HitchBOT destroyed while attempting USA journey



HitchBOT has been destroyed. The robot created by David Harris Smith of McMaster University and Frauke Zeller of Ryerson University won hearts around the world for conducting a hitchhiking journey across Canada last summer.

While attempting a similar hitchhiking journey in the USA, two weeks into that journey, yesterday HitchBOT was destroyed by a vandal. Though it is not safe for work, or for hearts, the grizzly scene was captured on Twitter: photo/status.

The following notice was posted on m.hitchbot.me:


Oh dear, my body was damaged, but I live on back home and with all my friends. I guess sometimes bad things happen to good robots! My trip must come to an end for now, but my love for humans will never fade. Thank you to all my friends.

A message from the family:

hitchBOT’s trip came to an end last night in Philadelphia after having spent a little over two weeks hitchhiking and visiting sites in Boston, Salem, Gloucester, Marblehead, and New York City. Unfortunately, hitchBOT was vandalized overnight in Philadelphia; sometimes bad things happen to good robots. We know that many of hitchBOT’s fans will be disappointed, but we want them to be assured that this great experiment is not over. For now we will focus on the question “what can be learned from this?” and explore future adventures for robots and humans.

HitchBOT’s family will be available for interviews starting Sunday, August 2nd, further details will be available by August 5th.

For interview requests, please contact:
Johanna VanderMaas
Public Affairs
Communications, Government and Community Engagement | Ryerson University
416.979.5000 x 4630


On the one hand, yes, it’s just a robot and the researchers can try to learn from this experience. On the other hand, it’s really lame, and maybe the only thing that can be learned is that some people can act like total jerks. I hope the person who did this recognizes the community outpouring, and uses it as motivation it to turn around what I can only surmise is a sad life.


Social Bicycles route data



Local software developer Ryan McGreal (@RyanMcGreal) of RaiseTheHammer.org fame has built a Python module to download your Social Bicycle data. Check it out: github.com/quandyfactory/sobidata

Details taken from the github page…



Download your Social Bicycles (SoBi) route data and save it locally in various formats.


The sobidata module allows you to download your Social Bicycles (SoBi) route data via the applications web API and save it locally in a variety of file formats.

The module uses the requests library to download collections of routes from the SoBi HTTP REST API using HTTP Basic Authentication, as outlined in the SoBi API documentation.

The route data is paginated, and the method that downloads the data calls itself recursively, incrementing the page with each request until there is no more data.

For each route, the module makes a follow-up request to the API to look up the bike name, origin hub address and destination hub address. However, it also stores the results of those requests locally so that a subsequent search for the same bike name or hub address retrieves the result from the local cache rather than making a duplicate API request.

As a result, the data includes three datasets: a list of routes, a list of hubs and a list of bikes. The module also makes a list of totals, calculating the total distance in miles, total distance in km, total duration in seconds, total duration in minutes, total duration in hours, total number of distinct bikes, and total number of distinct hubs.

Once the data is downloaded, you can save it locally in a variety of formats: JSON, XML, Excel 2007 or CSV format. Note that the JSON, XML and Excel 2007 formats save all four datasets, but the CSV format only saves the routes dataset.

Customer Acquisition Strategy for Mobile Apps with Jesse Rodgers

jesserodgersWhen: Thursday July 30th 2015 from 11:00am to 1:00pm

Where: McMaster Innovation Park @ 175 Longwood Rd. South

Register: eventbrite.ca/e/customer-acquisition-strategy-for-mobile-apps-with-jesse-rodgers-tickets-17674486866

Organizer: Innovation Factory


You have built that mobile app and had it approved for the app store. Now everyone is going to find it, give it 5 star ratings, and you will get millions of users! Right? Not exactly. The distribution channels for discovering new applications are clogged with the latest unhappy birds and photo sharing app. How can you find the people that will get value out of your application and keep using it?

Join iF on Thursday, July 30 for a workshop on bulding a customer acquisition strategy for your application. In this workshop we will go through a number of strategies you can try that will help people find your product.
Lunch will be provided for this event.


GameDevDrinks this Wednesday

When: Wednesday July 29th 2015 from 7:00pm to 10:00pm

Where: The Pheasant Plucker @ 20 Augusta Street Hamilton, Ontario

Organizer: Bret Measor

Register: eventbrite.ca/e/gamedevdrinks-tickets-17472473639


Join us at the Phesant Plucker to listen to Julys’ keynote speaker Alex Jansen from Pop Sandbox (based out of Toronto) the team behind LOUD on Planet X. Afterwards enjoy some drinks, chat with Alex, then get a hands on experience with LOUD on Planet X only at GameDevDrinks.




LOUD on Planet X is an arcade-style indie music game featuring Tegan and Sara, METZ, Metric, Lights, July Talk, F*cked Up, Cadence Weapon, Austra and more. Choose from a cross-section of top current indie music artists, then defend your stage from hordes of quirky aliens by tapping to the music and using a fun assortment of makeshift weapons like speakers, strobe lights, fog machines, amplifiers, bouncers and custom special attacks! LOUD on Planet X is an exciting indie alternative to Rock Band or Guitar Hero with a splash of Plants vs Zombies – a new hybrid of rhythm game and classic shooter with tower defence elements.




Intro to Meteor JS



When: Wednesday July 29th 2015 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm

Where: McMaster Innovation Park 175 Longwood Rd. South

Register: eventbrite.ca/e/intro-to-meteor-js-tickets-17691047399

Organizer: Troy Martin / Innovation Factory


MeteorJS is a powerful, full stack, JavaScript framework. Attend our “Intro to Meteor” workshop which will cover the basics and inner workings of the framework. You will be familiarized with how to start developing reactive applications right out of the gate, and learn about how meteor can speed up development, and improve developer happiness by utilizing a single language for the client and server.


Freelancer Summer Patio Networking

When: Thursday July 23rd 2015 5:30pm to 7:30pm

Where: Need to register (limited seats)

Register: meetup.com/Freelancers-Group/events/223190156

Organizer: Hamilton Freelancers Association


It’s summer! The sun is out, the weather is getting hot. And the patios are open, just waiting to be filled :-)

Introducing… our second Freelancer Summer Patio Networking Event, hosted by the Hamilton Freelancers Association

We’re going to pick a nice local patio where we will reserve an area just for our group. Arrive between 5:30pm-6pm just after work. Chat about your business, share tips and advice, network and meet new people.

Limited to the first 30 RSVPs.

Missed this event? We e-mail out early once the RSVP list opens to our private member mailing list. Not signed up yet? Join it here: http://www.freelancersassociation.org/join

For this second event, we’re changing things up a bit based off feedback from our first attempt at the patio networking. Instead of a full sit-down meal, we’re going to be taking $10 at the door, which will be pooled together to buy a bunch of appetizers/share plates for everyone to share and eat, and be able to mingle easier between tables and move around more freely rather than having to sit in the same spot. As people come in, we will order appetizers based on preference of the group.

PLEASE RSVP if you can come so we can make sure to make the proper reservation arrangements. We will message you via an email from Meetup.com with dinner location details closer to the date.

$10 at the door, covers appetizer food for everyone. Drinks purchased separately.

Chad Fullerton & Brian Hogg
Hamilton Freelancers Association

CoderCamp 32

When: Wednesday July 22nd 2015 from 6:30pm to 9:00pm

Where: The Pheasant Plucker @ 20 Augusta Street

Register: eventbrite.ca/e/codercamp-hamilton-32-tickets-17672760703

Organizer: Bryan & AJ


CoderCamp was born from the spirit of BarCamp, and has evolved into a monthly mini-conference. CoderCamp is for local software developers to learn tools, techniques, and technologies from one another in a casual and friendly setting. We meet to talk about coding, software development, and technology to learn from each other and get better at what we do in the process.

We have a projector and screen set up for people to give presentations. We try to have a few speakers lined up in advance to give the event structure, but there is usually room for “open mic” presentations or discussions if you’re interested in sharing. We welcome you to come, talk, discuss, share, or just sit quietly and listen.

Scheduled Talks:

Grant Lucas will talk about incorporating acceptance tests on a legacy site.

Interested in giving a presentation? You can show up that evening and hope there is time for your talk, or you can email codercamphamilton@gmail.com and we’ll add you to the list of scheduled talks.

If you could register above so we know how many people are coming we would appreciate it – if enough people are coming then we need to tell the bar to bring in another staff member.


Regular updates will resume next Monday



I’ve updated this blog with the latest happenings on a regular Monday-Friday basis for years now, but the last couple weeks have been dreadful for updates. If you’re a long time reader, you’ll know that I’ve been trying to finish up my PhD at McMaster. Right now I’m in the process of writing the draft of the final paper + thesis introduction and conclusion, which means it’s been tough to update regularly the last couple weeks, and will likely stay that way this week. Expect regular updates to resume next Monday!


iOS and Android developers needed



– There’s a firm in town looking for a 3-4 month contract iOS developer (can’t be PhoneGap, needs to be native).

– An online magazine is looking for someone to develop a relatively simple iOS and Android app (could be PhoneGap, doesn’t have to be native).

If either of these gigs is interesting to you, can you drop me a line at kevin@kevinbrowne.ca and I can put you in touch?

While we’ve got an excellent amount of web development talent in Hamilton, mobile development talent available for contract work is trickier to find!


Interview with CoMotion cofounders



Check out the interview below with Ryan Moran (@RPMoran), one of the cofounders of CoMotion on King (@CoMotionOnKing) – Hamilton’s newest and largest co-working space located at 115 King Street East in the old Hamilton Spectator building!

The CoMotion on King Grand Opening is set to go down on Tuesday July 28th from 6:00pm – 10:00pm. Get your ticket to check out the space before they’re gone!


Tell me about yourself.

We are a foursome of Hamilton young leaders. Having known each other, and each other’s skills, in various capacities for a number of years, the opportunity to work together on a project came up and we instantly jumped on it. As such we settled on the idea of a group that was focussed on collaborative work practices, whether it was researching and recommending best practices, or making our own space. Essentially, we wanted to be something that is focused on better ways to work, and better ways of working together, as such, the CoMotion Group was born.


What is CoMotion on King?

CoMotion on King is our first venture as the CoMotion Group. It is a coworking space in the heart of Hamilton’s continuously revitalized core.



How did CoMotion get started, and why are you creating CoMotion?

Expanding on the first question, our main goal in creating CoMotion was not simply to create a group that was in the business of making coworking spaces, but rather to create a group that was in the business of collaboration. With CoMotion on King, we are creating both an eco-system for the development of start-ups and existing small businesses, but also a testing ground to explore better ways of working together.


When will CoMotion open?

CoMotion will open in July of 2015.



CoMotion under construction


What types of membership plans will CoMotion offer?

CoMotion on King will offer three specific membership levels:

– Private Office Membership
– Dedicated Desk Membership
– Commons Membership

Commons Membership is our lowest cost membership. For just $100 per month an entrepreneur can get started in our space, having unlimited access to come in during regular business hours and work in our commons areas and shared desk spaces, enjoying our unlimited coffee, blazing fast Wifi, and the company of other like-minded entrepreneurs. They also have the ability to book meeting room and boardroom time on-demand for client meetings, and have the ability to add-on mail and print services. It’s a great way to start out with very little upfront costs, and expand as your business grows, with no long-term leases, the Commons Membership is month-to-month pay as you go, and provides flexibility to scale up to a dedicated desk or office as the member’s business grows.

We are also exploring an affinity program that would accompany any of these membership levels, the affinity program would be opt in, and allow anyone who has opted in to receive 10% (exploring this, this seems to be the most well received rate so far) off other, “opt-in” CoMotion members services.


Why should people use a co-working space?

There are a number of reasons for becoming a participant in a coworking space. For freelancers, it can be an ideal space to both escape the distractions of a home office or café, while also maintaining a professional address for prospective clients. For start-ups, it can be an ideal place to become a launching pad for the development of your business, you get both a private, professional workplace, but also small-business support ecosystem through the relationships built with fellow businesses sharing the space. For existing firms, whether tech, creative, or professional service, like above it is a perfect place to both maintain a professional setting and address, but also to tap into an eclectic, and far-reaching network, moreover, it can be great for employees who are looking to telecommute if the head office happens to be in a different city.


What sets CoMotion apart from other co-working spaces?

In the Hamilton landscape, CoMotion is unique in that it truly practices what it preaches. Both among the foursome of founders, but also in regards to its relationship with fellow coworking spaces, particularly Platform 302, collaboration and community is at the core of what we do. Of course, speaking of core, location location location. What also sets CoMotion apart is its fantastic location in the heart of Hamilton’s revitalized core, both the thrill of bring back to life a historic building (former headquarters of the Hamilton Spectator) and the excitement surrounding the future of that stretch of King st., with developments like the Condos at the Royal Connaught opening directly across the street, and Serve opening directly below us.




What sorts of events will CoMotion host?

We do have a partnership with Hamilton HIVE to host their regular meetings, as well as are pursuing one with Ladies Learning Code. Some of the Hamilton Freelancers Association Freelancer Meetup events will be held out of the space too.

Editor’s note: Expect some tech and startup oriented events to take place there as well!


What are some of your favourite restaurants, coffee shops and places to go in the #KingEast area?

Hard to say favourites!

Coffee Culture, which is located just down the street from us, has been a huge supporter of CoMotion, offering their space to us for our ‘Coffee and Coworking’ events, as well as was the location we had the majority of our team meetings to brainstorm and plan the build out of the space.

Homegrown, which is on King William street near our building, will be supplying our delicious coffee for CoMotion.

Staxx Chicken and Waffles for a greasy food fix, and then of course, Hamilton classics like Denningers, Black Forest Inn or Chester’s Beers of the World. There is also a burgeoning vintage scene developing along #KingEast, from the classic Out of the Past, to the cool Girl on the Wing, and MODify Your Closet, and to the recent arrivals, Vintage Soul Geek, and the creative workshop, craft, and espresso space Studio 205 (from the awesome people behind MODify).




Hamilton has many creative, innovative, tech, freelance, agency and startup businesses in the 2010s. What impact do you invision CoMotion having on these areas? What do you want CoMotion to do for these communities?

We would love to see CoMotion function as a solid support foundation for these developing businesses. We fully recognize that the success of our clients is intrinsically tied to our own success, so working with them in the context of the space to help build their businesses, and as such their broader regional communities and industries, is a big focus of ours.


Where do you see CoMotion in 1 year? 5 years?

Between one and five years, we will see CoMotion on King become a buzzing hub of small business inventiveness, generating a supportive ecosystem that helps build the next generation of Hamilton, Ontario, and Canadian businesses. Beyond the CoMotion on King space, the CoMotion Group would like to work in the realm of producing better ways for people to work together, researching and recommending best practices in collaborative and community environments. Whether this is as a consultancy, working with existing firms to help transform their space and practices, or continuing to develop our own spaces, either like CoMotion on King, or creating something new altogether. Our core focus is on collaboration and community building, so anything that takes us down those roads will be a right fit.


How can the community in Hamilton help you make CoMotion a success?

Like we said above, the success of our clients means our own success. So the best way for the Hamilton community to help is to support freelancers, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and existing small businesses. Whether this is through political and administrative support at the city hall or provincial legislative level, or from the perspective of local businesses looking to our client’s services as both viable and valuable. On a broader level, the Canadian persona tends to be very risk averse, our entrepreneurial spirit, by comparison to other western identities, is very conservative. The best way for anyone in and across Canada to support freelancers, entrepreneurs, start-ups, existing SMEs, and coworking spaces is to simply take chances, and, if we’re going to avoid anything, let it not be risk, but complacency.


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