Author Archive

Free Vegan Dinners

by on Feb.14, 2013, under Uncategorized

For the last few months, I’ve prepared free vegan food for Hacklab on Tuesdays: Eggplant bhartas, spring rolls, tofu in spicy peanut sauce, boc choy in garlic sauce, curries…

Rice and curry

Thai Red Curry, Conconut Rice, and Regular Rice (Feb 12, 2013)

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Linden School Visits Hacklab

by on Feb.13, 2013, under Uncategorized

Two weeks ago hacklab was able to host students from the Linden School, a local all-girls school.

Soldering blinkies

Soldering blinkies

It was super awesome. They:

  • designed 3D objects in class, which we 3D printed for them in advance
  • soldered simple blinkies
  • saw 3D printers in action
  • saw hacklab’s different tools
  • learned how to pick locks (some)
  • used hacklab’s laser cutter (some)

Afterwards, some of the students described us as the best field trip they’ve ever gone on. More pictures follow!

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Overheard at Hacklab

by on May.10, 2012, under Uncategorized

Hacklab has an internal collection of quotes. I obtained permission from a number of people quoted so that I could publish some of the more awesome ones.

<_stillinbeta_>how do you function as a person without the page-up key?


<_stillinbeta_>I am not an IRL to IRC gateway!


Geordie: “Write documentation like a homicidal axe-wielding person is reading your code… Who knows where you live and is easily frustrated.”

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Toronto RepRap Users Meetup #3 = Great Success!

by on Mar.01, 2012, under Events

The third meetup of the Toronto RepRap User Group was a massive success!

Attendees of the third Toronto RepRap meetup look at a giant Mendel.

We had about 20 people show up, with about 5 RepRaps. Socrates from the Singularity Weblog (who previously did a post on Hacklab) kindly filmed our talks and took pictures!

We had a few short talks by Lance, Adam, Chris, Matt, and Andre which you can watch online (part 1, part 2, part 3). The speakers and topics were:

Thanks again to hacklab for hosting us! Our next meetup will be on March 26th, again the last Monday of the month (can we make this a consistent thing? Maybe!). Since things were starting to get a bit cramped at hacklab, between all of us and the printers, Site 3 will generously be hosting the next meetup.

Finally, I wanted to remind everyone that you too can be a speaker at the next meeting of the Toronto RepRap User Group! It’s nothing formal: just get up and talk for five-ish minutes. No need to contact me in advance, just turn up and tell me before we start the talks! I will be very grateful for more speakers!

(Also, there is now a mailing list for organizing our meetings and discussing Toronto-RepRaping issues.)

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Toronto Haskell Users Meetup

by on Feb.23, 2012, under Events

There’s going to be a Toronto Haskell Users Meetup at hacklab on March 7th starting at 7pm. Come by and meet your fellow Haskellers!

This will be the first one. I’m really looking forward to meeting other Haskellers in person!

Haskell Users of Toronto, unite!

You may optionally sign up for this meetup on eventbrite.

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Quantified Hacklab (Part 1)

by on Feb.10, 2012, under Running a Hacker Space

Quantified Self is a really cool movement of people doing self tracking using technology — for example, one might use a device to monitor their heart data or when they’re at home, and then analyze it. One idea several people around the lab have been toying with is applying these ideas to organizations one is a part of. Just like individuals can benefit from Quantified Self by gaining objective information about themselves, organizations may be able to similarly benefit. (We admit, our motivations mostly boil down to: data¬† is cool and graphs are pretty.) The natural place to begin, of course, was with hacklab!

We (Sen and Chris) were really excited about this and have done some initial analysis. Hacklab (like, we think, most hackerspaces) had a lot of sources of data laying around, waiting to be analyzed:

  • doorbot (in my opinion, our gold mine)
  • Google Calendar
  • IRC Traffic
  • Twitter Traffic
  • Mailing List Traffic
  • Blog Hits
  • Hacklab Public Computer Activity?

So far, we have only worked with the doorbot data.

Activity Levels

Unless the door has been unlocked, entering Hacklab requires one to use a small fob, unique to each member. The program responsible for processing these, doorbot, will unlock the door if it detects a member. It also logs the entry in a database. This is a valuable source of data about activity at the lab, but there are a number of ways in which it can be flawed. If a member works on a project on the side walk outside, they may enter and leave a number of times in a matter of minutes, but this doesn’t actually mean there was more activity. On the other hand, a member may enter along with another or on when the door is unlocked, making them invisible. Furthermore, Fob’s may be reassigned over time, and we have no way to know who the former owner was. The first concern is mitigated in the following data by considering only the number of entries by unique members each day.

Hacklab's Activity according to doorbot (continue reading…)

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Toronto RepRap User Group #3

by on Feb.03, 2012, under Events

Mark your calendars: Monday the 27th will be Toronto’s third RepRap User Group Meetup! We’ll be meeting at hacklab (location info) at 7pm! Bring your RepRap/Makerbot/3D printing awesomeness!

Meet your fellow RepRap enthusiasts! Share knowledge, learn about the awesome things people are doing, and have a great time!

Everyone interested in 3D Printing is welcome. People who are being driven insane by their obsession with the awesomeness of 3D printing are strongly encouraged so that they can benefit from contact with the similarly afflicted.

I’m super excited to have this happen and am really looking forward to seeing you there!

You can read a post about the second TRUG meetup on digital crusader. You can optionally sign up at eventbrite (this will make it easier for people to get in touch with you after the event).

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Introduction to Programming (Python)

by on Jan.20, 2012, under Workshops

On Saturday Feb 11th, I’ll be teaching an Introduction to Python workshop. It will go from 10am to 4pm, with a break for lunch.

Python is a popular programming language, known for its simplicity, ease of use, and elegance. An excellent language to start programming in.

We’ll cover some basic programming concepts. What that will include will depend on how fast we go :)

Please RSVP — we have limited space!

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Burrito Night a Success

by on Sep.27, 2011, under Uncategorized

We just has hacklab’s first Burrito Night. It was a massive success.

Yay Burritos!

I organized vegetarian ingredients, Eric organized chicken, Nick brought Jalapeno peppers and Daniel lent us his grill/press. Our expenses were 40 dollars for generic ingredients and 6 dollars for the chicken. We made 65 dollars, after expense that left us with 19 dollars for hacklab. Yay!

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Haskell Workshop

by on Aug.06, 2011, under Uncategorized

Haskell is an awesome purely functional language that I’ve been becoming more and more obsessed with in recent months. I consider it to be the most elegant language I’ve ever worked in and want to introduce more people to it!

So, on Monday, August the 8th, 7pm/19:00 I’ll be teaching an introduction to Haskell workshop! Come and learn about laziness, type classes and (the awesome power of) monads!

Please note: This is not an introduction to programming class. You will not be able to follow along if you don’t have experience programming. I am planning to do a day long weekend Introduction to

Programming/Python workshop sometime in the near future that would be much more appropriate for you.

(Sorry about the late notice. I posted to discuss and then forgot to put up a blog post.)

Update: And it went awesome! There was a much bigger turn out than I expected. Here are some notes:

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