Et en effet, sur la planète du petit prince, il y avait comme sur toutes les planètes, de bonnes herbes et de mauvaises herbes. Par conséquent de bonnes graines de bonnes herbes et de mauvaises graines de mauvaises herbes. Mais les graines sont invisibles. Elles dorment dans le secret de la terre jusqu’à ce qu’il prenne fantaisie à l’une d’elles de se réveiller. Alors elle s’étire, et pousse d’abord timidement vers le soleil une ravissante petite brindille de radis ou de rosier, on peut la laisser pousser comme elle veut. Mais s’il s’agit d’une mauvaise plante, il faut arracher la plante aussitôt, dès qu’on a su la reconnaître. Or il y avait des graines terribles sur la planète du petit prince…c’étaient les graines de baobabs. Le sol de la planète en était infesté. Or un baobab, si l’on s’y prend trop tard, on ne peut jamais plus s’en débarrasser. Il encombre toute la planète. Il la perfore de ses racines. Et si la planète est trop petite, et si les baobabs sont trop nombreux, ils la font éclater.
It’s saturday morning and I’m at a café in downtown Sherbrooke. Comfortably seated on a terasse, I watch the picturesque Wellington Street, still asleep at this time of the day. I could really enjoy this time to relax and observe the few pedestrians and try to imagine what’s their story. That’s probably what I would do if I could stop thinking about solving problems. One hour of rest, that’s about all what my brain needs before starting up the machine. Yes I know, this is crazy but I guess this is why I call myself an entrepreneur. My need of building things is like never fulfilled.
It’s been 5 months now that I moved in Montreal. For those who don’t know where I’m from, I shamelessly dropped out of Sherbrooke’s University to go work at PasswordBox. This was not an easy choice but I would make it again anytime.
Working at one of the biggest startup in Montreal has some unique perks but I won’t be discussing much about those. I’m much more impressed of the quality and the creativity of the people working there and the Montreal Startups and Developers Communities in general. Continue reading
Today, I had a great discussion with a colleague about the ephemeral nature of code. Is it possible to write architectures that last? Unix and Http are good examples of legacy architectures that continue to influence today’s innovation, but what about protocols and programs that got forgotten?
I go to a lot of events and I love hackathons. When my friend told me about a NASA hackathon, I already knew that this would be awesome. I invited a good friend of mine that knows everything about the NASA and space exploration and we went together to see if we could hack on something great.
When I browsed the proposed challenges, I found one that was very interesting. Called “Leaf Me Alone”, the challenge was to find the ozone damage on pictures of leafs to evaluate the quality of the air.
We read all the documentation the scientists of the NASA would give about the problem and we went on solving this… with a little social twist. Not only our app would scan pictures of leaves, it would put them on map where it was taken and show twitter handle of the user who took it.
Using Twitter as a source was obvious, every smartphones have Twitter installed and it takes care of uploading the image and authenticating the user.
OpenCV was great for the anomaly detection algorithm. I’ve never used it before and it took me about 1h to compile it on our server when we deployed, at some point I thought our server wouldnt be ready for the demo but everything else went smoothly.
One week after, we launched the app to the public. The name has changed to foligram which is more catchy. Foli comes from folio, the latin word for leaf (like foliage).
We won the Montreal event and got into the top 20 of the international competition. We had a lot of fun and ended up with a startup. Another great hackathon!
Hack.sh was great. It was the first Sherbrooke’s hackathon but it was also the first time I was organizing one. The event started on friday evening and went on all day saturday. Sherweb, the host, was open all that time so hackers could do an all-nighter if they would… and they did.
Organizing this event was a bit harder then I expected. I thought that getting a bunch of hackers in a big room would be no challenge but some complications arised.
First, a lot of people signed up to the event. Normally, that’s great but I wasn’t expecting that. My budget was very low and as shown in Hackonomics 101, the cost of a hackathon can go up quickly.
The other complication was that the city of Sherbrooke choose the week after to do their event HackSherbrooke, also branded as the first Sherbrooke’s hackathon. Normally that’s great too also. Two hacking events in the same month in Sherbrooke, that shows that all the work we did last year in the community is starting to pay off. But that also means that we’re eating the same pie for sponsors and attendees.
Except these two things, everything went well. We got everything a hackathon should have : pizza, energy drinks, beer, stickers, swag, powerbars, ultra fast internet and, thanks to Sherweb, we even got much more : ping pong, pool and babyfoot tables and video games.
I even had the time to hack my own project and demo it at the end. We had a very good time and we will be back next year for sure!