Comparing nearly six months progress of the Vancouver Olympic Village

I have a mild obsession with the Olympics. The fascination has been with me for as long as I can remember, so it’s no surprise that I watch all the construction with anticipation, all political arguments aside. I just love the games. Period.

So almost six months ago, I took this photo on my way into work in the morning.

Daily pass of the Olympic Village

This afternoon, I took this photo on my walk home.

Overall shot from Cambie Bridge

The progress of this small city is astounding. We watch it everyday at work, and I battle the lines at the various places to eat near work on a constant basis. No matter when or where, there is always at least one construction guy or gal either buying coffee or having a bite to eat. The day I don’t have to cross the street without the fear of impending doom from a cement truck barreling down the street will be a strange day, especially with that Canada Line going in just a few blocks away.

Here’s another neat comparison of a photo that I took back in January, looking towards Science World from the Cambie Bridge.

Very Vancouver

And then, today, looking from about the same point, slightly more zoomed in.

Can't see Science World anymore

I’d say that’s progress, but here’s a couple more photos for fun.

Crews at work

Looking down the streets

You can see more here.

Vegan food with Sean Bonner of Metroblogging

Sean Bonner On a bit of a whim, we were invited to have dinner with Sean Bonner and Jeffery Simpson at The Naam in Vancouver last week or so. Sean was in town on a whirlwind tour of the greater northwest, stopping in Seattle, Vancouver, and Portland to check in on the Metroblogging meetups for each of those cities. Reason being, Sean Bonner is the guy behind Metroblogging, starting the first site in L.A. and now up to 50 cities around the world.

We were able to meet up with Sean and some of the other Metroblogging Vancouver crew, of which Rebecca is a member of, the next evening. Still, it was a neat chance to find out more about the man and his methods of madness in terms of how the network operates on top of what he has gone through to grow the blogging site to what it is today.

What is Metroblogging?

Metroblogging started off as a more locally focused alternative news source in Los Angeles and has turned into the largest and fastest growing network of city-specific blogs on the Web. We got sick of reading local news that was syndicated from the other side of the country, or was just repurposed national chit chat that had nothing to do with our city. We created our first blog as a throw back to the days when a local news paper focused on local issues, and you could walk down to the corner coffee shop and chat up the reporters whose column you read earlier that day. This idea didn’t stay in one city for long and before we knew it there were Metblogs in Chicago, Portland, Karachi, and Vienna. Today there are over 50 Metblogs in countries all over the world. Local politics, event reviews, lunch recommendations and ways to avoid that big traffic jam downtown. If it’s happening in our cities, we’re on it.

We are bloggers first and foremost, and we love our cities. Even the parts we hate. [metblogs]

The project that Sean now heads is daunting, to say the least. It was interesting to learn about the trials and tribulations of the original structure of Metroblogging and the recent migration to WordPress to run the back end for all their city sites. That kind of a roll out has got to be a challenge, and there has been a lot of elements to work through for them.

Now with the hard parts are out of the way, Sean gave hints as to things they are working on because finally, with a WordPress engine running the site, they have the ability to start doing things they’ve been wanting to do for a really long time. I’m just not going to tell you what they are because you’ll have to check out the nearest Metroblogging city to you.

Side note, The Naam[googlemaps] on 4th Street in Vancouver is amazing. Vegan food that even non-vegans would love. I could have been fine with the sesame fries and fried tofu, but the chilaquiles were pretty awesome.

Welcome to Vancouver, Apple Store

In less than twelve hours, the first Apple Store in Vancouver will be open.

Apple Store Pacific Centre - Under Construction
Photo credit: gregeh on Flickr

In the wee hours of tomorrow morning, the crowds will descend, a line shall form, and madness will ensue. In fact, people are most likely camped outside of Pacific Centre on Georgia Street at this moment. I would love to be there for an Apple Store opening and have heard nothing but cool things about it.

Sometimes they even hand out super fun free stuff, crazy discounts, or the odd gift certificate. Still, not enough to really want to make me suffer in line on a day off from work. Plus I’m holding out on replacing my Powerbook G4 with something more of a MacBook flavor, so that’s more of a priority in the near future.

There also won’t be any iPhones to speak of, but that will be changing in the very near future. John Biehler has more on that with some good points.

Unfortunately no details other than it’s coming ‘before the end of the year’.

The big questions to me are:

1. How much for the phone itself in Canada?
2. what does the data and voice plans look like? They better resemble the US pricing
3. How long do we have to lock in? Rogers seems to like 3 year terms
4. Will it be the rumoured new 3G model or as Rogers tends to be behind in releasing phones, will it be last year’s model [johnbiehler]

So an Apple Store within easy walking distance plus the iPhone on the horizon. Things are finally starting to happen for B.C. About freaking time, Apple.

Cranking out the podcasts for happyfrog.ca at EPIC 2008

smart car EPIC

What seems like ages ago, I was invited to be apart of the “Frogsquad” at EPIC 2008 and happyfrog.ca’s official media coverage of the weekend festivities. Rebecca joined in with her blogging expertise, and I did my fair share of producing podcasts while DaveO ran amok inside the convention. I have never published so many episodes of a podcast as I did in three days. Lots of audio goodness there.

happyfrog To give a little a little more background on the event, EPIC is the annual, sustainability living expo that happens in downtown Vancouver. This was my first time attending, but I’ve heard about the event previously. People gather to discuss and discover ways to live a more green lifestyle and find alternative resources to satisfy everyday needs. And mark your calendar for next year’s expo, May 8-10, 2009.

While we’re at it, I should mention that if you are looking to find more information like this in the lower mainland of British Columbia, then that’s where happyfrog.ca comes in. They are a community and directory of all things green in B.C., and you can find a wealth of information there as well as contribute to the growing site. Every time I hear from DaveO about it, there’s more and more in the pipes, so keep checking back.

Interviewing the folks from Vespa

DaveO got a lot of great interviews, and the Vespa folks were one of my favorites. They are introducing a three wheeled version of their scooter which makes me want one. It’s a scooter by law, but you basically need a motorcycle license to drive it. Oh yeah, and there’s no kick stand.

Adria Vasil talking to Raul

Even Raul got into the mix, taking the microphone and talking to a well respected expert in the field of eco-living, Adria Vasil.

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Certainly the highlight to my experience at EPIC 2008 was an appearance by Mike Holmes and his talk on how we can build greener homes, and how to do it cheaper, better, and right. I’ve come to really enjoy his show on HGTV, but it will end after this next season. According to what he mentioned on stage, he will be starting a new show called “Making It Right“. He’ll be “going to New Orleans, and we’ll make things right there. After that, we’ll be going to Africa, selecting areas and families that need good homes and show how we can make things right there.”

I’m not sure what comes after Africa, but that’s pretty amazing.

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Of course, you can’t forget all the clothes you could buy at EPIC. And honestly, there was a lot of really cool stuff. I think most people have hemp come to mind as being the main source of material at an event like this, but there are all sorts of ways that people are creating great clothing. More so, the happyfrog.ca t-shirt I got is made out of bamboo, and it’s fantastic! It’s so soft that I want bed sheets made from bamboo now.

I have lots more pictures of the event on Flickr, but there are a lot more reports of the event on the frogblog. After all, this is official media coverage, most of it created live from the event floor, and I’m lucky to have been apart of it.

Drupal Camp Vancouver this weekend

It’s harsh to mention this now, but Drupal Camp Vancouver is this weekend. If you haven’t signed up to attend, then you’re out of luck. It’s been sold out for the last few weeks, but that does ensure that this gathering and sharing of knowledge all related to good things Drupal should be a good one.

Drupal Camp Vancouver

I am fortunate enough to be able to attend as well as helping out with the behind the scenes of getting things lined up with some of the sponsors for the event. Working with DaveO, we were able to make sure that they and we were all good to go for a spectacular weekend of talking Drupal.

Unfortunately, my day job prevents me from making Friday’s events until late afternoon, but I’ll be getting into what I can on Saturday. I’m not sure what my coverage of the event will be like this weekend, but be sure to check in on Rebecca to get some insight to the action from her recap from here and there.

Bridging Media conference thoughts, way after the fact

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I had the chance to attend the Bridging Media conference a few weeks ago while Rebecca live blogged the whole event as a media sponsor. It’s been a little while since then, but I figure it’s better late than never to post a few thoughts about it while showing off some photos that I snapped throughout the day.

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The purpose of this event was to bring the realms of traditional media into the same conversation as electronic media, and it was a really good mix of methods. Print, broadcast, and film shared the same stage as online video producers, bloggers, web marketers, and so on.

Being someone who currently works in the area of broadcasting, this is something that I struggle with on a daily, personal level. How can the realms of online media mesh with the traditional, highly stagnate methods of traditional media? That’s what this conference of sorts was meant to open the conversation to, not that I have a lot of weight or say as to how these two things are indeed bridged. I’m just a huge advocate for it.

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It’s really tough for me to break down each and every conversation at this point, so I really encourage you to read through Rebecca’s live blog to get a better sense of what was discussed.

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What I took away from this conference is that there is a lot to learn about how each side of the coin can work together in order to enrich media content as a whole. From education to story telling to information sharing to the way that marketers let you know about neat, new things, there are a lot of methods that have strengths and weaknesses which can only be helped through sharing the load.

In this world of electronic media, it’s tough to say that one form of distribution is better than the other. Each method has the way it delivers its message, and that message gets to a particular audience based on interest as well as the method. To me, it says that the only way to really strengthen your distribution is to have more ways to put out your message.

In radio, there is the old adage of saying it enough times and someone is bound to hear it at least once. But not everyone listens to the radio, and not everyone owns a TV. So it comes down to getting your message out to as many outlets that you can, and then doing it well. That’s what I think Bridging Media is trying to do, all the while opening new doors for traditional media to try out.

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And finally, congrats to Megan and Erica for pulling together a really great event. It was a great day that really left me feeling inspired and full of great ideas.

Some actual signs of progress in Stanley Park

About two weeks ago, Rebecca and I went for a walk in Stanley Park as we so often do. On one of my early morning runs that took me along the drive near Prospect Point, I’ve noticed a trail that was never visible since the storm damage from over a year ago. I always thought that it was interesting how you could see the Merilees Trail from Stanley Park Drive due to all the fallen trees, but then the gate blocking access to that and the Siwash Rock Trail was gone.

On our walk, I said I wanted to venture that way and see what we could find. What we found was somewhat surprising.

Nifty metal rail

Gone is all of the wooden, almost farm-like fence that separated you from falling fifty feet onto the Seawall below. Now it has been replaced with a craftily welded, metal railing that goes along the entire length of the trail, all the way to Siwash Rock itself.

Man made nature spot?

There was also this bit of landscaping that is destined to become a posh little spot along the trail. At first I didn’t think there was much to all the piles of gravel and the machinery in the area, but looking back at it from this angle, you can see the tiny steps going into a fun little spot that will be bound to attract multitudes of couples looking to make out from the nice viewpoint.

Bit of welding going on here

It’s nice to see that this millions of dollars being spent on the cleanup in Stanley Park is resulting in some obvious results. The landscaping is questionable, but there is also a vast amount of work down to improve the drainage in the entire area of Prospect Point. I’m sure this is to ensure that landslides will have less of a chance to occur in the future, but nature has its way of proving that wrong.

Of course, I already mentioned Hollow Tree, but it’s still sad to see it go. Stanley Park has been there a lot longer than Vancouver has existed, so life will go on, millions of dollars at a time.