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Sometimes the city of Ottawa just looks like a painting...

(Albuquerque is looking pretty dull after being in Ottawa for the holidays. Processing photos is making me homesick.)
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I'm inordinately pleased with this stop motion video I made of the bridge replacement:

That's hours of work condensed into a 2 minute video with ridiculously epic music to accompany the road construction. ;)

They do this neat thing where they build the new bridge beside the old ones, then lift the old bridge out and put the new bridges in so that the road needs to be closed for less than a day. I was busy so I couldn't go watch (and honestly, it's a pretty slow process) but the ministry of transportation had a couple of webcams pointed at the site.... So I wrote a perl script and made a stop motion video with pictures from the two webcams. Cool, eh?

These cut off around midnight 'cause that's when I made them, but I think they get most of the interesting bits. I might make complete ones once they're done in the morning.

I'd never actually done stop motion myself before, but I figured Apple's commercials always make it sound awesomely easy with a mac... I can't say I'm as impressed after using it, though. iMovie is incredibly easy if you don't care what order your images are in. Grr. Not exactly useful. I don't know why they thought it was a-ok to not have a sorting button, but I wound up having to sort them externally and then paste them in. I sure as heck wasn't sorting around one thousand photos manually! Maybe I should have gone with John's shell script mencode version, but it didn't deal as well with the few corrupted files that wound up in my set. Besides, I was too entertained by the idea of setting this "sexy engineering" to music after I saw the "sexy engineering" headline.

End result, though, after a bit of work and some experimentation, I have a couple of videos that I find highly entertaining. Who knows if anyone else in Ottawa will be as amused, but I hope so!

Video links in case the embeds don't work:
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I was at Security BSides Ottawa last weekend. I don't have much time to blog about it right now because I'm writing a paper, but here's what Pete Hillier and Dan Menard had to say about the individual talks.

As an academic, I find un-conference events a little strange. Normally, when I go out to a conference, I can expect every single talk to be about a brand new research idea, or some twist on an old one. There's a lot to be said for hearing existing ideas phrased well or talks showing off existing technologies, but it always takes me a while to move from one mindset to another. It's also lovely to hear people who are largely there because they like speaking and are willing to put work into their presentation skills. Definitely some quality talks to be had. And one that I didn't like (sorry, but mathematical formal methods for security are one of those things that always sounds great on paper but has been a great disappointment to me in practice), but I almost feel like it'd be disappointing if I agreed with everything!

I wish that some of these talks could be brought to even more general venues. Many were fun, but very much preaching to the choir. I'll bet the Star Trek talk, for example, could be rejigged nicely to take it in to a high school or undergraduate CS event. If anyone from BSides would be interested in doing talks at Carleton, you might want to talk to our undergraduate society or others at the school.

The other strange thing for me comes in meeting people who are working in industry, something I get to do surprisingly (embarrassingly) rarely as an academic. I learned some useful things from my lunch partners about the state of security in the trenches, especially how Ottawa as a government town has a particularly interesting landscape. And of course, Ron's now inspired me to go take a look at nmap scripts, which sound like exactly the sort of hacky security fun I needed: the type that comes in small debuggable chunks I can use as a diversion from research when I need a break but don't want to leave the security headspace.

So yeah, great people, interesting talks, and overall I felt it worthwhile despite the lack of research-level novelty that I take for granted in my usual conferences. Looking forwards to next time!


Feb. 9th, 2010 02:00 pm
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Thesis proposal deadline got extended about a week, so while it's still a rush, I don't have to feel quite so guilty about enjoying a nice day:

(Okay, that photo was actually taken in January, but I did go skating on Sunday. So there!)
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It was pouring rain last night, and Winterlude has become Waterlude. Such is life. It'll probably freeze again next weekend, but right now I was entertained by the reflections in the puddles on the canal, so I took a few winterlude->waterlude photos.

On the bright side, it was comfortably warm for a walk to the library, and the sunset was pretty too:


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