Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Good Lie Review

The marketing of the Good Lie creeps me out.  A story of the Lost Boys of Sudan has Reese Witherspoon's air brushed photo on the cover.  The trailer above is a great example of this, it has 90% of her dialog from the entire movie.  That makes up most of the trailer, it is a minor part of the movie.

If you get past the Hollywood wrapper you get understated look at strangers in a strange land that has sublime moments of just how strange America is.  This isn't a polished movie, the plot threads don't come together perfectly, and we don't see the resolution of everyone's story.  But a polished RomCom approach wouldn't have fit this story, though from the trailer you know someone really wanted it to be a RomCom.

The heart and soul of The Good Lie are the Lost Boys played by actual Lost Boys.  Their authenticity  overcomes the Hollywood trapping that want to undermine this movie.  Despite my deep reservations about so much of the movie, the honesty and charm of the three main characters won me over.  I really enjoyed the The Good Lie.

The Good Lie could have been, maybe should have been a darker more complex movie, but then I doubt the story would have found the audience it has.  The Lost Boys of Sudan is a story that deserves an audience and The Good Lie is a safe feel good introduction.

Full disclosure: I was given a copy of the Blue Ray/DVD combo to review.  I was also given a copy to give away.  The Good Lie comes out on Blue Ray/DVD Today [Dec 23]

- Peace

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Most Interesting and Viewed Photo on Flickr

Rob's Return
Converge (my faith community) went out to Rosen Lake for a weekend retreat.  I left early morning Sat. and stopped to take some shots of mist rising in the foothills of southern Alberta .  Was happy with the results so made a mental note to get up early on Sunday and take pictures of Rosen Lake.

While shooting the lake, noticed Rob out for an early morning fishing expedition in his canoe, and took some shots of him.  Liked the results, even mentioned to Rob and Stacy (our hosts) that there might be something there worth doing a print of.

Posted three shots of Rob in the canoe to flickr Tuesday night.  Got a couple of responses from my contacts, which were appreciated and went to bed.

Woke up Wed morning to find that the shot Rob's Return was now my most viewed photo in my nine years of posting to flickr.  The previous #1 Under Goat Creek has 9,762 views.  Most of that 9700 was thanks to weeks of it bouncing around on various tumbler blogs.    I was thinking I should blog it when it passed the 10k mark as it would be my first picture to do so.

In less than 48 hours Rob's Return now has over 31k views.  It reached 28 on flickr's leader board of the top 500 pictures of the day.  Seeing the quality of the other pictures in the list is quite humbling.

Rob's Return was also my most interesting picture of all time, when I checked the stats last night. However 2008's Sky Canola is back on top this morning.  Flickr's interestingness algorithm is a strange beast.

I don't know what all this means, but I enjoy it more than I like to admit.

- Peace

Thursday, August 28, 2014

1500km on a BC Mountain

Shale @ 1500km Hit the 1500km mark coming down the switch backs on the mountain just west of Rosen Lake.  Drove up once with the Element, didn't get very far, got stuck, thanks to Paul and Bo for getting me unstuck.  Engineers can be so helpful :) Bo & KK, drove the Element down, while Paul and I raced down - wheeee!

Rob lent us his Jeep and Paul, Amy & I tried for the summit again on Sunday.  Ran out of time, but still had a ton of fun driving the Wrangler up the switchbacks.  Paul was kind enough to drive it back down and warn the oncoming ATVs that I was behind on my bike.  It was a blast.  Wheee!

If all goes according to plan, I'll hit 1600km on the way to work tomorrow, then hit 1700km by Monday while in Vancouver.

- Peace

Saturday, August 16, 2014

1400km two days late

1400km on Elbow DriveHad a couple of low sleep nights that lead to days without biking.  So not a big surprise that I missed my goal of hitting 1400km on Wed by two days.

Broke a bike post in Fish Creek park this morning cutting a planned trail ride shot.  So we'll see when I make 1500km.

- Peace

Saturday, August 09, 2014

1300km down, 1400km by Wed?

Spruce Meadows @ 1300kmDid 30km ride on 22x this morning hitting 1300km near Spruce Meadows. Next goals are to hit 1400km by Wed and 1500km by Sat.

 - Peace

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Catching Up on KM

With Mike at 1200kmHit the 1200km mark yesterday with Mike.  We rode the canal pathway out to Chestermere then came back on Highway 1a / 17ave SE.

The 1200km mark was on the way back, not cool shot of the canal, so I decided to go heavy on the photo  processing.  I think it works.

Will ride the canal pathway again, will have to take some pictures of it as there's nothing else in Calgary quite like it.

Wheel and Clouds @ 1100kmThose who have been paying attention will know that the last KM mark I blogged was 900km at the end of June.  So what happened to July?  Well a ton of stuff, just not much bike related.  I hit 1100 km on the 20th and before that I hit 1000km on July 8th.  Did less than 300km in July. So what's that do for my yearly goal?
Waffles & Chix @ 1000km

Not much, obviously. So the pressure is on for Aug. I'd really like to be at 1900km by Labour Day . Last year I did 1300km after Labour Day, 1900 + 1300 km = 3200km and that's my 2014 goal. 3200km is 500km more that I did in 2013, so it's not unreasonable to say some of that 500km should come at the end of the year, so 1800km by Labour Day would be OK too. Less that that and I'll be worried.

- Peace

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

One of My Best Shots of 2013

Karin and Richard in the Talk Tent Calgary Folk Music Festival 2014 is this week; so I thought I'd see what was left of my shots from the CFMF 2013. Posted this one of Karin Bergquist of Over the Rhine & Richard Flohil who is a Canadian Music Industry guru.

The photo has taken off, in just two days it's my 7th most viewed photo of all time.

It would have made my top 12 list for 2013 if I had posted before I had done the list.  Thought it deserved a post.

- Peace

Saturday, June 28, 2014

900km & 22 Years

Clouds at 900kmRode through the 900km mark yesterday.  Two days later than I had hoped.  Still have three days for the last 100km in June, 3 x 33 km is quite doable.

Also hit the 22 year mark of being married to Kim.  Happy Anniversary my love :)

We celebrated with a fabulous evening at  Scopa Neighbourhood Italian.  Great Italian food in an energetic atmosphere.

- Peace

Monday, June 23, 2014

800km - 200km to go this week.

Small Hill at 800kmWe've had rain. And I've wimped out and not ridden in the rain.  Though I got caught in a brief downpour, and it was a powerful experience.  Still I'm behind my 150km a week pace.

Hit 800km yesterday, so now I have 200km and one week left in June.

The forecast is for rain most of the week.  Looks like I'll have to intentionally ride in the rain.

7 Days, 5 40km rides will do it.  Hope to be at 900km by Wed.

- Peace

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Six & Seven Hundred KM

Path Ends at 600kmOn Thursday I the hit 600km mark at this washed out section of the bike path in Fish Creek. The damage is from last year's epic floods in June.

Heading Down at 700kmOn Saturday we rode the Highwood pass. I was thinking it was 25km, so I'd done 30 km in the morning so that the shot at the top of the pass would be my 700km shot.

Lucky for me it was only 17km (I suck at climbing) but that meant my 700km shot was on the way back down.

Also crossed paths with the Olderings who were coming down as Dave and I were in the last km or so. I did my first web dev work for Greg back in 96.

Last week I was 20 km short of my goal of 150km a week.  I made that up this week and added an extra 10km.  So 1000km by the end of June is looking good.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

500km in the SW

500km on a SW Bike PathHit the 500km mark yesterday while riding to the Glenmore Reservoir.  Ended the day about 20km short of the 150km I was hoping to have by the end of the week.

Still I should be able to make the 600km mark by Wed. and then make 700km while riding the Highwood Pass on Saturday.  That would put me on track to hit the 1000km mark by the end of June.

BTW if you'd like to ride the Highwood Pass and didn't get an invite drop me an email.

- Peace

Saturday, May 31, 2014

400km Before Midnight

400km before MidnightAt 300km I said I wanted to hit 400km by the end of May.  Hit 400km with an hour to spare :)

This was the first week this year where I've done 100km.

Goal for June is hit the 1000km mark by the end of the month.  So that's 600km in June.  Means I need to do about 150km a week.  Yay!

- Peace

Monday, May 26, 2014

300km with Mike

300km with Mike at Gasoline AlleyHit the 300km mark on Sunday. Was riding around the Glenmore Reservoir with Mike, and hit the 300km mark just before Heritage Park. Love that I got a bike pic at Gasoline Alley, our local museum of cars.

Sunday was my first 50+ km day of the season, and my first 100km mark in Calgary. 100 was in Portland and 200 was in Vancouver.

Next goal is to hit 400km by the end of May.

- Peace

Sunday, May 04, 2014

200 km in Vancouver

Ships from Vancouver Harbour at 200kmDidn't get the 200km mark in Calgary.  Nasty weather and a nasty cold.  Did get over 70km while in Vancouver. Putting me over the 200km mark while riding along the Burrard Inlet on Monday.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Where are the Men?

Easter PilgrimsChewing on the easter story for our Pre Sunrise Easter Hike; I heard part of the story in a new way.

from Mark 16

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so they could embalm him. Very early on Sunday morning, as the sun rose, they went to the tomb. They worried out loud to each other, “Who will roll back the stone from the tomb for us?”

In other words: "Where are the men? With them hiding in fear: Who will roll back the stone?"

And so it was that it was the women who first encountered the resurrection.  It was a woman who was the first commissioned evangelist of the good news. "Go to my brothers and tell them..."

- Peace

Friday, April 18, 2014

Seattle Bed & Breakfast

Shafer Baillie Mansion

After my time in Portland I stayed a night in Seattle at the Shafer Baillie Mansion.  Wonderful quiet space with historic elegance, comes with a lovely breakfast.  I highly recommend it.

- Peace

Sunday, April 06, 2014

100km in Portland

Hit the 100km mark in Portland after hanging out with missional siblings at Evergreen this morning.

Zoo Bomb Rack

That's the Zoo Bomb Rack in the foreground and the Crystal Hotel where I was staying in the background.  (More on Portland to come)

So that's 100km down. Hope to hit 200km in Calgary, then 300km while getting Sarah from UBC.

The goal for the year 3200km.

- Peace

Friday, March 28, 2014

SAIT - Three Inukshuks

Speaking at SAIT today as part of their OOSD Industry Day.  Decided to share three inukshuks (markers) that have been a big part of my 19 year career.

delta - change.  It's a cliche to say that change is the one constant, even more so in Tech.  Still for me it meant that none of the tech that I learned while at NAIT was used in the real world.  OK two exceptions SQL, but that was on a mainframe at NAIT, first used it in MS Access in the real world. C++ but we learned it on DOS and a bit of Windows 3.1 client programing.  First used C++ to write an ISAPI filter for IIS 1.0.

Most of the tech used I've learned on my own.  Java, JavaScript, HTML, Groovy, C#, Mobile development ...

What this means for students: the most important thing you can learn is how to learn.  The best developers have personal projects they use to learn new things.

We've changed they way we think about change.  When I was in school we were taught that we had to get all the requirements for a project up front, and then build detailed pictures of what the code would be, then build the code.

The reason for this was it was much cheaper to find issues sooner than later.    Change was something to be controlled because change was expensive.  There was even this scary curve chart that went with it, showing how latter changes are much more expensive.

When you think about it, that chart is promising to deliver unmaintainable code.  What happens when you need to the code to do new things after the code has been delivered.  That curve says it will be expensive.  Why was this ever considered a good idea?  (That's a very long story that we don't have time for here)

We're starting to embrace change by aiming to keep the cost of change low.  There's a whole fields on this called: Agile Development, DevOps, Continuous Delivery, Lean Development etc.  But at the heart of all of them is the idea that we embrace change by making change easier.

What this means for students: It will depend on what they've been taught, I'm assuming that by now the basics of Agile Development are covered in school.  So we'll see where this conversation takes us.

@ - symbol of email and twitter.  True Story: When we first rolled out new business cards at a provincial department with email address one them we had a director of something barge into the support room and demand:

"What's the public phone number for the email?"

"I'm sorry sir?"

"The public phone number for the email!"

"I'm sorry sir, I don't understand.  Why would we need a public phone number for the email?"

"We have these new business cards, and it list this thing with the @ and it says email.  If I want my email at home I have to dial into our servers to get it.  So what phone number do I give people so they can email me?"

"Oh, no sir.  People will need to have their own connection to the internet through an Internet Service Provider.  They will get the phone number from them.  Then they can email you."

"Well what use is that?  How many people will have that?"

"Last estimate I saw on the number of people connected to the internet was 60 million and growing"

"Oh, realy? Well I guess that's fine."

"Glad I could help sir."

Today Facebook alone has a billion users.  It's a very different world.

What this means for students: Distributed work.  Even if you never take a job where remote work is part of the job description, it may well find you.  When I was with Elluminate most of our team was in the Calgary Office.  We got bought by Blackboard, who also bought Wimba and meged us into one division Blackboard Collaborate.  Wimba was a distributed company.  Most of their team worked remotely.  So our core team that sat together and took out cube walls so we could talk suddenly had to deal with members scattered across the US.

I have one friend who's worked for the same company while living in Calgary, Hong Kong and Hamilton.

Distributed work is the new normal.  Distributed work puts a much higher importance on being able to communicate in writing, and knowing how and when to communicate via voice and video.

The nature of connectivity has changed. We used to dial into an ISP via a phone.  We now have phones that we might make calls on. As an architect I now advise clients to seriously consider a mobile first design for new products.

Mobile is the new normal, and I know when I'm hiring developers I'll be looking for people who understand mobile even if it's not a mobile project.

sigma symbol for the measurement of the number of defects in the manufacturing industry.

Quality is one of the hardest things to teach in software development.  The term is very over loaded.

There are at least three important quality vectors.

Is it correct?  Does it deliver the right answer, does the right product get shipped?  Does it do the right thing?  This is mostly what gets taught/checked in most courses on software.  Fair enough  it's probably the most important vector.

Is it easy to use?  Usability or user experience design is whole field unto itself.   Still it's worth learning about and thinking about beyond just the end users.  For instance error messages, are they good?  Do the messages work for the user?  Do they help tech support?  Do the help the poor developer who needs to do an emergency fix at 2 am?

When I teach Software Development I give a lecture just on error messages and making them useful for developers.  I had a student at NAIT who was having a problem with a lab.  I looked at the code and looked at her error message and told her to improve the error message and walked away.  Five minutes later she was sobbing.

"What's wrong?" I asked

"I fixed the error message, then it was obvious what was wrong and now it works!"

"Isn't that a good thing?"

"I worked all weekend on this problem, I skipped my daughter's birthday party!  I could have had it fixed in five minutes!"

Is it easy to work with?  Code is the primary design document for your system.  Code doesn't lie, other meta design documents can lie as it's hard and expensive to keep them in sync.  So it's important for code to readable.  It's actually harder to read code then to write code.  And learning to write readable code is very hard.

Having students submit labs that are then thrown away is very different from the real world where you normally have to live with the code you and your team create.   I'm a big fan a labs the build on the previous labs.

What does it mean for students? This part will depend on what they've learned so far, but I'll recommend they learn more about UI design by reading The Non-Designer's Design Book by Robin Williams and learning about Usability Testing from the Nielsen Norman Group.  For code quality, The concepts of Code Smells from the Refactoring Book by Martin Fowler is great place to start.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

First Explored Photo of 2014

Millrise InukshukMillrise Inukshuk is the first of my 2014 photos to make Flickr's explore, if only briefly.

It's also the 6th photo to be added to the Most Interesting of 2014 set.  That means I have enough photos to start using the set to display in the right hand side of the blog.

- Peace

Thursday, January 02, 2014

My 12 Most Interesting Photos from 2013 (so far)

My most interesting shots from 2013, of the 2013 shots that I've posted so far.  Still have many 2013 shots in the pipeline.  Waiting till I'm done would mean this list would come out in April.  So it is what it is.

Can't help but notice two trends: 6/12 of my top 2013 shots come from the week I spent in San Francisco,  4/6 of my non San Francisco shots were done while biking.

Giant Head, The Bow #1 Giant Head, The Bow: shot downtown back in April. A shot of Jaume Plensa's Wonderland at The Bow.
To Rule the Deep #2 To Rule the Deep: from our visit to the San Francisco Aquarium at the end of October.
Urban Gulls #3 Urban Gulls: Also from our trip to San Francisco Kim get's credit for spotting the gulls on the expensive sports car.  I decided to ignore the car and frame the gulls with the urban back drop of Fisherman's Wharf.  Ironic that this would make my top 12 as a local has loudly made fun of my taking pictures of gulls earlier that day.
Jackrabbit Snow #4 Jackrabbit Snow: was shot right out side our house last January
From Treasure Island #5 From Treasure Island: A wide angle night shot of San Francisco from Treasure Island.  Our night bus tour stopped there for a a very brief time.  Just had tip to get the gorilla pod set up and get this shot before the bus was leaving.
Alcatraz #6 Alcatraz: Didn't get to visit the famous prison island. Next time.
By the River @ 2600km #7 By the River @ 2600km: My second to last 100km pic from 2013 taken from the river pathway.
Colours Spinning #8 Colours Spinning: a wind ornement from a shop in San Francisco
Calgary Pre Parade #9 Calgary Pre Parade: on 9th Ave just before the Stampede Parade.  I was on my way to work.
Rocks Near the Surface #10 Rocks Near the Surface: Shots of rocks under Goat Creek tend to be popular. My most viewed shot ever is Under Goat Creek
Single Track #11 Single Track: from the not quite Goat Creek ride in October. Goat Creek had been flooded out in June, and wan't ridable by October. So we rode the Rundle River Side Trail.
Urban San Francisco #12 Urban San Francisco: A shot of the city as seen from Frisherman's Wharf.