The first two jobs I had in the tech sector were within a few blocks of the hotel so we had all-staff meetings at the hotel a few times. Where TIFF is now was a parking lot that I shortcutted through to work.
A business association formed in this area, called SpadinaBus, to foster the nascent Internet sector companies and workers. Pre dot.bomb there were big events and great tech work being done within about 10 blocks of this area. SpadinaBus reached its last stop in the early 2000s along with the Internet crash. Since then Toronto's tech sector (and Canada even) has become decentralized (and less extravagant in their parties).
Now I'm back here for an international tech conference and it was both strange and nostalgic.
The conference was Mobile HCI, an ACM conference about front-end mobile innovation. I volunteered at the conference so I didn't get to attend many sessions, but there were some excellent work. It was the best organized (and cattered) academic conference I have ever attended (which made conference volunteering actually a pleasant experience for the first time).
As with many academic conferences, the presenters are not the most engaging (to put it mildly and politely). I would also have liked to see more of an emphasis on the human dimensions of innovations presented - i.e. more "H" of "HCI". I also think that there needs to be a better mix of methodology - more qualatative data would have helped demonstrated the value and dimensions of the innovations presented.
The conference papers are made available freely for a year. Here are the proceedings.
There was an insipring keynote, Collective Mobile Interaction in Urban Spaces, by Amahl Hazelton of Moment Factory from Quebec, outlining his organization work of digital, multimedia art and entertainment installations.
Here are my favourite work presented at the conference (with a link to the paper).
- Identity, Identification & Identifiability: The Language of Self-presentation on a Location-based Mobile Dating App by Birnholtz, Fitzpatrick, Handel & Brubaker
- Understanding Localness of Knowledge Sharing: A Study of Naver KiN 'Here'
by Park, Kim, Lee, & Ackerman
- Was It Worth the Hassle?: Ten Years of Mobile HCI Research Discussions on Lab and Field Evaluations by Kjeldskov & Skov
- ReviewCollage: A Mobile Interface for Direct Comparison Using Online Reviews by Jin, Sakai, & Yatani
- Polly: "Being There" Through the Parrot & a Guide by Kratz, Kimber, Su, Gordon, & Severns
- Narratives: Geolocative Cinema Application by Nagler, Hicks, Hackett, & Zachkarko
It was great to hear about some inspiring work happening in my field and returning to the site where my tech career began.