Archive for the ‘Canada’ category

Please, help us find missing Canadian Pilot using Google Earth

December 26, 2007

Thanks to technology, you can be instrumental to bringing peace to a tormented family. We are trying to find an apple seed in a backyard infested with weed. We need your eyes and your goodwill.

Ron Boychuk disappeared on October 23, 2007 on his way home, while he was flying alone in a Cessna 172 plane. Ron departed from Revelstoke, Canada en route to the Vancouver Island community of Qualicum, Canada and never arrived. The Canadian government has given up the search. This is why friends and family have been sending their cry for help to the online community.

The incredible people at DigitalGlobe and InternetSAR responded the call and have donated their invaluable time and resources to make this search possible.

DigitalGlobe arranged for a satellite sweep of some of the highest value areas, and have donated us free of charge the best image quality available in North America.

InternetSAR are providing us with their valuable time, experience, and technology to support the collaborative analysis of those images.

We now need many people to thoroughly observe the images and report any spot that should be looked at more closely. We are trying to find an apple seed in a backyard infested with weed.

We need your eyes; we need volunteers; we need goodwill. Thanks to technology, you can help. You can be instrumental to bringing peace to a tormented family.

If you want to help, please:

  1. go to
  2. follow the link “Ron Boychuk Search”
  3. create your account
  4. review one or more imagery overlays with Google Earth

Any question, please join the Google Earth Community. There, we have enabled a forum related to the Search for Ron Boychuk

Our sincerest thanks



Is Canada a Land of Mediocrity?

June 17, 2007

The Globe and Mail reports:

Canada’s failure to innovate is spilling over into the economy, environmental protection, health care, education, and poverty eradication – turning the country into a land of stifling mediocrity, according to a harsh new report card from the Conference Board of Canada.

The full article is available at Canada Land of Mediocrity

Even though I do not agree with the title of the article, I completely agree that we (specially our Government) need to do something to move forward our beautiful country. We have the people and the talent, we just need the support of our government to create an environment in which innovation could flourish.



Back from Montreal

June 8, 2006

This trip to Montreal went much better than I expected, even tough it did not started on the right track. I tried to use the web check-in system from Air Canada and I could not figure out why it did not work. Then, I had some things to do before leaving home and I arrived late to the airport. I got there 35 minutes before my flight. I tried to use the automated check-in counter but it did not work either. After a while, a person from Air Canada told me I had to do the manual check-in. I waited in line and when I arrived to the counter there were 25 minutes before my flight and the person in the counter told me that I could not flight because I was too late (at that time I missed West Jet, their personnel always try to help you instead of making it hard for you). Well, I paid the CAD $ 150 for the change and went through security. After security I noticed that they were calling for the general boarding of the flight I was supposed to take. I waited patiently and ask one of the persons at the Air Canada counter whether the flight was full and she told me that it was not. I ask her whether I could take the flight and told her what happened to which she simply replied that it is Air Canada policy, I have to check-in at least 30 minutes before the flight or they simply do no let me flight. I guess there is only room for only one Airline like WestJet in Canada where the passengers are priority number 1.

Anyway, I arrived in Montreal and went to the Residences of the University of Montreal where I was going to stay. Everything was ok with the room. On Sunday morning, I went to the conference venue and attended several talks: the opening talk by Prof. Zadeh, the father of Fuzzy Logic, a talk by my previous supervisor, Prof. Pedrycz, a world-expert on Granular Computing, and some others. At noon I had a chance of having lunch from a couple of representatives from Decyde Inc., they are using fuzzy rules based system for automating the decision-making process in different areas.

During the afternoon, I attended a second plenary talk and I was surprised to know that my paper was selected as one of the top-five students papers. So I was invited to the banquet to receive my award (a nice certificate and a US$ 100 check). Later that afternoon, I gave my talk and it was well received. I had lots of questions and people wanted to continue commenting and discussing our approach 😉
In the evening, I went to the Ubuntu release party at the Cafe L'Utopik. I met really nice people, several employees from Canonical (the organization behind Ubuntu) and Fabian Rodriguez from FACIL (a group that promotes Free Software in Quebec). Fabian invited me to visit the FACIL headquarters and I agreed with that. Unfortunately, I had to leave early because I had to attend the banquet (remember, to get my US$ 100 cheque 😉 ).

I went to the banquet and sit with a Prof. from Regina and one from the Canadian East Coast. The dinner was great and the company was too.

After the banquet, I went back to the residence to rest and prepare for Monday. Monday morning, I went to the conference again, attended a couple of talks and then I went to meet with the Venezuelan General Consul. We talked about Free Software and what we are doing in Venezuela to promote it. The General Consul is a person really committed to help Free Software becoming part of Venezuela's reality. His radio station is the one you can see in the video Free Software: Venezuelan Chapter that I promoted some time ago. After meeting with the General Consul, I had a meeting with one of the Consuls and I had lunch with him. These guys at the Venezuelan Consulate really understand Free Software and the social implications of it.

After my meetings at the Venezuelan Consulate, I went back to the conference venue. There, I attended a couple of talks and later I went to meet with the people of FACIL. I had a wonderful time thanks to Marc Angles and Fabian Rodriguez. They did a small interview in which I explained what is happening in Venezuela with the discussions for the new Free Software Bill.

Fabian gave me a ride back to the residence around midnight.

On Tuesday morning, I came back to Edmonton. I arrived in the Afternoon. And I have been spending most of the time trying to find accommodations in Europe where we go this weekend. Wish me luck!


Marcel Gagné reports on the Calgary LinuxFest 2006

May 28, 2006

I know it has been three weeks since the LinuxFest but I thought it would be nice to post a link to Marcel Gagné‘s (Canada’s Linux Guru) comments on the event.

The post is available “here

Some pictures of the event are available at Shawn Grover’s blog

If you want to read again my comments on the event, you can check this post

Finally, for those interested in podcasting, Jon Watson made the audio of his talk available at


Report on the Calgary LinuxFest: A really great experience!

May 20, 2006

I woke up late on May 6 (around 6:00 am). My wife and I got ready, woke up our 3-year old son and left Edmonton around 7:00 a.m. By 10:20 we arrived at the University of Calgary. By 10:40 we had registered and went in to watch Aaron Seigo’s talk about KDE4 Development. We got in time to little bit on the use of Subversion to manage software projects. The talk was really interesting and the audience was engaged. Aaron really knows his stuff.

After Aaron’s talk, I met a Venezuelan working in Calgary doing some Postgres development. We talked a little bit about our lives in Canada and we stayed for Mike Hillyer‘s talk on MySql normalization. The talk was well attended and Mike did a very good job explaining the importance of normalizing databases.

At noon we had the lunch break. I used the time to talk with some of the organizers and to learnt about their experience. I also had the chance to meet Aaron. He is a really cool guy. I mentioned about the World Forum on Free Knowledge I am helping to organize and he mentioned he was interested. If everything goes well, we might send him an invitation (I have to get the SOLVE‘s approval first and it has proved to be always a lengthy process).

After lunch, I attended Marcel Gagne‘s presentation. He is definitely one of the best speakers I have listened to in regards to Linux. Marcel gave lots of useful tips to make your Linux experience a real Multimedia experience.

Marcel’s talk was followed by Jon Watson’s talk on Podcasting. Jon definitely knows how to explain his stuff. Unfortunately, I could not stay for the whole talk because Mark, a representative of the University of Calgary, wanted to introduce me before my talk so we had a little chat during Jon’s talk.

After Jon, it was my chance to talk. Mark did a very nice introduction and then I started talking 😉 I posted the presentation on my webpage. I started the talk with the tale on how the Venezuelan Linux distribution is promising to help the Wayuu indigenous people in Venezuela to preserve their cultural heritage. I moved, then, to talk about some of the many Free and Open Source Software in Latin American. Later, I focused on Free and Open Source Software in Venezuela and the Education Project that I am coordinating. I ended the talk with the tale on how Free and Open Source Software is helping remote communities in Venezuela. I opened the floor for questions and comments. The were many interesting questions, a couple of persons were asking about the costs of all these Venezuelan projects. I had to mention that money was not the main issue in there. The main issue was Achieving Technological Independence. We had to cut short the questions and answers period because the next talk was coming. It was great to know that people were really interested in knowing more about what we are doing in Venezuela.

After my talk, I attended Aaron talk on How Society Improves Society. It was a really nice talk that kept me motivated to continue working on the Free and Open Source Software projects we are initiating in Venezuela. By the way, I found a related talk by Aaron in Google Video

The LinuxFest was a really terrific experience. I am looking forward to next year’s event.


See also:

About the Canadian Census!

May 18, 2006

Census day has passed (May 16). I guess that I can now comment a little bit on it.

The 2006 Canadian Census generated a lot of controversies: groups asking to boycott it, groups mentioning some critical policy failures, groups mentioning its lack of standards compliance, and talks about discrimination to free and open source software users.

What can I say taht is new? Well, that there are more things to fix. For instance, I kept waiting and waiting for my questionnaire to arrive. On May 12, I decided to call the census help line. George answered my call and asked me for my address. He searched my address in their system and it seems that my address was not in there. He tried several times but he could not find my address. So, he asked me:

  • George: Was your dwelling built in the last six months?

To what I replied:

  • Lino: No! These are University Residences and has been in here for at least 20 years.

George then gave me an option:

  • George: do you want to fill your Census online?

To what I replied:

  • Lino: I cannot fill it out online because I am using Linux

Finally, we decided that the best was filling out the paper questionnaire. So, he filled out my request. On Monday May 15, I received the form and filled the questionnaire out in time to comply with my duty as a Canadian Citizen.Now, I ask: do all Canadians received the Census questionnaire? I asked a neighbour and he did not receive the form either. So, what is the criteria the Canadian government is using to decide which addresses should be on their system?

If someone has any idea, please drop me a line


Back from Calgary’s LinuxFest

May 8, 2006

I just got back form the LinuxFest (I know it was only yesterday, but I spent the whole day today at the Calgary Zoo with my wife and son). The event was excellent. The organization was superb. I have to say that CLUG did an outstanding job and they treat me and my family like royalty. I really appreciate it. So, for them: Thank you very, very much. I had the opportunity to meet really nice and smart people and I hope to work with them to make the philosophy of Free and Open Source Software part of Canada’s way of life.

Finally, I was also impressed by the support the University of Calgary gave to the event. I guess that I have to convince the University of Alberta to do the same 😉

Well, I will post a full report on the event later this week. I have to catch up with all the research work I have pending for my PhD.