Author Archive: Kevin Browne

Founder of Software Hamilton.

Software Hamilton revamp

I’m Kevin Browne (@hamiltonkb), editor of this website that’s been running since January 2011. I’ve had one crazy last 7 years, especially the last couple years, and especially the last 8 months. Long story… finished a PhD, got married, bought a house, and a lot of other things. Suffice to say this blog has gotten dusty and broken as a result. Mea culpa.

I’m going to be making some immediate changes to the website itself, and some longer term changes as to how it operates. In short, I’m going to be more formally treating it and operating it as an indie media outlet. I have wanted to get to this for a long time… shifting gears takes time itself though.

Here’s what’s changing listed below in terms of website structure and operationally. For a pedantic naval-gazing tome as to why, keep scrolling past the list!


  • Mostly batch updates, mostly on the weekend. Software Hamilton has more or less had one daily update Monday-Friday since 2012. This has been resulted in a major “user behaviour” as most users, 80-90%, check the website daily Monday-Friday, and traffic goes to very little on the weekend. This made sense in 2011 when there were hardly any startups, and maybe 3 regular tech/startup events in the city. This format has increasingly made less sense as time has gone on. So now, expect a cluster of postings on the weekend, and some sporadic postings during the week if some big news happens (e.g. product launch, funding, etc.).

  • “News magazine” front page. The “blog” format of one post on top of the other was great for the earlier daily-update and associated user behaviour, but it won’t be anymore. So expect the new website to look closer to BetaKit and other proper news websites – a wall of stories and happenings that you can click on that take you to an individual page.

  • Automated newsletter updates. There is a plugin for pushing out newsletters that I can use. It’s good for generating a simple list of events, but it would need 5 PhDs and some good machine learning algorithms to turn full-detailed calendar event descriptions into something suitable for a newsletter format (maybe that Reddit-bot that summarizes news stories could do it). As a result, the plan is for the newsletter to only list event titles, dates, locations, and links, and it’ll be on users to click through to find out about each event. I know it makes the newsletter less user friendly, but that’s the nature of a scaling community anyways, and it’s what can be realistically done at this point.

  • Automated calendar updates. The number of events and meetups in Hamilton has scaled ridiculously in the last few years, despite my best efforts I’ve lost track, and it’s become a job to just try to maintain the calendar. There are some ways (plugins, scripts, etc) I can automate 80% of this, and I’ll be implementing those. For the other 20%, see below.

  • Contributor role. Even with some automation, there’s still a lot of updates and churnalism to be done. What I could really use to keep things at the quality-level I’d like to see is a dedicated intern. But I, and maybe you too, have moral concerns with having interns and not paying them (especially not even a stipend). That said, even with a part-time 4-8 hour a week intern, quality and quantity could be much better. Which leads me to…

  • Monetization. I never want to personally make money off Software Hamilton, I’ve lost/spent money, and I’ll release “financials” if this is ever in any doubt. It’s a passion project, inspired by sorta-similar efforts (e.g. Raise The Hammer, The Public Record), I’d die a little inside if it ever wasn’t, and I don’t want to “sell out”. At the same time, if you care to read through the pedantic thoughts below, I’ve come to realize some monetization is better. With monetization, I can pay that contributor, even if it’s only a stipend, it’s at least something. So you might see some advertisements, a Patreon button, or maybe even some fun merchandise. The website and all related features will remain free for anyone reading.


Expect the website update over the next 3 weeks, and the operational updates (contributor/monetization) over the next 3 months.


OK, now for the pedantic naval-gazing I promised you.

Software Hamilton was initially started to act as a community hub similar to other regional websites and initiatives that were happening around Canada at the time (and really the world). I read everything I could, attended everything I could, and talked to everyone I could. But I really didn’t know what I was doing, I was just trying my best to give the community something similar, and my plan was to figure it out as I went.

I’ve had a lot of people tell me exactly what “Software Hamilton” should be over the last 7 years, all great folks, all with wildly different opinions. Some people wanted me to get grants and turn it into another non-profit with another mandate, carving its way into a patchwork of existing non-profits (that I feel is a bit overcrowded already). Some people wanted me to turn it into a member-driven organization (paid or otherwise) that would try to formally represent the sector, and exert political clout. Some people wanted the loose, informal club model that you see at meetups and whatnot.

All of these different kinds of structures can create different kinds of value, there’s nothing wrong innately wrong with them, they can all be forces for good. There’s a few reasons why they aren’t a fit for Software Hamilton though.

For starters, all those things listed above already exist. I have no interest in duplicating them. If you want a non-profit pushing along the sector, Innovation Factory. If you want the member-driven organizations and political clout, there’s the Chamber of Commerce and different taskforces put together by different institutions. If you want the informal club, there’s a ton of meetups and similar things.

I think community building efforts are best when they’re trying to “fill gaps” in the community, and when they try to create new value. Maybe not always, but for the most part, these existing tools fill the gap they should, and create the value they should.

The other, bigger reason is harder to describe properly (…here comes the hardcore naval-gazing). I’m not sure if I’ve stumbled on something in human nature that’s hard to describe, or whether I’m bad at describing.

But the idea is this… pre-existing power dynamics and interests tend to be re-enforced by many efforts aimed at assembling people together with a structure. I’ve gotten to do a lot of social things in the last 7 years… organized events, own and partner in private sector companies, partner with non-profits to create new programs, chair committees, etc, and this is something I’ve seen everywhere, so that’s why I think it’s a human nature thing.

So for example, if you were to bring together a bunch of mover and shakers in a city to talk about increasing economic growth and related ideas, they’d tend to go for expanding their current industries, rather than trying to create new industries altogether (that they don’t have an interest in and/or don’t understand). This goes doubly so when talking about how to allocate money or resources to anything. They’d describe the existing industries as differentiators and strengths, they’d create programs to grow these industries, and they’d allocate money to them. And a lot of the time, this process is great, and value is created, but only a certain kind. Nobody is a moustache twirling villain in this scenario either, it’s not about “down with the system” or whatever…. it’s just how it is… people have their interests, “they know what they know and not what the don’t”, etc.

What’s interesting is that this process… of pre-existing power dynamics and interests being re-enforced by social activities, applies just as much at things as simple as pub nights as it does at board tables. You’ll get someone coming out to the pub night that does awesome stuff that just doesn’t quite fit with the group dynamics, and poof, even without any ill-intent or malice, they’re left out, and so are there ideas. Whereas if they had another group to go to that fit their interests, they could more likely contribute and create value.

It’s honestly like Nash equilibrium, Prisoner’s Dilemma game theory type stuff. By everyone choosing to re-enforce their own interests and understanding over possible other interests or things they don’t understand, we all lose out on the value that isn’t created by the unexplored paths, and people capable of creating value that we just don’t appreciate or include.

This doesn’t make structures bad. Again, personally I work with all kinds of structures (private sector, non-profit, etc) and at a certain point they are necessary to create and especially amplify creating value (e.g. you get a grant, you hire an employee, and all of a sudden you’re able to reach 3000 people instead of 30). It just means that structures aren’t perfect, especially when it comes to making change happen. This is why people say “real change happens from the bottom-up”, because at the grassroots any sort of social dynamics or interests don’t really matter.

The problem is, a lot of those roads untravelled and a lot of those people capable of creating value are folks we need engaged. To use one example, there’s still a disconnect between McMaster students and Hamilton (though it’s 10x better than a decade ago). The McMaster brain drain was one of my biggest motivations for doing this at all… being a McMaster student for so long, and seeing my friends leave year after year, to create value in other cities.

Anyways, this whole “pre-existing interests being re-enforced” stuff” is why it’s particularly hard to create and grow new things. I remember when I was creating Software Hamilton 1.0, there was a point where I had to tell a mentor who was advising me how bad an idea it was that, “I’m not asking your permission, this is happening, I’m asking whether you will help”. I remember when I was creating a new initiative in the city, a bunch of movers and shakers told me it wouldn’t work, was a bad idea, etc. Nope, they were well-intentioned, but wrong. And I’ve been at the other end of it too… I’ve gotten to watch all kinds of people create things I never thought would work, and few others did either.

The one thing I did with Software Hamilton that I think I did right was to give support to people who wanted to step up into a leader role. So if somebody wanted to start or were starting a new company, or a conference, meetup, co-working space, or whatever other initiative, Software Hamilton gave them publicity and a push how it could. This let people explore those pathways that maybe an organization that is more structured would not see the “interest” in doing so. And some pathways work, and some didn’t. But the point is people could try weird, new stuff and find out for themselves. Many community initiatives don’t operate like this, some people want to control and direct, harness the power of others, or have this notion of turf, etc, and it just doesn’t work at creating an organic, real community.

The approach I’ve tried is what I interpreted as being advocated for by others in further along communities, and I just imitated it as best as I could (they’re better, but I did my best). I think that approach played a positive role in developing a more vibrant community than the type of “community” that is captured or represented by a specific organization, with all those interests and power dynamics. That’s also why it’s important to me that I don’t ever cash a cheque with Software Hamilton on it, I also want to keep my own interest in it such that I’m not ever depending on it for money (though, short of perhaps ultimately unsustainable grants, I don’t think it’s possible to live off something so niche). Personally, I think you can’t really blame someone for bending to prevailing interests if they need something to put food on the table.

That’s why I want to keep Software Hamilton as a lightweight indie media outlet. So when somebody has a crazy, weird new idea, or I have a crazy new idea (as I often do), Software Hamilton can just push it out there, free from any of those “interests”, and let the market decide what has value.

But the other problem is sustainability. In my travels over the last 7 years I’ve come to appreciate that structure can provide value and make things last longer and improve in quality. It’s great to have this indie sort of approach, but how do you make something sustainable longer term? If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together. That’s where some lightweight monetization and the creation of a contributor role come in. It’s the minimum amount of structure that I can get away with for the project, while making it less dependent on me alone, improving the quality/quantity and especially consistency of content, and keeping it independent.

Anyways, I know this is a tomb, I just wanted to explain the rationale.

I’ve got some crazy ideas left to try that my gut tells me aren’t so crazy. And if you’ve got something you want to try, and your gut tells you you’re right, even if some others think it’s crazy, you should give it a try, and just see what happens. Hopefully Software Hamilton can help you push it out there!


Girls Learning Code Day 2018: Collaborative Game Production


When: Saturday May 12th 2018 from 1:00pm – 5:00pm

Where: CoMotion on King at 115 King Street East, Hamilton, ON

Organizer: Canada Learning Code – Hamilton Chapter



Technology is a powerful tool that can be used to change the world!

In this collaborative experience, learners work together to build a video game that addresses a social or environmental issue and works towards change. Learners will explore the game industry by experiencing what it’s like to work on different project teams, within a variety roles. As a group, we will track through the game development process together – from pre-production to post.

After brainstorming a game idea and creating a collective Game Design Document (GDD), learners will work to complete assignments using a variety of tools, programs, and languages. Each learner will explore 2 of 3 game production elements, including game-building, audio, and/or artworks creation.

At the end of the experience, learners will share their individual projects to reveal a series of video game levels that they can share with family and friends. They’ll also leave with a better understanding of how their favourite games came to be, and how they can incorporate coding into their existing interests and skills.

Learning Outcomes

  • Use technology to create positive change
  • Better explain the game development process
  • Apply personal interests and skills within the game industry
  • Work with a team to find creative solutions to problems
  • Create a collaborative video game in Scratch
  • Use the tools, languages, and programs learned to KEEP CODING!

This workshop is for girls ages 8-13. Our workshops are designed to give learning experiences that are fun, engaging, empowering and inspirational. Through hands-on, collaborative, project-based learning, kids end the workshop having built something. This workshop experience is designed to help kids see technology in a whole new light – as a medium for self-expression, and as a means for changing the world.


ICF judge Robert Bell visits Hamilton


Last week ICF judge Robert Bell (@rbellicf) toured Hamilton as part of this year’s Intelligent Community Forum awards program.

The ICF is a think tank and research organization with the aim “to help communities use information and communications technology (ICT) to create inclusive prosperity, tackle social and governance challenges and enrich their quality of life”. In other words, how are cities using ICT in innovative ways to make life better for their citizens. Hundreds of cities have competed in the ICF competition to be named Intelligent Community of the Year and past winners include Toronto, Montreal and Waterloo.

In 2016, Hamilton made the ICF’s Smart21 finalist list. And this year, Hamilton made the Top7 list, prompting the visit from judge and ICF co-founder Robert Bell. Robert notably commented on the collaborative spirit of Hamilton. A jury will soon decide this year’s top winner.

Winning this competition would be great for Hamilton. City boosters (elected or otherwise) would be able to use it as a key marketing piece that Hamilton has shaken its old image and is now going in a new positive direction. It’s something we’ve all been saying ourselves for years now, but it’s different when it’s coming from external experts. So the really cool thing is it would be more than the usual ra-ra marketing puff, it would be truly good external validation from experts that look at cities around the world.

For a non-trivial amount of companies looking to expand operations, this external validation is key. We’re increasingly viewed as being part of the Toronto-Waterloo corridor. Strong external recognition that we have more to offer than a cost advantage would be excellent.

All that said, participating in a process like this has its own reward. It forces cities to take a good assessment of where they are at, especially in relation to other cities. It exposes gaps and areas that need work (cough, broadband infrastructure), while making note of strengths.

Hopefully Hamilton wins, but if we don’t, it’s a great indicator that Hamilton ranked this high already, and the process itself has had value.

DeltaHacks IV showcases student tech talent


The fourth annual DeltaHacks (@deltahacks) took place on Sunday January 28th at McMaster University.

The hackathon is unique amongst regional hackathons for emphasizing hacks for change, in other words, hacks with social good. This year’s event attracted over 300 students, not just from McMaster University, but from post-secondary institutions around Ontario (e.g. Waterloo, UofT, Guelph, etc.).

Check out all the finalist presentations from DeltaHacks IV below!


DoctorDM – a text message based app that allows users to request a diagnosis via SMS messaging


Safety First – an image recognition tool that identifies and provides information about safety issues given an image


Findr – an app to help users identify find out how many other people are checked in to different rooms (e.g. so students could find free space on campus)


Kobot – provides text recaps of previous novel chapters (inspired by Netflix episode recaps)


ReadRelax – an app to help users relax and read quicker


Aloud – an app to read aloud physical written text materials


Kobot won 3rd place, Findr won 2nd place, and the 1st place winner was Aloud, who mentioned they didn’t even know each other before the hackathon! Many awards were also given away for individual, special categories, from “best use of blockchain” to “IoT”.

It’s always so wonderful to see this event happen year after year and grow in scope and quality – congratulations to the organizers for yet another great hackathon!



Interview about DeltaHacks IV with Natalie Chin


Check out the interview below with Natalie Chin of the DeltaHacks (@deltahacks) hackathon team on what’s in store for this year’s hackathon and opportunities to get involved as judges/mentors! DeltaHacks IV will take place on January 27th – 28th on McMaster University campus.


Can you tell our readers about the history of DeltaHacks?

DeltaHacks was founded back in 2014 due to lack of hackathons in the area focusing on social change and social impact. It was a common instance, that projects were started during hackathons, and not continued and sustained afterwards. As a result, students from the McMaster Community banded together and created their own hackathon for change. DeltaHacks stands out from other hackathons by inviting industry professionals who know their field, to pitch ideas to our attendees. This allows our attendees to get a real world view of what’s missing in the field, and see what they can do to help.


What kinds of exciting creations have come out of past DeltaHacks events?

Generally, we’ve seen a really wide variation of hacks at DeltaHacks. We have a lot of social change and social impact projects. We’ve also had a variety of hardware and software projects at our event.

Last year, there was a really cool hardware hack called Lifeline that tracked tilts and changes in the head direction while driving, to prevent drowsy driving and prevent it. If the driver was getting continuously more and more drowsy as time went on, it would send audio feedback to try to keep the driver alert. Throughout the process, if the driver is still drowsy, the response would continue to escalate through texting and/or calling emergency contacts. The hack ended up winning the “Best Hardware Hack” and “Second Prize” Category. Seeing the implementation fully functional was really cool. It had an effect on the real world.

At a past DeltaHacks event, we saw Project Julius, which was created to prevent photosensitive epileptic seizures due to quick flashes in video content. The hack would essentially analyze the screen with historical analyses, looking for pixels which have changed very quickly to prevent seizures. Once the pixels change dramatically, the hack shows a window overlay covering all other windows on the screen, and show the warning. A hack like this is pivotal to social change.



What’s your role with the hackathon?

I am the Director of Supportive Relations. I always try to think of a descriptive name for my team – I’m not sure Supportive Relations does it justice. But ultimately, we handle the UX of the event, which consists of contacting mentors, judges, challenger (idea-generation) mentors for our event, which adds to the attendee experience. We make sure that participants have enough mentors so they can get their questions answered timely. We also reach out to not-for-profits in the community, government organizations, startups, and and student chapters, inviting them to an idea generation session. We essentially give challengers 3-5 minutes to talk about their project, and provide time for participants to discuss with mentors afterwards.


What’s new and exciting for DeltaHacks IV?

In our past iterations of DeltaHacks have mainly focused on health-care related hacks, and the idea-generations typically came from doctors, physicians and pharmacists. We’ve expanded that this year, to include a variety of other fields, and reached out to not for profit organizations, student chapters at McMaster, and leveraging our professors and hacks that they may benefit from. Our list is currently located here:, so our participants know what the challenges are before coming to the event. The list is going to be continuously updated until the event, as we finalize the mentors.

Another exciting thing that we’ve got in store is a focus on blockchain development. It’s been a pretty hot topic recently, and has been brought up quite a number of times in the HamOnt Conference Series for Internet of Things. DeltaHacks is super happy to welcome a few local and international organizations that focus on crypto, namely STACK, Parity, and Oraclize. This is the first time that we’ve put aside funds for a specific cryptocurrency prize category, and is the first time that we’re inviting small and large companies for mentorship. I can’t wait to see the hacks that are created once the hackathon is done.



How many participants are you expecting? Where do the participants come from?

We’re expecting 400 attendees. Participants are coming from all over Ontario. Most of our participants are coming from Waterloo or the Toronto Area.


What do you hope students get out of participating in DeltaHacks?

I don’t expect our participants to fly themselves in a spaceship to Mars (though that would be really cool) after DeltaHacks. All I want is for our participants to leave, feeling like they have learnt something. There’s nothing more rewarding than the feeling after you’ve created something that you never thought you’d finish, be it understanding classes, or full implementation of a feature.

This year, 52% of our attendees are beginner hackers – who have been to 0-1 hackathons in the past. As an application rate, this is nearly unheard of. I hope that the beginners feel welcomed at DeltaHacks, and feel comfortable to ask for help when they need it. I would encourage anyone to take advantage of this opportunity, to ask for help from mentors and help with implementing your ideas.


What’s your own personal favourite hackathon creation?

My personal favourite hackathon creation would probably be one created at ETHWaterloo, a hackathon based on Ethereum Development, called the Decentralized Autonomous Charity (or DAC for short). It was a transparent way for people to donate funds to charities, and see the flow of funds, to see how it was broken down, and what it was used for. This was my favourite hackathon project because it had such a large social impact and use-case. Blockchain in itself was a new concept, not to mention being able to apply it in the real world in such an important way.


Though it’s getting better, there’s always been a bit of a disconnect between Hamilton and McMaster (e.g. the “pop the bubble” initiative at McMaster a few years back). What do you think we can do to better bridge the gap, pop the bubble, etc, between the awesome students and innovations happening at McMaster and the civic renaissance happening in Hamilton?

Stepping in and out of the bubble with an interchange of ideas, is most useful. I think the HamOnt Conference Series does it well, in providing discounted student tickets to events, and of course, free food. I find that it gets quite a few Mohawk and Mac students out to the events in the Hamilton area. I think information flow in our bubble, and continuous propagation between the campus borders will continue to better bridge the gap.

I, myself, have pushed the Machine Learning HamOnt Conference to a course that I TA’d, and was met with great enthusiasm, as many of my students had wanted to learn about Machine Learning. Continuous flow of information in and out of the bubble, convinces students to leave campus and explore the community outside it; while events like DeltaHacks help pull the Hamilton Community into our bubble.

With these events – like the Hamilton Conference Series and DeltaHacks, students at McMaster get to network and talk to industry-leaders in the Hamilton Area. They get to find mentorship, advice, tips, guidance, and are introduced to a really unique atmosphere. With the Hamilton Conference Series, we have students leaving the “bubble,” to learn about Internet of Things, or Machine Learning; and we have industry-leaders in the Hamilton Area coming to mentor for DeltaHacks. Having events like these, make many people willing to “pop” and/or willing to leave the bubble.



How can the Hamilton technology community help and engage with DeltaHacks?

We have a lot of different roles available.

Hacking is 1pm on Saturday to 1pm Sunday, so if you are comfortable with showing and teaching technologies, mentoring would likely be a good fit for you. The role of a technical mentor is to help with development environments, helping debug code, and more generally, help with problems participants may have while implementing something. We don’t specify a time that you have to be available, nor do we have requirements on what you’re mentoring. A question that we get a lot from people who want to mentor, is what technology they should choose. My answer – whatever you’re comfortable with. There are no boundaries for what you can mentor in, and we have never said no to mentorship before. In the past, our mentorship was mainly based on web development, android development, and IOS development – but we’re more than happy to open up the doors to anything this year. If you are interested, you can sign up at

You can also help out by judging at our hackathon, from 1pm to 4:15 pm on Sunday. Essentially, at the end of the hackathon, we hold a science-fair style expo, to show off everyone’s projects that they made during the course of the hackathon. As a judge, you get to look at the creativity and innovation of our students, and get to see their final projects. You can sign up at


Coding Bootcamp opens doors

Mohawk College and IEC Hamilton partnered on a new Coding Bootcamp program this Fall. The program involved about 30 adult learners at the Hamilton Public Library downtown and The Eva Rothwell Centre learning HTML/CSS and JavaScript.

The program was inspired by coding bootcamp innovations taking place in the private education sector that teach coding skills in short timeframes, for example HackerYou. These programs tend to be very hands-on, immersive and industry-focused. They’ve been gaining media attention and industry respect for turning students into web developers in as little as a few months.

The innovative approach to learning is excellent, but these programs also tend to be high-tuition and inaccessible for a lot of learners. The Coding Bootcamp program was free, and though not the same pace as private sector bootcamps with different objectives, the program borrowed the concept of hands-on immersion in coding.

The Coding Bootcamp program took place across 12 weeks, and by the end had students that had never written a line of code before creating web apps by the end of the program (e.g. Robert Ling’s Hamilton Quiz).

Congratulations to the first ever Coding Bootcamp participants!


HamOnt ML builds machine learning community


Hamilton’s first ever machine learning conference took place this weekend. The event was excellent for a bunch of reasons.

Strong mix of industry, government and academia talks. We had leaders from industry, government, academia represented in the talk and panel line-up, and it manifested itself in some great connections, between industry and academia in particular!

It sold out, completely. We’ve been doing conferences on topics that we knew there was a local market for, in the case of topics like JavaScript and User Experience. But for a topic that’s a little more “emerging” in terms of prevalence in local industry, we were blown away by the response for this one.

40% of the attendees were McMaster students. McMaster students can be a very tough audience to pull out to off-campus, Hamilton-branded events. Students call it the “McMaster bubble” (there’s even a Pop the Bubble initiative). But they showed up in large numbers, I guess if you built it right they will come. I was talking to a bunch students afterwards that were very happy to see this type of a topic and talk line-up in Hamilton.

The mayor showed up! Yes, that’s him in the photo! Fred Eisenberger (@fredeisenberger) came by and said a few words at the start in support of the community, and recognizing the willingness of Hamiltonians to collaborate as a community strength. It was great to see support from the mayor for something in the community at the grassroots level.

Andrew Holden at Weever Apps and myself started up this conference series last year, with different leaders in the community organizing each topic (@dpetican, @megthesmith, @eimaj, @kensills). It’ll be continuing next year, details on event dates posted early next year.



Jason Hofing talks success during chaos at HamOnt UX

Jason Hofing (@RelayCoffee) (Owner, Relay Coffee) was added to the line-up at this Saturday’s HamOnt UX conference!


Jason Hofing (@RelayCoffee)

Owner, Relay Coffee

Talk: UX Always: Succeeding in Chaotic Times

For most of 2014, the entire street in front of RELAY’s Concession St. coffee bar was ripped up limiting access to its front door. In this talk, Jason will share his team’s story of abandoning panic and instead see it as an opportunity to engage their audience and customers with creativity, positivity, and hospitality.

Bio: Jason Hofing is the owner of RELAY Coffee Roasters, a craft coffee roaster of with two coffee bars and roasting for the best restaurants in Hamilton. Jason is the recipient of the First Ontario and Hamilton Spectator 1AWARD in 2012, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Small Business Award in 2013 and a 40 Under 40 Award in 2014. Jason believes in a human-centric approach to taking your business to where your customers are and serving their needs.


HamOnt UX


When: Saturday October 28th 2017 from 10:00am to 5:00pm

Where: CoMotion On King – 115 King Street East (3rd floor), Hamilton, ON



The HamOnt conference series continues with HamOnt UX on Saturday October 28th!

HamOnt UX is filling in for Embrace UX this year… low cost and kick ass, featuring experts from within and abroad for a full day of talks… we would love for you to join us!

Check out the schedule of talks on the event ticket page! HamOnt UX attendees can also expect morning coffee & snacks, lunch, afternoon drinks & snacks, and an after party!

Tickets are just $20 regular, and $10 for students.


Opportunity to help new Coding Bootcamp program


This Fall IEC Hamilton and Mohawk College have been running a new pilot Coding Bootcamp program for 30 adults. Over 12-weeks the participants learn HTML/CSS/JavaScript, the goal is to create opportunities for individuals that may not typically have access to knowledge economy jobs. These types of Coding Bootcamp programs have been popular with private sector for-profit educational organizations, but this is the first of its kind to my knowledge that is non-profit run and targeting this demographic.

Preliminary results have been fantastic, adults who didn’t know about text editors 5 weeks ago are now creating fairly complicated web front-ends! Each Wednesday participants hear “community talks” representing different career and educational pathways (e.g college vs. university, UX, social media manager, etc.). For example, here’s Suzanne Zandbergen at The Generator with some of the students in the program!

IEC Hamilton is applying for another Future Fund grant (due tomorrow) from the City of Hamilton to continue the program. If you would be willing to sign-up here today to say “yes, I’m interested in giving a talk at next year’s Coding Bootcamp”, we would be very grateful! It’d be an excellent show of interest/support, next year we’d reach out to make sure it works out for everyone scheduling-wise!

Thank you so much! Previous “calls to action” I’ve blasted out like this have resulted in *major* support, and we have reason to believe that support from the Hamilton tech community has made a critical difference in obtaining these grants. We really appreciate it, and will be organizing an event I’ll be sending details about in the near future to explain how companies can get involved in these exciting and growing “learn to code” programs!


KiCad EDA night at electronics meetup tomorrow


When: Wednesday September 27th 2017 at 7:00pm

Where: CoMotion on King at 115 King St East, Hamilton, ON

Organizer: Electronics Meetup



Have you ever wanted to design an electronic PCB but not known how? Join us for another Hardware night.

For this meetup I thought it’d be interesting to run an EDA (Electronic Design Automation) night. Basically we get together and learn how to design a simple PCB from scratch. We’re going to be using KiCad (as its free and open source) but the basic principles are transferrable to pretty much any EDA software you might use. The circuit we’ll design isn’t overly complicated but is a great start for those who want to learn how to design PCB’s. If you already know how to use EDA software come along and help me explain how! 🙂

I’ll be walking through KiCad on the projector (I’m no expert but I have designed many PCB’s in KiCad). You’re more than welcome to download the latest version of KiCad on your laptop and bring it with you to follow along.

Looking forward to what should be a great night as we return to Co-Motion for our 5th, yes 5th meetup. That’s gone quick!