The One Where the Dogs Get Together

Our great benefactors – indeed, the great benefactors of the entire dog guide community – the Lions Clubs across Canada each year organize local Purina Walk for Dog Guides events in their local communities on this weekend in May. There are a lot of Lions Clubs in PEI – 22 in total – and a number of those are in the Charlottetown area. We knew we wanted to participate in a walk – but with which club?

Fortunately Easter interceded and answered the question for us: Catherine and Oliver were out at the Charlottetown Mall the weekend before Easter and were flagged down by a couple from the Winsloe Lions Club who saw Ethan. They were operating a “have your picture taken with the Easter Bunny” booth in the mall, fundraising for Dog Guides, and offered to take Oliver and Ethan’s picture. Catherine struck up a conversation with them, and they invited us to walk in the Winsloe walk.

Which is how the Ethan’s eye view this afternoon looked something like this:

Purina Walk for Dog Guides in Winsloe

There were 9 dogs in total who turned out. Ethan was the only service dog in the bunch: the rest were just regular everyday dogs doing their part to raise money for Dog Guides Canada.

For Ethan it was a little bit more than a challenge to be in the midst of a bunch of interesting-smelling dogs while “on the clock” for Oliver, and therefore unable to dive in for some dog-on-dog smelling action (we did give him a little break halfway through to make the acquaintance of his fellow dogs).

We all walked out of the Winsloe Lions Club building (just of Rte. #2 in the heart of Winsloe) and up the handy-by Confederation Trail toward Royalty Junction; halfway out we stopped for a rest (and the aforementioned smelling), and then headed back for a hot dog BBQ.

Ethan got a chance to meet some other dogs; we got a chance to meet some other people, and to talk about Ethan and Oliver and Dog Guides Canada.  It was a good way to spend the afternoon, and we came away with an even warmer feeling about the Lions’ involvement in the dog guides program. The club raised over $2000 for Dog Guides Canada through this event.

We’re back out to Winsloe on June 7th to take the club up on its kind invitation to their “Charter Dinner” where we’ll get another chance to talk about Ethan, this time to the whole club.

Not the New Name of ROW142

It’s an open secret that my colleagues at ROW142 are decamping thirty-nine steps down Richmond Street to occupy the space formerly occupied by Ristorante (and before that, Café) Diem. Which brings to an end the ROW142 coffee brand and the coffee bags I’ve been printing since it started.

During this transitionary period, while the coffee’s still roasting and brewing at 142 Richmond Street and the renovations are proceeding down the street at 128 Richmond Street, there was a need for a transitionary coffee bag, and I was left to my own devices to conjure something up.

After some orienteering work on Friday afternoon, this is what I came up with:

Walk Thirty Nine Steps South West (piles of printed coffee bags)

Walk Thirty Nine Steps South West (type inked and in chase ready for printing)

I should caution that this isn’t the new name of the coffee shop or the coffee – it’s just an catalyst to tell a story about whatever is to come.

Tracking my Moves

For six months, between October 2013 and April 2014, I walked around Charlottetown with my iPad in my pack running the Moves location-tracking application in the background. It was, and remains, an elegant app, and a great, simple way to track “moving around,” whether by foot, bicycle or otherwise. Alas Moves was acquired by Facebook at the end of April, and I just couldn’t conscience the idea of constantly telling Facebook my whereabouts, so I uninstalled the app and cancelled my account.

Before I did so, however, I requested an archive of my data, and, to the credit of Moves’ developers, what I received in return was an elegantly-structured data dump of everything in formats ranging from iCal to GeoJSON. I took one of the GeoJSON files provided – a record of all of my Moves “activities” over that six months, and loaded into Quantum GIS and the result was a rather accurate (and beautiful) picture of my day to day life in Charlottetown:

MOVES map from October 2013 to April 2014

Between Moves and Foursquare and Plazes and Twitter and Flickr and the late Google Latitude and all of the other applications I run that leave a geotrace, I have almost a decade’s worth of my geolocation archived away in various formats; one of the items on my Hacker in Residence to-do list is to develop a unified visualization tool for all that data so that I can fly through time and explore my whens and wheres.

Charlottetown Guardian Flag, 1919

While we’re on the subject of newspaper design and newspaper flags, get a load of this version of The Guardian’s flag from 1919:

The Guardian Flag, 1919

(Did you know that those boxes to the left and right of the flag are called “ears” in newspaper parlance?)

Here’s a look at “Guardian” up close:


Is that not a dreamy typeface that makes you want to go back and live in 1919?

Thanks to Isaac L. Stewart for the pointer to 1919.

Ottawa Citizen Redesign

As someone who used to make up the front page of a daily newspaper using bits of paper and wax, I take more than a usual interest in the design of newspaper front pages. And so it was interesting to see the redesigned Ottawa citizen today.

Here’s Saturday’s paper, with the old design, on the left, compared to today’s paper, with the new design, on the right:

Ottawa Citizen Cover: before and after redesign

The new design certainly owes a lot to the USA Today redesign from 2012, albeit using squares rather than circles and a calmer colour palette. I was always a fan of the old flag – the “Ottawa” and “Citizen” separated by a rendering of the clock tower on Parliament Hill – but I admire the newly-conceived “works as an icon” version too. I’d love to get my hands on a paper copy; I’ll have to wait until it arrives at the public library later this week.