A Home for Windsor's Tech Community

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.

July at Hackforge

🛠👩‍🎨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: Pen/Paper RPGs
Friday, July 13 @ 7PM Facebook Meetup

Curious about pen and paper roleplaying games? Familiar but want to try something new? Sign up for a one-session collaborative storytelling game. Registration is necessary to ensure yourself a seat, but is open to anyone.

💻 Maker Workshop: CAD in Fusion 360
Saturday, July 14 @ 12PM Facebook Meetup

Please join us for a Maker Workshop covering Fusion 360. We’ll cover some basic techniques on sketching and some modifications to solids. To participate just bring your laptop with Fusion 360 installed and updated. You can download a free 30-day trial of Fusion 360 here.

☁ AWS Users Group: Summer Fun – Planning our Fall Project!
Monday, July 16 @ 7PM Facebook | Meetup 

Coming this fall, we are going to be starting a fun project, involving many different areas of AWS!  On July 16th, we’ll reveal the project, and show off some of the pieces we’ll be putting together. Everyone will be involved in building a part of the solution, so come on out and find out what’s in store!

🗺 🖥 Museum Technology Users Group: Telling Stories with Maps
Tuesday, July 24 @ 7PM Facebook | Meetup

The Museum Technology User Group (MTUG), co-organized with the South Western Ontario Heritage Council (SWOHC) is a meet-up for arts, culture and heritage sector workers who would like to learn more about technology and its applications in galleries, libraries, archives, museums, and heritage organizations. The group will meet to discuss tools and how to use them, what resources are available and even explore hands-on activities.

This month, we’ll be exploring learning how to tell stories with maps! We’ll go over web mapping tools such as Google Fusion Tables and CARTO and have a hands-on activity using History Pin.

🔮Software Guild: Town Hall
Wednesday, July 25 @ 7PM Facebook | Meetup

Software Guild needs a new direction and a new focus. If you want to get involved in deciding the direction our community of programmers takes – the tech we focus on, the types of events we have – join us.

TechBoost Workshops in July

TechBoost: Cyber Security for Small Business
Thursday, July 12 @ 5:30pm Register | Facebook
Essex County Library – LaSalle Branch, 5950 Malden Rd, Windsor, Ontario

Do you worry that your business is not as secure as it could be? Do you need to hire a security consultant and want to know what to ask for? Do you want to be prepared in the event of a security breach? By the end of this workshop, you’ll understand what parts of your business you need to protect, what are the risks and and threats, and how to identify and monitor tools to address these threats. You’ll come away with some steps you can take to make your business more secure.

TechBoost: Office Automation with Google Apps 
Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 5:30pm Register | Facebook
Libro Community Centre and Library, 1925 South Middle Road,  South Woodslee, Ontario

Do you need a more efficient and affordable way to manage your business’s files, calendar, and customers? Do you need flexible tools to collaborate with your team in real-time? Do you want to be able to access your company’s tools and data anywhere, anytime and on any device? This workshop, part of the TechBoost Program, is for owners or employees of small business who want to know what G-Suite is, what tools and products are available and ways you can utilize the best ones to automate and enhance your business processes.

TechBoost: Up and Running with Shopify
Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 5:30pm Register | Facebook
Essex County Library – LaSalle Branch, 5950 Malden Rd, Windsor, Ontario

Does the idea of setting up your online store seem way too time-consuming? Are you worried you might not set up your online store correctly? Do you want a rundown of how to get your store up and running and how to maximize the features available on Shopify? By the end of this workshop, you’ll have your Shopify account set up and know how to choose a theme, customize your theme, add products and manage shipping.

Building Effective Websites with WordPress
Thursday, July 19, 20185:30pm Register | Facebook
Essex County Library – LaSalle Branch, 5950 Malden Rd, Windsor, Ontario

Do you need to create a website for your business, but not sure what platform or service to use? Have you heard about WordPress, or even tried it and feel overwhelmed by what’s involved? Do you have an out-of-date website and want to update it with a fresh and elegant design? This workshop will help you to determine what you want a website to do for your business. It will also explore the options to build it yourself or to engage professionals.

Facebook Marketing 101 for Business
Wednesday, July 255:30pm Register | Facebook
Essex County Library – LaSalle Branch, 5950 Malden Rd, Windsor, Ontario

Not sure what to be posting on Facebook? Or further… How to create that content? Looking for an easy way to find clients online? By the end of this workshop, participants will have a series of content ideas for their own social media marketing, the tools to create this content and a clear plan on how to utilize Facebook to grow their business and clientele.
TechBoost: The Cloud: Working Smarter, Not Harder
Thursday, July 26, 2018 @ 5:30pm Register | Facebook
Essex County Library – LaSalle Branch, 5950 Malden Rd, Windsor, Ontario

What’s available for small business and how do I choose?

Straight Outta the Cloud! Update your numbers, log your inventory, track your staff hours, pay your bills and so much more.  Cloud systems are rapidly expanding and giving small business owners back their time to work ON their business and NOT IN their business.  By the end of this workshop, participants will understand what the tech world has to offer not only their accounting but apps and integrations that are game changers for small business owners.


LifeGears Academy Summer Camps @ Hackforge

Hackforge is excited to partner with Life Gears Academy this summer to offer three summer camps in July.


Girl STEMpowerment (Grade 5 to 8)
July 16 to 20

Life Skills: Mindfulness, Conflict Management, and Confidence

This camp works to empower young women to realize their potential and to discuss their presence in STEM fields. This is designed for anyone who identifies as a girl and who wants to come together with other girls to discuss ways that they can make a difference. Topics include but are not limited to careers in STEM, medicine, environment, chemistry, engineering, and animals.

Innovative Designers (Grades 4 to 6)
July 23 to 27

Life Skills: Problem Solving, Creative thinking, and Giving and Receiving Feedback.

Campers will learn about innovative ideas and discoveries made in STEM fields while learning what it takes to make inventions of their own. This camp will get kids thinking about what problems exist in the world and how they could use discoveries in STEM to make improvements. Topics include but are not limited to Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering, building and design, and technology.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Team  (Grade 4 to 6)
July 30 to August 3

Life Skills: Critical Thinking, Problem solving, and Teamwork.

This camp will offer hands-on activities in various STEM topics from Biology/ Living things to Programming as well as engineering design challenges and adding/ subtracting. Topics include but are not limited to various types of engineering, habitats and species, math and riddles, chemistry, and building and design.

For more information, check out www.lifegears.org or email us at info@hackf.org.

Register here: https://bit.ly/2pQ1KPb

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