Welcome to the New Hackforge



After much anticipation, We are proud to announce that Hackforge’s new home is now 255 Ouellette Ave!

Our communal workspace, or makerspace, was located in the front of the Windsor Public Library – Central Branch for the last two years.  This new space will allow us to better serve the public through our workshop, programming, and events.

Thanks to the generosity of Mark Boscariol, we’ve been able to acquire our new home at 255 Ouellette Ave. We would also like to thank MNSi Internet for providing Hackforge internet at no cost to us. Also, we appreciate the support of Bull Rush Studios for their donation of an overhead projector for the space.

We would also like to thank all the volunteers who have been instrumental and supportive during this period of relocation. Let’s start the next Hackforge chapter!

Join Us for June:

we will be setting up the new space and we invite you to come along for the ride. We are hosting events designed to get the new space off the ground and teach you in the process. We will be having regular drop-in hours as of July.


Move Out / Move In
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – 10AM – 3PM
Help us move to the new space!
We need all hands on deck to bring over our equipment from the Library to 255 Ouellette.
If you’re able to help out by moving or driving, please let us know: info@hackf.org.

Equipment Swap
Saturday, June 6, 2015 – 11AM – 3PM
We need equipment and you need to clean out your garage!
We are looking for working equipment and parts to stock up our new space.
All extra parts and pieces will be up for grabs. Bring something, swap it!
We will be providing a suggested equipment list – stay tuned.

DIY Security System Talk and Workshop
Thursday, June 11, 2015 – 6PM – 8PM
Learn along with us as Hackforge sets up our security system.
This practical workshop, hosted by Doug Sartori, will walk you through
the DIY security camera setup based on ZoneMinder.

3D Print the Future!
Saturday, June 20, 2015 – 11AM – 3PM
Wonder how 3D printers print? Bring along the whole family to see the machines at work,
ask questions to Hackforge members, and interact with 3D creations.
This open house will include activities and crafts for kids.

Software Craftsman Guild
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 – 7PM – 9PM
The group for computer programmers is coming home to the new Hackforge.
Join them for an hour of coding and socializing from 7-8PM
and then watch two technical talks on the finer points of programming for the last hour.


Check out below for more details on how the launch went!


Hackforge Brings the Noise (and 3D Printer and SpokePOV)

A video posted by Hackforge (@hackforge) on

Hackforge has been out in the community bringing tech to the world!

Science Rendezvous:
Saturday, May 9th Hackforge presented at the University of Windsor’s Science Rendezvous. In collaboration with Acoustic Zoo, we presented the SpokePOV bike and member Nik Steel’s cymatic rig. Big thanks to Derek Richard and Nik Steel for helping at the booth. Also thanks to City Cyclery for letting us borrow the bike stand the Sartori family for letting us borrow the bike.

A photo posted by Hackforge (@hackforge) on

Essex Public Library Open House:
Hackforge went out to the LaSalle Public Library on Thursday, May 7th for an Open House where we presented 3D printing. Big thanks to Kevin Roy, Paul Anderson, and Chris Deschamps for bringing the power of the print!

Math and Science Night:
Hackforge was invited to take part in Queen Victoria Public School’s Math and Science Night. Member Nik Steel brought his Acoustic Zoo to the school, helping kids visualize sound with his cymatics rig.

Software Guild Returns May 20th

Return Software - General (2)
Revamped and renewed for Spring, the Craftsman Software Guild is back and ready to go. Join the group for computer programmers on Wednesday, May 20th from 7-9PM. The Guild is meeting at a new location, upstairs at Cafe March 21 Bean n Leaf at 480 Pelissier Street, downtown Windsor.

7:00 – 8:00PM – Hack n’ Hang
8:00 – 9:00PM – Talks for Techs

Randy Topliffe Presents “Cat.gif: How to Make Your Cat Internet Famous”
Walk through the programming steps of converting video into awesome gifs by using VLC to take screenshots and working with subtitle files to add text. Randy will be your guide to understanding the process of creating the next viral .gif sensation.
Nerd Meter: Intermediate

Anthony Garreffa Presents “JavaScript: The Fun Parts”
This will be a beginner to intermediate talk about the JavaScript language. It will be a discussion on the parts of the language that defy intuition, but lend to the expressiveness of JavaScript.
Nerd Meter: Beginner – Intermediate

Introducing IT Outreach Coordinator, Derek Richard


Hackforge is proud to introduce our new IT Outreach Coordinator, Derek Richard. He’s currently wrapping up his final semester in Computer Systems Technology: Networking at St. Clair College. Derek will be helping local non-profit organizations with their tech needs and help match new IT workers to these projects. This is part of the IT Outreach Program funded by The Ontario Trillium Foundation.

How did you first get into tech?

As a kid, my father use to let me assist him around the house with odd jobs. One day, we sat down with an old Windows 95 PC. This computer, for the time, was a pretty big deal to me since it was also the first real computer in our house. He told me if I could fix it up, I could play on it for as much as I liked. This act alone brought upon my joy for tinkering and creation with tech.

What non-profits have you been involved with in Windsor?
I have been involved with Hackforge prior to being taken on. We did a small job refurbishing computers for the Teen Center in Ford City.
Though the first non-profit I worked with was Computers for Kids, I sat in and assisted with refurbishing some of the computers.

What is your favorite thing about Windsor?
The community, people here are always willing to help each-other and branch out. Many organizations don’t mind working with each-other and assisting one another in a time of need and that’s something I think that is unique in Windsor.


Stay tuned for more from Derek and the IT Outreach Program. You can reach him at Derek@hackf.org.



Register Now for Round Two of Computer Girls


Through the support of Ontario Trillium Foundation, Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor Inc. (WEST) in partnership with Hackforge presents the second round of Computer Girls classes. Computer Girls offers computer training to women and young women in the Windsor & Essex County area at no cost. Classes are held at WEST’s offices downtown Windsor (647 Ouellette Avenue Suite 201).

These classes can be taken independently or all together. There are no prerequisites to take these classes. The Computer Literacy classes are for women who are very new to computers and would like to learn more. Introduction to Coding courses are for women with computer experience who are looking to learn about the structure and foundations of the web through coding.


Computer Literacy: Getting Started with Computers:
This course is designed for women with very basic computer knowledge. Participants will gain
practical computer knowledge in Microsoft Office, the internet, computer security, etc.

Classes offered:

Parts and Pieces: Computer Basics (Wednesday, April 29: 6-8PM)
Come take a look at the physical parts of a computer. Understand the mechanics of how a computer physically works with this hands-on class.

Bits and Bytes: Understanding the Internet (May 13: 6-8PM)
Learn about the history of the internet, how it works, and how you can the most out of your time on the web.

Letters and Presentations: Get More From Everyday Programs (May 27: 6-8)
Practical tips and tricks to get more out of Word, Spreadsheet, and Presentation programs that will make work easier and faster.

Bugs and Viruses: Keeping Your Computer Safe (June 10: 6-8PM)
Find out how to keep you and your computer safe from digital threats. Learn about how these viruses and bugs work and how you can fix problems yourself.

Tweets and Tablets: Understanding the Digital Lifestyle (June 24: 6-8PM)
Let Computer Girls be your guide to the digital lifestyle world. Explore the phenomenon of social media and popular sites. You’ll be able to interact with various devices from iphones to tablets.


Intro to Coding:
This course is designed to provide individuals with practical skills employers are looking for. If you want to
pursue a career in computer science, or if you enjoy working with computers….this program is for you!
Participants will learn about various kinds of coding that make the web possible.

Introduction to HTML:  (May 6 : 6-8PM)

Introduction to CSS (May 20 : 6-8PM)

Introduction to JavaScript (June 3: 6-8PM)

Intermediate HTML/CSS (June 17: 6-8PM)



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Maptime: Telling Stories with Web Mapping


Monthly Maptimes are back in effect!  Maptime Windsor-Essex will be meeting on Thursday, 7pm, April 23rd, Fred Israel Room, in the basement of the Windsor Public Library Central Branch (850 Ouellette Ave). 

Maptime is simply time set aside to learn how to make maps together.  While you are welcome to bring your laptop if you would like to work on something or would like help with something your working on, for this month’s meeting, we’re setting time for the absolute beginner and there will be a presentation on Web mapping by Mita Williams.
Web Mapping: moving from maps on the web to maps of the web
The transition from paper maps to digital maps was a profound one. It was such a sea change that the current shift from Digital Mapping to Web Mapping may have escaped  notice even through it brings a fundamental shift of its own. This presentation will introduce you to the new tools of web mapping. These tools allow for new forms of journalism, citizen activism, and scholarship. Web mapping allows more people to tell more stories with maps. This presentation will help you tell yours.”

Science of Electronics Creating Sound: April 11th Workshop + Showcase


Saturday, April 11th, Hackforge presents Analog Synthesis: a workshop on the science of electronics creating sound. From 2-5PM at the Fred Israel Auditorium, located in the basement of the Central Branch of the Windsor Public Library (850 Ouellette Ave), Hackforgers Aaron Mavrinac, Nik Steel, and Paul Anderson will guide you to the world of synthesizers.

Join us for a discussion of how electronics are used to manipulate the components of sound to create things the ear has never heard before. Come out and play with modular and monophonic music synthesizers and learn how it all comes together in the music you love.

This event is great for beginners to synthesizers.
Suitable for ages 10 & up.

Mentors Wanted! WindsorDetroit Hacking Health



May 1-3rd 2015, the first cross-border Hacking Health in the world takes place. This competition breaks down barriers to healthcare innovation by bringing together IT and healthcare professionals across the US-Canada border to collaborate, dream up & design apps for patient-centric care.

Windsor-Detroit Hacking Health will be held at Tech Town Detroit – an innovation hub just five minutes from the border. Hackforge is proud to be part of the Hacking Health Team.

Currently, Hacking Health is looking for mentors. If you’re a professional developer with the heart of a coach, register now. If you’re also interested in participating, you can register below as well.

Register here.


hacking health poster

Computer Girls Instructors Wanted!


In collaboration with Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor Inc., and with support from Ontario Trillium Foundation, we’re looking for a few female instructors to help teach the Computer Girls Digital Literacy courses. These classes are designed to give women who are new to computers a basic understanding of their functions.

 Job requirements:
- Must be comfortable (intermediate to advanced level) with computer functionality
- Intermediate – advanced level of Microsoft Office
- Teaching experience OR comfortable speaking to small crowds of up to 15.
- Must be available every other Wednesday nights from 5:30 – 8:00 PM

Curriculum, lesson plans and PowerPoints are provided. No coding/programming knowledge required. This is a PAID contract position.

For more information or to submit a resume, email Program Facilitator, Aisling Douglas at info@aislingdouglas.com.

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Budget, Bus, Beach, and Vote: Press Play Wraps Up


Sunday, February 22nd wrapped up the weeklong Press Play: Data-Journalism Hackathon at the downtown Green Bean Cafe. Four teams, made up of St. Clair College and University of Windsor students, created four different interactive visualizations about Windsor data.

In honour of Open Data Day, we challenged teams to take on open Windsor Data. Our overall winning team, Cornelius and Clara, visualized the distance to bus stops around Windsor and the barriers it creates. Lauren and Akindele, winning Best Piece of Journalism, went around town to challenge Windsorites to understand the budget and imagined a more interactive, clear version. Best Use of Windsor Data went to Zule and Steven, who broke down election statistics from the last municipal election by number and area. And finally, Most Creative Project went to Amanda and hackathon veteran, Meghan for their exploration of accessibly to local tourist attractions by bus or bike.

Best Overall Team:
Cornelius Froese & Clara Benedek
“Transportation in Windsor”

Best Piece of Journalism:
Lauren Hedges & Akindele Faulkner
“Visualizing Windsor’s Annual Budget”

Best Use of Windsor Data:
Steven Espinoza & Zule Li
“Election Web: Windsor Municipal Election 2014″

Most Creative Project:
Meghan O’Donnell & Amanda Sinasac
“Can We Bus it to the Beach?”

Thanks to our judges: Blake Roberts, Don McArthur, Aisling Douglas, and Bob Price.

Press Play was created with support from EPICentre, Open Data Windsor Essex, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE) and WEtech Alliance.





Check below for more from today’s event:


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