All posts by devtofolks

VPN vs. Cloud: It’s a question of control

You know a bit about VPN. You know a bit about Cloud. But you’re still trying to understand the key debate between the choice of one over the other. Never fear! #DevTO’s Nael El Shawwa has come to your rescue:

There is a big debate in the mobile storage world between Virtual Private Network (VPN) and Cloud services – and it revolves mainly around the issue of control.

A tool commonly provided by – but not exclusive to – larger corporations for their mobile employees, VPNs offer a secure access tunnel to an organization’s infrastructure, servers and data. Some people/organizations want, prefer or need that.

At the same time, that control can often be seen as a disadvantage: You have to keep your servers up to date and patched up; and the VPN’s owner administrators are responsible for dealing with security threats, viruses or other issues as they arise.

There are legal compliances that need be taken into account when considering a VPN. For example, where is data stored? An organization may be legally and/or legislatively restricted to where data must be stored. For example, certain Canadian public organizations must store their data on networks within Canada, where the government has jurisdiction. A VPN located in Canada would comply with this.

Mailing list

Have you joined yet? Remember you get access to tickets a whole day before everybody else. It’s free and it’s the fastest way to get #DevTO tickets delivered to your inbox!
Join our mailing list!

As for cloud storage and networks, one of the biggest and most obvious advantages is ease of setup. Just a few clicks on Amazon or any other cloud service will give you server access somewhere in the world and off you go. Before this, it may have taken you anywhere from a week to a month to adequately set up, and then you’d have to personally maintain, monitor, etc.

Cost is another factor for cloud. Typically, it starts out cheaper to use – but as your needs increase, there’s a point where the cost balance tips; with growth, eventually it becomes cheaper to build and deploy your own servers.

I still think the cloud is – for the most part – more reliable, more secure and more convenient. Issues like the recent Amazon power outages and periodic downtimes could also happen to the private data centre from which you’re hosting a network.

The real question remains whether or not a VPN is more secure. As any corporate network administrator will tell you, if an employee with network access is truly disgruntled havoc can still be wrought. Security is never 100% airtight.

As the saying goes: “Build a 12ft wall and someone will eventually build a 13ft ladder”. With VPN you need to always make sure your wall is higher than any other ladder out there. A cloud solution like Amazon or Google or others takes the wall building out of your hands so you can focus on what is more important – building your product, service or business and keeping your customers happy.

#DevTo is Toronto’s developer community for all of Toronto’s developers; a place for all to collaborate on the problems faced while developing applications. You may not be a developer, but even if you have written a bit of HTML you should come out. (@devto)

Mixpanel Office Hours in Toronto

Hey folks!  Mixpanel is hosting a free office hours at Uniiverse HQ in Toronto this coming Thursday!

Mixpanel engineer Neil Rahilly will be hosting office hours on Thursday, July 5th from 6 – 8pm. The good folks at Uniiverse have generously offered to host this event at their office, so come to:

111 Jarvis St, Toronto, ON M5C 2T9

Come with questions about how to use Mixpanel. If you don’t have questions, just come for the Pizza and Beer.

July 21st – 1st Annual #DevTOBBQ Party

#DevTOBBQ Tickets

Remember we celebrated our 1st birthday in April 2012? Well here is the BBQ party we have been talking about.

Buy your tickets

Where: 1395 Lake Shore Blvd West (Lakeshore & Jameson) - The Royal Canadian Legion Branch #344
When: July 21st 2012, 1pm – 5pm
Price: $23 (includes HST)
What is included?

  • 2 drink tickets
  • 1 food ticket
  • Home made cupcakes by Lat Leger

Additional tickets can be purchased for $4 each.


Lat has graciously offered to provide cupcakes for our attendees. These are home-made  Cookies N Cream / Red Velvet cupcakes for us to enjoy. Check out Lat’s blog “The Experimental Cupcake


Charity Support

. $8 off your ticket price goes to the charities the Legion supports as well as all other proceeds from drink purchases. Some of these charities are:

Mailing list

Have you joined yet? Remember you get access to tickets a whole day before everybody else. It’s free and it’s the fastest way to get #DevTO tickets delivered to your inbox!
Join our mailing list!


Of course we will be giving stuff away as always! A huge thank you to the following companies for supporting us with awesome gift cards and giveaways!

100 $10 gift cards for their black car service in Toronto

10 WordPress themes valued at around $40 each

10 gift cards valued at $20 each

20 gift cards for their souvenir tour of the brewery

One ticket to attend Screens 2012 valued at $200.

One $100 gift card to enjoy at their award winning restaurant.

More gift cards and gift baskets provided by these awesome Toronto restaurants!

Want to sponsor too? Please get in touch with us at

Here’s what the patio looks like at the Legion, great secluded spot by the lake! We hope to see you there folks!


#DevTOBBQ Tickets

Grab a ticket and come out and party with us on the Toronto Lakeshore! Can’t make it? There is a donation only ticket to support local charities!
Buy your tickets

Girl Geeks Toronto Presents The Mobile Evolution

We may be designers. We may be mathematicians. We may be digital experts. We may be educators. Whatever we are, we are all geeks.

Formed with the premise of making technology exciting and available to everyone, Girl Geeks Toronto is happy to announce our upcoming event Mobile Evolution: Thinking Beyond The App. The evening will be jam-packed with three great speakers: Kitty Shum, Tom Purves and Matthew Fabb, addressing the hot topic of mobile, what we need to know, and what tools we need to be involved. Along with these fabulous talks, the evening will offer hors d’oeuvres, refreshments, and networking opportunities.

After a period of dormant activity, Girl Geeks Toronto has reformed it’s team and are back bigger and better than ever! Each month we will tackle a new theme with three speakers, providing you with the hottest talks in technology from the best in the industry. Your dedicated organizers are Breanne Schroder, Rachel Lane, Caroline McGregor and Cassie Doubleday (pictured from left to right).

We are pleased to be supporters of and affiliated with DevTO, who have done a remarkable job of building the dev community here in the city. Thanks, gents, for your support!

To join us at the event RSVP here. You can also follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

#DevTO 14 – June 25th

#devto hasn’t even hit primary school years and we’ve been making a huge impact on the GTA Interactive scene! It’s great being a part of the consistent and growing community that we’ve decided to crash.  Thanks to the support of attendees, such as yourselves, and the feedback given, we’re looking to make #devto better than ever! #devTO 14 – June 25th at ING Cafe, Downtown Toronto.

Mailing list

Have you joined yet? Remember you get access to tickets a whole day before everybody else. It’s free and it’s the fastest way to get #DevTO tickets delivered to your inbox!
Join our mailing list!


One more #DevTO in the back pocket – learn about last month’s speakers here. See you out there on June 25th folks!
Get your tickets

URL shortener using Node.js in 15 mins
Dmytro Yashkir - Software Engineer at SecureKey

Node.js is a server side Javascript environment based on Google’s V8 Javascript engine. It is fast (because V8 is fast), it uses event loop instead of threads, and it is in Javascript which many of us know and love. Goal of the presentation is to show what Node.js hype is about through a simple introduction to creating a URL shortener. URL shortener does few things: accepts a URL to shorten, forwards users going to the short URL, shows some analytics about the users following the shortened URL. We will look at the code, get it to work and see it in action.

Dmytro loves making things that people want to use, currently working for SecureKey developing iPhone app and things around it. Big fan of Node.js, Redis and iOS. In the past have worked for TenFour Labs and The Weather Network. BSc Computer Science with with way too many courses in Economics. Also runner, foodie, beer connoisseur and a TFC fan.

Nick La on Responsive Design
Nick La – Founder of studio

Nick is a Toronto-based web designer and illustrator. He is the creator of the popular blog Web Designer Wall, Themify, IconDock and Best Web Gallery. Nick spoke at several key conferences including the Future of Web Design NYC (2008 & 2010), WordCamp Toronto 2009, Frontend 2010 (Oslo, Norway), and Mad in Spain 2011 (Madrid). Nick started Web Designer Wall in August 2007 as his personal blog to talk about design ideas, trends, and tutorials. The site has been featured on many magazines and galleries. It is also recognized as one of the popular design blogs due to quality content and beautiful design.



Headstart Solutions  is a social recruiting and career development agency. We specialize in social media recruiting on-demand and outsourcing solutions, using the latest social media tools and methodologies to engage, recruit, and stay in touch with the best talent.
You probaly have met Marc or Sue at some point in the past year, remember they spoke about personal branding and how to give awesome presentations? Marc and Sue are here to provide our community with personal branding tips,career advice, and exciting new job opportunities for FREE! Get in touch with us at for a FREE career coaching session!

Silver Sponsors

Thinkwrap is a team of outstanding software developers, engineers, architects, strategists, and designers whose ability to create responsive web environments serving 100,000 users doesn’t stop them from architecting for millions as if they were one.Our strong community of purpose is built on our clients’ lasting business success.

Mercatus Technologies enables retailers and advertisers to achieve competitive advantage, boost brand equity, and improve financial performance. Leveraging Mercatus’ smart shopping technology on a cross-channel marketing level, achieve the ultimate one-to-one relationship with shoppers throughout their buying cycle—from intent to influence to purchase.

Bronze Sponsors

Rypple is a social performance platform built for teams to share goals, recognize great work, and help each other improve. With Rypple, performance management becomes painless and effective.

Extreme Startups
is the epicenter of innovation in Toronto and is dedicated to providing everything it takes to see its startups succeed!

In Kind Sponsors

ThirdOcean is a social media marketing and community management company. Our communications are delivered by and hosted on social mediums.

FITC produces design and technology focused conferences and seminars worldwide which inspire, educate and challenge attendees.

The best skins on the planet! GelaSkins are removable covers for protecting and customizing your portable devices. They feature stunning, photo-quality graphics ranging from fine art prints to contemporary urban images designed by our growing family of artists from around the globe. Stand out in the crowd with personalized protection from GelaSkins.

Delicious, all-natural, healthier. that’s popchips. when they said it couldn’t be done, we raised the snack bar.

Toronto’s oldest craft brewery!

#devto hasn’t even hit primary school years and we’ve been making a
huge impact on the GTA Interactive scene! It’s great being a part of the
consistent and growing community that we’ve decided to crash.  Thanks to the support of attendees, such as yourselves, and the feedback given,
we’re looking to make #devto better than ever! #devTO 14 – June 25th at ING Cafe, Downtown Toronto.

Nick La is a designer/illustrator based in Toronto. He runs the popular design blog Web Designer Wall as well as Themify, IconDock, and Best Web Gallery.

Nick La will taking up the task of giving his view of Responsive
Design. A new and exciting topic that transcends the client buzzwords of
old and holds ground in the works of modern internet production. Nick’s work
has caught the eye of some online magazines such as the Smashing Magazine.

#devTO Sprint 14 is in effect June 25. We’ve got the tickets coming up tonight
and tomorrow, so watch out for it!

April’s Featured Startup: Mega Traders

As part of growing and cultivating the #DevTO community we want to start featuring some of Toronto’s startups. This month we have selected Marlina Kinnersley’s new venture: Mega Traders.

There’s a new kid on the block with speed and agility who passionately wants to disrupt traditional classified sites with a social commerce platform that’s intuitive, super fast and trustworthy. This new startup is an online person-to-person marketplace for trading, buying and selling unwanted items socially. This company’s mission is to turn anyone into an entrepreneur, while encouraging bartering through offline interactions for more sustainable living; their vision is to provide a vehicle for collaborative goal achievement – say what? Marlina Kinnersley, CEO, explains:

“Swapping happens all around us, between people all over the world throughout our lives because we want something we deem valuable that someone else has. Together we can trade our unused items for something we will treasure.”

“Marlina has a really innovative and compelling concept here, and she is looking for some talented developers/coders who are excited about the intersection of social media and e-commerce.” Bohdan Zabawskyj, VP-Technology, Mercatus & Advisor.

Users will be able to create a store, post for free, specify their wish lists and ultimate goal, share their swap or sale items socially and achieve their goals through uptrading activity.

“We are a ‘stealth startup’, looking for a team to help create a prototype/MVP model to demonstrate the viability and market demand for the concept”, the CEO says.

Please contact Marlina Kinnersley at for further details.

Check out her About Me page – and connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

What is a #DevTO Ticket worth to you?

When #DevTO started out it was the four of us pitching in together to cover the expenses of holding an event, of course back then we didn’t know where we are going with this and just went with the flow. Today we have sponsors that help us cover those expenses.

We have some big plans for 2012 including more events, hackathons, full day events, more speakers, etc. To fund these big plans we need to consider charging for tickets. Everything we have done thus far at #DevTO was driven by feedback from the community. Location, food, presentation length, topics, etc.


So please help us answer this question: What would you pay for an evening that includes 2 presentations, pizza and drinks amongst Toronto’s broad developer and designer community? $5? $10? $15?

Have a safe and happy long weekend folks!


The #DevTO Crew!

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