Saturday, March 31, 2007

White House, Early March 2007

Testing my YouTube account.

Weekends in DC

When the weekend arrives in Washington, there are two things that occur: 1) the business side of DC shuts down and 2) the tourist side kick starts in full motion.

Today was the official beginning of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, a yearly event in DC that celebrates the cherry blossom trees which were given as a gift from Japan to the United States back in 1912. The entire history is rather fascinating.

There were crowds around the Washington Monument, many of them were flying kites, I noticed. I guess this must be a tradition. And of course there were the cherry blossom trees surrounding the tidal basin, which is located just south of the Mall. The Jefferson Memorial is also located near the basin. People from all over the world--Asia, South East Asia, Europe--were there; their din of foreign languages added to the wonderful mix of activity.

I am most grateful for the weekends. Not only does the city take a breather, but I too take a breather from a busy week of work.

Speaking of work, I have 3 projects that I am focusing on: 1) Archives Management System (AMS) replacement (I don't have much experience in this particular area, but the team seems ready to roll up their sleeves); 2) Digitization of text and photographs (I have hands-on experience here but this time around I'll be in a supervisory role); and 3) Digital Preservation and Management Program (this will probably build on my digitalpermanence experience. Remember digitalpermanence, folks?).

Tomorrow, April 1, will make it one month since I arrived in Washington, DC. Wow!

Watching Incubus' new single, Dig, on You Tube. Interesting story behind the video.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Adobe releases Creative Suite 3

I am so thrilled to see that Adobe has released its much anticipated Creative Suite 3.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Big Move and other thoughts on life in DC

It reached a high of 17 Celsius today (I still haven't converted to Fahrenheit, I apologize, but it would be somewhere in the low 60s). A perfect day to move into my new apartment. Yes, you heard correctly: I finally moved. Well, technically, yes. Physically, I am still in the hotel (I have tonight and that's all). So I check out tomorrow before noon. Hopefully I can run a few last minutes errands before check-out time.

As I was walking around the streets of DC, I could not help but notice a large amount of cars with diplomatic license plates. Perhaps there is some big event in town. I'm not sure.

As I said before, today we reached 17 Celsius. Perfect weather in so many ways.

I notice I have not been blogging much about work. I know I mentioned from the onset that I would use a good dose of common sense before blogging about work, and I am pleased that I have stuck to that formula. It's not like I am working with super-secret information; however, the planning and implementation of new systems has several confidentiality issues. So it is best that I discuss matters in general terms.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sunday Morning

I have several activities planned today. I'll spare you the boring details.

I'm just glad the weather gadgets I have running on my desktop are telling me good news.

I'll have more this afternoon. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Spring, Apartment, Archives, FOSE 2007

It's the first day of Spring, and it sure feels like Spring in Washington, DC. The city's business district, called the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District, was abuzz with city workers sweeping the streets and cobble-stone sidewalks and planting flowers around budding trees.

The only drawback to the weather is the constant flux of temperatures. I leave in the morning wearing my good old Canadian coat, and then I walk home wearing a light fleece jacket, my coat slung over my arm. I've experienced high and lows all in one day, and a solid rain shower kicked in for good measure. Consequently, I think my health has taken a hit - I feel a tickle in the back of my throat.

The apartment hunt continues, but I am coming closer to finding a place. I never knew the process would take this long! So many forms, so many fees. So few places, especially if you are on a tight budget.

The work in the Archives continues, and as it does I am starting to see patterns emerge. The Archives requires new systems, new tools, to operate more efficiently and effectively. Older technologies, adopted some years ago, are obsolete, amazingly. The speed at which technology flies is unbelievable.

There is a convention taking place in DC called FOSE, a government and military technology convention that showcases technologies, gadgets, software, hardware which serve the needs of government and military (as well as international organizations like the UN). The floor was full, to say the least. I may return tomorrow or Thursday, the final day of the convention.

Monday, March 19, 2007

More online gaming worlds

With Second Life and Home, I thought I had all the bases covered in terms of online virtual worlds and 3-D gaming communities.

Now comes word, via TechCrunch, of two other online gaming world: Kaneva and There.

Oh dear. More sleepless nights for the 3-D addicts out there.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Second Life vs. PS3's Home

We all know about Linden Lab's Second Life, the funky 3-D virtual world community, but has anyone come across Sony's Home, a Playstation 3 game that looks like Second Life but with much more realistic graphics?

Friday, March 16, 2007

TGIF - It's Friday

I noticed I haven't talked much about work. There has been so much to learn and absorb that I still cannot make heads or tails (or basically form some kind of pattern in my head) of the work plan that lies ahead of me.

It's still introductory mode, I guess. But I know my boss will be keen on hearing my ideas very soon.

In the past two weeks, I was introduced to the various systems and databases in place and the people who work with them on a daily basis.

One of my objectives here is to find a unified system (software) that will cover the range of archival activity in one box, mainly archives management, appraisal, declassification, and reference and research services. Whoa!! Trust me when I tell you: Every system requires a great degree of skill and intellectual prowess.

The weather in DC was once again wet. This afternoon there was rain mixed with ice pellets. I felt like home sweet home, though I think the Northwest of the U.S. and Southwestern Quebec and the Ottawa Valley will experience a massive snowstorm tonight.

The apartment hunt continues. I don't why this is taking me so long. The requirements are obscene, the fees even more so. Tomorrow, rain or shine, I'll hit the pavement again and this time find something that does not require blood type and fingerprints (okay, none require that much, but you kind of get the picture).

The weekend is upon us. Time for the trivial house chores. Maybe I'll take another walk on the Mall or visit a museum. The Smithsonian Museums are free, I hear.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial
Originally uploaded by siansleep.

Just another (rainy) day in Washington

My boss told me I should have a beer. Instead I had tea. Even if I had a palette for Budweiser or Miller, I would not even be able to afford either of them. Payroll screwed up my account number and thus no money was deposited into my account. Couple that incident with the fact that my rental application package still needs more forms to fill (unending list of forms), I did not have such a wonderful day. The rain that fell hard on DC this afternoon sort of summarized the day.

Drenched, I cleaned up and dried up and made some Red Rose Tea. Nothing beats tea on a rainy day, if you ask me. That and listening to SomaFM, as I am doing right now.

(NOTE: For those lucky enough [or unlucky enough, depending on how you look at it] to have Windows Vista installed on your desktop or laptop, there are several cool gadgets [i.e. widgets] that pull in data from various sources, including SomaFM and Weather Bug.)

Let's hope for a better tomorrow.

Note to self: Why do I hear in my head James Brown's "Living in America" each time I walk up and down these DC streets?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Apartment, Commute, Weather, You Tube

According to the clock on the wall (actually, the clock on the laptop), it is 4:30 p.m. I took my administrative leave this afternoon. I went to the apartment where I hope to stay for the next 12 months and submitted my rental application. I feel as though this is some kind of test.

I am hoping that, by this time next week, I will have moved in to this place and one stress will be off my shoulders.

Earlier in the day, as I walking to work along with other Washingtonians, I noticed several large Greyhound-type coach buses zooming up and down the city streets. Judging from the side signage or digital signage above the windshield, many were from out of town. Some were from Maryland, parts of Virginia; others had destination signs with "State Department" and "Pentagon." It seems to me that a lot--a heck of a lot--of people live outside of DC and commute to and from work every morning and every evening.

The weather is amazingly warm. Almost summer. People tell me that DC is part of the South. I thought it was part of the North. Regardless, I was sweating in my fleece jacket. Tomorrow I may just wear a light windbreaker.

God Bless You Tube. I'll spare you the details of the old music videos I tracked down, but what a "Digital Archive" and "Time Capsule" and "Memory Lane" that website turned out to be.

Note to self: Emotion + Web = Good Experience

Bureaucracy and Bedtime

I really should be in bed by now.

Tomorrow (that is, Wednesday) I have a full day of business. In the morning, it's work, more introductory meetings, more new stuff to get acquainted with, and faces whose names still evade me for a two second delay right after saying hello. I still feel very out of place in this behemoth bureaucracy. And I thought McGill had a lot of red tape.

In the afternoon, I am taking what is known around here as Administrative Leave. It is time off meant to be used to settle in - i.e. find housing, take care of business mostly associated with becoming a temporary resident of a foreign country.

That's nice and welcomed.

I am currently residing in a furnished hotel until I find an apartment. I have an eye out on a particularly well-priced apartment just outside the downtown core. I hope I get passed the insane rental application procedures. The only thing left for me to disclose to these landlords is blood type or a set of fingerprints!

Ever since I bought this Acer Travelmate 3260 notebook, I have been glued to the Web more than ever. The hotel provides free Internet access so that does not help at all.

I'm going to pay for these late hours. Time for bed, folks.

Good Night National Cathedral, which I see from my window.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Into the Digital Archive

A special thank you to all those who contacted me and wished me well on my 12-month contractual appointment with the UN System's Archives.

Because of the sensitive nature of the work, I will not write in great detail about the specifics of my projects but will from time to time (and using a good dose of common sense) explain and illustrate some of the work I am doing. The UN System is an umbrella for the agency I work with; there are many agencies and organizations that comprise the UN System, so I will leave the exact one to those friends and colleagues who have contacted me.

I will also use The DIGITAL Archive to blog about my experiences in Washington, DC. What better way to cope with the stresses of relocation and unfamiliarity then by writing about them.

At the UN System's Archives I will act as Digital Archivist (how ironic that the title of my blog is the same), working closely with fellows archivists and records managers in identifying, purchasing, and implementing new systems and web-based solutions to enable greater efficiency in managing records and improving access to the archives' collections to internal staff and researchers globally.

It will be a challenge, and I am looking forward to a rewarding experience. However, with a 12 month contract, I somewhat know what can and cannot be accomplished. Still, if the proper infrastructure can be established and a web strategy written and promoted, I think much can be done.

As for Washington, DC, I am finding the city both nice and daunting at the same time. It will take me several more weeks, perhaps months, before I understand the ebb and flow of the US Capital.

Monday, March 05, 2007

New Job, New City

If you are wondering why I have not been writing any new entries in a long while (except for the last cryptic note), I am pleased to inform my long time readers (and new readers, in case you just happened to pass by) that I was offered and have accepted a 12-month position as a Digital Archivist with the UN System in Washington, DC.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The DA in DC

Coming Soon!

about the author

I am an information professional, researcher, and writer with over eight years experience in the information services field with experience in information and communication technology.

I have a B.A. in History and a Master's in Library and Information Studies and working on a Web and Multimedia Design certificate.

I believe that empowering people with information can enrich lives and transform the world.