Archive for the 'personal' category

Ada Lovelace Day: Jane of See Jane Compute

Wednesday was Ada Lovelace Day!

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science.

The first Ada Lovelace Day was held on 24th march 2009 and was a huge success. It attracted nearly 2000 signatories to the pledge and 2000 more people who signed up on Facebook. Over 1200 people added their post URL to the Ada Lovelace Day 2009 mash-up. The day itself was covered by BBC News Channel,, Radio 5 Live, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Metro, Computer Weekly, and VNUnet, as well as hundreds of blogs worldwide.

In 2010 Ada Lovelace Day will again be held on 24th March and the target is to get 3072 people to sign the pledge and blog about their tech heroine.

Ada Lovelace Day is organised by Suw Charman-Anderson, with design and development support from TechnoPhobia and hosting from UKHost4U.

I encourage you to check out the rather extensive list of posts celebrating women in science and technology. It's truly inspiring.

A couple of days late (as usual) I'd like to add a name to the list of women deserving of a bit of celebration: Jane of the sadly departed blog See Jane Compute (and here for deeper archives).

Way back in 2005 or so, See Jane Compute was the first science blog I started following regularly. Her keen insights into the world of computing was what first drew me in, but it was the warmth and personality of the blog that kept me coming back. I'd done a computing degree myself way back in the 1980s and I saw a lot of what I went through as a student mirrored oddly through her experiences as a prof.

Also, as a callow youth way back then, I don't think I realized the challenges that the women in my program faced just being there, and that's something that Jane's writing really brought home to me, hopefully making me much more aware and sensitive now.

Over time, we also became blog buddies. It was always a thrill to see Jane's name pop up in the comments because I knew that someone who cared about the computing field and the people in it was contributing.

Jane also let us all into her life, let us experience the ups and downs of academia, of being a woman in computing, of everyday life. As all friends are, I was thrilled and happy when Baby Jane came along bringing great joy to the Jane household. I was also dismayed by some of the ups and downs of academic life and the weird tenure process.

Unfortunately, Jane's voice is mostly silent now -- I'm happy to report that she does still show up in the comments occasionally (here, for example). I'll also have a small little regret -- See Jane Compute closed down on Science Blogs on May 5, 2009 while I joined only a couple of weeks later, on May 18. Longtime blog friends, we missed being blog siblings by only a whisker.

So, slightly late Happy Ada Lovelace Day! And take a minute to go read some terrific insights by one of the great women technology bloggers here and here. And check out the interview I did with her on my old blog.

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Recently, all about me.

A bit of self-promotion. Forgive me. I'll be brief.

  • My TAIGA fisking post from a while back is featured prominently in Walt Crawford's most recent Cites & Insights (March 2010) (pdf, html) with quite a bit of value-added comment from Walt on TAIGA, the Darien Statements and other topics. Thanks, Walt.
  • I'm flattered to be mentioned in Graham Lavender's presentation at the recent Web2.You conference in Montreal. His very fine presentation was on Blogs and Twitter for Individuals and Institutions. No doubt referring to my 2008 presentation at Web2.You, on slide 3 he mentions that "Everything I know about blogging I learned from John Dupuis." An exaggeration to be sure, but I appreciate the thought. Thanks!
  • For those of you attending the Ontario Library Association Super Conference 2010 next week, Janice Mutz and I will be partially reprising my 2008 OLA presentation on My Job in 10 Years. Janice and I met after that presentation and started a dialogue about redoing and re-imagining the session as something less of a presentation and more of a unconference-y conversation. And that's what we're aiming for this time around and we've tried to reflect that in the title of the session -- Our Job in 10 Years.

    We're up on Thursday, February 25th at 9:05 am.

    Our Job in 10 Years: The future of academic libraries

    John Dupuis, Science Librarian, York University Libraries;
    Janice Mutz, Information Literacy Librarian, Chancellor Paterson Library, Lakehead University

    Time to look into those crystal balls! The world is changing, libraries are changing, students are changing. This volatile environment is challenging academic librarians to evolve our practice in unexpected ways. The best way to prepare for change is to think about it, discuss it, and maybe (this is a big maybe!), anticipate the way things might change. This presentation is just such an exercise. Join this panel of front-line academic librarians as we explore these issues and come prepared to give us your two cents worth!

    Convenor: Sarah Forbes, University of Toronto Scarborough

    (BTW, thanks, Bruce, for the kind words!)

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A year of books

Dec 31 2009 Published by under book review, personal, science books

I did this last year and the year before and it seemed like an interesting and maybe even useful thing to continue this year.

Trends in my reading this year? An increase in books on social media and a bit down in terms of science and fantastic fiction. A lot of that has to do with working on the My Job in 10 Years book and the reading I've been doing for that. A lot of it also has to do with the reading I did for the Sunburst Award. I was on the jury for the 2009 award (winners!) and so I did a ton of reading for that in the first half of the year. That didn't leave me that much time for other reading; it has also left me a little burnt out on fiction reading. Note that I'm not listing any of the books I read for the award as the list of submitted books isn't publicly released.

Overall, a pretty good year in reading books, but with no one book really standing out. One nice thing is that this year's Buffy DVD watching extravaganza (my wife and I watched the whole series for the first time between November2008 and July 2009) got me back into reading graphic novels a bit more than in the last few years so that is happily represented here. I think in 2010 I'll be moving a little more into non-Buffy-inspired fare...

I'll link to the reviews I've written below. I'm quite a bit behind on that score right now, so I'll try and catch up a bit, maybe with with capsule & group reviews.

So, without further ado, here's a list of all the books I've read this year, more-or-less in order:

  1. First Principles: First Principles: The Crazy Business of Doing Serious Science by Howard Burton (review)
  2. All those Moments: Stories of Heroes, Villains, Replicants, and Blade Runners by Rutger Hauer and Patrick Quinlan (review)
  3. Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives by John Palfrey and Urs Gasser (review)
  4. The Human, the Orchid, and the Octopus: Exploring and Conserving Our Natural World by Jacques Cousteau, Susan Schiefelbein
  5. Losers Town by Daniel Depp (review)
  6. Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes by Mark Bittman
  7. Blasphemy by Richard Preston
  8. Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy by Lawrence Lessig (review)
  9. What's So Funny by Donald E. Westlake
  10. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus, Vol. 1 by Joss Whedon, Others, Eric Powell, and Joe Bennett
  11. The Rising by Brian Keene
  12. Click: What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why it Matters by Bill Tancer
  13. Year's Best SF 12 edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer
  14. The Long Way Home (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, Vol. 1) by Joss Whedon and Georges Jeanty (review)
  15. Mindscan by Robert J. Sawyer (review)
  16. Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter (review)
  17. Beyond Reach by Karin Slaughter (review)
  18. Destined for an Early Grave by Jeaniene Frost (review)
  19. Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry (review)
  20. The Mall of Cthulhu by Seamus Cooper (review)
  21. The Good Humor Man by Andrew Fox (review)
  22. Berserk by Tim Lebbon
  23. No Future For You (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Volume 2) by Brian K. Vaughan, Joss Whedon, Georges Jeanty, and Cliff Richards (review)
  24. Wolves at the Gate (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Volume 3) by Drew Goddard, Joss Whedon, Georges Jeanty, and Jo Chen (review)
  25. Time of Your Life (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, Vol. 4) by Joss Whedon, Jeff Loeb, Karl Moline, and Eric Wight (review)
  26. The Werewolf's Guide to Life: A Manual for the Newly Bitten by Ritch Duncan and Bob Powers (sort of a review)
  27. Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman by James Gleick
  28. Zugzwang: A Novel by Ronan Bennett
  29. Monster Planet by David Wellington
  30. Shambling towards Hiroshima by James Morrow
  31. Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth by Apostolos Doxiadis, Christos H. Papadimitriou, Alecos Papdatos and Annie Di Donna (review)
  32. The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror: 18 edited by Stephen Jones
  33. Predators and Prey (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Vol. 5) by Joss Whedon, Jane Espenson, Steven S. DeKnight, and Drew Z. Greenberg
  34. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus, Vol. 2 by Various
  35. The Removers by Donald Hamilton
  36. The Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book that Will Change the Way You Do Business by Clayton M. Christensen
  37. Conan the Invincible by Robert Jordan
  38. Community: The Structure of Belonging by Peter Block
  39. Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization by Jeff Rubin
  40. Feasting on Asphalt: The River Run by Alton Brown
  41. A Flash of Hex by Jes Battis
  42. Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It's Becoming, and Why It Matters by Scott Rosenberg
  43. The Pirate's Dilemma: How Youth Culture Is Reinventing Capitalism by Matt Mason
  44. I Hate New Music: The Classic Rock Manifesto by Dave Thompson
  45. Moyasimon 1: Tales of Agriculture by Ishikawa Masayuki
  46. Pulp Masters edited by Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg
  47. Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone Is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone. by Mitch Joel
  48. Angel: After The Fall Volume 1 by Brian Lynch and Franco Urru

Notable non-fiction, in no particular order:

Notable fiction, in no particular order:

I hope this list provides a little inspiration to all my readers to compile their own reading list for the year. I look forward to seeing them -- feel free to drop a link in the comments.

(I've been recording every book I read since 1983 and on my other blog I've been occasionally transcribing the list on a year by year basis. I've stalled a bit the last couple of years, but I'll try and do a few more during the holidays this year. This list will also be re-posted there eventually.)

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YorkWrites: Celebrating York Creators and Innovators

Nov 11 2009 Published by under acad lib future, personal, yorku

I don't usually talk about local York stuff here, but I'd like to make an exception for the event we had last week (Tuesday, November 3rd) here at my library, The Steacie Science & Engineering Library.

The event is called YorkWrites and it's sponsored jointly by the Libraries and the Bookstore. Essentially, it's a big party in the library, with food, drink, music and speeches. In the past it was held at the Scott Library, the humanities & socials sciences library, but for 2009 we thought it would be nice to try a science and engineering focus.

What's it about:

YORKwrites is an initiative of York University Libraries and York University Bookstores, with a two-fold objective:

  • to celebrate all recent scholarly, research and creative works produced by the York community and promote them, internally and externally.
  • to document the scholarly, research, and creative works produced by the York community. This includes work by faculty, students, alumni and staff.

You can get more of an idea by poking around the website, our RefWorks publications database and the YorkWrites Blog, where we've been profiling York researchers.

There's a brief story here and here is the story in the York daily enewsletter, YFile, with a fairly nice picture of me.

There was much that was new and notable in 2008-2009 from the Faculty of Science & Engineering, such as the development of a prototype space elevator and the discovery of snow on Mars, not to mention the award-winning Mars rover project.


Faculty, students, alumni and staff were on hand at the Steacie Science & Engineering Library last week for the YORKwrites 2009 gathering to toast each other on their research, publications and creative accomplishments. President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri, Walter Tholen, interim dean of the Faculty of Science & Engineering, and Michael Siu, associate vice-president research, science & technology, were present to congratulate those whose output raised the profile of York.

"We owe York authors a great debt. It is through their work - scholarly, scientific, professional or creative - that the wider world learns about York," said Shoukri. "This is an important initiative and a cause worth celebrating."

One of the things we did a bit differently this year was to shift a bit of the focus to the kinds of things science people do as opposed to the focus in previous years which was more on monographs. What we did was put up a bunch of poster boards at the back of the library and get faculty and grad students to lend us some of their posters that we could put up for the event. This particular initiative was a great success as we got about 35 posters given to us, more than double what I was hoping for. We ended up improvising and putting a bunch of them up on the walls & windows.

In any case, there's some video here of Paul Delaney's toast to the authors and more pictures here.

It was a great event, a great party and a wonderful opportunity to raise the library's profile on campus and to forge closer ties to the faculties we serve, opening the door for further opportunities to collaborate. Some part of the future of libraries is in building collaborations and raising profiles and working together with stakeholders across campus. Be visible.

It was also great that some small bit of the spotlight was focused on all the great work that the people here at Steacie do every day.

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Open Access Policy for York University Librarians and Archivists

On October 1, 2009 librarians and archivists at York University Libraries voted unanimously to adopt the following policy:

York University Open Access Policy for Librarians and Archivists
Librarians and archivists at York University recognize the importance of open access to content creators and researchers in fostering new ideas, creating knowledge and ensuring that it is available as widely as possible. In keeping with our long-standing support of the Open Access movement, York librarians and archivists move to adopt a policy which would ensure our research is disseminated as widely as possible and available in perpetuity through deposit in York's institutional repository, YorkSpace.

Policy Statement
Academic librarians and archivists at York University commit to making the best possible effort to publish in venues providing unrestricted public access to their works. They will endeavour to secure the right to self-archive their published materials, and will deposit these works in YorkSpace.

The York University academic librarian and archivist complement grant York University Libraries the non-exclusive right to make their scholarly publications accessible through self-archiving in the YorkSpace institutional repository subject to copyright restrictions.

This policy applies to all scholarly and professional work produced as a member of York University academic staff produced as of the date of the adoption of this policy. Retrospective deposit is encouraged. Co-authored works should be included with the permission of the other author(s). Examples of works include:

  • Scholarly and professional articles
  • Substantive presentations, including slides and text
  • Books/book chapters
  • Reports
  • Substantive pedagogical materials such as online tutorials
  • Works should be deposited in YorkSpace as soon as is possible, recognizing that some publishers may impose an embargo period.

This policy is effective as of 01/10/2009 and will be assessed a year after implementation.

Yay us! You can see the Libraries' YorkSpace community here and what I have deposited here.

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Sunburst Award 2009 Winners: Canadian Literature of the Fantastic!

Sep 28 2009 Published by under personal, science books, science fiction

Those of you with long memories may recall that I was on the jury for the 2009 Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic.

Well, the names of the winners have just been released:

You can check out the shortlists and recommended reading lists here.

The two winning books are both amazing examples of fantastic fiction, both well worth reading. The rest of the shortlists and recommended reading lists are also worth checking out. Congratulations!

I would also like to say at this point that being on the jury was a fantastic experience and I would like to thank my fellow jurors (Barbara Berson, Ed Greenwood, Sandra Kasturi and Simon Rose) for contributing to such an amazing experience. Thanks.

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ScienceBlogs on Facebook & Twitter

Sep 23 2009 Published by under admin, personal, web 2.0

If you feel the need to socially network with ScienceBlogs and any of us various SciBlings, you can do so on Facebook and Twitter. I suspect that most of us who are on those services are fans/followers of ScienceBlogs.

The main places I hang out are Friendfeed, Twitter and Facebook. Drop by and say hi!

(I don't know if it exists, but it would be interesting to see a list of all of our various handles on those and other services.)

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Five Perfect Rock Songs

Aug 27 2009 Published by under music, personal

Apparently inspired by the occasional Five Songs I Love posts I've been doing (here, here and here), Ava at Jemsite asked me if I wouldn't mind coming up with one for their blog.

Well, it sounded like a cool idea -- so here's what I came up with.

It was a fun experience so I hope to do more guest posts as time and inspiration allow.

Thanks, Ava!

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Worldcon wrapup

Aug 27 2009 Published by under admin, personal, science fiction

And speaking of reading, a couple of the books on the summer reading list I posted yesterday were actually purchased at the World Science Fiction Convention dealers' room! We were lucky that this year the con was in Montreal, my home town and very near Ste-Agathe, where we spent most of our vacation time. The whole family came down to Montreal for the Friday of the con, while I stayed for Saturday and Sunday as well.

Overall, the con was a blast. I had a fantastic time! Of course, since I lived in Montreal for 38 years and was quite involved in Montreal sf fandom for a few years (I was on the first four organizing committees of Concept, for example), I knew a lot of people who were there and was able to see a lot of good friends from the old days, many of whom I hadn't seen in a while, Keith and Berny amongst them. (Hi guys!) Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to see Rene Walling, one of the co-chairs who I know from the old days and congratulate him on a job well done. Now's the chance, of course -- great job, Rene! (And congrats to all the organizers, too!)

The programming was decent, if a little sparsely attended at times. In my programming choices, I was lucky enough not to be affected by any of the timing/scheduling snafus that Worldcon's seem prone to. I enjoyed the art show and other displays, particularly the David G. Hartwell Necktie Display (pic). The dealers' room was very small by Worldcon standards with almost no used book dealers to speak of. Most small local cons are better served in that department, at least here in Toronto. Only a few small press publishers managed to make the trip. It's too bad that so many potential dealers were scared off by the usually fairly minor border crossing requirements for dealers, not to mention that the difficult economy probably influenced a bunch of them as well. Many of the dealers that did make the trip seemed to make a killing, selling all or nearly all of what they brought. Of course, I managed to spend my allotted funds.

From a blogging perspective, I did run into SciBling Chad Orzel as well as friend Mark Tovey. I also dropped by the party to thank them for my book deal. The con was probably also the cheapest way to ever get to see Paul Krugman speak.

And speaking of parties, it was a complete joy to attend the book launch party for my old friend Claude Lalumière's first collection, Objects of Worship. And speaking of Claude, if you want to get a sense of what Worldcon was like, you should check out the blogging he and Matthew Surridge did for the Montreal Gazette.

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Blogging break over & summer reading wrapup

Aug 26 2009 Published by under admin, personal

My annual summer blogging break has officially come to a close. I returned to work Monday after a very nice four week vacation. Yes, I use my whole annual vacation allotment all at once and go the rest of the year without any significant break except for Christmas.

The first three weeks we spent most of our time at a cottage we rent every year near Ste-Agathe-des-Monts, about 90 minutes north of Montreal. The weather was mostly pretty good, so a great time was had by all -- swimming, canoing and just lounging around reading books. For my part, let's just say a lot of BBQing and drinking local beer was involved!

And speaking of reading, here's the list of books I actually got around to reading while on vacation:

As is usually the case, the four of us passed the same books back and forth quite a bit. I'll indicate who read each book with the appropriate initial: w/j/s/d. What can I say, we're a family of big readers! We were also a DVD watching family, with my wife and I getting through all of Buffy season 7 as well as a good chunk of Angel season 2 and Homicide season 1, not to mention some miscellaneous movies.

I've posted reviews of most of the books on my other blog.

The more observant amongst you will notice that I don't list either of the two winners from my Summer Reading Poll. That's because the spirit was a lot more willing than the eyeballs to read anything even vaguely good-for-me. I'm about 60% done the Feynman bio and I haven't started The Pirate's Dilemma at all yet. Oh well.

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