|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.