July 2011

Thread your computation

This comes from a collection on David Hilley’s site, and the creator of these posters is Nick Black.

Previously: Only YOU Can Prevent Buffer Overflows!


Only you can prevent buffer overflows

This comes from a collection on David Hilley’s site, and the creator of these posters is Nick Black.


Worldwide rails 3 1 hackfests

Want to help make the upcoming Rails 3.1 better? You can help in this upcoming weekend’s worldwide Rails 3.1 hackfest. It’s your chance to take Rails 3.1. for a spin, double-check to see if your favourite plugins and gems work with 3.1, review the open issues and pull requests, provide test cases and patches for 3-1-stable blockers, write docs and blog about your experience with Rails 3.1. Go check out this blog entry on the Ruby on Rails blog and find out where the one nearest you is.

Rails 3 1 hackfest ottawa

If you’re a Rails hacker and in Ottawa this Sunday, you’re in luck: we just declared a Rails 3.1 Hack Day for this Sunday, July 24th at the Shopify office.


Vancouver alt net open source hack night

The ALT.NET community is an interesting one: they’re .NET developers who reach outside the standard Microsoft-proscribed way of doing things and borrow from the best of other developer communities and emphasize technique over tools. Vancouver’s ALT.NET group is holding a “Hack on Some Open Source!” night on Monday, July 25th at iQmetrix’s office; if you’re looking to hack on some open source and C# stuff, this is your chance!


Hacks hackers toronto

Both hacks (that’s an old-school term for “journalists”) and hackers (a term often misused to refer to people who like to break into systems, but actually means people who love taking things apart, seeing how they work and improving them) are seekers of truth, and in today’s world of information, it only makes sense that the two should meet up. The Toronto chapter of Hacks/Hackers is having a meetup on Tuesday, July 26th and they’re looking for a space. Anyone want to help?


Ottawa javascript nodejs summer meetup

It’s the event of the summer for Ottawa-area Node.js and JavaScript hackers! On Wednesday, July 27th, we’ll gather together at Mercury Grove and have some presentations, including:

  • Nick Small on Batman.js, the app-kicking framework from Shopify
  • Mike Coolin on flow control and some of the best modules
  • Willem van Bergen on promises — what they are, when to use them
  • Andrew Clunis on Streampump: video streaming magic


Toronto javascript hack night

The Toronto JavaScript Hackers Meetup group is having a hack night on Tuesday, August 9th. If you’d like to patch and release open source libraries, put your heads together and fix bugs, this is your chance!


Hack reduce 4 ottawa

Have you ever wanted to crunch some big data? Hack/Reduce 4 in Ottawa, which happens on Saturday, August 13th, would like to give you that opportunity. They’ll provide the datasets (and you can get an advance look at them, too) and you propose writing an application that makes use of that data.


Grow 2011

The GROW conference (August 17th through 19th in beautiful Vangroovy) is where Silicon Valley people hang out with Canadian start-up “suits” and talk entrepreneurship. If you’ve got some “suit” in your role, you might want to check it out…


Hackdays vancouver

HackDays, the cross-Canada hackfest, is coming to Vancouver on Saturday, August 20th! Organized in conjunction with The GROW conference, it’s your chance to build an application in a single day, compete for prizes and have fun. I’ll be there, as will my fellow members of Shopify’s “Apps” team, Edward Ocampo-Gooding and David Underwood.



by Joey deVilla on July 20, 2011

Three people working on Powerbooks with the Apple logo glowing on their cover, and one guy eating lunch from a styrofoam container with the Apple logo drawn on it in magic marker.

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.


Photo of Aaron Swartz in a brown Google App Engine t-shirt.

In a piece titled Reddit Co-Founder Charged with Data Theft, the New York Times reports that my friend Aaron Swartz, whom I met back during “Bubble 1.0”, has been indicted on charges that he stole over 4 million documents from MIT and the academic paper archive JSTOR.

The full text of the indictment states that his violations are:

  • Wire fraud
  • Unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer
  • Reckless damaging a protected computer
  • Aiding and abetting
  • Criminal forfeiture

Point of information: Aaron isn’t a cofounder of Reddit, but he did play a role in its earliest days. Reddit acquired his company, Infogami, about six months after Reddit’s launch.

While I’m not up to speed on what Aaron did or the events leading to the indictment, I advise everyone to hold back before making snap assumptions of Aaron’s guilt. We’ve all seen the ridiculous lengths that ambitious prosecutors will go to and distortions they will circulate when charging someone with violations that have some sort of technical component. For those of us from Toronto and especially the Hacklab, the case of Byron Sonne and absurdly exaggerated charges related to his G20 activity is still a fresh memory.

I do get the feeling that once I’ve gotten more info about the case, it’s going to be one of those times I say “Well, I see the good intentions, but have issues with the execution. Serious issues.” Once again, I’m getting Byron Sonne deja vu.

The server for Demand Progress’ website is getting swamped right now, so I’ve posted their statement about Aaron’s indictment below:

Demand Progress PAC’s Statement

Demand Progress logo.

Cambridge, MA – Moments ago, Aaron Swartz, former executive director and founder of Demand Progress, was indicted by the US government. As best as we can tell, he is being charged with allegedly downloading too many scholarly journal articles from the Web. The government contends that downloading said articles is actually felony computer hacking and should be punished with time in prison.

“This makes no sense,” said Demand Progress Executive Director David Segal; “it’s like trying to put someone in jail for allegedly checking too many books out of the library.”

“It’s even more strange because the alleged victim has settled any claims against Aaron, explained they’ve suffered no loss or damage, and asked the government not to prosecute,” Segal added.

James Jacobs, the Government Documents Librarian at Stanford University, also denounced the arrest: “Aaron’s prosecution undermines academic inquiry and democratic principles,” Jacobs said. “It’s incredible that the government would try to lock someone up for allegedly looking up articles at a library.”

Demand Progress is collecting statements of support for Aaron on its website.

“Aaron’s career has focused on serving the public interest by promoting ethics, open government, and democratic politics,” Segal said. “We hope to soon see him cleared of these bizarre charges.”

Demand Progress is a 500,000-member online activism group that advocates for civil liberties, civil rights, and other progressive causes.

About Aaron

Aaron Swartz is a former executive director and founder of Demand Progress, a nonprofit political action group with more than 500,000 members.

He is the author of numerous articles on a variety of topics, especially the corrupting influence of big money on institutions including nonprofits, the media, politics, and public opinion. In conjunction with Shireen Barday, he downloaded and analyzed 441,170 law review articles to determine the source of their funding; the results were published in the Stanford Law Review. From 2010-11, he researched these topics as a Fellow at the Harvard Ethics Center Lab on Institutional Corruption.

He has also assisted many other researchers in collecting and analyzing large data sets with theinfo.org. His landmark analysis of Wikipedia, Who Writes Wikipedia?, has been widely cited. He helped develop standards and tutorials for Linked Open Data while serving on the W3C’s RDF Core Working Group and helped popularize them as Metadata Advisor to the nonprofit Creative Commons and coauthor of the RSS 1.0 specification.

In 2008, he created the nonprofit site watchdog.net, making it easier for people to find and access government data. He also served on the board of Change Congress (now Fix Congress First!), a good government nonprofit.

In 2007, he led the development of the nonprofit Open Library, an ambitious project to collect information about every book ever published. He also cofounded the online news site Reddit, where he released as free software the web framework he developed, web.py.

Press inquiries can be directed to demandprogressinfo@gmail.com or 571- 336- 2637

{ 1 comment }

Scenes from BarCamp NOLA, Part 2

by Joey deVilla on July 18, 2011

Barcampnola 12

The second article in my series on BarCamp New Orleans is up on the Shopify Technology Blog. This one’s topic: The Schedule Grid, the heart of every BarCamp.

New orleans barcamp 4


Scenes from BarCamp NOLA, Part 1

by Joey deVilla on July 16, 2011

New orleans barcamp 4

I’m at BarCamp NOLA (a.k.a. BarCamp New Orleans) right now, and I’ve posted the first of a series of blog entries about the event over at the Shopify Technology Blog. Check it out!

Barcampnola 09