- 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 we 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?
- Toronto is heading to Calgary!
Our next hacking event as part of HackDays is happening in Calgary. We just wrapped up our Waterloo Hackathon and are looking forward to meeting Calgary developers in June. If you are not familiar with our hackathons: we organize monthly hacking events that bring together the brightest developers across Canada. We work together in a day, in a space to hack and create awesome applications using local APIs. We select local APIs, make them available to participating developers with expert guidance from the API providers and an environment where you are going to be excited about hacking and creating! The hack day is also a competition: as a developer you will compete for great prizes and glory! And this is all done in a day! So if this is up your alley, join us in Calgary:
Date: Saturday June 4th, 2011 in Calgary!
Time: 9 AM to 6 PM
Registration: All developers are welcome to register. Registration fee is $10.00. Your registration includes breakfast, lunch, snacks and drinks + the chance to meet other awesome developers and companies.
APIs: If you know of a local company with a fantastic API you would like to work with, please let them know about HackCGY drop us an email would love to hear from you.
Sponsors: HackCGY is brought to you by our incredible sponsors including: Freshbooks, iStockPhoto, TinEye and YellowPages. We are of course still looking for additional sponsors to make HackCGY the best it can be, so please drop us an email if you are interested in being a sponsor.
We have held HackDays in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Waterloo but if this is your first time attending our hack events, here is what to expect and how to prepare. We are looking forward to welcoming you all in Calgary.
- HackWaterloo: ready? set? go!
Did you know that we organize monthly hack events across Canada? We just wrapped up our latest hackathon in Ottawa and it was a blast. Developers from Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto built some great applications. We had an awesome time so when Ilya Grigorik, PostRank’s CTO, offered to host the next hackathon, we glady accepted! So hackers, developers and awesome people: join us in Waterloo on Saturday April 9th, 2011 for HackWaterloo.
When: Saturday April 9th, 2011
Where: PostRank’s Headquarters (uptown Waterloo)
Time: 9 AM to 6 PM
- Small Business Forum 2010
Are you ready for Toronto’s entrepreneurial event of the year?
Join Chris O’Neill of Google Canada, Austin Hill of Brudder Ventures, Leila Boujnane of Idée Inc., Nancy Peterson of Homestars, Darren Anderson of Vive Nano, Erin Bury of Sprouter, Mike McDerment of Freshbooks and many, many others at the Small Business Forum – Toronto’s entrepreneurial event of the year!
On October 19th, more than 2,000 entrepreneurs, prospective entrepreneurs and small business owners will attend Enterprise Toronto’s 10th annual Small Business Forum. This year’s theme – finding and retaining customers!
When: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 8:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Where: Metro Toronto Convention Centre
255 Front St W, Toronto, ON, Canada
- HackTO2: It is a wrap! Until next time.
Another successful HackTO has come and gone; we hope you had as much fun attending as we did hosting! There was so much talent packed into the ideeplex, I’m surprised zombies couldn’t smell the steaming brains from miles away.
Many of you have put your completed HackTO projects online, and I have included links to those projects here to share with the rest of the HackTO gang. If your project is missing from this post, please drop us a line and we’ll add it.
Nom Nom Nom Rank (Winner: First Place)
Using: Yellow Pages API, Google Weather API, and the Foursquare API
Description: Most work places in dense urban areas are surrounded by plenty of restaurants. With too many options, lunch decision paralysis is a very real problem. With “Nom Nom Nom Rank“, we rank the restaurants and determine your best choice based on predefined metrics such as weather, popularity and how busy the location is.
Note: Their domain was just registered, so the link may not work right away. Follow Nom Nom Nom Rank on Twitter
Fun Thing (Winner: Second Place)
By: Logan Aube
Using: Cadmus API
Description: Fun Thing is a Small Platformer that uses the Cadmus API to turn HackTO’s Twitter feed into a cool level of a game!
Note: After you click play you’ll probably need to click the screen again to get the controls working! Left, Right and Space to Jump. Catch the icons of your friends to invert the screen’s colours but also to gain points! If you stay on a tweet for too long it will start to fall.
wp-instapaywall (Winner: Third Place)
By: Mo Jangda
Using: Freshbooks API
Description: Mo has written up an awesome post about his project on his blog! In its simplest form, the plugin lets you paywall your blog posts and make money by charging readers for full access to them.
Jira (Honourable Mention)
Using: PixMatch API and ISBNdb API
Description: Jira is an iPhone application that allows you to upload a photo of a book cover and using the PixMatch API, return the ISBN and book cover of the book. Then by using the ISBNdb API, it returns the book title, author, publisher, and stores with prices. You can then select one of the stores and go directly to the website for purchase.
Note: Visit this project using your iPhone — requires the Quickpic application
Using: OANDA/FxTrade API
Description: Cash $oup! WTF? uses the HTML5 canvas and the Processing.js framework to draw floating organisms in a Primordial soup where each organism represents a currency exchange rate. The organisms grow and shrink in real time to reflect real time foreign exchange rates pulled from OANDA’s FxTrade API.
Note: The demo points to the development server so the rates being used are not current. The github repo is here.
Using: OANDA/FxTrade API
Description: currency_bot is a twitter bot announcing the value of one Canadian dollar in other currencies.
Description: 4square for media – check in for books, movies, music, etc.
By Brian Smith
Using: OANDA/FxTrade API and Freshbooks API
Description: Multi-currency time tracker is a tool which tracks time for billing in multiple currencies, then
submits it to Freshbooks.
Note: The Freshbooks functionality no longer works, but Brian will leave the OANDA stuff up as long as their API stays the same.
Using: OANDA/FxTrade API
Description: Trend-Blaster 3000 plots a currency’s value over the course of a year on a graph. By zooming in on sections of the graph and clicking on data points, New York Times articles for that time period are listed below. Using this information, it is possible to draw conclusions regarding the fluctuations in the currency.
Using: OANDA/FxTrade API, Yellw Pages API and Google Maps API
Description: Tyke Tycoon is a children’s game prototype for mobile touch screen devices. It lets kids track the money they find or receive (how much and where), shows them where the nearest bank is, and shows them how much their money is worth in various international currencies.
Note: The currency conversion has been removed from this project as it no longer connects to OANDA
Thanks to all the folks who submitted project information for this post. Once again, if we are missing your project info, please let us know!
We hope you enjoyed HackTO2, and keep on hackin’!
- HackTO: Second Edition
We have been busy planning the next HackTO. HackTO is a developer event, in Toronto, where we get to play with a variety of APIs and build applications we can brag about! The next HackTO is on Saturday September 25th and is almost sold out. If you don’t have a ticket, this is your last chance. We will be announcing the HackTO prizes for best built application next week so be sure to keep an ear open!
Many of you may be wondering what the API lineup is going to look like for this round. Well wonder no more; we’ve got six fabuloso APIs here to dirty your hands and spark your imagination. And we are very excited about the line up: freebase + image recognition anyone? ;-)
Each of the following APIs will be supported by a genuine, bona fide, electrified “rep” to answer any questions you may have and support your development efforts during HackTO.
Cadmus is a real-time service that manages your Twitter, FriendFeed and RSS streams. The API lets you sort your Twitter timeline by relevance. You can also see the entire conversation around a tweet, and any related tweets that have been made by your friends. Find top conversations from within your Twitter lists, and see trending topics specifically for lists and friends.
Get documentation for the Cadmus API
Freebase is an open, Creative Commons licensed repository of structured data containing information about 12 million real-world entities including people, places, films, books, events, business, and more. Use the API to access a graph database of about 400 million facts and connections between entities. Google just acquired Freebase so if you are not familiar with Freebase, this is your chance to become familiar before you start seeing this data goodness in your Google search results!
Get documentation for the Freebase API
FreshBooks supplies online billing services, allowing freelancers and small businesses manage their cashflow and get paid faster. The FreshBooks API allows 3rd party developers to expand and build on the FreshBooks platform. Access FreshBooks account data using HTTP and XML to create web and desktop applications that integrate with a FreshBooks account.
Get documentation for the FreshBooks API
OANDA provides Internet-based foreign exchange trading and currency information services. As one of the largest non-bank Futures Commission Merchants, it has access to one of the world’s largest historical, high frequency, filtered currency databases.
PixMatch is an image matching engine that allows you to perform large scale image comparisons – if you have been using TinEye then you are familiar with PixMatch. Identify exact image matches and modifications of a query image. For HackTO, the PixMatch API will be providing access to the Internet Archive’s Open Library collection of book covers. Start thinking image recognition + book covers!
Yellow Pages Group is Canada’s largest directory publisher. The API provides access to a large database of Canadian business content and allows direct streaming of local search content including video, photos, ad thumbs and more. Get geo-localized listings for map overlays and proximity search.
Get documentation for the YPG API
I hope that whets your appetite. Now eat your greens and start thinking about applications! In our next blog post we will point to a few ideas and implementations for the above APIs to get you going.
We are looking forward to welcoming you on Saturday September 25, 2010.
- Registration open for HackTO: Second edition
The location and sponsors are TBD, but we will be holding the event on Saturday September 25th somewhere in downtown Toronto.
If you’re planning to attend, we would love your advice on the following:
- What tech companies would you like to see providing APIs this time around?
- What sorts of APIs would you be interested in working with?
- Is there anything different you would like to see or do at this next HackTO?
There’s still lots to figure out, but our general schedule will look like this:
- 9:00 – Breakfast and introductions
- 9:30 – API presentation
- 10:15 – Open Planning
- 10:30 – Hacking setup and start
- Noon – Lunch
- 1:00 – Hacking
- 5:00 – Application presentation – 5 minutes for each presenter!
- 5:30 – Judging and prizes
- 6:00 – Off to nearby pub for celebrations!
Register soon, because space will be limited! Hope to see you in September.
- HackTO: Second edition
This past May, the Ideeplex hosted HackTO: an all-day hackathon for developers, startups and general techies.
The idea behind HackTO is to round up various APIs from local startups and make them available to local developers. Working in teams or solo, the developers compete to create the coolest application using one or more of the APIs made available. And just to make things interesting, they need to do this in just a few hours.
We loved hosting HackTO with CanPages, FreshBooks, OPENApps and PostRank. It’s amazing to see what can be accomplished in a few hours with a laptop, an internet connection, teamwork and coffee! We had some really cool apps come out at the end of the day, not to mention some great new connections and friendships.
In fact, the last HackTO event was such a success that we’re doing it all again. Soon. We’re thinking September. How does that work for you folks?
Date, location, prizes, and available APIs are all TBD at this point, but we just wanted you to know that the cogs of productivity are now officially spinning.
If you are a startup in the GTA with a cool API and would like to participate: please drop me a line at mstathopoulos (at) ideeinc.com. Or just say hi! Developers, we’ll let you know when a signup form is available. For now, feel free to join us on crowdvine!
Hope to see you all in September!
Update: Registration is now open
Image by totalaldo
- HackTO: API hacking in Toronto!
On Saturday May 15, Toronto’s finest hackers and developers gathered at the ideeplex in Toronto for some serious geekery at the first ever HackTO hack-a-thon.
The challenge? Build a sexy web application using any combination of open APIs made available by our fantastic sponsors: Canpages, Freshbooks, Idee, OPENapps and PostRank. Oh, and build it in UNDER FOUR HOURS.
The reward? Besides total geek-cred, the top three applications received either an iPad, a $500 gift certificate for the Apple store or a $250 gift certificate for Amazon. All applications developed remained property of their creators, of course… this event was for people-meeting and stuff-strutting!
As part of the HackTO schedule we decided to introduce an unconference component: developers put their application ideas up on a white board and specified if they were looking for a team member to work with, or if they were going “rogue” independently. We ended up with a pretty good combination of rogue developers and teams. A total of 13 applications were outlined on the board by 10:30, which was our coding start time.
Off to the races. Competition was stiff, coffee was flowing, laptops were clacking, and some creative work spaces began to sprout up…
Of course somewhere along the way we needed to break for food, although it was hard to tear some hackers away from their laptops just when they’d hit a groove! But two, three, or TEN slices of pizza later it was back to business.
Shortly after lunch, it was serious CRUNCH TIME. The only sounds to be heard were furious fingers flailing on keyboards, the clinking of coffee spoons, the crunching of carbs, and the occasional %#$@! For some, helmets were required gear for getting down to the nitty gritty.Buckle up, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
Several pints of blood, sweet and tears later, finishing touches were made and laptops were closed. Each team presented their awesome application to the crowd, and to our wonderful panel of judges whom we would like to thank from the bottom of our collective geeky hearts: Jonas Brandon, April Dunford and Joe Stump. Thanks, dudes!
There were so many great apps, it was hard to choose the winners. But without further ado, here is what the judges selected:
Honourable mention (for lolz)
Pick a topic and a city in Canada (e.g. dating in Toronto), then fill out a form to instantly assemble a web site complete with content, local business listings and advertising. Uses the CanPages API.
Honourable mention (Application by a sponsoring team)
Submit an image, and Soleil breaks it down into a grid of colour, then replaces each colour in the grid with a similarly-coloured image to create a mosaic version of the original image. Uses Idee’s Piximilar API.Submitted imageResult mosaic image!
Image Statter by Rida Al Barazi
Grab a set or feed of images, identify those images that come from the highest-ranking source (e.g. sources with many incoming/outgoing links or flagged as interesting), and extract the image colours to create colour templates. Get a pie-chart breakdown of how each colour is used proportionally within the image. Uses the PostRank and Piximilar APIs.
Third place (winner of the $250 Amazon gift certificate)
Submit any web site address with an RSS feed, or provide your Google Reader feeds to receive a list of suggested feeds based on your interests. Uses the PostRank API.
Second place (winner of the $500 Apple store certificate)
Take a photo with your iPhone or select a photo from your iPhone’s image gallery, and find visually similar images on the web (e.g. images with the same look, feel, colours, etc.). Uses the Piximilar API.
First place (winner of a 32GB iPad)
Submit a colour palette from colourlovers.com and retreive images that contain either all of the colours in that palette, or images matching individual colours in the palette. Click on your result images to find even more palette-inspired images. Uses the Piximilar API with colourlovers.com.Who doesn’t love colour?!
Congratulations to the winners, and a huge round of applause to everyone who participated in this very first hack-a-thon. It’s amazing what can be accomplished with great minds and a tight deadline!
It was great to meet you all, and we hope you had fun. If you are looking to connect with anyone that you met at HackTO, don’t forget that the names, faces and Twitter accounts of everyone at the event are available right here.
We are already excited about planning the next event, so we’ll see you again soon… keep hacking!
P.S. PostRank: here’s some love for you courtesy of Soleil!
- Attention technophiles and TinEye fans!
Hello, fellow nerds and geeks! If you:
a) looooove technology
b) are a STUDENT (proof required)
c) live in the Greater Toronto Area
Then you’re in luck! Because we’ve got two student tickets to meshU burning a hole in our collective pocket, and they’re up for grabs!
For those out of the loop, meshU is “…a one-day event of focused workshops on design, development and team management given by those who have earned their stripes in the startup game”. You will get to hear from–and hang out with–some pretty cool peeps in the technology arena.
The TinEye team is all about technology love, and the execution of great ideas. So if you’re interested in scoring a ticket for the big day on May 17th, drop us a line and tell us why you want to go. What tools and technologies are you into? What cool projects are you working on? What are your plans for world domination?
The two most interesting responses (as judged by our staff of robots) will each receive one ticket. We will be accepting entries until Wednesday May 5th at midnight, EST. Winners will be announced the following day! Remember, you must be a student to use these tickets, and meshU will ask for identification.
Oh, and this probably goes without saying, but meshU is a small event and tickets sold out… so if you won’t be able to make it to Toronto for the 17th yourself, please be a dear and wait for the next TinEye giveaway. Thanks!