Category Archives: weekly

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Week in review: December 4, 2005

I spent some time thinking about what to do during my Christmas break. Aside from brainstorming sessions for education, geekettes and making a difference, I'm also thinking of having some round-table chats about our quarter-life crises.

Monday was a blast with a tango party. Then it was back to work, with lots of papers to write and books to read. I took some time out to take the winter clothes pictures my mom's been asking for, and I also took a self-portrait. I raided the library for a whole bunch of books and started thinking about the classes I want to take next semester. My week wrapped up with an IBM meeting, and my weekend started with a bunch of rants and reflections on computer science education.

Tomorrow I'm going to hand in my MIE1407 paper and then work like heck on the project proposal for IBM due on Tuesday. Then I need to work on my application for the Delta Kappa Gamma scholarship and finish marking the papers for the DSS project. Oh, and I shouldn't forget to study for my finals exams on Monday, too!

Hectic week up ahead, but with judicious planning, I'm sure I can survive.

Oct 30, 2006 to Nov 5, 2006

School and learning

I spent the week steadily working on various school deliverables - CAS project report, KMD2004 essay on open source in developing countries, and MIE1402 readings.

I enjoyed spending time with Simon, too. Hack night on November 1 was *tons* of fun. We learned a lot about Google Maps and PostgreSQL's geometric functions. It was so much fun pair-learning. We could keep each other on task, and my breadth of background was helpful. We should do that again with something else, like Ruby.

I also had a terrific time having hot chocolate with John Oxley. I'm starting to figure out what I want in a job.

Somewhere in between, I found the time to write Emacs Lisp code to produce a contact report for September and October. I also tweaked my blog design to be a little simpler and cleaner.


It was a very good week in terms of people. Over the week, I sent out lots of cards. I figured that, well, I have all this blank stationery lying around... I might as well use it. Having stamps on hand certainly helps! I need to buy another pack of US and international stamps.

Simon came over on Monday just to hang out and breathe. As previously mentioned, Hack Night on Wednesday was tons of fun. And he visited again on Saturday to take care of me while I was sick... =) There, see, he does make time.

Halloween parties were fun, too. I got to hang out with Leigh and her friends. The red leather dress ("So this is the famous red leather dress?" - Leigh) got a number of compliments. =) I told them how my mom picked it out for me, and some of the other things my mom's asked me to try out... <laugh>

I had a three-hour conversation with my mom over Skype. We initially had problems with feedback between her speakers and microphone, but we sorted that out when she plugged in earphones. Voice quality was pretty good. It was great chatting with her about the different things that were going on, and my dad had an interesting theory about Microsoft's interest in me. ;) You'll have to ask me about it; it's unbloggable.

I was too sick to go to Andrew Burke's housewarming party or Joey de Villa's birthday party, but I called with regrets as soon as I recovered.

The week ended with a wonderful dinner at the McGuffins. Michael turned 30. Seeing them reminded me that I need to spend more time with those folks - I like them a lot.

A very good week indeed. =)


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Weekly report: Nov 6 to Nov 12

I've been too busy to blog this weekend (gasp!), but I'm happy to report a productive week. I spent Monday writing an Emacs 22 pre-release review for Don Marti of I'll send the author contract on Monday. (Yay! Another $350 for writing!)

I attended Enterprise2.0Camp on Tuesday, and I shared some of the things we talked about at CASCON2006. I'm getting a little tired of saying that I don't have the answers to the questions I raise, though, so I should probably sit down and help figure things out. ;) It was great catching up with Tom Purves, Goran Matic, and the rest of the Camp folks.

I spent Wednesday concentrating on my KMD2004 paper, blogging most of my raw thoughts as a way of getting around writer's block. See, blogging can be productive procrastination... ;) I've been slowly reworking the blog entries into a more scholarly form on my hard disk.

Thursday was a bit of a blah day, though. I was feeling low-key because of the different things I needed to work on. I was supposed to meet Jed, but he was offered free concert tickets, so we postponed dinner. I did end up making a nice set of business cards, though. People like the new design which includes a stylized portrait.

Friday was a very productive day. I woke up early and rewrote my research proposal, adding all sorts of nifty diagrams. After that, I hung out in the Emacs channel on IRC for a bit. I had fun catching up with people there while waiting for Jed to call.

Jed and I had dinner at Simon Sushi on Spadina, then went to the Night Lights event at King's College Circle. We met Quinn there, and then we headed to Second Cup for warm beverages. Chatted a bit. Ran into Pavel Zaitsev. Went back to the Night Lights thing, hung out for a bit, then headed over to meet Simon, Shane and Lara, who had attended a lecture by Deepak Chopra. It was fun hanging out.

I insisted on walking Quinn home, partly for company and partly for security. Good thing Simon and I accompanied her, as there was a homeless person sleeping right in front of her door. She had to go in through the back entrance.

I spent the weekend deepening my connections to people and getting a fair bit of exercise. I learned something on Saturday about how I prefer to spend my time, but that's worth a separate blog entry. Other highlights: dinner with James Iveniuk, Mike Bailey, Simon Rowland, Roger Yang, Eyal, and Mariette. We passed by the arcade, too, where I beat Simon at driving and shooting! I don't know if I'll ever let him live it down. ;) We played foosball there, then went to Graduate House for even more foosball and some table tennis. Fun. =)

On Sunday, I went to the Toronto bead fair and picked up whatever I needed to make necklaces and earrings. I have a few diodes and chips I've been meaning to make into stuff for a while now, and I wouldn't mind I also picked up a rather classy set of rose glass beads that look almost like pearls, and I'll probably make an elegant choker or a bracelet.

Sunday evening was terrific, too. Gabriel Mansour pinged me about hanging out. Given that he lives in Markham (near IBM, in fact), it was a bit of a mission for him to commute downtown in order to hang out for a few hours - but it was well worth it, I think. He probably didn't expect to be given seatwork, though. ;) I gave him a stack of index cards and some colored markers, and told him to brainstorm what he wants to do with his life. ;) I like knowing what my friends are interested in and what they want to do... Anyway, that was good. =) We chatted over hot chocolate / tea, but then my contact lenses really started bugging me.

Very good week. Wrote a lot, learned a lot, and managed to sneak in time for deep socialization. Looking forward to next week!

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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 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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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 Wayne Young and learned how much fun it was to share something like that with a friend. I had a wonderful conversation with Wayne 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 Wayne 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. Wayne'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 Wayne 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 in...

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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