1st Sunburn of the Season and Floorball Action

Comments 4 by Rebecca Bollwitt

DemoCamp VancouverIt being Friday, and a sunny Friday at that, we decided to have lunch on a patio this afternoon. So the work boys and I headed to Chill Winston. The benefits of Chill Winston are that it is extremely close to the office and it has a massive patio, the drawbacks being… exceptionally slow service. I got my first sunburn of the season on my right forearm but I’m hardly complaining – summer is here.

We just had a great evening, hanging out with the likes of Duane and DaveO – having drinks, talking life and tech. A big shout out to Floorball tomorrow, as I’ve heard SO much about it from Dave and especially Right Antler.

floorball.jpgTomorrow at Mulgrave School in West Vancouver [Google Maps] there will be a floorball tournament – what is floorball you ask? Well…. “Floorball is an exciting, fast-paced hockey evolution focused on highly skilled play. The sport is played on an oval-shaped rink with five players and a goalie on at a time. Floorball is one of the fastest growing sports in the world today because it is low-cost, safe and extremely exciting to play and watch [Floorball.com]”.

Basically, 3 x 20 minute periods, players in t-shirts, plastic sticks, whiffle ball, but so much more than your PE floor hockey. Tomorrow morning the first annual BCFF international floorball challenge begins. If you’re needing some local hockey action, especially since the Memorial Cup takes a day off tomorrow, head over to West Van to check it out for yourself – read the poster for more details.

DemoCamp Vancouver Liveblog

Comments 11 by Rebecca Bollwitt

What’s going on? From the wiki:

Unlike other iterations of DemoCamp, the Vancouver event covers all industries. Idea people will be presenting innovations on all things ranging from business to charity, high-technology to high-art. The purpose is to encourage a cross-pollination of industries and individuals in hopes that people engaged in unrelated endeavors might provide an enlightening perspective on the presenters concept. There is strength in diversity!

Tonight’s schedule:
* come in the door and post your demo idea on the board
* vote on demos you want to see tonight
* 30 minutes of meeting other attendees
* Presentations start at 6:00pm & run through until 6:30pm
* MC picks selections voted on by participants
* We will have 4 x 6 minute talks (time limit enforced, includes feedback)
* MC runs Speed pitching – 3 x 30sec pitches (or as many as time allows)
* Wrap up/discussion/hang out until 7:30pm
* Party moves to Six Acres (bar across the street)

Demo proposals listed on the wiki, pre-game:

Handi Mobility

MyBus is a Widset which retrieves Vancouver TransLink bus schedules. After downloading the Widsets application to your mobile phone and installing the MyBus widget you can enter any Vancouver 5-digit bus stop number and MyBus will retrieve the times the next buses arrive at that stop.


Gaboogie is a Vancouver-based company. We’ve developed an alternative to traditional conference calling services. We’re different in that our users schedule their calls online and instead of dialing in and entering a PIN, Gaboogie automatically calls everyone who’s supposed to be on the call. We also have one-click recording and RSS syndication, a dashboard to manage the call and all kinds of bright and shiny ajax stuff happening in the app…

DemoCamp Vancouver
Demo proposals now going up on the “board”

Flickr photos are going up with the tag: DemoCampVancouver. I just talked to a couple familiar bloggers, Gene from Tinfoiling and Nancy from the Vancouver Blogger Meetup Group. After a brief chat with Kerry Anne from the Lipgloss and Laptops podcast – events are now underway.

All those who have demo ideas up on the board will be given a few seconds to make a pitch then the group will vote on those we’d like to see. I doubt I’ll be able to rattle off every topic but here’s my attempt.

DemoCamp VancouverFrom radical business management tools, P2P investing space, Sxipper – free firefox extensions, low-tech solutions for workspace management, modernizing conference calls, visual stimulation other than television, digital satellite networks for performing arts centers, and a few more that I’ve missed. I’ll get some links up when the demos being – now it’s time to VOTE!… and also a last chance to SELL your idea to voters.

The results are in and the presenters are – Dan, Kevin, Amin, and the Sxip team

First up is Dan Gibbons with Gaboogie, who has innovative conference call solutions – he’s actually been featured at the top of this post in the pre-game wiki notes. The system essentially signs you on then calls all other members of the call – they already have companies such as Mozilla on board and there seems to be a lot of interest. The back end is all built on Ruby on Rails and the basic concept is they make money by selling minutes by the bundle. They’re a small company and if you ask what the name means… well weird it just good. They’re not spending any money on advertising but are reaching out to the blogging community. They’re doing a live demo now – entering a participant’s phone number in the dashboard and sparking up a live conference call. Their system is all ajax, and rails – they successfully setup an “on demand” call and we can hear the participant’s phone ringing to the left of the room, success! TIME’S UP (Boris sounds the alarm)

Kelvin – Tools for Urban Living is up next with Kevin – a working prototype is held up, a snap open screw driver with a flashlight, 15 bits, a hammer, measuring tape, digital display, level, magnetic surfaces to hold extra screws – and all of this is in a device no larger than a first generation nokia cell phone. The tool is an all-in-one basic household aid, selling for about $30. TIME’S UP (Boris sounds the alarm)

Amin is here to talk bout Peer to Peer Investing – a video presentation begins. Basically if you need $10,000 to start up your project and your buddy can give you $100 he may also want product and involvement in exchange. It’s inclusive of peer 2 peer lending as well. Amin has a very strong investment background and refers to this as micro investing. This is all a little over my head so check out the website if this sounds like your cup of tea. TIME’S UP (Boris sounds the alarm)

Weston is now up to talk about Sxipper “Forget your passwords!” Sxipper is a free add-on for Firefox that lets you log into any website with a single click. It saves time by keeping track of an unlimited number of usernames and passwords as well as the personal data you share every day over the web. When you reach a login field on a site Sxipper overlays and remembers your passwords/usernames for you. You can even generate crazy-weird info for those sites you really don’t want tracking you or sending you spam. It will also remember that auto-generated crazy password for the next time you need one. Sxipper manages privacy and security with an encrypted store on your computer. Also, “for those of you that don’t know what crazy open ID thing is, Sxipper just made it so that you can play with it and not know what it is,” chimes Boris. TIME’S UP!

We’re now going to break off and give a chance to all those who had demo ideas up on the board who were not chosen. They will be asked to head up to the front of the room to make 30 second pitches. We’ll then all vote on who will be able to present their demo in full next time.

John just mentioned that Tod Maffin launched Todbits.tv today – he’s here recording and I had a brief chance to say hello.

DemoCamp VancouverGene just made a brief presentation on text messaging financial transactions – he’s with Mt. Lehman Credit Union.

Boris informs everyone that this is the first of MANY DemoCamps, the next one will be in just a few weeks. The floor is now open to suggestions for what to do next time e.g. wine and beer mmmm and going low-tech like Dave’s podcasting presentation at Northern Voice. Boris also suggests presentation karaoke – where you get up to the front of the group and have to do a presentation with materials you’ve never seen before.

Keep up to date on the wiki – add your name for next time, add a short write up and anyone can participate.

Update: In after-hours chatting, Tod Maffin just sat down beside me to let me in on a cool new app – Flickr to Facebook. I just uploaded a photo of him on Flickr and he went in, clicked a button on his Firefox toolbar “Flickr to Facebook”. It sends the photo to the Facebook album of your choice where you can then approve it and tag. WAY cool!

Ongoing History of Rock, Worst Lyrics. Ever.

Comments 6 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Before bed last night I was setting my alarm and caught Alan Cross on the radio. Alan does a weekly show, which is played on CFOX and available in podcast form, about The Ongoing History of New Music. Every week there is a theme, whether it be about the music business or musicians themselves. Last night’s was posing the question, did artists in the 60s and 70s scoop up all the possible (good) riffs? He then played The Beatles’ “Ob la di Ob la da” compared to The Offspring‘s “Get a Job”, The Rolling Stones “Brown Sugar” vs The Dandy Warhols “Bohemian Like You”, and Iggy Pop “Lust for Life” vs Jet “Are You Gonna be my Girl?”. Just to give us a taste of what he was getting at.

I decided to hit the website to check out these new fancy podcasts they’ve been promoting lately. It seems as though they finally got the go ahead to produce these as long as they did not include any of the music. I’ve subscribed now so I guess we’ll see how the shows sound without the audible comparisons and snippets.

While on the New Music Geek Blog, which is what they’re calling Alan’s portion of the CFOX website, I came across a post about the worst lyrics, ever. The BBC and Rolling Stone Magazine have each compiled what they and their public have deemed the worst lyrics in music. The differences in the two lists are kind of amusing.

The BBC audience seems to dislike Razorlight, ABC, Oasis, Duran Duran and Human League lyrics

“Before he leaves the camp he stops,
He scans the world outside,
And where there used to be some shops,
Is where the snipers sometimes hide.”


While Rolling Stone is harder on the Thong Song,

“I like it when the beat goes
Duh dun duh
Baby make your booty go
Duh dun duh”

I have to say I’ve heard some pretty lame lyrics in my time and they’re usually by someone whose name rhymes with Bitney Peers. I know that’s probably a given, but for lack of being able to think of some of my most despised lyrics on the spot, I have to default to some of those pop-punk bands and all their “sha na na nas” which make up entire choruses. *shudder*.

There are some pretty good suggestions in the comments of the Rolling Stone Mag post, and you can check out the Ongoing History of New Music on 99.3 the Fox, Wednesdays @ 11pm and Sundays @ 6pm.

Liveblogging – Is it worth it?

Comments 3 by Rebecca Bollwitt

I’ve done a few live blogs in my time… well maybe about 3 or 4, the most “valuable” being the live blog of Matthew Good‘s living room performance back in August [Miss604]. Seth Godin recently made some valid points about liveblogging as a medium – something he observed at a recent conference.

Compare these liveblog posts to posts written an hour later, ones that digest and reflect and chunk the information. These are deliberately designed to inform the reader, not to remind the writer.

I don’t mean to pick on the medium. I think it’s incredibly valuable–for the poster. We’re finding a growing dichotomy now, between blogs that help the reader and blogs that helps the writer. [Seth Godin]

It’s definitely difficult to relay information on the go, it’s basically rapid-fire note taking. I find that I type a lot of inside jokes when I’m liveblogging, things that could either be better explained with a post-mortem or left out entirely in a recap. What I find most valuable about liveblogging is the instant feedback and interaction with readers. For the evening with Matt Good people could ask questions in my comments and I would relay them directly to him, then I would type the answers.

Matt Good's Acoustic Show in his Home

The same thing goes for fellow Crazy Canuck, Alanah, when she liveblogs games on Canucks and Beyond. You get her instant feedback about how she thinks the game is going and comments are wide open for discussion.

Regardless, there is a time and place for everything – sometimes people cannot get to the show, to the conference or the demoCamp01. For that reason, I’ll keep bringing my laptop and have it handy to jot down anything that comes my way, whether it be live, or 10 minutes after the fact. I just hope that this is in fact of merit to the reader.

Update: On a very related note, I will be liveblogging at DemoCamp01 tomorrow – to read more check the Bryght events page, the wiki and John’s post.

Downtown Vancouver Shopping Success

Comments 9 by Rebecca Bollwitt

As much I despise Robson Street, malls and shopping downtown in general, there comes a time when you just need a little retail therapy. That, and the fact that for some reason 3 pairs of my jeans decided to get torn all within the span of a week, lead John and I out in what little sunshine kissed the city this afternoon.

Photo credit: blindphotography on Flickr

No matter how much we think we can stomach the throngs of tourists, Sunday walkers (every day of the week) and crowded sidewalks full of dilly-dalliers, we’re never strong enough to withstand Robson’s commercial splendor for more than about 30 minutes. The first stop was eBags, since getting my Macbook I still have not purchased a decent bag in which to carry it. I did get one super cheap but it’s just an over-the-shoulder style which has been causing bad posture and soreness for weeks. Of course the shoulder soreness also causes John pain since he became my masseuse Feb 25, 2006. eBags is located right next to the “House of Clogs” and across from Hon’s. They have some great deals and I found a cute little inconspicuous laptop bag for $19.99.

The next stop was jeans for me and a shirt for John. After a quick pitstop to sample the new orange mocha frappuccino at the corner of Starbucks and Starbucks, we headed toward my never-fail ultimate jean-getting store: The Bay.

Now you wouldn’t think that a department store, in a mall, in downtown Vancouver (or any location really) would have decent, inexpensive, non-hideous denim, but they do. I had great luck a few months ago when I purchased a pair of Buffalos for $20 so I thought I would give it another go. Not that I care at all about the brand name, but seeing as how this is the one pair that hasn’t fallen prey to the rippage, they’re my pretty much the star of my wardrobe at the moment. After about 5 minutes we found a shirt for John, went upstairs and had some luck with the jeans – again. The price tag was a little higher than desirable but when I got to the cashier, they were surprisingly 40% off – and this is what I’m talking about. You have to dig to find what little gems there are at The Bay but once you find them, there’s always a lovely surprise like a discount – which of course is the best surprise when it comes to shopping.

The next purchase for both of us will have to be shoes, but we’re saving that for another day. Although, have you ever noticed that outside of Payless Shoes on Robson there is always a pair of discarded shoes? It’s obvious that people walk into the store in one pair, buy new shoes, and deposit their wear-ins outside near the garbage can. You can be guaranteed to find a pair of shoes there at any time of day, any day of the week. I wonder if Payless has ever considered accepting peoples’ old shoes and donating them? Well, the still-decent ones anyway.

One thing’s for sure, before any more shopping I have to do some serious closet-purging. The last time I did that I had a hard time locating a drop bin or finding a charity that would pick up goods downtown. So if anyone knows of a way that I can work out logistics to get my donations dropped off or picked up, please let me know.

The walk home was pretty soggy, especially since we both left the house wearing sandals, but that justified coming home and vegging on the couch the rest of the afternoon. I’m just hoping the rest of the weekend isn’t as grey, I’m unsure it will be perfect beach-going weather but perhaps we’ll venture into the Park regardless as I’m going to need a little time to detox from today’s mega retail experience.