A Home for Windsor's Tech Community


Hackforge at Open Streets Windsor!

On Sunday, September 18th Hackforge will be participating in the city’s favourite street fair, Open Streets Windsor. This event, now in its seventh year, will be closing 8km of roadway between Sandwich Town and Ford City. With vehicular traffic prohibited, pedestrians, cyclists, and rollerbladers will take over!

In addition to promoting active transportation and healthy living, Open Streets helps to foster a sense of community. All along the route attendees will find booths and activities from various local businesses and organizations.

Hackforge will be located in the Healthy Communities Hub at the corner of Riverside and Caron. As part of our C3Tech initiative, we’ll be gathering community insight into the features of an ideal cycling route – the results of which will directly influence the routing algorithm for WindsorEssexCycling.ca. We’ll also have a sample of the routing system – a result of our last Hackathon! – available for everyone to test out.

Looking forward to seeing the city in the streets between 10 am 2 pm on September 18th!


Hackforge AGM – Monday, September 12

The 2022 Hackforge Annual General Meeting will be held on Monday, September 12th from 6 – 8pm. Hackforge members are invited to attend in-person or virtually via Zoom.

  • To join in-person, come to the Parallel 42 Systems offices, located at 500 Ouellette Ave,] Suite 907, on the evening of September 12th.

This meeting is an opportunity to learn what Hackforge has been up to, and what our future plans are. We will also be electing members to the Board of Directors.

Director positions are open to anyone who:

  • Meets the Hackforge voting member eligibility requirements:
    • is a resident of Canada
    • is at least eighteen (18) years of age
    • has, in the opinion of the Managing Director, a genuine interest in the objectives Hackforge and whose application for Membership has been approved by the Managing Director
  • Is not an employee of Hackforge; and
  • Is otherwise legally competent to conduct business and enter contracts under the laws of Canada and its provinces;
  • Is over the age of eighteen (18);
  • Becomes eligible by resolution of the membership or Board

Directors hold office for a term of 3 years. Any director who has held their position for 2 consecutive terms is ineligible to run this year.

All members who attend the AGM both in-person and virtually are entitled to one (1) vote, provided they are present at the time the vote takes place. The election will use a secret, ranked ballot, and the candidates with the largest number of votes will fill the vacancies.

Please note that Directors receive no remuneration for acting as such and no Director shall directly or indirectly receive any profit from her position. Directors may receive reasonable compensation for expenses incurred by them in the normal course of their duties.

Nominations will come from the floor the night of the AGM.

Questions? Reach out to Lauren@hackf.org


August 2022 at Hackforge

Online Watch Party: Men in Black: International
Friday, July 5th @ 8PM
Discord

Released in 2019, Men in Black: International is the fourth installment in the Men in Black franchise. In this version, Liam Neeson, Chris Hemsworth, and Tessa Thompson work to root out a mole in the MIB organization while at the same time managing intergalactic politics.

Join our discord server and download Teleparty to take part. Please note that all participants are required to have their own streaming subscription service. More details on joining a watch party.


OSM Windsor-Essex: Street Complete Group Quest
Thursday, August 11th @ 6PM
Ottawa St at Elsmere Ave
Meetup | Facebook | Linkedin

The simplest way to get started with OpenStreetMap contributions! Meet up with OSM Windsor-Essex on Monday, August 15th and we’ll work together on improving local geodata using a free and easy-to-use Android application. This event does not require any OSM knowledge, but it does require:

This event will be outdoors and does involve a few kilometers of slow-paced walking. Please dress appropriately for the weather and bring water. This is a learning opportunity for everyone, so we’ll be moving at a comfortable pace both physically and technologically!

Meeting Location: Ottawa St at Elsmere Avenue, in front of USpy (871 Ottawa St)
Meeting Time: 6 pm
In case of inclement weather, event will be postponed. Stay tuned to our socials and event pages for updates!

Any questions, please reach out to Lauren@hackf.org


Border City Data: Building a Community Data Warehouse
Tuesday, August 16th @ 6PM
Meetup | Facebook | Linkedin | Register

A Data Warehouse combines data from disparate sources into one repository, from which analysts can generate reports and draw conclusions. DWs are an extremely valuable tool for anyone needing to consolidate information and develop insights, but pulling them off is often a challenge.

In this free, one-hour lecture, Doug Sartori walks through the work he did with Parallel 42 Systems to design and develop a warehouse of community data for the United Way Windsor-Essex ProsperUs project.

Tune in to learn about the struggles encountered, how they were overcome, and the lessons learned for future iterations of this warehouse.

Everyone welcome, register via Zoom to receive the call link.


Hackforge 10 Year Anniversary
Monday, August 29th @ 6PM
The Thirsty Butler (1585 Wyandotte St E)
Meetup | Facebook | Linkedin

It’s already been ten years since Hackforge became incorporated as a registered non-profit! To celebrate this amazing milestone and everything we’ve done in the past decade, all current and former Hackforge volunteers, members, board members, speakers, supporters, and visitors are invited to join us at The Thirsty Butler (1585 Wyandotte St E) on Monday, August 29th.

This is a great way to relive your favourite Hackforge moments, and to ask questions about what Hackforge has planned for the future. Even if you haven’t attended an event in a while, we’d love to see you at this one!

Stop by between 6 and 9 pm for a casual hangout and reunion!


C3Tech Cyclist Survey Results

When Hackforge kicked off the C3Tech initiative in February 2022, one of our first goals was to learn about and engage with the cycling community in Windsor-Essex. To get this started, we released a short survey asking about why people cycle and what (if any) technology they use while doing so.

Of the 152 responses received, nearly 64% indicated that they cycle more than once a week, while 2% say they never cycle. (This isn’t a surprising outcome, since people who ride their bikes frequently are obviously more likely to respond to a survey about riding their bikes – but it’s still good to note.)

76% of respondents say the number one reason they ride their bike is for exercise or fun, while 22% ride mainly as a form of transportation.

As with most things in modern life, technology has invaded cycling. When it comes to planning and tracking their routes, 80% of our respondents use some type of application – mobile or otherwise.

The app that C3Tech aims to develop, then, is targeted towards that 80% who like to have technology as part of their routine. Since there’s no need to recreate the apps these riders are already using, what features should go in a Windsor-Essex cycling app?

Luckily, we asked that question, too!

Based on preliminary conversations with members of the cycling community, and armed with some knowledge of what is achievable within the 12-month span of this project, we suggested a few tools that might be created.

By far the most popular response was “Route suggestions based on safety,” with 129 votes, followed by “points of interest,” with 87 votes (each respondent was able to vote for as many of the 7 options as they wished).

We’ve taken this feedback to heart, and are currently working on building out WindsorEssexCycling.ca to consider safety when selecting routes.

In our Hackathon held this spring, one of the participating teams developed a solution that allows an administrator to set “No-Go Routes,” which the routing application will then avoid when creating a path between user-selected points. By taking dangerous roads and intersections out of the equation, the routes suggested by the application are inherently safer for all cyclists.

This proof-of-concept tool is influencing how the C3Tech Summer Intern adds considerations for route safety into our final product. We’re also launching a Route Advisory Committee to help us determine which road sections should be avoided completely, and which should only be used by experienced cyclists. Stay tuned for more news on safe cycling routes!


July 2022 Events

The OpenStreetMap Windsor-Essex Logo - a magnifying glass overlaid on a map of Essex County - rests on a teal background on the left side of the image.

On the right, teal text on a white background reads "OSM (openstreetmap) Windsor-Essex.

The black and white Hackforge hammer logo rests at the bottom centre of the image.

OpenStreetMap Windsor-Essex
Thursday, July 14 @ 6pm Facebook | Linkedin | Meetup | Register

To help support some of our new endeavours, Hackforge is starting up a new monthly meetup group!

OpenStreetMap Windsor-Essex will serve as a meeting place for anyone and everyone interested in cartography, data analysis, wayfinding, and more. As the group matures, we’ll help to make sure that the Windsor-Essex County region is accurately represented on OSM (and all of the sites and apps it feeds!), and will explore interesting ways we can use OSM data.

For this first meeting, we’re going to keep is casual. Attendees will have the chance to:

  • learn what OSM is
  • ask and answer questions
  • share any experience they already have with OSM
  • pitch ideas for future OSM-related activities and events

We’ll be meeting online for this one, and will discuss structure and scheduling for future sessions while we’re all together. Make sure to register in advance to receive the Zoom link!

If you’re unable to make this event, or would like more information, reach out to Lauren@hackf.org

A blue database design diagram is overlaid with the text "A Practical Guide to Database Design".

The black and white Hackforge hammer logo sits in the top left corner.

Border City Data: A Practical Guide to Database Design
Tuesday, July 19 @ 6pm Facebook | Linkedin | Meetup | Register

In this virtual, beginner-friendly session, Doug Sartori walks through the considerations and pitfalls of relational database design. Tune in to follow along and learn how to get started with designing databases!

This event is free to attend and open to all – register in advance to receive the link.

Snowflake Manufacturing
Thursday, July 28 @ 6pm Facebook | Linkedin | Meetup | Register

For their fist ever Hackforge event, leadership and advocacy organization Automate Canada is hosting Brent McPhail, CEO of Brave Control Solutions for a talk on “Snowflake Manufacturing.”

“Snowflake Manufacturing is not about how complex the product is or how many variations there are, it is actually about when those variations are introduced into the manufacturing process,” writes McPhail. “If a product is completely defined prior to the design of the machine to build it, then it is traditional manufacturing. If it continues to change after the machine has been fabricated, it is Snowflake Manufacturing.”

Register now for this free event to learn more about how McPhail and his team are overcoming this complicated automation challenge.


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