Monday, June 30, 2008

Goodbye New York, Hello Toronto

And so today we finally arrived in Toronto... Back home. On Sunday, when The Edge plays retro music until 2 am (something I've listened to since early high school)... Two days before Canada Day (and my birthday)... Oh, so many memories!

But I leave New York with lots of new memories as well. I won't be cheesy. No, I can't do that. I'm feeling nostalgic, but that's all I will say.

I'll definitely write a reflective piece on New York, but hope to do that once I actually finish working at IBM (July 25 -- yay for telecommuting). Thanks to this whole Internet thing, I get to be in two places at once!

As a way to end my time in New York, I visited a few more sushi places. These are: Sushi Yasuda, Ginger (3rd Avenue), Kami Sushi (2nd Avenue), Monster Sushi (23rd Street), and Yakinuku (around Astor Place). All I have to say is: Sushi Yasuda was the best sushi I have ever had... In my life. Period. No question about it.

Note: click images for credits.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What I Write (and Read)

I'm having a lot of fun with Wordle right now. Put in some text and it'll map it out for you. Aesthetically pleasing, and a little informative.

So here's what I've been blogging about this year...

And here's what my account says about me...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

Research Wrap-Up

The Networks in Political Science conference, which took place this past week, was probably my last major deadline before moving back to Toronto. I'll be doing that in two weeks, though first will be entertaining a few guests before that happens!

The conference was a nice interdisciplinary get-together, with political scientists, computer scientists, sociologists, statisticians, and other types of researchers showing up. There were workshops on dynamic networks and statistical models for graphs, and presentations on everything from data collection to theoretical models of human behaviour.

What makes me happy about the conference is that I finally have a detailed overview of what I do, and it's publicly available! Thanks to a 35-minute talk I gave called "Mining Political Blog Networks", you can see my slides either as a PowerPoint Presentation or a PDF.

Another interesting note with regards to my work is that I wrote an article for iCommons, focusing on data visualization using collaborative and open source tools.

And this coming week? Hopefully taking it a bit slower!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Monday, June 9, 2008

Learning Japanese

I'm heading to Japan in late July for the iCommons iSummit conference, and then hanging out in Tokyo for a bit. In order to prepare, I'll be trying to learn some Japanese.

I remember blogging in Spanish, Polish, and French a few years back, as a way to reinforce those languages. Unfortunately, Spanish was never really something that caught on, but the other two are doing fine. Now it's time to try and add Japanese to the list, and I'll document my progress on here.

To start, I bought Japanese Demystified. While books from stores aren't necessary (I love the idea of learning a language for free), I often find myself in coffee shops or trains, and it's good to have something in print.

Aside from that, I'm all up for trying free resources. I'll finally test out the Live Mocha Japanese lessons. Also, I'm looking forward to listening to a few podcasts. Doing a search yielded the following results:

In addition to the above, there are free dictionaries and Wikibooks.

I'm also curious about LingQ, but not sure how much of their content is free.

Edit: my friend Sacha posted a follow-up post on her blog with more resources. Thanks, Sacha!

Note: click on photo for credits.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

One Crazy Week Down...

... and one more to go. Thank goodness for the weekend! Three paper deadlines passed this week at work, two for CIKM 2008 and one for NIPS 2008. Next week is the Networks in Political Science (a different NIPS), and I'll be working on a presentation for this during the next few days.

Monday, June 2, 2008

What's on my mind?

I've fallen behind in my blog reading, so I spent about two hours today catching up on everything. Unfortunately, two hours isn't enough time but it's all I can really afford at this stage. There's a couple of themes that are really speaking out to me, both from these posts and just in general over the last few weeks, and I wanted to document them. Note that there's no particular order to the themes below. Notice any major themes? :)

The economy. First, inflation and the general state of the economy. I'm not too worried yet, but the trends are pretty interesting. The discussions on an oil bubble. More focused discussions on food prices, the Consumer Price Index, and related topics have been coming up quite frequently in the blogs and newspapers I read. I think there's quite a bit of sensationalist stuff, but we'll see what happens. Not stockpiling any food, yet!

Web 2.0, business, and charity. Again, discussions on problems with monetizing web 2.0. No opinion from me at this time, but the non-profit initiatives are really cool. A cool tag for some business models and ideas in this realm: cognitive surplus.

Technology, Politics, and Public Policy. Both in terms of new fields like nanotechnology, but also 'traditional' technologies like the internet... Network neutrality in Canada is becoming a big deal. A related issue is hacktivism (sort of!) and emerging threats.

... Lots to think about!

Note: click photos for credits.