100-year Life

The 100-year Life – Living and Working in An Age of Longevity,
Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott, Bloomsbury Business, 2017

The three phase life (education, employment, retirement) is history now: gone forever. Maybe we will have (learn, work, rest, learn, work, rest…).
Or (learn, work/learn, work/learn, ..). I hope resting time can be in the mix occasionally. This change is due to the gig economy and longer life expectations. This book shows how to rethink your finances, your education, your career and your relationships and create a fulfilling 100-year life.

Another trend is involved. A hundred years ago, a doctor would know all about medicine, she would not be a specialist. Nowadays there is much more to learn so there are specialists, and there are more specialties every year. In fact the rate of specialization is increasing. Likewise in the engineering profession, law, software, and business.

A few years back Khan started the Khan academy, wikipedia exploded, and Google tied all the knowledge in the world together. In my line of work I solve many challenges with the help of Google, and that is an accepted way of work. What will be the next Khan-like innovation for learning? What will be the next generation of wikipedia knowledge stores, and how will you learn your next skill faser than ever?

Some people ask for a crystal ball so they can know which 4 year university education to get. Maybe they should get basic literacy then embark on a sequence of work/learn work/learn with the changes occurring more frequently over time.

How can we support this learning cycle with enhanced education on the spot, tuned to your aptitude and needs of the moment? A learning system which blends in with your work, with text / video / podcast / brain link? As Tim O’Reilly says in his recent book “WTF”, we need on-demand learning.

In the future perhaps the learning system could improve its knowledge base from your experiences automatically? Would this be a future of massive multiplayer machine learning on steroids (MMMLOS)?

Data for the People

Data for the People
How to Make Our Post-privacy Economy Work for You
By Weigend, Andreas S.

This book will fascinate you if you want to know what information Amazon, Facebook, and Google have about you, why they want it, and how they use it.

The first theme is Privacy. You no longer have privacy, it does not matter because we do not live in post-war East Germany, and (the main theme) it is useful to you that Amazon et. al. know all about you. This is all very unsettling to those of us who use javascript blockers like uMatrix, Tor, and pay by cash!

There is a power imbalance: the large companies have all the power. Weigend argues for transparency and accountability. Transparency so we can know what information is stored and how it is used. Accountability so we can require companies to make responsible use of the information.

Global Silicon Valley

The Global Silicon Valley Handbook
The Official Entrepreneur’s Guide to the Hottest Startup Scenes From Around the Globe
By Moe, Michael
Book – 2017

Can you tell by the kind of hoodie whether a startup worker is a founder or an intern? Read this to appreciate the ‘culture’ in the San Francisco area. What to do and what not to do when meeting Venture Capitalists. What to drink and … The book is hilarious for the first chapter, but slows down as it takes you on a tour of startup cities around the world including Waterloo and Montreal. After reading it you might find yourself content with your home in Ottawa.


Have you seen the MakerSpace yet? Cool, you can use professional grade 3D printers, laser cutters, and 3D CAD workstations at the library!

  • Laser cutter – Epilog Helix
  • Laser cutter – Epilog mini – The laser cutters are great for engraving on a sheet of acrylic, or cutting a complex shape out of a sheet of plywood.
  • ProJet 1500 3D Printers are typically used to create hobby objects, replacements for broken items and can be used for rapid prototyping. This is a resin printer, and must be operated by library staff. It creates a model with relatively precise proportions, in one off-white color only. The materials for a project can easily set you back $100.
  • Makerbot 3D Printer – This is more of a hobby printer. It deposits melted PLA plastic to build up your model. Several colours of PLA are available, but the completed model has less precise proportions with rougher surfaces.
  • David SLS-1 3D scanners are used to create digital versions of real life objects. The scanner works by rapidly firing patterns of structured light, and sensing the reflected light.
  • Arduino micro-controllers are small yet powerful micro-controllers can be programmed to run anything from robots to household automated devices.
  • Camera Tripod
  • Le Mac Pro est une machine cylindrique, de qualité professionnelle, qui permet la manipulation et du montage de vidéo, d’audio et de graphique de…
  • 3D design PC
  • Orion Starblast 4.5 Reflector Telescope – it is a fully functioning telescope, designed with the beginning astronomer in mind.
  • Green Screen is a tool for creating a special effect. By filming actors in front of a green screen, editors can superimpose the background image of…
  • Home Studio Lighting Kit
  • Sony Handycam
  • Sony SAL55200/2 DT 55-200mm f/4-5.6 Lens

Software (open source and commercial)

  • Blender is an artist-focused 3D design program. The software can be used to create 3D printed models, animated films, visual effects, visual art,…
  • Gimp is a 2D graphics and photo manipulation program. As a graphics editor it is used to create and edit images for art, icons and graphical…
  • Inkscape is a 2D model drawing application used for creating and editing scalable vector graphics (SVG). Use it to create professional vector art for…
  • Makerware is a product that allows users to prepare and modify 3D models for printing on OPL’s Makerbot Replicator 5th Generation 3D printers. It’s…
  • Meshlab is a 3D modelling and correction program used for processing and editing 3D triangular meshes. The software has the ability to import files…
  • Netfabb is 3D modelling correction software. It handles 3D data for 3D printing and has the ability to repair incomplete files in order to make them…
  • OpenSCAD is a program for creating solid 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) objects. OpenSCAD reads from instructions and creates a 3D model from it. It…
  • Serif Drawplus is a 2D graphics program. You can see your drawings in 3D with its instant 3D tool. The software is suitable for creating documents,…
  • Sketchup is an easy-to-use general purpose 3D design program. The software can be used in architecture, film video, game design, and civil and…
  • Adobe Creative Suite 6 is a high-end digital editing suite. It includes software for special effects, photo editing, website design, and graphic…
  • Adobe Premiere is a powerful digital editing suite most often used in video production. It allows users to edit video clips together, and to add…



There is a charge for materials, but equipment bookings are free and the library staff are knowledgeable.

First, you need to enroll in a one hour familiarization (‘certification’) session. Then you can design a 3D model on the workstations. The staff will look at your model and estimate the material costs. Payment is expected before you can use the 3D printer. Printing can take hours, and you are expected to complete it before closing time.

There is a bookshelf of Maker type books.

Visit the Centrepointe branch and see it all for yourself.

Cracking the Coding Interview

Cracking the Coding Interview – 189 Programming Questions and Solutions, 6th Edition, Gayle McDowell, – 2015

Programmers, you will definitely want to read this book. It will help you get hired into a good programming job. Hiring managers will want to read it too, so they know how to conduct a better interview. Well written by a former Google employee. 500 pages.

About Face

About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design, 4th edition
By Cooper, Alan

Book – 2014

Many years ago in the mid-’90s, Alan Cooper wrote the first edition of this leading UI design book. Its revelation for me was the concept of automatic save. When you are using, say, a word processor, you normally want to save before closing. So that is automatic, and if you want otherwise then you have to ask for it via some menu or control. There are never confirmation dialogs saying “are you sure you want to …”. Instead, there is an undo function which can reverse any action when you want to go back.

Cooper got his ideas while designing the original Microsoft VB. But ten years later, users of Word still need to save their work manually. It brings to mind a horror story I witnessed when an inexperienced senior was closing a word processor and asking with concern why it was asking ‘do you want to replace your existing file’. For someone who does not know the difference between volatile memory and permanent storage, this is a hurdle.

Of course, Google got the right idea, so you don’t have to tell Doc to save your work.

About Face discusses all aspects of interaction design in great detail. It has advanced with the times and covers touch-screen tablet devices. But in a world which is rapidly moving to do everything in the browser, perhaps Cooper should devote more of the book to web apps. There is a great but short section on web search UI which I find to be the high point of the book.

This edition, at 650 color pages, is much bigger than the original. That is good because there is so much to discuss.

Cracking the Aging

Cracking the Aging Code
The New Science of Growing Old– and What It Means for Staying Young
By Mitteldorf, Josh
Book – 2016

Summary: get exercise and almost starve yourself if you want a long life.

Theories of aging have foundations in the thinking of Darwin, Mendel, Fisher, and Wright. The latter died in 1988, so why are we still struggling with understanding the causes of aging? This book, by an expert in genetics and evolution, explains how aging is not a weakness: it is programmed into our genes.

This is the most readable book I have seen on the topic. For example, it explains how an allele is a version of a gene, and the ‘selfish gene’ should really be the ‘selfish allele’.

The author teaches at MIT, Harvard, and Berkeley, and has research positions at these universities.

300 pages, hardcover, minimal graphs or charts, no illustrations.