Tag Archives: events

Mobile Weekend in Waterloo

You can read about the event in more detail at the Mobile Weekend website, but in short, it is a weekend for developers, business types, HR, bloggers, and legal to get together, decide on an idea for a mobile service or product, develop the idea, and end up with a working prototype at the end of the two-and-a-half day event. This is an innovation and entrepreneurial event for people all around the Waterloo region. If you’re interested, tickets to the event (which will get you access to the event itself, food and drink for the weekend, and swag) can be had here. There are also some resources to help any developers prepare for potential projects on the Windows Mobile, RIM BlackBerry, or Google Android platforms over here.

Mobile Weekend

I heard about the event through a co-worker yesterday and was immediately interested in the idea. I visited the site, looked through some of the Innovation Toronto and Startup Weekend events that it’s based on and decided it would be a fun and exciting event to contribute to, if as nothing more than a web developer/blogger/idea generator. The first Mobile Weekend event will be held in Waterloo on the weekend of April 25-27th. A subsequent Mobile Weekend will be held in Toronto, with the date to be determined at a later time.

You may not be from Waterloo, or even the southern Ontario region, but perhaps you know someone who is and would be interested in this sort of event. Let them know! This will only be a success if lots of bright minds get together to work on all aspects of the product or service, not just the geeky, techy side of it.

Novembre

I feel like I should be keeping up my French so there, that’s my quota for the month.

So maybe you had it where you are as well, but at Bell Mobility, it was Bring Your Kid(s) to Work Day today. Now maybe I did or maybe I didn’t write about this in the past, but a co-worker made the joke that when they first saw me at the office, they thought it was Bring Your Kid(s) to Work Day. It obviously wasn’t back then, but today, I feel like perhaps many people thought the same thing again, except this time seriously.

Allow me to put this in perspective.

In the land of lots of people (Ontario), they mostly become unfriendly; that means no saying hello or chatting with (almost) strangers. Working on the Bell campus with multiple thousands of people pretty much guarantees that I won’t get to know more than a handful of the employees. It also means that I rarely say hello to people. Well not today. As I was standing around waiting for a few friends to go out for lunch, I had a couple employees smile and say hi to me in that ‘oh you’re much younger and very innocent’ sort of way. Clearly they thought I was some person’s son, there at Bell Mobility for the day. I even got quite a few looks from the kids, no doubt wondering who I was, and why I had a full employee pass and not the visitor pass they were wearing. Keep in mind, these kids are in Grade 9. Oh how sad.

So aside from that, and playing foosball with some of the kids, I had a pretty uneventful day. Towards the end of it, I got ridiculously tired for some reason. It just sort of hit me all of a sudden. I was feeling fine during the morning, but around 3-4pm, I couldn’t function. My brain couldn’t comprehend any of the inputs it was receiving. I was reading a research paper on mobile messaging and I don’t think I processed one word from all the stuff I ‘read’. I’ve been sleeping pretty well so the only explanation is someone put something in my water.

What else could it be?…

Headache

I arrived this morning at the office to be greeted by a flurry of emails, press releases and articles about what had just happened. The company had annouced that it would be converting to an income trust. Yes, BCE Inc. Canada’s largest telecommunications company would be reorganized into an income trust to increase shareholder value and stay competitive with Telus, which has also recently announced that it would convert to an income trust. It hardly (actually that should read does not) affects me since I hold no options or shares of BCE, but for most of the full timers there, this has a big influence on their holdings. Hopefully it’ll be for the best.

I’ve been getting the recommended 8 or so hours of sleep each night this past week and I feel great. No more drooping eyelids during the afternoon at the office. I feel totally awake just about all the time now. It’s great not to have to fight off yawn after yawn. If you’re feeling tired all the time, seriously, just catch a little more shut eye. I bet you do have the time if you just plan your day a little better. An hour or two is really not that hard to waste at all, but an hour or two can really make a difference when it comes to sleep.

But I guess I just can’t be left alone. I awoke Tuesday morning with a rippling headache on the left side of my head. Now this in itself is slightly worrying as I extremely rarely get headaches. When I do get that occasional dull pain, it usually goes away after an hour or two at most. This time would be different. It lingered with me the whole day, which already got me worried. I thought a good night’s sleep would make it all better, but to no avail; I awoke this morning with the same headache around the same area of my head. I have no idea what’s going on. It’s getting better I think, but it does pop up now and again. A two day long headache cannot be normal.

I wonder what could be wrong with me?

Blue Mountain

Okay, I know what you’re going to say; Blue Mountain at this time of year? Yeah, yeah, I didn’t go up there to ski or snowboard or any sort of winter activity, since there’s a severe lack of the white stuff, along with the fact that me + skis = nono… (apparently). My parents decided to whisk me out of the GTA up to Blue Mountain to have some nice time out in nature. Those office lights will get to you after a while. The plan was to do some hiking and sightseeing of the colored leaves.

It was quite a nice time up there. We did a lot of walking through the trails and some caves. The place we stayed at was quite nice, at the bottom othe mountain. It was created as a little village with all sorts of activities and little shops. It really gave off that cozy ‘home’ feeling. Collingwood, the town near Blue Mountain reminded me a lot of Charlottetown, with the nice downtown area and waterfront. It was a little overcommercialized though.

The vacation also meant three days without the internet (I know, me without internet?!). Well, that’s not entirely true. There was internet available there, but based on principle, I couldn’t bring myself to pay $13 for internet per day. How ridiculous is that? I decided it wouldn’t do me too much harm to go a while without being on the computer all the time. After all, I went up there to enjoy the outdoors, not sit around and surf the internet right? 🙂

I’ve got a bunch of pictures sitting around somewhere on the camera, but I’m a little too lazy/tired right now to transfer them to the computer and upload them to the server. I’ll do that a little later and post up a few pictures.

Now it’s PDEng time. 😡

WIC

Today was the 8th Annual Bell Wireless Innovation Conference in Toronto. I, lucky as I am, had the chance to attend the conference. At least in recent memory, this was the first tech conference I’ve ever attended, complete with keynote speakers, breakout sessions and partner booths. It also took me over an hour to get there and another hour to return. All in all, I got a bunch of free food and got to feel all important, speaking with customers and potential customers. I initially attended as a visitor, but I ended up helping out with the Bell Mobility booth, which was quite fancy. I also surprised myself in how much I know in some areas and how little I know in others. We may complain about the unknowledgeable service reps in some stores, but it is tough to know the answer to every question out there. Then again, knowing that stuff would be their jobs and is hardly mine so I think I did a pretty good job. Don’t worry, I didn’t scare any customers away; I made sure that anything I couldn’t answer myself, I got someone who could.

Talking shop with (at least decently) knowledgeable people in the field is great. I’m really getting interested in the wireless technology industry. As well, I was able to get a small sense of what customers are looking for in our products and services. And alas, that’s quite useful to me as a Strategy and Planning Analyst. (pulling job title’s always fun ain’t it?) Plus, looking around the vendor floor, I could tell there was a big focus on connectivity and location based services. This conference is aimed at business and enterprise users after all, so that makes sense. In addition, I’d suggest anyone who hasn’t tried using EV-DO to do so. I was absolutely amazed at the speeds it offers. For web browsing, it feels very near to DSL or cable speeds, although it is definitely slower for sustained downloads (for the most part). But for what most people do with cell phones, it is very impressive.

I also saw a girl attending the conference who looked like Jessica Alba with a little bit of Asian sprinkled in. That was… well… you know.

And speaking of tech conventions, I’m reminded of an article I read yesterday. An editor from a tech site I read lost a bet and had to dress up in a bunny suit for the Intel Developer Forum. Here are the results:

Inq editor in bunny suit

Credits: The Inquirer (tech site, not tabloid, although, almost a tech tabloid)

Royal Woodbine

So the main feature of today was a round of golf at the Royal Woodbine golf club today with some fellow Bell Mobility colleagues. The first thing I noticed was a Countryview green pass still hanging on my golf bag, from 2002. So it had been quite a long time and in a totally different province that I had last golfed. Additionally, I had only golfed 9 hole courses before. This would be my first 18 hole course.

The day started off with breakfast and an introduction to some of the department members who I hadn’t already met in my initial walk-about with my supervisor when I first started. I had a pretty damn heavy breakfast. Well, it was a buffet breakfast so naturally, I had to pig out a bit. Even though we were at a golf course, work never really left us. One of the main topics of discussion was various wireless technology subjects. As well, there was some yammering about PEI, which I may or may not have started. That was interesting. Seems like people’s views here don’t really change of PEI as they grow older. It’s still potatoes, Anne of Green Gables and the Confederation Bridge.

After breakfast was finished, we proceeded out to the golf course, where our rows and rows of golf carts were waiting. I had never driven a golf cart before. I think when I last played golf on PEI, we were still too young to rent golf carts. In any case, I was pretty excited to drive one. Tee off, first hole. Completely awful drive, which would stick with me the rest of the course. This course was pretty damn tough. There was water EVERYWHERE. I don’t think I’ve seen so much water since standing on a PEI beach. There were creeks running all over the place. Holes would have not just have one creek passing through it. The hole would be built on the bend of a creek so you had to hit the ball between two water obstacles (or whatever they’re called in golf). Luckily we were playing best ball, so once someone else drove the ball out a decent distance, I could get a chance to wack at it with an iron. Luckily, I was much better with the irons.

The course took us a solid 5 hours or so to finish. In our group of 4, two of us had played almost no golf (myself included) and the other two weren’t exactly regular golfers either. So we were a bit slow, and the marshal definitely made it clear we were going too slow. I also lost 6 golf balls over the course of the 18 holes. So overall, a pretty bad round of golf and definitely somewhat embarrassing, although in my defense, I haven’t hit a golf ball in what, 4 years and it was my first 18 hole, and a pretty difficult one at that. I will definitely have to put golf on my to do list in the future though. As my supervisor was giving me a drive back home, we were talking about golf and its position in the business world; how it’s viewed stereotypically as the business thing to do.

After the painful course, we all gathered again to eat a late lunch/early dinner. Again we chatted about different things wireless. It’s actually really interesting for me to talk about these kinds of things with people who know so much more about it than me. You can ask questions and get answers that are much better and easier to find that if you were to search it up in Google for example. And it’s always fun to argue about different handsets and why the ones the other guy likes sucks. 😛

That’s about it for today. I’m currently impatiently waiting for the season 3 premiere of House to download, but it’s going at a painfully slow speed right now. I can’t wait to see what happens. 😀

Airshow

Actually, this post is probably going to be a huge letdown since the pictures are on the other digital camera which my parents are currently in possession of. Hence, you’ll be seeing no photos probably until this coming weekend. It started with us leaving Niagara Falls around 11am, got to my place in Mississauga to drop some things off around 12:30pm. Then after driving aimlessly (it seemed like it…) we finally found ourselves on the Gardiner Expressway, headed towards Lakeshore. That was one hell of a drive. The roads were jam packed with cars. It seriously looked more like a parking lot than an expressway. After driving for a little over an hour, we finally got down to where the parks and the airshow was going on. Unfortunately, the parking lots were more than filled. People were parked behind other cars and it was basically a huge mess. We managed to find a spot in the median of Lakeshore Boulevard (yeah, it was that bad) and walked over to where we could actually see something.

We had missed a solid portion of the airshow already but I did get to see a CF-18 fighter jet, some random propeller planes and, of course, la piece the resistance, the Snowbirds. They are quite impressive. The synchronization is just phenomenal. I guess you don’t become famous for mediocrity. I took quite a few pictures, some of which turned out pretty decently. It’s pretty tough to get pictures of planes that are zooming by at low altitudes. The only thing I regret is not seeing that B1B Lancer bomber. That would definitely have been quite a sight. There’s always next year I guess.

There was also a festival thing going on. Tom Cochrane and Five for Fighting were performing along with some other bands; those are the two probably more well known ones. I didn’t really watch too much of it, but it’s sort of nice to be able to walk around and bump into a festival like that.

Well, that’s about it. I’ve got (essentially) a 3 day week this week since I’m going golfing on Thursday. I got my clubs from home and a few golf balls. It’s going to be one messy round I’m thinking. I’ve never played a 18 hole course before… Time to play some UT2003 before bed. 🙂

To all you people starting school again: Have fun. (yeah right) 😉

Wrap Up

I’m currently sitting in the Halifax Airport waiting for my connection flight back to Toronto, where I first began this journey. The past 9 days have flown by and after what seems like an extremely short visit, I’m already heading back to Ontario and very soon, my co-op job.

I have to say, the biggest thing I noticed was, well, nothing. Nothing really seemed to have changed. Sure some people grew and some people didn’t (moi peut-etre?) but generally, the people I knew are still the people I knew. Sure, there were a few surprises here and there, like oh you know, a marriage and a pregnancy, but other than that… No, seriously, the close friends were all pretty much the same. Some traveled around the world, but aside from some new experiences, I don’t think there was anything drastically different. Old habits were still there.

It felt as though I hadn’t really been gone for a year. I definitely have a greater appreciation for Island courtesy however. It’s still a unique feeling to be able to walk down the street and say hello to everyone and anyone without getting a weird glance or two. It’s also pretty cool to be able to walk through downtown Charlottetown and bump into people I know left right and center. It really is a small and connected place. With that said, I’m not exactly looking forward to the Ontarian ‘hospitality’. We’ll see though; I’m sure I’ll adjust quickly to avoided greeting random people lest I get dirty look…

The past week and a bit was filled with lots of laughs and good memories. I also did a few things that I’ve never done through the whole of my life on PEI. It’s amazing what peer pressure can do to you eh? I sort of learned how to swim during my visit and got this messed up looking tan, which I’ll definitely have to even out by lying outside when I get back to Niagara Falls. It look quite atrocious right now.

Well, I definitely need to go use the bathroom before I board this plane to Toronto. Ahhh, I’ll be ‘home’ soon, although I have to say, PEI still feels much more like the real home to me.

Busy Busy

Oh, I can’t tell you how great it feels to be back on the Island. It’s been 4 days already (going on 5 today) and I haven’t really been stationary for an extended period of time yet. Nick’s out at a master class right now, so I decided to take this time and write down a thing or two.

First off, I’m much happier with the amount of photos I’ve taken this time around. I haven’t actually counted, but I’d say I’ve probably taken about 100 photos already on my camera and I’m going to get photos from other peoples’ cameras as well. There are some pretty great photos in there and I’m sure I’ll have some good laughs when I look at them in the future.

Not only am I staying at Nick’s place, but a friend he made during his exchange trip to Austria is also staying at his place. We’ve gotten along mighty fine and it’s been some great times in the Howard household. It’s sort of sad, but this was like my home, even when I was still here on the Island during high school. It’s just so welcoming and friendly. I don’t feel even the least bit awkward.

I’ve got quite the sunburn, but it’s worth it. I told myself that I was going to get rid of this damned farmer’s tan and I fully intend to do so. We went to Basin Head to swimming and bridge jumping. Let me tell you something, it’s that much more scary when you don’t actually know how to swim. (ashamed) Still it was tons of fun. We also went out on a boat yesterday to do a little bit of fishing and swimming. Then we camped out at Brudenell last night. It was crappy for a little while because it rained, but it cleared up pretty quick and we were able to get a fire going. I also got a chance to talk to some good friends about their university experiences over the past year. One is attending Mount Allison and the other is at McGill. Let’s just say, they’re not quite like UWaterloo…

Okay, enough sitting around. I’m going outside. 😀

Holed Up

I’m currently holed up in the highest building on the campus right now, riding out a huge thunderstorm. While I should be studying calculus, the continuous lightning’s pretty fascinating and scary to watch. The wind’s also starting to pick up. We had a tornado warning earlier today and there’s still a chance of tornados spawning in this storm. It’s an absolutely massive storm, stretching from Windsor (right at the border to the US) all the way up to near Ottawa. I’ll update this post later, but I have to get back to watching this thing. It’s only about 10 or 15 minutes out from where I am now. Exciting times.