Archive for the 'blather' Category


Mixing with the masses at MUSH

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006

Via TheMose and, it looks like although due to a calendar mismatch I’ll be missing Mesh it doesn’t mean I can’t be first in the mosh pit at MUSH!

Come along and together we’ll energize synergies and enable a Web 2.0 user-generated content value proposition.


Spring Cleaning

Monday, April 17th, 2006

After 5 years with the same design and content, I’ve changed my main AshleyIT home page to reflect my current direction which has been evolving for some time from code monkeying towards more consulting and strategy.


Toronto area tech biz groundswell

Thursday, April 13th, 2006

Over the last few months, a flurry of BarCamps, DemoCamps and Schmoozes, along with iSummit and the upcoming Mesh have convinced me that there is a huge amount of energy building in Toronto where tech and business circles intersect, and it’s happening largely from the bottom up among startups and entrepreneurs.

Last night I spoke to The Greater Toronto Web Centric Meetup Group, which is a well-organized group amalgamated from 17 smaller Meetup groups. My subject matter was fairly technically intense for a general group, but I found to my surprise that there was a widely-expressed appetite for technical information about current internet development trends. People and organizations aren’t just messing about with this stuff, they really want to make use of it.

I reconnected with long-time friend and erstwhile blogger Shane McChesney, who runs Nooro, a top-tier internet research and online survey company. As someone who has already built a successful company (and note that he not only survived but thrived during the lean years without the support of the kind of buzz that’s happening now), I’m encouraging Shane to rekindle his blogging fire to inspire the grassroots to follow his example. I plan to convince Shane to come along to Dave Forde’s next Shoeless Schmooze on Thu Apr 20. Come along and have a blab with him, his positive energy is infectious.


Speaking at Toronto WebDesign Meetup

Tuesday, April 11th, 2006

I’ll be speaking at the Greater Toronto Web Centric Meetup tomorrow evening, Wednesday, April 12, 2006, at 7:00 PM.

While I’m ostensibly previewing and practicing my AjaxExperience presentation, it’s a 90-minute gig on a specialized subject, so I’ll have to play it by ear as to how much I deviate from it to accomodate a much smaller venue, more diverse crowd, and time limits.

Come along if you’re interested in such things.

It’s at:

Fiddlers Green (3rd floor)
27 Wellesley Street East
Toronto , ON M4Y 1G7
(416) 967-9442


Naked for a day

Tuesday, April 4th, 2006

April 5th is Annual CSS Naked Day, where websites drop their stylesheets and let their semantic structure hang out.

After learning about it via Stuart Langridge, author of the excellent book DHTML Utopia, I’ve disabled CSS here and on my main site too.

Of course, if you’re reading this after April 5th you’ll see everything styled up as normal again.


Camp, oh more than just Camp. You know you’re soaking in it.

Monday, April 3rd, 2006

Bart Dabek just launched his QuestionVille app, a rated community question-and-answer site. It’s been dug on Digg, so he’s getting tons of traffic.

I first saw Bart’s site when he demoed it recently in Toronto. I’ve attended the most recent Toronto DemoCamp and demonstrated BlogChat at the penultimate DemoCamp gathering, where people with an idea and an implementation can demonstrate their product and their passion to the local tech crowd.

David Crow is the catalyst behind TorCamp and its sibling DemoCamp, both of which are splendid examples of unconferences. I’ve managed to run into David a few times over the last week so I can attest that in the Toronto tech entrepreneur sphere, he’s everywhere.

There has been some feedback and discussion of late about where to draw the line between the technical and business aspects of these events. As a nerdy guy I’m much more interested in the tech aspect, however I’m not independently wealthy enough that I can’t understand the usefulness of bringing business into the equation.

It’s early days yet, so by all means, join in. Toronto’s tech and entrepreneurial community has the potential to make a big splash, and we can do it with your help.


Sociological Web

Sunday, April 2nd, 2006

I participated in a Web 2.0 panel at iSummit this past Friday, chaired by the always entertaining and incisive Michael O’Connor Clarke, in which I shared the stage with James Walker of Bryght, Salim Ismail ex of PubSub, Albert Lai of BubbleShare (no doubt still digesting his lunch last week with BillG and Michael Arrington), and the always unforgettable whats-his-name.

Ostensibly, I was invited as an expert in Ajax techniques, however I found myself most compelled to join the sociological parts of the discussion.

We were observing how the sociological trend between the late 90s Web 1.0 technology wave and the current Web 2.0 wave is towards increased ability for each net participant to engage in two-way conversations, either one-to-one or one-to-many or many-to-one.

Peter Mosely, the what’s-his-name referenced above, lectures far and wide on the topic of the Cluetrain Manifesto. The first seven theses of the Manifesto are:

  1. Markets are conversations.
  2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
  3. Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.
  4. Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived.
  5. People recognize each other as such from the sound of this voice.
  6. The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.
  7. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.

I truly believe that business and personal relationships work best when people are BEING, and not SEEMING TO BE. That is to say, the cards are on the table and there is no pretence or ulterior motive. I often recommend Dale Carnegie’s 1936 book How To Win Friends And Influence People as a manual for personal success.

Markets as conversations ring true to me too and remind me of Eric S. Raymond‘s The Cathedral And The Bazaar, wherein the heirarchy of monolithic software development has been subverted by the highly interconnected Open Source model, which would not have been possible without the new levels of communication enabled by the growth of the Internet in the early 90s. A new Cathedral/Bazaar comparison can be made with the established media publishing model being subverted by peer-to-peer interconnectedness.

I’m not sure that we had direct answers to the audience questions about how the new Web approaches will increase their bottom line, but I think any person or company that uses the Internet’s advances in communication to embrace the collected wisdom of these three books can’t help but increase their likelihood of success.


Too Hot to Hoot

Friday, February 24th, 2006

Michael O’Connor Clarke instigated a great get-together in Toronto last night with Stowe Boyd as the main attraction.

Sutha Kamal snapped a photo of me in my new geeky threads.

Toronto really does have quite a few cool internet folks. I’ve gotta find these things more often.