Interview with Codify Zone founder Linda Smith


Check out the below interview with Linda Smith, CEO and founder of Codify Zone (@codifyzone).


What is Codify Zone?

Codify Zone was developed as a highly specialized organization to teach children Computer Sciences, innovation and leadership skills. We focus on providing our students with year-round after-school classes and summer camps. Our program is unique in that we use instructors who are professional Software Developers, Computer Engineers, Mechatronic and Mechanical Engineers. We aim to close the Computer Science gap from the classrooms to careers by offering classes in Coding, Web Development and Robotics in a fun and creative way. Our goal is to create a class leading company with class-leading instruction, fostering the next generation of technology geniuses.


Why did you decide to create Codify Zone?

The first reason why I decided to create Codify Zone came from my own involvement in the technology sector. I am a Computer Systems Engineer by education and spent years working in the law enforcement field as a Computer and Mobile Forensics Examiner. I saw firsthand the need for us to develop people with the skills to excel in computer sciences.

Secondly, being a mother of two kids I felt the need to provide them with opportunities to learn these technology skills so they will be ready for the jobs of the future. Technology is and will be the main driving force of any modern society and crucial to both personal career success and success as a society.



What has Codify Zone been able to accomplish so far?

Codify Zone started a year ago and has been developing itself and its team into a class-leading organization. Our team comprises only skillful professionals in each field. Our software development course is taught by a Software Developer, our Robotics course is taught by a Mechatronics Engineer and so on. We also have student placements in our classrooms. We teach in Hamilton at Mohawk College and in Burlington at TechPlace.


What will Codify Zone be doing this year?

This year we are running a unique Coding and Gaming Summer camp for kids 6-14 years of age. Our locations are Mohawk College and Ancaster sport centre. The camps are technology oriented with focus in coding and there is also a sport and arts and crafts component.

We are also starting new classes in September 2018. Classes will run for 12 weeks and include subjects like; Coding, Game Development, Robotics, Web Development am much more. Registrations open soon!!
I am also working in a completely new program where I am looking for gifted children to join me. So please if you are an educator or know of anyone that fits the profile contact me.



How did you decide what curriculum to cover?

First I tried different open source software developed for kids 6-15 years old. Second I taught some of them to my own kids. Third, I signed up my kids for coding classes with someone else. Fourth I signed up for a Robotics class for kids (yes I was the oldest !). Fifth, I hired a Mechatronic Engineer, a Software Developer and a Computer Science instructor to put the curriculum together based on my findings from step 1 to 4.

Lastly I tried it out with paying clients and it has been a success!! Every quarter we have a team meeting with the instructors and some of the parents that want to get involved and we discuss what needs to be change, what needs to be implemented and what needs to be taken out of our dynamic curriculum.


What makes Codify Zone different than similar offerings?

The main thing that makes us different from our competitors is that we are hands-on with student’s learning. Our instructors take the lead in the classroom and guide the children through a learning process. As our instructors are professionals in each field they are best able to explain and teach the curriculum we have developed. We believe this makes sure each child is able to complete their projects, learn and succeed. Our classes are small for a reason; we specialize in providing high-quality education to each child.

Another big difference is that we work with open source software and hardware which means our students can practice their classes anytime, anywhere without the need to buy a license for a specific program. We also allow our students to take home the robots they build when they are finished, this causes them to really internalize their success and see what they can do. It is much more inspiring then disassembling it so the next student can try.

Lastly, at the end of every class parents come into the room and their kids show them what they did and what they learned. This is a great way to encourage self-confidence, team building and public speaking skills. We also incorporate short exercise breaks, this allows kids to refuel and go back to coding.



What has been the most challenging thing about creating Codify Zone?

The most challenging part is to get our name out into the community. Most of our referrals come from word of mouth which is great, however, we believe the more people get to know us the better our chance we have of achieving our goal; teaching children the language of the future.


What has been the most rewarding part of Codify Zone?

The best part of what I do is witnessing just how fast and thoroughly our children are able excel at the programs. Programming is just like language, the sooner you start to speak your second language, the stronger and more fluent you will be.

I also love when kids are the ones that ask for homework, no kidding. I have a great relationship with all the parents and grandparents; I admire how supportive and involved they are with their children’s education. A couple of weeks ago a parent said to me “Linda, my kid got up early one morning asking if there was time to go to coding classes” it was a Sunday.

It also makes me happy to have instructors that are amazing educators whom constantly find new ways to improve their classes and projects.

I am truly blessed to be able to work at what I love, kids and technology.


How have parents responded to the programming?

Parents are a huge part of our success!!. Often I seat outside the classrooms with them and ask for their input and suggestions about our programs. I also ask parents to join the last 5 minutes of class where the kids explained what they learn in class. I am sure parents love it as they keep signing up their kids with us!



Where do you see Codify Zone in 5 years?

I see Codify Zone working with elementary and high schools along with other like-minded individuals and companies to incorporate a Computer Science K-12 curriculum in schools.


How can the community help you to grow Codify Zone?

The community would help me grow by attending our info sessions and by signing up their kids to our programs and camps!! Starting this fall Codify Zone will be supporting non-for profit organizations that help kids in need by donating a percentage of every registration fee.

I am also aware that there are kids that would love to come to our camps but cannot afford it. We want to offer 5 spots in our Mohawk College Coding and Gaming summer camp for FREE- email me for more details.


QReserve raising a seed round


QReserve (Visit Website) is a resource and asset management tech company with products designed for large, distributed organizations. With a customer base including research universities, hospitals, industry consortiums, conference centres, and more – QReserve is positioning itself as a rapidly growing technology company based out of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

QReserve is raising a seed round to accelerate our growth as we continue rising through a wild inflection point this year. We are raising CA$600,000 to go directly toward customer growth activities worldwide. Please download our investor’s deck for more information!

Our raise is partially fulfilled and we’re looking for investors interested in joining this exciting journey with us. If interested, please contact QReserve’s Chief Strategy Officer, Graeme Brown, at to discuss.

Download our Investor’s Slide Deck

Full article:


Syd Bolton has passed away at 46


Syd Bolton (@sydbolton) has passed away at 46.

Syd created the Personal Computer Museum (@vintagepc) in Brantford, Ontario, which featured an extensive collection of early personal computers. He was also the top video game collector in Canada, with over 15,000 titles in his collection, including “full sets” of every game ever produced for some of the major consoles. His expertise in these topics made him a frequent speaker and source of information for the media. Syd was also a community builder, hosting nights at the museum in Brantford to open up his collection and museum to the public and young people.

I got to meet him a couple years ago at the PC Museum. He had a real enthusiasm for what he was doing in terms of preserving computing history, he didn’t want it to be lost, and he wanted people to know the origins of what we have today. He also did things that were just flat out fun in the geekiest ways imaginable, like sending a Tweet from a VIC-20, a computer from 1981 with 5KB of RAM, and earning the record for the “oldest computer to send a Tweet”.

Losing Syd is a real loss for the computing and gaming world. Thoughts and prayers for his family and friends.



Mohawk Prof develops seizure detection tool


Hamilton, May 29, 2018 – Mini Thomas couldn’t help but wonder ‘What if…” after watching a close friend experience an epileptic seizure five years ago.

What if Mini hadn’t been there to move her friend to safety, away from the gas stove where the two women were cooking together that afternoon?

“The flames were on. She could have fallen onto the stove,” recalled Mini, an electrical and computer engineering professor.

Those ‘What if’s’ soon turned into action. Mini lost herself in learning how to detect generalized tonic clonic seizures, the type of seizure her friend experienced, in people with epilepsy.

The only way, she discovered, was at a hospital using an electroencephalogram, known more commonly as an EEG. However, the “gold standard” EEG typically only confirms seizures have happened. It’s limited in its abilities to predict or remotely monitor symptoms of oncoming episodes.

Without detection, generalized tonic clonic seizures can be deadly, particularly when no one is around to intervene like Mini did with her friend.

She also learned from her research that the muscles of people experiencing such seizures go through two motions: stiffening and jerking. With the support of her associate dean, Elizabeth Pietrantonio, Mini applied for an Applied Research and Innovation in Education (ARIE) grant and tapped into her electrical engineering background to develop prototype sensors, worn as wrist and ankle bands, that detect and record these muscle movements. An alarm is then triggered, alerting a family member or health care provider that a person is having a seizure.

“If we alert someone right away, the person experiencing seizure may get help and could be saved,” Mini said. “You’re making sure when the seizure is over, there’s help. The most difficult situation is if a person is unattended and it leads to death.”

The team working on this research includes another Mohawk College faculty member, Esteve Hassan, and a clinical partner from McMaster University/Hamilton Health Sciences, Dr. Joseph Perumpillichira. Mini’s team has also hired a Mohawk College student, Kugsang Jeong , to support the development of the application in the MEDIC lab.

Mini and her research team tested the bands on healthy volunteers, who mimicked seizure muscle movements. Mini then studied participants’ data and developed an algorithm to determine the bands were correctly predicting and detecting seizures.

Next, she tested the bands on epilepsy patients at Hamilton Health Science’s Epilepsy Monitoring Unit.

Those clinical trials proved the bands worked. EEGs confirmed it.

She presented her research at this year’s Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) international conference. Her findings will also be included in the IEEE’s research database, Xplore.

Now Mini wants to develop a prototype with additional sensors, including heart rate, to glean more data about seizure warning signs and limit the chance of false alarms with the bands.

Bigger picture, the sensors could be commercialized and turned into a product people with epilepsy could purchase and wear to stay safe all the time.

“They would get attention before or as a seizure happens, saving patients from major catastrophes or deaths, improving patient’s quality of life, and they wouldn’t necessarily need immediate medical attention.”

About Mohawk College

Mohawk College educates and serves more than 31,700 full-time, part-time and apprenticeship students at three campuses in Hamilton, Ontario. Mohawk is among the leading colleges in Canada for applied research and is ranked number one for student and graduate satisfaction among colleges in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.


3D Printing in Action Conference


When: Tuesday June 26 from 8am – 2pm

Where:  Mohawk College’s Stoney Creek Campus for Skilled Trades at 481 Barton St, Stoney Creek, ON



Do you have a passion for innovative manufacturing and design? Join IDEAWORK’s Additive Manufacturing Innovation Centre on Tuesday June 26, for the 3D Printing in Action Conference. Learn about 3D printing history, fundamentals and innovations from student researchers and industry professionals.

Keynote speaker Mark Majewski will discuss why the world is moving towards an innovation economy and the key factors that are radically accelerating innovation and business. The talk will address the technologies creating this ecosystem, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, 5G and others.

Majewski is a catalyst for change and a passionate innovator. He has extensive worldwide technology and business experience. He has spent his career from Engineer to Executive in high tech from running the Canadian and Eastern US divisions of a leading semiconductor company to being part of two start-ups. Mark has integrated technical concepts into commercial products with transformative companies such as Apple, Google, Amazon, Tesla, Sony, Microsoft, Philips, Softbank, HP, P&G, etc.

Other event highlights include:

  • See what Mohawk’s Stoney Creek campus has to offer with a tour of the additive manufacturing facilities;
  • Take a look at vendors and industry partners at our exhibitors’ showcase.

Want to attend or become an exhibitor? Learn more here.

Mohawk IDEAWORKS’ Additive Manufacturing Innovation Centre is an experiential learning environment. Industry partners are provided with a low-risk environment to explore how additive manufacturing can solve their problems.


BASEF 2018 winner showcase Tuesday night


When: Tuesday June 5th from 6:30pm – 9:30pm

Where: Coach and Lantern at 384 Wilson Street East, Ancaster, ON



The event will feature a talk by Bay Area Engineering and Science Fair (BASEF) organizer George Geczy, along with show & tell from the winners of the 2018 BASEF. It’s a chance to hear about fascinating science projects completed by bright young minds!

In addition to organizing BASEF, George is co-owner and director of BattleGoat Studios, creator of the Supreme Ruler strategy video game series that has won many awards, including Best PC Game at the 2006 Canadian Awards for the Electronic & Animated Arts. George is also an instructor at Mohawk College, Hamilton Public Library Trustee, and volunteers with IEC Hamilton programs to teach kids coding and entrepreneurism.

For over 50 years, BASEF has provided a forum for students in the Hamilton, Halton and surrounding areas to develop their scientific skills and win over $200,000 in prizes, scholarships and trips. The Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair ran from March 21-27, 2018 at Mohawk College and is open to students registered in grades 7-12 from Hamilton, Halton, Brant, Haldimand, Norfolk and Six Nations.


Excellent talk line-up at WordCamp this Saturday

Annual WordPress conference WordCamp Hamilton is taking place this Saturday June 2nd at McMaster Innovation Park – tickets are only $20.

You can visit the conference website for all details at Check out the full line-up of speakers below…


5 Secrets to a Knockout About Page

Presented by Allison Smith in Room 2.

Your About page is one of the most important pieces of content on your site – this is your chance to create a connection with your readers and tell the story of your business. No wonder we get writer’s block when we see that blank canvas in front of us! But it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether you’re a small business owner, creative freelancer or tech pro, you can craft a knockout about page that will have your visitors devouring your words down to the last letter. In this talk, I’ll share 5 secrets to making it happen.

A/B testing – which way does your duck face?

Presented by Mike Demo in Room 1.

When you launch a website, do you know what works? You don’t; you’re guessing. Your guesses may be based on experience and education, but with good A/B testing you can also make decisions based upon data.

For example, do you know that even the way a duck’s face points (left versus right) could increase your conversions by 40%? As a case study, one of our clients, an insurance company, increased leads by making just a small 2px change.

In this talk, we will spend some time reviewing the A/B checklist I personally use to guide you on your journey to discover what things to test, testing methodology, and the best tools to use for your clients’ sites.

Headless WordPress + React

Presented by Thiago Loureiro in Room 1.

The idea of this talk is to provide some insight and show a possible way of using WordPress as a headless CMS and take advantage of modern JS frameworks. Part of the presentation will be focused on showing how to build a simple application using this approach and the cool possibilities of using React + WP.

Integration with Social Media

Presented by Wendy Marshall in Room 2.

So you have your website and you keep blogging and updating but no one other then your mother sees it? You need a bigger audience who are interested in not only what you have to say in your blogs but what you have to offer as a service or product. Posting on social media is not just about you it has to be a full integration with your website and marketing plan. I will share some of my favourite plugins and tools for integrating WordPress and social media together.

Making Security Make Sense to Users/Clients

Presented by Adam Warner in Room 1.

As someone who builds WordPress websites for clients, you’ve probably learned that offering (or requiring) monthly maintenance contracts is smart business. It’s likely you’re including core software, plugin and theme updates as part of your maintenance plan, which ensures a steady income stream you can rely on and helps with your financial forecasting. But are you including website security as part of your project proposal and scope?

The security of your clients’ websites is often not a priority or is left until the end of a project (or sale?) as an optional add-on for the client to consider after going live. The value of a strong website security posture can be difficult to explain to clients, but when put in the context of their business and possible loss of revenue, it can become an integral part of your offering that separates you from the rest.

In this session, Adam will cover simple website security best practices that you can implement immediately for your own site and those of your clients. In addition, he’ll also offer advice and examples on how to best present the importance of website security during the proposal, scope, and maintenance package stages to your clients. Not only does this ensure your maintenance plans offer what every website needs, but also presents an additional revenue stream opportunity for your business.

Oh crap! We need a web site. Now what?

Presented by Jim Echter in Room 2.

Go on the journey of a “mere mortal” (someone without a computer background) on how they learned WordPress, designed two business sites and opened an on-line store with Woo Commerce. Your trip guide will take you through the WP basics, identify tripping and stumbling points, direct you to where to get information, introduce you to the language of WordPress, where to “hotel” your site, and overview safety tips for your journey.

Panel – WP-FAQ

Presented in Room 2.

Join us as some of panelists discuss answers to some of the more common questions to a wide variety of WordPress related questions.

Submitting, maintaining and growing a plugin on

Presented by Brian Hogg in Room 1.

You have a plugin and want more people to check it out, and submitting to the official WordPress plugin directory. But how do you get it ready and submit it, easily keep it up-to-date, avoid common conflicts with other plugins, and get more people finding out about it?

In this talk, I’ll go through tips and techniques to save you (and your plugin users) from pulling out their hair and get your plugin out there on

The future is accessible

Presented by Heather Gray in Room 1.

Do you think accessibility is just about catering your site to a minority of users who have disabilities? Even though as many as 3.8 million Canadians (about 15%) have reported having a disability, find out how a11y improvements will help your site become more inviting to all users and will help to improve visitor retention.

We will also explore tools and extensions that can help you to meet WCAG 2.0.

This talk is geared toward designers and developers who are comfortable with basic vanilla JavaScript.

Thinking out-of-box themes

Presented by Richard Rudy in Room 1.

It’s time to update your site, with so many inexpensive out-of-the-box themes available is custom development really worth it?

In this talk I’ll run you through a case-study comparing a popular pre-made theme and a custom developed version. I’ll run you through the differences in performance, accessibility, and maintainability. We’ll look at the pros and cons of the options and provide you with various business cases for their use.

Use your own data to take your WordPress website to the next level

Presented by Paul Thompson in Room 2.

We all want to improve our websites, but “best practice” guesses aren’t enough – we want real data to help us understand where to focus our limited time and resources. But so often, the data and stats are intimidating – and the complexity of tools like Analytics can reinforce that. In this presentation, we’ll discover seven specific ways our own data can narrow down for us where to optimise for the most impact. We’ll learn specific ways to tweak our analytics to collect more critical decision-making information and how to use that data to make SEO, conversion optimisation, page speed, and usability improvements for a more powerful, successful website.

  • discover what content our own visitors are begging us to write.
  • learn how fast our website pages really are for our actual users and which need improvement. Bonus: What if our site could notify us when important pages got slower?!
  • understand what parts of the site’s navigation/calls to action our visitors find helpful and which ones they ignore.
  • key in on the pages that would provide the greatest benefit if we worked to improve them. (And what is bounce rate really?)
  • and more, including teaching Analytics how to show you the important data you care about, instead of having to dig it out every time you want to check it.

Don’t miss this chance to get a better handle on how we can our own data to improve our websites!

Using your WordPress powers for good

Presented by Michelle Ames in Room 2.

WordPress powers almost a third of the internet, making it not only powerful, but as an open source project, WordPress is a tremendous gift to all of us. So what do you do with an amazing gift like this?

  1. Make a living from it.
  2. Have fun with it.
  3. Give back.
  4. Pay it forward.
  5. All of the above!

I make a living with WordPress, but I’m also what you might call a “serial volunteer.”

In the years that I’ve created a career with WordPress, I have also set aside time to help others through:

  • Mentoring
  • Organizing Meetups
  • Organizing Hackathons
  • WordCamp organizing and speaking
  • Creating WordPress classes and clinics
  • Setting up WordPress coworking days
  • Creating free and discounted non-profit websites
  • and more!

There’s a side effect to giving and giving back with WordPress: I’ve found that the more I give…the more I’ve gained: friendships, clients, jobs, and the warm feeling that only comes from sharing good things.

Attendees can expect to learn more about the social power of WordPress, how the WordPress community functions, and how giving back is really a way to give to yourself.

WordPress, Blogging, and Getting Engaged

Presented by Joey Coleman in Room 2.

Joey Coleman discusses how he became one of Canada’s leading bloggers in the 00s, got hired by Macleans, and then decided to be Canada’s first local crowdfunded journalist, and how you can similarly use WordPress to be your online home instead of Facebook or another platform you don’t own.

WTH are CPT’s and ACF’s?

Presented by Shanta Nathwani in Room 1.

Ever wonder what a Custom Post Type is? Why would you want to use them? How do they work with Custom Fields? What’s the difference between CPT’s and Posts? Many of these questions will be answered in this beginner talk, meant to improve your knowledge of content architecture. A basic knowledge of pages, posts, tags and categories would be helpful.

Agile meetup this Thursday


When: Thursday May 31st 2018 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Where: 33 Bowen Street, Hamilton, ON

Organizer: Hamilton Agile Meetup



Let’s run our second 2018 Meetup, let’s get a mutual coaching with our real work challenges. If we have time we will inspect learn and review the new Scrum@Scale Guide!!!

Please let me Know if you have any questions or suggestions about it.


CTA now accepting Fall 2018 cohort applications


Applications now OPEN

Canadian Technology Accelerators (CTA<>) in Boston, New York and Silicon Valley are now accepting applications for the Fall 2018 cohort.

Programs will run simultaneously from August to December 2018, with the in-market portion beginning in September.

Who can apply?

CTAs are open to innovative Canadian tech companies that can demonstrate:

·         Traction in the Marketplace: You have at least a minimum viable product(MVP), along with quantifiable evidence of maturity (revenue, investment, or number of users).

·         Product Market Fit: You can define your target audience, articulate the problem you solve, and demonstrate differentiation of your product/service.

·         Strong & Experienced Executive Management Team: You can commit to send at least one senior member (C-level or Founder) to take part in the program and have the financial resources to cover in-market costs.

·         Potential to Scale: You have a well thought out go-to-market plan for the CTA location along with KPIs to match

The deadline to apply for all programs is June 28, 2018 you may find the application at this link or by clicking the button below:<>

Apply Now<>

Learn More<>

Help spread the message

You can find social media posts, individual CTA flyers, infographics and accompanying images to share with your network below:

English Media Kit<>

How are the programs different?
Each CTA covers specific industry sectors reflecting the largest opportunities in the market.

Boston Program:

ICT: IoT,  SaaS, AI, CleanTech,  Big Data

Life Sciences: Biotech, Medtech, Therapeutics, Diagnostics, Research Tools

New York Digital Tech Program:
ICT: SaaS, AdTech, FinTech, Cybersecurity, IoT, e-commerce, Artificial Intelligence

Silicon Valley Tech Program:

General ICT

About the CTA
Canadian Technology Accelerators (CTA) accelerate the growth of high-potential Canadian technology SMEs by providing intensive Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) support and programming, mentorship from industry experts, and connections to potential clients, venture capitalists and strategic partners in key global technology hubs.

For more information:<>.

We encourage all eligible companies to apply. Contact us for more information:<>

TechCity innovation cluster conversation on June 1st



TechCity is a half-day conversation with leading minds that are successfully making Hamilton a smart, intelligent and innovative community. It’s an opportunity to learn about the Hamilton ecosystem and meet with local companies forging our innovative path.


From our hip and funky restaurants to our fleet of food trucks, from our monthly art crawls to our music festivals of epic proportions – we put passion behind everything we do. We create. We collaborate. We open doors. Our culture is real, making us the coolest city in Canada. It’s all part of our continual transformation. Through our grit and determination comes growth.

Join us in the heart of downtown Hamilton for a provocative conversation on what is the digital pulse of city.


Individuals, companies or partnerships that have an interest in engaging in the innovation and urban renaissance happening in Hamilton.

Those include the following:

• Innovators
• Startups
• Scale-ups


A limited number of places are available, so take the time to register yourself today at

Following the discussion, participants are invited to a networking session. The first 5-10 start-ups are invited to our Ticat box for a one-on-one with funders in the evening. More details in the POST-TOUR EVENTS.


One James Street North, 2nd Floor, McMaster University, Downtown Hamilton, Ontario.