Hump Day Activities: Toronto Techie Dim Sum, Work, and the Ladies Learning Code Fundraiser

by Joey deVilla on September 21, 2012

Wednesday marked the return of Toronto Techie Dim Sum, the regular gathering for a cheap and cheerful dim sum lunch at Sky Dragon restaurant for local techies and their friends. I called ahead and booked the back room, which made the event a little harder to find, but once you found it, it was much easier to walk around, mingle with people at the other tables and catch up with or meet everyone.

Thirty-three people attended, which made for three tables of guests and a lively room. Lunch turned out to be pretty cheap as well — it worked out to about $10.50 a person. Some people who had to get back to work early left “yuppie food stamps” (my favourite term for $20 bills), which meant that Adam (the staffer in charge of the room) and the folks at Sky Dragon got a nice (and well-deserved) tip.

Toronto Techie Dim Sum will be a monthly event, and I’ll announce a date soon. Thanks to everyone who came out!

After lunch, I had a good long chat with a programmer whom I’ve been thinking of recruiting for my startup’s project. We had a nice conversation over ice mochas at Moonbeam in nearby Kensington Market, the official place for deep off-site conversations for HacklabTO members.

With the conversation done, I hopped on my bike and hightailed it to the home office, where I continued to work on the aforementioned startup project, which is building mobile device management systems for enterprises.

I’ll save a full description of what that means for a later time; it should suffice to say that it’s a way for medium to large companies to manage their employees’ smartphones and tablets when they’re on company time, let people use their phones and tablets they way they want to when they’re off the clock, and keep sensitive company information safe. Enterprise software is neither cool nor sexy, which one of the reasons why startups typically avoid that market. However, I wanted my return to building software to involve building something of substance, and uncool and unsexy as it is, enterprise software is how you have a bank balance, how food finds it way to your grocery store, how you can get checked in at the ER and how your flight/hotel package to your last vacation destination got put together.

Later that evening, I got dressed up Gangnam Style

…to attend the fundraiser bash for Ladies Learning Code. The proceeds from admission to the bash, held on the bottom floor of the Centre for Social Innovation’s Annex location, are going to build their classroom/workshop space, computer lab and mini-maker studio, all of which will be used to help girls and women — who are severely underrepresented in the sausage party of tech — learn about computers, mobile tech, programming and related stuff.

They had a Makerbot 3D printer printing out jewellery for sale, but even more impressive was the 3D printer being built by Panda Robotics, pictured below:

While most of Makerbot’s 3D printers are aimed at the hobbyist who doesn’t mind building something from a kit, Panda Robotics’ is more like a paper printer you’d pick up at Best Buy: ready-built, simple to assemble out of the box, and meant for the general public. Panda’s printer had a rock-solid-feeling aluminum chassis and doesn’t go out of alignment when you sneeze on it. If the Makerbot’s analogue are the Altair 8800 and other kit-based computers of the mid-1970s, Panda Robotics’ is the Apple ][, which went a long way to defining what desktop computers were.

Photo by John Gauthier. Click to see the original.

And yes, I played accordion at the party.

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