Mobile Videobiking at Car Free Vancouver

As planned, yesterday, Roland and I strapped N-series phones to our bikes, pulled along a wi-fi/WiMAX equipped trailer, and performed Le Tour Des Car Free Fests. As my Sportstracker data indicates (in two segments), we managed to visit three of the four main sites for Vancouver’s Car Free Day.

Nokia Sportstracker routes came out in three segments, and the third segment either disappeared or NSB shut down in the middle of it.

We had severe connectivity issues throughout the ride, which meant that we only achieved a few minutes of live streaming video at a maximum. Roland has collected up most of the links for this material here, so I needn’t be redundant and repost it. The two remaining challenges for this sort of exercise (which had been identified during our last pretest on June 11, but not since resolved) are the annoying authentication page on Free-The-Net, and the limited upload speeds of WiMAX. Clearly, another solution, other than Rogers Portable Internet, is in order.

I must say, the Car Free day is a great event. I’m glad it’s expanded into other ‘hoods this year. Each one had a very different vibe. I’ll do a follow-up post on this dimension of the experience later. Today I need to actually spend some missed time with my daughter. The Father’s Day extended dub remix 12″, or something…

A Tale of Two Cities

In my role at MUSE3 I’m coordinating a couple of related mobile technology projects in Whistler and Vancouver’s Downtown East Side that lend themselves well to the “Tale of Two Cities” theme. While there are some interesting parallels between the Dickens novel of the same name and these two contemporary communities, my invocation of Dickens is not a wholehearted grafting of his story about class, revolution, and bureaucracy onto the present.

Rather, the title is a convenient placeholder for the following observations. There are many similar characteristics of Whistler and the DTES, despite their obvious differences in terms of relative affluence, their position in terms of the likely impact of the 2010 Olympics, and their wildly distinct public-facing reputations. What unites them reads roughly as follows (though I’m open to suggestions): the need to express a story about a place under rapid transformation, a place undergoing tremendous public attention, and a place that has not had an adequate opportunity as yet to proclaim its true identity properly to the world.

Both communities are ripe for the showcasing of how these communications goals might be achieved utilizing new media. And the transience of populations both homeless and under-housed (to varying degrees in both communities) resonates strongly with the fact that these new media are mobile.

Here’s my first satellite imagery mashup of the two communities:

Downtown East Whistler

While I’m not entirely happy with it (because Whistler occludes the poorest sections of the DTES, which the aesthetics of the two landscapes screamed for, even though in the end this simply will not do), I will be doing further Photoshop remixes of the two communities as we go along. Hopefully Nokia Maps will offer some really kludgy visual artifacts that I can screenshot and bring into the dialogue.