November, 2014

  1. Victoria’s Own VRX Racing Simulators

    November 26, 2014 by Nevin Thompson

    Established in 1999, VRX Racing Simulators has built a devoted following from their manufacturing facility near Sidney at the tip of the Saanich Peninsula.

    Why? Relatively little-known locally, VRX is in fact recognized globally for producing the most advanced and best constructed racing simulator ever created, the VRX iMotion Z-55.

    A typical VRX product offering can sell for $60,ooo, and is no toy – it’s a piece of high-performance techno-art all decked out in carbon fiber, stainless steel, and aircraft-grade aluminum.

    Another product, the VRX iMotion Custom Racing Simulator is arguably the greatest thing Costco has ever sold (although it will set you back $35,000), and is like the simulators you may remember from the glory days of the arcade, except installed in your house and supports 40 racing games.

    VRX’s systems have been used for professional driver training, to train racing drivers on how to handle the forces exerted on the vehicle and their body during an intense competitive environment, as well as for private users who want to feel the intensity and realism of racing and flight from the comfort of their own home.

    The company’s technology features a true-to-life, immersive motion system for vehicle and flight simulators. The company’s technology creates dynamic motion in response to on-screen visuals and user controls, resulting in a fully immersive experience.

    If you want to check out VRX for yourself there is no need to go all the way to Las Vegas – they’re a big part of the local community. For example, The Sidney Torque Masters car club invited VRX to be apart of their annual car show that consisted of over 500 classics and muscle cars that spanned most of downtown Sidney.


  2. Record Store Day 2014: Black Friday

    November 19, 2014 by Nevin Thompson

    Black Friday in November marks the start of the Christmas shopping season in the US.

    Black Friday is typically “observed” (if that’s what you call a stampede of shoppers pouring into a big box store like something out of World War Z) on the day after American Thanksgiving.

    The hordes of fairly frightening shoppers show up for deals and discounts as retailers try encourage a frenzy of maximum consumer consumption before the end of the year.

    This year Black Friday occurs quite late, on Friday, November 28th.

    While most conscientious Tectorians and other Canadians should have already started their Christmas shopping, this year Black Friday features something special from the dedicated, rag tag group of retailers known as record stores.

    Yes, record stores that sell actual vinyl discs still exist (Ditch Records, Canada’s best record store, is located directly across the street from Fort Tectoria).

    They band together to put on an annual event called Record Store Day each April.

    And now there is an ancillary event: Record Store Day 2014: Black Friday is a new chance to get great vinyl.

    Don’t expect crowds of deranged hyper-materialists to descend on the record stores of the land.

    Instead Record Store Black Friday is a chance to find limited special editions, often numbered, from a diverse list of beloved artists.

    RSD’s version of Black Friday is an excuse to celebrate both the pieces themselves and the special indie record stores who carry them.  Cheap, mass-produced frenzy is not the goal.

    The special releases for Record Store Day are made to be sold solely at independently owned record stores on the day that Record Store Day takes place (the third Saturday of every April) whereas Black Friday releases are made for the holiday season.

    This means stores will launch the special releases on Black Friday but may choose to carry them beyond Black Friday (as supplies last, they are still limited runs).  Black Friday is really more of a special release date then a one-day “holiday” like Record Store Day.

    There are at least four record stores in Tectoria. Can you name all of them? Check out the venue guide to see who is participating this Black Friday.

     


  3. What is Tectoria?

    November 12, 2014 by Nevin Thompson

    San Francisco has Silicon Valley. Vancouver has become Hollywood North. Victoria has transformed into a place called Tectoria.

    Everybody who lives here now knows that technology is the number 1 industry in Victoria. There’s even talk around the water cooler about the fact that the tech sector in Victoria generates $3.15 billion in annual revenues and directly employs 15,000 people.

    In short, it’s a point of pride for many people in Victoria about how the tech sector here has morphed into a juggernaut that generates more high-paying job openings than there are people to fill them.

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    But Tectoria is about more than just company headcount. The term “Tectoria” represents the incredible change that has taken place in Victoria over the past 25 years.

    Tectoria represents the convergence of technology, talent, entrepreneurship and art that is reshaping Victoria into a truly creative and innovative hub.

    A complete transformation over 25 years

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    Victoria has not always been identified as a hub for technology and the creative industries.

    Our beautiful island city was once known chiefly as a government and university town with superb weather and a spectacular natural setting perfect for attracting retirees and tourists.

    Now there’s a good chance that some of 3.5 million tourists who visit Victoria each year will become tech workers and investors here.

    Victoria’s natural beauty makes people want to come here, and then do anything to stay here. People get creative when it comes to setting up shop in Victoria.

    And that’s why Victoria has such a flourishing tech sector that only continues to grow.

    Victoria regularly wins awards for being Canada’s:

    But that’s not what makes up Tectoria.

    Victoria is developing its own Imagination Economy. It’s something that happens when you bring together a ton of imaginative innovators, entrepreneurs, tech talent and creative types. Some examples of our home-grown Imagination Economy include:

    • Rifflandia
    • Transmit Now
    • TEDx Victoria
    • Pecha Kucha
    • Jazzfest
    • Tall Tree Festival
    • V.I.C. Fest
    • Jumpship
    • Feast of Fields
    • Tall Ship Festival
    • Beerfest
    • Whiskeyfest
    • Rock of the Woods

    What’s next for Tectoria?

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    Innovators, entrepreneurs and creators now have a new home in downtown Victoria. Fort Tectoria is the name of the four-storey building on Fort Street VIATeC launched in September 2014.

    The building, across the street from iconic Ditch Records (the best record store in Canada), features a massive 15,600 square feet of space. It’s intended to be a great new public space downtown for holding celebrations and events, for launching new companies, and for providing a place for like-minded creators and entrepreneurs to meet and share ideas.

    In addition to providing a home for Accelerator participants, the four floors of the new Fort Street location provide coworking space, encouraging entrepreneurs and members of Victoria’s creative industries to rub shoulders, connect, and collaborate.

    Since Fort Tectoria’s launch in September the space is already full. A number of the companies that call Fort Tectoria home are set to experience incredible growth.

    So what’s next for Tectoria?

    This is only the beginning.


  4. Desert Bus for Hope

    November 5, 2014 by Nevin Thompson

    Desert Bus, the most boring and pointless video game ever created has been given new life as part of a global campaign to raise money for charity.

    Started in 2007 by internet sketch comedy group LoadingReadyRun, Desert Bus for Hope combines mind-numbing tedium with community participation to send toys to children’s hospitals.

    The annual week-long event raises donations by playing the world’s most boring video game 24/7 with no breaks.

    The World’s Most Boring Video Game

    How boring is this game?

    You drive a bus in real-time between Tuscon and Las Vegas. It should be an 8-hour trip, but if for some reason you drive off the road you will get towed back to Tuscon in real-time and must start again.

    Over the past seven years Victoria’s own Desert Bus for Hope team has raised nearly $2 million dollars for Child’s Play, an charity that donates toys, games and money to Children’s hospitals all over the world.

    While the yearly Victoria Desert Bus fundraiser has traditionally held in a windowless basement, this year Desert Bus for Hope 8 will be broadcast live over the Internet from our own Fort Tectoria (the team is bringing in special comfortable couches to Fort Tectoria for the week).

    The 2014 campaign starts at 10AM on November 14. You can catch the live-stream of the game here, and can get more information about participating or donating here.

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    As mentioned, the objective of the game is to drive a bus from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada in real time at a maximum speed of 45 MPH.

    The feat requires eight hours of continuous play to complete, since the game cannot be paused.

    Although the road between Tucson and Las Vegas is completely straight, the bus veers to the right slightly, and thus requires the player’s constant attention.

    If the bus veers off the road it will stall and be towed back to Tucson, also in real time.

    If the player makes it to Las Vegas, one point is scored. The player then has the option to make the return trip to Tucson for another point, a decision which must be made in a few seconds or the game ends.

    Players may continue to make trips and score points as long as their endurance lasts.

    Say the Victoria organizers:

    The more money we raise for Child’s Play, the longer the team must play Desert Bus, an unreleased Sega CD mini-game that is widely considered to be the worst game ever made.

    Although watching us suffer through Desert Bus is amusing in its own way, we also entertain our viewers by taking their requests. We are more than willing to sing, dance, take challenges to eat gross things and act very silly in order to raise money for Child’s Play. If you’ve ever wanted to see a room full of grown men sing Spice Girls’ Wannabe (like they really mean it), you’ve come to the right place.

    We also auction off and give away hundreds of incredible prizes to Desert Bus viewers. If you want a chance to win afull, uncut sheet of foil Magic: The Gathering Cards, one of the incredibly rare Ducktails Remastered golden cartridges, or incredible one of a kind handmade items, you’re in the right place.

    Child’s Play is a charitable organization founded by the authors of the popular computer and video games-based webcomic Penny Arcade that organizes worldwide toy drives to children’s hospitals.

    It’s all for the children.