Steph Rochefort: Nexus 7 for School

DASH had the chance to catch up with fellow ACPR student Steph Rochefort. She recently picked up a Nexus 7 for school, and we asked her to tell us a bit about that experience.  -DASH

I purchased a tablet in September for school, and now that I’ve had a few months to play with it, I can say I absolutely love it!

My main device is a Macbook, but I wanted a small device for taking notes in class, surfing the web, and playing games. Do I need a tablet? No, but it’s certainly nice to have, and it beats lugging around a laptop and bulky charger all day.

I purchased a Google Nexus 7 because after some research, I decided that was the best tablet for my price range. Although I love my Macbook and iPhone, iPads are too expensive for my budget. Here are some specs of the Google Nexus 7:

  • 16 GB for $249
  • 7-inch display
  • 1,280×800 resolution
  • Android 4.2, Jelly Bean

The Google Nexus 7 is perfect for taking notes in class. I use an app called Evernote which allows me to sync my notes across all my devices (iPhone and Macbook included), so they are accessible to me anytime, anywhere. Throughout the day, I can check my email, go on Blackboard to view my assignments, surf the web, and even edit and create Microsoft Office documents. I’m currently using a free app called Kingston Office for this – it can access Google Drive, so my projects are also accessible on all my devices.

In addition to all the tasks it can do, I also love how fast the tablet is, how clear the screen is, and how long the battery lasts. Its Tegra 3 quad-core processor makes everything load quickly, and the high resolution screen is great for watching videos, movies, reading books, and playing games (school isn’t all work and no play!). I only find myself needing to charge it every second day, which is in line with its claims of 10 hours of web browsing or e-reading and 9 hours of HD video playback.

I really love my Google Nexus 7, and it was a great purchase. I don’t have anything negative to say about it, other than it is a bit tedious to type on so I don’t write long papers on it. It has become my primary device for everything except assignments that require lots of writing (think 20 page communications plans. It could be done, though).

I have especially grown to appreciate my tablet since my Macbook has been in repair for a week. I am actually doing just fine without it, except for not having Adobe Creative Suite. If you are looking for a portable device that can allow you to be productive and entertain you, check out some of the new tablets on the market. If you have been considering a tablet, I hope I have been helpful by sharing my experience!


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Twitter clients on your computer

This week I’d like to discuss some of the more popular Twitter clients for your computer. Many of us are focused on sifting through our Twitter feeds on our mobile devices so I think we can forget the difference a desktop environment has to offer.

Let’s start off with the native Twitter application available on the Mac App store and the Internet for PC’s.

The native Twitter app mirrors the web-based version of – it has basic functionality allowing its users to easily navigate through tweets, hashtags, etc. This application isn’t what I’d recommend for heavy-duty users. Whether that be for a personal or business account, if you tweet more than a few times a day, this probably isn’t for you. I should mention that Twitter on the Mac App store was getting so little usage Twitter has officially announced they are killing future updates for the application.

Next up, Tweetdeck:

Tweetdeck recently received a comprehensive UI update making it much more pleasing to the eye. Tweetdeck immediately gives its users a powerful sense of productivity when it’s first opened. It’s structured in a column-style view allowing users to navigate through different ‘lists’ simultaneously. This can range from your Twitter timeline/news feed, your mentions, favourite searches, lists, etc. It also allows users to quickly and easily choose which Twitter account to post from – an invaluable feature for those of us managing client feeds in addition to our own.


I’ll be honest and say I don’t have a lot of experience with Hootsuite. But I do know what most people use it for: scheduled tweets. Yeah. You see the brand/user recycling their own content from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.? It’s probably Hootsuite, or another tweet-scheduling service. I’m actually an advocate for scheduling tweets – with discretion. Hootsuite also has the ability to integrate your Facebook feed and other social networks into one unified or separate feed(s).

Tweetbot: My favourite

Tweetbot made its name in iOS. It has absolutely fantastic iPad and iPhone apps. The UI is just pristine. It was recently brought to the Mac App store. Tweetbot supports multi-account users, allowing you to seamlessly switch accounts without much of a hassle. It has a customizable UI, allowing users to add different columns depending on their preferences. It should really be noted that all of these apps are free, minus Tweetbot, which comes with a hefty price tag, explained here by The Verge.

That’s it for me this week, folks. What Twitter client do you use? Do you prefer it on a mobile device, or on a computer?


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Follow Friday: Loretta Briard

Why does it seem that those who do so much for us often go unnoticed? It might be grandpa Joe who picks you up from campus late at night or your co-worker who brings you coffee every morning; sometimes we take these people for granted.

Everyone deserves recognition for their work and this week we’d like to acknowledge a fellow industry professional that does a lot for our city:

Loretta Briard




Ottawa’s rich history and culture attracts thousands of visitors every year. The Ottawa Convention Centre (formerly the Ottawa Congress Centre) is home to a multitude of festivals, conventions, and political events, accounting for 25 per cent of non-local attendees in its opening year of 2011.

In 2011, the Ottawa Convention Centre (OCC) accommodated 562 events and more than 200,000 attendees, contributing nearly $67 million to Ottawa’s GDP. The centre plays an enormous role in Ottawa’s economy.

Loretta Briard, director of events at the Ottawa Convention Centre, works behind the scenes to help the organization reach its maximum potential. Her roles include, but are not limited to, revenue generation, developing marketing and sales plans, event logistics, client and service appreciation, and implementing leadership tools designed to maximize the success of her department.

Loretta manages and supports a team of ten in their roles at the OCC. These people include event service managers responsible for planning, sales, client meetings, food and beverage; and business development consultants who bring business to the OCC.

As imagined, a lot goes into planning a large convention like the NHL All Star weekend, for example. A ‘three-step client cycle’ takes place, meaning sales, planning and execution occur within three separate departments.

“My department is responsible for the planning of the conventions- set up and floor plans, food and beverage, timing, logistics- we set the operations team up for success,” Loretta explained.

For smaller gatherings like weddings or consumer shows, Loretta and her team are responsible for the sales and planning of the event- a ‘two-step client cycle’.

“So in this case, we are there for the initial meeting right through planning, but within days of the event we introduce the client to the operations manager who is in charge of physically executing the event,” she continued.

Events like dinner galas can have as many as 3,000 guests, whereas multi-day conventions can host even more. To this date, the largest occasion hosted by the OCC has been a four-day public show with 30,000 visitors. Stress levels can drastically increase with projects of that size, but Loretta insists she knows how to stay calm.

“It takes many team members to plan and run an event. It is not stressful when everyone understands their roles. Things run smoothly then. I don’t find the job difficult anymore, but at times it can be incredibly busy,” Loretta says.

Loretta admits meeting new clients, watching an event come to life, and seeing it successfully unfold are the most gratifying aspects of her job. She confessed sometimes there are small hiccups in the execution on the day of, but they are so minute only those involved in the planning process notice.

Not everything at the OCC is a piece of cake, regardless of how many years of experience an employee has under their belt. When the Ottawa Congress Centre was demolished in 2008 to make room for the Ottawa Convention Centre, many employees lost their jobs. To many of those who remained, the transition was not an easy one.

“Several people found it difficult to accept change because it can be stressful. I was excited for what was to come and actually welcomed it,” Loretta explained.

More than 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry has prepared Loretta for nearly any type of situation and has strengthened her skill set. But her passion for the industry began at the age of 14 when she bussed tables as a part-time job.

Unwavering from her realm of interest, Loretta pursued an education in hospitality management and food nutrition management. Several years and plenty of serving jobs later, she found herself at the OCC.

“I was interested in event planning but my experience was very operational within the industry. I saw an ad for an event manager position with the OCC and recognized it as my chance to put my foot in the door. I had hoped one day I would move up to a higher position. It worked,” Loretta happily remarked.

Loretta has always had a desire to work in an exciting atmosphere and be in the heart of the action. She believes the Ottawa Convention Centre has been a great match since day one.

“You have to have a passion for the industry. You have to be able to work in a team environment and be able to remain calm and in control when the event takes on a life of its own.”

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A recap: October 23 Apple Event

Hi everyone,

Today I’d like to go over the Apple keynote from Tuesday, October 23. On Tuesday, we saw some updates to a few products, and the introduction to a new one all together.


The iPad Mini

This was considered to be the main attraction of the event. This was the reason countless journalists dragged themselves across the country to San Francisco. So let’s jump right into it.

The iPad Mini starts at $329. It’s 7.9 inches in diameter. It’s thinner. It has the A5 chip, the same one inside the iPad 2. There are WiFi and LTE models available. It comes with the new Lightning connector Apple started pushing last month with the iPhone 5. It also has Siri functionality. And even with a bigger price tag, ($130 more than tablets in its class) it’s going to destroy the tablet market all over again.

“Fourth Generation” iPad

Apple also unveiled its “fourth generation” full sized iPad. The only difference being some minor internal updates (new chip), and the Lightning connector. This is four months ahead of Apple’s regular circulation, and it’s going to leave many people upset.

Retina MacBook Pro

Apple unveiled the 13-inch version of its Retina MacBook Pro. Like its predecessor, the 15-inch version, this is geared towards professionals looking for a powerful laptop capable of multitasking more than just word documents and spreadsheets.

With this new laptop Apple has ditched optical drives, saying goodbye to CD’s, driving them further into the past. This alone is a bold move. Apple has also upgraded the storage in this model to flash storage instead of a hard drive. To avoid an unnecessary explanation, it’s faster. A lot faster. Like, three to four times as faster.


I could talk about these all day. They stole the event. They are 80% thinner, offer a new “fusion drive” which combines a classic hard drive with the super-fast-flash storage mentioned above. Apple ditched the optical drives on their desktops, too. Notice a trend? And of course, upgraded internals. Processor, graphics, CPU; better and faster. Biggest thing? 80% thinner. How often do products reduce their size by 80% in a single aesthetic upgrade? This is big.

What did you think about the keynote today? Do you plan to pick any of these products up? Which ones and why?


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Follow Friday Profile: Julia Kent

We’re back!

This Friday, Ashlea and myself would like to introduce a new segment!

Follow Friday Profiles!

We’re not going to promise to do this every week, but when the opportunity arises, be on the look out for an extra post here and there.

We’re going to kick this off with a profile I’ve recently written during a chat with Julia Kent. Hope you enjoy.


Julia Kent was born and raised in Halifax. She moved to Ottawa for the journalism program at Carleton University, which she graduated from in 2010. Shortly after graduating, she jump-started her career at CBC Ottawa television and 580 CFRA as a reporter before taking on a marketing coordinator role for the National Arts Centre.

Today, Julia works as the marketing coordinator for MHPM Project Leaders. The company was founded in 1989, and has been headquartered in Ottawa ever since. MHPM has 300 employees in the country, spread across 24 offices.

Julia is responsible for virtually all marketing activities for the company. This spans from social media management to website maintenance, and the execution of all marketing campaigns. As part of MHPM’s client appreciation and business development efforts, Julia often steps into the event management and planning role as well.

She is also occasionally called upon to represent MHPM at trade shows and conventions. These networking events offer her the opportunity to designate time to meet potential clients, or ‘lead generation’ –another one of her many duties. This coincides with frequent proposals to win business from new and existing clients, which she also contributes to.

Additionally, Julia is in charge of all promotional materials. This covers anything from MHPM-branded jackets to pens. If there is an MHPM logo on it, she’s probably had a hand in it.

The position of marketing coordinator requires Julia to report to the director of marketing and communications at MHPM. She formally works 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, though it often exceeds that during busy times of the year.

If she didn’t seem busy enough, Julia also co-hosts a weekly public relations podcast with Kristine Simpson of Thornley Fallis. The podcast discusses tips for young public relations professionals entering the field.

Julia Kent can be found on Twitter at @kentjulia.

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Cybercrime on the Rise

Before you dive right into the article, give this video a go:

Amazing Mindreader Reveals Scary Truth

The video you just watched, sponsored by Febelfin- the Belgian Financial Sector Federation, is a scary peek into the world of cybercrime. Did you grow suspicious of Dave the ‘clairvoyant’ while watching? Did you start to question how he knew how much money the people spent a month on alcohol? On clothing?

We’re always warned about the dangers of online banking, online shopping, online dating, and so many other transactions made through the Internet. We’re even cautioned about the content we post on social media. As the video points out, our lives are online, and that information can be used to harm us financially, professionally, or personally.

But what’s concerning is the growing number of online acts of crime, paired with a seemingly stagnant number of people unaware or disinterested in the issue.

In 2010, IC3– an organization that receives, develops, and refers complaints of cybercrime- received more than 26,000 complaints of the issue per month. A statement released by the FBI says this number represents a “3.4 per cent increase over 2010”, putting the reported dollar loss at $485.3 million. Evidence of an increase in cybercrime further justifies the need of consumers and Internet users to be extra vigilant.

According to identity theft expert John Sileo, a whopping 75 per cent of participants in an online consumer survey believed a firewall on their computer could protect them from cybercrime. What does this say about our knowledge of online crime and ‘cyber-intrusion’? Have we become absent minded with our daily Internet usage? Or do the majority of us believe our online identities will never be attacked? I think it’s probably a combination of both strains of thought.

If you find yourself a target of cybercrime, your identity might be stolen, your bank account may be depleted, or your personal information could be released for the world to see. There are obvious repercussions of falling victim to such an attack. Your professional life could be demolished. You could even be stranded in a foreign country with no money or passport to return home because somebody else has claimed himself as John Johnson.

So the next time you shop online, transfer money to old Aunt Martha, or decide to post a Facebook status about selling your home, remember that anything and everything can be used against you.

The Internet is a wonderful thing, presenting extreme convenience, but to every pro there is a con. Just be vigilant.

Until next time!


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Kelly Rusk: Here’s your invitation: get involved with a professional association

When I studied PR at Algonquin College, my professors constantly reminded us the importance of professional associations for our careers. These are the go-to resources for professional development after you graduate and a great way to build a network here in Ottawa.

So even though I dreaded networking and making small talk I went to a few events, with other students. We usually ended up standing in the corner. Maybe I talked to three to four professionals, maybe left with a business card or two. It probably ended right there. Soon after I graduated I pushed the idea of joining a professional association into the back of my head. I really didn’t see the value or understand why you paid to torture yourself like that…

However, in 2009 I finally joined the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and volunteered with the local chapter. I’ll admit I joined because my company paid for it, and I started volunteering because someone asked me to.

By this point I’d learned the value of networking and had become much better at it. I thought it was easy enough to network and build connections by attending free events and using social networking tools (which you should absolutely do as well!).

Three years later I am now the president of IABC Ottawa and I wish I had gotten involved sooner.

For me personally, this has been an incredible opportunity for my career. I’ve worked mostly in small organizations and haven’t had the opportunity to manage staff—a venture like this is a huge chance to take on a paid employee and I don’t blame anyone for not handing it to me. However I have been involved with IABC Ottawa for two years and I’ve made sure to seize every opportunity to understand how and why we did everything. When I was asked to take on the three-year commitment (executive vice president, president and past-president) it just made sense. I am now learning some pretty incredible leadership skills that I wouldn’t have been afforded in my day job. That alone makes it worthwhile to me.

Of course, you may not become president. You may not even want to. I wouldn’t blame you, it’s quite the commitment… But the outcome is the same: value for joining.

This leads to my other piece of advice about joining a professional association- you get out of it what you put in. I’ve found my involvement has helped generate business leads for my work, allowed me to meet interesting and career-benefitting people, and to get great references outside of my day job. However, that also means I’ve spent a lot of time outside of work volunteering, attending events, and corresponding with contacts via email and social networks.

A professional association gives you the opportunity to build skills and experience you don’t receive in your day job. I am thrilled about the opportunity and to continue building my skills beyond what I’m able to do at work.

It also means being part of a community of peers—one that is likely to be ready to jump in and help if you’re looking for a new job, some advice, or even little things like a restaurant recommendation.

Some people say you should never work “for free”. If you truly love what you do and gain so much from it, then is it really considered work?

Let me finish by saying this is your invitation to get involved: Don’t wait to be asked, go find the association that’s right for you. Attend events, join, and get involved. Aside from IABC Ottawa, you may also be interested in CPRS Ottawa/Gatineau (local chapter of the Canadian Public Relations Society) or CWC Ottawa (Canadian Women in Communications). There are also a number of others geared toward specific industries or roles within communications (such as the Editors’ Association of Canada).

Get involved:

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