Posted on May 10, 2013 by orbital

Hope you did well on your final exams and are ready to begin Orbital with our Liftoff workshop on Monday and Tuesday next week.
As preparation we need to you do the following few things (may take 1 or 2 hours to do):

  1. [10 minutes] You should plan on fully attending both days of Orbital’s Liftoff workshop.  If you cannot attend, please let A/P Lee Wee Sun <> so that we can approve your request for leave from this mandatory event.
  2. [10 minutes] As part of Liftoff (and Orbital in general), we will be using third-party websites and links to give you pointers to resources where you can learn and practice hacking skills yourself. SoC and NUS does not explicitly endorse these websites but we think the global community has developed very useful resources for one to learn many hacking skills on your own.For starters, we would ask that you register yourselves on  We’ll be using this online resource to teach Python, HTML/CSS and Javascript.  Go to and create an account for yourself, and poke around if you have time.
  3. Installation and testing of software is one of the potentially difficult things that you will have to do in Orbital.  Sometimes installation can be straightforward, but occasionally instructions for certain platforms (Linux in particular) can be fraught with difficulties. Please attempt to install the following on your laptop computer to enable us to conduct the workshop more efficiently:
  • [30 minutes] Python 2.7: You can find it at
  • [30 minutes] Google App Engine SDK for Python: You can find it at It is likely to be better to install python 2.7 before installing Google App Engine to allow the install script to detect python 2.7 for you.
  • [15 minutes] A good text editor.  You may have and/or used “vim” before.  That would be fine.  If you haven’t used a text editor much, it’s a good idea to pick one that you will become an expert in.  NUS Hackers has recommended Sublime Text:
  • [30 minutes] Git: Sign up for if you don’t already have an account.
    Linux users, install git the way you normally install stuff (yum, apt-get)
    Mac users, install XCode, under preferences, downloads, install command line tools as well
    Windows users, install the latest version of git from here ( that generate the SSH Keys and link it to your Github accounts by following the guide over at

    You may also find it useful to install a git client for your particular operating system/platform.  Some choices are available here: . You may want to check reviews on the web to see which (free) client is best for you.  Some default choices are SourceTree and the GitHub client (just for your information: GitHub and Git are not the same).

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