2011 / 05 / 12
2011 / 01 / 23
This weekend, Facebook held their first international Camp Hackathon event for students from the University of Toronto (U of T) and University of Waterloo (UW). For a full 24 hours from 5:00 PM on January 21 to January 22, over 200 students (including a full coach bus of students from U of T) occupied UW's Student Life Center, designing, developing, and hacking fantastic new software. The goal of the hackathon was completely open-ended. While there had been rumors of a development theme for teams to work on, at the beginning of the event the organizer announced that teams should work on anything they wanted, and focus on learning new skills and developing "something awesome".
2011 / 01 / 05
Roguelike games are a venerable genre of computer games that have entertained hackers for roughly 30 years, and had a major influence on gaming classics like Diablo and Torchlight. Roguelikes followed a somewhat unique evolutionary path in the world of computer games. Unlike commercial games that strive to be unique in a very large ocean of predatory competitors, roguelikes are more a labour of love. Each new generation was based on the games that came before, adding a handful (or more) of features that the author felt was missing from the generation before. This layering of new features is much like the way ancient cities such as Rome have built upon themselves, century after century. In a way, playing these earlier games is like an archaeological dig, giving us a peek at the evolution of the genre.
It was in this spirit that I sought to compile Moria, one of the most popular games that made up the second generation of roguelikes.
2010 / 12 / 27
Android, the increasingly popular operating system (OS) for mobile phones, goes to great lengths to protect users' data. From applications that run as their own userid, in their own group, to the permission mechanism that alerts users to the information an application can access, Android is a far more secure platform than any desktop OS. However, there is a significant difference between informing a user what an application can access, and what the application actually does with the information. An Android app downloaded from the Market may request access to the internet and to the user's address book, for example, but beyond that the user has no idea what the application does with those permissions. How do we guarantee that a malicious app isn't making a copy of a user's private data, and sending it to a secret sever operated by the application's author?
2010 / 01 / 20
This beautiful arcade cabinet sat exposed to the elements in a back alley in Kitchener for months before being rescued by a team from Kwartzlab. The weather was not kind to this poor machine, and it was clear it would need some love to get it running again.
2009 / 10 / 12
I dropped by the UW surplus sale with another member of kwartzlab hearing that there might be a bandsaw for sale. The bandsaw was there, but unfortunately we were too far back in line to stake our claim on it. Before we left though, a co-worker pointed out a shelf of old lab equipment with great old analog gauges that could make a great addition to a project. I picked up this meter for a grand total of $2.13. What I didn't realize at the time was that it is tube amplified, and has a beautiful 150B2 voltage regulator tube inside.
2009 / 06 / 20
On Thursday, June 18th, about 400 community members from the Kitchener-Waterloo area met at the University of Waterloo to show their support for the people of Iran, in response both to the clear disregard for democracy that the government has shown in the June 12th ballot, and the outbreak of violence that followed. Protesters attending the rally participated in a one and a half hour march down University Avenue to the entrance of Wilfrid Laurier University, then returned to the University of Waterloo to hear statements prepared by local members of the Iranian-Canadian community.