Monthly Archives: July 2006

Beer Comments by a Wine Expert

CBC Montreal – Programs – Homerun

Norm Bélanger recently made a few comments about beer during one of his segments on CBC Radio One (listened to it on the Quebec This Week podcast).

My comments to them:

Glad to see beer is getting some media attention in a city which is getting international recognition for its beer scene.
Several factual errors slipped in this segment. The part of hops which are used in beer is in fact the flower itself, not the leaves. Typically, only female flowers are used. While hops are sometimes “macerated” in the beer (a process known as “dry hopping”), neither Schloss Eggenberg nor Moretti are brewed in this way, to the best of my knowledge. Hops are boiled in the wort to contribute bitterness and the length of this boiling process will determine the bitterness of the final beer (along with the percentage of alpha acids in the hops themselves). Hop flavour and aroma, on the other hand, come from late boil additions or dry hopping.
While lagers are typically fermented at lower temperature, the defining characteristic is the type of yeast used during their fermentation (Saccharomyces uvarum, formerly known as carlsbergensis). These yeast strains typically work from the bottom of the fermentation tank and are thus known as “bottom fermentating” yeast, while ale yeast (S. cerevisiae) works from the top of the fermenter and is known as “top fermenting” yeast. Yeast type affects the taste as ale yeast strains develop more of the fruity esters typical of Belgian and British ales while lager yeast strains tend to make for cleaner and crisper beer if it is used at lower fermentation temperatures. Some lagers are fermented at higher temperatures, such as California Common beers (Anchor Steam being the best-known example).
Wine glasses may work for some beer styles but are far from ideal for most. Snifter-style tulip glasses are preferred for some of the stronger examples of Belgian ales while pilsner glasses are closer to a flute.
Kilning temperature and method does affect colour but other factors are involved. Darker grains are not typically contributing more body than lighter grain. Guinness is in fact a very light-bodied beer (the impression of body comes from the nitrogen head and the general mouthfeel of the beer).
Too bad you didn’t focus on some of the many outstanding local breweries (i.e., not InBev’s Labatt breweries).
As for the more subjective aspects (beer being a summer drink, beer being somewhat less complex than wine, etc.), it’s hard to trust a wine enthusiast on other beverages but a training in wine tasting may not prevent someone from learning something about the wide world of beer (including the variety of its food pairings, some of the many seasonal varieties of the drink, the complexity of its aromas and flavours, etc.).
Information about beer is plentiful and it would be useful if your researchers could look deeper into the beverage. Montreal has a vibrant beer scene and your audience would surely appreciate the sophistication of the beverage if you could help them learn more about it.
You could also lead listeners to some of the following sites:
Beer guide to Montreal from a North American perspective

Beer guide to Montreal from a British perspective

Local organization for beer aficionados

Local beer publication

Another local beer publication

Yet another local beer publication

Local beer resource

Another local beer resource

Local brewing club

North American beer publication with Quebec coverage

Information about beer styles

General information about beer

Beer and brewery ratings

Beer ratings

Thank you for your kind help!

Alexandre
https://enkerli.wordpress.com/

Eventually, even the “wine people” of this world will give some credit.

Ah, well…


“Defending” Mailing-Lists (Draft)

[Should edit this heavily. At some point. If time allows. It’s already somewhat on the long side of things…]

Been on hundreds of mailing-lists during the last thirteen years. Yes, literally.
All sorts of distribution lists, listservs, Yahoo! Groups, listprocs, Google Groups, majordomos, announcement lists, etc. Lists about community projects (ilesansfil.org, BiscuitChinois.net, AcadieUrbaine.net…), academic disciplines (linguist-list, Anthro-L, SEM-L…), open-source projects (BibDesk.sf.net, StrangebrewJava.sf.net…), commercial software (OmniOutliner-Users, EccoPro…), hobbies (MontreAlers.ca, SweetMarias.com…), communities (Causerie, MaliNet…), online stores (CalabashMusic.com, SAQ.com…). The list goes on and on.
Those who assume that “email is dead” probably give little consideration to mailing-lists. To them, mailing-lists may easily be replaced by Web-based forum- or blog-style comment systems. Yet, to me, and despite all the hype about what Tim O’Reilly calls “Web 2.0,” mailing-lists are one of the most interesting things happening online. Yes, even today. Maybe they’re not really here to stay but mailing-lists have yet to be replaced by “better” technology.

Mailing-lists are based on simple technology and vary greatly in the way such technology may be implemented on each list. Several announcement lists are quite similar in effect to XML-based syndication (RSS and Atom). You get a message anytime new content is added (for instance, on BorowitzReport.com or MarkFiore.com). Others are very interactive and dynamic, with dozens of people sending each other messages throughout the day (Members of Barleyment are part of one such list). In either case, a mailreader (Eudora, Thunderbird, Mail.app, Entourage, Outlook…) is a very convenient “aggregator” as list messages can be checked quite regularly, may be routed in different folders automatically or manually, are easy to label and archive, and use relatively little bandwidth or disk space (though my current mail folder weighs in at about 5GB and doesn’t include all of my mailing-list content for even the last five years).
On more interactive mailing-lists, using a mailreader is even more beneficial because mail editors are usually much more efficient than browser- or Web-based editors, especially when replying to somebody else’s comments. Furthermore, editing list posts in a mailreader makes it easy to archive and search their contents in a centralized place. On several occasions, looking through my list archives for my own submissions or those of others has been a very efficient way to find information and put it in its proper context.

Contrary to Web-based content, mailing-lists are not usually about getting larger audiences. While some list subscription numbers are rather impressive, many mailing-lists give more value to what happens on-list and off-list between listmembers than to the possibility of getting advertisement monies. As such, mailing-lists are much less likely to get hyped than Web-based “social” projects. Yet mailing-lists are often where important things are really happening online.

In some ways, mailing-lists are “push technology” done right (anybody remember the hype surrounding PointCast? Anybody believes PointCast had that much impact?).
Some mailing-lists (Humanist, HomeBrew Digest) have long histories and their archives are among the most valuable sources of online information.

Much mailing-list traffic is made of threads. Threads have lives of their own, often splitting in multiple subthreads and follow-ups. As such, they do look like comments on a Web forum or blog, but are quite possibly more fluid. This fluidity might imply a lower “signal to noise ratio” in some cases as off-topic messages multiply, but some of the more open mailing-lists greatly benefit from the “stream of consciousness” effect of having threads develop in different directions.

Many mailing-lists are really about building communities. Though blogs and “social networking” sites are seen as community-builders, mailing-lists are, in my humble opinion, more efficient ways to build stronger and longer-lasting online communities.
Although subscribing to a mailing-list is almost as easy a process as subscribing to an XML-based “feed” (RSS or Atom), becoming a listmember is often an easy way to fully integrate a community. It’s common practise, on many interactive mailing-lists, to introduce yourself as soon as you subscribe to a list or before you start posting queries. Responses to these introductions are typically welcoming and often generate interesting discussions. On some of the more personal mailing-lists, unsubscribing to a list may also be an interesting process as people’s parting words can be quite revealing.
Mailing-lists often emulate societies as group dynamics grow from the meeting of individual personalities. Contrary to blogs, mailing-lists are often based on large numbers of “authors” and “replies” have the same status as “posts.”
Members of mailing-lists often develop long-lasting relationships. This is especially obvious on the more personal lists where members will go to great lengths to visit each other. But even academic mailing-lists often give way to important collaborations between members. In some ways, listmembers know each other on a deeper level than comment writers on Web-based content.
Even more important than list posts, listmembers interact through private messages. Yes, like many might do on “social” sites. The difference here is in the transition from list to private communication which, though not strictly codified, often follows interesting lines. Because listmembers form a specific group (however open and large that group may be), those who interact through private messages already have the possibility to refer to a shared “history,” especially if both of them have been active members of the list for a significant amount of time. Similar processes have been happening on some IRC channels, chatrooms, MMPORPGs, and in some blogging communities but private interactions stemming from mailing-lists tend, in my experience, to be broader-reaching than other forms of online communication.

None of this is meant to say that mailing-lists are the only “cool” thing happening online. In fact, the claim is that mailing-lists are simply more useful than “cool.” The hope isn’t to have mailing-lists remain what they currently are, but for mailing-lists to transform and integrate into other online technologies. For instance, a few Web forum commenting systems send detailed notifications when new messages are added in a thread. This could be improved by allowing replies to these notification messages as an easy way to post Web comments. Mailreader could greatly improve their handling of mailing-lists as, to this day, none of them seems to even facilitate the distinction between a list address and a personal address. While some scripts exist to facilitate the creation of separate folders for different mailing-lists, mailing-list content often remains difficult to distinguish from private messages. List messages received in digest formats are “unpacked” by only a few mailreaders. Threaded mailreading (in Gmail, Mail.app, and Thunderbird) has improved over the years but is still imperfect. Mailing-list software has come a long way but much more could be done in terms of archiving and repurposing list content.

Ah, well…


Zune (Microsoft’s iPod/iTunes rival)

Microsoft’s Zune to rival Apple’s iPod | CNET News.com

Little is known of this development yet apart from the fact that the Zune brand covers both hardware and software, that one device will be hard-drive based and have wireless capabilities, and that the first device will come out before the end of the year (i.e., before Windows Vista).

Microsoft’s reputation has changed a lot in recent times, in part thanks to its gaming devices. This is also a time at which Microsoft, a latecomer in the music device field, may have learned from the mistakes of others. As with the iTunes Music Store itself and Steve Jobs’s personal implication, a lot may hinge on Microsoft’s ability to negotiate with the “music industry” in order to improve the experience of music listeners and musicians, for instance by allowing people to share music over a wireless connection from a portable device. This could well be the “killer app” for digital audio players…
One can only hope that the “music industry” will eventually see the light. If Microsoft is to help them through this, more power to them.


Shaving Seconds

Today’s Rocketboom episode (for casual Friday, July 21, 2006) is about a method to tie shoelaces and the benefits of shaving two seconds off some tasks.

For someone who likes to take his time rapidly instead of hurrying slowly, it still fits in my way to do things. For instance, finding the right door to exit at a metro/subway station often means that you can catch a bus just before it leaves, especially if you run up the stairs in the station (as long as nobody’s in front of you).

Yeah, just the silly little things that make life funny.


Dessin animé à l’européenne

SCIFI.COM | The Amazing Screw-On Head

C’est peut-être ma perception qui est faussée mais le dessin me fait penser à de la BD européenne, même si le sujet est américain (voire patriotique!). Humour bien noir, belles trouvailles.

Le pilote est disponible en-ligne avant d’être diffusé à l’écran, ce qui lui a mérité une mention sur This Week in Tech.


Music Publishers Getting Clue?

RED HERRING | Gracenote Frees Lyrics

“We’ve been in a real catch-22 situation,” noted Nick Firth, chairman and chief executive of BMG Music Publishing, which has signed with Gracenote. “It’s kind of difficult to go after the illegal sites when you haven’t got a legal alternative.”

Of course, music publishers are not the same thing as the recording industry. But it’s still nice to see some of them state what seemed obvious to most of us.

In the Buzz Out Loud podcast in which they mentioned this story, they also alluded to the fact that Gracenote reappropriated the CDDB from a community project into a commercial site with very harsh usage restriction. Similar things happened with several of the early community-built online projects, including IMDb (though the IMDb remained somewhat more community-friendly). Will the whole “Web 2.0” projects avoid CDDB and IMDb’s fate?


Tikiboom, RocketBarTV

The latest Rocketboom episode is a cross-over with TikiBarTV. With speculation that LaLa might have been considered as a replacement for Amanda Congdon, the cross-referencing is even more likely to generate buzz.

Yes, as many have been saying, the new personalized/community-oriented syndicated online distribution systems for content (all these “Web 2.0” things based on versions of RSS and Atom) like blogs, podcasts, and vidcasts/vlogs are like an “echo chamber” or some other metaphor about self-referential, inward-looking, insular communities with rather high clustering coefficient. Cliques, so to speak. But not really elitist per se. And, in fact, not at all close-ended. Just groups which are their own little universe.


34

C’est fait!

Done


There Ain’t Such A Thing as a Guilty Pleasure

If it’s a pleasure and it doesn’t harm anyone, how can it be “guilty?” And guilty of what? Bad taste? So what? (Paul Chambers is so!)

What? It’s “cheesy?” So? Cheese is good! Especially a ripe one on a piece of good bread, coupled with a nice beer…
Say what you want. Pleasure itself may not be proven guilty.

Your honor…


Trente-Trois

LE PLUS BEAU VOYAGE:
J’avais trente-trois ans. Et ma vie.


Fun with Laundry Detergent

A friend sent me this.

I saw this in a middle eastern grocery store yesterday and thought it was funny enough to take a picture. The rest of the box was in some foreign language, so I’m guessing it means something like “Super Clean” in fact…but I still thought it was funny.

Funny Detergent


iRiver H120 (Digital Audio Jukebox)

Recently purchased a brand new iRiver H120 with remote control on eBay from OutletMP3. Paid 132.50$ plus 18$ shipping. Also purchased a 3-year warranty through SquareTrade for 16$.
Item arrived as described, with both the European power adapter (in the original box) and a North American power adapter (in the shipping box). The remote control is included in the package but is outside of the original box. OutletMP3 sells those iRiver H120 devices with or without remote control (usually at about the same price).
Yes. “Would do business with OutletMP3 again.” (As it turns out, they sell iriver products quite frequently on eBay and they have an eBay store with “Buy It Now” iRiver H120 devices without remote for 150$ each.)
The best things about this device are its recording features. Those iRiver H1x0 models can record uncompressed sound in WAV format at 16bit with a sampling rate of 48 kHz (so-called “DAT quality”), 44.1 kHz (so-called “CD-quality”), or lower (“FM-quality,” “voice quality”). It also records directly to MP3 files (with the official firmware) in a variety of encoding settings (up to 320 kbps). It has an internal microphone for voice dictation as well as an input for external microphone, analog line in, or optical in.
The box includes a surprisingly decent lavaliere-style monophonic microphone. Not an excellent microphone in any way but clearly better than one might expect (though Laith Ulaby had told me that this microphone was decent).

In terms of operation, the unit has some strengths. The overall interface is much less convenient than that of the iPod, say, but the battery lasts longer than most iPods (for playback). The iRiver H120’s remote has a small LCD screen which shows enough information for most needs making it possible for me to keep the H120 in my pant pocket and operate the device with the remote. While, among portable players, only the iPod has native support for AAC and lossless formats, iRiver players support Ogg Vorbis and WMA. Haven’t done anything in Ogg format yet but it might be an interesting option (though it does make files less compatible with other players).

Apart from navigation and interface, the main differences with my previous iPod 2G have to do with iTunes integration. The iPod‘s synchronization with iTunes made it rather convenient to create and update playlists or to transfer podcasts. iRiver’s models may not be used in the same fashion. However, the iRiver H120 can in fact be used with iTunes through a plugin meant for Archos players. However, this plugin seems to have some problems with a few files (probably because of invalid characters like ‘/’ and ‘:’ in filenames), generates non-working playlists on Mac OS X, and puts all filed in an “Artist/Album” hierarchy which makes iRiver navigation more complicated.

What surprised me somewhat was that the H120, a USB 2.0 device, works perfectly well with my old iBook (Dual USB) which only has USB 1.1 ports. No need for special drivers and the device then works pretty much like a (20GB) USB drive. Since the iRiver H120 works as a USB drive, it’s easy to transfer files to and from the device (contrary to the iPod which makes somewhat more difficult). All audio files can be put at the root level on the iRiver and audio recordings made on the iRiver are in the “RECORD” folder at the root level of the drive. While the iBook’s USB 1.1 ports are much slower than USB 2.0 ones, they do the job well enough for my needs. (Will be going back to my entry-level emachines H3070 in a few days.) A 400 MB file recorded on the iRiver (about 40 minutes of 16 bit stereo sound at 44.1 kHz) transferred to the iBook through USB 1.1 in less than ten minutes. Slow, but bearable. My old iPod used a Firewire 400 (aka IEEE 1394 or i.Link) connection which is about the same speed as USB 2.0 in most conditions. My entry-level emachines desktop has both USB 2.0 and Firewire 400 ports (thanks to an inexpensive Firewire card).

Was thinking about putting Rockbox on the H120 but SquareTrade tells me that it may void their warranty, which would be an inconvenient. The Rockbox has some neat features and seems safe enough to use on “production machines,” but its features aren’t that compelling for me at this point.
The H120 has a radio (FM) tuner, which could be useful to some people but isn’t really a compelling feature for me. Haven’t listen to much radio in the past several years. Podcasts are soooo much better!

Speaking of podcasts… One of my reasons for purchasing this machine (instead of a more recent iPod) was the ease of recording. This is clearly not a professional recording device but the sound quality seems quite decent for my needs at this point. Should be using it to record lectures and distribute them as podcasts or “lecturecasts” (yeah, ugly name, sorry!). In my mind, educational podcasting can supplement lectures quite nicely. Have been to a few workshops and presentations on technology use in teaching and most people seem to agree that technology is no replacement for good pedagogy but that good pedagogy can be supplemented and complemented (if not complimented!) by interesting tools. Had been thinking about a recording iPod to integrate podcasts with course material. It would have been quite useful, especially in connection with iLife and iWork. But an iPod 5G (with video) is already much more expensive than my iRiver H120 and the add-ons to enable 44.1 kHz / 16 bit recording on the iPod are only now getting to market at a price almost half that of my brand new iRiver H120. Plus, though the iPod is well-integrated with iTunes on Windows, iLife and iWork applications are only available on Mac OS X 10.4 and, thus, will not run on the entry-level emachines H3070 which will become my primary machine again in a few days.
In other words, my ideal podcasting/lecturecasting solution is out of my reach at this point. And contrary to tenure-track faculty, lecturers and adjunct faculty get no technology budget for their own use.
Ah, well…

Still, my iRiver H120 will work fine as a recorder. Already did a few essays with voice and environmental sounds. The lavaliere microphone was quite convenient to record myself while taking a walk which sounds like an unusual activity but was in fact quite relaxing and rather pleasant. In terms of environmental sounds, the same microphone picked up a number of bird songs (as well as fan noises).
Among the things that distinguish the H120 from a professional recorder is the lack of a proper calibration mechanism. It’s not possible to adjust the recording levels of the two channels independently and it’s even not possible to adjust volume during recording. (There’s a guide offering some guidance on how to work within those constraints.) Quite unsurprisingly (for what is mostly an MP3 player) but also making the device less of a professional device, its jacks are 3.5 mm “stereo mini-plugs” (instead of, say, XLR jacks). For that matter, the iRiver H120 compares favourably to several comparably-priced MiniDisc recorders, even Hi-MD models. Did field research with a used ATRAC 4.0 MiniDisc recorder. That setup worked somewhat adequately but this iRiver H120 is much of an improvement for me.

Got a few pet peeves about the iRiver H120. For instance, it has no actual clock so recorded files do not carry a timestamp. A minor quibble, of course, but it would have been useful. The overall navigation is as awkward as that of my first MP3 device, the RioVolt (which also used iRiver firmware). One navigational issue is that navigating up and down in the folder hierarchy is done through the stop and play buttons instead of, say, using one of the three jog switches on the remote. Some functions only work when the device is stopped while others work while it’s playing. Switching from hard-disk playing to recording or to FM is a bit awkward and cumbersome. The unit takes a while to turn on and doesn’t really have a convenient sleep mode. While it is possible to resume playing on a track that has been stopped, this feature seems not to work every time. Fast forwarding rate (“scan speed”) is set in a menu instead of being dynamic as on the iPod. The device doesn’t support ratings or, really, descriptions (although Rockbox might be able to support those).

Also got a few well-appreciated features, apart from those stated above. The EQ and SRS presets are appropriate and relatively easy to use. Contrary to the iPod 2G it is possible to play files at a higher rate (increasing the “playback speed”) making it possible to listen to voice at a higher speech rate (and higher frequency). It’s also possible to delete files directly from the device.

At any rate, that’s already a long entry and experience with my H120 will probably push me to write more about the device.

Feel free to comment or send questions through email.


Early Domestication

Short articles on the early domestication of both wild wheat and figs have appeared in Science recently.

Radio-Canada’s Les Années lumière radio program and podcast describes theses results and has an interview with one of the authors of the wheat study. According to that study, wheat domestication was a slower process than previously believed, involving natural selection instead of rapid artificial selection.

The fig study explains evidence for early horticulture via vegetative propagation. According to that study, a subsistence strategy common in the Levant during the 12th millenium B.P. revolved around the mixed exploitation of wild plants and initial fig domestication.

Both studies mention barley, which was likely one of the early plants to be cultivated by human beings. Some people use such evidence to associate early farming and sedentarization with production of alcohol.


CMoS Online

Been reading the monthly Q&A items of the Chicago Manual of Style. They’re an entertaining read for anyone interested in language, style, and/or prescriptive grammar.
As it turns out, they are finally announcing the online version of the Manual, which will be available on a subscription basis, including some library subscriptions. It’s quite likely to be a good move financially and practically.
For instance, they might be able to update the online manual quickly, as some of the trickier issues related to online and computer-based publishing are settled. A one-year subscription of 25$ sounds relatively inexpensive even though it’s close to half the price of the paper version. Though the Manual is well-indexed, a searchable version online would make it much easier for quick queries. And the online version would be easily available from anywhere instead of taking valuable space on bookshelves and in moving boxes (this one is a personal issue). It’s quite likely that most English-speaking university libraries in North America will be subscribers, if the fees are reasonable.
The CMoS editors could also work on other services, such as grammar checking tools, “Google Answer”-like paid advice, style competitions, kid-friendly columns, etc.


Changes in the Vlogosphere

First learned about Rocketboom through This Week in Tech’s TWiTcast. In that episode, Rocketboom founder Andrew Baron was (in)famously involved in a rather heated exchange with Weblogs, Inc. CEO Jason McCabe Calacanis in which Baron unveiled “plans for world domination” (there was a comparison to Rupert Murdoch).
As it turns out, Baron and Rocketboom partner Amanda Congdon are splitting.
What seems to fascinate people so much about the Rocketboom split is the drama. A bit like “celebrity gossip for the geek crowd.” Learned about the split through CNET’s BuzzOutLoud podcast where they made a passing reference to the notion that the Congdon-Baron duo might have been more than a simple business partnership.
Congdon posted on her own blog both a video about the split and a commented email exchange with Baron. The same Calacanis who was having that exchange with Baron on TWiT has blogged about the Rocketboom split (and followed up with another entry teasing Baron).

Already, some are thinking about TikiBarTV‘s LaLa as a replacement for Congdon.

Lala - TikiBarTV.com

Some, like the BuzzOutLoud cast, are trying to think about the implications for what Tim O’Reilly calls “Web 2.0.” Can vlogging, vidcasting, and other forms of content distribution still work? How is it that just a few individuals in the United States can have such a big impact on such a broad phenomenon?
In a way, the whole situation might generate a lot of “buzz” for Rocketboom which already had a fairly big audience. So this “geek buzz” might make vlogging more similar to television in the United States. Some (especially in the U.S., one might guess) could see the transformation as a way for vlogging to become a viable business model while others (possibly outside of the U.S. “mediascape”) might deplore the transformation of free, open, and community-oriented models of content distribution into generic “mass media.”

On the other hand, this might be a way for the aforementioned “geek crowd” to assess itself as an important part of U.S. popular culture.

Ah, well…


He Got Clue

Nice to see a marketing executive understanding some of the important issues related to the online world.
Cossette co-founder Delagrave in an interview on Radio-Canada’s Les Années lumière.


Bloguage (Bloguer au Québec II)

Michel Leblanc en entrevue sur le Carnet techno de Bruno Guglielminetti. Michel a d’ailleurs répondu à mon propre billet sur la blogosphère québécoise, ce qui m’a permis d’admirer son propre blogue (et de commenter sur un de ses billets).
ClodiMedius a aussi répondu à mon billet et a créé son propre billet sur le même sujet. Nous devrions aller prendre un café dès mon retour à Montréal.
Cette chaîne de contacts par blogues interposés a démarré grâce à un billet de Marie-Chantale Turgeon mentionné par Guglielminetti dans l’épisode précédent de son carnet en balado-diffusion.

Donc, ça se précise.
Dans cette entrevue avec Guglielminetti, Michel parle brièvement de la formation de YULBiz, petit groupe de blogueurs et de gens d’affaires montréalais créé par l’entremise de blogues. (Michel explique la création de YULBiz entre 5:58 et 7:35 pendant l’entrevue). Selon Michel, la formule de YULBiz commence à avoir des échos à Québec (la capitale) et en France. On peut penser au marketing viral (si on le désire ardemment) ou même à un mouvement “grassroots” comme Kino.
Évidemment, c’est pas une formule réellement unique, il y a certainement beaucoup d’exemples ailleurs. Mais c’est un regroupement qui s’est créé à l’aide de cette fameuse blogosphère québécoise, prouvant donc la vitalité de ladite -sphère.
Détail intéressant, YULBiz semble avoir été déclenché par une rencontre dans un café. Rien d’unique là-dedans: la Révolution Française elle-même a été planifiée lors de rencontres dans des cafés parisiens. Mais c’est une tendance très forte, pour nous Québécois, de donner rendez-vous à des nouveaux contacts sans nécessairement avoir de but très précis. Ici à Northampton, ma femme a eu un peu de difficulté à appliquer ce même genre de procédure en ce sens que le rendez-vous semblait présupposer un but plus spécifique. Ici dans le Nord-Est des États-Unis, des amis se rencontrent parfois sans but précis (“just to hang out”) mais les nouveaux contacts requièrent souvent des procédures légèrement plus formelles. C’est un détail, mais il est lié à plusieurs aspects de la culture québécoise, depuis le statut des rapports amicaux avec distinction sexuelle (c.-à-d. qu’au Québec une femme et un homme peuvent facilement être de véritables amis) à la gestion de l’horaire hors de la vie professionnelle (un soupçon de «compartimentalisation»).

Donc, la blogosphère québécoise dans tout ça. Une de ses caractéristiques (probablement partagée avec plusieurs autres parties de la Blogosphère globale) est de donner lieu à des rencontres in situ. Cette tendance est peut-être due en partie au fait que les Québécois accordent beaucoup d’importance aux rapports directs mais elle est surtout liée à un contexte de concentration démographique métropolitaine. Dans ce cas-ci, on parlerait plutôt de blogosphère montréalaise, puisque c’est le fait d’habiter à Montréal (code d’aéroport «YUL») qui semble avoir permis aux membres de YULBiz de se rencontrer. Et, parlant de blogosphère montréalaise, un regroupement de blogueurs de la métropole québécoise s’appelle YULblog. Et ils semblent se rencontrer régulièrement.
Une autre caractéristique, assez évidente peut-être, c’est que les blogueurs québécois (ou, du moins, montréalais) franchissent la barrière linguistique entre Anglophones et Francophones. C’est une tendance assez prononcées parmi plusieurs groupes (y compris des brasseurs-maison), mais ça demeure un phénomène très intéressant.
Ensuite, on pourrait parler de l’importance de la «vie expressive» (art, poésie, création, musique, etc.) dans les blogues québécois. Michel Leblanc lui-même blogue de façon poétique. Rien de rare là-dedans, plusieurs blogues ailleurs ont des contenus artistiques. Mais le mode expressif semble assez fréquent dans la blogosphère québécoise. Quoique, c’est une observation très préliminaire qui mériterait une analyse un tant soit peu poussée. À ce sujet, cette fameuse étude comparative entre internautes français et québécois me paraît réellement fascinante.

Dans ce contexte, et pour être parfaitement honnête, il me semble plus utile de tenter d’observer la blogosphère québécoise «pour elle-même» (par ses propres caractéristiques) que de la mesurer à un critère démographique. Bon, c’est un peu le culturaliste et relativiste qui parle, mais quand même… Un ami Iranien me disait à propos de la communauté iranienne de Montréal qu’elle était plus petite que la communauté iranienne d’une ville un peu plus grande, mais qu’elle était selon lui «de meilleure qualité». Sans nécessairement parler de qualité intrinsèque, on peut dire que la blogosphère québécoise est petite mais qu’elle est certainement dynamique.


Kino and Apple

Just realized that the Kino movement had developed
a collaboration with Apple through the “Off-Courts” festival in Trouville-sur-mer, Normandy. There’s even a podcast!
Members of the Kino movement produce short films (in French, «courts métrages» or «courts») which they present in fairly informal contexts. Unfortunately, haven’t had the chance to go to a Kino event myself (but did play a small part in a Kino film done by a friend). Kino’s philosophy can be summarized thus: do it well, from scratch; do better with little means; do it now. Simple and powerful. Kind of a grassroots version of Dogma 95. With more laughs.
Apple’s involvement makes sense. Several Kinoite producers were already using Apple products a few years ago and Apple’s movie production offerings have been improving since then. Apple also tends to get involved in this type of creative projects in different contexts. And the Kino movement can surely benefit from some of Apple’s resources. Apple also collaborate with the Wapikoni mobile. Both Kino and Wapikoni also collaborate with NFB’s Silence, on court!. In parallel, there’s also Danny Lennon’s Prends ça court! events which recently presented a series of Swiss shorts during the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois. To weave the entangled web further, some of these events and movements seem to be connected, however loosely, with the Cinémathèque québécoise and possibly the INIS sound and image institute. Some feature films have been developed in direct or indirect connection with Kino, INIS, or other groups. Coupled with the presence of Avid’s Softimage and links to video game development, Montreal is certainly a cool place to work in audio-visual creation. Of course, Montreal is also the site of the Fantasia festival. Which all relates back to the dynamism of Quebec culture.

Biased? Me? Never!
😉


Blogues et identités

En réponse à ClodiMedius (lui-même répondant à un de mes billets).

Puisque j’ai tendance à être plus personnel et informel quand je blogue en français, ma réponse à ton commentaire va être un peu plus familière que son origine (et que la plupart de mes billets, surtout ceux écrits en anglais).
Tout d’abord, merci beaucoup d’avoir envoyé ce commentaire sur mon blogue. Je blogue pas pour recevoir des commentaires mais j’apprécie beaucoup les quelques commentaires que je reçois. En fait, j’ai parfois l’intention de prendre des moyens précis pour augmenter le nombre de commentaire sur mon blogue. Par simple curiosité pour la chose humaine, pas par désir irrépréssible d’être le centre d’une attention particulière.

Juste pour être clair, est-ce que mon billet t’a fait réagir pour une raison précise? C’était une réponse à une discussion sur le blogue de Marie-Chantal Turgeon. C’est dans cette discussion que certains semblaient déplorer l’état de la blogosphère québécoise. Mon opinion, en gros, c’est qu’elle se porte relativement bien parce que ses critères de réussite ne sont pas liés à d’autres blogosphères. Le Québec d’aujourd’hui, son insularité et son provincialisme compris, fait son bonhomme de chemin sans trop se comparer au reste du monde. On se sent parfois fiers (avec raison, selon moi) de ce qui se passe au Québec et on regarde ailleurs pour s’inspirer et pour communiquer avec le plus grand nombre. Mais quand on agit, c’est pas pour se mesurer à des moulins. Donc, la crise d’identité que tu perçois, je la perçois surtout comme une dynamique sociale assez fluide et «organique». Nos différences d’opinion sont surtout une question de perspective, j’imagine.

Pour situer un peu les choses, au cas où c’était pas clair. Je suis Québécois de naissance, Suisse d’origine, Acadien par alliance, Ouest-Africain par intérêts académiques et je vis souvent hors du Québec. (En ce moment-même, je suis à Northampton, dans l’ouest du Massachusetts).
Je suis aussi anthropologue (ethnolinguiste, ethnologue, ethnographe et ethnomusicologue) alors je m’intéresse beaucoup aux processus liés aux identités culturelles et sociales. Soit dit en passant, pour la question de l’ethnocentrisme, faut pas confondre avec la fierté identitaire. Aussi, ça aide de voir que l’ethnocentrisme est très fréquemment présent dans tout rapport entre groupes. Nous sommes beaucoup à lutter contre l’ethnocentrisme mais l’idée c’est de l’endiguer, pas de l’éradiquer.

Bon, pour revenir plus précisément aux points que tu soulèves. C’est probablement difficile de répertorier cette blogosphère québécoise dont on parle avec tant de verve. Mais, comme tu le remarques, on se retrouve assez facilement, entre Québécois. Pas seulement entre Francophones ou même entre amateurs du Québec. Mais spécifiquement entre Québécois. On ne passe même pas par Loïc «Bloïc» Le Meur pour entrer en contact, les uns avec les autres. Dans ce cas-ci, nous nous sommes greffés au réseau de Marie-Chantal au sein duquel chaque nœud est lié à plusieurs autres réseaux (dont certains sont spécifiquement québécois, d’autres non). Pour un groupe aussi «restreint» (au sens démographique, disons) que le nôtre, c’est assez inusité.

La question du lectorat est fascinante. Ma propre réaction provenait en partie de commentaires d’un autre Québécois vivant aux États-Unis. Si certains d’entre nous veulent être lus, pour d’autres, c’est moins important. Dans mon cas, j’aimerais bien (comme je le mentionnais plus haut) recevoir plus de commentaires et je suis bien content de voir que certains lisent quelques entrées de mon blogue, mais ça change pas grand-chose à ma façon de bloguer. Je blogue pour moi-même, pour écrire, pour mettre des idées en forme, pour conserver une trace de certains aspects de ma vie, pour distribuer certaines choses à des amis (plutôt que de leur envoyer par courriel), pour avoir une présence relativement stable en-ligne (de sorte que les gens qui me connaissent puissent me contacter), etc.
Comme tu le remarques peut-être, mes billets avec des thèmes plus spécifiquement québécois sont relativement rares. En fait, j’en écris probablement plus quand je suis à l’extérieur du Québec, par nostalgie.

Pour être plus spécifique, par rapport à ton propre blogue. Tu parles de WordPress et des catégories. Une des choses que j’apprécie de WP (même si j’aimerais utiliser une méthode plus semblable à celle de Del.icio.us) c’est la possibilité de créer des catégories et des étiquettes à tout moment. En fait, je crée beaucoup trop de catégories (en moyenne trois par billet), ce qui m’a poussé à masquer la liste des catégories des pages de mon blogue. C’est un principe d’ouverture. Mes blogues se veulent disparates et n’ont donc pas de thèmes particuliers. Ils doivent me représenter, autant que faire se peut. Ce qui implique que je cherche pas à rejoindre un groupe particulier (disons, les torréfacteurs amateurs). Amusant que tu fasses référence à l’arôme de la torréfaction et à l’anthropologie. Ça me porte à croire que tu as lu d’autres billets sur mon blogue. Et ta réponse me pousse à aller voir tes propres blogues. On crée donc un contact. Oui, notre «québécité» a servi de base à ce contact, mais les contacts que nous avons toi et moi avec d’autres internautes proviennent certainement de beaucoup d’autres «prétextes».
En fait, je pense que je vais t’envoyer un message privé pour continuer la conversation. Mais c’est agréable de pouvoir discuter publiquement sans s’être rencontrés. Les listes de diffusions ainsi que les forums sur le Web servent souvent le même rôle mais les blogues sont plus individualisés.

Merci encore!