CBC Nova Scotia News use Linux based WSI TruVu Titan software to produce their weather reporting media.


October 23, 2010, an open house was held at the Halifax CBC Nova Scotia building. The open house event invited the public to visit the building and view the people and equipment used in the production of programs such as the local news and This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

While visiting the weather reporting area, I noticed the computers used by meteorologist Peter Coade were using what appeared to be a distribution of Linux. Speaking to Mr. Coade, he confirmed that the computers he uses to produce the weather prediction animations and data for the daily news broadcasts are in fact Linux setups. He was unsure of the specific distribution, but did know that the system was produced by the Boston based company WSI. He also said that the system was one of the best meteorological media production systems he has used.

From what I saw, it appears that CBC Nova Scotia uses the WSI TruVu Titan 3.0 system to produce it’s weather data and animations. Researching online, it could be that the software may be running on a version of the CentOS Linux distribution with the ICEWM windows manager.

Below are photos of the desktops and a video of Peter Coade talking about his system setup with the visitors.



Open Source Geospatial tools will be discussed at the first OSGEO Atlantic Chapter meeting on October 28.


Open Source Geospatial tool users in the Atlantic provinces are invited to attend the very first OSGEO Atlantic Chapter meeting. The meeting will be held at the CARIS office near the Delta Fredericton in Fredericton, New Brunswick, October 28, 2010. The one hour long meeting will be held within the larger Geomatics Atlantic conference from noon to one pm. The OSGEO Atlantic Chapter members will use the hour to discuss the new chapter’s mission and objectives as well as desginate people to chapter positions. Everyone with an interest in open source geospaptial tools are invited to attend.

Visit the event page to learn more and sign up to attend.



A CloudCamp conference will take place in Halifax to discuss the emerging field of cloud computing.


On Novermber 1st, 2010, A CloudCamp conference will be taking place at the World Trade and Convention Center in Halifax, Nova Scotia. CouldCamp is “an unconference where early adopters of Cloud Computing technologies exchange ideas.” The conference is not vendor specific and covers propriety and open source cloud computing related products. In particular, Shawn Duggan will be giving a talk on his experiences migrating an open source application into a cloud computing environment. Everyone from end users to IT professionals are invited to attend and participate.

Registration is currently open on the Halifax Cloud Camp webpage.

CloudCamp logo is the property of the CloudCamp organization.

Mike Lovell demonstrates his virtual desktop server box greenBox at the Atlantic Eco-Expo

Mike Lovell of tintedGreen Technologies is deomonstrating his prototype virtual desktop all-in-one box tentatively called greenBox at the Atlantic Eco-Expo this weekend in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The system will be a complete virtulization solution, ready out of the box to stream and distribute virtual Windows and Linux desktops to PC’s on the client’s network, using Ubuntu Linux and Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP). The system was covered in a previous posting.

Below is a video of Lovell discussing the system with an attendee at the expo.

Yesterday on CBC Radio 1‘s Information Morning program, the Halifax Regional Computer Access Program (CAP) Association‘s technology reuse project was discussed by CBC reporter Shaina Luck.

Developed with environmentally minded technology consultant company tintedGreen Technologies, the project uses a Linux Terminal Server Project server to broadcast virtual desktops to older PC’s at the Lake Echo CAP site. By using virtual desktops instead of an OS on the host machine, the life of the older equipment can be extended for years. The project is described in more detail in a previous posting located here.

The Information Morning piece interviews Dan Robichaud of the Halifax Regional CAP Association and Mike Lovell from tintedGreen Technologies about the project. They discuss the reasoning for the project, performance issues with the system and funding issues that are holding the project from being implemented at additional sites.

Listen to the Information Morning piece at the CBC Radio 1 site link below:

Image by Joe Lencioni, shiftingpixel.com, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License

Posted by: acoss | August 17, 2010

Norex And The Dashboard Framework

Norex has developed the Dashboard framework to rapidly make online solutions.

Established in 2000, Norex is “a Canadian integrated marketing, social media strategy, & web development company”. The company was formed by three Saint Francis Xavier graduates, set up shop in Halifax, Nova Scotia and has since branched to a second office in Calgary, Alberta. Norex has provided marketing and online services for clients such as Neptune Theatre, the Nova Scotia Department of the Environment and the Canadian Cancer Society.

Open Source software and its philosphy are an important part of Norex’s way of doing business. They have used many open source packages since starting the business to create solutions for their clients. After working with many of those software packages, Norex felt they could develop one of their own that would better meet their needs and that of their clients.

They created an open source framework named Dashboard. On the Dashboard website, it describes the software as a “Rapid Application Development Framework” and was “designed to make writing PHP faster and more secure by removing the repetitive parts of programming from the development cycle”. The framework incorporates tools for “CMS, eCommerce, blogs & SEO” solutions as well as others. The software is currently at version 2.2.0, is licensed under the GPL V3 and revisions are managed with the GIT system. Setup requires a server with PHP and MySQL present.

With the Dashboard framework in hand, Norex is able to offer services to clients with a higher degree of support and customization without having to rely on a third party such as when using other software. They promote this as one of their keys to offering superior results to its clients over their competition. Also believing in open source, they gladly share and promote the software with the community.

Learn more about the Dashboard framework at the link below

Learn more about Norex at the link below

Image from the Dashboard Web Application Framework website

People in the Atlantic provinces with an interest in open source geospatial software are invited to join the Atlantic Canada OSGeo Chapter.

As of June 2010, a new regional chapter of the Open Source Geospatial (OSGeo) Foundation has been formed for the Atlantic provinces. The OSGeo Foundation is a non-profit organization formed to promote and support open source geospatial project development. Geospatial is the term used to describe tools, software and other methods to collect geographic data for map making, topography measurements and other geographic data applications.

The new Atlantic Canada OSGeo chapter has been formed to promote the use of open source geospatial tools in the Atlantic provinces. The group currently has a mailing list and is preparing to have bi-annual meetings with its members. Events such as workshops, lectures and demonstrations are also being planned. People interested in joining the group can visit the page below and join the mailing list.

OSGeo Atlantic Canada Chapter webpage

OSGeo webpage

The OSGeo logo is the trademark of the OSGeo Foundation

Dr. Robert Coull in PEI uses OSCAR McMaster to manage his practice's patient records.

OSCAR McMaster is an open source electronic medical record (EMR) management and billing system. The software is licensed under GPL V2 and is CMS 2.0 spec. government certified for funding in Ontario. OSCAR was developed at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, with version 1.0 being released in 2002. The system is intended for family doctor practices and medical clinics that do not require large, expensive enterprise grade hospital EMR systems. OSCAR uses a LAMP server, allowing doctors and staff to access records and billings through a web interface on their computer’s browsers, making it client OS netural. For a small practice, the costs of setting up an OSCAR implementation can be exceptionally low compared to other EMR products. An office may only need a PC to act as the server, a consumer grade network switch or router and a few client PCs to implement the setup.

Dr. Robert Coull of the Sherwood Family Medical Center in Charlottown, PEI uses the OSCAR McMaster system to manage the center’s patient records. Dr. Coull also advocates the benefits of OSCAR McMaster on his blog, OSCAR PEI Users. On the blog the doctor highlights how the software can benefit medical practices through better patient record management. He points out in detail in the introduction post the three main advanatages of the software: safety, chronic disease management/prevention and efficiency. He also provides example scenarios that outline the potential investment costs to implementing OSCAR in practices of various sizes.

Dr. Coull also maintains a second blog that shares technical information and tips for using OSCAR McMaster at the OscarPEI Technical Blog. This separate blog is meant for the technical users of OSCAR, such as technicians that would maintain the servers. Dr. Coull uses the blog to discuss items such as server migration, automation of data processes and maintaining security of confidential patient records.

Visit the the OSCAR PEI users group

Visit the OscarPEI Technical Blog

Visit the official OSCAR McMaster website

Posted by: acoss | May 27, 2010

First Annual Islandora Camp At UPEI

The first annual Islandora Camp takes places this July in Charlottetown, PEI.

The first annual Islandora Camp will take place this year on July 22-23 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Islandora is the open source digital asset management framework system developed at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) and the University’s Robertson Library team.  Hosted by UPEI, the camp is being held with the goal “to build the Islandora (and of course Drupal and Fedora) ecosystem by assembling interested developers, repository managers and all manner of rogues in a place where the ideas and energy can flow.”

The two day event takes place shortly before another open source related event, the Red Island Repository Institute‘s 3rd annual Fedora Summer Institute conference, scheduled for July 26-30, 2010.

Learn more about Islandora Camp 2010 at the link below.

Learn more about RIRI 2010 at the link below.

DuraSpace (maintainers of Fedora) blog entry describing the two events.

Image by Jim Logan 2006, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5

Mike Lovell of tintedGreen is developing a Linux based all-in-one virtualized desktop device codenamed "greenBox"

Environmentally minded IT conslutant Mike Lovell, owner of tintedGreen computer consulating, is currently developing a Linux based desktop virtulization “system-in-a-box” code named “greenBox”. He began to think about building the product after his work with the Halifax CAP association when they developed a virtual desktop deployment system together, covered on this blog previously . He is attempting to build a product that is “an all-in-one solution that is cheap, easy to deploy, and environmentally friendly.” The hope is to produce a box that can quickly be installed at a site, such as a school or community internet access site, that can provide virtual desktops across a network without the need for substantial overhead and support. According to his blog, he is currently working with Ubuntu Linux and Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP) to develop the software stack for the device. A demo of the unit may be on display this September at the Atlantic Eco-Expo, taking place at the Cunard Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Learn more about tintedGreen’s development of the product on Mike Lovell’s blog below.

View Lovell’s demonstration of a LTSP system deploying a virtual Windows 7 desktop to a laptop at the link below.

Image by Moe_, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

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