Gheorghe Curelet-Balan Blog

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Innovation is not a buzzword in the Waterloo Region.

From an almost anonymous area till 1960, known mostly for its Seagram distillery, the Region of Waterloo gained very fast an international technological reputation. Today, undisputed technology leaders are located in the Waterloo Region area, like: Open Text, MKS, Sybase iAnywhere branch, Dalsa, Maple and the star of all of them, Research In Motion. If you are wondering what is it about this region that nurtures so many technology leaders then there is only one main answer: INNOVATION.

It all starts with the educational institutions in this area. If you do some research on the roots of innovation in the Region of Waterloo, you'll learn that the University of Waterloo (UW) was always the place were innovation was born and nurtured. Most of today high-tech companies in the area are spin-offs from the research activities done at the University.

The economic impact of this is huge. The two years old data cited below from this source are quite impressing: "The university's Technology Transfer and Licensing Office has identified 106 different companies (including Waterloo Maple, Dalsa and Open Text) as private ventures that began as spinoffs from UW, making it the leading university in Canada for creating additional economic wealth through the transfer of technological resources." ... "University of Waterloo has a $1.1-billion impact annually on Waterloo Region, which includes the cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge, plus four surrounding townships."

It is the legacy of previous leaders and the visionary work of the current ones that makes the innovation to flourish in our area. For example, the computing pioneer Wes Graham created the University framework to allow valuable ideas to turn into innovative companies.

No wonder that in such an environment only few years are enough to put local companies on the international map of new technological revolutions.

Current leaders push even further the University innovation tradition by fostering the entrepreneurship. Among the brilliant new initiatives worth mentioning are:
1. UW Research and Technology Park that just opened recently.
2. the future Accelerator Centre that will nurture the startups ("incubatee").
3. The Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (CBET).

It looks like the Waterloo Region prepares its "silicon hills" to add other crops beside BlackBerries.

If you want to learn more, go to to read the recent series of articles published by the local newspaper The Record in its Annual Technology Spotlight.

Friday, October 29, 2004

35th Internet anniversary.

35 years ago, the Internet revolution was born. Leonard Kleinrock's research group at UCLA sent the first Internet message from one computer to another. Few have foreseen how this event will change the technology and the society. In Kleinrock's opinion the price the society pays is the loss of privacy and he foresees that in the future the secluded places far away from civilization will be in high demand.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Perimeter Institute Open House Scientific Lectures

If you didn't already notice, check out this link with the video streams of the "Top Minds" series of lectures pesented during the Perimeter Institute Open House about which I talked here.

On my way to work.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Wow, BlackBerry 7100 available in Canada!

This is hot news...Research In Motion (RIM) and Rogers Wireless announced today the introduction of BlackBerry 7100r in Canada.

Why would anyone buy a BlackBerry 7100r? Besides its innovative keypad I talked in my previous post, the cool design, phone capabilities, one-button direct access to the Internet, built-in ring tunes and Bluetooth connectivity (to name only few) are nice features. On top of this you get the BlackBerry specific goodies: long battery life, always on always connected feature (no need to turn it off), push-based email (no need to dial in, the email is sent ("pushed") to the device without your intervention) and secure wireless connection.

From now on the usual miscomunications in the family or with friends about the whereabouts of the others will disappear since all with a BlackBerry will be always connected by email or phone.

I'll definitely be among the first in Canada to own a BlackBerry 7100r. If you don't want the help of these Criers to get one :) you better click the Rogers link or this shortcut to reserve one now.

Why emailing is sometimes better than phoning?

Because you don't have to wait for the other party to pick up :) With BlackBerry's always on connectivity you just type an email message (like "where are you?") and press "send". The BlackBerry's magic will take care to notify the receiving party (will do the "ringing" for you) and if she/he feels like they want to talk, they can call you right away since they know that you want and are ready to communicate. If not, they can reply to you with an email, of course :)

Perimeter Institute public event.

Just found out about the next public lecture organized by the Perimeter Institute on November 3rd: James Robert Brown Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto will lecture on "Proofs and Pictures: The Role of Visualization in Mathematical and Scientific Reasoning". The topic looks quite interesting and intriguing. Reserve your tickets now if you want to attend.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

My Iranian friend Mohammed is sad these days.

Mohammed told me about the horrible news that a 14 year old girl have been sentenced to stoning in Iran. I couldn't believe that in the modern days of today such sentences could be given. Check the above link for details and what you can do to stop this. For more details, check out this video (you'll need Windows Media Player to see it).

Friday, October 22, 2004

Russia ratifies the Kyoto treaty.

Russian lower house of the Parliament, the State Duma, approved today the United Nations Kyoto treaty on greenhouse gas emissions. Even though some are saying that Russia was motivated by the short-term profit it can make by ratifying the protocol (since it can sell some of its quotas for gas emissions to others) the European Union and the global environmental movement applauded the Russian decision. Most of the scientific community warns that the green gas emissions will cause the global warming with similar effects as 55 million years ago.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Parade. ( I )

Posted by Hello

On a cloudy weather, in front of the Kitchener City Hall, people are eagerly waiting for the Parade to start. Posted by Hello

The parade is open by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Posted by Hello

RCMP is a symbol of Canada.Posted by Hello

Back from the history The Ontario Guild of Town Criers is announcing the parade to the K-W community. Posted by Hello

As in ancient Greece and Rome the Town Crier is a messenger and ambassador for the community. "Oyez...Oyez...Oyez... Mi Lords, Ladies..." Posted by Hello

Once announced, Onkel Hans brings the Oktoberfest flavor to the K-W Thanksgiving parade. Posted by Hello

A plane above the Market Square is advertising something. Posted by Hello

Onkel Hans made it to the official stage, in front of the Market Square.Posted by Hello

It looks like Onkel Hans' hat is too tall :) Posted by Hello

Monday, October 18, 2004

Fall Sunrise.

KW area doesn't get this spectacle everyday but it is a real delight to enjoy it once every 1 or 2 weeks.

Regiunea Kitchener-Waterloo (KW) nu are acest spectacol in fiecare zi dar este o adevarata incintare sa te bucuri de el la fiecare saptamina sau doua. Posted by Hello

I have to follow the sunrise time though :)

Trebuie sa urmaresc totusi ora rasaritului :) Posted by Hello

Fall...the queen season of colors. ( III ).

Toamna... anotimpul regina al culorilor. ( III ). Posted by Hello

Posted by Hello

Posted by Hello

Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Fall...the queen season of colors. ( II ).

About 20 Km from Downtown Toronto.

Toamna... anotimpul regina al culorilor. ( II ). [in Romanian]
In jur de 20 Km de la centrul (Downtown) orasului Toronto.Posted by Hello

A new neighborhood close to Toronto.

Un nou cartier apropiat de Toronto. Posted by Hello

About 50 Km from Downtown Toronto (lucky enough to take the picture just before the showers :)

In jur de 50 de Km de la centrul orasului Toronto (destul de norocos sa fac poza chiar inainte de ploaie :) Posted by Hello

Thursday, October 14, 2004

BlackBerry 7100 product line.

Well...I was wrong when I said that the new BackBerry 7100 is available only in US :) Shortly after my post, RIM announced the availability of the new device in Europe and Australasia.

Now I feel like to explain the title of my previous post. RIM has a reputation in transforming an utopian idea in a standard. When first BlackBerry was introduced, few believed that such a small QWERTY keypad could be useful. Well, today RIM is licencing its keypad technology to the major players in the PDA market and BlackBerry gained its nickname as "Crackberry" due to its addictive nature.

I'm confident that the new revolutionary SureType (cell-phone/QWERTY keypad) technology will have the same impact in the cell-phone/PDA hybrid (smartphone) market.

With these new devices I think that the company is on the right track to achieve its near term goal to have 2 million users, even though (few years ago) some were skeptic of the company's potential.

If you want to learn more about the features of the new Blackberry 7100 product line, read the PC World Review of the product.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

K-W Oktoberfest Festival. ( II )

Among the numerous Oktoberfest events organized, we picked the 23rd Oktoberfest Family Pancake Breakfast organized in the Uptown Waterloo. Here at last I met Onkel Hans. For a brief description of the K-W Oktoberfest Festival check out my previous post on yesterday's Opening Ceremonies.

Festivalul Oktoberfest din Kitchener-Waterloo (K-W). (II)
[in Romanian]
Dintre numeroasele evenimente Oktoberfest organizate, noi am ales al 23-lea "breakfast" Oktoberfest cu clatite organizat in Uptown Waterloo. Aici in sfirsit l-am intilnit pe Onkel Hans. Pentru o descriere prescurtata a festivalului Oktoberfest din Kitchener-Waterloo (K-W) vezi prezentarea mea precedenta despre ceremoniile de deschidere de ieri.Posted by Hello

Don't get me wrong, there is nothing bad with the Canadian banking system as these people are not staying in line to withdraw their money from Scotiabank :) ...they are waiting for their Oktoberfest sausages, pancakes and Maple syrup.

[in Romanian] Sa nu ma intelegeti gresit, nu e nimic grav cu sistemul bancar Canadian caci acesti oameni nu stau la coada sa-si scoata banii de la banca Scotiabank :)... ei asteapta pentru cirnatii si clatitele Oktoberfest precum si siropul de artzar. Posted by Hello

People care about the less fortunate by making their donations to the local Food Bank.

Oamenilor le pasa de cei mai putin norocosi facind donatii la Banca de Alimente (Food Bank) locala. Posted by Hello

And now it's time to eat Oktoberfest sausages, pancakes with Maple syrup and drink apple cider :)

Si acum e timpul sa mincam cirnati si clatite Oktoberfest cu sirop de artzar si sa bem suc de mere :) Posted by Hello