Archive for the ‘ottawa’ category

Deadline Met! STO on the Go is available on the Android Market

I gave myself a personal goal around mid to late November; to finish an STO Android app with the dataset that Phil Casgrain had given me access to.  The app is now available on the Android market as STO on the Go though it’s almost impossible to find using the search.

I’m selling the app for $1.00 though there is a good chance it will be getting an increase in the next version, which will have at least maps and favourites features.

Crushing Unions one piece of legislation at a time

Maybe it would be appropriate to title this “how our government shows respect for workers rights”.  This of course in response to the Honourable Lisa Raitts’ continuous threats to legislate unionized workers back to work, this time being Air Canada flight attendants.

We are told this is because our economy is in a terribly fragile state and everyone needs to work, otherwise everything will crumble.  This is really a quite entertaining argument, especially since we have several other airlines that we can choose to go with instead if the flight attendants decide to go on strike.  So, as consumers there isn’t anything major to worry about if there is a strike.  We may be slightly inconvenienced because of this, but we do need to give the workers their right to fight for better terms in their collective agreement.

It’s extremely frustrating to see our members of parliament, let alone the Conservative party getting involved in private affairs like that of Air Canada or Canada Post.  In forcing these workers back to work we are taking away a strong part of their bargaining power.  The strikes are supposed to put pressure on an employer to make a better agreement since every day on strike is lost profit on their part.  Meanwhile, we have our government stepping into places they shouldn’t be involved with and passing laws that truly only benefit the employer.  Perhaps another benefit is it keeps canadians complacent despite the extremely damaging chilling effect this could have on other unions that will have lasting effects.

I’d like to thank Hon. Raitt for getting the union crushing snowball rolling.

OGRE Slides – Clojure

Keeping up with my typical not at all on the subject mentality I did a presentation about Clojure at Septembers OGRE meeting.  There was some interest in getting the slides, as well as the resources I mentioned.  You can get the slides here (zipped up if you’d prefer that) and this is the list of resources I talked about.


Capital Bixi Dataset generation

Over the weekend I worked on a quick little python script that “scrapes” the capital bixi data feed. I’m hoping to take this data and generate some statistical data so people can have a good idea of what the chances are that there will be a bike available at a station near that at a given time, among other things.

I’m trying to find other people who may be interested in helping me with this dataset (it’s still not large enough yet) in a month or so. If you are please send me a line on twitter.

This data may also be of interest to journalists later on during the year if they would like some hard data about how well bixi is doing.

Capital Bixi now in Ottawa

IMG_20110520_180755Yesterday I decided I’d grab one of the Bixi bikes now available in several places in Ottawa for a spin, and I’d have to say I’m pretty impressed. I remember when they did the pilot project last summer, I considered using it once or twice but the locations were horrible so I never bothered. This year though, they’ve added plenty more locations (all of which are very convenient for myself) and I’m going to be using this as my means of transportation for the summer.

I had been thinking of getting a bike for the past few weeks but really cannot justify paying for one. I already have little space in my apartment, and to be honest I’d rather use that for making more beer than storing a bike in it. Some of the other concerns of having a bike are theft and maintenance. I can fix my bike, but really don’t have the equipment to do it, nor the space though that’s not really my main concern. I did have a bike back when I was going to school during the summer, it was nice to have but near the end of the summer someone decided to steal my seat. Sure it was my screwup for not having taken it with me, but it’s still really frustrating to have to deal with these kinds of problems. So with bixi, I’m able to give someone money and have all the annoying parts of owning a bike taken care of.

So I was thinking about other alternatives to bixi: walk into work, which would suck because then getting to/from user group meetings would take forever; or continue paying $80.00 a month for my bus pass. I could keep my bus pass, but unfortunately the STO has a tendency to stop being any form of reliable after 6pm, which once again gets in the way of getting to/from meetings I like to attend. So I figure, for the cost of a single months bus pass I’ll get an annual subscription bixi instead (weather permitting of course).

Now, if I lived in a different location where getting access to bixi isn’t really an option, then yeah I’d probably get an actual bike. But hopefully by the time that happens I’ll either have my own place or somewhere with decent storage that I can put my bike and not feel worried about it getting stolen or something.

Digital OTA Transmissions – Pressure your local Broadcaster

I’m a part of a growing number of Canadians who are ditching their cable subscription and moving over to whatever can be picked up over an antenna.  This has worked out quite well for me, though I’m beginning to get a bit worried that some providers (such as CTV) will drag their feet or possibly not even set up digital broadcasts OTA.  I’ve sent an email to my local CTV station (Ottawa) and encourage you to do the same.

I strongly believe that we should have the freedom from cable providers and receive at least our local news from the air waves.  If you agree, I ask that you send this email to your local CTV or other local broadcaster who have yet to set up their digital transmitters.

Here is a template you can use to send to your local station:

I would like to inquire about when CTV Ottawa will be setting up their 
Digital Over-the-Air (OTA) transmitters.  Since on August 31st all analog signals 
will be stopping, I'd like to know what CTV is doing to ensure it's OTA viewers 
will still be able to receive transmissions.

The CBC has been offering their broadcasts in Digital transmissions for at 
least 3 years, yet I still do not know when or if CTV will be doing the same.  
The citizens of Ottawa and Canada in general should not be forced over to cable 
providers in order to be able to get their local newscasts.

I look forward to hearing back,

CTV Ottawa General Inquiries

STO on the Go is Live

Earlier last week I was trying to view the bus schedule from my device. Unfortunately, I have a T-Mobile Nexus one on a Rogers network; so EDGE speeds only. The website for the buses I take is pretty much image driven, so pages take forever to load. And even when things do load, sometimes opening up the links doesn’t work (don’t even try on a BlackBerry!).

I’d had enough of it and figured I would look into getting a mobile web version that would be extremely light that provides all the functionality you would need to find out what are the timings for the bus route you want. Now, the application does still have some bugs in it which mainly have to do with my poor AJAX and jQuery skills but it does do the job.

You can access the site by visiting I’ve tested it on the iPhone, Android and Blackberry and it works pretty well. There are some issues with the clicking of stops on a BlackBerry, but there is a fix which is achieved by moving your cursor to the top of the screen then mousing over each item. When you get the ][ symbol click and you should be brought to the bus listing for that stop.

If I have some time over the next few weeks I’ll work on it some more to style it a bit so it will actually look good on a mobile device as well as increase the hit zones for everything to make the interface easier to interact with. I also intend on plugging into it to provide a native Android application that will allow you to cache everything on disk in order to reduce network usage. Maybe even allow configuration of caching based on what kind of connection you are on.

If you’ve given it a shot, please leave me your comments about how the experience was as well as what kind of device you were using.


Since the STO has recently changed their travel planner, it is unfortunate that the changes have effected the STO on the Go site. Because of how the new planner works, it will not be worth the effort to try and fix which is rather unfortunate since the new site is very unfriendly towards mobile devices.

Team Camp – HTML5 and CSS3

Figured I would check out a presentation at The Code Factory about HTML5 and CSS3 today. Quite a few people came out to the event, which is pretty interesting. Nice to know that several people are interested in the subject and will be integrating several of these features into their future sites once the technology becomes more prevalent.

As was stated by @snookca the technology required for HTML5 and CSS3 to work is still in limbo. Several browsers still do not support everything, even browsers based on the same rendering engines. For example, most things render perfectly fine in Safari, but don’t work at all on Chrome. It will still take some time before we see parity across all platforms, but once it does developing web applications will be very fun.

Below are some sites that were mentioned in the presentation that show off some demos of HTML5/CSS3 technologies.

Sites of Interest