May 2007 Archives

bruce_lee.jpg The discussion is going to be held this Sunday June 3rd, 2007 at 2PM in Chinatown (4th floor).

Here is the official press release, bilingual (French and English). Open to the public.

The round table is aimed towards ordinary Canadian Chinese who may be apolitical or apathetic. We want to bring together people with simple questions which may confront them on a daily basis such as “Why am I being asked 'Where I am from?'”, despite being born here, or having a family which may have been established in this land for many decades, or even centuries.

Chinese indie - most recent YesAsia shipment

Both the peppermint and wonfu are excellent in their own way, and I just realized (again) that I already had the SodaGreen album in my mp3 collection (under its Chinese band name, that is...). Chris of urbanphoto.net also lent me a bunch of his Chinese indie (or not) music CDs, which include offerings by Ivana Wong, Good Morning Gloria, Edmund Leung, and The Marshmallow Kisses, aniDa, Adrian Chan, inLove and 嘉琳 on a neat-looking sampler released by Mackie Study called invisible cities journeys. My motto is that if you look, you will find (identically: if you build it, they will come).

Wonfu is perhaps very Pizzicato Five ish, but it goes without saying that it is a generalization, and that Wonfu just typically makes very upbeat music with overtones from a bygone musical era. Peppermint, on the other hand, can be qualified as your typical alternative punk rock band with ingénue vocals.

Festival de rue St-Viateur

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Welcome to my new office

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Outdoor office

And this is why Montreal is such a great place in the summertime...

Pidgin is the new name for Gaim, and the new 2.0.0 version was just released this month. I downloaded the source code and built the binaries by following the readme file. Everything was working fine, but a slight adjustment was required to get the sound to work.

For some unknown reason, config for sound playback (for the "be-ding" when receiving a message) was not set to work "out of the box". You need to go to Preferences under the Tools menu, and select the Sound tab, and add aplay %s to the sound method. "aplay" is part of the Debian/Ubuntu package "alsa-utils", and plays sound files on the command-line. It is installed by default on a desktop install of Ubuntu since at least Feisty (7.04).

Edit: nevermind, 2.0.1 gives you the option to choose a sound method between ALSA, ESD and others...

The round table on Chinese identity in a multicultural Canada will be held on June 3rd at 2PM at the Main Hall of the Chinese Family Service (987 Rue Côté in Chinatown) and is bilingual, English and French. RSVP on Facebook or Google Groups.

As for the show, catch it on 207 on Bell ExpressVu this week on Tuesday at 1PM, Wednesday at 9:30AM, Thursday at 4PM and Saturday at 9AM (phew, no more prime time). Original time that the show is shown is Mondays at 10PM.

The round table is on Chinese identity and multiculturalism. The object of the discussion, like I was saying, is just to get people together and talk about stereotypes, how we each forge our identity, and how our experiences defined us. I am hoping that such activity could un-confuse people growing up, propose a new perspective about their identity. I really hope that we don't come across as hardcore activists or rather academic...

I made a test installation (http://smurfmatic.no-ip.org/blog/) of Wordpress the other week on my home server (runs Ubuntu), and it took exactly fifteen minutes to set up (create a new db in mysql, configure apache, and 'apt-get install wordpress'). Wordpress is open-source and free and has the great benefit of being multi-user. By contrast, Movable Type, which currently runs this blog (http://smurfmatic.net/blog), is proprietary, and its free version is single user. MT personal boasts multiple blogs, which WP's cost-free version doesn't have - but who gives? Because you can still install multiple WP blogs that don't interact with each other (on separate directories w/ separate databases).

Unless I get convinced otherwise, WP has really distanced itself from MT, by being open-source. WP is also written in PHP, a programming language that has become the lingua franca in web programming today (MT uses Perl), a great plus when designing templates, or even hacking into the code that makes WP and its plugins.

With a server at home, and a dynamic dns service, you can run a WP blog with your own domain on your own server for 40CAD or less for domain registration and a dynamic dns service, like easydns.com for .ca domains, and no-ip.com for all other types of top-level domains (a standard in the industry, I've used it for four years, and most recently to make metroboulotresto.com point to my home server). Typical hosting services generally cost 50-100USD per year for domain and hosting, and it is the price to pay for reliability.

If you are a DIY type of person, WP on a personal Linux machine is an excellent starter sys admin experience. The only inconvenient is if you ran it on your home connection - whereas it is fine for a text-only blog, once you start putting pictures and get more than a few hundred visits a day, you might start feeling the toll on your upload rate. If you ever reach that point, it might be time to start putting ads, and upgrade to those SME Internet service packages that your ISP may have.

I'm very into the phenomenon of Chinese indie lately, that is, of independent music produced in Taiwan, Hong Kong or the Mainland (but still mostly the two first ones, as it is for pop). It looks like the Golden Melody Awards, sort of the Grammy's equivalent in Taiwan, are walking outside of the usual pop path, for instance, giving indie rock band Sodagreen seven nominations, which is more than Jay Chou's six. I don't pay enough attention to know whether it is a trend too, here in North America. Probably that it is in Quebec, with the Pierre Lapointe et compagnie.

I don't know. But it is always a good thing to grow different kinds of crops, and especially to encourage the growth of micro-cultures (who're bound to become mega-cultures, eventually, ruining their image as "independent". so, yeah...).

I'm very into a Taiwan rock band called The Peppermints. The lead singer deliciously sings off key, giving this touch of naiveté that is always so charming.

"General Tao, Kung Fu, Ching-chong: Chinese identity in multicultural Canada" is the official title of the round table. I've been co-organizing it with a couple of other volunteers at the Chinese Family Service (their server is currently kaputt, alas) for at least the past two weeks. The original idea came from speaking intensely and passionately with the volunteers' coordinator about ideas what it meant to be Chinese and what it meant in the Canadian context.

It is the least that I can do, I think, to try and reproduce those private talks that I often have with friends about the meaning of being a CBC (Canadian Born Chinese), FOB (Fresh Off the Boat) and other categorizations of people of Chinese descent in Canada, or abroad from their "original" country.

Perhaps the summarization of the most controversial point is: are Asians (in particular, the Chinese, as we are particularly, while not exclusively, interested in this discussion) considered perpetual immigrants, and/or is it a good/bad thing, and is it something that is desired? I can tell that within the organizing group, we had originally planned an hour meeting last Friday, which ended up being three hours long (and four and a half hours for those who went dinner afterwards). The answer is not easy, and multidimensional.

On Sunday, we went to see Cheuk Kwan's Chinese Restaurants, a movie that talks about the Chinese diaspora through the eyes of restaurant owners around the world, from places as exotic as Norway or Brazil. I mean, I think that this movie (or series of) is a fun way to give people some perspective about all the diasporas of this world. I'm not sure when, but we will be showing sections of the movie in the next month or so (perhaps even at the round table, if time allows). I saw a set of episodes last year too, and I love it when my posts rank high on Google.

Here is the info about the event:

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007 at 2PM (until 4-5PM, based on turnout)
987, Rue Côté, 4th Floor (basically the main hall of the Chinese Family Service).

Well, that's about it. There was the interesting bit that I got an interview on cultural television (aka CH-M), on Hu ZhiMin's show "Sino-Montréal". It was just a pure Cedric moment for eight minutes... It highlighted how pathetic my Cantonese indeed is (at least I think that my French and English are both close to flawless), the contradiction of being neither Chinese or Canadian or Québécois (but all three at once). It was hopefully not live, and would be aired in two weeks from now, at various times of the week.

Facebook (for publicity):
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=2372912605

Google Groups (for people who want to help out organize):
http://groups.google.com/group/cfsgm

For post-spamming:
http://home.sus.mcgill.ca/~csam/files/poster_verysimple_20070506.pdf

Linux goes mainstream

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6610901.stm
http://news.com.com/Dell+picks+Ubuntu+for+Linux+PCs/2100-7344_3-6180419.html

It's now official, Ubuntu is going to be pre-installed on Dell computers. There had been other pro-Linux announcements made by Dell, a couple of months ago, but this time, it will be for desktop computers. I previously installed Debian in 2003, and Ubuntu is by far the easiest to setup, configure and use (simply because there is so little that you have to fiddle with - none, if you're not picky). It offers an entirely integrated desktop experience, which the other distros that I've tried, Fedora Core, Suse and Debian, could not match. I predict that Ubuntu Linux will truly go mainstream once they can get Beryl/Compiz (desktop effects packages) ready out of the box. Ubuntu w/ Beryl is so much more efficient than Windows Vista on the laptop (Dell XPS m1210) that I am using, although it does lack in this super-clean integrated desktop thematic.

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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