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

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…
Everything went so well at our Enabling Hardware Technology event that something had to balance it off. Mayhem struck the Robotycs group on Wednesday night. The first arrivals faced the elements and a locked door at the DDO. There were less people waiting outside than expected – a few of those registered had to bow out due to last minute work problems. And that included Ramy Ghattas our speaker for the evening!
Relieved Robot Ross Restarts Robotycs

Relieved Robot Ross Restarts Robotycs

But things always seem to work out nicely for ylab . The right person with the key arrived to let us in. And Ramy gets our Standup Guy of the Month Award (we just made that up) for sending us a replacement in the form of a large and well-qualified Paul Giampuzzi.
Paul's the tall one. Nice line-up picture that could get published in snapd.

Paul’s the tall one. Nice line-up picture that could get published in snapd.

Paul is  New Products and Innovation Director at Logics Academy, and co-founded the University of Toronto Robotics Association (UTRA) with Ramy. Paul vividly described their experiences with several Gold and Silver prize winning entries in the Robogames international robot competition held in San Mateo, California. They designed, built,  repaired and drove their robot named TSA Inspected, shown here demolishing a competitor.
Paul and Ramy's TSA INSPECTED lays some hurt on the competition.

Paul and Ramy’s TSA INSPECTED lays some hurt on the competition.

It was a great evening for all who attended, and we thank Paul and Ramy for their continued help and support for ylab.
Audience hears tales of destruction

Audience hears tales of destruction

We’ll be posting more detail on the Robotycs page shortly.  
Update Jan 30 2016: a photo album has just been posted on facebook, and snapd Markham posted about us here.Our Technology Enablers night was a huge success with almost 80 people in attendance. We went all corporate, and there were enough suits and well-dressed people to make it… well, kinda weird for a ylab event.  
Yes, we really did take over Lenovo's space.

Yes, we really did take over Lenovo’s space.

Nevertheless, it went off without a hitch – if you don’t consider way more registrations than expected and scrambling for more chairs and food a” hitch”. Why so many attendess? #FREEPARKING seemed to be our meme for the night. Our panelists – Mehdi Sharifi from Lumicision, Brett Hagman from Arduino and Rogue Robotics, John Frangella  from Proto3000 and Peter Koster from Qualcomm were phenomenal. We’ve got to know some of them because they’re good friends of ylab, and it was even better to hear their stories and thoughts on so many topics. It was all expertly handled by our panel moderator Karen Mortfield from the DDO. Her experience in crisis communications clearly qualifies her for hosting a ylab event.
Panelists Mehdi, Brett, John and Peter, and moderator Karen

Panelists Mehdi, Brett, John and Peter, and moderator Karen

Big thanks to
  • Lenovo Canada for hosting the event and  letting ylab run amock in their amazing new space. Nothing was too much trouble for  Stefan, Kathleen, Kevin and David.
  • The growing cast of ylab members – Brooke on sound, Pek as announcer, Richard, Lucian, Ross and so many others for setup/teardown, Ruby for the food; and other volunteers like Murray and Andrea for registration duties.
  • Startup York, Coffee and Code and others for helping get the word out.
  • Our good friends at North of 41 for inspiring us and helping us in so many ways to get it organised.
And, most of all, we appreciate everyone who attended. We’re overwhelmed by  the community support.
North of 41's Jeff, some guy who keeps showing up in our pictures, Karen, and Lenovo's Stefan Bockhop.

North of 41’s Jeff Musson, some guy who keeps showing up in our pictures, Karen, and Lenovo’s Stefan Bockhop.

Second Update Jan 30 2016:Thank you attendees for all the positive feedback. The less-technically inclined business people who attended said it was a lot of fun, but some stuff was over their head. So it was perfect! Pictures above in the original post from ylab’s Pek. Pictures below from the facebook album courtesy of photographer Ara Mahda.IMG_4369 (1024x635) IMG_4365 (1024x642)
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 LogoRamy 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.
We kicked off 2016 with our first member-only nights, and the place has been buzzing.  If yesterday evening (Monday Jan 18) is any indication of things to come, it’s going to be an amazing year. The activities going on in all corners of the space were like a microcosm of the events we ran last year. What were we up to?
  •  DDO’s Mike helped sort out some hand-held ham radio configuration
  • Lucian helped reload a home router with open source Gargoyle software to torture kids with parental controls, get free DNS, and and set up remote VPN acces.
  • 3D design course materials being developed by Richard and were tested on human guinea pig and new member Brooke… with a focus on the new light sabre design.
  • Ross worked and demo’d his latest remote-control robot software… now featuring Python code.
  •  Pek and Jay worked the  second 3D printer and its controller PC to augment the persnickety rep-rap printer.
So busy, in fact, that nobody got around to taking pictures. For those who have not been there for a while… the place keeps getting better. Fridge… hand tools… soldering equipment… storage… big workbench you can hammer on… and we’ve ordered a laser cutter!Stay tuned for more details… and come out and join the fun.
Did ylab sell out to corporate interests? No, we’re just trying to bring together interesting corporate technology people and companies to join in the ylab community. North of 41 has been hosting  informative, entertaining and always relevant  Chat with the CEO events for several years now… but always downtown. Their speakers include tech founders and entrepreneurs, Silicon Valley luminaries, investors and other fascinating people. We often meet other York Region people at those talks.Ylab has partnered with  North of 41 to bring it north of Steeles Blvd.We’re  bringing together a great panel of tech entrepreneurs  from Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Toronto on Monday, January 25, 2016 at 6 PM. And Lenovo Canada is hosting us for the evening in their impressive new  facility in Markham.ylab-event-poster-north41-v3All the details about the event and the speakers can be found on the registration site.No boring powerpoints. This will be an interactive discussion panel. We’ve had the opportunity to sit a couple of these guys down together. The ideas flowing back and forth should have required a confidentiality agreement for anyone listening in. This one’s not to be missed. These speakers have impressive backgrounds and some great tales to tell.y_over_to 

 Just another way ylab is building real technical community north of Toronto.