Photographs from Surrey Canada Day celebrations

Rebecca was contacted by the fine folks at the city of Surrey to be a media co-sponsor for their Canada Day events in Cloverdale. July 1st saw nearly 40,000 people crowd onto the Cloverdale Millennium Amphitheater grounds to play games, see stilt walkers, get their faces painted, and see a jam packed line-up of musical acts on the main stage, including the likes of Rymes With Orange, The Payola$, and Loverboy.

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Events like this tend to find me with media access for the both of us, and of course that means I have to take my camera along with. You can read all of Rebecca’s coverage of the event [Surrey Canada Day 2008: The Schedule, Morning Recap, The Music], but the following are some of my favorite shots that I took.

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Will is a really amazing musician. See him live if you can because you must.

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Surrey Canada Day 2008

That’s Mr. Bob Rock[wiki], ladies and gentlemen, in the flesh.

Surrey Canada Day 2008

You can see all 104 photos on Flickr. Shooting outdoor events can be a lot of fun, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s loud in the photo pit, not to mention the sweltering heat on that day. Sometimes I feel intimidated by being surrounded with folks that have larger and much more expensive photo equipment, but the pictures that come out from my endeavors tend to speak for themselves. It’s not what you got that matters. It’s how you use it, and I’m doing my damnedest to learn my camera and get better with every shot.

The folks at the Surrey Canada Day event were amazing in terms of getting us the media access and letting us know the low down on what was going on, where everything was located, and were just generally awesome people. By far, the best treatment I have ever experienced in terms of media access for new media folks.

Playing photographer at the Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival 2008

Entrance to the Vancouver Dragonboat Festival 2008

About a week and a half ago, I had the extreme pleasure of joining Rebecca on a really cool experience of covering the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival for the festivities of 2008.

Cycling teams through

People come from all over to compete in this event, not to mention watch and enjoy the festivities.

The Festival was created to show off Vancouver’s growing cultural diversity and to promote racial harmony among Canadians – new and old. Vancouverites were invited to the festival to experience spectacular food, entertainment, arts and children’s programming reflecting Vancouver’s cultural diversity. At the same time, interest in paddling was taking off and more and more teams formed and registered each year.

Twenty years later the Festival still fulfills its mandate to promote cultural harmony among Canadians. It has developed into one of Vancouver’s most anticipated summer family events. [dragonboatbc]

Throw ring, win tinfoil!

This was just a little bit more than the run of the mill walking around, shooting pictures, and seeing the sights. Thanks to Anita, we had media passes to the event.

Pretending to be in the boat

Rogers team stretches before racing

Probably the best thing about the media access for this event was being able to ride in the media boat and follow the racers as they went from start to finish, paddling along until their bodies couldn’t give anymore.

Warming up

Smile

Keeping guard

Good game

With my trusty camera, I decided to try something a little different and shoot some video with it of an actual heat or two.

The Dragon Boat Festival is a real passion for some of these racers. There’s a community that comes from the numerous teams, and the action is just as intense. This is something that you don’t really get a sense of until you get away from all of the tents and vendors on dry land. When you get down to the water level, it’s a whole other experience that I’m really glad I had the opportunity to see.

Weekend camping at Cultus Lake for drunkcamp02

Camping on Cultus

Three days in Chilliwack, B.C. at Cultus Lake with Rebecca, John, and Duane. Lots and lots of sitting around the campfire, laughing a ton, good drink, good food, and the weather was… good.

Home for three days

Nerd City

The forecast in the days leading up to the trip just got worse and worse. Everyone we knew told us that we were nuts for going camping this weekend. It ended up being awful on Thursday night, Friday was actually really nice, and Saturday was off and on in terms of being cool from winds that would whip up from time to time. Other than that, everything went off great.

I like fire

I even busted open my right shin a tiny bit when a piece of wood I was chopping got away and clocked me. That’s about par for the course, no other major injuries.

Sunset behind the mountain

Drowning tree

I can still smell the smoke, if not taste it. That’s only the real complaint of the trip, even if the coolness kept us all pretty close to the fire. Couldn’t even fathom jumping into the lake, no matter how inviting or calling it might have been. Fleece under a rain jacket was just right. Bone chilling lake water from ice run off from the mountains in the area, not so much.

Lanyards

Ah yes, we indeed called this drunkcamp02, complete with lanyards. It’s more of a statement of enjoying the time away from laptops and technology and becoming one with nature. Even though there are public washrooms within easy walk and Duane’s family brought us amazing food(perogies, cabbage rolls, and KFC), donuts from Tim Horton’s, and fire wood in three separate trips on Saturday, it’s tough country out there “in the Wack”.

You can see more of my pictures from the trip on Flickr.

July 11th is the day for the iPhone 3G in Canada

The day has finally been set, so we can finally stop all the complaining about how the neighbors closest to the country who originated the iPhone can finally get the same ability to use and abuse Apple’s latest got-to-have-it. We can also stop our whining and pining for an Apple Store of our own in Vancouver so we can be sure that we don’t have to go all the way to Toronto to buy it from one of the three locations there.

Alright, so I’m still complaining, but at least I can say that it’s about time.

For those not in the know, the 2008 Apple World Wide Developers Conference kicked off today with the traditional keynote address. In all actuality, this is more like a sold out rock show that all the cool kids wanna be at. Difference is that all these “cool kids” are major tech heads that get some major kicks out of seeing what Apple has hiding up their sleeve, and you know that I’m a sucker just like the rest of them.

Before any talk of the new iPhone, I thought it was interesting that the next version of the Mac OS, 10.6, is being previewed at this conference. That’s basically all we really know, other than the rumors that the next release will be less cosmetic and more of a back end strengthening of the OS. More details in time, I’m sure.

So the iPhone 3G, on the other hand, is the huge news. So what makes it better than the original iPhone? Lots, and John Biehler has a lot more details on today’s events, even taking in the coverage as it happened at the Vancouver Apple Store.

This new iPhone is wicked, but why does the “3G” tag on the end mean anything? No, it’s not a throw back to the G3, G4, or G5 processor mumbo-jumbo of Mac days past[wiki]. This is 3G in terms of mobile phone standards[wiki]. It just means faster methods of data transfer beyond simple voice send and receive of a normal phone call.

But that’s not all. At my day job, I get a Blackberry. It’s… ok, but there are so many things about it that frustrate me. However, it’s tied to an Exchange Server, so I get all company email to it as well as contacts, appointments, tasks, etc. The new version of the iPhone operating system, “2.0”, promises to work with Exchange Servers. Combine that with a 3G network in terms of speed and the ease of use of the iPhone interface, because the limited experience I have with Rebecca’s, would make me happy not only as a consumer, but as a network administrator as well.

Of course, out of the gate, there are going to be serious elements to look at before any enterprise use is widespread, but that’s the nature of the beast. Even if Apple hits it on the head, you still have to convince the skeptics at the top of the I.T. food chain. That can be challenging, to say the least.

But there’s still more. The iPhone App Store is going to open up a whole new world in terms of what you can actually do with your iPhone 3G. Applications that you can buy to monitor network traffic, get baseball updates, or the Plum Record app that caught my eye, which is software to record audio on your iPhone. Who needs adapters when the hardware is there to record the audio and someone just needs to write the app for it to work? Potentially very cool for the podcast recording needs.

There is going to be more over the coming month to see how this all pans out. First thing to figure out is how Rogers and Fido will price the data plans for these suckers in Canada. After that, it’s just a matter of how you want to position yourself in line. Elbows out on July 11th or wait till Christmas?

A trip to Osoyoos in pictures

It must have been nearly a month ago, and it took me a long time to get the pictures posted from our trip to Osoyoos for a quick weekend getaway, so here’s a delayed recap in photos. Rebecca has some good posts about the trips and various portions of it here, here, here, and here.

Downtown Osoyoos

Welcome to the wild, wild Washington State

Those trees are really that huge

Lake Osoyoos below

Seriously, go slow

Burrowing Owl Winery

Vines getting ready to grow

Sahara Courtyard Inn Motel

Beef and pork on the grill

Lots of rest and relaxation, but we don’t own a car. It’s nice to take long drives through the countryside, see the land, and listen to music. That’s what makes us happy.

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.

CityTV in Toronto punished for using Flickr photos and not giving proper credit to owner

CityTV in Toronto had a great story. Burglar gets caught in the act by home owner, attempts to get away by leaping off balcony, busts his leg, and someone snaps pictures of the poor sap while he lays on the ground as cops are called and arrive to the scene. What avid Flickr user Joel Charlebois did with the photos afterward is the real story.

When CityTV heard him mention that he was going to post the photos to Flickr, they not only checked them out but used them in a news story. Problem is, there was no mention of the person who took the images. This is also known as a violation of copyright. As any good Flickr user and avid photographer will tell you (like Duane did on his blog post on this same topic), you protect the things you love. Yes, you can protect your photos on Flickr with a copyright, and the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council agreed with the complaint brought against CityTV.

Charlebois, displeased, took his case to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC), and today, nine months after the complaint was filed, a majority of the National Specialty Services Panel found that City’s broadcast did indeed violate the Association of Electronic Journalists of Canada’s RTNDA Code of (Journalistic) Ethics, which states that “Plagiarism is unacceptable. Broadcast journalists will strive to honour the intellectual property of others, including video and audio materials.” (The full decision is here.) The panel took particular issue with the lack of credit to Charlebois, stating that “the broadcaster knew full well the identity of the photographer whose still shots were used in the news report,” an omission that they deemed unfair, for news reporting or otherwise. (They note that the American RTNDA states that “professional electronic journalists should…clearly disclose the origin of information and label all material provided by outsiders.”)

As a result, City must issue a rare on-air statement at least twice, during prime time, over the next ten days. That statement will follow a script set by the CBSC, stating that, in part, the news organization breached the aforementioned Code of Ethics and “included three still photographs of the injured burglar without providing any credit to the photographer, whose identity was known to the broadcaster. By failing to provide that accreditation, the broadcaster has failed to honour the intellectual property rights of the photographer.” [torontoist]

What is important to me on this story is that intellectual property was protected as it should be, no matter how it is being utilized. On top of that, it gives comfort to know that mainstream media will be held accountable for violations of copyrighted material. It’s not a full safety net, but that means that even the little guy stands a chance against big media companies when it comes to protecting your content.

Even Charlebois admits in the story that all he was really concerned about was the proper accreditation, not the punishment handed down to CityTV. I think it’s interesting to note that there is very little discussion of fines or compensation.

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.

IMG_2073

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.

IMG_2042

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.

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.