HotDocs, Aaron Swartz and Cory Doctorow

Cory and me

My friend Mariann has been an avid promoter and attendee of Toronto’s HotDocs festival, lo these many years. So it was no surprise when she called to recruit me to be part of her entourage while attending said festival. I had, in fact, discussed one of this year’s selections with colleagues at my new place of employment (well, perhaps not so new any longer: I’ve been there about six months now; but more on that another time), and was keen to attend a screening of The Internet’s Own Boy: Aaron Swartz. But not just any screening: one of the several screenings was to feature a panel discussion with Cory Doctorow, Lawrence Lessig, Gabriella Coleman and the director, Brian Knappenberger.
Continue reading

“Blast! I lost my job. Now what?”

My friend Hugh was recently let go from his job supporting IBM Java, WebSphere and DB2 technology. He’s looking at this as an opportunity to reorient his career, and turned to me to help him get familiar with the latest social media trends. It occurred to me that others may be interested in heading in that direction; so here’s what I told him. Continue reading

In Denver – For DrupalCon 2012

So Myplanet Digital, my new employers as of Nov 2011, have sent me, and a small platoon of Myplaneteers, to Denver, the mile high city, for DrupalCon 2012. This is my first DrupalCon; but hopefully not my last.

I’ve been spending a lot of time over the past few days poring over the 3 day schedule, trying to decide what sessions I want to attend.

First impressions of DrupalCon

Well, the website is very good. They list everything you could possibly hope to find about the sessions. PLUS: you can even put the sessions in your “shopping cart” to construct your own schedule. Then you can view your own schedule. Unfortunately, they don’t have a Print Schedule view. But hey, Denver wasn’t built in a day.

I had breakfast with our BizDev in Chief, Dustin Walper. I was busy telling him about my attempts at losing weight and getting into shape (Dustin is something of a Greek god), when he jumps out of his seat and says he’ll be right back. After about 10 minutes it became evident he *wasn’t* going to be right back. So I paid the cheque, and went exploring the lobby in search of Dustin. I found him with a bunch of Acquia folk, including (gasp) Dries Buytaert.

OK, I’ll admit it, I was a little star-struck. In my defense, I’ve been working my hind-most parts off for the past 5 months trying to get my head around Drupal. And here was the guy who started it all. In his dorm room. A whole industry. (Did I mention there were going to be 3000 attendees at DrupalCon this year?)

So I had the temerity to ask for a picture. Dries was very accommodating, and even suggested we take a few. A real mensch.

_DSC0053

Also, today, I decided to show my commitment to Drupal:

_DSC0057

More to come.

Android Startup Kit

My friend Ian just purchased a Nexus S phone from Wind Mobile. So I thought I’d put together a list of useful apps to get him started on the joy of Android.

There are thousands of apps for the Android platform; so, as if it needed to be said, this is just a personal compilation of apps I find useful and/or fun. I hope you’ll find in it, one or two apps you didn’t know about before, which you decide you can’t live without.

Oh yeah, also should note that these are all free. Continue reading

Podcasts We Love

I’ve been giving my mom my castoff MP3 players. Recently I bought my parents His & Her’s iPod Nano’s. New ones even. And that’s when Mom discovered the joy of podcasts. She’s got her own faves, but they’re mostly (all) French, which doesn’t really jive with my readership (yep, the same three dudes). So I thought I’d tell you about some of the podcasts I listen to on a regular basis.

(BTW, if you’re not clear on the whole “podcast” thing, don’t sweat it. Check out these resources:

Tucows: How to Listen to Podcasts
Tucows: Tell Me About… Podcasting
butterscotch: Tune In: A Novice Guide to iTunes)

But first a quick rant about why podcasts are important, and should be part of your life. You’ve got limited time to expose yourself to content. You can choose pre-packaged, pre-digested, top-40’s content, or you can consume interesting, thought provoking material. You are what you ingest.

We’ve spent the greater part of our lives consuming content curated for us by others. The promise of the Internet was that we could assemble our own content feed. Is this good or bad? If you seek out content which agrees with your opinions, you’ll have no challenging opinions. No counterpoints. That’s probably not a good thing. So, I recommend finding content from a wide spectrum of sources. You may disagree with some of the views, but at least you’ll have exposed yourself to challenging opinions, and will be better able to articulate objections to those views. (OK, rant off.) Continue reading

One Web Day 2009

This year I participated in One Web Day. OWD promotes Web issues to the public. It celebrates that every participant to the web is also a contributor.

As part of Tucows’ support and involvement, we collected over 10GB of public domain and Creative Commons ebooks. These will be loaded onto computers we donated to the Little Geeks Foundation, and sent to Northern communities.

Andy Walker, who started Little Geeks, and happens to be my boss, tells us these communities are rife with social problems, resulting in high rates of teen suicide. The last time books were sent there, the suicide rate dropped by 50%. So I’m hoping our efforts here will have a real, positive and lasting effect on these peoples’ lives.

Mozilla also supported One Web Day 2009. In fact, it capped off their Web Service Week; which is like seven days of One Web Day.

They had these cool OWD posters you could print, have your picture taken with, and uploaded it to flickr.

Finally, we had a terrific soiree at Cafe Taste, around the corner from Tucows HQ, sponsored by Tucows, Mozilla and WikiDomo.

If you missed One Web Day, don’t fret: it’s an annual thing. This was the 3rd, and only my first. Keep an eye on the OWD site. I expect I’ll also say something about it here, before the 2010 event. Until then, be good to our web: create some content.

Google Wave: This Will Change Everything

Google is set to stand communications on its head. Again.

The soon to be released Google Wave program, web app, platform, protocol, paradigm is introducing a new way to do email, IM, forums, wikis, social networking and blogs. All-in-one. And not to put too fine a point on it, it looks pretty slick.

Not only do they have an awesome webclient to ship, but we’ll be able to integrate all that functionality into our own websites and programs using their API.

But wait! You won’t have to rely on Google’s servers: they’re making all this stuff open source, so you can host your own version of the Wave.

Here’s the demo from Google IO 2009 developer conference (1h 20min):

There’s also a very good analysis of the technology at TechCrunch.

Awesome sauce.