Canada

Shape the Future at Canada GovCamp

by Joey deVilla on May 18, 2010

Photo of the Peace Tower in Ottawa: "GovCamp: Ottawa, May 31 - June 1, 2010" Creative Commons Photo by the Poissant Family.

Canada GovCamp is happening May 31 and June 1, 2010 at Ottawa U. and you’re invited!

What is GovCamp?

It’s a gathering of local citizens, public sector employees, service delivery leaders and policy people with an interest in having a conversation on engaging citizens, empowering business and increasing internal efficiencies through transformational government activities across all levels of government (municipal, regional, provincial and federal). It’s neither a trade show nor a product-oriented discussion, but rather a workshop style unconference where participants establish the agenda and explore the themes that are of most interest to them.

Why GovCamp?

We’ve seen a number of great communities spring up across Canada to think about, discuss and build a new relationship with their local governments, often through the use of technology. These activities are accelerated by bringing the community together at workshop-style unconferences such as ChangeCamp and BarCamp. Having participated in these local activities and experiencing the creative energy first-hand, we began to think about how the ideas and enthusiasm we saw at these local events could be shared in a broader context. We thought that it would be interesting to bring together communities across camps, a sort of Jamboree, to explore opportunities to work together on open government activities across multiple levels of government.

To Talk about What?

  • Wouldn’t it be great to call one number and be able to get an answer to government services regardless of which level provided it?
  • Reserve your campsite from one website without having to think about which department managed the site?
  • How about being able to give your input and be heard on government initiatives that start from the speech from the throne and are delivered through provincial programs by you municipality?

These are the types of conversations we are looking to have.

Who Else Will be There?

Confirmed guests include:

  • Welcome keynote speaker Jerry Mechling, from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard
  • The opening panel discussion members:
    • Guy Michaud, CIO, City of Ottawa
    • David Eaves, a major proponent of Vancouver’s OpenGov, who’ll also do the end-of-unconference wrap-up
    • Eric Sauve, Newsgator and former CEO of Tomoye
  • Mark Kuznicki, Toronto’s civic unconference organizer extraordinaire, who’ll lead the development of the ideas matrix from which the unconference sessions will be formed

In putting GovCamp together, we’re reaching out to a number organizations and communities including:

Who is GovCamp For?

This event is for:

  • IT People –Technology is one way that governments are transforming how they deliver services externally and internally. Technology people are needed to explore the art of the possible for these new services. Mash-ups, Open Data, social media are but a few of the possible areas for discussion.
  • Policy People – We need you in the conversation so that you can share your expertise on the realm of the possible from a policy perspective. Privacy, Security, Access to Information, Information Management are all key considerations for successful government transformation.  Come share your knowledge on how to make these policies enable new services.
  • Government Services leaders – Ultimately, government delivers value through the many services that are provided. GovCamp is about exploring the realm of the possible for service to individuals, services to businesses and services to other departments. Your voice is essential to inform the community and to guide those ideas that the community may have for you!
  • Community – We are fortunate that there’s a passionate and creative community with vibrant ideas about how they can help create a closer connection between governments, individuals, businesses and even among government itself. Your participation at the Canada Gov Camp will provide you with a venue to share your great ideas and, if all goes well, interact with some of the people that can take your idea further.

How Much, and Where do I Register?

Registration for GovCamp is free! To register, visit the registration page. For more information, see John Weigelt’s blog.

Who’s Behind this Event?

Canada GovCamp is being hosted by the Canadian Association for Information Technology Professionals, sponsored by Microsoft Canada on behalf of the community.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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GovCamp: Ottawa, May 31 – June 1, 2010

by Joey deVilla on May 10, 2010

 Photo of the Peace Tower in Ottawa: "GovCamp: Ottawa, May 31 - June 1, 2010" Creative Commons Photo by the Poissant Family.

Open Government / Government 2.0

The intersection of the internet and politics has given rise to many things, including the concept often referred to as “Open Government” or “Government 2.0”. To borrow a couple of lines from Mark Kuznicki’s keynote at ChangeCamp Toronto, its goals are twofold:

  1. For governments to become more open, transparent, participatory, innovative, efficient and effective
  2. For citizens to become more connected to each other around their civic passions in the place they call home

Events like ChangeCamp, TransitCamp and Metronauts – unconferences where ordinary citizens, government officials and representatives of organizations that receive public funding meet to exchange ideas – have been happening across Canada. At these events, people have thought about, discussed and built new relationships with their local governments, often through the use of technology.

Most of these events focused on a local community, municipality or occasionally, a province, but none of them have had a discussion at the federal level. Could this be done at a broader level?

GovCamp: May 31 – June 1 in Ottawa

GovCamp logo

That’s where GovCamp comes in. It’s an “Open Government”/”Government 2.0” discussion where the topics will be centred around Canada as a whole, the interactions between cities and provinces, and how our provincial and federal governments can help cultivate the growth and prosperity of Canadians and their vibrant communities.

John Weigelt, Microsoft Canada’s National Technology Officer, is putting together this event, which takes place on Monday, May 31st and Tuesday, June 1st in Ottawa. It’ll be a gathering of local citizens, public sector employees, service delivery leaders and policy people with an interest in having a conversation about engaging citizens and businesses and making government at all levels more open, responsive and efficient. It won’t be a trade show or product-oriented discussion; instead, it will be a workshop-style unconference where participants establish the agenda and explore the themes that they care most about.

GovCamp is being hosted by CIPS – the Canadian Association for Information Technology Professionals – and sponsored by Microsoft Canada on behalf of the community.

Who’s Coming to GovCamp?

In putting GovCamp together, we’re reaching out to a number organizations and communities including:

Who is GovCamp For?

This event is for:

  • IT People –Technology is one way that governments are transforming how they deliver services externally and internally. Technology people are needed to explore the art of the possible for these new services. Mash-ups, Open Data, social media are but a few of the possible areas for discussion.
  • Policy People – We need you in the conversation so that you can share your expertise on the realm of the possible from a policy perspective. Privacy, Security, Access to Information, Information Management are all key considerations for successful government transformation.  Come share your knowledge on how to make these policies enable new services.
  • Government Services leaders – Ultimately, government delivers value through the many services that are provided. GovCamp is about exploring the realm of the possible for service to individuals, services to businesses and services to other departments. Your voice is essential to inform the community and to guide those ideas that the community may have for you!
  • Community – We are fortunate that there’s a passionate and creative community with vibrant ideas about how they can help create a closer connection between governments, individuals, businesses and even among government itself. Your participation at the Canada Gov Camp will provide you with a venue to share your great ideas and, if all goes well, interact with some of the people that can take your idea further.

How Much, and Where do I Register?

Registration for GovCamp is free! To register, visit the registration page.

GovCamp will be held at the University of Ottawa, in a location to be determined.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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EnergizeIT: Coming to 20 Cities Across Canada

by Joey deVilla on February 23, 2010

EnergizeIT: Anything is Possible - March/April 2010

Whenever you do anything where money changes hands, from getting cash from the ATM to buying anything – movie tickets, groceries, a new pair of shoes or a new car to booking a flight and hotel room, chances are that there’s some Microsoft technology involved. It could be an SQL Server database, an app written in Visual Studio, a site living on IIS or Azure or a business process powered by SharePoint, and more likely than not, someone was using Office as well. From devices that fit in your pocket to cavernous data centres, the Microsoft platform helps millions of people across a broad spectrum of industries get real work done every day.

Want to know what’s possible with the Microsoft-based platform? Want to know how it all fits together? That’s what the EnergizeIT 2010 tour is for. In March and April, we’re visiting 20 cities across Canada – as far west as Victoria and as far east as St. John’s – to host free local gatherings where we show you how you can take advantage of our tools and technology to drive your business and your career.

EnergizeIT will comprise different sorts of events in different cities, all of which are listed below.

The “From the Client to the Cloud” Full-Day Events
(Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal)

City skylines: Vancouver (YVR), Edmonton (YEG), Calgary (YYC), Ottawa (YOW), Toronto (YYZ), Montreal (YUL)

In Canada’s six largest cities, we’ll hold our EnergizeIT From the Client to the Cloud full-day events, where we’ll cover the Microsoft-based platform in detail. And yes, even though it’s full-day, it’ll still be free!

In the morning, we’ll talk about the big picture. We’ll show you a scenario featuring the Microsoft-based platform as seen from different points of view: the customer, the information worker, the developer and the IT professional. You’ll see our latest and greatest as well as our up-and-coming developer goodies: Silverlight, .NET 4.0 and Visual Studio 2010. We’ll show you Windows 7 and Azure in action, talk about Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010, and tell you how all of Microsoft’s stuff works together.

Just as the morning session answers the question “What’s the latest technology?”, the afternoon sessions answer the question “How do I get to the latest technology from where I am now?” These sessions, split into two tracks – one on infrastructure management and deployment, one on the development process – will cover what you can do with our tools and technology in a little more depth. They’ll show you what you need to implement what you saw in the morning session and provide a roadmap you can follow to learn more and take action.

For more details about From the Client to the Cloud events or to register (it’s free!), visit the EnergizeIT From the Client to the Cloud page.

The “Community Connection” Evening Events
(Many Cities Across Canada)

A scene from EnergizeIT 2009 in Mississauga

We’ll also hold Community Connection events in the evening in many cities across Canada, where we’ll do the “big picture” session (the morning session) of our From the Client to the Cloud events.

The Community Connection evening events will take place in the following cities:

  • British Columbia: Vancouver, Kelowna and Victoria
  • Alberta: Edmonton and Calgary
  • Saskatchewan: Regina and Saskatoon
  • Manitoba: Winnipeg
  • Ontario: Ottawa, London, Kitchener and Mississauga
  • Quebec: Montreal, Quebec City and Trois-Rivières
  • Atlantic Canada: Halifax, St. John’s, Moncton and Fredericton

For more details about Community Connection or to register (it’s free!), visit the EnergizeIT Community Connection page.

Office 2010 Installfests
(Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Montreal, Mississauga)

Microsoft Office 2010 logoI’ve been using the beta and release candidate versions of Office 2010 in my day-to-day work for the past couple of months – PowerPoint for my public speaking stuff, Outlook for email, scheduling and get-things-done stuff and OneNote for my copious note-taking. We’d like you to take it for a spin!

Join us at one of our Microsoft Office 2010 Installfests and we’ll hook you up with the latest build of Office, show you some of our favourite features and demonstrate how to get the most out of our productivity suite.

For more details about the Office 2010 Installfests or to register (it’s free!), visit the EnergizeIT Office 2010 Installfest page.

Academic Sessions

We’ll also be passing through a number of colleges across Canada, talking to students about getting ready for the working world and showing them resources that they can use to fire up their careers.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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Mathew Ingram Joins GigaOM

by Joey deVilla on January 11, 2010

mathew ingramIt’s another “local guy makes good” story: Mesh Conference co-founder, Globe and Mail writer and editor for the better part of two decades, all-round respected Canadian voice in tech journalism and fixture of the Toronto tech scene, Mathew Ingram is leaving the Globe to join GigaOM as one of its full-time reporters.

This is great news all ‘round: for GigaOM, who are getting a great writer to join their ranks, for Mathew, because this is a great opportunity, and for Canada – whose techies since Alexander Graham Bell have been punching above their weight class – who now has a voice in one of technology’s most important and influential blogs.

Congratulations, Mathew, and see you online!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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I have no idea if WIND Mobile is going to be able to deliver what they promise – a mobile phone company that listens to its customers and provides better service than the sad players in the Canadian mobile phone oligarchy – but they’ve got the right ideas and some rather funny videos that perfectly illustrate what the Canadian mobile customer has to contend with.

What if Toronto’s hot dog vendors had a pricing model like Canadian mobile phone companies? Buying a hot dog would be like this:

Canada is the only country in the world where mobile companies lock you into three-year contracts for mobile service, and this situation is illustrated in the video titled Bike Lock:

I always look at the service packages offered by U.S. mobile companies with envy. Here, the mobile companies love nickel-and-diming you:

WIND is a new entrant into the Canadian mobile phone market and a branch of Globalive Communications, who already have a presence in Canada in the form of Yak Communications, an alternative phone and internet provider. They seem to be taking a very “social media” approach to their marketing, what with the “viral” YouTube videos and a “conversational” website in which readers are encourage to actively participate in online discussions.

They look like an interesting company to watch, and hey, if they can get me a better deal than Rogers, I’ll switch.

Recommended Reading

Tom Purves has been one of voices leading the battle cry against Canadian mobile companies for the past couple of years. Back in 2007 at DemoCamp 17, he gave what I consider to be the best ignite presentation ever given at a Toronto DemoCamp, The State of Wireless in Canada Sucks. Here’s the slide deck from that presentation:

He recently revised his presentation for 2009 when he presented it at the FITC mobile conference in September, which mentions WIND mobile:

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.

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The TechDays $299 Deal

by Joey deVilla on August 25, 2009

For the price of this (an Xbox 360 Elite or $300), you get all this (conference sessions, opportunities to meet people, a supercharged brain, Microsoft TechNet subscription, developer resources, a happy cat)

The Early Bird Price is Going Away Soon

The $299 early bird pricing for TechDays Canada 2009’s Vancouver and Toronto stops will vanish after Monday, August 31st. From September 1st onward, if you want to catch TechDays in Vancouver (Monday, September 14th – Tuesday, September 15th) and Toronto (Tuesday, September 29th – Wednesday, September 30th), you’ll have to pay the full price of $599. Why pay double when you don’t have to?

The TechDays Formula

Continuing with this article’s theme of using pictograms to explain things, here’s TechDays in a nutshell, pictorial-style:

The TechDays Formula -- TechDays = Content from premium conferences far, far away + Delivered by local speakers at venues close to home + Extra events and goodies for you to enjoy We take presentation sessions that cover getting the most out of current and new Microsoft tools and technologies from big conferences like TechEd, which are typically held in a large city in the southern United States, at a large convention centre, near large hotels and will set you back a couple “large” for registration, transportation and accommodation. TechDays 2009 features over 40 sessions split into these tracks:

  • Developing for the Microsoft-Based Platform
  • Developer Fundamentals and Best Practices
  • Windows Client
  • Servers, Security and Management
  • Communications and Collaboration

We update that content where necessary and find local speakers to present it. We pick out speakers who are either well-versed in the session topic or who are simply bright techies with a thirst for knowledge, a knack for presenting and who have been meaning to get well-versed in that topic. Whenever possible, we try to get someone who lives in the area of the conference city, because TechDays isn’t just about spreading knowledge; it’s also about helping developers make connections with their peers nearby.

We also set up extra events and goodies. Attendees get a one-year subscription to TechNet, which alone is worth more than the price of the early bird registration and gets you access to all kinds of goodies including Windows 7. There’s also all the content from the TechEd conference. You also get the learning kit DVD packed with goodies to help you get the most out of Microsoft’s tools and tech. We’re throwing in some discount codes for books. We’ll also be announcing surprise events in your city – watch this space for details!

And last but not least, don’t underestimate the job-and-employee-seeking opportunities that a gathering like TechDays provides. Events like TechDays are where opportunities happen!

All This for $299

3 Canadian 100-dollar bills, minus one loonie

And don’t forget, that’s $299 Canadian, for content from conferences that cost 7 times as much. And with extra goodies such as a TechNet subscription (which costs more than the early bird fee and gets you Windows 7) thrown in. Plus a chance to meet up with your peers as well as us evangelists, whom you should think of as “your people on the inside”. It’s a great deal, and it’s going away after next Monday, so sign up now!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

Sliverlight Tour logoIf you’ve been meaning to get into building rich internet applications using Silverlight, you might want to check out The Silverlight Tour. Billed as “a worldwide three-day course on Silverlight”, the Tour mixes lectures, demonstrations and hands on labs, covering Silverlight development from three angles:

  • Design
  • Development
  • Server-Side Code

The Silverlight Tour people have been keeping up with the latest developments. While they cover development in Silverlight 2, they’ve already updated their seminars to cover the latest and greatest features in the upcoming Silverlight 3.

According to their site, here’s what you get:

  • 3 days of intensive Silverlight 2 and 3
  • Coverage of Expression Blend and Visual Studio
  • Architect Silverlight Solutions
  • Understand the full Control Model and Customization
  • Data Access and Web Services

The full details are covered in their workshop outline.

They’ve announced a set of Canadian tour dates, most of which are in the summer:

  • Montreal: July 13 – 15
  • Vancouver: July 20 – 22
  • Ottawa: August 3 – 5
  • Quebec City: August 10-12
  • Toronto: November 11 – 13

Registration for this hardcore three-day workshop is $1995 – the registration page is here.

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