Wednesday Morning Link Fest: News Roundup

Comments 2 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Every morning while getting ready for work, my husband listens to the local news radio station. As I slowly wake from my slumber I hear sports scores peppered with weather guarantees and the latest Hollywood gossip that all somehow work their way into my half-conscious dreams. As such, this morning’s Link Fest is dedicated simply to what’s making headlines around the city.

Photo credit: mysighTs on Flickr / Miss604 Group Pool
  • Grow-op busted on Mount Seymour. For those who do not live in BC, a “grow-op” is a Marijuana growing operation and this particular one involved about 300 plants that were spotted from above in a helicopter. The comments section on this story online is almost as entertaining as the face the police officer is making in the photo accompanying the article. [Vancouver Sun]
  • The Today Show will be broadcasting from Grouse Mountian during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. “NBC said Today show fans are encouraged to visit Grouse Mountain every day to watch the live broadcast and get a chance to meet Olympic athletes and the show anchors.” [Vancouver Sun]
  • BC isn’t much closer to banning the use of cell phones (for calls or text) while driving. [CKNW] Meanwhile Ontario has its ban in place (with fines starting at $500) which also includes hand-held entertainment devices such as MP3 players (if they’re not plugged into the vehicle’s sound system).
  • A pipe bomb was found and safely detonated outside of Metrotown Shopping Centre yesterday. They still don’t know how it got there but there was a similar bomb found at Metrotown in March of 2008. [CBC]
  • Critical Mass is a monthly cycling demonstration through the streets of Vancouver to promote bike culture while also cutting off vital vehicle commuting routes on the last Friday of each month. Some feel that this “in your face” approach is a bit much (even though it’s been going on for years) so they have taken action… by taking less action. On August 14th Critical Manners will lead cyclists around the city on bike routes, while co-existing with vehicles instead of cutting them off.
  • If you are a homeowner in the Metro Vancouver area, are you renting out your home during the 2010 games? Turns out not too many rentals are being scooped up with just six months left to go. [CBC].
  • The new Canada Line North Arm Bridge from South Vancouver to Richmond carries under it a bicycle and walking path that will allow pedestrians, cyclists, and transit-riders alike to make the crossing. The new Canada Line trains will also allow for bikes at any time of day (even during peak hours). [CBC] There are areas without seats that have a special hub where you can rest the front wheel of your bike during the train ride.
  • With the Canada Line opening up months ahead of schedule, the City of Vancouver hasn’t quite caught up. The Granville Street revitalization isn’t quite ready so downtown still looks like a construction zone however, the trains will be running from Waterfront all the way to Richmond Centre and the Vancouver International Airport as of Monday August 17th. Which leads me into this poll:

    [poll id=”35″]

    The Road to Canterbury

    Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

    It spun me back into Grade 11 English Lit mode but it was one fun ride. The Road to Canterbury is a modern twist on Chaucer’s Tales that takes place all across Queen Elizabeth Park this month.


    The play follows a small cast of Chaucer’s original gang including The Knight’s Tale, The Miller’s Tale, The Wife of Bath’s Tale, The Pardoner’s Tale, and The Prioress’ Tale. All of which are splashed with current-day scenarios and humour.

    Not only do you get to experience this comedic romp in the open air, but you’ll also get a nice tour of the amazing gardens at Queen Elizabeth Park while you’re at it. The show is over 90 minute long so be sure to wear sensible shoes and feel free to bring a picnic blanket to rest during some of the acts.

    The Road to Canterbury is presented by ITSAZOO Productions and will run until August 21st. Evening walks begin at 7:00pm (matinees at 2:00pm) and tickets can be purchased on site near the entrance to the Bloedel Conservatory or reserved by calling (604) 221-6604.

    Please note, the show is not suitable for children under 10 years of age.

    Contest Management from Strutta

    Comments 8 by Rebecca Bollwitt

    struttaOnline contests are a great way to boost community engagement on your website, blog, or general online presence. I’m noticing photo and video contests are on the rise lately however they’re pretty much all over the place.

    The current options are email a photo (but what about file size limit), or submit a Facebook photo (but what about account privacy setting limits), or add photos to a Flickr group (but what about those without accounts). I understand that content creators should be able to maintain the rights to their images etc. so I’m all in favour of Flickr photo contests, however if you’re going to go big, seek out participants, voters, and run a really cool contest in general, you should be using Strutta.

    It takes about 10 minutes (maximum) to setup a Strutta contest page. Using their platform you can choose a template for your contest site, host it off your own site or theirs, upload rules, and setup voting basics such as star-ratings or judge profiles. The best part is that it’s FREE. Yes, totally free but with bonus options you can add on as you like, for various fees.

    I used Strutta in February for the Vancouver Twestival video competition and that was before it even had all the bells and whistles available today. They also have a handful of other contests running right now that you can check out.

    Now, I’ve been friends with the folks at Strutta for years and they probably have no idea I’m writing this blog post. I just absolutely felt there was a need to inform companies and individuals that services like this do exist. They’re local, they’re a great group of people, and it won’t cost you all that much (if anything) to run an awesome photo or video contest with them.

    eight years of the busblog

    Comments 2 by Rebecca Bollwitt

    mr pierceWhen people ask me how I started blogging, I first mention my lifelong obsession with technology, and then I list my influences. At the top of the list is Tony Pierce who is currently celebrating the eight anniversary of his busblog.

    Tony shares on his blog, he gives advice, talks about the Cubs, literally wrote the book on blogging, and he’s currently in charge of all blogs over at the LA Times. On top of that, he’s a really fun guy who was one of the first additions to my blogroll in 2004, and probably John’s in 2003 as well.

    If you’ve ever seen me do a “Blogging 101” talk, you’ll also recognize him from slides 22-24.

    I first met Tony in person in Las Vegas, although the story doesn’t get much more exciting than it should after an introduction like that. However this one time he mailed Keira some chocolate chips and as a result, she invited me to share an evening of sugary cookie-baking debauchery with her. Those were good times. He even made it up to Vancouver a few summers ago and we all watched the fireworks together in English Bay. Again, very good times.

    Tony is the ultimate “blogfather” to hundreds if not thousands of bloggers across the globe. It’s his continuous frank, straight-up, and charming writing style that keeps us coming back to the busblog even though I once heard nothing in there is true.

    ZipCar's Low Car Diet Finale Party

    Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Zipcar Zip Zip!Last year I was introduced to ZipCar during National Digital Media Day and I’ve enjoyed my casual car options ever since.

    This summer ZipCar has taken 15 participants from each of their operating cities in North America and challenged them to a “Low Car Diet”. The Low-Car Dieters vowed to walk, bike, skate and Zip but not drive their personal car for one month. August 13th is their 30th day without using their own vehicle and so ZipCar is celebrating with a party at Yaggers downtown (for Vancouverites). You can read blog posts by all participants in every city online as well.

    ZipCar is basically a short-term car rental service where you have a membership, book cars (from 1 hour to all day) and pick up/drop off at any of the dozens of parking stalls in your area where they reside. It’s a great system with awesome key-less technology and for a couple like us who do not own a car but sometimes find ourselves in situations where having a trunk or a set of wheels would be really handy, it’s ideal.

    The Low Car Diet finale party will take place at Yaggers on Pender Street from 7:00-9:00pm on Thursday August 13th. All ZipCard holders and their friends will get a complimentary drink courtesy of Yaggers, and there will be appetizers served as well. They will also be running their “Refer A Friend” offer ($50 driving credit for each of you, after they sign up for ZipCar for $30).

    With an expanded fleet of hybrids available as ZipCars and a two-way text alert system, it might be a good time to give it a try.