What Is The Purpose Of Basement Renovation?

There is a growing fad within the neighborhoods of Canada and that of the United States on homes that have been constructed with a basement space that is used mainly as a utility room where many of the homes utility equipment and utility hookups are installed.  The fad is to actually reclaim most of the basement space and develop it into a more desirable space that members of the household will have great use for.  The renovation process necessitates the removal, relocation, and reinstallation of all the homes utility stuff that are found in the basement area.

More often than not, the basement area is a space inside the home that is not being fully utilized.  Although the basement may be considered as functional due to the piping in and out of the home’s utility stuff, still it is a space that is not household friendly.  However, through procedures like basement renovations, the household will be able to have full use of the basement area and benefit from the increased living space of the home.  This is actually the main purpose of basement renovation and why many are catching on the fad as the work can be considered as truly beneficial for the household.

Zbranek-exteriorWhen you develop your basement area, aside from just being able to increase the living space of your home, having a developed basement space that is actually a very desirable one also helps in greatly increasing the value of the property.  With a developed basement space, you can easily convert the area into something you more of fancy, say a home theater room, a home office, a man cave, a gaming room, additional bedrooms, and many more potential possibility for development.  What you want and what you develop the basement space into is all a matter of imagination.

Basement renovation is not a simple undertaking as it requires the professional services of renovation contractors to help you accomplish the renovation job.  Basement renovation work is actually a sensitive one that it even requires a special permit from the city engineering department to be able to continue with any type of renovation work on the basement area. The thing is that when it comes to basement renovation work, you can safely say that not everyone will be as good as others.   For this reason, it is crucial that you choose and handpick your contractor carefully.…

Questura Herp A Derp

This morning, I had to bring the last documents necessary for my sojourn permit to the questura or the police commissariat. I had an appointment for 9:20, so I arrived around 9 – after getting off at the wrong stop (thanks a lot, Google maps) and walking at first in the wrong direction. A good think I had given myself an hour to get there.

I looked around but couldn’t see any place where I might sign up or take a number, so I sat down and waited. And waited. And waited. By half by 10, I was beginning to wonder what was going on. That’s when I noticed a man waiting to go to the counter; he was holding in his hand the exact same paper I had gotten from the post office setting a day and time. Which is when I realized I was supposed to hand that in and then wait for them to call my name. Herp!

So I did that. Since I was already late, I was called within minutes. Things were going swimmingly with the nice lady who could speak English, and then we got to the taking of the fingerprints. Over and over and over she tried to register my prints on her machine. They just would not take. She sent me off to wash my hands in the hopes that that would work. Nope.

Finally, she gave me over to the polizia scienzia, who has a giant machine for taking fingerprints. Apparently, my fingers were particularly oily as the technician had to clean them before they could get a good reading. It’s not very comfortable, having your fingerprints taken. They kind of push your fingers down to get a good reading, which can be unpleasant when you have arthritis.

Anyway, it’s done now, and it only took, well, the whole morning. And now I have to wait for another month or two before I finally get my papers.…

And We’re Off And Running!

Well, after a couple of weeks of mostly running around taking care of bureaucratic stuff, I’m starting to actually do some work.

Today, I had a meeting with a couple of masters’ students to talk about their project.

Friday, I am meeting with the Smart Campus people to find out what they’ve been doing and what they’re planning on doing. And the UI team will have a smaller meeting to discuss our next round of data collection.

I have also learned that my main roles for the project will be project manager and methodology planner. So I’m going to be more in an overview position, which is going to be interesting. The other interesting thing is to be part of such a large research group. I am so used to tiny groups with limited budgets where solutions are McGyvered out of a bandaid, a brooch, and a paper clip.

I do enjoy being on a university campus once again. I liked working at the CRC but I missed the energizing presence of smart graduate students.…


Today was another productive day with regards to settling down in Trento.

Yesterday, we came to an agreement with a building owner for a very nice apartment not too far from the city centre.

Today, we went to the bus station to submit the paperwork so that I can obtain a yearly bus pass at a slightly reduced price. We opened a bank account at an Italian bank. And I accidentally tested the Otterbox that protects my iPhone. It’s not exactly the model that that links to, but close enough.

We were walking in downtown Trento, where the streets are all cobblestone. My foot got caught in a slight elevation in the street, and I fell face forward, straight on my face; well, I cushioned my fall with my hands at the last minute.. I had my iPhone out at the time, as I was trying to orient ourselves through the maze of small streets towards the bank building. So I dropped my iPhone on the cobbled street. And it survived the fall.

My dignity, on the other hand…

I don’t know if I’m going to come out in bruises, but my muscles hurt all over.…

That Facebook Data Thing

Pete Warden has managed to gather a lot of data from public Facebook profiles and this has been making the rounds of the blogosphere, especially since he is generously going to make the data available to researchers.

Sarah and I had a lengthy discussion about his data collection methods because we were trying to figure out just how much information he could have collected from public FB profiles. We randomly went through profiles of people we didn’t know just to see what could be found on those pages. Very often, it wasn’t a lot: the person’s name, a photo, pages (I’m guessing those are fan pages) and friends. Not even the city where they were living was listed. Of course, this method has its limits: we picked a very few samples and made our way through friends’ lists in order to move from person to person. Perhaps a different sample would have given us completely different results.

On the other hand, poking around in FB’s privacy settings, we came across these paragraphs:

When your friend visits a Facebook-enhanced application or website, they may want to share certain information to make the experience more social. For example, a greeting card application may use your birthday information to prompt your friend to send a card.If your friend uses an application that you do not use, you can control what types of information the application can access. Please note that applications will always be able to access your publicly available information (Name, Profile Picture, Gender, Current City, Networks, Friend List, and Pages) and information that is visible to Everyone.

In case you’re wondering, you can find this under Privacy Settings > Applications and Websites.

So maybe Pete was able to collect his data that way, which would explain how he could establish maps of relationships in the US.

The reason I’m writing about this, though, is more than just a question of methodology. It’s how people are taking his results and blatantly applying it to the population as a whole. That is just wrong.

The data that Pete collected may be a good source of information about people who use Facebook, but to then claim that it can be applied to the population in general is just wrong. danah boyd has already shown that there is a difference in the type of people who use FB and those who use MySpace. Does that mean that one is more representative of the general citizenry than the other? Nope. Neither are. They are each sub-cultures of the digital citizenry and the digital citizenry is a sub-culture of the population in general. I know it’s hard to believe, but not everybody is on Facebook.

That map of his may be an interesting look at how FB users are interconnected but it doesn’t mean that it’s true of people in the US in general.

Now I’m going to get all scientific-y and note that it’s quite possible that the data collected could turn out to be …

E Readers And The Amazon Kindle

Since I’ve been stuck at home for the past week, I’ve been using André’s Kindle to read Project Gutenberg free books. I must admit, it’s a pleasant experience: fairly easy to manipulate and easy on the eyes.
Now let me start by saying that I am a bibliophile. I don’t just enjoy the words part of a book. I love the whole experience: the feel of the book’s textures, its heft, the art on the cover page, the very smell of the pages themselves. So I’m not a huge fan of eReaders. My dream is to have a room where all the walls are covered in books.
However, I don’t reject eReaders off-hand. When I was a university student, I would have loved to get electronic versions of all those heavy books that the professors wanted us to read. In addition, they seem perfect for traveling, whether it’s having light reading, or carrying a translation dictionary and a tour book with you at all times.

But there are various things about the Kindle I don’t like. I don’t like the DRM. I don’t like how the cheaper version won’t read PDFs. I read a lot of PDFs for work and if I can’t download them easily to an eReader, then it isn’t much use to me.. I don’t like the fact that you can’t loan a book to a friend or resell a book you no longer want.

So maybe one of these days I’ll get myself an eReader but it won’t one of the eReaders that are available right now. Maybe down the road, there’ll be a version that I actually want. In the meantime, I’ll just borrow André’s Kindle.…