Andrew Burke

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Toronto DemoCamp8 - 'All of our tags have RSS feeds!'
Posted on: 2006-07-30

Aren't blogs supposed to be timely? Oh well. Went to DemoCamp 8 on Tuesday at No Regrets in Liberty Village. The usual gang were there, Joey Devilla, David Crow, the Unspace folks - but we also had some brushes with fame, as Leo Laporte and Amber MacArther were attending as well. They snuck out pretty quickly after the presentations, so I didn't get to ask Leo what flights he takes between Toronto and San Francisco - he may know a better way that what I've been doing for the last few years. Oh well, maybe I'll see him at Terminal 2 some time.

Wild Apricot presented their registration and 'administrative routine automator' system - they had orange and green outfits and brought apricots for everyone. The main presenter was Russian, and I noticed that one of their demo users was Alexander Nevsky'.

JobLoft presented a very nice online job search site specifically for the 'high-turnover retail and food services industries'. Very Web 2.0 in goals, strategy, and design, but nicely so, and they already have partners and customers.

Filemobile is a place to store and manage all the media in your life. It has a very flexible Flash-based interface that lets you upload and download things in different tabs simultaneously while managing the data in other tabs. This presentation was the source of the oh-so-Web-2.0 quote at the top of the post: 'All of our tags have RSS feeds' - actually a good idea, but sounds a little like 'hype V.C. fishing' to me.

The site does a whole lot and has a very busy tabbed interface. I thought perhaps too busy, but they had previous success with online sports betting, and their market seems to be gadget-friendly guys - the people who go for lots of buttons on their home theatre controller(s), and lots of bullet points on their software - so perhaps the sense of control is a bigger selling point here.

Languify was a small student-designed internal project to help manage translations in multi-language applications. A nice change of pace from the heavy-hitting corporate demos. Also, the first Rails app of the night - the previous apps had been done in .NET

Mike Mcderment closed with a talk that closely skirted the 'no PowerPoint' rule - but since it was a talk rather than a demo, I guess that's okay. He talked about how to get more users to actually sign up for your web-based system, using techniques like track everything, including sign-ons, the last pages people visit before leaving, etc.

Considering the short notice, there was a pretty hefty turnout. I got there really early so I could get some food and a beer before the place got nuts. Had some good chats with folks: Joshua showed up early as well - sharing my 'early food' idea. My doppelganger came by after the presentations, and I think I impressed Sacha with the fact that I work with EMACS - although not like she does! Maybe I had a bit too much beer, because I started evangelizing people about Rails and about PowerBooks and OS X.

It's good to see that there's an active tech community in Toronto. It's also nice to see all the people getting up before the presentations to announce that they've got job openings and they're looking for people - I remember going to SDForum events back in 2003 when even the presenters were looking for work. Also, while DemoCamp 7 was mostly a Rails love-in, it's good to see other platforms being used - even if they are from Microsoft. Next up is BarCampEarth in August.

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