Lighthouse      Zap's Digital Lighthouse

Zap's Digital Lighthouse is
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Wed, 31 Dec 2014



The books are rapidly closing on 2014, and what a year it's been.

  • On a personal level, we've moved back to Canada after 18 years abroad. It's been a year of significant changes: getting back closer to family and friends and making new ones at the new job, but also moving away from some very good friends and even having one passing away suddenly.
  • In computing terms, the ever increasing speed and capacity of our computing systems have brought us the ability to store and process huge amounts of information in no time at all to truly make data the lifeblood of our society.
  • In networking terms, the amazing speed at which we can move information around and the ubiquitousness (is that a word?) of wireless connectivity has really brought on the age of always on computing.
  • All of this has brought on new capabilities (with the Internet of Things, some of my lights are now connected to the Internet), but also some new challenges (especially in the area of privacy, where I am mightily concerned that companies and devices are collecting and sharing information about our daily lives that I am not sure is reasonable to share).
  • As I've said before: in IT, we reinvent the impossible every 5 years... well, we're certainly continuing to do that!

All in all, it's felt like an exciting and fascinating year... I feel 2015 is coming in in a big Whoosh.

And as technology is concerned, it's only going to continue getting more interesting! My big wish for 2015 is that we continue to push for open standards, protocols, and connectivity.

So I wish you all a very happy 2015... take care and enjoy life.


/misc | Posted at 17:14 | permanent link

Sat, 25 Oct 2014

Football cheers: a trip down memory lane

The Alouettes from way back

Back in the olden days (we're talking late 1970's to early 90's here), my friend Francis (who's sadly no longer with us) got a bunch of us together and we got season's tickets to the Alouettes (*).

Just for memory's sake, I thought I post the quirky cheers that our little group used.

It went something like:

  • 1-2-3 Fwooomp!
  • 4-5-6 Yay!
  • 7-8-9 Areu!
  • 10-11-12 ... (**)
  • 13-14-15 Niaiseux niaiseux (generally hurled at refs or opposing team)
  • 2997-2998-2999 Booo Barnes!

and we didn't need a special code for "Put in Gerry"... somehow the coaches always seemed reluctant to make Gerry Dattilio the starting quarterback, but whenever he was brought in, magic occured (from Wikipedia: "Among Canadian quarterbacks Dattilio is second all-time in statistics with 9952 passing yards").

Good times were had by all, even though we lost more than our share of games in those early '80s.

I'm just sorry I missed the 2000-era Alouettes... somehow Canadian Football did not get much airtime in Paris and Zurich ;-)

(*) actually, it started off as the Alouettes, then became the Concordes, and then the Machine. That was before football disappeared in Montreal. So I left for Europe for 18 years, and the Alouettes came back and did great. So perhaps I should get season's tickets again, now that I'm back. We'll see next year.

(**) memory blank here... if Jacques, Marc-Andre, Alain, Nicole, or any of the guys remembers what 10-11-12 was, let me know.

/misc | Posted at 10:30 | permanent link

Tue, 30 Sep 2014

Dealing with IoT items and the cloud

More and more items available in the stores these days, are connected. Light switches, fridges, bathroom scales, and more, are internet connected and share information with the rest of the world.

I don't mind having my devices making data available, but I would rather have this data be available to me and my servers, and not shared within the cloud and/or the company that makes the device. I actually resent and, I guess, actively resist, having my devices participating in the cloud and sharing information about me, my family, and my environment with the outside world.

I am, however, quite interested in having devices that make their data available to me.

A new interesting project for the coming weeks :-)

/misc | Posted at 23:28 | permanent link

Sat, 02 Aug 2014

The gaming ultrabook for 2014

Hmmmm. Seems like ASUS has produced a successor to the UX32VD ultrabook that I bought last year. It is the UX32LN and is based on an Intel Haswell CPU with an NVIDIA 840M discrete graphics chip. This seems (unexpectedly?) significantly better than what the UX32VD provided last year.

I recommend it as a really sleek and lightweight gaming + multipurpose ultrabook. I have been quite happy with the UX32VD, and as the UX32LN comes with even better graphics, it should be quite competent for gaming.

One caveat though: make sure you pick the right options when configuring your UX32LN: you want the fast CPU, the nice screen, and enough memory. It is nicely upgradable though.

Anyway, it's quite nice what we can get these days in a light and slim little package!


/hardware | Posted at 09:27 | permanent link

The eagle has landed...

A view from our window

As I've posted earlier on May 25th, we have moved back to Montreal after 18 years in Europe (Paris, then Zurich, then Paris again).

It's been a busy few weeks since landing back here, with a new job and a big search for a new place to live.

I'm happy to say that we've now found a new appartment in the beautiful Altitude project in downtown Montreal. You can find a view from our office window above!

There are presently many very nice condos available in Montreal with many more projects to come, but the Altitude was the one that really caught our eye as the most interesting and attractive in town.

It's been fun being back in Montreal: not only have we been able to enjoy seeing many friends and family members a lot more than before, but also we've been able to enjoy some of the Montreal summer festivals (the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Festival Juste pour rire, and more). Of course, we have good friends that we miss in Europe, but being back here feels like home.

Now, if we can just empty those 200+ boxes that the movers have left in our appartment :-)

/misc | Posted at 09:26 | permanent link

Adobe Creative Cloud: not for me

Adobe Creative Cloud logo

I have been a user of various Adobe products for years. Photoshop, Premiere, Acrobat, and even some of the more obscure ones. Some of these, I use professionally at the office (notably Acrobat), but for the others, I am a casual user.

As I've never been one for pirating software, I have bought over the years the odd license for Photoshop, Premiere, and Acrobat for personal use. Most of them for Windows, but even some on MacOS X when I had switched my main computer to an iMac.

I use something like Photoshop every couple of months... Premiere, once a year or so. I still found it useful to have the "real" Adobe software because if I needed to do something, I really could do it.

Every so often, Adobe would write to me to encourage me to upgrade to the latest release... most of the time, I'd file these ads in the "Advert" folder an ignore them, but every few years or so, there would be a new feature compelling enought that I'd upgrade to keep up.

Now, they keep writing me to encourage me to subscribe to their Adobe Creative Cloud with its montly fee. Pfff! There is no way that I would saddle myself with a recurring monthly fee for something that I will not use on most months! As a general rule, I eschew recurring fees except for things which are really regular and important to me (heck, I even bought Office 2013 on my laptop instead of subscribing to Office 365).

So, I will look for alternatives to Photoshop and Premiere, and Adobe has now lost my (irregular, but somewhat recurring) revenue stream going forward.

Unfortunate move Adobe: you should have offered options to your customers.

/software | Posted at 09:13 | permanent link

Sun, 25 May 2014

I'm on the road again

After more than 18 years in Europe, I am moving back to Canada and to a new job, next Friday.

It will be good to get back home and be closer to family and friends, but as always with these things, it is somewhat bittersweet because we will be leaving behind some great friends and colleagues out here.

Paris is one of the world's greatest cities, and to see the Eiffel tower every day on my way to work is something I will surely miss.

On the other hand, I am quite excited about being reunited with my sons and with the new job! I am joining a class organization and I look forward to meeting my new colleagues there and making new friends. There will be much work to do to complete the transformation of the IT of the Bank, and as IT is at the heart of Financial Services this promises to be interesting, challenging, and impactful.

There will be more to say in the coming weeks... stay tuned!

/notwork | Posted at 12:55 | permanent link

Mon, 12 May 2014

Double rainbow over Paris


OK, so I will not do the whole Internet meme thing about "oh my god, double rainbow what does it all mean", but...

On our way to our friend Caroline's yesterday night, it rained pretty suddenly... and just as suddenly, wham, the sun came out. We looked around for a rainbow and then suddenly there was this neat double rainbow over Paris.

My wife didn't have time to take the picture with the double rainbow with the Eiffel tower, but she did get the great "double rainbow above the Place d'Iena" picture that you can see above.

Must have something to do with the fact that in couple of weeks, we're going back to Canada after 18 years in Europe :-D

/misc | Posted at 16:19 | permanent link

Wed, 02 Apr 2014

Well, isn't this just typical


Have you noticed that people start blogging, then they do it semi-regularly for a while, then they get busy, then they post a "oh, I haven't blogged for a while but I will start doing it again soon" and then their blog goes quiet forever?

Well, I hope this is not just another occurence of this regular ailment :-)

So, it's been a while since I've taken the time to write on here. Lots happening of course, writing up and launching the implementation of a major Digital strategy at work has been keeping me quite busy. Old team members leaving, new team members joining, it's a very active and intense period over at the olde office.

Some madness in the industry (come on, whatsapp for $19 billion US ?!?), some buzzwords as always (big data - which according to some doesn't even have to be big), but also some fundamental changes and as always some fun new technologies (really happy with my nice 4K TV).

Anyway, as I've said, lots happening... hence the cartoon picture from Gotlib above... inspector Bougret and his faithful sidekick Charolles saying essentially "onwards!".

The world is quite exciting and is fast changing... I need to take some time to attend TED one of these years!

En avant vers de nouvelles aventures!

/misc | Posted at 19:41 | permanent link