Category Archives: toronto

DemoCamp!

I love going to conferences and geek get-togethers because I always end up having the most interesting conversations. Even though my responsibilities at Toast I.T. Toastmasters meant that all I caught of DemoCampToronto8 was just David Crow ending it with, “That wraps up DemoCamp for the night,” it was so worth the mad scramble across town.

Here’s an incomplete list of highlights from DemoCamp:

  • Ari Caylakyan came along from Toast I.T. Toastmasters in order to see the geek events I go to.
  • Chatted with Olivier Yip Tong on the way in.
  • Carsten Knoch gave me the July 1 issue of the Guardian UK
    that I’d blogged about. A journalist interviewed a bunch of
    UK-based IBM bloggers and the IBMers mentioned me as an example of
    a blogging student, and the article came out online on July 1. I
    met Carsten at Enterprise 2.0 Camp on 2006.07.20, and he went back
    and read my blog. (Awwwwww!) When he read my entry about the
    Guardian, he realized that he had that issue and that it was
    sitting in his recycling bin. What an amazing coincidence! I’ll
    read through the entire thing later to see if I made it into print.
    If so, them my mom will be ridiculously happy to receive a paper
    copy of it for her scrapbook. =) Even if the article isn’t there –
    isn’t that just a nifty thing?
  • Jane Zhang made me promise to blog
    the Social Tech Brewing event this August. The event’s about women
    in technology, and it looks like it will be a very interesting
    discussion.
  • I apologized profusely to Greg Wilson for not following up
    on the introduction to Steve Easterbrook, who teaches a
    course that I absolutely must take next semester and who is
    interested in the social side of software engineering. Greg invited
    me to another meeting at 9:45 AM at the Starbucks at College and
    St. George. (Update: I was unavoidably late and ended up at the
    Starbucks at 10:00 instead of 9:45. Didn’t meet them. Argh! Now I
    look terrible. I hate being late!)
  • Hypothesis: Following Greg Wilson around leads to
    conversations with interesting people. Data point: Hugh Ranalli. I overheard Hugh talking to Greg about computer training in developing countries, so naturally I stepped right into the conversation. (Greg told me to be nice and share! ;) ) Hugh’s working with Digital Opportunity Trust on skill-oriented training (as opposed to tech-oriented; teaching presentation skills instead of Microsoft Powerpoint), and I think that’s just what is needed. I’m curious about the Teach Up, Skill Up, and Scale Up programs he described for teachers, at-risk youth, and entrepreneurs.
  • James Woods had a haircut, which is probably one of the reasons why I didn’t remember his name, but still… He remembered mine and he makes an effort to be good with names, but was good-natured enough to forgive my lapse. =) He told me how he scheduled himself onto a yet-unplanned DemoCamp just to make sure he’d get a slot, and of David Crow‘s funny reaction to that.
  • James Woods introduced me to Vlad Jebelev, who used to be a Toastmaster when he lived in Missassauga. His wife was one of the club founders for a bank-based club.
  • Jeremy talked to me about his work in scientific visualizations – mainly physics and chemistry. His wife’s doing her PhD in biotechnology, so he’s getting interested in that as well.
  • With a little more time this DemoCamp, I got to know Ian Irving through more than just his blog title. “Hi, I’m Ian Irving of falsepositives” wasn’t much to go on last time, especially as I didn’t feel like opening my computer then and there! ;) I noticed the Lotus Notes thing on his business card and we talked a bit about that. Then we ended up in a longer conversation about how to keep track of lots of blogs and the strategies we use, like following influencers, analyzing OPML… Ian has some pretty interesting OPML analysis tools that he should share. =) It would be good to see the intersection of blog subscriptions between your friends, for example… He’s thought a lot about this attention economy, and has come up with a few things to make it personally better.
  • Finally got to connect with Rick Mason. He had stumbled across my entry on networking with Moleskine notebooks. We nearly met at the Flash event on 2006.06.29, but for some reason or another he didn’t make it to that one. We were supposed to meet last week for coffee, but our schedules got full. DemoCamp did the trick!
  • It was good to see Rock Jethwa at DemoCamp. I met him at the TorCHI social the night before and thought he might enjoy the DemoCamp scene. He probably heard about it from other people, too. =)
  • Rock Jethwa introduced me to Goran Matic, who’s also really enthusiastic about storytelling and social computing. Awesome!
  • Simon Rowland actually managed to make it out to one of the DemoCamp parties! =)
  • Andrew Burke joked about his resemblance to Simon Rowland. I laughed and said I’d probably be able to tell them apart by now, all things considered. Andrew and I chatted about Emacs. He said that geek get-togethers in California tend to be Emacs-dominated, while Toronto’s more of a vi city than anything else. I really should have a dinner party just for Emacs geeks.
  • Joey de Villa talked about his recent experiences with AdSense and how Randy of KBCafe is making quite a living off targeted blogs.
  • Brent Ashley collected his requisite two hugs: one coming in, one going. <laugh>
  • Gabriel Mansour and Simon Rowland started talking about Asterisk. Gabriel mentioned the Asterisk + Drupal module. Simon laughed and told him the history of that particular piece – his company developed it. <grin> That was cute!
  • Jedediah Smith suggested that I introduce him as a former mustard factory safety inspector if Web advertising is considered evil.
  • Alan Hietala promised to check out Toastmasters. He’ll be graduating within a few weeks and is looking for a programming/software development job that can take advantage of his interests in visualization and other deep hacking stuff. He’s interested in doing software architecture eventually.
  • Apricots and a kooshy ball!

A very good evening indeed.

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Doors Open

I wandered into three buildings featured in Toronto’s “Doors Open”
weekend. Beautiful, beautiful architecture and interesting stories. =)
I particularly liked the stained glass windows and the huge libraries,
although the captions in the military exhibits were also strangely
amusing…

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Random Japanese sentence: 小雨のときは、傘は役に立つが、土砂降りのときは、ほとんど役に立たない。 An umbrella is useful in a mild rain, but when it rains cats and dogs an umbrella is of little help.

ARGH!

It’s a good thing that I’ve been cramming my paper all day, or I would’ve felt seriously upset about missing web 2.0 for good, an unconference on social software for social change. Mumble! Actually, no, I still feel annoyed because it hadn’t been on my radar at all. That’s what I get for not watching Upcoming.org as often as I should. Blast blast blast blast blast. Next time…

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Random Japanese sentence: 猫は生きたネズミをもて遊んでいた。 The cat was playing with a live mouse.

Linux Caffe

I’m sitting in the Linux Caffe working over a wireless connection, having just polished off another cup of their excellent hot chocolate. And it’s not just any hot chocolate, mind you. It’s open source and version-controlled through an internal Subversion repository.

It’s really a geek haven. Computer books fill the
windows and the shelves. Laptops are out, open, and plugged in.
Assorted penguin buttons are on sale.

It’s a great place to run into people. On the way in, I chatted with a
biologist who’s working on bringing the ideas of open source to genome
research. I’m sitting across a geekette with mad AIX skills. David,
the proprietor, is always fun to chat with about everything from the
local geek scene to the latest chocolate concoctions.

I think I’ve found a good home for my get-togethers. I want to get to
know a lot of people, and I want them to get to know each other, too.
It’s difficult to entertain at the Graduate House because of the
security restrictions and the way our suite is laid out; I don’t have
enough space to entertain. Hosting get-togethers at the Linux Caffe
promotes something I believe in, offers people more variety and
choice, and makes it easier for me to focus on people.

Let’s make that happen. Next Friday, I’ll have a get-together here. I
hope to eventually turn that into a lecture series, so that I get to
learn about interesting things from very interesting people. Perfect… =)

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End-of-class tango milonga on Monday

Announcement from Emily:

This Monday is our end-of-class Milonga! Dress will be semi-formal —
so here’s your chance to take a break from papers and studying, get
dressed up, introduce your friends to the tango, and show off your
dancing skills.

There will be tango demonstrations, a quick crash course for beginners, and you
know the food will be good. You can bring your favourite snacks, too.

Monday, March 20th

6-8pm

FREE for club members, $3 for guests

Location: downstairs at the Wolfond Centre/Hillel — 36 Harbord Street, at Huron
Street, between Spadina and St. George, a bit south of Bloor Street.

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E-Mail from Argentine Tango Club

Random Japanese sentence: 私は犬のほうが猫より好きです、何故なら犬のほうが猫より忠実ですから。 I like dogs better than cats, because the former are more faithful than the latter.