Weever apps seeking beta testers

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Weever Apps is looking for beta testers in the community on the morning of Thursday, August 7th at Innovation Factory for the testing of a new subscription “AppBuilder” online service. Ideally, this is geared towards administrators of companies with mobile workers that are out of the office and use forms to collect data, such as skilled trades and professional services.

Weever Apps would like to schedule 4×30 minute sessions starting at 10am, 10:30am, 11am and 11:30am. Beta Testers will get a free year Business Level Subscription their choice of these subscription services.

If you are interested in participating, please e-mail Paolo Di Donato at Innovation Factory to book a session: intake@innovationfactory.ca

 

Accessing HSR open data

Screenshot 2014-07-30 at 23.39.00

 

A friend of mine recently asked about how to get at the HSR open data used during the HSR real-time data hackathon. Great question, and I’ve copied the response from Open Hamilton below for whoever else is curious:

You can access the HSR open data here:

http://opendata.hamilton.ca/GTFS-RT

You can read about the Realtime GTFS file format here:

https://developers.google.com/transit/gtfs-realtime

The data is in Google’s “protocol buffers” format. You can read about that here:

https://developers.google.com/protocol-buffers

 

Also, check out this cool real-time map that shows you where every busy in the city is currently!

http://realtime-hsr-map.cloudapp.net/

 

On qualifying programmers – How to cut through the technobabble, voodoo and fear

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Coding Shots Annual Plan high res-5” by Matthew (WMF)Own work

 

So the time has come yet again to hire a programmer. My concern in this article is vetting their ability to write software. There have been many absurd pop methods of doing this like asking “golf balls in an airplane” or “you’re trapped in a blender” questions.

In electronics the path of least resistance will be taken. In philosophy Occam’s razor shows us that the least complicated statement is the likely statement. An old designer’s adage is that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add but there is nothing left to remove. Hopefully, my method is aligned with all of these facts and wisdom.

There is one simple thing you need to do to qualify a programmer as capable or not. Of all the programmers I’ve interviewed, and the interviews I’ve been in, only one pure and simple solution has shown me what qualifies them or not. It’s common-sense but for some reason it’s not common-practice. Are you ready?

Don’t exclude them from this test because of anything to do with your preconceived ideas about “what makes a good programmer” including employment history or education. Do filter them for some proof they can do the job in the spirit of what I’m about to tell you to do. Don’t throw out the resume solely on the fact they only have one year experience (think of every candidate you’ve seen with a decade of experience on paper who couldn’t hack it).

Once they get to the interview ask them to do their job. Pretend they’re actually on your team. Bring in a member or two from the team. Don’t sit them down at a table to fire questions off at them. Have your team work with this person on a very simple problem that can be done in about an hour. This could be refactoring a report page (this is my go-to assessment, it’s easy and it hits all levels of MVC for most websites if you’re clever about it). Your team is there to mentor and help them peer-program through the problem. Your project manager is there to scope out the change with them. This is an interactive conversation like you have with your team, not a series of checkboxes.

Do: help them find a way around the framework if they’ve been honest about having little-to-no experience with it, or you’ve done something special/unexpected with your code.

Do: feel free to talk about the users and everything your project manager would do to help you yourself scope out a solution.

Do: help them if they’re totally stuck, but don’t give a direct answer. For example, “have you tried linting?” or “You have a syntax error” is better than “Oh, you missed the closing brace on that if-statement right here – points

Don’t: type for them unless your only editor is Vim and they only know textmate.

Don’t: force them to code. Ask them how they would solve the problem, put the code on screen, and tell them they’re welcome to change it. Invite them to code, don’t tell them to code.

When it’s over, thank them, and have a retrospective with your team about what you liked, didn’t like, and possibly need to know more about.

That’s it. Just like testing: write the unit test for the thing you actually want to test.

Mohawk creates Cheryl Jensen Scholarship for Women in Technology

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The Mohawk College Foundation has established the new Cheryl Jensen Scholarship for Women in Technology to honour Cheryl’s 30+ years with the College. Cheryl Jensen recently announced she is leaving her current role as Mohawk’s Vice President, Academic to become the new President of Algonquin College.

Cheryl joined Mohawk as a professor in 1983 and has served as Dean, Executive Dean, Vice President of Engineering Technology, Apprenticeship and Corporate Training, and Acting Vice President, Academic. Cheryl was instrumental in the development and launch of Canada’s first Bachelor of Technology collaborative degree program with McMaster University and the award-winning Hydro One – College Consortium.Mohawk College Bio Excerpt

Notably, Cheryl was the first woman to lead the School of Engineering Technology as dean.

You can donate to the new scholarship here.

 

Open data hackathon a major step forward

Yesterday Open Hamilton (@OpenHamilton) held a hackathon at the 1280 pub inside McMaster University. The event was attended by about 50 developers, designers, students, makers and others in the local community. The motivation to hold the hackathon was the release of real-time data by the HSR (scheduled to occur on July 31st). Open Hamilton was given access to this data in some form by the city so that attendees could begin to create open data apps to utilize this data.

The organizers did not direct the participants to develop particular types of apps, but instead facilitated access to the data and let the participants decide what to create.

 

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Teams formed around different project ideas and spent the day working on the apps – for example a real-time visualization of average bus late times per line, and an app to receive bus time data via text messages. Talking to the teams it looks like many plan to continue their work after the event to complete these apps, so it looks like we’ll be seeing some apps taking advantage of real-time HSR data available soon! When these apps are released I’ll provide updates as to how to access them.

Interestingly, mayor Bob Bratina spoke at the beginning of the event. Bratina acknowledged that Hamilton was behind regarding open data and gave the attendees encouraging remarks that were well received (at least from the participants I spoke with). Towards the end of the event city manager Chris Murray came by – carrying boxes of donuts! It would be wonderful to see this co-operation with and encouragement of the local open data community continue.

 

bobod

 

This hackathon felt like a major step forward for open data in Hamilton. There’s been a lot of enthusiasm around open data advocacy for years now, but in the absence of actual open data, it has been very difficult for this enthusiasm to be translated into hackathons that would galvanize developers and apps that would provide value for citizens.

What this hackathon showed was that if you release useful open data like real-time HSR data in an accessible manner (API, etc.), then local developers will absolutely step up to create apps. I saw groups of people at this event that I have never seen at a Hamilton tech event before, many of them students looking to build portfolios, other groups of people were just looking to build something cool. When I asked them why they came out, they said it was because of what they would get to work on.

 

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So again, it goes to show – when useful open data is released, the community will step up to create apps.

Speaking to the organizers, another hackathon is tentatively being planned for November of this year. I suspect it could be much bigger!

Great job on the part of Open Hamilton organizers Anand Sinha (@AnandSHamilton), Joey Coleman (@JoeyColeman) and Matt Grande (@MattGrande), and the sponsors Microsoft Canada. Open Hamilton has been pushing this issue for years (with Joey Coleman leading the charge) and this hackathon felt like a major step forward. I’m sure there’s a lot more steps to be taken. But I remember a few years ago open data in Hamilton seemed stagnant, whereas now the city is releasing key open data, apparently more data will be released in the future, developers are getting to build apps, and even the mayor is acknowledging and encouraging the community. That’s pretty awesome.

 

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Weever Apps helps CFL PA save time and money with mobile forms

Hamilton, ON — (SBWIRE) — 07/18/2014 – The mobile forms app market is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world today because companies are realizing the inherent advantages of converting their paper forms to mobile forms. Keeping up with that trend can be a daunting task for many firms. Fortunately, business owners can now get up to speed quickly and affordably with the help of Weever Apps.

By helping clients to evolve from paperwork to mobile forms, Weever Apps can build productivity, accelerate “quote to cash” timelines and reduce errors – including the headaches they cause. Mobile Forms allow employees to enter information into a form using any mobile device and, because they are using a tablet instead of paper, they can add pictures, GPS locations, contact dispatch and more…

According to Steve McBride, co-founder and CEO of Weever Apps, businesses can experience many immediate benefits by switching to Weever Apps’ mobile forms. “In many cases, clients are simply looking for digitized versions of their paper forms,” he explains. “We like to think of that as an evolution rather than a revolution. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel to realize exceptional business results. We like to think of our solution as the simplest-to-use on the market.”

 

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Increased real-time data accuracy was particularly noticeable in one assignment Weever Apps put together for the Canadian Football League Players’ Association. Weever Apps developed an app for them that enabled players to use mobile forms to sign up with the league and arrange things like equipment sizes, guest appearances and medical clearances.

“The CFLPA Mobile app has exceeded my expectations.” says Susan Gordon, VP Sales & Marketing for the CFL Players Association. “It has had an immediate impact in improved efficiencies by integrating DocuSign signatures inside the mobile app, thereby reducing administrative work and giving players access to critical documents while traveling. We plan to further expand the number and type of forms for even more productivity benefits.”

McBride adds, “It really accelerated the process. With our apps, there’s no need for faxes or scanning that might require info to be retyped and result in mistakes.”

Weever Apps can develop mobile forms easily with its innovative mobile app software platform, which can integrate form data and DocuSign secure e-signatures from any mobile device. It can also incorporate a cloud database to securely store all the data that’s collected and provide it to admin users through a user-friendly account manager. Weever Apps’ patented technology is compatible with all touch phones and tablets including Apple, BlackBerry 10, Windows 8 and Android.

“We give our clients the ability to reduce paper but we also enable them to collect, manage and share data in real time on any device, wherever they happen to be.” says McBride.

Many business functions become a snap with the help of Weever Apps’ mobile forms. For example, some firms are heavily dependent on collections to achieve a stable cash flow. Without a dependence on paper, collections can now be done in a matter of hours – rather than weeks. Sales becomes a much easier process. When they’re out on the road, salespeople can easily access actionable data, such as price lists, while managers can track their location using GPS functionality.

Affordability is another big selling point. Weever Apps provides professional services app development as well as a monthly subscription service, which allows clients to build their own mobile forms without any programming experience and can be deployed the same day and at a minimal monthly subscription cost.

McBride concludes, “Our clients are starting to realize the power of mobile forms. It’s helping them be more productive and efficient. They’re seeing immediate results.”

For more information visit WeeverApps.com/MobileForms. To contact directly email Hello@weeverapps.com or call 1-800-299-0623.

 

About Weever Apps

Weever Apps is an innovative smartphone applications company headquartered in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Since it was first established in 2011, Weever Apps has developed apps for many large and medium-sized firms such as London Life, the City of Hamilton, Foresters Insurance, McMaster University and Allergan Canada. To date, clients in over 65 countries around the world use the Weever Apps platform to create their own apps.

Contact

Andy Pritchard
Marketing Manager
andy@weeverapps.com
906.630.7939 or 1(800) 299-0623

McMaster students use supercomputer to create fractal videos

Originally posted on dailynews.mcmaster.ca

 

cas-logoA group of computing and software students have created some stunning videos using one of the most powerful computers in the world.

The fourth-year students used the Blue Gene/Q supercomputer, located at the University of Toronto, to generate fractals – never-ending patterns that repeat at different scales.

The shapes are generated with a simple mathematical formula, but create incredibly complex shapes.

“Each pixel in an image is assigned coordinates,” says Ned Nedialkov, associate professor in computing and software. “These starting coordinates are then fed into a formula, resulting in new coordinates, which are plugged into the same formula for the next iteration, and so on.”

Nedialkov compares the process to zooming in on a digital map.

“Imagine the whole eastern coast of Canada laid out on a map. Then, as you zoom in and get closer, you can see the actually coast line, then the details of the beach, individual stones, pieces of sand, and then every molecule that makes up the sand.”

The shapes take billions of computations to create, and without the use of a supercomputer would take months to complete.

The exercise helps students learn both about fractals and supercomputers, which are used for a variety of tasks, including weather prediction.

Video of the fractals can be found here.

 

 

CareGo charity golf tournament raises $22,700 for north-end neighbourhood

caregoHAMILTON, ONTARIO – CareGo’s 15th annual golf tournament raised $22,700 for programs and services provided by the Robert Land Community Association in Hamilton’s north-end.

More than 100 golfers hit the links at Century Pines Golf Club in Flamborough on June 20, including CareGo staff and their family members, suppliers, customers and business associates. The cost of the tournament is covered by CareGo, so all funds from golf registrations and sponsorships are directed to Robert Land Community Association.

“It’s our company’s 15th anniversary and we’ve held the tournament every year since 1999,” says Demetrius Tsafaridis, president and CEO of CareGo. “This year we set a record with the highest number of golfers and more money raised than any year previous.”

Tsafaridis said the generosity of suppliers and customers was outstanding, with each hole sponsored and prizes provided for every golfer.

“I’m thrilled by the amount raised,” said Don MacVicar, founding president of the Robert Land Community Association, who attended the tournament. “The funds provided by CareGo through this tournament have made an incredible difference in the Keith neighbourhood, as we are continuing to create new educational opportunities and a brighter future for the families in this community.”

The Robert Land Community Association provides programs and services through the Eva Rothwell Resource Centre on Wentworth Street North. It is the home of the Literacy Express, a refurbished rail dining car turned into a literacy and learning centre.

Golfers in the winning foursome, with a score of eight under par, were Demetrius Tsafaridis, Bruce Gabel and Greg Gabel from IPC Securities, and Ward 1 Councillor Brian McHattie.

CareGo (www.carego.com) provides optimization/automation technology and distribution services for steel and other heavy products. It was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in Hamilton.

CONTACT: Cynthia Janzen, Vice President, Communications, 905-308-3489, cjanzen@carego.com

 

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