Posts Tagged Calgary

YYCCC 2010-12-13 Calgary City Council

I’m creating a simple index of Calgary City Council archives & live audio stream. And Christopher Harper is also independently indexing City Council sessions. My own blog entries are not meant to be a complete index of council sessions, they only represent workflow improvements.

New Workflow – Accurate Transcription!

Before I tested this new workflow, Trevor Howell of FFWD wrote a piece detailing citizen’s efforts to make City Hall discussions more accessible. In it, Gregory Pastirik of City Clerk’s Office notes “the video archiving feature (of Electronic Legislative Management Solution) is still on hold, awaiting council’s nod”.

Mayor Nenshi ballparks Closed Captioning data as 85% accurate, and requiring a “big disclaimer”. I’ve added such a disclaimer in the start of YYCCC 2010-12-13′s captions.

The following represents a “Web 2.0 friendly” approach to archiving Council sessions. And as of this archive, finally includes a reasonably accurate transcript.

Calgary City Council on December 13, 2010 – The Video

Open Dec 13th City Council minutes as documented on Calgary.ca, to help understand and navigate the Council meeting. To examine the interactive transcript, bypass this embedded video index entirely and use the video’s YouTube landing page.

h:mm:ss item summary
0:00:47 02 PRESENTATIONS & RECOGNITIONS
0:10:04 04 CONFIRMATION OF AGENDA
0:13:27 05 TABLED REPORTS
0:29:40 06.1.1 E2010-28, CALGARY PLANNING COMMISSION BYLAW
0:31:36 06.1.2 C2010-73, ASSESSMENT REVIEW BOARD BUDGETED VERSUS ACTUAL COSTS
0:34:02 06.1.3 C2010-74, AIRPORT TRAIL EASEMENT AGREEMENT – DEFERRAL REQUEST
0:47:40 07.1 NM2010-45, RECYCLING NEXT STEPS (ALDERMAN FARRELL)
1:32:39 07.1 NM2010-46, COUNCILLOR AS TITLE FOR CALGARY’S ELECTED OFFICIALS
2:21:06 07.1 LAS2010-81, EAST VILLAGE WARD 07 PROPOSED DISPOSITION OF CLOSED ROADS TO CALGARY MUNICIPAL LAND CORPORATION
2:26:50 08.1 BYLAW 60M2010, AMEND BYLAW 35M2008 AUTHORIZING LOANS TO THE CALGARY MUNICIPAL LAND CORPORATION, 1st READING ONLY
2:27:30 08.2 BYLAW 61M2010, AMEND BYLAW 25M97, POLICE COMMISSION BYLAW, 1st, 2nd & 3rd READING
2:30:45 09.1 VERBAL, CITY AUDITOR APPOINTMENT
2:34:04 09.2 C2010-75, FURTHER REDUCTIONS TO THE 2011 OPERATING BUDGET
3:23:48 09.3 C2010-76, MOTIONS ARISING FROM THE 2011 BUDGET– SCOPE OF WORK
3:28:53 09.4/5/6 FCS2010-27, FCS2010-28, FCS2010-29
3:34:21 10.1 AC2010-86, 2010 CITY MANAGER’S CORPORATE RISK REPORT
3:34:36 10.2 LAS2010-82, PROPOSED ACQUISITION WARD 02 SUB AREA 2A FILE NO: 11300 ROCKY RIDGE RD NW
3:35:16 10.3 N2010-23, APPOINTMENT TO AIRPORT AUTHORITY
3:36:56 10.6 N2010-26, APPOINTMENT TO COUNCIL COMPENSATION REVIEW COMMITTEE
3:39:29 10.9 N2010-21, CITIZEN APPOINTMENTS TO 2011 SUBDIVISION & DEVELOPMENT APPEAL BOARD

Open Data – Council Transcripts are Data Too!

This embed isn’t just pertinent to my blog post, it illustrates how YouTube embedded on a web page can start at a precise moment in the video. Simply add the following parameter to the HTML: &start=18320 (That’s the # of seconds to start at.)

(The start parameter currently has no impact on iPhones, hopefully that is on Steve Jobs’ to-do list.)

DJ Kelly had been a strong proponent of Open Data at city hall. Some datasets have obvious value (realtime location of busses, budget details). I’d like to add City Council audio, video & transcripts to that list. Of particular interest to me is Closed Captioning data.

The workflow I’m now using to upload video archives to YouTube does not parse Closed Captioning in realtime… the video is captured as a single large (1GB/hour) MPEG-2 file, which can be processed once council session ends.

Currently that is due to a file-locking issue with CapDVHS. But CCExtractor was created to parse files in realtime… in theory it would be possible to transmit Closed Captioning data to an RSS feed or Twitter as it is received.

Open Data requires both a friendly license (so that people can re-purpose the data without worry about being sued), and data in an easy to parse format.

Pulling Closed Captioning off SHAW Digital 89 is anything but easy (in realtime anyway). But it is possible. If the City of Calgary had to justify disallowing re-use of each dataset, instead of Calgarians having to argue why a given dataset should be made public and re-useable, I believe we’d see a lot of interesting applications appear.

Calgary.ca – Sample Integration

When City of Calgary rolls out ELMS video, it will offer appropriate video playback for the minute/item being reviewed by the user. Here I illustrate that YouTube could also be integrated in a similar fashion to the City of Calgary’s website.

Why this is Important

While I would be happy to see the addition of any video archives to Calgary.ca, there is a reason the majority of embedded internet video is hosted on YouTube. They’re backed by Google, therefore YouTube technology receives more R&D than any other vendor can afford. YouTube has a public API. YouTube facilitates access for the hearing impaired. YouTube has a bit of the Web 2.0 going on.

In short, if it says YouTube, YouTube, YouTube on the label, label, label, you will like it, like it, like it on your table, table, table.

Offering up video archives (with a Microsoft video server) represents meeting what needs to be done city employees, but does not facilitate discovery of what could be done by Calgarians.

My sample Calgary.ca integration is a hack, and is only intended to show the end-result of integration (it does not represent a sane workflow). However, up to the point of ELMS integration, this process is quite efficient. If ELMS (as Gregory of City Clerk’s office indicates) records a time-stamp for every motion put forward, then it should be easy to calculate (in .NET or JavaScript) the needed start parameter to play the appropriate portion of a YouTube video.

, , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

YYCCC 2010-11-29 Calgary City Council

Calgary City Council live audio stream. Will be active from 9:30 AM onward on November 29, 2010.

This is an experiment to illustrate how an audio stream can be offered up to smartphone users.

Previous experiment was delivered directly from City Hall. This time the city’s Window Media stream is being relayed remotely (well… from my house) to an IceCast2 server.

Also, instead of videotaping City Council myself, I’ll be focusing on capturing the Windows Media stream, and reviewing a neighbor’s recording off cable to try retrieve Close Captioning data.

This post will be updated/replaced with a post-mortem after a day’s relay and capture. The ultimate goal is to offer not just live audio, but a complete transcript of the day’s session based on Close Caption work already being paid for by the city (but not yet fully leveraged).

UPDATE:

The audio relay worked fine, once I was playing the stream with VLC. Windows Media Player embedded in the city’s website kept timing out (deliberately I assume), so audio kept dropping out every 30 minutes. VLC addressed that, but couldn’t address the city’s Windows Media video feed disappearing. I was told that means their server is crashing.

Neighbor’s DVD Recording of SHAW did not include close captions. And (me never having used a DVD recorder before) the resolution was only 352×240. Guess that is what happens when use the “8 hours on a 4.7GB disc” setting.

My brother was taping on his PVR, but some Googling shows best-case the video content can only be copied off it in 1x playback speed… despite all the data ports at the back of his SHAW PVR, there’s no file copy off of it.

I will post Nov 29th footage here once I’ve collected it all from my neighbor. But the quality will be poor.

I’ve ordered SHAW Digital TV. Too hard to organize decent City Council recordings otherwise. And it is the only practical way to reliably provide an audio stream (until the city starts doing so).

UPDATE 2:

Have created a dedicated page for Calgary City Council streaming audio.

, , , , ,

No Comments

VoteCalgary (housing construction) Mayoral Forum

VoteCalgary (funded by Calgary’s housing construction industry) presented our mayoral candidates with questions which allowed candidates to pitch “consumer choice” and “freedom” against sustainable growth, should they so choose.

Comparing candidates performance at VoteCalgary forum, then contrasting against their performance against CivicCamp forum (where “sustainable” is all the rage) could have reflected poorly on any candidate to played too strongly to their respective audience. But candidates pretty much held their ground no matter who they were speaking to. (Darn! No explosive juxtapositions between debates!)

This forum (which allowed rebuttals and rebuttal-rebuttals) was refreshingly short… aside from an introductory question, and a closing question, the only non-bookend question was “How will you support inward, upward and outward city growth?”

Host
Moderator - ???
Craig
Craig Burrows
Joe
Joe Connelly
Bob
Bob Hawkesworth
Barb
Barb Higgins
Jon
Jon Lord
Ric
Ric McIver
Naheed
Naheed Nenshi
Wayne
Wayne Stewart
introduction 00:40 02:28 04:04 05:20 06:54 08:28 10:04 11:37
city growth         15:58   14:53 13:48  
            17:28 16:30  
  21:31     20:27 19:24 18:52 18:30  
    23:38 22:44 21:46       24:45
  26:17 25:20            
  28:00         27:21    
differentiate 29:02 29:56 31:00 32:04 33:12 34:15 35:18 36:21  

This video is released under Creative Commons share-alike 3.0 license.

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

CivicCamp Mayoral Forum

Our mayoral candidates faced off in University of Calgary’s MacEwan Hall for what must have been a grueling 2 hour plus debate. CivicCamp‘s inclusion of Oscar Fech and Gary Johnston brought the total participants up to 10 (out of the 15 running), in what is currently looking to be a 3-way race.

“What’s going on here? Can you believe it!?” -Oscar Fech

Did you know many candidates are polling at zero? As an infamous FOX NEWS host would say, “Now is no time to give up!”

The CivicCamp forum followed ArtsVote’s limited responses token system (this time it was poker chips), which kept things at a brisk pace, as did the entertaining lightning round.

This video is released under Creative Commons share-alike 3.0 license.

And I’d like to apologize to any color blind folk looking at my table. I’ve run out of ideas how to visually compress this information.

, , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

ArtsVote Calgary – Mayoral Forum

An optimal candidate debate probably has some similarity to an optimal team size, too many members result in confusion, and ultimately… despair.

“The organizers had to make arrangements to get the candidates quite early. There are a few candidates running for mayor who are not onstage, but are here this afternoon. Afterwards, stick around and you can put your questions to them.” – Jim Brown

It would appear ArtsVote, by soliciting participation early and having a deadline, has solved this problem. Good on them, because the result was a better forum.

And, seriously, they put thought into how to force candidates to use their time wisely, and only speak when they have a critical point to make.

I enjoyed this Calgary mayoral forum immensely, and I hope you do too. Thanks to Chelsea Pratchett for help covering the event, and to ArtsVote for allowing me to do this in an official capacity.

Host
Moderator - Jim Brown
Wayne
Wayne Stewart
Ric
Ric McIver
Naheed
Naheed Nenshi
Jon
Jon Lord
Joe
Joe Connelly
Craig
Craig Burrows
Bob
Bob Hawkesworth
Barb
Barb Higgins
introduction 01:33 03:29 05:04 06:44 08:25 10:00 11:37 13:17
forced closures       19:22   21:02   17:18
affordable space     24:29   22:26      
accessibility   29:00       30:56 32:29  
CATA budget 34:10       35:49     36:55
arts festivals     43:10 39:08     41:27  
funding solution 50:14   46:39         48:35
retain artists 54:20 55:48       52:32    
funding pitch   60:15   61:57     58:13  
buh bye 67:00 66:38 66:13 65:24 Gone! 64:43 64:15 63:35

This video is released under Creative Commons share-alike 3.0 license.

, , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Calgary’s Low Carbon Future – The Summit

I haven’t had too many opportunities to stream live video since WireCast days at Cambrian House, so Calgary’s Carbon Summit was to be a live test of my new configuration:

  • Dual core MacBook
  • Wireless microphones feeding both the live stream, and HDV capture
  • 3G iPhone with tethering capabilities (and my strong desire to max out ROGERS 6 GB data plan)

UStream.TV had broadcast flawlessly from my house the night before. What could go wrong? Well apparently SAIT’s WiFi was blocking ports to which the UStream responded by crashing the browser. Any browser.

Fortunately I had a ROGERS 6 GB data plan, an iPhone 3G, and a deep burning desire to use up as much bandwidth as possible. Do you know how HARD it is to eat up 6 GB with an iPhone? Finding a reasonably priced ROGERS data plan is IMPOSSIBLE, so I took SAIT’s blocked ports as a blessing in disguise. 753,100 KB later, and UStream.TV had rebroadcast the summit.

I’ve since had a chance to upload HDV coverage of the event to YouTube, and also to Internet Archive. The most viewer-friendly copy can be found at R4NT.com entitled “Calgary’s Low Carbon Future”, it is cut down from 101 to 56 minutes and follows the narrative woven by Skid Crease.

Outcomes
The summit adds value to other City of Calgary initiatives including the development of a Community Greenhouse Gas Plan, The City Manager’s Office Sustainable Development Strategy and the World Energy Cities Partnership. This is an opportunity to develop a multi-stakeholder developed and ratified action plan to address future energy challenges.

Bios for keynote speakers can be found here. Rob Macintosh’s presentation is also available as an isolated YouTube video, and downloadable MPEG-4 from Internet Archive.

, , , , ,

No Comments

Green Party’s Elizabeth May in Calgary

July 2nd to 4th, the leader of Canada’s Green Party, Elizabeth May visited Calgary to attend fund raising and community events. After a fundraiser, Elizabeth allowed me to record a quick Q&A with her regarding one of my concerns: The Pirate Party launching in Canada.

The Pirate Party’s platform is not as outrageous as many assume. They don’t want to abolish copyright, rather limit its duration and focus its impact on commercial (for-profit) activities. The Pirate Party also wants to abolish software patents, which many software programmers consider a restriction on free speech. However, many of its policies are closely mirrored by the Green Party’s platform.

What is Elizabeth May’s response to Swedish Pirate Party members being elected to European Parliment?

I’ve posted my concerns in a R4NT.com article. Single issue candidates can not get elected to Parliament under Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system. If a Green MP will defend consumers (and the economy) against Bill C-61 horror shows, is splitting the digital-rights-minded vote a smart move?

Another interesting moment during Elizabeth May’s visit was during her Saturday morning visits to a series of Calgary Stampede breakfasts. People started tweeting that she’d caved on animal rights for a photo op, thinking that her attendance at a Stampede function implied she was attending a calf roping type event.

Elizabeth May’s daughter, Victoria Cate May Burton was monitoring Elizabeth May’s Twitter account. They discussed and responded to the tweet in 15 minutes. I have no idea how other political parties manage their social networks, but clearly a tech-savvy daughter is one effective approach.

Stock footage of Elizabeth May’s visit to Calgary can be found on Internet Archive concerning copyright and volunteering, fund-raising and the economy. Elizabeth’s Twitter and Facebook collaboration with her daughter Victoria Cate is also recyclable via Internet Archive. All footage is creative commons licensed.

, , , , ,

No Comments

Calgary iPhone Developer’s CRUSH FACTOR

A couple weeks ago I created a commercial for MJ’s (Michael Sikorsky’s) iPhone application, “CRUSH FACTOR“. Today the app is available on iTunes, and I can finally show off the video!

Friends of Michael and Camille also submitted witty compatibly appraisals for couples. As a testament to high editorial standards applied to the game, none of my suggestions were used.

Dr. Science tests CRUSH FACTOR on female.

One shot in the video I must give credit to is Chris Hartigan, who created a BMX video in the 90s. He’s let me use that shot in… oh 3 videos now. Which shot, you ask? Go on… guess.

The commercial was created with the scientific genius of Nelson Adams. While Nelson does not have a scientific diploma per se, he’s forgotten more about science than Carl Sagan ever knew. Did Stephen Hawking help craft the dialog in this commercial? Did Richard Dawkins sit on a really uncomfortable stool and recite dialog that I kept changing on him with every delivery?

Dr. Science reviews commercial script to verify it is scientifically accurate.No they didn’t. And that is why Nelson is Dr. Science.

May 30th and 31st MJ is offering a lecture on iPhone Development at University of Calgary. The CRUSH FACTOR back-end is hosted on Google App Engine, which is the exact combination of technologies I’m pursuing for my own iPhone app.

Having bought a MacBook for the sake of programming my iPhone, I’m a newcomer to iPhone development. The Xcode experience regularly presents me with showstoppers. While decent books are mandatory, in many cases only watching a video or witnessing someone navigate the environment has helped me understand how to accomplish a particular task.

The fact that MJ is a Canadian iPhone developer is particularly useful to any Calgarians wanting to sell their iPhone app via iTunes. There’s lots of paperwork. MJ can help you get that ball rolling ASAP.

If you attend MJ’s iPhone dev school, I’ll be seeing you there!

, , , , , ,

No Comments

DemoCampCalgary14 Coverage

DemoCampCalgary is a get together for those crafting new software in Calgary, and anyone looking to support upcoming Calgarian businesses.

I performed a video capture and summarized the event, which is available in full at Calgary’s BarCamp / DemoCamp blog. Below is a copy of the full video, with shortcuts to my favorite moments.

David Gluzman let me use his photos of DemoCampCalgary14 in the video, which is released under a Creative Commons Share-Alike license.

If you think you’d enjoy DemoCamp, then you will. I’ve been to just about all of them in Calgary, and there’s always been at least one presentation which surprises me.

, , , , ,

No Comments