CBC Radio One coming to Edmonton FM

Post ImageLooks like Edmonton will be getting another FM station, this one run by CBC, according to radio-guru Tod Maffin:

The CRTC CRTC this morning approved CBC Radio CBC Radio’s request to add FM transmitters to serve listeners in Edmonton, Calgary, and Winnipeg.

The AM transmitters in those cities will remain on to continue to serve outlying areas, but the Commission agreed with the CBC CBC that “urban growth, the construction of high-rise concrete and steel buildings, increased electrical noise from overhead wires, large and small appliances and portable radio transmitters have impeded the ability of its radio stations to deliver reliable high quality AM signals to listeners.”

I wonder if this will really have an impact on the number of listeners? I mean, I tune into 630 CHED when there is a program I want to hear (usually hockey), and that wouldn’t change if it were an FM station, its not like I’d randomly keep it on or anything.

Read: Tod Maffin

Windows Vista Presentation Tonight

Want to learn more about Windows Vista? And especially the development side of things? Then you’ll want to attend the Edmonton .NET Wizards event this evening! John Bristowe will be in town talking about Vista, Windows Communication Foundation, Windows Presentation Foundation, and much more:

You’ve heard a lot about Windows Vista from the user’s perspective. But what about the developer? How does one target this platform? In this session, we’ll cover WinFX, which represents the evolution of Win32, the programmatic interface to the Windows operating system. You’ll hear about how to interconnect applications through the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and provide a rich and compelling user experience through Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). Along the way, you’ll see how Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) provides a flexible workflow engine for co-ordinating automated and human-based activities.

The event is free, no registration required. All you have to do is show up! Here are the vitals:

WHAT: Windows Vista Presentation
WHEN: Tuesday, March 14th, 2006 at 6 PM
WHERE: ETLC 1-007, University of Alberta

For maps and more information, click here. Hope to see you there!

Read: .NET Wizards

U of A ExpressNews Podcast

Post ImageAs Dickson mentioned yesterday, the University of Alberta has decided to get more involved with podcasting, joining many other universities like Duke, Princeton, UBC, and the University of Western Ontario. The brand new ExpressNews podcast is a project of the UofA’s Office of Public Affairs:

Stories in the inaugural newscast include a fascinating interview with forestry researcher Dr. Mel Tyree, complete with the sound of trees drinking; a Parkland Institute report calling for a five-year moratorium on new oilsands projects, a reading by former U of A writer-in-residence David Adams Richards, and more.

The coming weeks will see a greater expansion of the podcast, with the development of a web page dedicated to audio and video files.

This podcast will probably become the U of A’s most well known, but it was not the first. Our ever-ahead-of-the-game Library has been experimenting with podcasting since September of 2005, and the Library site is full of links to other podcasts from around the world.

I’m really happy that my school has seen the light and will start podcasting. I only wish that Paramagnus could have helped them do it!

Read: U of A ExpressNews

An Evening with Bill Clinton

Post ImageLast night Megan and I went to “An Evening with Bill Clinton” at Rexall Place here in Edmonton. The former president was in town to talk about his life, his work, and to offer some advice and guidance on the future. Patrick LaForge of the Edmonton Oilers, Alberta Premier Ralph Klein, and a representative from CIBC Wood Gundy (didn’t catch his name, sorry) were also on hand to make some opening remarks and do their part to introduce the man of the evening. Ralph screwed up though, or someone did at least, as he introduced Mr. Clinton to the stage when really he should have introduced the guy from CIBC! It was kind of funny.

The president talked a lot about security and terrorism actually, more than I thought he would. It was part of his “framework” for looking at the world. His main argument is that the world is interdependent, and we need to recognize that and move towards integrated communities. So whenever he reads a news article or sees a report on TV, he asks himself the same question – does this help us move closer to an integrated community or not? Based on that, he takes the proper course of action. Obviously he layed it out in much more detail.

He also spoke about the worldwide problem of obesity, other security threats like biological and chemical weapons, the spread of disease, and climate change. Seems he has done work in each of these areas since leaving office. The evening finished with a short Q&A, where we learned that the last movie he watched was Crash, and he doesn’t know whether or not his wife Hillary will run for office in 2008. He did say, however, that if she did run, she’d do a magnificent job. He said many great things about her. We also learned that the thing he misses most about being the president is the work.

The takeway, he told us, is that we can effect change without being rich or doing huge things. He talked about the opportunities provided by the Internet, and shared some really interesting stories of people he has met over the years who have made a big difference through small action. He also mentioned the rise of non-governmental organizations, and when he did so, he almost sounded proud. I got the feeling that he has special respect for NGOs.

Bill Clinton is actually a rather engaging speaker, much more so than I expected (his hair is also a lot whiter now than I thought it was). As is often the case with these kinds of events, it was his stories and experiences that were the most interesting to hear about, and he certainly has had lots of those. It was a really great event, I’m glad I was able to go.

You can learn more about the Clinton Foundation and the work Bill Clinton does at their website. The Wikipedia entry on him is quite extensive with lots of great information too.

Paramagnus and Business Plan Success

Post ImageEverything is public now, so it’s time for an update on our business plan competitions! As you may recall, Dickson and I entered Paramagnus into two business plan competitions – VenturePrize and Wes Nicol. We had back to back presentations in February, and have been waiting patiently to find out how we did. We’ve known for a couple days now, but it was announced today that we’re a finalist in the VenturePrize competition, and we won first place in the local portion of the Wes Nicol! Congratulations especially to our fellow finalists in VenturePrize, and indeed to all of the competitors we’ve met thus far. We’ve learned so much already!

We’re now preparing for the final VenturePrize showdown which takes place at the annual EEDC luncheon on March 22nd. We’ll be among the first people to see the brand new extension to the Shaw Conference Centre. The following day we need to be in Ottawa for the national component of the Wes Nicol competition, so it’ll be a very busy two days! We’re looking forward to it.

Actually the next few weeks will be busy. We did a brief interview tonight that will air on CBC Radio tomorrow morning. Tomorrow afternoon we’re filming our three minute video that will be shown at the luncheon on the 22nd. We’re presenting to a class at the University next Friday. Over the next two weeks we’ll be putting together an “insider’s blog” for our experience in VenturePrize. And of course we’ve got to update our business plan, prepare our second presentations, and keep our business running (not to mention school, volunteering, etc). And it won’t stop there – we’ve already got interviews and the like lined up into April. Definitely good for the business!

We’ve met a lot of people lately, and while it was nice to meet all of you, sometimes it’s hard to get down contact information or remember everyone. If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me via email or at 780.619.3864. Or of course you can simply subscribe 🙂

Edmonton's Next Generation

Post ImageWe hear lots here in Edmonton about how our city needs to improve, but less about what is being done. I got an email recently about a survey from the Next Generation Task Force. If you’re in Edmonton, you might be interested in this:

The Next Generation Task Force is a temporary committee of Edmonton’s City Council. Chaired by Councillor Kim Krushell, it is charged with providing recommendations to City Council, on making Edmonton a more fun, attractive, and pleasant place to live. It is composed of twenty Edmontonians from diverse backgrounds and walks of life. Over the upcoming months they will be inviting public input on the six broad themes they have chosen (listed here in alphabetical order): Arts and Culture, Business Opportunity, Edmonton’s Image, Human Capital, Sports and Recreation, Urban Living Environment.

They have a ten minute survey up on the website that you can use to offer your opinion on these topics.

Read: Next Generation Task Force

Family Day

Today is Family Day in Alberta – hope you are spending some time with your family! I went for lunch with my extended family of friends today at Red Robin’s downtown. Here are a few pictures.

According to my Dad, we may be giving up Family Day if the Conservatives are successful in declaring a national “flag day” holiday. I personally don’t see the point in having a flag day. We don’t have separate holidays for our anthem, or national sport, etc. Seems to me “flag day” is really just part of Canada Day!

Paramagnus selected as VenturePrize semi-finalist!

I am really pleased to announce that Paramagnus Developments Inc. has been selected as one of six semi-finalists in this year’s VenturePrize Fast-Growth Enterprise Award category. As some of you may know, Dickson and I have been working on a business plan for Paramagnus for the last four or five months, and we submitted it to the VenturePrize business plan competition at the end of January. From the press release:

These six semifinalists will present their concepts to a judging panel who will announce the final three contenders at a March 6 special reception. These three finalists will then make a final pitch to judges and a sold-out audience at the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) Annual Luncheon on March 22, 2006, where the grand prize winner will be crowned.

“This is an exciting group of contestants representing a range of innovative business opportunities,” said Jay Krysler, VenturePrize Program Manager for TEC Edmonton. “The business plan screening panel, who are business and finance industry professionals, certainly had a difficult time selecting only six from so many great business concepts. Alberta will be well-served when all these plans move forward.”

It feels very good to have your business receive validation and recognition from some very smart people. We’ve learned a lot throughout the process so far, and I know there’s far more learning ahead.

We’re really excited about making it this far in the competition, and we’re going to do our best to blow the judges away with our presentation. If all goes well, I’ll be posting again on March 6th that we made it to the final three! No matter what happens, I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished already, and I am eager to see the feedback on our business plan.

I also can’t wait to get our products and services launched!

Read: TEC Edmonton

Detroit: The Host With the Least

Post ImageI’m sure the mood was jubilant in Detroit yesterday as the Super Bowl went off without a hitch. I have to wonder how long it will last though, after reading a very interesting Slate article which examines the city and the sorry state it appears to be in:

Local architects have set up displays in seven abandoned buildings and more than 20 eye-level store windows near Ford Field so that passers-by won’t be greeted by gated or boarded-up shops. In addition, the city has spent money to turn some vacant buildings in the area into temporary memorabilia shops. They will most likely return to their previous state once visitors—and Super Bowl retailers—have left town following the game.

Sounds like a lot of patchwork right? That’s the general vibe the article gives – that Detroit is almost a city in ruins, and they have no idea how to redevelop it. The Super Bowl would have been a great chance, but it seems they missed the boat on that one.

But the main explanation for these missteps is Detroit’s perennial problem: Suburbanites don’t need the city. The resources that most cities offer—high-end restaurants, movie theaters, retail, museums, hotels—are located in the suburbs instead of the city core.

When people talk about the city of Edmonton, there is much of the same – too much development has occurred in the suburbs, the downtown core is dying, etc. Fortunately our city has seen a great revival of the downtown area in the last few years, so maybe Detroit can too one day.

Read: Slate

Nice Weather in Edmonton!

Downtown Edmonton from Stadium LRT #1The last couple days here in Edmonton have been rather nice! Fairly sunny and clear, and not too windy. The only bad part has been the tiny little bits of snow mixed in with the brown muck. I guess that’s what happens when you’ve had a warm winter. It’s about 8 degrees celcius here right now, and around the same is expected for tomorrow. Looks like the weekend will be a little cooler.

I took this photo yesterday afternoon from the platform at the Stadium LRT station. It’s kind of an interesting view of our city’s downtown – normally photos are taken from the other side, where it’s a little more picturesque. There’s a few more in my photostream too.