Tag Archives: Vancouver

Georgia Street

Morning sea fog, good for pictures bad for float planes.

Comedy Hack Day Vancouver 2016

TLDR: We made a silly game you can play it here: http://pot.robertdall.com But really… your gonna want to keep reading.

I heard about these Comedy Hack Days and I, though. You spend and entire weekend building something just to get a laugh? Isn’t there an easier way?

But then my buddy and Later co-founder Ian MacKinnon brought the funny hackathon weekend to Vancouver. So I read about it and thought well that sounds hilarious, and you had to apply to go, you had to tell the organizers why you wanted to go, What you could offer, what skills you have.  That preference along with Ian running the show how could I not apply?

In the morning we pitched our idea. Those who applied in groups said what they would be working. I tried and failed to pitch my dating app based on your podcasting preferences or Public Radio Dating as a service which people actually though it was too realistic.

But Wes Lord pitched an idea called “Portland Oregon Trail” Which recreates one of the games of my childhood The Oregon Trail.

“Where we wrangle up an intrepid band of hipster adventurers at a poetry slam in Omaha Nebraska and set sail for the cooler pastures and fair trade organic coffee of Portland Oregon, In 2008, Before it was mainstream.” ~ Wes Lord

I went into the foyer and met up with Wes Lord, Aaron Shaw, Max Ahn, Kelvin Lau who later became the team Portland Oregon Trail. We decided to build the game in the browser as appose to an App as we were all pretty much familiar with the web, but only some had app building experiences.

Screenshot of the Portland Oregon Trail Game
Screenshot of the Portland Oregon Trail Game

It was amazing how fast we just got down to work and started submitting code to our GitHub repo. I had a previously poor hackathon experience at a different event, but this was the complete opposite. We couldn’t believe what we accomplished on the first day and how well everyone worked together.

Also props to Lighthouse Labs / Launch Academy for providing an awesome working space and the organizing committee with plenty of food, drinks and coffee and awesome bandwidth to keep us going. Also to some anonymous sponsor who purchased Carmel Corn for everyone because he felt it was important to have a snack.

Yes we even had notifications and events that increased or reduced your cool points.
Yes we even had notifications and events that increased or reduced your cool points.

I was the design and graphics person, as the rest of the guys had the all of the javascript knowledge needed to run the game. Wes Lord and I were also the only two that played the original game. Luckily Internet Archive had a copy all the others could play.

We got a decent night sleep as hackathons go as we’d completed a lot that first day and we hit the code again the next morning. Sunday was harder than Saturday as we were doing a lot of QA and fine tuning for the semi-finals that were behind held downstairs that afternoon at The Hive.

Sometimes the irony of the situation that we presented ourselves was funny enough. Yes the colour graphics from emulator of the Oregon trail was not web safe. (I know nothing needs to be web safe anymore but when I got the RGB covered it hex I found it some what ironic.)

We also had to find a Commodore 64 True Type font which we then converted into a web font and displayed it as a 8-bit font via @font-face which has only been available for mass usage since 2011.


We presented, and were lucky enough to be voted by our peers to show our game at the finals! The Competition would be tough, the finalist were:

PMPL – a social networking app that brings people with pimples to people who want to pop them.
Rock out with my Rock out – A pet rock “Dwayne Johnson” App for your phone!
PokeMAN Go – Pokemon Go using real people using a facial recognition api to catch real people. (Yes it actually worked similar to Pokemon Go)
Burning Bridges – Russian Roulette generator that if you lose it send an insult to someone in your address book.
Portland Oregon Trail – Hipster’s trying to make it to the promise land.

We presented to rousing applause and laughter having a comedian like Wes presenting made for a presentation.


We ended up getting third losing out the funny yet equally disgusting PMPL getting second and the PokeMAN Go winning the event.


Although a little physically tired I actually felt rejuvenated in other way. We actually accomplished something in less then 48 hours I actually want to show to people. Yes, there are bugs, yes the code isn’t prefect, but yet what we were able to accomplish in two days was pretty awesome for people who didn’t know 15 minutes before decided to built the thing. If your a designer, comedian, coder and your looking a for fun you should really apply next year. I am sure it will be a lot of fun.

Oh and you play the game yourself. There is a number of easter eggs and inside jokes amongst the code. Drop me a note in the comments if you find one of them.

You can play the game here


The Compass Card Snafu

Compass Card and Faresavers
One of these things is not like the other.

Update: While I still found the entire experience frustrating Translink has updated there website to mention the Sea Island Add a Fare on the Compass Card page.


I had a frustrating experience with the Compass Card recently.

Translink promotes and markets the card just to be like FareSaver tickets. Which I have used for years. So when I set up my card I was told by Translink Staff that yes putting an amount on the card would be just the same as a FareSaver ticket.

But there is one place this isn’t true: Sea Island and YVR and to be fair to Translink they do mention this on there Canada Line YVR AddFare page. But these passes are not FareSaver tickets then. Which is horrible marketing on the part of translink. Other then the specific AddFare page on Translink’s website there is little to no mention of this change on any other page.  I brought this to the attention of Translink and when I checked the website on December 15th, 2015 Translink has changed the verbiage to read and I quote:

Compass Cards can be loaded with the fare product of your choice including Monthly Passes, DayPasses and Stored Value. Travelling with Stored Value gives you the same rate as FareSavers and allows you to pay-as-you-go. Please note, the $5 Canada Line YVR AddFare is applied to Stored Value trips departing Sea Island and continuing to Bridgeport and beyond.

~ Translink 

The AddFare Zone is not new either. It’s been around since the opening of the line in 2009. But those who used the FareSavers were exempt from the extra fare and you still are if you use the paper ticket.

I went to a movie with my friend Rebecca and she asked me if she could drop me off at the Templeton station beside the McArthurGlen Vancouver Outlet mall. I said sure.

On our way we passed the Bridgeport Station and drove the extra 1.5km to the Templeton Station. In doing that we crossed into the AddFare Zone and I added $5 to my fair. Which came to a total of $7.10 from Richmond to Downtown Vancouver.

I was shocked, very annoyed and felt Translink had wronged me because “hey my FareSaver tickets never did this to me. They told me this was the same. It’s not.”

I understand that Translink wants to charge more to the Airport. Cities all over  do the same thing. I have no problem paying more to go to the Airport, it’s very convenient. But I wasn’t going to or coming from the Airport. I wasn’t going out of my way to use this station.

So if you don’t have a monthly pass or a UPass and want to go to the new McArthurGlen Vancouver Outlet mall, Iona Beach Regional Park get ready to pay $5 more for leaving the island.

Only those with:

  • Monthly Pass holders
  • Program pass holders
  • Customers travelling with FareSaver tickets
  • Customers using DayPasses not purchased on Sea Island
  • Customers using single-use Compass Tickets not purchased on Sea Island
  • Customers travelling between Sea Island stations

Anyone else is completely out of luck and as Translink phases out the paper FareSaver tickets in 2016 you’ll be charge a lot more to go anywhere on Sea Island.

For the love of Flags

Roman Mars of 99% Invisible spoke about city flags at the 2015 Ted Conference in Vancouver. It’s awesome, brilliant and speaks to the urbanization of our culture and our love of design. Give it a watch it is certainly worth you time.

oh ps. I asked Roman about Vancouver Canada’s Flag and he gave it a thumbs up.

Ladies Learning Code Presentations

Tutoring Ladies Learning Code

I come from a family of teachers. But I never took up the trade myself. While it may not be the highest paid career in the world many people find it completely rewarding.

Sure I train clients on how to use their website and I’ve worked the odd Happiness Bar at a WordCamp, but I had never actually been in a tutoring role.

Some months ago at a SaturHack I met Meredith Underell who runs the Vancouver Chapter of Ladies Learning Code or for short LLC. I thought it was a totally cool project and friends like Mandi Wise and Christine Rondeau have both volunteered as tutors in the past.

I made one wrong assumption about LLC was their tutors were only women. Nope! male tutors are invited to volunteer as well.

So when I heard that LLC was having a Girls Learning to Code and was in need of some volunteer mentors for a HTML / CSS course. I had some time and I decided to sign up and give it a try.

I was a little nervous as what to expect but was warmly welcomed when showed up. I got myself a name tag and sat down next to a girl who was having a little trouble getting started.

Turns out she wanted to make a photography website. Well did I ever pick the right girl to sit next to. I was a photographer for 7 years before I switched to web design and I have built a few photography websites in my day.

The hot topic of website creation was Minecraft but also cats, grumpy or other wise, dogs, fashion tips and bagels!

Clio ( Legal Case Management Software for Law Firms Tech as a service ) provided the location, bandwidth and a wonderful lunch. ( Along with a couple beers with the fellow tutors after our apt pupils left for the day. )

Just before we broke for lunch one of the tutors overhead a girl saying.

“I don’t want to have lunch, I am still coding”

We’ve all been there. Trust me.

I also met a number of developers from the wider Vancouver Tech Community. Great networking time at lunch and over beers afterwards.

The girls used Mozilla Thimble code editor which gives real time updates of their code.

I’d highly suggest any developer sign up for a Saturday of this. It was fun, lite, easy, rewarding and filled me full of good karma.

The Girls and Tutors. Photo by Florida Elago
The Girls and Tutors. Photo by Florida Elago

Marine Building Reflection

Vancouver Marine Building Reflection
The unique sunlight reflecting off the opposite building illuminates the entrance of the marine building in afternoon sun. Vancouver, Canada 

Final Approach

The Final Approach into Vancouver with English Bay, Stanley Park, Downtown Vancouver and Burrard Inlet in view. Far off in the distance Mount Baker. Photo Copyright 2013 Robert Dall ~ All Rights Reserved
The Final Approach into Vancouver with English Bay, Stanley Park, Downtown Vancouver and Burrard Inlet in view. Far off in the distance Mount Baker. Photo Copyright 2013 Robert Dall ~ All Rights Reserved

Andrew Nacin sent out a tweet today about  how he never getting tired of the approach into Washington DC. The statement is so true… It’s a beautiful city. I hope to visit it one day.

I accidentally and for the first time in years missed the bus to the ferry for a meetup in Vancouver and luckily enough Harbour Air had a seat empty to Vancouver.

It was a beautiful flight and it gave me a chance to think about the view coming into Vancouver via float plane and I never get tired of it, the view never gets old. So on this day of Remembrance I think about a lot how lucky to live in such an awesome area of the world we live in.