telecom, technology and the occasional floobergeist

I’ve got an abundance of bits and pieces of canadian telecom and internet experience, and I am thrilled to be in a place in time when all is changing, technology is developing, and the status quo is being disrupted. 

Floobergeist is a word that is beginning to defy definition.  The more I roll that smooth pebble around, the more it becomes to mean. Floobergeist started out as the magic dust that turns dreams into ideas.  And then it began to encompass the zing that happens when you have conversations about those ideas. And now, it’s the whole evolution from dream to conversation, with each step improving the later and the former along the way.

Everyone aspires to good conversations. They can lead you to adventures you’ve never imagined, and to people you can twig with.

Let’s have a good conversation…


Filtering by Category: floobergeist

Facebook: The End of Class Reunions?

Chances are if you graduated from high school at any time of the 90's, you are now on Facebook, connecting with all your teenage angst again. Could the advancement of Facebook also result in the demise of the high school reunion? Is there a need to see your high school facebook friends in one place after 20 years?  Will high school reunions simply become a dreary coffee date for the people of your graduation class who *aren't* on facebook?

Wow. There are only about 4 people from high school who I still am waiting to join facebook. Hurry, or I've got to go to the reunion!


The Evolution of Photography

When i was little, the camera was pulled out “for special occasions”.  And ONLY then. The camera was one of those complicated jobs that was entirely manual, and of course, only 1 person really kind of, sort of knew how it worked. It likely was passed down from a grandparent somewhere along the way and had more miles on it than a pack mule.

Film was expensive, developing was expensive, and when a roll was finally finished, it wasn’t uncommon to get it developed and have a whole year’s worth of “special occasions”. It was treat. Granted, much of what was developed was blurry, but that didn’t stop you from pasting it into an album anyways!

Today, no reason is required to snap off a few hundred photos.  Everyone’s life is completely documented, special occasion or no occasion. Hard drives are bursting with 17 angles of the roller coaster at Canada’s Wonderland, and another 15 photos of everyone eating funnel cakes. Are we over burdened with photos?  Will I ever get through the 3 gigs of pictures that are safely stored and backed up on various hardware vaults? What will future generations think when they discover a plethora of mediocrity that has been saved forever? Are we adding any value?

With the explosion of personal photography, a few good things have also developed along the way - Panoramio allows you to upload and share photos of places you’ve been, and then it turns around and maps the world according to the photos that have been submitted. Talk about taking vacation planning to a new level. Sure - there are a few similar sites popping up, making use of the massive amount of photos that are available of the planet, but if you’ve got some worthy shots, you also want to take a look at istockphoto.com, perhaps the most interesting application for actually making money from the 317 pictures you have from last weekend’s Ontario Place adventures.  At istockphoto.com, you can upload those shots that have the most commercial viability, and chances are, someone will buy it from you. You can limit how many times you want to licence an image, and group images together for ease of findability.  No more needing to sift through outdated clip art!So - if you’re going to take 455 photos this weekend, go ahead, make some extra cash as well.  You’re going to need it - I see aother hard drive upgrade in your future.


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The Dog Days of Summer

Between the chaos in the Canadian Telecom industry, the temperatures in the greater Toronto area, and an overabundance of work related projects, I think I've got to apologize for my lack of conversation.

I'm out of floobergeist.
With that being said, I'm heading to the cottage tonight to hopefully recharge and refresh.

Writer's Slump - Writer's Cramp?

It's not really a block, per se. It's more of a slump. A lull.  A bit of a quiet period. In a life where quiet periods are fought for with rigour, having one when you actually *want* to do something is a little ironic, don't you think?

I could be writing about the upcoming Canadian Telecom Summit; where all the cool kids are going to be next week, or the upcoming NXT Comm Tradeshow in Chicago, or how I missed MESH '07 because I was *this far* from contract signing.

I could be exploring the differences between E*Trade and TD's On-line Trading Application. I could be bonding with Last.fm, since it looks like it's going to be the last player standing for streaming music.

I could be figuring out if Joost is really all that and a bag of chips.

Pfft. No time. Real life doesn't have a slump in it - if anything - it's busier than ever.

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Call Me at Low Tide

...those were my final instructions. I've been working for the past 6 months on something pretty complex. We are down to shipping contracts back and forth. The sweat has paid off.

I just got off the phone with my sales magician, who is leaving to take his kids camping. It's up to me to get signatures. His parting words - if anything falls apart, call me at low tide. The only time i get cell phone reception is out on a rock, that is only accessible when the tide is out.
Um. I'm from Ontario. The closest I get to tide is what's in my laundry room. Hello? Can you hear me now? :-)

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A New Lens in the Family

I broke down yesterday and picked up a new lens. A fast lens, a pretty lens.
A Canon EF 50MM 1.4. She’s pretty. And after a day of messing around, I couldn’t be more pleased.  It’s my first fixed lens, my first with a wicked, huge aperture. And I am back learning more techniques and tricks again. The funny bit?  I was going to go overboard with the Canon 50 MM 1.2 lens.
I still might, but not until I get the 1.4 under control. There are a few things that are going to make the 1.4 a challenge.  It’s the slowest focusing lens I’ve ever had. So slow, there are times that I switched to manual focus, just so that I could take the damn shot while the sun was still shining. :-)

Calling for rain today, so I may have to convince the wiz that i need him to help me practice indoor :-)

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Webkinz - Crack for Kids

After all the hooplah around Webkinz, I broke down and gave it a go. I am the proud parent of Jeremiah the Bullfrog. I wanted to see what the uber-cool kids web 2.0 application was like. I signed up, I entered my secret Webkinz activation code that came with Jeremiah, I was up and running.

With Webkinz, in theory, it’s all about learning and playing games.  Skills improvements, hand-eye co-ordination, and trivia. Aha. Not so fast. It’s about buying virtual crap for your pet. It’s about making enough Kinz Cash to get a waterbed, a bowl of Swamp stew, and an addition for your house. Play games and get cash, find stuff and get cash. Answer questions correctly, or win a contest and get more cash.  It’s a race to make 2500 “kinzcash” bucks a week to support your virtual pet and your very real shopping fetish.
And get this - the more webkinz you adopt (at $12 a pop), the more things you can buy, and the more “perks” you get. But don’t forget - your activation code is only good for 12 months, after which, if you still want to play, you’ve got to “renew” your adoption. 

To add further to the addiction, if you don’t play every day, you pet becomes depressed, starves and (likely) will end up dying.  I have yet to test this theory, it seems a tad excessive.  Kids are finding it easier to coerce their parents into taking care of their “kinz” while on vacation or camp. (I shudder at the Tamagotchi death tolls of 2005).  No parent wants to be responsible for the death of a pet, virtual or otherwise.

Webkinz is a vicious circle. Kids with a dozen or more adopted pets.  Purchased only so they can get more virtual goods on-line. I say again, it’s a vicious circle. Webkins encourages multiple pet adoptions by creating an “exclusive” area for those kids with a basketful of pets.  On your 10th adoption, the keys to the kingdom open, and you become one if the Webkins upper-crust with fancier virtual “accessories”, and improved options for shopping. I’ve got my heart set on a few of the “exclusive” items, but I’ll be damned if I buy 9 more webkinz for the “privilege” of having a circus themed room.
Parents: don’t be fooled. Don’t fall for it.  Go ahead and get your kid ONE of the damned, evil plushies, but don’t you dare fall for the “I need more Webkinz” pleading.  It will likely lead you on the path to ruin.
Buyer beware.

PS - Even Webinz recommends only 20 minutes a day of usage. Hmmm…. responsible of them ;-)

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Stopping Junk Mail at the Tree

Thanks to Kate for this one….

greendimes will reduce your junk mail, plant a tree and save water; all for only $37 CAN. If you want - they’ll even get your eco friendly butt on the “Do not Call List” and the “Do Not Fax List” as well.
The trick - they can only get rid of junk mail that’s got your name and address on it.  I only get one consistent piece of junk mail that actually is addressed to me (thank you Citibank and all your crap-diddy waste).

The bigger problem is the add ins and generic fliers and fluff that get stuffed into your mailbox… you know what I mean…  It’s those pieces of nastiness that I’d like Canada Post to stop ramming down my mailbox throat.  How do we get rid of those pieces?


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Hunting the Illusive Catalpa

It's harder to gain consensus on gardening than I thought it would be.
Husband 2.0 is much more interactive and collaborative than Husband 1.0 was. This is a good thing, but requires more customization in the interface in order to run smoothly.  Of course, I've lost the userguide.

This morning, after a day of negotiating yesterday on trees and shrubs and plants (oh my!), I finally figured out that we needed Catalpa trees in the back yard.

Do you realize how crappy the on-line Canadian Greenhouse/Nursery market is? Do you think I can easily find a nursery within 20 kms who has a listing of their inventory?  In the US, you can't swing a dead digital cat without hitting an on-line greenhouse e-store.  And yes, they will deliver anything your lazy gardening ass can think up.

I'm suited up with a large double double and my Crocks, and I'm loaded for bear. If I can't find a bear, a catalpa tree will do nicely.

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My Beef About CanadianTire.ca

I’m planing the weekend, actually, I’m planning the next 3 weekends, and they contain a significant amount of time dedicated to outdoor, spring-type activities: grass care, flowers, tree planting, mulching, raking, weeding. (Liberally sprinkled with the occasional snack and beverage suitable to the warming weather).  There is a list as long as my arm of stuff I need to get.  Stuff that I’m sure would be Canadian Tire worthy.

Imagine how neat it would be to go onto the CT site and make a *grocery list* of all the stuff I want to check out.  Things that I’ve done a bit of research on, so I don’t need to spend 4 hours wandering through the huge maze of aisles, not to mention the weekend melee that defines spring at Canadian Tire.

I don’t need to buy all the accoutrements on line, in fact, I want to see them *in real life*…. but I want a list in hand that I can work off of, without the analog pain of creating a list. Alas, Canadian Tire doesn’t want me to make a list. They want me to futz around for 4 hours in the store, hopefully faking me out enough so I will buy excessive products that aren’t on my list.

And for that, I’m going to go to the local, wee greenhouse for the majority of my goods, and CT for the lame-o pieces that I can’t get somewhere else. For shame. Remember, hell hath no fury like a gardener scorned.

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The Blurriness of Work and Life

I realized this morning that in order to really focus here, I've got to drop down to 4 days of work. :-) Can someone mention it to my boss? Or move back to a condo. Or resign myself to the fact that I will never have a decent analog life.  In 24 hours I've had people comment that I am online too much, and not nearly enough... almost in the same breath.

You know - it just occurred to me - I had much more time to do much more stuff before joining Facebook.

I need an online assistant, to blog, shop, comment and file emails. Sort of a "life aggregator", I suppose.  I've dig through the different Social Network aggregators, but it's still not easy to keep track of it all.


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Amazon.ca VS Amazon.com

Why is it that the Canadian Amazon site is so terribly sucky, and the US Amazon site is utterly fabulous?  I am constantly irked by the difference in the two, and am thwarded at every turn when trying to get something from the US site.  In fact, at one time i went to the extreme of ordering a nifty thing-a-ma-bob from the US site, having it delivered to a hotel in the US and a travelling compatriot picked it up and brought it back to Canada. Take that, crappy Amazon.ca site.  If I want to buy books, I'm going to damn well buy them from Chapters/Indigo. You want to impress me, even a little, get like your US cousin and get your snappy goods online.

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Canada is Always 3rd, Almost

Pet Peeve:
Sites who have significant amounts of "drop downage" lists to help populate a form.
Country: Canada - you can either scroll like the Dickens, or tap the "C" key. 3 times - Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada. Screw it up - the 4th tap lands you in Cape Verde - and then the adventure to find Canada begins again.

I am loving the sites that list Canada as the first tap - it's like they've circumvented the whole alphabetical order, if only to make more sense.

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10 Things I Can't Live Without

There are certain things you pick up along the way, that you realize you come to rely on.  Things, that the idea of giving up, send shivers down your spine and make your forehead sweaty…… Of course, this list excludes people and animals.  Those entities are designated list proof ;-)

My list:

  1. Chapstick: really any lip balm/moisturizer. I have emergency lip balm stashed away everywhere in my house, car, coats, bags.
  2. Coffee: I’m not even particular any more. Once I discovered the Maxwell House singles, I keep an emergency pack in my bag.
  3. My Blackberry.
  4. Coke: the backup to coffee.
  5. Newton’s Telecom Dictionary.  You never know when you need to know what  a DNIS is.
  6. My Canon Digital Elph. This wee guy comes with me all the time.  Just in case.
  7. Hair Elastics. Elastics follow the same migratory pattern as lip balms.
  8. Slippers…. wnter, spring, summer and fall.
  9. Hand Cream. Also follows the path of the lip balm.
  10. Music: be it portable radio, MP3 player or CD based. Let there be sound.
Your List?
I tag: Rain of Frogs, Barking Space, The Idea Dude, Zazzafooky,Kill The Goat,and Technology Evangelist

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Reflections of the Internet

It's one of my secret enjoyments - days when Dooce publishes some of the hate e-mail gems that she gets, and then colourfuly responds to each in her own Dooce-y way. 

Somehow the internet continues to amaze me.  The silly people, the nutty people, the flat out mean people. Dooce's hate mail and subsequent commentary is a giant plant sized microscope on humanity.  And really, the closer you look at something, the grosser it likey is to get.

You tend to forget about the pettiness, the ignorance and the intolerance of the human species. And then Dooce shows it to you, in all its hideous glory.


It Smells Like Spring

The first coffee of the new year, on the deck, sans warm coat. It *must be spring*.
Hearing birds that had been absent for over 4 months. It *must be spring*.
Seeing bits of lawn that had been previously blanketed with white. It *must be spring*.
Realizing my dog has been off the deck 3 times a day, every day, for the past 4 months, and I haven't. It *must be spring*.  Knowing that I've soon got to find a shovel. Shrug, it must be spring.

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My Fingers are Tingling...

And not in a good way.  After months of continuous sitting at a laptop and working 10 to 12 hours a day, something has finally cracked. My fingers feel like they are constantly on pins and needles. Of course, I couldn't possibly have a more inappropriate office space.  There are NO ergonomics for miles around.  Depending on who is working where, some days I get the kitchen table, and some days I get the office. That being said, elbows are always resting on the tabletop, on the laptop. Usually I have a resonable chair.

So - can I attribute the tingling - it's just 2 fingers right now, on my left hand - my baby finger and ring finger to the fact that i'm typing and working and being ergonomically incorrect for extended periods of time? It's not even my mouse hand!!  Any suggestions?  I think that just by installing a lowered keyboard, that could solve everything.  That, and maybe resigning and going into the interpretive dance field.

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