A Canadian book blog: Publishing, marketing, books and technology from a Canadian perspective

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Event Announcement: Giles Slade Author of Made to Break

Wednesday, January 31, 7:30 pm
Presentation on Made to Break by Giles Slade

Alma Van Dusen Room, VPL, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia

Giles Slade, who I’ve written about before, will speak at the Vancouver Public Library next week on tackling the problem of e-waste and the inception of our culture of consumption and waste.

From: Harvard University Press, the publisher:

Made to Break is a history of twentieth-century technology as seen through the prism of obsolescence. America invented everything that is now disposable, Giles Slade tells us, and he explains how disposability was in fact a necessary condition for America’s rejection of tradition and our acceptance of change and impermanence. His book shows us the ideas behind obsolescence at work in such American milestones as the inventions of branding, packaging, and advertising; the contest for market dominance between GM and Ford; the struggle for a national communications network, the development of electronic technologies—and with it the avalanche of electronic consumer waste that will overwhelm America’s landfills and poison its water within the coming decade.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bloggers Fill Out This Survey


In February, my buddy Darren Barefoot is speaking at Northern Voice on “Why We Blog”.

He’s got a quick survey of 16 questions and wants feedback from bloggers.

There are prizes to be won and he’s not the type of guy to resell your info or spam you.

Back to the prizes, 1 winner for each prize, all are randomly selected, chance to win:

  * iPod Shuffle
  * Two Lonely Planet books–Micronations and Experimental Travel
  * CAN $50 gift certificate for linking to http://www.whydoyoublog.com

Do the survey.

Visit a Library in SecondLife

Librarians—the coolest, geekiest, tech-tripped-out people I know—are in SecondLife.

InfoIsland.org:  Second Life Library 2.0

This week on Info Island there are a number of interesting projects and developments:

- The Caledon branch has a book discussion on Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott, “a tale of Love, Honor, Bravery, Derring-do and Chivalry.
- The Genealogy Center has a presentation by a professional genealogical and historical researcher, Craig Roberts Scott.
- Info Island II has a Marie Antoinette exhibit.
- You can meet SL’s medical librarian, Namro Orman, who in real life is Guus van den Brekel, the Coordinator for Electronic Services of the Central Medical Library at the University Medical Center, Groningen (UMCG), in the Netherlands.

Check out the Info Island blog at InfoIsland.org.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Tyee Drums Up Attention for Net Neutrality Issues in Canada

The Tyee has an extensive article on why net neutrality needs more attention in Canada. Quick save the internet!
Digg this story.

On January 17, Bryan Zandberg wrote an article on The Tyee about net neutrality and the lack of attention this issue is getting in Canada.

Canada Sleeps Through War to ‘Save the Internet’
Pitched battle in U.S. over ‘net neutrality’
Digital democracy at risk if telecoms get their way say opponents.

What’s Net Neutrality?
It’s the internet as we know and love. A data network that does not discrimate or allow degraded service for one group of people (or companies) over another. Meaning, downloading a video from YouTube is the same as downloading a video from CNN and the same as downloading it from my website. Same costs, same amount of time for you as a user—same costs and time for me, CNN and YouTube to upload the info. It’s neutral.

The controversy is that the telcos want to create tiered service. So maybe CNN pays the telecos a bunch of money to get preferred service but YouTube doesn’t. For you as a user, you can quickly download video from CNN but try my website or YouTube and churn, churn, churn.

There’s not a good reason for hierarchical service. There’s not a shortage of bandwidth. There’s just a shortage of ideas within telcos on how they can make more money.

My explanation is less sound than those in The Tyee.

Read the article here.

Or at least read these highlights:

‘In 2005, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) redefined “broadband,” recasting it as an information, rather than a telecommunication, service.

’ “It sounds like an innocuous change, but it isn’t,” explains Ben Scott, a spokesperson for net neutrality for Free Press, a media democracy NGO based in Washington, D.C. With the stroke of a pen, Scott says the decision undid the entire regulatory regime attached to telecom services, thrusting them into “a category that has virtually no regulations.”


‘Whereas previously telcos were legally obliged to deliver packets of bits and bytes blindly, as an information service that restriction was no longer in force. This opened the door for what Scott calls a “CEOs-go-to-Wall-Street” scenario: almost immediately, the major carriers began to toy with the idea of creating a two-tier Internet, replete with a fast-track for content creators willing to pay for preferential service, and a slow lane for everyone else.


‘Just like in the States, net neutrality in Canada hovers in a state of legal limbo; the threadbare language of the Telecommunications Act means that two-tier Internet is more than a distant possibility; it’s already here.


‘[Kevin] McArthur goes further. He says companies are in effect creating a problem so they can charge to fix it. “[Even] if everyone paid for a tier-one service, it would be THE EXACT SAME service we have today,” he wrote by e-mail. “Quality of service only works while someone else is getting screwed.”

‘“It’s an attempt to extract more rent out of your server,” [Michael]Geist summarizes, “even if it comes at the expense of both their users’ interests and the broader interest of the Internet as a whole.”’

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Request for Safe Travel

imageNorthern Voice is offering six travel bursaries of CAN $500 each. I would like one.

I live in Vancouver, which means that technically I don’t need a bursary. I don’t have to come down from Prince George. I don’t have to take a ferry. I don’t have to do anything aside from hop on a bus out to the conference or catch a ride with someone. BUT ... I still want a bursary.

What’s the deal you ask? Is she just a greedy guts? Hell no.

I know that all sorts of great people come to the conference each year, and each year, we’re so crazy to hang out with each other that, at the last minute, we plan parties and after-conference events. We go for dinner, we go for drinks, we go to hang out.

I would like to buy a bunch of taxi cards so that people who have been drinking can see me for a taxi card. Whether they’re going home, to a hotel, wherever, I want to make sure my fab friends—new and old—get around safely.

My request for the $500 bursary is for safe travel in Vancouver.

What can I contribute to the conference? My smiling face. I have been to all the Northern Voice conferences. I bring experience. I bring interesting questions. And I bring a desire to help new bloggers figure out the whole blogging thing. I’m bilingual—I speak geek and regular joe, second life and first life. I like to talk to people and I also like to help. If you need a gopher on the day. I’m there for you.

Friday, January 19, 2007

3-Day Novel Contest Gets Its Groove On on YouTube

Absolutely fantastic!

The first three minutes of the 3-Day Novel Contest: The Series is available at YouTube and at BookTelevision.com.

Here are the links:
Watch it on YouTube

Watch it on BookTelevision.com

3-Day Novel Contest is an annual marathon to write a novel in 3 days. The winner gets a publishing contract. September 2007 is the 30th anniversary of the contest and as promo BookTelevision has created a mini series based on 12 writers from last year’s contest.

The 12 writers holed up in an Edmonton Chapters for 3 days, writing their novels, sleeping and eating, doing word challenges and competing against the clock.

This is reality TV with enough of tongue-in-cheek to work for me. BookTV is really hitting the right notes with this promo. It’s from a trusted source (I was sent an email from a friend, and I like BookTV), it’s a message tailored to my interests, and it’s funny enough that I want to pass it on—so it’s viral. Those are the top 3 requirements for this type of online campaign to work. I’m a fan. Good work.

Here’s the plug for the TV series (although I hope they continue to release teasers before the show airs and then post the entire segment after):

The 3-Day Novel Contest - The Series airs on:

Sundays starting February 4th @ 9:30pm ET / 7:30pm MT

Tuesdays starting February 6th @ 8:00pm MT

Wednesdays starting February 7th @ 9:00pm ET / 7:00pm MT

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Quill and Quire Gets a WordPress Blog

Quill & Quire is the book industry trade magazine. They’ve had a blog-like page for a long time, but now there’s RSS, searchable archives, a new design, and it’s all run on WordPress.

I’m subscriber #3 according to Bloglines.

Quill & Quire Blog link.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Quill and Quire Launches a Flickr Group

Quill & Quire is Canada’s magazine of book news and reviews. And, they’ve just launched a new Flickr group for photos of
Canadian authors and book events. Images submitted to part of the group may also be posted on the Quill blog or printed in their magazine (rights cleared I’m sure).

If you’re keen on joining or viewing the photos here’s the link to the group:

Monday, January 15, 2007

Another Announcement: Get a Travel Bursary for Northern Voice

Northern Voice is a two-day, non-profit personal blogging conference that’s being held at the UBC main campus, Vancouver, on February 23-24, 2007.

This is the 3rd annual incarnation of this event. I’ve been to the first two and enjoyed the variety of speakers and the chance to meet other bloggers. I highly recommend the conference, in particular to new bloggers.

NorthernVoice.ca announced 6 travel bursaries:

This year Northern Voice is offering six travel bursaries of CAN $500 each. The organizing committee will be awarding these bursaries based on a number of criteria, including:

* The contributions you can make to the conference
* Your level of need
* The quality of your submission
* The diversity you might bring to Northern Voice

We’ll announce the recipients of the bursaries on February 2nd, 2007. The bursaries will be paid out via cheque mailed out to recipients or picked up on the day of the conference.

To apply, write a blog post, or record a podcast or video blog post describing why you want to come to Northern Voice. Then submit it via our travel bursaries page.

No excuses not to come!

Now a real announcement: A job posting for Digital Marketing Manager

HarperCollins Canada has an immediate opening for a Digital Marketing Manager. I’ve met Steve Osgoode several times and have admired the Harper Collins’ online program from afar. If you’re in Toronto or want to be, and you have experience in books and online marketing, apply now. Details below.

As Digital Marketing Manager, the successful applicant will be responsible for:


- Develop digital marketing plans for select Canadian, US and UK titles
- Manage online advertising campaigns for titles and authors
- Co-ordinate the development and production of new website builds for key brands, authors and series, and market these sites to build traffic and loyalty
- Working with the marketing associates, schedule content and features for harpercollins.ca and other corporate sites
- Supported by the IT department, ensure data and images are provided to online retail partners and other third-party sites
- Develop strategies to further increase traffic to all of HarperCollins Canada’s corporate websites
- Strengthen existing relationships with online reviewers/editors, service providers, and other partners, and actively build new partnerships to open fresh opportunities
- Monitor and analyse all website metrics and provide regular reporting to specific departments as well as the company at large
- Review, evaluate and provide recommendations for online campaign activities and reports to understand successes and develop future plans

Relevant Skills

- At least 3-4 years marketing experience
- Demonstrated acumen in developing online initiatives and websites
- Highly self-motivated, with a strong creative bent, and excellent copywriting skills
- Knowledge of HTML (and/or ability to use a web-editing program) as well as web analytic software
- Confidence and adaptability in using new content management tools and database systems
- Good communications skills, and ability to work well in a collaborative environment
- Must be detail-oriented, well-organized and able to set priorities and meet deadlines under pressure

If you are looking for an exciting and challenging opportunity please email a cover letter and resume to dianne.aquilina at harpercollins dot com.
Please be advised that we can only contact those who are selected for an interview.
Deadline for submissions is January 26, 2007.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

This Announcement Headline

Congratulations, here’s an example post.

Here’s unbold.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Book Review: The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox

Fans of historical fiction must seek out this book.

The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox (McClelland & Stewart, 2006)

Michael Cox is a first-time author from Northamptonshire, UK. and he’s written the confession of Edward Glyver. Fictional? Of course ... or is it?

Indeed it is.

Cox, however, has used a literary technique that I quite like. He adds another layer to the story by introducing J. J. Antrobus as the editor of the work. This fictional character borders that fine line between fiction and nonfiction. Allowing readers to be momentarily disoriented—is this a novel or historical work?

The device also allows Cox’s “editor” to add footnotes to the text, informing the reader, in a non-intrusive way, of tidbits of information—some of it fictional and some of it historical. I won’t tell you the end of the novel, but this device does increase the reader’s understanding of the story, in particular the knowledge that this “confession” has been found and the “true” story revealed to future generations.

The writing reminds me of Dickens, or a Victorian-England writer of your choice. The book starts out at quite a clip, has a little lull early on, and then you pretty much roar through the 600 page tome.

“After killing the red-haired man, I took myself off to Quinn’s for an oyster supper ...”

See, speedy intro.

You might wonder how the reader is to sympathize with a main character who kills an innocent man, just to make sure he’ll be able to do it when face to face with his enemy, but this is a story of deceit, murder and revenge. Edward Glyver is definitely one of the most likeable of the leading ladies and lads.

More about the book

Edward Glyver, book lover, scholar and murderer. He discovers upon the death of his mother that he is not who he’s been raised to believe he is. In a twist of circumstances, the boy who had him expelled from school is the man set to inherit Glyver’s intended fortune.

There’s drama, passion, strong writing, a captivating story, interesting characters, and all sorts of goodies.

The Meaning of Night website has a number features about the book and the author.

You can download Part One in PDF.

Having read the book already, I’m less interested in that aspect, however, I did enjoy Michael’s message to readers:

Thanks for visiting The Meaning of Night website.

I hope readers of the novel will enjoy browsing the images and other material gathered together on the site, and that they’ll provide some entertaining insights into the world of the novel’s narrator, Edward Glyver.

What I’ve tried to do in The Meaning of Night is to create an imagined world that’s solid and circumstantial, but which exists somewhere apart from the mundane and the everyday, a world in which extraordinary things happen, but which still remains plausible and somehow real.

The novel is also a homage to the primal power of story, and to the great storytellers I admire � people like Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson and Rafael Sabatini. These are the writers I return to again and again, and who have inspired The Meaning of Night. If I’ve succeeded in creating a story that grips the reader from the first line to the last, then I’ll feel I’ve done my job.

So if you’ve already read the novel � thank you. If you haven’t, I hope you will soon.

Best wishes,

Michael Cox



Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Strong Winds Knock Down Tree in Kitsilano, Vancouver

Tree covers intersection at First and Maple, VancouverAt 3:15 today, James and I had just returned home. The wind was gushing and the trees were being whipped around. I decided to film the wind because it was so intense, howling and twisting the trees about. Just as I finished the first clip I turned around to film up the street and a huge tree on the corner of First Ave. and Maple came crashing down. I just missed catching it on film. One crack, no other sound, and then it was covering the entire intersection. The tree just missed a car parked behind the stop sign, and just missed a woman who was crossing the intersection.

My guess is the tree is 60-70 ft but I’m never very good at these things. The building is a three-story apartment and the trees are taller than the building.

The wind is still howling.

Here’s 5 photos. I’ll post the video soon.

UPDATE: This story is NowPublic (photos and video).

UPDATE 2: Here’s my YouTube video of the wind storm and tree knocked down in Kitsilano (post-fall).

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Five (More) Things You Don’t Know About Me

Robert tagged me, then untagged me, but I’m still game. Here are five things most people don’t know about me.

1. I have a freckle patch. Aside from a few strategically placed freckles, all my freckles congregate on the inside of my right arm.

2. I used to pack parachutes at the Gimli airfield. I packed parachutes in exchange for free jumps. I was on pins and needles one day watching my friend spiral down. I was standing next to his mother assuring her that the parachute did sometimes take that long to deploy. It was a chute I packed. Fortune was on our side and he landed safely. The problem was not the chute. He panicked and instead of falling in a spread eagle shape, he curled into a ball. The chute deployed but the canopy when between his legs and he was caught up in it. Again, thankfully good fortune was on our side. He only suffered the embarassment of peeing his pants.

3. I designed the logo for the Beautiful Plains School Division. I don’t have a bigger image. It’s a book with three sized people on the right—representing teachers, high school and elementary school kids. I was 16 or 17 when I designed it.


4. I have $300 tap shoes. (They make me go faster.)

5. I’m learning to knit and play video games. Both are equally enjoyable and stressful.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Social Signal Launches in Second Life and hires Catherine Omega

Catherine Winters, aka Catherine Omega, is Social Signal’s newest hire, with the fancy title of Manager of Virtual Worlds. I lover her avatar. And Alex is looking really hot too. My avatar needs serious fashion advice.

Here’s Kate’s post on the event with photos.

And here’s Social Signal’s announcement of their latest business offering, plus a white paper on why businesses should take Second Life seriously.

I’m off to Second Life.