Douglas Rushkoff at Writersfest

Last weekend I had the pleasure of listening to Douglas Rushkoff speak at the spring edition of the Ottawa Writersfest. Rushkoff is one of my favourite thinkers and host of the Team Human podcast, as well as author of the new book Team Human. Very little prompting was needed by the host to set off intriguing ruminations from Rushkoff about technology, media and society. Rushkoff walked us through the medieval inventions of the corporation and growth-based currency (currency that has to be borrowed and paid back with interest), both of which were introduced for the purpose of suppressing the middle class so that the ruling class could preserve their wealth in an increasingly peer-to-peer marketplace environment. Read On →

"Smart" City coming to Ottawa?

I was stirred to write a blog post after stumbling across an op-ed titled “Forget about Toronto, Sidewalk Labs – build a smart neighbourhood in Ottawa instead”. I have been following Toronto’s efforts at smart city development for the past 9 months (aka the Sidewalk Labs debacle), and was alarmed to read this same group might bring their bad behaviour to Ottawa. Sidewalk Labs’ smart city in Toronto has woeful accountability (and its leaked plans are terrifying), with high profile resignations from leading tech experts. Read On →

Life Insurance Calculator

With a baby on the way later this year, it’s the first time I’ve had to contemplate taking care of a dependent (not counting pets of course). One of the duties in this regard is ensuring that your dependent will be financially supported in the event of your death. Not a pleasant topic to think about, unless maybe you are from Bhutan, but a necessary one. The main question is how much insurance do I need? Read On →

Soundtrack of 2018

Music has a curious way of permeating your life, such that years later a song can stir up forgotten memories and emotions. Each song is precious in a way that only we can fully understand. These songs formed the soundtrack of my life in 2018. Black Violin - Stereotypes (album 2015) A mix of hip hop and classical, Black Violin pushes the boundaries of each genre. I’ve actually been listening to this album for a couple years now and still not tired of it! Read On →

Advent of Code 2018

This past December I discovered the Advent of Code challenge, in which you get a different coding puzzle for each day in December leading up to Christmas. The puzzles can be solved in any programming language of your choice. I decided to solve the puzzles in Elixir, which is a newer language that I am starting to use at work. The creator of Elixir, José Valim, was solving the puzzles as well and live streaming his solutions. Read On →

Setting up Visual Studio Code for Elixir

Elixir is a programming language that I am in the process of learning, and which I use at work. This post documents the settings I am using to develop in elixir using the VSCode editor.

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Book Review: Way of the Peaceful Warrior

This month I read Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. In short, it is a story about how to live your best life. Perhaps because I had pre-internalized several of these ideas already from my own lived experience, I found the first half a slow and painful slog (also because I kind of loathed the main character, but that was mostly by design). It wasn’t until around page 100 that I settled in and felt like I was getting something out of the book. Read On →

Book Recap: Spring/Summer 2018

It has been a busy time but I am still reading! Here is a quick recap of memorable books finished in Spring and Summer 2018. 49th Parallels Various authors (2017) Published during Canada’s 150-year celebration, a compilation of short stories and alternative histories involving Canada and our place in the world. Example: what if Canada had been first to develop the atomic bomb? I supported this publication through crowdfunding, and am quite pleased with the result: uniquely Canadian! Read On →

Book Review: My Conversations With Canadians

My Conversations With Canadians by Lee Maracle is a thoughtful journey across many topics central to Canada-Indigenous relations (or to use Maracle’s suggested term: Canada-Turtle Islander relations). I loved this book. It was super approachable and a great education for a non-Turtle Islander like myself, challenging many preconceived ideas. Maracle recounts conversations she has shared with Canadians ranging in time from the 1970s to the present. She will often linger over questions posed to her by non-Indigenous Canadians, turning the question around for the reader and instead exploring the biases of the questioner - what assumptions do they already have in place, in order to even ask that question? Read On →

Book Review: Wrist

Wrist by Nathan Niigan Noodin Adler Wrist is an Anishinaabe-inspired horror story that I picked up at the Ottawa Writersfest last year. One of the fun things about this book is that you’re never totally certain if the monsters are real. Adler keeps you guessing about whether this is playing out in the imagination of Church, the protagonist, even going so far as to include other characters who themselves don’t believe in the monsters. Read On →