Hamilton Ward Councillor Election Ward Councillor Summary

For each Hamilton ward, this table calculates the winning candidate's vote as a percent of eligible voters.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted October 29, 2014 in Blog (Last Updated October 29, 2014)

I calculated eligible voters by dividing the votes cast by the percent turnout in the City of Hamilton's unofficial election results page, so they should be app...

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A Year of Running

In summer 2013, I was an obese 39-year-old on the threshold of middle age. Here's an update a year later.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted July 28, 2014 in Blog (Last Updated July 28, 2014)

Introduction

A year ago, I was an obese 39-year-old on the threshold of middle age. I could no longer freeload on good genes or youth to keep me free of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma...

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Some Unexpected Benefits of Running

I started running four months ago. I expected to lose weight and improve my aerobic fitness, but I've also noticed several additional benefits.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted November 27, 2013 in Blog (Last Updated November 27, 2013)

Four months ago, increasingly conscious of the steadily thickening layer of fat around my middle and roused into action by the imminent arrival of my 40th birthday, I started running. I wanted to lose...

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Stand Your Ground or Last Man Standing

The controversial law returns us to a state in which mutual distrust spirals into needless violence.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted July 31, 2013 in Blog (Last Updated July 31, 2013)

The death of Trayvon Martin at the hands of George Zimmerman, and the latter's subsequent acquittal on the charge of second degree murder, demonstrates forcefully why Stand Your Ground laws have no ...

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Why Bloomberg is Wrong About Terrorism Response

The appropriate way to respond to terrorism is the same as it has always been: through effective, targeted law enforcement measures that do not violate the civil liberties of innocent citizens.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted April 23, 2013 in Blog (Last Updated April 23, 2013)

There's quite a bit to like about New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, especially if you like walking, cycling and living in a lively city. But at the same time, Bloomberg's inclination to technocratic...

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Adria Richards and the Allocation of Outrage

The tech community whipped itself into a firestorm of outrage when a woman complained about inapproprate behaviour at a a conference, but at best shrugged and at worst said she deserved it when that very firestorm overflowed into a forward panic of abuse and death threats.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted March 28, 2013 in Blog (Last Updated March 28, 2013)

One of the most glaring observations in light of the Adria Richards fiasco has been the allocation of outrage by the tech community:

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Misogyny in the Tech Industry

Today, I am ashamed to work in an industry in which unconscious misogyny is still the norm.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted March 21, 2013 in Blog (Last Updated March 25, 2013)

The tech industry has spoken loud and clear:

If a woman sees, hears or experiences inappropriate and/or sexist behaviour from her colleagues and/or peers, she should keep her mouth shut and not mak...

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On Crimes and Punishments: The Cruel and Unusual Threat against Aaron Swartz

A prosecutor forcing someone to admit guilt by threatening a life-destroying cruel and unusual punishment if they do not admit it - why, that is the very essence of using torture to extract a confession!

By Ryan McGreal

Posted January 18, 2013 in Blog (Last Updated January 18, 2013)

In the aftermath of Aaron Swartz' tragic suicide, I've been finding myself thinking that it's time for American lawmakers and prosecutors to re-...

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Bill C-38

I sent a letter to the Senate about Bill C-38.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted June 27, 2012 in Blog (Last Updated June 29, 2012)

On June 19, 2012, I sent the following email to the members of the Canadian Senate:

Dear Senators,

If ever a piece of legislation cried out for sober second thought, it is Bill C-38: a spraw...

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The Appification of Computing

It appears that the relentless drive to simplicity in user interface has had the-side effect of serving as a disincentive for students to bother learning more about how computers work.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted June 27, 2012 in Blog (Last Updated June 28, 2012)

The historian and philosopher Walter J. Ong drew a distinction between what he called "craft literacy" and "social literacy". The former is the kind of literacy you find in cultures that have systems ...

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My Second Baguette

Cooler temperatures and better oven steam action helped produce a better batch of baguettes.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted April 30, 2012 in Blog (Last Updated April 30, 2012)

Last summer, during a grueling heat wave, I decided to try my hand at making baguettes. The results were decent for a first try but left plenty of room for improvement, b...

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Services-First: A Better Way to Build a Web Application

When you're building a web application, it's a powerful design heuristic to build a REST web service API, and build your application on top of your service.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted February 02, 2012 in Blog (Last Updated February 22, 2012)

Introduction

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.

-- Mahatma Gandhi

When you're building a web application, it's a powerful design heuristic to...

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Python String Formatting With Dictionaries

In Python, you can use dictionaries instead of tuples to populate values via classic string formatting.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted January 04, 2012 in Blog (Last Updated January 04, 2012)

My mind is duly blown. I never realized that the traditional printf-style string formatting in Python - the kind that uses the % operator - supports the use of a dictionary as well as a tuple.

...

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Designing a RESTful Web Application

This blog entry is my attempt to get all the concepts of RESTful web service design straight.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted June 21, 2010 in Blog (Last Updated September 30, 2011)

Introduction

I'm working on a couple of projects that involve building a web service, and I decided early on that because of our business constraints - having to communicate with a variety of d...

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CHCH Report on LRT in Hamilton

Light rail transit advocates are reeling at the news that the city of Hamilton is redirecting its resources to all-day GO train service instead. Does this mean that Hamilton's LRT is completely off the rails?

By Ryan McGreal

Posted July 22, 2011 in Blog (Last Updated July 22, 2011)

...

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My First Baguette

After a month of reading about how to make baguettes, I finally took the plunge today.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted July 11, 2011 in Blog (Last Updated July 11, 2011)

I got up at 5:00 AM this morning to make baguette. First of all, I made a poolish, which is a pre-ferment made from flour, yeast and water. I made this batc...

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Tenn. Passes Controversial Lawnmower Theft Bill

The lawnmowing industry has successfully lobbied the Tennessee State Government to pass a groundbreaking law making it a criminal offence to loan your lawnmower to a neighbour.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted June 02, 2011 in Blog (Last Updated June 02, 2011)

From Yahoo! News:

The lawnmowing industry has successfully lobbied the Tennessee State Government to pass a groundbr...

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How to Write a Blog Post

Provide value for your readers. Valuable writing is personal, informative, instructional, revelatory, entertaining, and engaging.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted July 26, 2010 in Blog (Last Updated July 26, 2010)

The most basic guideline to writing a blog is this: Provide value for your readers. Valuable writing is personal, informative, instructional, revelatory, entertaining, and engaging. The object of ...

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Ubuntu 10.04 First Thoughts

I just upgraded my netbook to Ubuntu 10.04. So far, so good.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted April 30, 2010 in Blog (Last Updated May 01, 2010)

Last night I upgraded my Acer Aspire One from Ubuntu 9.10 to 10.04 (I use the regular edition, not the netbook edition). 10.04 is a Long-Term Support (LTS) release, meaning Canonical promises to suppo...

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Shared Awareness: A Better Way to Manage Comment Trolls

If we understand what motivates trolls, we can manage their disruptions by removing their incentive to comment.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted April 15, 2010 in Blog (Last Updated April 15, 2010)

Trolling

As everyone who has spent more than five minutes on the internet knows, in the absence of personal accountability, some people inevitably turn into assholes.

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CouchDB Working Notes

I've decided to learn CouchDB, and I'm taking notes as I go.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted April 09, 2010 in Blog (Last Updated April 09, 2010)

Note: this article is very much a work in progress. It functions mainly as a place where I can document what I learn about CouchDB as I play around with it and get a progressively better sense of what...

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MPAA and Piracy

The MPAA is lashing out against piracy by punishing its legitimate customers, which will only push more of them to piracy.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted February 26, 2010 in Blog (Last Updated February 26, 2010)

When I was a kid, I had a Fat Albert book in which one of the Cosby Kids (for details of who did what I'm going on memory, but I think it was Bucky) gets upset about something and runs away.

The...

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Review: Mark Pilgrim's Dive Into Python 3

If you're an experienced programmer, you want to learn Python 3, and you don't have a lot of time to waste, skip this review and just go straight to the book.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted February 08, 2010 in Blog (Last Updated February 08, 2010)

TL;DR Summary

If you're an experienced programmer, want to learn Python 3, and don't have a lot of time to waste, skip this review and just go straight to Mark Pilgrim's *[Dive Into Python 3](ht...

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Top 10 Programming Lessons in 10 Years

Here's my top 10 (plus one bonus) list of programming lessons I've learned over the last ten years.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted January 14, 2010 in Blog (Last Updated January 25, 2010)

After reading Top 20 Programming Lessons I've Learned in 20 Years by Jonathan Danylko, a recent article ...

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The Virtue of Forgiving HTML Parsers

Most of the time, you want code to fail fast if it receives junk data. HTML on the early web is a powerful counterexample.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted January 08, 2010 in Blog (Last Updated January 08, 2010)

Today Hacker News featured an essay by Alex Russell of the Dojo javscript toolkit in which he mused on [th...

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Newsfeed Bug: Fixed

Links in the main newsfeed for this site don't work. Update: Fixed

By Ryan McGreal

Posted December 18, 2009 in Blog (Last Updated December 20, 2009)

I just noticed that the main newsfeed for this site has a major bug: links back to the articles don't, er, link back to the articles. I'll try to fix this tonight...

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Confused About CanChild

How can it cost $100,000 a year to host a website?

By Ryan McGreal

Posted December 18, 2009 in Blog (Last Updated December 18, 2009)

I'm confused: according to the Hamilton Spectator, the website for CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research is threatened with shutdown after the Ontario go...

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Challenging the MLS Monopoly

I propose an Open-Source Listing Service (OSLS) with the express purpose of killing the MLS monopoly and highlighting the earned value of truly competent real estate agents, while preventing under-performing agents from continuing to extract unearned value from their role as gatekeepers.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted November 25, 2009 in Blog (Last Updated November 25, 2009)

Introduction

After a recent exchange involving a real estate agent, I'm again reminded that the real estate business is something of a racket, and that many real estate agents are not worth the ...

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Software as a Model for Government

The way software developers approach software may be instructive in helping us to think more constructively about politics and governance.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted October 31, 2009 in Blog (Last Updated November 19, 2009)

Introduction

I make my living as a programmer, meaning I get paid to create and maintain software applications. At the same time I have a keen interest (my close friends might say an excessive i...

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Productivity and Procrastination

I wrote this essay as a way of not completing another, more pressing task.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted September 09, 2009 in Blog (Last Updated October 29, 2009)

Introduction

From outside, it sometimes appears that I manage to produce a lot of output. At least, people sometimes ask me, "How do you have time to do so much?" This confounds me, because from...

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An Open Letter to Lily Allen

File-sharing is an opportunity, not a problem.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted September 25, 2009 in Blog (Last Updated September 25, 2009)

Dear Lily,

I know a lot of people are giving you grief right now over your recent [stance on music piracy](http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=36707169&blogId=510114316...

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Installing gtk-gnutella on a clean install of Ubuntu 9.04 in 29 Easy Steps

An object lesson in the difference between developer-oriented Linux distributions and consumer-oriented Linux distributions.

By Ryan McGreal

Posted May 29, 2009 in Blog (Last Updated May 29, 2009)

Step 1: $ sudo apt-get install gtk-gnutella

Step 2. The application installed and then loaded loaded, but it would not return any search results. Then a dialog popped up informing me that I had a...

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