Happy Canada Day!

There's still time. Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day, Eh?

All I did was loaf around, dressed in red shorts and a red shirt with white text on it, playing with a newly acquired HD TV tuner, watching the old Russell Peters Canadian comedy classic, and getting ready for a long overdue trip to Vancouver Island, skipping the fireworks as is my tradition in anticipation of the better ones later in the summer. It was great!

Photo by Stephen Rees.

Kunqu Opera in Vancouver

Liang Guyin, Chinese opera performer

Recently, Josh Stenberg (yes, the Josh Stenberg) asked me to take a look at the Vancouver Society for the Chinese Performing Arts' latest offering, a performance of Kunqu opera featuring Liang Guyin, Ji Zhenhua and Liu Yilong. Josh tells me the society is "having trouble getting a gwailo audience because they think it's all cat-meow-shrieking, which it's not". Myself, the China somewhat-expert that I am, I happen to think Peking Opera really is cat-meow-shrieking, but I watched and otherwise loved Farewell My Concubine so I'm willing to give a different form of Chinese opera a chance. Upcoming performances of the opera in Vancouver are June 16th and 17th at UBC's Frederic Wood Theatre and you can get tickets at Ticketmaster.

Susan Goodman got close up and wrote an article and posted photos of a 2007 Kunqu opera performance in Nanjing, directed by the aforementioned Josh Stenberg.

Collaboratively Mapping Vancouver's Public Spaces

Last night I attended my first meeting of the Vancouver Public Space Network (VPSN) Mapping & Wayfinding group. They are a group of mapping enthusiasts who want to organize collaboratively mapping Vancouver's public spaces and have some interesting ideas on how to do so, including a web service with a REST interface, but also hand-drawn maps. Let it ring throughout the world that I consider Joey deVilla the master of the hand-drawn directional map, after showing me how to get to his work from his former house back when I visited in 2005.

Having heard about it two hours before and deciding to go with one hour to spare, I pre-loaded two of my maps on Flickr. One was the map I made of my bike route home, and the other was the map of a SkyTrain Explorer walk in Burnaby. I got to talk about the latter a bit, and showed off my GlobalSat DG-100, and we talked about the different methods to track points when mapping out various items in the city, like surveillance cameras, bicycle locks and billboards. (Especially "non-conforming signs": the CBC has a short story on the Lee Building advertisement that Vancouver City Council ordered removed after the owners lost their court battle to keep it up. Read more at the VPSN's page on corporatization.) I suggested taking a photo, since the times will match up with the GPS logger, but there are other good, paper & pen methods too.

Geotagged Icon

After the meeting, instead of doing the dishes, I looked deeper into geocoding on the Mac and added the 'geo' microformat to all of my Flickr photos hosted on that are tagged with a longitude and latitude. A good example is the photo I took of Dave Olson: if you have Firefox and the Operator extension, you can use the actions associated with location to get KML (Google Earth) or view the location on Google Maps or Yahoo! Maps. (I already provide a small Google Map on each geotagged photo hosted on my site.) At last night's meeting, I also learned about, which gives you latitude and logitude of locations if you give them a fuzzy description (like an address, or an intersection). They also have an API, for free or for fee. Wasn't there a web service floating around that would accept your text and send you back geotagged HTML if it found what it thought were locations inside that text?

I haven't decided whether to participate in the billboard documenting effort—it will depend on how much work surveying a quadrant will be—but I plan on attending their next organizing event. The next VPSN Billboard project meeting from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at the MOSAIC Community Meeting Room, located at 1720 Grant St. in Vancouver [event listing]. Just for fun, that previous sentence is marked up in the hcalendar event listing microformat.

I'm Taking the Northern Voice Challenge!

The Sessions I Attended At Northern Voice

In point form, as is the style of the time, here is how I spent my Saturday.

What I Learned From Northern Voice

During MooseCamp, specifically PhotoCamp, I learned that cloudy days are the best to get colour from the objects and people I'm documenting. Also, for portraits, bring the studio to them and tips on where to take portraits from (e.g. shoot down to make them look better) stuck out for me. The rest of the conference I closed the door of knowledge and opened the window of inspiration.

Who Challenged Me At Northern Voice

Whether they knew it or not, intended it or not, the following people challenged me to think a little harder about creativity and craft. People close to me wonder why I don't identify as being creative. The following Northern Voice speakers have me wondering too.

Dave Olson

Dave Olson challenged me to step it up a notch, and to consider another media form if I'm struggling at the one I think I'm good at (writing). Podcasting, maybe? I don't like the sound of my own voice, so that strikes video out as well. Photography is the medium I sunk the most into already, so I will try to bring the SLR to more places, make the same mistakes everybody makes when they start out, and document the process better. I'd like to learn how to draw. And sing. Outside of the conference, he remarked that he likes to find a third place, away from work and away from home to be creative. This has me thinking of the ideal place to work somewhere (and on something) not domestic and not commercial, but somewhere in between.

(I know that my desire to learn how to sing directly conflicts with the angst about hearing my voice, so don't bother pointing that out.)

Northern Voice 2008: Nancy White

Nancy White challenged me to look at the beauty of the visual web, not just the written web. I do prefer visiting an individual article directly, especially articles intended for web browsers (and not printers). Nancy, by challenging me to think visually, to give drawing or other graphic form of expression and honest try, challenged me to rediscover my sense of wonder, a nice little nudge to remind me I wanted to do that anyway.

Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

Alex Waterhouse-Hayward challenged my thinking on Flickr and the social photographic web, disagreeing with Kris on whether it should be rejected. Through the tension between them we learned about two styles of photography, both of which contribute to our understanding of the subject. He also challenged me to think about lighting and the third dimension, making the physical photograph part of the photograph.

Stephanie Vacher

Stephanie, nervous as she was during her first time public speaking, challenged me to think about the process of my "designing". If I understood her correctly, she challenged everybody in the audience to investigate what it means to design and to, if they can get themselves in the mindset, think of themselves as designers.

Dave, Nancy, Alex, and Stephanie: I accept your challenges.

Photo credits, from top to bottom: myself; Cyprien Lomas; Randy Stewart; and Phillip Jeffrey.

What I Was Happy With, And What I Wanted to Say, At Northern Voice's Blogging 101 Session

There are a few things I would do very differently at Friday's Blogging 101 for Northern Voice:

  • define blogging better than just listing its features. That said, everybody has their own definition. I went witha features listing since they're fairly well agreed upon.
  • do not give legal advice! We'll have to go to the tape, but I might have told someone to sue someone else who was getting high rank for her name and saying nasty stuff. Not doing that next time.
  • do more run-throughs, with a small audience to feed back. Not a big deal in this case, but it'll be important to present well in my future, and I'd like to get into the habit of practicing in front of people instead of in front of my TV screen.

How to Get Comments On Your Blog

As for the content of the presentation, I flubbed an question that I had a good answer to. Someone asked about how to get comments, and my unsatisfactory-to-me answer was to "comment on your own post". I still think it's legitimate, since it's more elegant than typing "Update:" and gives you a timestamp in the database (and with some systems, you get an RSS feed for comments). My other reasoning for doing it is that I tend to click on a link that says "1 comment" more often than one that says "0 comments", so it's a sneaky way to get your view count up. The best way to get comments, though, is to write a full blog post, but afterwards cut out the last paragraph of your post, save it somewhere else for later, and let one of your readers say it. That lets people fill in the blank you left, and if they're mistaken or you need to add something, then you can paste back in your conclusion as a response in the comments. Blogging is not a monologue.

What I Was Happy About

During the run-throughs all by my lonesome at my apartment, it became clear that I needed something to do with my hands. Last year I stuck them in my pocket, but this year, with good presentation software, I realized I could use the cool little remote that came with my MacBook. Not just as something to push slides ahead—a little awkwardly, since my computer was beside me and not in front of me—but it would keep my hands occupied just enough not to distract from the overall performance.

My slides with only one or two words on each. I used them not because I knew it was a best-practice (I either didn't know it, forgot it, or internalized it: Jeffrey Keefer reminded me of Seth Godin's tips after having attended my presentation), but because after reading from the screen during last year's presentation, I wanted reminders to talk about what I knew really well already, not a script. Karen suggested I did it because I liked other, good presentations that did it, and she's absolutely right. I'm glad I didn't go with stunning photos. That would have been too much work.

I took off my sweater and felt okay about wearing a t-shirt from work. It turned into a short conversation piece when one of the audience members asked what was on it, I think believing I was supporting a certain American elected official.
If I hadn't taken my sweater off, I would have over-heated, contributing to a vicious cycle of nervousness. Instead I sacrificed a little class for a little calm, and I'd do the same thing over again.

What I Did Before Presenting Blogging 101 at Northern Voice

Here's a list of things I did on my computer before attaching the overhead projector to my MacBook. They're by no means best-practices, but they were in response to presentations I've seen before.

  • Closed all email, instant messaging, RSS reader, and anything else that might bounce on the dock or send a Growl notification to the screen. At least two presenters either forgot to do this or left them on intentionally. Distracting! The only two applications that were open were the ones absolutely necessary to the success of the presentation: Keynote and Firefox.
  • Pre-loaded all my websites I was going to show in browser tabs. It's better than typing in URLs and waiting for stuff to load, assuming you can get reliable speeds at a conference were a dozen people are already uploading their photographs.
  • Disabled the Bookmark Toolbar, which has links to sensitive information. I didn't need it, otherwise I mis-click and give access to everybody in the room and watching online to my work areas.
  • Deleted the browser URL history. Everybody has a URL or two that they're ashamed of. And if you're not, you're lying.
  • The night before, I cleared my desktop of icon clutter. Nobody needs to know that I download The Wire via BitTorrent. Rather, nobody needs proof.
  • Just before presenting, I tested that the presentation software (Keynote) will display the right thing in the right screen. I used someone else's presentation to make sure that the presenter's notes showed on my laptop screen and not the projector. For this I was lucky I was the first presenter, so I had time to do that. You might not have that luxury.

Forthcoming are what I think I did right during the presentation as well as what I could have done better or forgot to do.

A Quiet Night Before the Northern Voice Storm

Tonight I skipped out on the pre-event party, and instead enjoyed a quiet night of book reading, presentation preparation, and t-shirt ironing before the Northern Voice storm. (Who irons their t-shirts? Me, that's who.) Tomorrow morning I'll present very briefly an intro to blogging, then conspire Lloyd to get people started on, then attend a Moosecamp session or two—a potential session on multilingual blogs looks interesting—and finally attend a blogger meetup. I'll try to sneak in some alone time, at which point I'll have yet another good hearty laugh about what Darren Barefoot wrote yesterday. Then on Saturday I'll attend the conference part of the conference.

I probably won't respond to your email until Sunday.

Don't Forget the Moo

Rebecca has ordered Moo MiniCards, hoping she'll get them before Northern Voice, reminding me to bring mine this weekend. I still have quite a few left over from the two boxes I ordered a year or two ago.

Here are the photos that appear on the cards I hand out. It feels weird to give people cards with my mug on it, but I thought maybe people might forget what I look like after they've met me.

Are you attending Northern Voice on Friday or Saturday? If so, which Moo card do you want?

My MOO MiniCards

Join the Revolution: Fall in Love

Reykjavik From Hallgrímskirkja

Orange Dot Southbound at Dundas Station

BarCamp Vancouver Door Shift 25Aug06 - 3

Photo by Roland Tanglao.

Blurry SkyTrain Near Renfrew Station

Looking Serious Wearing New Glasses


Getting to Maybe: How the World Is Changed by Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmerman, and Michael Quinn Patton

When shopping for Christmas gifts at the Laughing Oyster bookstore in Courtenay, I came across a book whose subtitle, or rather, its very long and prominent description, spoke to me. Ever since befriending people who were able to project an attitude that they can change the world—or at least their world—for the better, I've started to believe the same thing. This belief came in direct conflict with my long-held attitude that I was just one person, that I neither had the energy nor the inclination to find the cause that I couldn't not join, the something so undeniably wrong that I couldn't not do something about. Everything seems taken care of. Global warming? Somebody's working on that. Sexism? A whole cadre of activists are on it. Hate, poverty, racism? All issues that I can outsource my conscience to someone else because these were so obviously problems that there were enough people on the job.

Getting to Maybe: How the World Is Changed by Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmerman, and Michael Quinn Patton

Enter Getting To Maybe: How the World Is Changed by Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmerman and Michael Quinn Patton. The "subtitle", in text as big as the title, that grabbed my attention reads: “This book is for those who are not happy with the way things are and would like to make a difference. This book is for ordinary people who want to make connections that will create extraordinary outcomes. This is a book about making the impossible happen.” I showed the book to Karen, my agent of change, who knew my struggle with cynicism and with trying to find my passion. She offered to buy it for me. She thought this might be something to knock me into action, whatever that might be. She was right, but it won't knock me into action soon.

Westley, Zimmerman and Patton describe the people who are the forces behind social change as "social innovators". I see social innovators all around me, but I yet don't have the confidence to describe myself as one. (Yet: one person, who will remain nameless, has pointed out that I'm at the top of a pyramid, and whether or not I agree with the idea that I'm "over" people, I concede that there are people who listen to me and take me seriously during the times I want to be taken seriously, and that my influence with them is nonzero.) The authors challenge the mindset that problems have simple explanations and simple solutions, and argue that embracing complexity and, most difficult for me, ambiguity lead to the change that social innovators seek. They also challenge the notion that the best social innovators are the strong personalities, and argue that they are rather people from all dispositions that felt a calling. They could not not act. Even if the social innovators knew for a fact that they wouldn't solve the problems in their lifetime, or even ever if they lived forever, they could not stand idly by while it was happening. "Not on my watch", Ulysses Seal of the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group said to himself. Write the authors: “that watch will last his lifetime, but by thinking about his mission in this way, he makes it human-scaled—manageable enough to carry without succumbing to despair.”

The authors recommend constant evaluation during implementation and finding moments to sit still, to see where social innovators are and to note changes in the social landscape and adjust. Citing the case of PLAN (Planned Lifetime Advocacy Networks) and their struggle to scale their network out, the authors suggest that not every movement can be replicable, or at least not quickly, despite pressures to do so. Other case studies offer more lessons. The case of Opportunities 2000 in Waterloo, Ontario suggested that even though the implementors believed they had only a small but measurable effect, theirs was the motivating force. Others found success through their failure: Roméo Dallaire, a Canadian hero if there ever was one, could not prevent a genocide in Rwanda, and lost everything after he retired. His current stature amongst Canadians has vindicated him, and he finds success in speaking tours around the country. (His stature amongst Belgians is another story.) MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), Bob Geldof, and other cases illustrate the calling, the struggles, the failures, and the changing landscapes social innovators face when making the change they must make.

The authors tend to repeat their stories for effect, and sometimes showcase overtly political motives (as opponents of the war in Iraq and President Bush), and their approach might be a tough sell in an age of one-liners and easy solutions. Despite that and not being able to identify with many of the cases presented, I found the book inspiring. Karen, unwittingly or not, bought this not for the current me, but rather the future me. The me who lets the ideas and stories in the book rattle around in his brain for a little while and waits for the forces that cause me to find my calling align. Or, as the chapter title has it, for hope and history to rhyme. They haven't yet, and they will. After having read this book, I'm better prepared for when they do.

Omnibus: Vancouver Blogger Meetup, Northern Voice, and Shared Items

Jan has the recap, and Raul liveblogged it: on Wednesday I attended the Vancouver Blogger meetup and met with some people who actually read this blog. Jan, among others, encouraged me to keep writing this thing, not to worry about quality too much. There are times when I'm in "flow", and I finally realized that one of those times is after having read offline materials for about an hour. Yet again, the solution is to read more books!

At the meetup, I continued to work through what I thought about citizen journalism. NowPublic has a great concept for a site, but I've been following the 'vancouver' tag for over a year and have yet to find a story they've broken or led with in reporting. The overwhelming majority of stories are conspiracy theories or re-posts of stories from established media. For one very recent story I had hopes for (happening on a college campus, so you know there's going to be lots of intelligent, web savvy energetic young folk with cell phones and cameras), a NowPublic user kept me up to date with the lockdown of a building at the University of British Columbia. I heard about it first from Phillip Jeffrey's Twitter stream. The NowPublic story fueled rumours that the police were responding to someone with a gun. Any confirmation on that, two days later? There's also the usual social media triumphalism in the comments, but don't we hate it when CBC and CTV and CKNW claim they had the "exclusive"?

I met lots of people I had only heard about, and some I hadn't.

I'm speaking in a few weeks at the Northern Voice blogging conference, 2008 edition. About blogging. Yes, the very subject I once declared I had lost enthusiasm for. You'll see me at 10:45 AM on the Friday, during the Internet Boot Camp. That's later in the day than I thought it would be, happily so. I'm looking very much forward to Dave Olson's "Fuck Stats Make Art" presentation and Stephanie Vacher's "Apparatus for the Future" talk. Otherwise I will try the conference lobby provocateur role this year, talking with as many people that I've only heard about as possible. is the link to my "shared items" feed. It will never change (the one to my Google Reader account might). It reflects only what I find interesting, without comment, and includes not only my Google Reader shared items, but also my YouTube 'favorite' videos, my Flickr 'favorite' photos, and my Digg "diggs". There are individual feeds for each (there is no official RSS feed for my MetaFilter 'favorites' sadly: if there was, I'd include those too), so I feed them through the Drupal aggregator here on To track how many subscribers there are to it, I then use FeedBurner. is the "HTML" version of this, but I don't like the idea of syndicating other people's content on my site, so it just looks like they're big links. There's something to be said about aggregating decentralized low-threshold sharing mechanisms. I'm not the person to say it, at least not yet.

Hollyburn Snowshoeing 2008

Blue Hollyburn

Karen and I went up to Hollyburn Mountain in Cypress Bowl to snowshoe on the free trail with the hiking club this past Sunday. This time, instead of taking with me the old Olympus, and instead of limited visibility, we took along the DSLR, wrapped it up in the protective tarp that came with the carrying case, and set out to clear views of British Columbia's Lower Mainland. At the top of the cross-country ski run, just before the steep parts of the mountain, while fumbling with the camera to get a good close-up of the cute little birdies, one of said cute little birdies snatched the remains of my turkey and cheese sandwich. Other adventures on Sunday included falling and slipping down the mountain face not once but twice, then on the time I intended to slide on my butt, hurtling down at 12 km/hour (if my GPS logger is to be believed), an orange marker pole came out of nowhere and bit me on the face. I subdued it, but there was some bleeding.

Somehow I managed to take the above masterpiece, which Sameer generously described in the comments of the photo on Flickr as <q cite=">like something out of a fairy tale. This one gets the large and above-the-text treatment, unlike my usual adorned-inline-with-the-text job. There's no advice I can give about how to duplicate it, other take three shots, fiddle with the settings between each shot, and keep the best one. As with last time, I took along the GPS logger and got the locations of the January 20th photos mapped [January 5th trip map]. Earlier today I also added all my geotagged photos into one set, itself having a map.

After this and the previous trip, we've decided that we have had our fill of Hollyburn, and are turning our sights to Mount Seymour. Count me out if it rains, but the trip I took there before exposed me to some pretty intense snowboarder dudes (the ones who carry shovels with them as they go down what look to this untrained eye as 90 degree inclines) and lots of slope variation. This weekend I'm going with some work friends, so this will be a different—which is to say familiar—crowd, since the hiking group is almost always comprised of strangers. I'm bringing the good camera, weather permitting.

GPS Logger Tomfoolery: Getting the GlobalSat DG-100 Working On a Mac (Successfully!)

One of my intentions this year is to track more of my movements and document them in photographic form. One of the downsides of the GlobalSat DG-100 GPS logger is that there is no support, at least not officially, for Mac users to retrieve tracking information, necessitating a trip to Windows and then back to get the photos matched up with the coordinates at which they were taken. Many have tried, and failed, to hack it in, and after spending a couple of hours today, I can now declare myself as part of those who have failed. But I came oh so close.

GlobalSat DG-100 GPS On WestJet

Spurred by Richard Akerman's writeup and screenshots of HoudahGeo for the Mac, and especially his sidebar comment about support for the GPS logger we both own, mixing metaphors like few have mixed before me, I dove into the swamp of programs and yak shaved until the cows came home. Or, rather, until an error message that I couldn't debug appeared on my Terminal screen. Cough. Here are the steps I took to get where I got to before giving up.

First, I downloaded the GPSBabel command line program and graphical interface, but not before spending a few minutes looking at the documentation. It's not clear from their downloads page, but you have to click through another link to get through to the SourceForge project page. SourceForge, despite improvements in their interface, is still not easy enough to use, and not easy enough to get a direct download link for a package (which I often need when at the command line using wget). That's another story. After downloading the Mac OS X package, and hopelessly futzing around with the command line supplied for the DG-100, I searched around a bit and found someone who had also tried GPSBabel with the DG-100 and found out that indeed DG-100 support wasn't built into the 1.3.4 release. They suggested checking out the HEAD version from the SourceForge CVS repository. If none of that previous sentence made any sense to you, consider yourself part of the blissful majority.

That of course meant compiling software. And what do you need when you compile software? A compiler! The compiler I needed was gcc, and seemingly the only way to get gcc is to install it from the DVD that comes with your Mac. People like me lose stuff like that. Not yet, in my case, as my DVDs are in a cabinet at my apartment, but having done most of the work at the office, they needed to be at the office. Good thing I work with Mac users.

After a couple of tries at installing gcc (I needed the SDK for Mac OS 10.4), I was able to compile a developmental version of GPSBabel. Somewhere along the line, it occurred to me that I didn't know how to access the USB port via the command line, that is, which argument to use. The command line suggested at recommended /dev/ttyUSB0, but there was no such 'device' on my Mac. I came across a forum post about DG-100 support for the Mac, which tipped me off to an open source driver, which has something to do with a Prolific PL-2303X USB-serial adapter on the DG-100. That got me closer.

(We break into regular programming to note that a "Jaako" posting in the forum was able to get the DG-100 working with his PowerBook, but that all the dates of the readings were from the fist day of 1970. Is that the same Jaako that went driving around Taiwan and reported it on Good Fishies, the blog of his and his incomparable girlfriend Cathy Wang's trip to Japan and China? If so, he got closer than I did. Now back to the thrilling conclusion.)

After installing that, and restarting my MacBook (along with the customary baby feline sacrifice), satisfied that my yak had been sufficiently shaved, I modified the command line slightly to look like the following: gpsbabel -t -i dg-100 -o gpx /dev/cu.PL2303-0000103D outputfile.gpx I get the following response: dg100_recv_byte(): read timeout

And that's where I'm left. Looking at the C code that does the work for the DG-100 with PHP-coder eyes, it's not clear what could be changed to make it work. Searching for the error message or the function name only gets me the C code or forum posts I've already looked at. Any ideas?

Time passes and Jaako reports in the comments on how he got the GlobalSat DG-100 working on a Mac. You'll need gcc to compile the C file, in which I've changed 3B1 to 0000103D. The software is GPL, so I distribute it under the same terms. Thanks Jaako for the pointer, and thanks to Mirko Parthey for the original work.

2008 New Year's Intentions

Three years ago, I posted my resolutions for New Years 2005, and updated two months in with my progress. This year, instead of resolving to do something, that is, committing to a change or continuation of something, I'll simply declare my intentions. That way I can be honest and won't feel bad about breaking a promise to myself. Regrettably, this isn't as clever as I thought it was before looking up the phrase 'new years intentions' in Google.

  • Start a savings and/or investment account and make regular deposits. Unexpected income used to go to debt. Now it will go to savings. I took a step towards this in December, and now with a real job, I can think more clearly about my retirement.
  • Fix Urban Vancouver.
  • Go on a real vacation where I don't check work email. At all. I even intend to write one of those very boring "I'm on vacation" autoresponder that everybody hates. I'm thinking a few days in Portland, then a few days on the Oregon Coast, with a day or two to document my adventure when I get back. I haven't decided when, but May or July look right.
  • Continue bookshelf sustainability. So far so good, though with Christmas came 4 books, meaning I must now give 4 away.
  • As a belated yet environmentally-friendly protest of TransLink's fare increase, I intend to bike to and from work each weekday for a month. I would buy a one zone pack of tickets and a two zone pack of tickets for trips elsewhere. How does buying fare tickets send a message to TransLink that fares are too high? It would save me—i.e. they would forgo—$50 (which would go straight to my savings account), and make me more fit. And I would save the tickets for later if I don't use them during the month. I'm thinking of doing this in March, and maybe make a meme out of it, that is, see how many people I can get joining me.
  • Take a full weekend and get rid of stuff in my closets. Spring cleaning, hoorah!
  • Write Christmas cards to my friends. I've set a reminder in November to do this.
  • Rediscover my sense of wonder.
  • More GlobalSat GPS logger tomfoolery. Richard Akerman reminded me in a comment to a photo of mine about his article GPS on a Plane and his subsequent article GPS on a Plane II. Transferring position data from the GlobalSat DG-100 unit is still more cumbersome than it needs to, involving a trip to Windows.
  • Dance again.
  • Learn to sing, mostly to harmonize with Radiohead songs. The only karaoke song I'll sing, however, is Eurythmics "Here Comes the Rain Again". Any others and you'll have to get me even more drunk.
  • "Accidentally" break the kit lens on my camera and replace it with something decent. Also: power through my frustration with this expensive hobby of mine, photography.

That's not an exhaustive list. Lists are rarely exhaustive. What do you intend to do in 2008?

Vancouver Transit Camp Recap

The Saturday before last, I attended Vancouver's first Transit Camp, the following sessions I spent the most time at:

  1. Ask the Gurus, attended by Stephen Rees and others, where we discussed what we liked about transit systems around the world (emphasis on places we've visited or lived) and how they might apply to Vancouver.
  2. Transit connecting neighbourhoods, attended by the Safe Route Tsawwassen. I transcribed the flyer Carol Vignale handed out at Rebecca's photo of said flyer. Carol's group, along with a Tsawwassen Band elder, are promoting alternate transportation methods in Tsawwassen and the Delta area, such as bike valets at public events and making 56 Street a boulevard and town centre. Carol mentioned something about being between permanent full-time jobs and I wish I blurted out what I thought, which was "how do can we make what you're doing now your permanent full-time job?" She and her initiative are mentioned in The Delta Optimist with regards to cycling routes. No notes on the wiki, but there's a link to video (50 minutes in, apparently).
  3. Route numbers and nomenclature, which was easily the most esoteric session at the unconference. That's not a complaint as far as I'm concerned: I participate in finding multiples of 37 on buses and elsewhere. Numerology is highly unscientific to me, but I do appreciate the ability of assigning meaning to otherwise meaningless icons and interacting a little more with the built environment.
  4. Art and creativity in Transit, attended by the authors of True Loves, a great graphic novel about a young vintage clothing store owner who finds the boy of her dreams in Vancouver, with cameos by the mountains and the SeaBus. We talked about ways we can stay "productive" and "creative" during the hour in which transit riders like me usually use to zone out. I'll watch the video of the Cycling session.
  5. Social media and games for transit. I regret choosing that over the Advocacy session because the latter would have been a little more practical for me and would have been more of a learning experience. There aren't much notes about the Advocacy session on the wiki, at least not yet.

Lessons for the Next Transit Camp Vancouver

  • Workspace is an amazing venue for this kind of thing. I nominate it for the next time we have Transit Camp!
  • The unconference possibly lasted one session too many for most brains. That said, we could only find that out the hard way. Next time I imagine it will end closer to 3:30 than 4:30.
  • Lunch went well. Not too short, not too long, and everybody except those that first arrived as lunch was ending got something to eat.
  • Unconferences still need loud people to wrangle everybody to go to the next session. Roland and Dave stepped up and filled that role admirably.
  • There was no keynote at Transit Camp as scheduled on the wiki. Maybe we didn't need to schedule one? People didn't seem to mind that there was no Important Speaker to get the attendees warmed up.

Lessons For Me (for the Next Unconference)

  • Don't chicken out next time and instead go with your gut instinct and hold a session. My idea was to discuss the Vancouver Transit Group on Flickr and to take suggestions on how I could improve my administration of the group. I have extensive notes on that, enough for a separate post.
  • Business cards! Or, Moo cards. I handed out exactly zero to people I wanted to talk to again.
  • Don't sign up to be the wiki gardener or Skype backchannel inviter. Put the computer down, take a notepad and only take brief notes as reminders to look up stuff later. It's about participating and letting others document the event well, which they'll do.
  • Wear a cute t-shirt. That was one thing I did right, so this is just a reminder to do exactly the same thing next time. I wore the awesome subway map of the heart t-shirt Karen got me for Christmas, and it was a hit.

There are links to other blog posts on the front page of the wiki and I'm also keeping track in the announcement I made in the Vancouver Transit Flickr group. Next time I'll announce it here a little earlier. I know there were people who read this blog who might have been able to attend if they knew about it a few more days beforehand.