Fake makes Hunch real

July 31, 2008 at 11:06 am | In business, media, web | Comments Off on Fake makes Hunch real

Over on Twitter, Jemima Kiss pointed to her Guardian post about Caterina Fake’s blog announcement that she’ll be joining New York-based Hunch as Chief Product Officer.  Cool — and good on her!

What’s interesting, for everyone who has been wondering whether a move away from the Bay Area is in the cards for Caterina and husband Stewart Butterfield, is that although Fake expects to spend a lot of time in NYC, she won’t be moving there.   She — therefore presumably they — will be staying put in San Francisco.

Alas, this will put the lid on the hope that the dynamic duo (Fake and Butterfield, co-founders of formerly Vancouver-based Flickr) would opt to live north of the 49th parallel once again.

I bet more than a few people are now waiting to find out what Stewart Butterfield will do next.

Perhaps something with moving images?  He’s a speaker at XMediaLab upcoming (Aug.1) “DIY TV” conference in Melbourne, Australia.  There’s probably plenty of tin still to be worked in the movies…

edit: for some reason I wrote Aug.9 instead of Aug.1 for that DIY TV conference.  Just corrected the date.  It is Aug.1, tomorrow.

Diigo Bookmarks 07/28/2008 (p.m.)

July 28, 2008 at 5:30 am | In comments, land_use, links, urbanism | Comments Off on Diigo Bookmarks 07/28/2008 (p.m.)
  • Dan Bertolet of Seattle-based blog “Huge ass city” spent some time visiting Medfield, Massachusetts (where I gather he was raised). He temporarily renamed his blog “Wee ass suburb.”

    This particular entry looks at two houses — one, the Dwight-Derby house from 1621, the other a 2005 “Extreme Makeover” McMansion. Throughout, I’ve found Dan’s entries really intriguing, but didn’t comment. Today, however, someone commented with “Who gives a flying f*ck about Medfield,” which prompted me to post a comment. Click through to read. I do give a flying f*ck, I guess.

    tags: dan_bertolet, hugeasscity, weeasssuburb, medfield, beverly, massachusetts, comments, history, urban_development

Image stealing, but the girl can’t help herself…

July 27, 2008 at 6:29 pm | In scenes_victoria, victoria | 1 Comment

Ok, so I’m not supposed to “rip” images from flickr.com directly, but this one is so great, it would be a shame just to point to it:

Isn’t that a beauty? (I mean everything: the cars, the photo, the framing of the shot…)  It’s by  Maple Musketeer, and the shot is from this page.

Note, by the way, that it was taken yesterday (7/26).  It looks old, but it’s simply one (correction: two) of the many vintage cars you’ll see in this climate (they don’t rust, they just eventually fade away…), and the photographer has toned it (sepia?) to suggest age.  Across the street you can make out the sign for “Westbank,” which is the presentation centre for a development corporation.  The building it’s in used to house Ballantyne Florists, the building itself is by John di Castri, a local mid- to late-20th century architect of some (local) renown.

Diigo Bookmarks 07/24/2008 (a.m.)

July 23, 2008 at 5:33 pm | In links | 1 Comment
  • A company in Nova Scotia says it has developed a process by which manufacturers of precast concrete products can store 60Ts of CO2 in every 1000Ts of concrete product. This would be factory carbon dioxide (produced by heating the plant, running the machinery, etc.), which would be redirected onto the concrete, and absorbed (sequestered) by it, effectively negating the initial production of CO2. From the article:
    Concrete accounts for more than 5 percent of human-caused carbon-dioxide emissions annually, mostly because cement, the active ingredient in concrete, is made by baking limestone and clay powders under intense heat that is generally produced by the burning of fossil fuels. Making finished concrete products–by mixing cement with water, sand, and gravel–creates additional emissions because heat and steam are often used to accelerate the curing process.

    But Robert Niven, founder of Halifax-based Carbon Sense Solutions, says that his company’s process would actually allow precast concrete to store carbon dioxide. The company takes advantage of a natural process; carbon dioxide is already reabsorbed in concrete products over hundreds of years from natural chemical reactions. Freshly mixed concrete is exposed to a stream of carbon-dioxide-rich flue gas, rapidly speeding up the reactions between the gas and the calcium-containing minerals in cement (which represents about 10 to 15 percent of the concrete’s volume). The technology also virtually eliminates the need for heat or steam, saving energy and emissions.
    One of the comments to the article notes that carbonated concrete wouldn’t be good for use in reinforced concrete buildings because the carbonation reduces the alkalinity of the product, and that in turn affects the durability and strength of the rebar/ steel, but that it would work well for sidewalks (and presumably cinderblock type materials?).

    Interesting development, at any rate, as concrete production accounts for 5% of the world’s human-caused carbon-dioxide emissions annually.

    tags: mit_techreview, concrete, carbon_emissions, carbon_sequestering, environment

Friday colloquium at UVic, Computer Science Dept.

July 22, 2008 at 2:17 pm | In victoria, web | Comments Off on Friday colloquium at UVic, Computer Science Dept.

I’m definitely going to this.  Brick & mortar metropolises aren’t the only kind that interest me…!

D E P A R T M E N T   O F   C O M P U T E R    S C I E N C E    C O L L O Q U I U M

Topic: The Metropolis Model: A New Logic for Software Development

Presented By: Dr. Rick Kazman, Professor
From: Department of Information Technology Management , University of Hawaii
Biography: Rick Kazman is a Professor at the University of Hawaii and a visiting Scientist (and former Senior Member of the Technical Staff) at the Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon University. His primary research interests are software architecture, design and analysis tools, software visualization, and software engineering economics. He also has interests in human-computer interaction and information retrieval. Kazman has created several highly influential methods and tools for architecture analysis, including the SAAM (Software Architecture Analysis Method), the ATAM (Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Method) and the Dali architecture reverse engineering tool. He is the author of over 100 papers, and co-author of several books, including “Software Architecture in Practice, and Evaluating Software Architectures: Methods and Case Studies”.

Kazman received a B.A. (English/Music) and M.Math (Computer Science) from the University of Waterloo, an M.A. (English) from York University, and a Ph.D. (Computational Linguistics) from Carnegie Mellon University. How he ever became a software engineering researcher is anybody guess. When not working in architecture or writing about architecture, Kazman may be found cycling, playing the piano, gardening, or (more often) flying back and forth between Hawaii and Pittsburgh.

Sponsored By: Dr. Hausi Muller, Professor
From: Department of Computer Science

Date: Friday, July 25, 2008
Time: 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Location: Engineering and Computer Science Building (ECS ) Room # 660

We are in the midst of a radical transformation in how we create our information environment. This change, the rise of large-scale cooperative efforts, peer production of information is at the heart of the open-source movement but open source is only one example of how society is restructuring around new models of production and consumption. This change is affecting not only our core software platforms, but every domain of information and cultural production. The networked information environment has dramatically transformed the marketplace, creating new modes and opportunities for how we make and exchange information. “Crowdsourcing” is now used for creation in the arts, in basic research, and in retail business. These changes have been society-transforming. So how can we prepare for, analyze, and manage projects in a crowdsourcing world? Existing software development models are of little help here. These older models all contain a “closed world” assumption: projects have dedicated finite resources, management can “manage” these resources, requirements can be known, software is developed, tested, and released in planned increments. However, these assumptions break in a crowdsourced world. In this talk, I will present principles on which a new system development model must be based. I call these principles the Metropolis Model.

Douglas Magazine in Victoria: letter to the editor

July 21, 2008 at 10:34 am | In business, creativity, DemoCampVictoria, innovation, urbanism, victoria | 3 Comments

I bought a copy of Douglas Magazine yesterday — it’s a slim publication, but full of interesting articles relating to Victoria’s economy.  Too bad it’s not online, but maybe one day?

The current July/August issue includes a useful article by Dan Gunn, “Growing the tech talent pool,” which made me want to write a letter to the editor in response.  I wrote:

I enjoyed Dan Gunn‘s article, “Growing the tech talent pool,” (July/August ’08), and found it a good complement to Ken Stratford‘s “Owning your own business,” which deftly busted some Victoria economy myths.

Gunn observed that our technology sector has to grow and expand, and suggested several ways we can plan for its future growth.  He also noted that “Greater Victoria has a very tight-knit technology community.”  Let’s not forget that “tight-knit” often also means “insular” or “locked in silos,” a condition that’s anathema to innovation.

Hence I feel prompted to suggest another way to plan for tech’s future growth: encourage synergistic cross-pollination between the various industries.  Propagate the knowledge that technology is part of the “creative cities industry,” which includes not just artists, marketers, or creative urbanists, but also technologists, coders, entrepreneurs — in a word: innovators.  Spread the word that innovation and entrepreneurship add value to a city’s economy, and good ideas emerge when folks rub up against one another rather than staying within a tightly-knit tribe.

Douglas Magazine helps get those ideas out there, as do specific events.

For an additional example of how events play a role in connecting people and ideas, recall last April’s first-ever DemoCamp Victoria (and we’re planning a second one for Autumn), or take a look at events like Pecha Kucha (started in Japan, now world-wide, including Vancouver).

We have so much potential here — and if we can work to break down the silos and get more interactive (literally, with one another), we’ll be hopping.  Everyone I talk to in the arts and in tech wants to see this happen, and wants additional platforms for connecting with other people.  Geographically, we might be an island, but with technology and talented people, we don’t have to be on islands creatively.

Diigo Bookmarks 07/20/2008 (p.m.)

July 20, 2008 at 5:30 am | In authenticity, links, virtually | Comments Off on Diigo Bookmarks 07/20/2008 (p.m.)
  • Simon Jenkins ponders the seeming paradox that while music cd/ record sales plummet and prices for individual recordings drop as well, live concerts sell out at premium prices. He ponders other, related phenomena, too — readings by writers, lectures, live performances of any kind: all seem to get more attention (and MONEY) than the products themselves.

    He concludes and argues that people are willing to pay for what they want, and that what they want is the real, authentic thing (i.e., the person / author), not another technologically mediated simulacrum.

    Two things: one, if he’s right, this has dire (**) consequences for visual art, unless the visual arts want to devolved strictly into performance art; and two, for those of us who are terrified of public speaking/ public performances, this isn’t comforting news. Some of us like the internet because it preserves our sanguinity (if that’s a word).

    (**) PS: “dire” isn’t the right word. What I meant is that painters and sculptors and crafters, too, are obliged to get out of the way of their product, and the product itself has to speak. So that begs the question, how does it “compete” in a framework that puts a bigger value on immediacy and contact as a verifier of authentic experience? Will contact with the work itself be enough? But if it is, that means that people have to travel to the work (unless the work is in a traveling exhibition), which means you have to move huge numbers of people to allow contact with the work (as opposed to moving only a single person or small group of people to create a “reading,” “concert,” or “festival” situation). For visual art, you’ll have to physically move the masses (unless it’s artwork in a traveling exhibition), but for music, authors, etc., you just move small groups or single individuals.

  • tags: socialcomputing, socialtheory, reality, face_time, business, art_reception, arts

Diigo Bookmarks 07/20/2008 (a.m.)

July 19, 2008 at 5:32 pm | In cities, links, urbanism | Comments Off on Diigo Bookmarks 07/20/2008 (a.m.)
  • For future reference: Berger’s article about a report by architectural firm RMJM, which identifies America’s top 10 best-designed cities. His article focuses on the aspect of heritage preservation, which factors into RMJM’s weighting and criteria, and he notes that Portland seems to beat out Seattle.

    From there, Berger segues into whether or not (or to what extent) citizens are “pleased with their urban architecture,” and observes that only LA residents are “less happy with their city” than Seattlites. (I’m not sure how he manages the leap from heritage preservation to ‘being pleased” by contemporary/new architecture, but there you have it.)

    Anyway, the really useful thing about this article is that Berger lists the 7 categories RMJM used to answer the question, “what makes a design-savvy city?”, and also summarizes each aspect (with commentary of his own, in italics). All in all, the list makes a great framework for thinking about urban design.

    tags: urban_design, urbanplanning, seattle, crosscut, knute_berger, heritage, preservation, designsavvy

Diigo Bookmarks 07/19/2008 (p.m.)

July 19, 2008 at 5:30 am | In links, urbanism | Comments Off on Diigo Bookmarks 07/19/2008 (p.m.)
  • Ryan Avent of “The Bellows” critiques Ed Glaeser’s piece for the New York Sun, which, according to The Bellows, is riddled with errors and is undermined by Glaeser’s own research. Glaeser’s neo-con thesis in the NY Sun article is that Houston is middle-class-friendlier and somehow more affordable due to its libertarian anti-regulationist stance, and that NYC is unaffordable because it’s regulated to the nines. It’s a very familiar argument in some circles, and it’s interesting to see Ryan take it apart quite deftly.

    tags: nyc, edward_glaeser, ryan_avent, urban_development, regulation, affordability

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