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.
Microsoft has offered to buy the search engine company Yahoo for $44.6bn in cash and shares.
The offer, contained in a letter to Yahoo's board, is 62% above Yahoo's closing share price on Thursday.
Yahoo cut its revenue forecasts earlier this week and said it would have to spend an additional $300m this year trying to revive the company.
It has been struggling in recent years to compete with Google, which has also been a competitor to Microsoft.
If you would've asked me how I felt about this a couple years ago, I would've jumped on the anti-MS bandwagon with everyone else and worried that Microsoft would ruin Yahoo and her spin-offs, but today, Yahoo is the company that needs to be saved - and why not by Microsoft?
I don't listen to podcasts much. I don't feel like I can make time to listen to any of them. Both Amarok and Banshee have very solid podcasting clients, but when will I listen to them? I listen to MP3s when I'm working because I can't focus on anything else, since my multitasking abilities are limited to chewing bubble gum and kicking ass. At the gym I need my angry angsty pop-metal or 2Pac to keep me motivated, and in the car I only listen to CKOI because the hosts are awesomely hilarious, they play the best new francophone music, and anglophone radio sucks the big one in Montreal.
Sometimes I'll visit a site with a podcasting section and play something that looks interesting through the flash player in the browser, but I'm not "subscribed" to any podcasts. Well, I wasn't until I found the Free Library of Philadelphia Podcast:
I was actually trying to make it to Yunus' talk at the Free Library in Philly last week (for free!), but it didn't work out. Then, poking around a little, I found that the library records most of the talks and puts them up on their podcast for anyone to download. I've been hooked on these for the past week - Anthony Bourdain's and J. Craig Venter's are particularly fantastic.
I've only listened to about half of them so far, but I'm definitely going to work my way down the list.
Ok, fine, podcasting doesn't always suck - when I can sit still for long enough to listen to them.
All those complaints from us concerned web users about Facebook violating our privacy rights seem to finally be paying off:
Facebook is to be quizzed about its data protection policies by the Information Commissioner's Office.
The investigation follows a complaint by a user of the social network who was unable to fully delete their profile even after terminating their account.
This is, of course, a great first step to ensuring that the world's most powerful social networking organization realizes that its customers actually do care about how their personal information is used and how it's shared with other companies, partners, and government organizations.
I've had the same phone for some time now; a 3 1/2 year old English/Arabic Nokia 7610 that has been outstanding since the day I got it. It's also built like a tank. Except with things like my laptop and my camera - two devices I use every day that are critical to my work, and are more extensions of myself than just tools - I'm generally very clumsy. I've dropped, soaked, stepped on, crushed, and even threw (don't ask) this phone more times (and in more brutal ways) than I can imagine, yet it still works the way it did when I first got it. I've used it mostly (surprise!) to make phone calls, but at some time or another it was also being used to:
For those of you following the ever-entertaining saga about Facebook data mining the entire human population (except for the smart ones), here's another zinger about their relationship with TRUSTe, the supposed Internet privacy and trust organization founded in 1997. First, some extracts from their mission statement and website:
" TRUSTe® is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to enabling individuals and organizations to establish trusting relationships based on respect for personal identity and information in the evolving networked world.
Advancing privacy and trust for a networked world, we certify and monitor web site privacy and email policies, monitor practices, and resolve thousands of consumer privacy problems every year."
You've probably seen their logo on various sites you may visit, such as eBay. This 'privacy seal' is supposed to ensure that the website in question has trustworthy online privacy policies. Even though I've done a fair amount of work on the periphery of web privacy standards in Canada in the past few years, I'd never really crossed paths with TRUSTe other than noticing their seal on a few sites, and automatically assuming that the site in question cared more about privacy or protecting user data than another site which doesn't have the seal. For someone like me and the other eight people or so who actually care about user privacy on the web, it was like a warm fuzzy blanket that made me feel more comfortable visiting the site in question, and I never paid more heed to it than that.
... from cocaine and hand guns.
So, Medellin, Colombia is a pretty hot place. Not temperature wise though, the weather is quite perfect all year round from my point of view.
Like I'd mentioned, we found a pretty sweet flat up in the El Poblado barrio of Medellin (if you're in Montreal, think economic scale of Westmount but urban development style of Ville St-Laurent). We've got 2 nice bedrooms (I let David have the master room, since I'm such a caballero and all), 3 (!) bathrooms, and a nice full kitchen, along with a big, shared dining / living room and a couple balconies. It costs not much more than a third of what a place like this could cost in Montreal, I imagine.
After having settled in some, I was able to get (finally) getting some work done, when all of a sudden my laptop stopped charging. Turns out the power supply for this $120 Toshiba Portege overheated, and I spent the next day or so trying to find a place that could help me, finally giving in and paying the $80 to a repair shop for 10 minutes of work in the Monterrey shopping center down by El Poblado metro.