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Live November 14, 2009

Posted by Raul in Uncategorized.
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Please update your RSS feeds August 28, 2009

Posted by Raul in Uncategorized.
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I used to have a domain redirect purchased for my WordPress.com account. That expired a few days ago, and that’s probably one of the reasons why your RSS feeds show posts that are a year old. I apologize if you’re subscribed to Hummingbird604.com and it’s “Random Thoughts of a Student of the Environment” that shows on your RSS. The HB604 RSS button is broken. Apologies for the kerfuffle. I’ll try to fix it if I can.

Mount St. Joseph Hospital and Emergency Health Care December 15, 2008

Posted by Raul in Uncategorized.

Lunacy on emergency

Originally uploaded by Raul P

I was a bit shocked when I first saw this. Does anybody else other than me think this is somewhat wrong? E.g. what happens if I have an emergency at, say 8.15pm and it’s not something that can be treated in St. Paul’s?

“Love is the only label that doesn’t go out of style” November 28, 2008

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Call me a hopeless romantic, but I can’t help but think that this quote encapsulates the way I feel about love. It’s uttered by Carrie Bradshaw at the end of the movie “Sex and The City). I know, it’s a chick flick (and I DID review it on here!). But it’s a movie that has music and a lot of ideas that I absolutely adore.

I am privileged in that I have not 3 or 4 friends. I have LOTS of them, and I do my very best to keep in touch and close with the vast majority. Occasionally I fail to stay in touch with one or a few, but I always come back, and I always have them in my mind and my heart.

I have been heartbroken only once, but I never feel so disappointed in love that I think I will never love again (in the romantic sense of the word). I am pretty sure I will. It just takes time.

Have brunch for charity! AIDS Benedict brunch weekend November 26, 2008

Posted by Raul in charities.
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Vancouver’s 3rd Annual AIDS Benedict brunch weekend is happening this weekend (November 29th and 30th). Participating restaurants include the following (I would have done all the linking but I’m exhausted and have a ton of work to do). Hat tips to Raincoaster who informed me of this event.

I am a very big supporter of HIV/AIDS-related charities (as I demonstrated by doing a 24 hour Blogathon in 2007 to raise funds for A Loving Spoonful). Now I’d like to draw your attention to another charitable event: The AIDS Benedict brunch weekend.

YouthCO AIDS Society and Camp Moomba, two non-profit organizations that support and empower children and youth impacted by HIV and AIDS, have teamed up for Vancouver’s 3rd Annual AIDS Benedict brunch weekend. Collectively sponsored by local restaurants, this “eggsellent” event blends scrumptious eggs benedict with public education to help raise awareness about children and youth in BC impacted by HIV and AIDS.

Donations from participating restaurants will give children and youth impacted by HIV and AIDS access to year-long programs and supports that they might not otherwise have access to. Participation in the two-day eggs-travaganza is eggstremely simple: fill your belly with eggs benedict or other promotional items at one (or more!) of the participating establishments on November 29th and November 30th.

Abigail’s Party 1685 Yew Street http://www.abigailsparty.ca
Alibi Room 157 Alexander Street http://www.alibi.ca
Bayside Lounge 1755 Davie Street http://www.bestwesternsandshotelvancouver.com
Checker’s 1755 Davie Street http://www.bestwesternsandshotelvancouver.com
Chopper’s 3298 East 1st Avenue no website
Elixir 350 Davie Street http://www.elixirvancouver.ca
Fish House 8901 Stanley Park Drive http://www.fishhousestanleypark.com
Fountainhead 1025 Davie Street .www.thefountainheadpub.com
Hell’s Kitchen 2041 4th Avenue http://www.hells-kitchen.ca
Main Cafe 4210 Main Street http://www.themainonmain.com
Marmalade 3-1010 Beach Avenue http://www.marmaladekb.com
Nu 1661 Granville Street http://www.whatisnu.com
Ocean’s 6 Seventeen 617 Stamps Landing http://www.oceans617.com
Provence Marinaside 1177 Marinaside Crescent http://www.provencevancouver.com
Provence Mediterranean Grill 4473 West 10th Avenue http://www.provencevancouver.com
Raincity Grill 1193 Denman Street http://www.raincitygrill.com
Seb’s Market cafe 592 East Broadway http://www.hotstuffcatering.com
Slickity Jim’s 2513 Main Street http://www.findmycraving.com/icrave/slickity
So.cial at Le Magasin 332 Water Street http://www.socialatlemagasin.com
Subeez 891 Homer Street http://www.subeez.com
Twisted Fork 1147 Granville Street no website
WaaZuBee 1622 Commercial Drive http://www.waazubee.com/main.php
The Whip 209 East 6th Avenue http://www.thewhiprestaurant.com

I’ve decided that I haven’t tried The Alibi Room for brunch in like, forever. So, if you want to participate, drop me a comment, send me an email or a tweet and let me know so that I can make reservations.

WHAT – Saturday, November 29th, AIDS Benedict brunch
WHY – Because I never celebrated my birthday with the Vancouver tech/blogging community and now I want to before the year is over… Also, because I am a firm supporter of AIDS/HIV charities.
WHERE – The Alibi Room (157 Alexander)
WHEN – Saturday November 29th, 11:00am

Be there or be square. Even if you can’t attend brunch at The Alibi Room on Saturday (for example, if you’re doing DotComPho or some other event), I’d encourage you to do brunch at any other of the participating restaurants. It’s for a good cause.

Upcoming event – Metro Vancouver Sustainability Breakfast – The Opportunities for Urban Density November 25, 2008

Posted by Raul in environment, sustainability, urbanization, Vancouver.
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WHEN – Thursday November 27th, 7:30am to 9:00am
WHAT – Metro Vancouver Sustainability Breakfast “The Opportunities for Urban Density”
WHERE – BCIT Downtown Campus.
WHY – Because urban density is a key issue in the future of the Metro Vancouver regional development.

I would have linked to the Metro Vancouver website but guess what? It’s DOWN! Argh. See you there (despite the fact that it’s going to be the second time I have to be at an event at-7.30-in-the-morning). I am SO not a morning person.

Music: Tick Tick Boom by The Hives November 25, 2008

Posted by Raul in music.
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My very good friend (and next-door-neighbour) DMcN often says that I like “fluffy” music. True, I do have some Top-40 tunes always in my head, and I know that she thinks that deep house music ain’t all that and a bag of chips. But I also think I do have a little bit of an edge in regards to the music I listen to, so I present to you another of my favorites: Tick Tick Boom by The Hives. Surprised? Shocked? Yeah, I *love* this tune.

Six quirks/habits of Raul – Meme November 24, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, personal life, random thoughts.
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I’ve been tagged by Keira-Anne, so here goes my response (sorry it’s SO late!)

1.- I follow exactly the same routine at night, EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.
– Check the doors are locked (outside and in my apartment)
– Brush my teeth and floss.
– Drink water.
– Choose my clothes for the following day.
– Go to sleep.

2.- In the past year, I’ve started to check my blogging Gmail BEFORE my personal or research emails. Yeah, I’m first a blogger and then everything else. Weird!

3.- I hate waiting for anyone to pick me up, so I’ll walk outside my house and stand there. I know, if you watch the water all the time will never boil. It’s painful.

4.- I lit candles in my apartment regardless of whether I have company or not. Sometimes I do it just for the sake of feeling calm and relaxed.

5.- I prefer to book slots of time for friends than to have a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of schedule. Makes my life somewhat complicated sometimes as I have a pretty active social life. And the tech community loves to do things in the spur of the moment (on Twitter!)

6.- I say “REALLY?” a lot. I think what I actually mean is “mmmmhmmmm”.

This time, I’m tagging people who may (or may not) expect me to tag them. I can’t tag Rebecca as she’s already been tagged, so here are who I’m tagging.

Andy Peatling
Duane Storey
Tyler Ingram
Gus Fosarolli
Ianiv and Arieanna Schweber
Tanya Davis

There you go! You didn’t expect me to tag you, did you? 🙂

Canadian Blog Awards 2008 and a strong Vancouver/BC contingent! November 24, 2008

Posted by Raul in Canadian Blog Awards.

The results of the Canadian Blog Awards first round of voting for 2008 have been just published, and I’m very honored to be nominated in 3 categories: Best Blog, Best Local Blog and Best Personal Blog. Thank you all for the vote of confidence. Of course, I would be happy if you voted for me, but the nomination itself is pretty big in my books, and I’m really flattered.

I am also honored to be in great company this year. Last year, my friend Rebecca Bollwitt was nominated to the Canadian Blog Awards 2007 and won 3rd Best Local Blog (nation-wide). This year, she is nominated again, and a bunch of other colleagues and friends are in various other categories. I didn’t scan them in thorough detail, so if I’ve missed someone, please do let me know.

(If I’ve linked to a site once on the list, I won’t repeat the link, but I’ll mention the blog again – you can vote in each category by clicking on the name of the category and then voting on the Canadian Blog Awards website)

Best Blog

Miss604.com (Rebecca Bollwitt)
Hummingbird604.com (e.g. me)

Best Humor Blog

Noise to Signal
aka Rob Cottingham

Best Local Blog

Tenth To The Fraser (New West-focused)
Frances Bula

Best New Blog


Best Personal Blog

Letters Home to You ( written by Ian in Hamburg, but he is Canadian 🙂 )
Matthew Good
CreamPuff Revolution

Best Political Blog

Best Podcaster/Vlogger

Choogle On With Uncle Weed
Ephemeral Feasthouse
Row Three

Best Professional/Career Blog

Get Elastic (Elastic Path)
My Name is Kate

Best Sci/Tech Blog

A View from the Isle by Tris Hussey

Of course, there were MANY really worthy and awesome blogs and podcasts in Vancouver that didn’t get nominated. Jodi mentioned on Twitter one that I am particularly fond of, Lip Gloss and Laptops. I was also shocked not to see Beyond Robson nominated in the Best Group Blog category. Sean Orr’s series (Morning Brew) SHOULD have been nominated. The Crazy Canucks‘ blog and podcast should have been nominated.

Many really awesome blogs and podcasts were deserving of a nomination, and I am truly grateful just by the fact that I’ve been nominated and I’m a finalist. Congratulations to my fellow nominees, and let’s hope that there are several categories were Metro Vancouverites are winners! 🙂

Twitter and the bi-directionality of Web 2.0 November 23, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, random thoughts, Twitter.
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While this week (and weekend) has been incredibly busy, I still managed to see Joe Solomon and Jonathon Narvey for a really quick coffee. Both Joe and Jonathon live fairly close to me, and we tend to hang out at JJ Beans. It’s such a cool coffee shop. They were there to play chess, and I just did a mega-ultra-quick visit to catch up with them in real life.

At some point in our conversation a couple of nights ago we discussed the bi-directionality of Web 2.0 and Twitter. I indicated that in fact I DO know many, many of my Twitter friends in real life, and that I’m actually friends with them.  Karen Parker and I mentioned it to Shane Gibson at the recent Tweetup: our usage of Twitter is much more social and less business-oriented. Arieanna and Ianiv mentioned this point to Ianiv’s family one night when we were having dinner: we have been able to develop our friendship through the use of Twitter, because it keeps us connected even though we are in remote places.

David Drucker actually suggested this theme as a potential topic for Northern Voice 2009: how to stay connected when you’re far away (if you remember, I was away from Canada this past summer for about 1.5 months to attend a funeral and be with my family). Even though I wasn’t really in Vancouver, I kept my connections with my friends through Web 2.0 tools – Twitter, my blog, GTalk, Flickr, etc.

One element that Jonathon, Joe and I were musing about is the need for bi-directionality in Web 2.0. In the case of many politicians, their use of Web 2.0 was dismal. Broadcasting your very next move is not what Web 2.0 is all about. It’s about bi-directionality. You speak, I answer. You drop a comment on my blog, I respond (or I monitor the discussion so that I can jump into the conversation at some point). You tweet at me. I tweet back. It’s a 2-way street. I just hope politicians and newcomers to Twitter and the rest of the Web 2.0 applications can understand that.

Guest-hosted on Lip Gloss and Laptops Episode # 124! November 23, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere.
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You may remember that I have written about Lip Gloss and Laptops a few times before. L&L is one of the podcasts I do follow, not because I actually have a stake in the cosmetics industry, but simply because I enjoy listening to the conversations of my friends Airdrie and Kerry Anne. We became friends through the Vancouver tech scene, and I’m quite glad I met them as they’ve managed to bring a lot of positive energy to my life. And, as I mentioned before, L&L is one of the best podcasts out there.

Lip Gloss and Laptops is recorded in the home studio of the Millers, and for those of you podcasting/music geeks out there, YES, I have podcasted from the Inside Home Recording studio. Derek K. Miller, musician, podcaster, and friend of mine, is one of the co-hosts of IHR, so I could barely contain my excitement when I came by to record the show. And kudos to Derek for figuring out how to set up for the guest-host (normally, L&L and IHR have only two hosts, so the set up changes when you involve a third microphone and set of earphones). Geekiness, FTW! 🙂

Airdrie and Kerry Anne made my experience as a guest host a really pleasant one. I had had a rough weekend, so I wasn’t really as prepared as I would have loved to be. But I think the show went ok and apparently, from what Airdrie told me at the Vancouver Bloggers Meetup, the audience liked it. It was a bit of a nerve-wracking experience. I’m not an expert in cosmetics, although I do know a lot about colognes. But having had experience with cosmetics when I did theatre and also, while going shopping with my mother, has taught me a lot. And it’s always fun to podcast with friends. This is my second time podcasting, as my very first one was during EPIC 2008 when I interviewed Adria Vasil for HappyFrog.

And if you want to find out more about what I talked about with Kerry Anne and Airdrie, go and listen to the podcast. RIGHT NOW. Ok, good. Now, let me know what you think 🙂 Your feedback would be greatly appreciated!

HappyFrog.ca merges with 3rdWhale! November 22, 2008

Posted by Raul in environment, EPIC 08, link love, local business, social change, social media, sustainability.
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I recently learned about the recent merger of HappyFrog.ca with 3rdWhale from my good friend DaveO, but I hadn’t had a chance to write about it, as I’d been really overwhelmed with work. HappyFrog.ca was founded by Ron Williams as an all-encompassing directory-social networking resource for green businesses in British Columbia. The platform in and of itself is fun, and handy.

I have been a proud member of the FrogSquadders (I covered EPIC 2008 for them along with a great line up of local bloggers). I frequently guest-post in HappyFrog’s FrogBlog and they have given me great exposure in their newsletter as well. Funny how everything is connected in this world, I do know of the work of Boyd Cohen, the force behind 3rdWhale (although, surprisingly, I’ve never met him in person despite the fact that we both live within the Metro Vancouver area!)

I look forward to learning more about what 3rdWhale and HappyFrog.ca merged can do combined! One improvement that 3rdWhale’s page desperately needs is an “About Us” page. I am pretty sure that everyone wants to know more about how they came about and what they’re up to!

3rdWhale recently organized a PodMob (which I also promoted on Twitter), although truth be told, at some points I was overwhelmed with so much writing and talking about the podmob. The success of the podmob at Sushi Bento on Robson Street is in no small part due to the enthusiasm and positive energy of the people behind 3rdWhale, and I believe primarily it was Emily Jubenvill, who is “The Greenest Person in Canada”.

It’s great to learn about these new developments! Congratulations to HappyFrog.ca and 3rdWhale!

The painful process of writing academic book chapters/articles November 22, 2008

Posted by Raul in academic life, food for thought, writing.
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I love writing (as you can tell from my more than 1,260 blog posts so far) but sometimes, it is just hard to get started on the subject matter at hand. I remember that, when I presented a talk in 2001 in Berlin (Germany), I started writing the paper at 4pm on a Saturday afternoon, using my then Compaq laptop (my brother and I bought matching laptops at the time, before they were acquired by HP).

It took me the whole afternoon, evening and I seem to recall that I was up until about 3 or 4 am that night. My brother had gone away for the weekend (at the time, we were living together) and I had the whole evening/weekend to focus on the paper. I got it done at around 11am on the Sunday. That conference paper became the cornerstone of much of my research agenda to this day.

Many people seem quite impressed that I can write as much on my blog as I do. To tell you the honest truth, I write on my blog as I think. That is, if you read any of my entries, you might as well be sitting right beside me listening to my unstopping chattering. I set that as the goal of my blog: it should read in the same way as my normal conversation.

Sometimes I crank anywhere between 1 and 6 posts in a day and writing all that content doesn’t really take me much effort in terms of how long it takes me to write or even research and do the links for a post. This is not because blogging is oh-so-easy, but because I am so familiar with my own writing and the general links I use as sources, etc. that my writing now flows with ease.

The only problem tonight is that the writing isn’t flowing as much, so what I decided to do was to create the EndNote style (I use EndNote for academic reference management) for this specific book chapter. I also created the general heading structure and laid out the overall argument I am giving in the chapter. Finally, I pulled text that I had already written in other academic papers, making sure that I noted that it wasn’t all original text. Then I added a substantial amount of original thoughts. Now all I have to do (which I plan to do all Saturday) is to print it out, edit the language so that it’s not a direct cut-and-paste, insert enough original content as to make the argument flow, and then send it for proofreading/editing with some of my colleagues.

This last bit is a piece of advice I am happy to pass along. Despite the fact that I am an academic (or I guess, precisely for that reason), I *always* make a point of asking for advice and input on anything academic I write. ALWAYS. And my journal article/book chapter acceptance rates are really good. I think that this comes as a result not only from writing good research, but also being humble enough to ask for advice from your peers. That’s the only way you can get better. So I always ask my friends to edit my stuff, even if they are not academics, because they are always able to provide a fresh perspective.

Musings from Raul’s very tired mind at 3:30am after having cranked out a really good first draft of an original contribution (book chapter).

Northern Voice 2009 – The call for papers is out! November 22, 2008

Posted by Raul in Northern Voice, nv09.
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Hat tips to everyone who has collaborated with the organization of all Northern Voice conferences, but specifically, the 2009 Northern Voice. I’d like to remind you that abstract submission closes on December 19th. This coming year, I want to present.

So I had (what I thought) a brilliant idea on what to present at NV’09 (speaking about my experience coming from not even knowing what a blog was to reaching my current position as a Vancouver blogger). I was going to try and explain the realities behind blogging as opposed to generalized (civilian) perceptions of bloggers as isolated folks who write from the basements of their parents’ homes. This idea was well received by those who kindly offered to edit my abstract and give me feedback, but at the Vancouver Bloggers Meetup it didn’t seem to spark the same fire.

So, I’ll ask you, as a reader of my blog, or as someone who knows me in person and/or follows me on Twitter, what would YOU like me to talk about in Northern Voice 2009? Please leave a comment or feel free to tweet me or email me.

Recap of Vancouver Bloggers Meetup Nov 2008 November 21, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, Vancouver Blogger Meetup.
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The great thing about knowing traditions and establishing them is that you can count on your friends to continue with them. It’s been a long-standing tradition that Jan Karlsbjerg writes a summary (recap) of the Vancouver Bloggers Meetup. This month, Jan follows up with the tradition, so I’ll just link to his awesome recap for the November 2008 VBM. I tried to do a little bit of a liveblog but didn’t work out ok 😉 I had a wonderful time though. Thanks everyone for coming!

One thing that I think Jan might have missed was the discussion that Shane and I had about potentially doing a large, combined Meetup.com. I am friends with the leaders of pretty much each one of the Vancouver relevant meetups that we all attend (Third Tuesday – Tanya, Real Estate Tech – Steve, Sales Performance – Shane, Young Professionals – Steve and Shane, Entrepreneurs – Minna) so I would think we could indeed do that informal, kind of end-of-the-year affair. Let me know if that would appeal to you all.

Vancouver Bloggers Meetup November 2008 liveblog November 20, 2008

Posted by Raul in Uncategorized.

Technically it won’t be a liveblog because I’m not really listening to the conversations, but it was nice to see Eric, Alex, Tom (who are newbies to the Vancouver Blogger Meetup) and to see some familiar faces and friends (Airdrie Miller, Will Wertheim, Matt Collinge, John Biehler, Lorraine Murphy, Shane Gibson, Jan Karlsbjerg, David Drucker and Karen Hamilton.

I expected a few more people that had confirmed (John Chow himself included!), but I have had a really good time despite the fact that not everybody could make it. It’s hard to attend all the meetups when there is so much going on in Vancouver!

UPDATE – 8.37pm – Even though a few bloggers have left already, Matt, Eric, Jan, Lorraine, Karen, David and myself are still here. We are talking about WordCamp Whistler, and Northern Voice 2009. We also were talking about the podmob at Sushi Bento (I missed it).

No Motrin Moms effect on CRTC’s decision on net neutrality November 20, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, random thoughts.
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The writers of an excellent New-West-based-and-focused blog, “10th To The Fraser” tweeted earlier this morning:

Where is the #motrinmoms effort for #netneutrality? Where’s the passion to put the same level of pressure on the CRTC as moms put on Motrin?

Sadly, nowhere to be found. Numerous (some of the best) bloggers in Vancouver and elsewhere wrote and tweeted about the Motrin Moms Twitter debacle (you can use Summize to find out about that discussion, I think the hashtag is #motrinmoms).

(c) Rob Cottingham, 2008 - Used with permission

(c) Rob Cottingham, 2008 - Used with permission

I have read a few blog posts and tweets about net neutrality and the CRTC decision, but not nearly as many as I’ve glanced at with regards to the Motrin Moms debacle. I admit that even I hadn’t really written much about net neutrality until recently, when Steve Anderson sent me a link to his site, SaveOurNet.ca

I completely agree with 10thToTheFraser’s tweet that it’s unfortunate that the same level of effort is nowhere to be found. This can be attributed to several reasons. Let’s pose a few hypotheses (no need to discount any just yet):
1.- Bloggers/twitterers don’t care about net neutrality.
2.- Bloggers/twitterers don’t understand the implications of Bell Canada throttling bandwith.
3.- Even if they care AND understand the implications, they have better things to write about.
4.- The impact of Motrin’s ad on moms worldwide is larger than the impact of net neutrality on Canadians.
5.- …. [insert your own hypothesis]

Why is it that when it comes to galvanizing people’s opinion, we seem to be unable to do so? This irks me to no end. I have undertaken scholarly studies of environmental mobilizations, and have found that, unless the issue at stake is of PERCEIVED vital relevance (e.g. toxic emissions in the vicinity of your neighbourhood), environmental non-governmental organizations fail to mobilize the public. Inertia and inactivity are just too easy. It seems that the same is true for social media. ARGH.

EDIT – Hat tips again to Rob Cottingham who pointed me out to this blog post of Michael Geist.

My new home is at The Network Hub! November 20, 2008

Posted by Raul in Downtown, link love, Vancouver, working spaces.
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Remember how a few months ago I raved about The Network Hub and praised their open office concept, their strong support of young entrepreneurs and the awesome series of events that they’ve been host to? And remember how I called it “my home away from home“?

WordCamp 2008 Vancouver
The Network Hub open office concept

Well, as of this week, my home IS at The Network Hub. I now have a working space in the third floor.

As indicated by their mission statements, they care more much about the idea than the entrepreneur’s age or resume.

The Network Hub was established 2006 after observations of first time entrepreneurs struggling to find fundings from angel investors and venture capital companies. The Network Hub is a special kind of venture capital firm and incubator that care more about your idea than your age, resume and your business plan. [The Network Hub]

The Network Hub has been incredibly kind and supportive with the social media/PR/tech community for a long while now. They’ve been our gracious hosts and location sponsors at numerous events: Third Tuesday with Joe Solomon, the RMD Studio/JenTekk Solutions/PeerGlobe Solutions/Tazzu-organized, first ever WordCamp Vancouver, and several other Third Tuesdays, as a matter of fact.

The Network Hub provides a variety of support services for entrepreneurs, including office space, meeting rooms, and a variety of packages that suit the various needs of different kinds of entrepreneurs.

Moreover, The Network Hub are the awesome hosts and location sponsors of the Vancouver Entrepreneur Meetup every third Thursday of the month, which Pete Quily (ADD Adult Coach) kindly made me realize earlier this month, collides with my proposed date for the Vancouver Bloggers Meetup. I’ll have to deal with that overlap sometime in the next few months! I am pretty sure that I can work something out, since I definitely don’t want to hinder the attendance of entrepreneurs to VBM and viceversa!

If you are an entrepreneur who needs to get your idea off the ground, you should seriously consider coming over and talking to Minna or John. Particularly now that they have expanded! The Network Hub now occupies both the first AND third floors of 422 Richards (between West Hastings and Pender). You can also contact them via email.

I can already tell that my productivity skyrocketed. Just as an example, in less than 2 hours that I was at the office yesterday, I did much more than I had done in the past two weeks! Furthermore, the tenants are great. It’s fantastic to be surrounded by that much brainpower and positive energy! And what can I tell you about Minna and John and the whole team at The Network Hub? They’re simply AMAZING.

So, if you’re in the neighbourhood (downtown Vancouver) maybe we can meet up for coffee or lunch sometime and I can also show you the new digs!

Statistics Canada provides us a full RSS feed of statistical goodness! November 20, 2008

Posted by Raul in academic life, environment, food for thought, public policy issues, random thoughts, sustainability, wastewater, water, water policy.
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Hat tips to Greg Andrews (TechVibes) and Darren Barefoot (Capulet) for pointing me out to Statistics Canada’s RSS data feeds. You’ll see – even though I’m a chemical engineer, during my Masters and PhD degrees, and in my post-graduate work I have done quite a lot of qualitative research.

My personality traits work to my advantage when using qualitative research methods. I am pretty good at interviewing people, analyzing textual data, coding using Strauss and Corbin’s axial coding methods, undertaking ethnography, etc. I am considered a specialist in institutional analysis because, well, I know how to study rules and routines. And the majority of these studies are undertaken by observing and interviewing.

The thing is, during the course of my PhD, I became REALLY quantitative. Since my advisor’s training was quantitative, he impressed it upon me. I’m quite grateful to him for doing that because thanks to his sage advice and training, I have examined wastewater governance and policy using quantitative methods (something that is rather atypical in this body of literature). And of course, there’s my love of game theory and econometric methods. WOWSA.

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I drooled (just as Greg tweeted earlier this morning) when I saw StatsCan’s RSS feeds. Given the kind of research I do, economic, government, population and environmental indicators are the RSS feeds I grabbed. You can grab any others as you may see fit.

Unfortunately, and this is quite sad, I can’t get any quantitative data on water through those RSS feeds (or at least I haven’t been able to get any so far). I do know where to find some water-related statistics in Canada, but the state of the art in regards to accurate water stats in Canada is (as mentioned in Karen Bakker’s edited book) rather appalling.

If I manage to get my hands on some good data, you’ll see some pretty graphs here sometime soon.

Music – St. Marks Square by Black Science Orchestra November 19, 2008

Posted by Raul in music, personal life, random thoughts.
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I’m a big fan of deep house music, and particularly of Black Science Orchestra. One of their best tracks, New Jersey Deep, is always on my iPod. The song whose video I’m inserting here is pretty much another one of those “tunes that define me“.

The rhythms in this song are completely along the lines of what I like to dance to, what I dance to when I am at home or in a club. Although I think the last time I heard this type of tunes was (believe it or not) at Bar None (in Yaletown, Vancouver)! Oh no, that’s not exactly true. It was at the Media 2O party (one of the best parties I’ve ever attended – only comparable to BarCamp Vancouver 2008 party!)