Media Monday Edmonton: Update #318

Taproot Edmonton’s latest Media Roundup was published today. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Monday morning.

Local updates from the Media Roundup

Here are a few select updates from today’s Media Roundup:

  • Starting this week, Elise Stolte will move from the City Hall beat to become the new city columnist at the Edmonton Journal. “It’s a huge challenge and I’m hoping you’ll all stay with me, debate with me, send me tips and ideas on this journey,” Stolte tweeted.
  • Paige Parsons will move from the courthouse to City Hall to fill Elise Stolte’s position. “I’m excited to jump right in,” she tweeted.
  • Keith Gerein is the Journal’s new provincial columnist. “I appreciate all the messages I’ve received,” he tweeted in response to the news. “Even the critical ones.”
  • CFCW Music Director Larry Donohue has announced he will hang up his headphones at the end of the year. He has been with the station for 35 years.
  • Cam Tait says the ATCO Edmonton Sun Christmas Charity Auction is up to 223 items. The goal is “to collect 250 items and raise $135,000 for the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton, Adopt-a-Teen and Catholic Social Services.” The auction starts on October 22.


Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Media-related updates from elsewhere

And here is some non-local media news that I found interesting this week:

Follow Edmonton media news using the hashtag #yegmedia and be sure to check out Mediagazer for the latest media news from elsewhere. You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here. If you have a tip or suggestion for future updates, let me know.

At Taproot Edmonton we’re working hard to ensure that local journalism has a future in our city. Join us to be part of the movement.

Edmonton Notes for October 14, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • All 13 communities in the Edmonton Metro Region have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a Regional Transit Services Commission. The goal is for collaboration to “provide more integrated and reliable movement between nearby communities than the current mix of transit services.” The Province has provided $3.7 million “to support behind-the-scenes work to set up the commission.”
  • Edmonton’s proposed new bus routes are ready. No wait, they’re not. In a confusing news release, the City says the new routes have incorporated feedback from Edmontonians but feedback on the “final draft” will be accepted from October 25 to December 9.
  • Council approved rezoning for the Falcon Towers on 104 Street this week. Langham Developments’ latest towers will be 37 storeys and 43 storeys.
  • Council also approved more than $20 million to improve transit safety with more security at LRT stations and retractable shields and cameras on all buses.
  • Councillor Paquette’s proposal to look into free transit was not so warmly received at Council. He’s going to tweak the motion and bring it back to Council in two weeks.
  • The City has released three challenges for startups to solve using technology as part of the Startup in Residence (STiR) program. They’re looking for a vandalism detection & prevention system, a chatbot to reduce 311 call volumes, and a mobile app to deliver information on “the optimal blend of transportation options”.
  • The Edmonton International Airport has banned consumption of recreational cannabis on its property. “The RCMP will monitor and enforce passenger and employee compliance, the airport said in a release Thursday.”
  • The electric autonomous vehicle (ELA) pilot is now underway at Blatchford. Starting Wednesday the vehicle moves to Chappelle Gardens.
  • Edmonton will host the next SingularityU Canada Summit in April 2019. “The annual event draws some of the brightest minds in the country’s tech ecosystem, along with sector workers and innovators from across the globe.”
  • The City is hosting a series of Engage Edmonton drop-in sessions until November 15. “These are convenient one-stop shop locations where people can provide feedback on City projects that matter most to them.”
  • Edmontonian Harman Baweja wants Oilers fans to celebrate each goal with a victory dance. “The Edmonton-based dance instructor, hip-hop dancer and self-professed Oilers superfan has choreographed a routine and is challenging every member of Oilers Nation to groove to the moves.”
  • Episode 10 of Speaking Municipally covers the response to free transit, the regional transit authority MOU, and the approval of the Falcon Towers on 104 Street. Also check out the latest Council Roundup for all the details on what’s coming up at Council in the week ahead.

Ice district Edmonton October 2018
Ice District Edmonton October 2018, photo by Jason Woodhead

Upcoming Events

New Royal Alberta Museum
New Royal Alberta Museum, photo by IQRemix

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #317

Taproot Edmonton’s latest Media Roundup was published today. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Monday morning.

Local updates from the Media Roundup

Here are a few select updates from today’s Media Roundup:

  • “Leaving my Edmonton team to join the senators — sort of the way Aleš Hemský did — won’t be easy,” wrote Paula Simons in her farewell column. “During my last few years in this newsroom, I’ve worked with tremendous veterans as well as dazzling rising stars.” Paula was one of three appointed to the Canadian Senate by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday.
  • Radio Cité 97.9 FM started broadcasting in Edmonton on Saturday. About 65% of the programming will be French language music, but the station will also look to attract anglophones.
  • Graham Thomson announced he is writing a regular opinion column for CBC and will appear on TV and radio every Friday afternoon.
  • With a funding boost announced on Thursday, the Government of Alberta will now provide $650,000 per year to the Alberta magazine publishing industry. “Alberta publishers produce nearly 200 titles annually, delivering 18 million copies of Alberta magazines to readers each year.”
  • Eat Local is a new Edmonton-based magazine from food photographer Heather Muse. “Everyone we have reached out to or told about this idea has been excited and supportive,” she wrote in the pilot issue.

Untitled
Paula Simons at the 2013 Yeggies, photo by Nanc Price

Media-related updates from elsewhere

And here is some non-local media news that I found interesting this week:

Follow Edmonton media news using the hashtag #yegmedia and be sure to check out Mediagazer for the latest media news from elsewhere. You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here. If you have a tip or suggestion for future updates, let me know.

At Taproot Edmonton we’re working hard to ensure that local journalism has a future in our city. Join us to be part of the movement.

Edmonton Notes for October 7, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving! Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

New Royal Alberta Museum officially open | Ouverture officielle du nouveau Musée royal de l’Alberta (RAM)
New Royal Alberta Museum officially open, photo by Government of Alberta

Upcoming Events

Edmonton Nuit Blanche - 2018
Edmonton Nuit Blanche 2018, photo by IQRemix

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!

Amii brings Edmonton’s AI community together with new meetups

The Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (better known as Amii) held its first AI Meetup at Startup Edmonton on September 10. The organization has been hosting “Tea Time Talks” and other small events at the University of Alberta for a while now, but the new AI Meetup is an attempt to reach a broader audience. Judging by the turnout to the first event, they’re on to something!

AI Meetup

Melissa Woghiren, an Amii grad student, was one of two speakers at the packed event. She spoke about her work using machine learning to assist physicians in the timely diagnosis of stroke. “No one cares about the algorithms,” she said. “They care about the ML tools, generally speaking.” Melissa dazzled the crowd with details on what AI can do now to detect stroke and heard attacks, but also discussed the risks of algorithmic bias. Her take home points were that AI can be useful in medicine, we care more about the ‘what’ than the ‘how’, and the goal is not to replace doctors but to assist them.

Jobber co-founder Forrest Zeisler was the second speaker. He focused on “Applied AI Myths and Misconceptions”, a topic that really seemed to resonate with the crowd. The biggest myth is that most of a machine learning project involves machine learning – it doesn’t, he said. The bulk of the work is planning, infrastructure, UX, training, etc. Forrest also dispelled the myth that you need a research lab to do AI. “That’s like hiring people for your restaurant who can build new microwaves,” he said. Instead, use an off-the-shelf model and “you can have a pretty big impact.”

AI Meetup

After the talks, there was an opportunity for questions as well as a DemoCamp-style call for anyone in the room who is hiring.

The next AI Meetup is coming up on October 10 at Startup Edmonton from 5:15pm to 7:15pm:

“Discuss the latest topics in AI and machine learning, learn about the latest tools and techniques in machine learning, discover how companies are using AI to drive value, and network with thought leaders from Amii, local AI companies, service providers, and corporate labs.”

Register for the free event here.

Machine Learning 101

Just a few days later Amii held a Machine Learning 101 meetup at Startup Edmonton and once again the event was standing room only. Geoff Kliza, a Project Manager at Amii, delivered a modified version of an ML101 talk he has given to dozens of organizations recently. Here’s my Twitter thread from the event.

Machine Learning 101

“You don’t have to work with our 14 world-leading researchers” to use ML and to do it well, he started. Geoff talked about how the cost of prediction is getting cheaper thanks to cheaper computing power and storage, and more efficient algorithms. A common question that comes up is how AI relates to ML, data science, and other terms, and he showed a great Venn diagram to help explain it. He also defined some common terms in AI such as unsupervised learning (learning about your data), supervised learning (learning from examples), deep learning (neural networks), reinforcement learning (learning via experience), and transfer learning (learning from analogous situations).

Geoff also shared 8 key takeaways reinforcing similar points made at the AI Meetup, including that machine intelligence projects often involve very little ML, that data changes destroy models, that no one cares about your algorithm only what it can do, and that machine intelligence and humans work best together.

On that last point he shared the example of metastatic breast cancer diagnosis. Doctors are about 96.6% accurate and machines are about 92.5% accurate, Geoff said. But together, they are 99.5% accurate, which is an 85% decrease in the human error rate. That’s the power of working together.

Machine Learning 101

The next Machine Learning 101 event is coming up on October 17 at Startup Edmonton from 4-5pm:

“Heralded by many as the fourth industrial revolution, artificial intelligence has inspired countless news articles, novels, and films. With this deluge of information comes hopes and aspirations, fears and misconceptions – some justified and others not. How can we make sense of it all? “

Register for the free event here.

For the latest local AI and other tech news, subscribe to Taproot Edmonton’s Tech Roundup.

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #316

Taproot Edmonton’s latest Media Roundup was published today. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Monday morning.

Local updates from the Media Roundup

Here are a few select updates from today’s Media Roundup:


Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Media-related updates from elsewhere

And here is some non-local media news that I found interesting this week:

Follow Edmonton media news using the hashtag #yegmedia and be sure to check out Mediagazer for the latest media news from elsewhere. You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here. If you have a tip or suggestion for future updates, let me know.

At Taproot Edmonton we’re working hard to ensure that local journalism has a future in our city. Join us to be part of the movement.

Edmonton Notes for September 30, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Passage: Nuit Blanche Edmonton 2018
Passage: Nuit Blanche Edmonton 2018, photo by Isabell Hubert

Upcoming Events

Prismatica: Nuit Blanche Edmonton 2018
Prismatica: Nuit Blanche Edmonton 2018, photo by Isabell Hubert

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #315

Taproot Edmonton’s latest Media Roundup was published today. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Monday morning.

Local updates from the Media Roundup

Here are a few select updates from today’s Media Roundup:

2018 Racewalk Championships
Global Edmonton at the 2018 Alberta Provincial Racewalk Championship, photo by Robert

Media-related updates from elsewhere

And here is some non-local media news that I found interesting this week:

Follow Edmonton media news using the hashtag #yegmedia and be sure to check out Mediagazer for the latest media news from elsewhere. You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here. If you have a tip or suggestion for future updates, let me know.

At Taproot Edmonton we’re working hard to ensure that local journalism has a future in our city. Join us to be part of the movement.

Edmonton Notes for September 23, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Winter in September

Upcoming Events

Royal Alberta Museum Box

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!

Recap: DemoCamp Edmonton 42

Edmonton’s 42nd DemoCamp took place last night at the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences (CCIS) on the University of Alberta campus. You can see my recap of DemoCamp Edmonton 41 here.

DemoCamp Edmonton 42

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.”

Here’s my Twitter thread for the event. We had six demos, in order of appearance:

The first demo of the evening was from the team at Gabbi. Sherman and Bryan showed us the app which helps real estate agents organize their messages and collaborate with their team. Like the rest of us, real estate agents are always on their phones and Gabbi can help them respond to messages, transfer conversations between agents, and more. Building on top of that foundation is an AI assistant, to “get the agents to the next level.” Gabbi uses Microsoft’s LUIS behind-the-scenes for understanding intent. Essentially, they’re building an AI-assisted CRM for real estate agents. Neat!

Next up was Permit Tool, which is a Microsoft Power BI-based data crunching tool that can help you visualize and understand development permits in the City of Edmonton. Brandon wanted to build the tool to help him apply for a job in the commercial real estate industry, and once he found the data available in the Open Data Catalogue, he was off and running. “There’s so much interesting information that we didn’t even know existed!” During the demo, Brandon used the tool to filter for people that had applied for permits to build hot tubs. “Go make friends with these people,” he joked. In addition to being a useful tool, his approach worked: he got the job!

Our third demo was from the team at What’s The Deal?, a web app that tells you about happy hour deals nearby. The site lets you view deals by day, or you can use the search feature to filter by characteristics like whether or not there’s a patio or free Wi-Fi. The website is built on WordPress but is really more of a proof-of-concept; they’re planning to launch a native mobile application next month. Currently the team manually curates all the data, but they hope to have restaurants take on that role themselves in the future.

Next up was Brendan who shared yegsecrets.ca. He got the idea for the site after participating in a Reddit discussion about the hidden gems in our city. “It really bugs me when people say Edmonton is boring or ugly or Deadmonton!” The site is basically a big map full of pins that represent interesting locations. You can click on a pin to see a brief description and photos of the location. There are no plans to add businesses to the site, because there’s already a lot of places to find those. The idea is to showcase great views, inspiring art, that sort of thing. Brendan, who took part in Startup Edmonton’s Summer Student Program, has seeded the locations based on input from others, and there is a suggest feature if you know of a hidden gem.

DemoCamp Edmonton 42

Our fifth demo was from Dean who showed off Forkdrop.io, which is an information and educational resource for Bitcoin holders. And specifically, forks or projects that give value to holders of Bitcoin in the form of newly created coins. The site contains a giant table with the latest information on all of the different projects, but also features in-depth guides for people to follow. Since launching the site has attracted about 28,000 users and has received a bunch of press in the Bitcoin industry. It’s all open source too.

The final demo of the evening was from Dana who showed us Tadum.app, a new app that helps you have more effective meetings. The name “Tadum” works two ways: it sounds like the noise a to-do list might make when you complete a task, and it’s an acronym for the key features of the app: To-Dos, Actions, Discussions, Updates, and Metrics. Dana said his experience has shown that the best meetings follow a routine, have a structure, and have forced accountability, so those are all aspects of the way Tadum works. It will work best if you buy into the process. Dana and the team have focused on ensuring the agenda experience is great, but have plans to add integrations in the future.

All of the demos went fairly smoothly! As an Edmonton fan myself, I love the spirit of yegsecrets.ca, and as someone who has had my share of bad meetings, I’m intrigued by what Tadum offers. And yes, I’m always interested to see how others are using open data, so I found Permit Tool pretty cool as well.

Here are the events and other announcements that were mentioned in-between demos:

  • You can now pre-order Nathan Youngman’s new book, Get Programming with Go. He had a couple of signed copies to show off last night. Congratulations Nathan!
  • Preflight is Startup Edmonton’s flagship program and it helps entrepreneurs “reach a global market, harness your ambition, and structure your business to grow right from the start.” New sessions are starting in October and November.
  • Edmonton Startup Week takes place October 15-19. Launch Party Edmonton 9 will take place on October 18.
  • If you’re a student, be sure to check out the free Student Membership from Startup Edmonton.
  • Save the date for the Student Development Conference, taking place March 23, 2019 at the Shaw Conference Centre.
  • There are plenty of other upcoming community meetups listed at the Startup Edmonton meetup site.

You can also check out the Tech Roundup for the latest headlines & happenings in Edmonton’s technology community every Tuesday. Here’s the latest edition.

See you at DemoCamp Edmonton 43!