Upcoming Event

Sat March 11: Come see us at Richmond Green Library Maker Day

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Richmond Hill Public Library’s Richmond Green branch near  Leslie and Elgin Mills. is hosting a Maker Event on Saturday, March 11 from noon until 5 PM, and Ylab will be there.

It’s a family event – ages 6 and up, according to the RHPL event listing.  While you’re in the area, bring out your skates and hit the beautiful Richmond Green Skating Trail. It’s beautifully lit in the evening.

Come out and see our latest not-a-light-sabre engineering, Jacob’s ladder, radio toys, laser-cutting artistry, robotics demos and other creations.

No registration required, but we’ve created a  meetup.com event  to help publicise it.  Registration not required, but it’s nice to let us know you’re coming.

Arduino open house notes + hands-on class info

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We had a great group show up for the Wed Oct 12 Arduino: What’s It All About? open house. Big thanks to members Jack, Richard, Pek, Ross and Paul for bringing in and sharing their creations, and as always, to Jay for loaning his light sabres.

We’re caving to popular demand and finally scheduling an Arduino hands-on class. It will be taught by ylab member and robotics guru Paul. Registration is open on Eventbrite, and seats are limited. You have the option of bringing your own board, or we’ll provide one.

We had some excellent feedback and comments from last night’s talk.

If you’re interested in using LED strips: check out this interesting tutorial on  YouTube. This applies to the APA102-type LED strips. It’s different for APA104.

LED and  powertail in parallel: our presenter mentioned that when linking the 120V powertail and LED in parallel, there wasn’t enough current to run both. Comment 1: this wasn’t required. It was out of laziness. There are lots of other outputs on the Arduino board. Comment 2: Paul advised that it’s probably not a current issue. The D in LED is for diode, and the diode typically limits the voltage across its terminals to something under 2 volts. This is not enough to trigger the powertail’s relay. We’re breaking out the voltmeter to test that.

Pull-up resistor for switch control: check out this excellent video explaining why you need a pull-up or pull-down resistor when using a push-button switch on Arduino digital pins.


Don’t forget to register for our next open house – the great 3D Printing vs Laser Cutting debate on Wed Oct 26.

Comments? Feedback? Post it on facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

New schedule! New seminars! New Open House format!

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We’re changing things up for the fall!

OPEN HOUSE NIGHTS: LESS IS MORE!

We’ve halted our regular open house Wednesdays to make them even better.

Starting October 12, we’ll have them bi-weekly, on every second Wednesday, and feature a free one-hour seminar/demo session at each one.

To kick it off, we’ve scheduled a free What’s this Arduino Stuff All About? on Wednesday October 12. For those who want more hands-on, we’ll have an advanced, 3-hour class that’s in planning now.

But what’s happening between now and then?

YOU WANT CLASSES? WE GOT CLASSES!

We’re kicking it off with our two-evening 2D Design/Laser Cutting class that’s happening next week, Monday Sept. 12 and Wed Sept. 14.

Our 8-week ham radio certificaton sessions start on Thursday Sept. 15, and we’ve made the first session a free ham radio open house night. Come out and see what ham radio is all about in the age of Arduino, Raspberrie Pi and the age of digital, software-defined radios.

BREAKING NEWS: Our not-a-l*ght-s*bre making class (it might happen to look like one, but is clearly not, as we don’t want Lucasfilm to be upset with us) is open for registrationYLAB MEMBERS: Check your email for the secret access code.

EMAIL LIST GOING AWAY

Some of you receive messages through our meetup.com group and because you’re on our email list.

We’ll have one more email notice through our non-meetup email service and then kill it. Communications will be through this meetup group and direct emails to paid members.

The privacy rules around email make it almost impossible to manage an email list without using a professional email management service, and we’ve done that scrupulously since the startof ylab. We’ve had sign-up lists and have not added anyone without their express consent. We used Elite Email’s excellent free service. But people who’ve willfully signed up will frequently mark the messages as spam instead of unsubscribing. This creates a vicious circle where the major email programs like google and yahoo then automatically flag all the emails from the service to the spam folder. We know from the Elite Email reporting service that the open rate is dismal, and people tell us they didn’t get a notice because it went to the spam folder.

March 29: Qualcomm Hosting Next Ylab/North of 41 Event

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Our last corporate event at Lenovo was such a success that we’re doing it again – and this time, Qualcomm Canada is hosting us.

Breakfast with the CEOs: Innovation and Technology in the Cloud

Come out and hear how three York Region companies have innovated to use cloud computing to create new  lines of business.

These companies are building and running successful ventures on an international scale that would not be possible without the resources and technology of the cloud.

Our speakers are not just users – they’ve been leaders in addressing the regulatory, security and data locationon issues with government and some of the biggest cloud suppliers.

Find out how they’ve handled business, scaling, security and other issues – and join in the Q&A to get your own questions answered.

ylab-event-poster-north41-with-CEOs-v4

 Larry Keating – President and CEO, NPC (http://npcdataguard.com )– invented and brought to market his industry’s first secure managed endpoint computing solution, changing how laptop computers are managed for business. NPC uses the cloud to secure, manage, monitor and back up laptops in a way that’s superior and cheaper than companies can manage themselves. As president and CEO of Keating Technologies he founded in 1987, Larry has brought more than $1.5 billion in technology and services to Canadians, and is a 3-time national winner of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies award.

Anthony R. Pearlman – President and COO, Intertainment Media ( http://intertainmentmedia.com ). When some of the biggest names in entertainment hold their special events, Intertainment Media is there. Through their divisions and various company investments, they manage the dynamic web presence and ensure it can scale to meet the demand. They syndicate live content to millions of users globally. They’re enabling cloud-based ventures like Yappn for real-time e-commerce translation services. Anthony has over 25 years of hands-on technology experience from co-founding and running   early stage late 90’s e-commerce start-ups all the way to the C-suite in large public enterprises.

 RJ Juneau – CEO and Founder, Maxxian( http://www.maxxian.com). Maxxian provides world-leading technology for managing and securing millions of video set-tops and Internet access devices for cable operators from Alaska to the coast of South America. They use the same virtualisation and system management technology used by cloud providers to manage systems at their customer sites to reduce their costs, speed deployments and increase reliability and flexibility. RJ’s been at the leading/bleeding edge of technology for over 30 years in banking and trading systems, supercomputing, MPEG video and other fun things.

 IT’S IN MARKHAM, SO THERE’S LOTS OF FREE PARKING!

Full details here on Eventbrite.

Get your registrations in now – the Qualcomm space is smaller than Lenovo’s, so seating is limited.

Robotycs back with a vengeance on Wed. Jan 27

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BATTLEBOTS! Ylab’s monthly Robotycs evening is back with a vengeance on Wednesday January 27. This month’s Robot Talk features battlebot veteran Ramy Gattas. Ramy hosted our first Robotycs events at Logics Academy last year. It’s a privilege to have join us at the DDO for the evening.

YLab Robotics Logo

Ramy will be sharing his adventures in building and participating on the University of Toronto Team entry in the Robogames competitions in great places like San Mateo, California.

Not a robot. But he broke some.
Not a robot. Breaks other people’s robots.

You can check out some of the mayhem his team wreaked on their opponents here and here.

As always, bring your own robotic creation for Show and Tell time, continue work on your toy hack, get some help and help some others. Ross has been advancing his own creations with a Raspberry Pi board and Python code, and is eager to share what he’s learned.

October Wrap-Up: Python! Robots! Nerds! Makers! Haunted House! TAVES!

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October 2015 YLab Group Shot
October YLab Meeting Group Shot.

October was a crazy month. YLab is all about tech community, so it’s more than just the events we put on. YLab regulars, volunteers and friends have been all over the place, including:

  • YLab’s Python Constricted class, hosted by the Markham Public Library, where a dozen people were introducted to the Python programming language, and helped along by ylab volunteers.
  • Our second monthly Robotycs meeting, hosted once again by Logics Academy, covered an intro to Arduino and Raspberry Pi. We’re looking for a serious competition project!
  • We have a small offshoot of beginners from Robotycs who are eager to learn and will start some hands-on weekly training by hacking remote control cars. Experienced volunteers will be showing up to help them with soldering irons, oscilloscopes and Arduino gear.
Robot Ross Giving a Presentation and Halloween at the DDO
Robot Ross Giving a Presentation and Halloween at the DDO.

We were busy with our friends at the Markham Public Library, where:

  • YLab’s Robot Ross and Jedi Jay displayed their wares that the Mini Maker Faire.
  • A few ylab regulars’ faces were in the audience for their evening with Cory Doctorow.
  • Their Nov 13 TEDx put out a call for speakers. We introduced a couple of ylab friends from The David Dunlap Observatory (DDO) and Site 3 Maker Space  who have been selected. Our proposal for a  Site 3 flaming demo in the parking lot… well, that  went down in flames. Tickets are going fast!
Halloween at the DDO!
Halloween at the DDO!

Speaking of the DDO… We wrapped up the month with a Halloween eve visit to their Haunted House in full geek-out costume, complete with pocket protectors, taped eyeglasses and white socks. That was after a visit to TAVES Consumer Electronics Show held at the Sheraton at Hwy 7 and Leslie. Big thanks to the TAVES organisers for the free weekend passes. The must see item: the Richmond Hill AMD team’s virtual reality demo.

YLab Visiting TAVES to get an AMD VR Demo
YLab Visiting TAVES and Getting an AMD VR Demo

The DDO’s Haunted House was augmented this year by contributions from YLab friends and robotics experts Eric and Brett Hagman. The sound-activated, full-size crawling skeletons were a nice touch.

 

Stay tuned for more November announcements!

Securing Your Home Router Recap and Upcoming Events

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Filling the boardroom with makers and networking equipment.
Filling the boardroom with makers and networking equipment.

It was an amazing turnout at our September 16th event centred around securing your home router. After going through some background information on routers and how their firmware is developed, YLab makers eagerly started reflashing their router’s with open source alternatives such as dd-wrt, OpenWRT, and Tomato. And the best part was managing not to brick them! The iconic blue and black Linksys WRT54G routers of course made an appearance as well as many common open-source friendly alternatives.

Flashing a router with DD-WRT.
It’s always nice when everything works perfectly while explaining the process.

We also did some penetration testing with Router Check‘s founder who went through the basic Dos and Don’ts of securing your home network and showed off their Android app (a great way to quickly check if your network is secure). Some basic tips we learned: never use WEP, turn off the easy setup, and check against all the common vulnerabilities (because once a hacker gets access to your router your computers are next)!

Group shots of the makers in attendance .
Group shots of some of the YLab makers in attendance.

We’ve also got two great free events coming up that still have some space for new makers:

YLab Robotics Logo

The inaugural YLab Robotics Group monthly meeting is on September 30th. At last count there was only 4 available spaces left. To register click here.

YLab Code Python

Looking to get a basic footing in Python? We’re hosting a crash course for experienced programmers at the Markham Public Library, click here to register.