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A Home for Windsor's Tech Community


September at Hackforge

Board Game Night @ Craft Heads Brewing Company
Friday, September 14 @ 7PM onwards Facebook | Meetup

Join us at the awesome Craft Heads Brewing Company for Board Game Night. We bring the games, you bring your strategy and drive to win! Enjoy a delicious craft beer or cup of coffee and feel free to bring your own snacks!

Project Management Professionals Meetup
Monday, September 17 @ 7PM
Facebook | Meetup

After a summer vacation, the Project Management Professionals meetup is back! This group is for all professionals from any industry, and business owners to come together and exchange ideas and good practices ​in Project Management, Agile Product Development and Process Improvement, in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

Border City Javascript: Lean Coffee
Tuesday, September 18 @ 7PM
Facebook | Meetup

Join the new Border City Javascript group for a Lean Coffee – you’ll brainstorm programming or industry related topics YOU want to talk about, and we’ll shred through them in a rapid, structured discussion. Bring your favourite hot beverage.

Forge Founders: WEtech Founders Group
Wednesday, September 19 @ 5:30pm
Facebook | Meetup

Calling all founders, trailblazers and entrepreneurs, Join us for “Forge Founders” the launch of a new peer2peer group on September 19th from 5:30-8:00PM. Forge Founders will be a bi-monthly networking experience for local founders to connect, learn, and share.

Our first speaker, Darrel Laurendeau, Director of Information Technology for Ground Effects will be leading us with his best practices on creating ways to get your customers excited and engaged in ICT, and tactics to communicate with executives. Light food and refreshments will be served.

Museum Tech Users Group: Cataloguing
Tuesday, September 25 @ 7PM
Facebook | Meetup

This session we’ll be taking a look at ways of using technology to assist with cataloguing. If you have a cataloguing story, please send me an email! We’d love to have you come and tell the group about your process, the successes and roadblocks, and how things are working for you now. This includes projects that didn’t work out the way you’d hoped! Knowing about the challenges others have faced can help us prepare for upcoming projects.

Some ideas include

  • Cataloguing softwares you like/don’t like
  • Data entry challenges
  • Cloud cataloguing using Google Drive or other shared resources
  • Moving from a paper catalogue to a digital one
  • Backing up your catalogues

AWS Users Group: AWS Organizations, Cognito, and Planning the Photo Scavenger Hunt
Thursday, September 27 @ 7PM
Facebook | Meetup

This month, we’ll start talking about how you can work together with different accounts with AWS Organizations, and how we can use Cognito to establish and track users across all the products.  We’ll also continue to look at the design for our Photo Scavenger Hunt.

Border City Javascript: A Recipe for a Javascript Mapping App Soufflé
Friday, September 28 @ 7PM
Facebook | Meetup


Many times when building an app, Javascript will be just one component of a larger solution. The good news is, mixing technologies together to solve a problem is a lot of fun. It’s kind of like baking. Attend this session to learn about how several technologies were whisked together to build windsorcensusmaps.com. We’ll talk about CSS libraries, GIS, mapping libraries, React, NodeJS, and AWS and how they all came together to build a tasteful web app.


An Update about Hackforge’s Space

Hello Hackforge Community,

Due to some recent changes after the passing of our dear friend Mark Boscariol, there has been some speculation as to what will happen to Hackforge’s current physical space at 255 Ouellette Ave. Mark Boscariol owned the building that Hackforge resides in, along with the neighbouring buildings that housed the Downtown Pizza Co. and Snack BBQ restaurants. Recently, all three of Mark’s restaurants were closed due to financial insolvency.

In the interest of transparency, we want to let you know we are in discussion with the Boscariol family and as of right now, we have access to our space and will continue to run events as normal. In the past week, one event was moved to Craft Heads Brewery and one event was rescheduled due to an issue with our shared alarm system with Downtown Pizza Co. We have since resolved the issue and we will continue to host events at Hackforge. If anything changes, we will let you and/or the host of the event know. Please check our social media channels or website for any announcements.

On that note, we have two great events coming up in the next couple of days and we’d love to see you there!

Border City Javascript: Diving into React.js
📅 Friday, August 24 @ 7PM

React.js is easily one of the most popular JavaScript libraries for creating user interfaces. Randy Topliffe demonstrates creating a simple React app with no build tools, transpilers or additional frameworks, so you can see the features React offers on its own. JavaScript novices will learn how they might try using React without needing to embrace a dozen new technologies at once, and pros will get to see how many of the tools they take for granted are unnecessary for some applications.

After this short talk, we’ll break to mingle and chat. We can discuss React with Randy, get to know each other, and get a feel for topics that would appeal to the community for future talks. If you have talk ideas, bring them up with Randy or Jeff and we can get something on the schedule – we can even help you workshop your talk and get you prepared to deliver it.

🤖 Saturday Workshop: Help Build the VEX Robot!
📅 Saturday, August 25 @ 11am-2pm

With the help of the Windsor Essex Robotics Club, we’re going to assemble Hackforge’s VEX Robot. The VEX kit is the Classroom and Competition Super Kit. We’re welcoming the community to an introduction to VEX robotics by building their standard claw bot and practicing the basic VEX coding. We hope to have a functioning robot to learn off of so newcomers have the building blocks to be creative so they can further create a robot with custom tasks. A fun Saturday activity for both adults and kids alike who love robots!


Re: Hackforge’s Role in Windsor’s Municipal Election

In light of a piece in the Windsor Star which highlighted some members of Hackforge who volunteer time providing tech support for candidates in the municipal election, I think it is important to clarify some ambiguous points.

Hackforge does not officially endorse any particular candidate, and does not expect members to be supportive of any particular candidate or slate of candidates.

We are a group of largely independent techies who throw our own events and meetups. We use the space for talks and classes and our members are allowed to use what resources we have – however humble – as they please.

That means that whether building a startup company or a retro video game meetup, or teaching a workshop on NationBuilder, their use of our space is not restricted to activities endorsed solely by Hackforge leadership or specific leaders.

In this case, some of our members used the space to help some municipal representatives they support in some small way. We encourage this. Engagement in municipal politics is incredibly important and can be very rewarding.

I would like to make two things abundantly clear:

1) Hackforge members are absolutely encouraged to get involved in campaigns as volunteers to support any municipal candidate(s) they choose, and are invited to use the space for workshops.

2) Hackforge does not have a mechanism for providing volunteers to run workshops or offer tech support to a political campaign on request. A Hackforge member with the knowledge needed must already be interested in the campaign of their own accord.

If you have thoughts or questions you can direct them at me – Jeff Szusz, Vice Chair, jeff@hackf.org.


August at Hackforge

Windsor Google Developers Group: Building Google Assistant Actions
📅 Wednesday, August 8 @ 7PM Facebook | Meetup

Join us as we learn how to build actions using the Google Assistant. The Google Assistant is the technology that powers devices like the Google Home, and the built in Google Assistant on Android devices. Bring your laptop!

🔨👩‍🎨 Windsor Essex Makers (WEMake): Maker Meetup Thursdays
📅 Thursdays @ 7PM Facebook | Meetup

Do you make stuff with your hands and like to hangout with those that do too? Come out to Hackforge on Thursdays at 7PM to meet with other makers, work on your project, or get inspired.

What is a maker? A maker is a person who likes to build and craft things with their hands and minds. It could be with electronics, 3d printers, art or just simply crafting with beads.

Board Game Night
📅 Friday, August 17 @ 7PM Facebook | Meetup

Join us for some of our favourite board games, or bring your own! Come on in and we’ll get you set up with a game and a group to play with as soon as there’s an opening. This event is open to anyone and the earlier you arrive the quicker you’ll get into a group playing a game.

Forge Founders: WEtech Peer Founders Group (RESCHEDULED to Wednesday September 17
📅 Wednesday, August 22 @ 5:30pm  Facebook | Meetup

Calling all founders, trailblazers and entrepreneurs! Forge Founders will be a bi-monthly networking experience for local founders to connect, learn, and share. Our first speaker, Darrel Laurendeau, Director of Information Technology for Ground Effects will be leading us with his best practices on creating ways to get your customers excited and engaged in ICT, and tactics to communicate with executives. Light food and refreshments will be served.

Border City Javascript: Diving into React.js
📅 Friday, August 24 @ 7PM Facebook | Meetup

React.js is easily one of the most popular JavaScript libraries for creating user interfaces.  Randy Topliffe demonstrates creating a simple React app with no build tools, transpilers or additional frameworks, so you can see the features React offers on its own. JavaScript novices will learn how they might try using React without needing to embrace a dozen new technologies at once,  and pros will get to see how many of the tools they take for granted are unnecessary for some applications. After this short talk, we’ll break to mingle and chat. We can discuss React with Randy, get to know each other, and get a feel for topics that would appeal to the community for future talks. If you have talk ideas, bring them up with Randy or Jeff and we can get something on the schedule – we can even help you workshop your talk and get you prepared to deliver it.

🤖 Saturday Workshop: Help Build the VEX Robot!
📅 Saturday, August 25 @ 11am-2pm Facebook | Meetup

With the help of the Windsor Essex Robotics Club, we’re going to assemble Hackforge’s VEX Robot. The VEX kit is the Classroom and Competition Super Kit. We’re welcoming the community to an introduction to VEX robotics by building their standard claw bot and practicing the basic VEX coding. We hope to have a functioning robot to learn off of so newcomers have the building blocks to be creative so they can further create a robot with custom tasks. A fun Saturday activity for both adults and kids alike who love robots!

Community Opportunities

Windsor/Essex Community Benefit Coalition – Web Developer

The Windsor/Essex Community Benefit Coalition is looking to design and develop a website to be a hub for information and activity on community benefits in our region. We do not require a custom construction and would prefer a CMS that enables easy updating and potentially multiple individuals posting updates. Some basic training for the staff person and community contributors would also be helpful.

For some inspiration www.communitybenefits.ca is the Toronto version of our coalition. Although our work does not cover the breadth of the Toronto group we will want to have multiple pages where reports and resources can be stored, activities documented and a blog where ongoing updates to the community can be maintained. We have already had a logo designed which can be provided for design purposes and matching.

As our group is hoping to quickly ramp up activities we are hoping to have a page up and running by September. We do have funding to support this project but as a community group our resources constrained.


A Sad Goodbye to Mark Boscariol


We at Hackforge are deeply saddened to hear the news of Mark Boscariol passing away this morning.
 
Mark was a huge advocate of our mission. Hackforge wouldn’t exist as it is today without the support, vision and generosity of Mark. Similar to the current project of assisting Bike Windsor Essex with a new space in the Snack-BBQ building, Mark brought Hackforge into its current space at 255 Ouellette Ave when we were required to leave the Windsor Public Library.
 
After supporting us through our move, Mark continued to show his support by being involved in our programming, sponsoring food and beverages at our events and donating his own equipment and fixtures to our space.
 
Outside of his enormous contribution to our community, Mark was energetic, driven and passionate about our city. It’s difficult to accept the loss of someone so important to the larger community of Windsor.
 
We offer our deepest condolences to Mark’s family, he will be truly missed by all of us.

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