Demo Ignite Camp in Vancouver: Less Than a Week Away!

Demo Ignite Camp: Monday, September 14 - 7:00 p.m. - Vancouver Convention entre

If you live in Vancouver or are going to be there on Monday night, don’t forget that Demo Ignite Camp, the show-and-tell event for the bright lights of the Vancouver tech scene, is taking place that night at the Vancouver Convention Centre!

For more details, see my earlier post on Demo Ignite Camp or visit its event page.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


The Ultimate Steal: Office Ultimate for $64!

Package for Office 2007 Ultimate: "$64.00 (Canadian!) for students / Glossy reflective table not included)"

Here’s a great “back-to-school” deal — if you’re a student at an eligible Canadian university or college, you can get the top-of-the-line edition of Microsoft Office 2007 for CDN$64. That’s the fullest version of Office that you can get, which means you get:

  • OneNote (Note-taking software par excellence, the Office app I personally use the most, which is why I listed it first. I am the OneNote king.
  • Word (Word processor)
  • Excel (Spreadsheets)
  • PowerPoint (Presentations)
  • Outlook (Email, calendar and task management)
  • Publisher (For producing publications, whether print or online)
  • Access (The little database that could)
  • Groove (Collaboration and file sharing)
  • InfoPath (For making and filling out forms)

The Ultimate Steal The program through which you can get all this software for around the cost of three cases of beer is called The Ultimate Steal, and it’s quite simple:

  • You have to be a student actively enrolled in one of the eligible Canadian universities or colleges. The simplest way to prove this is to use your school email address; there are other ways to prove you’re a student, and they’re explained on the site.
  • You have to have a course load of at least 0.5. If you’re enrolled, it shouldn’t be too hard to qualify for that.

The super-deluxe, all-singing, all-dancing version of Office for CDN$64. That’s a pretty goal deal.

Thanks to my coworker Christian Beauclair for pointing this out on Canadian Developer Connection!


TechDays Vancouver’s and Toronto’s “Developer Foundations” Track!!!

If you’ve looked at the TechDays Canada 2009 site this week, you might have noticed the addition of a new track: Developer Foundations. At that point, you might have asked yourself these questions:

  • What’s the Developer Foundations track all about?
  • Why! Do! The! Session! Descriptions! Have! So! Many! Exclamation! Points?!!!

I’ll answer the question about the exclamation! points! first! It’s because the people in charge of the track, Justice Gray and Peter Ritchie, are really exciting about the opportunity to have a track that they really believe in and have been putting heart, soul and viscera into this project. They’ve done a lot of work under an extremely tight schedule in order to have the track ready in time for TechDays Vancouver and TechDays Toronto. The only way to truly capture the enormity of their task is with…a montage!

While most of TechDays’ tracks concern themselves with Microsoft’s tools and technologies, the Developer Foundations track takes a step back to first principles, concerning itself with how you can be a better coder. It’s about writing elegant, maintainable, working code. You’ll learn techniques that get short shrift or don’t even get mentioned in the Teach Yourself X Over Your Lunch Break books. You’ll probably encounter a lot of exclamation! marks!

There are four sessions in the Developer Foundations track:

  1. S-O-L-I-D: The Five OO Principles That Will Change Your Life Forever: “Can’t believe you just got passed over at the club – again – because you didn’t know real object orientation? Thought that the sure-fire way to third base was knowing how to write a constructor? Thought you had the evening all figured out because you read an example of Cat inheriting from Animal? Think again. Annoyed by all those homely elitist jerks that still score all the time because people say they are OO masters? Well, it’s time to turn the tables and learn object oriented programming the way real men and women do it – the SOLID way!”
  2. Going from 0 to 100 Dollars with the .NET You Never Knew: You’ll learn “How generics can be used for more than just collections, the true power of lambdas and anonymous methods, the ins and outs of LINQ to objects, proper error handling beyond try-catch-finally and the importance of regular bathing.”
  3. Layers, the Secret Language of Architects: “Come to the presentation that will show you how to become “the man”! Seams? Design by contract? Services that aren’t prefixed by “web”? Repositories? Anti-corruption layers? (Gasp!) Domain-Driven Design? Do you know how that guy or girl at your office was able to negotiate foot massages and a daily breakfast buffet into their contract? They knew all of these terms and how to use them to build flexible and maintainable systems – and after attending this presentation so will you!”
  4. Refactoring for Fun and Profit: “Are you ashamed of your application? Does your architecture make you want to go home and weep in the shower? Heck, would it be nice if your application seemed to have architecture? This is the presentation for you! Come see how the art of refactoring can help fix your code, fix your house, and maybe even fix your dog! We’re going to show you how to TAKE CONTROL of your codebase without simply tearing everything down and starting over!”

We added this track in response to a call from developers like Justice and Peter for sessions that cover good programming practices. We’re gauging the response to it – if people attend and give it positive reviews, we’ll make it a regular TechDays track. I’d love to see this happen.

We’re calling this “the track so nice, we’re running it twice!” The sessions in Developer Foundations will run on Day 1 and repeat on Day 2! If you’re a developer attending TechDays Vancouver or TechDays Toronto, you have no excuse for catching at least one of the sessions in this track! And thus ends this article and the exclamation points! Ciao!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Your First Warning: Vancouver, September 11 – 18

Photo of downtown vancouver at night, captioned: "September 11th - 18th / Vangroovy", with arrow pointing to Fairmont Waterfront hotel

I’m going to be in Vancouver from the afternoon of Friday, September 11th until the morning of Friday, September 18th. I’m there first and foremost to manage the “Developing for the Microsoft-Based Platform” track of the TechDays conference, then to meet up with the local tech community, but also to enjoy the city I fondly refer to as “Vangroovy”.

Here’s what I’ll be up to:

Coffee and Code Vancouver: Saturday, September 12th

"Monkey" latte art

My coworker John Bristowe and I will be holding Coffee and Code on Saturday, September 12th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Pacific time, of course) at the Take 5 Cafe on Granville (429 Granville, near Hastings). We’ll be there to talk about TechDays, The Empire and the tech industry in general – but it won’t just be geeky stuff; we’ll provide scintillating conversation about accordions, the Calgary Flames, deep fried snack foods, “Am I metrosexual or not”, life, the universe and everything. I will have the accordion with me, so tunes are definitely on the menu!

You can register for Coffee and Code Vancouver on its event page.

TechDays Vancouver: Monday, September 14th – Tuesday, September 15th

TechDays 2009 Canada banner

TechDays is Microsoft Canada’s cross-Canada tour, where we highlight what you can do with currently-available Microsoft tools and tech that you probably aren’t doing yet. We take the content from the infinitely more expensive TechEd North America conference (admission fee USD$2000), update it, and have local techies present it near you at a price you can afford (CAD$299 if you caught the early bird rate, CAD$599 otherwise). You get great content at a great price, and we get to make contact with tech communities across the country. Think of it as “Geek Global, Spend Local”.

TechDays Vancouver will be happening at the Vancouver Convention Centre, which is also the venue of…

Demo Ignite Camp: Monday, September 14th @ 7:00 p.m.

Demo Ignite Camp banner

Since we had the Vancouver Convention Centre booked for two days, it meant that we had these big rooms lying fallow on the first night. I wanted a pajama party for accordion players, but since that idea got nixed, I called on Boris Mann and suggested we hold a DemoCamp-style event. The end result: Demo Ignite Camp!

Thus far, we’ve got 5 out of 8 presentation slots filled:

  1. Joey deVilla’s Ignite Presentation: Do the Stupidest Thing That Could Possibly Work.
  2. Avi Bryant will demo Clamato, a Smalltalk dialect that operates within the JavaScript runtime.
  3. Dima Berastau will demo RestfulX, a RESTful framework for Flex and AIR applications.
  4. Carson Lam will demo TransitDB, his Vancouver transit information web app, which won the PHP FTW competition earlier this year.
  5. The folks from Ayogo will present their iPhone games built using the PhoneGap cross-mobile-platform framework.

I’m more than happy to drop my Ignite presentation to make room for a demo or Ignite by someone local. I’m already hosting, and Demo Ignite Camp is about the Vancouver tech scene, not me!

For more information, see the Demo Ignite Camp event page.

Launch Party Vancouver, Wednesday, September 16th

Launch Party Vancouver logo My fellow TechDays coordinators and I will be attending Launch Party Vancouver, which is:

…a lively mixer for the city’s brightest entrepreneurs, tech junkies, and bloggers, who are doing it, have done it or want to make their ideas happen here. The goal of the event is to connect BC’s growing community of Internet and new media leaders with investors and other trailblazers across Canada and abroad.

Founded by local entrepreneurs,  LPV is not your typical networking event. There are no presentations or panels to be found.  But what you will discover are the individuals responsible for making Vancouver one of the greatest start-up cities in Canada.  Every event features local, early stage new media companies strutting their stuff and sharing their ideas with the community.

It’s happening at Circa Resto Lounge from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.; tickets are available via EventBrite.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Demo Ignite Camp: Vancouver, September 14th

Demo Ignite Camp - Monday, September 14 - 7:00 p.m. - Vancouver Convention Centre

What Is Demo Ignite Camp?

Think of Demo Ignite Camp as an evening of “show and tell” where the bright lights of Vancouver’s high-tech and startup scene get together to present their projects and ideas. It’ll feature two kinds of presentations:

Demo icon (a toy robot) Demos: By “demo”, we mean a demonstration of your software, web application or project in action. It’s the only thing you’re allowed to show on the big screen — no slides allowed! The idea is for you to show off your technology in action and inspire us, not give us yet another marketing spiel.



Ignites: An Ignite presentation on a tech-related topic with some constraints to make it interesting: you’re allowed only 20 slides, and they’re set to automatically advance every 15 seconds. It requires you to keep the text on your slides to a minimum and your presentation to be focused. It’s a true test of your presentation-fu.

Demo Ignite Camp will take place at Vancouver Convention Centre on Monday, September 14th at 7:00 p.m., a little bit after the first day of Microsoft’s TechDays Vancouver conference wraps up.

Demo Ignite Camp @ Vancouver Convention Centre

“Very Nice. How Much?”

Admission is free! As in beer, which we’ll be going out for after Demo Ignite Camp.

Want to Present at Demo Ignite Camp?

Have you got a project you’d like to show as a demo or an idea that you’d like to present as an Ignite? Drop me a line or leave a comment on Demo Ignite Camp’s event page!

Who’s Involved?


So far, we’ve got Avi Bryant booked for one of Demo Ignite Camp’s 8 presentation slots. He’ll be doing a demo and we’re incredibly pleased – he works on some really cool projects, and we of the Toronto DemoCamp crew still consider his demo of DabbleDB to be one of the best demos in our 21-event history. We’re looking forward to seeing his presentation, which I suspect will be on Clamato, which is equal parts Smalltalk, JavaScript and the future.

Demo Ignite Camp wouldn’t even exist without the efforts of the Bee Man:

"Bumblebee Man" from "The Simpsons"

Actually, that’s @bmann, as in Boris Mann, blogger, technologist, entrepreneur and go-to guy for Vancouver’s tech scene:


He’s helping pull this event together in record time and playing the part of co-host, in spite of his very packed schedule.


Microsoft played a part in making Demo Ignite Camp happen: they provided the venue and the AV system free of charge. The Vancouver leg of their conference, TechDays Canada 2009, takes place on Monday, September 14th and Tuesday, September 15th, which means that they had the facility on Monday night, during which nothing was scheduled. The TechDays organizers decided that they’d make the room available for some kind of community event.

I’ll be helping out as well. I’ll be co-hosting, and I was the guy who emailed Boris and said “Hey, dude, if you’ve got the camp, I’ve got the venue.”

Want to Know More?

There are more details on Demo Ignite Camp’s event page.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.