April 7, 2009 by Colin
Let’s run through this week’s checklist, shall we?
- launch new project site
- twitter promotion
- twitter buzz
- a fair number of diggs
- stakeholder reaction
- media coverage
- a slashdot thread that doesn’t flame
Now, what did I “forget” to do? Media advisory, cold calls, news release or “technical briefing.”
Oh, and I launched the site on a Sunday morning.
April 5, 2009 by Colin
My day job involves a very interesting balance between two distinct functions: research and public education.
To many working in the public sector, there is a very clear line dividing these two roles.
In research, the organization attempts to examine an issue of some importance, identify options that may want to be explored by the organization, conduct research largely in secret (there’s a reason why the Treasury Board had to mandate that government-funded public opini0n research be released to the public) and then set out some possible policy approaches to addressing the issue.
Public education? Many consider this function to be the loose-lipped and overly indiscreet part of the organization. The bar hopper. The close talker. The desperate car salesman of the public service.
Luckily for me, a small organization finds it more efficient – and more productive – to try and tap outside resources in most circumstances. You’ve conducted a multi-national survey on the policy implications of X? Great. One more thing I don’t have to commission. Your area of academic specialization is remarkably similar to a subject we have become deeply interested in? Fantastic! Can we invite you up for a day of consultations and maybe a public discussion?
The research conducted by our organization can be opportunistic. We have an institutionalized willingness to hear out and even incorporate outside opinion into our research process, especially when there are dozens of specialists honing in on very defined areas of expertise in privacy and data protection.
Many of these specialists also invest a lot of time and effort in communicating their work – whether through meetings of their professional associations, by publishing their academic or legal research, speaking to public meetings or through loud (or quiet) activism.
What does this mean? Sometimes, my roles as researcher and educator meet – even amplify each other. Amplification doesn’t necessarily mean the goals of our work meet, but there are enough synergies and benefits to be shared.
This leads me to our latest research project (http://dpi.priv.gc.ca) – a collection of essays discussing deep packet inspection (DPI). As we were beginning to research DPI as a privacy issue last summer, we recognized that there are many, many sides to the issue and to the application of the technology – each with its own proponent and each with its own school of thought and support.
Instead of preparing a summary of the issue, or commissioning contrasting research papers, we decided to take two separate tacks:
- build a collection of varying points of view on DPI, solicited from experts from as many fields as possible; and
- providing those with a professional or private interest in the issue with an opportunity to comment and provide additional resources on DPI and its implications.
This is the result:
That’s right. It’s an online publication designed to offer an opportunity for the new spirit of collaboration and cooperation to take hold – in a constructive way. It also happens to incorporate now common social media elements.
It’s not a social media project looking for a convenient home. It’s a practical and reasoned application of innovative public education tools to a real research need.
And I hope it works.
April 1, 2009 by Colin
April 1, 2009 by Colin
Starting tomorrow at canteen, a gallery RIGHT HERE IN OTTAWA!
“Awesome Ridiculousness” indeed.
March 31, 2009 by Colin
Installed a new WP theme yesterday, fresh from the webhost’s directory, and immediately noticed six lines of horrific spam code were hard wired into the main page template. With help from Greg Brooks, got rid of it in 45 minutes.
Still, the Google cache for canuckflack.com is polluted with garbage medicine and pr0n links. How long does that take to get washed out?
March 30, 2009 by Colin
“We just had a group show put on by the Church of Satan, actually,” he says. “They had pretty good PowerPoints.”
March 26, 2009 by Colin
Spotted these two restaurants in Leslieville, a neighbourhood in Toronto. I have no idea whether they deliver on their admittedly cautious brand promise. Has Leslieville been stung by high flying and high promising food options in the past, or are they simply looking for a predictable dinner time option?
March 18, 2009 by Colin
” … Pragmatically speaking, if we imposed a tax on the 50 billion places now hawking small plates, handcrafted artisanal cocktails with antique bitters, house-cured salumi, and featuring servers who call the customer “dude” or “bro” while texting on their cell phones, we could probably put enough dough in the state till to end obesity for generations …”
Gabrielle Hamilton, a NewYork chef, commenting on the proposal to tax non-diet soft drinks in New York City.
March 15, 2009 by Colin
” … The rocks beneath Reykjavík may be igneous, but the city feels sedimentary: on top of several thick strata of architecture that should be called Nordic Pragmatic lies a thin layer that will almost certainly one day be known as Asshole Capitalist. The hobbit-size buildings that house the Icelandic government are charming and scaled to the city. The half-built oceanfront glass towers meant to house newly rich financiers and, in the bargain, block everyone else’s view of the white bluffs across the harbor are not …”
- Michael Lewis pretty much lays out his thesis in this excerpt from an essay on the collapse of the Iceland economy in April’s Vanity Fair.
March 12, 2009 by Colin
” … Unsolicited tip for media company c-levels: if your reaction to this crate of magic is “Hm. I wonder how we’d go about suing someone who ‘did this’ with our IP?” instead of, “Holy crap, clearly, this is the freaking future of entertainment,” it’s probably time to put some Ramen on your Visa and start making stuff up for your LinkedIn page …”
March 6, 2009 by Colin
These are two signs, on the same apartment building, down the street from my office.
The top sign is obviously an original from the 1970s, with a cut metal facing over a plastic lightbox. And a really cool font.
The bottom sign is some P.O.S designed on a desktop and stuck to the overhang on the front walkway. It has an unnecessary set of nested frames to distinguish it, and that remarkably unimpressive abstract apartment building clipart thing is actually a really poor attempt at branding by the property management company that now runs Centretown Place.
I’ve never found anything remarkable about the building but its sign – and now they’re screwing that up.
March 1, 2009 by Colin
Aside from the two giant red lobsters that take up half of the packaging, there is no reason why you would think this package of fish balls would contain lobster, you fool!
February 28, 2009 by Colin
February 24, 2009 by Colin
Two positive takes on the demise of British retailing icon Woolworths:
February 24, 2009 by Colin
“… The number of containers being shipped from Hong Kong’s ports to other areas of the world fell by 23.2pc in January compared to the previous year, highlighting just how the global slowdown is affecting exports from Asia.
Local experts estimate that some 390 unused container ships are currently anchored mid-water or in harbours around the world, equivalent to around 11pc of the global fleet. In Hong Kong, the glut of empty containers is clogging up much-needed space. There is talk that the disused Kai Tak airport in Kowloon Harbour could be used as a temporary home for the empty steel boxes …”
- Tesco’s International Sourcing – the machine behind the machine (Daily Telegraph)