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Refresh Ottawa Kickoff

January 5, 2008
Refresh Ottawa

Last year, just before SXSW, Jonathan Snook and I announced the formation of Refresh Ottawa. We (read: Jonathan) knocked out a quick site: Refresh Ottawa. We collected email addresses from interested parties.

And now, some 10 months later, we are holding our first get-together. A great way to start the New Year—we’ll be kicking off with a free event downstairs at the Clock Tower on Bank next Thursday, January 10th, 2008 from 7-9pm.

At each Refresh Ottawa event, we’ll have one or two presentations followed by networking/social time. On Thursday we’ll have Derek Featherstone (me) present “Accessible mapping with Google Maps” and Jonathan Snook will present on JavaScript Frameworks. Each session will be about a half hour leaving plenty of time to chat and get to know each other.

The social hour will be sponsored by Web Directions North, one of the world’s top conferences for web geeks. (Full disclosure: I am part of the organizing team for Web Directions North and both Jonathan Snook and I will be speaking at WDN in Vancouver later this month)

We’ve added the event to upcoming: Inaugural Refresh Ottawa event. Please RSVP there if you’re attending so we can plan for numbers – we need to let the Clock Tower know how many people to expect.

Refresh Ottawa is a community of designers and developers working to refresh the creative, technical, and professional culture of New Media endeavors in the Ottawa region. Promoting design, technology, usability, and standards, Refresh Ottawa is a part of Refresh and the associated Refreshing Cities.


August 14, 2007

It has been quite some time since my last post (Swimming, Biking and Running Scared), but thought it appropriate to give a quick update on how the IronMan went.

The bottom line? We did it! We even created an entire site dedicated to the trek: ironfeathers: swim. bike. run., the new home for all of our thoughts about IronMan, triathlons, training etc. Hope to see you over there!

Swimming, Biking and Running Scared

May 6, 2007
Me, signing up for IronMan 2007

I’m scared.

If you know me, then you probably know that I signed up for IronMan 2007, Lake Placid, NY to take place July 22. If you don’t know me, or didn’t know that, now you do.

IronMan triathlons are endurance events that require every athlete to challenge themselves to complete the following:

  1. Swim 3.8km (2.6 miles)
  2. Cycle 180km (112 miles)
  3. Run 42.2km (26.2 miles)

Continue reading Swimming, Biking and Running Scared

SXSW: The impact of music

April 1, 2007
The Mother Truckers Logo: The long-horn salute with a cowboy hat perched on the index finger

Two of my favourite moments of SXSW this year both involved music.

The first was a night that started out and ended fairly innocently, but involved a great non-6th Street event. I was very excited to see some of my Australian friends again (Lachlan, Lisa, Lisa, Cam, and Anson—who would later be mistaken for James Craig—and his girlfriend Irena), and somehow they convinced me that we should go see The Mother Truckers at The Continental Club. Sure, some whatever band. Yeah, yeah. Just go hang out with my friends really.
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Looking for Exercise at Conferences?

January 14, 2007

Let us be honest: when you’re at SXSWi (and other conferences for that matter), you pretty much drink at some social event or another every night. That leaves almost everyone hungover to some degree every day. So, how do you deal with that?

If you’re already an active person, then I suggest continuing to stay active: hit the gym in the hotel for some early morning activity, or even better exercise outside! Run on the treadmill, do something on the elliptical trainer, or even the stationary bike. It will be a bit tougher if you’re hungover but sweat it out and drink lots of water – it will help get the alcohol out of your system and make you that much fresher for the rest of the day.

Continue reading Looking for Exercise at Conferences?

In 2007

January 2, 2007

A quick post to kick off the first work day of 2007. Mostly to remind myself what I’m aiming for this year and to document some goals of mine. I haven’t thought them all completely through, but really, who ever does?

This year I will:

  • code less, consult more
  • focus on growing and building the business
  • finish the redesign of the company site
  • provide more seminars, workshops and training
  • speak at between 6-10 conferences
  • hire a designer/developer
  • be more productive but work fewer hours in a week
  • engage in more broad “user experience” work
  • serve as a hired gun for an agency that wants accessibility help
  • more fully implement kinkless GTD
  • write a book
  • eat more fruit and vegetables and less chocolate, chips and candy
  • increase company revenue by 15% or more
  • say no
  • leave my email client closed until 11am
  • move the office completely out of the house (no more hybrid)
  • run the IronMan (Lake Placid, NY) on July 22, 2007

Two Years Ago, Today

June 3, 2006

June 3, 2004

calling midwife; strong contractions, stronger than before…
midwife here (again); stronger contractions, every 3 minutes;
getting the pool ready; strong strong contractions
starting to push; this shouldn’t take long…
it’s a boy!!!

Continue reading Two Years Ago, Today

In Memoriam: Lang

April 26, 2006
Photo of me, Stacy Bleeks and Lang

I first met Lang about 3.5 years ago – the same time that I met Stacy Bleeks. Lang was Stacy’s guide dog, and more importantly – Stacy’s friend. (Stacy has worked with me on various accessibility projects since I met him and is now a good friend)

Just recently, Lang was quite sick with an inoperable tumour in his intestines that was causing him quite a bit of discomfort from a swollen belly and ultimately leading to difficulty eating. His weight loss was noticeable and he just wasn’t doing well. You could just tell. He wasn’t the Lang we all knew, though he seemed to be in good spirits.

Last week – Thursday April 20, 2006 – Stacy had to make the difficult decision to have Lang put down. And yes, I know that “difficult” doesn’t even describe it. Stacy told me that he felt a wierd sense of relief afterwards. That’s when I knew Lang was more than just Stacy’s guide dog and companion. Lang was part of Stacy’s family.

Terry Fox Run

September 12, 2005

Earlier this year, I lost a dear friend to cancer. A member of my immediate family has been diagnosed with cancer within the last few months. It sucks. I hate it. And I want to help beat it.

My wife, Kathryn, and I have been planning to participate in the annual Terry Fox Run in support of cancer research for some time now. I know that many of you will be giving in other ways to other charities and causes such as the relief efforts in New Orleans. I also know that I should have done this sooner, but if only a small portion of those that read this blog can/do make a small donation between now and the run, it will help. Thank you very much!

Terry Fox run online donation form

Social Networking Diseases and Disorders of the new Millennium

August 31, 2005

Contact Flickritis

Symptoms: general uneasiness, sometimes accompanied by mild headaches and sweaty palms; often characterized by feelings of deja vu and that feeling you get when you meet up with someone you think you know but can’t remember their names.

Continue reading Social Networking Diseases and Disorders of the new Millennium