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The Blog

15
May

Future Fear

In the last couple months I’ve been hearing about this new product being launched called Facebook Timeline. Today I watched a brief teaser that was shown at a social media conference by Facebook’s own Alfredo Tan, it was only a short minute-long promo and as I sat alongside of a room full of ‘oohing and ahhing’ marketers, and social media community, my initial reaction was discomfort and fear.

Yep. Fear.

So,  Facebook Timeline. Here is this very cool idea – A natural progression for anyone using Facebook. People already post images, make comments, talk about what they did that day, and geotag said comments. Taking all that data and simply reorganizing it in a chronological order is a logical step. The attraction to be able to look back at what you were doing even a couple years ago to reflect on an event or even more likely the little minutia of everyday life is fuel for nostalgia, hell we are all personal voyeurs. Conversations with your Facebook friends could extend to comparing what you were doing the week of July 23rd, 2006. It adds a new level of dimension to viewing your content the same way Google earth took simple satellite imagery and allowed you to spin the globe itself and find your favorite old watering hole. It’s one of these head slapping, ‘of course’ Ideas that you know will be a winner.

The attraction to be able to look back at what you were doing even a couple years ago to reflect on an event or even more likely the little minutia of everyday life is fuel for nostalgia, hell we are all personal voyeurs.

There is this insane landslide in the industry whose current has swept me along with such force that I was not able to stop myself. It took me some time to grab on to a branch to stop the momentum. I think about how easy it was for me to post and share hundreds of pictures of myself doing everyday things, me at the pub, a party, my daughters birthday celebrations, you name it. How thoughtlessly I posted my whereabouts, my interests of the minute, daily health reports, the lot. How I literally cataloged all my likes and wants, who my friends and family were and where to find them. A veritable cornucopia of marketing data all hand delivered and stored by complete strangers. My mother would be mortified. Airing family business globally. I mean really.

So here’s Timeline. As I sat watching this teaser all I thought was, ‘is this right?’. I thought of my daughter, her life, first day of school, her prom, graduation, marriage, her kids, all stacked, cataloged, stored by this stranger. Just typing this makes me sick to my stomach. And I know the millions that will line up to give up all those precious details away.

I am reminded of a film that starred Robin Williams called, The Final Cut [imdb] . The premise being every person is embedded with a chip that records everything they experience from birth to death, the ‘footage’ is then edited by a cutter and played at their funeral, and held as a keepsake. A wondrous invention to be sure, but as many stories go, corruption is discovered and the footage is used and twisted unethically. Isn’t this the first step?

So why am I uneasy? For me it lies deeply in the same reason I quit Facebook months ago.

Trust issues. In this case, I don’t trust Facebook.

Facebook is not a stranger to controversy surrounding its practices on how they use the personal data (which is peaking out at 800 million active users and growing). The thought of giving up even more of our personal lives to a company scares the hell out of me. It’s a culture change I am not ready for.  But slowly with the launch of iCloud, my files leave my hands to a strangers machine, floating God knows where, accessible to God knows who. Backed up, tracked, read, recorded, printed out, filed… it’s out there, and I don’t trust that it’s safe, or in good hands. But slowly out of convenience, out of my need to play, to experiment, off go these personal files, pictures, stories, too many commas in succession, I give away to strangers with the assumption my privacy will be respected.

For me this has crossed my comfort level. Perhaps the current will sweep me off my feet again and I will become another of the cataloged masses, but for now I will watch in morbid curiosity.

Well I must go, I have to tweet about this blog post in the hopes someone will read it and post it to their Facebook profile.

15
Nov

NSCAD needs Nova Scotia : A different view

I’ve wanted to write something about NSCAD for a while, and anyone who knows me, knows I see this whole debacle differently. I know some of you are going to take this wrong. I don’t hate NSCAD. Hell I’ve been teaching within its walls for over 15 years now. I love my students and still feel pride in being part of this legendary institution. Hating on NSCAD for me is very much like hating on religion. I don’t hate the idea of God just its administration.

When I first heard about Dalhousie ‘absorbing’ NSCAD my first thought was, excellent! I saw this move as a way to give NSCAD some stability, and above all some much needed accountability.

Let me be a devil’s advocate.

What would be so terrible if Dalhousie took the reins? Who would be effected? Redundant administration? The bookkeepers? Perhaps closing of campuses that are a drain on funds? Would there not be amalgamation of assets and a streamlining of processes? These are all extremely effective ways of ensuring NSCADs future are they not? It seems to me the ones most terrified of this would be those with a stake in any of those areas. Conflict of interest? I’d say so.

I feel that if we avoid this acquisition now, another one will be looming in the next few years unless NSCAD wakes up to its internal issues and makes serious changes.

For me this all started with, good old Paul Greenhalgh, in my opinion the man personally responsible for the decline of NSCAD. This ladder climbing past President did more damage to the spirit of the University than anyone else in its history. From his ridiculous port campus to his alleged affairs with students he ate the marrow of this great institution and then moved on to his next conquest, Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design in Washington. A position he has already moved on from. I would be curious to see how that University fared. Why we let this snake in the door is beyond me. In the wake of the Greenhalgh years we have a crippled institution, what remains is spread far too thin. I digress.

Is NSCAD worth saving? Of course it is.

But if it continues being run the same way it’s been over the last 10 years then what’s the point? Change is good. improvements must be made. Hard decisions are essential. Trim the excess, make it smaller, more efficient. New management? Why not? I am not sure Dalhousie is the right answer but what is the alternative? I would rather see NSCAD ‘absorbed’ than see it close. I know it seems short sighted. If we can stand on our own, I wouldn’t be happier, but I feel that if we avoid this acquisition now, another one will be looming in the next few years unless NSCAD wakes up to its internal issues and makes serious changes.

NSCAD needs Nova Scotia, as much as Nova Scotia needs NSCAD, Hell the world needs NSCAD. Our alumni span the globe. The old girl needs people to fight for her. Fight for this wonderful institution to stay alive.

relevant article on NSCAD: The Trouble with NSCAD

21
Oct

Fred Connors for HRM

Get to know We don’t need another politician. We need fredconnorsforhrm.ca

It was an honor working with you a man with such passion and integrity It was a helluva ride!

30
Jun

Google nonplus

Let me be honest here. Can’t say honestly that I’ve made a concerted effort to use Google+. I jumped in immediately. Not excited to adopt yet another social media platform, but in my line of business was duty bound to explore its advantages and abilities. The buzz over this new environment is incredible. All the signs of a good product are there. A constant stream of ‘Facebook killer’ messages, the blazing fast adoption, from what I read over ten million new users in its short existence. [ mashable ] The kool-aid has been ingested and many are drunk.

But here I am, bewildered. I keep coming back to the same thought. What is the point? In this world of ‘Social media experts’ [groan] , a statement of dissent or even worse admitting a lack of understanding of Google+ could be akin to ‘social media expert suicide’. So here I am happily standing on the cliff edge.

Google+. I see it as a massive warehouse party, where millions of people attend but everyone is wearing headphones and singing out loud to themselves, yet all feel cool for being allowed in to this ‘exclusive’ event.

My first task I attempted was to simply communicate with another user. A basic task. Or at least what I assume would be.  So I click on a user. Dead end. I click on another, this time I am presented with a button, “Send an email”. Obviously different users have different permissions for communication. OK. But I don’t want to email anyone I just want to strike up a conversation. Back to my profile page. Ahah! A chat area. No one is there. Strange because I know for a fact, that my buddy is using Google+ right this minute. I type in his name. “Oops, [name] looked invalid. Double check the address and try again.” Wait. So I can’t just add someone who is already my friend? Would it not make complete sense for this to just work? What is the point of arranging friends if not to be able to just quickly chat with them. Dead end. I commit no more time to this action.

Every day I receive at least three notifications from users to add me. Sounds exciting. I know what you are thinking. “This guy is popular and sexy, everyone wants to be his friend, maybe I could be too!”. You’d be correct about the sexy part. However, I don’t know ANY of these people. 1 in 10 are complete strangers. Many have profiles in languages I do not understand. My thought that there is a huge need to ‘collect people’. Those who we know of who see the value in maxing out the number of friends they have. Fine. I indulge them, after all we are part of this social community, we at least have this in common perhaps a dialog with strangers will unite this cold planet. So, I add them to my ‘Acquaintance’ group. No one ever calls, or is available for chat. Where is the social interaction? There is none that I am aware of. Dead end. I commit no more time to this action.

The one thing that sticks out in my mind was the ease in which I was sucked into Facebook. It wasn’t the user interface, it wasn’t the games or apps, it was the fact that everyone I knew was there. And I was able to just connect with them with very little thought and effort. Simple. But that ease is not present with Google+. That community is not apparent to me. I see it as a massive warehouse party, where millions of people attend but everyone is wearing headphones and singing out loud to themselves, yet all feel cool for being allowed in to this ‘exclusive’ event.

Perhaps it’s too early to tell, too green, too young for it to yet have its’ identity. To me Google+ needs time to mature. And for the time being I will hang in the club, not wearing headphones and looking for someone to dance with.

21
Jan

meet The Retar Crew, performers

We’ve worked with many fascinating people over the years, from all walks of life. ‘Meet’ is about sharing a little about these individuals.

Once upon a time, 4 dudes thought it would be cool to form a group called The Retar Crew. G said, “Hey, we should form a group and make an album called ‘The Retar Crew’!” JQ said, “And we should sell it for FREE on a website called ‘theretarcrew.com’!”

Everything we do is free

Jeremiah J. Jackson, Sr. AKA JQ
JQ is a Chicago native who founded the AAEE (Americans Against Eating Eggplant). To the nation of vegetarians who cries blasphemy and calls him a “vegist,” J maintains, “It’s not the taste, it’s a texture thing…plus, it makes the roof of my mouth all itchy.” He is responsible for making the group’s beats and when asked which computer program he uses, he replied, “I use this,” and pulled a Sony Walkman out of his windbreaker, adding, “It’s one of those dope ones, though. It’s got auto-reverse.”

Nancy Von Bittenhard AKA JQ
Former big sister of fellow Retar Crew member JQ, “G” (Gabriella) lives in a trailer and has no real expenses except for his marijuana habit. He would like to add that he purchases all of his weed legally with a medical card which he obtained from a doctor. He was diagnosed with “lack of focus and insomnia– or i don’t know man, i just need to get high, bro. Gimme the fuckin card!”

Percy Ostenbergerstienenbaum AKA PO
P.O. was born and raised in Decatur, Georgia and is the son of a preacher man. Following in his father’s footsteps, but always with his own twist, he changed his name to The Reverend Lionel Freighthoppa and has spent the last three years performing rap sermons to other vagabonds while riding freight trains back and forth between The Dakotas and the pacific northwest.

Jeremiah J. Jackson, Jr. AKA Jackson
Jackson D is from the cornfields of Iowa. At an early age, he was taught that “city folk ain’t to be trifled with” — and that was just referring to folks in Iowa City. Thus began Jackson’s obsession with cities and urban lifestyle, naturally giving him a deep appreciation and love for hip hop. He knew he had to make his way to the big city of Chicago. When he finally arrived, a chance encounter with a high-profile casting director at a downtown newsstand landed him the role of Harriet Tubman in the forthcoming summer blockbuster, Big Action Celebrity Car Chase 3.

20
Jan

meet Gordon Miller, film director

We’ve worked with many fascinating people over the years, from all walks of life. ‘Meet’ is about sharing a little about these individuals.

Gordon is a multi-talented Cinematographer and an Award Winning Commercial Director. He learned his craft in many countries, languages and cultures. After graduating from Yale with a degree in Literature and Art History he ‘worked his way up’ through the film industry at the international crossroads of Miami. He was fortunate to learn from many of the top European and North American Cinematographers and Commercial Directors shooting throughout the West Indies and the Americas. Gordon speaks and works in three languages: English, French and Spanish; born in Jamaica, he also speaks patois. He currently resides with his family in Nova Scotia.

An engaging storyteller, he knows the medium must be organic and servant to the message.

As a Director, Gordon is affable, perceptive and succinct. He has a great eye for casting and is good with kids, dogs and real people as well as professional actors. Having worked in over thirty countries, he is an excellent problem solver: able to bring the best out of what the location, talent, crew and budget have to offer. His visual lexicon encompasses bold image, captivating vignette, stunning landscape, thrilling perspective and the subtle shadings of dramatic lighting. An engaging storyteller, he knows the medium must be organic and servant to the message.

Gordon’s international perspective, facility with languages and technical proficiency combine in a uniquely versatile talent. Identifying, understanding and shaping nuance is his forte: whether through the manipulation of lighting, lens choice, camera movement, body language, characterization or cultural iconography.

Gordon has won numerous awards as Director/Cameraman including an International Gold Mercury Award and Finalist at the London International Advertising Awards in 2003 for “Lundrigan’s Marsh” Nature Conservancy of Canada and in 2004 a Silver International Summit Award for “Airport” Liberal Party of Newfoundland & Labrador. As well in 2004 he was the Cinematographer on “Dentist” Canadian Automobile Association, which won a First Place Mobius Award and on “AJFF” Atlantic Jewish Film Festival, which was three weeks in the AdCritic top ten.

description › Gordonfilm.com is an online self-promotional video portfolio, which features Gordon Miller’s extensive work ranging from commercial to film cinematography.

20
Jan

meet Avi Miller, stonecarver

We’ve worked with many fascinating people over the years, from all walks of life. ‘Meet’ is about sharing a little about these individuals.

A brilliant and talented young stone carver, Avi Miller can breathe life into any cold block of stone.

In 1994 Avi Miller graduated from Indiana State University. Shortly after he attended the Guild Institute of Stone and Restoration Masonry which he attended till 1997.

From 1996 to 2000, Avi cut his teeth working at Acme Environmental Ltd. as a stone mason in Albuquerque, NM.

Avi Miller can breathe life into any cold block of stone.

In 2000 was re-established in Nova Scotia Canada with Masontech Inc. where he works as a restoration mason, and a stone carver apprentice.

He continually works on commissioned projects restoring masonry at locations such as provincial courthouses in Halifax, NS and Fredricton NB or stone carving and restoration work amongst many buildings and churches such as the well known Emmanuel Church in Boston Massachusetts.

description › A dynamic and distinctive brand identity was created. Business cards, and signage

20
Jan

meet Pierre Loiselle, radio geek

We’ve worked with many fascinating people over the years, from all walks of life. ‘Meet’ is about sharing a little about these individuals.

Pierre Loiselle is a longtime social justice activist. These days, he finds himself particularly working on prison issues, indigenous solidarity and the psychiatric survivors movement.

He has worked in the campus-community radio sector for over a decade, and has contributed writing to various magazines, on-line newspapers and even a book chapter. Pierre is often heard espousing the importance of creating our own media to inform, educate and inspire people to act. To this extent, Pierre has recently co-founded Praxis Media Productions, a non-profit organization that produces educational audio resources.

Pierre is often heard espousing the importance of creating our own media to inform, educate and inspire people to act.

Having lived across Canada, Pierre now calls Halifax home. He still considers himself a radio geek and works for both the Halifax Coalition Against Poverty and Dominion Newspaper radio programs.

description › Praxis Media Productions is a non-profit online media collective that produces educational resources featuring critical voices on under reported topics and issues.

Their audio projects are frequently broadcast on campus, community and pirate radio stations across North America.

20
Jan

meet Raland Kinley, developer

We’ve worked with many fascinating people over the years, from all walks of life. ‘Meet’ is about sharing a little about these individuals.

Raland Kinley is many things: a father, professional web/software developer, music label owner and the former frontman of Halifax, Nova Scotia’s death metal demons Dichotic.

Raland graduated from Saint Mary’s University in 1996 with Bachelor’s degrees in arts (honours economics) and commerce (finance). He worked for a junior mineral resource company as an administrative assistant in his first year after university before landing a market researcher position at Brooklyn North Software Works in the early part of 1997. Eventually, Raland took on the role of webmaster for the company and this is where his interest in web development and programming took hold. He stayed on with Brooklyn North until 1999.

Raland Kinley is many things: a father, professional web/software developer, music label owner and the former frontman of Halifax, Nova Scotia’s death metal demons Dichotic.

In the meantime, Raland had been handling vocal duties for local death metal masters Dichotic and he managed his own music label (Discorporate Music) to promote Dichotic and other local metal acts including Cephalectomy, Fear Absolute and Civil Carnage. Dichotic released two full-length CDs for Discorporate Music. In all, Discorporate Music has eight releases under its belt. Although it is now a less intensive hobby than before.

In 2000, Raland found employment at Photopoint.com – one of the first site’s for sharing digital photos. Photopoint was a truly inspiring place to work. Raland got more involved in programming, and met the future mother of his child.

In 2004, Raland joined TransActive Ecommerce Solutions as lead developer. He remains there today where he is primarily a Microsoft .NET developer and an expert technical integration resource for the Skipjack Financial Network.

On January 4, 2005, Raland and Rhonda (Miller) welcomed Nicholas Miller Kinley into the family. Nicholas has definitely inherited some of his father’s energy and passion for life and he is well-versed in his father’s past work with Dichotic. Raland, Rhonda and Nicholas live in their new home in Halifax. Raland’s current obsession is finding ways to improve the energy efficiency of the house and playing Civilization IV. Of course, that Nicholas character keeps him occupied as well.

20
Jan

meet Howard Harawitz, internet pioneer

We’ve worked with many fascinating people over the years, from all walks of life. ‘Meet’ is about sharing a little about these individuals.

Howard Harawitz is well known in Internet circles as the developer of the world’s first commercial Web page editor, HTML Assistant Pro. He is also the author of some of the earliest microcomputer software programs.

Howard’s golden rules for software development

“Simple” it is easy to grasp and use and is neither obscure nor cluttered with an overabundance of questionable features.

“Smart” it ‘knows’ the user’s requirements and can lead them through the steps required by the application.

“Transparent” there is nothing hidden or mysterious going on. clear messages let users know what is happening or expected at all times.

“Smooth” the software anticipates the users needs and does not put unnecessary obstacles in the way of the program’s operation. this promotes a feeling of effortlessness, freeing users to think creatively about the task at hand with a minimum of attention required to operate the software.

“Attractive” the software is pleasing to look at and fun to use. it incorporates good graphic design principles in its screen presentations, color schemes and iconography. its verbal messages are informative, concise and friendly.

Howard Harawitz is well known in Internet circles as the developer of the world’s first commercial Web page editor, HTML Assistant Pro.

During the 1960s and 70s, Howard lived and worked in close proximity to the “Silicon Valley” area of Northern California. He worked with the founders of the industry and developed some of its earliest software products — for both the arts and engineering. Howard was a participant in San Francisco’s “Computer Faires”, the industry’s first trade shows. Other participants included Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, John Dvorak, Lee Felsenstein, Adam Osborn and many others whose industry contributions are well known.

A practitioner of the arts for many years, Mr. Harawitz is an active electronic musician and photographer. His photos have been used in television documentaries, published in books and magazines, as well as by the British Broadcasting Company as part of its Open University series that is delivered on the Internet. Earlier this year, two of his photographs were installed as photo murals at the University of California’s Berkeley campus. His musical compositions have been used by theatre groups in Northern California, and at the St. Mary’s University Art Gallery.

description › Application product design, trade show display with print, and screen marketing materials.