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Queen Elizabeth Park Gets the Axe

May 27th, 2008 @ 8:46am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

I’ve been on a rollercoaster ride when it comes to how I feel about the Vancouver Parks Board. On one hand they offer some great low-cost services for residents and on the other they annihilated my beloved Stanley Park to make room for more tourist parking.

Still busted

mother nature didnt do *this*
Not a clearcut by Mother Nature

Another Parking Lot – Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

The latest news this morning has finally tipped me over the edge: “Queen Elizabeth Park is right up there on the list of important, local tourist attractions. It’s also one of the region’s most spectacular green spaces. The great park could soon lose a number of its precious trees. As many as 70 trees could be axed, and all so you can enjoy the city skyline a little better. In the last few years, the clear view of downtown from Queen Elizabeth Park’s highest point has become obstructed by trees.” [News1130]

Photo credit: Rod Templeton on Flickr

Really, are you kidding me? Remember the story of that woman in the West End that was poisoning trees so that she could restore her ocean front view? How is the Parks Board any better? Why don’t they just throw some dinosaurs up there instead? (end rant)

If you would like to voice your opinions (and get more information about the Tree Management Plan) you can visit the Vancouver Parks Board website and fill out a survey. You can also drop by the Celebration Pavillion today.

I understand fully that tourism is our number one industry but if we’re chopping down all the trees we’re losing the very attraction all these folks are coming to see: Vancouver’s natural beauty.

Liveblogging Tools Reviewed

May 27th, 2008 @ 8:21am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

It’s been almost a year since I wrote How to Live Blog, and in that time I’ve completed over 15 live blogs at a dozen events (brining my live blog total close to 30). Everyday tools are being devised to help make this process a little smoother, fancier, and attract more viewers however I still haven’t found my ultimate liveblogging tool.

CoverItLiveCover It Live – I tried out CIL for DemoCamp5 and while it was fast and the viewers enjoyed their experience, I still wasn’t compelled to use it again for a tech event. On the other hand I think it would be great to use for another concert setting.

Thumbs Up: You can have live polls, message your readers and readers and comment. You can also “replay” the live blog by embedding its code onto your site in a player and it’s a pretty smooth process to add photos and multimedia.

Thumbs Down: No SEO. The products, people and sites you link in your live blog are not being attributed back to your site. If that sounds backwards, you need to remember I’m a huge supporter of linking out in order to get the link love or simply the visitors back to your site.

Scrible Live DemoScribble Live – This new kid on the block requires one of the following to get started: A Facebook login (then it will install an app on your profile), Windows Live or MSN login, or OpenID. Once you get past that, the interface is pretty simple – just start typing (I have a test up right now). Your updates show up in seperate boxes below each other and you’re giving a share code to send to viewers or publish.

Thumbs Up: It’s simple to use, and it’s plain text so you can scrape and paste the content into your blog later. You can also email updates. No refreshing, it loads i real time.

It seems similar to posting on your Twitter page and having people follow there, although there isn’t the character limit and you can add photos.

Thumbs Down: It’s not publishing directly to your website, thus your site is not getting any traffic or comments from the entire production. You can add a YouTube video and possibly a link but that’s about it.

When it comes down to it, I simply prefer using my WordPress and my own system I’ve worked out over the years. Although I wonder if a WordPress Plugin exists to help you automatically timestamp mini liveblog updates within a post? Hmm.

Here are some of my key liveblogging tips:

  • You don’t have to capture everything, it’s not a live transcription so don’t kill yourself trying to keep up.
  • It’s good to keep an eye on comments and also engage in a conversation with those not present at the event. For this I suggest turning off comment moderation until you’re done so they can roll in freely.
  • Get names and links, don’t be afraid to ask the speaker to repeat or mention their website name at the end of their presentation. Link, link, link.
  • On that note, thanks to Phillip for passing along this article from the Globe and Mail, and to Tod for informing me about Scribble Live last week (and according to my Gmail archives he’s also the one who told me about Cover it Live).

    Punish the Breed of Dog, or the Owners, A Miss604 Poll

    May 26th, 2008 @ 11:42pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The only pets I’ve ever owned are a hamster and my Kitty (who is pushing 17 years old and going strong) so I’ve never really known either side of the story, but growing up I knew which house to avoid walking past on my way home from school. You know, the one with the growling, salivating dog behind the weak fence post which could have even been a Pomeranian but you didn’t care because it’s bark was enough to make you quicken your pace? Yeah, that one.

    I am well aware this is not a Pibtull, the image simply amused me
    Photo credit: Travis Smith on Flickr

    Recently Surrey’s been in the news because of a recent rash of dog attacks on humans. Some are now calling for a ban on dangerous breeds.

    Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts says a ban on the breed is not up for discussion. Watts says the city has some of the toughest rules in the province governing vicious dogs. She says there’s absolutely no way they’re ‘soft on safety’ despite what some critics might say.

    A few years back the city did consider a breed ban but instead Watts believes the responsibility should be on the owner. [News1130]

    The Province of Ontario banned pitbulls a few years ago, and Saskatchewan did a few years before that, but it seems dozens of breeds could be deemed vicious. In most cases bylaws and provincial legislation requires an animal or person be killed or seriously injured before a dog is deemed dangerous.

    An argument is that responsibility lies with the owner and malicious dogs are not bred, but raised, which leaves this open for another Miss604 poll.

    Who Should be Accountable for Dangerous Dogs?

    View Results

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    Vancouver History: Henry John Cambie

    May 26th, 2008 @ 1:41pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    While reading VancouverHistory.ca I always check out the sidebar where there’s a teaser for the book, the Street Names of Vancouver by Elizabeth Walker. It asks, “Who was Davie? Why do we have a Broadway? What street was named for a Spanish Secretary of State?” and until the other day my previous knowledge of the origins of some Vancouver street names had floated like a McBarge out of my memory.

    Cambie Street Bridge – Photo credit: SqueakyMarmot on Flickr

    Walking down to Waterfront Station the other day John and I paused in the hallway to get some change out for a Jugo Juice and when I looked up at the side of the wall. It was someplace I had never thought to look before but there was a plaque dedicated to Henry John Cambie.

    Cambie, a surveyor born in Ireland, was charged with the task for bringing the CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) to its terminus on the coast, which he decided would be Vancouver. Plotting the route for the CPR through the Fraser Canyon and out to Burrard Inlet was no easy task. In fact his survey mission began at Yellowhead Pass, through the Rockies and across the Continental Divide.

    Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

    I have a great photo of me sitting on a monument marking the Continental Divide, one side of me in Alberta the other in BC. However this was from my rebellious teenage years and I simply cannot justify the outfit I was wearing at the time (that and we were on a two week long camping trip) but I digress.

    But that’s not the only route Cambie surveyed, “In 1879 surveyed the north for a third route from Prairies to coast. From 1880-83 supervised laying of tracks from Emory Bar to Boston Bar via Fraser Canyon; next supervised Savona to Shuswap Lake. In 1903, moved to Vancouver; retired in 1921.”

    In honor of Henry John Cambie, Cambie Street in Vancouver, Cambie Road and H.J. Cambie School in Richmond are all named after him.

    The history around here is rather new compared to other parts of the country but it wasn’t until the last century that it started to build up and boom. Talented people like Cambie helped secure the routes that would get people and supplies from our Pacific ports up, over and through the Rockies, truly building BC.

    Surrey Canada Day 2008

    May 26th, 2008 @ 4:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    The City of Surrey sure isn’t going to live down its 2008 title of Cultural Capital of Canada anytime soon. With so many events and festivals planned here’s another big one for everyone to enjoy.

    “This celebration has grown to become the largest Canada Day event in Western Canada with attendance in 2007 reaching 90,000 garnering near legendary status as one of the largest outdoor shows ever staged in BC.”

    When: Tuesday July 1st from 10:00am until the fireworks at 11:00pm

    Where: Cloverdale Millennium Amphitheatre, 176 Street and 64th Avenue (Google Map)

    If you miss the downtown Canada Day fireworks that disappeared a few years ago you won’t be disappointed with this display which will have music simulcast on Rock 101.

    Now I have to make a note about the nostalgic lineup of bands, which made me giggle with excitement when they were announced:

    “Multi-platinum rock legends, Loverboy and Vancouver’s ground-breaking 80’s heroes The Payola$ for a classic rock double bill,” along with Five Alarm Funk, Wil, Elise Estrada, Rymes with Orange (remember Toy Train?), Tracey Chamberlain and many more.

    Not only will there be concerts and fireworks, the midway will be in full swing with rides like the Gravitron. Also, you can be assured there will be bouncy castle action for the kiddies along with other family-oriented activities throughout the day (like performances by Bobs and Lolo, and an outdoor skating rink… in July!).

    Stay tuned to the site for updates and as with all of these festivals I’m reporting on for Surrey, there is no admission fee.

    Update July 1, 2008: I’ll be checking in throughout the day with updates and photos from the celebration in Cloverdale.

  • Schedule
  • Morning Recap
  • Music and the Night
  • WordPress Screencast Tutorial: Photo Captions

    May 24th, 2008 @ 11:38am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    My company, sixty4media offers custom WordPress designs, installations, development and tutorials… read more here.

    The latest in my WordPress Screencast series is a quick look into how I get captions under my photos in order to give proper attribution. This is basically just the “behind the scenes” setup of the plugins. Once this is setup it’s as easy as clicking the quicktag for the alignment you want then filling in the “NAME” slots with the proper attribution.

    If you have having trouble viewing the embedded video, head over to my Viddler profile to try and watch from there.

    Tools used in the video: AddQuicktags Plugin, WordPress, CSSEdit. View my previous screencast about how to move around your Categories box in your Dashboard for editing a post or browse my entire WordPress category.

    Mommy and Me Ladies Night

    May 24th, 2008 @ 10:32am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    A while back my friend Keira suggested we have a mother-daughter ladies night when he mother came to visit her in town this month. After weeks of anticipation we finally made it out to dinner at Boneta, did some blitz shopping, and hung out back at the house where we filled it with giggles and girl talk.

    Photo credit: Keira on Flickr

    Photo credit: Keira on Flickr

    Photo credit: Keira on Flickr

    Casey!DessertAmericanoLike Mother, Like DaughterAuntie Punty Demonstrates

    Piggy WheelLadies' NightBabettesCheersch!Mumsy

    I’ve been to Boneta before but I’ve never tried the desserts. I highly recommend you sample some of their sweets, they were probably the highlight of my meal.

    Tasty.  The Drink, I Mean.The ClarkFood For ThoughtTreatChoco-Coco-Mango

    Candy Caramel DripBless Me, Father, For I Have...Smart ArtThe GirlsKay

    Keira’s got a recap post up as well, and I’m glad she an her mom had their cameras handy since my mom and I both forgot ours (although I had iPhone power, but that isn’t good at all in low light). I pretty much blew off every other event I was supposed to attend yesterday. I went to work then I hung out with great friends and family – sometimes these things have to come first… even when they should come first all the time.

    Weezer Pork and Beans Meme

    May 23rd, 2008 @ 12:52pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    You know when you hear a song and don’t know the words so you make up some lyrics in your head to sing along to? Well it turns out the lyrics of Weezer’s new song Pork and Beans are just that, “I eat my candy with my pork and beans.” So yeah, I’m not crazy.

    With that I’ll back up a little and first introduce the concept of memes and then explain why the heck Weezer is going to get total geek cred for their single’s music video.

    A meme consists of any unit of cultural information, such as a practice or idea, that gets transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another. Examples include thoughts, ideas, theories, practices, habits, songs, dances and moods and terms such as race, culture, and ethnicity. Memes propagate themselves and can move through a “culture” in a manner similar to the behavior of a virus. As a unit of cultural evolution, a meme in some ways resembles a gene [wiki] Note: A meme does not have to be a video.

    MemeLabs here in Vancouver had a list of the top memes of 2007 and asked for your favourites. It featured such gems as Dramatic Prairie Dog, Leave Britney Alone, Chocolate Rain, and the Prison Yard Thriller video.

    Weezer decided to compile all of these memes including the “Diet Coke and Mentos Experiment” for their latest video:

    Hat tip: Sean Bonner

    I remember when Weird Al’sWhite and Nerdy” came out it was tops on YouTube charts with all the geeky fan boys and girls loving references like, “I edit wikipedia.” This single was also Weird Al’s first single on the Top 10 Billboard charts.

    I have a feeling the Weezer meme is going to make quite a splash. Even with an iTunes-only release in the USA last year our pal Matthew Good’s album Hospital Music was on Top 10 charts as well. The lesson here? Embrace the power of the internets.

    I know that’s a big statement, but I’ll simply leave it at that and allow you to watch the video and get the Pork and Beans tune stuck in your head as it has been in mine for about six days now.