In the middle of finishing up a conference call yesterday afternoon, I suddenly had a flashback to my days of living in Redmond and the 2001 6.2 magnitude earthquake. The floors started to rumble, windows rattle, and the building creaked and groaned as if it was in pain.  I could tell the Ottawa quake was nowhere near that powerful, but nevertheless I jumped up from my desk, stood in a doorway and waited until the rumbling stopped.  My team was getting ready to bolt out the doors, down the stairs and outside – the absolute worst thing to do – and I told them to stay put for a minute. The doorways are reinforced, the ceilings, open areas, and staircases, not so much.

Outside, a few moments later, the reports started to pour in on Twitter, proving once again the ability of Twitter to get news out.  Wags tweeted such gems as “Ottawa government buildings evacuated. Productivity unaffected.”, and Toronto immediately laid claim to the quake (epicenter 61 km north of Ottawa) as “Toronto Earthquake 2010” sparking a war of words between Ottawa and Toronto.  Apparently some people have too much time on their hands.

I wasn’t worried about our business, however.  Over the past few months we’ve been gradually been moving to a cloud based hosting model.  A stack of decommissioned servers sits in the corner of one of our offices now.  Our web servers, payment processing, and the actual Calliflower application itself live on servers managed by Amazon, Paypal and the like. Our motivation was to save money, we’ve also boosted reliability and disaster-proofed the Calliflower service. The proof?  Cell phone service in Ottawa was briefly out, but Calliflower continued to run for our customers.

Yet one more advantage of hosted, or cloud based, services. 


Meech to the Western Cabin

by alec on May 31, 2010

As part of our continuing effort to get ready for the family trip to the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail in BC, we set out yesterday morning on another trek through Gatineau Park.  This time it was from the Meech Lake side of the Eardley Escarpment, over the top along the old McCloskey Road (Trail #2) to the Western Cabin on the far side of the escarpment, followed by lunch, views, and the the journey back.  It was a total of 9.33 km walked, with approximately 200m of elevation gain, as you can see from the map and profile below.

Out of the parking lot, the trail rises steeply over the first kilometer.  Mountain bikers use this track, so you have to keep an eye out for cyclists hurtling around corners at top speed. As a result, the trail is wide and well groomed for cyclists, even if a bit steep.

Along the way, you cross small bridges over the numerous creeks and streams tumbling down the hills.  This one was at about the 500m mark, early on the initial ascent.

Just as we crested the escarpment, a little over 1 km into the trip, we spotted this young buck in the forest.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have my long lense with me, otherwise I would have been able to take a much closer shot.

The western cabin was our destination, at about the 4 km mark.  Here we ate lunch, and admired the incredible view across the Ottawa Valley to Dunrobin on the other side of the river. (Click to enlarge.)

There’s a fabulous bench along the escarpment side of the cabin where you can sit, watch the view, and admire the hawks circling above the cliffs looking for a meal.

The park was crawling with tent caterpillars too.  Not that I normally want to have much to do with them, but they do make a pretty photograph!

From the Western Cabin, we headed back up the trail to the ridge road (Trail #1), and then North to Trail 24 (the McDonald logging trail) to complete our loop back to the trail head.  The trip was just over 9.3km in length, and took us about 4 hours, including an hour stop for lunch at the Western Cabin.

Photographs taken with a Nikon D50 SLR, and stock 28:70 mm zoom lens, and edited with Photoshop Elements 7.0.  Maps courtesy of Garmin Topo and the Garmin GPSmap 60Cx GPS.

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Hiking the Wolf Trail

May 23, 2010

Later this summer we’ll be heading to Vancouver Island for a couple of weeks of vacation.  As part of that vacation, the entire family will be hiking the Juan de Fuca Marine trail, exploring the west coast of Vancouver island and camping on the beaches as we go.  To prepare for that, we’ve been donning […]

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Get your inner entrepreneur on at the Ottawa Startup Bootcamp

October 20, 2009

The Ottawa Network is hosting a Startup Bootcamp this weekend at the University of Ottawa.  The idea?  Get together with like minded people, design and prototype a business, and pitch it… between Friday evening and Sunday evening.  The most promising proposal wins $5,000 in seed funding, when they incorporate and start the business within 45 […]

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“Men with sticks, looking to do each other grievous harm.”

June 13, 2009

That’s how the MC for this afternoon’s joust at the Upper Canada Village Medieval Festival described what they were about to do.  It was certainly thrilling. Four “knights” in authentic armor charged at each other through the lists with enormous Douglas Fir lances, bent on unhorsing the other.  Points were awarded for a touch, a […]

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SCANning the Ontario Tech Corridor

May 11, 2009

Ottawa tech folks know Tony Patterson’s SCAN as the news source for the local technology industry.  Since last fall, Tony has been chatting with a few of us, myself included, about how to broaden the appeal of SCAN.  Last week he unveiled a new SCAN focused on the Ontario Technology Corridor, from Ottawa through Windsor. […]

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Making Lemons into Lemonade

April 20, 2009

Carleton University Professor Tony Bailetti is out making lemons into lemonade.  In response to the current economic environment, he has dusted off a program he ran in 2002 called “Lead to Win”.  The goal is to take a crop of bright, talented folks with leadership potential and mold them into technology entrepreneurs.  Last time around, […]

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Gladwell comes to Ottawa

April 20, 2009

In local news, best-selling author Malcom Gladwell is coming to Ottawa, June 11th.  You probably know him for The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking , and Outliers: The Story of Success.  All great books, and easy reads.  Gladwell will be hosted by The […]

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Tech in Canada. Peter Childs’ framework for stimulus.

January 25, 2009

In three postings I wrote last week, I laid out the problems facing the Canadian tech sector.  With a budget looming in Ottawa, the topic of economic stimulus for the tech sector has been raised by various individuals. In Can we do more than play hockey? I outlined the funding gap that exists for Canadian […]

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Is the end in sight for Nortel?

January 14, 2009

Nortel’s stock price dipped 20% yesterday to a mere 38.5 cents, amid rumours that the company would declare bankruptcy in the face of a $107 million interest payment.  This morning’s Globe and Mail confirms that the Nortel board met last night, and has apparently decided in favour of bankruptcy. It marks the beginning of the […]

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