Mac students win top prize at conference

Screenshot 2016-02-10 at 13.51.28


McMaster students Natalie Perna and Helen Brown won the top prize in the IBM and TD Bank Programming Challenge that took place at the Canadian Celebration of Women in Computing Conference – CAN-CWiC 2016.

There were 40 teams who entered the contest, and several rounds of judging. Because they were finalists, they were flown to Ottawa for the conference, in time for the final presentations. As the top winning team they took home $1000 too!

The work was done over several weeks, and their solution “Cupful” included not only an iOS app for potential customers to find local coffee shops and restaurants, make orders and payments, just like they can do now at a few big chains, but also a web interface for small-business owners to upload their menu and other information to be discovered by their future customers. The demo included a live tweet demonstrating how this app enables techsavvy word-of-mouth advertising for small businesses.

“We’ve always had remarkable experiences at CAN-CWiC [Canadian Celebration of Women in Computing] and met inspiring women who we look forward to reconnecting with every year,” Brown said. “We feel so honoured to have won their first programming challenge, especially alongside so many other high caliber entries.”


“We’ve come away with an even stronger desire to encourage young women to participate in computing, and we look forward to helping more McMaster University students participate in next year’s conference and competition,” Perna said. – (source:”)

And yes, they’ll be demo-ing Cupful at DemoCampHamilton24!




#HammerBorn Launch Party


When: Thursday February 25th at 9:00pm – 2:00 AM

Where: The Honest Lawyer – 110 King St. Unit 226-228 Hamilton, ON



To celebrate their launch, BuckitLife (@BuckitLifeInc) is throwing an EPIC Launch Party (#HammerBorn) featuring $3.00 JÄGERBOMBS, a PARTY BUCKET LIST CHALLENGE and AWESOME GIVEAWAYS including:

– KEG Giveaway
– ADVENTURE Giveaway (

*Register for this event while tickets are FREE!



Organizer of #HammerBorn Launch Party

BuckitLife is a #HammerBorn online platform that provides an easier, faster, and more fun way to discover new adventures, cross these adventures off your bucket list, and live their life to the fullest!

BRÜHA is a #HammerBorn online community that connects you with live events, venues, promoters and artists; explore your city with Bruha.


Digital Dynasty Design releases Clicks to Riches



Hamilton-based firm Digital Dynasty Design has released an indie video game called Clicks to Riches on the Chrome Web Store.


Check out the details below!

What is Clicks to Riches?

Clicks to Riches is a clicker/idle game where you embark on a quest for fame and fortune. You start out as a poor beggar making barely enough to survive, and work your way through the ranks during an ancient time. It is an HTML5 game that is currently available in the Chrome Web Store via the link below for only 0.99 cents. If you’d like to use Clicks to Riches for your own website or game marketplace, please contact us via


    • Idle clicker game with multiple stages of play
    • Two ‘new game plus’ modes that reward the player as they work their way through the game
    • Active and passive play, earn money while you’re not even playing!
    • Pay once and play forever, no in app purchases!*
    • No need for an internet connection, play offline!*

*features on Chrome Web Store version, other versions may vary






Embrace UX speaker: Amber Foucault

Embrace UX (@EmbraceUX) will be taking place Friday April 15th – Saturday April 16th at the Lincoln Alexander Centre in downtown Hamilton. Featuring a line-up of experience design thought leaders at a gorgeous venue (with breakfast, lunch, and snacks included), a party at the Collective Arts Brewery, and 250 attendees from around North America – Embrace UX is Hamilton’s annual premier tech and design event!

Embrace UX speakers will be profiled every few days until April, but register soon, as the 20% early bird discount expires on February 14th!

Amber Foucault


amberAmber is Product Management Director at BNOTIONS, with 11+ years experience hailing from the advertising industry. Her specialty is understanding the consumer’s relationship with a brand and the role that plays in the retail environment. Her expertise comes with a specific focus on the path-to-purchase and the innovative approaches to improve the customer journey by creating brand loyalty and advocacy. Amber applies her strategic product management skills to BNOTIONS clients such as Second Cup, TJX Canada, Morneau Shepell, Johnson & Johnson, and Indigo Books & Music, among others. It’s Amber’s mission to create a collaborative discovery and development process that ensures business goals and consumer behavior meet at an innovative intersection that enhances the user experience and their relationship with the brand.

When Amber isn’t focused on changing the world through technology, she is likely using different wearables to track long runs or her heart rate on a heavy bag. Amber is an avid sports lover, traveler, and fiction connoisseur.

OBAA finalists include Orbital, Moonray and NetAccess

The finalists for the 2015 Outstanding Business Achievement Awards have been announced, and the line-up features a few local tech/web/gaming firms: Orbital Studios, Moonray Studios, and NetAccess.

“Each year, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is thrilled to celebrate the best in business in this community, and these nominees are certainly well-deserving of that distinction,” said Hamilton Chamber president and CEO, Keanin Loomis. “It’s important to recognize their significant contributions to the vibrancy and prosperity of Hamilton and, in the process, inspire others to excellence.”

The awards ceremony will take place at Carmen’s Banquet Centre on March 8th!




PiAngle Kickstarter campaign launches


Idle Hands Development by McMaster student Sean Hodgins (@idlehandsdev) and Abdul Shehata has launched a Kickstarter project for PiAngle: a Raspberry Pi zero plug-n-play 4-port USB hub!

“So you just got your brand new Raspberry Pi Zero and now you want to have a keyboard, mouse, and maybe some Wifi, wouldn’t that be nice? The PiAngle safely powers the Pi zero and at the same time adds 4 USB Type A ports. All without any soldering to the Pi Zero board.


This unique design takes advantage of the Pi Zeros multiple USB B Micro connections. The USB OTG becomes a 4 Port USB Type A, while the power USB receives a solid 5V.”




Content Marketing Demystified: Understanding the Value for your Business – iF’s February Lunch ‘n Learn

When: Tuesday February 23rd 2016 from 11:30am to 1:00pm

Where: McMaster Innovation Park @ 175 Longwood Road South


Organizer: Innovation Factory


Please join iF on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 for a Lunch ‘n Learn on “Content Marketing Demystified: Understanding the Value for your Business” presented by Marie Wiese of marketing CoPilot!

This unique learning and networking opportunity will include a complimentary lunch!

The idea of using content to find customers and keep customers is nothing new. Content Marketing in its purest form has been around since the invention of the newspaper and trade publications. What has changed is buyer behavior and its application in the sales process.

Join us for a robust discussion with Marie Wiese, founder of Marketing CoPilot, a content marketing agency that creates and manages digital content for organizations that want to find and keep customers. Marie is also an Executive-in-Residence at the Innovation Factory. During this interactive Lunch ‘n Learn, Marie will discuss:

1. The reasons every business regardless of what they sell, should be using content to support the buyer journey.

2. The difference between copy writing and true brand journalism.

3. The three things you should look for in a results-producing content marketing program.

Be sure to register now, as you’ll be walking away from this session with a newfound understanding of the value for your business thanks to the revolution that is Content Marketing.


11:30am-noon – Lunch & Networking

Noon-1pm –  Factory 5 and Keynote Presentation (Marie Wiese)

1pm – 2pm – Dessert & Networking (at iF’s Innovation Destination)

Parking Information

Parking is available for a cost of $0.75/ hour at McMaster Innovation Park Special Events and Conference Parking.


Our Lunch ‘n Learn events are a great way to get out and network while enjoying a free lunch, and learning something new! Please forward this to all of the innovators you know.


About Marie Wiese

Marie Wiese is founder of Marketing CoPilot, a leading content marketing agency that creates and manages digital content for organizations that want to find and keep customers. Marie is Past Chair of technology association, TechConnex and currently, an Executive-in-Residence at the Innovation Factory in Hamilton, Ontario where she coaches early stage companies on how to apply digital marketing and content to their business. Marie is author of The Essential Guide to Better Content Marketing, and other marketing workbooks. She is an entrepreneur, keynote speaker, mom and writer. Marie has spoken at industry events for the Canadian Marketing Association and Marketing Sherpa in the United States. She can be found online at

About Innovation Factory

Innovation Factory ( is a not-for-profit Regional Innovation Centre, located in Hamilton, ON committed to connecting and enabling active collaboration between the city’s communities of science, business, government, academia and finance to accelerate the innovation process and amplify economic and social impact of key new ideas and discoveries. Funded by the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE), we are focused on strengthening the next generation of wealth and jobs generators.

Your entry to this event constitutes implied consent to be photographed and to have those photos published.

GameDevDrinks in February


When: Wednesday February 17th 2016 from 6:30pm to 10:30pm

Where: The Pheasant Plucker – 20 Augusta St. 2nd Floor. Hamilton, ON


Organizer: @GameDevDrinks


Hey GDDers,

We invite all of you within or curious about our game development community to come and join us at the Pheasant Plucker on Wednesday, February 17 for a night of good times and good cheer. This month our guest speaker is Tyler Bud he is a programmer, designer, and half of video game studio, Castle Pixel based out of Toronto.

From 7:00-10:30 p.m., GameDevDrinks is the place for you to hang out and to hear Tyler Bud speak about the trials and tribulations of Castle Pixel, as well as get a hands-on experience with their latest game “Blossom Tales.” Afterwards you can chat with Tyler Bud, share your game concepts and ideas, tell and trade stories, show off game demos or just network and hang out because at GDD our goal is to create a casual and creative social environment for anyone – student, hobbyist, enthusiast and professional alike – who shares the common interest of game development of any kind.

We look forward to seeing you on the 17th!

– Bret

– About Castle Pixel –
Tyler Bud is a programmer, designer, and half of video game studio, Castle Pixel. In 2014 they released their first game, Rex Rocket, on Steam and iPad. They are currently finishing up work on their second game, Blossom Tales, coming out sometime this year.

-Blossom Tale-


Embrace UX speaker: Ujwal Arkalgud

Embrace UX (@EmbraceUX) will be taking place Friday April 15th – Saturday April 16th at the Lincoln Alexander Centre in downtown Hamilton. Featuring a line-up of experience design thought leaders at a gorgeous venue (with breakfast, lunch, and snacks included), a party at the Collective Arts Brewery, and 250 attendees from around North America – Embrace UX is Hamilton’s annual premier tech and design event!

Embrace UX speakers will be profiled every few days until April, but register soon, as the 20% early bird discount expires on February 14th!

Ujwal Arkalgud


picUjwal (@interpretivist) is a cultural anthropologist and the co-founder of MotivIndex. He started his career as an in-field researcher conducting immersive ethnographies in the entertainment and travel sector, where he discovered his love for understanding human behavior and the underlying motivations that drive the decisions people make every day. Over the next decade, whilst taking on a number of different roles both client and agency side, Ujwal continued to hone his craft as a researcher and strategist working with global brands such as Microsoft, Ford, Hewlett Packard, Lowe’s, Subaru, Mercedes-Benz, G.E and many more.

Ujwal has an MBA from the Schulich School of Business and spends a lot of his time studying and understanding consumer culture. He writes for the Huffington Post and speaks and blogs regularly on the role of culture in helping organizations emotionally connect with their audiences and solve business problems.

Free work: volunteer, spec, equity, and unpaid interns

There’s few things that annoy developers, graphic designers, animators, social media managers and other ‘digital sector’ workers as much as being asked to work for free. Check out the heat a couple of McMaster students got when they asked for developers to join their dating website startup:

Screenshot 2016-01-27 at 15.09.28

The idea of asking for free labour is considered totally preposterous in other industries and jobs. Imagine going into a restaurant and asking for a free meal. Imagine the response you would get?

And yet certain digital workers get bombarded with, ugh, “opportunities” let’s call them, and “good for exposure” deals that essentially amount to doing work for free. That’s obviously going to cause understandable frustration and anger, because often on top of being unreasonable (“build me a Facebook for cats in a weekend and I’ll throw you a case of beer”), the request is phrased in a way that’s also insulting towards the value those workers bring to the table (“we’ll give you 5% of nothing”). And it’s taken as an insult on a deep level too, in that what you do for a living is being insulted.

On the other hand, what’s the first thing any employer considering a new co-op or intern asks for, aside from a diploma/degree? A portfolio. They want proof that the hire can do real work, because they’re paying them to do real work.

Which for developers, typically means a github account with some projects, as advised in another reddit thread (and yes, I pretty much just plan on making all blog posts out of reddit comments from now on…).

Screenshot 2016-01-27 at 15.08.15

If people want to see proof of work before paying one to do work, then by straightforward backward induction, one will need to do work before first being paid to do work.

There’s exceptions to the rule, sure, and ideally the rule wouldn’t exist, but for myself and many others we’ve had to build a portfolio before being paid to do work. It’s clear that, at least for beginners, there’s some legitimate economic incentive to do free work.

Would you pay for a haircut from someone who never cut someone’s hair before? No? Then how could anyone become a barber in the absence of free labour if everyone followed that rule? Cheap or free student barbershops exist for a good reason!

To me the situation is a little less black and white, and a matter of drawing reasonable lines between fair and unfair. So where should the lines be drawn, for both people seeking “free work” and those considering giving “free work”?

Free work seems to generally be mutually beneficial to both parties without any real exploitation when it’s for charities, volunteer or non-profit organizations. For example, people will even post volunteer positions in the job board for small community organizations that couldn’t realistically afford to pay for things: volunteer web admin. If the organization needs to undergo fundraising in order to exist, is someone really being “exploited” if they’re helping out with free labour? For me, the answer is no. For others, perhaps not.




Now what about unpaid internships? Most would say they’re exploitive. I have a serious issue with unpaid internships from the standpoint of equity – those from well-off backgrounds are far better positioned to accept unpaid internships that are highly valuable in terms of education and social connections.

At the same time, try to break into the video game industry without doing an unpaid internship. It’s practically a guild where education must take place in the field, with the employer bearing significant costs for onboarding beginners.

Strong and enforced regulations seem to be appropriate in the case of unpaid internships… Ontario has such regulations, but whether they are effectively enforced or not seems debatable…

Startups and social enterprises are an even greyer area. Startups can offer equity, but how much is 5% of nothing? And social enterprises exist for more than profit, but does the good they can do justify free labour?

If there’s a lot of question marks in this article it’s because I don’t claim to know the answers. I’ve done and continue to do free work for others when I find it to be beneficial to myself, and I’ve continually declined to do free work when I find it to be a net loss. The whole thing has never really bothered me much – if it’s good for me, do it, if it’s not, decline (with politeness of the decline relative to the politeness of the ask), and then move on.

But as I look to do a bunch of new things in the coming years for which I’ll be the one asking for help, my own barometer won’t matter as much as the barometer of the person (or people) I am asking, and I’m finding myself wondering and re-evaluating what’s mutually beneficial and what’s exploitive…