Things Of Love From 2007

Great post today by MegFowler. She says:

I know that none of us feels loving or loved all the time, but sometimes forcing yourself to think through the things you enjoy/are passionate about/get the tingles for is a good way to pull yourself through the muck. A small step, but an important one.

But instead of focusing on the next year yet, I’m going to ask YOU to tell me what YOU loved in 2007.

Using her template, here’s my list.

Movie of Love: Transformers – such a good movie! I’m still impressed with it.

Song of Love: Umbrella by Rihanna. I also listened to JT’s What Goes Around… quite a bit. Yes, again. Oh and Linkin Park’s What I’ve Done…great song!

Book of Love: The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. I read so many books it was hard to pick, but Dawkins wrote a book that definitely made an impression on me.

Album of Love: Riot! by Paramore. I’m still not sick of this album. Love it!

Place of Love: Facebook. Hard not to love it now that almost everyone is on it!

Month of Love: December…all the travel (London, New York, Yellowknife) was tiring, but totally worth it. Plus there was Christmas with my parents, and my birthday too!

Best Day of Love: June 12th because I graduated from university!

Best Moment of Love: Justin Timberlake concert, especially when all the cameras flashed, it was so awesome.

Word of Love: sweet! I also said "that’s how I roll" quite a bit.

Purchase of Love: Moleskine notebook, though I don’t use it enough! And I bought a second one while in NY (at the United Nations store).

City of Love: New York, of course! I’d go back in a heartbeat.

Food of Love: Goat cheese. Dunno why, but I seem to have fallen in love with it!

Beverage of Love: Coke Zero, my drink of choice. Also drank an awful lot of Starbucks.

Person of Love (someone who made a difference for you this year): So many people made a difference, in so many different ways. I’m thankful for all of them. If I had to pick just one though, I’d say Mom. She’s always making me smile with her Facebook and MSN messages! Yeah, I’m a momma’s boy 😉

Spot of Love (the best place to go to just be): Starbucks, for dozens of reasons.

Clothing Item of Love: Gap socks! So glad I finally bought some.

Random Thing of Love (anything you want): Text messaging. Couldn’t live without it!

That was harder than I thought! What does your list look like?

Read: MegFowler.com

Txt Msg on New Year's Eve

Post Image This shouldn’t really be a surprise, but apparently text messaging on New Year’s Eve is a big deal for Canadians. According to Virgin Mobile, we send an average of 31.5 million text messages per day.

Canadians are expected to send a record-breaking 50 million text messages on the evening of Dec. 31, according to Virgin Mobile Canada.

Last year’s New Year’s Eve text message tally was around 25 million.

The article goes on to say that those of us aged 18-30 will send an average of four messages each. That seems like a really small number to me, but who knows. It is an average after all. I probably send that many an hour!

So happy new year, and happy texting!

Read: CBC News

Fringe 007: Ignorance, Mini Donuts, and Die-Nasty

Sharon dragged me to the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, aka the Fringe, a few years ago, and I actually enjoyed it. I’ve since come to enjoy Edmonton’s live theatre scene, so I was definitely looking forward to this year’s festival, called “Live and Let Fringe” in honor of the year. The festival runs until August 26th.

The first show Sharon, Dickson and I went to see last night was called “The Power of Ignorance” and since Sharon took care of getting tickets and such ahead of time, I didn’t know much more about it than that. Turns out it was a one-man show, performed by British comedian Chris Gibbs, in the form of a seminar that promised to help you tap into your power of ignorance to lead a better, happier life. I really enjoyed it – it was extremely funny! I laughed pretty hard. The ending was kind of weird, but otherwise, great show. The Journal gave it 4.5 stars (out of 5) today. To that I say: well deserved.

Afterward we wandered around the grounds, taking in the sights. No trip to the Fringe is complete without mini donuts, so I got some of those and headed for the beer gardens. On the way we stopped to see Hoja, a popular Canadian a capella group. We saw them perform “YMCA” and “500 Miles”, complete with dancing and everything.

We ended the evening by going to see Die-Nasty. I have to say I didn’t enjoy it as much as their season 16 finale. For one thing, there was no Jeff Haslam. His comic timing would definitely have helped the show out. Davina Stewart was there however, and she was really funny! On the whole though, it was just average. Perhaps it was because they were making fun of the Fringe itself, and I just didn’t get all of the jokes?

I’m going to go see at least one more show, but I am not sure which one yet. Perhaps I should have a look at all of the pieces of paper we received while waiting in line. Sharon remarked that the Fringe would be a good place for entrepreneurs to learn, and I have to agree. The elevator pitches that the performers give as they work the lineups at other shows are really quite good. Entrepreneurs could definitely learn a thing or two.

Check out the official Fringe site here, and also the Edmonton Journal’s complete coverage.

Read: Fringe 007

VenturePrize 2007 with Leonard Brody

Post ImageEarlier today, Dickson and I attended the luncheon and awards ceremony for the 2007 VenturePrize business plan competition. As you probably know, we competed last year and narrowly missed out to ProExams (now ProTraining). The ProTraining guys invited us to join them at their table this year, and we happily accepted!

First of all, congratulations to the grand prize winner, Picomole Instruments, and to their competition – Business Infusions Inc. and Nirix Technology (I was pulling for Nirix as I had met and talked with CEO Steven Hsu in the past and was following their progress though the semi-finals). All of the elevator pitches and videos were very well done. In fact, I’d say the videos this year were far better than any of the videos created last year. Much flashier! The other big observation was that this year’s event seemed much smaller and a little more low-key than last year. I suspect this is because last year was extra special with the grand opening of Hall D.

The guest speaker today was Leonard Brody, who talked about Canada and entrepreneurship. Leonard is currently a director of NowPublic, a partner at Growthworks Capital, and has advised many of our country’s politicians. When he started his presentation, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be that good. That’s just the initial impression I got, perhaps because he was so distracted by the lapel microphone.

When he finally got things rolling though, I was impressed. He’s a great speaker and he’s obviously done his homework. Instead of sharing experiences however, Leonard chose to focus on statistics from recent research. Of course, statistics can be manipulated, so I took everything he said with a grain of salt. That said, he was pretty much preaching to the converted (at least with me). Some of the ideas he talked about:

  • In recent years, Canada is an economic wonder.
  • We need to do a better job of telling our story as Canadians.
  • Mobile phones are going to be huge.
  • My generation spends more time on media than work. And we have to multitask.
  • “Smart” is irrelevant.
  • Continuous partial attention (related to the multitasking).

Basically, the Gen-Yers and Millenials are taking over and they don’t do things the same way as previous generations. The workplace isn’t ready for them. And you should join Facebook (okay he didn’t say that exactly).

I’d say his presentation was the highlight of the afternoon for me. Like Dickson remarked, they needed “victory music” or something in the background when they announced the winner of the competition! The loud applause followed by silence was somewhat off-putting.

One final remark on the afternoon – lunch was delicious! And I actually ate it this year (too anxious last year to eat). The main course was Achiote Marinated Chicken Breast, Black Bean Orange Salsa, Basmati Rice, and Seasonal Vegetables. Dessert was good too: Mini Citrus Cheesecake on Rosemary Crust, topped with Brambleberry Compote and Orange Sour Cream Drizzle.

Congrats to Picomole, and thanks again to ProTraining for the invite.

Read: VenturePrize

2007 ETS Community Conference

Post ImageI went to the Edmonton Transit System Community Conference this morning, and I have to admit it was rather interesting. I’m not a transit geek or anything like that, but I happened to come across the conference online last week, and a couple of sessions caught my eye. One was on new technology, and the other was on web technology. Other sessions included a tour of the LRT garage, an input session regarding the 100th anniversary of ETS (happens in 2008), and an information session about Edmonton’s Transportation Master Plan.

I recorded the welcome and keynote, which you can listen to here. Here are some notes from the two breakout sessions I attended. From new technology:

  • ETS has ordered six hybrid buses, two of which are already in service. Each one costs around $700,000.
  • They also recently finalized their largest single order of buses ever (over 200). The new fleet will replace all the old GM buses, and will allow some room for growth. The 2007 Clean Diesel buses cost about $400,000 each.
  • ETS is experimenting with GPS and other wireless technologies. Lots of buses now have a GPS transmitter on top. The only thing preventing them from doing cool things like an “arrivals & departures” board at transit centres is money.
  • Most buses will be outfitted with a camera system consisting of 5 cameras. The cameras record to a DVR on the bus that has around 1 TB of storage, and uses MPEG-4 compression.
  • They have new automatic people counters! Haha, kinda funny they mentioned this one, but it actually does make a big difference I guess. In the future it could be linked to some of the wireless technologies too so that ETS would know if a bus is full or not in real-time.

And from web technology:

  • The webmaster for ETS is the same lady who records the BusLink information, and the old station announcements on the LRT.
  • I came ready to complain about all the new windows that are spawned on the website. Apparently I’m not the only one with that concern! No word on when it will get fixed.
  • The ETS website is the busiest of all City of Edmonton websites, with over 900,000 visits in 2006.
  • They launched an online store four months ago, where you can buy tickets and passes. It has already done over $100,000 in sales.
  • An average of 89,000 plans per month were created in 2006 with the Trip Planner tool.
  • There is a lot of things they’d like to add to the website, but it sounds like they have to jump through hoops to be able to make any changes.
  • It was mentioned in passing, but it sounds like the City of Edmonton is gearing up to overhaul their entire web presence.

The new technology session was particularly interesting for me…I have long wondered if they were testing GPS and similar technologies. Turns out they are!

It was announced in the keynote that the recent U-Pass referendum at the University of Alberta passed with 84 percent voting yes. You can read more about the vote at The Gateway. The ETS staff seemed pretty excited about it.

I’m not sure I’d go to this conference every year, but it was definitely worth checking out. And hey, you can’t beat the price – free!

Spider-Man 3 HD Preview Clip

Post ImageIf there’s one movie I am looking forward to this year, it’s Spider-Man 3. Even though I have high expectations for the movie, I am confident it will exceed them. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to learn that NBC.com would have a special preview available tonight after Heroes aired. I just downloaded and watched the largest option, a whopping 285 MB for seven and a half minutes of 720p HD content.

The preview contains a scene with Peter and MJ, a scene with Peter and Aunt May, and the rest is an action sequence featuring Peter and Harry. And yes, the preview does end with a bit of a cliffhanger. It’s a fairly good preview, despite not giving us the goods (no Venom, no Sandman, etc)! If you want to download the clip, you’ve only got until tomorrow at 9 PM pacific time. Though I’m sure it will be up on BitTorrent by then.

The video took me about 8 minutes to download, which is pretty good considering I wasn’t even using our fastest connection. Looks like Sony is using Limelight Networks to serve the video.

Read: NBC.com

Oilers trade Smyth

Post ImageMegan just sent me a text message, asking if I had heard that the Edmonton Oilers traded Ryan Smyth. No, I had not heard. But now that I have, I am upset. As my Dad said on MSN just now:

as a fan I am hurt

That about sums it up. Smyth was traded to the New York Islanders for Ryan O’Marra, Robert Nilsson, and a first round pick in 2007. My Dad points out that “Robert Nilsson is the son of ex-Oiler and ex-Flame Kent Nilsson.” What a shitty deal. They might be good prospects, but I think this will be regarded as a bad trade for Kevin Lowe and the Oilers.

When my Dad and my brother were in town this past week, we talked about the trade deadline approaching. We agreed that it didn’t matter who the Oilers traded, as long as it wasn’t Smyth, Moreau, Stoll, or Hemsky. Anyone else would have been fine, even Roloson.

TSN and the Oilers site are horribly slow, and I haven’t found a link for this yet, but my Dad is listening to the guys on TSN and says:

It appears that there are lots of GMs pissed at Kevin. they didn’t think Ryan was available and if he was they would definitely have made good offers. it appears this was rushed together when Ryan didn’t sign today

You’ll have to check out my Dad’s blog later tonight, he’s got some good comments. We are chatting as I type this, and he just made a good point: wasn’t the new CBA supposed to prevent something like this from happening?

Evidently not. I guess the Oilers have given up on the season. It’ll be interesting to see how the crowd reacts tonight, given that it is Mark Messier night.

Read: TSN

Podcasting Northern Voice 2007

Post ImageI am leaving bright and early tomorrow morning for Vancouver – Megan, Dickson, Sharon and I are heading to Northern Voice 2007. It’s a conference I look forward to every year. I’m especially excited about this year because we have volunteered to record all of the sessions! Here’s what I sent to Darren:

We’re hosting at http://northernvoice.podcastspot.com, which is all decked out in the new Northern Voice theme. Currently we’re planning to record all of Saturday’s sessions in audio, and as much as of Moosecamp as we can. We’ve also got a couple video cameras to record some sessions and “roaming” footage. There’s four of us, so we should be able to get it all.

We’re probably not the only ones who will be recording stuff however – the people who attend Northern Voice are a creative bunch, so there will likely be lots of microphones and video cameras floating around. Bottom line: whether you can attend or not, you’ll be able to listen in.

We’re also offering a special Northern Voice promotion at Podcast Spot. If you enter the discount code NV2007 when you sign up, we’ll give you an extra 100 MB of upload quota for free! It’s just another way we’re celebrating our favorite Canadian tech conference.

If you have any feedback on our Northern Voice podcast, I’d love to hear from you. As Megan knows, I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, so I’ll be doing my best to make sure everything sounds and looks good. We should have our first “introduction” episode up sometime tomorrow.

Read: The Podcast

Happy Valentine's Day – Web 2.0 Style

Post ImageYup, it’s that time of year again – Valentine’s Day. As Wikipedia says, it’s “the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other.” Apparently, it’s also a great marketing opportunity for web companies. Svetlana Gladkova over at profy shares with us seven special Valentine’s Day logos:

I think that Valentine’s Day must really be a Web 2.0 holiday with so many companies engaged in it – even important enough for Google to use a special logo (definitely created in a hurry but still).

Google, Orkut, LiveJournal, Yahoo!, AOL, Ask, and Yandex all have special logos. And if that wasn’t enough, Social Signal has a Web 2.0 Valentine just for you. Very clever! Seriously, check it out, it made me laugh!

Read: Web 2.0 Valentine

Dixie Chicks win all five? Seems suspicious to me

Post ImageDid you watch the Grammy Awards last night? I didn’t. I figured there wasn’t much point. It’s the same with all awards shows – why watch? You can find out the results almost immediately online anyway. And if there’s a performance you wanted to see, it’ll probably be on YouTube. It’s amazing that anyone at all watches marathons award shows anymore.

Anyway, I read about the Grammy’s today. Turns out the Dixie Chicks won all five awards for which they were nominated, including album of the year. Call me crazy, but that strikes me as being somewhat suspicious. Can you really go from being one of the most hated music groups in the country to winning five awards in a single night? It’s almost like they won simply because the academy felt sorry for them. I guess the “return to glory” plotline always makes for a good story too.

It’s not like such a big win happens every year:

The last time an act won the album, record and song categories was in 1993, when Eric Clapton led the field. The last country act to win album of the year was Glen Campbell in 1969 with “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.”

I mean, sure, Taking The Long Way is a decent album. I guess I have to admit that I even enjoyed it. But seriously, album of the year? Plus record and song of the year? I dunno. Just doesn’t feel right.

Here are the winners I’d have picked:

Record of the Year: “You’re Beautiful” – James Blunt
Album of the Year: FutureSex/LoveSounds – Justin Timberlake
Song of the Year: “Not Ready To Make Nice” – Dixie Chicks

Read: Yahoo! News