Last week I was quoted in The Province about the Vancity Bike Share program, saying something like the following:
It was great. After I gave my bike away, I ended up buying a new bike and I've been riding to work twice a week now. It was a program that got me back cycling.
The headline, while technically accurate, makes it seem like Vancity is worried, or that we, the reader, should be worried. Whether I said those exact words, I don't know: the reporter who called me didn't record the conversation, since he was transcribing what I said (at one point he asked me to repeat myself). Also, the article mis-reports me as being 23, when really I'm 29. Regardless, that's going in my paper scrapbook for quotes and mentions in 'mainstream' or 'traditional' (or, my preference, 'broadcast', as distinct from 'social') media, a digital log of which is available on my site. It's reverse-chronological for now, but over time it might evolve into something combining dynamic updating and static information.
The flight's booked, so now's as good a time as any to announce that I'll be in Toronto from October 16th to the 19th, on the 17th speaking at the Online News Association conference at the Sheraton Centre. In my capacity as managing editor of Urban Vancouver, I'll be speaking with Lisa Williams, with whom I worked on Placeblogger, at a talk titled "Filling the Gaps in Local Coverage". My current mindset on the topic is along the lines of the Ryan Sholin's question "what's missing from the news", the answer being "lots", the hard part being "how to we cover what's missing?" Individual blogging and local group blogs are part of the answer, and so is aggregation, but the questions I'd like to ask is "where are the editors of citizen journalism?" and "is there room for assignments and/or publishing schedules in the blogosphere?"
Always with the questions. I'm looking forward to visiting with the friends I made online and in person while visiting Toronto last year, and one I had already met without really realizing it at the time. (Long story.) I'm also looking forward to finally meeting Lisa, who runs a community site for Watertown, Massachusetts, one of Bryght's longest-running sites (more than 2 and a half years old) and someone I've known about 2 years before that.
This morning CBC TV contacted me though my contact form and then by my work's phone # (that's what I get for not publishing my personal phone #) and asked me to be interviewed for CBC News. I should be on sometime after 6 PM on Vancouver's CBC's evening news, talking about the Vancity Bike Share program. I don't do media interviews often, so it will show, but I enjoyed riding around on Roland's bike—of all the days I decide not to bike into work, I choose this one—and talking to the CBC reporter. They'll stream the story on the CBC website for 24 hours, which should give an enterprising someone the chance to 'archive' it.
I have yet to write at more length about my new bike purchase of a couple weeks ago, which was directly as a result of participating in the bike share. So far so good: it's a one hour workout each way, 10.5 KM to work and 8.5 KM back (I take different routes. I'm already pretty serious about it, having bought rain pants, back and front lights, and even weather proofing for some of my existing clothing. Still, the true test is not a bright Summer evening but cold, wet, and dark rides both ways in the Fall.
Ryan: “my friend quit Facebook and the rest of us sat dazed and confused musing about why her profile could have gone away. It was nerve wracking. We browsed around the site looking for answers, but Facebook didn't mention a thing. Apparently bad news is not worth telling anyone about. When the story unfolded it was something miraculously dull. The same old excuses we all use when we dump a technology: "it's getting boring, I want to do something else."”
Most of my day I spend watching ticket updates via email. Google Mail (Gmail) has nice threading, so I can look at a conversation and expand/contract them, but if I send an email from the ticketing system, or someone in the conversation sends a reply, it adds a little link at the bottom that says "Update Conversation". Pretty handy, but there has never been time when I wanted to not update the conversation. This is a waste of time and a waste of a click: I should be able to have the conversation update in real time, much like Google Reader updates. Greasemonkey, a plugin for the Firefox web browser that transparently adds functionality to websites, should be able to do this.
I asked on Twitter if it was available, and Gabriel stepped up with an attempt, but it doesn't quite work. I'm pointing it out to get more eyeballs looking at this: I can't be the only one who wants something like this. Any Greasemonkey developers out there that can build upon Gabriel's work so we can get this working?
While we're on the subject, if you partake in the fine Greasemonkey and Gmail smokes, be sure to install the script which secures logging into Google's application. All it does is redirect http:// to https:// for requests to mail.google.com, which applies to all of us who use Google Mail for Domains as well.
Last night, heading home, I decided but didn't commit to hopping on SkyTrain going in the wrong direction. That is, at Waterfront Station, many people go Westbound past the station to the switch, where the train "turns around" and heads Eastbound. People (smartly) do this to get a good seat before trains fill up with commuters, often by Stadium-Chinatown Station. As the SkyTrain pulled in, however, so did a West Coast Express train, taking people living in the Tri-Cities then on to Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and beyond, all the way to Mission. In all my 10+ years living here, I had never taken the train, mostly because my final destination is pretty much halfway between the longest stretch, from Waterfront Station to Port Moody Station. And I call myself a train aficionado.
Last night I felt my shit was fairly together, so I paid my 6 bucks and boarded the train that wouldn't leave for another half an hour. Since the train was empty, I took some photos of the interior, and recorded 20 minutes of video from Waterfront to Port Moody (70 MB, BitTorrent link). The conversation in the background of the video was a group of teens discussing how awesome they were. I also took mundane video of the train leaving the station (BitTorrent link). People who do it day in and day out must think it's terribly boring by now, but the rail activity and mountain and water views, not to mention my first ever in-person viewing of an oil spill's aftermath made me almost forget I had a camera in my had documenting the trip. My impressions of the train ride were that inside it feels slower than it looks when a train goes by (as it does near my office in Gastown), and that the air conditioning gave me the same slight sickness that it does in airplanes.
Almost everybody on the train that got off at Port Moody Station either drove or took one of the many community shuttles, almost all of which were headed East. Myself, I walked back up to St. John St. and took the 160 home, not looking up from my book the whole trip back. I had taken that bus ride a thousand times while working for the library in Port Moody, so nothing new there. The train ride, however, made me feel like a kid again.
[Cross-posted from NowPublic]
The fire alarm of my apartment building—technically the sister building of the building I live in—went off, waking me up at 1 AM. My window was wide open, so the smell of smoke filled my bedroom. Looking across the street over the new condominiums, I saw a huge plume of smoke. "Oh no," I thought, "Safeway's burning". Walking a block south, I found instead that once a favourite hangout for me and my friends, Hastings Bowl, was in flames.
Over a year ago, heavy snow collapsed the roof of the building, forcing out some of the busineses below, such as the dollar store whose owner would daily sweep the street before opening. Haven't heard what caused the fire, but CBC Radio reported that the building had been squatted from time to time.
My regular camera is in the Philippines documenting more compelling scenery, so the photos I did take with my cameraphone show little. This morning, at least 7 hours after the fire started, it continued to smolder. My Nokia N70 was able capture firefighters continuing to fight the smoldering blaze. I've uploaded the one that turned out the best here to NowPublic, but I'll point to my set on Flickr for the rest.