Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

What’s Going On At City Hall Post-Hack

- November 22nd, 2014

The city’s website was hacked last night. Here’s what’s happening behind the scenes at City Hall:

- The city’s office of emergency management is on the case.

- The city’s IT department hasn’t seen any breach to the personal data of residents or the city itself.

- IT has figured out that the city’s third-party domain registrar was interfered with. So was being diverted to another site. (Some tech-savvy residents have noticed this, too).

- Some email might be impacted, so it’s possible there’s a delay delivering messages to/from addresses.

- 311 is the main method for residents to contact city services. Twitter has become the main communications tool online with regards to website updates.

- At last check Saturday morning, it was taking longer than anticipated to get everything back to normal but the city’s working on it.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at

Apps4Ottawa Contest Winners

- June 12th, 2013

Announced last night…

For immediate release:
June 11, 2013

Winners announced in second Apps4Ottawa contest

Ottawa – The City of Ottawa announced the winners in its Apps4Ottawa contest tonight. Winners were announced in the following categories:

On The Move: Larry Dunkelman for BusBuddy Ottawa
Having Fun: Jean Grandbois for Ottawa Recreation Search
Your City: Jean-François Bibeau for Ottawa Garbage Schedule
Data Analysis and Visualization: David Rust-Smith for Ottawa’s Heart
Windows 8 Award: David Rust-Smith for Ottawa’s Heart

Student awards were also given out to Grant Sutcliffe, for his app in the On The Move category O-Transit, and to Ehsan Mohammadi, for his Ottawa Garbage Collecting Schedule app in the Data Analysis and Visualization category.

“Congratulations to all the participants and winners,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “It is uplifting to see engaged developers providing applications that enable residents to connect to City resources, programs and services to better live, work and play in Ottawa.”

Over 80 applications were submitted to the Apps4Ottawa contest in the four categories. Each category had prizes of $3,000 for Gold, $2,000 for Silver, and $1,000 for Bronze, as well as $1,500 each for the Student and People’s Choice awards. Microsoft Canada also presented the Windows 8 Awards with prizes of $1,000 for first place, $500 for second, $350 for third and $150 for fourth. The Windows 8 Awards were based on public voting.

“The quality of the applications we have seen is impressive,” said Councillor Tim Tierney, Chair of the IT Subcommittee. “We will continue to work with the community and staff to expand this initiative so more data sets and applications are available to residents and visitors of Ottawa.”

The City of Ottawa’s OpenData contains over 75 data sets.

For more information on the Apps4Ottawa contest visit

A Good QR Code Application

- May 22nd, 2012

It’s the return of the QR codes at City Hall.

The planning department has decided it will put the doohickies on development application signs. Where the city wasn’t expecting to embrace QR codes in 2012, it now looks like staff have found some immediate benefits. You just have to scan the code with a QR code reader on your smartphone and your Internet browser will open with all the details.

Fair to say I haven’t been a big cheerleader for QR codes, but I see how slapping them on development signs could be useful. There is so much information attached to a development application and the blurb on the sign only gives a snapshot of what’s going on. The web addresses for applications are pretty cryptic, so if you want immediate details on a development and you can’t wait to get home, this is a simple way.

If you take the example from the sign above, you’ll see this Richcraft development at 2084 Montreal Rd. has over a dozen reports. Usually the planning rationale has a sketch of the development, something people are always curious about.

There are some very large PDFs, so user beware: You just might blow your monthly data plan reading a couple development applications.

Following The Chief And Other Newsmakers

- March 9th, 2012

When Chief Charles Bordeleau started a Twitter feed just minutes after being sworn in earlier this week, it was largely celebrated, including by yours truly.

Other city officials have come onboard in recent months, including deputy city manager Steve Kanellakos and more recently Alta Vista Coun. Peter Hume.

Then there was a kinda/sorta drive to get other non-tweeting councillors to join the craze.

What do we want from “officials” on Twitter?

Personally, I’m looking for information, but I’m more interested in candid observations. Just having a presence on Twitter can impress people. For that reason alone, I don’t understand why more city politicians don’t take advantage of it. What we really want, I suppose, is to know that the people whose names are on those Twitter accounts are actually the ones sending the tweets.

The press pays a lot of attention to tweets from the usual newsmakers. Heck, there was even a news story today that was pretty much one councillor’s tweet!

As for Bordeleau, police staff today told me he — after learning the ins and outs of the broadcast tool — is now sending his own tweets.

So, what should we expect from Bordeleau on Twitter? What do people want to hear from the police chief? Former chief Vern White, who didn’t take to Twitter, made it his thing to respond to emails from the public with a phone call back. Maybe Twitter will be Bordeleau’s thing.

Still, I’m not expecting many unreserved tweets from Bordeleau, who comes across as someone keenly aware of the weight of his words as chief of police.

(Right: Power tweeter Mayor Jim Watson chats with rookie tweeter Chief Charles Bordeleau before Friday’s swearing-in ceremony at City Hall. Photo by Tony Caldwell)


Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling.

Councillors On Twitter, Take 2

- January 4th, 2012

At the beginning of this term of council I published a list of council members on Twitter. Here is a revised list. I’m only including council members who are either superusers or somewhat using Twitter. Non-public accounts or unused accounts don’t get a mention here.

As always, if you think I’ve missed one, feel free to add as a comment.

Mayor Jim Watson (@JimWatsonOttawa)
Kanata North Coun. Marianne Wilkinson (@Marianne4Kanata)
Bay Coun. Mark Taylor (@Go_Taylor)
Gloucester-Southgate Coun. Diane Deans (@DianeDeans)
Beacon Hill-Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney (@TimTierney)
Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury (@MathieuFleury)
Rideau-Goulbourn Coun. Scott Moffatt (@ScottMoffatt21)
Cumberland Coun. Stephen Blais (@StephenBlais)
Capital Coun. David Chernushenko (@Chernushenko)
Kitchissippi Coun. Katherine Hobbs (@Katherine_Hobbs)
Gloucester-South Nepean Coun. Steve Desroches (@SteveDesroches)
Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder (@harderja)
West Carleton-March Coun. Eli El-Chantiry (@Eli_ward5)
River Coun. Maria McRae (@CouncillorMcRae)
Kanata South Coun. Allan Hubley (@AllanHubley_23)
Orleans Coun. Bob Monette (@BobMonette1)