All I Want for Christmas

christmas_tree
This beautiful Christmas tree is Wanda’s handiwork.  My contribution consisted of lugging the lights and decorations up from out-of-season storage.

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!  I got tagged by Ben the Tiger for a little blog meme, wherein one lists three things you want (and three things that you don’t want) for Christmas.  Problem is, I only noticed it after Christmas had gone by, so I’m a day late and a buck short right now.  Consider these things on my list for the New Year, then.

THREE THINGS I WANT

1.  Inspiration. I started blogging two years ago because, at the time, I thought I had a lot to say.  I still have thoughts to share, but as time goes by I am less and less inclined to share them.  The idea of sitting in front of the computer and slaving away so someone else can waste a few minutes of their day is not too attractive to me.  It would be nice to rediscover my enthusiasm for this medium.  I’ve met a lot of great people through blogging, but along the way I’ve forgotten why I started on this journey in the first place.

2.  An End to Web 2.0 Hype. The moniker “Web 2.0”, of course, means different things to different people.  The best summary I have run across is one by Dennis D. McDonald, which I will reproduce here:

  • To the programmer, it’s a set of tools and techniques that have the potential for fundamentally altering how network based applications and data are managed and delivered.
  • For start-ups and venture capitalists, it’s an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of another bubble.
  • For the corporate CIO or IT manager, it’s another set of technologies and architectures to be adopted and supported in an era of continued I.T. department budget strains.
  • For newer or smaller companies, it’s an opportunity to acquire technical and business process infrastructure at a fraction of the investment made by older and legacy companies.
  • For the marketing manager it’s an opportunity to “end-run” a traditionally unresponsive I.T. department.
  • For the CEO of an established legacy industry, it’s a threat of loss of control over customer relations.
  • For the customer it’s an opportunity to establish and maintain relationships that are both personally fulfilling and empowering in the face of the traditional power of larger institutions.

As an IT guy, I think the programming tools and techniques have the most utility.  At the same time, I don’t think they are going to change the world any more drastically than say, Netscape Collabra or Novell GroupWise ever did.  Web 2.0 tech will change the way we do business incrementally, not exponentially.  There are plenty of banks and insurance companies out there running their core business processes on 30-year-old mainframe technology, and — despite being slow-moving industrial dinosaurs — are still raking in record profits.  They have little incentive to change and it’s going to be a while before they (and plenty of other businesses) do.

I understand the natural enthusiasm the technical folks have for these new tools and techniques.  In order to succeed in the enterprise environment, they need to demonstrate three key strengths:

  • Proven benefits
  • Increased reliability
  • Lower costs

So far Web 2.0 isn’t making the grade — yet.  Doesn’t mean it’s time to abandon ship, but be realistic — at this point only nerds (of the IT or VC variety) are really excited about it.  Everyone else thinks it’s all about blogs and MySpace, or just plain doesn’t care.

3.  Contemporary Canadian fiction that doesn’t focus on isolated and alienated 1) spouses in a disintegrating relationship, 2) immigrants, 3) children in small towns, 4) underdogs fighting for their rights / survival / societal acceptance.
I want to like Canadian literature, I really do.  I have embarked upon a mission to find good CanLit (or more specifically, TorLit) based on a regular Joe’s urban lifestyle which manages to avoid all of the usual tropes for both major and minor characters.  I have a feeling this is also an impossible mission.  If you have any book / author  suggestions, please leave them in the comments or e-mail me directly.  Per Alan’s suggestion in these comments, I did read Acting the Giddy Goat by Mike Tanner.  I liked it right up until the final chapter where it crashed due to pilot error (specifically, nosediving into the yawn-inducing CanLit terrain of disintegrating relationships and immigrant isolation).  Somewhere out there, there is a book for the urban neo-fuddy-duddy like me.

THINGS I DON’T WANT

1.  Any video game that’s 1) an FPS, 2) an RTS, or 3) set in the Second World War. All of these genres have been done to death.  There are several thousand years of recorded human history to draw upon; please, for the love of all that is good and holy, put aside FPSes, RTSes, and that whole 1939 through 1945 period, and move on to something else.  Some of the best computer games of all time (like F-19 Stealth Fighter) were cranked out for lousy EGA displays with 16 colours.   Buzz Aldrin’s Race Into Space was also pretty challenging and unusual.  Since then we’ve gained a lot in graphics and computing capabilities, but creativity has gone by the wayside.

2.  Other (non-resident) Canadians bitching about Toronto. The East, West and everyone else are disenchanted with the way Torontonians seem to get in the way of all your big dreams.  Seek professional help for these grand conspiracy theories, okay?  People out here have better things to do than screw with other provinces for kicks.  Most of us have to work for a living.  Maybe it looks easy and effortless to you, but it takes a lot of effort and many talented people to run the Center of the Universe.  You should try it sometime.

3.  A Sony PlayStation 3 or Nintendo Wii.
I’m so far behind on my console gaming, there are still plenty of GameCube and PlayStation 2 games I own but have never played (or have started but never finished).  I don’t really have any set plans to finish them all up, but I figure it’s a waste of money to buy a new toy when your cost-per-use on the old toy is not far off the sticker price.

I’m going to violate the rules of the meme slightly and not tag anyone else since it is, after all, well past Christmas.  I just couldn’t fail to honour my commitments; even if someone else made them.  =)

Category: Miscellania  Tags: ,
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
3 Responses
  1. Nathan B. says:

    I hope you won’t mind if I “waste” my time on your blog on the comments. Your old blog was wonderfully fantastic because it was so unique in its presentation of Toronto’s historical buildings and culture, (I’ve never seen anything like it before, or since). On the other hand, I also find I am enjoying your blog posting nowadays more and more. Blogs change, I guess; so do bloggers, but I hope that you will continue posting your thoughts in the format you choose as long as you have the inclination to do so. Best wishes for a Happy New Year, Nathan

  2. Chris Taylor says:

    Hi Nathan, thanks for this. Believe it or not, I actually forgot that I did all those little historical jaunts in the past! Perhaps that is a bloggy endeavour worth resurrecting — I certainly learned a lot from all those visits, too.

  3. Kateland says:

    Well, I hope you find your inspiration/motivation because I have been enjoying the ride for the last few years and I really don’t think I am ready to get off the plane yet. Very selfish of me but so what? By the way, I loved the woman/laptop post. Very apt.
    What about Robertson Davies? I absolutely adore Davies and for the life of me cannot understand why Atwood gets most of the laurels in Canlit. Not strictly Tor-lit but he does write from the general landscape.