A pirate treasure hunt

Poster by Claudia Davila. Treasure map by Thbthttt!
Poster by Claudia Davila. Treasure map by Thbthttt!

Following up on the success of their annual Easter egg hunts, Scooter Girl Toys this year launched their very first Pirate Treasure Hunt on October 10 and in so doing, gave scores of families (and loyal customers) a chance to discover the neighbourhood—and maybe even work-off a bit of their Thanksgiving dinner—over what turned out to be a lovely long weekend.

Each crew was given some Scooter Girl buttons or maybe a Scooter Girl tattoo, but most importantly they were given a map carefully marked with the location of a number of neighbourhood treasures and other oddities. It was then their job to match one of a series of clues to each location and answer the riddle hidden there.

I developed the hunt and created the handout, using artwork and the Scooter Girl style developed by Claudia Davila. In addition, as the hunt progressed, it quickly became my job to start dropping some hints on the Scooter Girl Facebook page and spur the participants on.

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A berry buried

Way back in Aught One, long before GoDaddy made it dead easy to register an Internet domain, before YouTube and Flickr and Facebook, and an eternity before the Cloud, I somehow got it into my head that what I really needed to make my online life complete was a personal website to show off all my awesome stuff, and maybe even have a little bit of fun entirely separate from the supposedly more serious work I was doing for Galleon Software.

Understand, the Internet was a whole lot more complicated back then and a lot more expensive, and so I hit up a friend who was way smarter than me and who, as an extra bonus, was willing to give me some free space on a server he ran from, as he put it, “a closet he rented downtown.”

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What’s in a blog?

Over the years, I’ve built a bunch of websites for a variety of clients. I’m a one-man shop, so my clients are usually small companies with modest needs and small budgets; and so a good part of my job has always been keeping the cost of the project down and getting the client to focus on what they really need from their website.

More often than not, however, what the client comes to me wanting is what everyone else has installed on their site, an unwieldy laundry list of new-fangled gizmos and buzzwords that only gets longer with every passing year. They read about people with thousands of followers and figure a complete suite of sharing tools will bring these people to their door. They’ve heard of Search Engine Optimization and wonder why their new site doesn’t always appear on the top of their Google search results.

But the one thing that never fails to roll my eyes is The Blog.

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Telephone poles on Indian Road

Indian Road is one of the oldest streets in Toronto’s west end, and is thought to have once been a Mississauga Indian path that ran north from the lake.

I came upon this 1912 photo in the Toronto Archives earlier this year, simply labeled “Telephone poles, Indian Road,” and I’ve spent way too much time in the last few weeks trying to discover the specific location of this snowy valley and so figure out how much this little corner of my neighbourhood has changed in the last hundred years.

Telephone poles, Indian Road—March 21, 1912
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The Queensway runs through it

By the 1950s, Queen Street West had already been extended past St. Joseph’s Hospital to meet Parkside Drive, but the plans for the new Lakeshore Expressway (now the Gardiner) ended up taking 18 acres off the south end of High Park to construct an entirely new roadway to join it up with the stub of Queen Street previously laid out on the other side of Grenadier Pond.

Parkside Drive looking east along Queen Street towards St. Joseph’s Hospital, 1956
Parkside Drive looking east along Queen Street towards St. Joseph’s Hospital, 1956

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Waves in Motion lets you control your FileMaker scripts

As every FileMaker developer already knows, you can trigger a script when you open a file, you can trigger a script when you close a file, and that’s just about it. Anything else, and you have to rely on manual control or cumbersome applets that tie up you computer and slow down your applications.

Script Scheduler is a new FileMaker plug-in from Waves in Motion that does away with these limitations. You can configure Script Scheduler to trigger any script in any file at a scheduled time or at regular intervals. Or even better, you can instruct Script Scheduler to trigger a script whenever you exit a particular field.

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MacTicker brings the stock market to your desktop

Marc LaFoy is one of those Macintosh enthusiasts with just the right combination of loyalty and luck that had him buying Apple stock last year when it was languishing around $15.00 a share . . . just before starting its seven-month climb to a high of $43.75.

As it turned out, however, there were then no Macintosh applications for gathering stock quotes from the Internet. “I wish I could’ve watched all the excitement right on my desktop,” says Marc. “But I had to settle with looking up AAPL every day on a website and reloading the page whenever my curiosity got the better of me.”

These last few weeks, however, Marc has been heavily involved in the final testing of MacTicker, a simple Macintosh application from Galleon Software that lets you easily browse  stock market information from financial websites around the world. You can watch any number of your stocks roll by on an animated stock ticker, or call up a detailed report for each of your favorites.

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Galleon Software sponsors Solo Tramp benefit concert

When Roger Hodgson stepped out on stage last night to launch the next leg of his Solo Tramp world tour, he did so in support of the Northern California Center for the Arts and with the backing of a Macintosh application from Galleon Software. Perhaps best known from his days as lead singer of the British rock group Supertramp, Hodgson now takes his breakfast in America and graciously offered to perform a special home-town concert to benefit the arts center located in Grass Valley, about fifty miles northeast of Sacramento.

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E-mail veterans find their niche

If you had dropped by the old offices of SoftArc Inc. in 1991, you would have found Colin Biggin and Scott Appleton working hard to bring a new Macintosh bulletin-board system named FirstClass to market. In those days, everybody pitched in, building SoftArc into a multi-million-dollar company in five short, busy years. “I enjoyed those early days best of all,” says Colin, “but after five years, I felt it was time to move on.”

Colin and Scott left last March to form Galleon Software, committed to building small, useful communications tools that were just not being built by larger companies. “We want to give people exactly what they need,” says Scott. “We want to make it affordable. And we want to make it easy to use.”

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