Geek Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

Toronto Coffee and Code This Friday!

coffee_and_code_may_29_2009_1The scene at the big communal table at the May 29th Coffee and Code.

There’s a Toronto Coffee and Code this Friday! For details, see the Coffee and Code blog.


Guelph Coffee and Code: Tuesday, June 23rd

"Code Monkey" coffee mug

If it’s Tuesday, it must be time for Guelph Coffee and Code! See the Coffee and Code blog for details.

Geek It Happened to Me Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

Toronto Coffee and Code Today! (with Slight Time Change)

Desktop "tower" computer with coffee machine built in

Yes, Toronto Coffee and Code returns today! It’s a day when I make myself (and by extension, Microsoft) very accessible by working out of a cafe and answering your questions, getting your opinions and sharing ideas. Once again, it’ll take place at the Dark Horse Cafe at 215 Spadina, near the lights between Dundas and Queen.

I’ve got some stuff to do at Microsoft Canada HQ in the morning, so I’m declaring tomorrow’s schedule to run from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.. I might be there earlier, but I thought I’d give myself extra time in case traffic decides not cooperate. I’ll see you there!

Geek It Happened to Me Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

Toronto Coffee and Code: Returning May 29th

This article also appears in the Coffee and Code blog.

Coffee machine embedded in "tower" computer enclosure: "Toronto Coffee and Code Returns Friday May 29th!"

I’m a bit swamped with work and other things, so the Toronto Coffee and Code events are taking a hiatus for a couple of weeks. Worry not, it’s a temporary thing, and in a couple of Fridays – May 29th, to be precise, Coffee and Code will make a triumphant return, all phoenix-like, to the Dark Horse Cafe at 215 Spadina on Friday, May 29th from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m..

Geek Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

A Special PHP/Windows-Themed Coffee and Code: This THURSDAY at the Dark Horse

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

Coffee cup

This week, I’m going to have my hands full on Friday with WordCamp Toronto, so I’m moving my Coffee and Code session from Friday to this Thursday, May 7th, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Dark Horse Cafe (215 Spadina).

This particular Coffee and Code has a theme: developing and deploying PHP applications on Windows. I’ll be talking about and answering questions about PHP on Windows, the Web Platform Installer (which I recently covered in this article) and the PHP FTW! contest, which pits student developers against professional developers for cash prizes.

Come on down and join me for a coffee! I’m going to see if I can bring some PHP-themed goodies to give away, just in case my scintillating company and Dark Horse’s great coffee aren’t enticements enough for you to drop by.


Toronto Coffee and Code – Friday, April 24th


Yes, I’m holding a Coffee and Code today – Friday, April 24th from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. – at the Dark Horse Cafe at  215 Spadina Avenue (at Sullivan Street). C’mon down!


Coffee and Code Today at the Dark Horse!

Photo of Dark Horse Cafe Spadina: "Toronto Coffee and Code - Dark Horse Cafe (Spadina), Friday April 17th)

It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for another Coffee and Code here in Accordion City! Today’s Coffee and Code is happening at the new branch of the Dark Horse Cafe (215 Spadina, at Sullivan, which is south of Dundas and north of Queen) between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m..

What is Coffee and Code, Anyway?

It goes back to 1998, when I first tried out “cafe coding”. I shared a consultancy with my friend Adam, where we did a pretty good business writing custom software for small- and medium-sized companies. I was going a little stir-crazy working out of either Adam’s spare room or my home office and just for kicks decided to try working for a day at the Tequila Bookworm cafe on Queen Street West.

Here’s a photo of me at “The ‘Worm” from back then, with my Windows 98-equipped 233 MHz Toshiba Portege laptop sporting a then-respectable 96 megs of RAM. That green box in the foreground is a Jaz Drive, which held 1-gig hard drive cartridges:

Working at the 'WormMe at Tequila Bookworm, November 1998.

It worked out so well that I started working there at least twice a week. I also found that as a “regular” at the cafe, I started meeting of all sorts of people – not just friends, but potential customers, colleagues, collaborators and business contacts. We exchanged ideas, traded stories, made suggestions on each other’s projects and formed friendships. I’m still in touch with a lot of these people today,

My job at Microsoft Canada – Developer Evangelist – is a “mobile worker” position, since our job is to make connections with software developers wherever they are. Sometimes it’s at our home offices, sometimes it’s at the Microsoft offices, sometimes it’s on the road. As long as the job gets done, where we are is where we work.

So I thought “Why not re-create the situation at Tequila Bookworm?” It might work out even better than last time, since I now had some reasonably widely-read blogs to announce my presence, and since the Toronto tech scene is now considerably more vibrant than it was ten years ago (thanks largely to things like DemoCamp and HackLabTO).

I’ve had about a half-dozen Coffee and Codes so far, and I think the endeavour has proved to be worthwhile. I’ve made connections — new and old — with all sorts of techies, answered questions and taken suggestions, hooked up people with software and other nerds, learned a lot and even given a human face to The Empire. We’ve talked about all sorts of things: the expected “shop talk”, but all sorts of non-techie stuff as well. It’s sort of like the salons of old.

Coffee and Code has grown beyond just me holding them:

The internet is a great and scalable communications medium, but there’s something about meeting face-to-face that it can’t provide; that’s why the saying “You had to be there” exists. That’s what Coffee and Code is all about.

Come to chat, come for coffee, come to hang out and even get some work done. Whatever you come to do, I hope to see you there!

The Wifi Situation at Dark Horse


The Dark Horse opened on Tuesday, and word is that they haven’t got their wifi up and running yet. If you need to catch up on your email and Twitter, I suggest you bring a 3G phone. I hope it doesn’t deter you from dropping in, but I thought you should know.