Want to head to FITC Toronto in April for FREE?

Once again, FITC is offering women in the digital space the opportunity to attend Canada’s largest design and technology conference for free! Simply share why you want to attend and your advice for other women in tech in the most creative way you can muster up. Submit your entry before February 28th. See the full details and submit your entry at http://fitc.ca/women. Good luck!

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Long time no write

Just realised it’s been over 6 months since the last time I posted here.

Nothing special happened in the meantime, except that my elder son has been accepted to a master program in Carnegie Mellon and I am taking him there in early August. I am very happy and proud.

Yesterday I’ve been to Camaraderie  [re]Launch Party. Camaraderie is a coworking space that used to be in the east part of the Toronto downtown. Now they have moved to a nice place on Roncesvalles, just a few minutes’ walk from Dundas West subway station. Here’s their website: http://camaraderie.ca. They have a nice collection of books on business on premises (together with a coffee-maker and other things vital for business), and, since I am moving into a smaller apartment, I decided to donate my collection of business books to them. However my hoarding instinct cannot tolerate me parting with the books, so maybe I should give each of them one final reading and review them here. Stay with me for updates on great books such as The Whuffie Factor by Tara Hunt.

 

My article for Blog Idol contest: MicroSkills and macro changes

About 250,000 immigrants arrive to Canada each year. Most of them settle down, and find jobs, and many of these jobs are in the IT (I’d say even most of these jobs are, or were, until recent ridiculous changes in the occupation list came into effect, but then I am an IT person myself, so my perception is inevitably biased).

Now, finding a job in an unknown country with a culture that may be radically different from your own is hard. You may not know hundreds of little things – and, what’s worse, you may not even know that you don’t know. For example, if, in your culture, people routinely eat raw onions, you might eat them before a job interview, because no one told you that it might create any problems. Likewise, if in your country a woman’s office outfit normally includes a low-cut blouse and/or a miniskirt, tons of make-up and a bucketful of perfume, you would naturally dress that way to be interviewed for a position of, say, a system administrator. You’ve done that all your life, and everybody around you did, so what’s wrong with that?

When you look for a job, you need someone to tell you basic things, even if you were born in this culture, and so much more if you haven’t. Here’s a story from the wonderful book by Cathie Black, “Basic Black”, full of career advice and insightful comments, that I strongly recommend (you can read big chunks of it right at the Amazon website).

When I was just out of college, working at Holiday magazine, I had a roommate who worked as the assistant to the cartoon editor at another magazine. She’d been there about a week, and one evening when she came back to our apartment, we got talking about our days…

“My boss writes his letters on a yellow legal pad,” she told me.

“Can you read his writing?” I asked.

“Why?”

“Well,” I said, “deciphering someone’s handwriting to type a letter is always so hard.”

She looked at me blankly. “I don’t type them,” she said. “I just fold them, stick them in envelopes, and send them out.”

Now, I was pretty inexperienced myself at that point, but I knew that sending out hand-scrawled letters on yellow lined paper just couldn’t be right. “I don’t think that’s what your boss has in mind,” I said. “I’m pretty sure he’s expecting to get those back, typed, so he can sign them.”

Her face went pale. “Oh my God!” she shrieked. “He never told me that!”
(Read more at BlogIdol website…)

Product Camp Toronto: the schedule is now available

Tentative agenda for Product Camp Toronto – Sunday May 30, 2010 has been determined. Each session will consist of 3 or 4 individual talks or presentations.

    9:00am Registration, continental breakfast
    10:00am Welcome
    10:15am – 11:00 am Session 1
    11:15am – 12:00pm Session 2
    12:00pm – 1:00pm Box lunch & networking, sponsor tables
    1:15pm – 2:00 pm Session 3
    2:15pm – 3:00pm Session 4
    3:15pm – 4:00pm Session 5
    4:00pm – 5:00pm Wrap up, feedback, networking, giveaways etc.

You can still vote for sessions here.

Based on the final online voting results, morning sessions will be selected and posted 2 days prior to the event.  Sessions for the afternoon will be picked by attendee voting at the event.

More details

Free admission to SR&ED seminars and trade show at IT360

Attend the IT360 Trade Show, on April 7th in Toronto, along with the feature presentations and keynote compliments of CATAAlliance. IT360 is the premier event in Canada providing IT professionals with in-depth practical guidance and an array of solution-providing products and services – under one roof.

USE CODE: TS1
Your Complimentary Admission Pass (value $50) includes:

Keynote Address @ 9:30am – 10:20am

Gary Warner, Director of Research in Computer Forensics at University of Alabama
Topic: Universal Threat Awareness
Desc: The Internet has never been more dangerous than today; eCrime in business and government continues to rise and Warner is the leading expert in Anti-Phishing and web attacks. He will discuss national and regional eCrime trends and individual case studies about resolving specific electronic crime cases. He will present best practices businesses need to know.
For more details, click here.

Featured Presentation @ 10:50am – 11:20am

Lead by MEUK Corporation
Title: Demystifying SR&ED Tax Credits, part 1
Desc: Three steps to simplifying the SR&ED process to earn tax credits. It is very likely that your business qualifies for SR&ED (Scientific Research & Experimental Development) tax credits. The application process does not need to be onerous. This presentation will simplify the process and ease the way to earning the tax credits available to you.
More details, click here.

Featured Presentation @ 12:50pm – 1:20pm

Lead by MEUK Corporation
Title: Demystifying SR&ED Tax Credits, part 2
Desc: Advanced presentation; Analyzing what is black vs. white vs. grey using real life case studies. This presentation will take you one step further in the process by illustrating how technological and financial issues benefit from the use of professional judgment.
More details, click here (scroll down).

Trade show floor!

Explore, evaluate and compare solution provider products and services from key companies in security, data centres, unified communications, telephony, cloud computing, open source, and more. Learn strategic approaches to streamline infrastructure, introduce new and innovative strategies while building around current infrastructure.
See exhibitor list.

REGISTER ONLINE TODAY!
http://www.it360.ca/

City of Toronto Small Business Arts Forum 2010

Small Business Arts Forum 2010
March 22, 2010
8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
North York Civic Centre
5100 Yonge St.
Council Chamber, Members Lounge
http://www.enterprisetoronto.com

Established entrepreneurs and business owners in the arts, as well as artists exploring entrepreneurship and business opportunities are invited to attend the third annual Small Business Arts Forum, hosted by Enterprise Toronto.

Crappy policy of LinkedIn

Today I wanted to invite someone to contact on LinkedIn and got the requirement to enter their e-mail address, followed by this warning:

“Your account has been restricted because a significant number of LinkedIn users whom you have invited to your network have indicated that they don’t know you. Use of LinkedIn is subject to the terms of our User Agreement, which you have violated. An example of the violation includes breach of Section 11, LinkedIn User DOs & DON’Ts.”

It says further that I can remove this restriction by acknowledging the policy, but if they “find me in violation” again, they may suspend my account altogether. I counted the “Don’t know” responses to my invitations and found there are exactly 10 of them. What the hell? I have had a LinkedIn account for, probably, 5 years or more, and I have over 500 contacts. In all these years, during my interactions with all these numbers of people just 10 of them said they did not know me. I would say I am a paragon of prudency and trustworthiness.

By the way, it is not true that these people did not know me: I always use only the business cards people give me (their own business cards, that is), and only after talking to them at a conference or something like that. In all these cases where the people said they did not know me, what they really meant was that they did not know me well enough and preferred not to connect. LinkedIn, however, does not distinguish between this case and the case when a complete stranger approaches you after telling LinkedIn he’s your friend. As God is my witness, I receive a lot of this crap, especially from recruiters, and this definitely must be stopped. I understand the need for such policy and I am all for it. But there is an obvious difference between approaching a complete stranger under false pretenses and trying to connect to someone you met at a conference and exchanged business cards with.

Also, I entered those e-mails when I sent out the invitations (since I had the business cards), so I don’t really see how the requirement to enter emails would prevent me from sending those invitations in the first place. Therefore, the policy is not only insulting but useless.

And the moral of that is… LinkedIn’s usability, that was always great, started, sadly, to leave much to be desired. I am not going to “remove the restriction” because the way they phrase it, it is an insulting lie. Agreeing to what they say basically equals admitting that I was trying to deceive people to get in contact with them, and agreeing to LinkedIn removing my account altogether on the slightest pretext. For example, if somebody else says “don’t know her” instead of “don’t know her well enough” (and the latter option just is not there when you accept or reject an invitation).