The First Maker Space and Tech Community For Markham, Richmond Hill, Thornhill, & Vaughan.

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 ( )– 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 ( ). 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( 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.
All great announcements should be in latin.(*) On Monday night we took delivery of our brand spanking new laser cutter – a monstrous 90W unit with a 24″ x 36″cutting surface.
OK, it's a big giant laser. Now what do we do with it?

OK, it’s a big giant laser. Now what do we do with it?

At least he didn't take a selfie with it.

You can feel the excitement. At least he didn’t take a selfie with it.

Now comes the hard part – figuring how to use the infernal contraption. We’ll be working out all the rules and procedures and safety issues, and setting up a formal class.
Ylab scientists trying to figure out how to make it work.

Ylab scientists (not evil… yet…) deciphering complex instructions

Last night we worked feverishly to get our first design cut.
What will we cut out first? Duh!

What will we cut out first? Duh!

Just made it by closing time!
Ylab - a proud part of the community since 2015.

Ylab – a proud part of the community since 2015.

(*) If you actually speak latin… yeah, Habemus lux gladius is not the greatest translation. But it fits nicely in a headline. If you really want to get picky about it, Habemus cultellum excitata per lucem is a better description. Habemus lux gladius could also be used to describe a light sabre. Remember: Google translate is your friend.
Hasn’t been a blog post in a few weeks… because it’s better to be doing than blogging. But once in a while, we need to post something – or people claim nothing is happening! York Region is the y and the why of ylaband this week we had a bunch of firsts in three different cities. At our DDO maker space in Richmond Hill, we had all three 3D printers fired up for the first time. Big thanks to Jay and Richard for making it happen. More gear appears every week, more gears are being printed, and they’ll soon be joined by our new laser cutter.York Region Coffee and Code  kicked off the first PHP user group in Markham on Tuesday night. With Maxxian agreeing to loan their boardroom to kick it off, organisers Glenn and Simon ran out of excuses and just did it. 13 people attended ranging from newbies to some very serious talent to help them. That very same night, Pong Studios hosted the first Unity game development meetup in Vaughan. In our newsletter, we said they were going big by bringing in top Unity evangelist Mark Shoennagel… and they went even bigger! Mark is an excellent speaker, and he provided the world’s first public demo of the new networked, multi-player version of Unity. He took us through a full sequence of game development, explaining all the features and built-in defences against hacks and cheats, all while connected to one of only five operating network servers in existence. We got to see it before everyone else at the upcoming Game Development Conference. Lots  more happening in the background for light sabres, robotics, more coding groups, haunted house, ham radio, hackathons…
Before. Yuck.

Before. Yuck.

Monday December 14 was our first members’ only night. Since ylab is an all-volunteer effort, that of course means we got down to some hard work cleaning up the space.
Thank you for your membership payment. Now get to work.

Thank you for your membership payment. Now get to work.

Our call for equipment donations produced some very timely results. Big thanks to Eric for the compressor and ShopVac. There’s more stuff coming in, so cleaning up and painting the floor became the top priority.
This ShopVac gained 12 pounds over the evening.

This ShopVac gained 12 pounds over the evening.

  With all the care due to the historic facility, we cleared the room and scraped, sanded, swept, vacuumed and painted.
The artists get to do the fine trim work.

The artists get to do the fine trim work.

Some serious anti-gravity physics were deployed to move the behemoths – those two big metal folding machines that were living in the space before we took it over (ylab regulars know what I’m talking about).
The Behemoth. Because the DDO can no longer call it the Immoveable Object.

The Behemoth. Because the DDO can no longer call it the Immoveable Object.

Remind me... who let these wingnuts in here?

Remind me… who let these wingnuts in here?

The gloriously warm December weather allowed us to open the windows to clear the dust and keep our cool.
It’s OK. She signed the liability waiver.

It’s OK. She signed the liability waiver.

Big thanks to Avery, Lucian, Pek, Richard and Ross for all the hard work and to the DDO for providing us the odd painting thing we forgot .
Stand over there to watch paint dry.

After. Stand over there to watch paint dry.

"ME 401 QuickJob" by Nina Paley - Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

“ME 401 QuickJob” by Nina Paley – Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. We’re  making progress, but not there yet. The good news is that a lot of the heavy lifting is pretty much done – formal incorporation as a non-profit; liability insurance; formal board (required for non-profits), finding a space and getting that agreement in place.

Membership has its privileges… and problems.

Pre-announcing membership fees and models is just not smart until we have all the details in place. We’re making progress, with mandatory things like codes of conduct and liability waivers  – you know, those things to prevent us from getting sued. We’re fortunate to have other maker spaces leading the way and providing us great examples. Stay tuned. We want to have everything in place by Jan 1 (yes, 2016) – with a deal for people participating during December.
MarkhamMakersBanerJay’s Markham Makers group on has been a big part of ylab from the start. The group was  the initial core, providing a great mailing list for our successful  kick-off event. We’re moving from subtle usurping to all-out takeover. It’s now a formal part of ylab. Some of the recent changes include:
  • Our Robotycs discussion forum
  • It’s where we store our design and tutorial documents
  • Accepting payment for our events, without the service charge you get on Eventbrite.
  • Rebranding to be less Markham-specific. After all, our space at the DDO is in Richmond Hill!
Expect to see more changes soon as we rebrand, re-logo, re-name and generally re-organise it. Some of the work involves changing URLs, so some of the links you use may not work. If you can’t find something, search on for ylab – and please let us know if a link is broken. Another part of the work is better links from the web site, and transitioning the event calendar to link to the events. Our web site wizard Avery is on the case. Be patient with him. In the interim, we will continue to post events on both and Eventbrite. Big thanks to Jay for all his work setting up the group – and all the other things he does for ylab.
“Be careful what you wish for”, they say. ylab is making the transition to become a maker space. ylab started with the goal of  building a real tech community up here in southern York Region – Markham, Richmond Hill, Thornhill and Vaughan. There are scores of technology companies in the area, but outside work, everything seemed to be happening in downtown Toronto. While we thought a maker space would be a great way to do it, we needed to first build up the community. We decided to do it by running a bunch of one-off events.  So we started reaching out to people, and with hardly any notice, we announced our kick-off event on July 25, 2015. And we all know how that turned out!Because it’s all about community, we reached out to others to join in and help out – or, as often as not, they reached out to help us. It might be as simple as spreading the word, giving some advice,  loaning a piece of equipment, or as time consuming as rearranging an office or a schedule to host a ylab event. We’ve mentioned them before – companies  like Canada Robotix, Logics Academy, Proto3000, Keating… organisations like Markham Public Library, Startup York, David Dunlap Observatory, York Region Amateur Radio Club… Toronto maker spaces Site3 and… meetup groups Markham Makers and Coffee and Code York Region… the list goes on and we apologise in advance for any we missed. But most of all, it’s the people. Every time we run an event, we ask ourselves “will this be the one where we fall on our faces?”. It hasn’t happened yet. You’ve shown up as attendees. You’ve shown up as volunteers. We’ve had people jump in to build the web site. To build the social media presence. To volunteer as board members. To do the legal work. To do the accounting. To join in and teach others. To start an amazing robotics group. As we announced here a couple of weeks ago, the community is giving back to us in a most incredible way.We have a maker space.We have it in one of most spectacular and historic sites in all of York Region – the David Dunlap Observatory. This is a big transition. We have a lot of organisational things to take care of. We’ve already covered some  big hurdles – incorporation as a non-profit; creation of a board; liability insurance. We’re working fast (not fast enough!) on the rest of it. Membership types and pricing. Formal agreements. Codes of conduct. Crowdfunding campaign. We’ve come a long way in – wait a minute – is it really just 4 months since July 25???So stay tuned for more announcements. We’re reaching out to more groups. We have more plans for more events. But we’re going to be really focused for a few weeks on crossing all those Ts and dotting all those Is to get the maker space going. In the meantime, your feedback would be appreciated by all the volunteers who’ve worked so hard. Be sure to let us know what you think on those twitter (@ylab_maker) and facebook links on the right side of the page. Or send us a non-public comment on our About Us page.ylablogoThe ylab team.