CBC, BIRTHDAYS AND DOWN TIME IN BLOGLAND

Greetings,

Today’s my mother’s b-day. We’re heading out for dinner tonight to celebrate it. Looking forward to it.

CBC: Blogs and podcasts are exploding online in the wake of the lockout. CBCUnplugged.com is now ranked in the top 10 podcast downloads on iTunes. But the big news today was that the Metro Morning crew – Andy Barrie and Co. – are going to be doing a show on CIUT-FM from 6 to 8 a.m. called Toronto Unlocked. All the conventions of CBC Morning shows and news, minus the CBC logo.

Incidently, this guy – a former CBC person himself – has a morning show in Toronto too. His show, along with CFRB 1010, are hitting pay dirt because of the lockout.

I’m kind of not in posting mode right now. You go through peaks and valleys when it comes to blogging. More to come in September.

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INTERNET TELEPHONY


Skype (profiled in this month’s Vanity Fair) and Google Talk. About to change phones as we know it.

Greetings,

Before I begin, it’s my brother’s 24th birthday today. Also, another nice moment for me – I have now lost over 17 pounds since May. I’m almost at my goal and it feels good.

INTERNET TELEPHONY: I’m going to write about this in more detail soon for the CBC column, but I placed my first VoIP call today via Google Talk. Mark Pineo (an immensely talented guy) and I spoke via internet telephony in real time today. I called from Markham, he in Halifax. No long-distance charges, crystal-clear sound. It was an amazing experience.

I conducted this call via a USB headset. If this is the future of voice communication, man are the traditional telephone companies in trouble. Just imagine the possibilities here: interviews conducted with even better sound quality than a regular phone.

PODCAST: I’m going to work on a better podcast soon. Now that Mark and I are in voice contact online, we can probably produce something better.

GOOGLE TALK ARRIVES AND IRAQ

Greetings,

Well it did happen today: Google released Google Talk, a really great new instant messaging service. I strongly encourage you download it (provided you have Windows XP or Windows 2000).

IRAQ: Here’s a question – can Iraq be stabilized before 2009? The short answer is: maybe, but not necessarily on America’s terms. One of the biggest fears people have about Iraq is the possibility of the nation descending into a civil war if the U.S. pulls out and an Islamist regime taking over control of the country. This worst-case-scenario will also likely feature a new alliance with Iran (war really does make for strange bedfellows) and a breeding ground for Al-Qaida recruits. There really does seem to be no way out of this situation without somebody losing. America stays, pushes hard for democratic reforms, loses more and more soldiers and Americans get tired of the war. Don’t stay, the above situation can happen. In other words, the only option is U.N. administration of Iraq. And the Americans get John Bolton as their U.N. representative?

How many more enemies must America make before Bush and Co. get the picture: this country, this one, this one potentially and now this one (thanks Pat Robertson, Jesus would be truly proud *sarcasm*) aren’t just motivated in their anger towards America out of spite and hatred of freedom and liberty – maybe now it’s time to realize there has to be a better way than military action.

CBC LOCKOUT BLOGS, ATOM EGOYAN, GOOGLE TALK AND WILLIAM WALLACE

Greetings,

Thanks to Antonia Zerbisias for these links on her blog to CBC lockout-related blogs. She also says there’s a rumour of locked out CBC folks starting up a pirate radio FM station in the GTA soon. Further, the Toronto branch of the Canadian Media Guild has a section that features links to blogs on the lockout. Here’s just a quick sample of the links (no favourtism here, I just can’t get them all):

CBC Unplugged – a clearinghouse of CBC lockout blogs. Lots of information here and podcasts of your favourite CBC personalities talking about the lockout.

CBC Unplugged Flickr Photo Site – Tonnes of photos from the picket line.

There are plenty more – this is just a very quick sampling. When you go to CBC Unplugged, check out the links on the right-hand side of the page for more links.

ATOM EGOYAN: I really like Atom Egoyan’s work. His filmography is extensive and really strong. Which is why this potential problem could be devastating for him in the U.S. Where The Truth Lies could be one of his edgiest films yet, with Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth playing a comedy duo that live incredibly sordid lives off-stage (Canada’s own Rachel Blanchard, a one-time Queen’s student, plays the leading woman in the film). The possiblity of an NC-17 rating probably will only affect the American audiences (you know here in Canada the chances of that happening are slim to none).

GOOGLE TALK: There is a very strong possibility that Google will be releasing its own Instant Messaging sevice, Google Talk tomorrow. Keep your eyes on this site tomorrow. Could be a very interesting alternative to MSN.

WILLIAM WALLACE: Today’s the 700th anniversary of William Wallace, the Scottish resistance leader, being executed after a show trial in London. Yes, the guy from Braveheart (which, after 10 years, still holds up as a brilliant piece of filmmaking and Mel Gibson’s best work).

CBC LOCKOUT: DAY 7

One of the more amazing things (and an unexpected wrinkle of the positive kind) is how the blogosphere and podcasting universe are playing a role in disseminating information on the Guild’s side. Overall, the web is playing a huge role for both the Guild and the Corporation.

Tod Maffin’s site has a tonne of material on the lockout; he has a link to a really cool site called Lectio.ca that has these neat buttons you can download and post to your web site or blog. You can grab your own here.

SIN CITY, THE GAZA STRIP, KILLING HIV AND TIDINGS

Greetings,

My brother rented the Sin City DVD yesterday. One of the most interesting things about this film is the fact its visual style is so remarkable that you wonder why it took so long to get into cinema. Director Robert Rodriguez’s style mirrors comic books and graphic novels with the kind of ease that would blow your mind. If you haven’t seen it yet, I strongly recommend it. Look for more films like Sin City in the coming years – as comic books and graphic novels become more mainstream (especially since Hollywood is mining comic books for all kinds of movies now) through fan-zines, the web and news groups, the hunger for films like Sin City will grow. Sure, it’s a very brutal film (not recommended for anyone who has a low tolerance for graphic violence) but people seem to want stories like Sin City more now than ever.

GAZA: It’s not going well, this evacuation from Gaza. In fact, it’s the kind of thing that could spark more violence in Israel.

CROCODILES KILLING HIV: Once again, the best weapons against disease are found in nature. Scientists have discovered that crocodiles – a species that have far stronger immune systems than humans, probably because evolution has forced crocodiles to develop strong defenses against disease over the eons, since they’ve been on the planet much longer than us – can defeat the HIV virus. It’s still years away for human use, but this could be a very positive step in the battle against HIV.

TIDINGS: My new article in Tidings came out today. I got my copy sent to me – I’m pleased with the article’s layout. It’s available here.

PUBLIC BROADCASTING AND KING’S

Greetings,

It’s Day 2 of the CBC lockout (I promise I won’t be writing about this topic everyday of the lockout; I’m just really interested in it now and it affects me too so I like to talk about it) and I’m having a theory about public broadcasting in Canada.

What will it take to make Canadians realize that the virtues our country upholds – fairness, equality, multiculturalism to name a few – all exist in some part due to journalism, namely the CBC? Without the CBC – an institution that is a lot like health care in Canada, for it is something you tend to long for and miss only when you’re not in the country or haven’t had access to it for some time – Canada as we know it simply would not exist. Period. It’s an institution so valuable to our collective cultural heritage that to not appreciate it makes me want to fight harder for it (not to mention for nationalist reasons; our shared technological, social and cultural roots are the only things keeping Canada together and the CBC is the bulwark of those forces).

That’s why I sincerely hope some kind of compromise can be found between the Canadian Media Guild and the Corporation soon. If this drags out too long, it could cause serious damage to the CBC’s reputation and quality.

KING’S: I started King’s one year ago Monday. A new class started today and they got a snazzy new web site by the very talented and versatile Tim Currie. Check this site out – all the King’s journalism publications and broadcasts, courses and news links all under one digital roof. Nice work.

GOOGLE: This is pretty crazy. A national Wi-Fi network by Google? For free? Really?