Dear Orbitees:

Congratulations on making it this far!  Hopefully you’re finishing with your evaluation of peer and adviser feedback – due 13 Aug (next Wednesday).  This step should be relatively fast and will be a key step in enabling your peers to make it to their achievement levels.

Now it’s time to start preparing for your very last milestone — Splashdown!

Splashdown is the complement to your Ignition pitch (remember that, way back in May?).  Each team will need to present what they were able to accomplish in their Orbital project.  Teams will have to prepare an A1 sized poster to describe, pitch and demonstrate their work to the audience.  The Splashdown session is broken into two separate poster sessions, held back to back, in SR1 (Seminar Room 1).  Roughly half of the teams will be presenting in the first session and half in the second session.  When your team is not presenting, it’s your chance, privilege and responsibility to go scout out the other projects and talk with your peers about their experience.  After all, you’d like to share (complain?) about how much time you wasted trying to figure out that small bug that was actually absurdly simple, so perhaps you’d like to hear your peers other stories?

Probably more importantly, you’ll need to take note of which projects you think are really good.  There will be public voting to determine the best project for each of the three levels of achievement (Vostok, Project Gemini and Apollo 11).  Public voting is done by you, your peers, any guests (you can and should invite some friends to come boost for your project) and staff.  Staff and staff guests’ votes figure a bit more in the final tally, but much of the prize determination is done by all of you!  So get ready to sell your project to guests — it’s also a chance for you to make good on your communication skills (after all it’s got a bit in common with a job interview).  We’ll be sending you a voter ID on the day of Splashdown so that you can weigh in on which teams projects are the best in class.  Google Singapore will be supplying the prizes and is subsidizing the poster printing, so please go thank them when you see them in person at Splashdown!

We hope you have had an epiphany during your summer self-study and found Computing really the right choice for you and your life path.  Perhaps you’re really fired up about your project and want to know more about how to take it further, or have an even better idea for your next project? During Splashdown, there will be a few short talks by industry guests and by the Entrepreneurship unit of our school, that are on relevant “where to go from here, life after Orbital” topics.  You should review all the information on the Splashdown page now (http://orbital.comp.nus.edu.sg/?page_id=854), and one more time closer to Splashdown (as things change as they get updated).

See you soon!

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 1.22.44 pm
Photo credits: Photo Credits: mclcbooks @ Flickr

Hi all:

If you’re in China over the summer and need access to videos that we have recorded, we now have a solution for you.

You can watch them on Youku, as we have posted them to this well-known video sharing site in China.

http://www.soku.com/search_video/q_nus%20orbital

You can use the URL above from soku.com to search for videos tagged with “NUS Orbital”.  I’ve uploaded four of the important videos so far, but will upload additional as time allows.

 

STS-133_Discovery_Lift_Off_Launch_Pad_39A_KSCLiftoff 2014 concluded on Wednesday, but it’s helpful to have a recap of everything that happened, especially for those of you who are overseas.  Here’s where we sum it up in a single post.  Feel free to watch this thread in Piazza, as it’s inevitable we missed out on some useful pointers (students, advisors and mentors, feel free to add to the post).

There’s a YouTube playlist for all of the videos that we broadcasted, but the individual links are below.

Day 1

Design Thinking – Giftbook

For the first session, we are going over the design thinking workshop.

Go through the slides that Wee Sun has posted at http://www.comp.nus.edu.sg/~leews/LiftOff.zip, and then after reviewing the materials, watch and do with your partner the entire Design Thinking Workshop Video from Stanford.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FzFk3E5nxM

Project Levels and Achievements

As Wee Sun pointed out, you can have your Orbital experience overlap and align with programming contests locally and worldwide.

Consider this (non-exhaustive) list (now merged and enhanced from Shubham Goyal’s list too)

Presentation Skills by Google

Presented by Darshini Santhanam, Google Singapore (starts from the video stream at 21m50s) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5KjiP9DLss&t=21m50s

Attached are the slides for the presentation, courtesy Darshini. Grow_Beyond__Presentation_Skills_by_Darshini_Santhanam.pdf

YouTube videos referenced:

Eric Schmidt Public Speaking Class http://youtu.be/bA1I6MUOKkU
Macworld San Francisco 2008-The MacBook Air Intro (Pt. 1) http://youtu.be/OIV6peKMj9M

Elevator Pitch Winner – Katie Sunday https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqIEE-g_-Uc
Eric Schmidt – Zeitgeist Americas 2013 http://youtu.be/hUPnhKf_Cnw

Enjoy and thanks to Google again for stopping by!

Python

We pretty much went over the materials from LearnPython.org and dashed over to Codecademy to do some exercises.  We had some fun with the Open Source Report Card Json service towards the very end.

Whenever you get down on your programming mojo, watch the Code.org videos.  They pep you up.  There’s suposedly one with Obama (US president) in it too.

Alternative learning platforms:

GrokLearning
Udemy – A list of courses (w/ star-rated reviews; fee and non-fee)
Lynda – for fee, monthly subscription-based
LearnPython – what we will be following for the first part, along with Codecademy
Pythonfiddle.com

Codecademy.com: Advanced Topics in Python
– Iteration Nation (Exercises 1-3)
– List Comprehensions (Exercises 4-6)
– List Slicing (Exercises 7-11)

Codecademy.com: The Devil’s in the Details

20 minutes: AfterHoursProgramming Python Quiz
http://www.afterhoursprogramming.com/tutorial/Python/Python-Quiz/

Here are the slides for the original version of the tutorial: python_tutorial.pdf  Note you can also find the videos of both parts of the Python tutorial online.  Google has a few versions of a Python tutorial that is much better than mine, I think but it may still be worth it to work through your understanding of Python.

There are lots of additional tricks in Python that you can try, so do try to figure them out.  Also important is to try to adopt the Python coding style, in the form of the PEP 8 “standard” or others: https://www.google.com.sg/search?q=python+style+guide For PG and A11 students: if you whizzed through our Py tutorial you can try watching some pretty advanced tips to get yourself more aligned to the Pythonic style:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OSGv2VnC0go#!

Even seasoned (salted or pickled) Pythonistas benefit from watching this from time to time…

On Codecademy: So at this point, you should have some gist of what python programming is like.  It’s not so bad, is it?  If you haven’t finished the exercises, try to do them over the next week or so, and keep working at the Python course (and others) on Codecademy.  You can take a look at the other sites that I shared with you in the earlier @177 post.  Vostok folks, don’t be intimidated by the speed at which some students can do the exercises.  Practice makes things better and guess what — there’s no Bell Curve God for this module.  So take your time and get things done until you’re comfortable coding.  You can also ask your advisors for some tips — they will be really happy to share, trust me!

Software Installation (Post @168): Please do this by Wednesday early morning.  Ideally today if possible.  It’ll really help if you have the software installed.  We did Python together (and perhaps PyCharm).

Project Gemini / Apollo 11: Teams aiming for a bit more than the standard project can try to do a mobile app or other project — it’s up to you. If you’re interested in still doing a web application, don’t necessarily corner yourself into using Py/GAE.  There are many frameworks you can.  You could try Ruby on Rails (my personal favorite web framework, and experience that Winston was sharing is highly sought for in SG).  A few of our mentors are also Rails specialists, but Python / GAE is also a good combo, and many of the advisors will be able to help you with that.  Explore what’s right for you.

Agile Methodologies

Winston of Jolly Good Code has kindly made his presentation available to us.  You’ll probably want to have a re-look at the Agile software engineering methodology he presented to you once you get down to the nitty-gritty of actually starting on your project.  Agile_Methodologies.pdf

Post Day 1 – Software Installation

Probably you have these all done, but if not, please get it done soon.  Min’s note: the more you work with these tools, the more proficient you’ll be with it.  It does help to periodically go back and retrain on certain tools (especially your text editor — knowing shortcut keys is really beneficial — you can YouTube or Google hints for developers for any tool that you’re using.  Lots of people have made very helpful notes.  Find them and share with the class!

Day 2

Web structure, HTML, version control

Zhi An’s session on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpbK78yt8RE#t=108
Slides and everything else: http://ngzhian.github.io/orbital/#/

Color Pickers:
http://www.colourlovers.com/
– Adobe Kuler ( http://kuler.adobe.com )

Update (Post Liftoff 18 May by Min): you may also find that Laurence’s session in last year’s Orbital specifically on git use and management would be helpful for those who have gotten git to install but don’t know what to do with it.  Please find the session here on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2-hJivIXZU
A screenshot of Zhi An’s description of “how the web works” mentioned at 4:40 into his video:

Min’s addendum:
– You will probably use your fav search engine to find more information about HTML tags and CSS directives, but usually a search for “<tag name> html” will work.  The technical descriptions from w3schools.com is usually fairly good.  They have HTML and CSS tutorials there too.
– Geeky stuff: Tim Berners Lee started the web in 1991.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_World_Wide_

Google App Engine

Follow along here in YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=db6CCPZ6b3U&feature=share
Please note that you need the materials to follow along http://www.comp.nus.edu.sg/~leews/LiftOff.zip

Update (Post @206) : Last year, I posted this video to YouTube to help some students come to grips with all the new shiny code that they learned in the Google App Engine session.  You may find this lo-fi video helpful to fill in some gaps in your understanding of what all the parts of the web work.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tC6hacD5Dcs

Students from last year also found self-studying from the Udacity web application course also very useful for general awareness of “how the web works”. You can also find some of the sessions on YouTube for free:

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=cs253+udacity

This source of information is probably very useful for those of us whom learn best by watching.  The Udacity course is pretty long but much more principled in its way of introducing materials to you in a “lecture” format, instead of dumping you all in the thick of GAE like we have done.

 

Hi all:

Congratulations for finishing your exam for CS 1010, 1020 or 2020 soon.  Hope you are studying well for you last few exams or are happily relaxing in preparation for Orbital’s Liftoff Monday and Wednesday workshop.

We realize quite a number of you have registered for Orbital on the Google Form but have not enrolled for the Piazza forum.  We have re-sent out registration emails to all students who have filled in the form this morning.  Please check your spam or trash folders for these emails if you don’t find them in your inbox.

Liftoff 2014 will be held on 12 May (Day 1) and 14 May (Day 2) at I-Cube (I3) Auditorium.  We will be starting early at 9:00am. Please be there on time (it takes 10 minutes to walk from SoC).  For directions, which is past the Biz faculty (there is a shortcut from SoC through BIZ2 to cross Business Link without going out into the rain; nearest bus stop is the A1/D/BTC1 stop at Biz Link).  See here for more directions.

Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 12.59.14 pm

This is our last message to the IVLE forums, so see you on Piazza!

Photo Credits: US NASA

Hi all:

Thinking of Orbital, but haven’t yet decided to enrol?  Or perhaps you’ve already enrolled but you still have some questions about what Orbital is?

Then come to our short briefing session that will help you understand the Orbital process on Monday 31 Mar, from 18:00-19:00 (sorry for the confusion! was incorrectly written as 7-8pm).  Some of your seniors from Year 2 may also be around to help you understand what Orbital meant to them.

See you then!

– Min

Registration now open
Dear 2014 Orbitees:

The countdown has begun!  You may now register your interest to join the Orbital programme.  After registering, you’ll be placed on the email list for the summer programme that we will use to keep in contact with you and you’ll be assigned an advisor who will give you more details on the summer course as it progresses.  Just click the link below:

We know you are wondering about some questions, so here are some answers that may help you clear your doubts:

Q1) Is there any obligation by filling out this registration form?
A1) Nope, it just allows us to know who you are and to establish contact with you.  You can decide not to participate in Orbital even after you register, with no risk to yourself.

Q2) Is there a deadline for filling out this registration form?
A2) Nope. You can register as late as 12 May, the first day of the mandatory* Liftoff workshop.  However, the sooner the better for the administrative staff, as we can better estimate the interest from all of you potential first year SoC students.  Since there’s no risk (see Q1), why don’t you register? (hint, hint)

* Attendance at the Liftoff workshop on 12-1314 (13th is a holiday) May is mandatory, but students who want to participate in Orbital who cannot make the workshop dates need to let Orbital staff know in advance.

Stop the presses!  I’m ready to register!

(or try http://bit.ly/1d6zlZR if that doesn’t work for you)

Orbital is the School of Computing’s self-driven programming summer experience.  It is designed to give first-year students the opportunity to 1) self-learn and 2) build something useful.  Officially, it is a 4 modular credit (MC) module – CP2106: Independent Software Development Project – that is taken over the summer and graded on a Completed Satisfactorily/Completed Unsatisfactorily (CS/CU) basis.

Unlike the School’s traditional modules which emphasize academic learning, this module leverages the growing opportunity that computing students at all levels have in building useful applications.  This skill does not normally come by formal training, but rather requires time, experience, trial-and-error to hone.  Information foraging for technical details on the Web can be difficult, but we feel that through a combination of self- and peer-help, students will be able to put together useful systems and generate confidence in being able to go beyond the basics, and seek solutions on their own.  In fact, computing is the only discipline whose output can scale dramatically; a single person’s work can affect millions of lives, everyday.

Our School does not teach programming prowess as formal coursework, as it is not academic in nature.  Orbital is one mode where young energetic students can fill this gap by their own initiative.  Read more about the Orbital programme’s structure in pages tagged with ‘orbital‘.

=

Photo Credits: US NASA

It has been a bug-blasting, hacking-all-around, action-packed summer thriller for all of you in Orbital!  Mission Control reports the all-clear for your reentry back to NUS, Singapore!  We’ll have a final, three-hour evening session, where all of you are required to participate (this *is* the very last milestone), in the form of a final Splashdown showcase!

Splashdown is structured as two poster sessions with following oral sessions after each poster session to serve as a transition period; see schedule below.  Orbital teams will be assigned to one of two sessions to present their work.  During each of the two poster sessions, each team will be presenting their work via a A1 sized poster that you will have to prepare and print (but we will pre-pay for you at SoC Technical Services).

SPLASHDOWN SCHEDULE (Draft)
17:30-18:00 Registration
18:00-18:40 Poster Session 1
18:40-19:20 Invited Talks Session 1
19:20-20:00 Poster Session 2
20:00-20:20 Invited Talks Session 2
20:20-21:00 Awards Ceremony

Splashdown will also feature peer voting for best projects.  During the poster sessions, take note of which other teams you think did the best projects and vote for their project electronically using your smart phone or tablet. We’ll tally your votes and announce the winner at the end of Splashdown at the awards ceremony.  Google has kindly sponsored some prizes for the very best projects, as voted by all of you and observers (SoC, project mentors and industry invitees).

Details for Splashdown (such as the final schedule and team allocations) are still ongoing, but you can check on the latest details on the Splashdown page on the Orbital site (http://orbital.comp.nus.edu.sg/?page_id=348).

For those who cannot attend due to conflicts, you must let the instruction staff know ahead of time via emailBoth team members must attend the event.  Post-event application for leniency will not be permitted.

 

Dear all Orbital students:

Photo credits: JustGrimes @ Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/notbrucelee/

We have been in talks with the InfoComm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) to have them over to talk about the data.gov.sg initiative.  They have also told us that they are in the midst of organizing some events that might be of interest to all of you.  You may want to consider joining in these two events happening next week (of course, please log your attending hours as part of your Orbital timesheet, as with everything else). Some of these events are happening at Blk 71 (again!).

[Snip — what follows is from IDA]

 

 

A.      Google Cloud SQL Workshop on 18th June 2013 (Tuesday)

We will be working with developer groups in Singapore to bring to you workshops which incorporate the latest technologies with government data.

The first of our workshops will be a collaboration effort between IDA and the Google Developer’s Group :

Theme : Google Cloud SQL and Big Query with Government data.
Date : 18 June 2013 (Tuesday)
Time: 6.00pm – 9.00pm
Location : Plugin@Blk 71. 71 Ayer Rajah Crescent #02-18, S(139951)
Register : http:/bit.ly/gdgsg1306

B.      Tech Talk on Entrepreneurship and Civic Innovation 

Join us for an evening with speakers from Google Ventures and Washington DC’s iStrategy Labs. Innovators in their own right, Bridgette and Peter will share tips on how developers and start-ups bring their solutions forward by dreaming big and aiming high.

Date : 19 June 2013 (Wednesday)
Time: 7.00pm – 9.00pm
Location : Plugin@Blk 71. 71 Ayer Rajah Crescent #02-18, S(139951)
Register : Email ida_dgs_admin@ida.gov.sg with your name and contact number.Seats are limited so register asap![Refreshments will be provided]

Agenda:

  • “Google, Entrepreneurship and Innovation” by Bridgette Beam, Global Entrepreneurship Manager, Google ventures
  • “Citizen Innovation for Smarter Cities” by Peter Corbett, Chief Executive Officer, iStrategy Labs
  • “Sharing on Apps4SG Competition and an upcoming Hackathon –  Looking for the brightest and most creative minds in Singapore to help improve the way we live, study, work and play” by data.gov.sg, IDA
  • Q&A with Bridgette and Peter

event logo (horizontal)_4Event Venue_4