Hi Jack, How are we doing? – RIP Jack Layton (1950 – 2011)

Saturday, 27 August, 2011

Jack Layton (1950 - 2011)

Some of my tweets and retweets today in memory of Jack Layton (1950 – 2011).

  • Goodbye Jack. You will be missed. Staying home to watch the state funeral of Jack LIVE. [via @kempton]
  • “How I live my life every day is my act of worship,” @jacklayton told Hawkes. #cdnpoli #RIPLayton [via @SusanDelacourt ]
  • What was important, to Jack, was to make life better and not leave anyone behind, Hawkes says. #jl [vi @kady ]
  • It was about what changes need to be done, what actions need to be taken to make Canada a better country. #jl [via @kady]
  • “Hi Jack, How are we doing?” #cdnpoli #RIPLayton #canada [via @kempton]
  • “If the Olympics can make us prouder Cdns, then maybe Jack’s life can make us better Cdns.” — Hawkes at @jacklayton funeral. [via @SusanDelacourt ]
  • May you, and may we, rise to the occasion, because the torch is now passed, and the job of making the world a better place is up to us.” #jl [via @kady ]

Goodbye Jack – Jack Layton (1950 – 2011)

Monday, 22 August, 2011

I am saddened to hear of the passing of Jack Layton this morning. My thoughts are with his wife Olivia, his family, his extended families, and his friends.

Jack Layton’s family has released a letter the federal NDP leader wrote just two days prior to his death today at the age of 61. Here is an excerpt,

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

Here are some news from around the web,

* CBC News, “OBITUARY: Jack Layton’s legacy as a fighter

* Toronto Star, “At Layton’s home and office, shared grief and orange flowers

* CBC News, “Layton shaped by years on Toronto council

* CTV News, “Torontonians express sadness at Layton’s passing

* CBC News, “Jack Layton tributes from political peers

* Toronto Sun, “Layton remembered as a fighter

* Canada.com, “Tributes flow for Layton

* CBC News, “After 50 years, Layton took NDP to the summit

* I miss Jack already. Have a laugh in watching and remembering Jack, “This Hour Has 22 Minutes – Remembering Jack Layton

Kevin Roberts, CEO worldwide Saatchi & Saatchi keynotes nextMEDIA Toronto 2011

Thursday, 11 August, 2011

Kevin Roberts, CEO worldwide Saatchi & Saatchi at nextMEDIA Toronto 2011

I’ve been reading Kevin Roberts‘s ideas for years and even created Kevin’s Wikipedia page. So it is wonderful to see Kevin is coming to Canada to share his insights. The following is from the nextMEDIA Toronto 2011 (Dec 5 – 6) press release. If you are in Toronto during that time, register to attend.

CEO worldwide for creative agency Saatchi & Saatchi, Kevin Roberts is a marketing pioneer with a heart for nostalgia and has been bringing popular brands to market and straight into consumers’hearts since the early 1970s. Roberts has worked with large-scale international clients such as Carlsberg, TMobile, General Mills, Procter & Gamble, Sony Ericsson, JCPenney, Toyota and VISA Europe among others.

Roberts is the author of a number of best-selling books, including Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands, in which he describes the emotional connections we create with the brands we’ve grown tolove.

So, here’s the real question: How does your brand achieve Lovemark status? Well, fear not, Roberts is heading to nextMEDIA Toronto this year to help you solve that very problem.

Named one of the top ten ideas of the decade in 2010 by advertising and marketing news website AdAge, Lovemarks transcend brands, leaving their iconic symbols emblazoned in the hearts and memories of consumers worldwide.

Join Kevin Roberts at nextMEDIA Toronto 2011 for an informative keynote session about hisLovemarks theory, offering crucial insight into the future of marketing and an analysis of the way we identify with our favourite brands.”

Technology alone doesn’t solve problems. Social media does not create revolutions. Its a tool. – New Quote I Love

Saturday, 6 August, 2011

Adding an insightful entry to my list of Quotes I Love and Quotes I Love (videos).

Technology alone doesn’t solve problems. Social media does not create revolutions. Its a tool. Nothing more or less. Real revolutions are born out of righteous anger and courage and vision. [...] The issue is not how accurate a bomb is. The issue is what to do the bombs you have. And more importantly, whether to use bombs at all. Technological problems are not the hardest part of the future. They are the easiest part. The hard part are the human problems that accompany the rise of technology.” - Malcolm Gladwel‬l at University of Toronto: Malcolm Gladwell, Convocation 2011 Honorary Degree speech video (starts at about time code 6:38)

CNN Jun 17th, 2011 report “Malcolm Gladwell: When technology fails

Note: As I see more and more power in G+ Hangout as a tool for reporting and researching news, I try to remind myself of ‪Malcolm Gladwel‬l’s cautionary tale of the Norden bombsight. ‪Gladwel‬l reminded us of Facebook’s and Twitter’s magical roles in the revolutions in the middle-east may be over-exaggerated by the creators of these tools.

Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto

Sunday, 26 June, 2011

Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto

Writing an earlier article reminded me of some fond memories during my time at the Department of Computer Science at University of Toronto. A quick visit to the DCS site later, it got me into wanting to write and share a few words.


I want to congratulate Professor Allan Borodin (my teacher in CSC238) for being named University Professor. The citation notes (emphasis added):

“Professor Borodin has a long and distinguished research career in theoretical computer science. His central area of interest, computational complexity and algorithm design, addresses the basic issue of determining the minimum resources required to solve computational problems. A common theme in Borodin’s research is that he explores fundamental questions that seemingly should be well understood but often defy answers to even the most basic aspects of these questions. Hence, he has often been at the forefront of developing new models and problem formulations that have become standard frameworks for computer science studies.”

Prof. Borodin’s “full citation may be found on the U of T Vice-President and Provost Web site. Also, the U of T Bulletin released an article on the 2010-2011 University Professors.”

Congrats Prof. Borodin!


I noticed University Professor Stephen Cook (my teacher in CSC158(?) and CSC364) now has “Emeritus” added to his formal title, I supposed meaning he is retiring. But I also noticed that he is still teaching CSC2401F (Sept – Dec 2011) so I hope Prof. Cook is still teaching a course or two from time to time.

I haven’t been back at DCS for many years now, but I think it will be a bit strange, for future students, to study at DCS  without being taught or exposed to NP-complete problem by the man who first described the problem in 1971 or simply attending seminars or colloquium with Prof. Cook in the audience, which I had the pleasure doing when I was doing my B.Sc. at DCS.

In Memoriam – Professor Kenneth C. Sevcik

While I was student of Professor Sevcik for a brief time (part of CSC158 and for CSC354(?)), I remember Prof. Sevcik as a very warm and helpful teacher. So it saddens me to read that Prof. Sevcik passed away on October 4, 2005. But reading the “Ken Sevcik Memorial Blog“, especially Prof. Sevcik’s wife Carmen’s October 1, 2010 entry touched me very much as it reminds me that when we pass on, we will live in the hearts and minds of others who stay behind. When we have lived a good life, we stay on thorough the memories of others.

Have a read of Carmen’s loving entry and you will know what I mean.

Heather Allin, President of ACTRA Toronto, interview post Banff World Media Festival 2011

Tuesday, 21 June, 2011

Heather Allin, President of ACTRA Toronto

ACTRA is a union for performers and according to ACTRA Toronto‘s website, it has over 15,000 professional film, video and new media performers. It was my pleasure to meet Heather Allin, President of ACTRA Toronto at Banff World Media Festival 2011. Here is my phone interview with Heather today.

The following are a few highlights of my interview with Heather.

* 0:00 Heather has been attending Banff for many years now, I asked her why she attends Banff.

* 2:30 For this Banff, did Heather get to meet and talk to senior broadcast executives on behalf of the members?

* 3:42 In our pre-interview, Heather mentioned a figure of 27 hours of bought (foreign) programs for one hour of Canadian produced drama. We talked more on this.

* 5:00 Last year (or the year before), Hon. Lindsay Blackett, Minister of Culture and Community Spirit said something like that the reason we have so little Canada content is because the Canadian creative community creates “shitty” programs that no one watches. I asked Heather to comment on this.

* 8:23 With respect to the fees paid to performers for digital/online content, I ask Heather to explain the current situation and whether the ACTRA Toronto members are being fairly treated.

* 9:50 I asked Heather to give some specific examples and detailed explanation of the fee payment structure for digital content.

* 12:00 I asked Heather about “scale“.

For all other Banff 2011 related interviews, please see here.

Ariel Garten, CEO InteraXon, interview @ Banff World Media Festival 2011

Sunday, 19 June, 2011

Ariel Garten - CEO of InteraXon

I had a very enjoyable time attending Ariel Garten’s (CEO of InteraXon) NextMedia Keynote address: Thought Controlled Computing @ Banff World Media Festival 2011. Afterwards, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ariel. Here is the interview video.

The following are a few highlights of my video interview with Ariel.

* 0:00 In your presentation, some ideas are very cutting-edge and quite “out-there”. When you meet corporate clients, how do you engage them and bring them down to earth?

* 1:03 Talking about the chewing gum example (the “chew off”) discussed in your presentation, can you tell us more and which brand it was? What does InteraXon actually measure? [Kempton's note: The chewing gum campaign went live on June 16th. At press time, I haven't heard any updates from InteraXon.]

* 2:20 So does the software system work by basing on its previous training of brainwave signals?

* 2:48 How accurate is the software? Lets take heart rate as an example because it is easy to know what is right.

* 3:16 You mentioned the system has limitations, can you elaborate on the kind of limitations please? [Kempton: Here are some reading about Alpha (relax "awake but relaxed") and Beta (focus "alert and attentive") brain waves. And via Wikipedia, Alpha and Beta.]

* 3:48 Ariel talks about the reliability in using Alpha and Beta brain waves, especially for new users.

* 4:05 What other signals can your system use?

* 4:25 Am I using the right analogy to compare the “training” your system undergoes to the “training” speech recognition system needed in the past?

* 4:52 Someone asked Ariel about the possibility of using brainwaves for security authentication purposes. How unique are brainwaves? Can it be done now? If not now, how may it work in the future? Read the rest of this entry »

Microsoft, defeated by Toronto i4i at US Supreme Court, ordered to pay $290 million for patent infringement

Thursday, 9 June, 2011

Microsoft, defeated by Toronto i4i at US Supreme Court, ordered to pay $290 million for patent infringement. See full US Supreme Court decision.

See my previous Microsoft v. i4i articles here (2011), here (2011), and here (2009).

Vote on May 2nd – These young people are voting! You should too!

Wednesday, 27 April, 2011

Remember to vote on May 2nd.

University of Toronto Mississauga Vote Mob

Halifax Vote Mob

Usask Vote Mob 2011

Read the rest of this entry »

CBC reports Brett Wilson’s Risky Business but …

Wednesday, 20 April, 2011

CBC News, “Dragon Brett Wilson backs new investing show“.

Yes, the news was reported but for some unexplained reason, we see “This story is closed to commenting.” Huh?!! What’s going on?

P.S. Am I too tough to see this as an issue related to journalistic integrity (or the lack of)? Should I be happy that CBC reports the story at all? Is it acceptable to close the comment section so that CBC can avoid being criticized? I don’t know.

What standard, if there is one, does CBC used to decide if a story should be “closed to commenting“?

Please share what you think in the comment section.

Dragons’ Den star Brett Wilson to host “Risky Business” on Slice TV

Wednesday, 20 April, 2011

4:43pm Update: Here is a great radio interview with Brett  by @phoenixonair. Highly recommended. I have fixed this article to correct my mistaken impressions about some elements of the show. Sorry for the mistakes.


I am excited to report a new high-stakes investing television series with Brett Wilson called Risky Business is being launched and premiering on Slice in Fall 2011. The show is holding casting calls for both investors and entrepreneurs.

After gaining better understanding from listening to Brett’s radio interview, the entrepreneurs are definitely not the kind I have originally been thinking of. This makes everything really interesting and non-traditional. According to Brett, Risky Business is based on the UK BBC format “Beat the Bank“. Interestingly, Duncan Bannatyne, presenter of Beat, is a Dragon on BBC.

Here is an excerpt from the press release (emphasis added),

“In each episode of Risky Business, Brett will give the daring couple a chance to risk big and win big. As host, he will guide the investors as they choose between pitches made by two different entrepreneurs, each looking for capital and offering a big return. The options will be unusual – such as investing in undervalued vintage wine labels or betting it all on a high stakes one-night-only event. The duo will stake their life savings on one investment, and Brett will invest in the other.  It isn’t until the end of the episode that it is revealed how each investment performed.  Will the risk-taking couple win big or lose it all?  Do they out perform Brett?  Or does Brett prove he can make money just about anywhere? Read the rest of this entry »

Summary of Microsoft v. i4i Oral Argument @ US Supreme Court

Monday, 18 April, 2011

Check out Patently O’s “Summary of Microsoft v. i4i Oral Argument“‘ See a rough US Supreme Court transcript of this case. [HT Patently O]

See also National Post, “Chairman of i4i confident Microsoft defeated

““We think it went tremendously well,” he [Loudon Owen, chairman of Toronto based i4i] said in a telephone interview after leaving the Washington courtroom. “I would be very very surprised if it wasn’t a favourable ruling for us.””

Reuters, “Top court hears Microsoft appeal on i4i patent

CNet, “Supreme Court queries Microsoft on patent law

“Just as Microsoft lawyer Thomas Hungar began presenting its arguments, Justices Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Elena Kagen pressed him on the legal precedent in a 1934 case that seemed to mandate using a higher evidentiary standard.

“The language of that opinion is extremely broad,” Kagan said, according to a transcript. “And if you read that opinion, no one would gather from that opinion the kinds of limits that you’re suggesting on it.

Ginsburg, too, seemed to read the earlier ruling as requiring a higher standard of evidence than Microsoft proposes.

“An infringer who assails the validity of a patent…bears a heavy burden of persuasion and fails unless his evidence has more than a dubious preponderance,” Ginsburg said.”

“Last Train Home” directed by Lixin Fan is one of TIFF Top 10 feature films

Tuesday, 14 December, 2010

I really enjoyed “Last Train Home” directed by Lixin Fan so I am excited to report the film is one of 2010 TIFF Top 10 feature films. Also check out,

* my interview with director Lixin Fan earlier this year,

“Last Train Home” Review – 130 million Chinese migrant workers making inexpensive “Made in China” goods possible

Following Workers’ Trails of Tears in China

Here is a film trailer.

Dashan – Canadian Ambassador to China’s Funny Bone

Wednesday, 3 November, 2010

Dashan (大山) is the Chinese stage name adopted by Canadian Mark Henry Rowswell. In the wonderfully made 1996 NFB documentary Dashan – Ambassador to China’s Funny Bone (free full video online), you will get to know a bit more about Dashan and what makes him a great success in China. I think Mark is not just a funny comedian, he is also a very insightful man. Mark was Canada’s Commissioner General at the Shanghai 2010 World Expo.

I highly recommend you check out Dashan – Ambassador to China’s Funny Bone (free full video online).

P.S. Years ago, I relearned the way I hold my chopsticks after watching a non-Chinese Canadian held chopsticks correctly. Yes, for years, I held my chopsticks incorrectly! Today, as I watch Dashan – Ambassador to China’s Funny Bone, I am inspired to try much harder to improve my Mandarin. I know I probably won’t be as fluent in Mandarin as Dashan but I want to improve my Mandarin from “laughingly bad” to “semi-understandable”.

The Man Who Saved Geometry – Donald Coxeter – TVO documentary

Friday, 22 October, 2010

The Man Who Saved Geometry (TVO 2009) (56:21 video)

By the middle of the 20th century, Geometry looked dead. The excitement in math had moved to computers and chaos theory. But one man – Donald Coxeter – kept the torch burning. Inspired by Siobhan Roberts book, King of Infinite Space: Donald Coxeter, the Man Who Saved Geometry.

I had the honour to have one lecture by Prof. Donald Coxeter, it was a really cool class even I had little idea how important a person he was in math and in life.

[HT Erik Demaine who is in the documentary]

‘Officer Bubbles’ sues YouTube and users over cartoons

Saturday, 16 October, 2010

The $1.2 million defamation lawsuit as reported by Torstar in “‘Officer Bubbles’ sues YouTube and users over cartoons” is resulted from comments and cartoons triggered by the following video.

Setting aside the issue of whether the lawsuit is meritorious, the following video seems to show excessive use of police force at G20 and should not be accepted/tolerated in Canada. Since it costed Canadian tax payers over $1 billion to host the G20 and G8, so I expect a lot from from the police than this kind of unacceptable dictatorial police-state behaviours.

Twitter: @utpress @PrincetonUPress

Tuesday, 12 October, 2010

Recently, both University of Toronto Press and Princeton University Press have been trying to expand their online presence by using Twitter and Facebook. So to be supportive and to keep an eye on new and potentially interesting books, I started following their Twitter accounts @utpress @PrincetonUPress and Facebook accounts utpress PrincetonUniversityPress.

Now, to be fair, while I attended U of T and I still love UT, I have to say the social media team behind Princeton seems slightly ahead and more active than Toronto in using Twitter and Facebook. By the way, you can check out the titles by season at Princeton (sample chapters by title) and Toronto. [Thanks for the help from Princeton.]

I want to wish both University of Toronto Press and Princeton University Press good luck as I think university published books (hard copies and even e-books) may need some rework/rethink and better social media PR for these books to stay relevant in the new digital/YouTube age.

[ref my tweet & HT Paul (I guess, "no press is bad press")]

WIND Mobile v. Rogers Chatr

Friday, 1 October, 2010

Check out Globe and Mail’s article “Wind Mobile lodges complaint against Rogers over Chatr” and video interview about this story. Here is an excerpt from WIND Mobile Chairman Tony Lacavera’ blog entry “Healthy Competition in Canada” (emphasis added),

There is a policy issue related to Chatr’s claims about dropped calls that I’d like to address. In most countries around the world when a customer moves from one carrier’s network to another, there is a seamless transition for the caller. That means that when a customer moves from one carrier to another while conducting a call, the call continues and doesn’t drop. It’s called a seamless hand-off. In Canada however, the government does not obligate carriers to provide seamless handoff and our roaming partner has refused to give our customers the benefit of seamless handoff. The result is that when one of our customers moves from our Wind home zone to our roaming partner’s network, (we call it an “Away” zone) her call drops. When it decided to introduce competition into the telecom sector, the federal government thought about requiring incumbents to give new entrants seamless hand-off. The incumbents lobbied hard and successfully against this. As a result, our customers do have some dropped calls that they would not otherwise have. This is not because of any issues with the quality of our network but because the incumbents are taking advantage of a government policy which gives them a competitive advantage.

Alison Gopnik, developmental psychologist, at ideaCity10

Tuesday, 28 September, 2010

Here is a video of developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik speaking at ideaCity 2010. Enjoy.

P.S. You may want to skip the intro. To me, the setup/intro seems excessively long (over 1:30).

Funny Natalie Tran at ideaCity10

Tuesday, 28 September, 2010

Here is a pretty funny video of Natalie Tran at ideaCity 2010. Enjoy.

P.S. You should skip the first 1:44 of intro. It may be somewhat informative but I would rather listen to Natalie directly. See full list of 2010 presenters.


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