Great Global Hackerspace Challenge

I’m very pleased to announce that think|haus is a participant in the element14 sponsored Great Global Hackerspace Challenge!

This is an international Hackerspace Challenge that is being developed in partnership with the electronics components company element14. The goal is for members of the teams to put their collective heads together and make a difference for a cause. The cause for this event is education. Why Education? Education cuts are barely out of the news, and the outlook remains grim across the world. Our schools continue to fail us in educating people for our collective futures. We need to foster practical and creative thinking and help provide equipment to inspire a lifetime of learning. Already, hackerspaces are helping fill the void – providing workshops, after school classes and vocational training, often for free, or very inexpensively. Now there is an opportunity to take that one step further, and to take something created in a hackerspace back to the classroom.

You’ll be able to find our updates posted both here and also at our element14 site

There’s an aggressive 6 week schedule for this one, so hold on – it’s going to be awesome!

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Arduino workshop #1

We’ve got 15 people out for our first Arduino workshop taught by Paul L. We’re learning about variables, functions, libraries and all kinds of cool stuff. Course notes to be posted soon.

From Arduino Course 2011-02-26 From Arduino Course 2011-02-26


think|haus profiled on OpenFile

Last Tuesday night, Wayne MacPhail (twitter) came out to our open|haus to find out what was happening with our new place.

He’s posted the story of what he encountered on Open File Hamilton.

Wayne’s brought journalism excellence to our space before with his work on the MakerCulture Project and this new story is a great view of what we’re all about.

Thanks Wayne. Seriously.

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Grand (re)open|haus FTW


So today was the Grand (re)open|haus in our new location.

It was truly epic. We had a whole bunch of community members come to visit that had no idea we existed.

We had:
– 3 year old girls making LED flashlights
– 9 year old boys soldering for the first time
– LAZZZOR CHOCOLATE (most brilliant idea ever)
– lockpicking in the lounge
– A minor soldering burn
– LOTS of conversation and laughter and learning and teaching

Thank you to all of you who could make it out today.

Most importantly, thanks goes out to three tireless members:

Richard – who is always there when you need him.

Adina – who relentlessly planned and coerced people into making the open|haus as wildly successful as it was.

And more than any…

Trevyn – who has worked tirelessly for 5 months to build a very nice container to keep his laser cutter in. Of course, the container he built also happens to hold the rest of think|haus, but I swear he built it all just for the laser.

Special notes:

1/ If you’re the intense young man who was questioning whether or not a quiet WarHammer session would be ok – you need to flip an email to me: – don’t hesitate, just do it.

2/ LAZZZOR CHOCOLATE is awesome. You should try some. Seriously.

3/ Adina and Andrew worked on a special project for about an hour… this is what we got:


Arduino course, Feb 26

UPDATED: Please see the “Event Registration” tab above to sign up for this course.

tl;dr: Intro to Arduino course Feb 26th 12PM-4PM. Free to members, $20 to non-members. See Required Materials list.

Paul Lariviere will be running this course. Here is his description:

As has been discussed in numerous previous threads, we’re going to have an Arduino course. I will be holding the first ThinkHaus Introduction to Arduino course at ThinkHaus on Saturday February 26th from 12pm to 4pm tentative. (may be extended to 6pm depending on progress) This course will be free to attend for all ThinkHaus members and will be available to non-members at a cost of $20/person. There is a list of “Required Materials” below. Please be aware that these are not 100% necessary, however some sections of the course are very hands-on so if you do not have the equipment you will either have to partner with somebody or will not be able to participate in the hands-on programming activities. I will also state off the bat that this course is MOSTLY ripped off from other free online tutorials, I have simply added detail to explain what is actually happening under the hood.

Why it’s worth coming even though resources are available for free online:

Aside from having an actual human being who can answer your questions, there are actually a few good reasons to consider attending. Every source I’ve managed to find online for Adruino development tends to over-simplify everything and doesn’t provide clear explanations. IE: They tell you X command produces Y result, but do nothing to explain what happens behind the scenes. This has resulted in a huge wave of terrible embedded code floating around, and a phenomenon I call “Google Coders.”

A Google Coder is somebody who knows what he wants to do, but has no idea how to do it so he searches Google for code that is close and tries to modify it. This usually results in broken code, which was never inteded for the exact task you want to accomplish, being modified into an incomprehensible mash of garbage code. Although this course is an introductory one, it provides a foundation of knowledge required to prepare for the upcoming ThinkHaus Arduino Object Oriented Programming course. This preparation is the true purpose of this course. As it stands, jumping from this course to the OOP course will blow your mind (if you’ve never done OOP), however jumping from the current standard of
free Internet Arduino tutorials to OOP C++ code will probably outright kick your ass since you’ll have no clue what is happening in the background.

If you already understand OOP and C++ you will still gain knowledge of circuit wiring, schematic reading, data sheets, etc. and gain actual hands-on practical experience making something.

Required Materials: (what you’ll need to acquire BEFORE the course and bring
with you)
-A Laptop & Power Supply or battery that will last ~6 hrs.
-An arduino
-A programming cable for your arduino
-A power supply for your arduino (most commercial ones can be powered over USB)
-Solid Core Hookup Wire – to connect components of your circuits (if you don’t have this there might be some floating around, but I can’t guarantee this)

Nice To Have Materials: (bring this if you have it)
-Extra programming cables
-LEDs (color doesn’t matter)
**I have purchased a community supply of these materials with my own money and *HOPE* to have enough for everybody, but supply will be limited to what I have.

Arduino Course Modules: (what you’ll learn)
Module 1:
Introduction to microcontrollers
Setting up and configuring your Arduino and the IDE
Our First Program

Module 2:
Circuit Basics
Data Sheets
Reading Schematics
Understanding Digital I/O

Module 3:
Understanding Libraries
Serial Communication
Basic Math
Understanding Types

Module 4:
Design Challenge Part 1
Design Challenge Part 2
Design Challenge Part 3
Wrapping Up

Learning Objectives: (end result)
By the end of the course attendees should have a strong understanding of types, procedures, libraries and other programming concepts. Attendees should have enough base/background knowledge to be able to use the site
as a reference and learn how to use ANY of these libraries on their own for future projects. In other words, you’ll learn how to use a small subset of Arduino features, but learn it in such a way that you’ll be able to TEACH YOUSELF how to use the rest of the features.

The intended objective of this course is to prepare for the next Arduino Programming course which will focus on OOP for the Arduino and producing GOOD embedded code vs. crappy kludge code that barely works.

Hope to see you all there!


Paul L.


new think|haus official opening

What: official think|haus opening
When: February 12, 1-5PM
Where: 25 Dundurn St N
Who: Everyone!
Cost: FREE!!!!!

think|haus has finished moving in to our awesome new digs, and we’re inviting everyone over to check it out! There will be project show and tell, talks, and demos. See our laser cutter in action! You will even be able to build an electronic kit to take home.

Everyone is welcome to this free event! Bring your friends! Bring your kids! Bring your nerdy roommate who never leaves the house!

Can’t make it? We’ll miss you, but you can come out on any Tuesday at 7pm for our regularly scheduled open|haus.

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Unusual Storage Contest

So here it is, an official announcement for our opening party hacking contest.

There is no pre-reg for this contest, it is more in the fashion of con badgehacking where your entry is presenting your creation at the time of contest closing.

The When:
The contest will cover a 2 day time span. It will commence on Dec 10. The contest building will continue until 11:30pm of Dec 11th. Demos and judging will start immediately after this deadline. Once all entries have been presented by the contestants the results and prize(s) (not yet figured out, but will be announced when they are) will be announced.

The Objective:
As the title states “Ùnusual storage“, meaning to find unorthoox ways to store data. Using traditional sd, eeprom, flash, ram, fram, rom, etc… is so very boring,so lets come up with something different. This can include repurposing an alternate storage medium to store data on ie. using an audio device to store encoded data for a microcontroller. Alternately the storage medium can be some completely asinine inefficient electromechanical device that the host controller can write and read data back off of.

The Rules:
1) The host controller (microcontroller, computer, plc, cyborg) can not store any data within its own devices. The host controller can be any type of device you choose. The host controller must only store data by means of communicating to whatever method of interfacing you choose to communicate with the storage device.
2) Since mechanical devices can get very large the minimum data capacity for the device must be at least 32 bits, less will still be allowed, but please no 1 or 2 bit machines. This rule applies as well if removable storage media is by design, the single removable media should meet this minimum.
Note: this is not a size matters contest so most storage capable will not necessarily score you more points.
3) Volatile data or non Volatile data? Doesn’t really matter.
4) Planning and component gathering (even prep) can be done in the time leading up to this contest but all implementation of the storage system must happen during the contest.
5) Contest entries can be individuals or teams. For sake of putting a number to teams the max is 5 people per team. There is no restriction on external help.
6) No materials or methods will be barred from this competition, I would hate to discourage outrageousness, silliness or otherwise potentially hazardous implementations.
7) Rules can be challenged during contest times and will be governed through feats of strength.

– Judging will begin at 11:30pm on December 11th.
– The judging will be done by myself, and some other undetermined individual.
– If your entry is not ready by the time others contestants have finished presenting, your entry will be judged as is. Extra build time may be achieved by means of alcohol delivery to the judges and waiting contestants.

Good Luck!

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WE’RE IN!!!!

Welcome to New|Haus!

It’s taken us 4 months to get to this point, but it’s happened. We’ve moved in.

Come and see our awesome new digs on tuesday night open|haus events.

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Keith Adney – Memorial Service and Visitation

Keith Adney, aka grndrush
There will be a visitation for Keith on Monday, November 1 from 5 – 8 pm at the Truscott, Brown & Dwyer Funeral Home – 1309 King Street East. The funeral will be held at the same place on the following day, Tuesday, November 2 at 11am, followed by a reception for everyone to share their stories.

Some photos and further details about the service are available on the funeral home website. You can leave your condolences there if you like. After about a month, Richard Kranstz, the funeral director, will collect the condolences and photos and turn them into a hard cover book that will be presented to Keith’s family.

We’ll miss you, Keith. We thought we just wanted a space with tools. We’ve gained something much larger: a community and many good friends. We will all remember Keith and continue to feel his influence at think|haus. We were lucky to have known such a wonderful human being.

UPDATE 2010-11-22: You can watch Keith’s visitation and funeral at

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Keith Adney – think¦haus member

Tonight, thinkhaus member Keith Adney finished his battle with cancer.

More to follow soon. Just wanted to get this out fast.

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