Edmonton Notes for May 28, 2017

I can’t believe it’s nearly June, but I am enjoying how green everything has become around the city! Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • Fifteen regional municipalities have voted to create a new entity “to promote the Edmonton Metropolitan Region to the world.” The budget for the first year will be $1 million and an organizational meeting is slated for June 8.
  • The City has mailed your annual property tax notice. All taxes are due by June 30, 2017. “This year, a typical single-family home, assessed at $397,000, will pay $3,378 in property taxes.”
  • If you missed Mayor Don Iveson’s State of the City address, you can read his remarks in PDF here. He officially announced he will seek re-election as mayor in the municipal election in October. “Edmonton is on the verge of something extraordinary and I’m inspired by the opportunity to make change ours,” he wrote.
  • New data from Statistics Canada shows the median income plunging 15% in Calgary but surging 13% here in Edmonton to $88,900 (in 2015).
  • The latest Taproot story looks at synchronizing traffic lights and why we so often run into red after red, as drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.
  • MacEwan University president David Atkinson is stepping down in June and will take a year off before returning to teach English. “When I arrived here, there was a blue thing out on that wall that just said MacEwan and now it says MacEwan University.”
  • An interim report from the Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission proposes creating three new urban ridings (one each in Calgary and Edmonton, plus another near Cochrane) by consolidating rural ridings. “We have ridings drawn to disproportionately favour rural voters — and parties with strong rural bases,” wrote Paula Simons. Thing is, nearly 75% of Albertans now live in urban areas. The final report is expected in October.
  • Hockey Canada and the City are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding to pursue a new Hockey Centre of Excellence where Northlands Coliseum currently stands. But will it require a new building? It may be the most cost-effective option.
  • Edmonton Fire Rescue Services installed dual-sensing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in approximately 250 homes this weekend. Last year firefighters responded to 107 fires in homes with missing or non-functioning smoke alarms.
  • Burrow Cafe in the Central LRT Station is closed for equipment repair and a rethink as business has not been as brisk as other Elm cafes. I only ever make it in the afternoon, and when it’s open, the place is usually deserted. I always thought rush hour would be busier though.
  • Sounds like the new Snow Valley Aerial Park is off to a strong start.
  • For more recent headlines, check out ShareEdmonton.

Edmonton Skyline

Upcoming Events

Lifelines
Lifelines, photo by Jeff Wallace

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #253

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

Nagar Kirtan Edmonton 46842
Premier Rachel Notley at the Nagar Kirtan Edmonton event, photo by Premier of Alberta

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

Want to read great stories about Edmonton? Or maybe you’d like to write them? Join Taproot Edmonton and help us ensure that local journalism has a future in our city.

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for May 21, 2017

Happy long weekend! Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Clouds & Cranes

Upcoming Events

Nagar Kirtan Edmonton 46831
Nagar Kirtan Edmonton, photo by Premier of Alberta

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #252

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

Farewell Capital Ideas
Karen Unland bids farewell to Capital Ideas

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

Want to read great stories about Edmonton? Or maybe you’d like to write them? Join Taproot Edmonton and help us ensure that local journalism has a future in our city.

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for May 14, 2017

Happy Mother’s Day! Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Edmonton at Night
Edmonton at Night, photo by Andrew Kennedy

Upcoming Events

Oiler Bronze
Oilers Bronze, photo by Jeff Wallace

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #251

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

  • Karen announced the Alberta Podcast Network at PodSummit over the weekend! I love these conference doodles about the news. “We have a lot of details to work out, but we now have some runway to create a self-sustaining network that gets some money into podcasters’ pockets, and helps businesses who want to reach their listeners in a powerful way,” she wrote at Seen and Heard in Edmonton. Go follow @albertapodnet on Twitter. This is very exciting news for Alberta’s independent content producers and is another part of “what comes next” for local media.
  • As one new initiative starts up, another comes to an end. Capital Ideas announced that it is shutting down after five years. “Capital Ideas, the entity, is going to step aside. But the entrepreneurial community in each city remains, stronger than ever, and we can’t wait to see what it does next.” There’s a farewell event taking place on Tuesday evening this week.
  • Congratulations to Paula Simons on being recognized by the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom for “exposing critical gaps in Alberta’s child welfare system.” She was also named runner-up in the Politics category for this year’s National Newspaper Awards!
  • Paula was featured on CANADALAND recently to discuss the story about Alberta’s child welfare system with guest host Omar Mouallem. “I was so deeply grateful for the chance to share Serenity’s story with a national audience – and to put her fate into the larger context of Alberta’s broken child welfare system,” she wrote on Facebook.
  • Congratulations to Candas Jane Dorsey, recipient of the 2017 Golden Pen Award presented “to acknowledge the lifetime achievements of outstanding Alberta writers.”
  • The Fort McMurray Today/Edmonton Journal/Edmonton Sun were named winners of the Breaking News category in this year’s National Newspaper Awards for their coverage of the Alberta wildfire and the evacuation of Fort McMurray. Metro Calgary and Metro Edmonton were named runners-up in the same category for the same story. Well deserved!
  • The next day though, the Edmonton Sun found itself in hot water over its use of a photo of the Fort McMurray wildfire that was taken by Terry Reith for CBC News.
  • Here’s a feature on Omar Mouallem in Langara College’s online news section. “After moving to Vancouver from Alberta to become a filmmaker, Omar discovered his love for storytelling led him down a different path as a freelance writer for some of Canada’s top magazines and the likes of Reader’s Digest, NewYorker.com, Rolling Stone, and The Guardian.” I wrote about part of his journey back in 2011.
  • Episode 65 of the Seen and Heard in Edmonton podcast features Fawnda Mithrush, “who is managing director of NorthwestFest, Edmonton’s international festival of nonfiction film, art and music” and the brain behind the LunchPods series of live podcast shows.
  • Here are three generations of Edmonton Sun editors: Jose Rodriguez, Steve Serviss, and Dave Breakenridge.
  • Eighteen Bridges is launching its 10th issue at Yellowhead Brewery on Thursday this week. Tickets are $15 or $10 for current subscribers.
  • The Athabasca Advocate weekly newspaper is looking for a Reporter/Photographer. The deadline to apply is May 15.
  • Five-year-old Liam Hirsch is a social media star after his “hysterical facial expressions and spirited dancing” during Game 6 at Rogers Place last night landed him on the NHL’s official Twitter account.

Capital Ideas 61: Surprise me: Offbeat marketing ideas
Capital Ideas 61: Offbeat marketing ideas, photo by Capital Ideas Edmonton

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

Want to read great stories about Edmonton? Or maybe you’d like to write them? Join Taproot Edmonton and help us ensure that local journalism has a future in our city.

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for May 7, 2017

After a massive 7-1 victory tonight at Rogers Place the Oilers have forced a Game 7 against the Ducks. Exciting times!

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Rainy Legislature Grounds

Upcoming Events

Downtown Rainbow

Recap: DemoCamp Edmonton 36

Edmonton’s 36th DemoCamp took place at the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences (CCIS) on the University of Alberta campus tonight. Here is my recap of DemoCamp Edmonton 34 which took place in February. I missed #35 in March, but you can see the lineup here.

DemoCamp Edmonton 36

If you’re new to DemoCamp, here’s what it’s all about:

“DemoCamp brings together developers, creatives, entrepreneurs and investors to share what they’ve been working on and to find others in the community interested in similar topics. For presenters, it’s a great way to get feedback on what you’re building from peers and the community, all in an informal setting. Started back in 2008, DemoCamp Edmonton has steadily grown into one of the largest in the country, with over 200 people attending each event. The rules for DemoCamp are simple: 7 minutes to demo real, working products, followed by a few minutes for questions, and no slides allowed.”

In order of appearance, the demos included:

We had some really great demos, with a nice mix of apps, websites, and hardware projects. The demo gods must have been in a good mood tonight, because everything went fairly smoothly!

Blocky McBlockface is a side-project of RUN-WithIT which launched at Launch Party 7 back in October. Myrna and Grant showed us how they have used Google’s Blockly to help simplify their automation without needing to know how to code. They demoed using Selenium recorder to capture a test that could be triggered through a Blockly add-in they wrote which is a bash generator. Definitely the most nerdy demo of the evening, but interesting to see the attempt to turn programming and automation into a Lego-like experience.

Curtis and Jesse showed us MapsUp, which is “a drop in HUD for cars that requires no variation from traditional navigation workflow once setup.” It is designed to get directions from your phone to the hardware that sits on the dash which displays them off the windshield, giving you a transparent heads up display. It has the ability to automatically adjust for ambient light, so it works during the day too. Future improvements will focus on notifications and enriching what is displayed. They were inspired by an app that was doing this with the now-dead Pebble smartwatch and they built it in a 36-hour hackathon and said Bluetooth was probably the most painful hurdle to overcome. Very cool stuff.

Next, Eric and Nathan showed us Traktion, which attempts to improve the experience of both promoting and finding local live music. The site lets you browse performances, venues, artists, and more in your area but the current version is really targeted at organizers and performers. They can use the site to create attractive profiles, request and book events, and sell tickets. Traktion aims to let performers “create a profile in 30 seconds or less” by pulling in data automatically from Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, and other services. They hope to add additional APIs over time and to improve the listener experience. The backend of the site is written in C#, while the frontend is using Aurelia.

DemoCamp Edmonton 36

Bootmark is an app that aims to make it easier and richer to share your favorite locations with friends. When you make a post, you pick a specific location on the map, and then you can share a note, photo, or video. You can follow other users and they can follow you. The app is in alpha right now in TestFlight while they are working to build out the functionality further. In the demo, they dropped a pin on Hudson’s Bay and uploaded a photo of the room, illustrating that there’s no restrictions on where you are when you make a post. Interestingly they positioned this as a way to tackle privacy concerns. The app is currently on iOS and they’ve started porting it to Android. They hope to work on integrations with Foursquare, Instagram, and other services in the future.

Gordon showed us iSports Live, an iOS app that delivers highlights for your favorite professional sports to your phone. When you open the app it shows you a list of games for today. Simply choose which ones you want to be notified about, and the rest happens behind-the-scenes. The web spiders that power iSports Live (built in Python) will look for highlights and deliver them as notifications to your device. In the future, Gordon hopes to expand from general game highlights to filtering notifications for specific players. He’s also starting to take advantage of iOS 10’s richer notifications.

Ryan introduced Full Circle Visuals’ demo as something “fantastically complicated, which is why its cool”. To succeed in 360 video he told us, you need a camera that can capture very high resolution video. They have built a rig with six Sony DSLR cameras outfitted with fisheye lenses. Software then “magically” takes the six videos and stitches it into a sphere, which you can look at inside the Oculus Rift or other devices. But that’s an individual experience, so Ryan has been working on projecting the video instead, and that’s what he showed us. Five years ago this would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to get all the equipment, but thanks to Moore’s Law that has come down dramatically. Ryan predicts that in the next five years or so you’ll be able to buy a 360 projector that you can install on your ceiling specifically for 360 video. It was an impressive demo made stronger by Ryan’s clear passion and energy for immersive video!

DemoCamp Edmonton 36
Full Circle Visuals’ six camera rig

I think the Full Circle Visuals demo was my favorite tonight. It’s so great to see that we have leaders in this still emerging field of visual storytelling right here in Edmonton. I also really enjoyed seeing MapsUp and Traktion, both of which are going to face a lot of competition but are off to a solid start.

Some upcoming events to note:

If you’re interested in demoing at a future DemoCamp, you can apply here. The next event is scheduled for late summer/early fall, so enjoy the summer break and get working on some cool stuff!

See you at DemoCamp Edmonton 37!

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #250

I guess 250 is a bit of a milestone! If you’re new to Media Monday Edmonton, here’s my first entry from February 7, 2011. Thanks to everyone who has sent in tips and suggestions over the years, and thanks for reading!

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

Status of Women Grant Program016.JPG
Photo by Premier of Alberta

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

Want to read great stories about Edmonton? Or maybe you’d like to write them? Join Taproot Edmonton and help us ensure that local journalism has a future in our city.

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for April 30, 2017

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • City Council set Edmonton’s property tax rates for 2017 to reflect a 2.8% municipal budget increase. Taking everything into account, it works out to “a 3.3% overall increase for the typical single-family home and a reduction of about 2.6% to apartment buildings” while the “average overall increase to commercial and industrial (non-residential) property is 2.9%.” Tax notices will be mailed to all property owners on May 23 with the deadline to pay being June 30.
  • Council voted 7-5 this week to approve the proposed 80-storey tower known as the Aldritt tower. Mayor Iveson voted against the project and wrote about his rationale. Councillor Walters also wrote about the decision saying the project is “out of scale with the river valley and out of sync with the Quarters’ ARP.”
  • Councillor Ed Gibbons confirmed on Wednesday that after fifteen and a half years on Council, he will not stand for re-election in October which means we have an open race in Ward 4. “I leave council, but I remain a proud Edmontonian,” Gibbons said.
  • I think as a community we messed up with the closure of Dollarama at Edmonton City Centre. Staff “received 3,000 calls from people wondering when the discount store would return,” according to a recent article. Lots of people shop there, from all walks of life, but the store is vital for those just scraping by. I’ll be very glad to see the larger store re-open.
  • A total of $241,672 was raised during this year’s DONATE A RIDE campaign. “To date, the program has distributed nearly 1.4 million transit tickets valued at more than $2.8 million.”
  • Tim submitted a FOIP request on MacEwan LRT Station and found it “was not designed or built to handle large crowds, despite being right next door to an arena and despite featuring prominently in the Ice District’s marketing campaign.”
  • The City says the last steps in the Infill Roadmap were put into action in January, so they’re looking for Edmontonians to get involved in what comes next for Evolving Infill. Mayor Iveson says “our next big challenge is to deal with the cost and availability of infill.”
  • Don Braid wrote recently that “Edmonton is crazed with excitement these days” while “Calgary is losing some of the old drive”.
  • Edmonton is among the seven finalists for a global Intelligent Community of the Year award. You can check out some highlights on the City’s Instagram account.
  • “Be a Good Fan” and “Make Good Calls” are a few of the messages the City has for fans celebration the Oilers playoff run. Remember there are parking bans and no-stopping zones in effect along Jasper Avenue and Whyte Avenue for both home and away games.
  • Spring service changes for ETS went into effect today with frequency of service “reduced for post-secondary routes, school specials and 22 bus routes.”
  • Urban Pedal Tours is a new business launching in May that will take guests on a 15-seat bicycle beer tour of downtown and Old Strathcona for $40 per seat. Cool!
  • The City of Edmonton Youth Council is now accepting applications for youth between the ages of 13 and 23 by August 31. The deadline to apply is June 4.
  • The Edmonton Arts Council is now accepting nominations for Edmonton’s seventh Poet Laureate.
  • Looking for a great place to eat duck in Edmonton while the Oilers play Anaheim? Linda has the definitive list.
  • Amazon.ca has expanded its free one-day delivery for Prime members to Edmonton and Calgary.
  • For more recent headlines, check out ShareEdmonton.

Edmonton - Oiler Country
Edmonton – Oiler Country, photo by Jeff Wallace

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Edmonton Oilers 2017 Playoff Scene
Edmonton Oilers 2017 Playoff Scene, photo by IQRemix