I’m going back to school

If the student strike will end before this autumn, I will start my master degree at the Université de Montréal in Information Studies (IS). Of course, it’ll be part time only, with not more than two courses per semester, because I will continue to work full time, so I’m expecting that it’ll take me a few years before I’ll finish it.

There are several fields I can specialize in: Archival Studies, Librarianship, Information Architecture, Information and Knowledge Management.

At this stage, I’m not 100% sure which way I want to go, I still have to take the prerequisite classes and after I might be wiser. For sure I’m not too much interested in a career in archiving or librarianship, so I still have to decide between Knowledge Management or Information Architecture. We’ll see…

Starting this post, I added a new category to this blog, Information studies. As I will advance in this field, I will use this category to regroup ideas, books and articles about IS.

France to crackdown on visitors of terror website

Now that the ordeal in Toulouse has ended in the death of the al-Qaeda-inspired gunmen, Nicolas Sarkozy came out as a decisive leader, who doesn’t hesitate to take action. I’m expecting that his popularity will go up and he might even win the upcoming elections.

But not all is smooth for him, there will still remain some difficult questions to answer, as in this Haretz article.

The attacker happens to be a Muslim, and this could raise the popularity of Marie LePen too, the candidate of the far right, so Sarkozy had to show that he would go even further to stop terrorists, by imposing the same sentence on repeated visitors of websites that promote terror as on the visitors of child pornography websites, meaning sentences of up to two years in prison and €30,000.

What makes me wonder about the wisdom of his intention, apart from consolidating his image among  his electoral base, is that monitoring visits to websites that promote terror won’t be an easy task.

In the case of child pornography, it’s easier to set up rules, images of models under the age of 18, will be flagged, hence visiting such a website is punishable, but what about terror websites? It’s quite unclear, when does a website will become flagged? What does it mean repeated visitor? How many time a person has to go on such a website to be considered a repeated offender?

Will the law enforcement keep just as a close eye on Neo-Nazi websites and forums as they will on Islamist sites? After all, Anders Behring Breivik was not an Islamist, still he’s the author of the worst terror attack in Scandinavia.

My other question is how will jailing visitors of Islamist websites will be prove to be effective on the long run?

The Toulouse killer was a small time crook that became radicalized while doing time. Sending people to jail, who already seem to be attracted by extremist ideologies, will mean that they get a bursary to the best universities of crime and terror. If they won’t come out from jail more radical than ever, for sure they will have plenty of opportunity to recruit others for their cause.

The warmest St-Patrick parade

I find St-Patrick’s day to be the coolest holiday of the year. What can bring more joy than the celebration of the arrival of spring, soaked in beer and accompanied by bagpipe music?

I still remember our first St-Patrick’s Day parade, it was just a few weeks after our arrival to Montreal.

As new immigrants, we thought on a Sunday, we should go to a Romanian church, maybe we’ll get introduced to the Romanian community and we could make some connections that would help us in our integration.

At the time, we lived in DDO, in the West Island, to get to downtown, where the Romanians were renting a church, we had to take two busses than take the metro, change lines, etc. It was a long trip and it took a lot of determination to go there on a Sunday, especially for us, not your typical church goer type.

From the time we got on the first buss, we noticed there we a few people wearing strange stuff, funny hats and a girls face was painted in green. We thought, they’re going to some party and we tried not to show we’re new comers, so we would just look elsewhere. On the second buss there were even more pople, with even stranger hats and the metro was unusually packed, all with people dressed in green. We realized that this must be something bigger than a weird party and we became so curios to see where everyone is going dressed like this, that we dropped the plan to go to church and we just followed the crowd.

As we got out on St-Catherine street, at Peel metro station, the sidewalks were occupied by a huge crowd and in the middle of the street there was the St-Patrick’s Day parade.

Everyone shouting “Happy St-Patrick!”, bunch of drunk people, kids, cops, bagpipes, clowns (it was later that I learned they’re the Shriners), etc. The parade went on and on and on, and we forgot completely about our plan to go to church. We were happy because we were part of something special, something Canadian and we felt more integrated into our new home, than we would ever feel by going to any Romanian church.

The parade left on me a lasting impression, I even made a painting that you can see here and I try to never miss it. Every year we would go with my wife and celebrate the coming of Spring. Today was no different, especially that we had 20 degrees Celsius, we went again to have a beer and shout “Happy St-Patrick” to strangers.

Are we in the post-PC era?

Mike Elgan’s article in Computerworld, Dispatch from the post-PC revolution is about “well, I’ve told you so!” PC fading away in favor of tablets.

He has all the right to do so, since he was one of the pundits who have predicted this phenomenon at the launch of the first iPad, two years ago. His predictions are confirmed by statistics, there are way more tablets sold than PC’s and the numbers are looking better and better for tablet makers. PC is something that covers quite many different types of devices, but in this post, I will follow Mike Elgan in calling PC a workstation or a laptop.

Can anyone say no to Mike Elgan or to Tim Cook and all the other gurus? Will anyone, by looking at the numbers and listening to these guys, claim we’re not in a post-PC world?

Let me be the one saying it, but let me add to it, we’re not yet in the post-PC world , but we’re heading towards it with full speed. Here is why:

Tablets are not replacing PC’s

Tablets (and here I would include smartphones too) let you do things that with a workstation or a laptop would be quite cumbersome, like accessing the Internet on the go, or while laying on a sofa while watching TV. Touch screens are way more intuitive to use than a mouse or a trackpad, hence the popularity of tablets even among non-technical people.

PC’s are still more ergonomically adapted as tablets

As intuitive as it is a touch device, it is still not as efficient as PC with a keyboard and a mouse, when it comes to ergonomics, it’s OK to write an email or a blog post on a tablet, but I would like to see that secretary who has to type every day hundreds of emails doing it on the screen of a tablet. I’m sure at the end of the day her neck and her wrist will be soar as hell.

What it would take to really talk about post-PC?

Tablets have succeeded in taking over from PC the entertainment part, but they are still far from dominating the workplace, because of productivity issues. In response to this deficiency and because the tablet market is expanding, there is a whole new sector mushrooming, the accessory producers. There are plenty of keyboards already that work with tablets, that will make typing more easy, but we still have to solve the problem with the limited screen size of a tablet.

Be that a wired or a wireless solution, in the end we will need a way to connect tablets to a bigger screen or why not, to several of them. It’s a long known fact that having a fast computer with enough screen that you don’t have to juggle with windows on top of each other, will improve productivity.

When we talk about big screens, sorry, but touch is out of question and the good old mouse or something similar to it, will be a lot more easy our wrist than stretching out to push a screen, especially when it comes to repetitive movements performed over a long time.

For storage, I think tablets are doing good, maybe the 16G version won’t be too practical in a professional environment, but I’m sure SSD prices will end up dropping and we’ll laugh at the price Apple is charging right now for the 64G iPad.

What is your take on this, are we or not in the post-PC era?


Formulaire d'inscription sur les affaires.com, première étape

Un exemple de formulaire de commentaire mal conçu

L’autre jour, je suis tombé sur l’article de Stéphanie Kennan, Savoir-vivre sur LinkedIn: soignez votre présence, que j’ai trouvé très intéressent, jusqu’à me pousser de laisser un commentaire. Je vous avoue, c’était ma première visite sur les affaires.com, alors, je ne savais pas à quoi m’attendre.

Je clique l’icône Commenter en bas de l’article et je tombe sur une page qui me demande de m’inscrire ou de m’identifier.

Ayoye! Ça commence mal…

OK, j’ai été encore assez enthousiaste pour cliquer le lien pour m’inscrire et là, je tombe sur un formulaire en trois étapes avec pleines questions obligatoires :

Formulaire d'inscription sur les affaires.com, première étape

Vous pouvez le deviner, j’ai été ben dégonflé. Tout mon enthousiasme a été en train de s’évaporer et je n’avais aucune envie d’écrire quoique soit, mais j’ai été curieuse de voir jusqu’à où cette aberration peut aller.

Alors, j’ai rempli les questions dans la première étape et voila, dans la deuxième pas, les affaires me pose un autre paquet des questions inutiles, cette fois-ci il m’oblige pas de répondre, mais nous sommes encore, en plein, dans la perte du temps des lecteurs.

Formulaire d'inscription sur les affaires.com, deuxième étape

Dans la troisième étape, on va choisir l’infolettre.

Oh! C’est cool! Des infolettres personnalisées! Je ne savais pas, qu’est-ce que manque de ma vie, encore une infolettre!

Formulaire d'inscription sur les affaires.com, troisième étape

Entre temps que j’ai passés à travers les différents choix, j’ai oublié une bonne partie de ce que je voulais écrire comme commentaire.

Comme coup de grâce, à la fin de ce calvaire, je m’attendais d’être déjà connecté, après tout, j’ai répondu à toutes les questions obligatoires, mais non, les affaires.com me demande de m’identifier…

Un peu plus sur les affaires.com

Pour ceux qui ne sont pas de Québec, voici un extrait de leur site :

« La plus importante salle de rédaction spécialisée en économie du Québec. Plus de 30 journalistes, ainsi qu’un réseau de pigistes et d’experts reconnus dans le milieu des affaires.

Plus de 300 000 visiteurs uniques par mois, qui totalisent 3,5 millions de pages vues. »

Je ne sais pas si quelqu’une a remarqué, les commentaires sont presque introuvables sur ce site.

Alors, si vous voulez que le monde laisse des commentaires sur votre site, s’il vous plaît, évitez d’emmerder vos lecteurs.