Please vote to support Rio Favelas! | Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

(disclosure: I am on the board of Catalytic Communities).

Please take two minutes and vote for "Rio Olympics: Ensuring a Powerful Legacy for Rio's Favelas" on Ideablob. We're in the running for first place with our plan to ensure that community leaders in Rio have a say and a voice in the run-up to the 2016 Olympics.

Idea Description

The 2016 Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro and the construction of new facilities, transportation corridors, and hotels will begin as early as December 2009. It is estimated the Olympics will yield three times the revenue that is spent in its preparation. But how much of this will benefit the infamously dangerous favelas (squatter communities) in the city, now numbering 1020 separate neighborhoods?

Current efforts to ensure a social and environmental legacy from the Olympics are being headed by large well-funded NGOs. This is great, but we want to ensure that community leaders' voices are heard, too. We want to get them connected online and off, networking & sharing stories.

What will you do if you win $10,000 for this idea?

If we win the $10k, in 2010 Catalytic Communities (CatComm) will train 200 community organizers across Rio's favelas to use online networking tools including Twitter, Facebook and WiserEarth, to ensure their voices are heard by authorities and the global community in the years leading up to 2016.

An online community will be formed in each of these online spaces where the general public can "hear" what leaders from the favelas have to say, support them, and follow their work. Links will be made with the press and the mayor's office.

We will then develop an online training program and continue face-to-face capacity-building in 2011 and beyond.

Again, this only takes about 2 minutes:

  • Click on this link to head to the idea page.
  • Register an account on IdeaBlob.
  • Check your email from the confirmation link.
  • Vote for CatComm!

Thank you in advance for your support - I'll let you know how it goes!


Kodak Zi8 1080p HD Cam Test | Friday, October 9th, 2009

I just picked up a sweet, sweet HD video camera - I think this is the first "mini" camera I've ever used that produces such amazing output. I've tried the lame Sanyo Xactis and Flip Ultras of yesteryear, and came away unimpressed. The color rendition, resolution and motion are way better on a big screen. This is a lame and pointless video test, because

  • It's edited and re-compressed to display in a tiny flash box on my website (although you can download a higer-res version at the bottom of the post);
  • I recorded in "only" 720p (it can do 1080p);
  • I recorded at "only" 30 frames per second (it can do 60);
  • I somehow managed to turn off the shake reduction before shooting and I don't have the steadiest hand;
  • I couldn't find anything interesting to shoot.

[video] However, I hereby commit to posting videos from now on.


Hey Quick Plug... | Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

... said in a Pete Shweaty voice, of course.

I'm selling both my car and my (in)famous camera - they're both on craigslist and Kijiji and priced to sell fast, but preference is given to friends / family / the sexiest woman alive / anyone who reads my blog.

No, I'm not going carless or giving up photography. Quite the contrary; I'm getting a new car and a new camera. Another Pentax, of course. ;)

awesome nissan altima for strong men with big muscles

the camera that dreams are made of

Contact moi if you're interested in either one.


Productivity Music Podcast (PiMP) | Friday, September 25th, 2009

The past 3 weeks will be remembered as the time where I spent the most time in front of my computer I ever have - including pulling several sleepless nights - a feat hopefully never, ever to be repeated again.

This is it? This - the Internet generation - is the glowing future stalwart of humanity? What you call your collective unconscious, I call collective uninspired.

You are not original, you are not inventive, and you are certainly not innovative. You are not smarter, better, more unique or more imaginative than anyone who came before you. You are just a blip on the radar of history, to be quickly forgotten as the bump in the timeline that tried to fool humanity into thinking that cyberspace was a real place and that we'd solve all our problems sitting in our shiny domes; computerized humanity.

You will not live forever, there is no such thing as 'cloud computing', you will not become a cyborg, the Web is not a frontier, you are not pioneers. You are not heroes; there are no more heroes. They all died out a long time ago.

To ease the pain I will try and remember this period with the rhythms that were militantly blaring through my headphones all the while. In this podcast are 5 of them from 2009, beginning with Montreal's Champion:


Thoughts on dataliberation.org | Monday, September 14th, 2009

Announced today over at the Google Public Policy blog is "DataLiberation.org: Liberate your Data!"

We're a small team of Google Chicago engineers (named after a Monty Python skit about the Judean People's Front) that aims to make it easy for our users to transfer their personal data in and out of Google's services by building simple import and export functions. Our goal is to "liberate" data so that consumers and businesses using Google products always have a choice when it comes to the technology they use.

I may be wrong, but I do believe this is the first time I read about an entire team within such a big firm entirely dedicated to the issue of data portability. The irony here is that Google's track record in the past hasn't been perfect - as I've highlighted more than once - and as much as the decidedly non-Googlish branding and informal tone seem to conspire to lend the project a certain dissociation from the big G, it is very much real, as noted by the aforementioned Public Policy post and the wealth of information on how to delete / export your data from Google services.

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