FITC Toronto 2013 – Women’s Initiative

This might be of some interest to some of you in and around the Toronto area. They are lucky if they get 50 entries, so you’re almost guaranteed a win!

FITC Toronto 2013 – Women’s Initiative // FITC.

Here’s a shot I took last year:

FITC 2012 with James White of SignalNoise

FITC 2012 with James White of SignalNoise

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FITC Screens

FITC is hosting a free sneak peek of their upcoming mobile development conference, SCREENS on September 13, 2012 from 7:00-9:30pm. Don’t miss your chance to win one of a limited number of tickets to an intimate evening event which features four awesome speakers who will be talking about mobile development, beer, pizza and use of the giant slide at event sponsor Grip Limited’s office . SCREENS speakers presenting at this exclusive event include Faisal Abid, James Halpern, Adam Hunter and Sachin Monga.

To enter for your chance to win, it’s two simple steps:

1. Make sure you follow @FITC on Twitter

2. Tweet the following message:

Hey @FITC I want to go to the exclusive #SCREENS12 Sneak Peek! #FITCsneakpeek http://fitc.it/d1hOf

Entries will be accepted until midnight on August 31, 2012. You do NOT need to be registered for SCREENS to qualify, but you must follow @FITC on Twitter. The randomly selected winners will be notified via Twitter DM by September 5, 2012.

Good luck!

Panels

I love attending panels. The topic isn’t as important, but the discussion is. Attending a talk with one individual is great, but if you have a few people with different points of view to bring their knowledge to the table, even better.

I attended one in particular called Panel on Panels thanks to Alex Blom. Now, sounds like a joke, right? Maybe so. As entertaining as it was, I actually learned a few things, not only about attending a panel discussion, but also how to go about running a successful panel, from being a moderator to organizing one to being a panelist. I was reminded of this event when I attended a panel at FITC Toronto because the moderator, Jason Theodor was so well prepared. If they have another one, I’ll be first in line.

Panel on The Secrets of Creation at FITC

Panel on The Secrets of Creation at FITC

One thing I’ve learned on my own: always have a question to ask. You may have one prepped from before based on your research or maybe from something that is said during the main discussion. I have a favourite that I like to ask of every panel I attend. I figured it out while attending a discussion on mentorship presented by Women in Information Technology Management (WITM) at my alma mater, the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University. I had graduated from the program a couple of years earlier and there were a number of current students in the room. I asked of the panel: “If there was one source, such as a book, blog, website, etc.) that you would recommend to everyone in the room, for whatever reason, what would it be and why?”. I’ve gotten some pretty interesting answers, but a couple of weeks ago at FITC Toronto, I asked one panelist after the presentation this question and got a surprising answer. The topic of the discussion had been about creativity and I asked the engineer of the team who was originally from the Soviet Union, Dr. Ivan Poupyrev. His answer: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky because (and I’m paraphrasing) Dostoevsky knows how to tell a story of angst and the trials and tribulations of life. A real story about suffering. Of course I’ve heard of the book, but know it’s on my list to read.

Though I’ve never participated on a panel (it is on my bucket list), I really had to think hard about what my own response would be. It took me a while, but then I figured it out: TED. It is full ow wonderful and amazing stories that teach, among other things, that anything is possible. If you want an eye-opening experience or need inspiration, Check it out. If you get me on a panel some day, ask me that question and I’ll tell you about my favourite TED Talk.

FITC 2012

I have to admit, by simply changing venues, my impression of FITC seriously improved. Last year, they held it at The Guvernment and I remember someone commenting: “I never wanted to see those washrooms in daylight”. ‘Nuff said. This year it was held at the Hilton Downtown and it was a huge plus. Definitely suitable given the new direction of the conference is taking from “Flash In The Can” to “Future. Innovation. Creativity. Technology.”

I am also surprised how many people who attended that I knew! Last year, I was solo, not knowing what to expect. Just that fact alone has made it more welcoming.

Here are some of the sessions that I attended. Most were awesome, some were okay. Some I’d seen before and some were brand new. Overall, the conference was very well done.

James White – @Signalnoise

I have to admit right up front that I have a slight bias for James as my favourite presenter. I wrote about him last year and he did not disappoint. I was fully prepared to be blown away with some new stuff, but expecting the same chrome that I grew to love about his work. He did surprise me, but not in the way one might think.

He told us of the personal journey he has travelled since the last conference and how his work has changed as a result. it’s still cool but for different reasons. He spoke of getting back to basics and going more base and vibrant colours. Oddly enough, reminded me of my own life for a bit. Isn’t that part of what artists are all about? Now the challenge comes: after I’d made him a Japanese Crane out of silver paper last year (aka Chrome Crane), what do I do to top that? Well here’s a start: a crane in the colours of one of his more prominent posters. Happened to have the colours on me:

James White's "Drive" poster

James White’s “Drive” poster

"Drive" Inspired Crane

“Drive” Inspired Crane

I wanted to make sure I had a chance to catch his breakdown of the posters in the Voodoo Lounge on Wednesday and it was PACKED! Literally, standing room only. Luckily, I did get a chance to see the process of a really amazing artist. And what did I give him? A flower, made of washi paper that had cranes on it, similar to the above colours. The cranes and the style of paper represented the past and tradition. The flower and the colours represent growing and new things. Can’t wait to see what comes next.

Adobe Keynote

Being the IT person that I am and not so much the developer/designer person, the biggest piece of the keynote that stuck out for me was the intro of Proto, something that can do rough drawings and not only create a clean drawing, but also creates the code behind it. Just by drawing a squiggly line, the program knows you want to place text and generates your Lorem Ipsum filler. It also recognizes a simple line, menu items, paragraphs and more. It’s also very easy to share. With a very simple procedure, it’s in the cloud and your team gets access to it. If the crowd’s sounds were any indication, I wasn’t alone at being impressed.

Matthew Potter @AskMP

I started off Day 2 with a pretty heavy tech session with Matthew Potter. My web design skills are a little out of date and I thought I’d be in over my head. I was surprised that I was able to follow along quite well. Matt covered what he wanted to cover and then opened it up to the floor for questions and discussion, which was just as interesting as the presentation itself. This gave me a chance to learn about some of the challenges that exist around HTML5, what it can do, and what its limitations are. One of the highlights of the discussion was around the topic of accessibility.

Rightsleeve Prize Pack

I have some serious catching up to do!

A few weeks ago I attended FashionConnectTO (#FCTO) put on by the wonderful gang at XConnect (@XConnectTO). One of the swag pieces we received was a pair of sunglasses c/o RightSleeve. They also had a company there taking photos. Here’s mine!

Now the event was awesome, but it didn’t stop there! If you posted your photo with the shades to RightSleeve’s Facebook page, you could win a prize pack. Why not? Well, I won.

I didn’t expect to be graced with one of the most awesome prize packs ever! I’m using the notebook right now to draft this post. I broke it in last week while at Flash in the Can here in Toronto (#FITC). Wow is it great!

Gone are the days of giving out pens. You gotta have great stuff to give away, whether it’s at a conference or recruiting new graduates from University. Well, these guys have got it all. I’ve been invited to their Swag 2.0 party today. Can’t wait to see what they have in store. I’ll keep you posted!

Proof once again that Twitter gets you free stuff.

FITC Day 1 – Favourite Session

Back to the Future: Part II – James White (@SignalNoise)

I arrived at FITC a little late this morning, so I caught the second session. Boy! What a way to start the conference! I don’t usually consider myself to be artistic or creative, but I have to admit, I was inspired by James’s talk. He is an artist who has a “Retro Futurist” style. He loves designing posters and is an old school metal head. Even wore an Iron Maiden T-shirt for his presentation. I have to party with this guy! I came away from it inspired to create, even if it is just origami. I’ve never been much of an artist or very creative, though I’ve been enjoying writing lately. The only arts I’ve ever been good at have been my origami and martial arts. Guess it’s time to breathe new life into them both, maybe even find a new one. Thank you, James.

I know this entry is a bit short, but I’m going to catch up on everything most likely after the show is over.  I hope that I’ve at least caught your interest enough to stay tuned for a few more.

FITC FTW

I’d noticed recently that a few people that I follow on Twitter have been talking about this conference called FITC. For those that don’t know, FITC = Flash In The Can. For more info on the conference, you can check it out here.

Enter Justin Kozuch and 49 Pixels (aka Pixel to Product). I entered a contest to win a conference pass worth about $700. Did I mention that he would be a great Manager of Conversation? (@FITCJustin). Well, he should.

But now I have a dilemma: What sessions should I attend? I’ve got a background in doing web sites, but the skills need some upgrading. Have even thought about getting back into it recently. I was pretty good at coding them, but could use some more design ideas.

So dear readers, if you were granted such a gift, how would you use your powers for good? The schedule is here. What would you attend and why?