A Home for Windsor's Tech Community

August 2022 at Hackforge

August 3, 2022

by Lauren Hedges in Events, News

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

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

July 14, 2022

by Lauren Hedges in C3 Tech, News

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

July 4, 2022

by Lauren Hedges in News

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.

OTIL Sponsors C3Tech!

April 7, 2022

by Lauren Hedges in C3 Tech

C3Tech would like to thank the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab (OTIL) for their generous support of our project!

Joining The City of Windsor Bicycle Committee, CWATS, and Parallel 42 Systems, OTIL is coming on board as our Official Tourism Partner through their Tourism + Tech initiative.

OTIL is a non-profit initiative created to find, foster, and support new tourism ideas, experiences, and partnerships, with a focus on collaborations between the tourism and tech sectors. Founded in 2018, they now offer mentorships and grants to tourism entrepreneurs in Ontario and British Columbia. OTIL is also a C3Tech sister project under the Hackforge umbrella.

We are extremely excited to have them on board, and will be using their generous contribution to fund project administration and for hackathon prizes – stay tuned for more on that!

C3Tech Cycling Hackathon Event Schedule

April 1, 2022

by Lauren Hedges in C3 Tech, Events, Hackathon

As the next step in our C3Tech Initiative, Hackforge, in partnership with The City of Windsor Bicycle Committee, CWATS, and Parallel 42 Systems, is hosting a hackathon focused on extending and improving the features and functionality of WindsorEssexCycling.ca
Participation is free and open to anyone interested, including cyclists, project managers, designers, and developers of all experience levels. Join as a team or individual, and work on your own idea, or one of our community suggestions.
The C3Tech Cycling Hackathon will run for five weeks, with an official kickoff on April 1st, and a closing event on June 4th. Throughout that time, participants will have the chance to participate in weekly events to learn more about design and software development. There will also be access to mentors in various fields and disciplines to provide expert advice. Participants are welcome to collaborate with their teammates using their preferred method (in-person, Zoom, Discord, etc.)
Below is the full schedule of events. Please check back often in case of changes (participants will be notified of any schedule changes via email)
Friday, April 29Pre-Hackathon Social

Meet judges, mentors, and other participants in this casual get-together

5:30 – 7:30 pmMaiden Lane Wine & Spirits (494 Pelissier Ave, Windsor)
Sunday, May 1Hackathon Kickoff

Featuring a roundtable comprised of transportation activists, cyclists, and municipal representatives, this event will help to set the stage for why C3Tech is happening and what we’re hoping this hackathon can help achieve. Learn more about the community-generated ideas for WindsorEssexCycling.ca and get pumped up to help solve local cycling problems!

1 – 3 pmVirtual – Zoom
Saturday, May 7Jane’s Walk Intro to Micro-Mapping Workshop

Learn where OSM data comes from and improve the data available about Ford City in this free workshop (open to hackathon participants and non-participants alike) Visit WindsorJanesWalk.ca for more information

3 – 5 pmMeet Outside of City Cyclery (1008 Drouillard Rd, Windsor)
Sunday, May 8Week 1 Gathering: Share Your Plans

Discuss your idea and approach with judges, mentors, and other participants. Receive feedback and advice, ask questions, and get to know other people involved in the event! (attendance at this event is voluntary but encouraged)

2 – 3:30 pmVirtual – Zoom
Saturday, May 14Community Ride in Partnership with Bike Windsor-Essex

Take a break from coding and engage in the activity we’re all here to support! Join Bike Windsor-Essex for a casual and leisurely ride around Kingsville (please bring your own bike and proper safety equipment)

10 am – 12 pmCarnegie Visitor Centre (28 Division St. S, Kingsville)
Sunday, May 15Week 2 Gathering: TBA

(attendance at this event is voluntary but encouraged)

2 – 3:30 pmVirtual – Zoom
Sunday, May 22Week 3 Gathering: Wrapping Up A Project

Hear from a professional developer about the steps involved in properly wrapping up a project, including testing, debugging, and releasing, then ask for advice on your project (attendance at this event is voluntary but encouraged)

2 – 3:30 pmVirtual – Zoom
Sunday, May 29Week 4 Gathering: Last Chance for Feedback

In the last weekly gathering, share your project once again with mentors, judges, and other participants to receive feedback on last-minute tweaks (attendance at this event is voluntary but encouraged)

2 – 3:30 pmVirtual – Zoom
Saturday, June 4Hackathon Close

During this event each team/participants will have a chance to show off their work and to explain how it makes cycling in Windsor-Essex safer, easier, and/or more enjoyable. Judges will consider each submission and confer with each other before announcing the winners at the end.(If local guidelines allow, this event will be held in-person, with the option for participants to join virtually. Stay tuned for more information)

1 – 3pm


Virtual – Zoom

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