Recap: DemoCamp Edmonton 13

Last night we held Edmonton’s thirteenth DemoCamp, our second in the larger space at the Telus Centre on the University of Alberta campus. It was another fantastic turnout, with close to 100 people eager to see what startups and developers in our city are working on. We had a great turn out at Original Joe’s afterward too (and if you’ve been to DemoCamp before, you know that’s where the magic happens). Snow can’t keep the local startup community down!

DemoCamp Edmonton 13

We had five demos:

  • Scott Montgomerie showed us My Edmonton, an app he originally developed with a few other people at Edmonton’s first Startup Weekend. It started life as a real estate app, but evolved to be more of a local utility, with information on events, news, property info, and nearby services. My Edmonton is available both on the web and as an iPhone app. You can learn more at the blog.
  • Our second demo was from Yegor Jbanov, who showed us Deckle, an online print job automation tool. Targeted at the professional printing industry, Deckle integrates with Adobe Creative Suite and supports precision printing, such as for cheques which have strict requirements on layout and positioning. Yegor said that if you can do it with InDesign, you can pretty much do with with Deckle.
  • Mo Hamdan was up next, to show us Promptu Manager, a tool for managing fixed assets. Promptu is a Windows application, with a user interface very reminiscent of accounting packages such as Simply Accounting or Quick Books. Unfortunately the demo didn’t go as smoothly as Mo had hoped. It’s difficult to make a series of data entry screens interesting, I guess.
  • Our fourth demo was from Trevor MacDonald, who showed us Pluggin.it. The idea is to leverage your social network to help you sell stuff. Let’s say you have a car that you want to get rid of. You can offer a reward and then get your friends to “plug” your listing, and if their assistance leads to an eventual sale, they can claim part of the reward. Pluggin.it is in beta (they are having a launch party tonight) but looks pretty polished and definitely has some potential. You can learn more at Brittney’s blog.
  • Our final demo was from Andrew Czarnietzki, who works at 3DI (here’s a profile I did in 2009). He showed us a game he developed in his spare time that makes use of some of the interesting technology available to him at 3DI, such as pureLIGHT. It was really interesting in that it used “weird geography” and light as its unique features. When you fired your weapon, for instance, the light would bend around the geometrical shapes in the game. Looks like it would be a fun game to play on Xbox Live or something like that!

DemoCamp Edmonton 13As a fan of open data and local apps, I really enjoyed My Edmonton. If you haven’t seen it before, check it out. I think Pluggin.it is a neat concept as well, and everyone really seemed to enjoy the demo. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of uptake it gets. My favorite demo was probably the game though – I love it when developers experiment with stuff just because they love it. Who knows, maybe one day Andrew’s game will be available on Xbox Live!

A few announcements:

Thanks to everyone who came out to lucky number 13. See you at DemoCamp Edmonton 14!

DemoCamp Edmonton 13

Sick of hibernating inside because of all the snow and cold weather? Join us on Wednesday evening for Edmonton’s next DemoCamp – lucky number 13! If you’ve never been to DemoCamp before, it’s time to stop missing out. There is no better opportunity to connect with Edmonton’s technology and startup community. Here are the details:

Date: Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Time: 6:30pm (and drinks/networking afterward)
Location: Telus Centre 150, University of Alberta (map)
Cost: Freesign up
See the event on ShareEdmonton or on Facebook.

The rules for DemoCamp are simple: ten minutes to demo real, working software, followed by a few minutes for questions. No slides allowed. You can read my recap of our last DemoCamp here (the archive of recaps is here).

If you can’t make it on Wednesday, follow along online using the #democampyeg hashtag. Stay tuned to Startup Edmonton for more technology and startup events.

See you Wednesday evening!

Recap: DemoCampEdmonton12

Tonight we held our twelfth DemoCamp in Edmonton. We changed up the venue this time but decided to stay on the University of Alberta campus, so instead of the familiar ETLC we found ourselves at the Telus Centre. To me the vibe in the room felt different, like there was less energy, and it actually seemed like there were less people because it was a bigger room. It’s amazing how the layout of the room can have such an impact.

We had four short demos tonight, from some of the winners of the Apps4Edmonton competition:

  • Eugene showed us Statistics Edmonton, which lets you easily look at demographics and other information on a map.
  • Ben showed us Alertzy, which can send you a text or email notification when it is time for garbage pickup where you live!
  • Mitch showed us Diner Inspect, which lets you look at health inspects for restaurants in your neighbourhood.
  • Chris showed us YEG Live, which aggregates music events in Edmonton and does e-ticketing as well.

DemoCamp Edmonton 12DemoCamp Edmonton 12

We also had five regular demos:

  • Chad Smith from Hybrid Forge kicked things off by demoing TRACpac for iPhone, an iPhone application that lets users search the combined catalogue of more than 150 libraries. He also demoed an iPad app that offers the same functionality but with a different interface. The apps looked great, and I love that they use a variety of 3rd party APIs to pull in data.
  • Jas Panesar showed us an app he had built for clients to deal with managing warranties. We didn’t get to see too much of it, but it seemed to have some solid workflow behind it. And certainly as a customer, making my interactions with warranties better is a good thing.
  • Next up was David Nedohin and Kieron Quigley from Statusfirm. They demoed Core Catalyst, a CMS tool targeted at government, enterprise, and other large organizations. It’s actually the platform that is powering the City of Edmonton’s election webcasts.
  • Fourth tonight was Joel Adria and Yuri Delanghe, university students who built Bearbook which is a Facebook app that makes it easy for students to share their timetables with other students, and to find common breaks. Joel said they were inspired by Bearscat and currently have 3700 students using the app (half of which have uploaded their schedules).
  • Last but not least was Trystan Kosmynka and Colin Humber. They showed TestFlight, a beta testing management platform for developers targeting the iOS platform. It fills a big gap that Apple developers face, and does it without iTunes, cables, or jailbreaking.

You can see all the presenters on Twitter here.

Overall, I’d say my favorite demo was probably Bearbook (though I also really liked the TRACpac app that Chad showed). I think a lot of other people in the room enjoyed Bearbook as well, feeling that Joel and Yuri brought some of the old-school-DemoCamp back. And I love that Joel was more than happy to respond to questions about new features with “we wanted to keep it simple.”

I think the most popular demo was without a doubt TestFlight. I’m not an iOS developer, but a lot of people in the room were, and they seemed to be salivating at the solution that Trystan and Colin showed. I also love that they tackled a real problem, and solved a major pain point. TestFlight isn’t just cool tech, it will actually have a really positive impact on the lives of iOS app developers and their testers.

We definitely had some issues tonight. Internet connectivity was a problem, due in part to us being on the U of A campus I think. We need to get that figured out. A lot of our demos tonight used iPhones or iPads, so we made use of the camera display. It worked well enough but the constant switching of video cables did get somewhat annoying.

The after-party tonight was awesome! The entire top floor of Original Joes was packed. I’m sure some people skipped or couldn’t make the demos and just came for beer, which is fine! It was a good time.

DemoCamp Edmonton 12

There were a few announcements tonight:

  • The next BarCamp is tentatively scheduled for October 23.
  • The next Launch Party is tentatively scheduled for November 17.
  • There are a bunch of other tech events coming up! I’ve got them listed at ShareEdmonton.

Stay tuned to Startup Edmonton for updates. You can see a few more photos from the evening here.

Thanks to everyone who came out tonight. See you at DemoCampEdmonton13!

Recap: DemoCampEdmonton11

Tonight was Edmonton’s eleventh DemoCamp, and despite the crazy weather that hit the city today, we had another very good turnout! Once again the audience seemed pretty evenly split between people new to DemoCamp and people who had come in the past. It’s great that we’re continually attracting new people, but it also makes me wonder where all the previous attendees have gone!

DemoCamp Edmonton 11

We had six demos this evening:

  • First up was Trent Oster from Beamdog, a digital game distribution service. They’re kind of like Steam, except that they’ve focused on simplifying the end-to-end experience of finding a game you like, downloading and installing it, and playing it. They were featured at Launch Party back in March.
  • Our second demo was Micah Slavens who showed us appboy, a directory and recommendation service for mobile applications. The site looks fantastic, with a great aesthetic, and works with Android, BlackBerry, Palm, and Apple apps. You can find apps, leave comments & reviews, and submit ideas for new apps.
  • Third tonight was Kyle Fox and Jon Smelquist from FotoJournal, hosted blogs for photographers. They are kind of like WordPress, but geared specifically to photographers with little or no setup required. It’s easy for photographers to setup an online portfolio. They were also featured at Launch Party.
  • Our forth demo was Graham Batty who showed us imgBrew, an online photo processing service. The service lets you transform images, say cropping or adjusting the color, using simple URL requests. The service is meant for a service like FotoJournal, which might want to offer the functionality without worrying about the implementation.
  • Fifth tonight was Arpad Barabas, from Calgary-based Mobizou. They’re tackling the really interesting market of mobile ads, coupons, and surveys. There are two sides to the service: for merchants, they offer the ability to quickly create ads & coupons, backed by analytics; for consumers, there’s Bizoubucks, which is a kind of loyalty program based around the mobile coupons.
  • Our final demo of the evening was Tom Ohle and Rober Kallir from Empire Avenue, an online influence stock exchange and advertising platform. I think quite a few people in the audience were familiar with the site, but they did show a couple new things as well, such as the ability to find your Facebook friends on EA. They were featured at Launch Party and will be presenting at MediaCamp too.

The bar is continually being raised in Edmonton, as all the demos were very well done with quite a bit of polish. I like Graham’s because it was a bit more of a prototype than the rest. The demo of the night has to go to appboy, however. Everyone I talked to after the event said that was their favorite, both because it’s a good idea and because the execution seems really great. I think FotoJournal also got quite a bit of love on Twitter during the demo, and has already had some success in attracting users. Keep an eye on all the startups that demoed tonight!

Here are a few upcoming events that we announced:

As always, stay tuned to Startup Edmonton and GameCamp Edmonton for updates on their events. I also do my best to aggregate upcoming tech events at ShareEdmonton.

Thanks to everyone who came out tonight. See you at DemoCampEdmonton12!

Recap: DemoCampEdmonton10

Tonight was our tenth DemoCamp here in Edmonton if you can believe it, and we’re still going strong! Our last DemoCamp was a little over two months ago, so it was definitely time for the community to once again get together. Cam asked the audience for a show of hands to find out who was new to DemoCamp, and a surprising number had never attended before. It’s fantastic that more and more people are finding out about the event, and are coming to support local entrepreneurs. Thanks everyone – keep it up!

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Before and after tonight’s demos.

We had five demos this evening:

  • Dave Bodnarchuk from EventIQ started things off by showing us InviteRight. He spent most of the demo showing the slick table organization features of the tool. Event organizers or venue managers can arrange registrations by table visually, using a simple drag & drop interface, kind of like seat selection on the airlines. They’re currently working with McNally and Spruce Grove high schools to test.
  • Our next presenter was Kent Tong from eQube. He started by explaining that eQube plays in the gaming sector – gambling, bingo, etc., not video games! Kent focused on something called Lil’ Gecko, which is a mobile gaming device rented to casinos and other customers, but they also offer a complete end-to-end solution. They’re trying to come up with games (casual things like Bejeweled) that get the average person visiting casinos again.
  • Next up was Brian MacKay from Tooq, a tool focused on the contractor and small business sector. Currently a few weeks away from beta, Tooq right now helps you create and manage invoices. Eventually Brian and his team hope to create a job market based around the people using Tooq for invoices, estimates, and other tasks.
  • Fourth tonight was Dave Chan from pureLIGHT. He demonstrated preLIGHT and pureLIGHT, applications his team has written to help designers light scenes. The key difference is efficiency – pureLIGHT produces the same kind of quality as similar solutions, but with significantly improved workflow and on-the-fly tweaking (not to mention a far lower cost). I wrote about the other side of the company, 3DI, back in December.
  • Our final presenter of the evening was David Quail, who showed us Attassa. Reminiscent of Xobni, Attassa is focused on improving organization and context in email. You can view messages by conversation, and can see a list of related people for any given thread. You can also find attachments really easily. Attassa works with Outlook and the iPhone, and was developed in just two months!

All of the demos were quite well done tonight, with only minor hiccups along the way. Having said that, I’m not sure that people were buzzing as much about the demos at RATT as at past events. I think my demo of the night goes to Dave Bodnarchuk. Though he ran out of time, the app looks good and he’s already got customers signed up, so that’s always a positive! I also really liked Attassa, and I think it has great potential.

Here are some upcoming tech events to watch for:

Stay tuned to Startup Edmonton and GameCamp Edmonton for updates on their events too! You can always see the latest tech events at ShareEdmonton.

Thanks to everyone who came out tonight. See you at DemoCampEdmonton11!

Recap: DemoCampEdmonton9

I feel like a broken record, but I really think tonight was our largest crowd ever for DemoCamp! It’s just amazing to see so many people who care about the technology industry and local entrepreneurs come out to show their support, learn something, and connect with one another. Kudos to everyone who continues to help make DemoCamp the fantastic event it has become by showing up and spreading the word! Special shout out tonight to NAIT’s Digital and Interactive Media Design (DIMD) group – I understand there were a couple dozen students in attendance!

As usual, we had six demos:

  • Victor Rubba from CrazedCoders got things started by demoing a side project – an iPhone game called Pik’s Revenge. It’ll appear in the App Store soon for $1.99, and is the first in a series of roughly four chapters. It includes 4 movies, 8 comics, and 2-5 hours of gameplay. I loved Victor’s demo because there was no talking for the first half, just gameplay being demoed.
  • Next up was Reg Cheramy and Scott Montgomerie who demoed their new Facebook app called Book That Bet. Built simply to “scratch an itch”, the app lets you track wagers with your friends, making use of the social graph on Facebook. It’s written in Ruby on Rails and is intentionally simple to start. Reg and Scott had a good demo, but actually received more love for their other app, OneClap.
  • Third tonight was Logan Foster who demoed a Kongregate game called Team Battle. It’s a Flash-based, real-time fighting game with some interesting graphics creation (3D models to 2D sprites). The intent is not to create a World of Warcraft competitor, but rather a game to play in your spare time.
  • Next up was Andrew Czarnietzki from 3D Interactive Inc. or 3DI. He demoed a really interesting simulation built for Caterpillar. Powered by the Unreal engine, Andrew described the simulator as a “serious game” – basically they bring game technology to the business world. The level of detail in the simulator was just incredible. Andrew did a good job of balancing the demo part with the talking part.
  • Fifth tonight was Colin Bramm who demoed SelfChecker, an online quiz authoring tool. The idea is to make it easy for teachers to create questions that can be shared with students via a simple link. Students take the test and see feedback immediately.
  • Last but not least was Ken Bautista who demoed his 2009 Venture Prize award winning solution called CIE: See Your Own Proof. An online community for kids, CIE hosts missions and other activities, and includes a whole social networking element as well. Interestingly, CIE combines the online and offline world with “field missions” in which kids visit real museums to learn and explore. The beta starts next week!

Most of the demos tonight were for projects that have been in the works for quite some time. I think it’s safe to say that the game demos did not go as well as expected. It turns out that demoing a game is harder than it sounds, particularly because you only get ten minutes! I think it was Graham who said something like “if you can’t play the game, then it had better be entertaining to watch with explosions or something!” I think I agree – the game demos just weren’t as exciting as everyone hoped. The fact that we had multiple game demos probably didn’t help.

DemoCampEdmonton9DemoCampEdmonton9
Photos taken as folks were still coming in. It filled up even more!

I think Ken’s demo was definitely a favorite, as people seemed really excited about CIE. The demo of the night has to go to Andrew though, for offering us a peek at some really awesome technology and for keeping the demo entertaining, informative, and on time.

There were a few announcements made this evening:

Thanks to everyone who came out tonight. Thanks also to Eric and the Free-Wifi project for getting everyone connected.

See you at DemoCampEdmonton10!

Recap: DemoCampEdmonton8

I almost can’t believe our last DemoCamp was so long ago! I think it’s safe to say that DemoCampEdmonton8 was worth the wait, however. We had probably our largest crowd ever – the entire room at ETLC was packed. I’m not sure the pictures do it justice! We also had a great set of demos – well done to all the presenters this evening, everyone really brought their ‘A’ game.

Here are the six demos we had tonight:

  • First up was Dub5, demoing an application they built for the Student Health Initiative for the Needs of Edmonton (SHINE). Essentially it is a scheduling application that solves the common problem of assigning volunteer shifts and dealing with cancellations and other issues. Very slick interface, which was a trend for the evening.
  • Next up was Skeptographers, a project of the Edmonton Skeptics. The application is best described as a collaborative podcast. Anyone can submit a segment for inclusion in the next podcast, and the community can comment and vote on each segment. Really cool stuff.
  • Third was an iPhone app called MyStops. While Google Maps is great at giving you transit directions from one point to another, it sucks at repeat routes. MyStops lets you save your usual routes, so that you have easy access to bus and LRT schedules. The cool thing about it is that it uses the ETS Google Transit data that was released back in May. The app will work with both iPhones and iPods.
  • Fourth was Yardstick Software. The product they demoed is called Yardstick Measure and is an online tool that enables anyone to quickly generate a professional testing site. Very slick UI and focused feature set, whereas its sister products (ProTraining & ProExams) are much more complex and feature-rich.
  • Fifth was Digital Media Jobs, a job board for individuals and organizations in the digital media space. Unlike other job boards, the goal with DMJ is to help the local community get connected with one another. Again, DMJ featured a very clean UI.
  • Last but not least was one of the most interesting demos we’ve ever had at DemoCamp in Edmonton: ReJoyCE from Rehabtronics. It’s a combination software-hardware solution to help rehabilitate people suffering from neurological impairments. They’ve successfully gone through a number of clinical trials and are looking to commercialize. Patients play a number of “games” that were designed with the help of therapists. Truly amazing stuff.

All of the demos were so great, it’s hard to pick a favorite. I think ReJoyCE is fascinating because of the impact it will have on the lives of so many people (and the fact that it is backed up by real medical research). I’m really happy we got to see some homegrown technology from the health sector. My favorite was probably MyStops, however. It’s something I’d use every day, and for 99 cents, I think plenty of other Edmontonians will as well. It’s also a great example of what can be done with open data. The team behind it plan to add support for the other cities that publish Google Transit data as well.

DemoCampEdmonton8DemoCampEdmonton8

Fortunately, no one showed us their registration page tonight. I think that contributed to the overall quality of tonight’s demos.

A couple of announcements about upcoming events:

  • Twestival is happening Thursday, September 10th! Come help us support the Youth Emergency Shelter Society!
  • Next Thursday, September 17th, ENTS is holding their grand opening!
  • Edmonton Code Camp is taking place on Saturday, September 19th.
  • FITC Edmonton is taking place on October 17th and 18th.

Thanks to everyone who came out tonight. See you at DemoCampEdmonton9!

DemoCampEdmonton8

Unfortunately the leaves have already started changing colors on some of the trees and the mornings are getting progressively cooler. The good news about fall? It means that DemoCamp is back! Join us at the University of Alberta in two weeks to see what local tech entrepreneurs are up to. As usual, we’ll head over to RATT after the demos for Edmonton’s best networking opportunity for tech professionals. Here are the details for #8:

Date: Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Time: 6:30pm (and drinks/networking afterward)
Location: E1 017, ETLC, University of Alberta (map)
Cost: Free sign up

The rules for DemoCamp are simple: ten minutes to demo real, working software, followed by a few minutes for questions. No slides allowed. You can learn more here. Our last DemoCamp took place on May 13th – you can read my recap here.

If you’re planning to come out, sign up here!

Help us spread the word – check out the BarCamp Edmonton blog and our Facebook group. Be sure to tag your tweets, posts, photos, and other content with democampyeg.

Hope to see you there!

Recap: DemoCampEdmonton7

Another successful DemoCamp is in the books! Tonight was our seventh here in Edmonton. I didn’t actually count the attendance this time, but I’d say it was a bit less than DCE6. Still a strong turnout and some great demos. Tonight we did something new as well – a “hack” demo. The idea is to show one really rough project at each event. Reg and Sean started things off with TwitClipper, a bookmarklet service to tweet highlighted text via Twitter’s OAuth API. Impressively, it was built on the 3-hour drive down to Calgary for their last DemoCamp!

We had five demos tonight:

  • Chris Olsen showed us LeagueSmart, a recreational sports league management application. It’s unique in that it attempts to get team admins and players involved in addition to the league organizers.
  • James Matsuba showed us IdleTime, a service that aims to help you make money with your spare time. It’s like Monster.com for part-time and one-off jobs. You can both search for and post jobs.
  • Shawn Abbott showed us one of his portfolio companies, Tynt. They have demoed before, but now have a new direction and app called Tracer. It lets you see what people are copying and pasting from your site.
  • Andre Prefontaine showed us MapKat, a map-based service that lets you create a diary and slideshow of your trips and adventures.
  • Sean Healy and Joel Jackson showed us SnackPanda, or tried to. They had a bunch of technical issues, but essentially it’s an online ordering system for restaurants that do delivery.

The general feeling I got from talking to people afterward was that all the demos were fairly impressive. The favorite seemed to be Tynt, probably because of their slick “copy/paste heat map” which shows you the sections of text on your website that were copied the most. I thought IdleTime looked great too, a very polished UI.

Tweet of the night definitely goes to Graham Batty, who said:

Why does everyone always want to show us their signup page? They’re all the same. #democampyeg

So true. Perhaps we’ll have to incorporate that into the unofficial DemoCamp rules!

Two event announcements tonight: TransitCampEdmonton, taking place on May 30th, and BarCampEdmonton2, taking place on June 13th. Stay tuned for details on both of those!

Thanks to everyone who came out tonight. See you at the next event!

UPDATE: Rob Davy posted some videos of the evening here. Thanks Rob!

DemoCampEdmonton7

Are you ready for another DemoCamp? Our next event here in Edmonton is coming up fast, on May 13th! Join us at the University of Alberta to see what local tech entrepreneurs are up to. As usual, we’ll head over to RATT after the demos for Edmonton’s best networking opportunity for tech professionals. If you’re new to DemoCamp, check out my recap of our last event. Here are the details for #7:

Date: Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Time: 6:30pm (and drinks/networking afterward)
Location: E1 017, ETLC, University of Alberta (map)
Cost: Free

The rules for DemoCamp are simple: ten minutes to demo real, working software, followed by a few minutes for questions. No slides allowed.

This time we’ve got a fantastic new sign up page for both attendees and anyone interested in demoing at this event or in the future. No more wiki craziness – just enter your name and click Register!

Help us spread the word – check out the BarCamp Edmonton blog and our Facebook group. Be sure to tag your tweets, posts, photos, and other content with democampyeg.

Hope to see you there!