John Udell DemoCamp / Science 2.0 Double-Header in Toronto Next Week

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

John Udell

Jon Udell – the developer, information architect, author who wrote about social software before we started calling it that, blogger and Senior Tech Evangelist at Microsoft – will be in Toronto next week and he’ll be at a couple of events that I’m attending.

DemoCamp Toronto 21

DemoCamp Toronto 21

On Tuesday, John will be at the 21st edition of DemoCamp, the show-and-tell event for people in the Toronto tech community, where entrepreneurial developers, designers, marketers and businesspeople get together to talk about what they’re working on, exchange ideas and get to know each other. We’re about using the power of technology and creativity to make Toronto (and the world) a better place to live, work and play. And yes, Yours Truly will help host the event.

Watch this blog for more details about next week’s DemoCamp, including the demos and Ignite presentations that will be featured that night.

Science 2.0

"Achewood" T-shirt featuring Roast Beef: "What We Need More Of is Science"

On Wednesday, John will be at Science 2.0, a conference exploring the ways in which computers and the internet are changing the way science is done. Speakers and presentations at Science 2.0 include:

  • Titus Brown: Choosing Infrastructure and Testing Tools for Scientific Software Projects
  • Cameron Neylon: A Web Native Research Record: Applying the Best of the Web to the Lab Notebook
  • Michael Nielsen: Doing Science in the Open: How Online Tools are Changing Scientific Discovery
  • David Rich: Using “Desktop” Languages for Big Problems
  • Victoria Stodden: How Computational Science is Changing the Scientific Method

John will have a talk at Science 2.0 in which he’ll cover the elmcity project, a community calendaring system running on the Azure platform and how it “tackles the challenge of social information management and aims to democratize the computational way of thinking that enables us to wire the web.”

I’ll be taking notes at both events and will post them on this blog.


DemoCamp Toronto 21: Tuesday, July 28th

New Location: Rogers Theatre!

Rogers Building at One Mount Pleasant, Toronto.

As David Crow puts it: “It’s time for a DemoCamp Jeffersons-style. That’s right, we’re moving on up! Thanks to Mike Lee from Rogers Communications, DemoCamp 21 will be taking place at Rogers Theatre at One Mount Pleasant.

We’d like to thank everyone who attended, sponsored and survived DemoCamp Toronto 20, which was a great event. We collected your feedback from that DemoCamp, and we’re going to make a few changes that we believe will help improve the event, the hosting and networking opportunities, including:

  • More food. We’re doubling the food order.
  • Timing and flow of the presentations. It felt a little long and disjointed.
  • We’re going to change the questions and reduce the random banter.
  • We’ll make it easier to submit events, job postings and requests for help from the community.

We’re always working on making DemoCamp better! Keep those cards and letters coming!

The Details

Who Should Attend?

DemoCamp Toronto is a show-and-tell for Toronto’s entrepreneurial developers, designers, and marketers. The goal is to see new technology, meet other interesting in emerging technology, early-stage companies, and making Toronto a better place.

How Do I Present?

Everyone who wants to present must submit an application. We are looking for submissions that :

  • Inspire us;
  • Challenge our notions of software, user experience, business models, funding sources;
  • Aren’t mere derivatives or copies (if you’re thinking "we’re the next YouTube/Facebook/MySpace/TagCloud/TechCrunch," DemoCamp might not be a good fit).

The goal is to find projects, people, applications and companies that will inspire, challenge or educate people who have seen the latest and greatest on the web and around the world.

Presentation Formats

At DemoCamp, presentations are limited to 5 minutes. You get 5 minutes on stage to convey your revolutionary ideas in either a demo or an Ignite presentation.

Demos are limited to 2 slides and showing functional code or a lightning talk that is a presentation with auto-advancing slides. Ignite presentations are 20 slides by 15 seconds per slide (total 5 minutes).

Sponsors, Tickets and Free Tickets

Why do we need sponsors?  Where are the free tickets?

All very important questions. Sponsor tickets are available through EventBrite. I don’t know about you, but an event between 6pm-9pm is right during the dining hours for me. We like to provide pizza/food to help offset the beverages (aka social lubricant). Sponsorship dollars will be put towards the event costs.

There are free tickets. However, in an effort to continue to keep these tickets available, they will be announced a few days before the event. What we don’t want is a land grab, we’re trying to encourage a strong sense of community through participation. Read Joe Thornley’s thoughtful piece on why he is charging a registration fee for Third Tuesday.

We also provide corporate sponsorships at a rate of CAD$250 each. With these, you get:

  • 2 tickets
  • Your logo on event materials including web and presentation

This Week in Toronto Tech

Toronto Tech People
Just a small sample of the people that make Toronto’s tech community great.

This week is going to be a week unlike any other in the Toronto technology scene: a week of events created not by municipal groups, large techno-conglomerates or industry think tanks, but by small groups of passionate individuals who enjoys working with both people and technology.

These events don’t have the benefit of major sponsorship or media coverage, nor will they be lining their organizers’ wallets. They’re events put together by amateurs in the original sense of the word: people who do it not for profit, but for their love of their craft, in the hope that both the attendees and even the field itself will be advanced from insights, understanding and knowledge gained by gathering together and exchanging ideas.

It’ll be a busy week for me. I’ll not only be attending these events, but I’ll also be MCing two of them as well. I’ll be posting reports from these gatherings here — keep watching this blog!

DemoCamp 18: Tuesday July 15th, 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. at Supermarket

DemoCamp Toronto 18: Tuesday, July 15th @ Supermarket

DemoCamp 18 is the eighteenth gathering of the bright lights in Toronto’s software development community where we show each other our projects in action. DemoCamp has grown from a gathering of a couple dozen in late 2005 to a meetup of hundreds at locations like the MaRS Centre and the Toronto Board of Trade and was voted “Toronto’s Best Unconference” earlier this year by BlogTO. It’s given many local software people the chance to showcase their work, meet other people in their field, make connections, get jobs and even get venture capitalist funding (that’s what happened to b5media, for whom I work).

I’m one of DemoCamp’s stewards and will be co-MCing DemoCamp.

You can see the schedule of events for DemoCamp 18 at the site. This event’s tickets — a good number of which were free, the remainder going for five or ten dollars — got snapped up within hours of becoming available.

Damian Conway: Wednesday, July 16th, 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. at the Bahen Centre, U of T

Damian Conway - July 16, 2008

The Perl programming language has been given the nickname “the duct tape of the internet” because of its importance in the development of the early web. Damian Conway is its most eloquent spokesperson and a speaker who can turn the dryest of academic lectures into a brain-tickling comic monologue that delivers both laughs and technical insight.

On Wednesday, Toronto will play host to the world premiere of his new talk, titled Temporally Quaquaversal Virtual Nanomachine Programming in Multiple Topologically Connected Quantum-Relativistic Parallel Timespaces… Made Easy. The event will be held at the Bahen Centre at the University of Toronto and it will be free of charge. For more details, see its Upcoming page.

FAILCamp: Friday July 18th, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at The Rhino


I’ll let the FAILCamp creators, Amy Hoy and Thomas Fuchs do the talking:

“My reputation grows with every failure,” wrote George Bernard Shaw in a letter to fellow author Frank Harris. A healthy attitude towards the natural state of humanity, if you ask us.

We all know failure: public, private, large, small, free or costly, embarrassing or funny or poignant (or all of the above). We have all experienced what our friend Patrick has called “the beautiful rainbow of Fail.” And we tend to stuff it in the closet, keep it under wraps, don’t-ask-don’t-tell or any other number of hidey clichés that poor, beautiful rainbows should not be subject to. We believe that it’s time to give our personal fail some tough love and talk it out over beer!

Join us for a brief, rousing introduction followed by comraderie, beer, and Show and Tell. We’ll present a little about failure through the ages, mining your personal suck, maybe some science, pithy quotes from people you may or may not respect, and share some failure stories of our own.

Then it’ll be your turn. If all goes to plan, you may even win in our friendly “race to the bottom” for the most public, most expensive, or most ridiculous Story of Fail.

Also, did we mention beer?

For more details, see FAILCamp’s event page on Facebook.

RubyFringe: Friday July 18th – Sunday July 20th at the Metropolitan Toronto Hotel


Finally, the upcoming weekend belongs to RubyFringe, the “deep nerd tech with punk rock spirit conference”.

“RubyFringe,” says its site, “RubyFringe is an avant-garde conference for developers that are excited about emerging Ruby projects and technologies. We’re mounting a unique and eccentric gathering of the people and projects that are driving things forward in our community.”

I’ll be MCing the opening night’s events at the Amsterdam Brewery. Alas, tickets are sold out!


DemoCamp 17 Covered in the National Post

I am extremely pleased with the way DemoCamp 17 went. We had some great demos and Ignite presentations at the Toronto Board of Trade dining room, followed by one of the best post-DemoCamp after-parties at the Duke of Westminster. My thanks to all the attendees, the presenters, Jay Goldman for doing a lot of the heavy lifting and the very kind folks at the Toronto Board of Trade.

Pema Hegan of GigPark sent me a scan from today’s National Post, which appears below:

Article on DemoCamp 17 in the National Post.

I transcribed the article about DemoCamp:

DemoCamp Warms Up to Toronto Tech Crowd

More than 400 people packed the Toronto Board of Trade conference hall on Monday night for DemoCamp, a loosely organized gathering of Web entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and technology enthusiasts.

Startup companies that made an impression on attendees included Kaitlyn McLachlan’s AskItOnline online survey Web site and Alain Chesnais’s SceneCaster 3-D embedded imaging application.

But the real crowd-pleaser of the night had to be WirelessNorth webmaster Tom Purves’ fast-paced Ignite presentation on why the Canadian wireless industry “sucks.”

Although he was preaching to the converted, Mr. Purves spent just over five minutes pointing out the high price of Canadian cellphone service and compared different price plans from around the world. For example, did you know that Rwanda has better cellphone plans than Canada? Or my favourite stat of the night: According to Mr. Purves, one megabyte of wireless data transfer on Rogers’ network costs $50, a measurement not seen since the early 1990s, when relatively minuscule hard drives cost upward of $1000.

For his efforts, Mr. Purves was rewarded with a standing ovation.

Needless to say, Monday’s DemoCamp was the largest turnout in 17 different meetings. With the Toronto Board of Trade firmly on board (no pun intended) with DemoCamp’s main intention — to foster and develop new Canadian tech talent to the global market — there’s a good chance we may see a local success story sooner than later.

Or maybe cheaper cellphone plans. The jury’s still out on which will happen first.

David George-Cosh