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Back in Montreal

Feb. 20th, 2011

12:49 am - Anna's Website

 Anna got a website (designed by yours truly): http://anna.davidair.com

Feb. 19th, 2011

07:41 pm - The Antisocial Network

You say you want a revolution? Well, you know... forget about The Beatles –
it's all about Twitter now! The first decade of the new millennium has already witnessed
one revolution – the one of the online social networks. If the Nineties were
the years of the World Wide Web, the "Noughties" went under the sign of MySpace,
Facebook and Twitter. Google brought the world's information at my fingertips. Facebook
connected me to my friends around the world. Forget about e-mails, phone calls,
and God forbid, regular mail.

Friends, family, your loved ones! Thanks God your @girlfriend twitted
about her haircut - you know to notice it when you see her. Even your @grandma
updates her status as “dinner is ready”. And your friends?

Mike: got wasted.
(Hmm, how come I was not there?!)

Jeremy: landed a new job and dumped my girlfriend.
(Monica was so cute... maybe I should finally ask her out?)

Yet, not all is rosy in the land of tweets and status updates. The online social
networking comes at a price. Jobs lost. Time wasted. Breakups. Depression. Sleep
deprivation. It can get pretty scary! What are the flip sides of exposing yourself
online?

The Privacy Nightmare. When was the last time you’ve googled
a friend’s name? Well, perhaps you should – you might be surprised by
what you find. By far, this is likely the most dangerous aspect of a self-driven
online presence. People can find out far more stuff about you than you may suspect.
Your grocery store tracks you through your fidelity card. Your friendly revenue
agency tracks you, taking a close look at your income. Your local law enforcement
tracks you, too – and they've been doing it since you were born. Yet, nothing
they can dig up can even compare to what you will put out there yourself –
willingly and unwittingly.

Maybe you have the urge of sharing your existence with others. Maybe you just don't
want to be left behind – you need to be hip, just like everyone else. One
way or another, you put forth a treasure trove of information about your precious
self. What's your hometown? Where did you graduate from? Who are you married to?
Where do you work? And what about your favorite vacation place? Or who did you have
a fight with? Or why did you break up with your sweetheart? And what bank did you
rob? Nothing is off-limits.

It is very nice to enjoy this kind of freedom – you can tell the world just
about anything. But beware – the world listens! A man in British Columbia
loses his welfare payments when he blogs about his trip to Hawai`i. A fugitive gets
caught and jailed because a crafty FBI agent infiltrates his friends' network on
Facebook. Parents become concerned when a teacher's photo of her smoking a joint
gets posted online. A flight attendant loses her job over a comment in her blog.
These are just a few of stories that hit the news but there are countless more.
And if you think "no worries, I control my information", then think twice. Someone
could just post a compromising photo of you on Facebook – now you're in trouble!

The information overload: This is a general curse of the modern times - we
get bombarded by information on the radio, in the ads, on the TV and of course,
online. Fifteen years ago, it was hard to find relevant information because it was
too scarce. Now, it's the opposite – the good stuff gets buried amidst the
loads of info-junk. Social networks are not exempt. Read your newsfeed on Facebook,
follow your friends and interesting people on Twitter, RSS-aggregate news sites
and prominent blogs – it's an ocean of information, with everyone fighting
for your attention. Thoughts of value get lost in this madness, and it's the cute
photo of the day that prevails. And then you write something and realize the sorry
truth – nobody cares anymore.

The antisocial social network: Back on the early days of the internet, the
online world was mostly for the nerds, the "socially inept". While the rest of the
world partied away, those lurked the web, the forums and the chats from the solitary
safety of their basements. It all changed when it became hip to be online and to
let the world know just who you went partying with. But while the latest generations
of the social networks brought online communication to the broadest masses, it also
made this communication much shallower. Face it – most of the things people
write in their tweets or status updates are crap. But not only people indulge in
pointless babble, they often make it their primarily mean of communication, displacing
the more tangible, deeper ones. Have you ever had a friend who did not return your
calls or did not have time to meet – only to discover she is constantly online,
posting and commenting? Perhaps Facebook was meant to get us closer, but it turned
into a tool that now keeps us apart.

Time wasted: It is true that you cannot be productive all the times. But
when given the opportunity to waste your time, nothing compares with online. Many
of us use computers in their day-to-day jobs and having your favorite online social
network handy is too hard of an appeal to resist. Read the news feeds, feed your
pigs on a farm, write comments. Oh, it's already 5pm? I suppose it's time to go
home, another productive day well-spent! And what is that? A pink slip?!

More and more people are being aware of the flip side of the online social networking.
This gave birth to a new breed: the "social downshifters". Like people who give
up their high-paying, stressful jobs in a quest to reclaim their lives, so do these
folks abandon their online personas to go back and live in the real world. And who
is to blame them? "Facebook got a bit too much with all the social stalking, status
changes, etc
", said Ben - "I figured deleting my account was a good idea. I never
looked back
". Francis agrees – "This is going to be my last post online.
After that, you can reach me on the phone via e-mail
".

Can one function well in the modern society without having a Twitter or Facebook
account? I daresay yes – but you need to be aware of how the world is changing
with the new information technologies taking over. Decide what's important for you
– and play it safe.

Aug. 25th, 2010

11:44 pm

Какая бывает тоска?
Зеленая, как помидор,
Который висит у стены
И молча о чем-то грустит.

Какая бывает тоска?
Желтая, как пески.
Где спутник усталый идет,
Верблюда ведя под уздцы.

Какая бывает тоска?
Серая, как туман.
Не видно людей и домов,
И вовсе глядеть не на что.

Но я не грущу ни о чем,
Ведь зелень – знаменье весны,
Желтое – лета цвет,
А серое – дымка морей.

Jul. 18th, 2010

01:46 am - Traces of sesame

The label on the package says in English and French: "May contain traces of sesame". Wanna bet?

Traces...

На упаковке с кунжутом написано на английском и на французском: "может содержать следы кунжута". Ага, следы!

Apr. 25th, 2010

11:58 pm - В траве сидел кузнечик

Слушали с ребенком песенку "В траве сидел кузнечик". Навеяло:

Кузнечик был ужасно мил
Зеленый, словно крокодил
Сидел в траве, ее жевал
И был он, несомненно, мал
Но в той траве жила беда,
Ведь прыгая туда-сюда
Лягушка рыскала кругом
Там, где стоял кузнечий дом
Нашла, и вмиг нет кузнеца
Того печального конца
Он мог, наверное, избежать,
Когда бы мог он предсказать
Сии превратности судьбы,
Но остается нам, увы,
Его лишь памятью почтить
И песню глупую сложить.

Feb. 16th, 2010

03:45 pm - Phone photos

A couple of photos from Sunday from the streets of Montreal:

The Hand
hand
Рука

The Dog
dog
Собака

Пару недавних фоток с улиц Монреаля

Feb. 9th, 2010

04:45 pm - Birthplace

Here is where I'm from:

Click

Яндекс сделал панорамы улиц. Вот моя...

Jan. 20th, 2010

10:58 am - Coffee?

I know, I know, that's gow Google makes its money, but sometimes context-driven ads are scaring me just a little bit...

Coffee
(click to enlarge)

Nov. 27th, 2009

10:33 pm - Маленький Йог

- Как будет "маленький йог"?
- Ежик

Nov. 23rd, 2009

12:32 pm - Bread to the future

Got an exceptionally fresh mini baguette at the store today: the packaging date is November 24. All good, but it's November 23rd today.

Купил сегодня очень свежий полу-багет: на нем написано, что он был упакован 24-го ноября. Неплохо, учитывая, что сегодня 23-е.

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