deltaHacks signals big change

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deltaHacks (@deltaHacks) organized by HackItMac (@HackItMac) took place this weekend on McMaster campus. The event brought in 200+ students, not just from the McMaster community, but from around Southern Ontario – University of Waterloo, University of Toronto, University of Guelph, Mohawk College and others. The students formed teams and worked on building real-world applications for social change in a 24-hour time period.

I was a judge on the Sunday portion of the event and was able to walk around and check out the different projects. The projects ranged from web apps, to mobile apps to wearables. The nature of the event meant that many if not most projects were either medical or educational in nature. However there were a bunch of really cool non-profit and ‘social good’ ideas – for example applications to help foodbanks tell prospective donors what types of food exactly they are running short on, or applications to help people find items they have lost.

 

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The teams were filtered down to 5 finalists on the Sunday who gave presentations before the top 3 winners were selected. The top prize went to Project Julius, an app that detects and blocks seizure inducing content, and included a flight/hotel to a hackathon taking place in South Korea!

The fact that the hackathon included students from outside the McMaster community was excellent. Making it more than a McMaster event builds awareness and brings connections to McMaster. Some of the better projects were done by students from outside McMaster and that’s OK too – that’s inspiration and education for everyone. A lot of the teams seemed to include students from a mixture of institutions. A hackathon is taking place at Western soon. It’s great for the broader region to see this happening.

 

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deltaHacks really does signal a big change on McMaster campus. I’ve been at McMaster in one form or another since 2002. After the 2000 dotcom crash enrolment in computing programs plummeted for the early to mid 2000s. In terms of community activities, I think we had a bowling night or something, maybe a meet the profs night and a 40-person ‘programming challenge’ night? It was great fun, but nothing at this scale.

Around 2009 regular enrolment increases began (as did higher entrance averages). A hackathon at a scale like this would have been completely unthinkable 10 years ago… even 5 years ago. It was surreal walking around the student centre seeing table after table of students working on cool projects. Those enrolment increases have continued through to today and are, last I saw, expected to continue into the future.

deltaHacks signals a critical mass of talent has arrived on McMaster campus. A critical mass that could do some very great things in the years ahead. This was an amazing start.

Check out the top 5 finalists present at deltaHacks below:

 

Project Julius – 1st place

 

Android sWear – 2nd place

 

Chameleon – 3rd place

 

Intuit (honourable mention)

 

MyoBlinds (honourable mention)

 

Weever Apps Partners with Xerox

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Hamilton, ON — (ReleaseWire) — 02/13/2015 – The term innovation may be a trendy buzzword, but its core meaning – to reinvent, to rethink, to evolve – will always be at the heart of great companies that do great things.

Xerox knows innovation because the company basically invented its principles. The technology revolution, spawned by Xerox and others decades ago, has provided a fertile landscape from which other like-minded companies have grown. One such company is Weever Apps – a mobile solutions company that embraces the principles of innovation.

Specializing in Mobile-First Actionable Data (M-FAD), Weever Apps works with clients globally to help streamline workflows through mobile technologies. At the heart of M-FAD solutions is the mobile experience – apps designed to collect data from the field and provide frontline staff with the right information at the right time.

Document management is a big job, and it’s getting bigger. Xerox develops strategic partnerships with specialized experts to provide the world’s most comprehensive array of workflow solutions.

The Xerox Business Innovation Partner program is a world-class, global initiative that connects some of the brightest companies from around the world in an effort to create solutions that extend the functionality of Xerox products and services.

“The partnership is a natural one,” adds Steve McBride, CEO, Weever Apps. “Both companies embrace the spirit of collaboration and integration. Weever Apps’ technology is built to integrate seamlessly with business software platforms, including Xerox DocuShare.”

Xerox and Weever Apps also share an unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction. “We both work with customers through a consultative approach designed to understand client’s unique business challenges and develop cost-effective solutions to overcome them,” says McBride.

Xerox will greatly expand Weever App’s reach through its extensive coast-to-coast world-class sales network. “Xerox has built an exceptional reputation in the business world by implementing document solutions for their customers. We are excited to align our solutions, with their customers challenges,” says McBride.

Through this partnership, Xerox will expand its mobile solutions and mobile app development capabilities. As customers are realizing the benefits that a mobile solution can offer, Xerox is poised to deliver.

“This new partnership will help us to deliver innovative and relevant mobile solutions to our customers, so they can optimize their document and workflow processes,” says Charles Chang, General Manager, Business Partner Alliance and Solutions, Xerox Canada.

“The great thing about going mobile is that our customers can realize dramatic benefits without being forced to reinvent how they do business,” says McBride. “Mobile solutions can simply replace manual data entry methods by collecting the same information on a phone or tablet instead of a paper form”.

Besides cost and efficiency benefits, digital data collection offers many advantages over paper form collection:

– Facilitate dynamic 2-way workflow process between office administrators and field workers.

– Collect pictures and e-signature approvals.

– Work with customers in real-time to create estimates using up-to-date price lists and catalogues.

– Geo-locate staff or equipment at any time.

Mobile-First Actionable Data (M-FAD) solutions deliver meaningful data to decision makers. From day-to-day project details to C-level strategic directives, in order to be actionable, data must be accessible, relevant and timely. M-FAD solutions make relevant data available and accessible quickly through effective data management and integration with other business systems, including Xerox DocuShare.

For more information visit weeverapps.com. To contact directly, email hello@weeverapps.com
or call 800-299-0623.

About Weever Apps

Weever Apps is an innovative mobile solutions firm headquartered in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Weever Apps specializes in Mobile-First Actionable Data solutions that use mobile apps, data management and integrations to dramatically streamline workflows and communications. Weever Apps uses a consultative process to understand client challenges and design unique, cost-efficient solutions that overcome them.

Media Relations Contact
Steve McBride
CEO
Weever Apps
Telephone: 800-299-0623
Email: hello@weeverapps.com
Web: http://Weeverapps.com

 

REfficient is Finalist for Prestigious QuantumShift Contest

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Hamilton, Ontario – February 9, 2015 – REfficient’s Stephanie McLarty has been selected as one of five finalists for the QuantumShift young entrepreneur competition. The KPMG and Globe & Mail-sponsored program is a rigorous development course for Canada’s most promising entrepreneurs and includes one spot for an entrepreneur under 35.

Stephanie McLarty is CEO of REfficient, a Canadian-based company that sells refurbished, used, and surplus new telecom products, including digital cables boxes, modems, network equipment and more. The company has become the go-to for Canadian and other telecom service providers to find quality equipment at affordable prices. REfficient has customers in nine Canadian provinces, three Canadian territories and 12 other countries.

QuantumShift is a five day developmental experience for 40 of Canada’s most promising business leaders. The program explores topics that matter to high growth entrepreneurs, such as Leadership, Finance, Strategy and Human Resources. At the same time, the participants become a part of an ongoing elite peer-to-peer network. In fact, many of the QuantumShift are recognizable businesses and leaders in Canada.

The QuantumShift contest holds one spot free-of-charge for an up-and-coming entrepreneur under the age of 35. While regular participants must have revenues of at least $10 million, the young entrepreneurs must have revenues of at least $500,000. The finalists were nominated by their KPMG office and were chosen based on their written submission and video. The winner is decided by number of votes.

McLarty said the prestigious opportunity would be helpful to propel REfficient in its next phase. “I started the company almost five years ago and we’ve grown tremendously. QuantumShift could help us get to the next level.” She also noted the opportunity to work and learn alongside a leading peer group would be incredible, “When you look at who has participated in the past, it would be an honour in itself to be counted among Canada’s business elite. Yet ultimately, the winner is decided on the number of votes.”

To view the video and vote for McLarty, go to http://quantumshift.ca/contests/#!/entry/8420010.

About REfficient

REfficient’s transactional marketplace is built on a “triple-win” model, providing large telecom and AV
companies a trusted and efficient solution for deriving value from surplus inventory, while offering buyers reliable, often new equipment at savings of 20-50% over traditional sources. This innovative new
green model benefits everyone by reducing waste and increasing resource efficiency. You can follow
REfficient at @REfficient and www.facebook.com/REfficient.

Contact
Bruno Venesia
905-544-5000 x5011
bruno.venesia@REfficient.com

Innovation Night in March

innightWhen: Wednesday March 11th from 6:00pm – 8:30pm

Where: McMaster Innovation Park @ 175 Longwood Road South

Register: eventbrite.ca/e/ifs-innovation-night-march-2015-tickets-15379885652

Organizer: Innovation Factory (@itbeginswithIF)

Join Innovation Factory for Innovation Night on March 11!

Innovation Night is Hamilton’s key event for innovators and entrepreneurs to practice and perfect their pitch, and present their ideas to their peers and Hamilton’s innovation community.

Innovation Night is open to the public, and attendees will have the opportunity to observe up to 15 2-minute presentations, meet the innovators, network, and enjoy light refreshments.

Innovation Night will be held on March 11, 2014 from 6:00pm-8:30pm in the Atrium at McMaster Innovation Park. Networking will start at 6:00pm.

Interested in pitching at Innovation Night?

Prospective Innovation Night Presenters are required to attend a workshop to refine the presentation of their idea – up to 15 ideas will be chosen to be presented to a panel of judges at Innovation Night.

The Innovation Night Workshop will be held on March 5 from 6:00pm-9:00pm at McMaster Innovation Park.
Be sure not to miss out on this great opportunity! Register today!

February freelancer meetup

When: Wednesday February 25th 2015 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm

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

Register: meetup.com/Freelancers-Group/events/220027543

Organizer: Hamilton Freelancer Association

vivoswebJoin us for our next Freelancer Meetup! Whether you’re just starting a freelancing consulting business, or you’re running a consulting business full time, we bring in some of the best and brightest to give talks on ways to help you build and grow your entrepreneurial venture, along with networking.

The Hamilton Freelancers Association is open to everyone, from designers, developers, and marketers to videographers, writers, photographers, and everyone in between.

This month we welcome Graeme Douglas from VivosWeb who will be speaking on SEO strategies for your website and online presence. Every day, people look online for your products or services. Graeme’s Essential Search Engine Optimization Strategies will help ensure they find your website instead of the competition’s.

Graeme is a writer, speaker and digital marketing strategist. As VivosWeb’s search engine optimization (SEO) lead, he creates and implements customized online marketing strategies for his clients, with a constant focus on traffic and conversions. Possessing an advanced knowledge of organic and paid inbound marketing, Graeme has created and managed campaigns driving thousands of visitors to his clients’ sites.

At each meetup we showcase various web-based tools and services you can use as a freelancer to help you build or grow your business such as productivity apps, email marketing services, invoicing, social media, and accounting tools, along with bringing in guest speakers on a variety of topics.

Schedule:

6:30-7pm – Registration and networking

7pm-7:45pm – Short presentations and group discussion

7:45-8:30pm – Networking session

8:30pm – Wrap-up, feel free to stay to chat

Parking:

There is plenty of parking in the IMPARK parking lot next to the venue. Entrance to the parking lot is accessible off James Street S. as well as off Augusta Street beside The Pheasant Plucker (20 Augusta).

 

WordPress meetup: developer edition

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When: Thursday February 12th 2015 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Where: Imagination Plus @ 69 John St S #304 Hamilton, Ontario

Register: meetup.com/WPHamOnt/events/219866356

Organizer: WPHamOnt

Join us for our February meetup! For this meetup, we’ll chat about more developer centric topics – if there’s a topic you’d like to chat about, let us know!

Agenda:

7pm – doors open
7:30pm-8pm – news, presentation
8pm-8:45pm – networking, discussing WordPress, Q&A
8:45pm-? – TBD

Grab a coffee, tea or soft drink before heading up at one of the nearby cafés.

Supply and demand

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For the last 2 years really, there’s been a noticeable up-tick in demand for developers. But even over the last couple months in particular, firms have been telling me they’re having a hard time finding people. Where as the strongest developers I know have more work than they can presently handle. This year the Software Hamilton job board will have more postings in it’s first 3-4 months than in all of 2013.

Demand is high for developers in Hamilton, but it’s even higher in Toronto. Higher salaries in Toronto have led many great Hamilton-area developers to work there. In addition to the higher salaries, Toronto firms often have senior talent that can mentor, share best practices, etc.

Watching how supply and demand works itself out is fascinating.

Increased demand for developers in Hamilton is coinciding with increasing supply from McMaster/Mohawk, which could presumably provide an answer. I’d love to see a job opening surge for developers lead to increased enrolment. But the schools feed into the broader tech industry too and not just the local market. An increased supply of developers will only get you so far.

If a firm can’t hire a developer at the rate they are offering, they could try offering more, but that eats into the firm’s profit, and the client can always go elsewhere, so it’s difficult for a firm to raise their rate.

And maybe the client does go elsewhere, and opportunities for new upstarts and freelancers will rise. Or maybe the business goes out of town where costs are cheaper.

There’s also the possibility that if enough firms can’t hire a developer at the current market rate, they could presumably start charging the clients more to pay the developers more.

Or, maybe, those Toronto firms paying more for developers realize they can either move to or open an office in Hamilton, and pay a higher than Hamilton market rate for developers (but lower than Toronto market rate), while maintaining a high margin clientèle.

Or maybe some combination of all of the above.

I have no idea how it will shake out, but there’s definitely some sort of supply-demand issue working itself out right now in our own market.

 

BASEF 2015 call for judges

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The 55th Annual Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair (BASEF) is approaching!  We hope that you will consider supporting BASEF by volunteering as a Science Fair judge.

BASEF is the Regional Science Fair for all students in Grades 7 to 12 from Hamilton, Halton, Haldimand, Norfolk, Brant, and Six Nations.  BASEF is affiliated with national and international science fair organizations, and sends many winning students on to the Canada-Wide Science Fair and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.  This year’s BASEF will again provide an opportunity for local youth to participate in an exceptional experience, and give students the chance to showcase their hard work on science, technology, engineering, and math related projects.

Judging Day for BASEF 2015 sponsored by ArcelorMittal Dofasco will be on Thursday, March 26th, at Mohawk College, Fennell Avenue in Hamilton, from 8:30am to 4:30pm.

The continued success of this event depends on the support of judges who will volunteer their time, effort and expertise.  To provide the kind of first class judging experience these students deserve, we need more than 150 judges!

We welcome volunteer judges from all backgrounds – education, engineering, health care, science, business, and more.  Post-secondary students who are available for judging day are also welcome.  The only pre-requisite to participating as a judge is an enthusiasm for listening to youth explain and demonstrate their projects and innovations.

We have two tentative judge training dates available, and encourage first time judges to take part.  (Judge training is mandatory for post-secondary students that have not judged before):

– Tuesday March 10th, at ArcelorMittal Dofasco on Burlington Street, 7:00pm – 9:00pm

-Thursday, March 19th, at McMaster University, (Evening, time TBA)

Registration for Judges is now open and available online on our web site:

www.basef.ca/judgeregistration

There is also information on judging available on our website at: www.basef.ca/judging

We’d be pleased to answer any questions you may have.  Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide in helping with this valuable and enjoyable community opportunity!

 

Respectfully,

Neil Manmohan, Judge in Chief

George Geczy, Assistant Judge in Chief

BASEF 2015 sponsored by ArcelorMittal Dofasco

judging@basef.ca

 

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