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    Archive: April, 2009

    ----- 04.28.2009 --------
    What Would Google Do?
    I had a great book recommended to me, and I want to recommend it to you. It's titled "What Would Google Do?" and it's written by Jeff Jarvis. Those of you who know me well know that I rarely read books... I listen to them. I love my Audible.com account! A little frustrated (OK, a LOT!) by the way my builder, Times Group, handled the process of building me a unit and handing it over to me, I wanted to do something about it. But what? I felt stuck, alone, and worst of all, like I was being bullied by my builder and his team of lawyers, but I'll save that story for another time. I decided yesterday I wanted to do something about it. Wow! The year is 2009 and the tools available to someone who wants to make change are endless! Being a geek, I thought I'd stick with what I'm best at: Technology. I setup a domain name, a hosting account with BlueHost.com (who I recommend based on cost and what you get), and got started from there.

    The website I setup is called Rezen Owners: www.rezenowners.com. What is it? A site built on Drupal, something that I only heard of and never toched before, atleast not knowingly. From noon yesterday when the idea hit, I anxiously awaited for work to end so I could rush home and get started. Wow! I geeked out for hours and the next thing I knew, it was 2:30! But in that short amount of time, I went from Thought to Site. How? I answered the right question: What Would Google Do? Google would build a platform and turn it over to the owners of Rezen, the condo that I'm an owner of. I'm not the only owner... there are 138 others and I encourage all of you to join up so we can help each other out. There's a board meeting coming up sometime, but I don't know when because it was cancelled once. It's the turn-over meeting where we are officially given the power to make descisions about out homes and investments. For whatever reason, I think a certain builder and management company is worried what will happen after they relinquish power.

    OK, I'm officially rambling! So, I'll change the subject and ramble some more. But just before I change the subject, Rezen Owners: www.rezenowners.com is based on technology that I will probalby migrate this site to. It supports so much that my current notepad-based site doesn't offer, such as comments, user interaction, RSS feeds, and much more. My hangs up now are time (lots going on in my life right now!!!) and what to do with all my legacy, archived posts. Almost 10 years worth... wow time flies!

    So what is going on in my life? Saturday past was mine & Kim's engagement party. We held it at Betty's and it was a blast. Pics are up on Facebook if you're interested. We're planning a wedding. OK, Kim's handling a lot of that, but it's still a lot for me too with things like photographers, halls, DJ's, caterers, etc. to book. We're also looking at getting some vacant land up north to work/play on. I had some websites to move over the weekend to a new IP (Thanks Dean for doing all the real work on this!). Working. Playing. It seems like a lot right now! On the bright side, I finished my last photography class, so I gratefully have my Saturdays back. Yay!! I'll leave it here... any feed back on the Rezen Owners site is appreciated. Ciao for now!

    ----- 04.23.2009 --------
    There's a ton of buzz about Web 2.0 these days and although some "sites" claim to be embrace it, it seems to me that the apps that seemlessly integrate into our lives are really the best example of what Web 2.0 really is. Why am I going with this? Just trying to set the stage to talk about my website. Yes... this one. OK, I just added a Twitter Feed to my left sidebar. Can I call my site Web 2.0 now? I hardly think so! In fact, I like to think of this site as more of a beta of Web 1.0. It's missing a ton of interactivity. As you read this post, if my writing raises a reaction, you can't even publically comment to say you agree. Or disagree. Yes, you can write elsewhere and link to me and let Google or some other web aggregator fill in the blanks.... but there's no instant gratification.

    What if I had that functionality? I've been thinking of redoing my site with something young and hip, like wordpress or joomla or some other function-rich, easy to use blogging tool. What's holding me back? The archive! The sins of my past are making it hard to move forward. But what if I did anyway? Could I call it Web 2.0? I don't think. I think Web 2.0 is more of what happens when conversations and interaction take place as a result of something I write here. I dunno. Where's all this coming from? I was playing with Twitter today and wanted to dig a little deeper. So I installed TweetDeck 0.25 beta, and got right into the twitter experience. Fun... for a while. But I know there's a ton of useful info in there, and I'm committed to figuring out how I can harvest it to best serve me. Unfortunately, popular consensus and celebrity gossip means nothing to me. But geek trends...? Now we're talking!

    And through TweetDeck, I stumble across TwitScoop.com and StockTwits.com. Both are very cool and can aggregate a LOT of mostly useful, extremely current/live information. Cool! And I also came across Twitter's own search: search.twitter.com. This is an awesome place to find current news on what people are talking about. Hear something on the traditional news channels (web or TV) about something? Jump on Twitter's search and look for it. You'll find ripe info that is available to you at the same rate the reporters and journalists get it. Wow! This world is getting smaller and smaller!

    Now what? I don't know... but I've got my mind as open as I can and I'm hoping that all this extra information isn't noise that's going to drive me insane. What I'm really hoping, as an IT professional and techno-enthusiast, that my mind can reassemble these streams to toss the ideas back into the crowd to be re-iterated and refined. Who knows... when we boil this all down, we might just end up with "42". So long for now! Come back more recently that usual to catch my latest tweets (on the left). Yes, they're limited to 140 characters, and yes, they're probably going to be less exciting that what I actually ate for breakfast... but you never know!

    ----- 04.19.2009 --------
    I have some huge news to share with you. There is a ton going on in my life right now, so I'll start with the biggest, most exciting news I can. I got engaged! Yes, last weekend I proposed to Kim and much to my liking, she accepted. So, we're getting married! When ? Looks like it's going to be August 1st... this summer! And we're going to tie the knot out in Alberta! Huge news, eh?

    And also some big news, not necessarily HUGE.... I'm selling my condo. I may have have mentioned it already, but it's all talk until something is done about it. So, after a ton of work put into cleaning it up, moving most of our stuff into storage, and staging it, we got it on the market the soonest I was legally allowed by my purchase of sale. So, on Thursday my place listed and I've had 4 showings on the first day it was listed to the public, an open house yesterday for 2 hours, and another one today for 2 hours. The weather has been cooperating, which is great since my terrace is the main attraction here. Check out the listing here!

    Any more news? Why yes, I do have more!!! Yesterday was my last "Photography: Food & Product" class. I've been taking the class for the past 4 months... every Saturday, 1 till 4PM. What a way to tie me down on weekends! I am relieved it's over. I got a B+ as my final grade, which I am satisfied with. Most important is the amount I learned, which was a lot this class! The teacher was really excellent. He was also very critical of my work, which stretched me more than if he'd just blown sunshine up my ass & told me crappy pictures were good. I'll gladly accept a B+ from him!

    Is that all the news I have? No... there's more to the photography class story. This was my 8th class in photography. And my final! What does that give me? Besides a ton of hands-on photography knowledge, I earned my "Digital Photography Certificate". I started down this road in 2007 and I'm happy to have finally completed it and not left it parially completed, like a lot of things I start.

    What's next? There's a hell of a lot happening over the next few months. Once I get an offer on the condo, we'll know a date in which we have to have a new place. We've held off looking for rentals until step one (selling) is done. In this market, renting a place before this is sold could be a HUGE mistake. Once I have the equity out of the condo, I'll use it to purchase some land north of here... within 4 hours is ideal. Ideally, I'd like about 100 acres to play on. And that will be the start of a massive undertaking, one that will likely play out over the rest of my life as I build a place. Kim's very excited about all this as well and some day, we'll make our break from the city. I don't see that happening too soon, but one day! And I'm not the only one with lots of change happening. Kim has a lot going on too! To add to the excitement of getting engaged last weekend, she's done working at Amex and will be starting school soon to embark on the long road to becoming a Psychiatrist!

    More to come come! Stay tuned....

    ----- 04.05.2009 --------
    Wow! March was practically a write-off in terms of posts on my site. Only 1 post for the month... the smallest amount of attention I've given my website since I started it back in 2000. Sorry March, but I've been busy! What have I been busy doing? Lately I've been pretty pre-occupied with Real Estate matters. I've decided to sell my condo. Yes, after waiting 3 years for it to finally be built, I am getting out. The builder of the condo has really annoyed me in his utter lack of caring and his attitude towards making his clients/customers happy is totally pathetic. His approach? Sue me. Well, although that is and was an option, I'd sooner sell and forget about all of it. But that's not the only motivation for selling. In fact, it's not even the major driver. I want to buy some land! A nice big chunk up north somewhere to drive a stake into and call my own. It'll serve as a place to visit in summers and work on. Eventually, it will become a self-sustainable home, but that's quite a ways away.

    Specifically, I want to build a dome on it. I've done some research on Geodesic and Monolithic domes and think they're super cool and would be fun to build! More on this to come. First things first... I need to sell this place to get the equity out of it. Then Kim & I need to find a new place to live. We'll continue living in downtown Toronto, for now. And I'd still like to walk to work. It doesn't have to be as short a walk as I have now, but something in the 30 minute range would be great. The further it is, the more audio books I'll be able to get through :)

    What else is new? I ran in the Harry's Spring Run-off yesterday. I ran the 8K and was happy with my results. I ran it in 48 minutes and 56 seconds. Although I may have been able to finish a little quicker, it's tough when you're in a huge mob of people. Next race (a 10KM race, one month from now), I'll wear headphones and get some music pumping. I didn't this time and that was a mistake. My primary goal was to run the whole thing and not walk: Accomplished. Secondary goal was to beat 45 minutes: Maybe next time! I'm relieved to have the race over! One less thing to worry about!

    Photography class is going well. Almost done... one more class... April 18th. I need to assemble some of my fav shots to present as a final assignment, so I'll try and post them up here for you.

    Well, it's back to packing.... or thinking about it, atleast. I'm taking a day off this week to give me an extra long weekend. Kim & I are going to bring the majority of our stuff to our 10x10 storage locker we rented. It'll keep the place looking tidier (to say the least!) while we stage it for sale. What a pain! Kim's been awesome about everything and has been a huge help! It'll be exciting to find a new place :)

    That's all for now. Probably tons of stuff I forgot about since my last post a month ago, but oh well. Hopefully I'll have plenty more to post over the next few months with everything that's going on. Hope you're all doing well! Cheers.


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