Setting Up TechDays Ottawa

Ottawa was the sixth of the seven cities in the TechDays cross-Canada tour. We’ve settled into a pretty good groove and the setup process for the conference has become second nature; I’m sure that we can all do it in our sleep now.

The Hampton Inn Conference Centre is a pretty nice venue, with lots of balconies for overhead shots like this one:

01 overhead

Here’s one of the larger rooms, which met with Christian Beauclair’s approval:

02 118A

This is one of the smaller lecture halls, featuring a more classroom-like setting, as seen from the lectern. You can see:

  • The presentation machine, a laptop with a large screen on which the PowerPoint presentations are run. The large screen makes it easy to read any speaker notes.
  • The “confidence monitor”, which shows the speaker what’s being displayed on the big screen. That way, you know what the audience sees without having to break eye contact with them.
  • The countdown timer, which displays the time remaining for the presentation, along with three lights: “Go on”, “Wrap up” and “Enough already”.

03 110

Here’s the dining hall, where breakfast and lunch are served. In the far corner, you can see the Windows 7 lounge:

04 dining hall

Here are IT Pro Evangelists Rick Claus and Rodney Buike, along with speaker Steve Syfuhs, getting ready to set up the internet access stations:

05 rick steve rodney

…and here are the fruits of their labour. It’s our dream to be able to provide wifi access to attendees, but with conference venues typically asking for hundreds of dollars per wifi user per day, it’s prohibitively expensive. We’d rather keep the cost of admission to TechDays low – a mere $299 for early-bird registrants – which is why we decided to provide internet access at the conference this way:

06 internet stations

Here are Christian and Rick setting up the Windows 7 Lounge. In case it was unclear, they’ve taken steps to let you know that they indeed are geeks:

07 geeks

Every TechDays attendee gets a “lunchbox” full of swag, literature and promo material. Here’s the stack of lunchboxes behind the registration desk:

08 lunchboxes

One of the ways we show our appreciation for the TechDays speakers is by taking them out to a nice dinner. In Ottawa, the speaker dinner was at In Fusion Bistro in Glebe, where the food and service were fantastic. I had the squash and maple soup to start, the rack of lamb for dinner and the chocolate-and-berry empanada for dessert – it was one of my favourite meals of the tour. Thanks to Rick for choosing this restaurant!

09 speaker dinner

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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