Findings

SOFEX: The Trade Show for the Business of War

“You know, it’s weird, man. It’s like everybody’s real cordial with each other. But, at the end of the day, we’re, like, buying weapons to destroy each other. I don’t want to, like, sound too liberal or anything. But it’s really not glamorous. This s*** f***** kills people.”

Amazing web documentary on SOFEX, the bi-annual trade show at the centre of the business of making war.

Impressive stuff from Vice. I remember when they were a punky zine in Montreal.

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Inside Voice

Google: “Sorry, there seems to be a problem.”

For the past ~6 months Google has been giving me this message when I try to reconcile my business email address (james(at)adhack.com) because of a change they’ve made to accounts managed through Google Apps for Domains.

As a result, all the data in my account prior to their change has been dumped in the kludgy james%adhack.com(at)gtempaccounts.com account. But when I try to add that account to an existing account or move it into a new account, I get nowhere. Or, more specifically, I get the error in the attached screenshot.

So I carry on with james%adhack.com(at)gtempaccounts.com for my Reader account and a few other Google services. This felt like a small first-world problem for many months but now feels like a Kafkafian purgatory.

I cannot merge the data into another existing account. I cannot migrate the data into a new account. So james%adhack.com(at)gtempaccounts.com persists.

The larger story is that Google wants me to use its products like Google+ and to pay for Apps for Domains so I can access Docs and Calendar and Mail. But I have no confidence in them delivering on reliability.

And then what? Who resolves the problem?

They say, ‘Sorry, there seems to be a problem.’

And they’re right. There is a problem.

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Findings, Inside Voice

It is not the critic who counts

I like this.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

— Theodore Roosevelt

Found on Destraynor.

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Inside Voice, Nerdery, Vancouvering

2 New Year’s Resolutions: Gymnastics and Drawing

Welcome, 2012.

I have 2 new things I’d like to do with you: gymnastics and drawing.

Gymnastics? Yes. I’d like to try out gymnastics, again.

Last time I was taking any gymnastics I was in the 5 to 7-year-old range, so it’s  return to youth, to recess, to trying to do something new with the body.

I’ve done a little searching and the options in adult gymnastics are scarce. Most are geared towards high-level gymnasts who want to keep training and stay in shape. I am not one of those.

I am an amateur looking to try gymnastics for 1 to 3 months. I have taught myself handstands with low consistency but can’t master the cartwheel. I’d like to be able to do a handspring and to feel comfortable with my body upside down and flipping.

Best option thus far seems to be Phoenix Gymnastics.

And drawing?

Yes. I am a terrible drawer. I have some difficulty with stick figures. Flowcharts I can must in a tortured fashion but I need some basic skills: shape, perspective, composition, scale. The fundamentals.

The search is on for a class. If you have anything to suggest, please let fly.

And all the best in 2012.

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Inside Voice, Nerdery, Vancouvering

An Inventory of the Most Dangerous Cars and Drivers in Vancouver

For the past decade I’ve been driving in Vancouver. During that time I’ve accumulated a goodly amount of knowledge about the drivers and cars on our city’s streets, and which ones that you need to watch the fuck out for.

As a public service, I now present my personal observations in a collection available for peer review and scrutiny: an inventory of the most dangerous cars and drivers in Vancouver.

The Most Dangerous Cars

It goes without saying that a few types of cars are dangerous. Cabs, of course, have no karma. Avoid them because you know they will screw you six ways to Sunday.

Models and Colours

  • Toyota Corolla — champagne is worst, followed by white.
  • Toyota Camry — like Jim Morrison’s lyrics: wandering, wandering. Again, light colours are worst.
  • Minivans — the zepplins of the road these cocoons of distractions and cup holders make side and rear visibility difficult. Their blind spot is everywhere not directly in front of them. Stay back or pass quickly.
  • Honda Civic — sometimes dangerous, sometimes not. Look for additional telltale signs, listed below.

The Most Dangerous Drivers

  • Cell phone users
  • Parents with babies and / or pets in the car
  • Those who rely on back-window mirrors or rear-view cameras
  • Those with beepers that signal when they back up (nanny sirens)
  • Hat wearers of a certain vintage
  • Those who refuse to use the indicators
  • Lazy turners who cut corners short
  • Anyone looking for a parking spot

Additional Signs of Danger

Sometimes cars that don’t match the make or colour of the ones above or without the driver attributes above can still be a hazard to your health on the road.

But like poisonous snakes and berries, telltale signs reveal their danger.

I’ve collected a list of some of the most obvious signs to watch for below, from roughly most dangerous and most obvious, to less dangerous and less obvious. If you have additions, please add them. This is public service in action.

  • Student Driver cars — need I say more?
  • Learner and New driver stickers — as above but slightly less deadly.
  • The rear-window tissue box — always foretells erratic turns.
  • Dash-mounted cartoon characters — the distraction of all that cuteness bobbing on springs must be why they’re wandering lanes.
  • Out-of-province license plates — particularly from Alberta. They’re gawking, lost and looking for parking for the steam clock or the sign to Stanley Park.
  • Car co-op and car share programs like Zipcar — these folks don’t drive much and don’t own that car they’re driving.
  • Rental cars — see both items above. Rental cars combine at least one of those elements.
  • Loaner cars from auto body shops — proof they’ve already cracked up a car.

Now please, add your findings so we can make the world a better place.

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Findings, Nerdery, Stories

Ernest Hemingway Quotes of Hard-Won Wisdom

Been thinking a lot about Hemingway quotes of late. Collected a few particular favourites here, below.

If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure that it will kill you too, but there will be no special hurry.

— A Farewell to Arms

Never mistake motion for action.

The shortest answer is doing the thing.

The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.

All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.

The first draft of anything is shit.

We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.

In our world of excess and super abundance of words, entertainment, distractions and information, the spareness and clarity is refreshing.

Each quote a refreshing breath of hard-won wisdom.

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