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Get into the Games



There's a Cultural Olympiad poster available that shows pretty much all of the arts and culture events taking place in Vancouver and Whistler during the Games, but I think you need a degree in logistics to make sense of it.

There's a calendar, a legend, tabs to cross-reference events with venues, numbers on the tabbed events that you can cross-reference with venue maps, profiles of prominent events and performers and information about CODE (which stands for Cultural Olympiad's Digital Edition) along with a completely separate list of CODE events. There is a fair amount of information missing - while musicians are listed, for example, it doesn't say where they're playing a lot of the time. Presumably the poster is only meant to be a starting point to get people to visit

A co-worker has since alerted me to a free iPhone App by Bell that helps to make sense of a lot of the events taking place while helping me to plan my Olympic experience, check headlines, etc.

CTV has an App to update people on news and sports stories, with real-time updates on events, video clips, stories, highlights and more. It's also free.

CTV is the official broadcaster of these Games and will be updating content constantly on their website, The Canadian Olympic Committee also keeps a medal tally and collects stories from National Sports Organizations at

Every news website out there will give you something different - Calgary papers will cover Calgary athletes, Bloomberg will cover the business side of the Games - how far you want to go in any direction really depends on you.

It's likely there will be more information and more stories to come out of these Winter Games than any past event, given the sheer number of accredited and unaccredited media, the focus on webcasting, the addition of more countries to the Olympic program, the rise of Twitter and other social networking tools, and the shift to HD. While HD is good for everything, it's particularly amazing for sports - a fact that hasn't been lost on the millions of people who purchase new televisions each year just to watch the Super Bowl. And this was one of those rare years where it would have been worth it.

It's also the most digital of Games ever produced, and Bell has dubbed it "The First all-IP Games." All of the video, audio and text from the Games is being funneled through a fibre optic network constructed by Bell as part of their sponsorship package. They have provided a cellular network and wireless network at all of the official venues, ensuring that athletes, coaches, media and spectators will have no problems keeping in touch with the outside world.

Inside Windows 7

After years of sitting on the fence I at last took the plunge over the holidays and ordered a new laptop. Throwing out all of my rules and my budget, I decided to purchase a refurbished HP media laptop - something I swore I would never do, considering all the new features I wanted.

The main reason I changed my mind was price. For $800 I got a 17-inch laptop with a 500 GB hard drive, a Blu-ray player/DVD burner with an HDMI-out port, 4 GB of RAM, and an AMD Turion X2 Dual Core processor at 2.2 GHz (64-bit). The video card is not the best, but it was designed for media applications like watching HD movies rather than rendering 3D at 60 frames per second.

The drawback of buying refurbished is the case, which arrived with a few small dings. However, the screen appears to have been replaced, the media buttons work and the keyboard is flawless. HP also sent a brand-new battery. A year ago this computer would have sold for over $2,000.

It also came with a free upgrade to Windows 7, which has impressed me so far. It's fast to load and not nearly as annoying as Vista where you'd spend the first 10 minutes after booting it up answering prompts to update your software. There's some set-up in the beginning, but after a while most updates will take place in the background.

I'm still finding my way around. The Taskbar, which is like Apple's Dock, is pretty good although it lacks the ability to pin specific folders like Apple's solution.

But the one feature that I think I'll find most useful is Libraries, where you can add multiple folders in multiple locations to a central Library. It's essentially an index feature - the files themselves don't move and can be easily found the usual ways, but the Library features makes everything easier to find, organize and reorganize into different folders.

For example, say you have a bunch of different photo folders and wanted to create one folder of the best of those photos to upload to your Facebook page - just add those folders to a custom library (there are libraries for documents, music, videos, etc. but you can still set up your own custom folders), so you'll be able to view all your photos in one place.

Libraries is only one feature among dozens offered by Windows 7, but it's a good one. I don't have much information on my new laptop yet to index, but that will change and when it does, I want to be organized.