There was a protest today against the project to bring tar sands oil to Montreal for refining. Read about the impact of tar sands oil in George Monbiot’s Guardian UK column. It’s painful but required reading.
Updates from November, 2009 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts
It’s the eighth anniversary of the Montreal City Weblog. I’d been thinking about how the media landscape has changed since I began this blog, but was decisively nudged by the news that the word of the year is Twitter.
The major local media have adapted to the reality of multimedia since the days of 2001 and in general their websites are faster and easier to use. I don’t think the rotating-top-story method as used by Radio-Canada and Rue Frontenac is a great solution, though. At least Radio-Canada has a stable listing of the stories to one side, but on Rue Frontenac, if you decide you want to read a story and miss clicking it, you have to wait till it cycles around again.
But newspapers never did settle on one physical layout forever and for all, so there’s no reason they all ought to settle for one interface style either.
Mobile content is also a new world since 2001. Rue Frontenac and La Presse both have very nifty iPhone apps (based on the same platform, but it’s a good one) which not only hand you the manchettes but configure the content for comfortable mobile reading. I want more of the media to go this way. The worst local example is CJAD, which has a reasonable Twitter feed of news stories but when you try to click through any link from an iPhone it defaults to a generic Astral Media Radio page. Distinct fail. It would also help if they had a local-stories-only feed, but there’s only a one-size-fits-all jumble of local stuff and general CP content.
Another iPhone fail is the CBC’s own radio app. It offers Radio One local stations for everywhere in Canada except Montreal. You can use a radio streaming app like FStream and get the station, so there’s a workaround. But the omission bugs me. I’ve emailed the CBC about this issue and had no response.
I’ve never blogged extensively from my iPod Touch, although I could if I had to. There’s an app for that too.
When I do the blog in the morning I still get up and summon about twenty tabs into Safari. But throughout the day I mostly watch Twitter. Twitter is definitely the biggest change since this blog began. No question why it’s so much more effective than, say, an RSS aggregator like Google Reader – it forces people to be terse. Google Reader does have its place, though.
I have to mention the decline in the old arts weeklies since 2001. There was a time when the Mirror, Voir and Hour had a sort of countercultural edge but it’s seldom I find myself wanting to link to them now. (Hour’s new blog does at least have some promise.) On the other hand, I’m often impressed by the crispness of the work coming from Metro, although they’re in no sense a subversive paper. They have a few people who can get a good local story down onto the page.
Also, Rue Frontenac’s been so refreshing. Those guys can really run a paper when they’re not working to the Quebecor scandal-of-the-week model of journalism.
I wish there were more bloggers observing the local scene critically and consistently. I know it’s hard and often unrewarding in the short term, but this city needs it.
Now I’ve only got two years to figure out how to celebrate the blog’s 10th anniversary. I’m thinking gold lamé.
Mayor Tremblay is going to hold Regina’s mayor to his bet. The mayor will have to wear an Alouettes jersey and fly the Montreal flag at Regina city hall.
More analysis than you may need about the Saskatchewan error that led to the Alouettes’ win.
A slightly flustered Gazette blog entry quotes a Josh Freed column so lame and Josh Freedy that I didn’t link to it, about how the official word “baguel” and the word “Longueuil” are supposed to rhyme. Anyone who thinks this, even for lame comic purposes, has a cloth ear for language: baguel and Longueuil do not sound alike. I am not enough of a linguistic scholar to give you the IPA for each word (Wikipedia says the city name is lɔ̃ɡœj), but let’s just start with the fact that in “baguel” you’re pronouncing that final L, whereas “Longueuil” involves a really choice diphthong that even francophones only use occasionally, and does not involve a terminal L. This is not a rhyme.
As for toponymy, Andy Riga goes on to quote some guy in a weekly paper who doesn’t like anglos to refer to Nuns’ Island. But the thing is this: people have been naming places around Montreal in English for a couple of centuries. We realize that those names won’t be used in official business now, but there’s no sensible reason for ordinary human discourse to be limited to official nomenclature. It’s not natural.
In other words, it should be fine for an anglo to meet a friend at the corner of Pine and Park, or to live on Nuns’ Island if they have the inclination. I’d be thrilled to know more about the names for parts of town in other languages too – il fiume San Lorenzo! El Oratorio de San José de Monte Real (the site of el corazón del Hermano André)! Bring it on!
The engineering firm that’s suing Louise Harel is also threatening action against the city’s auditor-general, trying to make him back off some of the statements in the report that persuaded Mayor Tremblay to cancel the contentious water meter contract.
Latest: The auditor-general is saying not on your nelly.
Nathalie Collard wants to know whether you’ve adopted Bixi.
I have. I bought a month’s worth of Bixi in October and found it useful a number of times. I have a nice bike, but the Bixi covers all kinds of urban circumstances when you need to move around town fairly quickly yet don’t have your bike with you, or want to be able to go someplace and not think about locking your bike or don’t want it with you later.
I don’t think Bixi is a service which will collapse as the novelty wears off – in fact, I think more people will gradually figure out how useful it can be.
The only reason I didn’t renew my subscription was the assumption they would close Bixi down mid-month. Had I known we’d be getting one of the mildest Novembers on record I would certainly have done so, and will sign on again in the spring.
In the first of what I’m guessing will be a week of media meditations on the Polytechnique massacre, two police officials and a coroner recount their experiences in the aftermath of Marc Lépine’s assault on the school. Harrowing reading.
Metro’s Monday list this week is ten places to have weekend brunch around the Plateau.