#DevTO – Part 1

I attended the second #DevTO session held at Richmond Day. I read a tweet about it and though it might be a good way to network and meet some new people. I knew some of the people involved more than the event itself, so though I wasn’t sure what to expect, I knew it would be great.

This particular time, I was the only woman out of 6 people; four organizers, one presenter and me. It was marketed not only to developers specifically, but also to anyone who has an interest or deals with developers. I’ve done a bit of coding in my time and work as an IT Generalist, so I deal with developers, designers and more acting as a translator between the technical types and the business types.

An event like this helps me understand what developers face and perhaps help my clients by asking the right questions the first time, hence saving time and becoming more efficient.

At the first one I attended, I had the privilege of hearing Chris Brooker present Epilogger from the developer’s perspective. I’d seen their short presentation at Code Your Art Out a few days earlier, but it only scratched the surface. In this more intimate setting, I had the chance to ask more questions that helped me understand what difficulties they faced, why certain pieces were chosen and why others weren’t as well as what the process behind it was. It was also helpful to Chris to get feedback from users and developers alike, to provide more functionality and get ideas on how to solve some of the problems that they might have encountered so far.

I’d also recently signed up for #LadiesLearningCode (another post coming on that one soon). I went to their brainstorming session later that week and found that many of the women there were in a similar situation to myself. I thought many of them would probably appreciate something like #DevTO, so when I saw the invites come up for the next one, I started “marrying” the two hashtags together. Next thing I know there is a waiting list for the next #DevTO! I’m not sure how many spaces were filled because of my actions, but it came out of nowhere!

I’ll post more on the next #DevTO tomorrow, but in the meantime, Make sure you follow @DevTO_ca for more updates and register for the event here. At last check, they only have 5 spots left. Did I mention that they provide beer and pizza? ๐Ÿ˜‰

My Fun Saturday – The Teaser

It was definitely a busy day yesterday. On Friday I just chilled out knowing that it was certainly going to be a whirlwind on Saturday. And I was right! I got full use out of my metropass!

My day started out with a great event at the Art Gallery of Ontario. It was intended to get feedback from the public about the Gallery. I’ll be posting more on it tomorrow, but you can certainly follow the discussion on Twitter by watching the hashtag #AGOChat. The photos from that event are posted here. I know that Rannie will certainly have wonderful photos posted from the event soon. As a thank you, we walked away with some pretty cool swag. Definitely setting the bar on that one!

My Andy on his first day out

After finishing at the AGO, I rushed over to the Liberty Noodle for the HTML5

Barbecue. This was done jointly with the Toronto Google Technology Users Group which I attended two weeks ago where I won my Andy. Unfortunately, I didn’t get there until it was almost finished, so I won’t have much on that except to say that it was a packed room and a great bunch of people. Even after the presentations were done, there were some great discussions and of course cool swag. ๐Ÿ˜‰ You can follow the Yorkville Media Centre for more details on this, the #TOGTUG group and of course, AndroidTO coming up in October.

I’ve posted the photos from the Stella Artois Block Party here. Please feel free to tag at your leisure. This was another great event where I got to see some old friends and meet some new people that I might have seen on Twitter, but hadn’t had the chance to meet in person. Many thanks to @StellaArtoisCAN for throwing this great event. Follow the hashtag #BlockParty from last night to see some craziness.

I’ll be writing on these topics more in the coming days so stay tuned!

#MexiTO

I know I’m late in posting this, but given his recent successes, I figured the window might be open long enough for me to get this one down.

A few weeks ago, I decided to skip my usual Monday routine and attend #MexiTO at La Mexicana (@LaMexicanaResto) on Yonge Street. This was the first of Jo’s events that I had attended, though we had met a couple of times before (See my post on #HoHoTo and the follow up).

For $15, we had all-you-can eat tacos, a selection of appetizers and desserts. You could pile whatever you wanted on the tacos from refried beans, to chicken, to veggies. Did I mention that it was $5 margarita night? I highly recommend the mango flavour. ๐Ÿ˜‰

In addtion to the meal and environment, we were also treated to a pinata! There were some videos and photos, but I apologize for not taking more myself. And no, my Sensei will not be seeing any of my poor performance. Last, but not least, we were also given samples of El Jimador tequila along with some cute swag, including a shot glass, key chain and mini shaker.

Of course, the company and connections that were made that night were too many to count, so I must thank Jo for putting us all in touch. This is what Twitter is all about. Make sure you keep an eye on this guy! Now you all know why I jumped at the chance to attend St. Louis! Check my post on that here.

My biggest #FollowFriday goes to Jo (@clickflickca).

East End Boys and West End Girls

Somehow this conversation has come up twice over the last few days and I figured I needed to ask some more people. Thanksย  to @BuzzBuzzHome and their meetup this evening at the Pour House on Dupont Street for giving me a forum to chat about it this evening. I believe they will be posting on their forum soon about this topic too.

You ask almost anyone living in Toronto, they will tell you that there are “East Enders” and “West Enders”. Once you are born into one or the other, you’re sold. It may not be as pronounced nowadays, but it did when I moved here and you can still feel it in the air.

I moved to Toronto when I was 11 and we moved into the Beach. When my parents split up, my mom moved just north of Kingston Road to the Upper Beach and my father moved to Riverdale. I joined him and my brother there about a year later. When I graduated a year after that, I made my first move “across Yonge Street” to Yonge and Eglinton, a few blocks west of Yonge Street. I was there for 8 months, then moved back to Riverdale where I got an apartment and then bought a house. That was seven years.

My mother and I bought a condo from my father’s project in the Bloor West Village and stayed for about a year. Then moved to East York for another three years and got another condo at Landsdowne and Dupont. A year later, I moved to my father’s for school (which was in Corktown) and my mother moved to the Beach again.

My latest move has me in Forest Hill and though most of my life is in the south east quadrant of the city, I still went north west. This is the first voluntary move that I’ve made “West of Yonge” since Yonge & Eglinton. The other two were to purchase condos in my father’s projects.

My point is that even though I moved to the west end, I am still an east ender at heart. My local pub is in the Beach, and most of my family and friends are around Riverdale or in Scarborough. Torontonians that leave the city for even years return and tend to move back to the same side of the city, though not necessarily the same neighbourhood. Another question that this raises is: Do “North-Enders” exist?

The only thing that I couldn’t quite put my finger on is: What characteristics (if any) discern East from West? Thoughts?

Tweetup at St. Louis Wings – 528 Yonge Street, Toronto

I received an invitation from Jo about Wednesday of last week. I’ve had the pleasure of attending another of Jo’s events, #MexiTO and he’s raised the bar yet again.

On Saturday I was fortunate enough to be one of about 150 people to attend the Tweetup at the 528 Yonge Street location of St. Louis (#528YongeStLouis – smart huh?)

Coors Light almost gone with Jennie next to me.

Coors Light almost gone with Jennie next to me.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not just our wings or main course that was covered, it was everything! Under their permit, they were able to give us one alcoholic beverage, as many non-alcoholic drinks as we wanted, an appetizer, our main course AND dessert!

I ordered a Coors Light since I’m not a big beer drinker, but figured one must have beer with wings. Before the wings even arrived, I was almost done, but not because of lack of service! I wanted to pace myself and it was going down way too nicely!

I started the meal with the garlic bread and had to stop for fear of not being able to finish my dinner, but it is amazing! Shared it with some other peeps at the table, since that’s what an appetizer was for. I didn’t get a pic of it, but trust me, it’s worthwhile.

Sweet Asian Wings and Caesar Salad

Sweet Asian Wings and Caesar Salad

Then came the main course. Thanks to Jennie (@gwenstyles)for her ordering a caesar salad and giving me the idea. It was very refreshing along with my Sweet Asian Wings. I have to admit my shame in not being able to finish them all. For the record, I couldn’t wait for lunch to arrive the next day so I could have the leftovers. What? You thought I’d let them go to waste? Hell no!

The Lindt Chocolate Ice Cream Cake x4

The Lindt Chocolate Ice Cream Cake x4

There were a couple of us that had a similar dilemma. We wanted to make sure that we could have dessert. And boy did we! At the recommendation of one of the guys from the previous sitting, William (@william_penman) we all ordered the Lindt Chocolate Ice Cream Cake. I didn’t care how sick I was going to be, I was going to finish it!!! And boy was it worth it. I still think this photo should be the one to win for the best photo that day.

Since I couldn’t have everything, I know that some of the other comments that I heard were about the fried pickles, the fries and the sweet potato fries as well as the ribs. Not a complaint amongst them.

Besides all the great food, was the chance to meet up with old friends and meet some new ones. Some of my “tablemates” in addition to the above were: Bruce (@BBICON), JP (@JayPIsHere) and the infamous Jon (@JonGautier) . Afterwards, some of us even went out and hit a couple of other places. This was twitter at its best!

One of the comments I made during the dinner was “What’s better than great wings? Answer: Great FREE wings.”ย  At the end of the meal, we got a gift certificate for ANOTHER main course! So, what’s better than great free wings? Answer: MORE great free wings!

Better reserve a spot for me at every event Jo, because I’ll be there! We’ve even given him his next project: #SushiTO Stay tuned and make sure you follow both @StLouisWings and Jo (@ClickFlickCa). Congratulations on a great event and best wishes on your grand opening today! Ok, time to stop writing. I’m getting hungry again…;)

If you started a music band, what would the name be?

If you started a music band, what would the name be?

When I was working for Toronto East General Hosptial in the Public Relations Department, we worked on a project called Silos to Solutions. We put together a slide show of hundreds of shots around Toronto taken over a few weeks. While at Cherry Beach, I shot this one with Kevin’s camera. (Thanks to Kevin Holm for lending it to me to take this one set of shots). While there, I came up with a band name: Cherry Swan. I wasn’t even practicing in a band, nor did I have any dreams of becoming a famous musician. But if it ever came, I’d have a cool band name.

Swag 2.0 by @RightSleeve

My Right Sleeve Notebook from Swag 2.0I had the pleasure of attending this event about a week and a half ago. Boy do they know how to throw a party! First thing we get is a wonderful notebook so we can note down all the wonderful swag we would like to purchase. It is definitely one of my favourite styles. Highly recommended for any conference you are attending.

I never knew how cool this business was until I walked in to the event. Everything from notebooks, to rugby shirts to funny shaped usb keys. I know Carolyn Van was admiring a few.

That’s the other cool thing about this event. When Mark asked if I was coming, I told him I wasn’t sure because I wasn’t in a position to buy anything. He said come anyway since it was a great way to meet people and they would love to have me. That’s community! I ran into people that I hadn’t seen in a while and got a chance to hang out with them all at one venue. And the food was enough to keep us around, especially the cupcakes.

It just so happens that Erin Bury’s article on Mashable was released the same day and that Right Sleeve was mentioned therein. The bags shown there are the very same ones we were given at the end of the night as gift bags.

And let me tell you…if you haven’t already heard…is that I’ve used almost everything that they gave us that night. The biggest one being the umbrellas that we needed not only that night to sheild us from the rain, but for many a night thereafter. Here’s me at #TweetGasm sporting the brollie and the bag, thanks to Jonny Bunning (@emaninTdot on Twitter).

Ernie Whitt's AutographAnother little side story is how I met one of the greatest baseball players of all time; Ernie Whitt formerly of the Toronto Blue Jays. I recognized him and the ring on his finger. He didn’t stay long, but long enough for me to snag his autograph. And how apprpriate? I happened to have one of my other Right Sleeve notebooks on hand with their letterhead for him to sign in. Karim Kanji is still jealous to this day. ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you ever have a need of swag (or don’t and like to admire new toys) then you must check them out. They have great products and are wonderful people. You can find Mark Graham and his team here. If you have an idea, I’m quite sure they will have the solution. I know that they will be the first ones that I go to.

Thanks to Mark and his team for putting on such a wonderful event. Hope to see you all very soon.

Camaraderie and Zip Cars Toronto Announcement at Veritas

I was introduced to a company called Camaraderie (@Camaraderie) by Scott Honsberger just over a month ago. We’d crossed paths two nights in a row at two totally separate events, a week later getting off the same streecar, and a few weeks later at a meetup for a company I’ve been looking at. Camaraderie is a shared workspace in downtown Toronto for individuals, small businesses and startups. This was a fairly new concept to me, and yet, a no brianer. So when he invited me to one of their events, co-hosting with Zip Cars Toronto for an announcement. I could tell that this was a match made in heaven. Office space and transportation, with out long term commitments and as-needed. Wonderful!

The event was hosted at Veritas at King Street East and Sherbourne Street. I’d never been there before and enjoyed a glass of their house red wine (Pinot Noir, Cave Spring). I could never resist a good Pinot Noir!

Zip Cars has some great offers for members of Camaraderie, which are still pretty good even if you aren’t a member. I even walked away with some great swag, including a porcelin travel mug. Not cheap! And what follow-up! I had a rep from Zip Cars call me the next morning to see if I had any questions about the offerings that had been given to me the night before. They sent me an email with all of the pertinent info and did not push anything.

If you haven’t checked any of these companies out yet, I would certainly take a look. Enjoy!

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?

Tales Of The Laundry Room

My apartment building has only four washers and four dryers. Since I moved in on Thanksgiving last year, I’ve never really had a problem. Most people are courteous enough to move their laundry in a timely fashion. I’ve had to wait once or twice, but that’s because it’s been busy.

Today, I write to you from my Blackberry after having waited 30 minutes, 20 of which I’ve been seated in this chair,for the person who has taken up three of the washers and has not bothered to show. How do I know the timing you might ask? Because the fourth washer read 30 minutes remaining when I first came down. All the others read zero, meaning they were done.

Okay, so I’ll go up and get my third load since I know they’ll all become free at once, so I might as well do it and get in before the rush. They’ll probably be here by the time I come back. Nope.

Well, I’ve been meaning to take the recycling out, so I’ll go do that and give them a few more minutes. Still nothing.

By this time the lone running washer reads 20 minutes remaining. Surely 10 minutes grace period is reasonable, much like at a parking meter. I decide to wait until the person shows up because it’s bound to be any minute now.

The lone washer has now stopped and for the last five minutes or so, I’ve been staring at four occupied washers and I could have had my stuff in the dryer already.
I know what you all must be thinking: why don’t you take their stuff out and start doing your own? Well, there are a few good reasons why I don’t:

    1. I don’t like the idea of going through someone else’s, albeit clean laundry;
    2. I’m lazy;
    3. I’m going to make them feel guilty as sin;
    4. And if not for their ignorance, I would not have had time to write this wonderful blog post.

I just spoke with the girl who was using the lone washer, who just brought down another load and she can’t believe my patience. At least she asked if I would mind putting in another load. Of course not! She was there before me and at least had the decency to move her stuff within 10 minutes of it finishing. I told her that if I finish this post before they come down, I might consider moving it. And for those of you keeping score, it’s been at LEAST 45 minutes since they finished. I will not be responsible for their things…

UPDATE: Finally did move the laundry of the offending tenant. Even used one of my baskets to contain most of it. Decided not to put laundry in dryer because knowing my luck, I’ll go back and they still won’t have moved it to the dryer. Considering when I go back down putting their stuff back in the washing machines just to see if they’d notice! And yes, I did set a timer to go back and get my laundry when it’s done.