Oilers make the Western finals!

Post ImageTonight the Edmonton Oilers defeated the San Jose Sharks by a score of 2-0 and will now face Anaheim in the Western Conference final. Unfortunately I missed the game, but I had up-to-the-second text message updates. I can’t imagine what things are like back home in Edmonton! Here are some things to note about tonight’s game:

  • The Edmonton Oilers are in the Western Conference finals for the first time in 14 years (not since 1992).
  • This game was Roloson’s first career playoff shutout.
  • Harvey’s assist was his first playoff point.
  • It was the first time an eighth seed has advanced to the third round since the NHL adopted the conference format in 1994.
  • This is the second consecutive season the Sharks have been knocked out by an Alberta-based team.
  • Edmonton fans cheered the U.S. national anthem so loudly that the noise drowned out singer Paul Lorieau. Oilers fans were asked to be on their best behavior after some in the crowd in San Jose before Game 5 booed the Canadian anthem.
  • The Oilers are the only remaining team that has won a Stanley Cup title.
  • Edmonton played its 12th game this postseason, the most of any team.

More on the game here and here. Game 1 of the series against the Ducks is Friday night at 7 PM MDT, so don’t miss it! I know I won’t.

UPDATE: Check out the world’s smallest Oilers logo from the UofA’s NanoFab lab!

Happy Birthday Tom!

Today is my brother’s birthday, making him “bar age” in the Northwest Territories, not that you’d want to go drinking there but that’s another story. We went to the reptile show today, which was kind of cool though not as big as I remember it being the last time I went. Tom has a few snakes back in Inuvik and has always liked reptiles and lizards and things. You can check out some pictures here (they were quick shots without a flash, so a few are fuzzy).

After the show we came to the office to play some Madden on the Xbox 360 – I was winning by two touchdowns when the Xbox restarted because the cord on the power box had come loose (thats what I get for having cords all over the place). It’s just as well, Tom probably would have made some spectacular comeback!

So we’re partying it up tonight! If you want to come, give me a call on my cell and I’ll give you the address. Things will probably get underway around 8 or 9.

Happy Birthday Tom!

Jeff Martin in Edmonton

Post ImageFor those of you who don’t know, and I admit I didn’t realize it at first, Jeff Martin is the former lead singer of The Tea Party who now has his own solo project. I guess he had reached a point in his life where the dark music of The Tea Party didn’t match up with the joy of everything else (his wife, his new baby boy, etc). Anyway, he played a show last night at Red’s here in Edmonton, which Megan and I attended.

And as it turns out, we were among the few who did attend! As Jeff himself remarked, the show seemed to be “Edmonton’s best kept secret”. At the end of the show, he said he was going to beat the promoter, but that the show turned out to be “intimate and beautiful.” And it was. He is an amazing musician, with a voice that is just so distinct and intriguing. Even though he’s moved on, he has the perfect kind of voice for The Tea Party’s style of music.

Most of the songs he played were from his new album, titled “Exile and the Kingdom”, and each one had an interesting story behind it. Turns out he’s one of the happiest rock stars ever (Megan’s words, not mine) with joyful new music, and a very upbeat “thank you very much” a la Elvis after each song and applause. It was actually a very entertaining show!

Also entertaining was the opening act, Sonic City. At first we thought it was a joke, as their guitarist (Danny Sveinson) looks like he’s twelve years old! And it turns out, he’s only about 14 (I think). But don’t let his age fool you, the kid is absolutely amazing.

Read: Jeff Martin

Interviewed on the DNIC Podcast

Post ImageI was interviewed about a week ago by John Bristowe who publishes the Developer Night in Canada podcast (gotta love that name!) and the episode is now up. We talked about podcasting in general, about Paramagnus and our products, how we use .NET development, a little about the .NET community in Edmonton, and a little about me.

Mack Male chats about podcasting in this episode of Developer Night in Canada (DNIC). He also discusses how he uses .NET to build out a solution he’s working on for podcasters.

The episode is about 8 MB, and 17 minutes long – check it out!

Read: DNIC

Featured in ExpressNews

Post ImageDickson did an interview recently with a reporter from the University of Alberta’s ExpressNews, and the article featuring Paramagnus and our business plan competition success is now up:

A couple of University of Alberta students are starting to hear the sweet sounds of success.

The business world has been tuning in to Mack Male and Dickson Wong ever since the duo’s innovative podcast technology earned a place in the VenturePrize finals.

The article borrows heavily from the recent Journal and Sun articles, but is still very well written. And to be honest, it’s nice to be recognized by your school!

Read: ExpressNews

Edmonton Radio Ratings Spring 2006

As you may recall, back in December I posted about 96X becoming Big Earl and the reasoning behind the switch, which was based mainly on ratings. Now that the first quarter of 2006 is complete, the radio station ratings have been updated, and it doesn’t look good for poor old Earl:

The Spring book measured Edmonton radio audiences from January 9th to March 5th, 2006.

CKRA “Big Earl 96.3” (Newcap) had a more disappointing book than newcomer Magic 99, posting an all-time low at 2.7 for station formats occupying the 96.3 frequency. Despite the popularity of the country format in Northern Alberta, Big Earl seems to have repelled listeners rather than attract. If Corus is to take some good news from this book it would be that CISN seems bulletproof.

Yeah no doubt! CISN fell from 11.2 to 10.5, but still easily occupied the second spot. I am impressed that The Bear made such a comeback, rising from 5.5 to 8.7, totally didn’t expect that. You can check out the full listing and commentary at lastlinkontheleft.com. The site also contains the Fall 2005 data, and links to more detailed data sources.

In a somewhat related story, it seems that podcasting and MP3 players are in fact stealing some of the audience away from radio:

According to Dave Van Dyke, President of Bridge Ratings, “By 2010, today’s 94% penetration for terrestrial radio will have sunk to 85%.”

27% of people 12-24 attribute their reduced use of radio to MP3 use; 22% attributed it to tired radio programming; 3% attributed it to podcast listening.

I can only expect that last number to grow as podcasting becomes more widely adopted. And once it does, advertising dollars will follow. Too bad there is no geographical data. It would be interesting to know if the audience in Edmonton has shrunk at all because of MP3 players or podcasting or something.

UPDATE: Check out the new 630 CHED helicopter which launched on Wednesday, April 12th!

Paramagnus Press Coverage

Post ImageWe’ve received a lot of great press for our business plan competitions lately. Of course, we were in the Ottawa Citizen the day after the Wes Nicol competition, and today we were featured in the Edmonton Journal:

Mack Male and Dickson Wong’s disappointment at not winning this year’s TEC Edmonton VenturePrize melted away 24 hours later when the University of Alberta students won a national business plan competition in Ottawa.

Unfortunately you need an account to read the entire article online, so go pick up a physical copy. There’s a great picture of us in there too, page G3.

We’re also featured on the Innovation Alberta website. There is text, audio, and an image:

One of the two runners up in TEC Edmonton’s VenturePrize Competition was Paramagnus Developments Inc. Paramagnus deals in podcasting software Tools, and is the brainchild of Edmonton computing science students Mack Male and Dickson Wong. Here’s what Mack has to say about being a finalist in VenturePrize.

And there’s more on the way too! If you run across something I haven’t, let me know.

Snow storm prompts plowing review

Post ImageAfter going most of the winter with very little snow, we received enough snow in the last week to break the record for March snowfall here in Edmonton. Actually, we didn’t just break the record, we completely shattered it:

The blizzard delivered up to 25 centimetres of snow in some spots, easily breaking a 1967 snowfall record for March. That record had been a meagre 9 cm.

And as usual when we get lots of snow, people complain that the city isn’t doing enough to plow residential streets. Forget the residential streets and plow the damn LRT parking lots, I say! Though I am biased – I got stuck in the Stadium LRT lot yesterday morning (floor mats are good for traction if you’re ever stuck). In any case, the city is looking at ways to improve the situation and have come up with a new plan:

But the new plan, which would involve paying contract snow crews to be on standby, could cost the city millions more, says Mayor Stephen Mandel. Mandel says he’s not sure the public would support paying crews to do nothing if the snow doesn’t fall.

Its definitely a possible solution. Apparently the problem this time is that so few of the contract plows responded to the city’s emergency call. Perhaps having them on retainer would make a difference. Depends how much it costs I guess. Either that, or we need someone to invent roads that eat the snow or clear themselves somehow!

Read: CBC News

Shaw Conference Centre Hall D

Dickson and I went to the new Hall D at the Shaw Conference Centre this afternoon to meet with the VenturePrize people and do a sound check, so we got our first glimpse at the new addition. We were escorted in by the construction foreman who eyed my camera nervously. He didn’t ask me to leave it or anything though, so once inside, I snapped a few photos.

The place is gigantic! My first impression upon walking in was, wow, this is big. The windows are floor to ceiling, and they have massive drapes that can be mechanically raised or lowered. The ceiling itself is entirely black, with beams running the full length of the hall. There appears to be a “control room” at the back of the hall, and just outside the main room are a bunch of smaller rooms. We didn’t get to see these though as most of the construction was happening back there. Actually, that was the second thing I noticed – there is much to be done.

I have no idea what the entrance is going to look like, because we were led through a small hallway that appeared to exist only for construction purposes. There were small teams of construction workers all over the place, doing various things. Apparently the giant media screens are not part of the Hall D, but were instead “flown in” especially for VenturePrize (this is what they told me). In addition to the construction workers there were lots of people just milling about, so I’m not sure what they were doing. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people are putting in a lot of hours to get things ready for Wednesday though.

Speaking of, we’re less than two days away now. Don’t forget to follow along at our VenturePrize Experience blog!

Read: Flickr Photoset

Crazy March Snow

I cannot believe how much snow there is in Edmonton today. It had started to snow pretty hard when I got home last night around 4, but it wasn’t too bad. When I got up today though? I literally had to dig myself out of the house! I took some pictures this afternoon, because I don’t think we’ll have another dumping like that for a while. At least I hope not.

The roads are pretty bad in the city, but not so bad on the highways. Many of the major roads have been cleared, except for a few like the Yellowhead, but none of the secondary or residential streets have been cleared.

Tom, Kim and I went to Boston Pizza downtown tonight for dinner and to watch the Oilers, and during the first period, Tom and I ended up going outside to help push a car that had gotten stuck in the snow. To make things worse, the driver totally didn’t know how to drive, and he flooded the engine.

So if you’re out driving in Edmonton, be careful, and don’t get stuck!