DemoCampHamilton 1 now accepting demos

Fluid Media Inc. and Innovation Factory have agreed to sponsor the first DemoCamp to take place in Hamilton. The exact location, time and date is to be determined but should be announced by the end of the month.

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DemoCamp is an event format that involves about 5 software demos which each consist of 5 minutes of actually demoing the software and 5 minutes of Q&A, followed by general socializing with the good company in attendance. You don’t need to demo software to attend. Developers, designers, entrepreneurs or anyone interested in computing and software technology are welcome to attend. DemoCamp events are useful for community building as they allow people with similar interets to connect, share ideas and improve their craft and the software they produce. As a result DemoCamp has spread to cities all over Canada, international cities and several conferences. The DemoCampHamilton page is located at http://www.softwarehamilton.com/democamp.

At present we are looking for a few more demo volunteers before committing to an exact location/time/date for the first DemoCamp in Hamilton. So if you have a website, an app or some other piece of software you’ve been working on and would like to show it off to the community and get some useful feedback and publicity, you should definitely considering signing up to demo!

Demos can be submitted to: democamp@softwarehamilton.com. You will have an internet connection, a power outlet and a VGA input to a projector. The following standard disclaimer applies at all DemoCamps: absolutely no power point or other slides during your presentation. Why? Well do you have working software or don’t you? Remember to answer the following questions in your submission:

  • Who are you?
  • What are you showing?
  • What qualifies you?
  • What do you get out of it?
  • What does the audience get out if?

For an example of demos and answers to these questions, see this entry of DemoCampGuelph.

DataFax clinical trial management system

Clinical DataFax Systems Inc. is headquartered in Hamilton, Ontario and is the maker of DataFax, a clinical trial management system.

DataFax has been used for over 19 years now in hundreds of clinical trials without any FDA citations. It has been used in clinical trials with over 1,000 sites and 10,000 patients. Data collection by both fax and electronic data capture over the internet are supported by the system. The system has a notably large user group which meets anualy at different locations in North America, the next meeting taking place in Whistler, British Columbia from February 27th to March 2nd 2011.

Cool software developed in Greater Hamilton: Geotrail

Developed in Hamilton, Ontario, Geotrail is an online and interactive tool to promote hiking and outdoor education. Users can plan their recreational activities by searching through hikes depending on their preferences (length, time, difficulty, location, etc.). Trails have points of interest that allow users to preview what they can expect to see when they make the hike.

Geotrail also allows you to blog and rate the trail after your hike. Geotrail websites are built for individual organizations, such as the Royal Botanical Gardens, so that the hikes can be made consistent with what the organization would like the public to see and use. Geotrail can be used to promote trails that don’t necessarily get the recognition they should by highlighting interesting educational information about natural areas like species, landmarks and heritage.

You can check out the Royal Botanical Gardens Geotrail website at http://rbg.geotrail.ca and pick out what hikes you would like to make this spring!

CartaNova offers wind-powered web hosting

Web design and marketing firm CartaNova Inc. of Hamilton, Ontario offers services relating to web site development, internet marketing, graphic and print design, CRM and project systems, and mobile eCommerce.

However in an age of rising climate change concerns CartaNova also offers something really cool: clean wind energy powered web hosting! CartaNova’s eco-friendly client’s include solar heating firm Solarnetix Inc. and touring and eco-education firm Lunatic Adventures. CartaNova also maintains an interesting to follow Green Community Blog.

Software Hamilton Launches

You can find the information contained below anytime on the About page (which also includes a FAQ left out here). Right now the portal is in an “open beta” phase so please excuse any quirks or downtime.


The Software Hamilton (Software Hamilton) is a social networking portal created with the aim of uniting the Greater Hamilton, McMaster University and Mohawk College computing and software communities.

More established communities such as Kitchener-Waterloo have organizations and portal-type websites like techvibes that allow computing and software students, academics, practitioners and firms to connect. Guelph has successfully adopted the DemoCamp “un-conference” style event that originated in the Toronto computing and software community. The Guelph DemoCamp now occurs regularly, and the Guelph computing and software community is home to successful startups such as well.ca.

We believe that it is time for the Greater Hamilton, McMaster University and Mohawk College computing and software communities to experience this level of synergy. If these nearby communities are able to do it so successfully, we’ve got to start asking ourselves… if not us, who? If not now, when?

When great institutions and individuals work together they can produce results greater than the sum of their individual efforts. We have some great startups and some great established computing and software firms in the Greater Hamilton area that produce world class software in diverse areas such as digital imaging, mobile applications, web development and scientific computing. We have firms providing consulting services and IT solutions to Fortune 500 companies. McMaster University and Mohawk College are great institutions that produce world class graduates who work the most difficult jobs at the most prestigious firms. We have great researchers at these same institutions pushing the cutting edge of computing and software technology forward. It’s time to work together and make even greater things happen.

Software Hamilton is a portal for the different elements of the community to become aware of each other and work together. Professionals and students should know what firms exist in the Greater Hamilton area, what they do, whether they are hiring and how to get in contact with them. Regular DemoCamps should be held where startups and established firms can get feedback on their work and younger entrepreneurs and developers can learn from the more experienced. Academics giving talks relevant to the local industry should have a way of reaching out to that community.

The events, groups, blog and job posting features of Software Hamilton are intended to facilitate these sorts of interactions. If your firm releases a new or updated product, you can make a blog post and share it with the rest of the community. If you are looking for a job in the community, companies will soon be posting positions here. If you are a Perl hacker who knows a few like-minded Perl hackers, you can start a group and find others in the community, as well as make events like a meet-up at a pub or coffee shop to discuss the latest happenings with Perl6.

If you have a suggestion for a way that GHSCN can better achieve its purpose, or if you would like to become involved, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Software Hamilton Social Networking Features

The Software Hamilton blog on the Home page can be used by any registered member to post news relevant to the community. Registered members will also be able to add friends, create and join groups, participate in discussion threads, create and join events, and chat in real-time using the chat client. The Activity page, much like a newsfeed on Facebook, is a feed of all of the network events (who has joined, who has friended who, what has been posted to the blog, what group has been created, etc.) The Event page notably contains a calendar showing all of the public events that have been created. If you click on an event, you can enter it into an iPhone or Outlook calendar. The Jobs page lets employers post jobs for the community (only registered members can apply). The Directory page is a listing of computing and software firms in Greater Hamilton, or with associations with McMaster/Mohawk.

Keep in mind that virtually everything you do on Software Hamilton is public, much like a Twitter account. Groups and Events can be made private and invisible, which will keep certain things like discussion threads hidden from other users (unless the group creator changes that option). Messages between users and private chats are of course private.

Some cool stuff:

  • – You can attach documents to Groups, which hopefully makes Software Hamilton a better tool for collaboration
  • – You can make posts to the Activity page and your profile, much like the wall and newsfeed on Facebook
  • – You can use “@” to tag other members in your posts to the Activity page
  • – You can “like” basically everything in the Activity page, as well as blog posts
  • – Events have a Google Map associated with them if given an address
  • – Events can be inserted into your iPhone or Outlook calendar
  • – Blog posts can be Facebook-liked and re-Tweeted for viral distribution to broader networks (e.g. product announcements!)
  • – You can follow blog post updates on Twitter and Facebook (or of course the RSS feed)

Cool software developed in Greater Hamilton: FluidMedia’s Skinnyboard

Last September Fluid Media Inc. of Hamilton, Ontario released version 2.0 of agile product management tool Skinnyboard. Skinnyboard provides project boards of virtual index cards that you use to assign work, track status, and measure performance. Upgrades to the system for this version include flat rate $15 per month subscriptions, new user interface, new high-performance code base, journaled history of all task items and the ability to add comments to stories and tasks.

Mohawk-McMaster “bridge builder” Dr. Ishwar Singh retires

The Spectator has reported that Dr. Ishwar Singh has retired. Dr. Singh was a professor for 35 years at McMaster before retiring in 2004; he returned to help create and design the curriculum for the 4-year Bachelor of Technology offered by Mohawk and McMaster. From The Spectator article:

“There couldn’t have been a better ambassador for Mohawk in building the bridge between Mohawk and McMaster than Ish was,” says today’s dean of engineering, David Wilkinson.



A year or so ago I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Dr. Singh at a recruitment event targeting high school students and his genuine regard for the students was abundantly clear and inspiring even in that short time. I’m sure everyone at McMaster, Mohawk and the Greater Hamilton community thanks you Dr. Singh for your contribution and wishes you well in your retirement!

Ali Asaria on The Agenda

Ali Asaria is the CEO and founder of Guelph, Ontario’s Well.ca, Canada’s largest online health and beauty store. Mr. Asaria was recently on The Agenda with Steve Paikin for an interesting interview about well.ca and the state of entrepreneurship in Canada. Notably he mentions that internally well.ca doesn’t think of itself as selling products so much as it does time: “we don’t sell products, we sell have 30 more minutes with your family time”.