#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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#whisky #weekends A sip in time

11 11 2017

It’s another weekend and the news is always bleak from the South. The USA seems to struggle with its former greatness. Once mighty and a world power never questioned is mostly a daily news item of scandals and conspiracy, a political grasp so tenuous its as gossamer thin as a reality show’s plot line. I digress.

It’s cold here, though Fall officially I will declare Winter is at the door and it’s open mor than a crack. It’s Remembrance Day. A day we pause to recognize and give thanks for our freedoms, our laws, our governments or at least the right to our democratic process.

Another week gone by and pictures were taken, hands were shaken, coffees were drunk and bonds were forged. Some relationships in place out of necessity while others made stronger just by mere acknowledgements. I spoke, some listened but preparation it’s own reward. Routines maintained and broken but the five days of the modern work week far behind in the rear view mirror and many more on the roads ahead.

Whisky. A complexity whether cask strength or not, bourbon or rye, aged or barely kissed by the oak. These bottles freshly filled with an elixir of warmth. Their beauty in the eye of a beholder, their value set by markets but priceless in the right hands. It thrives locally and beyond nations borders, served in crystal cut glass and paper cups or straight from the bottles depths.

Enjoy the weekend, and raise a glass to those lost, those who are lost, and the hope of the newly found.

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The Event Begins #ABATechshow

16 03 2017

The flight out of Toronto today was delayed but as always, the hospitality extended by Porter Air out of Toronto Island makes it all a little less painful. They have complimentary espresso, bottled water, snacks, iMacs, and generally less frantic than a traditional airline. 

Flight out was bumpy, and into Chicago was extremely windy. It was a beautiful flight over the clouds but a little rough on either end. 

Lots of friendly faces in Chicago. I’ve seen Ashley, Chad, Bob, Ed, Derek, Laurence, Joshua, Adam, Niki, Cesia, and some new Twitter friends. That was just a wander through. 

And now it all comes down to this, session one, meet the techshow board…stay tuned

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That Time in Chicago #ABATECHSHOW #Streetphotography #politics #lust

25 02 2017

4460977720_11359474bc_o.jpg

Its a foggy day in Toronto and I’m working on a comparison of ethics resources in various State Bars in the USA. It made me think back to one of my previous trips to ABATechshow and one of my forays into Chicago street photography which I engage in occasionally when I manage to actually get outdoors (which if you’ve been to Techshow you know isn’t very often!) I came across this snap of Kira. She was making her way across the country with some friends in pursuit of…well I’m not exactly sure but it was partially the American Dream.

These kids were mostly care-free. Travelling with their dog, a few friends and very few belongings, they were hopping freight trains to crisscross the country in search of something, adventure, prosperity, maybe just existence and experience. They were chased, occasionally beaten, but they had a strong bond with each other that was palpable.

I think about how far removed they were removed from technology and wealth. They weren’t begging or soliciting handouts, they were just sitting on the sidewalk together waiting on some friends, experiencing an unfamiliar city from street level. This was 2010 in the USA and as you may recall there was a different government in place.

This shot was captured with my trusty Nikkor 85f1.8 cranking at 1/200th and f3.5 – there were a bunch of others in this series but I thought the tattoo was appropriate for the frenzy going on right now with our Southern neighbours. Their lust for security, prosperity, truth, and well, depending on which side of the fence you’re on…survival.

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Global Warming #winter

21 01 2017


OK, so I’m 99% sure I took this with my ailing iPhone 6 and not the Nikon beast but I thought it was worth capturing the moment. 

Where did the winters go? Will our kids ever see the winters we saw with snow banks far above our heads on a weekly basis? I have always been a fan of NASA and they nicely sum up the last few thousand years of our climate. The 17cm rise in sea level in a century, the temperature increases over the last 35 years, ocean temperature rise, and strangely nothing about the Chinese conspiracy to make us think there’s a danger to humanity. 

Let’s hope the world “leaders” wake up too warm and realize it’s time to do more. Our kids know this so what’s wrong with the adults? 

Mini-rant over. I suppose I could examine some of the arguments but really, look around. Notice your climate changing? Feeling warmer or colder than you remember? Less snow? Drier than you remember? More flooding? 

We should collectively give our heads a shake…like a Polaroid. 

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Kids in tune

19 12 2013

Kids in tune, originally uploaded by psuba98.

This photo is popular on Flickr lately and it might just be people missing summer. I know we have a few days left of shorter days and then its all downhill after that (uphill?) We have lots of winter sun coming (I can’t believe its not even Winter yet!?)

So back to children playing in Huntsville. . .it was a beautiful sunny day, lots of rays, music, ice cream, and playing in parks. . .this was one of the outdoor pianos for anyone to play, and my children were instantly attracted.

The photo: Nikon D4, 1/125, f5.6 ISO 100 with the Nikkor 60f2.8Macro





All about the shoes

28 03 2013


All about the shoes, originally uploaded by psuba98.

Shoes. She has a gene that gives her a special relationship with shoes. It’s weird how we pay someone (often the strangest looking bowling alley person on Earth,) to allow us the choice of which sweat receptacles we would like to try for a day. These items have never been used for anything else in their overly long existence…they were made to trap the sweat of as many unrelated people as possible. There is of course the mysterious spray that is reassuringly used in front of you, sure, but other than destroying ozone what exactly does it do?

This little person loved her shoes, and she also took great pleasure in selecting the ball she was going to launch at the floor. Occasionally the ball made it all the way down the floor, but whether it was a strike, gutter-ball, or a split that defied the laws of physics, she was content just picking out the swirl pattern on the ball that she fancied at that moment.

Other high points? The flickering fluorescent lights, the French fries, the highly polished floors, the mysterious “Pro shop”, and the magical scoring machines.

Watching a 3 year old out there on the alley for the first time was relaxing. This photo once again proves its not the glass, the fancy pro camera pointed in the right direction, or the organism pointing it downrange. Nope, it’s the spark in front of the camera, that beautiful soul experiencing anything for the first time with an innocent joy long forgotten by any adult.

Take a moment, look up in the sky, and see the clouds, the stars, the sun, the moon, the jet contrails, or just the tops of trees, and then watch with your inner child, you might even see in colour for a change. If all else fails, grab a pair of number 7s or your own number, and head out on the hardwood for another day of childhood.

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