The Blogosphere

The Original Grey Fox Owns Thursday September 30, 2010

Without question D.C. is a wonderful and vibrant city. But one of the inherent downfalls of this place is the Political rhetoric. It’s impossible to escape and over time it seeps into every train of thought. Over the past 6 months, I’ve become incredibly politically motivated and polarized. My tolerance for ridiculous and intolerant political campaigns is at an all time low.

So when the great silver fox – Anderson Cooper – crushes Michigan’s assistant attorney general over his web attacks on a gay student. All I want to do is drive up to New York and give him a high five for being awesome.

P.S. Anyone notice that of the two of these guys, clearly one of them needs to come out of the closet. And I’m not talking about the Silver Fox

Categories: The-Blogosphere, the-dc,

Random Thoughts For MuralLocator.org Friday September 24, 2010

On Wednesday evening, my wife and I took in our first DC Media Makers meet-up. It was a talk called Maps and Story Telling. It was incredibly nerdy, but at the same time incredibly informative. The talk revolved around the crazy mapping projects the DevelopmentSeed.org was doing in regards to events in Haiti and Afghanistan. (My wife has a great little write up on the various open source tools on Techchange.org, so check that out if you want more information).

But one of the coolest little tidbits from the talk was in regards to artistic project from one of the attendees called MuralLocator.org.

Mural Locator is a user generated project to document all of the fantastic murals in the world. It stared out as a humble little project in Philadelphia and has morphed into a full blown project. If you’ve got some time, please have a look at the site and get involved.

A quick look of the Mural Map reveals not a single image in the province of Alberta.

So get involved and help show some of the great work being done in Alberta.

First – Buzz Bishop has an interesting post on why Justin Bieber doesn’t suck, it’s just his fans.

Maybe because I don’t ever listen to popular music, but I don’t get the hate on for this kid. I understand his haircut is annoying, but the all out hatred… Come on why can’t we all just get along. Why Do Haters Gotta Hate?

SecondEl Vetica (via. jeffreypriebe)

Third – As much as people probably want to slam The Social Network as nothing more than opportunistic trash. The first set of reviews are in and some extremely heavy hitters are calling it movie of the year.

With David Fischer directing (Alien 3, Se7en, Fight Club) and Aaron Sorkin writing (The West Wing), you knew it had to be something special.

FourthMax Brooks, son of the legendary Mel Brooks and author of World War Z, has a blog.

Which on it’s own is great, but news regarding the film adaption of World War Z and Zombie Hunting in Afghanistan is incredibly interesting. But the big news is that Max Brooks has penned a few G.I.Joe Comics...

Fifth – My new man crush Anthony Bourdain, on why you are wasting your time going to Culinary School.

I ironically feel the same way about Business School.

Sixth – The Washington Wizards are changing their jersey during the 2011 season. It appears that now the Wizards are owned by Ted Leonis, who also owns the Caps, they will taking on a new Red look.

Seventh – Young kids these days are so lucky.

Apparently, Katy Perry’s recent Sesame street segment was pull because she was too boobie.

Eighth – Considering the rotten egg of a product launch in Canada and their old rival Blockbuster filling for bankruptcy protection, calling your client-base self-absorbed is probably a horrible idea.

Ha, Ha, Ha Stupid Netflix

Ninth – And solely because it’s the best hotdog place in the entire world. (Ben’s you’re a close second). Here’s a clip of the upcoming Tubby Dawg documentary.

Tubby Doc trailer from Sara Hughes on Vimeo.

Categories: The-Random, The-Blogosphere, The Adventures, The Calgary Vibe, The Capitals, The Craziness, The D.C. vibe, The Humourous, The Inane, The Pop-Culture, The T-Shirts, The Twitter-verse

Designing Obama Wednesday September 22, 2010

This is one of my favorite posters from the Obama campaign of 2008.

Luckily, it’s now featured in the amazing design anthology Designing Obama. The anthology can now be read online and of particular interest is the section describing the evolution of the iconic Obama Logo. Great stuff.

Categories: The-ArtWorld, The-Blogosphere, The Books, The Southern Neighbours

Back on The RSS Bandwagon Wednesday September 1, 2010

A couple of years ago, just went Twitter was starting to really transform the tech industry, I did something pretty bold. Well, not really bold, but in the Web Nerd industry, it’s quite bold.

I abandoned my RSS Feed Account.

By the way for those not familiar with RSS and RSS Feeds, it’s essentially a handy way to get the most recent posts or updates from a particular web site directly to your computer, you know without actually visiting the site. I know it’s a bit more complicated than that, but for those uninitiated that’s a bit of a laymen’s breakdown.

Back on track. Two years ago, with Twitter acting as my personal industry watercooler (thanks to Andy for that term), I started to get incredibly overwhelmed by the 40 or so RSS feeds I had.

I found that my RSS Feedreader was nothing more than a reminder of all the articles I didn’t have time to read. Then with Twitter, it really started to feel like an obsolete tool. All the most interesting posts were already being relayed and I found myself launching my RSS feed only to hit the Mark All Read button.

So I deleted my RSS feeds, abandoned the Reader and felt a huge sigh of relief.

Fast forward to now and I’ve found myself in an incredibly odd predicament.

Over saturated by the constant barrage of Twitter posts and Facebook links, I’ve been feeling incredibly overwhelmed by information. Generally disconnected from the small group of sites which make the internet awesome I set about the nerdy quest of reviving my RSS collection.

But unlike the first time, I’ve decreed that I am aiming to limit my RSS Feeds to just 15 subscriptions. And if I add a new site appears it’s gotta be worthy enough to replace another feed. I am also aiming to keep this list of feeds to sites that I want to stay informed on. Sure the golden staples of the web are on the list Kottke.org, Dooce.com, Poploser.org, Kanye West (come on this is a designers dream) and Airbag Industries.

But for this new list, I’ve also added a couple of new sites that I think are worthy enough to share.

  • Trenddown – Run by local designer Adam Goetz, trenddown is an eclectic collection of everything tech and design. Always a great source of fantastic articles.
  • DCist – DC and to an extent Arlington is my new adopted home, so of course I need to find something that shows what’s really going on in the District. Sure it’s apart of the Gothamist network, but for a daily blog it’s incredibly informative. From stories on what’s going on to coverage of the latest DC crazy, it really is a gem of a site. (Plus the daily photo is always stunning)
  • CalgaryisAwesome – Albeit very similar to the concept behind the DCist (and the overall ist network). Calgary is Awesome is a great way to keep my other foot planted in to the hear of what’s going on in Calgary and all the great things the city has to offer. Consider it a focused online version of FastForward.
  • Fuck Yeah YYC – If CIA is the site you go to find out all the good and amazing things going on in Calgary, Fuck Yeah YYC is the site for everything surreal and ultimately quirky about our beloved city. With contributions from poploser, splorp and myownbiggestfan you know the content is going to be hilarious.
  • The Big Caption – all the beauty of Boston’s The Big Caption but with witty commentary. Yes, I’ve already linked to it multiple times in the past, but you really have to add it.

So there you have it. If you’ve got a solid suggestion feel free to leave it in the comments.

Categories: The-Blogosphere, The-Soapbox,

An Outsiders Take on The 2010 Civic Election Wednesday August 25, 2010

Before I start in to my spiel, here are some caveats of note.

One, I have been closely watching the 2010 Calgary municipal races from quite a distance. Earlier this year, I was asked to help out with the online entity for a potential campaign run. Unfortunately, that campaign did not see the light of day, but it did give me a great excuse to spend far too much time analyzing the current issues surrounding the race and the challenges of getting a candidates message out.

Two, Although, I will not be able to vote this year, I am an open supporter of Naheed Nenshi’s campaign for the Mayor’s office. I really believe that people need to spend a bit of time reading his thoughts and vision for a modern Calgary. (Why I mention that off the top of a post, I’ll get to a bit later)

So with those tidbits out of the way, let me begin.

October 18th, 2010

The 2010 Calgary Civic Election

In my honest opinion, October 18th, 2010 will be looked upon as a defining moment in the history of Calgary.

After, what seems like, an eternity of guidance under Dave Bronconcrete, we Calgarians are set to usher in a new era of civic policies. There is the potential for major upheaval in the aldermanic roster of city council and of course a new mayor, who will dictate a new direction for the city.

The city is almost breaking the 1.2 million population threshold and as a city we are looking to make major headway in the lower rungs of the Global City sphere. Couple that with the recent maturation of Calgary into one of the key centres for cultural and economic development in Western Canada and you can quickly see why this is an important election.

We are at a defining crossroads and this election will ultimately define this city’s direction – for better or for worst. Will we become a sustainable and vibrant city or will we continue on a rudderless path? Will a new mayor really understand what this city needs or continue to regard it as 800K western outpost?

But unfortunately, municipal politics for most citizens is a bit of an afterthought.

If we are to be honest with ourselves, municipal politics is just a more professional extension of High School Presidential elections. We all see the signs and promises, but typically the average voter only votes based on name recognition and popularity. The only deviation which may occur is when, a candidate comes highly recommend by our best friends.

Which is a shame because the decisions made by our municipal representatives have a greater impact on our daily lives than our Provincial and Federal counterparts.

Where Traditional Media is Failing

Unfortunately, this misconception of civic politics is only being enhanced by the current election coverage from The Herald, The Sun and what’s left of the local television networks. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the mailed in notion of a two horse race is not only damaging the potential discussion, but undermining the potential of this city.

The casual voter needs to be better informed of the vast spectrum of candidates. There is without question more to this race than Ric Alderman NO McIver and Barb Higgins. There are extremely viable candidates for mayor in Naheed Nenshi, Kent Hehr, Bob Hawsworth and Joe Connelly, etc., But if you only listen to the snippets and quotes from the traditional media, this glorified two horse is race is all your going to hear about.

From a traditional media outlet standpoint a high profile two horse race, easily sells more papers and T.V. ads than a 13 Horse marathon. Again, we’re back to the notion that municipal politics is just a glorified extension of High School politics.

Luckily for all of us though, there are others who are working to counter act the Traditional Media outlet’s misguided handling of this election.

One only needs to look at the daily discussion evolving on the #yycvote stream on Twitter or even look at the local political blogosphere to see the great discussion that is evolving. Even the Calgary Metro is doing a far better job covering the election than the traditional power houses of the Herald and The Sun. DJ Kelly, a prominent civic activist and blogger has touched upon this issue in his latest column for the Calgary Metro. (After your done shifting through my rant, please go back and read this link. It’s well worth your time).

You Are The Most Important Tool in This Election

While I could go on and on about the battle for information brewing between Traditional and Independent Media factions, I want to talk about the most important factor in this election and that is you.

Yes, you. The one with the coffee stain on your shirt. (Sorry I had to point it out).

You Are The Most Important Cog In this Election

Your opinion and recommendation matters more in this election than anything else. More than bumber stickers, twitter accounts, press releases, billboards and misguided editorial pieces.

Three Degrees of Influence and Connected

In Connected: The Surprising Power of Social Networks and How They Shape our Lives Christakis and Fowler discuss how we are all connected by Three Degrees of personal influence. The gist of the book is that you directly influence and are affected by a sphere of influence which reaches all the way to your Friend’s Friend’s Friend.

In such a hyper-connected world, where we have more interaction with our circle of friends on a daily basis through our daily internet usage than we ever did. It’s almost impossible to ignore the importance of your own personal recommendation.

Vanyerchuck calls it the Thank You Economy, but your opinion and your personal beliefs have more influence on your circle of friends and by proxy their circle of friends than ever. So when you make a stance on a topic or recommend a cool article, it will inevitably have a strong influence on a large group of people. Just look at the speed at which Ceelo’s F**K YOU has become the unofficial hit of the summer as a great example of the power of recommendation.

What Can You Do?

It’s still pretty early in the race and the polls that have been released suggest two things. One name recognition is predominate factor in this election, yet again. Two, at least 40% of voters are still unsure of who to vote for.

So here’s the challenge, if you are passionate about a candidate – whether it’s Barb, Naheed, Joe, Wayne or pretty much anyone else besides Dr. No – make a public declaration of support to that candidate. Especially if that candidate isn’t one of the big two.

It’s far too early in the race to be aligning your vote to combat someone else vote, as many have noted as a reason to vote for Barb. Rather, now is the time to make a declaration for a candidate.

By making a declaration, you will directly influence your group of friends. Who may or may not recognize your opinion, but if another one of their friends makes a similar declaration, they are more likely to take note. Because of which the preconceived perception surrounding the election as a two-horse race will start to shift and some viable discourse will start to happen.

It’s quite easy to turn the tide and one single ripple can start change. And of course that all stars with you.

Categories: The-Calgary-Vibe, The-Blogosphere, The Soapbox

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