A Home for Windsor's Tech Community

Community Satisfaction Survey

This survey is intended to take the pulse of Hackforge – to get a sense of how you feel the organization is (or isn’t) meeting your needs. It asks about your experiences at recent events, and invites suggestions for future programming. It should take fewer than five minutes to complete.

Your responses are completely anonymous, and will be used to help steer our future. Please be honest in your feedback, and keep in mind that we are always open to your input, even when there isn’t an official survey.

April’s Message from the Chair

Big news first: After three years and change as a virtual organization, Hackforge now has a physical address again. Hackforge events can now be held at the Parallel 42 offices in the University of Windsor’s downtown Computer Science building. We’re planning to continue to offer programming via the Internet, but some of our future events will be hybrid, starting later this month with Border City Data and Winfosec events happening online and in meatspace. We’ll also have some events that are in-person only, like the video game swap meet that’s coming up. I’m really looking forward to hanging out with Hackforgers again, so I hope you’ll consider attending one of our April events in person!

— Doug Sartori, Chair of the Hackforge Board of Directors

April 2023 at Hackforge

Border City Data: Working with Climate Data

Monday, April 17th @ 6pm Hybrid

The Canadian government publishes climate data from thousands of individual weather stations going back decades. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to access for certain scenarios – particularly when you’re interested in a geography wider than a single station.

In this session Doug Sartori demonstrates a Python solution to access climate data in bulk and store it in a database table for analysis or visualization. Everyone is welcome and there is no cost to attend this hybrid event.

Windsor AWS User Group: AWS Cloud FinOps

Wednesday, April 19th @ 7pm Online Only

FinOps, AKA “how to manage your cloud costs and have all teams take ownership of their cloud usage.” It’s a cultural practice that applies to developers, engineers, architects, and finance teams. Let’s learn how to master this important discipline!

Featuring guest speaker and Amazon Web Services Technical Account Manager Rick Triana.

Windsor Hackforge Video Game Swap

Saturday, April 22nd @ 7pm In Person Only

Are you looking to part with some old games, or hunting for some nostalgia? Perhaps you’re just interested in meeting like-minded folks and playing a few casual rounds of Jet Moto? Either way, we want you to come out to the Windsor Hackforge Video Game Swap!

All games and systems are welcome. We’ll have a couple of consoles set up for people to play and test games on, and attendees are also welcome to bring their own consoles.

This event is happening at our new HQ (300 Ouellette Ave, Suite 210) on Saturday, April 22 from 1 – 4pm. It is completely free and open to everyone, but there are a few ground rules:

  1. While straight swaps are encouraged, sales are allowed. However, this event isn’t intended as a money-maker for anyone. Please keep this in mind.
  2. Hackforge is not mediating any sales or swaps. This is entirely peer-to-peer, and we expect everyone to behave civilly.
  3. Don’t be a jerk.
  4. If you are a jerk, you’ll be asked to leave.
  5. Play nice and share the consoles.
  6. Attendees under 18 must be accompanied by a guardian
  7. Please respect Hackforge’s facilities and volunteers.

Winfosec – OWASP Top 10: Security Misconfiguration

Friday, April 28th @ 7pm Hybrid

We’re now halfway through the OWASP top 10! Attend to learn about number 5 of the list: Security misconfiguration.

Modern software is highly configurable, making this security threat more and more common. Ensuring that all security settings are properly enabled (or even enabled at all) can greatly reduce threats to your system or application. Join this free training to learn more – physical and virtual attendance options available!

You can also check out past Winfosec events on the Hackforge Youtube channel.

Newspaper Data Mining Challenge

A collage of images. On the far left is a photograph of an old, yellowed, and slightly damaged copy of "The Kingsville Reporter" newspaper. In the centre is a recent photograph of a roll of microfilm, with a hadnwritten note stating "Essex Free Press / 04, 11, 18, 25, 2007" underneath it. The note is written on letterhead from the Ontario Community Newspaper Association. On the right is a set of overlapping digital newspaper scans in black and white. The quality of the scans varies, and only one title can be made out: "The Essex Free Press."

The University of Windsor’s Leddy Library and Academic Data Centre has partnered with the Essex County Library System and Hackforge to promote a data mining challenge using digitized local newspapers.

Papers dating as far back as 1982 have been made available as OCR (Optical Character Recognition) data, allowing users to query 60 years of local history. A Notebook that walks users through the basic process of accessing and querying the data has also been made available.

Leddy Library is inviting the community to come up with their own ways to use this important and extensive data collection. Interested parties can submit ideas or completed code that could potentially be used on the thousands of pages of newspapers that have been digitized.

If you have questions about this challenge, contact libdata@uwindsor.ca.

March 2023 at Hackforge

Border City Data: Data Mining Essex County’s Rich Newspaper History

Monday, March 6th @ 6pm | 5950 Malden Road (Lasalle Branch of the Essex County Library)
Facebook | Linkedin | Meetup

Text collections and textual analysis offer a unique and largely untapped combination for applying data mining techniques and computational analysis to generate new insights into the past. This is particularly true for newspaper collections.

Newspaper pages typically have eight times the amount of text that appears on a book page, and a modest weekly newspaper can represent many thousands of pages of local content for even the smallest of communities.The Leddy Library at the University of Windsor has been digitizing local newspapers with partners for over a decade, including the Amherstburg Echo, the Essex Free Press, and the Border Cities Star. With the help of the Essex County Library System, this session kicks off a month-long event to encourage the use of digitized newspapers for data mining and text analysis. Participants in the entire program are eligible for one of ten $50 Amazon gift cards and a guide to the newspapers that have recorded the history of our region.

This free, in-person event will provide background on the digitization process and the plan for the month ahead. Hope to see you there!

Location: Program Room of the LaSalle Branch of the Essex County Library (inside the LaSalle Civic Centre at 5950 Malden Road)

OSM Windosr-Essex Explores MapRoulette

Thursday, March 16th @ 6pm
Facebook | Linkedin | Meetup | Register

This month we’ve pulled MapRoulette as our highlight from the never-ending list of OpenStreetMap tools. In this 60(ish) minute session, we’ll take an overview of how MapRoulette works, followed by a discussion on how we can use it to improve OSM data in Windsor-Essex. Come with ideas for local data points that can use some updating!

This event is free and everyone is welcome. While an OSM account and some experience with the platform is recommended, neither is required. Register via Zoom and we’ll see you on Thursday, March 16th at 6pm.

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