Justin Jackson

Meshwest Edmonton


Meshwest in Edmonton

Yesterday I attended the Meshwest conference in Edmonton. Meshwest is a uniquely Canadian tech conference, birthed out of the Mesh conference in Toronto.

I think it’s a great conference, with a great concept. It’s biggest challenge is that most folks in Edmonton didn’t know about it, or understand what it was about, or who it was for.

What the hell is Mesh?

Mike McDerment, one of the organizers, compared Mesh to the TED talks: find the most interesting Canadians involved in technology and put them on stage. However, instead of delivering a keynote speech, the speakers are made accessible to the audience, who can start asking questions almost immediately. A moderator kicks things off with interview questions, but the best “Mesh moments” occur when the audience interacts with the speaker directly (or asks questions via Twitter). While a panel isn’t as dramatic as a keynote talk, the interaction between the host, the speaker and the audience is much more valuable.


Published on October 5, 2011

The iPad is a family device

As a Canadian, I was lucky enough to get an iPad early (at the beginning of May), thanks to my sister who won it in a contest (thanks Sarah!).  While some have dubbed the iPad as “just another solo-user device,” I have to disagree.  I think it’s a family device, and is definitely more social than an iPod touch.

The screen

The iPad screen is perfect for sharing.  I’m not the only one that thinks so: many have noticed that, right out of the box, the form factor of this device makes it great for 2 adults, or 1 adult and multiple kids, to share.  The touch interface is much more responsive than a regular iPod touch screen.  Games, educational apps, and videos all feel “more at home” on a screen this size.

Kids get it

How long did it take to teach the kids how to use the iPad?  Zero seconds.  They picked it up, and immediately knew what to do with it: swiping across screen, clicking on icons, and using different apps.  When they’re on the computer they often need my help to access diffent websites or programs; not on the iPad.  They can find the apps and use them themselves.

How you can use it as a family

Here are some of the ways we have used the iPad as a family; we have:

My wife doesn’t touch our computer anymore

My wife hates technology.  She never liked our PC.  When I brought home our iMac a couple of years ago she perked up a bit.  But she loves the iPad:

When I’m home with the kids, I don’t want to have to boot up the computer.  The iPad is fast: I open the case, and I can access my email, Facebook, and the web right away.  I don’t have to type in a web address; I just tap the icon with my finger and I’m there.

Previously she was hesitant to use iCal and Contacts on the Mac, because she’d have to boot up the computer (or “wake it up”) to use them.  But the iPad feels more accessible; it’s on the kitchen counter, and she can pick it up and use it right away if she needs to look up something.

Published on May 29, 2010