November 19, 2006

Mmm, chocolate

November 19, 2006 - Categories: life

I'm munching on a special chocolate mix from Choco Sol. The slab of sun-dried, bicycle-powered and volcanic-stone-ground chocolate contains cacao, agave, amaranth, vanilla, cinnamon, ginko biloba, gotu kola, and ginseng, and is supposed to be good for memory and concentration.

Excellent...

Hooray Internet collaboration!

November 19, 2006 - Categories: school

I hadn't heard anything from my KMD2004 groupmates all weekend, so I was rather worried about the integrative summary that we were supposed to pass on Monday. I couldn't find any drafts on the wiki or the shared workspace. If I had to write everything from scratch by myself just to make sure that we'd get it in before the deadline, I was going to do so. They could always make it up to me for the next assignment. ;)

I wasn't looking forward to working on a Sunday night, but I hadn't had the time to work on it during the previous week. Besides, I could consider Saturday as my downtime day for the week.

I sent my groupmates e-mail telling them I was going to write the summary, and I gave them my MSN and Yahoo! instant messaging details just in case they were online on a Sunday night. I started a document on Google Docs (formerly known as Writely) and sketched the outline just like I'd blogged my way past a writer's block for my background article.

I was pleasantly surprised by the quick response of my groupmates. MJ sent me an instant message on MSN. I asked him to reformat the appendices to have consistent citation styles while I worked on the summary. Dave came online after a short while. After some trouble with the invitations, we managed to get everyone on the same page.

I set up a group chat using Bitlbee, the IM to IRC gateway that I use to chat within Emacs. We coordinated our actions using instant messaging while I fleshed out the summary. Dave couldn't work on the document right then, but he could look over my work to see where the article was going. I added some notes about the structure of the document so that we had a coherent, logical flow.

My computer crashed twice because I ran out of memory. (OpenOffice + Firefox + Emacs = not good!) Good thing I was drafting the document in Google Docs, which auto-saved the document every few seconds and allowed people to keep reading it while I rebooted.

I sketched the document and condensed my paper before fatigue set in. I left the paper in their capable hands, and I'm sure it will get done by tomorrow.

I couldn't imagine doing this without real-time collaboration tools like instant messaging and Google Docs. Imagine what it would have been like, having to e-mail documents around? It would have been such a hassle for me to keep people up to date.

Hooray for Net collaboration and awesome groupmates!

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Nov 13 to Nov 19

November 19, 2006 - Categories: weekly

This week, I concentrated on schoolwork and got quite a lot of things done. Mark and I submitted my CAS project report and request for more funding. I wrote an essay modeling the effect of open source on developers in developing countries according to actor-network theory, and I'm relatively happy with my analysis. I'll post it after I get feedback from the professor. I also worked a little bit on my statistics assignment, although I'll probably go for the extension on that assignment. (5% reduction for an extra four days? Sold!) I worked on my research prototype too, exploring different ways to geolocate IBMers for my search engine. And I've just blogged about the integrative summary due tomorrow...

How I managed to find the time for all the other things this week, I don't know. At Tuesday's UsabilityCamp and Wednesday's Mesh planning party, I met so many cool and interesting people. I also got told that I must be the best branded student at the University of Toronto, and more than a few people remembered me as a tech evangelist. ;) I'm famous!

I read a good book, too. Robert G. Allen's book "Creating Wealth" is well-written and advises people to get into real estate, providing many concreate examples and strategies. I find "Creating Wealth" to be a better read than Robert Kiyosaki's books, like the "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" series.

I started a new hobby: jewelry-making. I had picked up beads and other materials at the Toronto Bead Fair last Sunday. On Tuesday, I made a four-stranded bracelet with faux pink rose pearls. It'll look even better once I figure out how to do knots properly. I wore the bracelet to UsabilityCamp, making the malong I wore look even more formal. I made matching earrings, too.

And Friday - Friday was fun! To celebrate Simon's 26th birthday, I conspired with his friends and family to toast him at a surprise party with cheese and champagne. I had to drop a few hints to make sure that he'd keep the evening free. His surprise and happiness was well worth the agony and excitement of anticipation. =)

Saturday was odd, though. Simon and I ran into one of those cultural crossed wires, which I'll probably blog or LJ or e-mail at some point when I understand it better. Things are better now, but I still need to think it through.

Oh, Happy Feet was a *delightful* movie. I'd watch it again. =)

Terrific week for growth, even though some of that hurt a lot...

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