Hotwired Back in the Day


hotwired logo


My closet harbours the occasional flashback. 

After speaking with writer James Glave the other day, I dug into my closet to pull out this black, circa 1995 T-Shirt.

I doubt many of you remember the this logo.

It was an early version used by, when Wired  (the magazine) first launched its online version.

James was one of those guys who saw the potential of the web and who launched Vancouver Magazine’s web site, as far as I know, the first print publication in Canada to go online.

James then headed out to San Francisco to write for HotWired as their senior technology writer.

hot wired, sleeve

The t-shirt sleeve had yet another logo rendition, using the circles and the name.       

To give you an idea of how new online was at the time, URLs were always give in their complete form, including that all important /

Print was on thing, but we were having to give the URLs out on the air, and I can remember on-air people like Leora Kornfeld and Garnet Harry having to slowly say:

“aych-tee-tee-pee colon forward slash forward slash…double-you double-you double-you dot cee bee cee stereo dot com forward slash realtime forward slash”


hotwired url


I scored the T-Shirt when Hotwired did a feature story on the RealTime web site that we had launched for CBC in 1994.

James by the way, later went on to Outside Magazine and now is back in Canada.  Yay.

From High Gas to No Gas

The BBC had not one but two major gas stories today.

Story #1

inquote Petrol prices in the UK could soon top 1 pound a litre if oil costs keep rising, the head of BP has told the BBC.

and Story #2

inquote A method of creating super-nutritious but flatulence-free beans has been developed by scientists. outquote

No wonder the world always turns to the BBC.

Toxic Free Dandelion Control

I like the look of dandelions but I’m not too fussy about what they do to my lawn.

And since our lawn is a chemical free zone, the dandelions love it.

After seeing a water powered weeding tool at Lee Valley Tools, but choking on the price, I thought I’d try a little something.

power washer

It’s a bit like using a canoe to shovel gravel, but what the heck. I fired up the power washer, and after a little experimentation I found that if I planted the wand (pun intended) right at the heart of the dandelion, then rotated the handle in a circular motion (while keeping the wand tip planted)…

wand placement

I could pretty much float that weed right out of its steely grip !

wet weed

You will have to actually bend over to pull out the weed, but other than that, it’s virtually work free.

The irony of course is that I’m burning gasoline to fuel the power washer, so it’s not exactly environmentally perfect.

Maybe I’ll have to spring the dough for that Lee Valley tool after all…?  No way.

North Vancouver Lions

Walking around the neighbourhood yesterday I was reminded why it’s so great living here.

Even on a dull grey day, catching a glimpse of the North Shore mountains makes those super high house prices seem, well, still super high, but at least you’ve got something to look out at.

Help Make the Zimmer Twins (even more) Famous

Canada’s own psychic Zimmer Twins are nominated for a Webby Award!

The Webby’s are the web’s most prestigious awards, also known as the Oscar’s™ of the Internet.

zimmer twins

The Twins have been stars of the web for years now, and more recently on Teletoon TV.

It would only be right for them to win a Webby: they’re fun, funny and Canadian (well, they’re from Toronto, but that’s ok).

Check out their web site and make some movies with Edgar, Eva and their cat 13, and you’ll quickly see why they should win.

The Webby’s have a juried award and a People’s Voice Award, and that’s where you can help. Every vote in the People’s Voice puts them one step closer to the red carpet.

Comon’ Canada ! Register here and vote for the Zimmer Twins now ! They’re in the youth category.

You only have until May 5th to vote.

Required Canadian Tug at Heartstrings:
Believe me, these awards are tough to win, and its a huge deal just to be nominated. There are hardly ever Canadians in the winners circle, so do what you can to support these guys.

Cypress Keeps Winter Alive

I’m sure it had nothing to do with my post over the weekend, but Cypress Mountain is extending its riding season.  Yahoo.

inquote FORGET SUMMER!!! – CYPRESS EXTENDS WINTER SEASON WEST VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – We have received 45 cm of fresh snow in the past couple of days and due to unprecedented April snow and ski conditions, we will be open for downhill skiing and riding on the EAGLE EXPRESS HIGH SPEED QUAD CHAIR next weekend April 22nd & 23rd. Cypress Mountain has already surpassed our record for the longest winter season and we still have metres of snow with excellent coverage on all the trails on Black Mountain. The downhill area will open Saturday April 22nd and Sunday April 23rd from 9:00am to 4:00pm with discounted tickets in effect. outquote

Vancouver Mtns Get Fresh Snow

Both Cypress Mountain and Grouse Mountain are scheduled to close for the season on Monday the 17th – no word on the Mount Seymour web site.  

Ironic, considering they’re getting a huge dump of snow, enough to close the Mount Seymour Road today – and thats on top of a base of 4 metres.  Yummy.

fresh snow on local vancouver mountians

Browser Penetration Flashback

Going through some old files for a project, I came across this screen grab from 1997.

It seems like a lifetime ago that IE was the ‘new kid’ on the browser block.hotwired browser stats from 1997
By the way, this ‘hot stats’ box was on the front page of Wired Magazine’s online site,

Nathan Sellyn Party Invitation

Author Nathan Sellyn sent me an invitation to his ‘launch’ party.  Here’s what his email said:

inquote I’m not a fan of self-promotion, but I love a good party. Thus I’d be thrilled if you’d join me at Fiction on the night of April 18th.   

Fiction is a funky little place on Broadway with a great selection of beverages and a fine menu. The plan is to show up at 7, have me read just before 8, and then put a playlist on and have a good time.

This invitation is open to all, so I’d encourage you to drag along as many people as you possibly can.
All the best,    ns



Taking him at his word, I’m extending the invitation out to you. If you’re in the Vancouver area, you should come out.  You’ll get to meet a new young author and years later will be able to tell everyone you “knew him when…”. 

Click the invite for a printable PDF version.  See you there.

 nathan sellyn launch party

Spring Radio Ratings – CKNW rules

Here in Vancouver CKNW continues to dominate the market. Here’s the skinny from Broadcaster Magazine:

inquote CKNW held their lead, remaining #1 with a 14.7% share of hours tuned for A12+. 103.5QM-FM retained the #1 F25-54 spot with a 14.8% share (up from 15.5%). #1 for M25-54 goes to 96.9 JACK-FM which continues to grow with a 13.3% share (up from 12.8%) followed closely by Rock101 at 12.2%. The FOX stays on top with M18-34, delivering an impressive 19.5% share of hours tuned for that demo (up from 17.9%). Sadly, despite impressive ratings results, Corus recently had to cut 12 staff members, reportedly to improve the “bottom line”. outquote

To put some perspective on CKNW’s domination here, their 14.7 share of hours tuned is more than CBC Radio One and Two combined, and almost twice CBC Radio One’s hours tuned.

If you’re interested in seeing what’s going on in other markets, check out the full story in Broadcaster.
A12+ = adults 12 and up
F25-54 = females 25-54 years old
M25-54 = males 25-54
M18-34 = males 18-34

Clipboard from computer to computer

The number of new and handy tools available online continues to grow.

Like most people, 90% of the work I do is on a computer connected to the Internet, and any tools that can be used anywhere/anytime are good to have. calls itself the Internet clipboard. You can copy and past between computers – or to distribute the same info to a bunch of people. For an example of how it works, I posted a message using here:

Along with whatever you cut/paste into, you can also upload files up to 2 meg.  I can see lots of uses for this, particularly when I’m away from my desk.  Let’s hope it sticks around. 

By the way – there’s a Toronto based URL –  that’s going to start getting an awful lot of unexpected traffic !

From Blog to Print

Back when we created CBC Radio 3’s New Music Canada (in 2000) one of the key aspects was that people posting their songs to the web site would stand a good chance of getting picked up by various CBC radio programs. From the day the site launched, this was true – in fact we spun the web site into a national radio show on Saturday nights and gave local show producers access to the database so they could find local bands to play in their cities (some of them did, some didn’t, but that’s another story). That same material fuels one of Canada’s top podcasts as well as CBC Radio 3’s satellite music channel on Sirius.

I’m seeing a lot of parallels now in the blogging world – which makes perfect sense. Forward thinking publishers are finally realizing that there’s a lot of expertise in those blogs, where people are largely motivated by a deep desire to share their knowledge. Just like the record companies that started cruising the New Music Canada web site for new talent, publishers are now looking at scanning the best of the blogging world for new articles.

inquote [Blogburst] a syndication service that delivers commentary from 600 bloggers for use by newspaper publishers is set to launch on Tuesday, further blurring the lines that divide blogs and mainstream media.
read the whole story in Wired News.

Here in Vancouver, we’ve got a couple of different approaches to this. Michael Tippett’s Now Public and Paul Sullivan’s

They have different models, but in both cases, the underlying principles are the same. This represents a huge shift in how media content is generated.

The tools for the general public remain a bit confusing, RSS should be a staple for any Internet user but still has a long way to go. But we’re getting there – and every little step forward makes it impossible to go back. And that is exciting both for content creators and consumers.

Broadband Loss Leader

Wouldn’t it be nice if Canadian carriers felt the need to offer free broadband as a way of getting phone subscribers? The BBC says it’s happening in the UK.

inquote Mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse is expected to announce the launch of a free broadband service later this week.
The company looks poised to provide free access for customers who sign up to its Talk Talk landline service.

Spam Pie

In an on-going quest to find something useful in all that spam, I figured if nothing else, spam provides a lot of data points. A while I go I used those data point to create a spam song.

Listening to people complain about spam prompted this latest project.

I took over 8,000 spam emails I’ve recieved since the beginning of the year. I sorted them into broad categories. The result:

The 1st Annual Spam Pie.

spam pie

As inexact as all get-out, it does give you a pretty good idea of what spammers are pushing.

If you’re wondering about the categories, here’s a rough guide.

Love Drugs: Sexual enhancement pills of all kinds.
Stock-Investments: Hot tips, investment opportunities, increase your revenue.
Dating-Get Laid: And all in my area, handy.
Special Deals:  Everything from coupons to genuine Rolex watches.
Software Offers:  Discount prices on computer stuff, mostly software.
Spoofed Account Info: From online auctions to banks, these fake info requests are everywhere.
Prescription Drugs: Deals from online pharma.
Porn: Um, er….porn.
Personal Improvement: Weight loss, more hair, better hair, hair removal, liposuction and banish those wrinkles.
Credit-Loans: Your house is worth a fortune, or, how to get a house with no money.

Windows/Mac, Surf's up, Pimping Moira

Why I’ll put Windows XP on my MacBook Pro

I’ve never subscribed to the ‘this OS is better than that OS’ battle. For me, a tool is a tool, and some are better for doing some things than others. Deciding to buy a Mac after being life-long Windows PC owner was the result of need; I simply can’t make enhanced podcasts on a PC and I need to be able to see web sites on as many platforms and browsers as possible. No zealotry at play, period. My MacBook Pro lives quite happily with my Windows PC’s, I’m now using both quite happily.

Since Apple has officially sanctioned the ability to load XP on new Intel Macs using BootCamp, people are coming out of the woodwork with bizarre arguments about why this is a horrible idea. Seems like a useless argument.

For me, it’s a total win-win. I’ve got a powerful Mac laptop that I use on the road and at client meetings. When I’m giving a workshop I now can highlight both Windows and Mac software on the same machine. Handy.

Dude. Get to Australia right now

inquote It’s big Sunday. Surf conditions on Sydney’s beaches and along the coast of NSW will today see what promises to be the biggest waves in 30 years. Former world champion surfer Barton Lynch said: “Regardless of how experienced you are, you have got to be on your game and concentrating completely in these sort of conditions. It is no time to be experimenting or learning.”
read the full Sydney Morning Herald story

Podcast on the auction block

Doug Kaye is looking for a sponsor for the podcast edition of Tech Nation, featuring Dr. Moira Gunn. Much to Doug’s wife’s horror, his blog headline for this new endeavor is Pimping Moira. It’ll be interesting to see how the auction goes, they’re starting with a reserve of 12K USD.