A Canadian book blog: Publishing, marketing, books and technology from a Canadian perspective

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Indigo.ca Is Looking for an AJaX and UI Developer

DavidCrow.ca has a posting for Indigo.ca. They are looking for an AJaX and UI developer. Indigo is really pushing to compete with Amazon.ca and they’ve made a number of internal changes to move in that direction. As a book reviewer, they’ve improved the reader review section of Indigo.ca quite a bit.

There are a lot of very smart people who work at Indigo. I think, like any big organization, there’s some red tape and the typical hazards of employment, but if you like Toronto, like books, and know your stuff, check out the posting.

From the job posting:

A book store? Hardly an inspiring place for an ambitious web technologist? Nothing could be further from the truth…

We’re Indigo Books & Music, Canada’s largest books’ retail chain and also one of North America’s leading eCommerce web sites, situated right in the heart of Toronto’s downtown entertainment district. Our online business is expanding rapidly and we urgently need outstanding, creative individuals to help us achieve our goals.

Everything’s going digital these days and so are we. Do you want to be part of this new wave of leading edge technology? Do you want to build the next-generation of beautiful, dynamic user interfaces that can also scale for millions of users? Are you someone for whom every pixel really does matter?

We love Web Standards (no table-based layout dinosaurs here, thank you) and we’re proud of our designs, constantly updating our User Experience to stay ahead of the competition. Therefore a true passion for user interface design & development will be essential.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

It’s Snowing in Vancouver

There are big, beautiful snowflakes falling outside my window and I can’t take a photo because James and my camera are in Squamish.

Thank goodness for Flickr.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Julie Wilson On Freestyle

Julie Wilson, book blogger on Seen Reading, was profiled in Eye magazine yesterday and will be on CBC Freestyle on Tuesday.

I mentioned Julie at the beginning of November, when she started getting a lot of attention for her blog. Now she’s really getting a lot of attention. Go Julie!

Noticed any other blogs like that? Ones that capture the collective imagination and then suddenly become the blog everyone is talking about? What’s the spark? Do they all have something ordinary with an extraordinary twist?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Is It Friday Yet? Here are fun links

Penguin Books without covers—design your own.

The State of Things—very cool illustrations.

Rawi Hage just won the McAuslan First Book Prize and the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction—all huge!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Book Review: Forever in Blue

The fourth book in the Summer of the Sisterhood series, Forever in Blue, was the perfect way to spend my day at home.

I am sick with a head cold and the glare of the computer monitor is burning a hole in my already headachy head. This will be a short review.

I loved it.

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants is a great series by Ann Brashares. Lena, Carmen, Bridget and Tibby remind me of combinations of my own teenage friends. The books are a great way to get carried away in your own reminiscence as well as the story of the Septembers.

For anyone already a fan, this final book in the series will not disappoint you.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Giles Slade on the Cover of the Richmond Review

Giles Slade, author of Made to Break, who I’ve talked about more than once, was on the cover of the Richmond Review on November 18.

To see his mug and interview, check out this link.

There’s also a tie-in to our boil-water news:

Tap water the grandchildren of his generation drink might be poisonous. Chalk it up to a disposable culture.

�This is going to make Walkerton look like kids� stuff. This is a continental issue, the Americans dump this stuff into their water, there�s no fence to keep it out of our water.�

Slade�s book, Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America, zeroes in on repetitive consumption and how the United States changed consumerism.

For a creative use of breakable stuff, check out “iPod iBreak” on Magpie and Cake.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Happy Feet Opens Today

The Penguins have arrived!

Check out the latest animation feature from Warner Bros., Happy Feet.

Who cares what the storyline is. Savion Glover does the tapping for the lead penguin, Baby Mumbles.

Opens today.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Today Is My Birthday

I turn thirty-fun today. I also woke up at exactly the time I was born, 6:17 am. I can assure you that this is not my regular wake up time.

My first present was from James and it looks like this. I’m very excited.

Second present was from my car pool buddy: a mocha from Pane from Heaven, one of my favourite coffee shops.

So far the day is unfolding nicely.

Thank you all for the birthday wishes. You’re all very, very nice.

I’m off to dinner with the sweetie, wondering what the boil-water advisory has in store for our gastronomic experience this evening.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Garth Turner Unedited

John Ibbitson’s Globe and Mail article “The Internet Is Turner’s Perfect Medium” is a fine example of the anxiety newspapermen feel towards the internet.

The basic premise is that the internet is for the young. Blogs are for loners and losers. Turner and the internet are a perfect match because neither is of real importance to the political world.

Get over yourself John.

Do you think you’re legitimate because you’re in print? How are those declining newspaper sales going? Isn’t legitimacy your ability to engage with your readers?

Ibbitson’s article is about MP Garth Turner who was tossed out of the Conservative caucus for breaches of confidence on his blog. But it’s not really about that, the article is about undermining Turner and suggesting that the support he trumpets due to his blog is irrelevant.

Turner has chosen to sit as an independent so that he can speak out on the issues he and (presumably) his constituents deem important, rather than conforming to Harper’s political desires.

Ibbitson suggests that Turner wants to derive his legitimacy from the internet rather than from political party affiliation. He fluffs the article with a short history of technological advancements and politics, noting that “the old hierarchy reasserts itself” regardless of grassroots’ successful attempts to oust “party bosses in favour of new structures that truly capture of the will of the membership.” A sad state of affairs, for sure, but not one Ibbitson wants to reflect on. Instead Ibbitson seeks to denounce social networking as “an electronic populist movement that seeks to weaken party discipline and encourage free thinking in the House of Commons.” Heaven forbid that that should be the case. But Ibbitson is confident that nothing will change.

“First, in any populist movement, there are cranks, kooks and lonely souls. Their unhappiness has less to do with political than with personal frustration. Read the online comments to any blog, including Mr. Turner’s. More than a few of the correspondents need to get out more. To that extent, Mr. Turner is simply conducting a high-tech dialogue with loners and losers.”

Nice way to write-off all commentors on Turner’s blog. The few cranks suddenly represent all bloggers and commentors?

Ibbitson seeks to further undermine Turner’s blog by saying Turner “claims” that many thousands of voters read and comment on his blog. He doesn’t need to claim it, you can go to the website and see all the comments. And the majority do not appear to be the loners or losers that Ibbitson presents in his article. Oh, wait he doesn’t actually present any examples.

But Ibbitson doesn’t want to write-off Turner entirely. He says, “whatever else the internet is, it is emphatically generational.” What? Ibbitson believes (based on what, his sample size of one) that “the young” navigate the internet with ease, but “the older you get, the harder it gets to keep up.” His conclusion is that successful political parties need to exploit the web because that’s where the young voters are, then in the same breath he suggests that it’s irrelevant where the young voters are because they don’t actually vote.

“Successful politicians and successful parties must learn how to exploit the web, because young voters—who, in fact, are less likely to vote, and to read newspapers, and to participate in any of the institutions of political life—are found there, and if they are to be reached, that is the medium for reaching them.”

Unlike John Ibbitson’s Globe and Mail article, Garth Turner’s blog is open to the public.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Very Short Stories and a Contest

The November issue of Wired Magazine features a story called “Very Short Stories.” They’ve asked 33 writers and 5 designers to create 6-word science fiction. The best example of a 6-word story, which is quoted in the article, remains Hemingway’s:

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

Check out the article on Wired. Or post in the comments your best work. Six words only. Sevens need not apply.

In other brief literary news, The Geist Postcard Story Contest is up and running until Dec. 31. Maximum 500 words.

I’ve got a little ad in the side bar running, click away at it. (I’ve done a swap for a print ad in the upcoming Geist issue, more on that later, but I’m very happy to support Geist magazine.)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Because Remembrance Isn’t Just About One Day

James’ mom and her partner Keith were at the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra on Friday night and Terry Kelly, a Canadian performer, was on hand to wow the crowd. What really brought the house to a standing ovation was his song “A Pittance of Time.”

From Terry’s website:
“On November 11, 1999 Terry Kelly was in a Shoppers Drug Mart store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At 10:55 AM an announcement came over the store’s PA asking customers who would still be on the premises at 11:00 AM to give two minutes of silence in respect to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us.

Terry was impressed with the store’s leadership role in adopting the Legion’s ‘two minutes of silence’ initiative. He felt that the store’s contribution of educating the public to the importance of remembering was commendable.

When eleven o’clock arrived on that day, an announcement was again made asking for the ‘two minutes of silence’ to commence. All customers, with the exception of a man who was accompanied by his young child, showed their respect.”

Here’s the song he spun from that incident via YouTube.com.

Friday, November 10, 2006

A Rough Day at the Office

Every now and then I actually follow a link on the Friday Joke File, and today it was worthwhile.

Have a listen to Becky from Dublin, who’d like her school demolished. (I don’t know how many times this has gone around, but I want to share regardless.)


Dove’s Real Beauty—The Making Of

Alex posts about Dove.

Read her post, then watch the video.

I’m not adverse to a couple of photoshop smooth-overs, but this is beyond what I’d consider real beauty.

Photography Contest

Jen at Canuck Librarian has an announcement about the Kitchener Public Library’s amateur photography contest.

The KPL has teamed up with the Record to host the contest. Deadline is Jan 31.

Three submissions per photographer.
Two age divisions: youth (18 and under) or adult (19 and over).

Winning entries will be published in an issue of The Record. Winning entries will also be displayed in the Concourse Gallery, lower level of the Main Library throughout April 2007.

The KPL has a number of cool community projects and contests. Do you live in Kitchener? Do you know how cool your library is?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vincent Lam Wins the Giller for Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures

Toronto-based author Vincent Lam has won the Giller Prize, Canada’s richest and most prestigious literary award, for his book of linked short stories, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures.

Read the CBC story.

I was hoping Rawi Hage would win for De Niro’s Game. I met Rawi in Calgary at Wordfest and heard him read. De Niro’s Game is about two young men during the war in Lebanon.