Behind the Code : LastWave

Behind the Code we talk about open source software, discuss challenges in developing, or in contributing to the code. celebrates a community member’s technical or business accomplishment and offers the opportunity for insightful discussion into the challenges in achieving it.

Date: 6:00pm – 7:30pm, Tuesday, November 25th
Presenter: Niko Savas (McMaster Software Engineering)
Demo: LastWave
Technologies: JavaScript, SVG, API
Format: 10-15 minute presentation, 20-30 minute discussion
Location: Applivy HQ (Westdale), 901 King Street W, Unit B

Applivy’s mission is to bring highschool, university students and Hamilton professionals together in a mixed learning environment. Topics include coding, technology, business, liberty, startups, and more.

DemoCamp line-up sneak peeks


Check out the sneak peak below of two of the demos you can see at DemoCamp Hamilton 19!

When: Wednesday December 3rd 2014 from 6:30pm to 9:00pm
Where: The Art Gallery of Hamilton – 123 King Street West


Sneak Peek #1: Special Appucations – Street Smarts

Street Smarts app is an app designed to teach children with special needs what they can do if they are lost/separated from a caregiver in a store. The instructional design is informed by the most cutting edge research from the science of Behavior Analysis.



Sneak Peek #2: Milton Friesen – TRIAT

TRIAT (Tiny Researcher In A Tube) is an open source, research grade GPS data logging device that is based on an Arduino platform. The core design principles include very low energy use, full data logging customization, low cost, and easy manufacturing in quantity. Current research includes exploring how spatial use in a city relates to social connectedness.




More reasons to get off the fence



So maybe by now you’ve heard that this weekend Hamilton will host both Startup Weekend Maker’s Edition and the Open Data Jam. But if you’re still debating whether to participate in either of these activities there’s now two more reasons to get off the fence:


Startup Weekend Maker’s Edition participants can get 20% off by using the Software Hamilton reader promo code ‘SH2014′

When: Friday November 21st to Sunday November 23rd
Where: Mohawk College


Open Data Jam teams that produce working software will get an “I <3 Open Source MSDN subscription" - this is equivalent to the Visual Studio Ultimate MSDN

When: Friday November 21st to Sunday November 23rd
Where: McMaster Innovation Park


McMaster teams finish 3rd and 8th at YHacks



A couple weeks ago I posted a story about a group of McMaster students participating in YHacks. It turns out several teams from McMaster made the trip, and two of them placed 3rd and 8th. Incredible!

Check out the details and videos of what they produced below:


Virtual Theremin Machine (VTM) – 3rd place

“We originally wanted to make a piano but the Kinect didn’t offer precise finger tracking services so we decided to adapt a more feasible instrument such as the Theremin. The Theremin offers a novel taste to our hack because it is a unique instrument and doesn’t require precise fingering.” [link]



Maestro – 8th place

“Maestro puts you in control of your own orchestra. Using your arm’s movements, you control a variety of instruments in a grand orchestral piece. Depending on the direction of your arm’s movements, a different note is played. All of this information is gathered using Thalmic Lab’s Myo armband. As you compose, you are able to switch instruments between a strings section, horns section, and the vocal section of the orchestra.

Each section has a range of 24 notes, played in the key of C. Due to a carefully crafted musical algorithm, everything you play sounds good- it is impossible to play a discordant note. In addition to the code, all of the sound involved in Maestro was recorded during YHack using Apple’s Logic Pro.

Maestro was written in C++ in Microsoft Visual Studio. To connect with the Myo, we used the Myo SDK developed by Thalmic Labs. The SFML library is used to control everything in the background.” [link]




CoderCamp26 tonight

When: Wednesday November 19, 2014 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Where: The Pheasant Plucker (Upstairs) @ 20 Augusta Street

CoderCamp is for local software developers to learn tools, techniques, and technologies from one another in a casual and friendly setting.

Jason Diller (@jdiller) will show us how to use Ansible to go from zero to a fully automating your configuration in no time flat.

Matt Grande (@mattgrande) will give us an Open Data Hamilton update.

As group we will talk about the .Net framework being open-sourced, because that seems like it might be a Big Deal.


Introduction to Android Workshop



When: Wednesday November 26th from 7pm – 9pm

Where: McMaster University room ITB A113


This workshop will cover the basics of starting to develop apps for Android, and will be held on Wednesday Nov 26th at 7 pm – 9 pm in ITB A113. We will be continuing the curriculum next semester with weekly workshops!

Please contact if you have experience with Android Development and would like to be a mentor.

Event hosted by MacGDA, SEC, CSS and HackItMac.



Pivotal weekend for open data in Hamilton



When: Friday November 21st – Sunday November 23rd

Where: McMaster Innovation Park – 175 Longwood Road South Hamilton, Ontario



Open Data Jam 2014 is happening this weekend at McMaster Innovation Park. I think it’s a pivotal weekend for open data in Hamilton!


Quick history

Since early 2011 open data advocates in the city have been pushing the City of Hamilton to release open data. The initial data sets released were static geographic data – fire stations, ward boundaries, railways, parking lots, etc. The type of data that while great to have released, admittedly does not make for particularly exciting or dynamic open data applications.

In the summer of 2014 the HSR real-time data was released for the first time and Open Hamilton held a very successful hackathon. HSR real-time data regarding bus locations is probably the holy grail of Hamilton open data. Everyday in Hamilton tens of thousands of people are waiting outside bus stops, smart phone in hand. If ever there was a chance to engage the general public in open data, HSR real-time data applications would be it.

Open Data Jam 2014 was planned when Microsoft Canada approached Open Hamilton about running another open data hackathon. Microsoft has actually been a champion for open data, and has supported similar hackathons in Toronto and elsewhere. The Friday afternoon portion of the event offers an opportunity to hear talks about open data, citizen engagement, city planning, open data app success stories and more. The Saturday and Sunday portion of the event offers an opportunity to build open data applications using the publicly accessible data.


Why Open Data Jam 2014 matters

I think the event is pivotal for two reasons:

1) The City of Hamilton is showing up. Jay Adams from the City of Hamilton will be there on Friday afternoon. If you want to show that open data is important to you and talk about why, this is the time.

2) We really need a killer app for open data in Hamilton. The real-time HSR data has been released since July. But as best as I can tell, the most widely used application for accessing this data is still the web app released by the HSR. A “when is my bus coming” smartphone app using the smartphone’s GPS data and the real-time HSR data could be hugely important.


If there’s two things I’m hoping that come out of this event, it’s 1) a publicly accessible killer app, 2) an open data group that is focused on continuing to improve on existing apps and create future open data apps.

As much as the City of Hamilton has been slow to adopt open data, if people want the city to continue to release open data, I really feel that could be best encouraged by creating strong, widely used apps (and a continuous follow-through effort to create more).



#ODJAM2014 is a 3-day event bringing together government, developers and citizens to collaborate and accelerate Open Data efforts in Hamilton.

Governments and organizations have become some of our largest data collectors and the resource is often resting in silos untouched. Open Data is taking this valuable resource and giving it to people who can unlock its value — resulting in new economies, job creation and increased efficiencies in public services.

Friday, November 21, 2014 (1:00-5:00pm)

1:00pm-1:30pm: Registration

1:30pm-2:00pm: Defining Open Data and Open Government

Richard Pietro (Co-Founder of CitizenBridge and Open Government Tour 2014)

Learn about the differences between open data and open government. Prepare yourself for upcoming conversations from thought leaders and experts in openness.

2:00pm-3:00pm: Expert panel on culture change required to be open

Moderator: Richard Pietro (Co-Founder of CitizenBridge and Open Government Tour 2014)

Panelists: David Wrate (Open Data BC), David Rauch (Open Data Edmonton), Renee Higgins (Open Data Sudbury), Sameer Vasta (MaRS Data Catalyst)

Panel discussion to cover how open data is being implemented in other cities and jurisdictions. Get perspectives from within government and citizens collaborating to improve their local area.

3:00pm-3:20pm: Networking Break

3:20pm-3:35pm: Just Go To The Blog! Save time and improve internal communication with Open Data.

Lauren Archer (LRA Heritage Consultant and former City of Toronto Heritage Planner)

Lauren is a heritage planner, writer, and maker. She has worked for municipalities of Toronto, Vaughan, Oakville, and Peterborough. She is into old home restoration and sustainability, online public consultation, self-directed learning, bees (highly productive community gatherings), maps, and open data.

3:35pm-3:50pm: Better Engagement, Better City Planning

Daniel Fusca (City of Toronto Planning Division)

Daniel is the Stakeholder Engagement Lead for the City of Toronto Planning Division, working out of the Office of the Chief Planner. He is currently managing the Division’s Growing Conversations initiative to improve the planning process through better engagement. Daniel is motivated by a desire to achieve greater openness and accountability in municipal government. To that end, he was instrumental in the launch of IdeaSpaceTO, Toronto’s new online ideas manager, and is working on the development of a new Open Data Framework for the Planning Division. Daniel is a graduate of the University of Toronto’s Master of Science in Planning program.

3:50pm-4:05pm: The BikeFinder Story

Jennifer Shen and Ankita Kulkarni, BikeFinder (Winners of Toronto BikeShare Hackathon 2014)

Bike Finder is an SMS service designed for Bike Share Toronto which delivers real time information about station locations and bike availability. Text an intersection to 647-559-0509 to receive up-to-the-minute results for bicycle and dock availability at your nearest Bike Share station!

4:05pm-4:20pm: Inside Job: Why OpenGov and OpenData Matter for Public Servants

Ashleigh Weeden (Grey County Community Engagement, Connected County Initiative)

Ashleigh Weeden is an award-winning community engagement practitioner and communicator who enjoys taking the lid off local government so everyone can play inside City Hall. She’s currently working on Grey County’s Connected County initiative, building a collaborative community partnership to leverage broadband connectivity for sustainable economic and community development. As a public service evangelist, Ashleigh has proudly worked for the City of London, the Region of Waterloo, the Centre for Non Profit Management, and the Government of British Columbia.4:20pm-4:35pm A pledge for community and city to work collaboratively

Anand Sinha, Matt Grande, Open Hamilton

4:35pm-5:00pm: Open Data in Hamilton
Jay Adams, City of Hamilton
City of Hamilton takes a look into the service and business implications with Open Data – a winning scenario for everyone.

Open Hamilton Jam Time! Pitches, building solutions, workshops…

Starts: Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 9:00am

Ends: Sunday, November 23, 2014 at 4:00pm

Together with McMaster Innovation Park, Innovation Factory, The City of Hamilton, and Microsoft, Open Hamilton is calling all developers, designers and problem-solvers to Open Data Jam 2014!!  A chance to work with civic-minded developers to create compelling applications using Hamilton’s Open Data.  Hear about local success stories! Have a chance in determining how the City of Hamilton creates open-data sets, and help prioritize the next sets of open data. Collaborate with other developers, and city officials to create applications that make a difference in our daily lives!

Be a part of the Open Data/Open Government movement in Hamilton.  Help make collaboration and co-operation a key cog in the economic growth of Hamiltonians.


VIZIYA in Deloitte Fast 50 for third year straight



November 13th – Hamilton, Ontario

VIZIYA ranks number 17 in the Deloitte Fastest Growing Technology Companies, marking the third straight year VIZIYA has received the honour

“Fast 50 companies are entrepreneurial, innovate and demonstrate leadership,” said Pascal Lamoureux, Partner and Leader for Deloitte’s Fast 50 program. “Their commitment and achievements are critical to the growth of the Canadian technology sector.”

To qualify for the Deloitte Technology Fast 50TM ranking, companies must have been in business for at least five years, have revenues of at least $5 million, be headquartered in Canada, own proprietary technology, and conduct research and development activities in Canada. A panel of industry experts evaluate and judge companies based on four key criteria: competitive advantage; size, growth, and market attractiveness; management effectiveness and organization; and financial performance.

VIZIYA’s Previous Rankings

2012 – 4th
2013 – 20th

About the Deloitte Technology Fast 50TM

The Deloitte Technology Fast 50TM program is Canada’s pre-eminent technology awards program. Celebrating business growth, innovation and entrepreneurship, the program features four distinct categories including the Technology Fast 50TM Ranking, Companies-to-Watch Awards (early-stage Canadian tech companies in business less than five years, with the potential to be a future Deloitte Technology Fast 50TM candidate) and the Leadership Awards (companies that demonstrate technological leadership and innovation within the industry.)

McMaster Presents 2014 ACTION Conference




Software Hamilton Discount Code: SOFTWAREHAM2014 15% off


McMaster University is proud to present the 2014 ACTION Conference on Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 at the Ron Joyce Centre.

This conference is an excellent opportunity to network with individuals from across Ontario and Quebec, who are either working on their own startup or interested in starting their own venture. ACTION is geared towards developing the critical practical skills necessary to successful venture creation in intimate, intensive hands-on sessions.

This conference features successful Canadian and international entrepreneurs and experts:

Kazim Agha, Ridout & Maybee LLP
Lotfi Belkhir, McMaster University
Carol Chong, Sklar, Wilton & Associates
Tom Doyle, McMaster University
Karen Grant, Angel One
Chris Lipp, Stanford University (Graduate School of Business)
Tom Lee, Quanser
Navneet Kaur, Ontario Centres of Excellence
Harry Mahler, Canadian Design Network
Tim Miron, Beckett Lowden Read LLP
James Norrie, founder of
Jenna Tregarthen, Recovery Record
Mark Zimny, Promation

Register now to ensure your seat and preferred sessions! Registration fees of $25 for students ($35 for professionals) have subsidized due to our generous sponsors. Registration includes: two keynote addresses, four intimate and interactive skill sessions with industry leaders, breakfast, networking lunch, coffee/nutrition breaks to feed the generation of ideas, and a certificate of completion!

All attendees will also be provided with the option of complimentary shuttle bus service to the event from McMaster University.


Function Keys 2 conference this week



Function Keys 2 is a three-day conference organized by Centre3 for Print and Media Arts that aims to explore contemporary ideas and issues in new technologies and digital culture.

The conference happens November 14th to 16th 2014 in downtown Hamilton, Ontario and included a series of lecture style presentations, demos and workshops. Now in it’s second year, “Function Keys” goal is to provide a space for artists, hackers, computer programmers, and interested community individuals to come together in discussion and share in learning about emerging trends in new technology.

The conference consisted of a top roster of renowned speakers and specialists who are visionaries in their fields. Topics for the 2014 conference included:

• Trading Clay for PLA – A sculptor’s journey from hand built to digitally created.
• Open-source learning: education from a wider community perspective, technology, and culture
• VibraFusionLab: Innovative centre for arts-based vibrotactile research and creative practice
• BioArt: One Artists Perspectives and Experiences • Simulating Everything and its Consequences
• Art & Technology’s role in the redefining of Sexuality: Franken Hookers, Queer Dinosaurs & Other Shreds of Post-Human Radicalism
• Developing Tools for Contemporary Electronic Music Performance
• Ed Roy and the History of the World

The speakers themselves were representative of diverse communities and backgrounds. Coming from a variety of different institutions, all were either academics, hackers, DIY makers and/or practicing artists whose perspectives are informed by interdisciplinary approaches that investigate the intersections of art, technology and culture. Tickets are $5 per lecture, $35 for weekend pass (excludes workshops).

Full Details:


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