BarCampVancouver 2009 not only successful but well worth the time

BarCampVancouver 2009 - Schedule Wall

Last weekend, BarCampVancouver 2009 was held at Discovery Parks Vancouver. And more than anything, I think the location was an ideal spot to have this year’s gathering of like minded folks to get together and discuss a good variety of topics, ranging from day trading, mass transit, photography, and even a session inspired by an old post of mine regarding freelancing (certainly read Raul’s post on this issue which further explains this session which I also attended).

BarCampVancouver 2009

BarCampVancouver 2009

I have always been a fan of BarCampVancouver since the first one I attended in 2006. In fact, that was the first big event in the Vancouver tech community where I was really introduced to the vast array of people who make up this city’s thinkers, movers, and shakers, only to have that be the tip of the iceberg of what it is today.

BarCampVancouver 2009

BarCampVancouver 2009

My favorite sessions this year were, of course, the photography focused ones led by John Biehler and Scott Prince. The morning photowalk around the building was followed by a great afternoon session regarding editing processes. Moving into the DSLR world myself, this is obviously of interest to me. I’ll post more photos from that photowalk later, but big thanks also goes out to Peter Andersen and Tyler Ingram as well. Learned a lot from these folks as of late, and you’ll see more proof of this later.

The other session of interest was a discussion I attended where the focus was the gap that exists between designers and coders. As with our projects with sixty4media, I found this interesting because it’s something that I personally struggle with on a constant basis. By that I mean the internal struggle I have between my creative sense and how difficult it can be to incorporate that with the infrastructure of web design.

As I get deeper into the realm of web development and push the boundaries of my skills, I find that working with a designer allows me to work better as a coder. Hearing the struggles, frustrations, insights, and ideas of how to deal with this gap (which varies from person to person), I came away from this session with a renowned sense of inspiration that have already found their ways into the how I work on a day to day basis.

BarCampVancouver 2009

I think the key thing to consider when it comes to events like this is that some of the best things you discover come from conversations you have outside of the sessions going on throughout the day. Sure, there are things like business contacts and the exchange of cards, but I’m talking about those elements where you really learn a tiny nugget of information that alters the way you think about or do things. Those moments are what really keep you coming back because who doesn’t like to be better at what they do or are passionate about?

BarCampVancouver 2009

Congrats to the organizers of this year’s BarCampVancouver. They did really well, and I’m looking forward to another one next year already.

Northern Voice 2009: February 20-21 in Vancouver

Northern Voice 2009

Set the date and mark your calendars. Northern Voice is returning for 2009.

In 2005, the organizers of Canada’s first weblogging conference put on an event that was inexpensive, informal, and accessible to techies and newbies alike. From those humble beginnings Northern Voice has been transformed into… well, actually it’s still cheap, friendly and open to all.

Without question, the event has grown due to the overwhelming community response. It’s added a second self-organizing day known as Moose Camp. We expect a few more attendees this year, in part because our space is larger. But the core values remain the same — we have held the line on costs, we try to make the event family-friendly by offering space for parents to establish cooperative child-minding, and we do the main event on Saturday so non-professionals can attend.

And although it is a weblog conference, the range of topics may involve anything that webloggers are interested in… that is, just about anything. Previous years have had plenty of geekery mixed with panels on how blogging interacts with family life, education, travel, photography, community building and establishing professional profiles. Speakers range from the big names at the top of the Technorati rankings to first-time presenters with a passion to share.

I’m not sure if I will try my hand at presenting this year as last year’s session on Podcasting 101 could have been done much better. Life hasn’t slowed down enough to refine that presentation, but there are things I would certainly do differently if I did find the time to get something worthwhile put together.

Truthfully, it’s hard to teach podcasting in a thirty or sixty minute session, but I wouldn’t mind giving it another shot if the opportunity presented itself. Probably should get another episode of RadioZoom out as well, but The Crazy Canucks are certainly going strong.

I’m looking forward to another year of social media fun. It’ll be interesting to see what everyone is excited about, but Twitter was so two years ago.

Follow-up on BarCampVancouver 2008

BarCampVancouver2008 Photocamp

BarCampVancouver 2008 seemed to come up on us all too quickly, and I would have to declare the event an overall success. From the party on Friday night to the all day affair on Saturday, Granville Island was a great campus this year. We completely lucked out on the weather as well, so you can’t ask much more than that.

BarCampVancouver2008 WordCamp

WordCamp was also a really great event that I got to be apart of. I tried to help out with the planning alongside Duane and Rebecca, but there was a bit more to be done the day of than expected. After some quick ghetto engineering, the screen and projector worked out great, and the sessions were all really good. Hopefully my involvement in the genius Q&A portion of the day made sense for many of the attendees, and for a really great run down on the sessions, check out Rebecca’s post.

BarCampVancouver2008 Photocamp

Photocamp was another point of enjoyment for myself. I mostly caught the last few sessions with Tris Hussey, Derek Miller, and John Biehler, but they were well worth the time to learn a bit more about photo sharing sites and various pieces of gear that I’m all too poor to spend money on.

The day concluded with a brief photowalk around Granville Island, so I’ll include a few shots or you can see the entire set on Flickr.

BarCampVancouver2008 Photowalk

BarCampVancouver2008 Photowalk

BarCampVancouver2008 Photowalk

BarCampVancouver2008 Photowalk

BarCampVancouver2008 Photowalk

BarCampVancouver2008 Photowalk

Good times, and I can’t wait to do it again next year.

Mark the date for BarCampVancouver 2008: September 27th

As we head into the late stages of summer and fall is still a little ways under the horizon, that only means one thing. BarCampVancouver 2008!

Session: "identity 2.0"

Planning is still going on, but one thing has been set for this unconference. September 27th is date for this year’s BarCampVancouver, and I’m sure the events, gatherings, and other mischief will extend from that.

BarCamp is an ad-hoc un-conference born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from attendees.

All attendees are encouraged to give a demo, a session, a presentation, or help with one. All attendees are expected to be participants. All presentations are scheduled the day they happen. Prepare in advance, but come early to get a slot on the wall.

Presenters are responsible for making sure that notes/slides/audio/video of their presentations are published on the web for the benefit of all and those who can’t be present.

Anyone with something to contribute or with the desire to learn is welcome and invited to join. [barcampvancouver]

I had to miss last year’s BarCamp due to my hectic day job at the time, but things are slightly different now so I should be able to attend without too much concern. I have even thrown my hat into the ring in terms of helping organize the event, so it’ll be a lot of fun seeing how this comes together behind the scenes.

Another thing I will say about BarCampVancouver is that the one I attended in 2006 was one of the best things I have probably ever done. I met so many people that have become great friends, and there were a lot of things that I learned as well.

In fact, when I think back to it, it’s amazing to see where the “Techcouver” community was then and where it is now. One might say that it’s changed quite a bit, but it’s an amazing community nonetheless. Of course, the technology has made some leaps as well, but that goes without saying.

So, mark the date! September 27th is the day for BarCampVancouver!

Checking out WordCamp Fraser Valley out in Langley, BC

WordCamp Fraser Valley You could say that this style of WordCamp is a bit out of the ordinary. In fact, I’m not sure that many WordCamps are held in casinos, but this event is pretty nice in the fact that there is an amazing space out here for gatherings, meetups, and conventions like this.

WordCamp Fraser Valley is a growing push to move web related camps like this out of the downtown core and into the mysterious world away from the ocean waters. Wifi, reasonable sources of power, plenty of water, a huge room, podium, PA system, projector, and a screen. What more could you really need for a WordCamp?

Well, it might be better if something like this was a bit longer, but an all day event at a location like this might be tough. If you head down the escalators, you might be enticed by the various ways to gamble your money away, so you’re probably better off sticking to your laptop like myself and get some content out while checking out your RSS feeds.

The list of presenters tonight are a good group of folks. Raul kicked off this WordCamp with a session on switching from Blogger to WordPress, and it was a great way to introduce newbies with a way of letting go of your worries and do more with blogging in general. Even if you don’t have a blog or are just beginning with your blog, these concepts are worth considering.

Gary from BlurFur, the folks who have headed up this event, made a last minute presentation on business blogging after another speaker was unable to attend. A topic that is largely ignored, and often not even thought about, businesses should be doing more blogging. Period. If you want a way to reach your customers directly, then this is it. Promote your product, talk about your industry, or publish your your press releases on your blog, there are many avenues you can take when it comes to adding a blog to your business.

More topics are being presented tonight, so I will let Rebecca’s live blog speak more to what’s going on, not to mention that she is also one of the presenters tonight. She will be speaking about adding custom sidebars to your posts and pages, something we are big fans of doing. Kulpreet is currently speaking about security to WordPress, and John Chow will bring his evil, money making ways with blogging to the room.

I have to say that I am really impressed with tonight’s turnout. It’s always great to see people from various aspects of blogging. And yes, there are people that don’t even have a blog and are here to find out more. If that’s someone like yourself, then check out a WordCamp sometime. The WordPress community not only does geek stuff and talk about code, but we also like to share the things we know.

Podcasting 101: the blog post

After giving my MooseCamp session at Norther Voice 2008 on Podcasting 101, I learned a lot more about how things should have gone versus how it went.

Northern Voice 2008 by John Biehler
Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

There were a variety of factors that caused me to really struggle how you give someone an introduction on podcasting within 30 minutes that doesn’t leave them feeling like a bus just drove by them and smacked them in the face because they were standing so close and didn’t see that rear view mirror sticking out as much as they just saw the bus. I only use that analogy because it almost happened to me a few weeks ago.

Rather than go through the would, should, or could haves, I’m going to make a blog post that hits the same topics, laid out in a method that will allow folks to explore tools of the medium rather than generate buzz words that you’ll forget to Google later. Plus, this will help me develop a better method of being able to do something like this again, if the virtual tomatoes haven’t already been thrown at me.
Continue reading “Podcasting 101: the blog post”

Speaking on a panel at Net Tuesday4 – “Podcasting for Social Change”

I’ve been invited by the intrepid Dave Olson to join him, Rob Cottingham, and Roland Tanglao to be apart of a panel for the coming Net Tuesday4 on July 8, 2008. This is in the series of events in the NetSquared project.

Our mission is to spur responsible adoption of social web tools by social benefit organizations. There’s a whole new generation of online tools available – tools that make it easier than ever before to collaborate, share information and mobilize support. These tools include blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, podcasting, and more. Some people describe them as “Web 2.0”; we call them the social web, because their power comes from the relationships they enable. [netsquared]

The coming panel will be about “Podcasting for Social Change“. Essentially, we are going to gather together on this panel to talk about these tools that exist for pretty much anyone to use in order to get their message out about a cause or organization that is trying to create change within a community.

Whether it’s on a local or global scale, our intention is to give you some insight on how you can use a medium like podcasting to help you get to where you want to be. The road map is fairly wide open, but I’ll do my best to share insights on how to get started, recording methods, editing tips, and how to get that podcast episode out to the world.

What: Net Tuesday4 – Podcasting for Social Change
When: Tuesday, July 8, 2008 5:30 PM!
Where: WorkSpace, 400, 21 Water St., Vancouver BC, V6B 1A1 [google maps]

Topic: Ways Non-profits/Social Change orgs can use podcasts to spread their message

To make it easy, we’ll cover:
1) planning
2) producing tips (with toys to demo)
3) publishing/promoting

dave olson – moderater/podcaster
john bollwitt – podcaster and audio engineer
rob cottingham – social change technologist
roland tanglao – mobile pundit and tech-evangelist

And to help you think about checking out the panel, check out this great promotional video that Dave made in anticipation. Gotta say that my tequila bottle mic stand is still one of my favorite podcasting engineering feats to this day. Simple and useful in oh so many ways.

Cranking out the podcasts for at EPIC 2008

smart car EPIC

What seems like ages ago, I was invited to be apart of the “Frogsquad” at EPIC 2008 and’s official media coverage of the weekend festivities. Rebecca joined in with her blogging expertise, and I did my fair share of producing podcasts while DaveO ran amok inside the convention. I have never published so many episodes of a podcast as I did in three days. Lots of audio goodness there.

happyfrog To give a little a little more background on the event, EPIC is the annual, sustainability living expo that happens in downtown Vancouver. This was my first time attending, but I’ve heard about the event previously. People gather to discuss and discover ways to live a more green lifestyle and find alternative resources to satisfy everyday needs. And mark your calendar for next year’s expo, May 8-10, 2009.

While we’re at it, I should mention that if you are looking to find more information like this in the lower mainland of British Columbia, then that’s where comes in. They are a community and directory of all things green in B.C., and you can find a wealth of information there as well as contribute to the growing site. Every time I hear from DaveO about it, there’s more and more in the pipes, so keep checking back.

Interviewing the folks from Vespa

DaveO got a lot of great interviews, and the Vespa folks were one of my favorites. They are introducing a three wheeled version of their scooter which makes me want one. It’s a scooter by law, but you basically need a motorcycle license to drive it. Oh yeah, and there’s no kick stand.

Adria Vasil talking to Raul

Even Raul got into the mix, taking the microphone and talking to a well respected expert in the field of eco-living, Adria Vasil.


Certainly the highlight to my experience at EPIC 2008 was an appearance by Mike Holmes and his talk on how we can build greener homes, and how to do it cheaper, better, and right. I’ve come to really enjoy his show on HGTV, but it will end after this next season. According to what he mentioned on stage, he will be starting a new show called “Making It Right“. He’ll be “going to New Orleans, and we’ll make things right there. After that, we’ll be going to Africa, selecting areas and families that need good homes and show how we can make things right there.”

I’m not sure what comes after Africa, but that’s pretty amazing.


Of course, you can’t forget all the clothes you could buy at EPIC. And honestly, there was a lot of really cool stuff. I think most people have hemp come to mind as being the main source of material at an event like this, but there are all sorts of ways that people are creating great clothing. More so, the t-shirt I got is made out of bamboo, and it’s fantastic! It’s so soft that I want bed sheets made from bamboo now.

I have lots more pictures of the event on Flickr, but there are a lot more reports of the event on the frogblog. After all, this is official media coverage, most of it created live from the event floor, and I’m lucky to have been apart of it.

Bridging Media conference thoughts, way after the fact


I had the chance to attend the Bridging Media conference a few weeks ago while Rebecca live blogged the whole event as a media sponsor. It’s been a little while since then, but I figure it’s better late than never to post a few thoughts about it while showing off some photos that I snapped throughout the day.


The purpose of this event was to bring the realms of traditional media into the same conversation as electronic media, and it was a really good mix of methods. Print, broadcast, and film shared the same stage as online video producers, bloggers, web marketers, and so on.

Being someone who currently works in the area of broadcasting, this is something that I struggle with on a daily, personal level. How can the realms of online media mesh with the traditional, highly stagnate methods of traditional media? That’s what this conference of sorts was meant to open the conversation to, not that I have a lot of weight or say as to how these two things are indeed bridged. I’m just a huge advocate for it.


It’s really tough for me to break down each and every conversation at this point, so I really encourage you to read through Rebecca’s live blog to get a better sense of what was discussed.


What I took away from this conference is that there is a lot to learn about how each side of the coin can work together in order to enrich media content as a whole. From education to story telling to information sharing to the way that marketers let you know about neat, new things, there are a lot of methods that have strengths and weaknesses which can only be helped through sharing the load.

In this world of electronic media, it’s tough to say that one form of distribution is better than the other. Each method has the way it delivers its message, and that message gets to a particular audience based on interest as well as the method. To me, it says that the only way to really strengthen your distribution is to have more ways to put out your message.

In radio, there is the old adage of saying it enough times and someone is bound to hear it at least once. But not everyone listens to the radio, and not everyone owns a TV. So it comes down to getting your message out to as many outlets that you can, and then doing it well. That’s what I think Bridging Media is trying to do, all the while opening new doors for traditional media to try out.


And finally, congrats to Megan and Erica for pulling together a really great event. It was a great day that really left me feeling inspired and full of great ideas.

Northern Voice Day 2: Keynote with Matt Mullenweg

I’m not going to say a lot as I wait for this keynote to start, but it’s incredibly cool to have Matt Mullenweg here to start the day off at Northern Voice 2008. So much of what I do is WordPress, so it’s pretty freaking neat that the guy who founded the project is speaking today.

Boris and Matt
Photo credit: Duane Storey on Flickr

Interesting notes during the keynote:

  • WP 2.5 to have one click upgrades to plugins. WP 2.6 to hopefully have one click upgrade to core software.
  • Ha! This Matt just mentioned the Matt I mentioned in my last post. They are in a battle for the highest Google ranking for their first name.
  • “Kill the Megabrands”
  • “When you have the taste of freedom, it’s tough to go back.” Basically, no matter what the open source project is, everyone has the ability to contribute to it, knowing how to code or not.
  • Why shouldn’t the government have more open source information? Otherwise, they are just stealing from us and keeping information to themselves.
  • You can listen to his keynote here.