Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A "Must-Attend" Geothermal Energy Talk

BCSEA Webinar: Geothermal Energy - BC's Enormous Potential

Join us for a free BCSEA Webinar on Tuesday September 23 at noon PDT (3:00 PM EDT)

Reserve your free Webinar seat now at: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/10191642
Beate Fischer Title SlideJoin us for another free BCSEA Webinar.
Our Earth stores an enormous source of renewable energy right beneath our feet: geothermal power.
Geothermal energy is delivering clean, base-load and low cost electricity in 25 countries as well as commercial heating in 70 countries.
  • is price competitive with other renewables
  • is the only renewable base-load option with higher capacity factors than other sources
  • provides a source of useful byproduct heat
  • is especially attractive for northern and remote communities
  • is found right across Canada, especially in the West and North
  • runs indefinitely with proper heat resource management
In Canada, the geothermal industry has yet to gain traction despite having world class resources. It has great promise... but what will it take to turn the promise into reality?Our guest presenter Alison Thompson has dedicated a substantial part of her career to investigating and demonstrating the technical and commercial viability of high enthalpy geothermal energy. Since 2007, she has been the Managing Director and Executive Director of the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association.
With over 15 years of experience in project management, business and technology development in the North American energy sector, Ms. Thompson has successfully sought changes in federal tax regulations that now include geothermal energy. She has also been influential in creating eligibility for geothermal projects and reports for provincial and federal government funding. She was the inaugural recipient of the Belle Mulligan Award for Leadership from the Canadian Investor Relations Institute, and is a frequent contributor to published geothermal papers.
She is Chair of Borealis GeoPower, and a board member of Deep Earth Energy Production; a past Officer of Alterra Power (formerly Magma Energy); and an external evaluator for the Canada Foundation for Innovation. Globally, she has a seat on the Executive Committee of IEA-GIA; is a board member of the IGA; and was Geothermal Energy Forum Chair at the 20th World Petroleum Congress. She has also served on the European Union’s Enhanced Geothermal Innovative Network for Europe’s (ENGINE) Stakeholders Committee. 

Ms. Thompson holds Bachelor and Master of Chemical Engineering degrees from McGill University, a Professional Engineering designation from the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta, a U.S. Engineer Intern designation, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Queen’s University. She lives in Calgary, Alberta, with her husband and son.
See BCSEA's previous webinars at http://www.bcsea.org/past-webinars 
Title: BCSEA Webinar: Geothermal Energy - BC's Enormous Potential
Date: Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time (3:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time)
System Requirements
PC-based attendees - Required: Windows® 8, 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
Macintosh®-based attendees - Required: Mac OS® X 10.6 or newer
Mobile attendees - Required: iPhone®/iPad®/Android™ smartphone or tablet

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Google use of TLS as an SEO Ranking Signal

The Google webmaster blog has recently made it known what we at Hot Tomali/Technoracle had suspected for some time. The announcement, made last month, clarified that the Google search engine has been noting the use of HTTPS (using the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol with SSL or TLS) and providing a higher weight to those websites that use it.

Google has claimed that the adjustments to SEO scores are very minimal at the present time however we suspected they will rise in the future. The blog article seems to concur with our assessment and notes the following:

“…over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We've seen positive results, so we're starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it's only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content — while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web…” 

Dissecting the Details 

Google is committed to security as a core principle of the future of the internet. Sites using HTTPS are providing two fundamental benefits to web users. First, they are helping keep the web more anonymous by masking the contents of data during its’ transportation. TLS uses certificates to create cypher text, a human-unreadable format for data, that can be safely transported without prying eyes seeing the content. TLS ensures your rights online are being protected and one of the core principles of the web is the right to that privacy.

Secondly, HTTPS makes sure that no one tampers with content as it is transported around the internet. This keeps the web safer and more secure.

What should you do?

If you haven’t done so, it may be beneficial to add security to your website to help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and security. It is not difficult for seasoned webmasters to set up.

The following steps are required: 

  • Conduct some research on the type of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificates are the most common and your selection will depend on your server’s domain name structure. If you use several sub-domains (examples: ww1.foo.com; ww2.foo.com etc.), you will most likely need a wildcard certificate. 
  • Decide on the certificate strength. We like to use 2048-bit key certificates for our customers websites as they are stronger than 512-bit keys. 
  • Your webmaster will need to review your source code of our website to ensure the use of relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain. Cross-domain security requests are frowned upon for obvious reasons. 
  • If you have content from other domains, make use of protocol relative URLs for such content. 
  • Read up on Google’s Site move article for more guidelines on how to change your website’s addresses. Contact Hot Tomali for help with your existing or newly planned websites. 
  • Once implemented, ensure that your HTTPS enabled content is not blocked from Google or other search engines crawling it. This can be accomplished by using the robots.txt directive. More data on the robots.txt declarations can be found at http://www.robotstxt.org
  • Also be sure to allow search engines to index your pages by avoiding the noindex robots meta tag. 

And Finally! 

Make sure to contact Hot Tomali for any website or digital enterprise needs. We make your IT work and keep it working for you by ensuring it matures with the rest of the world. From mobile applications to advanced digital branding, we can provide value for you and create new opportunities for your business.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Using "tel" as a URI scheme in web pages

With the explosive growth in website traffic originating from mobile devices, we are now using the "tel" URI scheme for hyperlinks of telephone numbers within our customers' HTML website pages. The use of the "tel" scheme for URI's indicates that an action should be taken congruent with the uses described in IETF RFC 3966. These map, in most cases, to the host operating system handing the event and actions off to the program responsible for initiating telephone calls on the device. Simply stated, this allows users of the webpage to click on the telephone number displayed on a webpage and helps their device dial the number more accurately.

While many devices detect and turn phone numbers into active links, using the scheme will greatly increase the accuracy of those user actions.
To do this successfully, simply use the following scheme within hyperlinks for phone numbers:

<a href="tel:+16048938347">(604) 893 8347</a>

When embedded in a webpage, the links look and behave as such:

Call us at (604) 893 8347.

The use of the plus sign and the country/area code helps the mobile application understand the context for the telephone request and dial from that context.  This helps calls be completed in most cases.

The RFC is available at http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3966.txt.  It is worthwhile understanding more about the finer aspects of the syntax such as characters allowed and not recommended within the scheme.

Characters other than those in the "reserved" and "unsafe" sets (see RFC 2396 [RFC2396]) are equivalent to their "% HEX HEX" percent encoding.
The "tel" URI has the following syntax:

   telephone-uri        = "tel:" telephone-subscriber
   telephone-subscriber = global-number / local-number
   global-number        = global-number-digits *par
   local-number         = local-number-digits *par context *par
   par                  = parameter / extension / isdn-subaddress
   isdn-subaddress      = ";isub=" 1*uric
   extension            = ";ext=" 1*phonedigit
   context              = ";phone-context=" descriptor
   descriptor           = domainname / global-number-digits
   global-number-digits = "+" *phonedigit DIGIT *phonedigit
   local-number-digits  =
      *phonedigit-hex (HEXDIG / "*" / "#")*phonedigit-hex
   domainname           = *( domainlabel "." ) toplabel [ "." ]
   domainlabel          = alphanum
                          / alphanum *( alphanum / "-" ) alphanum
   toplabel             = ALPHA / ALPHA *( alphanum / "-" ) alphanum
   parameter            = ";" pname ["=" pvalue ]
   pname                = 1*( alphanum / "-" )
   pvalue               = 1*paramchar
   paramchar            = param-unreserved / unreserved / pct-encoded
   unreserved           = alphanum / mark
   mark                 = "-" / "_" / "." / "!" / "~" / "*" /
                          "'" / "(" / ")"
   pct-encoded          = "%" HEXDIG HEXDIG
   param-unreserved     = "[" / "]" / "/" / ":" / "&" / "+" / "$"
   phonedigit           = DIGIT / [ visual-separator ]
   phonedigit-hex       = HEXDIG / "*" / "#" / [ visual-separator ]
   visual-separator     = "-" / "." / "(" / ")"
   alphanum             = ALPHA / DIGIT
   reserved             = ";" / "/" / "?" / ":" / "@" / "&" /
                          "=" / "+" / "$" / ","
   uric                 = reserved / unreserved / pct-encoded

Each parameter name ("pname"), the ISDN subaddress, the 'extension', and the 'context' MUST NOT appear more than once.  The 'isdn-subaddress' or 'extension' MUST appear first, if present, followed by the 'context' parameter, if present, followed by any other parameters in lexicographical order.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

New Neo4J Training - Vancouver, BC

I will be conducting another Neo Technologies sponsored, one day training class on August 29th, 2014 for the Vancouver graph database user group (join us here).  The class is designed to maximize the learning over the 8 hour course and teach students what graph databases are, how they differ from RDBMS systems, the data model (or lack thereof), Cypher - the query language and how to build and use graph databases (the bulk of the class).

About Neo4J

Neo4J is the world's leading graph database, meaning it is used by more customers than any other graph database.  It offers several advantages over fixed schema databases, especially for startups given the immaturity of their data models.  Neo4J does not require a schema like Relational DataBase Management Systems (RDBMS).  Instead, Graph databases save data as "Nodes" that are connected with "Relationships".  Nodes and relationships both have "properties" which si how humans think about concepts in the real word.  Nodes may be arbitrarily added or removed without re-writing an entire database schema, a true savings of costs and effort.

The Neo4J implementation of a graph database has become the industry standard.  Cypher itself, a language similar to the Structured Query Language (SQL) has become a sort of Pseudo standard within the space.  The course will cover the basics of Cypher and some advanced topics like sorting and filtering return values.

There are still seats available as of the time of this article.  if you will be in Vancouver at the end of August, please come out and learn some Neo4J.  The cost covers the logistics so the course is basically almost free.

Sin up here -> http://vancouver.eventful.com/events/intro-neo4j-vancouver-/E0-001-073046613-1

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Senior vs. Junior Programmer (Developer) Definition

We have been asked many times to define the differences between Senior and Junior programmers. While there is no exact answer, this blog post attempts to clarify what we look for when hiring developers at different levels.

The labels “Senior” and “Junior” are difficult to comprehend as they can sometimes be bestowed on the same developer depending upon the context of assessment. A developer may be considered “senior” with respect to the .NET development platform while at the same time be considered “junior” at HTML5 and some of the more recent related technologies. Experience clearly plays an important role in working with multiple technologies as well. Developers who may intrinsically understand the internal nuances of a complex platform like J2EE may be lacking the full practical experience that only comes from using multiple versions of the language and migrating from one to another. In some cases, a developer who is knowledgeable about topics in great depth may actually lack the full breadth of experience. This latter experience augments the deep knowledge of more specific facets since the entire evolution of one part of that language may be a reaction to a shortfall or persistent problem a previous version had. Such context-specific assessments require those who assess developers to remain somewhat flexible in their own judgments concerning experience vs theoretical knowledge. Both help a developer get the whole picture of each language or platform.

Of course, the differences could be explained with a bit of humor. The following diagram helps non-developers understand the differences in mind-sets between the two groups.

To begin to place some formal constraints around the differences, the descriptions can be summarized as follows:

Junior developers are still acquiring many of the skills their senior counterparts possess. The reality is that the senior programmers only achieve the extra skills through experience and perseverance. Many of the skills cannot be taught in a classroom as real life experience is required to guide the developers knowledge bases. Junior programmers are often given tasks to do, but are seldom handed projects. A task takes no longer than a couple of weeks overall and often is not delivered as a customer-ready deliverable. The junior programmers often do not gather requirements and in many cases are not provided the details of “why” they are doing a certain task. They typically do not talk to customers or if they do, the interactions are often very limited. A junior programmer will not feel comfortable training other developers nor will they lead teams. They often need reviews from senior developers. On version control systems, an administrator will not provide the credentials or bestow the rights to “destroy” code or projects and are not permitted to over-write the work of others. They typically dream of working on bigger projects and are well situated to handling smaller tasks but cannot provide customer-ready solutions to business problems.

By contrast, a senior developer is given projects to do as opposed to tasks. Some projects can last up to 6 months and require the senior developer to gather requirements. They often will be part of the team that talks to customers directly and will develop “solutions” to those problems and explain their ideas to the customer. Senior programmers tutor juniors and provide paths for juniors to keep acquiring new knowledge. A senior developer will usually have “destroy” rights on version control systems and uses them to help others learn the errors of their ways. The senior developer dreams of designing, not coding but hacks all the time.

The following chart outlines some other fundamental differences we typically use to delineate a senior programmer from their junior counterparts.

Codes up a given library
Yes, task does not require knowledge of entire application.  When given the task, the API will be constrained and specified.  All work will be to ensure the library works as intended.
Yes but can also engineer the library. This means defining the API and parameter list, understand what classes or libraries may call it and how it has to be architected (static classes?  Prototypes with concrete classes inheriting?  Method signatures?)
Understands the method signatures
No – is only proved with the specification and the API signature.
Yes, additionally, the senior developer can architect the class to accept multiple parameters and figures out the correct order, data types and tests.
Junior Developers are not required to interpret UML of an entire system
Senior developer must understand the system architecture.  In addition to the class function, needs to understand the class relationships and methods. Typically uses class new diagrams, sequence diagrams and use case diagrams as well as other similar artifacts.
Class methods
Juniors usually scope everything to private.
Can determine how to mutate the access modifier to public, private, protected etc. based on class use and function. Understands the rationale behind the decisions.
Knows when to develop simple API’s vs complete web services

Data types
Does not understand which data type to use if not told.  Does not differentiate big endian vs. little endian types.
Can study a system and determine which data types are optimal for each API call.
Multi-thread experience
Basic – understands the concepts.
Advanced – uses keywords like “volatile” to denote variable uses when multiple threads may be trying to mutate values concurrently and knows how to mitigate these scenarios.
Multi-thread experience
Does not understand thread controllers
Uses thread controllers to ensure optimal operations for all class instances. Can take advantage of multi-core processors.
Abstract vs Concrete
Basic knowledge, often tries to implement abstract classes resulting in errors.
Understands when to prescribe abstract classes as prototypes and how to create concrete classes that may be instantiated based on the abstract classes.
Naming conventions
Ensures consistent naming conventions are used throughout a project.  Will flag the project if it is apparent that no one else has specified this vs the Jr. Developer who will not see the need.
Unit Testing
Has some UT skills.  Occasionally writes test is not too busy.
Uses Test-driven development and is a strict user of unit testing to ensure code can survive a code audit.
Has experience on one or two
Can decide which framework/version to use based on functional requirements.  Knows how each one performs, where strengths/weaknesses are in each framework
No – often hard codes values and binds them to buttons, frames etc
Yes – knows that any long lasting system requires localization and knows it is easier to do it once at the beginning of the project than trying to reverse engineer it in later.
Can understand some drawing/specifications but needs to have a source of knowledge to ask questions
Reads UML like their native spoken language.  Comfortable interpreting UML into code.
Architecture process
Codes first to get a head start. Can only be given tasks and not projects
Does architecture first properly to ensure the system will work as required.  Can be given entire projects and will write any missing architecture docs to ensure others have documentation.
Does not write
Knows it must be written and ensures it is done along the way.
Writes code.
Writes code to be maintainable over time.
Brings problems to Sr. programmers
Finds solutions to problems
Guesses.  Cannot envision all code in their head without writing some so cannot be accurate in estimates.  When given, estimates are often provided in < 1 hour
Can estimate a complete project, Designs complete code in mind before starting to code in order to provide a realistic estimate.  Estimates take at least one week and asks many questions to ensure complete understanding of requirements.
Needs to be motivated
Knows how to motivate other coders to complete the project and produce quality code.
Only sees what is in front of eyes
Can foresee problems others do not yet see and knows the best ways to eliminate them.  This work is often unrewarded as the product owner often thinks the problem never was, does not appreciate the Sr. Coders work in avoiding it all together.
Thinks users will only use the software as intended.  Writes code, discovers problems, fixes code, repeats multiple times.
Knows users will abuse the software and use it for other things.  Ensures components will gracefully fail without bringing down the entire system. Eliminates points of failure.
Asks “what is the difference between junior and senior developers?”, assumes they are senior and forges ahead in the wrong direction.  Naïve and optimistic.
Knows the difference but does not rub in in others faces.  Tries to help junior programmers. Humble.  Has scars from many IT projects.
Will often write code once and deliver it to project code base.
Will try to write code in more than one manner to determine which code runs best and will then optimize it for the solution requirements.

Friday, July 04, 2014

I hate Platform as a Service

I sit here today at work and listen to someone describe "Platform as a Service" to me.  It rubs me as badly as "Data as a Service" or any other *aaS acronym.  Why?

The OASIS Reference Model for SOA, the base standard for Service Oriented Architecture, describes the facets of a service in an abstract manner.  Part of the core service model is the "data model" associated with a service.  This data can be anything.  It may represent data that empowers a platform, software or any other item.

The service model itself is agnostic to what the data represents.  This is because the service should not care what the data is.  The services only job is to facilitate its consumption.  The proliferation of *aaS acronyms must stop unless we are planning to have Everything-as-a-Service or EaaS.

Stop it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Perspective on the new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation

If you are a business operating within Canadian borders and you are involved in sending electronic messages to your customers, you must take the time to read the following advice. There are actions that you MUST undertake prior to the new law coming into effect on July 1. 

A quick overview of Canada’s new Commercial Electronic Message (CEM) legislation. 

Canada has recently adopted a new anti-spam legislation. The law is described in detail on this page (http://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/home). This new law goes into effect July 1, 2014.

We have prepared this brief overview of the new legislation as a service to readers and also as a public service to help those who seek an understanding of the new legislation. This article is not meant to be a substitution for proper legal advice and if you have any questions about the legal nature of this legislation, it is your responsibility to contact a legal professional.

What is the Anti-spam legislation? 

Canada’s new Anti-Spam law was passed in December, 2010 and comes into effect July 1, 2014. The CRTC has published final regulations related to Canada's anti-spam legislation. A copy of the regulations can be found on the CRTC website. The name of the law is the Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2012-183. 

The Regulations prescribe the form and certain information to be included in commercial electronic messages (CEMs), and requests for consent with respect to the sending of CEMs, the alteration of transmission data in electronic messages, and the installation of computer programs.

The Regulations also define SPAM as “any electronic message” – text, sound, voice, image – sent to an electronic address for the purpose of encouraging participation in a commercial activity. It includes email, but also texts, tweets and instant messages.

It is not clear to Technoracle how Twitter or Facebook posts will be interpreted as spam.

How does it affect Canadians? 

All Canadian citizens or companies with a presence in Canada that send electronic messages as described above are subject to the laws starting July 1, 2014.

What is defined as “SPAM” under the new legislation?

Without diving into the specific text of the legislation, SPAM is defined as any Commercial Electronic Message (CEM) sent to an electronic address without consent of the recipient.

What are the legal remedies and penalties for violations?

Fines of up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for corporations are possible. Additionally, the law will also allow those affected by a contravention of the law (such as getting spammed) to launch an action in court against those who have violated the law. Once into force, the private right of action will allow an applicant to seek actual and statutory damages.

Who will enforce it? 

There are three federal agencies that will enforce the new legislation. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the Competition Bureau and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada will be responsible for enforcement.

What does the regulation specifically prescribe? 

First and foremost, the Regulations prohibit sending Commercial Electronic Messages (CEMs) unless the recipient has given express consent, or falls into a category where there is implied consent or one of the exemptions applies. It also prescribes the form and certain information to be included in commercial electronic messages (CEMs), and requests for consent with respect to the sending of CEMs, the alteration of transmission data in electronic messages, and the installation of computer programs. Most importantly, an unsubscribe mechanism must be in place that allows any recipient to unsubscribe and stop receiving any further CEMs.

What constitutes express consent?

The recipient has to opt-in, not opt-out. The request must be clearly identified. A pre-checked opt-in box or an unchecked opt-out box will not do. The recipient must take a positive step to opt-in. Silence does not mean consent. The onus to prove consent is on the sender.

NOTE: Technoracle has a Consent Module (an HTML5 module) that can link an individual to an express consent event.  The entire transaction is hash-tied to you can prove later that your customer opted in.  If you wish to get an overview of this technology, it is available from duane (AT) technoracle (hyphen) systems.com.

What are the other requirements for getting express consent?

  • Explain the purpose for the request. 
  • Name the person or organization, or on whose behalf, you are seeking consent. 
  • Give your name, mailing address and phone number, email or website address. 
  • Provide an unsubscribe option which is readily performed and will take effect within 10 days. 
Are there any exceptions where consent is not required?

There are certain conditions that provides for exemptions under the new law. Briefly, these are:

  • If consent of the recipient can be implied 
  • For communications that are within the domain of a business 
  • Where there is an existing business relationships and/or the CEM is relevant to the recipient’s role, function or duties. 
  • If the electronic messages is sent in response to a direct request for information. 
  • To enforce a legal right or obligation. 
  • If it relates to an existing transaction. 
  • If you are a customer inquiring about a business activity. 

Is there a time limit on consent? 

  • Express consent does not expire but can be withdrawn. 
  • Implied consent often depends on a specific relationship between the parties and therefore ends when that relationship ends. It can also be withdrawn at any time. If you are relying on this, it would be a good idea to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney. 
  • CEMs to which an exception applies may only be sent within the time limits set out in the Act.  
These vary depending upon the type and nature of the communication.

What qualifies as an ‘existing business relationship’? 

Recipients are considered as having an existing business relationship for purposes of the legislation, if the recipient of the communication has:

  • Bought or leased goods or services from you within the past twenty four months; and/or 
  • Made an inquiry about a contract, purchase or other financial transaction within the past 6 months.
When may consent be implied?

Some message recipients have an implied consent to receive messages. The exact nature of this consent has not been interpreted within the courts and individuals relying on this exception are urged to seek legal advice. Consent may be implied, as defined within the legislation, where the recipient is:

  • an individual with whom the sender has a personal or family relationship; and/or
  • the recipient is an individual or entity engaged in a commercial activity and the CEM is solely related to that activity. 
  • the recipient has conspicuously published an email address or given you one and the CEM is relevant to the recipient’s business role (the ‘publication’ exception); and/or 
  • the recipient has disclosed his or her electronic address to you, has not indicated any wish not to receive unsolicited CEMs and the CEM is relevant to the recipient’s business role (the ‘business card’ exception). 

In all the above cases, if the recipient requests that you not send further messages, such requests supersede any implied consent and consent will have been deemed as withdrawn on a permanent basis or until the recipient sends communications to the contrary.

Are any non-business relationships exempted? 

The following situations may be considered exempt, as long as the recipient has not expressed a communication that you stop sending them messages.
  • if the recipient has made a donation or gift or volunteered or been a member of your club, association or voluntary organization within the past 2 years; or 
  • if the CEM is sent by or on behalf of a registered charity and the message is primarily for raising funds for the charity.

Any other notable exceptions?

You can send a CEM to someone who has been referred to you by a third party, provided the third party has a family, personal or business relationship with both you and the recipient.

What do I need to do before July 1, 2014?

If you are a customer of Technoracle, you are entitled to a free consultation for thirty minutes to ask any other questions. Customers also may have their consent-linking module installed on their website for an introductory price before July 1.

NOTE: Remember that Technoracle Advanced Systems Inc. is not a firm practicing law in the Province of British Columbia and is not a substitute for any legal opinions you should seek if you have outstanding questions. All the information provided hereinafter is strictly provided as a non-legal practitioner perspective and our interpretation of the new legislation.

We use two local law firms that we recommend:

- Venture Law Corporation (contact Alixe Cormick)
- Boughton Law Corporation (Contact Claudia Losie)

Without limiting the generalities of the foregoing,  Technoracle would advise that any persons or other entities engaged in the dissemination of electronic communications to review the following:

  • Review your current internal practices and guidelines for sending CEMs and which ones will comply with CASL. Ensure that any staff involved with these activities is informed of the changes and has a chance to ask any questions they might have to clarify their understanding. 
  • For all existing email lists, you should assess whether or not you have valid consent, either express or implied, from any recipients. If you do not, it is recommended that you refrain from sending further emails until you can obtain such consent. 
  • If you don’t have consent, decide if you fall within one of the exception, and when they lapse. You should set reminders to ensure you comply with the time constraints on any limitations. 
  • Decide whether you should try to get an express consent, which remains valid until withdrawn, before July 1, 2014. 
  • Make sure your form of consent meets the requirements. If you require help with this, Technoracle or Hot Tomali can set up the proper email channels and forms of email that comply with the legislation. 
  • Ensure that your policies and procedures are in compliance. Once more, we are here to assist you with compliance and can configure your email marketing to meet the requirements. To find out more, contact duane at technoracle-systems dot com.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Mayoral Candidate puts forth new transportation plan!

In a surprise move, Olympic Bob-sledder Kaillie Humphries has put her hat in to the next Vancouver Civic elections as a mayoral candidate.  Capitalizing on her brilliant performance in the 2014 Sochi winter Olympics, where she and fellow Canadian brakeman Heather Moyse won the Gold medal, she has announced she will enter politics in her newly adopted home city of Vancouver.  She will run as an independent in the next municipal elections.

As she opened her announcement speech with an emotional statement, she quickly alluded to her desire to serve the people of Vancouver by taking a new approach to regional transportation.

Building on the notion of bike lanes being prevalent in the region, her plan introduced a relatively new form of transportation;  Rocket powered Bobsled.   The idea has been discussed in many areas of the country from Ottawa to Calgary yet it is a new idea for most Vancouver residents.  Bobsled tracks would be built beside existing bike lanes to provide space for bobsledders to practice their sport while alleviating traffic on main corridors.   The City of Vancouver has already endorsed the idea stating it solidly believes that building the bobsled corridors will entice many people to get out of their cars and into bobsleds.

Early prototype of Rocket powered sled testing in Burnaby, BC

Seen above, a prototype of a rocket powered bobsled is both eco-friendly and provides a very cost effective and comfortable transportation medium.  The initial transit corridors are meant to co-exist with the bike routes used, starting primarily in the downtown core.  City of Vancouver Councillor Geoff Meggs, Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Planning, Transportation, and Environment, has noted that the plan will reduce stress on our congested streets and provides a new way to commute that will attract hundreds of new users.  He expects many of the current cycling population will also move over to the newer and more environmentally friendly form of transportation.  He stressed that the pilot will involve some street modifications to provide for the snow making machinery on the Hornby Street route.

Map of first Rocket-powered Bobsled Routes (Courtesy City of Vancouver)
Kaillie announced her plan to the delight of many however some in the audience were not as supportive of the plan.  One resident noted that building more alternative vehicle infrastructure comes at the cost of automotive freedom.  Despite alarming statistics on global warming and the need to reduce CO2 emissions, some still feel it is an inalienable right to use automobiles.  To react to the comment, a spokesperson for the City of Vancouver responded "Boyahh! Who's your daddy?".

Construction of the new lanes is expected to begin almost immediately after the next municipal election.  The lanes should be open by late fall 2014.

Friday, March 28, 2014

I am seeking .NET, PHP Developers and Project Managers

My new agency is growing fast. The side effect of producing many successful ad campaigns is that the underlying technical infrastructure to handle the extra traffic has to be increased. Many of our clients are seeing a growth in both new opportunities and new functionality. This has fueled a recruiting drive for us. We need to fill these positions now.

 We require the positions outlined below.  Above and beyond the skills required, we seek people who understand the dynamics of working in a fast paced, creative environment. Experience in handling multiple clients and projects at the same time while being focused on delivering high quality work on a consistent based is our desire. If you can juggle flaming chainsaws while riding a unicycle backwards over an open pit of hungry sharks (with or without frigging laser beams), then this is the agency you will love. We work hard and play harder.

To respond, please go to the web page at http://www.hottomali.com/contact/job-postings and fill out the job application form for the position you like.

 Note: To fast forward your .NET position application:

Position #0145 - .NET Developer Required

We are looking for a skilled .NET Developer to join the Hot Tomali team. This is a highly technical position and you need to have a minimum of 3 years working full time in .NET development. Must be familiar with the following technologies:

Primary Skills: Expert .NET SOAP based Web Services Sitefinity (accreditation is a bonus) C# programming and basic architecture skills Integration and Database skills

Min 3 years: Github, NodeJS, Angular, HTML5

 Read the full post and apply at http://www.hottomali.com/contact/job-postings/.net-developer-required-position-0145

Position # 0144 - PHP Developer

A Senior / Experienced PHP programmer is required for our team. Successful candidates must have at least five years experience developing production web applications in PHP, including Content Management Systems (i.e. WordPress, Drupal, etc.) and version control systems (i.e. GitHub). Hardware or sever side administration experience is an asset. A University degree in computer programming is a minimum requirement.

Primary Skills: Expert: PHP 5+, jQuery 1.8+, CSS3, HTML5, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Angular and NodeJS.

Min. 3 yrs (production): Symfonic, Code Igniter, Smarty. Working knowledge: Github, Subversion, NetBeans 

Read the full post and apply at http://www.hottomali.com/contact/job-postings/php-developer-position-144 

Position #0143 - Project Manager 

We require a skilled Project Manager to bridge the Hot Tomali team to it’s functional requirements and manage progress. You will bring your solid agency track record managing integrated marketing programs including website builds, online and offline advertising campaigns, and internal development projects. You will be the very valuable conduit between our client services team and our internal resources and contractors, taking responsibility for delivering excellence in every task we undertake with our clients.

Primary Skills: Project Management Experience Agile Development Microsoft Project of other Project Software

2+ years of online or advertising agency project management experience Proven experience in directing production teams to keep them on budget and schedule while continually motivating them to create valuable solutions for our clients 

Read the full post and apply at http://www.hottomali.com/contact/job-postings/project-manager-position-0143

Friday, February 07, 2014

RACI and Natural Language

There are many patterns for communication modelling how real world collaboration works is sometimes difficult.  One of the hardest things for a human being to do is to think about how they think. When we talk to people and start a conversation, they naturally do a few subtle things that are missing from email. This is how a conversation in person usually goes:

Person1: Hello. (introduction if necessary)
Person2: Hello
P1: I wanted to talk to you today to get your input into our current marketing campaign. I am responsible for making the final approval.
P2: sure
P1: Specifically, by Friday I have to launch the new campaign and we still don’t have a final logo chosen.
P2: So how can I help
P1: If you have time, I’d like it if you could review the choices and provide input on your favourites and why
P2: No problem. When do you need it by?
P1: Is tomorrow ok? It should take 5-10 minutes

Note that P1 has relayed the exact same model as RACI here.  Person 1 have stated a project, a deadline and more importantly has informed Person 2 of exactly what they are expected to do with the information.  There is a lot of subtlety going on here.  So why is email ineffective for the same purpose?  Simple, both speaker and listener do not share a context of the collaboration.  A lot of very subtle communication is done via body language.   In real time communication, a person can detect if the other does not seem to have the information by noting inquisitive looks or blank stares and fill in the blank.

The email version of the above is:

Dear P2:

Check these design out and let me know what you think. We have to launch friday.


This gets lost in the inbox of course. The natural flow of language will be important to observe as we launch. One hypothesis is that email is relatively inefficient at conveying knowledge since it is often an asynchronous exchange and messages that arrive can be easily taken out of context. This, of course, is well known.

So how does RACI help?  Even if using RACI does nothing more than simply structure the roles for people, it provides that context around the communication and collaboration thread.  Individuals are empowered with the information of why they are being included in the collaboration.

RACI matrix software can also help structure this communication in a manner that is unambiguous and has the capability to facilitate decisions being made in a timely manner.  RACI is a good model.