Welcome, CBC Daybreak listeners | Thursday, March 6th, 2008


Crossing the road in Medellin | Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

In case my previous post about Medellín wasn't lengthy enough for you, here's an entire post dedicated to the art of pedestrianism in Medellín.

Forget the Venezuelan tanks massing on Colombia's border, or Rafael Correa's General Hospital-ish scowl at accusations of ties to the FARC. The true threat to all of Antioquia's fine citizens comes from within.

In my travels as a mainly bike-riding, trail-hiking, city-walking spectre, I've come across more than my share of close calls with close cars. During my bicycle tour of Cuba in 2005, an oncoming, swerving 50s Chevy narrowly missed sending me into a drainage ditch at the side of the carretera central at 6am. In Budapest, for the World Science Forum last year, the narrow streets and confusing signage had me hugging the sidewalks more than usual, and I'm sure I've annoyed more than one London cab driver by not looking at the right side of the road while crossing, but instead trying to read the faded paint signage on the asphalt instructing me to ``Look Right ->''.

Ahh, London cabs. The kind of car that only looks cool if someone is leaning out the back window firing off a Tommy Gun. Otherwise, they're just lame. The identical-looking drivers who all dress like not-so-distance relatives of Mr. Peanut don't help.

Perhaps I'm just spoiled because I live in Quebec... home - along with the United States - to some of the most courteous drivers you've ever met. Or maybe there's something about the Colombian driving psyche that gets lost in translation when you try to understand why they speed up instead of slow down when a pedestrian appears on the horizon. Whatever it is, the fact of the matter is that your average Colombian driver makes a monster truck demolition derby look like a canine fashion show.


Podcast - Professional Melancholy | Monday, February 25th, 2008

Just because it's still that time of year.

If I had eyes in the back of my head, I would have told you that you looked good as I walked away.

Jack Johnson - If I Had Eyes

Blank stares at blank pages. No easy way to say this. You mean well, but you make this hard on me.

Sara Bareilles - Love Song


Gilberto Gil @ McGIll today and tomorrow | Friday, February 15th, 2008


This is just a reblog from the Media McGill page that Gilberto Gil will be presenting today at 6pm, at the Omni Hotel.

There will also be a follow-up presentation tomorrow morning at the SAT on St-Laurent, which I expect to be more intimate (hopefully) than today's talk.

If any of my readers have any questions about community networking, technologies and culture, Internet governance, cultural development or anything else that they would like me to ask Mr. Gil tomorrow, leave it in a comment here and I will do my darndest.

More info on the Media@Mcgill page...


Bibble 4.9 Raw conversion filters | Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Since my last dozen posts or so have been about either Facebook or Medellin, I figured that I should post something completely unrelated.

So, I'm loving the filter settings in Bibble 4.9 workflow software. For non-photographers, RAW conversion software is a program that takes your RAW images from your camera (any camera worth its salt can shoot in RAW; check your settings) and processes them from a 'digital negative' to a high-quality, print-ready image file.

I used to shoot with an old, beat-up Leica on black and white 125 ISO Ilford film during my high-school photography courses. We'd then print on Agfa Multicontrast Premium photo paper, and the results were always stunning. Even photos that didn't seem like they would come out, ended up being oddly captivating with this process.

Also, all the hottest chicks in Grade 11 were in photo class, so that made it a no-brainer.

Anyways, fast forward 11 years and here I am using Bibble to manage my RAW photo workflow. It's available for Linux, Windows and Mac - in that order ;) - and it's by far the best software of its kind that I've used. I use Adobe Lightroom on my Vista PC when I need to, but on my Linux laptop all my RAW management is done through Bibble. Compared to Lightroom, Bibble seems to be more flexible, though they both provide ample options for pre-printing support (which is mostly what I use them for). I've also used Apple Aperture on my friend's Macbook Pro, but it doesn't hold a candle to either program. It's also far too slow to be of any real use to me; it was chugging on RAW files from my 10+MP Pentax for some odd reason, even though the machine is brand new. Its RAW output is also slightly less impressive than either Bibble or Lightroom. Maybe they'll fix things in the 2nd version, who knows.

So, playing around with some of the tucked-away options in Bibble, I came across film and photo paper simulators, where I found Ilford Plus FP4 125 film and Agfa Multicontrast Photo paper. And guess what? They make photos turn out just like my old Leica photos from high school - hot grade 11 chicks notwithstanding.



The real Pilsen billboard. | Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

This was the original Pilsen ad in the Medellín metro stations, until they pulled it when girls started falling over into the train tracks, mesmerized by the men in the advertisement. Especially the second one from the left.

Every hero deserves a Pilsen - some of us deserve seven.


Medellin-The Good, The Bad, The Beautiful | Friday, February 1st, 2008

As per my usual modus operandi, I'm writing about Medellin after I've been back in Montreal for a few days. The various memories 6 or so weeks I spent in The City Of Eternal Spring have had enough time to soak amongst the various synapses that connect them to each other. I'm going to write about some random, disjointed events I happen to remember from my trip, and then some overall impressions on the city and the country. I will limit my thoughts to those lucid enough to make sense when written down. This generally - but not always - excludes those wherein I'd already consumed a certain amount of Club Colombia or, more unfortunately, aguardiente.

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