Archive for the ‘General Interest Stuff’ Category

Turn your LinkedIn profile into a great-looking resume

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

I don’t have much use for a resume these days, but when I came across this post on about using your existing LinkedIn profile to quickly create a professional-looking resume, I was intrigued. I was also skeptical that a machine could take the data in the LinkedIn profile and turn out a document as nuanced as a resume.

I decided to give one of the two services a spin (the one that doesn’t require its own account) just to see if it really was as easy as MakeUseOf claimed:

Resume Builder is by far the quickest way to turn your LinkedIn profile into a professionally looking, minimalist resume. It was created as part of LinkedIn Labs and the whole process takes no more than a few minutes:

via 2 Tools To Turn Your LinkedIn Profile Into A Neat-Looking Resume.

The verdict is yes, it really was that easy. I was able to construct this resume in less than five minutes:

The really killer feature is that your saved resume is updated in real-time as you update your LinkedIn profile. If you are the type of person who is constantly tweaking their resume and LinkedIn profile, this awesome little service may help you kill two birds with one stone.

Digital TV — who needs cable?

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

… as Canada’s digital transition comes into effect next week, the appeal of sticking with over-the-air channels could increase. Those stations will be moved off the analog spectrum – with its sometimes fuzzy signals and occasional snowy screens – and converted to crisp, high-definition digital signals.

via TV’s digital switch boosts appeal of cord-cutting – The Globe and Mail.

We cut the cord six years ago and just put-up with the snow and fuzzy signals. Earlier this week, TVO‘s local transmitter made the switch to digital and it is, in a word, amazing! We’ve watched hours of TVO that we wouldn’t have watched otherwise. We really only get two other channels, CTV and Global, and both of those are already pretty clear, so I don’t expect to be as blown away when they flip to DTV next week. With the stronger digital signals, though, it will be interesting to see what else we pickup.

Boy, 12, helps deliver baby brother – CBC News

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

This is pretty amazing…

Her cries for help woke her son Gaelen, 12, who was sleeping in the next room.

When he entered his mother’s room, he said he could see his baby brother emerging from his mom’s womb.

“I grabbed him by the shoulders and his head was resting on my wrists,” said Gaelen. “Then I gently pulled him out and laid him on the bed.”

Gaelen then went to the kitchen to find scissors to cut the baby’s umbilical cord, which after clamping, he cut himself.

via Boy, 12, helps deliver baby brother – CBC News.



The Cambridge Branding Bruhaha

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Proposed New Logo for Cambridge

On Monday, Cambridge City Council approved new branding for the city. The new logo, wordmark and tagline (shown at right) were almost three years in the making and came at a cost of $25,000.

Update: I forgot to include a link to the report to Council that supported the new branding: Cambridge Branding Report

The reaction on Twitter and Facebook was generally negative – and one local graphic designer took it upon himself to whip up a much improved version in a matter of minutes (shown below).

To say I was disappointed with the new branding is an understatement – I hate it. My list of reasons for disliking the branding so much grows by the hour, but here’s the note I sent to city council Tuesday night.


When I heard that the city had undertaken a “re-branding” exercise I was nervous but hopeful. Mostly I was excited for something fresh and new that would capture the vibrancy of the Cambridge that I love.

Imagine my disappointment when I saw the article about the new logo in the Record yesterday. I am not a graphic designer nor an “identity expert” but I am a marketing and PR professional who understands the power of branding. Please allow me to offer my two cents on the matter.

  • when I posted the image to Twitter, the first two responses I got were: “it’s a napkin ring!” and “it’s a mullet!” — not a strong start
  • the image conveys nothing about Cambridge except that we have some water and a strange half-circle bridge (which we don’t)
  • The bridge resembles nothing in Cambridge and due to its shape would be impossible to cross. Not a good message there.
  • The water just about the only thing I like about this logo
  • The tagline: I get the double meaning, but there’s a significant third meaning. It could be interpreted to mean: “Cambridge: It’s so-so here.” In other words, “all right” is often used to mean something less than great. Again, not a good message.

Contrast this to the image I’ve attached which was done in about twenty minutes (working from the proposed logo) by a Cambridge graphic artist (who understands the city).

  • this bridge is instantly recognizable as “from Cambridge” though not “exactly” the Main Street bridge
  • this bridge also conveys a feeling of forward motion – even “leapfrogging”
  • the ribbon-like treatment of the bridge is lighter and seems to float on the page (the proposed logo seems much more like a paperweight)
  • the two streams of water could be seen to represent the two major rivers (Grand and Speed)

I could go on…

While I support new branding for the city, I cannot support this logo.

I’ve heard back from a few councillors who have expressed second thoughts about approving the logo – they also indicated they much preferred the logo I sent them and that they would be forwarding it on to city staff. I’m not so naive to think that the City will simply walk away from their $25,000 logo, but at least they’re taking a second look at it.

A few more thoughts on the logo that have occurred to me since I wrote to council:

  • the “little old bridge” feeling has a small hamlet feel to it the betrays Cambridge’s desire to be a “player”
  • I just can’t stop seeing a dog with its tongue hanging out on a hot day
  • the report keeps talking about “two rivers” yet the logo clearly only has one
  • I don’t understand the emphasized R in Cambridge – it throws the whole word off-balance
  • if you have to BOLD a word in your tagline to make sure it’s read correctly, you have the wrong tagline

Update 2: here are two stories that have appeared in the Record:

One of the geekiest things I’ve ever done…

Friday, January 14th, 2011

That, my friends, is a Starfleet Command badge that’s been laser-etched into a battery cover for my Blackberry. If there was any doubt about my geek cred before, there should be no longer!

The battery cover was ordered from and only cost about $25 – less than a regular replacement cover. I should note that this cover is EXACTLY like my old (and broken) battery cover – not some cheap replica. Well done Coveroo.

A New School in the Neighbourhood

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Having kids changes your life. Duh. Just a few years ago, the building of a new school (and all of the bureaucratic wrangling that goes with that) was a mildly interesting civic event to someone like me who has an interest in local politics. Now, as our second child prepares for kindergarten in the fall (just as our oldest is leaving) the prospect of a new school in the neighbourhood has ramifications that will profoundly impact our family’s daily life.

My wife sits on the ‘School Council‘ at our kids’ school. The new school planned for southeast Galt (the part of Cambridge that I live in) and the boundary implication were mentioned at a recent meeting. This isn’t news but I hadn’t thought about it for a while and I was curious how the existing school boundaries would be affected.

A quick Google search brought me to the Waterloo Region District School Board’s Accommodation Review for southeast Galt elementary schools. There is a LOT of information here, and I will admit that I have not read it all. I did, however, spend a little time poring over the maps provided in Appendices C&D. (I love maps)

Appendix C: JK-6 boundaries:

click image for full-size

Appendix D: 7-8 boundaries:

click image for full-size

There are a couple of weird things I noticed:

  • our kids will go to the new school for 7-8 even though Stewart Ave is closer. This is even more problematic for us since we’ll have kids going in two directions (Chalmers and Glenview to the west and ‘NewSchool’ to the east even though Stewart Ave is situated between Chalmers and Glenview.
  • kids who live on Dudhope (a block away from Stewart Ave) will now be bussed the 1.9 kilometres to ‘New School’?
  • Based on my reading of the busing rules (here), it would seem that our kids will be bussed to ‘NewSchool’ (1.85 kms) when they could easily walk to Stewart Ave. (1.1 km). It’s ridiculous to bus kids within city limits when there’s a school within walking distance!

I realize that these are pretty complex things to figure out (especially with the Jr/Sr split) but I will maintain my position from my trustee campaign last fall that if we had smaller schools in more neighbourhoods we could probably eliminate all intra-city busing.

If you live in southeast Galt – or even if you don’t – what do you think of the plan for the new school? Leave a comment below…

Welcome Back!

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

The hiatus is over!

With the election now over, it’s back to semi-regular blogging here at home. I’ve committed myself to keeping up the conversations I’ve started about public education in Cambridge and to that end I’ve agreed to be the “Education Columnist” over at the Cambridge Citizen. The Citizen is a new(ish) digital community newspaper that has its roots in my Reporter/Voice adventures of 2008. Keep an eye out over there for my musings about the WRDSB in Cambridge.

I’m going to try to find some focus for this here blog – mostly to help me stay inspired to write. Any suggestions?

The Revolutionary Aspect of Technology is its Ownership

Saturday, May 1st, 2010
Creative Commons License photo credit: Peter-Duke

This morning, I heard a conference keynoter say the following:

The biggest difference between the youth of the 80s and 90s and the youth of today is the introduction of technology.

This is a pretty common characterization of today’s technology as something new. I’ve argued with myself before about whether or not we are in an era of technological revolution as it relates specifically to the internet. In the moments that followed the delivery of the above statement, however, I had an epiphany. Here it is.

The biggest difference between the youth of today and the previous generations of youth is not the introduction of technology. New technologies have been introduced during every generation’s youth. What is different now is the ownership of the technology. The emergence of personal computing is the first technological advancement that is owned by the younger generation. That ownership is literal and figurative – the youth not only own the physical devices, they own, almost exclusively, the knowledge to operate them. Even further, the younger generations, for the first time, own the attention of the manufacturers and marketers of the technology.

The television, the radio, the telephone were all household technologies own by the middle generation – the power generation. They were introduced to homes by the owners of those homes – the parents. The children and youth were exposed to these technologies not on their own terms, but on the terms of their parents. The technologies were owned not by the youth, but by the adults.

So let me say all of that again succinctly for you.

The revolutionary aspect of today’s technology is not the technology itself. What is revolutionary is that the newest technologies are owned, both literally and figuratively, by the youngest generations.

Clay Shirky on Institutions vs. Collaboration

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

This video is now a half decade old – but is still every bit as revolutionary now as it was then.

Pranav Mistry on SixthSense Technology (TED Tuesday)

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

ted_logoWelcome to TED Tuesdays on the blog. Each Tuesday, I will post a video from TED with a little commentary from me on why I think it’s worth sharing. I don’t want to compete with TED itself, so I’ll be reaching back several months for these.

This absolutely blew my mind. The video pretty much speaks for itself, so I’ll shut up now and let you watch.