Headlines for Wednesday:

Priorities - A: high, B: medium, C: low; Status - _: unfinished, X: finished, C: cancelled, P: pending, o: in progress, >: delegated. Covey quadrants - Q1 & Q3: urgent, Q1 & Q2: important
AXCall Anthony to check food needed for panel, size of tables
AXBuy groceries
AXGet my wireless card to work
AXMake sure everything is ready for panel
ACBuy white cloth and duct tape
Priorities - A: high, B: medium, C: low; Status - _: unfinished, X: finished, C: cancelled, P: pending, o: in progress, >: delegated. Covey quadrants - Q1 & Q3: urgent, Q1 & Q2: important
AX@1800 Pick up GFB
BX@1900 Barbecue with Keynan, Calum, etc.
AXWork on FIS paper
Ongoing: FIS paper (April 11), Reading paper (April 19!!), tax return, praxis

Groceries: Steak, chicken breasts, hamburger patties, milk


1. Helping people find their voice: 00:19

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One of my friends scoffs at Toastmasters, but moments like this make it definitely worthwhile.

Today one of the members brought his girlfriend to listen to his first speech. The girl was painfully shy and clearly terrified of public speaking, even during the Table Topics and guest comments section.

She approached me afterwards, though. And oh, the stories I could see inside her... CN Tower Stair Climb T-shirt, colored bands around her wrists: these are the marks of someone who cares deeply about some things. I listened to her fears and shared my own experience learning how to speak - at first starting out because I couldn't stop talking about technology and I wanted to get into conferences for free, and then realizing how much fun it was to help people learn. I told her that the real trick to speaking in front of an audience - or at least in front of Toastmasters - is to speak to them one person at a time, treating them as your friends.

Most of all, I looked into her eyes and told her in many different ways that she had stories worth telling.

When I felt her tentatively reaching out, I closed the loop and we hugged. The hug was one of the best I've ever had, and her thank you one of the sweetest.

This is what I live for: that deep connection, that chance to help people find their voice.

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Random Japanese sentence: 猫がソファーでねむっている。 The cat is sleeping on the sofa.

2. Grill time!: 00:51

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Toastmasters from 6 to 8 means I usually can't meet anyone for dinner on Tuesdays, which is why I was surprised to get a call from Trevor at 8:30 or so. He invited me to a barbecue with Brian. The Kensington market I usually go to for meat had closed already and I didn't feel like chancing Chinatown. I also didn't want to walk to Dominion and being even _more_ late. Fortunately, I had some hamburger patties in the freezer. Hooray for the well-stocked pantry!

Although the weather was a bit cold (it snowed a little bit today! argh!), standing around in a coat and chatting with friends was worth it. I defrosted the patties in a microwave, put one away, and grilled the other patty under the guidance of Brian and Trevor. The potatoes I wrapped in foil and started grilling were nowhere near done by the time the burgers, porkchop and steak were done, so I took the potatoes off the grill. Brian thoughtfully anticipated that and included me in his calculations for rice. Awwww. =) (The man cooks rice with a pot! _Proper_ rice, too, not instant rice! Coolness. =) )

Keynan dropped by with a platter of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. She found the cookie recipe on the Net. I wonder if I can share Kathy's Top Secret Cookie Recipe with her - but then it wouldn't be Top Secret, would it?

I washed a number of their dishes to thank them for hosting me and teaching me how to grill, following the strange rules of my dinner-party etiquette. Also, it's kinda fun. Eventually Trevor took the sponge away from me and put it on the other side of the room. Spoilsport.

Keynan brought a DVD of Terminator. I finally got to watch the thing. =)

After the movie, Brian pulled a scary face to stop me from finishing the rest of their dishes. I couldn't help but laugh, which made him laugh, and then no amount of coaxing could get him to do the scary face again.

It's nice to have friends.

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Random Japanese sentence: ネコが車の下から出てきた。 A cat got out from under the car.

3. On tutoring: 01:41

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Awwww! Someone found OnTutoring useful!

From http://www.personal.psu.edu/users/a/o/aog103/Tutor%20Manual/feedback2_mxplan.html :

This set of instructions for the tutor to take into account when tutoring is very helpful and lets the tutor know that it is not all about lecturing the student in the session. The student should speak more and the tutor should let the tutee set the agenda, this is how the tutee will really learn the subject matter. Also the tutor must keep a positive attitude so that the tutee stays positive about the subject and does not just give up. I chose this list because it is more descriptive than the first list, and it is more of an agenda helper while the last list was overall ideas that should come natural to the tutor.

I can use this list because it entails that the tutor will carry out these tasks so that the tutee is comfortable working with me. I think it is important for every new tutor to know that this is very important. You want to make the student feel welcome in the tutoring center, and you want to feel comfortable and personal in a session.

I would remove the parts that mention reading/writing because I am a math tutor, but overall this is a great list that every tutor can use.

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Random Japanese sentence: A spot of shut−eye は、また猫のいねむりともいわれている。猫は1度に2〜3分しか寝ない癖があるからだ。 "A spot of shut-eye" is also called a cat nap because a cat is in the habit of sleeping only a few minutes at a time.

4. The Human Face of Research: 10:51

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Dr. Brenda Laurel presents The Human Face of Research

Ontario College of Art & Design 100 McCaul Street (Yahoo! Maps, Google Maps) Toronto, Ontario M5T1W

Thursday, April 6, 2006 (6:30 PM - 8:30 PM)

An investigation into new approaches to design research, with an emphasis on human-centred design research, set within the context of emerging needs, technologies and forms of the 21st century.

Brenda Laurel is an acclaimed designer, researcher and writer, with a 25-year career in human-computer interaction (HCI) and expertise in interactive narrative and cultural aspects of technology. One of the founders of Interval Research Corporation in Palo Alto, California, Laurel conducted research into gender and technology, co-produced and directed the Placeholder Virtual Reality project, and co-founded Purple Moon a subsidiary acquired by Mattel in 1999. She serves currently as Chair and faculty member of the graduate Media Design program at the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California, and concurrently works as Senior Director and Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems Labs in Menlo Park, California. Laurel has published extensively on interactive fiction, computer games, autonomous agents, virtual relation and political artistic issues in interactive media. She is editor of The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design [Addison-Wesley 1990] and author of Computers as Theatre [Addison-Wesley 1991].

Both presentations take place at OCAD's Auditorium (Room 190), Nora E. Vaughan Wing, 100 McCaul Street, Toronto. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. For information, visit www.ocad.ca or call 416-977-6000.

Argh, argh, argh! I've already committed to going to the Toronto Coranto dance practice...

E-Mail from David Crow

Random Japanese sentence: 夫が有名な科学者である婦人が向こうからやってくる。 He kept a white cat, who often played with a ball.

5. Wireless: 12:17

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It's exceedingly slow, but it works. Hooray, hooray! Kudos to http://individual.utoronto.ca/bonert/wireless.html for good instructions.

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Random Japanese sentence: 私は猫を家の外に出した。 I let the cat out of the house. Watashi wa neko o ie no soto ni dashita.

6. Tagging people: 23:16

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Boundary studies are nice for figuring out where something doesn't work and why it doesn't work. I've been thinking about where tagging and folksonomies break down for my FIS paper. Some of the cases I've been looking at involve web services where you tag people.

Tagalag is a no-frills system for tagging people. It doesn't really offer anything in the way of immediate personal incentive. In fact, the only thing you can do with it aside from tagging people (e-mail address required) is put your XML feeds together in an OPML list for easy aggregation. Very bare, and very few users.

43people allows users to track whom they've met and whom they want to meet. Popular tags include occupation, gender, nationality, and location. Tags are also used to describe characteristics such as "funny", "glasses", and "brilliant". This shows tagging as a clear faceted classification. "Find people also tagged with..." makes it easier for people to search for interesting combinations, and you can narrow the search to the current city. Usual problems with keywords: "smart" vs "intelligent", etc. Particular problem: funny vs hilarious, relativity.

Consumating is the weirdest. It's a dating site with a much broader audience than the other two sites, and you can tell that from the tags. The most popular tags follow the tag profile of 43people, but the recent tags look like one-off tags used for communication. That said, Consumating makes good use of tags in conjunction with polls, prompting people to keep refining their profile every week.

So: tagging other people is still a bit weird, but shows a bit of the folksonomic piles-of-leaves flattened faceted classification. Tagging one's self, on the other hand, is more of self-expression, ad guiding it with questions is pretty effective.

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Random Japanese sentence: すると、少し先に、またもう一匹、ふわふわした灰色のねこがめにつきました。そしてこれも前の二匹と全く同じくらいかわいいのです。 But then he saw a fuzzy gray cat over here which was every bit as pretty as the others, so he took it too.

7. Consumating: tags as communication: 23:30

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Ah, I see! People could be using tags for messaging in order to get around Consumating's message limits. Or maybe it's spam. Argh.

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