I favour electoral reform. I am a newly-minted Canadian, who deeply hopes my first vote for Parliament will not be conducted under the current, archaic, unfair First-Past-the-Post system. So, when my MP convened a Town Hall meeting on electoral reform, I made a point of attending. Here are some notes on the event. I hope they are helpful documentation for other democratic reform advocates.
I use the GnuCash free software accounting software. Like many accounting tools, it can import bank or credit card transactions, and has a way to learn the correct mapping from transaction data to my own account structure. And, sometimes the tool gets the mapping wrong, and needs to be reset. Here is how I was able to perform this reset. I post it here in the hopes it will help others. Fasten your seatbelt, it involves some awfully technical command-line tools, including XSLT processing. Continue Reading »
Back in May, as part of the Music Encoding 2016 conference in Montreal, we had a discussion about comparing digital scores. Just as you can compare text files, and get a concise statement of differences, we brainstormed about requirements for comparing music scores at the notation level. This blog post is a record of that discussion.
A couple of weeks ago the Music Encoding Conference 2016 was held at McGill University, Montréal, Canada. I attended on behalf of the Keyboard Philharmonic project. I was like a kid in a candy store: so many people with so much experience in representing music notation digitally, so many interesting talks, so much friendliness. I also had the temerity to hold, despite my first-time status, a workshop on the first day of the conference: “Encoding Music at Music Encoding”, where we would follow the Keyboard Philharmonic process to encode a short score. The goal was to release it to the public domain by the end of the conference. Here is how we did.
I’m no longer a foreign troublemaker in Canada. I’m now a Canadian citizen troublemaker!
On 29. January, 2016, Ducky and I affirmed allegiance to the Queen of Canada, and completed our metamorphosis into Canadian citizens. It was a brief ceremony, an hour and a half made up of bureaucracy with a layer of pomp and ceremony. There were 80 new Canadians, from about 15 different countries. The couple next to us were from England and from Scotland — I wonder how they grappled with shifting their allegiance from the Queen of the United Kingdom to the Queen of Canada. We spent our first 45 minutes shuffling up to a counter, where our application was checked one last time. This was a formality; the filter was last November’s citizenship test. We sat in 80 numbered chairs, which ensured we were in the same order as the stack of 80 Certificates of Citizenship. We heard a speech. We recited the Oath (or in my case, Affirmation) of Citizenship, in English, then in French. (Thankfully, our presiding Judge Roy Wong had quite good French, unlike the cringeworthy mangle we heard at a high-profile Canada Day citizenship ceremony a few years ago.) We sang “O Canada”: mostly in English, keener me in the bilingual version. We filed past Judge Wong in our carefully numbered order, and received the correct Certificate of Citizenship. Most people went off to work. A few of us stayed for photos.
Interestingly, we lost our Canadian permanent resident cards in the transaction; we are now citizens, not permanent residents. If we were to visit the US soon, we might not be able to get back in to Canada. So our next task is to apply for Canadian passports. Hopefully, they will be mailed to us within a couple of weeks. Then we tell the NEXUS program about our changed status, and are free to scamper across the border again.
We don’t lose our US citizenship. It used to that 8 U.S.C. § 1481 took away your US citizenship, if you became a naturalized citizen of another country. But the US Supreme Court ruled (in Afroyim vs Rusk (1967), according to Wikipedia at least) that the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution overrules that Congressional statute. So now we stay US citizens until we express a clear intent not to be. And it’s a great situation to have: the privilege to live in a wonderful country like Canada, while still being able to travel and work in the USA. When first we moved to Canada, the cross-border tax expert, the late David Ingram, counseled us to get Canadian citizenship as soon as we could; for born US citizens it was all upside and no downside. He was right. Sure, we get the joy of filing both US and Canadian tax returns. But there are experts who help us with that, and a tax treaty that most of the time means each dollar is taxed by either Canada or the US, not by both.
For our first year as new citizens, we get free admission to thousands of parks and museums nationwide, thanks to the Cultural Access Pass. VIA Rail will give us 50% off a ticket, even a multi-week cross-country sleeper car trip. We are planning our adventures already! And we were touched by the enthusiastic welcome from Canadian friends on Facebook (and warm congratulations from US friends), also this one, and this one, and this one.
Oh, Canada, our home and (naturalised) land!
Last week I passed the Canadian Citizenship Test. It was a simple 20-question multiple-choice test, on facts about Canada’s history, values, make-up, culture, etc. I scored 19/20, but unfortunately my spouse Ducky scored 20/20. She gets the bragging rights. Thus I switch to focussing on the fact that we both passed, rather than the details of who got which score.
This test, and the documents check and chat with the nice woman from Citizenship and Immigration Canada which accompanied it, represent the last substantive filter to eliminate candidates from citizenship. There will be 3-5 months of process, pro-forma hearings, but not anything that is likely to reject us. Then we get a letter inviting us to an oath-taking ceremony, and we become Canadian citizens. I’m really pleased about this. It is the culmination of over ten years happy settlement in Canada.
A music score is an information product. The printed book is a proven, well-understood container for information products. It is also a 16th-century technology approach. In the 21st century, we have a new container for music scores: the symbolically encoded, software-accessible digital file. The exciting task of our time is to explore how to move the music score into this new container, preserving the connection to our cultural heritage and our artistic tradition of music creativity, while transcending the limitations of the 500-year-old container technology.
I see the Keyboard Philharmonic project as providing an important bridge, to move the fine musical works of the classical music and opera tradition into their new home in the 21st century.
I’m delighted to be presenting, once again, to the 39th Internationalization and Unicode Conference (IUC39). The conference is the gathering of my “tribe”, people who are as enthusiastic about language, text, and software as I am. If you like this stuff, it’s the best place in the world to be for those three days, so please register and join us there.
My presentation is, Building Localization Capacity Through Non-specialist Developers. Here’s the abstract: Continue Reading »
I won’t be buying Chums eyewear retainers anytime soon.
1000m above the ground in my paraglider is no place for my dark glasses to fall off. My prescription dark glasses, you see, without which I can barely make out anything. So, I relied on my Chums eyewear retainer on my dark glasses. Imagine my dismay when I pulled them out of my helmet bag recently, and saw this: Continue Reading »