Archive for August, 2011
I know it’s short notice but AndroidTO this year is just not to be missed. Although the first AndroidTO had its humble beginning at the Polish Veterans community centre it was already the biggest Android conference in Canada. This year the organizers are going even bigger and will be holding AndroidTO at the massive venue 99 Sudbury and there is even more in store for android developers and enthusiasts than you can shake a cell phone at. It’s really shaping up to be quite the event and there are a lot of great reasons to attend for practical reasons. In previous posts I’ve talked about how conferences would be so great if they had more practical applications from the subject matter. If last year’s AndroidTO is any indicator then this year’s should be another great and very handy meeting of minds. Here are a few things you can look forward to.
LEARN from the Best
AndroidTO offers more technical training than any other conference in Canada. Learn in depth about the latest mobile technology trends and how you can leverage these effectively in your businesses.
CONNECT with the Right People
Learn about the world of Android from industry leading developers, hardware manufacturers and thought-leaders. Make contacts and share best practices with like minded individuals in the community!
EVOLVE your Qualifications
Take an accelerated path to the skills you need to advance your career path and increase your professional value. Be the Android expert.
Leave with ACTIONABLE Knowledge
Prepare to add new value back in the real world, with an extended skill set you can put to use immediately. Gain insight from Android users to see what they have to say about your new Android projects.
I strongly urge you to get in on this ASAP as the clock is ticking. Even if you miss the early bird dead line it’s worth going to whether you’re a developer or enthusiast. Unlike last year, they’ve divided the conference into two tracks you can attend, one for enthusiasts and the other for developers, so whether you are a pro with android or want to learn more the road is open for you to learn a ton.
UPDATE: The Tornado watch has been lifted. This post is being left up for posterity.
Hey everyone. There’s a tornado watch in Toronto. The pictures on twitter allegedly show the twister in the city of Toronto and the lightning is fierce right now. I’m not sure of their authenticity at the moment but it never hurts to be prepared just in case. I am typing this up to give you some quick tips on what to do in a tornado and syndicating it to all my social feeds.
Getprepared.ca has some general tips but I thought I would flesh them out a bit for apartment/condo dwellers. It’s a scary time right now and I just want to help where I can with planned redundancy in information. If you get the info you need from this site, great. If from somewhere else, also great. Just stay safe!
Read the tips below but stay glued to 680news radio for updates. If you still have television keep your eye on the news. If your area goes from “Tornado watch” to “Tornado warning” SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY.
If you are in a house
- Go to the basement or take shelter in a small interior ground floor room such as a bathroom, closet or hallway.
- If you have no basement, protect yourself by taking shelter under a heavy table or desk.
- In all cases, stay away from windows, outside walls and doors.
If you are in an office or apartment building
- Take shelter in an inner hallway or room, ideally in the basement or on the ground floor.
- Do not use the elevator.
- Stay away from windows.
If you are driving
- If you spot a tornado in the distance go to the nearest solid shelter.
- If the tornado is close, get out of your car and take cover in a low-lying area, such as a ditch.
In all cases
- Get as close to the ground as possible, protect your head and watch for flying debris.
- Do not chase tornadoes – they are unpredictable and can change course abruptly.
- A tornado is deceptive. It may appear to be standing still but is, in fact, moving toward you.
We live in an age of entitlement now. I guess it sort of comes with the territory when a form of communication presents itself that is no longer one way, but two ways and many other ways in between. I am talking, of course, about twitter, facebook pages, the mobile web and so forth – social media.
People and brands alike have enjoyed (and sometimes lamented) the power of word of mouth for centuries but never before has new spread from person to person with the capacity and speed afforded by the social web. No longer must we wait till the news write up in the paper the next morning or wonder what’s on the 6 or 11 o’clock news to get the scoop on what’s happening around us. What’s more is that we can now provide instant feedback on any news we hear about moments after it ticks by on our twitter feeds.
Social lives have changed too. While we still protect our privacy to some degree we are more willing to share things online that we normally would not in a traditional social scenario (i.e. a cocktail party). We Live In Public‘s Josh Harris predicted that we would all give up our privacy online just for our 15 seconds of fame and recognition. While I still disagree with the extremity of his claim (i.e. I still don’t think we’re going to install webcams in all our living rooms and bathrooms as he did) people are using the social web to make a big deal about themselves whether it is for the purpose of getting invited to some exclusive party, get free swag, promote their web presence in whatever form, or just speak their mind without too much fear of immediate repercussions. So in a way, Harris was right but nowhere near to the extent he so arrogantly proposed.
While people on the social web “give up” their privacy as “social currency” (for example providing an email address, a follow, a Like) brands in turn give away the farm in many cases. You see it happen on group buying sites where businesses pretty much bend over backwards to give deep discounts and then have to deal with disgruntled customers who come in a few weeks later expecting the same deal, chomping at the bit to chirp them on Twitter when they don’t get what they want. You see the same phenomenon when a blogger or tweeter writes a complaint to his/her followers about some cell phone carrier that allegedly screwed them in some way. The list of scenarios goes on but the point is that business are spending and losing lots of money to appear accountable to the public on the social web and get rewarded a lot of the time with flak. I think that’s very commendable on the part of any business that would be brave enough to open their ports to the social web but it sort of grinds my gears when I see people take advantage of that and try to squeeze blood from the stone, so to speak.
Businesses on the social web now want you to feel special but it can go too far sometimes and it could hurt the ecosystem that balances the give and take between brand and customer. A phrase sort of popped into my head today as I was pondering this phenomenon of entitlement and the above issue. The phrase is this:
Nobody is nobody. Everybody is somebody. Just don’t let it go to your head.
Perhaps a mantra to describe the middle ground that I think could be created between the denizens of the social web and brands/businesses/causes that seek to engage their public without going overboard on what they give away. Yes, we give some of our privacy away when we get on Facebook, twitter, google+ etc so we should be recognized by brands for stepping out into the open and being identifiable and directly reachable. It’s a great metric for businesses to know exactly who they are dealing with now whereas before the social web there was a lot of guesswork on their part. The public still appreciates being made to feel special almost as a “thank you” for using a brand’s product (i.e. the Budweiser Winner’s Circle at the Honda Indy) but it should be recognized that Bud gave away a lot of product to market to you and throw such a swell party. Even though I was not paid to attend, I thanked Bud and Edelman with a blog post and some great pics.
In this sort of equal interchange I think the balance lies. Continuing with the Honda Indy example, although there were definitely some social media heavy hitters scattered throughout the Winner’s Circle 99% of people there were non-web folks just enjoying the event VIP style courtesy of Bud.
I guess in a long-winded fashion I am just hoping that in some form or another, social media folks make sure to say “thank you” and be a little more patient with the brands that have hooked them up along the way and continue to go to great lengths to satisfy our fickle needs.
As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome below.
Word11 – the resurrected version of what was supposed to be Wordcamp 2011 – is almost upon us. With the date drawing closer (August 27th) I would imagine that some people, including myself, may be having or have had something of a dilemma with regards to whether or not to go to it with the shadow of the problems that nixed it earlier this year looming over it. In April I posted my thoughts on what went down as the Wordcamp 2011 ship sank before it’s planned date of May14th. As a paying customer who had also referred a number of friends out of enthusiasm for the conference I (and many others) was perturbed by the lack of transparency shown by CG6, the company that shared the reigns of organizing with the WordPress Toronto Meetup group – who up till this year had looked after putting together Toronto Wordcamp events with the blessing of Wordcamp Central. After the events that cancelled “Wordcamp 2011″ the meetup group and WordPress Central pulled out of and CG6 renamed their conference to Word11, taken from the hashtag that was connected to the original conference.
After I posted the article it was picked up pretty heavily and although I tried to keep it as even-handed as possible, people were still a bit miffed that they had to find out that the conference had fallen through from me and Terry Smith rather than from CG6 themselves shortly before the original wordcamptoronto.com site was taken down.
So here we are about a week out from the now 100% CG6-organized “Word11” conference and I can see both sides of the fence. On one hand, what happened happened and I understand that at the time people were mad about it. Building and re-building trust is difficult but breaking it is all too easy. However, on the other hand, CG6 has
admirably decided to see this through and has taken steps to make Word11 happen “rain or shine” so to speak. Some disappointed people suggested that CG6 refund the money and walk away but I respect that CG6, in a show of character, offered a refund, finally addressed the issue head-on, and chose to re-plan the conference for a later date instead of dropping it. This has no doubt gave them some breathing room to actually lock down a venue this time (The CSI Annex) and secure some sponsors and diverse speakers.
The itinerary is now up at the Word11 site and it’s interesting that the first session of the day is entitled “Building Trust with Social Media,” but to that whole trust issue I am inclined to give CG6 the benefit of the doubt as far as a second chance to prove they can handle this task. Currently it looks like they may just pull this thing off, although I don’t know how making this conference a 24-hour event will play out. Some friends of mine are presenting there and I respect them enough to give Word11 a second look. It was a smart move on the part of the Word11 committee to exhort community members to get involved in both the planning and the presentations.
Last time I asked you what you thought and this time I ask you the same. Please consider the facts and thoughts put forth above as you craft your reply.
The moment you’ve all been waiting for has arrived! All the entrants were recorded in the order they entered the contest via twitter and assigned a number matching the order (click here to see the list). Random.org has provided me with two truly random numbers, 3 and 10, which correspond to….. @jenabela and @kristinnickolas !!
For our runners up, fret not! There are a few spots left on the RSVP list so get over to the Stella Artois Legere Facebook page tout suite and click the RSVP button before they hit capacity!
Stella Artois Ultimate Block Party
- Date: Saturday, August 13, 2011
- Time: 8pm – midnight
- Location: 529 King Street West (West side of Starbucks, South side of King street
It wasn’t too long ago when a friend of mine from Montreal asked me is there was a Beer Festival in Toronto. I honestly had no idea but I assumed that, this being Toronto and all, there had to be so I said “yes.” I almost regretted saying that right away because if there was no Festival of Beer I would be a liar, so I started searching Google fervently for redemption before I had to redeem myself. Thank heavens there turned out to be one and in fact a REALLY big one. Although I could never imagine how much of a huge shindig it was until the day we set foot in CNE bandshell park the other on the Sunday August 7th portion of the 4 day long Toronto Festival of Beer.
A big thanks to Big Thinker for sending us into the fray and for making it so much fun that before we knew it, we have stayed the entire day from 1-7pm! We didn’t originally plan to stay that long but we learned, as many others surely learned, that there is SO MUCH to do and experience at the TO Beer Fest. Our mission was to try all beers that we have no tried before. The first beer of the day cam highly recommended by Jon and was called “Beau’s.” If I had to rank all the beers we tried (and we tried a lot!) I would still say that Beau’s Lug Tread Lagered Ale stayed firm in the top 3 without a doubt.
This year there were a whole lot of unusual beers being served up by a number of fringe breweries and one big one, Great Lakes. There were so many new flavours to try as well that were outside of the traditional hops and barley flavour of most beers. Flying Monkeys beer seemed to be one of the most adventurous brands at the festival with mango, berry, and lemonade beers which were all well crafted and flavourful as well as “sidewalk paint” and “bubble scream” flavours which, though strange, were just as well crafted. The other flavour major adventurers were Great Lakes Brewery and their Caskapalooza tasting. Basically the story was that Great Lakes had made casks of beers with bizarre flavours such as curry, pepper peach, banana, maple and a whole bunch more and got their own huge portion of the fairgrounds to let people try it in limited quantities. The rub was that you had to pay two tokens for a half glass and, to be honest, their beers not only tasted somehow watered down and weak, but also NOTHING like the purported flavours. Very disappointing but we were soon cheered right up by the Napoleon Grilling Tent near Caskapalooza.
Mark Cutrara, Chef and Owner of Cowbell restaurant in Parkdale treated us to a demonstration of carving up a 120 lb side of premium aged beef as we drank Hoegarden (pronounced ‘hoo-garden’ – apparently) in awe of his knowledge and ability to make skirt and flank steaks emerge from that massive animal. Mark is quite the site to behold in his bright orange alligator skin cowboy boots, leather hat and diablo goatee and it wasn’t before too long that we were munching on medium delicious rare strips of steak that he cooked himself. You can bet that I’ll be paying Cowbell a visit soon.
The theme of beer and food was not lost on anyone there and another real highlight in the way of food was “Hey Meatball!” which is a soon-to-be opening restaurant somewhere in town later this month – at least that’s what the word on the street was. For four well worth it tokens you got a fresh, spicy, basil topped meatball on a bun covered in delicious sauce. Sounds so simple but good God, those were some good meatballs. The sign outside their booth said “you’ll love the taste of our balls!” and judging by the huge line to get one a whole lotta people got a mouthful of balls that day.
The rest of the festival was just a blast with the “social tent” for the Toronto twitterati and lots of fun little games to play all over. I was particularly good at throwing Wellies into a basket (first shot win!) and laughed my tipsy head off at games of cornhole, hairy smoking clowns, and custom beer carton hats made by the awesome, hard working people at Steamwhistle. I’m still a Stella Artois man but there’s no denying the dedication of those Steamwhistle craftsmen and women who worked their fingers to the bone to make those beer hats for free! No tips!
With the Holy Trinity of Happiness in mind the Toronto Festival of Beer actually completes the trifecta if you think about it. You got your love from all the friends you likely made there and the ones you brought along, you got your sustenance – whether in the form of meatballs or beer – and you got your expression – the music. There were bands playing literally all day culminating in the last two exciting acts, The Sheepdogs and every beer drinkers favourite rock band, The Trews. The Trews and the Sheepdogs have something sort of in common and that’s the fact that they owe a good portion of their fame to winning a contest. If you recall, the Trews got their big break when they won the CHTZ-FM ‘s “Rock Search” contest in 2002 and now fast forward to only a week or so ago and you find the Sheepdogs becoming the first ever unsigned band to grace to cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Both bands are from Canada and both sounded great on the stage at Beerfest. I was partial to the Sheepdogs and hung out with them for a bit at the social tent before they took the stage and rocked the house in the rain! The audience didn’t care one bit and it was Woodstock all over again, complete with mudslides. Yep. Contest or no contest, the bands really brought their A-game.
Sounds to me like good old-fashioned rock n’ roll is making a comeback and it’s not a moment too soon as there’s only so many pairs of prescriptionless, thick rimmed glasses and Chuck Taylors I can handle before I have an aneurysm. Bring back the rock is all I gotta say.
Speaking about beer, music, and awesomeness stay tuned for the big announcement for the winners of the tickets to the Stella Artois Legere Ultimate Block Party! The party takes place on August 13th and I will draw the names this Wednesday so you have one more day to tweet the magic phrase to get your chance at one of two pairs of tickets to the next big summer party so get in on it. Click here to read the post and enter the contest!
After a very busy day of meetings and wheeling and dealing I joined my good friends at IHAVEANIDEA for some drinks and schmoozing at Veritas. Every couple of months I get together with the usual suspects in the Ad game just to shoot the breeze and talk about what’s new and exciting in this thing of ours.
The last few meetups were sponsored by Microsoft Advertising and each time I showed up there was a draw for a new Xbox 360 with a Kinect! Of course Alfred of IHAVEANIDEA would not let the damned thing out of his site so stealing it was not an option and I was fresh out of chloroform-soaked rags so I had to play it fair and square. As I was telling the people around me how great it would be if one of won the XBOX with Kinect I heard someone say “The winner of the XBOX is Michael Nus!” and just laughed thinking someone was playing a joke. No joke, I got the XBOX and I must give my humble thank you to Microsoft Advertising and IHAVEANIDEA.
If you’re in the Ad game and just want to relax and network a bit, apply to become a member and see you at the next IHAVEANIDEA meetup. They also do a great event a few times a year called “Portfolio Night” where you can bring your creative portfolio – be you a copywriter, art director, designer etc – and have work on it with the very people who would see it at an interview for some of the most respected agencies around.
At its core, Portfolio Night is an event where aspiring young advertising copywriters, art directors and designers meet with several renowned advertising creative directors in a fast-paced evening of advice, networking and recruitment. While the evening has been jokingly called “speed-dating for creatives”, it’s really much more than that. In the nine years since its inception, Portfolio Night has grown to be a global event, reaching creative hubs in every continent in an evening where the best of the present meets the best of the years to come.
Creative Niche, a favourite creative recruiter of mine is heavily involved in Portfolio Night so you should keep your eyes open for the next one and sign up. Give Creative Niche a jangle and let them help you find your next great gig in the sky!
See you at Portfolio Night….that is as long as I can tear myself away from the Xbox 360.
The contest has closed but the party will rage on! Toronto has spoken and we listened! You will recall my announcement about the Stella Artois Legere block party contest last month and may be wondering what part of the Big Smoke gets the all expense paid block party extravaganza. Well the votes are in and counted and the winner is DOWNTOWN! Congrats to Keri Blog for getting the downtowners on board for an epic block party courtesy of Stella Artois Legere!
Stella has absolutely impressed me with their commitment to making summer awesome for so many people. If you were out and about this summer you may have stumbled across the Stella Artois Smooth Taste team and walked away with a free sample of Stella Artois Legere and a smile on your face. Last year Stella Artois was all about the TIFF and blew our socks off! Also shout out if you got to learn the 9 step pouring ritual and draught your own beer at the Stella Artois Draughtmasters Competition last year! This year’s selection process is now underway so make sure to keep an eye on the goings on by following @StellaArtoisCan on twitter!
OK so here are the details on the Stella Artois Block Party.
- Date: Saturday, August 13, 2011
- Time: 8pm – midnight
- Location: 525 King Street West (West side of Starbucks, South side of King street)
Move fast because this party is going to be hot and it’s likely that tickets may already be near gone as of this blog post writing! 1LOVETO is helping out with the event and there will be some great tunes from DJ Tom Wrecks along with some great giveaways. I’m also told there will be some big surprises so you don’t want to miss out!
But NOT TO WORRY! #NusVIP is back in full force and I have TWO PAIRS OF TICKETS to the block party for you guys! All you gotta do is get on the twitterz and tweet the following:
“@MichaelNus please send me and a friend to the @StellaArtoisCan Legere Ultimate Block Party #NusVIP style! #spon“
I will randomize the draw and two winners will get to each bring a friend to the party of the summer! So get on it, get tweeting and give Stella Artois a thumbs up on Facebook!
See you at the party and stay smooth!