BarCampTorontoTechWeek – Belated recap…

BarCampTTW - DSC08228

Well, BarCampTTW has come and gone. As the unofficial kickoff to Toronto Tech Week, I’d have to say BarCampTTW was a rousing success.

Based on the show of hands we had a pretty diverse crowd where almost 50% of the participants were first time BarCampers. Also a good sign was the number of women we had come out – while numbers are still in the teens they represented about a quarter of the attendees. In recent month’s there’s been lots of discussion in both the conference and unconference spaces around the lack of female representation so it’s good to see that some improvement is being made but we’ve still got a ways to go.

All in all the sessions were quite interesting and I found this camp definitely slanted more to the conceptual and ideas rather than pure tech which was interesting. I was talking with some folks at the post-camp drinks and realized that I’ve started to look at BarCamp as the generalist platform/entry point into the community that we use to launch niche interest groups/events from (DemoCamp, VizThink, InteractionCamp, TransitCamp, EnterpriseCamp etc.) . It truly has no agenda or theme out of the gate and, true to form, is entirely whatever the participants make of it. It’ll be interesting to see how the nature of the event changes as we continue to reach out and try and bring new members into the community.

Photos from the event can be found here. Blog posts from the event can be found here & here.

Along with my fellow organizers (Will Pate, Mark Kuznicki, Bryce Johnson and Dan Kurtz), I’d also like to thank our sponsors for this past camp:

Microsoft Canada
Hyndman Law
University of Toronto: Faculty of Information Studies

It’s through supporters like the organizations above that we’re able to put on these great events and keep the price of admittance your time and a willingness to participate.

Check out the TorCamp page to see what events are coming up (VizThink3 is June 14th). If you’re not from Toronto, the BarCamp community is a truly global phenomenon – check out the BarCamp site to see what is going on in your neck of the woods (or see how to start something up).

*SOLD* Buy My Car… (2005 Mazda 3)

We’ve got some life changes afoot here in the Coleman household which means my current commuter vehicle of choice – a Mazda 3 – isn’t going to cut it anymore.

As much as I love it, we’ve got to part company – so my 2005 Mazda 3 is on the block. If you’re looking for a new(ish) car, or know someone who is take a look. It’s got an extended warranty that goes with the car (4yr/100,000km) and a full set of Bridgestone Blizzaks (on steel rims) that I’ll throw in as well – more details below.

If you’re interested drop me an email or check out either the Facebook or Craigslist postings (contact methods there too).


The highlights:

  • Indigo blue exterior, Black interior both in excellent shape
  • Power Windows, Doors & Mirrors (w/Remote Keyless Entry)
  • Power Sunroof
  • 16” Alloy Wheels
  • 2.0L – Auto with 4-speed sport mode transmission
  • Cruise Control
  • AM/FM/CD
  • Air Conditioning
  • Low Kms (~32,000)
  • Dealer Maintained


  • Extended FACTORY warranty – car has warranty through four years (Sept 2009) or 100,000km
  • Full set of lightly used Bridgestone Blizzak Tires mounted on Steel Rims ($1000 new) (1.5 Seasons ~5,000km on tires – Good for many more seasons to come)

Asking: $18,975 o.b.o

BarCampTorontoTechWeek – Tomorrow!

Just a reminder that BarCamp Toronto Tech Week is tomorrow, Saturday May 26th. Things will get underway ~9:30am.

There’s still some room (sign up here)if you’re interested in coming, looks like a good, interesting mix of people.

If you do come out please come up and say hi!

– Ryan

It’s Alive…. Google launches multilingual search

Google has finally launched their new translation tool I blogged about here (and predicted here).

You’ll find it buried of the “More>>” link next to their search box and then click on “Translate” in the right hand column. Finally, click on the search tab on that page.

Or you could just click here.

For some reason clicking on “Language Tools” on the Google home page doesn’t take you there (at least not here in Canada) – but after some previous experiences with Google I can’t say I’m surprised.

All in all, it’s kind of neat but still not a final solution. From what I’ve read they really expect this to be used by non-English speakers to access more of the English web.

It would have been nice if they could have at least given you the ability to get results in English as well as one other language – Instead you have to switch into this whole other interface just to search in one language and get results back in one other language.

Not quite a vision realized, but a good start nonetheless.

How is the ‘web’ going to change education?

I think it’s pretty plainly clear to many that big changes are well underway in how people create, consume and consider media – but every once in a while it’s great to have a physical reinforcement of the changes afoot.

Take a look at the following video:

If I were to tell you this was the latest studio released video from Modest Mouse would you even question it?

The background (from Wooster Collective):

Myself and a couple have friends have entered the above into the Modest Mouse video competition. Using green screen footage provided by the band we cut a simple music video. We then degraded the images and printed out each frame sequentially. (all 4133 of them) We then nailed each “shot” of 50-100 posters to various structures and posts. Then using a digital SLR camera with a long exposure we frame by frame shot each poster. Oh, and theres a little video projection (again, frame by frame on the SLR) just to mix it up. There is no compositing, no shortcuts, just lots of blood, sweat and tears, and a huge Kinkos bill!


I remember a little over 10+ years ago sitting down in front of a non-linear editing system for the first time (A Media100, followed shortly by time with Avid & Quantel systems). At that time they were systems that ran in the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, well out of reach of the average consumer – and now pretty much every machine comes out of the box with much more horsepower and many of the features that those systems had, for free.

I’m amazed almost every day now by the talent and creativity I encounter online but it also creates an interesting question for me:

How is the post secondary education system going to adapt?

Tools and information are practically free these days – the notion of sharing your ideas & discoveries with as many as possible is quickly becoming the norm. In 1995 I went to school to get access to equipment that was beyond my means, access to the knowledge I needed, and hopefully connections into the industry.

Now, for the cost of a year’s tuition I can hook myself up with a decent computer a still camera and a video camera, the tools. The net contains countless tutorials, essays and examples where I can learn the fundamentals, the information. And, well, connections have never been easier to make through sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and people’s blogs. So what’s left?

Has post secondary education simply become a reflex rather than a necessity? Are people applying because “that’s what you do”? Certainly there are some disciplines where equipment is still largely inaccessible to the masses (Sciences/Medial) but realistically, how long until we see the first “co-working” labs emerge? Community funded telescopes?

Will (have?) post secondary institutions simply degrade into certification bodies? Somewhere you go once you feel you’ve amassed enough knowledge and experience that you can demonstrate competence?