Category Archives: review

Nov 13 to Nov 19

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

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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Weekly report: 2006.11.20 – 2006.11.26

Wrapping up with schoolwork requirements has kept me very busy. We’re
nearly done with the knowledge media, culture and society course: only
two more requirements to go. The statistics course is also wrapping
up. I don’t think I’m quite cut out to be a researcher. Slicing and
dicing numbers looking for relationships isn’t nearly as fun for me as
going out there and making things happen. Still, I’ll get this last
bit of coursework out of the way.

I’ve also made a lot of headway. It amused me to hear from Stephen
Perelgut that on all the different metrics Pranam Kolari used to
measure influence within IBM’s blogosphere, I was consistently in the
top three. That despite really only coming in once a week, and being a
student at that. ;) Who can tell what I’ll do when I focus on this? I
must finish my thesis quickly so that I can find out! I spent Friday
prototyping, and have made much progress.

This week has been *fantastic* in terms of my career. I had dinner on Monday with the chief technology evangelist of Techsmith, Betsy Weber. She confirmed many of the things I love about technology evangelism, and said that she really enjoyed her job. Joey de Villa, developer evangelist at Tucows, said that technology evangelism was the best job for a technical extrovert. And then Dean Michael Berris told me of the newly-launched Global Network of Technology Evangelists, which will be holding its first conference on December 4! I’ll move heaven, earth, and final exams to be there.

The best thing about this week, though, was learning so much about
life. The ripples of last Saturday’s misunderstanding taught me much
about love, and I’m still learning. On a long walk around the chilly
University of Toronto campus, Gabriel Mansour shared one of the really
difficult challenges facing him. I learned so much from that
conversation, and I hope to have helped him by listening. I watched
Wicked with W- Young and learned how much fun it was to share
something like that with a friend. I had a wonderful conversation with
W- Young and Quinn Fung over dinner on Friday, and then again with
Quinn, Roger Yang, and Naomi on Saturday, and I got to catch up with
Craig Saila as well. And I finally got to talk to my mom again this
morning, although Skype didn’t work… Darn technology!

One of the things that struck me the most about this week was
something W- said in our conversation with Quinn last Friday. He
mentioned how the previous generations prioritized work first, then
their relationships, then themselves. This generation puts self first,
then relationships, reasoning that if the first two are sorted out
then work will naturally fall into place. I had told them a little bit
about my distress this past weekend, rationalizing it away by saying I
need to focus on getting my act together first in terms of career and
a place to live. Quinn gave me The Look and told me not to run away
from things like that. I really appreciate having friends like them.

Quinn’s right. W-‘s right. Many many conversations and drafted
letters and read books later, I’m starting to understand a little bit
more about life. I feel optimistic about things. Between Simon’s trip
to Florida to visit his grandparents and my trip to California (we
hope!) to visit evangelists and my six-week vacation in the
Philippines (yippee!), we won’t get to spend a lot of time with each
other, but I’m sure we’ll work things out.

So that’s been my week so far: a lot of learning about life.

Next week is also going to be a little hectic. I’ll be wrapping up
coursework, for the most part. I need to convince
Mark Chignell to let me take my final exams
early so that I can go to California to meet those technology
evangelists. Something tells me that this is a Good Thing to Do, and
that it will definitely be worth it. =)

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2006.11.27 – 2006.12.10: Frantic/fortuitious fortnight

What a great two weeks it has been! I haven’t been blogging much, but
that’s because there’s been so much to blog about. ;)

I moved heaven, earth, and final exams to get to the
Global Network of Technology Evangelists
conference held in California on December 4, paying for the trip out
of my savings. It was well worth it! I got to meet all sorts of
interesting people. Now I just have to make sure I keep in touch with
them. =)

It was great walking around San Francisco, too. I stopped by
Ghirardelli Square to pick up some absolutely wicked drinking hot
chocolate, and spent the rest of the afternoon at the Exploratorium.
I’m really such a geek. I can’t go to a city without visiting its
science museum… <laugh> That was fun. The tech get-together I
went to in the evening was cool, too. I really like the idea behind, and I was amused to hear how some
fifty engineers and PhDs had to learn the difference between wedge
heels and kitten heels!

I’d forgotten how stressful flying could be, what with all of the
security stuff. I’m glad that Simon Rowland
took me to the airport and W- Young picked
me up on the way back. Company really makes such a difference; the
commute would’ve been soul-sucking in this gray weather!

Schoolwork’s winding to a close, too. I’ve passed my
second-to-the-last requirement and will work on my last one over the
next two weeks.

With all of these things, though, the IBM lab’s a little nervous about
my research progress. I’ve been working on things; I just haven’t been
talking about it enough, I guess! (Strange, huh?) I’ve uploaded a more
detailed copy of my schedule to the intranet and sent links to my
manager and developer sponsor, who can use the schedule to keep track
of my deliverables and milestones. Proper project planning and all of
that. I hope that reassures them enough to extend our funding so that
I can continue until August, my projected completion date.

I learned a lot about interpersonal relationships, too. I don’t know
if it was because I was so stressed out about the end of the year, but
I had come so close to breaking up with Simon a number of times over
the past few weeks. We’re both learning a lot in the process, and have
so far decided to keep going. I’m learning to think even more
positively. =) Strangely enough, I suspect that the long-distance
relationship we’ll have over the next six weeks might actually be
easier. =)

That explains my earlier sad note about some things for which Google has no answer. I’m still learning a lot about life and relationships, and neither Wikipedia nor Wikihow can really give me insights. I’m profoundly grateful for all of the friends who have expressed their concern and support, though, and who have helped me come to a better understanding.

I dropped by The Gorey, the new house being shared Quinn, Leigh, and
Jed, who are among my closest, closest, closest friends in Toronto.
Their place is awesome! I’m so envious… I’ve drafted my 2006
Christmas letter / annual report, and will figure out how to get it
printed and sent out. Jed told me that I couldn’t cheat and send just
one copy to their house. <laugh>

Oh, and I found the salmon flakes my mom’s been asking me to get for
my dad! =) I checked all the supermarkets in Chinatown.

So, plans for next week:

Work: Aside from classes on Tuesday, next week pretty much belongs to
IBM. I need to give a presentation on mashups as part of Hack Day
University on Monday. I have a meeting with a potential user group on
Friday, and will hack madly on my prototype in order to get it into
somewhat presentable state by then. Life is good. I’ll probably be up
at IBM on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Social: The Toastmasters Christmas party is on Tuesday. On Thursday,
I’m having coffee with a motivational speaker who’s a friend of a
friend. On Friday, I might catch up with one of my friends over dinner
in the Danforth. On Saturday, Simon gets back from Florida. On Sunday,
I might have a little going-away party. How and where, I still have no
idea. Graduate House isn’t easy to entertain in because I have to
fetch guests myself, through several keyed doors. Note to self: next
year, find an apartment or house that will let me just buzz people

Maybe I can borrow someone’s place for a going-away party. Or maybe I
should just declare visiting hours at the Linux Caffe, or something
like that… ;) I’ll bring my computer so that I can plan dinner or
coffee with people for next year. Yeah, that sounds more like it.
Linux Caffe closes at 5 on Sundays, but maybe I can ask David nicely.

Life is good.

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Tough decisions

I’m not sad. But I’m not thrilled, either. With all the challenges
ahead of me, I need to have net positive energy; I can’t even afford
neutrality. So as tough as it may be, I’m going to have to force the

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Weekly report

This week was more intense than most in terms of personal drama, but I
think that’s subsiding now as I’ve gotten the hang of things. I felt
as if I slowed down a lot in terms of research, but looking back, I
see this week as paying a short-term cost in order to gain long-term
improvement. This week I also came to appreciate my friends even more,
and I look forward to being even more a part of their lives as well as
reawakening and expanding my other friendships.

I usually advocate focusing on the positive, but this time I made
myself focus on the negative. It was an interesting exercise, and I
ended up filling a small slip of paper front and back with reasons why
it’s better this way. That makes it so much easier to focus on other
things, too… =)

Next week is going to be intense. I have an important meeting on
Monday. On Wednesday, I’m skipping a symposium on sustainability in
order to do a day of service, volunteering to help the hungry and
homeless. I cancelled my ski trip for Friday in order to spend more
time on paperwork and thesis, and to catch up with other friends. I
also hope to propose the ethics protocols for my experiment and hook
up the back end to the front end of my prototype.

Good week behind me, good week ahead… Life is good.

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Week in review

This week, I realized that I’m working on something pretty cool. I had
previously focused on how my prototype fell short of what I really
wanted to build, and I forgot to keep checking against what was
currently being used. I’m excited about the opportunity to try it out
and maybe get a few of the ideas from it into IBM’s culture (and then
the world)!

This week, I set up a wiki for my research lab. I’m going to be the
guinea pig. I’ll write my thesis online. Password-protected, though!

This week, I wrote about falling in love with reading and thinking
about how to help J learn how to appreciate it too. (Quick, while
she’s young and impressionable! Repeat after me:
Science/art/math/crafts/everything is wonderful. Reading rocks. Life
is good.) I got so many insights and tips from my mom and other
readers, which I should write up and post here soon. =) Thanks!

This week, I filed my taxes. I hope this is the last year I’m getting
a refund! I do actually believe in taxes, and I probably will still
keep believing in them even after they take away a third of my pay or
something like that.

This week, I met with a usability expert at IBM who might be able to
help me conduct my summative study. Yay!

This week, I talked to someone from IBM HR who helped me take a look
at my job and immigration paperwork requirements.

This week, W decided to try out GTD. This has also incidentally
resulted in a rise in my productivity. <grin>

This week’s tea party was also lots of fun. Good conversation,
particularly with Mike Tsang’s questions. =)

Next week, I’ll take the plunge and do a pilot usability test. I’m
running a little behind schedule, I think, but we’ll make it all work.
I may have to be anti-social and focus almost entirely on writing if
I’m going to write a hundred-page thesis in a month and a half, but I
really want to finish the darn thing already.

Life is great! I’m glad to get back to my weekly reviews…

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