June 2009 Archives

Schema Magazine article

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Cedric Sam at Metro Lionel-Groulx

I wrote my answer to the "But where are you from" project by Schema Magazine, an online publication started by Alden Habacon. Here's the link:

http://www.schemamag.ca/indepth/2009/06/kinda-chinese.html

My friends have pointed me to this Argentinean song by Facundo Cabral called "No soy de aqui, no soy de alla", which could well describe how we might feel about nationality, sense of belonging.

...ou Maisonneuve en direct, j'ai l'impression de lire des commentaires de blogue les uns après les autres... >_< Mais où vont les médias traditionnels?

Linguine on my balcony

Linguine

Simple food. This is just linguine with a sprinkle of pancetta and old cheddar. The linguine was also pan-fried with olive oil, butter, quite a bit of garlic and dried parsley. I added some fresh basil leaves.

An ode to blue drinks

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Bluegrass

You can definitely try this at home... My inspiration came from La Distillerie, a Montreal pub whose trademark is to serve colourful drinks in glass jars. The time I went, I had a boring red-couloured drink that was, I think, rhum-based. I noticed that many people in the pub at that time had a bright blue drink, with a branch of rosemary in it.

Not having noted the recipe at all, we were set to improvise something. The base would be Blue Curaçao, a orange-flavoured drink known for giving mixtures their fluorescent blue tinge. We added dry gin (Bombay Sapphire) and Perrier water. For the flavouring: fresh lime juice, frozen lemongrass and a branch of rosemary. Put lots of ice.

Blue curaçao & rosemary drink + ripe papaya

Drink it with a bowl of papaya for the extraordinary colourful effect. You can sprinkle salt and lemon juice over the papaya -- that's for the explosion of tastes.

p2p

One of the latest and last projects I was involved in at CBC/Radio-Canada was with the integration of pCDN, a pilot project that consists in contents delivery through peer-to-peer, and implemented on Bande à part's (aka the French CBC Radio 3) summer podcast feed. Here is the website that was launched this week by Bande à part: http://bandeapart.fm/pcdn/.

pCDN was developed by the Network Systems Lab at Simon Fraser University in the Vancouver area, along with CBC/Radio-Canada's Strategy & Planning based in Montreal. Here is a published paper written for the company's technology review by the main people involved in the project.

Bernard has told me that peer-to-peer delivery systems were already common in the USA. I remember using a system developed at CNN during the night of Obama's win. pCDN is just for progressive downloads, as far as I know.

The idea of using "BitTorrent"-like delivery helps alleviate traffic between users and contents delivery servers by redistributing it between users. It's a win-win situation for both the users and the big contents providers. It's potentially an alternative to today's pervasive, but costly, mirroring services such as Akamai.

It remains to see if it actually speeds up downloading. From an observer's point of view, it will become most noticeable when server-to-peer becomes a bottleneck. From a geek-user's point-of-view, I can't wait for when/if we extend the service to other potentially downloadable contents (full-length shows anyone?).

pCDN podcast feed

I'm on Linux (Ubuntu Jaunty) and tried pCDN on this platform. pCDN's source code is in Java, thus it's cross-platform. I downloaded this package and tried the links on the pCDN-specific podcast feed. Extract the archive (it's going to be a hidden folder named .cbc-pcdn) and in your terminal or otherwise, execute "launch.sh". This starts pCDN on your local computer and makes it "ready" to receive requests to download (and upload back), as you would for any P2P program like uTorrent or Transmission.

After starting pCDN, make sure to upgrade to the latest version (right-click the icon for "Mise à jour").

You will notice that the links in the podcast feed are all in the form of "localhost:54321/__SOME_HASH__.extension". When you click on them, they call pCDN and it is checked through the system whether this file is available among other connected peers. If not, it will download from some central "seed" server. Tadaa!

(The feed itself is a must-listen... It's music selected by Pascal Asselin, a electronic music artist better known as Quebec City's Millimetrik.)

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