Archive for the ‘The Internet’ Category

Been gone so long

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Apologies for not posting for a little while.  First The Georgia Straight said they’d pay me to write for them, and I was sort of shocked by the fact that there’s money to be made in this writing thing, so I started doing that [tgs][tgs].  It didn’t help us win best local blog [tgs] but being paid in actual money is even better.

I’d like to thank Tim, Ryan and Castewar for keeping things going during my downtime.  It’s really great to have authors contributing to the site, and though I’ll be doing the typical recruitment campaign shortly it’s nice to know that the blog is in a position where if I get busy it’s not laying fallow.

We’re all tough behind the keyboard

Powerbook keyboard

Ah blog wars.

We’re all tough behind our keyboard and everyone is brave when they can say things using a fake name.  I’ve been pulled into a few cross blog arguments, and I generally end up feeling dirty afterwards.  Typically they’re boring, the internet equivalent of watching the kids in the special class in grade four fight over who stole whose Muscle Men toys.  However like the playground dust-ups they most closely resemble its hard not to stand around chanting “Fight, fight, fight” when one is going on.

Goodness knows how this one started.  Possibly when Sean Orr of Beyond Robson, whose life goal is to defeat poverty with sarcasm, called the people at new local blog Vancity Buzz cocks [br].  The two sites have been going back and forth from there, mostly arguing over the fact that Orr is left wing and the pseudonomous bloggers at Vancity Buzz are right wing.  Or bar stars.  Or both.

Whatever they are they’re active, like a bunch of rabbits given Viagra in a completely irresponsibly run science experiment they’re posting at a rate that threatens to fill up all available internet storage by 2009.  Sadly nobody alive will ever be able to read all of their posts, because the layout looks a lot like someone vomited onto a scanner bed and just uploaded that as a .tiff file.  How can a default Blogger template look so ugly?

Eventually everyone will get tired of yelling at each other, and go back to their business of posting about clubbing, or making snotty comments about things on the internet and the rest of us can go back to kickball or whatever normal kids did during recess.

Me?  Well I spent most of my recesses online arguing about Star Trek.  Now that’s a blog war I can get interested in.

On the iPhone

2008-08-02 10:10:15 -0700, originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

If you’re one of the ten or so Canadians that have bought an iPhone since its launch on July 11th, then you might want to check out our site via your mobile Safari.

The mobile version of Metroblogging Vancouver has been up and going for a few months now, however this might be the first time that a large portion of us Canucks get a crack at decent mobile internetting.

This is Vancouver – where are all the awesome podcasts?

One of two things are afoot – either the Internet is failing to filter the world of podcasts in a way that helps me find a funny, Vancouver, talk podcast (lots of music options, lots of so-so comedy, where are the clever talk-casts?) or Vancouver isn’t producing any.

On a world stage, I enjoy Kevin Smith rambling about nothing and everything. I enjoy NPRs Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. I enjoy Harry Shearer recapping the news on Le Show. I occasionally enjoy the guests of The Sound of Young America, and often enjoy Never Not Funny or Stand Up Sit Down. But that’s not filling my iPhone as much as I like. I can go through them in a couple of days of walking back and forth to work. I need more. And it would be nice if it was something that resonates with me – so, arguably something produced in Vancouver would be a hit. Not so much.

The best I’ve found so far is Speedway Squad, which is like a slightly smarter, but markedly cruder version of Great White North, if GWN was a podcast, not a fictional cable show. You even hear beer caps popping and dropping. But they’re in Chilliwack, not in Vancouver! A town this techheaded, and we’ve got nothing? Surely not!

So, help me out – school me in what’s good in the Vancouver world of podcasts. Heck, throw in the music ones – even if I’m not interested (and you never know), other Metblog readers may be.

The phonebook seeks to destroy the world

Phonebook

I am, and my fiancee will confirm this, a very good tree hugger.  Sometimes I throw away things that could be recycled.  Often I’m not even sure what can be recycled.  I run the air condition in my apartment and leave electronics plugged into sockets when they’re not in use.  But even to someone like myself who is supportive of the environment, I’d like to keep having one, but not really going out of his way to save it the idea of having telephone books delivered seems ridiculous.

When was the last time you used a telephone book?  Granted this is a self-selecting survey since anyone reading this internet page obviously has internet access but I bet it hasn’t been for a few years.  It’s so much quicker to just Google what you’re looking for, and in the case of people you either know them or can Facebook someone who has their number.

But seriously, look at the size of a phonebook.  Think of every home in North America getting one.  Isn’t that a waste?

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Anthony Crosfield – Hair Superstar

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I’m going to meander a bit on my way to a point – I’ll probably do that a lot in the coming weeks, but hopefully you’ll come to regard that as a certain sort of value.

Many years ago I got fed up with $12 haircuts. While I didn’t exactly require a lot of hair care, what with keeping it short all the time, I found the magic-cuts only lasted for a couple of days and then I looked like my head was a prank gone wrong. So, I asked around and a co-worker suggested a friend who worked at the now gone gone gone Stratosphere salon. They had great music, Shelley was wizard enough to know how to cut my hair so that it could grow in for weeks and not make me look like a fuzzy mushroom (perfect for a lazy procrastinator like myself who didn’t want to do the every-two-weeks thing) and best of all, it was behind the offices, just across Hamilton. Nice!

Anyhow, Shelley eventually moved out of downtown to go work at Mine Stylesource on Broadway (or Mine Hair, as I like to call it – say it with a bad German accent, you’ll get it), which is owned by one Anthony Crosfield (here comes the point!) Very nice guy, very entrenched in Mount Pleasant, judging by the way I keep running into him and Mine staffers all over the place. And he’s a winner! Not in the general, everyone’s a winner sense. He’s this year’s hair superstar on the Superstar Hair Challenge! If you’ve never seen the show, you can probably guess the format – a selection of people in a certain profession (in this case, hair stylists) compete every week in some profession themed contest, and losers are invited to take a teary hike, one at a time. And after 7 weeks (or, more likely 7 days carefully of shooting that’s parceled out over 7 weeks), it came down to Anthony and two other stylists, and Anthony won the day.

Only, I just found out about it today – and he won last week. See, I’m not a reality TV guy, so the only way I found out about this was walking part his salon and seeing a poster for the show in the window. Hey, I know him! And it’s on tonight! I will watch as a show of support. And just my luck, it was all over.

So, no TV for me, but a big congrats to Anthony – and hey, all is not lost. Slice (which was airing the show) has all 7 episodes up online. I’ll watch it online, just because it’s one of the few sites that isn’t Bogarting their video just because I’m not on their side of the border! Plus, one episode has twins, so… rawr.

The iPhone in Canada: an FAQ

Broken iPhoneOriginally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson

I’ve blogged here about the iPhone before, so with the big announcement earlier today I figured an updating on what’s going on might be in order. So after the jump is all that we know about the iPhone, as of today. I’ll give you a few credentials before the jump and two disclaimers.

I’ve covered the cellular industry as a tech writer for the past several years for publications like IGN.com, The Kelowna Daily Courier and eVent! magazine. I’ve owned an Apple computer since the Apple IIe, and have an unlocked iPhone from the US which I’ve managed to break twice (see picture above). I am currently employed by a Rogers Wireless dealer, so that while I do not work directly for Rogers I am not fully neutral either. I also own shares in Apple, but not enough that I’m going to totally lie to you so that I can retire to my own personal island.

And now the iPhone. (more…)

Hockey Night In Canada changes theme songs and we all flip out

Martin Brodeur save

If you’ve been online in Canada today you might be excused for thinking that everyone on the internet has just had some sort of brain aneurysm as every blog you’ve checked, every news story at the top of your Gmail account and every email in your mailbox seems to be stuck on the fact that next year the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation might not use the same theme for Hockey Night In Canada that it’s used since the 1960s’ [rc].

From Reuters:

“The tune, which has opened the Canadian Broadcasting Corp’s Saturday night National Hockey League broadcasts since the late 1960s, will not be renewed as the broadcaster has chosen to move in a new direction…”

The best blog post out there that I’ve seen on it is from Miss604 [m604].

Let’s face it though, this is one of those things that people are going to get upset about for a few months and then forget about totally once a new song is used. After a few years with we’ll forget about it altogether because we’ve always been at war with Eurasia. Speaking of which wouldn’t it be nice if people got this fiery about poverty, Canadian troops in Afghanistan or the national debt?

I like the song as much as the average hockey fan, but please if I’ve not heard from you since we graduated high school I’m not interested in joining your damn Facebook group to save it.

Update: Buzz Bishop has a blog post on the subject that points out that nothing is official yet, and maybe we as a nation should just take a pill [bb].

Anthony Bourdain’s Vancouver visit

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Former chef Anthony Bourdain is famous around foodie circles both for his books, the most notable being Kitchen Confidential, and the niche he’s carved for himself as a travel food journalist with his show No Reservations which is shown on the Travel Channel down in the States. The most talked about shtick on the show is when Bourdain will eat something stomach turning, presenting audiences with a reality television version of the monkey brains scene from Temple of Doom.

Vancouver seems an odd destination for the show, since it’s neither one of the major food capitals of the world nor a place where one is likely to find something quite so unusual as a cobra heart like he ate in Vietnam. Still our city was one of the destinations for the show on this season, and while you won’t find it on Canadian television thanks to YouTube we can watch the episode online (for now).

I’ve said before that having outsiders come to Vancouver is a great way to get a new perspective on the city, and see just how much other people appreciate what we have there. Granted some of the eating that he does in the episode is way beyond a lot of people’s pocket books (mine included) but it’s still a great indication of what we have in our city.

The first three parts of the episode after the jump.

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Vancouver’s First WordPress Camp

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You must know about WordPress. It is the leading blog software and also a terrific free blog hosting site. To get the software (which is all Open Source) go wordpress.org but then you will need to find a web host but you will have all sorts of options. A more limited but much easier way to start blogging is go to WordPress.com which is how I started. It is also where we do the Vancouver MetBlog.

A few months ago at the Northern Voice conference on blogging, the WordPress session was over subscribed, so a special boot camp for bloggers is being held here next week.

It’s on Wednesday April 30th at 5.30-8.30pm at The Network Hub 3rd floor – 422 Richards Street.

Here’s a list of topics and presenters:

Adding photos [flickr, permissions, links, gallery plugins, badges] to your WordPress blog. Rebecca Bollwitt

The Joys of Amateur Blogging. Bruce Byfield

How to make money using a WordPress Blog. John Chow

Blogging & Social Media. Monica Hamburg.

WordPress for total website development. Jeff Kee

Good Typography in WordPress. Greg Andrews

Using WordPress to create a custom library, catalog, or other mashup-type site. Kulpreet Singh

WordPress and mobile blogging – i.e. how to read and write from an iPhone. Duane Storey

h/t Pete Quily

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