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March 2004
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May 2004

Robert Scoble and the Microsoft Bloggers

I have, as of late, been spending a lot of my blog time on Robert Scoble's blog. Robert works for Microsoft as an Evangelist (what an interesting title!). I never thought that people at Microsoft would open up to the world this way. Maybe, that's a sad statement about my optimism about the world's largest software company. Anyways. Robert's blog and other blogs written by Microsoft employees really give you a sense of some of the people at Microsoft. And since these people create software that the vast majority of computer users work with daily, it's even more interesting to get to know who they are and have conversations with them through blog comment threads.

Special mention to the new video blog and forum site about Microsoft called Channel 9 started by Robert Scoble and a few of his friends within Microsoft.

And, also, learn about the evolution of Microsoft Word from Chris Pratley, who has helped developed Word for the past 9 years.

South African Democracy is 10 years old!

fl_zaI mentioned a few weeks ago that 10 years ago, I experienced an amazing and tuly significant event. April 27th, 1994 - I drove around the Valley of a Thousand Hills between Durban and Pietermaritzburg with a big Canadian flag out the car window and an "all access" pass around my neck.

The Gods smiled favourably upon me and I played the role of a very junior midwife to the birth of a New Nation - the Rainbow country - the New South Africa. I got goosebumps right now and for the rest of the day at least, I am sure.


Read more here and here....

The Power of the Cartoon...

Impressive and amazing. I am not a cartoon reader but have some understanding of the passion with which people follow their favourite funnies. Gary Trudeau has taken his Doonesbury readers for a ride of a very different kind than they are used to. I guess he wanted to bring home the harsh realities of war, even as people perhaps want to read his stuff as a type of escape. One of Doonesbury's characters. BD, has been wounded in Iraq, lost a leg actually. John Nagl writes

"Ironically enough, it's these drawn fictitious characters that are putting a human face to the casualties that just become daily reports"

I was quite amazed by some of the comments left on the Doonesbury web site that John points to in his excellent post:

"I'm stunned by the realization that, to date, my most visceral reaction to everything that's taken place over the past year in Iraq was caused by a cartoon."


"I was sitting outside this morning, reading the morning comics on my coffee break, just like I do every morning...when suddenly I felt like someone had punched me in the see BD injured, maimed even, was heartbreaking. And I work at a major US medical center, where I deal with amputees a lot...but those experiences did nothing to soften the blow..."

Jim Harrison, Radio NL, predicts our next MP

Gotta love Jim Harrison, really longstanding news director at Radio NL. Jim has always been really good to me, whenever I needed to see him about this or that. Jim also writes a weekly column, as I do, in Kamloops This Week. Jim's last column speculates on the prospects for some of the local candidates in the upcoming federal election. Here are some snippets from the column, with gratuitous commentary from me on each.

On NDP candidate Brian Carroll:
"He's a nice guy who believes in the socialist mantra, but he doesn't have the political polish or the oratory skills to pull it off."
Arjun: what exactly is political polish - is it really a good thing? Could Brian have any more unfriendly a photo of him on his campaign web site?

On Liberal John O'Fee:
"The John O'Fee factor is intriguing. Not exactly a politician who's made an indelible mark on the Kamloops landscape, but one who seems to offend few enough people to continuously do well at the local level. "
Arjun: I think John's experience and local profile could be a real asset. If I could just get him to follow through on his commitments to call my Dad, and update his web site (John, you won the nomination a month ago), all would be well.

On Conservative and sitting MP, Betty Hinton:
"She's learned it, is seen in the right places and most often says the right things. But along with learning the ropes, she's worked hard on behalf of her constituents....Hinton will probably earn herself a second term."
Arjun: Betty is a wonderful person. I have seen her give some pretty bad speeches over the past little while, but that can be improved. I think Betty and John are going to go neck in neck in the election.

I wonder why Jim didn't rate the Green party candidate, Grant Fraser. I think the Greens might have a good chance at some seats this year.

Happy Birthday Darren Barefoot...

One of the most interesting and eloquent bloggers I read turns 30 today. Happy Birthday to Darren Barefoot! Here is a comment I posted on his blog...

Happy Birthday!

I have really enjoyed reading your eloquent and interesting blog. Thanks for pointing me in the direction of some excellent info. From the old CBC clip on "Internet" reference on Boing Boingwhich is how I stumbled across your blog to this latest find on political text messaging. Appreciate it.

Two Gentlemen wisely investing in Technology

Over the past two weeks, I have had the immense pleasure of discussing technology and internet skills and issues with Corey Sigvaldason and Darren Aylward. Corey is a financial planner extraordinaire based in Kamloops. Darren manages the Kamloops Holiday Inn Express, in the role of Asst Manager.

We have discussed email marketing, wireless technologies, voice recognition, and social networking sites.

Its the first time I have run this "Critical Internet Technologies for Business" course and I really appreciate these two gentlemen and their support. I remain hugely committed to giving them value out of their participation.

Last, more coherent post, about the Digital Carnival

Glen Morris, Mike Gilgan, Jason Wassing, Cherie Rensing, Troy McMillan, and the dynamic Ali Uddin. You folks really are amazing!

I musn't forget Ian Cameron, Mike Koehn, and Adele Yakemchuk who also played a really important role in the story I am about to relate.

I have described Digital Valley as a fledgling association of technology related and interested companies in Kamloops. We are still quite young and have had our fair share of hiccups.

A year ago, I proposed to the then Board of Digital Valley that we hold a large fundraising dinner, to raise some funds for the association. It 's a true accomplishment when you have raised funds you have put some real elbow grease into. Not that raising funds any other way is not an accomplishment, just that we found out a fundraising dinner is a huge amount of work.

This was our first time putting together a fundraising dinner and dance. We added some interactive tech demos and we called it the Digital Carnival (thanks Cherie Rensing for coming up with that).

Everybody mentioned above put their heart and soul into this effort, in whichever way they could, and brought such amazing individual strengths. There were so many details to take care of.

So what happened: 200 people, over $10000 in prizes, been getting lots of great feedback. And we raised probably $4000 - $5000 for our association.

There were certainly glitches, but the dinner committee is meeting in two days to discuss and, dare I say, start talking about the next one (bigger and better)....

...and I am not entirely sure you can say we are a fledgling association anymore.