Something went wonky with the WordPress admin dashboard sidebar since the 4.3 update, at least when you’re viewing in Chrome. It means the left sidebar items overlap each other like this:

My wonky wordpress admin sidebar in Chrome

It got pretty annoying for me, since i work on several different WordPress websites each day. So i googled around for a solution, and here it is, converted into a WordPress plugin. It will keep you sane until they solve the issue…

Download the Plugin!

How to solve the mystery of ‘This site is not linked to any web property in your Google Analytics account” just by clicking a button…

Just about the last thing we have do when we launch a new website here at SpaceRace Digital is to set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console, formerly known as Webmaster tools.

These are both pretty simple tasks which i won’t bore you with, but there’s one further step you have to take, and that’s to synch your Google Analytics account with your Search Console/ webmaster tools account. If you don’t do that, you’ll only see some of the analytics for your website, and other important stuff such as search data will have annoying messages telling you you need to set up access to your webmaster tools account.

You will try verifying several times, double checking your web property, verifying owners and unverifying owners, etc etc, and at the end of this journey, you’ll probably end up at the dead end message ‘This site is not linked to any web property in your Google Analytics account’. Then just when you’re about to do something ridiculous like operate out of both accounts simultaneously, this button appears out of the mist:
As long as you are: a) logged in to webmaster tools/google search console account, b) have verified the site or property in webmaster tools/search console, and c) are an owner of the web property in Google Analytics, all you have to do is click the magic button above, and you will be taken to a secret place deep in the caverns of Palo Alto where they will forge a link between your two accounts.

Oden LogoOntario Disability Employment Networks Launches New Website in Conjunction with Employment First Conference

November 29, 2013

Toronto, ON: The Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN) will host Employment First: Is It Right For Ontario? on December 4, 2013.

ODEN is a non-profit organization of employment service providers advocating for policy changes that increase opportunities for people who have a disability. Employment First: Is It Right For Ontario? brings together a diverse group of stakeholders in the area of employment and disability through a round-table discussion format that focuses on the Employment First framework and how it facilitates the full inclusion of people with significant disabilities in the workplace and community.

Employment First is a community-based, integrated employment approach that is the first option for employment services for youth and adults with a disability. The Framework is sweeping through the United State with 42 states that have adopted or are in the process of adopting the policy framework.

“Employment First Policy Framework is not new to the Network. We at ODEN have been supporting this policy framework and have referenced it in discussions and position papers. Employment First strategy is included in our report to the Social Assistance Review Commission. ODEN has also had discussions with Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU), Employment Ontario, Ministry of Community and Social Services(MCSS) Developmental Branch and Ministry of Finance regarding Employment First Policy Framework,” says Bob Vansickle, co-chair of ODEN.

“We are pleased to be able to take this next step in providing this opportunity to learn more about Employment First Policy Framework. For many, this may appear familiar as they already deliver supports and services with the same or very similar values.”

In conjunction with the event, ODEN have launched a brand new accessible website to engaging their membership, share important information and events, and integrate the organization’s strong social media presence . The new website was designed and developed by SpaceRace, a Canadian boutique digital agency that serves progressive people and organizations.

“We are so pleased to work with the ODEN team on the launch of their new website,” says Aerin Guy, SpaceRace’s Director of Digital Strategy. “We really believe in the work of this organization and are excited to help them share their messages through a site that is accessible to everyone. ODEN is at the forefront of thinking on disability and employment issues and we are proud to support their work.”

The event takes place at the Eaton Chelsea in Toronto. Interested participants can register at

To learn more about ODEN, visit

To learn more about SpaceRace, visit

It felt like Wayne felt in this moment.
It wasn’t the big, blinking great salary that convinced me.
That’s the first truth of this story.

I was quite happy, and my family were quite happy, living in the world’s greatest mountain town. My partner and I worked on a variety of client campaigns; launching sites, consulting, and enjoying a work-life balance that we’d barely dreamed we could manage. We were surviving, building our business while connecting back to our health and happiness. Our daughter was thriving with the skiing, skating, and fresh mountain air. Our Toronto house was rented out to a nice family that we trusted. Aside from the cat becoming an eagle’s lunch (or a coyote’s, or a bear’s), all was going very, very well.

And then the connection request from LinkedIn happened, and the next thing I knew I was dealing with a recruiter from a company looking to launch an Android tablet into the education market.

If you know me, you’ll know that education and education technology are my ultimate passions. Coming from a family of committed, talented teachers, I’ve spent the bulk of my career working on the periphery. I taught ESL in Asia, worked in educational publishing, and turned a massive interest in the web and the power of digital into advocacy work, research, and connecting educators to powerful and engaging technologies. I spent the last few years eagerly connecting with experts and teachers through a variety of social networks including Twitter, Facebook, Nings, and conferences. This work is so close to my heart as a parent, a learner, and person who really cares about where all this technology is taking our society, and our kids in particular.

The opportunity was on the table. To become part of a bold start-up vision, and to impact education through a ground-breaking product that could offer choice in an increasingly branded, proprietary market. To engage with classroom professionals and content producers through a unique (and Canadian) initiative. It sounded great. It sounded like just the perfect next step, even though it would mean leaving our blissful mountain town and heading back to the challenges of Toronto life. It would mean we’d have to rent a temporary residence until our tenants’ lease was up. We’d have to pull our daughter out of school, where she was just making her bones, and interrupt her increasingly positive experience. And it would mean a tremendous shift in our business, where we’d developed a good balance of client work between the two of us.

It would mean a lot of fast, hectic, and disruptive change. The opportunity seemed to be worth all of that.

After I met the team and flew through of series of interviews (me interviewing them as much as they were me), I felt confident that I’d be working with a group of dedicated and passionate engineers and a leadership team that truly had a great product and a genuine desire to make a positive impact. I know that several of my former colleagues also felt this way at the outset. The poop had not yet hit the propeller.

Within a few weeks, the voice in my head started to speak up that something wasn’t right. I tried to quiet it. It kept talking. (more…)

No, that's World *Domination*
Tomorrow is Thursday, the fourth of July, and I shall be departing my beloved Canadian soil for the hipsterrific scenes of Portland, Oregon. The occasion? Why, it’s the World Domination Summit, silly!

I’ve been busy practicing my lines for the inevitable moment when the handsome US Customs officer asks me where I’m going and mistakenly hears, as a result of my charming Canadian accent, that I’m heading down to attend the World Dominatrix Summit. Then he’ll have to inspect my carry-on bag for chains, whips, chips, and dips, and will be disappointed when he only finds a fresh Moleskin notebook and my sexy compression socks. (more…)

Excuse me while I kiss this guy.
Growing up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan during the 80’s meant that I was subjected to a lot of dodgy TV advertising from affiliate stations in Spokane and Fargo. Most of it was about used cars, furniture, or pancake restaurants, none of which were particularly interesting to my Flashdancified little imagination.

I remember that my parents bought a brand new TV (without a remote) for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. I think this might be when my love affair with commercials began. My younger sister and I would recite or sing them word for word at bedtime. Those days led to a lifelong fascination and appreciation for the medium. Imagine my excitement at 16 when our local campus theatre would run The World’s Greatest Commercials, which were largely comprised of extremely witty and clever award-winning campaigns from European and especially British agencies. No making out ensued during such screenings. I was rapt.

Iconic commercials are part of our cultural fabric, serving as a complementary soundtrack to our phases and ages. That’s why when Jimmy, being British, brought this 1989 Maxell campaign to my attention, I pretty much said “ooooooh!”, stopped all activity and watched in a glow of nostalgia envy. The British make the best ads. I wish we’d had these:

The Maxell ads brilliantly capture a completely relatable phenomenon – the misheard lyric. Combined with the recognizable and undeniably cool flipping card technique made famous in Bob Dylan’s video for “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, and excellent songs, these ads are everything successful marketing should be. Simple. Memorable. Emotional. You’ll never hear these songs the same again, and you certainly won’t forget that Maxell gave you 30 seconds of pure enjoyment. And they sold you a lot of blank tapes, too.

The campaign was created by defunct British agency Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury, and won lots of fancy awards at Cannes, as one does.

It’s time to go and bring out my collection. Who wants a mix tape?

Night Flight to Venus?
Resolutions. Oft-pondered, yet frequently tossed aside like a bride’s nightie a few months in as new information is processed and new priorities emerge.

SpaceRace is a very small business. We like it that way, because being small lets us concentrate on the things we’re good at (creative strategy-making, web development, hare-brained ideation) and avoid the things we stink at (babysitting, delegation, accounting). Taking stock of our business goals has never involved seeking ways to get bigger. We have a strong stable of collaborators whom we respect and trust, and a manageable client base whom we feel we can truly serve with the rocket power we possess. Our utmost goal is to be happy, and for that we have to love what we do. Every year our resolution is to love it just a little bit more, and we do that by looking ahead to what’s possible and pointing our rocket belts in that direction (see image at left).

But just because we’re ok with our size doesn’t mean we don’t have active learning goals. And the dawn of a brand spankin’ new year is a great time to take stock of what we’ve learned and what we really want to learn and experience next.

For me, that’s a giant 365 day slow-cooker of skills, books, events, discussions, and socks.  It’s the SpaceRace HOT LIST for 2013, and this week (January 2 – 6) is dedicated to telling you all about it:

A book:

Daniel Pink’s To Sell is Human
He’s one of my favourite authors because, for the love of Pete, he makes so much sense! With an emerging focus and interest in advocacy work, I am eager to hone and spit shine my techniques of persuasion. He’s also been particularly clever about pre-marketing this much-awaited new title – inviting pre-ordering folks a chance to participate in a New Year’s Day webinar (it rocked), providing cool workbook templates, offering signed bookplates, and putting out a lot of other really great content to support the book. These “First Mover” opportunities have helped build value in the ideas of the book, generated excitement, and created a tribe of pre-selling Pink fans. Book marketers, take note.
Here’s a particularly clever review from NPR.

A skill:

I defer to the talented SpaceRace Jimmy in most matters of design and image manipulation. Although I’m often the critical eye – because I know what I like and what I like is usually good (usually), I am too easily frustrated to develop a solid skill foundation in Photoshop. It pains me to no end, as I was the kid who cut out heads and photocopied them on to other people’s bodies, and I did it often and well. Yet any attempt I’m made to become proficient at PS has resulted in tears of agony and childish fist-banging. In 2013, that’s going to change. How do I know? Not even 2 weeks ago a friend asked me to paste their colleague’s head on to Astroboy’s body. And I did it. The time is now.

An event:

It’s really hard to nail down the event I’m most looking forward to in 2013. I’m headed for SXSWEdu in March, based on last year’s experience being completely positive. And fun. And game-changing. And I love Austin. This year I’ve extended my badge so I can also take in Interactive and Film.
I avidly follow EdSurge, and look to their event listings as a premium guide to all worthy ed-tech happenings around the globe. Beware – it’s guaranteed to give you a severe case of FOMO.
But the events I’m looking forward to the most are the ones I’m hoping to launch in my own backyard: a Creative Mornings inspired motivation series for early risers in my awesome mountain town, and a series of Ignite-style province-wide events to bridge the communication barriers between schools and parent communities.


These ones.

A Discussion:

I registered for Alec Couros’s EdTech MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) partly because I wanted a first-hand MOOC experience, but also because I was excited about the topics that will be discussed with a promising cohort of interesting people outside of my current circles. #ETMOOC will cover and converse about social/participatory media, blended/online learning environments, digital literacies, open education, digital citizenship/identity, copyright/copyleft, and multimedia in education. Sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it? There’s time to register, if you act quickly.

And in the interest of the ultimate resolution – BALANCE – it’s time to grab the kettlebell (thanks Kasie!) and head upstairs for some Soviet-inspired exercise. (and get better sleep)
More of the 2013 Hot List tomorrow. What’s on yours?

I came across this spectacular video by Keith Melton and Plot Point Productions a few days ago. I immediately loved the idea of the helmets. The space guys and gals. The music (the MUSIC!) and the pacing….

That was a few days ago. I’m still thinking about it, so I thought I’d give it the big share and ask a few questions.

1. What does an astronaut do if s/he needs to scratch his/her nose?

2. How could an astronaut remedy a stray piece of spinach or cilantro stuck in his/her teeth?

If you know any astronauts, please ask them to call me.

Without further ado:

These are a few of my favourite things.

The Canadian Education Association (CEA) are running a really cool blog series on innovation in public education. CEA President and CEO Ron Canuel asks a thought-provoking and (it seems) controversial question: why do we need innovation in education?
CEAThe answers come from a variety of contributors, including Andrew Campbell, Bruce Dixon, and yours truly. I was asked to contribute from the parent perspective, and my thoughts are here. Cue Sir Mix-a-lot. 🙂

Writing the post gave me pause for thought as I struggled to say something nice, but to also get the point across that I am frustrated by the lack of innovation in the Canadian public system. To balance it out – since I’m trying to be all about balance these days (I’m sitting on an exercise ball as I write this. Whoops, I fell. Ok, now I’m back on.) – I wanted to quickly point to some edtech action that points to shiny and bright. And awesome. (more…)

The full report is ready for download. So are other local government action resources.