#ABATechshow My Survival Guide 2018

11 02 2018

I have tried this during other years and I thought I would take another crack at it this year hoping I can add a few useful tips for any first time attendees. I am attending this year for the 9th time and each year I learn something new and it has evolved (at least for me,) over the years. I remember the shock a few years ago when the Blackberry “tips” session had two people in the room. . .that indicated all was not well in the RIM world. Now Blackberry doesn’t make actual phones anymore. . .times have changed.

As always you can SKIP ALL OF MY RAMBLING by going to the official First Time Experience Guide. I’d like to think mine is a little fun.

Speaking of change, the venue has changed for the first time in ages! This year its at the Hyatt Regency at 151 East Wacker (at least I hope I got that right.) If you register for ABA Techshow there is a discount offered for USD$189 but you have to book the conference first and then your hotel if you want the special rate. Don’t despair if you can’t book a room at the venue because there are lots of other options like the Chicago Hilton, Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, Radisson Blue Aqua and too many more to mention. I would have suggested the Hard Rock but they are in the midst of a makeover and won’t re-open until August as the St. Jane so stay tuned. None of the options I suggested are inexpensive and the Radisson Blue is the closest but I just thought I would mention a few to get you started in your search.

OK, so you are in the legal business so do some research of your own before you go. There are a million things to do in your downtime (if you can find any,) and a lot of it is related to food and drink. See the Bean, see the Art Institute of Chicago, see the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium. I still haven’t made it to the Museum of Science and Industry but hope to this year. They don’t have much of a write-up but they got me at “take a run in a human-sized hamster wheel.” If that doesn’t describe the practice of law I don’t know what does! All this to say, plan your trip and decide what you want to see. I think it’s too early for an official architectural boat tour but Chicago is great to walk around along the Magnificent Mile so don’t forget to look up. Remember it is March so dress in layers. It comes naturally for Canadians and Americans in East and Central locations but I feel sorry for the Texans and Floridians who wander into Chicago in March. It can be. . .cool.

People. You have to talk to everyone. Introduce yourself to strangers. Corner speakers and ask questions you didn’t think of during their session. Talk to speakers if you missed their session and there’s something you wanted to know. The speakers are very approachable and knowledgeable and I can’t say this enough, talk to them!

LTN

I can’t say enough about the folks at the Legal Talk Network! Talk to Laurence Colletti @LaurenceEsq and Adam Camras @AdamCamras because these guys will have their finger on the pulse of Techshow. You can watch them interview speakers, they can give you tips on things you don’t want to miss, and they have a grasp of what’s going on in the world of technology. Drop in an say hi to them!

Beer

There are lots of craft beer opportunities in Chicago so don’t be afraid to explore. There is a map here from Guys Drinking Beer as a starter but explore on your own. Monk’s Pub is reasonably close to the Hyatt and seems to have a pretty good selection. Might not be a bad place to start. There is usually a Beer for Bloggers event and I don’t have information yet but keep your eyes open for this. It is a great place to meet Tweeters, Bloggers, Media from the ABA, and if you’re lucky you will find Victor Li @victorli2000 the Asst Managing Editor of @abajournal – I should mention all tags I’m using are Twitter handles if you’re looking for someone in particular.

burgers

Au Cheval always seems packed and their burgers are worth the wait if you want to slow your heart down a little from all of the conference excitement. Feel free to add your own links of “must eat” places.

There are other must attend gatherings. @goclio and @mycaseinc usually have big parties at ABATechshow but you have to register with them at the show to attend. These are fun events run by vendors and although I don’t endorse any particular vendor it is a great way to relax and hang out with some of the decision makers of the practice management software you use.

I can’t stress this enough. Get out of the hotel once in awhile. ABATechshow is a vortex and there are usually too many interesting tracks that you want to attend simultaneously. Pick the ones you really want to go to and get out once in awhile. Don’t be afraid to leave a session if you decide it is too entry level for you. It happens. I have switched sessions two or three times in one time slot until I found the right fit. If you think that might happen sit near the back so your disturb anyone else when you leave.

If you’re going to tweet keep an eye on the #hashtags. If you aren’t fast enough there’s a good chance you will be the 4th person tweeting exactly the same quote as someone else. It is not a big deal and lots of people take notes for themselves on Twitter but someone may have made the point for you already. Its a great way to find out what’s going on in other sessions you can’t attend.

Find the Canadians! Look for Jack Newton @jack_newton & Rian Gauvreau @RianGauvreau from Clio! Look for Andrew Arruda @AndrewArruda from Ross Intelligence. Talk to Dan Pinnington @DanPinnington & Ian Hu @IanHuLawpro from LAWPRO/PracticePro. I’m not sure who else will be there but look out for Julia Cornish @archjules1, Dave Bilinsky @david_bilinsky , and Rick Ferguson because they have all attended many times, (and they’ll even say “sorry” for you if you like.)

OK pay attention. You also have to meet some of the Americans if you don’t know them already. I sprinkled a few throughout but find Bob Ambroji @bobambrogi , Ed Walters @EJWalters and Kevin O’Keefe @kevinokeefe for a chat.

As always Social Media should be hopping. Use the official hashtags if you want to be seen/heard, and not sure what will be in use this year. Twitter always, maybe Snap, I guess LinkedIn, and maybe Periscope will break out in the law crowd this year. I’m curious to see what will happen.

Vendors. They are worth stopping in to chat with at Techshow. Its a different vibe than almost any other conference and there is a lot to see and hear. Find out what’s going on with them and what their plan is, how long have they been around and what are they offering besides swag. Some will be stalwarts that you’ve seen before but if ABAtechshow is like other years there will be some exciting new players and even the ones you’re familiar with often make big announcements during ABATechshow. This is your big chance to find out what’s really in the cloud!

TASTE OF TECHSHOW – This is really worth going to and its a chance to have dinner with some of the speakers to continue your discussion after the sessions. The spots are going fast so I would suggest you sign up today! I think half of the sessions are already full and Techshow is still 23 days out! I remember when I first started going to techshow there were binders with lists that you signed up for and they were all tabulated at the end. These dinners (you pay your own way,) will be full soon but if you have never done one please signup!

Music – there is a tonne of music in Chicago. I can’t stress this enough. There is something for everyone so explore and find your jam. Whether its something at Buddy Guys Legends, the House of Blues (which is very close to the venue,) or someplace grittier like Bub City at 435 N Clark Street, or Kingston Mines farther out.

The Lake or more accurately, the third largest Great Lake. Don’t forget there’s a lake close to the hotel. Sure you can go down to Navy Pier and be touristy but take a walk along the waterfront and freeze yourself to the core. It really is worth it. Hey, you can feel like a Canadian for a few minutes, (and yes, I know there are cold spots in America as well.)

Some random thoughts about food and booze. Not sure if you’re a foodie or a drinker but there are too many options to mention. Try Eataly, Shake Shack (there are a few locations,) Shaws Crab House for Seafood (its expensive,) The Purple Pig, and of course The Billy Goat Tavern. I mention that because you have to try it once, just once possibly, best if you’ve had something to drink…you’ll know what I mean if you go.

One place I’m curious about this year is Band of Bohemia…OK OK, I admit, its the sous-vide coffee that I find interesting but…well, I guess I’ll see if I get there. There are some distilleries in Chicago including CH Distillery, Koval Distillery, and others. One of my favourite stops is Warehouse Liquors. Sure you can buy alcohol almost anywhere in the USA but this place knows there stuff and if the person you talk to doesn’t know about mezcal they will go get the mezcal guy to come and talk to you! They’re at 634 S Wabash if you want to drop in.

The key to enjoying ABATechshow is plan your tracks in advance, talk to everyone you can (especially Canadians,) see every vendor you can possibly find, and get out of your comfort zone. This year should be spectacular and anyone who bumps into me say hello and I hope this small summary is helpful in some way.

My last years Guide is here, feel free to check that out too!

I forgot to mention the App. It might be worth a download this year, certainly worth checking out to see if it is useful. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone!

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A Little Bit of Whisky #photos #whisky

7 04 2015

  So this is real whisky. It’s distilled in Toronto, Ontario. It is small batch and it is organic and made from local grains with a visible mash bill (it’s there on the label). It’s not technically Canadian whisky according to the Regulations that accompany the Food and Drug Act:

B.02.020. [S]. Canadian Whisky, Canadian Rye Whisky, or Rye Whisky

(a) shall

    (ii) be aged in small wood for not less than three years…

There is some other stuff in that regulation about potable alcohol distillates, grains being saccharified by the diastase of malt, and strangely how it has to “possess the aroma, taste and character generally attributed to Canadian whisky”…but I digress. Is it any wonder the Toronto Distillery was started by two lawyers?

Note: this whisky doesn’t contain caramel nor flavouring (both allowed in Canada)…it is a clear organic spirit…

Try it…might be worth the trip. 

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Zach and The Meat Department

1 07 2013

Zach and the Meat, originally uploaded by psuba98.

This is Zach. He’s in motion at The Meat Department on Danforth Avenue on a Saturday afternoon. After watching these guys all day I have a suspicion there are a few of them who might end up suffering from repetitive strain injuries.

I was shooting with them for a few hours on Saturday and it was fun. I got to watch the guys in the back (John was not one of my fans,) and I captured some trimming, the scrap bucket, the band saw in action, and the mysterious room in the back where one alchemist was making various rubs and marinades for some of their own stuff.

Jose and Corin ran the counter with Jose taking the DJ duties seriously, and if you went from the front of the store to the back there were two competing genres of music, heavily contrasted at all times. The back, some pounding rockabilly and hard core country mix, driven out of an aging boombox (possibly covered in meat juices,) and the front of the house, some pretty rockin beats and occasional club mixes.

Everyone was friendly (customers and staff,) the atmosphere was welcoming, and the bbq’d steaks I had later were…very tasty! Was it all organic, hormone-free and whispered to sleep by a kid from 4H? No, but I know Zach is passionate and knows where every bit of protein comes from and the meat is of the highest quality, some of it aged in house, and I appreciate it. You can tell these guys care about their customers and their products.

Mostly shot with my 85mm, and the D4 was clacking along occasionally turned up to 11. It was difficult shooting as the place was a blur of motion (and not everyone was excited to see me with a camera,) but I have shot in busy restaurants before and I’m not bad at staying out of the way — it is more of a challenge when everyone has a sharp blade in their hands but I got away unscathed.

The board behind Zach was their board of who get’s to eat for free and who they refuse to serve. . .quite entertaining. Lots of neighbourhood people coming by and they were solidly busy while I was in there. I watched Zach cut meat for a few hours, others worked on chickens, washed trays and utensils, carved up special orders, and at any given time 3 guys were steadily butchering, trimming, prepping meat.

The Meat Department is a great place to go, watch, relax, ask about your food, enjoy a beverage, and soak up some of the local ambiance. I will return weekly. Yes, I am a carnivore!

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Fish heads fish heads. . .

27 05 2013

Fish heads fish heads. . ., originally uploaded by psuba98.

You know the rest. This was snapped a few weeks ago at the famous St. Lawrence Market in Toronto while we were wandering around trying to come up with supper ideas. We did buy some fish, some meat, some veggies, and I even broke down and bought some mustard even though I make a superior produce with tender loving care.

This was captured (although the word capture is sort of a misnomer because their heads were detached from their bodies and they were on ice. . .so there was no escape!) but I digress. . .captured with my Nikkor 60f2.8 which is perhaps one of the most frustrating lenses ever made when it comes to shooting in low light! This was ISO 4000 territory and 1/60th so I was staving off the shakes while shooting one handed and scanning for my wandering children. . .

If you haven’t been to the market, check it out, upstairs, downstairs, and way upstairs which they rent out for weddings/banquets, etc. I had no place that upstairs existed until about a year ago! There is also a “North Market” across the street but it doesn’t seem to capture the same flavours, smells, and character.

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The Double Stabbing

22 04 2013

burgers, originally uploaded by psuba98.

I was in Chicago for the Annual ABA Techshow and sure, I learned some stuff about technology, especially about security issues this year. This was an evening out at Au Cheval in the West Randolph area and the burgers were, pardon the pun, killer!

This was a dark place with small lights scattered here and there and packed with the crowd who knew where to be. . .and us. I took a few random snaps (not my usual Chicago shoot the food and staff from every angle a la Smoque trip,) that I have been known to do. This was strictly “hit and run” on our first trip there that evening. It was too packed to penetrate so we zipped across the street to another place to experience some Angry Birds (the beer not the game,) and relax until we could go full on burger.

This was just something to capture the mood while I dodged waiters, waitresses and patrons. . .not easy in that sardine environment. . .

The D4 was purring as usual and I was able to capture the coup de grace (x2) as this pair of meat meals were…dispatched.

Shot them at 1/50 @ ISO 4500 with my trusty 50f1.4 smooth as the challah buns they were delivered on!

 

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Conversations with crustaceans

12 01 2013

Conversations with crustaceans

It started as a conversation, followed by a disagreement, and then well. . .he became dinner.

Yes, I know how to “sex” lobsters. This meal was a he, or really a group of lobsters, and yes, technically I think that would be a pod of lobsters although I’m not sure if they had formed any sort of bonds in their grocery store tank, in fact without the elastic band restraints they probably would have done their best to harm each other but hey, sometimes friends aren’t nice to each other. He and his friends were on sale for $5.99 a pound and made a nice dinner on Christmas Eve. They were served the traditional Maritime way, with drawn butter and nothing else. . .

So as I recall this was the D4 matched with the Nikkor 60f2.8 a decent crustacean lens as it turns out, ambient kitchen light, evening after sundown, batteries fully charged (camera batteries, not the crustacean’s batteries although I am aware you can use them as a power supply in a pinch.

Just wanted to post something as a place holder to remind myself to blog more this year. I want to squeeze in some more shots before the end of the month, can’t guarantee they will be food related but they will be. . .winterish.

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Dressing the naked oyster

6 11 2012


oyster dressing, originally uploaded by psuba98.

This is not the way I enjoy my oysters. I suck my oysters back raw, unadulterated, naked, freshly shucked, and still screaming their pathetic oyster wail. . .this woman was into the sauce (for her oysters.)

Fun evening at Oyster Boy in Toronto, a variety of bivalvery. We consumed oysters, scallops on the shell, clams, and anything that was put in front of us. We were well taken care of by Chris, Luke and Tyler and the whole evening was fun and they were fairly relaxed considering I was poking a camera at them out of the evening, recording their every move of the oyster ballet.

I give full credit to my D4 (as always) and its phenomenal ability to figure out what I want to capture when I point it at something. The low light capabilities are unrivalled and it was a pleasure to shoot all night. At the end of the night I was happy…full, and inspired to go back for more oysters…Chris is a serious shucker!

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