That’s How We Roll in the Wintel World

Shopify, being startup made up mostly of younger people with a strong design bent, are a Mac-based shop. When you walk in the office, it’s Apple logos as far as the eye can see (I’m the lone holdout, with both a Mac and a Windows machine at my desk). Every culture lives in its own bubble, and Apple Hipster Culture is certainly no exception, so they can be forgiven for being unaware of goings-on in the Wild and Wooly Wintel World.

Somehow, one of our conversations took a turn from Harley poking loving fun at Edward’s new haircut (he kids because he cares) to  me bringing up the legendary promo video for MSI’s X Series of really slim laptops showing a guy in a singlet catching them with his butt-cheeks. They refused to believe that such a thing existed, so I had to destroy their innocence forever with a quick jaunt down to YouTube:

I watched the horror in the young whippersnappers’ eyes as they watched.

Lightweights, I thought to myself. If you think that’s bad, you don’t even want to know what sort of kink the Arduino people are into.

And that’s how we roll in the Wintel World.

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


BarCamp Portland: May 20 – 21

BarCamp Portland is This Weekend!

BarCamp Portland logo

If you’re in the mood for some geeky activity this weekend in the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon, you’ll want to hit BarCamp Portland 5! It’s taking place this weekend at the Eliot Center (1226 SW Salmon Street)…

Eliot Center, as seen from the street

…on these days:

  • Friday, May 20th: The Opening Social, which starts at 6:30 p.m. and runs until 9:00 p.m.. The idea behind this evening is to get everyone primed for the main event on the following day.
  • Saturday, May 21st: The Main Event: the actual unconference, with the big scheduling scrum happening at 9:00 a.m. and the sessions running from 10:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m..

The BarCamp Tour

I’ll be there, because I’m representing Shopify, one of five startups that make up the…

Barcamp tour logo

…BarCamp Tour! Along with our friends BatchBlue, Grasshopper, Mailchimp and Wufoo, we’re sponsoring BarCamps across North America, and not in the typical way, either! Yes, we’re each throwing in money to help BarCamp organizers hold their events, but we’re also there at the conference, actively participating, joining in the discussions, providing food and drinks, and even helping carry stuff or clean up. We’re also there to promote our companies, but not in a hard-sell way — we’re there to meet people who want to use our software and services, have questions and get to know the creative, inventive, ambitious people who attend BarCamps!


Register! (Finger pressing space bar on a computer keyboard)

Best of all, BarCamp is free-as-in-beer to attend. That’s right, it’ll cost you no money to come and participate. We do ask that you register at BarCamp Portland 5’s EventBrite page, and if you do fee like throwing in a little money to help cover the costs, you can do that too.

What is BarCamp?

BarCamp is an unconference: a gathering that turns the usual notion of a conference on its ear. There is no set agenda, no topics are pre-set and no speakers are pre-ordained: you, the attendees determine all that! On the start of the unconference day, people will propose session topics and set up a schedule, after which the unconferencing will begin. We’re expecting geeks of every sort to show up: not just the hackers, but artists, engineers, hobbyists, writers and poets, jokers and journalists, entrepreneurs, cooks and bakers, people who till the land or help neighbourhoods take shape, and anyone else who likes create.

As the BarCamp Portland site puts it:

Bring a demo or an idea and you will find people to talk about it with, but think of it less as a presentation and more as a conversation. Rest assured that you will exchange a lot of knowledge about your topic and many others with a lot of interesting people and come away thinking big thoughts.

If you’d like to get a little more background about the origins of BarCamp, check out an article of mine from 2006 titled BarCamp Explained. You might also want to watch the BarCamp San Francisco 2006 video below  to get a feel for what BarCamps are like (note: some salty language at the end; it might not be suitable for your workplace):

See you at BarCamp!


New Business Card, New Email Address

Shopify business card back

It’s high time I got some business cards made. A good chunk of my job involves meeting new people and starting an ongoing relationship between them and Shopify. Even in the online age, business cards remain a vital part of the tech evangelist’s toolkit, along with meeting up in person (as they often say, “You had to be there”).

Shopify’s business card template features the company logo and wordmark on the back (pictured above). The front features contact info and a photo so you can very easily match the name to the face. The photos are taken by a fellow Shopifolk, Ben Courtice (he’s a great photog; every Shopifolk seems to have a special creative talent) who works in the Guru Room (the Gurus are people who help out customers get started with their Shopify stores).

We decided to go for an action shot with the accordion. I played and sang some numbers while Ben took pictures:

Ben Courtice taking photos of Joey deVilla as he plays accordion

And here’s the end result, complete with accordion, aloha shirt and smiling/singing mug:

Joey devilla business card front

I love it!

By the way, note the new, shortened-for-easy-entry email: If you want to reach me at Shopify, that’s the way to do it!

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


Fabulous Parting Gifts from Microsoft

In recognition of some damn good evangelizing, and to make sure I don’t forget about all the .NET developers out there, Microsoft Canada sent a big package to me at the Shopify offices containing some fabulous parting gifts, including a Dell Latitude E6500 with 8 gigs of RAM and the large battery:

My Dell Latitude E6500 laptop

…along with the Samsung Focus that was assigned to me, and DVDs for Windows 7 Ultimate and Office Professional 2010

Windows Phone 7 (Samsung Focus) box, Windows 7 Ultimate DVD, Microsoft Office 2010 Professional DVD

…and last but certainly not least, an MSDN subscription, which gets me all kinds of developer goodies including Visual Studio (still the nicest IDE out there, in my opinion):

MSDN logo

I’d like to thank Microsoft Canada (and Damir Bersinic, who made the arrangements) for these fabulous parting gifts. They weren’t under any obligation to send anything other than my final paycheque and expense reimbursements, but they’re taking a page from Gary Vaynerchuk’s The Thank You Economy, and I greatly appreciate the goodies. I was wondering how I was going to continue with Windows Phone and XNA development, but thanks to my old employer and coworker, that question’s been answered. I salute you with a filet mignon on a flaming sword!

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


Manning Deal of the Day: “Natural User Interfaces in .NET” MEAP and Paper Book for $25

Cover of "Natural User Interfaces in .NET"It’s a work in progress, but it’s an important one: Manning Publications’ Natural User Interfaces in .NET, written by Joshua Blake. It’s a primer on creating natiral user interfaces — NUIs — using Microsoft technologies such as WPF 4, Surface 2 and Kinect.

Here’s an excerpt from the publisher’s description:

Natural User Interfaces in .NET is a hands-on guide that prepares you to create natural user interfaces (NUI) and great multi-touch experiences using the WPF and Silverlight multi-touch APIs. This book starts by introducing natural user interface (NUI) design concepts that everyone needs to know. It then quickly moves to the WPF Touch API and Surface Toolkit guiding the reader through a multitouch NUI application from concept to completion. Along the way, you’ll see where these concepts can be extended to Silverlight via its touch interface.

Today only — that’s May 16, 2011 — you can get the MEAP (Manning Early Access Program) preview PDFs, which are updated regularly and the final print edition of the book for a mere USD$25.00 (that’s $24.23 Canadian)! Just enter dotd0516 in the promotional code box when you check out at Manning’s site.


rspec::table Employment (or: Ruby Job Fair)

Rspectable employment

It’s Ruby Job Fair time! This Friday, May 20th, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., at the offices of Accordion City-based development shop Unspace (342 Queen Street West, just above the LuluLemon store), rspec::table, a.k.a. The Third Ruby Job Fair will take place. If you’re a Ruby developer looking for work, you also want to be at rspec::table. If you’re curious about developing in Ruby, guess what — you should also drop by rspec::table!

Shopify logo banner

Among the employers who’ll be present at rspec::table will be my employer, Shopify. We’re sending a couple of people, including developer advocate Edward Ocampo-Gooding, down to Toronto to chat with developers and see who’s got the chop and the interest in working for the company who’s making the only ecommerce platform that matters. If you’d like to work for one of Canada’s most promising startups (who also recently landed $7 million in series A funding and hired Canada’s best tech evangelist), you should come to rspec::table and talk to Edward about Shopify!

Rails Pub Nite: Bruce Lee holding Rails nunchuks

At 7:00 p.m., the event will shift gears and become a special edition of Rails Pub Nite, the monthly get-together or Rails developers and their friends. This special edition will be an “afterparty” held on Unspace’s rooftop deck, which offers a stunning view of downtown Toronto that gets even more stunning as the sky gets dark. Free food and drink will be provided, and having attended a number of Unspace catered events, I can assure you that they’ll be good. The fun will continue until 11:00 p.m..

By the way, the regular edition of Rails Pub Nite, which takes place on the third Monday of every month, is still taking place tonight at its usual digs: The Rhino (1249 Queen Street West) from 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.. If I were in town, I’d be there.

If you’d like to attend rspec::table, you need to register (it’s a mere $5.00 to register)! If you want to attend the Rails Pub Nite afterparty, you also need to register (it’s free)! To register, go to rspec::table’s Guestlist page — and hurry before the tickets run out!


Scans of My “Hacks/Hackers” Notes

As promised in an earlier article, here are the scans of my handwritten notes from Hacks/Hackers Ottawa:

Scan of my handwritten notes from Hacks/Hackers Ottawa, page 1

Scan of my handwritten notes from Hacks/Hackers Ottawa, page 2

Scan of my handwritten notes from Hacks/Hackers Ottawa, page 3

Scan of my handwritten notes from Hacks/Hackers Ottawa, page 4

Scan of my handwritten notes from Hacks/Hackers Ottawa, page 5

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