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

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

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

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

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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