Recap: DemoCamp Edmonton 43

Edmonton’s 43rd DemoCamp took place last night at the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences (CCIS) on the University of Alberta campus. It was the final DemoCamp of 2018. You can see my recap of DemoCamp Edmonton 42 here.

DemoCamp Edmonton 43

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:

Xpertz is a Slack app catered toward large teams that lets you showcase your skillset right within Slack. Everything is done using slash commands, and the flagship features include “search by expertise” (so you can find the Android developers in your company, for instance) and “high-five” (which is a way to validate someone’s expertise). Xpertz reminds me a little of the skills on LinkedIn that you can give and receive, but within Slack, and with emoji. Brandon is working on a dashboard with analytics next.

Alex, a NAIT student, showed us Digiplay which lets you play PC games right in the browser. He explained that the high cost associated with PC games combined with the new capabilities of WebAssembly make it possible to play games like Tomb Raider and Quake right inside the browser. Currently desktop-only, Alex would like to add mobile in the future, and is looking at licensing games from smaller studios. He’s also got some original games like Foxtrot, which he demoed. The gaming industry seems to be betting on streaming, but Alex thinks the lag and latency associated with that will ultimately prevent it from working effectively. Next up for Digiplay is a custom compiled interface which would add controller support, and taking advantage of streaming compliation once the browsers support it, which would enable larger games.

I love a good hardware demo and OmniVelos delivered. “We’re not reinventing the wheel,” joked Nick! OmniVelos is a bit of hardware you add to an ordinary bicycle to turn it into an electric bike. The hardware is light and doesn’t interfere with the normal riding of the bicycle. The battery has a range of 20 km, depending on how fast you accelerate, and it can easily be removed and recharged. They’re looking at incorporating regenerative braking in the future. “Do you have any idea about pricing?” asked someone in the audience. “It’s DemoCamp,” responded Jay, to laughter from the audience. (At DemoCamp if you ask someone about their business model you owe them a beer.)

Next up we had two demos from the University of Alberta CompE Club’s HackED Beta hackathon, which took place recently.

The first team, made up of five high school students, showed us Habit Creator, which is a fun web app for reinforcing your habits. As you complete habits you earn rewards that allow your environment to level-up, represented visually as a picture of nature (so as you level up, flowers and other foliage appears). The team had to learn everything in 24 hours! Habit Creator includes a progress report to show a day-by-day breakdown, but currently uses browser storage.

The second team showed us Guba Rush which is an interactive, motion-sensing game featuring the University of Alberta team mascot. One of the team members wore a vest and fanny pack that contained accelerometers, gyros, and an Arduino. As he moved, the data was transmitted to the game to control the character on-screen. The idea is to physically move in order to dodge or jump over obstacles on the screen. Think of it like a Kinect, but with a vest you have to wear.

DemoCamp Edmonton 43

The final demo of the night was from Dan who showed us HonestDoor. He realized when buying real estate that greater transparency would be helpful, so he started tinkering with HonestDoor and realized others found it useful too. The web app can show you the last sold date and price for a given property, and in some cases can also provide an analysis of what HonestDoor thinks it might be worth. The data comes from third parties, including land titles, but was fairly incomplete in the demo. There’s clearly demand for this type of app, given the popularity of Zillow south of the border.

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

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.

If you’ve got something to show, apply to demo at a future event.

See you at DemoCamp Edmonton 44!

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #323

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:

Fighting to get full value for Alberta oil 122855
Fighting to get full value for Alberta oil, photo by Premier of Alberta

Media-related updates from elsewhere

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

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau highlighted the importance of free and independent media recently. “When citizens cannot have rigorous analysis of the exercise of the power that is in their name and they have granted, the rest of the foundation of our democracies start to erode at the same time as cynicism arises.”
  • A new estimate suggests the U.S. daily newspaper industry has seen annual revenue fall from a high of $55 billion to less than $20 billion today, with just $1.5 billion in profits. “By mind-bending comparison, Google alone takes in about $37 billion a year in EBITDA.”
  • Some people will pay for a subscription to a news site, which is encouraging. But how many total subscriptions will they pay for? “If someone’s first digital subscription is to the Times or the Post — how many are willing to pay for a second, or a third, or a fourth news site?”
  • While smart speakers are once again expected to be a popular gift this holiday season, the use of news on the devices is lagging. The main complaint is that news briefings as they currently exist are too long.
  • Here is Jay Rosen’s pitch to his followers to join The Correspondent. “What I want you to know is that I not only endorse what they are doing. It is what I would do if I started my own site.”

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 November 18, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Downtown View from NAIT's new PIC

Upcoming Events

Flames and Oilers licence plates unveiled
Flames and Oilers licence plates unveiled, photo by Government of Alberta

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

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #322

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:

Building a recovery for all Albertans 120716
Building a recovery for all Albertans, photo by Premier of Alberta

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 November 11, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Remembrance Day 121508
Remembrance Day 2018, photo by Premier of Alberta

Upcoming Events

Diwali clebrations 121112
Diwali celebrations, photo by Premier of Alberta

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

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #321

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 November 4, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Alberta funds Edmonton Valley Line West
Alberta funds Edmonton Valley Line West, photo by Government of Alberta

Upcoming Events

Rutherford Manor Haunt - Edmonton
Rutherford Manor Haunt, photo by IQRemix

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

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #320

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:

Northlands last horse race October 2018
Northlands last horse race, photo by Jason Woodhead

Media-related updates from elsewhere

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

  • Sunny Dhillon quit his job at The Globe and Mail in Vancouver because of “both a single incident and a continuing pattern” related to race. “I write this piece with the hope it will lead to meaningful reflection on the lack of diversity in Canadian journalism and the problems therein,” he wrote.
  • The New York Times has a story about Apple News and its slightly different approach to mass news: “In a quiet corner of the third floor, Apple is building a newsroom of sorts. About a dozen former journalists have filled a few nondescript offices to do what many other tech companies have for years left to software: selecting the news that tens of millions of people will read.”
  • From Poynter, here are seven ways news outlets can rebuild trust and sustainability.
  • Trump is attacking the media once again, calling it “the true Enemy of the People”.
  • The Cut has a big feature on The Skimm, which now has more than 7 million subscribers. “By any measure, the Skimm, founded in 2012, is an insane success.”

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 28, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Downtown Edmonton at Night
Downtown Edmonton at Night, photo by Isabell Hubert

Upcoming Events

Art from the Unknown 119857
Art from the Unknown, photo by Premier of Alberta

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

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #319

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:

  • Bryan Hall, affectionately known across the city as “Hallsy”, is celebrating 65 years of broadcasting. 630 CHED has published a big feature on Hall’s career.
  • CKUA’s fall fundraiser is underway with a goal of raising $650,000 by October 28.
  • Carla Turner is back from maternity leave and will be doing the weather on weekends at 6pm and 11:30pm on CTV Edmonton.
  • Former CTV Edmonton anchor Carrie Doll has launched a podcast called The Inner Circle. “With a passion for stories well told, each week Carrie will feature stories of guests exploring their personal truths, highlighting their wins and uncovering the lessons they have learned along the way.”
  • UCP leader Jason Kenney “took umbrage this week at stories from members of the legislature press gallery about a speech he gave to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 9.,” writes Graham Thomson. Kenney’s Twitter account attacked Edmonton Journal writer Emma Graney for a story she did.

NAIT open house 2018
NAIT’s TV studio control room, photo by Jason Woodhead

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.