High School Hacks Charged for Changing Grades

ya, but shouldn’t these guys get an automatic pass grade for CompSci 300 ? Via NewsDay and The Register.

Two New Jersey teens have been accused by police of illegally tapping in to a school computer to change grades. Jonathan To, 18, and another teen who wasn’t identified because he’s a juvenile, were charged with computer theft after a routine audit discovered a discrepancy between grade reports and school transcripts, according to officials

Nonsense and Nonsensibility – CES and MacWorld

The massive Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is always a hype-fest for cool new gear. This year, there were 140,000 delegates there (yes, 140K) so the blogosphere is overflowing with foaming-at-the-mouth-gear-heads raving about the latest piece of kit (I’m just jealous because I wasn’t there this year).
One refreshing exception from all the hyperbole is Katie Fehrenbacher’s Top 5 Trends at CES article in GigaOm.

Meanwhile, up in San Francisco, Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone at MacWorld. This can’t even be considered a trade show, it’s a cult-gathering-PR-fest for all things Apple.

Since the world-changing iPhone won’t be available for six months in the US (and who knows how long, if ever, and how much, in Canada) Apple fans are satisfying their lust for the latest shiney-and-easy-to-scratch, non-replaceable-battery device from Apple, by making cardboard mockups of the thing. I’m thinking that for the price of an Exacto knife and some glossy paper, I could be toting my own iPhone any day now. Make your own with a this PDF from the iPhone countdown site.

By far my favourite MacWorld piece is from Violet Blue and her article – How To Seduce a Mac Geek. She’s got follow-ups on her blog Tiny Nibbles.

Stay Out of Park Truck Hit By Falling Tree in Park

I smell irony…

All day yesterday and today, media outlets in Vancouver were helping the Parks Board get its message out about the danger of falling trees in our world-famous Stanley Park. The parks board web site makes the situation pretty clear:

Stanley Park Remains Closed Today. Public Advised to Stay Out of the Park

January 10, 2007 (No. 2) – The Park Board is reporting that, in the interest of public safety, Stanley Park will remain closed today following an assessment of hazardous trees along roadways. The park was closed yesterday after being hit by gale-force winds late in the afternoon. Further remedial work is required to make the roads in the park safe for travel. There is still concern that snags, leaning trees and large branches that are hung up in the treetops may come down.

So, Canada’s Public Broadcaster, the CBC, sends in a satellite truck to do a TV piece from the park. According to the CBC blog, the truck managed to gather some primary sources it wasn’t counting on. It was nailed by a huge falling tree, trashing the satellite uplink and microwave. The truck may well be a write off.

I guess that means…no pictures at 11.

Feeling Great About Rejection

Here’s a really important point about building community. 

C o m m u n i c a t e .

JPG Magazine is a prime example of how to do things right. 

The magazine takes photo submissions based on themes. Readers of the online version, along with JPG judges, rank the submissions.  If yours is selected, it is included in a hard-copy version of the magazine, and they pay $100.00 USD.   Sweet, ’cause it’s about the fame, not the fortune…

Today, I got my rejection letter from JPG Magazine, and I couldn’t be happier. 

jpg magazine rejection letter

I would have preferred to be selected, but the fact that they sent me a note, explained how popular the submission for this edition were, and how I shouldn’t be discouraged, totally makes my day.

It’s at the heart of what interaction is supposed to be; a series of events that cascade into a relationship.   I’m not pissed that they didn’t pick my photo, not because they’re so darned nice about it, but because they have taken the time to communicate with me, give me context, and invite me to keep at it. 

Simple relationship building.  Think about how you or your company interacts with every person who starts on that series of events that could turn into a cascade and build into a relationship. 

If over 4-thousand people entered your contest (or photo upload or whatever) would you communicate one-on-one with them ?  If you don’t, you’re missing a vital piece of the community/releationship puzzle.

Oh, and by the way, my loser photos are here:

“Vancouver Public Library” (Tourist theme) http://jpgmag.com/photos/14059
“How I Learned To Drive” (Intimate theme) http://jpgmag.com/photos/14091

Really Getting the Skinny

There’s a great article on Nina G. Jablonski in the International Herald Tribune. She’s written a book called Skin: A Natural History

But when you really start thinking about it, it’s a factory that produces vitamin D, sweat, hormones, oils, wax, pigments — substances we need. Skin is a raincoat in that it protects us from water, bugs and noxious chemicals. It’s also a billboard which we adorn with powder, tattoos, piercing and scars to give off instant messages about our history, health, values and availability for mating.

Rich Googler a Real Canadian

We Canadians aren’t known for our extravagant behaviour. Even when we’re loaded with money, we still party like it’s 1954.

Somehow it’s endearing, isn’t it ?

Take for example David Cheriton who became a billionaire after investing in Google. via Canadian Business online

..his lifestyle hasn’t changed much. He’s lived in the same house since 1981 and he owns two modest vehicles — a 1986 Volkswagen van and a 1993 Honda Accord. Campus parking for the frugal billionaire remains a problem, though: “I still don’t have a permit.”

Despite resisting the temptation to spring for the $75.00 a month parking pass, he recently gave the University of Waterloo a donation of 25-million dollars in Google stock after realizing that “it wasn’t something that was going to land me in the poor house”.

Dave, you’re making us all proud up here, eh.

Terror Updates by Email

There’s a lot to be said for e-mail updates, but I’m not sure this is something I’d be signing up for.

Besides increasing my stress level, I figure it gives would-be terrorists an instant feedback loop. I can imagine them competing to see which cell can generate more e-mail alerts…

Via InfoWorld

The U.K. Security Service, responsible for the country’s counterterrorism efforts, plans to send out e-mail alerts to citizens warning them of changes to the “national threat level,” a measure of the risk of terrorist attacks. It will announce the start date and details of the sign-up process soon, it said Tuesday.

The U.K. government already publishes its assessment of the current terrorist threat level online, rating it as one of five levels: low (an attack is unlikely), moderate, substantial, severe (an attack is highly likely) or critical (an attack is expected imminently).

Good Form Has Many Forms

Matthew, looking good coming down a run in the fog and snow…

matt at cypress

Ok, it’s true. I look like I’m napping here, but really, I’m working out my next hot move. Either that, or I’m trying to figure out how to get all that snow out of my goggles after a massive faceplant really sick move off a big kicker.

napping robert at cypress

Could someone check…is he breathing ?

Snow to the Roof

Matthew and I did a couple of runs this afternoon after he finished school.

We haven’t been up since late last week and as you can see, there’s a wee bit of snow. Check out the guy shoveling snow off the roof of the Guest Services/Ticket building. 

And it was still snowing when we left…

cypress guest services

Time Mag – Blogs and More

Time magazine was an early adopter, launching it’s much-discussed Pathfinder web project in the mid-nineties.  Lots has changed since those days, and Time has continued to evolve it’s online brand.  Via Online Media Daily…

Time magazine today is again reinventing itself online, this time by revamping its site to emphasize breaking news and blogs.The latest online iteration of Time–a work-in-progress since the company launched its Pathfinder site in 1994–also strives for a cleaner look to better showcase photography and afford more space for advertisers. Even Time‘s trademark red border has gained a bolder appearance online.        

Label Goes All Digital

Congrats to ropeadope for going 100% digital. Via Wired News

Ropeadope, a seven-year-strong record label that has released albums from DJ Logic, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Medeski, Martin, & Wood, King Britt, Jazzanova, the Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet (my guess is that their sound is “neither here nor there”), and more, has announced that it is going 100% pure digital. Every release will be available on ropeadope.com in the MP3 format, as well as the major online music retailers.

Five Things You Didn't Know

Five things you didn’t know about me:

  1. I have a fear of enclosed places. Mostly it’s tight constricted places, like the crawl space under my house. This just started about 10 years ago. I make up for it by enjoying things like jumping out of airplanes or riding a snowboard. I know it’s been done, but one day I’d like to jump out of an airplane on a snowboard.
  2. At one time I was the personal manager for a recording artist. I ended up paying for things like his over-due rent and flights to industry events. I made no money at all. We once did a cross-Canada tour where the band started out as a Jazz Trio and ended up as a Country Duo. My job was to keep the bar managers from firing the band, mostly because that would mean having to pay for drinks. Thankfully his career fizzled and he ended up playing guitar with a pretend version of a famous Canadian Rock Band from the 60’s and 70’s.
  3. Instead of a 20 year long career at CBC I was only supposed to work there for a few months in the summer while I waited to start Law School at the University of Manitoba. I opted to stay at work and gave my law school seat to one of the dozens of people on the waiting list. My friend Andre got me the job at CBC; despite 10 years of working in private radio no-one else at CBC thought I had the right skills to make it.
  4. I have a thing for red heads. This is due to my very first love, Bev Roy. She was my girlfriend at Lt. Col. Barker VC Junior High School (I kid you not) and taught me how to really kiss. Bev, along with her long and curly red hair, dumped me for my very best friend. It happened 35 years ago, so I’ve forgiven then both. Well, her anyway. EB, to whom I’ve been married for almost 17 years, is a red head. When I first met her and her long and curly red hair, it was love at first sight, though it took my five years to get her to marry me.
  5. I’ve almost drowned 3 different times. Once in the Straight of Georgia when I was in my 20’s. I was saved by the crew of a yacht I had fallen from. (oops). Once in a private pool in Peoria Illinois when I was 7, during a posh party my parent were attending. A large African-American man reached down and pulled me, spluttering, out of the water. And once when I was 3 in Northern Manitoba when I fell into a spring-water flooded rock-pit. I was pulled out by three Husky dogs who grabbed me by my snowsuit and dragged me to safety.

I’m tagging Monique on this one.

oops, too late.

Pow Pow Pow

There is an insane amount of fresh snow on Cypress today.  We went up this morning and once you get past the almost white-out conditions, there is powder for days. 

EB and the boys hit the snow-tubing zone while I did some riding.  I really need a big Pow Stick (hint hint) if this keeps up.  It’s so crazy fun it’s hard to describe, and of course I left my camera at home.   Take my word for it. 

Drive carefully if you’re going up. They’re doing a great job on the roads but it is snowing heavily and it’s really hard to see.


Who Loves Paris and Beer ? Sydney Australia Does

Paris Hilton. I never thought I’d type that name here, but I’m always intrigued by what works in the mainstream media.

Sydney Australia media outlets are going nuts over P Hilton. She’s there on a PR junket to promote a beer. Blondes and Beers obviously works just fine down under. via the Sydney Morning Herald

Estimates put the figure…paid Ms Hilton at $US350,000 ($440,000). But once the cost of putting on the various events, flights, accommodation, security and her entourage is factored in it is likely to be in the region of $1 million…

The media index manager at Media Monitors, Patrick Baume, said the Hilton circus was a media success. “She was basically a visual story,” he said. The story managed 163 press articles, 302 mentions on radio and featured in 2337 TV items, bringing the total cumulative TV audience to 16 million.

So what does this tell us about mainstream media ?

Pets in the News

Why you might want to take your cat shopping

SYDNEY (Reuters) – An Australian bank has apologised for issuing a credit card to a cat after its owner decided to test the bank’s identity security system.
The Bank of Queensland issued a credit card to Messiah the cat when his owner Katherine Campbell applied for a secondary card on her account under its name.

Meanwhile, just send the dog up the street for a little hit… ?

ARMINGTON, Conn. – A Burlington woman has been charged with trying to get painkillers from a drug store by using her dog’s name. She faces more than two dozen charges related to her alleged repeated attempts to fraudulently obtain painkillers at a Farmington pharmacy under her dog’s name.

And finally, starting at $130 US at the Sarasota Ritz-Carlton, a dog massage

For another $220, the Ritz throws in gourmet dog biscuits, an in-room pet massage, a choice of nail buffing or nail polish, a souvenir photo, a brisk walk over Sarasota’s scenic Ringling Bridge and a gourmet meal of organic stew and designer water served on a silver tray.

Americans spend about $38.4 billion on their pets annually, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturer’s Association. Spending on pets increased an average of $2.3 billion a year since the association started tracking numbers in 1997.

160 Optimistic Voices for 2007


From the Edge, 160 optimistic thoughts for 007.

While conventional wisdom tells us that things are bad and getting worse, scientists and the science-minded among us see good news in the coming years. That’s the bottom line of an outburst of high-powered optimism gathered from the world-class scientists and thinkers who frequent the pages of Edge, in an ongoing conversation among third culture thinkers (i.e., those scientists and other thinkers in the empirical world who, through their work and expository writing, are taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefining who and what we are.)