DemoCamp Victoria 02 another success

October 30, 2008 at 11:38 pm | In DemoCampVictoria, democampvictoria02, victoria | 8 Comments

Ok, I am much too wired (and tired) to be writing a summing up of tonight’s DemoCamp event at Dave Chard’s Juliet Presentation Centre, but here goes.

Overall, the event had a more serious feel than the first event back in April.  Maybe people are feeling more earnest, given the economic climate (not to mention that now it’s Fall, and back then it was Spring).  Personally, I also missed the scrappy energy that Boris Mann brings to these events — he trekked from Vancouver to Victoria for the first one,  but had commitments in Seattle this time around. <le sigh>  And I missed Tris Hussey, who moved away from Victoria this past summer and has taken his wonderful photography skills to that lucky town.  Tris’s photos of DemoCamp Victoria 01 were terrific.  Now, I think I saw some cameras tonight, but until I see the photos on flickr or …somewhere, I know they won’t be as good as Tris‘s.

But those regrets are small potatoes, not to be counted against the overall quality of the presentations.  And I’m not just saying that ’cause I presented, too! 😉  Nor does saying so slight the presentations of the first DemoCamp.  Basically, I continue to be impressed by the quirky, but potentially completely solid ideas that emerge in Victoria.  (“Potentially” because until an idea is executed and allowed to run for some time — months?, years? — as a business, you can’t really assess its viability.)

Ok, so who presented?

In order, from my notes:

First up, Thomas Ahn of MAD Ventures Inc., who wanted to present to this group as a VC, heading a company that’s looking to fund local start-ups with seed money along the lines of the Y-Combinator model.  Questions to Thomas included, “what’s your chunk?”  Answer: can range from 10 to 66% depending on the work involved, but typically hovers around 33%.  Another question: how has your strategy changed in the past 2 months?  A: Not much, as MAD Ventures continues in the Y-Combinator model.  I was sitting there thinking, “builders, not traders; that’s good.”

Next, Andrew Wilkinson of Metalab Design gave a really good presentation of Ballpark (haha on you if you clicked through on that link), which is an elegant application designed for the smaller all-hands-on-deck business client who needs to be able to track leads, estimates, and cash flow for work projects.  Ballpark is designed to give users a real feel for where they are in the monthly/ weekly cash flow.  Very slick, very nicely done application.  Great UI, too.

Tim S. Lefler was next with an intriguing idea around microitems.  Now, this is something that’s for the collectors and traders and gamers out there.  (I’m thinking, Netwoman, you’d like this.)  Microitems are virtual items (the sorts of things you’re gifted on Facebook or in Warcraft), but what Tim’s site does is provide a repository and management system for these gifts and trading objects, so that you can collect and share them freely, beyond the confines of walled gardens (like Facebook, etc.).  I think this could really take off with a certain demographic.

Ok, next up was Will Whittaker, who offered two possible demos, from which the crowd chose Pornsupercomputer.  Ok, I did not fully understand this, and it wasn’t because of the porn.  In fact, the porn (and traffic) was the part I did understand — and SETI, too, for that matter.  Will’s presentation started with a slide showing the text “My computer is bigger than yours.”  Uh-huh.  Turns out he had three obsessions or interests that kept the brain gears turning: porn sites and the tremendous amount of traffic they draw; the fact that google adwords or adsense is forbidden on porn sites; and the fact that SETI uses other individual computers for its own computing needs (i.e., SETI “uses Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). You can participate by running a free program that downloads and analyzes radio telescope data.”)  And Will had this brainstorm that it would be really cool if he could somehow mash these three aspects together — hence the Pornsupercomputer concept was born.  He would pay porn sites to install a widget that would run on the porn site visitor’s computer every time s/he visited.  This widget would provide computing power to the supercomputer, which exists virtually.  That’s sort of how I understood it, but it got pretty technical in the Q&A.

After Will, we heard Hossein Dadkhah (can’t find too much information online), who presented an idea around lifetime business cards.  It’s a pretty simple concept, but ingenious.  Hossein rightly pointed out that unless you’re willing to spend a lot of money, the quality of most business cards here (locally) is pretty poor.  At the same time, he’s familiar with locales where you get high quality cards for much less.  He also thought about how it’s small businesses that really need super-good cards, but that these businesses are often also in flux, changing their addresses, phone numbers, and so on.  Each time, they’re obliged to have new cards printed.  So his idea (and apologies if I’m telescoping and/or bowdlerizing it too much) is to take the best of quality (but low-cost) cards you can get abroad and putting that together with a service to provide fixed id telephone numbers, email addresses, etc.  In other words, you pay for a business card that’s really high quality, but you’re essentially paying for things like having a toll-free number so that you don’t have to get new cards everytime you change your phone number or move your office, whether across town or somewhere completely new.

Next, I presented MetroCascade, the online local news aggregator built for this community specifically, but with the agenda to take over the region (Cascadia) and then …bwahahaha.  Well, something like that!  It’s currently hosted here, and still in beta beta beta, but once we get a designer to work on the UI (including how to get some of the features I want — where on the page to put them), we’ll go completely live.

Stephen Albinati was up next, presenting zumer, which I was familiar with, but didn’t fully understand until after Stephen’s excellent presentation.  Here’s an article from UVic’s Martlet, New website rates consumer products, which also explains it well.  Basically, “Zumer empowers you to make informed decisions about which companies get your money.”  It “allows individuals to go beyond the marketing spin and research the social and environmental impact of products they buy every day.”  So what this means is that as the database gets built up — and zumer is relying on universities and graduate students to populate it, and also uses companies and their audited materials, with the goal eventually of letting users flesh out the data, too — registered users of the site can assess products according to their personal criteria.  If you’re socially conscious, or if you’re environmentally conscious, you can set these concerns as parameters in your profile.  Then, next time you’re shopping for sneakers, you can use your mobile device to input the brand and instantly pull up a score or report card for the shoes you’re considering for purchase.  Albinati took a lot of questions about how zumer proposes to ensure the integrity of the site, so that corporations can’t “game” the system.  But overall, he’s confident that transparency and the initial base of contributors (university – affiliated) will keep things honest.

Finally, rounding things out was a potentially very intriguing idea by Morley (don’t have more info, sorry), who used to be a small business owner who then went back to school, studied programming and design (?), and is now an accountant.  Morley was basically seeking creative programmers who could work with him on an online accounting system.  He spoke briefly about the poor quality of what’s available in that field at present, and that a really ace bookkeeping software, tax return filing program, and financial management software system would meet a real need amongst small business owners.  It was clear that his ideas captured the interest of many in the audience, but at present he didn’t have a model to show us.  This meant that it remained a bit too abstract: Andrew Wilkinson, for example, managed to snag our interest because he showed his application in action (it was a real demo of the product).  Morley talked about the ideas, but I want to see what he can show us in terms of a prototype or even just a mock-up when we have our next DemoCamp.

Right now it’s up in the air as to when the next one can take place.  Dave Chard’s Juliet Presentation Centre will soon be closing, and his new presentation centre in the Juliet itself will be too small.  Either we find another helpful soul like Dave, who is concerned about Victoria’s downtown and who understands the synergy that’s created for it when events like this take place in the heart of the city, or we all go back to hibernating in our respective silos.  Let’s hope we find another champion of downtown with some square footage to spare for the city’s tech creatives.

Edit, 10/31: Trying to make sure I got the demos reasonably right while writing this up last night, I failed to mention that Mark Lise again did a great job emceeing the event and that Jessica Pryde again kept us on track for time. Thanks to all of you who made the evening a success!

DemoCamp Victoria 02 this Thursday

October 28, 2008 at 9:56 pm | In DemoCampVictoria, democampvictoria02, innovation, social_networking, victoria | 2 Comments

I can’t believe that DemoCampVictoria02 is just two “sleeps” away…!

For me, time has been flying at warp speed.  Keeping my attention in tatters are 1. new work projects, 2. a municipal election, 3. community volunteer adjudicating responsibilities, and 4. another article due (which admittedly is nothing, compared to the fact that some people have a new baby due…).

But here we go: in two more days it’s Thursday Oct. 30, which means that if you’re in Victoria and interested in technology, innovation, and creativity, you must check out our second DemoCamp (Facebook page here).

DemoCamp Victoria 02 is happening in the same location as DemoCamp Victoria01:

834 Johnson St. (David Chard’s “Juliet” Presentation Centre).  MAP

Set-up and mingling to start at 5pm, presentations to start at 6pm, sharp.

Yours truly will be demo-ing, too.  (OMFG…)

Don’t miss it!

DemoCamp Victoria 02: it’s on!

October 10, 2008 at 9:29 pm | In DemoCampVictoria, victoria | 3 Comments

Mark Lise and I have talked about having another DemoCamp Victoria for months now, talking, talking.  But the other day, we realized we could talk about it forever more, or we could just do it.  Perhaps that’s a very un-Victorian thing to do?  Maybe just talking about things, or commissioning a lengthy governmental study, is the more usual m.o. around here.

And yet, …based on some feedback that one or two people would be willing to step up to demo, and based on feedback from my lunchtime chat at last month’s UDI with our DemoCamp 01 host David Chard, we announced a tentative-but-nearly-for-sure date, same location as the first one. Mark made sure the story immediately went live on the Barcamp site and on Facebook, and of course Twitter.

After that, all it took was a green light (which arrived literally within an hour of asking) from our host, and that’s how 02 was born.  Be there, October 30, 5pm (event starts at 6pm), 834 Johnson St., Victoria.

I’m psyched that we’re going to have another crack at this, and that we can again have such a splendid venue for the event, too!

Now, I have heard some vague backchannel noises that maybe there was some parallel visioning going on by others, who were also wondering when the next DemoCamp would take place.  And I have heard that some people maybe were surprised that DemoCamp appeared to spring out of nowhere so fast.  (To which I’d add: fast?  Come now, it has been months since the first one.  Do we need a committee to study this thing before we can move on it?  I think not.)

Since no one said anything about organizing another DemoCamp to Mark or to me (who was one of the organizers, nay: catalysts of the first one), it just wasn’t happening as far as we could tell.  Not as a grass-roots, bottom-up event that’s all about breaking down the silos and getting people together.  If you want to break down the silos, then get out there and talk openly to everyone. Connect people! (Add a comma if you like: Connect, people!)

And I will be connecting, because I’ll be talking to everyone I know about it.  For me, this is not about just the tech community in Victoria.  It’s about the arts, media, government, the business community …you name it.

The only people I don’t really know are golfers — although I did pass former hockey player and current golf course builder Len Barrie in the hallway at CFAX 1070 the other day.

Wonder if he’d be into demos? (Heh.)

So, people: mark your calendars!  October 30, 5pm, at 834 Johnson St., the Juliet Presentation Centre — DemoCamp Victoria 02!  It’ll be great!  See you there!

Douglas Magazine in Victoria: letter to the editor

July 21, 2008 at 10:34 am | In business, creativity, DemoCampVictoria, innovation, urbanism, victoria | 3 Comments

I bought a copy of Douglas Magazine yesterday — it’s a slim publication, but full of interesting articles relating to Victoria’s economy.  Too bad it’s not online, but maybe one day?

The current July/August issue includes a useful article by Dan Gunn, “Growing the tech talent pool,” which made me want to write a letter to the editor in response.  I wrote:

I enjoyed Dan Gunn‘s article, “Growing the tech talent pool,” (July/August ’08), and found it a good complement to Ken Stratford‘s “Owning your own business,” which deftly busted some Victoria economy myths.

Gunn observed that our technology sector has to grow and expand, and suggested several ways we can plan for its future growth.  He also noted that “Greater Victoria has a very tight-knit technology community.”  Let’s not forget that “tight-knit” often also means “insular” or “locked in silos,” a condition that’s anathema to innovation.

Hence I feel prompted to suggest another way to plan for tech’s future growth: encourage synergistic cross-pollination between the various industries.  Propagate the knowledge that technology is part of the “creative cities industry,” which includes not just artists, marketers, or creative urbanists, but also technologists, coders, entrepreneurs — in a word: innovators.  Spread the word that innovation and entrepreneurship add value to a city’s economy, and good ideas emerge when folks rub up against one another rather than staying within a tightly-knit tribe.

Douglas Magazine helps get those ideas out there, as do specific events.

For an additional example of how events play a role in connecting people and ideas, recall last April’s first-ever DemoCamp Victoria (and we’re planning a second one for Autumn), or take a look at events like Pecha Kucha (started in Japan, now world-wide, including Vancouver).

We have so much potential here — and if we can work to break down the silos and get more interactive (literally, with one another), we’ll be hopping.  Everyone I talk to in the arts and in tech wants to see this happen, and wants additional platforms for connecting with other people.  Geographically, we might be an island, but with technology and talented people, we don’t have to be on islands creatively.

FOCUS Magazine articles now up-to-date

July 13, 2008 at 6:18 pm | In DemoCampVictoria, FOCUS_Magazine, victoria, writing | 1 Comment

Yay me, and Scribd to the rescue…

The remaining three FOCUS Magazine articles are up. They are, in order:

  • Overdue: rethinking the library (May 2008) The February to March lockout exposed library board dysfunction. But perhaps it’s about time we thought about a new building, as well.
  • Let’s demo co-development (June 2008) The synergistic power of providing physical space for the airing of new ideas helps nurture the type of economic development advocated by Jane Jacobs.
  • Why a bowling green makes sense (July 2008) One of the key downtown blocks is being re-envisioned — unfortunately without a unique and quirky landmark.

It’s already the week *after* DemoCampVictoria01!

April 8, 2008 at 12:09 am | In DemoCampVictoria, democampvictoria01, victoria, web | 2 Comments

Good grief, how time flies — I promised another update, didn’t I?

I’m a bit surprised that I haven’t come across more blog posts, other than those by Mark Lise, Tris Hussey (great photos, Tris!), and Boris Mann (and the earlier posts from those same folks, see my April 4 entry for details) that discussed last Thursday’s first-ever Victoria DemoCamp, considering the sheer number of people there. But I guess most of us are consumers in the first instance, which means there’s always a reason not to produce stuff that someone else might consume.

I know that the web wants to be fed, too, however — promiscuity rules here, and it’s the way of all evolution, after all. So let me provide some cross-fertilization…!

So… I’ll start with the two people who decided to present somewhat at the last moment, which was great. Gels (one of the very few women at the event) decided to present on the spot. She spoke about a project she’s working on at UVic’s ETCL: Electronic Textual Cultures Lab, which is currently under development. It immediately reminded me of what Diigo does, except that Diigo of course works with web pages, whereas Gels’s project involves taking archival text documents held in university (and private?) collections, hitherto inaccessible (unless you visit that institution’s archives or print room), digitizing them, and then making them available for scholars to work on collaboratively (or not).

For anyone who has ever worked in archives (ahem) or print rooms (ahem), this is fantastic. Forget about the white cloth gloves, the “no pens!” rule (pencils only), and the letters of introduction before any archivist will unearth some archival-regulation container from the bowels of double-locked storage for you perusal …during opening hours (typically, for European institutions, from 9-12 and from 2-4 or some ridiculous schedule like that!)…. Forget the airplane tickets. No, this way you can access the material online, and scribble all over it (digitally, of course) to your heart’s content. Cool. (That said, it is fun going to the archives in the flesh — like so many other things that are fun to do in the flesh! But it’s good to know that we’re moving toward online access, and collaboration, too.)

The other person who decided at the last moment to present was Dylan Leblanc, founder of (Here’s a nice photo of Dylan, courtesy of Tris Hussey.) I know Dylan through VibrantVictoria, and made sure those guys were aware of DemoCamp. Well, I think Dylan really blew some people in the audience away when they realized that big old SSP was Dylan’s Victoria-based brainchild ten years ago, and that it now commands what must be one of the biggest databases or information storehouses concerning all things “skyscraper.” Globally. And they sell posters.

Some presenters were too technical for my limited understanding, but I’m willing to bet their work is interesting. Admittedly, Darren Duncan, who will be speaking at OSCon this July, made me feel like I was once again an undergraduate at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich, participating in a pro-seminar about Alfred North Whitehead. Darren develops database software through his company, Muldis Data Systems: A Multiverse of Discourse — and that’s all I’ll say before I embarrass myself. To learn more, click through to his site!

The guys from Flock presented a totally freshly-tweaked (or “turbo’d”) version of their browser — I didn’t make a note of the main guy’s name (sorry!), but when he said he would demo this beta-beta-secret/brand-new version, mock groans of agonized anguish arose from his development team sitting at the back. I gather they felt it really wasn’t ready to go public, but I thought it looked pretty nifty: there was something about dragging and dropping your contacts and friends from various applications and feeds right into the browser environment, so that you don’t need to use tabs to switch between, say, Facebook and Gmail and Flickr and Twitter and what have you. That looked pretty cool.

[Update (4/8/08): Business Week just published a really great article about Flock.  See In Browsers, Flock May Lead the Flock, by Arik Hesseldahl.  Check it out!]

What else? Steven (“Stevo”) Bengston presented Songbird, which he billed as a kind of open source iTunes. This looks like an interesting application, too, although I tend not to have any music playing when I’m working on the computer. That probably shows my age, but it’s my personal barrier to embracing music sites. They make me feel that I need to pay attention, if only to “discover” new music. Hmm, it occurs to me that this speaks volumes (pun) about my driving habits — everyone’s driving habits, I guess: I don’t mind the distraction when I’m in the car. Eeks.

Online music sites often have lots of interesting visual aspects in their UIs, as does Songbird, which has a clean, elegant look to it. But because the visuals are so information-rich, I really do feel that they demand my attention, and like all these new apps, there’s a blog to keep up with, too. Just yesterday and today, I went back to playing around on Fairtilizer, which I joined last Fall, and realized that for me the biggest barrier to engaging fully with online music sites is the time they demand. Well, d’oh, you’re probably thinking. Of course music takes time, d’oh, d’oh, and d’oh again. But there you go: time is the stuff of the attention economy…

Now, on the topic of online music sites, it’s a good idea to read Fred Wilson’s recent post, Something Important Is On The Horizon In The Music Business. On music streaming, Fred (with his VC hat on?) writes:

These services are coming to mobile phones, probably in the next year we’ll all be listening to pandora or in the gym on our phone instead of our limited library on our iPod. That’s when this new form of listening is going to explode. And that’s when Apple is going to wish it had thought more about streaming and less about file based music. But you can’t feel too badly about Apple because a good number of people will be listening to pandora or on their iPhones.

Two things happened this past week that may be important to this emerging market. First, MySpace got in the game. They cut deals with most of the major labels to allow them to offer their own streaming service. It’s MySpace, and as Bob Lefsetz points out, they have their own set of challenges with technology and user experience. But music is a HUGE part of the MySpace experience and they have over 100 million people a month coming to MySpace, often for music, and that’s a much bigger audience than anyone else has for a streaming service. And they’ve been in the business of streaming for a long time, not in a particularly easy to use way, but they play a lot of music to a lot of people every day. So I think MySpace will be a meaningful player in the emerging streaming music business.

The other thing that happened is Ian Rogers left Yahoo Music where he had been leading the charge for the past couple years and joined a small startup in LA that has some ideas about this emerging market. Ian is a super smart guy, one of the few people I’ve met in the web music business who really gets where this is all going.

What Ian knows is that the fans are the most powerful distribution points for music. He gets the power of mp3 blogging. He understands that the Hype Machine has built a terrific new age radio station by aggregating all the music that is being posted onto mp3 blogs and he understands that further enabling that kind of behavior, where the fans are the ultimate arbiters of what gets played and what gets popular, is the end game for all of this.


Here’s what we need. We need someone to create an easy to search streamable library of all the recorded music in the world. We need to be able to grab a track and embed it on our blog. We need to be able to see how many people played it. We need others to be able to crawl these user pages with the embedded music and create algorithms based on who posted it, how often it was played, and how often it was reblogged and linked to. The services that do all of that need to be able to play the music that flows out of these social algorithms in the same way. This all has to be licensed and legal and it has to result in money flowing to the artists. If you put the music on your blog, you should have two choices. Allow the ads to be served into your music or your page or both by the service you got the music from. Or deal with the monetization yourself and pay the royalties you owe. Most people will do the former but some will do that latter.

When this platform is built and served up, a million flowers will bloom. Everyone who wants to be a radio station will be one. And it will be simple to do it. And it will be legal. And we’ll be able to listen in our homes on our home stereos, at the gym, at work, at the library, and some day in the car.

That’s the future of the music business. And we’ve made a lot of progress in the past year getting there. I am excited as a fan, a listener, a technogeek, and an investor.

It’s a long quote, but worth keeping in mind. Whoa. The other thing that I find intriguing is how this can be morphed and mashed into local flavors — mixed and matched, “indie” music and your city, your street. To whit, consider Digital Urban’s post from April 1, ipod City: Audio Bubbles & Journeys. Along with a pointer to Here are our journeys, they post their own YouTube video, introduced like this:

A while ago we put up a couple of posts examining the impact of the ipod/walkman revolution on how we perceive and experience the cityscape. Audio devices are standard wear in the city and with them the user is immersed in a ‘MTV World’ where the city is the video and the traditional experience of urbanity is lost to a dub beat or a guitar riff.

To illustrate this point is our walk this afternoon down Tottenham Court Road while listening to Utah Saints…

Ok, back to DemoCampVictoria01…

Need money? But dislike banks? Jay (hope I got that name right — presented a fascinating application called Fortuno, where you can (if you’re in Canada anyway) engage in P2P lending and borrowing. Yup. It’s sort of like Kiva and other forms of microlending, except in this case the lender and borrower find each other, sort like people do on other social networking sites. Keep an eye on Fortuno — it’s just crazy enough to work. As their site explains:

Earn Money as a Lender

For people looking for an innovative way to invest their hard-earned money, Fortuno will give you an extremely safe alternative to more traditional investments such as Canada Savings Bonds, GIC’s, and high-interest savings accounts. The return on your investment will be significantly higher than these traditional products. Plus, your investment will make a meaningful difference and help improve the quality of life for fellow Canadians!

A Cheap New Way to Borrow Money

For people looking for an innovative way to borrow funds, Fortuno truly is the winning alternative to high-interest credit cards, personal loans, and lines of credit. Fortuno helps you put money back into your own pocket with lower interest rates oBuyLatern loans as lenders compete with each other to drive your interest rate downwards.

The Fortuno Alternative

We don’t like making the “big” banks even bigger by contributing to their bottom line, and we’re here to change all that by providing real value to all of our lenders and borrowers. If this sounds too good to be true, let us show you otherwise!

I wish I had more information for Matt’s presentation, which was about a wearable device that measures movement and transmits the data to an application on a computer. Who is this for? Athletic coaches, in the first instance. If I find out more about this, I’ll post later…

Ok, and last but decidedly not least, the most lickety-split fast and force-of-nature frenetic presentation was probably Joshua McKenty‘s description of how, over a 4-hour or so period of coding, he came up with BuyLater. As the site says, almost laconically:

Adds a button to webpages, sending you email or tweets when items come back “In Stock”, or the price changes…
Great for Wiis, Kindles, or watching for unannounced “sales” on big-ticket purchases.
Save money and time, while shopping online…

Everyone loved his story, which he started by describing how he practically went broke pursuing what he thought was his best idea (see BountyUp), then building the BuyLater application almost as a lark, and finding that LifeHacker and others thought it was great — and now he’s actually making some money with it. Meanwhile, the brilliant idea of a lifetime continues to languish, but there you go: that’s how the cookie crumbles (sic transit crustulum, or something like that!)

DemoCamp Victoria 01

April 4, 2008 at 9:03 am | In DemoCampVictoria, democampvictoria01, victoria, web | 10 Comments

I’ll post more later when I have time, but Boris Mann and Tris Hussey are first past the post getting info about last night’s DemoCamp Victoria on to the web.

This first-ever session was organized by Mark Lise, and hosted at the Juliet Presentation Centre (834 Johnson St.) by Dave Chard (Chard Development), Wendy Pryde, and Jessica Pryde (Juliet Living).

Tris was really fast with flickr photos and a liveblogged session and Boris posted an interview with Wendy last night to, which you can find on his page (right sidebar). [Edit: Boris just posted a direct link to his interview with Wendy Pryde, here.]


There must have been well over 60 people there — 48 chairs, all filled, plus a whole bunch of people standing room only, and 7 people presented (which is a lot).

I’ll write some more (with links) about those demos, but for now, check out Tris’s liveblog transcript — which ends thus:

Wow this space is being offered for free for future events! Â Talk about great support for the Victoria tech community! Â Props to them!

Yikes, Kudos to Dave Chard!

Here’s a photo from Tris’s flickr photo stream. That’s Jessica pouring libations in the first photo …ah! Check out the rest, too…

It’s starting to get all buzzy: DemoCampVictoria coming up soon

March 17, 2008 at 5:32 pm | In DemoCampVictoria, democampvictoria01, innovation, victoria, web | 2 Comments

I’ve let quite a few days go by without posting anything — let’s just say I got myself into a bit of mess around yet another local issue (memo to self: stop it with the letters to the editor!) and stuff demanded attention.

But I need to jump back into my blog today: I’m psyched that Better Web Posse blogged the upcoming April 3 DemoCampVictoria, from whence I followed several other links, including Tris Hussey’s post today, and also Aidan Henry’s post, Local Victoria Tech Scene Heating Up, from March 13. I’m really looking forward to this, and appreciate that Mark Lise and Brij Charan are pulling it together!

DemoCamp should be a lot of fun, and I’m thrilled that David Chard, the developer of several downtown Victoria condominium projects, was willing to help make it happen. He is providing the space at his 834 Johnson showroom and sales centre for the Juliet condominium currently under construction at the corner of Johnson and Blanshard. I think it’s a nice bit of synergy to see a developer of buildings hosting a group of developers of ideas. …Of course, there was that initial comical moment where we had to explain that the “demo” in DemoCamp refers to demonstration, and not to what might ominously spring to mind if you’re in the business of building things up, namely, demolition… 🙂

Last year, while the Gaining Ground summit was in session, David offered his showroom at 834 Johnson to host Vancouver-based urban planner, writer, and blogger Gordon Price, who gave a presentation on urban development. Gordon grew up in Victoria and provided a really thoughtful assessment of where we’ve been, with some sage advice on where we’re going.

In that same spirit of community participation, David has agreed to host Victoria’s first-ever DemoCamp. I hope it’s a trend in terms of participatory relations between all the local sectors that have an interest in seeing Victoria thrive as a vibrant, creative (artistic and technological/ entrepreneurial) city (and that’s a hint to others in downtown Victoria who might be able to offer space for subsequent DemoCamps!). It doesn’t matter if we’re developers, technologists, educators, artists in various fields, business people, or academics: we’re in this together (literally), on this little peninsula, which in turn is part of a larger regional network.

For more info, see the wiki page, DemoCampVictoria, and the Facebook page.

A DemoCamp for Victoria?

March 1, 2008 at 10:33 am | In DemoCampVictoria, democampvictoria01, urbanism, victoria, writing | 2 Comments

Mark Lise wants Victoria to have its own DemoCamp, and he has been busy trying to find a downtown locale that can accommodate it. See his blog entry from Feb.26/08, DemoCampVictoria Chapter for more details.

From my urbanist perspective, it’s really important that this event is held downtown, in the city, instead of moving into the fields of suburban Saanich. To that end, I’ve been busy the last couple of days writing emails to a few people about possibly donating space for, oh, say two hours? Unfortunately I haven’t heard back from anyone, but it’s still early days and hence I’m optimistic.

In other news, I’m now officially behind in getting my April FOCUS Magazine article written, which is why posting to the blog has slowed down and will be slow until I’ve figured out how I can hone in (with 800 words) on a topic that could easily expand much further.

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