national baha’i magazine online

Interesting news: Baha’i Canada, the national Baha’i magazine, is now available online—all you need to do is log in with your name and Baha’i ID number and you’re getting Baha’i Canada online! Sweet! Heartbeat (the regular supplement on the Fund) and Vanguard (the regular youth supplement) are available, as well. What are you waiting for—go check it out!

victoriaville in high-res satellite photos

du haut de la montagneyay! Google Maps (and Google Earth) finally added high-res satellite photos of my favourite place in the world: Victoriaville. now you can see the house where I lived, the Victoriaville Loblaws store where I worked, the SADC Arthabaska-Érable (where I also worked), the Tim Horton’s where I stopped after getting lost on my first day in Victoriaville, Mont Arthabaska and other fascinating places. If you add MetalToad’s Flickr KML feed, you can even view some of my flickr photos of Victoriaville in Google Earth.

the baha’i encyclopedia

If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to these past few weeks, I have four answers for you:

this last item is pretty interesting actually. you should check it out. you probably know of wikipedia, especially if you’ve read any high school or undergraduate research papers lately. well, bahaikipedia (haw haw) is essentially wikipedia all about the Baha’i Faith. it’s a growing project, meaning that it’s still pretty tiny and is badly in need of contibutions. I’ve been adding some basic information about the Canadian Baha’i community, including profiles of cities like Ottawa and Montreal. if you’re bedridden and have nothing else to do, or if you’re still healthy and have a little time left in your day after all your regular commitments are up, check it out, create your own account and see what you could add to it!

cultivating the roots

wi-fiHowdy. I’m currently reporting from the Cultivating the Roots conference at Bosch Baha’i School in Santa Cruz, California. So far, the sharing has been awesome. Everyone has has amazing insights and ideas for different types of projects and collaboration tools—all to help Baha’is develop better ways of interacting, collaborating, and channeling their energy into systematic action. I’m currently posting up a bunch of photos from the conference; check them out on flickr. Big ups to prema for letting me use her laptop.

It’s fascinating to ponder the holes out there in the Baha’i community that could be filled by judiciously chosen and developed IT initiatives. Throughout the day today, we’ve been talking about the needs out there—from tools to benefit Baha’i Institutions (for example, accounting software that operates according to the 19-month Baha’i calendar, or geomatics software to aid in planning various types of community campaigns) to software to sift through the Sacred Writings of the Baha’i Faith, to collaboration software to help Baha’i institutions, communities, and individuals to work together more effectively… there are so many ways that computers and the Internet can help us do our work better, yet there’s so little time to accomplish them all. A few projects that were put forth in one of the last workshops this afternoon: a functional Baha’i events database (similar to bahailocations.com) that can be used by Baha’i communities throughout the world to track their core activities, holy days, and various gatherings; an online presentation platform (similar to webconferencing) for holding formal or informal talks and “fireside chats”; and a process for providing technical and material support for Baha’i communities throughout the world who wish to develop their first websites.

So yeah, some really intense consultation here. The workshops have been the best—that’s why I really came to this conference. This morning, I attended a workshop on blogging by the authors of bahainine.com, the growing online portal to Baha’i blogs everywhere. That was awesome, just to be there and to be able to talk shop with them about blogging software, search engine optimization, content management systems, and miscellaneous Web 2.0 hobbledyhoy. The whole project is really interesting—creating an online portal to basically aggregate all the Baha’i-related content on the Internet, giving the “Baha’i blogosphere” a friendly face. The current site just contains a map and a searchable index of Baha’i blogs, but there’s a lot more in the works—photos, videos, full tagging capability, and so on. Speaking with the team that’s working on this mammoth task is immensely uplifting and exciting, and the possibilities are endless. I’ll be sure to post more later; remember to check back—apart from photos, there’ll also be videos (and/or mashups) for your enjoyment and upliftment.

ahh flickr and randomness

library of parliamentflickr, my favourite photo sharing website, has just added maps! You can now geotag your flickr photos by dragging and dropping them onto a map. People will be able to pick an area on the map and see all the photos that were taken there! Check out a map of my geotagged photos.

FYI, the photo featured here is from a recent Ottawa Flickr Meetup.

Speaking of flickr, did you know that there are several Baha’i-related groups on flickr? Apart from the Baha’is group that’s been featured on Baha’i Blog, there are also groups devoted to the Lotus Temple and the Baha’i Temple in Wilmette, and another group for photos of Baha’i Houses of Worship in general.

So, it’s finally September again. For many people, that means it’s time to hit the books and go back to school. Ottawa University students, don’t forget that the Campus Association for Baha’i Studies (CABS) will be beginning a new year with a booth in the University Centre on September 8th from 11AM to 2PM, and board elections will be held at 6PM on September 15th in SMD 123, followed by dinner at Zak’s.

What can college life (or university life) be like? According to Mona, being at college can mean developing “a constant attitude of egotistical nonchalance”. She contrasts this experience with the “spiritually nurturing environment” at Green Acre Baha’i School in one of her livejournal posts (blogged at Baha’i Views).

On a random, unrelated note: Witness this youtube video of a girl in the UK dancing to a song I recorded. Yes, that is my voice you’re hearing, multitracked using an audio recording program. It’s a cover of Coburn’s “We Interrupt This Programme” (with gratuitous NEDM). It’s weird to see people grooving to something you made. Update (Sept. 7): This song recently came in second in an online remix contest. Cool!

And finally, a few more random links for you to munch on: If you want to see something really cool, go see a game of full-size foosball (photo courtesy of Catherine aka zeta). You can find out more about giant foosball. And if you want your brain to hurt (a lot), check out beedogs.com. “Beedogs.com is the premier online repository for pictures of dogs in bee costumes.” o m g.