I’ll post a more detailed write-up of the Make Web Not War conference later, but I thought that those of you who were there (or wished they were there) would like to see some photos as soon as possible. I’ve posted my photos at full resolution to my Make Web Not War Flickr photoset, which you can view either on Flickr or the slideshow above. The photos all have titles, and I promise I’ll finished the remainder of the descriptions over the next couple of days.
I’m headed to Montreal this week, where Microsoft Canada’s Developer and Platform Evangelism team (of which I am a member) will be getting together for our annual team meeting as well as to help run the Make Web Not War conference on Thursday. There’ll be a lot of crazy stuff going on, and whatever isn’t blackmail material will end up here on the Accordion Guy blog, so watch this space!
The first part of the trip is about getting there, and we’re not doing it in the usual way. We’ve hired out a VIA Rail car to take us and a lot of Make Web Not War attendees to Montreal in style. The car’s rigged with power, wifi, Xboxes, Rock Band, monitors and other goodies to make the five-ish-hour trip even more nerd-a-riffic. I’ll post photos from the train.
A quick reminder: if you’re looking for cheap transport to Montreal for MonDev, Montreal’s Open Source Week (which concludes with the Make Web Not War conference), we’ve booked an entire VIA Rail car from Montreal to Toronto! The train car (pictured above) has wifi, power outlets and will be equipped with video monitors, an Xbox or two, a big-ass HP TouchSmart computer and other technological goodies to make the time pass by.
Best of all, if you want to book a trip on this car, we’re subsidizing it. Round-trip tickets are a mere $50 and cover the cost of the ride, a sandwich lunch and drink voucher! The train departs for Montreal on the morning of Tuesday, May 25th and departs back for Toronto on the morning of Friday, May 28th.
For more details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s a little hint: if you ever get an invitation to a Microsoft party from High Road Communications – they’re Microsoft Canada’s PR firm – accept it. They’re always in great places, have great tapas and drinks and they always invite interesting people. You’re guaranteed to have fun, and that guarantee is doubled if I’m there.
The W’s “Extreme Wow” Suite
On Thursday, right after the end of Day 2 of TechDays Montreal, my fellow developer evangelist Christian Beauclair and I made our way from Centre Mont-Royal (the TechDays Montreal venue) to the W Hotel. That’s where we were holding a little party to which we invited a number of local open source developers, some of who were at the previous night’s Career Demo Camp Montreal.
Montreal’s W hotel is a building that has undergone a radical personality change. It used to be the Banque du Canada building, the home of one of our federal government’s most stuffy, buttoned-down organizations. W hotels tend to be the exact opposite: everything about them suggests that they were designed by people who usually design nightclubs, what with DJ booths in their lobbies, electronica and funk music piped into every nook and cranny, dimly-lit hallways with lighting straight out of Blade Runner and other little touches that make it seem as if you’ve somehow managed to get into one of those secret clubs in New York City’s Meat Packing District. Simply put, it’s a pretty good place to hold a swanky cocktail party,
Christian and I followed the directions to the “Extreme Wow” suite that High Road had booked for the party. Here’s what we saw when we entered the room:
The suite was located on the top floor of the W. It was one large room with a 20 foot-high ceiling and an equally high set of windows revealing a balcony looking out onto Square Victoria and a good chunk of Montreal’s skyline. I had a sense of deja vu and soon realized that the place reminded me a little bit of Tony Prince’s swanky condo in the videogame The Ballad of Gay Tony, minus the mobsters to whom Tony owed money and wanted him dead.
Near the back of the suite was the bathroom, which in the spirit of open source, was itself open concept and had nothing to hide. Rather than being tucked into a separate room, the shower, tub and sinks were poised on a split level four or five steps above the rest of the room, with the shower stall being a glass-and-brick enclosure in the middle of it all, looking like the monolith from 2001. The tub was recessed into the floor beside it and covered with a sheet of plywood for the party, either in order to prevent people from falling into it or to prevent me from attempting to start a party hot tub:
(Thankfully, the toilet had its own separate “water closet” room, just off to the side.)
The room had been rearranged to better suite a party than overnight guests. The bed had been removed and replaced with a hybrid couch/chaise lounge:
Just about everything in the room could be commanded via the master remote control, which Christian found. It controlled lights, the TV, sound system and even the curtains and skylight blinds (which could be opened and closed via remote-controlled servos):
Here’s a view of Square Victoria from the balcony:
Christian also found a table centrepiece that reminded him of an M.C. Escher image that I had used in my slide presentation at Career Demo Camp Montreal:
For reference, here’s that M.C. Escher piece:
Having checked out the place and taken my first set of photos, I did what I always do in such a setting: I got got a drink from the bar and made myself comfortable.
It wasn’t just cocktails and conversations at the party. We had some presentations as well, starting with Nik Garkusha, part of Microsoft Canada’s Open Source Strategy team. He talked about how Microsoft views open source, as well as the work we’re doing in order to make Microsoft and open source work better together.
I split his presentation into two videos. Here’s the first…
…and here’s the second:
Brendan “Digibomb” Sera-Shriar, developer with Optimal Payments, WordPress evangelist, founder of PHP Toronto and WordCamp Toronto and organizer of WordCamp Montreal, talked about his experience working with The Empire: “They’re actually doing open source!”, his use of Windows and the Windows Platform Installer and how open source and Windows can work together:
Yann Larrivee, developer, founder of PHP Quebec, FooLab and the upcoming ConFoo conference, spoke next. He talked about how he enjoyed Make Web Not War 2009, the importance of “playing well with others” both inside and outside the world of open source and how Microsoft is participating in ConFoo:
Marc Laporte, developer of TikiWiki, and among other things, talked about PHP running under IIS. It’s in French, and if anyone would like to give me a hand translating, I would appreciate it greatly!
As nice as the photos of the suite above are, the place looks far better when it’s filled with guests:
One of the nice things about my job is that they actually ask me to incorporate the accordion into it. Yesterday, we shot this video featuring me on accordion promoting the upcoming Make Web Not War event happening next week right here in Accordion City. Think of it as another of my contributions to Accordion Awareness Month:
There’s only one mistake in the video – “accordion” is misspelled. If you’d like the follow me on Twitter, the correct ID is AccordionGuy, not AccordianGuy.
For more details about Make Web Not War, see: