Recap: DemoCampEdmonton4

Tonight was without a doubt our best DemoCamp ever here in Edmonton. With six fairly solid demos, nearly 150 people in attendance, and no technical glitches in sight, it’ll be hard to top DemoCampEdmonton4 but we’re certainly going to try! It’s just amazing to see the community grow like this – thanks to everyone who came out.

Tonight we had six demos:

  • Sean from Orange Door Idealab showed us Surveyor, a mobile tool for conducting surveys using the iPhone or iPod touch.
  • Reg showed us Edistorm, a social brainstorming platform.
  • Brady showed us ElectionBuddy, a service that helps you run polls and elections via email.
  • Aaron came all the way from Regina to show us The History Books, a sort of social networking site.
  • Sam showed us PureInbox, an online email management system.
  • Grant Skinner showed us a bunch of Flash projects, including Adobe Kuler.

It wasn’t planned at all, but all of the products that were demoed tonight seemed really polished. The interfaces were all slick and professional looking!

DemoCampEdmonton4

I think my “demo of the night” goes to ODIL’s Surveyor. I really like the interface, and the application itself seems pretty solid for something so early-stage. ElectionBuddy and Edistorm also had great demos, and have lots of potential. I think PureInbox could have been a great demo, but unfortunately we didn’t get to see much of the app itself. The History Books was entertaining, but as I said on Twitter, it seemed like something that came out of a few late night domain name purchases. Grant did a wicked presentation, showing us eight different projects that his Flash design firm has been involved with. He was definitely the most captivating presenter.

Tonight was also the first public announcement for Edmonton Code Camp! It’s going to take place on Saturday, November 29th at the MacEwan campus downtown. You can find more information here, and the domain will be http://www.edmontoncodecamp.com (working through some DNS issues currently). We’ll share more details soon.

The venue worked well again this time, and once again I had Free Wifi going (though it could have been a bit more reliable). I live-twittered the demos, which you can find at Twitter Search along with updates from others in attendance.

I think lots of people like DemoCamp just for the networking opportunity afterward, and again we had a full house at The Windsor Pub. Was great to see a bunch of new faces in the crowd too! Thanks to Smibs for sponsoring tonight’s event.

If you’d like to be notified about future DemoCamp and BarCamp events in Edmonton, sign up for the mailing list here.

See you at DemoCampEdmonton5!

DemoCampEdmonton4

democampedmonton October and November are shaping up to be fantastic months for tech events here in Edmonton! Our next DemoCamp will take place on October 29th at 6:30pm, once again in ETLC on the University of Alberta campus. DemoCamp is always lots of fun – if you’ve never been to one I really encourage you to come check it out! You can read about our previous events (1, 2, 3) to get an idea of what they’re like.

Date: Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Time: 6:30pm (and drinks afterward)
Location: E1 017, ETLC, University of Alberta (map)
Cost: Free

Add your name to the wiki page to let everyone know you’re planning to attend (or if you’d like to demo). We’re also looking for help spreading the word:

We’d like to challenge everyone to tell a few people about DemoCamp and physically bring at least one new person to the event.

Additionally we’re looking for volunteers to help us target different groups of people in a more organized fashion. If you want to help us spread the word to schools, media, demoers or service providers, let us know.

Anything you can do to help would be great! We’ve got events on Facebook and Upcoming that you can send to people also. Be sure to tag things with democampyeg so that they are easier to find.

I also wanted to point out the interview that Peter Urban of Smibs did with Cam Linke. Smibs was “demo of the evening” at our first ever DemoCamp, and Cam is of course the driving force behind DemoCamp here in Edmonton. Check it out!

Recap: DemoCampEdmonton3

It’s hard to believe that nearly four months have passed since our last DemoCamp here in Edmonton! Of course, we did have BarCamp back in July, but our last official DemoCamp was in May. It was about time for another one! Tonight’s event went very well, with an audience made up of both familiar and new faces.

DemoCampEdmonton3 featured six demos:

  1. Adam & Andy from dub5
  2. Aaron from SpatialQ
  3. Michael & Brendan from Edmonton Free Library
  4. Darren from Playerrs
  5. Kerri from Tynt
  6. The U of A’s Autonomous Robot Vehicle Project

I think every demo was slightly under the 10 minute mark, which meant more time for questions. Tonight was a night of firsts! Kerri was our first female presenter ever, and ARVP provided us with our first hardware demo. Very cool stuff.

DemoCampEdmonton3

For those of you who couldn’t make it: Dub5 is a calendar/scheduling application that hopes to play well with existing applications and services. It features an SMS interface, which made for a neat demo. SpatialQ is a solution for geospatial search, a way to associate data sets with geographical information. The Edmonton Free Library project is a community site for sharing books, music, and videos. Playerrs is a sports analysis and research site which makes it easy to track your favorite teams. Tynt is a browser plugin that lets you annotate and share the web. And finally, the Autonomous Robot Vehicle Project is a research project at the U of A (with a fairly self-explanatory name).

I’d have to say that my “demo of the night” goes to dub5. The ARVP demo was really neat, especially to see the robot in action, but dub5 was both entertaining and impressive. I definitely think they have challenges ahead, but they seem like a smart group with a good idea and lots of passion.

We had over 80 people attend tonight, and roughly 30 of those people made it out to The Windsor Pub afterward – an awesome turnout, thanks to everyone who came! Also, thanks to Reg and the Zigtag team for getting that all arranged. I think the venue (ETLC) worked really well tonight – everyone could see and hear the demos with ease. Another positive tonight was that we had free wifi, provided by the Free WiFi project. Despite some initial connection issues, I managed to get our WiMAX router working properly! We had fairly consistent usage through the evening.

You can see my photos of tonight’s event here. If you’d like to be notified about future DemoCamp and BarCamp events in Edmonton, sign up for the mailing list here.

See you at DemoCampEdmonton4!

Upcoming Edmonton Events: Pecha Kucha 2 & DemoCamp 3

Attention all “creatives” in Edmonton – two popular events are happening again in our city in September that you don’t want to miss!

The first is Pecha Kucha Night 2, taking place on September 11th. The first Pecha Kucha in Edmonton took place back on May 1st, and it went very well. Essentially a dozen or so presenters will each have the opportunity to show 20 slides at 20 seconds per slide. Typically the content is arts & design.

Date: Thursday, September 11, 2008
Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Location: TransAlta Arts Barns, Westbury Theatre, 10330 84th Avenue (map)
Cost: $5 at the door

You’ll need to RSVP to nextgen@edmonton.ca. You can find more information here.

The second event is DemoCampEdmonton 3, taking place on September 17th. Local entrepreneurs and developers will show off real stuff they’re building. You can read about our first two democamps here and here.

Date: Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Time: 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Location: E1 017, ETLC, University of Alberta (map)
Cost: Free

If you’re planning to attend, add your name to the wiki page.

Should be a couple of great events. See you at both!

Ten days until Edmonton's first BarCamp

barcampedmonton In just ten days, Edmonton’s tech community will converge at the World Trade Centre downtown for BarCampEdmonton1. Our recent DemoCamps have been extremely successful, and this is another great way to help the community grow:

Barcamp is an ad-hoc gathering of people in and interested in the Edmonton tech community. BarCamp is a series of loosely scheduled 20 minute presentations/discussions about whatever the community is interested in.

We are planning on having three different presentation rooms, as well as a couple of discussion rooms/areas, a “business” room, a “tech” room, and a “misc” room. Ultimately the topics will be whatever the community want them to be.

That’s the spirit of BarCamp – community driven!

I’ll be helping Eric setup free wireless at the venue. It’s a topic I’d love to talk more about – the state of wireless in Edmonton. I’d also love to talk more about Twitter, especially considering my talk at last month’s BarCampCalgary was very well received.

I’m hoping for a good turnout full of both new and familiar faces. Here are all the details:

WHO: You!
WHAT: Edmonton’s first BarCamp!
WHERE: Edmonton World Trade Centre, Floor 6 (600-9990 Jasper Avenue)
WHEN: Saturday, July 19th, 2008 from 10am until 4pm
WHY: Meet new people, learn new things, have a great time!

Unlike with DemoCamp, we need you to sign up for BarCamp. Do it soon before space runs out! Bring your ideas, your gadgets, and your enthusiasm. See you on the 19th!

Recap: DemoCampEdmonton2

Tonight was Edmonton’s second DemoCamp – an opportunity for local startups and entrepreneurs to show the community what they’ve been working on. The venue and overall vibe of the event tonight was a bit different than the first DemoCamp, but I think it’s safe to say that DemoCampEdmonton2 was a success.

Again, we had six demos:

  1. Boris Djordjevic from Frontier Solutions
  2. Jack Newton from Clio
  3. Bruce Johnson and Scott Montgomerie from Zigtag
  4. Scott Winder from Boreal Systems
  5. Toby Spendiff from nForm
  6. Patrick Lor showed us a.viary.com

Frontier makes a product called SiteGears that helps companies bring products to market by integrating with businesses at all levels of the product lifecycle. Clio is a practice management service targeted at small law firms. Zigtag is in the social bookmarking space, and see themselves as the “future of search” in the long-run. Boreal Systems make an operations management application for companies in the energy industry. nForm makes a SharePoint add-on called Midori that helps small teams manage projects. And last but not least, a.viary is bringing the power of Photoshop to the web.

DemoCampEdmonton2

My “demo of the night” goes to Clio, with honorable mentions to both Boreal Systems and nForm. Clio’s app is very slick looking, and you can tell they’ve done their homework. They’re focusing on lawyers right now (Jack said that roughly half of the 1.2 million law firms in North America need something like Clio) but it’s easy to see how the app could be applied to other types of practices (like accounting). What I liked about Boreal was that although their app didn’t feel very modern at all, they had good reasons for doing everything they did (such as keeping the concept of a whiteboard schedule). And finally, nForm actually changed data live. They showed Midori actually working…that rocked!

Here’s more on DemoCampEdmonton2 and the participating companies:

  • My initial headcount was 61, but I suspect the final number was closer to 75 as people continued to trickle in all evening long.
  • Two demos used Windows XP, two used Windows Vista, and two used Mac OS X.
  • Clio, Zigtag, and a.viary are all hosted/SaaS solutions. Boreal Systems and Midori are both traditional host-it-yourself solutions. SiteGears is a combination of both.
  • SiteGears is primarily Java, Clio is Ruby on Rails, Zigtag is primarily Java, Boreal is almost finished migrating from PHP to Ruby, Midori is ASP.NET, and a.viary is Flash and Flex.
  • Again, we had a very diverse crowd. John Bristowe and Patrick Lor made it up from Calgary. James Matsuba, who won the Student Business Plan competition at this year’s VenturePrize, was in the crowd. Investors included Spencer Ord and Ken Gordon. Was great to see lots of new and familiar faces alike!

As I mentioned, the vibe was a bit different than the first DemoCamp which was held at the U of A. Choosing a bar as the venue makes for a more comfortable evening (with food and drinks) but it was a little harder to hear the presenters and questions. Another downside was the lack of free wifi, which kept me from liveblogging the event on Twitter.

One of the highlights of the evening was when Patrick Lor got up to present. Cam shared with everyone that Patrick was the driving force behind DemoCamp in both Calgary and Edmonton, so it was good for him to receive a round of applause as thanks from the Edmonton crowd.

Speaking of Calgary, Patrick mentioned that BarCampCalgary is happening on June 14th, so mark your calendars!

Thanks to everyone who came out tonight – see you at DemoCampEdmonton3! You can see some more photos of the event here. This post also appears at Techvibes.

UPDATE: For a more descriptive recap of the demos, check out Eric’s post.

Recap: DemoCampEdmonton1

Last night was Edmonton’s first DemoCamp, and I think it was a major success! I counted about sixty people at one point, with some standing along the back walls. I liveblogged the whole event on Twitter. You can see my tweets at #hashtags and Twemes. I’ll summarize the key info in this post.

We had six demos, though I think we need to aim for more demo and less talk next time. Here’s what we saw:

  1. Greg Campbell of Spieker Point Inc. showed us http://www.spiekerpoint.com
  2. Daniel Boulet of Loa Corp. showed us http://www.loapowertools.com
  3. Dave Bodnarchuck of Event IQ Inc. showed us http://www.inviteright.com
  4. Bob Hesketh of Chinook Multimedia Inc. showed us http://www.chinookmultimedia.com
  5. Peter Urban of Smibs Inc. showed us http://www.smibs.com
  6. David Cree of FunderFish showed us http://www.funderfish.com

I think the demo of the evening was definitely Peter Urban’s. The applications they are building are really slick looking, and could be quite useful (its a CRM type app). He was also a really engaging speaker.

BarCamp coming soon!

The audience was a fairly diverse crowd. We had five women, three or four students, lots of developers, a few investors including Randy Thompson, and Don Iveson who is the city councillor for Ward 5. The two companies with the most representation were Zigtag and Nexopia. There was a serious lack of Microsoft dudes, so we’ll have to make sure EDMUG comes out to the next one!

There were a few announcements about upcoming events:

Mark your calendars! You may also want to join the BarCampEdmonton group on Facebook.

After the demos were done, most people headed over to Windsor pub for a few beers. I know lots of introductions were made, and people seemed to be having a good time. It’s great to see the community growing like this in Edmonton, and I have no doubt that the next DemoCamp will be even better!

Some things we can improve on:

  • Larger room, preferably with lots of power outlets!
  • Open Wi-Fi access (only those with U of A accounts could connect)
  • Reach out to more groups in Edmonton and area
  • Food? Everyone loves free food! Maybe we can find a sponsor

Thanks to Cam, Mark, Kevin, and all the other organizers for a great event.