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This Warm December

This Warm December

Christmas is next week, and I’m itching to get into the holiday spirit!  Courtesy once again of ARTISTdirect (I love this site!), I listened to a stream of This Warm December: Brushfire Holidays Vol1.  It’s not available through AD, but you can check it out at or

This is your standard collaboration Christmas album: plenty of different artists for everyone, from Jack Johnson all the way to Matt Costa.  The difference with this album is in the range of songs: there are a few instantly recognizeable songs on there, but for the most part, it looks like it’s more of a unique holiday offering.

Which is what I liked about this album: it’s different.  It’s contemporary and I think a lot of people will enjoy it for that reason alone.  Everybody hears the same Christmas music from year to year, so it’s refreshing to hear some new stuff – and I don’t just mean covers by contemporary bands every year.

This Warm December is short, but that is to be expected: Christmas songs are short.  Not a surprise here.  The album is less than an hour long so I wouldn’t make this your only music selection at a party (especially since the songs are very light and might put some people to sleep).  But if you’re like me and have a relative that puts on mostly unlistenable holiday music, you’ll be able to slip this CD in without too much notice.  It’ll fit in without being too jarring.

If you’re looking for a good holiday album, pick up This Warm December and you’ll be pretty pleased.


Man do I ever wish I uploaded the word doc I wrote yesterday, yesterday.  Otherwise I can’t with absolute certainty claim that I thought of this before I heard of it being announced: Microsoft Office Heads Online with Next Release.  Still, here it is: education2020

Anyway, it looks like it’s not going to be completely online, in that they are still offering the offline program with online components.

I guess my point is – yay, I was right!


Posted on: October 27, 2008

So I never made an entry to that Windows Live Spaces contest.  Woops!  I’m clearly not too worried about it.  But I also don’t believe I’d be chosen to win; like I said, they’re probably looking for someone who is an avid user of Live Spaces already.  However, this is my “space” here, so what is to stop me from talking about the future of Education and Computing in the year 2020 anyway?  (Hint: nothing)

The contest was structured so that you answer a set of questions detailing what you think life and education will be like in 2020.  Here are the questions:

  • How does technology today influence school life and help you learn?
  • What will Windows look like in 2020?
  • What will Windows Live look like in 2020?
  • What will Microsoft Office look like in 2020?
  • What role will mobile phones, cell phones and smartphones play in 2020 classrooms?
  • What will extracurricular activities, regular classes and homework look like in 2020?
  • What will classrooms and school grounds look like in 2020?
  • I’m going to write a follow-up to this post as well with my full answers later today after I put some more thought into this.  I did have some initial answers floating around in my head but I never put them down on paper.

    In the meantime, be sure to listen today at 2pm for Audio Sensory Resuscitation on CKCU 93.1 FM.

    I poked around a little, and much to my surprise, I already had a Live Space!  I didn’t realize that this is basically just a carry over of those MSN profiles that you could make; it’s the same thing, but easier to customize.

    So the contest IS open to Canadians, but closes this Sunday so there’s not much time left.  One thing of note – I imagine the winner will not only have a solid entry for the contest, but probably they’re looking for someone who also is an active user of Live Spaces and has it nice and tricked out.  Not a surprise, but I’m going to keep an eye on this contest and make note of the winner and what their Live Space looks like.

    Microsoft usually gets the reputation of being “the evil company” or maybe “the company that makes things that don’t work” (remember the old joke that “Microsoft Works” is an oxymoron?).  In some cases, I think the latter is probably a decent description.  Evil?  I’m not sure how it got that tag, other than maybe people are just resentful for the company having a lot of money and using it to further their company.  I think most companies do that, don’t they?



    Obviously they’re not handling Vista very well – there’s a recent Apple commercial where they insinuate that they spend more money advertising Vista than they do fixing it (I have a few issues with that personally, but more the fact that Apple isn’t really doing much to advertise their own product) – but I think they’re learning from their own mistakes as well as following the lead of Internet giant Google with their recent Windows Live line of products.

    Here are two things that Microsoft is doing that I like (well, three, if you count the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation):

    1. They’re offering $5,000 to launch a Windows Live Space and write about the future of Windows and Education in the year 2020.  Obviously they’re looking for you to write about how much people will be using Windows Live in schools, but whatever, you can get pretty creative with writing about 2020 regardless.
    2. Windows Live SkyDrive.  5gb of space online, for free.  That’s on top of the 5gb you already get with Hotmail (pardon me – Windows Live Mail).  You can set up a shared folder for your friends – either people in your contact list, or new contacts, or even anyone at all.  I’ve been toying around with setting up my own web server (which I may do anyway), basically to offer this kind of thing exactly to my friends, a way to share files more easily than sending email attachments.

    Taking applications online is definitely the way to go, and offering free storage online – while not a new thing – will increasingly become important for any company looking to make a big splash in the future.  Microsoft is clearly headed in that direction, and I think we’ll see Windows taking on a different kind of function in the next 10-20 years as a result.

    Oh and you can bet I’m entering that contest (assuming Canadians are eligible).


    Posted on: October 16, 2008

    Image from CNet

    Image from CNet - click to see top ten memes

    The whole Blog Action Day thing yesterday reminded me of a concept on the Internet that I really like: Internet memes.  Not all memes, mind you (I really HATE “lol cats” – and I’m not linking to them – as well as “blah blah blah is made of win”), but memes in general.  It sort of goes hand-in-hand with what I was talking about yesterday; that the Internet community (as global as it is) has real power in communicating ideas.

    Most of the time, Internet memes end up being something simple that everybody (or mostly everybody, at least) finds funny.  An idea works and people latch on to it because they like it.  Sometimes it’s something like Blog Action Day – someone decides to start something a little more meaningful and others follow suit.  Usually something like that starts within a close-knit community.  Case in point, the PFBs.

    I started following blogs with Google Reader when I stumbled across the Personal Finance Bloggers community.  I was looking for some kind of direction with my own finances and found a group of people who were either in a similar situation or had been there before.  They do all sorts of cool things that I hadn’t come across before – a “personal finance carnival” where they round up the best posts of the week/month, a monthly blogging topic, and so forth.  They work together and I would consider some of the stuff they do to be Internet memes.

    Sometimes I wish I could do something like that.  Other times, I wouldn’t mind even getting something silly to catch on.  So with that in mind, I’ll go for something silly.

    Next week, I’m going to make a blog post in my own handwriting and scan it in.  I don’t know if that’s been done before, but I’ll just hope it catches on somehow.

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