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No can do, Snapchat

Terms of Service: You must declare that:

You are not a person who is barred from receiving the Services under the laws of the United States, the United Kingdom, or any other applicable jurisdiction—meaning that you do not appear on the U.S. Treasury Department’s list of Specially Designated Nationals or face any other similar prohibition.

How would I know this? Tell you what, Snapchatyou provide me with the lists and I’ll check to see if I’m on them.

On a brighter note, Snapchat Inc. acquired a popular Canadian web app called Bitmoji last year, for US$100 million. Yay, our guys!

For now, we can still play with the Bitmoji app without using Snapchat. Here’s the best I could do, using the app to make my own avatar.

Why so techy these days?

Weather is the reason I’ve had more time for indoor activities. I wish I could send some of our excessive rain to British Columbia this summer. They need it to quench all those forest fires.

Play

Of course, this is another opportunity to demo my new toy … lazy-loading video. It loads on demand, so it’s more efficient. (See preceding post) This is an iPad video, edited on the iPad with iOS iMovie.

Feist under the Gardiner Expressway

I sort of lost track of Feist after she One-Two-Three-Foured her way through that Apple commercial, so I chose her recent video to try out a new video-embedding plugin. It’s supposed to work without bogging down page loading time.

Play

The lyrics of performances like this are usually lost on me, so I have to look up the words if I want to know what they are.

Joy! Page download time is unaffected. This is how I will embed video in future. Better for you than a text link, but it will only download if you click for it. It’s called “lazy loading” and the WordPress plugin I’m using is called “Velocity”.

Free service, future expenses

Google announces its new search feed service, which will track our individual interests and feed us related material. Finally, we can live in our chosen reality bubbles. Google will protect us from that other confusing stuff.

Venus of Willendorf, circa 25,000 B.C.E. Uncurated reality is a thing of the past.

But won’t it get boring?

Maybe Google will let us exchange feeds, so we can “try on” a favourite celebrity’s reality, or discover how a prospective mate is seeing things. There are many scary possibilities for the adventurous.

What if somebody gets to see my feed without permission?

At present, only Google knows what’s in your feed, and what could be wrong with that? But you could be pressured into revealing your reality bubble and that’s why third-party “burner feeds” may emerge. We’ll need to purchase flattering feeds to share at job interviews and border-crossings … ones that make us look smart, tasteful and well-adjusted. 😉

Notice any speed improvement?

My blog was bogging down under the weight of fancy do-dads. I turned them off to speed loading time.

I’m also using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to serve my pages from various locations around the globe. If you’re far away (Hi, Visnja!), I should be closer and faster now.

Loading Youtube and Vimeo players is slow, so rather than embedding such content, I will try to provide a link to it. That way, if you want to look, you can, but if not, you won’t have to wait for it.

Last, but not least, I am “smushing” the thousands of images I have uploaded. (Compressing them for optimum delivery, without quality loss).

Are you feeling appreciated? You are!

Coffee with Gord Smith, sculptor

The more time I spend with Gord Smith and his sculptures, the more I realize his remarkable ability to synthesize art and science, mathematics and biology. Following his intuition and imagination, he is able to transform geometry into the pulsing stuff of life.

Gord Smith sculpture in the lobby of the Garment Factory condo on Carlaw.

Phrases like “holes in the fabric of space-time” come to my mind when I look at this handsome piece, ingeniously fabricated from wooden dowels. There are many Smith sculptures made this way, all different, all very alive.

Today I saw some new pieces that aren’t even on his website yet. Laser-cut stainless steel doesn’t seem like a medium that would express organic, blossoming plant life, does it? Yet, it Gord’s hands, it happens. There’s an interplay of with light and shadow, too … linking the sculptures with their surroundings. Everything is connected in this artist’s world view. His art expresses the idea beautifully.

Gord has made another connection, in artistic collaborations with fellow artist, Avron Mintz. Today I received the gift of an art book documenting some of their work. I’ll be able to say more about it soon, because the three of us are scheduled to meet.

5 years for Beach Hill

While searching (unsuccessfully) for the date of the last Upper Gerrard streetcar track replacement, I came across this reminder …

Five years ago, Beach Hill arrived at its chosen name. Our Beach Hill Restaurant is gone,  now being converted into definitely less-colourful office use, but we still have Beach Hill Residences, a Beach Hill Pub and Beach Hill Painting services.

Best of all, we have the Beach Hill Neighbourhood Association, which continues to beautify our “high street” sidewalk gardens and keeps members aware of local goings-on with the weekly Beach Hill e-blast. We have a Facebook page, too, but I don’t have a Facebook account.

Google knows about us and even where our boundaries are. I walked around them once, counting over 7300 steps on my pedometer.

Deep Dish City

Brian Hickey just iPhoned this one in … an almost surreal picture of one of his favourite U.S. cities. How did he wind up there on the weekend when Toronto is filled with the eardrum-thrashing joys of the Honda Indy? It has something to do with Jolanta’s birthday. She likes Chicago, too.

Many happy returns, Jol.