Vancouver Trip Day 1

I’m pretty tired – we had a packed day! Sharon, Dickson and I arrived here in Vancouver fairly early, landing just after 10:30 AM. After getting sorted out at Triumf House (which is where we are staying on the UBC campus) we went downtown and only just got back. We went for lunch, then Dickson and I had a few business meetings, and then we walked around a bit before we met Kim and her friends for dinner. We went to a greek restaurant on Robson and Burrard (I can’t remember the name) and while not very greek, it was pretty good!

We took a taxi from the airport this morning, but other than that, we have relied on public transit (and we walked a lot). It’s actually fairly easy to use, and similar to Edmonton’s transit system in a lot of ways.

The weather was very nice today, and it only drizzled for a few minutes this evening. Hopefully it stays like this! You can see a few photos I took today here, including one of the Olympic countdown clock!

Marketing Presentation Audio

Post ImageLast night I gave a presentation on podcasting & marketing to students taking MARK 450 (Electronic Marketing) at the University of Alberta. I covered “what is podcasting”, Podcast Spot, some podcasting statistics, podcasting and its effects on marketing, and finished with some final thoughts. The presentation went very well and the initial feedback was very positive, so I hope the students got something out of it. I enjoyed talking to them!

We recently purchased some digital voice recorders and they arrived just yesterday afternoon. They are Olympus WS-100’s, and last night we tested them for the first time by recording my presentation. In general I’m pretty happy with them. We had one at the back of the room and one on the table in front of me. The far away recording isn’t so great, but the close range recording is quite good.

So if you’re interested, you can listen to my presentation here. The only editing I did was to remove the questions (as I didn’t have permission to post them). Otherwise it’s a straightforward recording. You can look in the show notes to see the time codes for the major topics I covered. I don’t know why, but it sounds like I was sniffling quite a bit – apologies for that!

If you have questions or feedback, I’d love to hear from you. I’m not going to post the slides here, but if you’re interested in them, feel free to email me.

Read: MasterMaq’s Podcast

Podcast Spot on Neo-Fight.tv

Post ImageRecently I recorded an interview with Ben Freedman and Tiffany Young about Podcast Spot, and it was published today on their podcast. They produce the Neo-Fight.tv show, which they say is the tech show for the not so geeky. The neat thing about this interview is that it was recorded using Skype!

You can watch the video at Neo-Fight.tv, or at Podcast Spot.

Overall I am pretty happy with the interview, aside from one little blooper. The quality is surprisingly good considering it was done over Skype too. We don’t get into the details too much, but I think the interview provides a good introduction to our service. Thanks to Ben and Tiffany for having me on the show.

Ben posted this episode to Digg, so if you want to help us out, digg it 🙂

Read: Neo-Fight.tv

Back in Edmonton: Trip Recap

As you probably guessed, we’re now back in Edmonton. Yesterday went pretty good in terms of our presentation and the networking aspect. We met lots of really interesting people. It’ll take some time to see how well it went in terms of funding though. The presentation was really short (only 10 minutes) so the questions that were asked were fairly general. In retrospect, I think it may have been better to present in the morning rather than the afternoon, as the investors would have been more awake and there would have been more time to chat afterward.

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency downtown which is in the midst of major renovations. The lobby and common areas look excellent, as do the recently upgraded guest rooms. Especially sweet was the flat screen TV! And I love the lighting design too. It’s hard to get the same effect from pictures, but you can try! Here’s the photos I took. The dated hallways clearly do not match the rooms, but a little sign by the elevator says that they will be renovated too.

Here are some interesting facts (or maybe not) about the trip:

# of liquids confiscated at security: 1 for me, many for Dickson
Minutes until we missed our departure: less than 10 (we were the second last people to get on…we had to run after the final boarding call)
Total time in Vancouver: ~25 hours, 40 minutes
Number of blocks walked: ~24
Number of “random” security checks: 1 (Dickson was pulled aside again …it’s because he’s Chinese…the airport screeners have a very loose definition of “random”)
Number of Starbucks coffees I consumed: 2
Number of investors I didn’t like: 1 (the only reason I didn’t like him is that he sat in my presentation laughing to himself…very disrespectful and rude…you don’t have to agree with me, but show some respect!)
Hours of studying accomplished: 0 (but I studied today, I think the midterm went fairly well)

Off to Vancouver

As I mentioned yesterday, Dickson and I are in Vancouver all day tomorrow for the Angel Forum. Our flight leaves tonight at around 7 PM and we’re back tomorrow evening close to midnight. Very quick trip indeed.

Now that Northern Voice 2007 has been announced, it looks like this trip will be the first of many to Vancouver over the next few months! Not to be outdone on the other side of Canada, Mesh 2007 has been announced for May in Toronto. Lots of excellent Canadian conferences to attend!

2006 Portable Media Expo Recap

Now that I am back in Edmonton and feeling a little better, time for a bit of a recap. Dickson has posted his closing thoughts on the expo as well. It’s hard to compare last year’s event with this year’s. In some ways, there seemed to be more people this year, such as on Friday, but Saturday told a different story. One thing is for sure – there were far less “I’ve never heard of podcasting” people in attendance this year.

  • I have to agree with Dickson, the weather in Ontario was really hot. It mattered less on Saturday when I had a bad case of the chills, but still.
  • I am amazed that I met people who were happy to “do it on their own” when it came to podcast hosting. Perhaps this is because podcasting is so new? Heck, I don’t even host my own photo gallery anymore. Why not? Because Flickr does it better than I ever could. I offload all the work to them. That’s what we are trying to do with Podcast Spot too. You as the podcaster can focus on creating great content, because we take care of the rest.
  • Speaking of pictures, you can see the ones I took here.
  • I think we’re going to have to do something more interesting with the booth next year. Our “low-key, low-information-on-the-wall” style worked to an extent, but I think we can do better.
  • We need to do a better job explaining how we charge. We charge based on upload, which is the amount of stuff you send to our servers in any given month. This is in contrast to charging by storage, which is the amount of stuff you have put on the servers since you became a customer. If we charged by storage, you’d eventually hit a limit, after which you wouldn’t be able to add anything new without first removing something old. Fortunately for you, we charge by upload so you never run out of space!
  • I just re-read that, and perhaps it still isn’t clear. I’ll record something soon that should explain it a little better. Visuals always help!
  • Generally speaking, I have the feeling that the Expo is missing something that would take it to the next level. What that something is, I don’t know. I do have a small wish-list though: wireless Internet throughout the convention center, expanded awards (say a “best podcast hosting service”), and more free food/drinks!

Thanks to Tim and the rest of the team at TNC New Media for another great Expo! I’m looking forward to next year already 🙂

Portable Media Expo Setup

Dickson and I are just killing time here in the nicely air conditioned hotel until 5:30 when there is an event for exhibitors and the press. I mention the air conditioning because it’s a scorching 94 degrees here today, or for everyone back home in Canada, 34 degrees celsius. Edmonton had just started to get some nice weather again before we left, but it was still only about 15 degrees!

We finished setting up our booth in about ten minutes. Like last year, we opted not to do anything fancy, though unlike last year we have a banner this time. You can see what I mean in the pictures. We also decided to sponsor the conference notepads this year, and I am really happy with the way they turned out.

More later!

The Start of a Great Trip

I think this is going to be a great trip! For the first time in recent memory, Dickson and I were not scrambling to finish anything the night before leaving town. That was kind of nice for a change, we’ll have to do it more often! Today didn’t start out so great though. We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare, cleared customs without any problems (minus Dickson getting manhandled in the security check by an over-eager young man) and then sat down to wait for the flight. Thing is, our flight was over 20 minutes late. And with a 45 minute window to catch our connecting flight in Salt Lake City, that was somewhat distressing.

Turns out we made it just in time to make the flight, but the lady at the counter informed us they had overbooked as they didn’t think we’d make it. So we volunteered to wait for the later flight (only 2 hours later) and in return we got meal vouchers and a $200 credit with the airline (Delta). It was a pretty sweet deal! And such a difference from last year, when we missed our flight and had to pay a lot more to get to Ontario. Another nice side benefit was that our bags arrived ahead of us, so we didn’t have to wait for them to get off the plane – they were waiting for us.

We’re now in the hotel in Ontario – the DoubleTree, which is very nice by the way. They gave us a fresh chocolate chip cookie each upon checking in, and we passed a Starbucks on our way to the room. See what I mean about being a good start?

We just noticed that Podcasting News has an item on Podcast Spot too. I’m really excited for the Expo to start now!

Podcast Spot is LIVE!

Post ImageI don’t even know what to say – I’ve been wanting to make this post for so long! Okay, Podcast Spot is now live and ready for you to use. And you’ll note we’re not in beta either; we are not hiding behind a label. You shouldn’t run into any problems on the site, but if you do, let us know. And please send us your feedback too!

For those of you that don’t know, Podcast Spot is a hosting service for podcasters. We’ve been working on it for about two years now. Actually, exactly two years ago last Thursday was when I launched BlogosphereRadio, my first foray into podcasting. You can say that Podcast Spot grew out of that project – I realized that podcasting could be somewhat difficult, and took far too much time and effort. Dickson and I realized we could make things easier, and thus, we set about creating what eventually became Podcast Spot. And while the code might have changed quite a bit in the last two years, our goals have always been the same:

  • To make becoming a podcaster and enjoying podcasts easier and more enjoyable
  • To eliminate the need for technical knowledge, and reduce the amount of time required
  • To empower podcasters and their audience with features designed specifically for podcasting

I’m proud to say that Podcast Spot is a big first step towards accomplishing these goals. That said, it’s just the first step, and there’s still a long way to go. We’re eager and excited to continue improving the podcasting experience, with Podcast Spot and other products too.

Dickson and I recorded a quick little introduction message earlier this evening, which you can listen to at Podcast Spot. Even if you don’t want to be a podcaster, I encourage to check the site out! If you have comments or feedback, we’d love to hear from you. You can leave a comment on one of our blogs, post to our forums, or email us. And if you’re going to be at the Portable Media Expo later this week, come see us in booth #408!

Read: Podcast Spot

This and That for Thursday

Today is the first time in weeks that I can go to Yahoo! News and not see something about the Israel-Lebanon conflict as the top story. Of course, as the fighting continues, that also means something bad has happened, or almost happened. As you’ve undoubtedly heard, British police foiled a plot to once again turn airplanes into missiles. If you’re travelling anywhere today, I definitely feel sorry for you. While I think it’s good they stopped these madmen, I have to echo Darren’s sentiments – when will it end? Will the world ever be devoid of terrorists?

Dickson leaves for vacation today – have a good time man! We’ve been working really hard lately to get Podcast Spot ready for testing and, ultimately, for launch, so I am sure Dickson will enjoy the break. His departure means that I am holding down the fort until he gets back at the end of the month, so let’s hope I don’t break anything!

For the record, it appears you can spell illegible with either one or two l’s. The Canadian Oxford Dictionary lists the word as ‘ilegible’, and the American Heritage Dictionary lists it as ‘illegible’. I like the second way, though I am not sure which is more commonly used. I find I like the American way of spelling lots of things – it’s ‘color’ not ‘colour’!

Despite being a self-described “Intel guy”, we purchased a dual-core AMD processor the other day for a new machine we were building here at Paramagnus. So far the performance is right on par with my dual-core Intel. The one advantage the AMD seems to have is that it uses far less power. That advantage disappears when compared to the new Core 2 Duo chips, however, which we intend to purchase as soon as the price is a little more reasonable (and availability is better).

I had a lunch meeting today at The King and I (a Thai restaurant here in Edmonton), which I had only been to once before (for dinner). They have great food, and I have to say, lunchtime is definitely the time to go. Their portions are almost as big as the dinner portions, yet they are about five dollars cheaper.