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January 20, 2013

Rob Echlin
Talk Software
» User Group Connect has a new URL

“User Group Connect 2013″ has a new URL. You can find us at

If you don’t know about UGC, it is an opportunity for User Group’s in Ottawa to get together and for the Ottawa technology community to get together to meet some of the 30 or so User Groups in Ottawa.

On Saturday February 9, from 10am to 4pm, join us in the lounge at Shopify, 126 York St. The entrance is at the back of the building, from the parking lot.

Accessibility problems – Unfortunately, this location is not wheelchair accessible. It has stairs, and the washroom is up a flight of stairs.

Also, you can still reach the User Group Connect site at the old URL.

Tagged: groups, Ottawa

November 3, 2012

Rob Echlin
Talk Software
» World Usability Day 2012 in Ottawa

(From the CAPCHI newsletter)

CapCHI is proud to present two presentations on Tuesday November 6th, in celebration of World Usability Day 2012 (officially on Thursday November 8th).

Date: Tuesday November 6th, 2012

Time: doors open at 6:00 pm; talk begins at 6:30 pm

Place: TheCodeFactory, 246 Queen St., Ottawa, ON, Canada

1. “Mixed-media Computer Human Interfaces“, presented by Tim Moore, PhD CHFP, Ergosum Ltd.

2. “The Gist of NIST“, presented by Lorraine Chapman, Director of UX Research, Macadamian

Here is the CAPCHI web site:


Tagged: Ottawa, user groups

September 16, 2011

Rob Echlin
Talk Software
» Gaming day for OCLUG this Saturday

It’s game day, and Software Freedom Day, for OCLUG tomorrow, Sat Sep 17.
11 am to probably 3pm.
Room T117 at Algonquin College on Woodroffe – that’s in building T.

BZ Flag server v2.0.x will be provided on the local LAN.
There will be some other games for kids, and mine will be there.
There will be some software demos, at least one for ‘R’.

Tagged: games, groups, Linux

March 23, 2011

Rob Echlin
Talk Software
» OGRE March meeting – Redis

Ever find memcached is just too limited?

Apparently Redis is the newest. It allows you to store key-value pairs, lists, sets, and even perform set operations, and have them go to disk or expire. I think Jonathan did the show and tell? There are client libraries for a bunch of languages.


  • I didn’t stay for the code wars after.
  • The pizza was great.
  • That’s a weird tap in the kitchen – twist for temperature setting, “push” to turn it on – that’s push toward the wall, not “push in”. Andrew and I had to ask.
  • Nice to see some mixing between Ottawa groups – Andrew, Michael, Adrian, maybe more.
  • Ottawa indie game group, “The Dirty Rectangles” was mentioned –
  • International Game Developers Associations (IGDA) was mentioned:

Tagged: groups, Ottawa, Ottawa groups

March 17, 2011

Rob Echlin
Talk Software
» Review: Ottawa Android Developers Group

The Ottawa Android group met at 6:30pm at The Code Factory. More people should know about this group. It was a lively meeting with useful information every minute.

About the Meeting Space

It’s The Code Factory. It works well for small groups up to 30 people, and has room for larger groups, up to 80 people in theory.

About the Group


Yeah, there were just 9 of us. Most were developers. Several are new to Android and Apps. No women this time. Mature, err “experienced” group, probably two under 30.

Group interaction

We had a great time! Banter and side tracks were fun and valuable. There is a mail list and the web site has recent posts.

About the meeting


Chris presented a report on the Android Developers Convention, AnDevCon The First. Gee, that sounds formal. Actually we sidetracked him and asked questions while he tried to get through his list of seminars and classes. It seems to have been targeted at people new to Android.


Some people were there when I arrived at 6:25pm. I think it actually started about 6:40pm. We left just before 8:00pm.

After the meeting gathering

My favourite size for an after-meeting pub discussion is now 5 people, as that was how many of us were at the Royal Oak. Informative, relevant. entertaining discussion and jive continued down the street and into the bar. We left just before 10:00pm.

Cost? My half-Guinness and dessert came to $13 with tax.

Tagged: groups, Ottawa, Ottawa groups, review

December 9, 2010

Rob Echlin
Talk Software
» These are a few of my favourite groups

Ottawa has a wonderful software scene! I especially like the following groups, and go often, for the technical talks and networking.

  • OCLUG – Ottawa Canada Linux User Group
    • I have been going for several years. It’s the biggest of these groups, not often below 20 people, sometimes up to about 50. What else is good? Lively discussion at the Beer SIG after, active email list, dedicated board, both new and experienced people feel welcome, academic members, wide range of interesting topics.
  • OGRE – Ottawa Group of Ruby Enthusiasts
    • This group generally has a full house of about 20 or so people in their smaller intimate space at Shopify, and the buffet brings out people early for active discussions. More goodness? Active mail list with actual code, latest trends in software development, both Open Source and commercial products discussed, short presentations with live demos at the meetings, pros and newbies, developers and designers.
  • Agile Ottawa
    • This group has easily the nicest space in Ottawa software groups, sharp full-length technical presentations on Agile Software Development and related topics and generally a very good bar talk after. More! Active LinkedIn group, easily the highest ratio of bloggers to readers in any group in the city, consultants and developers, experienced and new, Scrum or Kanban or personalised process, out-of-town presenters.
  • CapCHI
    • The Capital Computer Human Interface group has polished academic and industry presentations, with generally 20 to 30 people. Light snacks facilitate the before-meeting. What else is fantastic? Discussions after at the bar, grad students + professors + government + industry, developers and designers, software and hardware.
  • Ottawa Scrum User Group
    • A group I’ve only dropped in on twice, but already one of my favourites with great audience participation in casual, focused talks on mostly the Scrum end of the Agile Software Development movement. More betters? Developers + hiring managers + a couple of consultants, government and hi-tech, students and experienced developers, newbies to master Scrum leaders. The before-menu varies but there’s lots.

The terms “beer” and “bar” refer to a gathering in a chattering place where some people imbibe, but you don’t have to. I have enjoyed lots of groups in the city, but prefer locations I can easily reach by bus, so I may be missing some of the best.

Click on “Ottawa Groups” at the top of the page for meeting details.

Tagged: Ottawa groups

December 5, 2010

Rob Echlin
Talk Software
» December Agile joint meeting

The Agile Ottawa and Ottawa Scrum groups are having a joint meeting at QNX this month.

Tues Dec 14, 6pm for networking, meeting at 6:30pm, at QNX, 175 Terence Matthews Crescent, Ottawa, Ontario.

Tagged: Ottawa groups

November 24, 2010

Rob Echlin
Talk Software
» Ottawa Android developer group

I added the Ottawa Android developer group to the “Ottawa Groups” page.

Thanks, Chris!

Tagged: groups, Ottawa

November 12, 2010

Rob Echlin
Talk Software
» Agile Ottawa Nov meeting – Steffan Surdek

I always enjoy going to the Agile Ottawa meetings.
I enjoyed the talk and got a lot out of it.

The presenter was Steffan Surdek. He is a co-author of the IBM Press
book “A Practical Guide to Distributed Scrum”, that we are reading at my workplace, Exar Ottawa.

Points I felt important to me:

  • Improve your conference calls by making sure everyone knows everyone’s voice.
    • “Rob here. I agree with …” – say your name each time you speak
  • Help staff get to know each other
    • Provide pictures and video of yourself on the internal web site
    • Use more voice calls
    • No, most companies can’t afford to bring teams together from China to Ottawa. One or two people in each direction is a realistic limit.
  • Share the pain of 12 hour time differences. Meet or phone in their work hours, not just yours.
  • Share information. Write down what happened, and what especially was decided, and wikify it.

It was great to have a chance to chat with Steffan after the meeting. Thanks for sticking around, Steffan!

Tagged: Ottawa groups, software team

October 26, 2010

Rob Echlin
Talk Software
» Agile Ottawa: Nov 9 – Tips for a smoother running sprint

Location: Adobe’s offices on Preston St, just south of the 417

– Networking: 6:00-6:30pm
– Presentation: 6:30-8:00pm
– Heart & Crown afterward

Presenter: Steffan Surdek

Steffan is one of the co-authors of the IBM Press book “A Practical Guide to Distributed Scrum”. I have read this book and it succinctly covers all the main topics you will need to address with Agile teams in multiple locations. I look forward to meeting Steffan and hearing his presentation.

November meeting details and outline of the presentation.

Tagged: groups, Ottawa, team tools

October 13, 2010

Rob Echlin
Talk Software
» News from Agile Ottawa meeting

Yup, it was a good meeting, and I took away an idea or two…

But what I am most excited to tell you about are future events:

And the ideas I took away are centered around Dmitry’s suggestion that Agile design decisions should be documented with light-weight tools, such as the development team’s existing issue tracker.

Tagged: groups, Ottawa, process

October 9, 2010

Rob Echlin
Talk Software
» Star Party

The Ottawa Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) is holding their last Star Party of the year on Saturday Oct. 9, 2010. It’s at the Diefenbunker site, off Carp Road.

Looks like the sky is going to be clear. Dress warmly!

Tagged: events, groups, Ottawa

October 5, 2010

Rob Echlin
Talk Software
» Agile Ottawa meeting: Tuesday Oct 12

* Group: Agile Ottawa
* Subject: Announcement from Agile Ottawa: October event, Tuesday Oct 12

“Better together: How user experience design can help Agile teams”

Networking from 6:00-6:30pm; presentation from 6:30-8:00pm. Location is Adobe’s offices on Preston Street.

October 2, 2010

Rob Echlin
Talk Software
» OCLUG at Algonquin this time

OCLUG had to move to the U o f O for the September meeting, due to Algonquin’s inability to plan ahead. Over the last year, the day of week has moved around a bit, too. So it is useful to remind people that the next meeting is planned for:

Tues, Oct 5 at Algonquin, room P211A

Building P is the “Police and Public Safety Institute”. It is almost as far east of Woodroffe as you can get on the Algonquin Woodroffe campus.

Bus access is adequate. Walk from the Baseline Station.

Cars normally park in parking lots 8 or 9. As far as I know, you can still park for free in the evening.

The next meeting is planned for November 2 in the same location.

Tagged: groups, Linux, Ottawa

September 29, 2010

Rob Echlin
Talk Software
» Fun OGRE meeting!

There was a lot of activity at the OGRE meeting tonight, including knowledgeable questions and answers, and a great video setup in a meeting room at Jaded Pixel Technologies (Shopify).

John Duff demonstrated the Devise authentication framework with Facebook.

Jonathan Sutherland was persuaded to show off his Rails-based real estate agents’ web site.

Dwayne recorded much more detail than I have in a post to the OGRE mail list, including code links.

Tagged: groups, languages, Ottawa, Ruby

September 28, 2010

Rob Echlin
Talk Software
» Late Sept / Early October Ottawa Club Meetings 2010

Late September and Early October club meetings:

OGRE – Ruby group
Sept 28 at 6:30pm
At: Shopify office in the ByWard Market: Jaded Pixel Technologies, 61A York St.
– It’s above Tucker’s Marketplace, near the Hard Rock Cafe.
Topic: “Using Devise to authenticate with Facebook in Rails 3″

OCLUG – Linux User Group
Tues. October 5, 2010 at 7 p.m.
At: Algonquin College (Woodroffe Campus), room P211A
Topic: “World Domination and Control, over USB”

Yup, I missed a few that already happened this month.

May 24, 2010

Rob Echlin
Talk Software
» Updated User Group list

See: Ottawa Groups, also linked from the top of the page.

This is sorted into three areas:

  • User Groups
  • Startup Scene
  • Microsoft-related groups

Each area is sorted by week of month and day of week, you know, 2nd Thursday comes after 2nd Tues on my list, even if it might not happen that way in a particular month. :-)

March 17, 2010

Rob Echlin
Talk Software
» Agile for Ottawa Infrastructure!

Dave Rooney’s Agile Ottawa group on LinkedIn has attracted some interest from another infrastructure guy. Dan Murphy of DJM Systems has asked for a new sub-group about “Using Agile Methods for Infrastructure Projects”. Looks like an interesting group idea!

Tagged: groups, Ottawa

March 7, 2010

Rob Echlin
Talk Software
» Review: IGDA round table

The International Game Developers Association, Ottawa chapter, had a round-table meeting. I enjoyed the round-table called “Managing Your Way Through a Project Lifecycle”. I found the active presence of software managers a useful part of the meeting.

About the meeting space

Getting there

Carleton is not the normal location for this group, however, the following info is relevant for other groups meeting there. Carleton University is easy to find, but for anyone except Carleton grads, a link to a map of the campus would have been useful, showing where buildings are. One panel member was 10 minutes late through not finding Paterson Hall.

Parking is expensive at Carleton, unless you park at the south end of the campus, far from everything. Bus and O-Train access are more central. The O-Train provides access at 20 min intervals until late at night.


The classroom where we met was 129 Paterson Hall. It could hole about 30 people seated at tables. The chairs were comfortable. The people present could see clearly for the round table format. The temperature was fine. There was no need for projectors or sound system, and there was none.


Washrooms were OK. Food and drink are available in the University Centre building. At least some of the franchises are more expensive than at non-university locations.


There were lots of students around while I was there, so it seemed that no one would be likely to get caught alone with the wrong person.

About the group


In the round-table group I joined, with 8 or 10 people present, there were students, experienced developers and about half of the group were experienced managers.

Group interaction

There is some online activity on the group blog at They also have a mail list at

About the meeting


Tony lead the round table discussions. He was one of the managers present. He was obviously prepared and provided leadership and control of the discussion. There was lots of discussion and interaction between those present. The students had questions about how to apply the groups experience to their projects, in class and out. The experienced managers traded stories and asked probing questions.


The group started at 6:30pm as expected. The chips and pop provided by the sponsor arrived soon after.

After the meeting gathering

There wasn’t one that I noticed, at this meeting.

Tagged: groups, review

March 4, 2010

Rob Echlin
Talk Software
» Ottawa groups

Migrated. Originally  posted: 2010-01-31 Updated lots.

Ottawa (Ontario, Canada) organizations that host events where software developers might meet other software developers.

The following groups don’t meet at the Code Factory. Yes, that’s an odd way to split the groups, but a really big chunk of groups DO meet there.

Groups in the startup scene:

These groups meet at the Code Factory.

Tagged: meeting, Ottawa