Edmonton Notes for December 9, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Holiday light-up at the legislature 124106
Holiday Light-up at the Legislature, photo by Premier of Alberta

Upcoming Events

2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships Announcement
2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships Announcement, photo by Government of Alberta

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Edmonton Notes for December 2, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • On Thursday, the Government of Alberta introduced the City Charters Fiscal Framework Act which if passed would “provide Edmonton and Calgary with infrastructure funding tied to provincial revenues, meaning they would share in Alberta’s future revenue growth.” The proposed $500 million would be split between Edmonton & Calgary as a replacement for MSI which completes in 2022. “The deal includes a baseline of funding that can grow (and may contract) based on the Province’s actual revenues, which makes Edmonton a genuine benefitting partner in our combined efforts to grow employment, grow investment and help drive prosperity for Edmontonians and Albertans,” Mayor Iveson wrote about the funding deal.
  • Premier Rachel Notley announced today a short-term reduction in oil production aimed at protecting jobs. “Under the action announced, production of raw crude oil and bitumen will be reduced by 325,000 barrels per day to address the storage glut, representing an 8.7 per cent reduction.” The reduction will start in January and last until December 31, 2019.
  • Starting January 1, 2019 the City of Edmonton’s boundaries will officially expand to include 8,267 hectares of land from Leduc County and a portion of 50 Street in the Town of Beaumont. “We are looking forward to welcoming these new residents to Edmonton,” says Mayor Don Iveson.
  • Inflation in the Edmonton region moved down 0.3% in October to 3.0%. Despite declining gas prices, “gasoline was still up by approximately 21% on a year-over-year basis in October 2018.”
  • Despite just 6 cannabis-related charges in the first month of legalization, Edmonton Police want an $87 million budget increase, in part to hire 24 officers to deal with cannabis. Councillor Andrew Knack has quite rightly wondered how sensible that is and is actually suggesting a reduction in the increase EPS would receive this budget cycle.
  • According to a poll funded by Prosperity Edmonton, 73% of respondents want Council to hold off on tax increases. “Eighty-two per cent of respondents also said taxes will be an important factor in their voting decisions for the next municipal election, the poll suggests.”
  • Parking revenue downtown is less than projected which is a problem as it was supposed to help pay off the arena debt. So Council has decided to use funding from the CRL to cover the difference, which means less money for other projects.
  • Winter schedule adjustments took effect on ETS today. “Bus routes 2, 8, 9, 10, 15, 90, 100, 106, 112 and 143 have undergone significant and permanent schedule adjustments.”
  • This year 11 individuals were recognized at the 2018 Salute to Excellence Citation & Performance Awards. Congrats to all!
  • Councillor McKeen has asked the City for a report on ways to help homeless people in Edmonton while new supportive housing is developed. “[People] are leading desperate lives out there, and we continue to pay a high price for chasing our tail on this, whether it’s policing, bylaw, the folks who clean up these camps, (or) the business zones,” McKeen said Tuesday during a city council meeting.
  • This week Council officially nixed the need for a development permit for minor home-based businesses. They have also passed changes to the Zoning Bylaw that make it easier for residents to hold short-term special events.
  • The deadline for the Metro Line LRT signalling system is Tuesday and Thales insists the system is ready to go.
  • In the latest episode of Speaking Municipally, Troy is joined by Kirsten Goa to discuss parking revenue, budget, and child-friendliness.
  • Get the latest on Media, Tech, Health Innovation, Music, and Council with Taproot Edmonton’s latest roundups.

New era for provincial, cities partnership 123607
New era for provincial, cities partnership, photo by Premier of Alberta

Upcoming Events

  • We’re into the time of year when it seems everyone is hosting a holiday party. Enjoy safely!
  • Zoominescence 2018 started on the weekend at the Edmonton Valley Zoo and runs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to Christmas.
  • Holiday Magic starts at City Hall on Monday and runs all week.
  • The Alberta Legislature’s annual Light Up takes place on Tuesday.
  • Green Drinks: YEG Makers takes place on Wednesday evening at Yellowhead Brewery.
  • The Economics Society of Northern Alberta is hosting its Annual Outlook Conference on Thursday at the Quarter Note Hotel (formerly Hyatt Place in The Quarters).
  • The City is hosting a drop-in engagement session on Thursday night at the Stantec Tower lobby about the proposal for digital signs atop the tower.
  • Pitchfest takes place on Friday at the Shaw Conference Centre. It’s “an opportunity for technology startup founders to pitch their businesses and needs to a select audience of other entrepreneurs, private investors, public funders, service providers, business leaders, and community members.”
  • Royal Bison‘s second weekend takes place Friday to Sunday at the Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre.
  • The sold out Luminaria 2018 runs Friday to Sunday at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden.
  • The Oilers host the Wild on Friday and the Flames on Sunday.
  • URBANYEG is hosting its first Panel Discussion on Saturday at CCIS at the University of Alberta. Three panelists will share their experience with photography.
  • The Inspire Cheer & Dance Championship takes place at the Edmonton EXPO Centre on Saturday.

Cloud Factories
Cloud Factories, photo by Dave Sutherland

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Edmonton Notes for November 25, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Remembrance
Remembrance, photo by Jeff Wallace

Upcoming Events

Gray cup setup Edmonton November 22 2018
Grey Cup Festival Setup, photo by Jason Woodhead

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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!

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

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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

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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

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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

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Edmonton Notes for October 21, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

k.d. lang and Premier Notley meeting 118891
k.d. lang and Premier Notley, photo by Premier of Alberta

Upcoming Events

Province invests in affordable housing for seniors
Ground breaking at the future Londonderry community housing site, photo by Government of Alberta

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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

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