Back to updating this blog

I’ve finally gotten around to overhauling this entire site.  Didn’t like the previous engine I had for it and I find this one to be quite fulfilling.  I’m now getting around to adding content and making this site worthwhile.  Hopefully will actually be worth visiting at some point!

Winter tires are off!

Been looking forward to this day for a while.  The day where I could finally change my wheels to my brand new ones that I bought back in November 2010.  Imagine that, waiting for 5 months until I can actually see them on my Camaro!

Say hello to my wonderful Foose Speed Rims.

Meeting some Leaf Legends!

Had the great opportunity today to meet some of the greatest Leafs Legends tonight at the Air Canada Centre all thanks to Nathon.  The event was by Project Engagement, with the goal of raising money to feed those families in need during the holidays.  Great event for a great cause.

igapi is getting a lot of press

More and more, igapi is getting press.  Earlier this month, Canadian Innovation Exchange has nomiated Social Game Universe as one of Canada’s most innovative companies, with igapi.

The Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) revealed the final slate of nominees that will compete to be included among Canada’s Hottest Innovation Companies. The annual awards are handed out in three categories: Information and communication technologies, clean technology and digital media. A total of 25 companies received nominations this year.

“Congratulations to all our nominees for showing the best Canada has to offer the world,” said Rick Nathan, co-chair of the Canadian Innovation Exchange.

Each of the finalists will make a live presentation in front of a panel consisting of leaders from major corporations, entrepreneurs and investors. Winners will be announced at the Canadian Innovation Exchange, due to take place on December 7 at the MaRS Discover Centre in Toronto.

http://business.financialpost.com/2010/11/08/fp-tech-desk-cix-announces-nominees-for-canadas-hottest-innovation-companies/

igapi was recently showcased on IGN as the first playable cross-promotion toolbar:

TORONTO, Canada – Social Game Universe, pioneers of the concept of inter-connected social games, today announced the launch of the Inter-Game API (IGAPI), a solution for game developers to drive traffic by letting users “play” through a cross-promotion bar.

IGAPI uses the power of the social graph to let players interact with their friends across games and apps without leaving the game they are currently playing. Rather than seeing a typical banner ad or cross promotion, players see IGAPI “Action Cards” that they can play on their friends in other apps. Action Cards can vary from the simple (e.g., “Give film to your friend Nathon to help him grow his studio in Hollywood Tycoon”) to the more zany and bizarre (e.g., “Release a horde of zombies on your friend Jen’s horror set!”). IGAPI’s actions are limited only by the imagination and creativity of the developers looking to attract attention to their games.

http://pc.ign.com/articles/113/1132968p1.html

My Camaro Story

February 23rd, 2010 is the official delivery date of my Camaro 2SS/RS.  A day I have been looking forward to for years. Getting my Camaro took years of planning, but boy was it worth it!

The Camaro to me is more than just a car or means of transportation. It is a North American icon with a lot of heritage, since it was brought to the market in 1967. The 1969 Camaro SS/RS is my favourite classic car. When I was 12, I had gotten a die-cast version of the very model, mind you, I did not have much success with the assembly, even went to the hospital in my attempt, but I put in many hours to make it look as good as I could. I was proud of it.

January 2006, in Detroit, Chevrolet unveiled the concept of the Camaro, I knew it was a car I had to get. It is a car that has come back from the dead and resurrected back in Oshawa. As the production of the Camaro started in early 2009, I was looking for every possible way to get myself into a Camaro, even if it meant getting the LS model. I am a student and as many may know, finances aren’t always on your side. Every time a new opportunity came up, the first words that would come out of my mouth were “Camaro”. I’ve been fortunate enough since then to find the means of ordering a beautiful Cyber Gray Metallic Camaro 2SS/RS.

After putting my order through on November 8th, 2009, friends and family were getting pretty annoyed from hearing the word “Camaro” in every other sentence, but it is my dream car after all! Several people from the Oshawa Car Plant have sent me messages about my upcoming car. Some have said would take extra care in the handling, others having jokingly said would be the first to sit in the car and others have offered to keep me up to date during the production of my Camaro. Hearing this kind of feedback brought tears of joy. I have never be involved within the community surrounding Oshawa Car, until now. I have never been as proud to have the most qualified people touching thousands of vehicles, especially one that I would own. This Camaro will no longer just be a Camaro to me, I have been touched by the hard working folks who have built my car, I couldn’t be any happier!

As my Camaro was approaching production, I began getting a lot of notes and messages from those who were directly involved with the production or scheduling, arranging that I could get updates of it every step of the way. February 8th is when production began, but took an entire week, which had me all jittery. As it went through stages, I would hear from friends and other acquaintances that it has gone through them and it is looking great so far. February 12th, before my exam, I was sent a message describing my car coming to life, as the engine roared on the dyno. Needless to say, it got me pretty distracted.

I took delivery of my Camaro a week later, due to being away on a business trip. Everyday’s wait would get me more and more excited. February 18th was the big day, sleeping was impossible, thankfully I picked it up in the morning. Signed the papers and rushed to see my car, while another couple was taking delivery of a Camaro 2LT at the same time, who seemed equally happy. The first hours of ownership were some of my most enjoyable, not to say I still don’t love it! I drove to South Main Office to get a package, which contained QA slips, a lithograph and a few other goodies. I am very impressed with the lithograph and happy that so many people have signed it. I could count at least 10 people on there, whom I knew! I look forward to seeing or meeting all of you at the next meet and greet.

As I drove around Oshawa, stopping for groceries and wine, I bumped into Oshawa Car workers who asked if I liked my car, wondering how it was running and describing their responsibility on the Camaro line. I wish I had been able to take pictures with these two very proud workers, and the hundreds of others. My seats and engine are great, thanks for asking! Happy to see how proud you all are for being a part of history of my Camaro SS and looking forward to many years of this perma-grin.

In closing, this has been a wonderful experience, which I hope doesn’t have to end. I shared my experience with some close friends, who have been very impressed. Many rehashed the story to their friends about how caring Oshawa workers are and how much GM (in their opinion) is changing. Every one of them have said would be jumping to GM because of my experience, wishing they had the privilege as I had, to feel a better connection with their car. You can understand what makes me so enthusiastic of what everyone has done for me, for that I cannot thank you all enough. Many of you put in personal time to give me this kind of joy, which shows how dedicated and proud many are about making customers happy. Thank you!

Future of Technology

It is inevitable that technology in more than 10 years from now will be incredibly advanced to which we can barely imagine. Since 2000 (after the entire Y2K fiasco) we began to see technology emerge to an entire new front. Online transactions began to grow, companies began their websites, blogs were slowly beginning to take off and large enterprises have began to transform everything to a digital format. As you can see the major advancements in technology were through a form of web. There is however technology which people seems to ignore because it’s been in their life for so long.
Looking at today’s technology advancements it is clear that the future will be very different.
As I mentioned when looking at the web, there is a huge boom of activity and specialty websites. There are as we know social networks, eCommerce companies, references and information resources, blogging sites and sites delivering the news online,.. Quite frankly there is a lot, however the successful ones are the ones that have a social aspect to them.

We can also look at things that people seem to miss in terms of technology, due to the rise of the internet. This is the ease of getting a new computer or parts at what is now an affordable price. Back in 2000 a high end computer could cost you roughly $2000, these days you can get what is considered a good computer for shy of $600. Being a student, that is very convenient. If we take a deeper look, we also notice that operating systems have taken a huge step forward since Windows 2000. The ease of using today’s systems and the increase of work efficiency is stunning. Today I am running a nearly automated work station to which I don’t need to do anything more than a few clicks to get all the information I need. Not only that, it takes me less than 15 seconds to check all my email accounts (I have about 10), before it would have taken me more than 30 minutes.

On a more wide scale view of technology, these days staying in touch or communicating with the right people has become easier. Contacting someone in China for example is very easy to do and even more economical. The days of spending tens and hundreds of dollars to contact someone else overseas is done with.

You may be wondering how it all relates to education, well that is simple! I illustrated three major points in technology, the first is social networking and the web, the second is affordable technology and the third is ease of communication. Social networking will allow schools to develop a more complex social network allowing students to discuss homework or assignments, collaborate with each other with great ease and also allow the teacher to add another dimension to the grading system (another way to grade participation). The affordability of the technology will allow the students to replicate their work between their home, school locations and even portable devices. This will allow all the students to the same tools giving everyone an equal opportunity to have success in school. My third point is related to ease of communication to which will allow students to perhaps be connected to influential people throughout the world for their formation. Having the chance to hear a teacher from Europe give a specialized class on history or a well educated citizen from China to give you an insight on other cultures, the chances of a broadening education will certainly come to play.

The future of Windows will be dependent on creative thinking and leadership.
I am a firm believer that a lot of today’s systems and process can be changed. However people are scared of change. I always enjoy seeing something absolutely out of the box. With Vista, I was very happy with the package, but creativity and new features is something I cannot seem to find. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since operating systems are to satisfy the majority of people and not the more evolutionary ones such as myself. As we fly by 12 years to 2020 there is a lot of room to push fascinating new ideas and technologies that may overwhelm people while stunning others. After all, since when have features satisfied everyone?

Windows by 2020 would quite possibly be my dream at what I have in mind for current operating systems. In short, it would allow you to do everything you can think of from controlling your entire household, to bring a new feeling of communicating with a friend or relative, or even the power to control additional tools beyond your reach, such as allowing your computer to be fully accessible by you although you may be 100 km away.

Over the past year I have been attempting to program my entire house to be controlled by one central box. Sounds fun, simple, but really it isn’t. Sometimes I wish I had more engineering knowledge than I have, but sadly I do not. I so far managed to connect the bulk of electronics to this computer, from the surround system in the basement, to the sound system in the backyard, to the other sound systems in the house. It allows me to control the music everywhere and even the picture on some TVs. If I had even more control with my computer, I would allow it to regulate the temperatures throughout the house or even by room. Allow for fully automated lights within the house. Although this is my kind of dream house, the amount of savings seen through this automation will likely save homeowners hundreds if not thousands on their electric bill. With the idea of extending applications for them to be accessible away from the actual location can also have endless possibilities.

In terms of serving education we can make the best of what I pointed out. Allowing external access will allow you to say “oh I forgot my homework, can you give me 2 minutes to retrieve it from my home?” No more of these late penalties for actually forgetting your homework (I swear I’ve done this before and my dog has even had a chance to eat it). In order to make technology better suited for schools, the team designing the operating systems needs to be very open minded and creative. Think of things that people will never do and execute them.

Windows Live is powerful; Live 2020 will feel like a client side portal.
I am sure I am not the first to say this, but with the advancements on Windows Live, I am beginning to feel much more at home and comfortable using it. One of the major components I like about the service is that it is smooth and doesn’t feel like you are on the web any longer.

In order to advance into the future, we need to go back to one of my previous points, to become more of a social network. Tools that will become increasingly popular will be Word Processors, Spreadsheet applications… The bulk of applications we currently use as client side tools (tools found on our computer) will become web based. This will allow further collaboration while working on small, medium or even large assignments. Not only can this be a wonderful tool for students, but teachers can make great use of this technology to grade. Can view many revisions to see where the student may have gone wrong and possibly award additional points which would not be seen as of now. Allow a teacher to have access to the student’s search records to see whether or not they are on the right track in their studies to finish their work. Tweaking privacy settings for such things will certainly be difficult but entirely doable for what we are soon going to be coming to.

Office 2020 will allow you to get connected and have a web based power.
This is quite possibly the one tool that will undergo a huge makeover. Although as mentioned in the previous section, that Office processors will be seen in a web format, this doesn’t stop from Office 2020 from existing. We will however see that Office will be intertwined with Live 2020 in order to allow the more “old school” users to continue working as they are used to. But the advantage Office will have over live is the ability to connect the user to other sources. These sources may be contacts from other schools, other teachers, important figures… similar to remote conferencing. This will have the ability to record audio and video, ability to record whiteboard sessions and to also right notes all at one time. Taking notes in the future will change dramatically and these are the 4 ways to which it will be done in. Allowing people to use all of these tools together will hit every learning method known; whether you are a visual person, listening person or even someone that needs to learn by trying themselves. Also adding a chat option to directly contact the instructor or person that is teaching will allow the shy students to speak up or even allow an even better focus on communication while in the conference.
Mobility 2020, will power students to stay on track and in touch.

Schools or teachers have been banning mobile phones and smartphones for a few years now. It however makes me wonder, rather than ban it (and know people will continue to use it), why not make use of it? Text messaging is becoming a cheap method of contacting people. It is one of the most popular methods of communication today. Schools can easily get a bulk amount of phone numbers for text messaging purposes to allow students to contact the school during classes, whether to signal the teacher a question (to which you may not want to say aloud), to signal someone that you need access to the gym during lunch, or for teachers to send you notifications on upcoming deadlines or homework for the night. People carry their mobile phones with them all day, notifications on their phones will be extremely targeted and almost guaranteed to be seen or heard from.

Can I see this as being the future? I surely can say so. Although it will take a long time to convince school officials that mobile devices aid in a student’s education, they will eventually see the benefits of implementation.

Today’s courses will be included in the future’s history courses.
Ever hear your parents say “back in the day when I was in school, I used to do this…”? Well I am sure we all have heard it, but what they are telling us happened 30 years ago. With such a dramatic change in upcoming technologies you will be hearing people talking about 2000-2010 as if it was a distant past. Course loads will be entirely different, marking schemes will be based on more factors and materials and tools will be extremely broad. In these cases I think of myself as an extremist as I can see a lot of major changes which no one may ever foresee. Although part of what I am thinking will not be seen till beyond 2020 such as the majority of the courses being taught remotely, I believe that to some extent you will see that. By 2020 I believe we will begin to see some more speciality classes being taught, while allowing the students to broaden their exposure by featuring more international figures throughout the courses. You may begin seeing more courses that relate to technology in terms of how to develop small applications for Windows Gadgets, or an instant messaging program… today’s computer courses from high school would likely be taught in primary school. We will also be likely to see the emergence of additional courses relating to societies and real life examples and facts to affirm the studies. I also believe that there will be more researching done in courses due to ease of access to information and references.

Teachers will be forced to adapt quickly to new teaching and correcting works. As mentioned previously, work will be done through networked or online applications that will allow the teachers to view exactly what a student may mean and how much time they may have taken to work on the piece. Though this may penalize those who are quick at doing work and do just what is asked for and nothing else, but will be in favour of those who put in a lot of effort but may have some difficulties. Teachers will be able to better judge a student’s aptitude and knowledge in the future than they currently can. In my opinion, to judge someone’s intelligence based on test scores shouldn’t be the way of the future and is not entirely correct. Allowing teachers to see more into a person’s work than simply what is in front of them will certainly even out the playing field.

To be modern does not necessarily mean to look modern.
One of unfortunate truths about architecture is that it does not evolve nearly as fast as technology. Although the equipment within a building may be high tech, one may never notice. As we get more high tech we may begin to notice that schools will take your attendance through a sort of electronic device, whether by seeing if you log into the school network through your computer or if your mobile device is within certain boundaries. We may begin to notice a lot less restricted while at school, but much more. Though with the ability to manage more and do more with technology we may however notice that there will be far shorter staff on hand to actually deal with the students but far greater to deal with the technology. For instance, we may see one principal for every 10 school and one vice-principal for every 3 schools. With technology done right, it is perfectly doable and from a business/financial standpoint it makes perfect sense.

Extracurricular activities are doubtfully going to change. However we begin to see additional clubs being created though some may get abolished. Clubs such as chess, checkers, card games, even board games are likely to give way to an electronic format to increase the level of difficulty for some of the more advanced players. With some clubs, some members may notice that others are not nearly as enthusiastic about the activity as they are, by connecting to people in the region, the province, and country or even throughout the world they may find someone as passionate as they are and enjoy themselves even more. Yearbook committees will be able to have access to supplemental resources and even additional tools such as Microsoft Surface, allowing them to manipulate the images freely as if they were real.

To conclude this wonderful journey into the future, how do we get there?
The road to 2020 will be a bumpy one at best. That’s right, get out the off-road vehicle (even with these gas prices), throw on some mud slicks and plow right through it! We are likely to see parents, teachers, administrations, councils… complain about how we are removing privacy from the students and increasing the work load. The reality of all this is that in an ever fast paced environment you must keep up, many people find themselves overwhelmed when they begin to work. The reason of this is because schooling has not prepared them for such situations. Eventually through all the battles people will come to an understanding that this is very much a necessity in a young person’s life in order to be successful in the future.

What goes to say I am right or wrong about the future? There is a lot of evidence that schools are testing the waters and being extremely cautious with certain new styles and techniques. At some point in the near future I will be advocating change as much if not more than I am now. A lot of things I suggest or visualize are not entirely hard to do but would make everyone’s lives simple and allowing them to place more time into things they enjoying most. The world needs leaders that are willing to reinvent the wheel at times and come up with things that are entirely thought provoking concepts. Can the Bill Gates (Microsoft), the Mark Zuckerburg (Facebook) or the Pierre Omidyar (eBay) of tomorrow strive to achieve the world into yet another dramatic change, I sure think so!

Auto Mania is an fbFund finalist!

Auto Mania was created in the peak of the problems for the automotive industry.  It served the purpose of helping people discover new vehicles, understand and see the benefits of fuel economy, and also put them in touch with local dealerships.

After purchasing their first car, users had the ability to challenge friends, modify their car, perform local tasks, or travel to nearby cities to discover more events and challengers.  Each time the user travels or does an event, they must be conscious of their fuel economy and distance, as it may mean they will run out of fuel, although users had the option of visiting a fueling station along the way.  If the vehicle was not maintained, things like fuel economy or speed in which the event is completed would be affected negatively.

Due to the level of realism in the game, very interesting research was possible that helped automakers decide the popular of certain options, colours, vehicle models, etc.  These stats were previously not possible unless the automaker pays to perform a focus group.

See my Auto Mania Presentation

Facebook announcement:

Auto Mania: cy-Designer is a Canadian social media company fuelled by its communities. Auto Mania, App Broker and App Bookmark highlight the strategic focus to provide entertainment, utility to its user group and unique value proposition to global enterprises.

As announced here: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=84440649573