Edward Willett

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Google Translate AI reminds me of GigaText, a blast from Saskatchewan’s past

This story, "Google Translate AI invents its own language to translate with" caught my eye for an odd reason. Long-time Saskatchewan residents will recognize the word "GigaText." As I've noted elsewhere, I'm working on a book about the Progressive Conservative government of Grant Devine, which held power in Saskatchewan from 1982 to 1991. One of the boondoggles that government mistakenly invested in was a company called GigaText, which claimed it could use computers to translate Saskatchewan laws into French. The government had to comply with a ruling by the Supreme Court that Section 221 of the Northwest Territories Act contained French-language guarantees that were still valid in Saskatchewan, and thus had to be either respected or repealed. As a result, The ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 0:15, December 3rd, 2016 under Blog | Comment now »

To mark the first day of winter…

A picture-perfect Saskatchewan winter day, and a song! (In lieu of a longer blog post, because too much pre-Christmas running around for that.) Enjoy! Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Posted by Edward Willett at 13:04, December 21st, 2012 under Blog | 2 Comments »

I’m writing a play…and using this song

So, I’m writing this play. Its working title is The Piano Bench: A Love Story with Music and Ghosts. If all goes well it might even make it on stage late next year. Why? Well, therein lies a blog post. The house in which I live has been in my wife’s family since 1939. (It was built in 1926,) Her grandparents, Sam and Nancy Goodfellow, were patrons of the arts in Regina, probably more due to Nancy’s influence than Sam’s. (It was Sam’s First World War memoirs I posted recently.) Nancy, who was born in England, by all accounts was a ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 12:29, December 18th, 2012 under Blog, Plays, Writing and Editing | 1 Comment »

A modest proposal (for the complete overhaul of the legislative process)

Back in high school, I was a debater...kind of. I say kind of, because like football, debate was something I did for only one year. (What, you don’t think football players usually end up on the debate team? Then you didn’t go to a small enough school.) I don’t know that I was a very good football player, although we did have a very successful team the one year I played (center: I couldn’t catch and I couldn’t run, but I could snap the ball and I was big and rather enjoyed running into people), but I seem to have been a pretty good debater. I jumped straight into the Open ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 7:55, December 5th, 2012 under Blog | Comment now »

From the vaults: Opening of Land Surveying in Saskatchewan

Commissioned by the Saskatchewan Land Surveyors Association, Land Surveying in Saskatchewan: Laying the Groundwork for Property Rights and Development talks about the work of surveyors past, present and future in the province. And here's a good long chunk of Chapter 1, which (you should pardon the expression) lays the groundwork for the rest of the book: Land Surveying in Saskatchewan: Laying the Groundwork for Property Rights and Development By Edward Willett Nobody knows who the first surveyor was; he’s lost in the mists of time. That’s not too surprising, considering surveying dates back to the beginning of recorded history, some five millennia ago (which is why it’s often called “the world’s ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 12:09, December 2nd, 2012 under Blog, Books, The Vaults | 1 Comment »

Saturday Special from the Vaults: A History of Cumberland House

I've done quite a bit of writing for various historical sites around the province. Here's something I wrote for Cumberland House a few years ago. I've never been there to see how it was use! Oh, and in case anyone is wondering...yes, the science column will return. It's been on hiatus while I experimented with being an editor for Fine Lifestyles magazines again (it didn't work out—I couldn't support their editorial policies) and wrapped up my term as writer-in-residence at the Regina Public Library (it ended last Wednesday). My main focus now is on writing Masks, my next novel (coming out under the pseudonym E.C. Blake) but I'm definitely going to resume the column: look for it to be back Monday. Now, ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 9:27, June 2nd, 2012 under Blog, The Vaults | Comment now »

Saturday…oh, all right, Tuesday…Special from the Vaults: Introduction to Historic Walks of Regina and Moose Jaw

My 2007 book Historic Walks of Regina and Moose Jaw, published by Red Deer Press, is just what it says: a collection of 10 walking tours (eight in Regina, two in Moose Jaw) that take you past a number of homes and commercial buildings of historical or architectural interest, with a brief description of each. It wouldn't have been possible if not for the work of Heritage Regina, which created and researched the Regina walking tours long before I came on the scene. I adapted their tours and added additional information from various sources. I also walked all of the tours and took a photo ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 13:04, May 29th, 2012 under Blog, Books, The Vaults | Comment now »

Saturday Special from the Vaults: A Speech by T. Walter Scott, First Premier of Saskatchewan, on the Occasion of SUMA’s 2005 Convention

A few years ago, at the time of Saskatchewan's centennial celebrations in 2005, I had the opportunity to thrice portray T. Walter Scott, first premier of the province of Saskatchewan, and give a speech in his guise. Naturally, I made him a time traveler, so I could treat the whole thing a bit like a science fiction story. Two of the occasions were to mark the centenary of the Hill Companies, intimately involved in the building of the city and province. One of those was here in Regina, the other in Calgary, where I got to poke fun at our neighbouring province in front of an august crowd that included the then-Premier of Alberta, Ralph Klein. So that was cool! The following ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 15:38, January 7th, 2012 under Blog, The Vaults | Comment now »

Up close and personal with Paul J. Hill

With the summer issue of Fine Lifestyles Regina just around the corner, I thought I'd post my cover story from the spring issue, an interview with Regina businessman Paul J. Hill. Enjoy! *** Paul Hill says he’s most known in Regina for three things: his blue 1976 Mercury Marquis, his habit of consuming eight Diet Cokes a day, and his addiction to non-fat frozen yogurt. Of course, that list leaves out one other minor thing of note: Paul is president and CEO of The Hill Companies and Harvard Developments Inc., companies intimately intertwined with the history of Regina, owning and/or managing more than two million square feet in ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 14:01, July 13th, 2010 under Blog | Comment now »

My speech to the Saskatchewan Land Surveyors Association AGM

Here is (more or less, since I didn't read it word for word) the speech I gave today at the Past Presidents' Luncheon that closed off the 100th Annual General Meeting of the Saskatchewan Land Surveyors Association: *** First, I’d like to thank you very much for asking me to be your guest speaker at today’s Past President’s Luncheon. It’s a great honour, and it’s certainly made for a memorable launch of Land Surveying in Saskatchewan: Laying the Groundwork for Property Rights and Development. I’ve written more than 40 books so far in my career, of one sort or another, but this was the first one launched at Government House with ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 15:08, March 27th, 2010 under Blog | Comment now »