Blogging Friday demos (and a field trip).

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It was supposed to be Jeff Tomlin’s turn to order our Friday lunch, but he and his family are off kissing the cod in Newfoundland. Luckily, Jeff’s desertion coincided with Saskatoon’s annual festival of greasy food eaten off paper plates, Taste of Saskatchewan. So we all car-pooled downtown, circled for a while to find parking, trudged to the riverbank, prowled in vain for an unoccupied picnic table, and finally stood in a circle under the hot sun scarfing our schnitzel burgers and pad Thai.

Dave growls back at some angry park food.

Jordan demonstrates his refined eating habits.

This slice of cake was slightly smaller than Ryan's head.

Phoenix keeps a wary eye on the photographer.

Back in the office, waiting for demos to begin, we discussed our culinary adventures.

Tavis: So which was better, the deep-fried Oreos or the deep-fried ice cream?

Tiffany: Oreos. The deep-fried ice cream isn’t very exciting. It’s just a big ball of ice cream.

Tavis: What do you mean, just a big ball of ice cream? What could be better than that?

Tiffany: My tastes are pretty refined.

Krystian showed off all the photos he’d taken of people eating with their mouths open. Ryan and Jordan traded mock spoilers for the movie Inception to annoy Jeff Read, who hadn’t seen it yet. Finally, Brendan tapped the music stand with his baton and the group fell silent.

Demo # 1. Brendan walked us through the most recent improvements to StepRep.

On the Overview tab, the Keywords feature has been given a bit more intelligence, so that it will now include word pairs such as “las vegas” rather than treating “las” and “vegas” as separate concepts.

(Since word pairs are only being calculated on new results, if you’ve already got a StepRep account it will take a while for the word pairs to start pushing the old single words out of your Keywords cloud.)

Next, Brendan demonstrated how a persistent bug has finally been hunted down and squashed. For months we’ve been aware that StepRep would take an embarrassingly long time to load when you accessed it with Internet Explorer. Last week Dave managed to isolate the snippet of JavaScript that was giving IE the vapours and replace it with some Microsoft-friendlier code. As Brendan clicked briskly around the site in IE, it was obvious that Dave’s fix had been successful.

“It’s just as fast as Google Chrome now,” Brendan observed.

Someone joked that we can now add a “This site is optimized for Internet Explorer” badge to the bottom of each StepRep page. This provoked much derisive laughter among the Apple faithful.

Demo # 2. Tavis reported his team’s progress on a secret project whose nature I’m still not permitted to discuss. I can only tease you with the news that we will soon be in a position to begin soliciting subscribers in our first market, Winnipeg.

Subscribers to what? Stay tuned, Winnipeggers!

PS. Friday’s photos were courtesy of Krystian. Tiffany will be posting the rest of the photos on the VendAsta Facebook page.