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Vancouver-Boston Game 4 Room tagcloud

Vancouver-Boston Game four tag cloud, courtesy TagCrowd. Note that the language got...salty. This is only a partial transcript (the last two periods):

I really wish TagCrowd's export options worked properly.

Cycling 301: more commuting advice

I just wrote something for Douglas College [teaser here] about riding your bicycle to work. The article offers an introduction to cycling I'm fairly proud of, but there were a few odds and ends that didn't deserve mention in an introductory guide, but which make for a nice appendix, which you get here.

Electric-assist Bikes

Analyzing the EGOTs

I got interested in the subject of EGOTs lately, mostly out of the dual motivations of "That 30 Rock sure is a funny TV show!" and "Whoopi Goldberg? Seriously?"

"EGOT", as the link above will inform you, is an acronym for "Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony," and is typically used to refer to the 12 people who have won all four awards.

In theory, you think of such winners as multi-talented threats, but most EGOTs limped into at least one category, sometimes more. Let's examine them in chronological order of EGOT-acquisition.

[a note on research: cataloging performer awards is one place where IMDB is generally ahead of Wikipedia, but they don't always care about Grammys and Tonys, which makes this research somewhat interesting]

Richard Rodgers

A brief essay on the subject of Alternative Voting Systems

The results of the 41st Canadian election (to wit: a Conservative majority in Parliament with about 40% of the popular vote) have engendered a bit of consternation among my more left leaning friends (and as a right-wing kook, many, possibly even most, of my friends are to the left of me), and a bit of reflexive stumping for the merits of alternative voting schemes, notably instant-runoff systems or proportional representation systems.

The first question I have for proponents: "what problem are you trying to solve?" That's not rhetorical. The second question is: "how's your voting system working out where it's been tried?" Also not rhetorical.

The Room's Canucks-Nashville Game 1 Tag Cloud

The Room is a virtual (IRC) space where I often spend my time during Canucks games. This is clouded-up version of the transcript of Game 1 vs. Nashville. Contains some harsh language, and the evidence of successful tag-cloud spamming:

This is why The Room can't have nice things. I was also more diligent about stripping housekeeping messages out of the corpus.

The Room's Canucks-Black Hawks Game 7 Text Cloud

The Room is a virtual (IRC) space where I often spend my time during Canucks games. This is clouded-up version of the transcript of Game 7. Contains some harsh language:

Canucks Fan has Fun with Election Graphics

Please use this for amusement only. PDF version here. "Canada trendline" document, um, repurposed from Nanos' overnight polling document. Best viewed bigger:

Product Reviews Under Duress, or Buff Books are Fun!

Earlier this week, someone asked, on a Usenet forum,

So what's the verdict on SRAM?

The inquisitor was asking about a relatively new drivetrain for road racing bicycles, a field with only three vendors at the high end, including SRAM. The product itself is not universally interesting, but it started me musing about the habits of specialist magazines (web and print) whose content includes a lot of product reviews, and who derive a lot of advertising revenue from the vendors of those products. Insiders refer to them as "buff books." I've written these sorts of reviews.

Used Car Buying, or Madness Has its Place

(Apologies to Larry Niven.)

TLO and I just bought a car. Through a torturous process*, we concluded that the Nissan Versa hatchback was the least worst car that will meet all of our needs and our most fervently expressed wants. Because we're on a budget and can't afford new-car smell, we're looking at used Versas.

(What were those wants and needs? Four doors, so we can carry three adults in comfort. Automatic transmission for TLO. Reliable. Very small, so it wasn't harder to park than our New Beetle, but at least as much cargo space as the Beetle. Air conditioning. And within those parameters, I wanted to get a quiet, somewhat luxurious car, and said I'd like keyless entry and maybe cruise control).

Predictions for cameras, or what should you buy?

Update: This post has attracted a lot of interest, and I'd like to just link to a few resources that are very interesting for "what-should-I-buy?" issues: Snapsort's comparison page is breezy and brilliant for quick camera rundowns. (example: Pentax K-x vs. Sony NEX-3). DP Review is one of the best all-around camera review sites, and while I once teased them about their skewed rating system, they've revised it, making their work even more useful.

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