Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Top 12 Photos of 2011 According to Flickr

Flickr ranks photos according to interestingness. As of Dec 31st 2011: here are my top 12 photos according to flickr.
Green Points#1 Green Points: a lens baby shot of the tip of a branch of an unidentified cactus tree. Taken on the Sunshine Coast while on our BC Vacation this summer
Close Up#2 Close Up: Rebecca wanted to do a vintage pin up shoot, but she wasn't going to model. She was going to do make up and provide the outfits, then her friend couldn't make it so she filled in. Flickr likes her.
Lion's Gate Bridge#3 Lion's Gate Bridge: We spent Easter in Vancouver as it lined up with Sarah being done at UBC.  This is from a drive Kim and I did through Stanley Park.
Mountain Glory#4 Mountain Glory: A shot from Sulfur Mountain in Banff, I went up with my niece and brother and law in March.
Splash#5 Splash: An idea that worked. Smantha Greenwood stepped up to do this shoot when she heard that another model had backed out. I'm glad she did and flickr seems to agree :)
Lounging#6 Lounging: another shot of Rebecca.
Light Stage Left#7 Light Stage Left: this was the first shoot I did with Cactus V radio triggers. Made it very easy to change the flash location, title reflects what I was thinking.
White Cherry Tree#8 White Cherry Tree: Another Easter in Vancouver shot. A combo of my Sigma 8-16 MM Utlra Wide and my improving skills with PhotoShop. I removed two people talking right beside the tree and a number of parked cars from the left hand side.
Calgary by Sunrise#9 Calgary by Sunrise: My first shot of 2011. I may try to recreate it now the bow is almost done.
Hair#10 Hair: a shot of Samantha Greenwood. I had to create some of that hair in PhotoShop. Not much just enough to fill in a gap in the arrangement that I didn't notice when shooting.
Legs by the Water#11 Legs by the Water. Fun with the Ultra Wide and Samantha Greenwood. Here I used PhotoShop to fill in the grass so it didn't distract from the shot.
Light Stage Right#12 Light Stage Right: Another lighting experiment with Rebecca

I track all the shots that make my all time top 10%.  For 2011 125 shots have made it so far.  I still have some 2011 pictures to post and late 2011 shots could still break into the the top 10% in 2012.

It's been a good year for my photography. Thanks to Kim for putting up with me wandering off to shoot stuff and all the people who agreed to pose for me in 2011.

- Peace

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Free Christmas Music and New FIF for a Happy New Year!

Was checking out free Christmas music at NoiseTrade when what did I see?  But a new single from Five Iron Frenzy! 

From the FIF NoiseTrade page:
Five Iron Frenzy is an undead band from the Denver, CO area. They spent a few years (1997-2003) touring, creating music that made people happy and gave them something to listen to on road trips. The band quit FIF on November 22nd, 2003. They were greatly missed. 8 years after their break-up they launched a Kickstarter Project and raised enough money to record a new album ($30,000) in just 55 minutes.
A new FIF Album in the works? It will be a Happy New Year after all! Oh and for Xmas music, I'd recomend Ten Out Of Tenn Christmas and the Paste Magazine 2011 Christmas Sampler!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I wrote software and helped others write software

One of the difficult things about writing software is describing what you do to other people.   If you mentioned Web development, you'll get "oh I have a 12 year old nephew who does web pages."  Mention Java and for years even some people in IT thought JavaScript.  Back in the day if I was feeling difficult I'd describe what I did as "Writing software for computers that don't exist."   Best response from that was: "Is there a market for that?".  Oddly enough there was.   

It only got worse with a job titles like Application Architect.  Most people understand that software needs to be written, but Software Architecture?  What's that?  Must be how you format all that text.  So eventually I landed on "I write software and help other people write software."  That really covered the best of architecture, as well as the teaching and mentoring I'd done. 

After 15+ years of writing software, I've taken a job where that's not the job, in fact I've been told to resist when I'm asked to write software.   On Monday, I start as Shaw's Development Practice Lead.  With zero hours on the job, my understanding is I'll be the internal coach / advocate for the development team.

While I still expect to be writing software, it's no longer my job.  My new description: I help other people write software.  Let's hope there's a market for that.

- Peace

1900 km

Ice on Fishcreek at 1900 km
Haven't been doing much riding since the 84 km epic ride to Bragg Creek and back. Unfortunately soon after that I developed some shin splints and tendonitis, so had to lay off the biking. Legs have been feeling better so I did a number of short rides this weekend and that put me over the 1900 km mark today.  Not sure how much more riding I'll get in, but I think it's safe to say the original goal of 3600 km isn't going to happen in the next six weeks.

- Peace

Friday, November 11, 2011

Nov 11th, Thoughts of My Gradnfather

My Gradfather and I
Nov 11th always means thoughts of my Grandfather who signed up before there was an RCAF so he flew with the RAF in the battle of Britton and in the North African Campaign. 

He was shot down over Egypt and survived, but wasn't re-certified for combat, so he delivered new planes to the front and brought back planes that needed service as the Allies pushed north through Italy.

So many stories.  Once while preparing to return to Egypt with a plane from Itally he noticed the grapes were ripe in the field next to the airstrip.  So he unloaded one of the ammo bays in plane and filled it with grapes.  Figured he was flying alone, so if he encountered the enemy there wouldn't be much difference between one set of guns and two.  He flew back to Egypt with a load of fresh grapes, said it made him quite popular for a couple of weeks.

- Peace

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Last Day at Blackboard Collaborate

Last Flight out of Bb collaborate

Today's my last day at Blackboard Collaborate. It's been a tough three weeks, letting go of a place where I've grown to love the people I work with. But I covered that in my last post.  So let's talk RC Helicopters.

My parting gift to the Calgary Office is pair of Force RC Battling Helicopters. We've been buzzing around our large meeting area, and shooting one another out of the sky all week :)

For the price the Force RC helicopters are very easy to fly and the combat system is a ton of fun. These are the RC toys I dreamed of as a kid.

Only complaint is they're not the toughest things in the world, even with adults it's easy to break the plastic frames. Still lot's of fun for the $$$. Got them as a set from PM Hobby Craft.

Oh and before I get accused of trying to lower productivity via gift of RC goodness, I cleared the idea with the appropriate VP before getting them. OK so said VP announced his retirement a few days later, but my conscience is clear.

Thanks to Doug for taking the picture, while I flew past the Bb collaborate poster. Thanks to Andy for helping with the initial experiments.

Thoughts on the new gig still to come.

- Peace

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

A Failed assert Is Truly Groovy Baby

While I've been a fan of Groovy for some time, I wasn't a fan of assert in Groovy, it produced a big ugly stack trace and wasn't very readable. So I just ignored assert  as I have in Java.

Most developers ignore assert in Java, it was introduced late, it's complicated to work with from a tuning and performance perspective, we've been doing unit testing long before assert was introduced...

However the core Groovy community loves assert, almost all example code for Groovy,  beyond 'Hello World', uses assert to show what's going on. Example: Introduction to Groovy

So ignoring assert in Groovy, didn't feel very groovy; I was at odds with the community. Using assert didn't feel groovy either.

That changed last night as I debugging some code for the build system. I put in a quick assert as a sanity check and it failed, but it failed beautifully.  It produced one of the most beautiful error messages I've ever seen, it looked something like:

assert demo.calcA() == demo.calcB()
       |    |       |  |    |
       |    1       |  |    2
       |            |  AssertDemo@2c79809
       |            false

The perfect amount of information, quickly showing me what was happening in my code. Turns out Groovy 1.7 introduced Power Asserts because
Groovy's "assert" keyword has sometimes been criticized as it's, in a way, limited, as it just checks that the expression it's being passed is true or false. Unlike with testing frameworks such as JUnit/TestNG and the various additional assertion utilities, where you get nicer and more descriptive messages, Groovy's assert would just tell you the expression was false, and would give the value of variables used in the expression, but nothing more.
OK, so I'm not quite alone in my lack of love for the old assert.  The new Power Assert is a thing of beauty.

Power Assert was developed as part of Spock: a testing and specification framework for Java and Groovy applications.  I haven't used Spock, but it's now on the list of things to check out.

- Peace

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hardest Day at Work in a Long Time

As I mentioned back in 2007 I don't blog that much about work, though I see the work label is #20 on the list of labels, so more than I thought?  Yes I've blogged about having a Tough Day at Work before; but that was ironic.

Yesterday I gave notice that I would be leaving Blackboard Collaborate.  I've left companies before, over differences over direction, lack of funding (they stopped paying us), that sort of thing.  None of that applied in this case. 

I love working on a product that enables global education.  While working on it I've met people who are fans of our product from around the world.  I've met people in my corner of Calgary who's daughter uses the product to learn French as part of her home schooling.

As development shop we've embraced an Agile process and are getting better at it. 

We're in the same space as our level 2 support people, so they wander over and ask questions, and we ask questions of them to get an idea of how things are working.

I'm part of dev team with history.  They worked on Multix, they took a young developer out for lunch with a buddy from college and the friend turned out to be James Gosling.  They tell stories about how they nearly got James kicked out of a favorite restaurant on Talk Like a Pirate day.

I love the team I'm on.  We've gone camping, biking and done photography together. 

It's been a amazing place to be and I don't expect to encounter anything like it again.  So announcing that I was leaving was really hard. 

I have a new gig, it fell in my lap, it was too interesting to turn down.  More on that latter.

- Peace

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dieter Rams’ ten principles to “good design”

Good design is innovative
Good design makes a product useful
Good design is aesthetic
Good design helps us to understand a product
Good design is unobtrusive
Good design is honest
Good design is long-lasting
Good design is consequent to the last detail
Good design is concerned with the environment
Good design is as little design as possible

From Good Design is as Little Design as Possible on Yatzer.  Was struck by how much that applies to software design.  Not just to the UI but also to code.

- Peace

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Recycling UI

A shot of two Recycling bins in our office.  What goes in the bin on the Left?  What goes in the bin on the right?  I find that I often put the wrong thing on the left and have to pull stuff back out, yuck. Yesterday it dawned on me as to why, the UI on the left is broken, the important information follows redundant information.  The first word on the left is Recycling, under the large recycling logo on a blue bin.  I hit the redundant information and stop reading.

The bin on the right gets it right, the important guard clause is the first thing you read.  Well done.

All this to say that good design is hard even with something as simple as office recycle bins.  And UI/UX design applies even to simple documentation.  So hug a designer or tech writer today, their work is hard.

- Peace

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Boys

The Boys
Last week my sister gave birth to two boys, Samuel and Isaiah. So on Sunday Kim and I went up to Edmonton to see them. As you can see they are very cute.  I'm not sure which is which. My mom was still having to guess, and I'm quite sure she's seen them every day so far, so I don't feel too bad.

- Peace

Friday, September 09, 2011

Tough Day at Work

Tough Day at Work
Some days are better than others. Today the Director of QA sprayed me with mud. I may or may not have helped organize a group of people to spray her with a large amount of water. Oh the joys of office politics.

- Peace

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Missing Dad

It was ten years ago that we lost Dad to cancer.  I miss him.  I miss my dad who I grew up with and I miss the man I was just starting to get to know as an adult.  Can't help but wonder if he would have gotten back into photography when I did.  I shoot Pentax, because he did.  I wish he could have seen Sarah grow up into the woman she is.  I wish should could have known him as an adult.   I miss watching him play crib, he played the odds in a way I could never master.  I miss how badly he took it when he lost at Phase 10.  "Stupid Game!"  I miss people who knew him on meeting me saying, "You must be Roger's boy".

- Peace

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Vote Rosebud for CBC Cultureville

I've done a number of photo shoots in Rosebud over the years and it's always been worth the trip. So please join me in voting Rosebud for Alberta's Cultureville. And if my pictures aren't enough checkout the video on why Rosebud should get your vote. - Peace

Monday, September 05, 2011

15 Minutes of Fame in Rosebud

15 Minutes of Fame in Rosebud
It was quite the long weekend.  After the Ride to Bragg Creek on Saturday, on Sunday I headed out to Rosebud for the 15 Minutes of Fame music festival. Ten hours of Alberta Talent and one of the friendliest crowds anywhere. Well worth the trip. Took over 1400 pictures, I'll wade through them and post a few to flickr.

- Peace

1800 km and Brag Creek

With Friends at 1800 km

Haven't done much ridding since getting back from our BC Vacation. So only manged to do ~250 km in Aug. Not ridding much in the last couple of weeks didn't stop me from doing the ride to Bragg Creek and back with the guys on Saturday. It's an 84 km round trip, with some serious climbs :) Last year it nearly killed me, this year I just felt sore, still feel sore two days latter, but not as bad as last year :) We had great weather, cool enough that we didn't over heat but not cold enough to slow us down. I think that helped a lot. Thanks guys!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Portal: Best Movie Based on a Video Game Ever!

Brilliant take on Portal as a movie. Just under seven minutes long. I don't think they need to do more, but I might see it if they did.  One quibble, who tests something like that by putting their hand in first?  Come on even Sliders got that right.

- Peace

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

OK Go Muppet Show Music Video

OK Go has released a video for their cover of the Muppet Show Theme Song. The video mashes up Muppet and OK Go YouTube culture. The song opens The Green Album - covers of Muppet songs by some cool bands. You can listen to The Green Album on NPR.

- Peace

Sunday, August 14, 2011

1700 km

Sand Ripples @ 1700 km
Our last day on Savary Island, I rode to Indian Point beach, to hit the 1700 km mark. Took a walk on the beach and choose this as my 1700 km shot.

- Peace

Saturday, August 06, 2011

1600 km

Bridge @ 1600 km Enjoying vacation on the sunshine coast, it's stunningly beautiful here.    Still I managed to hit 1600 km on a boring strip with nothing but trees.  Oh well.

While described as a 4-5 day cycling trip, today I met a guy who was doing the entire 135 km trip in one day.  He did Langdale Ferry to Earl's cover ferry (80 km) in under three hours, Google maps guess 5 hours for that distance.  Impressive.

I enjoyed the 42 km I did today, stopping at a local bike shop, having a root beer float at local deli and having and eagle soar past me at eye level.

- Peace

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

1500 km, in Kelowna

Boardwalk @ 1500 km
Had hoped to hit the 1500 km mark while in Revelstoke, but came up 5 km short.  Might have been that I only did one round on the Sorrenson 5 km loop.  Course the first round left me thankful for my helmet and thick moss, so that's the way it goes.  Did get two trips down Mt Revelstoke at an average speed of 45 km/h - Wheeee!   And I did 24 km of trail riding on Mt. MacPherson without injury.  It put me over the 600 km mark for July, just didn't get to 1500 in Revelstoke.

I did 5km in Kelowna, along the river board walk to hit the 1500 km mark after a wonderful dinner at the Yellow House - amazing stuffed salmon BTW.  Taking a couple of days off before riding the sunshine coast.

- Peace

Friday, July 29, 2011

1400 km

Spruce Meadows @ 1400 km
Hit the 1400 km mark this afternoon.  Did a ride out 22x to 22 south and back.  Hit 1400 km at Spruce Meadows on the way back.  Just under 60 km to go for 600 km in July and two days, should be fine.

- Peace

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Who Are the Sinners Again?

Heard something new in Mark the other day and was surprised I hadn't heard it before.  Mark 14 is a dark passage, betrayal, denial and friends who can't do the simple things like stay awake.

In the middle of this Jesus says “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners.   Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

What caught my attention was the term sinners.  While most people know it as religious term,  used to insult people, it's not a term Jesus uses in that way most of the time.  In Mark the word only appears Mark 14 and Mark 2.

Here's how the term Sinners is used in Mark 2
Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them.  As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.

While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
In Mark 2, the "teachers of the law" are up set that Jesus is eating with sinners, tax collectors being the worst kind of sinners for cooperating with Rome.  In Mark 14 it the "chief priests" who are coming to arrest Jesus.  The Gospel is often an inversion, the least being divine, the last being first.  In Mark 14 it's the religious leaders who protested Jesus eating with the wrong type of people, conspiring to commit murder. 

- Peace

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

OpenID for Comments

[If you're reading this on Facebook, don't worry this is for people who comment directly on the blog.]

I've had to turn off Anonymous commenting as the sheer volume of spam has trained gmail that all comment notifications from the blog are spam and then I miss real comments.  99% of the spam is from anonymous users so I've restricted comments to users who are signed in and we'll see how that goes.

If you have a google account or any other valid OpenID account you can comment.  You may not know you have an OpenID, but you probably do.  See: Surprise! You may already have an OpenID.

- Peace

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lines of Power @ 1300 km

Lines of Power @ 1300 KM
It's been two days since my last 100 km mark.  Not sure how long I can maintain the 100 km every 2 to 3 days rate.  Vacation will mess with that, even with the biking I have planned.   Will see how it goes.  Still a couple of days behind where I should be to hit 600 km in July, but that's better than where I was a couple of days ago.

- Peace

Saturday, July 23, 2011

1200 KM

Between the Bows at 1200 KM
It's been over a week since I last hit a 100 km mark.  Didn't sleep well early in the week and it messed me up the rest of the week.  On the upside I did ride 71 km today.  Still I'm 4 days off the pace to hit 600 km in July, with just over a week to go.  Going to be tight.

- Peace

Thursday, July 21, 2011

For now: G+ = FB - Farmville

I love how xkcd caputred Google+: Facebook that's not Facebook.  You could also say that G+ = FB - Farmville.  In fact G+ is a very stripped down social networking site, there's just not much there in terms of features, and I'm thinking that's by design. At least for now.

Mark Hurst points out that most Facebook "users are more concerned with the inbound than the outbound.
... The pain point for average users is the overload of incoming information". Mark doesn't think that the G+ stream does anything to improve the reading experience. But if your stream isn't clogged with a bunch of auto generated content from games, quizzes, check ins, etc then the signal to noise ration should be better right? And Mark seems to miss that you can quickly filer your stream by circle.

The stripped down nature of G+ has to be by choice. It's not like Google can't do features. Google has done the massive integration approach to social networking. When Buzz launched it was all about all the different places that you could automatically pull information from.  Almost everyone set it pull in their twitter feed, then they complained about how slow it was in posting twitter feeds and they left.  While I use and enjoy Buzz, 95% of what's there is people's twitter posts.  Also Buzz's flickr integration seems to be broken right now, so integration with a ton of third party sites is a pain to maintain.

I'm not sure how long G+ will remain the bare bones social networking site that it is today, after all FB started out as a cleaner, simpler MySpace and look where it is now.

I'd like to see better integration with other Google products like Reader. Sparks are cool but I'd like them in Reader and I'd like to share with my circles from Reader. I'd also like to be able to schedule an event from Google Calender with a circle and have people discuss it as a G+ item. And why is Huddles a separate chat program from Google Talk? Let me do a group chat with a circle in Google talk weather we're on smart phones or computers.

And yeah I'd like to auto import my blog and my flickr stream. I don't know if Google will do any of what I want.

I can do without Farmville updates, but then Google is a $100 million investor in Zynga, makers of Farmville.  So enjoy G+ = FB - Farmville while it lasts.

- Peace

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Olivia: What the?

What the?
Melissa & Phil's daughter Olivia turned one earlier this month.  They put on a great party! (Thanks for having us Melissa!)  When I asked what I could bring the only thing Melissa mentioned was the camera :) 

While there are many cute pictures of Olivia, I really love the expression on her face in this one, reminds me of Phil.

- Peace

Friday, July 15, 2011

1100 KM

The City @ 1100 KM
Hit the 1100 KM mark this morning as I climbed up out of the river valley towards work in the NE.   While I'd hoped to be at the 1200 mark today, I'm just a day behind hitting 600 KM for July.  Not bad.

- Peace

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Vacation 2011

We have our vacation plans for 2011 mostly figured out:
- Revelstoke for 2 days of biking.
- Kellowna for a winery tour.
- Vancouver just for a night.
- I'm going to ride the Sunshine Coast from Gibsons to Lund.  Got the idea from Cycle the Sunshine Coast.  Had been thinking about riding the Kettle Valley, but Kim pointed out it can get to +40 there in the summer.
- Then we're going to spend a week on Savary Island at the Savary Island Resort.

Looking forward to it :)

- Peace

Friday, July 08, 2011

1000 KM

Fishcreek @ 1000 KM
Hit the 1000 KM mark on Wed while crossing Fishcreek.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

900 KM and a Plan

900 KM with Friends

Richard couldn't make yesterdays ride, so he suggested we do the Glenmore Reservoir, Clement came along too. We stopped for lunch at Nellie's on 90th, I think this may be a new tradition, ride and eat! As we were getting ready to split up, I was at 899 KM so the guys rode an extra KM with me to be in the 900 KM shot, thanks guys!

I didn't get the 200 KM I was hoping for in the last week of June, didn't even make 100 KM, stuff happens. So this is the latest that I've hit 900 KM since I've started photo blogging my KM.

On the up side I did over 500 KM in June. The plan is to do 600 KM in July, August and Sept. That would put me at 2700 KM by the end of Sept, just a head of where I was last year when the rear hub went. If I can do 500 KM in Oct and 400 in Nov that would put me at 3600 KM for the year, 1000 KM more than last year. Any ridding in Dec would be bonus.

- Peace

Friday, July 01, 2011

Jumping Pound Loop eh!

For Canada day I rode Jumping Pound Loop in the NE of Kananaskis country with Andy, Clement and Ken. 10 KM of single track in the forest of the foothills, paradise! Parts of the trail we're muddy enough to force us off our bikes, but other than that the trail was in great shape. Great weather, just cool enough for comfortable riding with the trees keeping us out of the wind and providing shade. You can find this trail by taking highway 68 south and west from the Transcanada. The trail head is just after the pavement ends. Or you could just checkout the trail data from mytracks that I posted to google maps.

- Peace

Monday, June 27, 2011

Something Firefox can do that Chrome can't

Been using Chrome as my default browser on my Linux workstation at work. Found it to be more stable than Firefox, especially where Flash is concerned. Needed to do some old school FTP today and couldn't find an FTP add on for Chrome. Looks like Chrome's security policy makes it impossible to write file to the local machine, so there's no way to do an FTP client in Chrome. So FireFTP in Firefox it is then.

- Peace

Friday, June 24, 2011

Frieght Cars @ 800 KM

Frieght Cars @ 800 KM
Hit the 800 KM mark tonight. Hoping to hit 1000 KM by the end of the month, that's just six days away, 33&1/3 KM perday - no problem.

Only drove the car to work once this week :)

- Peace

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A blur at 700 KM

A Blur at 700 KM
Hit the 700 KM mark on the way home after seeing First Grader with Kim and Sarah.  Was getting a bit dark so the shots came out as a blur.

- Peace

First Grader: Brilliant with Dark Shadows

Kim, Sarah and I saw First Grader last night at the Globe. A great story of a man in his 80s who starts first grade in Kenya when free education is promised to all. Well worth seeing but the story has much darker moments then you'd guess from the trailer.

- Peace

Monday, June 20, 2011

Calgary to become a premier cycling city, someday.

Calgary's proposed Cycling Strategy lays out the vision.
The City has a vision to become one of the premier cycling cities in North America
Unfortunately there's not much analysis on where we are or what it will take to get there. Calgary likes to tell its self it's a world class cycling city and it is, as long as you see cycling as recreation not a way to get from A to B. The pathway system is wonderful to ride, but unless your A to B aligns with the river it's not much help.

While the Stategy doesn't directly ackowledeg this there are hints:
The Calgary Streets Bylaw 20M88 or Traffic Bylaw 26M96, for example, could specify a penalty for parking in a bicycle lane.
OK so that explains why there is always at least one car parked in the bike lane on 53rd St NW. That's not a bike lane, that a place bikes can ride, if no one parks their car there.

The Strategy calls for hiring a Dedicate a Bicycle Design Engineer, Bicycle Planner and a Bicycle Education and Promotion Coordinator. Let's face it, the people who put up signs like this

Say what...

need the help. I'm guessing that's why there aren't more concrete plans in Strategy, we just don't have the expertise to do it.

The proposed Bike Share program has gotten some heat as being a frill given how far behind we are. Though the strategy does propose getting a sponsor to cover the $425 000 / year cost. If they can do that then great. Of course Montreal had to bail out it's bike share program recently so the city should tread carefully.

I'm in favor of the plan, just wish we could be more honest about how far we have to go. If you'd like to see the city move forward on becoming a premier cycling city be sure to let your Alderman know. The next vote on this is Tuesday.

- Peace

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why we need Bike Lanes not Bike Paths

Calgary's proposed Cycling Strategy has me thinking about what I'd like to see. I'd really like to see Elbow Drive turned into a North South bike lane. Not all four lanes, just take one lane for bikes and use lane reversal on the center lane to keep 2 lanes for the rush hour direction. There only three lanes of traffic on Elbow drive now. Two Lanes with rush hour and one lane going the other way. If we had designated bike lanes then cars wouldn't have to share with bikes so it's more space for cars during rush hour.

Reasons for a bike path on Elbow Drive:
- there are a almost a dozen schools that are within a block or two of Elbow Drive
- it's parallel the south c train line, so if you break down you can limp to a train station and go from there
- it goes through a number of residential neighborhoods connecting to downtown. [Ok so I'd like to include 4th Street south of 10th Ave in this too]
- The north most section of Elbow Drive is all ready a 40 KM zone, so it's not targeted as a major traffic route.

Now I'm sure someone would point out that there are bike paths just east of Elbow Drive, you can see them on Google maps, why not take those?

With Elbow Drive as a bike path directions to downtown are: take Elbow Drive north then take a left on 4th Street (just after the safeway).

The directions to downtown from Canyon Meadows to Downtown on the bike paths as they are now? It's 34 separate steps. I would like someone from the city to lead me on that path from memory with only the sparse bike route signage we have now. That path involves switching between road and sidewalk multiple times and being in tight places with pedestrians. Not Good. It's also 17% longer than the Elbow Drive route. It's much harder to go 17% faster on bike than it is in a car.

That's why we need bike lanes, not just more bike paths.

- Peace

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Firsts @ 600 KM

Pro Cross @ 600 KM

Hit the 600 KM mark on the way home tonight.  It marked a number of firsts:
  • First time this year to do 100 KM in under a week.
  • First time this year that I've hit a 100 KM mark while commuting, even though most of my riding is commuting.
  • First time hitting 100 KM on my new Lynskey Pro Cross!

    While I loved the Romax frame that brodie sent to replace the brodie energy frame that cracked just before 300 KM, I've killed enough aluminum frames that I really wanted to try something else. Titanium is supposed to be stronger and stiffer than aluminum.  I'm told the Dave Lynskey himself has singed off on the bike standing up to my size and number of KMs. We'll see, will be three years before I know if it out lasts my brodie Energy.

    I'm told that the stiffness of titanium means more energy gets transmitted to the tires when pedaling. Didn't think it would make much of a difference, but so far I've been ridding faster than I was on the Romax and the Romax was a step up from the Energy. Nice to have some benefit right away :)

    - Peace
  • Sonicare Works

    After my last teeth cleaning earlier this year my RDH recommended I get a Philips Sonicare toothbrush.  I was skeptical but willing to give it a try.  Had another check up and cleaning today and my gums and teeth were in better condition than last time.   So for me Sonicare works, meaning the cleaning wasn't as painful as normal.   That makes it worth the money.

    - Peace

    Sunday, June 12, 2011

    Bow Falls @ 500 KM

    Bow Falls @ 500 KM
    Hit the 500 KM just at the end of the Goat Creek Trail.  I give myself between the x hundred mark and x hundred mark oh one to take my hundred mark shot.  The falls are less the 500 meters from the end of the trail so I'm making this shot of a wave from the falls my 500 KM mark.

    While the last couple of 100 km marks have been less than cooperative,  this one worked out quite well.  To quote a friend on why he was backing out of the ride "The weather for tomorrow in that area is for rain and thunder showers all day."  Well I've learned never call a ride on account of weather until you get to the trail head.   We drove through some very heavy rain and there was light rain in Canmore when we got there, but once we got up to the trail head things looked in good condition and the rain was more of a mist.  Trail was is great condition, best I've seen it in years and by the time we got to Banff it was nice enough that we had our coffees out side.  On the trail we had maybe an hour of heavy mist.  :)

    I'm posting pictures from the ride to flickr.

    - Peace

    Thursday, June 09, 2011

    I help build Virtual Classrooms

    I work for Blackboard Collaborate; part of what we do is build Virtual Classrooms. So What Does a Virtual Classroom Look Like? is a post from Lucy Hammel describing her job as a online teacher using our Elluminate classroom. Elluminate being one of the companies that was merged into the new Blackboard Collaborate last year.

    - Peace

    Wednesday, June 08, 2011

    Blue Like Jazz Trailer

    Looks like they were able to Save Blue Like Jazz as there is now a trailer for the movie. Looks good. No idea if it will come to Calgary so I may have to wait for it to go to DVD.

    - Peace

    Tuesday, June 07, 2011

    400 KM at last

    Calgary Evening @ 400KM
    The last couple of 100 KM marks have not been kind to me. Just before 300 KM the frame on my commuter bike cracked. Just before the 400 KM mark I got a nasty stomach virus. Plan is to hit 500 KM while riding Goat Creek this Saturday. We'll see how that goes.

    - Peace

    Sunday, May 29, 2011

    300 KM mark with Sarah

    Riding with Sarah @ 300 KM
    A cracked frame, a week of rain, it hasn't been the best time for racking up KM. Still we got some nice weather this weekend and Sarah is looking to ride more so we did 15 KM in Fish Creek Park and I hit the 300 KM mark for the year. She's still out riding her Dad.

    - Peace

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    Over the Rhine in Calgary

    Linford and Karen
    Image Journal brought Over the Rhine to Calgary last week. Would have missed it, if not for a last minute email from Talitha, Thanks Talitha!

    The Engineered Air Theater is a wonderfully intimate setting to see OtR, a great match for their music that sneaks up on you and pulls you into the story of everyone. The concert was followed up by a discussion panel on Faith and Art that included local artists.

    I'm just getting to posting pictures from the event now. It was good to make contact with folk who are interested in the questions of art and faith.

    - Peace

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    How Do You Shoot the Lower East Side?

    Working Princess AveDistortion
    Psalm 22
    Sidewalk Crucifix

    Kendra invited me down to the Procession of the Cross Easter Sunday in Vancouver's Lower East Side. "Would it be inappropriate to bring my Camera" "It's hard to be inappropriate on the Lower East Side" injected Sheona. Vancouver's famous lower east side. One of the poorest postal codes in Canada.

    When Xalt took out the Salvation Army Kitchen on Wheels to Calgary's East Side by the river a number of coworkers mentioned how they would never feel safe there. The homeless were scary people to be avoided. My experience was that the homeless were people with a wide range of stories.

    Easter morning I woke up early and wasn't able to get back to sleep. So I headed down to the Lower East Side about an hour or so before the Procession of the Cross just wander around, get a feel for the place. I was hoping to capture the Lower East Side, both what you expect there and what surprised me. There were some dramatic shots of people that I didn't get, I didn't want to intrude without permission. While there I was approached and asked if I was looking for "company" a couple of times.

    I arrived at the Church just as the group was setting off. It was a lovely service.

    Afterwards I was approached again and this time I made a counter offer. I was expecting to be told no. She asked how much, I asked her what she thought was fair, she said she'd really like X, I offered 2x. We did a quick shoot a couple of blocks away. I then dropped her off at a local eatery where she was going to get breakfast.

    She was wonderful to work with and had a great sense of humor and an interest interest in music.

    I don't know all the answers for how the rich and privileged (me) should interact with the poor and marginalized. I do know that I favor interaction over avoidance, even if I risk being inappropriate.

    - Peace

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    She Passed Me @ 200 KM

    She Passed Me @ 200 KM
    Hit the 200 KM mark tonight.  After this morning's ride I had just 21 KM to go till 200.  The full ride from work is 26 KM, but I'm still at the point of taking the train for part of the ride.  I rode the 11 KM to the 39th Ave station and took the c train south from there, go off one stop early and then did another 11 KM of riding through evergreen.  Was too nice not to ride and 200 KM was too close to pass up.

    - Peace

    Monday, May 09, 2011

    Vancouver, Biking, Sarah and 100 KM.

    With Sarah at 100 KM
    When Sarah was two we went out to Vancouver to visit Steve and Julie, Richard and Kim's friend Colleen.  Richard, Sarah and I went for a bike ride in Stanley Park, me towing Sarah in a trailer I rented from Spokes.  Most of the the after noon Sarah called out "Go Faster Dad!"  Only once did she cry "Too Fast!"  When we returned Kim asked her how it went - "Dad went too fast!" was the reply.  Thanks Kido.

    With Sarah ending her first year at UBC, I wanted to ride the Endowment lands with her when we went out to get her and her stuff.  She hadn't been, as none of her friends at UBC ride and riding the endowment lands alone isn't wise.  We rode them together, We were in awe of the beauty that surrounded us.  I hit the 100 KM mark for 2011 on that ride - hence the picture.   Sarah has been riding since Sept, so she seriously out rode me.  No chance of Dad going to fast this time.

    I did 2600 KM last year, so if I hit 3600 KM this year I'll be happy.

    - Peace

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    Vote Spliting: a Corruption of Democracy

    The NDP are up in the polls so we're hearing about vote splitting. From
    Despite Michael Ignatieff's efforts to paint a vote for the NDP as a vote for Stephen Harper — something pollster Darrell Bricker said has been a Liberal strategy since the 2004 — things are different this election.
    When a politician says a vote for X is a vote for Y, what they are really saying is: our voting system is corrupted.  If you vote X it will be counted as Y.  If they said it was because we couldn't trust officials with Election Canada, it would be a clear case of corruption.  There would be calls for reform, not just advice not to vote for X.

    Why then does our system get a free pass?   If our system doesn't count our votes they way we vote it's the system that is corrupt.   Our system is corrupt - that's the only way anyone could say that a "NDP vote is a vote for Stephen Harper".  When politicians warn of vote splitting, they should be asked how they would fix the system so people get the government they vote for.

    Michael Ignatieff should be trying to fix corruption, not trying to benefit from it.

    - Peace

    Friday, April 01, 2011

    Gmail Gets Motion Control

    Looking forward to using this.

    - Peace

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    $1000 per student per year = revolution?

    I can say without exaggeration that this is a real revolution in learning and training in Canada. And that will give us the means of becoming the most competitive society in the world,
    Ignatieff told a news conference at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ont. - CBC

    I'm all in favor of more money for students, but $1000 is a fraction of what it costs students to go to university these days. (Tuition for arts at UBC, $4,518 - books, and residence fees bring it closer to $16,000) Oh and that $1000 replaces some of the tax credits that are there now, so it's less than it looks like. Hard to trust someone who says he's not exaggerating when he's clearly exaggerating.

    BTW I'd be happier with $500 for all students and $2000 for those from low income families. But that's me.

    - Peace

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    A Martyn and some Peacocks, a great musical weekend.

    Trio at Sunset
    Kim and I saw Martyn Joseph on Friday. Wonderfully thoughtful folk, rock from Wales. Show was sold out, 300+ people packed Southwood United.

    Then Sunday night we drove out to Rosebud to see The Peacocks for their CD release concert. The artwork for The River Bending being photographs by your's truly. Another sold out show, the Gallery was packed at around 80 people. The Peackocks teamed up with Lewis and Royal also of Rosebud. Fantastic energy in the room as most people knew each other. There was great banter back and forth between stage and the audience. Deeply moving Canadian and celtic folk music was mixed with comedy and good cheer. Well worth the drive.

    - Peace

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    Forgot to Wear Green Today

    So here's my penance: Sweedish Chef, Animal and Beaker sing Danny Boy.

    - Peace

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    New York Hymns Songs for Lent

    Just downloaded Songs for Lent from New York Hymns. It's a set of twenty contemplative songs based on the stations of the cross. Really enjoying it. You can listen to the entire album or download in exchange for your email and postal code.

    While the album is free, you can tip New York Hymns via Noise Trade, they're giving all the tips to plywood people:
    an innovative community addressing social needs. We are always searching for social problems with the hope to match them with entrepreneurial creativity to organize, innovate, and manage ideas that produce change. We hope to foster conversations and collaboration between the privileged and those in need through educational environments, sustainable ventures, community places, social experiments, storytelling projects, cause marketing campaigns, and new consumption patterns.

    - Peace

    UBB Canada vs USA

    AT&T is introducing data caps for it's broadband customers. Can't help but notice the caps are higher than here in Canada 150 Gb for their DSL customers, Bell has caps as low as 25 gigabytes. If AT&T custoemrs go over they are charged $10 per every 50 Gb that they go over. That works out to $0.20 per Gb as an overage fee. Compare that to Bell who's been reported to charge $3 per Gb for going over you cap.

    One doesn't have to look far to see that there is something wrong with the Canadian telecom market.

    - Peace

    Tuesday, March 08, 2011

    If Bell Ran Tim Hortons with UBB

    If Bell ran Tim Hortons it would be like this: you'd have to buy a Coffee Coupon book each month. Coffee coupon books come in sets of 4, 8 and 12. Each coffee is $2 each, no mater what size coupon book you buy. You go for 8 that's $16. Don't use all 8 in a month, that's too bad, they expire at the end of the month, Tim's keeps the extra cash. Need 10 cups of coffee in a month well extra cups of coffee go for 24x the regular price. That's an extra $48 each. An extra $96 for two cups of coffee - if Bell ran Tim's.

    Think that's crazy? Well Bell thinks that's how Tim Hortons works. See
    Bell's page on Usage-based Billing.

    Quick recap, UBB is where an ISP charges you extra if you use your net connection more that the limit set on your plan. The argument is that heavy users should pay for using the net more.

    Bell says "It's an approach employed by service providers of all kinds - electrical utilities, your gas company… even Tim Hortons and Starbucks! If you consume a lot, you pay more than those who don't."

    They point out that you can pay $5 for 40 GB, $10 for 80 GB, $15 for 120 GB. That's $0.125 per GB for all thee plans. But if you go over you need to pay $3 a GB, that's 24x what they say a GB is worth.

    If we singed up for 80 GB but use 85 GB in a month that $10 for the first 80 GB and $15 for the last 5 GB. Use only 50 of your 80 GB, they keep the extra cash. That's how Tim Horton's works? Really? Have these people ever had a Double Double?

    - Peace

    Wednesday, March 02, 2011

    L.A. - 2 700 km of bike lanes and a Mayor Who Bikes.

    CBC: L.A. to get 2,700 km of bike lanes
    The bicycle master plan unanimously approved by the City Council sets a long-term goal of some 2,700 kilometres of interconnected bikeways and calls for 320 kilometres of the new bike paths to be added every five years.

    The city currently has fewer than 640 kilometres of bikeways in a patchwork of segments.
    Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also became a fierce advocate for designated bike lanes last year after he shattered an elbow in a bike accident with a taxi cab.
    I really like that they have a plan to add 64 km of lanes a year with a focus on connecting the segments they have now. I have no idea what Calgary's plan is and we have plenty of disconnected segments. It also seems that this progress is connected to having a Mayor that bikes. Just saying.

    - Peace

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Bike 3%, Solve Major Commuting Issues

    Naheed Nenshi was in Ward 13 tonight. The SW section of the ring road was a hot issue. Mayor Nenshi was pushing for rapid transit as a necessary component to solving congesting in the SW. He pointed out that a 3% reduction in traffic on 14th Street is all it would take to get 14th Street flowing again. Small changes can have a big impact on all of us.

    I'm on the record as a fan of How Mayor Nenshi ran his campaign. There was one thing that bugged me. While in favor of more people cycling, he said he wouldn't do it " cause well, look at me, I'm clearly not a cyclist." - I hope I got that right.

    Anyone who knows me in person, or has seen me from a block away, knows I don't look like a cyclist. Still I did 2500 km last year, and that was down from the goal of 4500 km due to still recovering from an ankle injury, Star Craft II being released and a broken hub in Sept. (a custom part that took weeks to replace, sigh)

    The "I won't ride, I don't look like a cyclist" bothered me.

    That %3 stat got me thinking. 22 work days a month * 12 = 264. Let's say the Mayor get's 4 weeks vacation. So that's 20 days off. 244. 3% of 244 is 7.32. By biking 7 to 8 working days a year we could have a major impact on congestion in this city. It would be great to have a Mayor who has first hand experience with the challenges and the joys of bike commuting. It would set a great example for all of us, who don't look like cyclists.

    - Peace

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    Dueling Beatitutdes

    Dueling Beatitudes video via Empire Remixed.

    - Peace

    Tuesday, February 08, 2011

    Drugs and Faith

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia — At 12 tables, in front of 12 mirrors, a dozen people are fussing intently in raptures of self-absorption, like chorus line members applying makeup in a dressing room.

    UNDER WATCHFUL EYES Lawrence Golden-Brooks, 43, at Insite. The injection center offers clean needles as well as tests and treatment for H.I.V.
    But these people are drug addicts, injecting themselves with whatever they just bought on the street — under the eyes of a nurse here at Insite, the only “safe injection site” in North America.


    Downtown Eastside is a shock even to someone familiar with the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the 1980s or the Tenderloin in San Francisco. Even on a balmy fall afternoon, having 5,000 addicts concentrated in a small neighborhood can make a walk feel like a visit to the set of a zombie movie. On its core blocks, dozens of people are shuffling or staggering, flinching with cocaine tics, scratching scabs. Except for the young women dressed to lure customers for sex, many are in dirt-streaked clothing that hangs from their emaciated frames. Drugs and cash are openly exchanged.

    Insite [is] a safe haven supervised by nurses. ... About 800 injections take place there daily. However, officials think that is only 5 percent of the injections in the city and want permission from the national government to open more sites.
    From the NYT: An H.I.V. Strategy Invites Addicts In

    Saw the article in Meera Bai's twitter stream. Meera Will be speaking tomorrow night at Ambrose University College:

    On Wednesday, February 9, 2011, at 7:30pm, we have invited Meera Bai to talk about her work with InSite, North America’s only clinic for supervised injection drug use.
    InSite has aroused controversy over its practice of handing out clean needles and supervising drug use. Meera will thoughtfully address these concerns. She is in a unique position to provide a moral perspective on harm reduction, having worked as a registered nurse at InSite and other clinics in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, the poorest postal code in North America. (You can preview Meera’s experience at InSite at ).

    I'll be there.

    - Peace

    Tuesday, February 01, 2011

    Usage-based Billing: Pay for a Month, Get a Day.

    The caps from Canadian ISPs are much lower than those in the US. Canadian Telecom want you to pay for a month of net access as long as you only use it for a day or so, otherwise you'll need to pay more. You can sign at the main site or right here on IdeaJoy:

    D'Arcy Norman has a great write up on why usage based billing will hurt online education (and other interesting things)

    Under the other things list for me: working from home with video conferencing. It's something I didn't do six months ago, but do much more now.

    - Peace

    Monday, January 31, 2011

    American Irony in the Arab World

    LT has a great post on The west and our commitment to democracy or the lack there of.

    Thing that keeps getting me is how ironic the American reaction to the wave of change in Arab World is. This is exactly the wave of popular upraising that the Bush Whitehouse was expecting from Iraq. Not just in Iraq but that Iraq would be come a Democratic Beacon and change would sweep the Arab world.

    If course they were hoping it would be Iran not one of their long term ally. Still the Whitehouse should have had a plan for this, given the amount of money spent trying to engineer something like this.

    - Peace

    Thursday, January 27, 2011

    Ed Stelmach & Stéphane Dion, Together Again

    Back in 2006 I noted that Ed Stelmach's & Stéphane Dion's rise to power looked similar. Of course Ed Stelmach went on to lead his party to new hights, and Stéphane Dion lead the Liberals to new lows. Stéphane Dion was soon forced out of leadership by his caucus. So much for the similarity. Oh well.

    This week Ed Stelmach was forced out by his caucus before the end of his first term as premier. I might have been on to something. Nah.

    - Peace

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011

    Q Interview With Screen Writter for the King's Speech

    Interesting to hear how David Seidler's story and the story of the movie meshed. He was inspired by King George VI to over come his own stuttering. He waited years to write this movie because the Queen Mother asked him to. Listen to the Q Interview with David Seidler.

    BTW: Three Generations of Kings saw the King's Speech over Christmas break. We all enjoyed it.

    Saturday, January 22, 2011

    CHSR Turns 50 Today!

    Student Radio at UNB turns 50 Today, congrats to the station. I did shows there in 87-88.

    My favorite was doing all nighters with Steve. Midnight to 8 am. We'd pull random stuff from the huge record library. Next we'd head for breakfast at the Famrer's Market followed by video games at one of our places. Good times!

    - Peace

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    Two Long Surrender Reviews with MP3s

    Direct Current has an announcement/review of Over the Rhine's new album the Long Surrender with the King Knows How MP3 for download. They also have wonderful pictures of Linford and Karin. Would love to know who took the pictures.

    The Ruckus has a review.  Took me moment to realize 2/8 was the official release date not their rating.  From the Ruckus you can download Oh Yeah By The Way. I just want to amen the conclusion of the review:
    This is, for me, the kind of album that you'll want to just sit by yourself in a quiet room and listen to for the first time, no distractions, just absorbing the different layers of instruments and the supremely well-written lyrics. Or, you know, in a room full of people you love that love music even when it isn't coming from the newest musical act.

    I fell in love with OtR after hearing Born on a Paste Sampler back in 2005. So grab the MP3s but be warned OtR is a band you can fall in love with.

    - Peace

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    New Music from Over the Rhine.

    The Long Surrender is Over the Rhine's latest effort. Official release date is Feb 8th, but if you order the CD from them you'd get a link to download the MP3s now. Listing to the first song, and it's beautiful.

    If you don't know OtR then give their virtual record player a spin.

    Fun Facts:
    While they are from Ohio, Linford got his musical training here in Alberta.

    The Long Surrender was crowd funded by fans. My name isn't on the list, I didn't donate in time. However I do know one Jeff Cebulski who's on the list. The last time I saw Jeff we were listing to OtR's Drunkard's Prayer at his place in Atlanta.

    Mark Mayhle is on the list.

    I'm quite sure that the Beth Maynard on the list is Beth from U2 Sermons.

    - Peace

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Swype Keyboard for Android

    OK so I'm no where near as fast as this video - but the Swype keyboard for Android has made me faster. It's harder than you think to let go of the idea that you need to hit every key.

    - Peace

    Friday, January 14, 2011

    New Look for the blog

    Bloggers new template designer now allows you to use custom images for the background of your blog, so IdeaJoy is now using Vision on the Highway as it's background image.

    - Peace

    Friday, January 07, 2011

    Enjoying Matthew Perryman Jones's Free Sampler Olio


    You can could listen to the full Matthew Perryman Jones's sampler or download if you're were willing to give up your email and postal code. But the sampler is no longer available.

    - Peace

    Thursday, January 06, 2011

    My First "Interesting" Photo of 2011

    Calgary by Sunrise
    Flickr calculates interestingness of pictures as some combo of comments, favorites, views, referring web sites etc. I have some code that let's me know when a picture breaks into the Top 200 of all my pictures on flickr. The first shot to do that for 2011 is my Calgary by Sunrise shot seen above. As more 2011 pics break into the top 200 I'll be adding them to my Most Interesting of 2011 set.

    - Peace