Vorg conference blog
|Fun with a Fisheye Lens|
| 2011 was my 6th year attending the Northern Voice personal media conference. I took the opportunity this time to play around more with my DSLR camera. I got to talking with photographer John Biehler about shooting using a fisheye lens, and he was kind enough to lend me his for the second day of the conference.|
Fisheye is such a different perspective, it took me some time to get a feel for what it works well on. Here are a few of my favorite fisheye shots from the day (click to enlarge):
See all my photos in my 2011 Northern Voice photoset. The first half were with a 'regular' lens, and the second half are fisheye shots.
|Interesting Vancouver 2008 Recap|
| Interesting Vancouver 2008 was a delightful little conference covering a wide variety of topics. Here's a recap of some of the points that I liked the most.|
James Sherrett: We put 2 things into our bodies to make us who we are: stories and food. Be aware of what you're making part of yourself.
Darren Barefoot: Living outside your comfort zone helps show you who you really are, and grows you as a person.
Roy Yen: Our community is our culture.
James Chutter: Artists build on each others work. Push copyright laws to let it happen more.
Cheryl Stephens: Talk in plain language and more people will understand you.
Shannon LaBelle: There are a ton of little local museums around Vancouver.
Irwin Oostindie: We are our city's communities. Fuck stratas that shut down culture next to them.
Jeffrey Ellis: Vancouver has a vibrant underground comic community.
Tom Williams: Follow your true passion. Don't bullshit yourself about what that is. If you're unsure about your true passion, follow your tears.
Joe Solomon: We can create real climate change solutions today, using a kiva.org funding model and our existing community connections.
Dave Ng: Perspective is everything.
David Young: All the "great places" throughout history have been created by a core group of individuals in that place. Vancouver has more then enough potential to be a true great place.
Huge credit to Brett Macfarlane for organizing the event. I'm looking forward to more Interesting in the future.
|Transit Safety = Building Activity|
| Karen Fung is doing an amazing job captaining the SkyTrain Unconference Blog. There's an open in-person meeting on Saturday with Translink. I don't think I'll make it, so here are some thoughts on their targeted issue of Safety.|
SkyTrain stops are are hubs that lots of people pass through. Usually when there are many people around safety is not a concern. Problems can arise when a hub has relative down-time (empty except for a few people) or in quiet areas close-by.
The worst case is when you get off a skytrain or bus in a totally deserted area, or with only a few sketchy people and nobody else.
One powerful path to improvement is to build more community and commercial services around our transit hubs. A coffee shop, restaurant or bar right beside a transit hub is a world above a deserted hub in terms of safety.
Vancouver doesn't do this very well. Many large transit hubs are completely devoid of any services. These hugely traveled areas could support a variety of businesses, or serve as excellent locations for community activities if allowed.
Location, location, location! Translink needs to build more sticky activity in its centers. Safety through active community is the real way to improve the situation in and around transit hubs.
Locking the system down with turnstiles or more cops is an easy sound-bite solution, but doesn't address the root of the problem.
|Northern Voice 2008 recap|
The 2008 Northern Voice social media conference was a blast!
I led a session during the unconference day titled TransitCamp and Open Source Government. It was my first time presenting such a thing, and definitely a learning experience:
- good idea to ask audience how much they know about the topic at the start
- plan for at least 10 minutes of questions (probably more at unconferences)
- work on being a calm and collected speaker
An outcome of my session was this Open Letter regarding Open Access to BC Government data.
Matt Mullenweg was an excellent keynote speaker. However, I must call bullshit on his suggestion that police can make any meaningful difference containing spam in open systems.
Fuck Stats, Make Art was a very entertaining session from DaveO.
CBC is experimenting with crowd-sourcing Citizen Journalism, at least in Vancouver. I am planning to send them some story pitches, and you can too. This could be an awesome opportunity to open up our media. Hopefully I'll write more about this in the future.
Building a Better Conference Badge is a good read for all organizers. The NV nametags definitely need a redesign. Space for user-tagging is a good idea, but you need to tell people to do it when you give them out.
Finally, some random link love: Bokashi - Hassle-free composting
Thinking Cap - Internet Marketing
Hop Studios - Internet Consulting - has done government access to information requests
Anita Webster - Vancouver PR
353 Haiku Movie Review
How to save the world .ca
Green politics .ca
|Vancouver bloggers on parade|
|Vancouver is a high-tech city; tons of people here are bloggers. Here's a clearing house of Vancouver based blogs that have ended up in my RSS reader. I don't actually end up reading them all now, but there's good stuff within.|
Vancouver bloggers: please comment with a link to your blog and a description of what you write about. The internets will check it out.
And say "hi" to me at this year's Northern Voice Vancouver blogger conference.
|BarCamp thoughts and photos|
I attended another Vancouver edition of a BarCamp Unconference this past weekend. I missed the late-night and early morning parts, but everything I caught was a blast. Good sessions and good people.
In his wrap-up, Boris muses about the timing of things. I think the way to do it is to start in the morning, go through sessions during the day as happened, pause again for food/drinks/SuperHappy time around dinner, then move into less structured overnight hacking time. People might not end up sleeping over, but some would stay up late tinkering for sure.
I published my set of 70 BarCamp photos. I took it as an opportunity to try my hand at taking close-up shots of individual people. There were lots of interesting targets, and I got a number of shots that I'm really happy with. Good practice for my future paparazzi gigs...
|Super Happy Vancouver Lux Map|
| Last week I attended Super Happy Grow-op Dev House, a community hackathon party. It was plenty nerdy and plenty fun.|
I went in with the idea of using some time to create a Lux map of Vancouver, since there wasn't one yet. It was a good scale project to do, since I was able to get it (mostly) done and also spend a bunch of time talking with the other nerds there.
I cleaned it up more after the event, and spiced up the theme with creative commons photos from kidcadaver and Jaako. It's now gone through the MapLAB and has been released to the plugin manager inside Lux. If any DevHousers want a copy, send me an email.
|Vancouver Game Summit|
I just registered to attend the Vancouver Game Summit, which is happening May 3-4. The technology focus will probably be on producing next-gen console games, which isn't my thing. However, there looks to be some useful stuff in the "management track" for me. Plus the chance to network with local game dev peeps reeled me in.
Early bird pricing ends on Friday, so get in now if you want to.
|Awesome software only on the Mac|
| These Are A Few Of My Favorite Tools was one of the last sessions from day 1 of Northern Voice. It introduced a number of helpful tools for blogging or just being more productive on your computer. They're all listed on that page, so check them out (if you use a Mac). I'm going to be trying out a few when I have some more time, since a number of them looked awesome.|
Everybody was free to go up and demo some of their fav tools, in true unconference style. It turned out that only Mac users did though. Throughout the session there were a few "Does this run on Windows?" questions asked. The answer was always "uh no... it's mac only... but there might be a windows equivalent" (except for the FireFox extensions, which are cross-platform). As a Macintosh Cult member, it made me smile to see the tables turned, in terms of software choice.
It's great to see the wealth of tools available on Mac OS X now. Full credit goes to Apple for giving out free dev tools, and winning massive mindshare amongst the creatives and hackers who are building the future of software.
|Transit Camp update from Moose Camp|
| It's lunchtime at Moose Camp after some good sessions. I'm quite intrigued by the idea of a Vancouver Transit Camp. That link is just a temporary home on the northernvoice wiki as the idea gathers steam.|
Apparently Toronto recently held a Transit Camp that was an open discussion organized by local transit enthusiasts. They were focused on bringing forth solutions (as opposed to whining about problems). They got participation from the city and the TTC and came out of it on a positive road.
Some people here are talking about putting together a GVRD Transit Camp and I hope it happens. Check the Vancouver link above if you want to get involved.
|Vancouver bloggers chow down|
| The Northern Voice intro dinner was pretty awesome. The food was tasty, the chocolate fountain was flowing (until it broke), drinks were bountiful, and lots of bloggers were out and about...|
Momentum is Vancouver's awesome bike magazine. They're looking for more writers - get in contact.
Beyond Robson is Vancouver's premier culture blog. They claim to not cover the mainstream.
Tim Bray is a famous geek and great technology writer. He brought his kids (and a cowboy hat).
Boris Mann is some kind of Canadian mafia kingpin. Thanks to him and the other chefs for the food.
The World Is Not Flat is a live-blogged memoir of a year-long trip around the world.
uberbabe I'll let you investigate for yourself.
|Blogging in person|
The next few days I'm going to be attending Vancouver's blogging conference Northern Voice.
Last year I was too late to get a ticket to both days, but I went to moose camp. I met some interesting people and had a fun time. So I'm going back for the full deal this year. There's a welcome dinner happening tonight to kick it off. Rumor is there will be a chocolate fountain there...
|BarCamp Vancouver post-unconference report|
This weekend I was a participant in BarCamp Vancouver, a 24-hour localized geekfest. I met a bunch of interesting people in a pretty wide variety of fields, learned some funky new stuff, further grokked stuff I was already aware of, and had a general fun time.
Here are some short notes on some sessions (that I can remember):
Hacking the CBC (hosted by Tod Maffin (Inside the CBC)):
Lots of discussion about podcasts, music licensing, radio 3, regional representation, HNIC, ratings in TV/radio/web (can the current CBC be considered a success if it doesn't crack the top ratings?), and how to get the CBC to deal with the changing participatory news/blogging world of today.
I think the answer to that last bit is to create a Canadian style digg or reddit where any Canadian can post a link to relevant stories (written by the CBC, the Globe, the Star, canada.com, or any other blogger/publisher) and the entire country can vote up the news that we care about. All of Canada shares in ownership of the CBC, and with the new social news technologies out today, there's no reason that all of Canada can't help program the CBC, and use it to amplify ordinary Canadian voices on the net.
Photocamp (moderated by Kris Krug):
A bunch of different topics were covered. Questions were asked about the future of cameras. It was said that digital photography is capable of doing a lot more more then traditional film photography. New methods are being used (HDR) or researched (post-production re-focusing, physical place mapping from photos), and the future looks to have some serious goodies in store for digital photographers.
Warwick Patterson shared some photoshop processing tips: Filter->Sharpen->Unsharp Mask command as the first and last thing, with Curves (or Levels), and switching to sRGB mode (for display on the web) in between.
Open Source Business Practices (hosted by Robert Scales):
Talked about some techniques for open business practices, along with goals and possible consequences of it. Stuff like releasing your sales numbers to the public, building relationships with other shops in your field and related areas to help each other out (help push the rising tide that will lift all the boats).
Tagging for World Domination from Alexandra Samuel.
SEO and the Long Tail by Jason Billingsley from Elastic Path:
Create lots of (valuable) content targeting the long tail around your area of expertise. General SEO tips: the title tag is key, put your important targeted words at the front, etc.
The Meme Epidemic - A Case Study from Darren Barefoot.
CACert by Robin Johnson:
CAcert.org is a web of trust based Certificate Authority that issues certificates free of charged (as long as you're accepted into the trust web). It doesn't currently come installed in the major browsers, but looks like promising for the future. The worst case scenario is that it sucks just as much as the existing security authorities (that charge you a pretty penny for their trust).
There's tons more text in the blogosphere and photos on flickr reporting on BarCampVancouver...
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