For a few good years, the Co-operators Insurance company in Guelph had a webcam pointing at the Church of Our Lady in downtown Guelph. I moved from Guelph in 2012 after living there for five years. While I was away, I kept an eye on my favourite Canadian town through this webcam.
Unfortunately, in August of 2017, the webcam went down and even though they had brought it back up after a quick message on Twitter a few times previous to this, it seemed that this time it was down for good.
I moved back to Guelph in April of 2018 and resolved to set up my own webcam to point at the same church, now known as The Basilica of Our Lady. Obviously, I can’t place a webcam in the same spot, but my apartment is close to their building, so it has a vantage similar to theirs.
Every thirty minutes, the webcam snaps a new picture. The pictures from my webcam are licensed openly, using Creative Commons. I’ve also provided the horribly written bash script I use to get it to fire via a cron job, information on the camera I’m using, and some weather data on Guelph.
Perhaps one day, when this webcam retires, someone else will pick up the torch.
While I wait patiently for Canada to adopt a comprehensive high-speed rail line and commuter service, the next best thing is a car for working on the go. Though I’m the primary driver these days, there have been times when I’ve been the passenger. I write this now from a very comfortable position next to Exhibition Park in Guelph. I’m doing work on the laptop in the passenger seat (using a 3G USB adapter from Wind mobile).
Rail is my favourite mode of transport because:
You face people. Seats are positioned in a way that fosters communication, unlike cars, in which everyone faces the same direction and it’s hard (and sometimes impossible) for people sitting less than a metre away in the back seat to hear conversation in the front seat.
Work while you travel. When you’re driving, you can’t do anything but drive. It’s dead time; a complete waste of human existence. If you travel by rail, you can accomplish work, read, think, relax, read.
It’s fast. Even current rail service in Canada, specifically between Guelph and Toronto, isn’t that bad in terms of speed. My GPS reported that we reached 140km/h at one point. With some proper funding and planning, that could be the average speed, not the top speed.
It’s safe. Rail is a very safe method of travel, especially compared to the car.
You can pee. Every car has a washroom built right in. You don’t have to stop transport to pee.
Still, for times when I need a third place and cafes are closed, I use my car. It’s a 2001 Chrysler 300m. Here are a few things that could have been done better.
Built-in inverter. My car has two access points to DC electricity: One in the front and one in the centre console. It uses the traditional cigarette lighter type adapter, to which I plug in an inverter which gives me AC electricity for my laptop. (An even better solution would be to buy laptops that include a DC plug as well as an AC plug so I could just plug straight into DC since that’s what laptops use natively).
Auxiliary input for the car stereo. I won a free car stereo and had the installers provide access to an AUX IN jack so I could plug my laptop audio in but it would be awesome if this came included out of the box. I have all of my mp3s, oggs, and music modules on my laptop.
DC Access point for the back seat. Currently there is no way to access DC power in the back seat except through the centre console, which, when left open, is uncomfortable for the driver.
Better fuel economy. While I’d love to have a fully electric car (such as the Ford Focus Electric), I realize that in 2001 the technology wasn’t close to being ready. My car gets an average of 11L/100KM in town and 7L/100KM highway. It would have been nice to have the ability to switch the engine between performance mode and economy mode whilst in the city.
If you’re a developer looking for something to do on Tuesday nights, look no further: Coffee and Code has come to Guelph. We meet between 7:30pm and 9:30pm to network, discuss relevant programming topics, and get some work done. It’s a great opportunity to meet some like-minded individuals and work in a setting other than your usual lair. Bring your laptop and whatever else you’ll need to do your thing.
Cory Fowler began the Coffee and Code event in Guelph a few weeks ago and has been diligently building up some momentum with it. I think it’s been going for 5 weeks now. I started going on the third week.
Next meeting place: The Albion on Gordon St. Hopefully we’ll see you there!
Coming up fast is the next DemoCamp in Guelph. It’s scheduled for May 13th and this time it will be at the eBar on Quebec St. Attending the DemoCamp is completely free and definitely recommended if you’re into programming, new technology, servers, hardware, software, games, or anything else with computers. Usually there are drinks and food included, so come and have fun!
I got back from the 6th Guelph DemoCamp around 9:00pm last night. Free beer, free food, a group of 50 or more programmers, and one block away from my apartment. Guelph rules :)
If you live in the Guelph area and you’re interested in going to the next one, there will be another DemoCamp on the 17th of September 2008. You should be there. Presenting stuff is easy: You get 5 minutes to set up, 5 minutes to talk, and 5 minutes to answer questions from the crowd. If you just want to come listen and mingle that’s cool, too.
I presented Jack of All Links to the crowd and it went really well. There were a couple of guys from WeGoWeGo, which is a startup that’s gearing up in Toronto as well as a few other people presenting technology or software they wrote. I really enjoyed it.
I was really surprised at the size of the crowd! I figured there might be at maximum 10 people (I mean, how many programmers *are* there around here anyway) but there were over 50. Exciting!
If you’re in the Guelph area and you’re looking for new and interesting internet startups, come to the 6th DemoCamp in Guelph on July 9th. It’ll be at The Albion Hotel (49 Norfolk St.) and I’ll be there presenting and promoting Jack of All Links, which is the social search engine I launched earlier this year. You can read more about Jack of All Links in a blog post made early last May.
What is DemoCampGuelph?
The origin of DemoCampGuelph is from the event known as BarCamp, which is a collaborative workshop / presentation / networking event where developers and businessmen/women share their latest endeavor whether it be a startup or tool or prototype. There’s only one major rule: No powerpoint!
From the website:
“What could I demo?
The real question is, what would other people find interesting? A web app or cool piece of software you wrote, a neat prototype or project you were part of, even some obscure tool or weird hack you’ve found that others would find useful, astounding or entertaining. Commercial, open source, homebrew hack, whatever… if you can show it off in five minutes, and think it’ll generate questions, conversation or feedback, come out and demo it!”
A similar event takes place in Waterloo, as well. Check it out!