Another launch… Ride sharing 2.0

There was more auspicious startup news this week, this time from Ottawa, where a very talented group (partly made up of some long-term friends and former colleagues) has launched PickupPal. PickupPal is a really great idea, and I think represents a class of website/webapp that we’re going to see more and more of in coming months.

The idea is simple: it’s an online ride-sharing marketplace that uses the familiar socnet/Web2 techniques in pursuit of practical, real-world goals that go far beyond simply building and maintaining your social graph.

The other thing about PickupPal that is especially great is that ride-sharing by definition is environmentally friendly and can help people reduce their carbon footprint. We’re not all lucky enough to live in a city like (central) Montreal with world-class mass transit – and a practical, easy way to help get a few cars off the road is very timely.

DEMOfall 07 starts today

in San Diego. Last year at this time I was in San Diego putting the finishing touches on the demo for Trigence, the Ottawa software company I was working for on contract. So, having been there, I wish all the DEMOing companies the best of luck – it’s going to be a rush. DEMO and DEMOfall are certainly among the best tech conferences out there. Here’s this edition’s list of participating demonstrators.

Lots of news

around here but I haven’t had much time to blog about it. Last week I started a great new gig here in Montreal, and Friday night Nadia and I bought a place to live in when we get back. This is the place (ground floor):

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We move in at the end of June, so between now and then, I’m borrowing a friend’s apartment on Av du Parc and commuting back to Ottawa on weekends. I miss Nadia and the dogs already!

By the way,

it’s now official – je reviens à Montréal! Or, I should say, nous revenons à Montréal. As of this week our house in Ottawa will be on the market, we’ve been looking at places in our beloved Plateau Mont-Royal for a few weeks, and I had a second interview for a really great job this morning and I am extremely optimistic that an offer is going to follow at the end of the week.

The only sticky issue will be that I will likely have to be in Montreal for work before we’re entirely set up in our new abode, so I’m also looking for somewhere to rent a room for a month or so (in May). Suggestions and offers to mboyle [at] mikel.org!

Update Apr 12: the offer I was hoping for did come through and I start work on April 30. I have had a couple of nice offers of space to stay for a few weeks and I’ll be following up on those shortly. Thanks for all the well wishes!

Yesterday I learned

about an interesting new initiative called the Government 2.0 Think Tank, or G2TT. It’s a group that’s just being formed to look at how to bring more forward-thinking Internet communications methods to Government in Canada. Definitely something to watch closely. See also Nathan Rudyk’s blog post about the initiative. Good stuff.

Another launch today,

via organizer/activist Michael Lenczner: mtl3p: Presenting CivicAccess.ca / AccèsCivique.ca. See the website here: http://civicaccess.ca/ (plus the launch announcement).

The “Words” section

of this site has been sadly neglected for a long time, but I continue to have high hopes that I will be able to resurrect it and post longer-form pieces there from time to time. A small step in the right direction is a little thing I just posted called, “True Facts about Ottawa“. If you’ve been following along, you know that I moved from Montreal to Ottawa last summer, having spent my childhood and youth here in Capital City.

The Beer Hunter

has expanded to include all of Ontario, including the Ottawa area. “It’s 9:44am on Thursday. There are 18 retail outlets you can get booze
in Ottawa and the surrounding region right now [sic].”

I’ve been pretty quiet

here in the last week, but before it gets too late I want to note that one of my many activities, last Wednesday’s first* Ottawa Bloggers get-together at the always fabulous Manx Pub was a pile of fun. Miss Vicky aka Vicky Smallman did most of the heavy lifting in terms of organization, and proved to be a delightful host. Also attending were Accidental Altruist, and both women brought their companions as well, who were also good company. It was a good start to what will likely come to be known as YOWblog or some such.

One of the strangest things

I’ve noticed since moving to Ottawa two weeks ago is that almost all of the big-box stores I’ve been in – i.e., many of them – feature entry doors on the left and exits on the right as you’re facing the store. In Montreal, and in most other places I’ve been, in general you go in to a store on the right and leave by the left. In other words, when you leave, that exit is on the right as well from that perspective. If this were the case in one or two stores I would assume that it’s just a quirk of that particular building or location that the designer had to flip the layout. In Ottawa, though, it seems to be the norm. I wonder what accounts for the difference?