All posts by sensei

“The Icehouse” On the Hunt for Young NZ Talent

Andy Hamilton, CEO of The ICEHOUSE.
Andy Hamilton, CEO of The ICEHOUSE.

There was an article in the NZ Herald on Christmas day:

Kiwi students and start-ups matched in new summer internship programme.

This summer, between 15 and 30 students will conduct summer internships at The Icehouse and portfolio companies it and Ice Angels have invested in.

Matching the best and brightest students with New Zealand start-ups is the aim of a new internship programme being launched this summer by business incubator The Icehouse, angel investment group ICE Angels, and education consultancy Crimson Consulting.

The Technology Leaders of Tomorrow programme will see between 15 and 30 students from the Crimson network conduct summer internships at The Icehouse and portfolio companies it and Ice Angels have invested in.

…. read more at the NZ Herald ….

Blender Has Come a Long Way

I learned 3D on Lightwave which, in 2002, was a contender with Maya and 3D Studio Max. Because it was free, I downloaded Blender back then, took it for a spin and was a bit disappointed. Because it was open source and community driven I filed it in my brain alongside Ubuntu Linux as “wait and see”.  I had a look recently and have to say, I’m impressed. Check out this user contributed demo video:

Computer Science Field Guide

sys-uc-logoThe Computer Science Field Guide is an online interactive resource for high school students learning about computer science, developed at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and funded by Google.

We’ll be using this as a first point of reference as it was developed here in New Zealand specifically for the purpose of Digital Technology classes like ours.

The Moral Failure of Computer Scientists

This article from The Atlantic raises numerous questions about technology, privacy and ethics. Do developers have a responsibility towards society to not create systems that allow personal information to be disclosed to government bodies? With the privacy laws in New Zealand, how far away are we from a complete surveillance state?

Edward Joseph Snowden is a computer professional, former CIA employee, and former government contractor who copied classified information from the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and United Kingdom Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) for public disclosure in 2013. The information revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and Five Eyes with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments. On June 21, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed charges against Snowden of two counts of violating the Espionage Act and theft of government property.
Edward Joseph Snowden: wanted by the U.S. Department of Justice for violating the Espionage Act and theft of government property.

“Computer scientists and cryptographers occupy some of the ivory tower’s highest floors. Among academics, their work is prestigious and celebrated. To the average observer, much of it is too technical to comprehend. The field’s problems can sometimes seem remote from reality.

But computer science has quite a bit to do with reality. Its practitioners devise the surveillance systems that watch over nearly every space, public or otherwise—and they design the tools that allow for privacy in the digital realm. Computer science is political, by its very nature.”

This article is well worth a look as many of our assessments require discussion of ethical considerations.

Object Oriented PHP for Beginners

php_elephant
I think the Idea with this elephant logo is that you’ll associate PHP with smiley “cartoony” things and approach it with optimism. While I’m certain you can learn PHP, I’m not so fond of such attempts to obfuscate the fact that PHP is a language that will require some dedication to get your head around. Or maybe they just like elephants?

Here’s an excellent tutorial that introduces the concept of Object Oriented Programming (OOP) in PHP. It is written lucidly but may be a little confusing if you don’t already have some basic familiarity with the PHP language.

Here’s another tutorial if you find that one a bit much.

Setting and Outputting a Class Property
<?php
 
class MyClass
{
  public $prop1 = "I'm a class property!";
}
 
$obj = new MyClass;
 
echo $obj->prop1; // Output the property
 
?>

The Codeworx Challenge

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 9.46.28 PMThe Codeworx Challenge is an annual competition here in New Zealand that rewards innovation and initiative. In groups of up to four people, students were tasked with solving a real world problem this year using a Raspberry Pi and code. The results were outstanding as you can see for yourself on their website.

Industry professionals were also impressed if this article from the New Zealand Herald is any indication.

Create Stylish Vector Portraits

vector illustration

digitalartsonline.co.uk have excellent tutorials. Here’s one that shows you how to make a vector illustration from a camera image. It uses both Photoshop and Illustrator and is a good way to experience the strengths of either.

In this tutorial, Eelco van den Berg lets you behind the curtain to see how he creates his incredible vector portraits by turning a photo into a ‘poppy’ vector illustration.

It says that it could take 3-4 hours so you may want to make a cuppa.