Friday, August 31, 2007

My My My, Look How Time Flies

When was it? A few months ago, a few years ago that I talked about the 'newest' Foo Fighters single "Best of You"?

Lo and behold, Dave Grohl and his gang have released a new hard-hitting single called "The Pretender."

The video is on YouTube, of course.

Things Change: Inside and Outside

I went on holidays on the week of August 13. I spent a week in Montreal, where I met with family and friends. I had a good time and soaked in a much-needed quiet break from the noisy hustle of Washington, DC. I also visited friends in Ottawa. It was during my trip to Ottawa that the seed for this blog post took root.
On the Greyhound bus from Montreal to Ottawa, I could not help but notice the numerous construction projects taking place around me. Quebec is well-known for its endless road work; but this, what I witnessed from the window of the speeding bus, was somehow different, more energetic. Not only were provincial work crews busy digging, drilling, hammering, and paving road ways, there were large housing and commercial developments taking place along Highway 40, a part of the TransCanada Highway.

For those familiar with the highway and surrounding neighborhoods, this part of the Montreal Island is known as the West Island. Neighborhoods such as Kirkland, Beaconsfield, St-Lazare, Hudson, Dorion-Rigaud all seem to be undergoing prolific transformations.

Large construction machines move across the flattened land, puffing clouds of dust from their heavily burdened tires and treads. The land, bulldozed flat, sprout the wood and steel frames of future homes and commercial centers. Local traffic flood streets. This scene was repeated over and over, town after town. Even in 'quiet' Ottawa, where I ventured west of the downtown core to the suburbs of Canada's capital, there were housing and commercial developments unseen before in my travels.

I began thinking, pulling concepts and images together attempting to reason why there was so much activity. This time around, however, I could not come up with any kind of philosophical reason or statistical set of numbers explaining why this was happening. All I could think of was: "Things are changing."

My time away from Montreal allowed me to see things in a different light, I suppose. "Things are changing. New construction almost everywhere. People moving about." It also got me thinking that when things begin to change there is often opportunity not far behind.

And lately, whenever I think about opportunity, I often think about job opportunities. It is no secret that the Montreal Library and Information Studies (LIS) market is rather weak, with few openings in an already small marketplace. I know several McGill Graduate School and Library and Information Studies' classmates and alumni (including me) who have reluctantly moved elsewhere to find work. Some, however, those fortunate few, remain but feel limited in their current job. While others have taken a more radical approach and have parted ways with their traditional librarian/archivist training and have pursued other fields, such as IT/Systems and Support, Music, Translation, etc while still bringing to the table some themes and skills learned in library school.

I really like the last group--those who have reinvented themselves after library school--because they are thinking outside the box. Like the new construction, they are building something new on uncharted land, land mostly unexplored by past library school graduates, changing direction, accepting risks, and inviting opportunity.

In the past six months, basically since I relocated to Washington, DC to work on a 12-month contract here, there has been changes in my thinking and perception. Nothing deep enough to write about here, at least not yet. But something subtle. I would like say that I am settling in and feeling right at home here. But as Ed aptly put it in a blog post, on most days, following a day's work, I break even. A tie game. Not sure of the next day's game plan. If there are more developments in this area, I'll keep my legion of readers posted.

Just remember one thing: "Things are changing."

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Testing scribefire to post

This is a test. It's okay. Just testing.

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Friday, August 10, 2007



Firefox updated from to the other day, and now as I started it up all my settings and add-ons and themes have vanished!


Update 08/12/2007: Okay, I had to completely uninstall Firefox, that is, remove all Mozilla Firefox files from my computer. I re-installed Firefox and all works well again. It's just too bad I lost all my favorite add-ons. Slowly building back my collection and adding a few news ones.

Honor, Dedication and Sacrifice

Last weekend I visited Arlington National Cemetery and witnessed the awesome and inspiring Tomb of the Unknowns and the Changing of the Guard.

Crossing the open green fields dotted with white tombstones of the fallen, seemingly perfectly aligned from every vantage point, I came to the area where the Tomb of the Unknowns and the Sentinel protecting the site is located.

The Sentinel, part of the specially-trained and extremely disciplined members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (Old Guard), stand with rifle in hand by the Tomb of the Unknowns 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, rain or shine, summer or winter (unless the weather is very hostile at which point they can take shelter -but that's unlikely).

The Sentinel stands guard in full honor uniform, pacing 21 steps in front of the large sarcophagus and three grave sites containing the remains of unidentified U.S. military personnel from previous wars. Pause for 21 seconds, then turn and pace 21 steps again, continuing the precise movements until relieved - that is, the Changing of the Guard.

The relief commander or assistant relief commander initiates the changing of the guard according to Army regulations. As the ceremony begins, there is a tangible feeling of honor and dedication emanating from the guards. The stillness in the air, the solemnity of the ceremony steeped in symbolism, the precision and beauty of the maneuvers, and the dedication to the unknown soldiers are inspiring.

As we sleep and dream the night away, there is a Sentinal at Arlington National Cemetery manning his post by the Tomb of the Unknowns, fulfilling his honorable duty for those who made the ultimate sacrifice, nameless.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007 and the Rise of the New "ME"dia

Yesterday afternoon, during a break and momentary lull at work, I received a Twitter tweet or twit (or announcement, for those Twitter uninitiated among us) from Greg Willits, one half of the husband and wife team behind the podcast Rosary Army and videocast That Catholic Show.

Greg informed his subscribers (or followers in Twitter parlance) that he and his wife, Jennifer, were about to record an episode of their podcast live on, a new live video streaming website where anyone with a webcam and microphone can broadcast a show over the Web.

Clicking on the link provided, I soon saw Greg and Jennifer broadcasting live from their home studio, a renovated walk-in closet affectionately known as the Cloffice. Sure enough, they were recording an upcoming episode of their Rosary Army podcast.

I had to tune out several times to respond to work-related questions, so I could not listen and watch the entire recording. By the time I returned to the video, Greg and Jennifer had finished recording their show but remained on screen to chat with viewers, dishing out the latest news and updates on their upcoming projects. According to the screen, there were 34 people watching and a few chatting. A small interested community were glued to their screen watching two Web 2.0 broadcasters doing a fairly good job at broadcasting.

Just then, I had a "a-ha" moment. I have been fascinated with content creation and delivery mechanisms since 2003 when I saw how the entertainment world was divided into content creators (actors, directors, musicians, artists) and content deliverers (production studios, film distributors, music companies, cable companies).

Fast-forward to 2007 with the rise of YouTube and and other user-generated content websites and you see how the entertainment model is spreading across the social spectrum. No longer are content creators and content creation confined to some studio lot in Hollywood or record company in LA or New York. No longer is the usual content deliverers the only route. Content creators now have the Web to distribute their content.

Granted, the advent of blogging and the mainstreaming of the blogosphere have shown us the influence of the new content creators and the power of the Web to distribute content.

But now something new is emerging, I believe: It is the emergence of communities surrounding these blogs, podcasts, videocasts, etc. And by communities I do not necessarily mean fan groups or user groups. I mean--thanks in part to RSS, the iPod and other mp3 devices--there is intimacy between the content creator and the consumer and levels of participation and creativity unseen before between content creator and content consumer.

The user-generated content world is still in its infancy, still focused on the juvenile "Me" of new media (like Time Magazine's 2006 Person of the Year) and still bedeviled by content plagerism and outright content theft, and grilled by the quesiton, Who exactly is earning money off my content?

But look beyond these details for a moment and one will see taking root inside the new "me"dia a florishing community of "us"ers.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

X-Ray Your Web Pages

The writers and web designers over at Digital Web Magazine have discovered a cool little web design tool that plugs in to FireFox and Safari web browsers: XRay.

It is a floating inspector that reveals markup, CSS, dimensions to whatever web page element you point and click your mouse on.

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.