Art Hackathon!

I wrapped up 2013 with a robotics hackathon which was incredibly exciting and I am starting the year with an art hackathon, the Gen Art Hackathon! I am really excited to be helping organize and support this next hackathon which is the brain child of my friend Xavier Snelgrove.

What is the Gen Art Hack: for starters, Gen Art or Generative Art (thanks Wikipedia!) refers to art that in whole or in part has been created with the use of an autonomous system. In this case a computer. Instead of using brush strokes we will be using algorithms to create masterpieces to share with the world.

The hackathon will be bringing together programmers interested in visual design and arts to play with new dynamic web technologies to create art. It will be a fast-paced lively environment where everyone is encouraged to have fun, collaborate and create.

And this little hackathon is already sold out! We have a waiting list if you are interested in being added to the wait list.

Our plan is very simple: the hackathon is a single day hackathon but we will get together on Friday to meet each other, learn what we don’t know in a series of workshops and figure out what we will be building on Saturday.

The Plan

We’ll run workshops on Friday, introducing you to the APIs (Canvas, WebGL, etc.) if you haven’t used them yet. You will be expected to have at least some basic programming knowledge. The next morning, the hackathon starts: we provide food and drink, fueling you while you create.

When and Where

The Gen Art Hackathon is taking place in the TinEye HQ in Toronto. Friday February 15th and Saturday February 16th.

Workshops start at 7 PM on Friday, February 15th. These will be a great place to meet your fellow hackers and artists, and brush up on your coding skills. The next morning, Saturday, February 16th at 10 AM, the hackathon begins. We hack all day, have dinner, and then at 7 PM have a public art opening, and you can show off your works.

What you can do ahead of the hackathon?

Connect with other hackers, check out the hackathon resources and brush up on your skills, start thinking about what you may build. Visit Form Follows Function and play with some of the gen art examples:

planting trees

 Another great resource has been put together by Mikael Hvidtfeldt Christensen, a physicist with a passion for computational chemistry, generative art, and complex systems in general.

We can’t wait to see you on February 15th!

Did somebody say hardware? Hardware hackathon in Toronto.

Love a hardware hackathon? I am sure you do! Haven’t you heard hardware is the next big thing? This internet of things is for realz! Have you ordered you new Raspberry Pi yet?

Hardware hackathons: it is about designing and building something. So if you are interested in learning about hardware, designing something of your own and building it in a weekend then the Get Your Bot on is your hackathon.

As most you know I am a big fan of hackathons, and this one is no different except it is all hardware.

Get Your Bot On will bring together software and hardware hackers, makers, designers, geeks, hardware and software partners, mentors, judges and DIY curious.

Get Your Bot On will be held in the Mozilla offices; we will take care of all your refueling needs and more during the weekend and of course will provide all the hardware you will need to build your robot.

Here is everything you need to know:

  • This is a weekend hackathon so you will have plenty of time to build something, preferably a robot that moves. But if you have your heart set on building an articulated panda, well you can do that too
  • We will provide everything you need to build your robot or complete your project so there is no need for you to worry about any hardware. If you have special requests, please get in touch and we will see how we can help you.
  • We will provide mentors to guide you and answer all your questions while you are building
  • We will feed you and entertain you, but to win our prizes, you will need to impress our judges with your awesome creation.

Details: Friday November 23 to Sunday November 25, 2012

  • Friday, Nov. 23. 6:30pm – 9pm – at TinEye, 223 Queen St E, Toronto
    • meet your fellow hackers
    • find teammates
    • check out the kit
    • share project ideas
    • have a craft beer, grilled cheese sandwich, snacks and deserts!
  • Saturday, Nov. 24. 10am – 10pm - at Mozilla, 366 Adelaide St W, Suite 500, Toronto
    • get organized and start building
    • Build! Build! Build!
  • Sunday, Nov. 25. 10am – 4pm - at Mozilla, 366 Adelaide St W, Suite 500, Toronto
    • finish your robot
    • show it off at 1pm to our select judges
    • win a prize
    • join us for a post robo drink

How you can get involved:

- Register to attend. Registration is now open but space is limited, so don’t procrastinate if you want us to hold a spot for you.

- Know any sponsors? TinEye is proud to be a sponsor but the hackathon is looking for more sponsors to make this an awesome event. You can become a sponsor today, pick a sponsorship level you are comfortable with and help support this hackathon. If can’s sponsor but you know anyone who can help us offset the costs of the hackathon, please get in touch.

- Help us offset the cost of hardware by simply sponsoring some hardware. You can support our hardware acquisitions from as little as $1. Sponsor hardware now.

Come Get Your Bot On it is after all a hardware renaissance!

[Photograph (c) C.M. Keiner]

Toronto GirlGeek: the algorithms edition!

I am really excited to be speaking at the next Toronto Girl Geek evening. I remember attending one of the first Girl Geek dinners in London in 2005. It was organized by Sarah Blow, the founder of Girl Geeks. That evening was pretty much magical: I met Robert Scobble and Maryam Scobble. I also met Hugh MacLeod, Ben Metcalfe, Henriette Weber Andersen and a lot of awesome attendees whose names I can no longer recall unfortunately! It was a surprising evening, full of technology discussions, blogging, changing the world conversations and great wine – I vaguely remember a wine sponsorship there! Next week the Toronto Girl Geek evening is all about Algorithms. And that’s of course something I am super excited about!

Not only am I speaking but TinEye will be hosting in our offices. I would suggest that you get a ticket, but I hear it is sold out! Can’t believe that there are that many people interested in hearing about algorithms!

Inspire more women and girls into a career in science, engineering or technology by supporting Girl Geek Dinners. Perhaps your company could host the next one?

Pre to postmortem: the inside story of the death of Palm and webOS

The Verge has an awesome story about Palm. God I love (loved?) Palm.


That’s the number of months it took Palm, Inc. to go from the darling of International CES 2009 to a mere shadow of itself, a nearly anonymous division inside the HP machine without a hardware program and without the confidence of its owners. Thirty-one months is just barely longer than a typical American mobile phone contract.

They didn’t know there were limits on what men could do

The 1924 Everest expedition team, with (rear left and second left) Sandy Irvine and George Mallory, whose deaths left an enduring mystery. Photograph: The Times/Camera Press Digital

Into the silence is a magnificent account of the British assaults on Everest in the 1920s puts Mallory’s adventures in the context of war and imperialism. It took 12 years to research and write.

Changing the ratio: we won’t stop until we change the ratio.

Seriously. I know. It is a million times better to be starting and running a software company then talking about women in technology. Totally agreed! Speaking like someone who actually loves running her software firm! But… that said, it is hard not to point out where things can be improved in my community. And to be told to just shut up, well that’s a bit rude don’t you think?

So what’s all the fuss about? Confoo which bills itself as bringing under one roof PHP Québec, Montréal-Python, Montreal.rb, Montreal Jug, W3Qc, OWASP Montréal, Android Montreal and local web developers. Confoo has 109 speakers in total. 5 of them are women. 5. It is not a typo. Earlier in the day they had 105 speakers.

This is not the first year of the conference, nor the first time, the community has pointed out the lack of women: same ratio for 2011, and 2010.

Now: what I would really like to do is open a dialog and see how our community can help confoo, because it obviously needs the help and because we care. But first, we need to have a dialog:

Because you know, pointing out an issue makes me a sexist, closed minded and disrespectful person.

Oh yeah, now we are really talking about the issue at hand. My followers are thoroughly impressed. But perhaps not what was intended!

It never hurts to restate the obvious.

Unless of course …

Well, if by IT feminist crusaders Ms. Anna Filina is referring to CEOs of software firms and founders, then I am guilty, and if by IT we are talking about the software industry, then guilty again! Darn you got me!

But seriously: let’s grab a coffee and talk about how we can change the ratio. And no, it has nothing to do with the toys you play with when you are a child. There are so many awesome people working at changing the ratio (and running software firms) and all we need is first a dialog, then an action plan. Let’s talk. Let’s change. And let’s not call each other names. That’s just not NICE and the internet is so all kinds of nice. kthxbai!

Sorry, got to get back to running a software firm.

Chics in Tech. Girls in Tech. Ladies. Women.

There can never be too many girls in tech, so join Tech Chics YYZ for an evening to connect with other female entrepreneurs like you. Tech Chics YYZ is a Toronto based network for emerging and established female entrepreneurs in mobile, web and software platforms. 

The first get together of Tech Chics YYZ is happening On Match 7th. Registration is open and this is a free event. The two hours event promises to be filled with “50,000 foot wisdom, perspective, proven expertise and tactical advice from those who’ve done it and are in the process of.”  Geared towards high caliber tech founders, CTOs, investors and promising young start-ups, this event is intended to foster collaboration, mentoring and partnerships.

So there you go!