Posted on August 24, 2016 by orbital

Photo credits from: Zig Ziglar @ Flickr

Congratulations to all of the 147 Orbitee teams for completing the programme!  You’re the big winners in forming your own projects and navigating through all the summer hazards to finish your projects.  No doubt that you had wanted to call it quits at some point and wanted to have someone to help guide you a bit more closely.  But you persevered, insisted that you would stay the course, and won the battle against yourself.  You realised the only barrier to your progress was yourself and the fuel was your self-ignited passion.  You return from your summer journey changed, more confident of your own abilities and clear about how you can find your path forward in any technical scenario.

Splashdown featured a number of ways that you can take your work in Orbital forward, which both SoC (through our Entrepreneurship office) and the University (NUS Enterprise, especially NUS Overseas Colleges) have paved for you.  Do weigh these opportunities and assess whether they are appropriate for you.

And now for the formal awards:

  • For Vostok:
    Congratulations to Kabir Khandpur and Gupta Varun of Blue Circle Co. (Winners); Loh Zi Bin Robin and Huang Jifen of O(my god) (Honorable Mention)For Project Gemini:
    Congratulations to Jaipal Singh Khaira and Wu Tingfeng of RainyWhether (Winners); Kwok Jun Kiat and Tan Jun Kiat of JFK (Honorable Mention)For Apollo 11:
    Congratulations to Ng Yong Sheng and Chan Yu Feng of No Break, No Brake  (Winners); Ngin Yun Chuan and Conan Kian Jia Ren of DARTHWHALE (Honorable Mention)

    and for Best Advisers:
    Bay Chuan Wei, Candiie and Harish Venkatesan (both advisers to eight teams)

Although you are the stars of Orbital (yes, you are!), there’s a whole host of SoC 24 advisers, 20+ industrial and alumni mentors, staff, building facilities, A/V, alumni, senior students and student groups and the tireless admin staff from the Undergraduate Office and Corporate Relations that make this happen.  This programme does not happen anywhere else in the whole currently, so be proud that you are here in NUS SoC.  Go SoC!

– Orbital Staff

Posted on August 22, 2016 by orbital

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 11.52.30 am

This is it!  Wednesday’s the big event — Splashdown — the capstone to your project!

Splashdown is separated into poster sessions, held back to back, in SR1 (Seminar Room 1) and lobby.  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?

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 NUS Overseas Colleges, and the Entrepreneurship unit of our school, that are on relevant “where to go from here, life after Orbital” topics.  Oh, yeah – did we mention there are like a ton of ongoing hackathons that you could also participate in?

Some tips for a good re-entry and Splashdown (your results may vary):

– Make sure you eat a good evening meal and have a water bottle for drinking.  It gets noisy and chaotic with 200+ people all talking in one place!

– Do print out your posters early.  It will be busy and you should try to get your posters done early.  If you do them today, you can drop them off at the “poster locker” in the Undergraduate Office (COM1 #02-19).  Ask Ms Rachel Lim, or Mrs Kwek to help you place the posters in the right area for pickup.  We will deliver all of the posters we receive to SR1 on Wednesday afternoon around 17:30 (yes, the whole 30m away from the UG office — you’re welcome!)

– Do check the layout of the session right before Splashdown.  We are still shifting poster slots around due to last-minute changes.  Consult the printed posters as they will be the definitive version — we may not have time to update the website on Wednesday.

– Make sure to practice your pitch and presentation, even having a way to show your off your products — small leaflets or QR codes with reminders (with project IDs) can be helpful.  Also, no one looked bad by dressing up a bit for these types of events (we will be taking pictures!  Hope you’ll put your selfies on Facebook and link them back to the Splashdown FB page — we have one, didn’t you know?).  There will be some first year students coming to Splashdown (Aaron advertised it to CS1231), so you can also chat with them to tell them about your lessons learned — and tell them to take Orbital

– You will be receiving your voter ID tomorrow either by email (most likely) or at the registration desk.  You will need to take note of this for tomorrow’s best project voting.  Keep an eye out for it.  You will need your smartphone (or stop by the registration desk) to do the voting.  Please do it to keep our event lively!   Note down the projects you think are worthy of being crowned best of Vostok, Project Gemini or Apollo 11.  There will be public voting to determine the best project for each of the three levels of achievement.  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!

– Do reciprocate that effort — take the session you’re not in to look around and to see what your other teams have been able to do.  Say “Hi” to your peer teams that you may have only known virtually and give them a boost too for this final run.

– By default, your name, level of achievement, and project team and the link for your final project video will be captured and made public on the Skylab web app, but if you don’t want it to be captured up there, please send Min (‘knmnyn’ on Slack) a DM; we’ll be happy to take it down.  If you have a LinkedIn or other social media account and would like to be endorsed for specific skills — by default it would be Google App Engine and Python — also send an invitation to us so that we can eventually (in a few weeks after Splashdown) do this for you.

That is all.  Houston, out.

Posted on August 6, 2016 by orbital

As part of Splashdown (coming soon, 24 Aug, Wednesday 18:00-21:00), you’ll all will be reviewing and seeing your peers’ projects in person at the event.  To facilitate this final part, you’ll need to create a A1-sized poster for the event, detailing the highlights about your Orbital experience that you like to share with your buddies and industrial guests.

The details for the poster session are on the Splashdown page, but we’ve repeated it here for your convenience!

Splashdown is structured as two back-to-back poster sessions with a final oral session and awards session; see the 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 they will have to prepare and print (pre-paid for you at SoC Technical Services).

18:00-18:55 Poster Session 1
18:55-19:05 Changeover
19:05-20:00 Poster Session 2
20:00-20:30 Invited Talks 

  • NUS Overseas Colleges
  • SoC Enterpreneurship
20:30-21:00 Awards Ceremony and Group Phototaking

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.  Guests (first years, and seniors) are also welcomed to attend and will need to register for the event to be given voting privileges; see the Splashdown page soon, when that information is updated.  Google SG has kindly sponsored some prizes for the very best projects, as voted by all of you and our observers.

Below you can find the current (6 Aug) mapping from team names to poster sessions / locations.  These are subject to change, but basically each EG is assigned to one session and co-located to be near each other.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I figure out my project ID?
A: It’s your poster session (1 or 2), followed by your poster board’s location.  For example, Copyleft’s project ID is 103 (Session 1, Location 03); O.W.L. is 232 (Session 2, Location 32).  Project IDs are three digits, with your poster board location’s number padded to two digits.

Q: What should the contents of the poster be about?
A: Great question! It’s up to you. Probably you want to differentiate your project from others, so if you are doing a Python/GAE project for example, most of the cohort will already be familiar with (some of) the technical aspects. You could discuss the motivation, testing, the documentation and libraries used.  If you have the application on a smartphone, laptop or tablet, you may also want to demo your working application (hiding the bugs, of course).

Remember that Google SG is giving away prizes to best project, where you (and us) have voting privileges to help determine the winners, so whatever you want to do to curry favor with your peers is a-ok (within NUS policy, of course). You’ll find that marketing is a very big key for technology acceptance in the real world, anyways.  You can check out similar poster sessions at the STePS events, done by your seniors:

for ideas on content.

Q: How large should our posters be?
A: Your poster should be A1 sized (841 x 594 mm).

Q: Should I mount my poster in portrait or landscape format?
A: Both are possible. The poster board mounts are 1x1m.

Q: What will the presentation stations for each project consist of?
A: We will be able to guarantee each project a side of a posterboard, large enough to mount an A1 sized poster on. Most projects will have to share a grey 1 m console table with another project, as space and the availability of console tables makes them limited resources.  The facilities team may also instead provision a blue student examination table to each project, at their discretion.  Power outlets will generally not be available, so as such, please come with any electronic devices (phone, laptop) charged if possible and be courteous and relinquish your power supply to other teams who need to recharge their depleted power. You can see a picture of some of the setups for a similar event a few years here.

Q: When do we have to be there to set up?
A: Presenters in the first session can set up their posters as soon as the space is open.    Presenters for the second session set up when the first session takes down at the in-between session break.  Please take down your posters and clear your station after your poster session.  Note that you may have provide your own mounting tape and pins for the posterboard.  Please do dispose/recycle posters properly.

Q: Do we have to do on-site registration? If so, when should I do it?
A: Only external guests should come to the registration desk (near the entrance of SR1) during registration 17:30 to 18:00 to pick up your Voter ID for the evening. You’ll need to keep track of what 3 projects you think are the best to vote on, so that’s why you need your Voter ID.  Project team members should receive a voter ID by email from Min.  Members of your project team can take turns going to the other projects to grade and see what else is out there that’s cool and worth knowing about.

Q: When can we print our posters?
A: Anytime between now (6 Aug) and 24 August.  Be aware it takes time for the posters to print and that each team is only sponsored 1 A1 sized poster, to be printed at Technical Services in COM 1 Level 1 (if you need to re-print, you’ll have to pay on your own).  We strongly encourage you to print early, no later than the 22nd, due to potential queues during the 23th.

Q: Is it possible to release the voter IDs in advance so as to include the ID into the poster design?
A: The voter IDs are what you use for voting for best projects. The project ID is the number that uniquely identifies your project number. They will be posted on the poster board itself so that everyone can identify projects uniformly, in the same manner.

However, if you wish to still repeat the project ID on your poster you’re welcomed to. The Splashdown page will soon list the project ID. Basically it corresponds to the position of the poster board where you’ll be presenting, prefixed by a ‘1’ or ‘2’ for which poster session you’ll be in (see earlier question and answer in FAQ).

Q: Must the contents on A1 poster be printed or can we draw/paste stuff on it?  Can we just take a blank piece of A1 paper from the technical services without printing?
A: Anything goes!  You can do whatever you want with your one piece of A1 quota (sponsored by Google!). Be creative! It’ll be attached to a poster board so it shouldn’t be too heavy or break the center of gravity with the poster on the other side (there’s another team presenting on the back).
If you want to just take a single sheet without printing, our advice is to buy your own sheet of A1 paper, so that if you want to print color things to paste to the sheet, you can still print a A1 sized paper to cut out/collage/etc. for later.

The A1 sized paper offer is for Splashdown only and will not be available to you (even if you don’t use it) after 24 August, Wednesday.  Theoretically you can use the A1 for anything you want if you don’t use it for Orbital (e.g., printing K-pop boy/girl band poster for your dorm room), but we’ll have to the accounts after 24 August, Monday, so print soon. Though tech services might be wondering how it’s related…

Q: Will our posters be vetted first before printing?
A: Thanks for your question! No, we do not intend to vet your posters. We trust that you will exercise prudence in printing content on your posters. They will be viewable by the general public — so please do not put anything controversial on the posters (profanity, personal information, etc.).  If in doubt, feel free to ask us directly via email.

Q: What prizes will be awarded during Splashdown?
A: Actually, you’ve already won the best prize of all — self-confidence and the ability to find and use technical information on the web to accomplish tasks.  But since you asked: Google has sponsored prizes for the top three teams.  Min has checked them out and they are ** n i c e **.  Up your game and work on your soft skills to best promote your project to your peers and to the invitees that will attend the Splashdown event.

Posted on July 21, 2016 by orbital
Splashdown now has been scheduled with preparations and logistics for all of Sem I’s classes now settled.  at SR1 and SR1 Lobby in Week 3 of Sem I, August 2016.

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 back-to-back poster sessions with a final oral session and awards section; see the 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).

18:00-18:55 Poster Session 1
18:55-19:05 Changeover
19:05-20:00 Poster Session 2
20:00-20:30 Invited Talks 
20:30-21:00 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.  Guests (first years, and seniors) are also welcomed to attend and will need to register for the event to be given voting privileges; see the Splashdown page soon, when that information is updated.  Google has kindly sponsored some prizes for the very best projects, as voted by all of you and our observers.

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 here.

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.

Posted on July 20, 2016 by orbital

Image courtesy Bernard Oh @ Flickr

You’re almost there!  Congrats on making it all the way here.  Pat yourself on the back for learning how to make good videos, do better documentation, take cut-n-paste coding to a new level and oh yes, did we mention, do a project?  This is computing in the real-world, right here, right now.  Oh yeah!

Yes, we know you still have so many features and refinements to do (and we hope you will do them), but it’s now time to set things aside and make sure you have all of your current work documented for your peers to review this coming week.  Yes, we also know you are doing so many other projects as the summer is coming to an end soon.

After the scramble to make all of your documentation by the 25th, in the week ahead, you will be judging the final outcome of your peers’ projects too.  Importantly, we need you to turn in your peer evaluations on time.  We need these evaluations on time, as we need to wrap up the Orbital grading, so as to meet the deadlines for assigning the 4 S/U credits for the course (CP3108B).

Look to the “Preview Forms” section in Skylab for the Evaluation 3 milestone criteria for which your project will be graded by.  In the week following your peer review, do keep in mind you will have to do one final evaluation of your peers’ reviews on your project, so that you can give credit and thanks to all of those reviews that were helpful (including your own advisors and mentors).

Good luck!  Stay strong — you’ve come all this way.  Give each other the encouragement to stay the course!  There’s only Splashdown to go!

P/S – speaking of Splashdown, Splashdown’s date is likely changing to the 24th of Aug (1 week later) due to conflicts with other School events.  That’s one more week to polish your marketing drive, video and demos (While your project is graded by the state it is in at Milestone 3, you can tell the staff through your advisor that you have made significant progress since Milestone 3, and that we should re-evaluate your project during Splashdown.

P/P/S – Thinking of withdrawing from Orbital?  For 80% of teams that dropped in previous cohorts, this is the time where you are severely tested for time.  We advise that you try your best to stay the course and finish — you get loads of self-confidence and Orbital chops for completing.  However, if you cannot manage it, please inform us — both via your advisor and directly to Orbital in Slack.  We need all members of your group to write in, so that we’re sure that all members assent to the withdrawal.

Posted on July 10, 2016 by orbital

This year’s valedictorian Yap Zi Xuan from our School of Computing mentioned Orbital as a pivotal moment in her SoC tenure.

“When I first matriculated, I had the intention of joining a financial or consulting firm upon graduation as the pay tends to be lucrative in these companies,” said Ms Yap, 23.

“That held true until our first summer vacation, when the Orbital Programme was introduced for freshmen.”

The Orbital Programme requires students to initiate their own projects and work independently. Ms Yap said it fuelled her interest in user experience design and web development.

“As I made a drastic change in my career choices from then on, I became thankful for the abundance of career opportunities offered by a computing degree,” she added.

Read the full story here:

Posted on June 27, 2016 by orbital

Photo Credits: Philipp Pohle @ Flickr
Photo Credits: Philipp Pohle @ Flickr

Dear all:

Your second Orbital hurdle is here!  Please make sure to put up your project’ revised README and log into Skylab (no later than tonight 27 Jun 11:59pm SGT).  The only difference from Milestone 1 is that you can make a new video of up to three minutes in length.  Hopefully your team has made some progress on prototyping, but even if you haven’t, just explain how your project is going.

Remember, at the end of Orbital you’ll be evaluated on your finished project — it doesn’t really matter how you get there (i.e., whether you’re behind where you want to be now).

Thanks to the groups who have at least put in a preliminary or final project README and log into Skylab.  Note that you need to inform your EG adviser in advance of the deadline if for some reason you cannot make the deadline.  You must inform your advisers in advance, or lateness may count against your eligibility for getting credit for Orbital.

In the following week, you’ll also need to do the peer evaluations of your three peer teams in your evaluation group. These evaluations are due in Skylab no later than 4 Jul 11:59pm (exactly 1 week later).

Posted on June 6, 2016 by orbital

Tomorrow, Min (@knmnyn on Slack) will cover Machine Learning for Newbies for fun.  As the basic foundation in the 4A workshop, he will cover what machine learning is about, and have you enrol into Kaggle, a machine learning global competition system, in which you’ll try your hand at submitting an entry into the Facebook check-in competition, using some really simple settings (often called “the baseline”).  We’ll review some fundamentals in machine learning and give you some intuition on they work, with the hope of getting these things working in 4B.

Min won’t be going over the algorithms used in machine learning, but rather introducing you to the real-world context of applying those algorithms onto data sets.  In the 4B workshop, we’ll apply some of the machine learning techniques on the FB dataset and learn how to do training, and testing, and will submit a better entry to the Kaggle Facebook competition.

Ready?  MC4 documents (still not ready, Min is never quite ready for lessons until lessons start :-S ):


Posted on June 1, 2016 by orbital

Dear all:

After a short hiatus, Skylab is back and ready to take your evaluations of your peer teams.  Due to the downtime, you now have until 8 Jun 23:55 to complete your peer evaluations.

Save often and keep a back up of your work!  Please report all bugs to the #skylab channel or in the Git issue tracker (on the right part of the footer at the bottom of every Skylab page), and we’ll attend to it as soon as we can.


Photo Credits: KatieJean97 @ Flickr

Next week, NUS Greyhats‘ Amon and Kai Yuan (@amon and @thngkaiyuan on Slack) will cover Web
Exploitation 101 as part of the Greyhats Mission Control session. As
the basic foundation, they will be covering the application specific
standard attacks that are common to many web applications (but not
limited solely to web applications):

  1. SQL Injection
  2. Command Injection
  3. XSS
  4. CSRF
  5. Open Redirects

In addition, Greyhats may also delve into more exotic
platform-specific attacks, that are applicable to PHP, Rails, Python,

Ready?  Here are the documents for MC #3:

You might also be interested in this links: