Saturday, September 27, 2014

#ATTWNY Civic App Challenge Symposium - Saturday September 27, 2014 - 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

On Saturday September 27, the #ATTWNY Civic App Symposium brought the start of a very special challenge. A specific challenge to be precise! This is all about helping your community through a mobile app. So no matter how old you are or what walk of life you are from, we all face a challenge that a mobile app could help or assist us with, and the opportunity to do that starts now!

I like to say this a lot, "See a need, fill a need." -from the movie Robots.  Mobile app programmers / developers, organizations that have the data and non-profits with needs for mobile app development were all present to help Western New York today to "See a need, fill a need".

HackUpstate has built a great website for the challenge that contains all the details about the partners and the actual competition and if you want to know more, go here

There were about 70 people that spent a beautiful Saturday morning in the large, bright open space called D!G on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus in Downtown Buffalo. The attendees were treated with both breakfast and lunch and a great day of learning, networking and growing.

There was so much content, conversations and learning and I could tell it was very positive and very heart warming. I could sense there was much hope and there will be great collaboration in this challenge. 

So let me tell you (with pictures and captions, of course!), how the day went.

When you arrived you were greeted with a registration table, a bag of cool swag! and a great program for the day.  Also everyone received a free day pass to D!G to try it out!!!

Food was fresh fruit and bagels! 

Early morning tech conversations were happening and it was great to see.

The D!G conference area is never given any justice by pictures so if you are reading this blog and never have been there, then please go and check it out.

Here are our big partners of the challenge. Ben Roberts of AT&T our gracious sponsor and United Way's Aaron Krolikowski along with Jessica Edwards the Curator of D!G. They were all great and this great event would not have gone on without their leadership!

A 9:30 a.m. start and away,we, go!

First of all did I say the event was free to the public?!? Well get ready because first we had Andrew Nicklin who works in the Office of the NYS Governor as the Director of OpenNY. He gave an Introduction to Open Data.  

Then Tim Poulson of Appcelerator who gave a presentation on Mobile App Development and explained the current usage in the market of mobile apps and the platforms available.

Then Chris Fagiani gave us an overview on FLOW (Field Level Operations Watch) which helps the process of Open Data sources.

One of my favorite things I saw today was Remy DeCausemaker's presentation on projects happening on Github and using the Gource product was amazing. He truly is a tech wizard in ways I cannot even imagine. Check out the video below.

Dan Magnuszewski from Z80 Labs and Scott Cassety of LaunchNY talking about the Incubator process and some background on LaunchNY.

After lunch we came back to a panel made up of our speakers and experts in the fields of Open Data. Tej Chigateri, Brian Borncamp, Tim Poulson, Chris Fagiani, Remy DeCausemaker, Scott Cassety and Dan Magnuszewski. This panel talked about a lot of options available, gave advice to many questions in the audience and made an impact for many in the audience.

Then John Wojcik from the NFTA spoke about opportunities with apps and the challenges the NFTA faces when trying to give real time data to smartphone users of their services.

One of the best things about the symposium was the other side, filling the need. There were 12 different non profits that brought a 2 minute pitch for help developing something that would benefit our community. The groups that were there were:

After School Network of WNY
Buffalo Promise Neighborhood
Child Care Resource Network
Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo
Parent Network of WNY
Partnership for the Public Good
Preservation Ready Sites
United Way of Buffalo & Erie County
UB Office of Global Health Initiatives
UB Regional Institute
University Heights Collaborative
University Heights Tool Library

A great day indeed, an important opportunity to help your community and build new relationships with limitless potential, all in my backyard. I am thankful and grateful to be apart of InfoTech Niagara as it gives me such great opportunities to be involved in these events. 

"See a need, fill a need!"

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Startup Grind Buffalo - July 29, 2014 - Featuring Mitchell Patterson from Armory Square Ventures

One of my favorite events recently is called Startup Grind Buffalo, A global startup community designed to educate, inspire and connect entrepreneurs - See more at:

Why do I love it? 
Why does it matter? 
Well those are great questions. Let me explain a little more. The event is powered by GOOGLE for Entrepreneurs and just like it says in the tag line above, its meant to help educate, inspire and connect people to do great thingsm and this is why I love it! Why it matters to me and why it matters to anyone, is that it gives anyone a chance to network, grow and help others that are trying to build a company. Go back 5 years and there was nothing like this in Buffalo. I have met so many great people, watched relationships grow and businesses thrive with all of the opportunities these kind of events bring to the table! 
Why wouldn't you want to be involved in this!?!?
Infotech Niagara and Algonquin Studios were sponsors for July! Thank you for your support!

This month we hosted a great Venture Capitalist - Mitchell Patterson from Armory Square Ventures. He is on the left standing next to our Host Eben Piazza of Gripe-O.

We had new faces at the event which is always great to see! Thank you Vanessa, Danielle and Aliya for coming and we hope to see you again!

Oscar, Matt and Jack are enjoying the drinks and conversation!

Steve, Chris, Jon and Joe forging great relationships while helping Buffalo grow!

Patrick Whalen is the Chief Operating Officer for the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and DIG Buffalo is one of his latest projects, and I cannot tell you how great he and Jessica Edwards (DIG Curator) are for the Startup Community! 

 We had around 80 people total show up which means a great amount of networking and stronger relationships are growing!

Now here is something cool for all you Entrepreneurs, what better way to sharpen your skills speaking in front of an auidence to help with your elevator pitch! First Greg from Redline Rentals came up to tell us about how we can rent a sports car for an hour or a day and live large! 

Then came John from a neat video service.

Chris from the Atinga Project where sandals made from used taxi tries made in Rwanda!

Of course our awesome camera and filmaker Neil Carroll from Nickel City Graphics getting this on film!

Dave from Buffalo BottleCraft showing off his bottle opener made from a real puck!

And Harry from Harry W Cardin & Assoc. offering free consulting services to new businesses!

And finally we got to sit down and hear from a true investor into businesses Mitchell Patterson of Armory Square Ventures, who shared some pretty wild approaches to getting VC's to listen to new ideas and businesses and what to avoid when reaching out for money! One of my favorite things I heard was that Mitchell said that he knows lots of Entrepreneurs that haven't started a business yet, and that they are all around us as they are good at solving problems.   

Monday, July 28, 2014

Owning a home with a Pool, is it easy?

I had a pool installed at my home 3 years ago, and I thought, how hard could it be? Really? Its just water in a big bucket! I can handle this! Well 3 years later I have found that I am a chemist, managing chemicals and water balance and in some cases it was tougher than I would imagine. 

So at the end of last year (October 2013) I had a leak in my liner, It happened when I took the stairs out of my pool but I didn't realize it until late fall. My pool first leaked all of the water, and then after that the cover blew off leaving my entire pool exposed over the winter. In May 2014 I finally had to take a good look and below you can see my pool in its worst condition ever. I never thought I would get my pool back to normal. 

My neighbor told me about a product that could patch the wall liner while underwater, which I could not believe. 

Before you start you need a little piece of sandpaper to rough the backside of a piece of vinyl pool liner and make sure that its cut in a round shape.
You take the piece of vinyl liner and paste the stuff on it.

Put the vinyl piece on the hole and hold for a few minutes and wait 24 hours. After that fill up the water just over the hole to make sure no bubbles come out and that there is no water coming out. Then you can fill the pool up! 

But wait, you added a nice wood deck for the pool? Well every other year we have had to stain the deck to keep the water repelling and make sure the wood is smooth and no splinters! Here's where having kids really helps! HAHA!

So after the pool was filled it became very cloudy. We ran the filter 24 hours a day for a week but it couldn't break through the phosphates in the water (Tiny particles suspended by the water). As you can see below. You couldn't see the bottom so we grabbed a bottle of PhosAway and used our hose and attached a bottle of the stuff and sprayed on the pool. Shut off the filter and let it stand for 2 days. The pool was clear except for these small balls (I didn't take a picture - sorry!) and then you use your pool vacuum but you don't use the filter you have to vacuum to waste which was very difficult but we got it done!

So here I am vacuuming the pool and as you can see how clear it really is.

Much better looking than 2 months ago!