures in United States history are total bad-asses. Limited prints of his illustrations are available ....

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Slavoj Žižek: Occupy first. Demands come later.

I love Žižek's writing - he always extends just beyond the obvious triad: discontent-protest-demands, in this case, to ask what absence really underlies the presence of the event, what really is at stake. Worth reading twice. (via Guardian)
Occupy first. Demands come later
Slavoj Žižek: Critics say the Occupy cause is nebulous. Protesters will need to address what comes next – but beware a debate on enemy turf

Health Documents v. Health Messages or Elements

Useful breakdown of same key factors in the use of Health Documents v. Health Messages by John Moehrke:
Healthcare Security/Privacy: Critical aspects of Documents vs Messages or Elements
Healthcare Security/Privacy. Discussions of Privacy and Security in Healthcare by John Moehrke. Topics: Consent, Access Control, Audit Control, Accounting of Disclosures, Identity, Authorization, Auth...

Michael Geist on Canada's National Digital Strategy

Canada's National Digital Strategy: Hidden in Plain Sight

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of delivering a keynote address at the Cybera Summit in Banff, Alberta. The conference focused on a wide range of cutting edge technology and network issues. My opening keynote discussed Canada digital economy legal strategy. While the formal digital strategy has yet to be revealed, I argued that the digital economy legal strategy is largely set with legislative plans touching on lawful access, privacy, online marketing, and copyright.

youtube.com - 2011 Cybera Summit introductory keynote by Michael Geist, Law Professor and Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa.

How powerful is Diwali ? This is what India...

How powerful is Diwali ?

This is what India looks like on Diwali night :)

Picture from NASA

Electrolux Bio Robot Refrigerator

Electrolux Bio Robot Refrigerator works on biopolymer gel

the Electrolux Bio Robot Refrigerator is a concept where the Bio Robot cools biopolymer gel through luminescence. A non-sticky gel surrounds the food item when shoved into the biopolymer gel, creating separate pods.

The design features no doors or drawers, and the food items are individually cooled at their optimal temperature thanks to the robot. And since it can take any orientation (hung vertically, horizontally, and even on the ceiling), and can be modified in size, you can fit it in any apartment.

Designer: Yuriy Dmitriev

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Curate something!

So, here's an idea: curate something. Anything. In my case, due to an odd concatenation of circumstances, I have taken it upon myself to curate stories about people and their refrigerators. This activity consists of periodically querying Google+ and Twitter and the www at large for a single word, and republishing anything particularly exciting or funny this turns up. A single word. That's all. I suppose I label the post for posterity as well. Try it. Curate something.

Originally posted on Google+ by Adam J. Cohen:

I spent the late afternoon refrigerator shopping because our fridge suddenly stopped cooling. It smelled like the coil might be burning out and this fridge is old, possibly over 20 years old.

Just for fun I thought I'd take a look and see if I could find a problem. The coils on the fridge were getting way too hot. On closer inspection, I found a mouse that had stopped the fan from cooling the coils. I removed the mouse (he was beyond repair). Now that the fan is moving again, the fridge is working.

Cost of new fridge between $1100 - $1500. Cost of repair, $0.00. Lesson learned, look for some obvious problems before dropping a bunch of money on something.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Haha! Defiantly so!

via +Joseph Lee, via +Wil Wheaton on Google+

We all know Oreos are delicious, but did you know they make a great canvas for cameos? Dating as far back as 332 BC, cameos are defined by contrast, usually with a raised light relief against a dark intaglio, which serves as a dark backdrop. With that in mind, Oreo's most defiantly fit the bill and is another example of food too good to eat. Check out Judith G. Klausner's page for more examples of her art!

Friday, October 07, 2011

Goodreads: recommended reading by Northrop Frye

The Bush Garden: Essays on the Canadian ImaginationThe Bush Garden: Essays on the Canadian Imagination by Northrop Frye
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book quite a long time ago as part of a course on CanLit and poetry. I love the way Frye uses language to express ideas, and ideas to create/curate identity... and rereading this book makes me want to go back and reread Anatomy of Criticism and Fearful Symmetry, as well as works by Atwood, McLuhan, Innis, Lampman, Birney etc etc... if you are Canadian and you like poetry, you should read this book because it might introduce you to a previous generation of Canadian romanticism or a previous previous generation of Canadian classicism.

View all my reviews

Ada Lovelace Day 2011

Ada Lovelace day: in my little XML corner of the world, I have learned more than I could possibly mention from +Eve Maler , +Jeni Tennison , Priscilla Walmsley and +Lauren Wood.

Many thanks to all! 

Thursday, October 06, 2011

This animated presentation by Dan Pink is...

This animated presentation by Dan Pink is easily the coolest thing I have seen so far today (via +John Moehrke) on the nature of work, purpose and incentive.
Healthcare Security/Privacy: Standards work is motivating because it gets used and improves lives
Healthcare Security/Privacy. Discussions of Privacy and Security in Healthcare by John Moehrke. Topics: Consent, Access Control, Audit Control, Accounting of Disclosures, Identity, Authorization, Auth...

Monday, October 03, 2011

Neal Stephenson - Innovation Starvation

Neal Stephenson on society's failure to mobilize to "get big stuff done":

"Today's belief in ineluctable certainty is the true innovation-killer of our age."

Or in other words, blame Google, since a quick search for a solution to a problem demonstrates either, apparently, that it can't be solved, or that it already has been solved, occluding the possibility that it may not have been solved adequately, and it may not have been solved recently.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Structured Product Labeling...

I am currently reading about SPL (Structured Product Labeling), an XML-based standard used in the pharmaceutical industry, engineered to reduce pharmaceutical error.
The SPL Standard, DailyMed, and the Consumer – DCLnews Blog
By DCL's Vincent B. Donadio, Editorial Contributions from DCL's Howard Shatz In 2005, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented an XML-based standard for drug labeling (among other thi...

One of countless remarkable things about Eno

One of the countless remarkable things about Brian Eno...

The Microsoft Sound
In 1994, Microsoft corporation designers Mark Malamud and Erik Gavriluk approached Brian Eno to compose music for the Windows 95 project. The result was the six-second start-up music-sound of the Windows 95 operating system, The Microsoft Sound (.wav). In the San Francisco Chronicle he said:[19]

The idea came up at the time when I was completely bereft of ideas. I'd been working on my own music for a while and was quite lost, actually. And I really appreciated someone coming along and saying, "Here's a specific problem — solve it."

The thing from the agency said, "We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah- blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional," this whole list of adjectives, and then at the bottom it said "and it must be 31/4 seconds long."
Brian Eno - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Brian Eno. Eno at The Long Now Foundation, 26 June 2006. Background information. Birth name, Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno. Born, 15 May 1948 (1948-05-15) (age 63) Woodbridge...

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Goodreads love for Rohinton Mistry

Tales from Firozsha BaagTales from Firozsha Baag by Rohinton Mistry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to admit, I've shied away from Mistry's novels due to "not having enough time to read such a big book"... After reading these short stories, I plan to make time for A Fine Balance or one of Mistry's other novels.

View all my reviews

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Use Cases and Test Cases

Traceability from Use Cases to Test Cases
The article illustrates a formal method of deriving functional test cases from use cases, including how to create a use case, derive all scenarios, and create reasonable test cases, as well as use IBM...

This is why I love MulberryTech's xsl-list...

This is why I love MulberryTech's xsl-list: sombody asks a question about an error message during parsing in oXygen using the Saxon 9 parser... and George Bina and Michael Kay respond with an answer, seemingly within moments.

Consultants specializing in XML Applications for Prose Documents | Mulberry Technologies, Inc.
XML and SGML implementation consulting for publishing from Mulberry Technologies, Inc.'s staff: Tonya Gaylord, Debbie Lapeyre, Wendell Piez, B. Tommie Usdin.

Tactics for Engagement

A useful set of tactics for engagement with a standard, via Graham Grieve:
How much should we engage with a standard? « Health Intersections Pty Ltd
Health Intersections Pty Ltd. Home. About; Ask me a question about HL7; CDA Tools; Courses. V2 to CDA Mapping Course. Enrolment Form. Roadmap to Blog; Text Display Formats. HL7 v2 FT Type; HTML Colour...

Tactics for Engagement

A useful set of tactics for engagement with a standard, via Keith Boone: 
Healthcare Standards: Tactics for Standards Setting: Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
I have to make up my travel budget annually every December/January. In order to do so, I have to look at the overall strategic picture for standardization, and then pick the tactics that I think I wil...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Structured Data Website Launch

Structured Data Website Launch (via Gregg Kellogg)

A number of Web developers from the RDFa, Microdata and Microformats communities announce the launch of the Structured Data website and community. There are a number of syntaxes for expressing structured data in HTML today: RDFa, Microdata and Microformats. While each syntax has its own parsing rules and data model, the underlying concept among all of them is the same - to express Structured Data in HTML.

The Structured Data website (http://structured-data.org/) provides resources to learn about, markup and debug structured data in HTML, including RDFa, Microdata and Microformats. One of the new features, not available anywhere else, is a unified Structured Data Linting Service (http://linter.structured-data.org/), complete with Google Rich Snippets and schema.org examples (http://linter.structured-data.org/examples/) in both Microdata and RDFa format. The Structured Data Linter provides a unified service for verifying and visualizing the structured data contained in web pages, and supports the RDFa and Microdata syntaxes, with Microformats support on the way.

At the time of this announcement, the Google and Microsoft testing tools do not support schema.org markup in RDFa or Microdata. The need for such linting service has been expressed many times on the schema.org mailing list and we are happy to announce that the service is now available. Gregg Kellogg has been instrumental in creating the linting service with support from Stéphane Corlosquet. Web developers may now use the linter service to ensure that their schema.org Microdata or RDFa markup is valid.

The Structured Data Linting Service is a beta launch and thus contains a number of bugs. That said, we felt that it would be best to get this tool into the hands of the Web developer community. We invite the Web developer community to try it out, report bugs (https://github.com/structured-data/linter/issues), suggest new features (http://groups.google.com/group/structured-data-dev) and contribute new ideas and code. All of the source code is released under a public domain dedication and is available on github (https://github.com/structured-data/).

Structured Data on the Web
Structured Data on the Web. More and more of the world's data is moving onto the Web. We want to share, re-mix and use this data to build more awesome Web applications. Using structured data techn...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Via Health Intersections: Resources For Healthcare

Resources For Healthcare (RFH): Grahame Grieve's proposed response to the HL7 Fresh Look Taskforce, using 37 Signals' uberREST Highrise API as a jumping off point.

RFH defines a RIM-based ontological framework for Resources For Healthcare, based around an exchange, data dictionary and workflow management.

Letter to RFH readers
Letter to RFH Readers. Grahame Grieve 13-Aug 2011. This specification arose from the remit of the HL7 Fresh Look Taskforce: if HL7 started again from scratch with a new specification, what would a goo...

So, what's important about this? This proposal draws on the HL7 v3 RIM, the Reference Information Model that underlies the HL7 specification. The RIM is a pictorial object model which defines the life cycle of the different messages that comprise the HL7 clinical domains. Because health information is very much workflow based, the RIM-based part is important. moving away from a service architecture towards a REST architecture is indicative of a general shift towards simplicity in the IT industry as a whole.

The timing of this proposal is very much driven by the questions raised by the HL7 Fresh Look taskforce. I recently joked that HL7 v3 is still at a turning point, like one of my son's Choose You Own Adventure books. This screen capture from Graham Grieve's Health Intersections blog recently is perhaps an indication of the signposts facing HL7 v3:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I'm crossposting this to my personal weblog...

I'm crossposting this to my personal weblog for further ingestion. This is partially an experiment in google+... when the article (which I shared to blogspot by email) receives the message, it will post as a draft, since google+ sends blogger (along with the original post here), the credentials I am using to transmit the post...
Question: How to store a CDA document in a relational database « Health Intersections Pty Ltd
Question: How to store a CDA document in a relational database. Posted on August 16, 2011 by Grahame Grieve. 2 commentsLeave a comment. A question (by the ask me a question link above): I am trying to...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Can't argue with that...

On Pitchfork, via @camera_obscura_ on Twitter
Pitchfork: Watch Neko Case and My Morning Jacket Cover Kenny and Dolly's "Islands in the Stream"
With their specific combination of beardedness and hotness, My Morning Jacket's Jim James and Neko Case are kind of ...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cross posting from google+ to blogger

Well that's kind of cool... thanks to Rick Klau for the know-how.

Paul Di Filippo reviews a book on identity...

Piers Hollott shared Piers Hollott's post with you.
Piers Hollott
Paul Di Filippo reviews a book on identity by Gary Younge (Barnes & Noble)
Second New Review at B&NR
I survey a non-fiction item about identity politics: http://bnreview.barnesandnoble.com/t5/I n-the-Margin/Who-Are-We-And-Should-It-Ma tter-in-the-21st-Century/ba-p/5445 Posted by Paul DiFi.
View or comment on Piers Hollott's post »

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Here are a couple initial thoughts about Google Plus:

1) I would really like to be able to create some content (like a photo album), and publish this to my circles, using different contexts for different circles. Fine grained, but I think this would be really cool. When you post on your blog, you post photos and then you write a story, and you think the story is the content. But when the post comes up as a result of a google search, it's the pictures - the real content - which you see. With short posts (Twitter, Posterous, Facebook, Google+), it becomes more obvious that what is readily shareable is videos and pictures (my content), not words (my context).

2) Because I can't access Twitter during the work day due to a firewall restriction, I appreciate how several techies I follow collect a week's worth of tweets into "Short Form Fragments" - why couldn't Google+ automatically do this for me, collecting a weeks "stream" into an automatic blogger post? Again, this would be very cool.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Canonical Context

The word canon has a literary meaning - in this context, a canon is a set of writing felt by someone to embody and exemplify the norms of those works which are non-canonical. An anti-canon is just a canon appointed by someone else to oppose a hegemonic canon.

In mathematics or informatics, a canonical form is a normative way of expressing or describing an object, so again, a norm created by a group to facilitate sharing of concepts.

In Superman comics, Star Wars books and so forth, "The Canon" refers to the fictional history which is considered (ostensibly by the publishers) as normative by the audience. Other histories may have taken place in alternate realities, parallel storylines and the like, but the canonical events are the ones which "actually" took place, and the chronology within which they are taken to have occurred. Fan fiction, for instance, is non-canonical.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Deepening Context and Content (cont)

For instance, here is an application I've talked about before, which one day I would like to build, what I have called a Content Engagement System, though I don't know if I really like this terminology. As with a standard CMS platform, a logged in user would be able to create a textual context, with associated images, video, documents... Within this textual context (which I will start referring to simply as 'context' since this translates roughly as 'with text', right?), another user can identify a phrase, and rather than linking out, the way a standard hyperlink works, link in. Sounds kind of odd, but this is essentially like adding a comment, except the comment is associated back to a phrase within the original context. In HTML terms, this is similar to a link to an anchor within the same page, and in a textbook we would identify this as a footnote.

Okay so far. A blogger posts something, which is then considered canonical, after which anyone else can add footnotes, and these offer an alternative view. A use case then: say I am writing a novel, which is serialized in weekly installments. The math is something like, 1000 words/week = 52,000 words/year, which then gets bundled up into EPUB or PDF and flogged off on Kindle, Smashwords or whatever. The idea is to create demand through serialization, then capitalize on the demand with the actual content.

But, and here's the thing. I want to engage my audience. And but, I want to entertain my audience. And but, a vocal minority within this audience typically demands something edgier; or racier; or, well, smuttier. Which, for the purposes of illustration, let's assume is not really my style. So what I want to provide is the canonical safe version of my novel, and a mechanism, a backstage, which allows the audience created by the canonical story to add (share) their own non-canonical additions to the story, which can then be linked to from within the canonical context as an alternative or supplement. This is similar to a literary parallax (events viewed from multiple vantage points).

More on this at some point. This is an idea I really want to pursue... but it is hard to articulate, so bear with me.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Deeper Context and Content

I've posted several times now about what I consider the differences between context and content, and why the word "content" kind of annoys me. It's okay, I don't mind being annoyed, and in the right context, content is fine. What I find annoying is that the two terms augment each other, but, so often, one is used when the other is more appropriate. For instance, if I have a web page that you can use to download a PDF of an article I have written, and this web page contains an excerpt of the article - the PDF is the content. Everything on the page, as far as I am concerned, is the context for your act of downloading. Of course, this is important if I am concerned about monetizing, since I have no problem with requiring a specific digital signature or some sort of payment; and I feel that everything else, the context, is like a smile. Why not give this away?

It's quite simple really. People require, create, digest and absorb context. But people like stuff. They like content, because it is something they can grasp onto, whether it's a PDF, an MP3, JPEG, AVI. Something "file-ish." The reason I bring this up, I suppose, is because, well, these things are easy. You can set up a microphone, you can use Prince, DocBook or FOP to turn your words into something more portable in a document format... then you can shade down your context a bit, broaden it, focus attention on the page content. Everything else is really just part of the transmission wrapper. The rest is just part of the vector.

I mean really, is a platform like Blogger or Wordpress actually a Content Management System? No, at best, these are discontent platforms. They separate us from content by masquerading context as content. It's not a bad thing, but I feel it's something we need to move past. You take good pictures, make a commodity out of your pictures. You tell good stories, make a commodity out of your stories. Allow people to focus through the context.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

On The Jungle Planet

This is a picture my 3-yr old drew of Amberwood Entertainment's Rob the Robot, on the Jungle Planet. At left, you can see a tiger. The planet, apparently, has frightening red eyes!