December 9, 2013 in Community
December 8, 2013 in Startup Drinks
When: Wednesday December 11th from 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Join us at The Wining Judge this Wednesday for the last Startup Drinks event of the year! It’s been a banner year for the software industry in Hamilton with many new startups, more jobs created than ever before, and a host of new community initiatives as well. So take Wednesday night off to kick back, relax, and talk about startups and tech, but also to celebrate a great year!
StartupDrinks Hamilton is a monthly presentation-free and sponsorship-free networking event for Hamilton‚Äôs startup community to make connections over drinks and relax a little! Feel free to talk about projects, ideas, funding, technology‚Ä¶ or just shoot the breeze! We normally meet on every 2nd Wednesday of the month @ 6pm.
December 7, 2013 in Education
CoderDojo is an open source, volunteer led movement orientated around running free not-for-profit coding clubs and regular sessions for young people. Since CoderDojo is open source all Dojos are different and completely autonomous!
The HammerTown CoderDojo (@HammertownCDojo) launch event involved an explanation about what the CoderDojo movement is all about and what sort of programming HammerTown CoderDojo is planning to offer. This new initiative is led by McMaster University gScale lab researcher Brock Dubbels, and the inaugural event started off in a totally packed room filled with children and parents before moving to the computer labs.
Inside the computer labs the group I was with used the light-bot web app to teach simple algorithms including procedures in a fun social puzzle solving sort of way.
HammerTown CoderDojo joins and expands upon a growing movement of local learn to code events and initiatives. Just last weekend GHTGT (@GHGTrecycling) held a Tech Camp and Mabel’s Labels (@Mabelhood) ran a HelloWorld Camp. And let’s not forget the McMaster software outreach program that has reached over 1500 Hamilton-area children this year, Gr8 Designs for Gr8 Girls and the new Ladies Learning Code series of events too!
Software is written by people and tech startups are founded by people. If we want to continue to grow this industry these initiatives couldn’t be more important!
December 6, 2013 in Startup
After having launched their wildly successful WPTouch Pro 3 earlier in the year, today Hamilton-based BraveNewCode (@BraveNewode) launched the free version WPTouch 3 and made the announcement on their blog:
It might be hard to believe, but we shipped the first version of WPtouch back in April 2008. Since that time, the plugin has been downloaded almost 4.6 million times.
It‚Äôs now used on millions of websites worldwide, and is hands-down the most popular way to make your WordPress website mobile friendly.
You might not know, but the project started out as a mobile theme for then client of ours Canadian musician, author, and activist Matthew Good. We realized many of Matthew‚Äôs visitors were coming to his website on the then just released iPhone‚ÄĒ so we thought it might be fun to see what a mobile theme designed just for touch mobile devices could look like.
The mobile version of Software Hamilton is powered by WPTouch Pro 3, and now you can try WPTouch 3 for free to see why your blog should be too!
Samsung’s smartwatch is going to be part of a superb case study in a few years. Whatever inputs Samsung used to design the product, it’s hard to imagine that they thought about it through the Jobs-to-be-Done lens.
What job is a customer hiring the Samsung watch to do? I can’t think of a compelling one. From my understanding, Samsung’s smartwatch is an expensive way to extend your existing smartphone’s features. It offers an unfocused set of experiences, some which may offer value (displaying your phone’s notifications) but some which are downright bizarre (enabling you to make calls through your watch).
It appears that Samsung’s thinking behind the consumer’s experience is simplistic and shallow. This failure will become startling clear when we experience the first wrist-based wearable that gains market acceptance.
December 4, 2013 in City of Hamilton
HAMILTON, ON ‚Äď December 2, 2013 ‚Äď The City of Hamilton has launched a new mobile app – Travelwise – designed to get you to where you need to go in Hamilton by using sustainable modes of transportation.
The app is a Public Works initiative as part of the recent ‚ÄėRapid Ready‚Äô report that outlines the City‚Äôs commitment to active, integrated transportation and makes smart commuting easy for all residents and visitors. Created by Hamilton-based Weever Apps Inc., the app provides citizens and visitors with instant access to information on getting around by transit, walking, cycling, carpooling, carshare and taxi.
The free mobile transportation app allows citizens to instantly surf through the best routes, bus check times, nearby locations, general information and upcoming events.
‚ÄĚWe recognized the need to make transportation routes by various modes more accessible to citizens,‚ÄĚ said Peter Topalovic, Project Manager of Transportation Demand Management at the City of Hamilton. ‚ÄúBy going mobile, the City is expanding the channels for commuters to access information about using sustainable modes of transportation in Hamilton.‚ÄĚ
The app can be added to any smart phone or tablet by scanning a QR code or entering the link into your mobile browser. All users can open the app entering this url on their mobile phone www.travelwisehamilton.ca or download from the Google Play Store or the Apple Store. Improvements will continue to be made to the app over time, including the addition of HSR real-time data in the future.
For more information about ‚ÄėRapid Ready‚Äô, please visit http://goo.gl/dpxFOZ
December 4, 2013 in Open Data
Over the past couple days, in the evenings, I’ve been working on a small project.
Here’s a quick overview of how it works:
- Determine “significant” trips (in this case, I’m only looking at weekday trips).
- Generate a list of stops with their times and latitudinal / longitudinal co-odrdinates.
- Convert the lat/long into x/y.
- Plot to an image.
Parents and children crowd around two large white tables where circuit boards, wires, laptops, tools, stickers and markers lay splayed across the surface. Four home-made robots, built over the course of the full day, also lay on the tables in anticipation for their presentation to the entire group. It’s late in the afternoon at Mabel’s Labels HQ, in Hamilton, Ontario, and the four coloured teams are ready to show off their hard days work. One after another the teams present their robots, and each one is able to wow the crowd with unique functions, sounds, and plenty of attitude. One robot sneezes when a child reaches too close to it, another frowns unless someone tickles her, another begins blinking her eyes in spectacular patterns. Which ever robot it was, there was something to impress and delight everyone present. Surprisingly, this kind of scene is the norm for Gillian Gutenberg, founder of Hello World Camp.
“Hello World Camp is a tech camp in Waterloo Region for kids. We explore programming and multimedia, build robots, and take special field trips to local companies.
We also offer neighbourhood coding clubs and family workshops.”
Gillian of Hello World Camp, far right, clapping along as a robot presentation wows the crowd.
In Toronto, while volunteering at the Girls Learning Code March Break Camp, Gillians eyes opened up as to how rewarding solving these programming challenges were to the young girls. With that, and the support of friends and colleagues, she began developing what has come to be the Hello World Camp’s core teaching methodology. Through the use of physical computing, a mixture of software and hardware engineering, Hello World Camp allows students to receive instant feed back from their hands on work. As I write this, there are more than fifteen kids running around installing motors, wiring circuit boards, programming lights, and installing sensors; all here in one action packed day. Watching the childrens’ eyes light up as their robots come to life assures me that the learning today, ignites curiosity and a passion for possibilities tomorrow.
Katie Clarke of Mabel’s Labels, helping a bunch of curious kids figure out how to work the hardware / software interface
Nay and her son adjusting some parameters on the console. Parents and children alike worked fearlessly towards accomplishing their goals!
Today I witnessed a 9 year old girl battling with the wiring of her circuit board, upset with the motor as it would start vibrating unexpectedly, and then working feverishly to get it to behave as she so desired. For this kind of reason Hello World Camp considers physical computing a prime medium for children to learn how to work with hardware and code in a challenging and rewarding way. With how engaged I saw the kids today I have to say that I fully agree. Best wishes to Gillian and her program over in Waterloo. We know that opportunities are building up and we are glad to share and be a part of them and we know how grateful Gillian can be. You can find Hello World Camp over at HelloWorldCamp.com. Look out for them in the future, and if you want to know where to hire in the next 10 years, look no further than the Hello World Camp alumni!
November 30, 2013 in Education
Originally posted on AlexPineda77.com
Special note to Software Hamilton people: Once this class officially opens on December 4th, I’m going to need help populating the student projects section to make it look lively. I’m offering 20 free coupons for anyone here to use or share. The coupon is SWHAMONT. If you do use the coupon, please see the class through to completion (approx.1-4 hours) and share your work in the projects section. If you need help I’m offering free tutoring to you as well. Many regards!
My promo video (which I will actually be replacing/upgrading very soon):
Tools I Used:
Google Drive (free) – For creating slides, which I then downloaded to PDF to share with the class.
Camtasia (paid) – For recording video & audio, screen capping and video editing.
Cool Edit Pro 2 (paid) – The predecessor to Adobe Audition before being bought out, for converting to mono and doing some normalization + compression on my voice recording.
SnagIt (paid) – For taking screen shots and grabbing particular sections of the screen. Very handy as it freezes the particular image, so animated frames are caught exactly as intended.
Adobe After Effects – I downloaded Adobe cloud so that I could use the after effects trial. I purchased the vintage promo AE package from video hive and rejiggered it to work with my product offering. I’m not sure if it was the best choice but it stands for now. I’d like more people or faces to be in the advert/promo.
For music I searched “free bed music” and ran into podingting bear on freemusicarchive.com, which turned out not to be free, but relatively cheap so I purchased a license for two songs (promo/intros, outro).
I have a General Electric condenser Mic (that I’ve had for over 10 years), and a Focusrite USB audio interface. When I recorded the video I kept my pre-coded stuff on my left monitor with comments in the code directing me on which steps to do next. This way I would keep a good flow going instead of having to tab in and out of notepad or my slides for instance. It worked well.
I’m promoting Cyber Monday code and I will see how that will hold up to my expectations. I’ve got some (modestly funded) campaigns running on FB, twitter, reddit and adwords, and will be monitoring performance. If they fail to gain me any traction I will try again in the new year with some more campaigns. I see success in the future, even if it is a really slow build! That’s all for now.
If you view (or even take) the class, feedback would be priceless. Yours truly!
Don’t forget to follow me on twitter or sign up to the newsfeed.