Long time no write

Just realised it’s been over 6 months since the last time I posted here.

Nothing special happened in the meantime, except that my elder son has been accepted to a master program in Carnegie Mellon and I am taking him there in early August. I am very happy and proud.

Yesterday I’ve been to Camaraderie  [re]Launch Party. Camaraderie is a coworking space that used to be in the east part of the Toronto downtown. Now they have moved to a nice place on Roncesvalles, just a few minutes’ walk from Dundas West subway station. Here’s their website: http://camaraderie.ca. They have a nice collection of books on business on premises (together with a coffee-maker and other things vital for business), and, since I am moving into a smaller apartment, I decided to donate my collection of business books to them. However my hoarding instinct cannot tolerate me parting with the books, so maybe I should give each of them one final reading and review them here. Stay with me for updates on great books such as The Whuffie Factor by Tara Hunt.


Just finished reading 90 Days to Success in Consulting by William McKnight

90 Days to Success in Consulting
It is a good book for those who want to start a consulting business, and most of the advice applies to any sort of fledgling entrepreneurship. There is an action plan in the end of each chapter. If you’ve been in business for a while, it may not be very interesting to you but some points are still worth thinking of or reviewing.

(Almost New Year) resolution

Talked to Ian G. today at Joey de Villa‘s birthday (Joey, thanks again for the great party!). Ian recommended this book titled Get Clients Now!
 It’s a 28-days actionable marketing program for professionals, consultants and coaches. So Ian and I decided to have something like a contest – each of us will follow the book and blog about it, and, of course we will exchange our impressions and basically help each other stay on the bandwagon. I have just ordered the book from the Toronto public library. I write here about it as an additional motivation. Shame on me if I don’t do the entire program! In this case, any of you may say that I don’t really fulfill my promises! 

P.S. Ian G. recommended this excellent one hour podcast (targeted at Rails consultants but broadly applicable) talking about Get Clients Now! and some other good books about consulting business development.

The only Russian textbook you’ll ever need

I am going to ALTA (American Literary Translators Conference) in Rochester

Here’s the conference page. It is not too late to register yet!
There are many exciting things on the schedule, such as:

  • Roundtable: Applied Translation in the Arts & Business
  • It’s No Pun Anymore: The Loss of Wit and Other Cultural Misunderstandings in Persian Verse Translation
  • Translation Challenges in Modern Russian Prose
  • Translating Murakami in Europe
  • Bilingual Readings

and much, much more! I am looking forward to seeing all the people I met last year at Banff International Literary Translation Centre program in the Banff Centre for Arts.

My second and last article for Blogging Idol 2011: Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Switch by Chip Heath and Dan HeathSwitch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

I am sure each of you tried to change something in your life at least once (lose weight, change the way you do paperwork so you submit your taxes in time and do not get fined, make your developers comment the code they write… you name it). The goal may be clear and theoretically desirable to all the stakeholders, and the means to reach it, not very taxing, but still, for some reason, six months later you discover that your tax receipts are mislaid, you have to pierce another hole in your belt, and your developers spend hours trying to figure out what exactly does this piece of code do, even if they wrote the code in question themselves not yet five months since. Sounds familiar?
Well, Chip Heath and Dan Heath know what ails you. You may have heard of them: they wrote “Made to stick”, a beautiful book about how to explain things to people and make the lessons stick. This book is written using all the lessons from the previous one. It is clear, lucid and sticks to memory. Chip and Dan tell us stories: about a manager who transformed a lackadaisical customer-support team into service zealots by removing a standard tool of customer service; about a simple technique that helps desperately exasperated housekeepers to overcome the dread of undone workloads and get away from the slough of despond by following a simple routine.

Read the rest of the article on the Blogging Idol website

Cory Doctorow’s Someone comes to town…, Russian translation, part 4

The translation is performed under Creative Commons license.
Creative Commons Licence
Кори Доктороу, “Кто-то приходит, кто-то уходит” is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Translation into Russian: Maria Veter
Editing: Tania Samsonova, Konstantin Anikin
Перевод на русский язык  Марии Ветер
Редакторы – Татьяна Самсонова, Константин Аникин

– Ну что у нас тут? – спросил Алан, входя в мастерскую Курта, которая успела превратиться в жизнерадостный бедлам. Read the rest of this entry »

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS – Short Prose Competition for Developing Writers

18th Annual Short Prose Competition for Developing Writers

$2,500 PRIZE

The Writers’ Union of Canada is pleased to announce that submissions are being accepted until November 10, 2010 for the 18TH ANNUAL SHORT PROSE COMPETITION FOR DEVELOPING WRITERS. The winning entry will be the best Canadian work of 2,500 words in the English language, fiction or nonfiction, written by an unpublished author.


$2,500 for the winning entry and the entries of the winner and finalists will be submitted to three Canadian magazines.


Writers Tarek Fatah, K.V. Johansen, and Sharon Pollock will serve as the jury.


This competition is open to all Canadian citizens and landed immigrants who have not had a book published by a commercial or university press in any genre and who do not currently have a contract with a book publisher. Original and unpublished (English language) fiction or nonfiction.

The details are here http://www.writersunion.ca/cn_shortprose.asp

Book review: True names and eternal questions: Vernor Vinge and the cyberspace frontier

This book contains “True names”, a novella by Vernor Vinge, and nine essays on deep political and technological issues underlying the novella. As it often happens with true artists, Vinge, who published his story in 1981, predicted a lot of problems that we face today. He was the first to describe cyberspace (although the actual term was coined later by William Gibson). The book poses so many questions that we are asking ourselves still and they, if anything, become more acute.

To what extent shall we cede our freedom to the government in the name of fighting the “four bogeymen”, or what Bruce Sterling characterized as “four horsemen of Modern Apocalypse”: terrorists, child pornographers, drug dealers and mafia? And if the “key escrow” scheme were realized in the USA, for example, how would that not make it a totalitarian state? Besides, if you outlaw the weapon (in this case, cryptography), then only criminals will have weapons, right?

Another interesting issue raised by Vinge is the cyberspace and people’s lifes in it. Almost 30 years later we know that people can get divorced because of virtual reality and even sue for very real money to compensate them for their loss of virtual property. One can be poor in real life (or in “real life”?) and be a powerful magnate in cyberspace. On the other hand, Vinge’s character gets caught by the police because he is wealthy and influential in both the cyberspace and the reality.

The characters of the novella have to keep their true identities — their True Names — secret to avoid prosecution by the “Great Adversary”, the US government that tries to find them out.The police who busts into “Mr.Slippery”’s house one day calls itself Welfare department, and they accuse “Mr.Slippery” of “interference with the instrumentalities of National and individual survival”. The police lets “Mr.Slippery” off the hook but only so he finds out and turns in to the police a certain “Mailman”, another cyberspace character.

Read the rest of the article at Blogging Idol website

My article for Blog Idol contest: Review of Tom Rand’s Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit

Both in the YouTube clip for the book and in his TED talk, Tom speaks about possible replacement to fossil fuels we are hooked on. His confidence that we can kick the habit is contagious. Just a few solar farms in Sahara can produce enough electricity for the entire world! Instead of burning coal to heat water, use geoexchange technology that can reduce energy use and carbon emissions by up to 70%, and lowers peak electrical load in the summer months. Tom is currently implementing this technology by converting a derelict building at 357 College St., Toronto, into a green hotel.

Sounds great. However I am a pessimist, or an extremely cautious person (call it what you like), and I have been taught by experience that, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. As some of you may know, it is actually possible to make a gravity-powered clock, for example. The only catch is that manufacturing this clock will be a lot more expensive than a regular alarm clock and a lifetime supply of batteries.

I will be happy if someone explains to me that I am mistaken and the obstacles to Tom’s suggestions that I see are no obstacles at all.

(Read more at BlogIdol website…)