Thursday, January 31, 2008

Toronto Tech Week - Town Hall Meeting - January 31, 2008

This morning I attended the town hall meeting for Toronto Tech Week. This event--or series of events--will be held September 22-26, 2008 this year, and will be based at the Toronto Metro Convention Centre. Last year was the first year for this event (it was held in May) and had 3,000 people in the technology industry attending over 20 events. This year the goal is to have about 48 events and attract at least 4,000 people. More details below from the meeting, including opportunities for volunteers, sitting on committees, sponsorship, and holding a related event.

Chair Dave Forde did conducted the meeting and fielded questions along with other committee chairs. I was pretty jazzed about it by the end, and started to think about how the various groups I interact with should get involved.

Below are my notes from the meeting, which are fairly detailed:

Toronto Tech Week
Town Hall Meeting
Metro Hall Room 308
Thursday, January 31, 2008

2nd year - this year being held Sept 22-26, 2008
last time - over 20 events, 3,000 people attending, people from Rochester to China attending
focus very broad - entire industry
National press coverage: Backbone, IT World, Globe and Mail
brought people from across the country together
Goals: looking to increase attendance to 4,000
Launch 10 new start ups
45 hosted events

Key Dates
Feb 5 - Executive reception
Feb. 20 - Tech Talk
Mar. 25 - next Town Hall meeting
Sept. 22 - 28 - Toronto Tech Week 2008
Executive reception - invited 75 executives from across Toronto to explain what the week is.

  • 50,000 copies of a 24-page guide distributed with media partner IT World
  • revamped TTW website
  • producing an HTML email message that can be sent to target market
  • podcast between now and the event
  • welcomes people onto the marketing committee to develop a strategic plan

  • creating a community around Toronto Tech Week
  • partnering with one of the national newswire services so they can release press releases
  • series of industry roundtables on selected key topics
  • revamping the current website
  • Question from IBM: Why not have a space on Second Life? Harlequin did it, Canada Post - Maple Village
  • idea: the media will be invited to give international exposure
  • group comment: need to use the social media. Blogging will bring in more people. Need to think about this, plan it. Need to at minimum to have people linking back to the website from their sites. Need to put out tweets on Twitter - has connections to people across Canada and the U.S.

Target markets

  • Tier 1 - mid-management to director
  • Tier 2 - entrepreneur/start-up
  • Tier 3 - C-level
  • This year not targeting students.

  • Metro Convention Centre has been booked to act as the “home” for the event
  • the Monday: State of Nation - executives describe where we are with technology
  • e.g. Toronto signed digital cities agreement with San Francisco
  • 2 day trade show - morning keynote, afternoon keynote, and concurrent sessions - Metro Convention Centre - 25 booths available - there will be a registration for the sessions; trade show will be free to bring people in.
  • 2008 focus: innovations in the area of green tech/clean tech, sas, web 2.0
  • talent management and career day - Wed. Sept. 24 - informational and educational sessions. Two streams: talent management - directors of HR, hiring managers, etc.; career day - for technology talent. 8 to 12 concurrent sessions, split between the topics. 30-45 minutes in length. Have not yet decided the content on all the sessions. Putting together request for speakers. Looking for people who will engage the audience.
  • There will also be a career fair for people in the industry - technology workers with experience.
  • Encouraging other groups to host their events at the Metro Convention Centre. They can also host their own event e.g. Toronto Board of Trade, MaRS
  • Companies looking to sponsor an official event - they have packages. No fee to host your own event.
  • Technology Idol - students can submit video to explain why they are the next “top tech talent”. This is the one event involving students.
  • Thurs. (and possibly half of Friday) - Future Forward 2010 - areas such as mobile marketing, social media, online advertising - more focussed for the marketing/communications industry, what is the next thing on the Internet
  • Thurs. evening - official after party - at one of the local bars. Open bar if they can get enough sponsorship.
  • Half day Friday
  • Break out rooms still available to be rented directly from the Metro Convention Centre; try to rent the A/V equipment together with the Toronto Tech Week planning group so they can get the best price break as a group.
  • There will be overlap of events, but that gives people choice.
2008 organizing team

Dave Forde
Rob Berry
Mia Wedgbury
Elaine Pratt
Robert Berger
Jerry King & Rick Segal
Ernesta Rossi & Peter McNeil
Brian Makse

Sponsors to date

City of Toronto
Thin Data
IT World Canada
Backbone Magazine
Government of Ontario

Available volunteer opportunities
  • Internet Day Co-chair
  • Marketing Committee
  • Events Committee
  • Communications Committee
Available sponsorship opportunities
  • Sponsoring of Toronto Tech Week
  • Sponsoring of a specific event or day
  • Exhibiting at the 2-day trade show
Next Steps:
  • Get involved with a Committee
  • Suggest a topic or speaker - who
  • TechTalk Feb. 20th - TBA
  • Next Town Hall Meeting - March 25 [update: website showing this meeting 8am March 26]
  • There is a Facebook group


Dave Forde
dforde @

Rob Berry
rberry @

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Demo Post

I am showing the blog software to a group!

Catch Connie Crosby Today -- Live!

After two very full days of teaching in Ottawa I now get to "bust out" a little and hang with three different groups in one day. Currently I am holed up in a secret location getting ready for the following events:

- 4:00 p.m. Toronto Association of Law Libraries - I am speaking at the "Surf and Learn"--as opposed to "Lunch and Learn"--on the funky topic Social Networking Tools Inside the Law Firm. This is a members-only event. The original cap was at 20 people, but I hear they opened it up for up to 35 of my colleagues. Wow! I can't wait.

- 6:30 p.m. Toronto Geek Girl Dinner - tonight's speaker is Malgosia Green, co-founder of Savvica, an education technology company. Cost is $22 for the fabulous buffet dinner at the Hot House Cafe on Front St. There are still a few spots left on the sign-up wiki. Note that you have to be a woman or guest of a woman to attend. If any of my male friends are interested, let me know.

- 10:00 p.m. EST Uncontrolled Vocabulary - this is the library industry's phone-in talk show. I will be guest hosting tonight! You can join in the call by signing in to Talkshoe (via telephone or if you can figure out how to do it with microphone and a computer--that's how I do it, using a paid level of Skype to call in cheaply). I will be opening up the phone lines at 9:45 p.m. EST to give everyone a chance to get logged in and settled, then we start recording at 10 pm! You can also just listen in (access from the blog link above). Or, you can go back and listen to it later. It's all good. Hope you will check it out!!

So, see you this evening! I am hoping these howling winds and blowing snow calm down by then.


Monday, January 28, 2008

News Flash: Connie Crosby Hosts Uncontrolled Vocabulary - Wed. Jan. 30/08 - 10 pm EST

You have no doubt heard me talk a bit about Uncontrolled Vocabulary, the library industry phone-in show via Talkshoe on the web. Greg Schwartz aka planetneutral, the usual host, is unable to fulfil his usual duties as host this week. As such, he went in search of a guest host and I put up my hand. Here is his post:

The show will go on!

Many thanks to Connie Crosby, aka Leisure Girl, for grabbing the reins and agreeing to fill in for me as host this week. Connie is active within the podcasting community and can be heard on the Podcamp Toronto Podcast, as well as recent episodes 25 and 27 of this program. So fasten your safety belts and I'll be back for episode 29 on February 2nd. Thanks again Connie!

I hope you will consider joining me over on Talkshoe Wednesday night. That is Jan. 30/08 at 10 pm EST.

And if you have story ideas, you can email them to me or tag them on with the tag "unvocab". You can also visit the unvocab tag page in advance to see what will be discussed during the show, although Greg tells me I will have "editorial control" over what we actually discuss. Ah, the POWER!


So, don't let me just talk to myself. Come and join me. Thanks!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Podcamp Toronto 2 - Coming Soon!

Last February I attended my first "unconference" in the form of Podcamp Toronto. I had such a great time, learning so much and meeting so many interesting people, that I put my hand up to help organize this year's Podcamp Toronto.

PodCamp Toronto Feb. 23-24 is FREE!

My main focus has been the Podcamp Toronto Blog, and specifically with working on our latest promotional vehicle--you guessed it--the Podcamp Toronto Podcast. We are already up to Episode 7. In it, Sean "Ductapeguy" McGaughey and I talk about the latest news about Podcamp Toronto, while at the same time Sean teaches me about podcasting. And I have been learning. My focus thus far has been learning how to get started, and soon I will be stepping into the slightly more technical realm of recording things myself, editing them and putting them together. Wish me luck!

Enough about me--the REAL highlight of Podcamp Toronto will be the people. And some fantastic folks have already signed up. If you are interested in podcasting or other aspects of new media, you should consider joining us. Podcamp Toronto 2 will be taking place Saturday, February 23 and Sunday, February 24 with the likelihood of some kind of meetup the Friday night before. Registration is free. Podcamp Toronto 2 will again take place at the fantastic facility of Rogers Communications Centre at Ryerson University at 80 Gould Street in Toronto (Map).

I am particularly excited about a full stream that has been created specifically for the podcaster wannabe or the newer podcaster: Zero to Podcasting or "Z2P". The concept came out of the recent Podcamp Ottawa and is meant to walk folks like me through the process from beginning to successfully podcasting. I hope to attend as much of this as I can as it will help me to put the pieces together.

And there will be lots of other sessions to help more advanced podcasters get to the "next level". If you have experience, please consider leading a session. There is still lots of room for more!

The concept of an unconference is that everyone give a little bit to make it happen, whether that is giving feedback, asking questions, volunteering to work the registration desk, or leading a session.

For my library colleagues, do consider attending if this at all interests you. I see at least a couple of my library cohorts signed up, and I'd love to see more representation from my own industry! Lots of folks ask me how I fit in so many conferences during the year. Here is one event that is interesting, on the weekend so it does not get in the way of weekday at least, close to home for many of us, and best of all the price is right! If you have any questions about what to expect, feel free to drop me a line and I will try to answer your questions.

Not near Toronto? Podcamps are now being held world-wide! Check for more events.

In Ottawa Teaching for the Professional Learning Centre

You know, I take on projects and forget to tell folks about them. Monday and Tuesday this week I will be in the fabulous City of Ottawa teaching my Social Networking Tools: Hands On Learning course. I have just missed Winterlude by a few days unfortunately. Everyone here is sure psyched about Winterlude! Will have to time that better next year.

Regardless, I am looking forward to meeting the participants and guiding them through the survey of popular tools that are out there including Google Reader, Wordpress, PBWiki,, MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, Twitter, and Second Life. It is a lot to cover in one day, a lot to absorb. We'll see if they are up to the test! If you are in the Ottawa area, if you hurry there may still be room in Tuesday's class.

For those closer to Toronto, we have added two more dates: Friday, March 28, 2008 and Thursday, May 15, 2008. See the Toronto course description for details.

One of the first things I want to do in my new incarnation is to spend some time developing more courses in this area. The Social Networking Tools course is a survey course for the beginner to intermediate level. I would like to take some of these topics to the next level for everyone, something in the intermediate to advanced level. My idea is to develop a course about wikis, and then one about RSS feeds to start. What I need to know is, what form would people like to see these in? And what other courses would you like to see from me? I am open to all ideas--in person classes, electronic classes, half day, full day, or something that runs over several weeks. The Professional Learning Centre at the Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto, has been very supportive of my first course and have really given me some fantastic freedom to develop what I like to follow it up. But, it only makes sense if I give you what you want to see.

Let me know! Drop me a comment here on the blog or email me directly conniecrosby (at)


Friday, January 25, 2008

Gung Haggis Fat Choy is Coming Up This Weekend

One of the things I am enjoying about being at home is seeing the CBC News coverage (not to mention the G4 Tech TV coverage). I just turned the news on to see a familiar face--Todd Wong! I had to laugh. Two years ago I blogged about an unique Vancouver cultural happening, Gung Haggis Fat Choy. First created by Todd Wong 10 years ago, it celebrates both the Chinese and Scottish cultures that make up so much of Vancouver.

His interview on CBC Newsworld was a lot of fun. He talked about the origins of the event, the food being served (haggis in dim sum form?), and then introduced his friend Joe McDonald who played a brief bagpipe piece. Then Joe and Todd went into the Gung HAGGIS RAP Choy, the Robbie Burns Address to a Haggis set to rap music. To hear the full 3-minute version, go to Gung HAGGIS RAP Choy.

I have to tell you, the zany craziness of Toddish McWong and Joe McDonald is contagious. I hope everyone who attends the event this weekend has a great time!

Should Other Archival Photograph Collections Move to Flickr Commons?

Last week Agnese Caruso reported that the Library of Congress is running a pilot project with Flickr to make its photographic collections available over the web. According to the Library of Congress Blog, the response has been tremendous:

The response to the Library’s pilot project with Flickr has been nothing short of astounding. You always hope for a positive reaction to something like this, but it has been utterly off the charts—from the Flickr community, from the blogosphere, from the news media—it is nothing short of amazing.

Let’s start out with a few statistics, as of last night (thanks, Justin!):

• 392,000 views on the photostream
• 650,000 views of photos
• Adding in set and collection page views, there were about 1.1 million total views on our account
• All 3,100+ photos have been viewed
• 420 of the photos have comments
• 1,200 of the photos have been favorited

That report was as of January 18th, so you can imagine how much more the word has spread by now.

From the Flickr write-up of The Commons, there is the idea that this is the first of what they hope are many projects in this regard:

Hopefully, this pilot can be used as a model that other cultural institutions would pick up, to share and redistribute the myriad collections held by cultural heritage institutions all over the world.

Over on the BlogTO blog, Sameer Vasta ponders whether the Toronto Archives should also make its photographic collections available on Flickr? His thoughts:

While their collection may not be as extensive as that of the LoC, the Toronto Archives hold photos from as far back as 1856. This extensive compendium on all things Toronto is partially-accessible through the web, but for the most part, it's still hidden away from our city's general public, many of whom have no clue that the Archives even exist.

Is it time for the Toronto Archives to collaborate with an organization like Flickr in order to share their collections with a larger audience?

I wonder from the point of view of archives, libraries or other organizations holding photos, what kind of resources need to go into creating a collection on Flickr? It seems to me staffing and money would need to go into it, something these organizations may not have a lot of. Should they designate resources to this? Should the government be making one-time funds available for this purpose?

Republished from original post on Slaw.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Uncontrolled Vocabulary #27 - What's Wrong With Cool?

Whenever I am available 10 pm (EST) on Wednesday evenings, I like to take part in the phone-in show for librarians called Uncontrolled Vocabulary. The show is created and hosted by Greg Schwartz and uses the Talkshoe platform for recording and hosting.

In last night's episode there were just four of us talking, so you actually have a chance to hear me pontificate a little more than usual. I like taking part because there are few librarians from special libraries participating, and not so many Canadians. That being said, our group last night was half Canadian with the brilliant Ryan Deschamps of the Halifax Public Library also taking part. The other participants were (of course) Greg himself, and up-and-coming librarian Julian Clark who works at the Georgetown University Law Library. I met Julian at last year's Computers in Libraries conference and was very impressed with this library student. I can't wait to see what he does when he finishes his degree!

If you haven't done so already, check out last night's show and past episodes. They run about an hour in a talkshow format, wherein we discuss controversial articles and blog posts of interest to the library community. article: Social Networks for Law Librarians and Law Libraries

New on is an article by Debbie Ginsberg and Meg Kribble called Social Networks for Law Librarians and Law Libraries, or How We Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Friending. Great title, and a great article to go with it!

I enjoyed their discussion of how law librarians are using social networks to connect with communities and each other. My personal interest is how law firms are using social networks, so I found this little tidbit interesting:

Lawyers are also active in social networks. MySpace includes several profiles of law firms promoting their services. Many law firms, including Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Baker & McKenzie, have formed Facebook networks which feature hundreds of members. Such networks could be used not only for members of the law firm itself, but also to keep law firm alumni informed about firm activities and to maintain connections with former attorneys.

I had a look, and found a number of Facebook sites for Skadden Arps (you will need a Facebook account to view these pages I believe):
I find it interesting that some of these groups are open for anyone to join. Not sure why. They only have a few members each and are not very active, but that probably describes a good number of groups on Facebook.

A similar search for Baker & McKenzie Facebook groups:
Except for the last couple, the groups seem to have or had a larger number of members and a fair bit of activity. Membership for most groups is appropriately closed. Some seem to have sprung up organically from the interns or summer associates involved.

In both cases I think the firms' thinking is correct, that if the law students are on Facebook, that is the place to get them connecting one with another before and during their summers. If they have a large turn-over of associates who do not stay, then keeping them connected with an alumni site on Facebook is a good idea. But, keeping a group active on Facebook is no easy task. One has to send out periodic messages, and create real-world events, to keep them engaged and coming back. Easier said than done. Especially if these same people end up in an office together and get used to the law firm email culture.

I am sure there are other law firm groups springing up, if not by design then organically by firm members starting up groups. Any others I should know about?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Lawrence Lessig - Book Free for Download

I was just checking out the 2001 Lawrence Lessig book The Future of Ideas which is his most recent to have been made available for free download under Creative Commons licensing, as mentioned the other day on Slaw. I was impressed that I was not required to fill out any forms or even leave an email address behind in order to download it. Fantastic idea! This is a great way to revitalize interest in a book that may no longer be on mainstream bookstore shelves. He apparently has done this with some of his more recent books as well. Kudos!

Aggregating Law Blog Feeds - Florida Lawyers Blog Watch

It is no surprise that I have been following Steve Matthews' work. His latest project is a great idea, one that certainly can expand to other jurisdictions: he has created the Florida Lawyers Blog Watch. Florida lawyers are particularly prolific when it comes to blogging. Steve, along with Ron Chapman, has rolled together feeds of 36 blogs and republished a feed of the 50 latest posts from the feed. And they invite more feeds if there are other blogging Florida lawyers out there!

I find the range of subjects quite interesting--from litigation to tax to personal injury to criminal defense. There are unique blogs on lethal injection and (my personal favourite) cruise ship law. I wonder if my friendly editor of the Blawg Review has seen this yet?

This is a terrific example of what can be done with RSS feeds, whether out on the web for everyone to use or inside the organization. Yesterday on Slaw Elizabeth Ellis wrote about practice-specific RSS feeds for use on a law firm portal. Once we have identified a lot of law-related feeds that are out there, the next step will be to slice and dice (or perhaps filter out) feeds or specific posts/items according to subject.

We are just at the beginning of RSS feed use, people--myself included--are just awakening to the things that can be done with these feeds. It will be interesting to see what else we come up with. I know I still have things to learn in this area, and will be making a concerted effort over the next few months to learn about feeds and what can be done with them. The Florida Lawyers Blog Watch and Steve's other RSS feed project,, are just the start!


Friday, January 11, 2008

Good-bye Job, Hello Leisure Girl?

The rumours you may have heard are true--I have now left my position as library manager at my law firm.

The decision was not easy. Nor was leaving, which is why I have not blogged about it here up until now. As with anything, there is no one reason why I made this decision. But probably the biggest was that I had been in the same position for 10 years (almost 19 years in law firm libraries all together!) and needed a change. Other interesting-sounding positions have come and gone, but there were just none that completely suited me. What to do?

As with other things I seem to have done as of late, I decided to make my own path. Or--more like my style--follow in the footsteps of a few daring people who have gone before me. I am trying my hand at the wilds of self-employment. First up will be developing more courses for the Professional Learning Centre at the Faculty of Information Studies at the University of Toronto. Next will be finding a way to take my existing survey course and "kick it up a notch." I have been accepting other offers to teach as well. In addition to this, I will be looking for consulting work. I have one or two things in the wings already. Exciting times ahead.

My plan is to sleep--3 weeks or 3 months, we'll see how long it take to decompress!--then to work on something of a business plan to focus things down a bit. Really, my interests are quite varied so it will be a challenge to find a focus. Ultimately, I am hoping for variety of experience to both keep me interested and help develop my skills so I can help all of you in your projects.

Tonight I was out with friends to celebrate "no more workin' for da MAN!" when a fellow at the next table started talking to us. He told me he had taken 2 years (!) off from work to lead a life of leisure. His advice to me is to lunch often with friends, and do drinks Friday evenings (after the massage, of course) to stay connected but also make everyone so very jealous. Apparently he gained the well-deserved nickname "Leisure Boy" during that time period. And he dared me to carry the torch with the persona of "Leisure Girl".

Perhaps I will become Leisure Girl for a time, but to be very honest I get bored easily. Which is why I always seem to be doing so many things. Much as I love vegging in front of the TV, I usually have macbook on my lap at the same time or at least a sudoku on the go while watching.

Now, the side benefit of the new life of Leisure Girl is that I should have a little more time to write on this blog and maybe--after 4 years--take it in something of a new direction. I have lots of ideas forming in that regard, most in the area of redesigning the look, but we'll see.

I see this as entering a new era of learning and creativity. These are things that are constantly with me, and it is nice to have the luxury to finally give them room to breathe and develop in their own right after so many years of office work.

I am going to miss my firm terribly (it will always be "my firm" I think, just as articling students who I have taught will always be "my students"). It really has been my main home all these years. I honestly think they are entering an exciting new phase in their development, and I will be one of the firm's biggest fans. I'm also hoping to drop by the office now and then, to make sure they are still working hard and to perhaps make them a wee bit jealous. In the fine new tradition of Leisure Girl, of course!


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A Nod from the CLawBies!

I'm very excited--I received a runner-up nod in Steve Matthews' 2007 CLawBies, the Canadian law blog awards. The category is Law Library Blog Award. The winners in this category are very deserving-- Michel-Adrien Sheppard's Library Boy blog and the BC Courthouse Society Law Library What's New Blog . Congratulations, both!

All the categories:

Best Canadian Law Blog (or Blogger) Award
Best Practitioner Support Blog
Legal Culture Award
Non-Legal Audience Award
Friend of the North Awards
EuroCan Connection Awards
Practice Management Award
Law Librarian Blog Award
Best Legal Technology Blog
Best New Law Blog Award
Law Professor Blog Award

Big winners this year are Rob Hyndman who won the Non-Legal Audience Award and tied for the Best Canadian Law Blog (or Blogger) Award and to Slaw for the Best Legal Technology Blog and runner-up for the Best Canadian Law Blog (or Blogger) Award.

The big news this year, though, is that the CLawBies have a new home on the web - -- and Steve intends to turn this into a full awards with nominations and voting next year.

Congratulations to all the winners, and to Steve for helping to encourage law blogging in Canada!