Minecraft Command Blocks Coming to Mobile and Windows 10

Minecraft is a popular block-based game, featuring everything from building a little house to designing a giant industry. With the desktop version featuring a variety of features beyond what Minecraft for mobile and Windows 10 offer, people are often left waiting for more. Some of those additional features will soon be coming to mobile and Windows 10.

One of the additional features that will soon be coming to Minecraft includes command blocks. Command blocks let you perform a variety of abilities, from changing the weather to teleporting all with a forward slash from the chat window and a little programming experience.

Players on the desktop version enjoy the flexibility to include custom mods to their gaming experience, yet another one of the features that will soon come to the mobile versions of Minecraft. With schools looking forward to the creation of Microsoft Edu, a version of the game built for schools to help teach everything from teamwork to programming, the ability to add mods and additional content to their versions could let you go from teaching programming to simulating chemical reactions or exploring ancient civilizations all from the classroom.

Do you play Minecraft? What platform do you play the game on and do you play it with any mods? Share with us your biggest creation in the comments below.

Computer Science Now a Core Subject in Chicago Schools

Chicago has a history of making large moves with the latest technology. From installing cables to help avoid power cuts to trains with no drivers, Chicago doesn’t want to stop there and has now become the first state that recognises Computer Science as a core subject.

Computer science is a debated subject, with pressure from governments and companies to help boost people’s knowledge of the technology they use every single day. Chicago public schools will now consider the classes as a core requirement, meaning that the 107 schools in the state which currently teach the course will be only the start.

In order to make sure the Computer Science course is there to help, the school district is working with not just companies but also Code.org, the group behind the hour of code initiative. With President Obama putting aside around $4 billion to help fund computer science courses across the U.S., and personally learning to write some code, Computer Science is quickly becoming more than an idea for schools.

With governments and companies like Apple running classes, it is quickly becoming clear that the need for people to understand not just how to use computers, but how they work and what they do is growing as we use more technology on an everyday basis. Combine that with schools opening up eSports courses to help promote teamwork and logical thinking, sometimes you almost wish you were back in school.

Apple Turn Stores into Classroom for a Day

Apple is known for a wide variety of things, from their phones and tablets to their business practices with other companies and their own employees. Craig Federighi, one of Apple’s executives, wants them to be known for something else, something that he hopes will be the start of something amazing. Stating that he wanted to “set off a spark”, Apple is looking to turn their stores around the world into temporary classrooms in order to support the “Hour Of Code” programme worldwide.

The hour of code is designed as an introduction to programming, not only for learning the act of programming but developing the mindset of logically finding a solution to a problem. By supporting the scheme which is known around the world and backed by people such as David Cameron, Bill Gates, Barak Obama and even large companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, Apple hope that together the idea of a solitary computer programme could be proved wrong and more can be encouraged to look into the activity.

If you’re interested in the scheme you can find more information here, while the Hour of Code website provides year round tutorials and support for several programming languages.

If you’re not interested, please take a few minutes to watch the video below and consider what you could be capable of.

Afghanistan To Open Coding School For Girls

Neil deGrasse Tyson is known for a lot of things. He has advertised science and technology to thousands and even found Krypton (okay he found a planet roughly where Krypton would be and got it named after Supermans home planet). This week though he presented a session at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting. He was joined by two speakers, Massachusetts Institute Of Technology’s (MIT) professor and biomedical engineer Sangeeta Bhatia and the founder and CEO of code to inspire Fereshteh Forough. Amongst their things to discuss was a school that is set to open in Afghanistan with a purpose.

Forough explained that they plan to open a programming lab that will be targeted at women aged between 15 and 25, with the hopes that it can be used to teach women in the middle east to code and program in a safe place.

She hopes that the school will be the first of many in middle eastern countries while Bhatia suggested that they could make changes closer to home to help increase the number of women that took part in computer science programs. This comes in the same week where Stanford has reported that it has 214 female students in its Computer Science major. This figure would make it the most popular major in the University for women.

With more and more people feeling safe and confident in Computer Science, the number of people taking up the subject could soon see an even greater boost as more governments and schools make programming a part of their standard curriculum.

Thank you Huggington Post and Engadget for the information.

Image courtesy of Code Condo.

Australia To Teach Coding From Primary School

Every day we use computers if we use them at our fingers or just by buying something from a store or driving down the road. Technology is a big part of everyone’s lives these days, and this has been recognised by many countries pushing for STEM subjects (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) to become a focus in many educations, the latest of which seems to be Australia.

As one of his last acts as Education Minister, Christopher Pyne has given the approval for a new national curriculum which will see subjects like History and Geography replaced with Coding. Australia is seeing a large push towards STEM subjects as its new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pushes a focus on innovation and preparing the future generations for the jobs and economies of the future.

Pyne said in a statement that “high-quality school STEM education is critically important for Australia’s Productivity and economy well-being, both now and in the future”.

With big plans such as Summer Schools supporting and teaching STEM to underrepresented groups, the development of the maths curriculum and a new P-TECH style school which will bring together education and industry in hopes of further strengthening students futures in the job market.

Thank you Mashable for the information.

Image courtesy of Gizmondo.

BBC Micro Bit Delayed To 2016

The BBC Micro Bit is an intriguing low-cost device to help youngsters develop a keen interest in programming. Unfortunately, the original October roll-out has been cancelled after power supply problems “affected a small number of devices”. According to a BBC spokesperson:

“We’re expecting to start sending them out to teachers before Christmas and to children early in the new year,” 

“As a result of our rigorous testing process, we’ve decided to make some minor revisions to the device – getting it right for children and teachers before we manufacture one million units is our priority.”

BBC director general Tony Hall expects the Micro Bit to “equip a new generation with the digital skills they need to find jobs and help grow the UK economy”. Currently, the device is set to inspire one million schoolchildren and could help forge a new raft of UK inventors. It’s a shame to see the project being delayed until after the Christmas period, but it’s better to make sure the final version is reliable.

In a technologically advanced world, it’s imperative to teach the future generation coding skills to create games, software and unique solutions. Sadly, when I was at school, the ICT curriculum only revolved around spreadsheet macros and I would have loved coding lessons.

Do you know any programming languages?

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.

Visual Studio 2015 Now Supports All Major Apple and Android Devices

If you’re a fan of programming here’s some news you may like. Ahead of the release date for their new operating system Microsoft have released Visual Studio 2015, their programming development environment.

With a list of languages supported straight out of the box such as; C#, C++, Java, JavaScript and SQL amongst the list of initial languages you can already see how this development environment will become a go-to for a lot of developers. Alongside the initial languages it is also possible to get the Android SDK and Xamarin libraries during installation, meaning that not only are Windows and PC’s supported but any Apple or Android devices can also be developed using the IDE (integrated development environment).

The one feature missing that is quite noticeable is the lack of Windows 10 Universal App support. The apps which are said to be better supported and more “universal” than those from the Windows 8.1 platform won’t be released until the operating system is released on the 29th July.

If you are looking at developing Android applications in Visual Studio you now have access to an android emulator which can run everything from Jelly Bean and KitKat to Lollipop. If you want to try your hand at Apple thought you will still need a Xamarin license, and access to a machine running OS X in order to run the compilers needed.

For those who like working in groups or on open source projects, the GIT support has been enhanced with better visual representations of everything from branches to commit history.

As a former Visual Studio user I can see myself returning (stopped using the IDE because I was working on languages other than .Net), and with these new features it seems Microsoft are keen on getting Visual Studio as the number one IDE for developers for any platform.

If you’re interested, the community version can be downloaded for free from here.

Thank you ArsTechnica for the information.

Image courtesy of Microsoft.

 

This Is Why New Software Comes With Old Flaws

You are probably wondering why we hear that legacy flaws are still present in new software. Well, the answer is simple. Developers have a habit of reusing old code for most of their projects and the code is not reviewed for all potential flaws, but rather the approach tends to be similar to the slang ‘if it works, then don’t try to fix it’.

This does not mean that developers are lazy. The approach is favourable even by top-notch programmers because of the tight deadlines they have to meet, so time will always be above everything else when shipping new software.

However, this comes at a hefty price. While we hear of many hacking incidents, only a few of them are complex enough to break even the most impenetrable systems. Most of them were done by exploiting the already ‘implanted’ flaws in all software products. Everything except the operating systems can be deemed ‘hackable’ by most people with some knowledge of hacking.

The flaws go so deep that even some government departments are at high risk. Security analyst found out that some software in government departments is still based on older programming languages. But is this the future of programming? Of course not.

Security analysts in the field say that the problems with legacy flaws may likely increase, but they don’t have to. The real problem is that, by focusing exclusively on shoving new software on the market, companies forget about security completely. A better approach here is to split project development into two major components, development and testing, which could work in parallel. This way, a lot of bugs could be fixed and major security bugs flagged before the software hits the market.

Thank you CNET for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of nikopik

Quantum Computers… Are They Here or Not?

Silicon chips have ruled computing since the last big innovation of computers and have been steadily getting better and better, faster and faster. But that could all change with the realisation that quantum computers could soon become a thing of reality rather than fiction.

All computing is maths at its core, be it simple equations in your excel spreadsheets or flying a jet in the latest video game. Computers solve this in a logical sense with a little knowledge, so 1 + 1 = 2, and so a computer can figure out from this and a bit more that 2+ 1 is three and four and so on and so fourth. The reason computers seem so smart is because they are able to do this so fast that they appear to be making smart decisions instead of trying out simple maths time and time again. Quantum computing is a little different, rather than trying to find out what x is in 2x-1 = y where y = 3x *2 step by step a quantum computer would be able to run several calculations at the same time. This means that the computer you used today featuring the latest and greatest processor would be at a snails pace in comparison to the very first quantum computer, with the quantum processor being able to calculate and answer several complex maths problems almost instantaneously.

This would mean that even the most basic quantum computer could crack modern encryption protocols and break into any modern-day system with ease while also creating a new level of security that would be nearly indestructible to outside access. With this in mind, countries, as well as companies, are funding and developing everything they can in regards to quantum computing, such as Cambridge researchers announcing that they had created the first quantum computing operating system (using a simulation of a quantum computer).

Quantum computing uses the spin of special atoms, named qubits. However, even measuring the qubits could also potentially change what they are actually doing, meaning that even measuring them is a potential challenge. Add to this the problem that we as a species often follow things in an order. Think of the last time you had to build a piece of furniture, quite often the instructions they come with are done step by step, now imagine that all those instructions were put into a single image, with every action being done in the same second. Now imagine not only writing those instructions but trying to put together that desk in a single split second; little difficult to imagine isn’t it?

Thank you IBTimes and MSN for providing us with this information.

Image Courtesy of Physics World.

Indiegogo Toy Aims to Help Teach Children How to Code

A lot of companies have been struggling to release something that will help children how to code. The use of apps and toys have been the most obvious choice for them in order to make coding a lot more fun.

The latest initiative comes from an Indiegogo startup and its Codie toy, which is a wheeled gadget that comes with an app to let the user control and program it at the same time.

Codie appears to be using a visual drag and drop blocks approach rather than having kids program by typing a bunch of lines of code. While the concept is not new, Codie’s developers state that it will stand out with the help of its programming language.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jj5GKCavdeM

Codie’s programming language will not require any compiling time and will react in real-time, which means that any changes made by kids will make Codie react instantly, granting a more interactive experience.

The company looks like it is trying to raise $70,000 on Indiegogo, having it already raised half the sum. If you are interested about the project and want to learn more, or even contribute to its creation, you can visit its Indiegogo page here.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

Unreal Engine 4 Is Now Free!

There have been a lot of beautiful and ultra-realistic projects made with Epic’s Unreal Engine 4 up until now. Take the amazing Parisian apartment project emphasising the power it has to display architecture in as much detail as possible. Even our last post regarding the engine, detailing how Quixel’s Megascans technology can create a realistic jungle, reveals just bits and pieces of its true power.

Up until now, the engine was available for a monthly subscription fee to developers worldwide. However, it turns out that Epic had made a radical change over the weekend.

Unreal Engine 4 is now available to everyone for free, and all future updates will be free!

Yes, Epic has indeed made Unreal Engine 4 available free to anyone willing to try it out, free of charge. The company states that they will only start taking money, namely 5% royalty fees, from people publishing their work done in the engine after the first $3,000 per product.

You can download the engine and use it for everything from game development, education, architecture, and visualization to VR, film and animation. When you ship a game or application, you pay a 5% royalty on gross revenue after the first $3,000 per product, per quarter. It’s a simple arrangement in which we succeed only when you succeed.

More information about Epic’s big strategy shift can be found over at their website here.

Source: Unreal Engine

Someone Created a Word Processor in Minecraft

You read that correctly – someone has built a fully functioning (albeit limited) word processor in Minecraft.

Its creator, Koala_Steamed, says that the ‘app’ includes a 50-character limit, but can save and load files and can format upper and lower case text. The programming for the word processor was completed using Minecraft’s special brick ‘Redstone’.

“5×10, 50 character limit monitor using 16 segment display. There are 7.357×10^92 different combinations the screen can show, all of which can be controlled from 1 line.”

Source: Kotaku

President Obama Writes His First Ever Line of Code

Barack Obama just finished his first ever line of code. The “Coder-in-Chief” wrote a line of Javascript with 20 middle school students as part of the Hour Of Code programme by Code.org.

Code.org and The Hour of Code was set up with the intention of teaching as many people as possible, especially children, how to write code. Code.org has the backing of a host of Silicon Valley luminaries, including Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. The website features game-like apps that allow kids (and adults) to experience coding visually, before moving onto more challenging tasks.

The site and project is certainly a great initiative – it’s terrible how the use of computers and technology has grown so rapidly, but that so few of us know how to write software. It’s bizarre how computers and computer education was focused more on programming in the 70s and 80s, while today ICT lessons consist of how to use Microsoft Office and little else.

Source: readwrite 

Harvard Academics Build Robot That Teaches Kids How to Write Code

Harvard researchers have built a $10 robot that has been designed to teach children how to write code.

The small AERobot can be connected to a computer via USB and programmed in a specially modified language called minibloqs. The language is similar to Scratch, which allows kids to learn programming by dragging and dropping pictures into a sequence. The robot has been designed with school’s tight budgets in mind, as it uses simple manufacturing techniques and materials to keep costs down. Using its vibration motors, LEDs, sensors and actuators, the bot can be programmed to move along a particular course, switch lights on and off or avoid objects and obstacles.

The robot won the top prize in the software category at the 2014 AFRON Challenge – a competition held to help researchers develop low-cost robots to be used in education.

Source: Wired

Vimeo Joins Original Programming Game

Streaming video site Vimeo will be joining the online original programming game, with the launch of 6 new episodes of ‘High Maintenance’.

‘High Maintenance’ is centred around a drug dealer called ‘The Guy’ in Brooklyn, New York City. The site announced that they’d be funding the show back in May, adding to 13 previous episodes that were self-funded.

The ‘Vimeo Original Series’ will set you back $1.99/€1.59 for each episode, or $7.99/€6.49 for the full series. This new move by Vimeo joins efforts from Netflix, Amazon and even Microsoft (before it failed) in producing original programming for online services. The extraordinary success of ‘Breaking Bad’ on Netflix has perhaps signalled a new era of televisions shows without television.

Source: The New York Times

HummingBoard – An Alternative to the Raspberry Pi Now Available

There is no arguing the fact that the Raspberry Pi has revolutionised the technology world giving a simple platform on which users have been able to create their own bespoke systems, mini server farms and dev kits, along with the tools for students to learn basic programming techniques with real world results in the classroom. The unique world that the Pi has lived in is coming to a close however, as a rival product known as the HummingBoard has come to market, offering up a faster and more flexible platform on which users can develop and build small Linux-based systems.

Available in three different specifications, the HummingBoard-i1, -i2 and -i2ex systems offer up a selection of processors ranging from a single core ARM A9 running at 1GHz with 512MB RAM, through to a dual-core A9 running at up to 1.2GHz with 1GB of RAM. Additionally the top end model features Gigabit LAN, GC2000 graphics (with the lower two models featuring 1/100 LAN and GC880 GPU’s), two powered USB2.0 ports, HDMI output, mSATA and mPCIe (on the top end model only) and most importantly, its dimensions allow it to fit into the same chassis that are intended for the Raspberry Pi.

The far greater specifications will certainly open up a whole new world of opportunities for the HummingBoard, with the number of deployment options only limited by the minds of their users and with prices starting at around $45 for the single core entry-level board, ranging up to around $100 for the top end option with a power adaptor costing $10, it is certainly going to be a well fought battle for the ageing Pi,

[youtube width=”800″ height=”450″]http://youtu.be/e_q6f2g5J0g[/youtube]

Source: Fudzilla

Secret Artificial Intelligence Project has been In The Works for 30 Years

Cycorp look like any other research company, striving to create newer technologies in order to sell them to other companies and make life easier for people. However, the company has revealed that they were working on a piece of advanced artificial intelligence for 30 years, keeping it a secret up until now.

They have stated that the secrecy was kept by working on their own. This means no outside investments, no debts and no news about the project of course. The information which revealed the project in question has apparently been released by Cycorp, having the project near the stage where it could be ‘applicable enough’.

People’s desire for a Star Trek-like computer, namely an artificially intelligent system that could receive instructions in plain, spoken language, without the need of millions and millions of hard-coded instructions, has been on the list of ‘to-do’ things for many companies.

However, the method of user interface in question has been stated countless times to be extremely hard to achieve. Despite the latter, Cycorp aims to do this by ‘codify general human knowledge and common sense’, having computers then make use of it. They apparently have been attempting to figure out the pieces of data humans rely on daily, the knowledge required to understand the world, and represent that in a formal manner so that machines can use to reason.

Cycorp has apparently been building this ‘brain out of software’ from scratch since 1984. The product’s name is called Cyc and it is allegedly not ‘programmed’ in the conventional sense, but more like ‘taught’. Building a computer software is more of a procedure-like approach, using flowcharts for example as guidelines and specifications on what the actual piece of software is to perform. Cycorp describes Cyc to be built more like educating a child, having to teach it things.

For example, Cyc is able to see “the white space rather than the black space in what everyone reads and writes to each other.” This gives Cyc the ability to comprehend and reason with things deemed achievable only by humans. Also, given that Cyc has a vast knowledge of everything, it could soon be installed as a normal operating system on almost everything, including robots.

The company has stated that Cyc is currently being used to teach math for sixth graders. While the program understands the math, it listens to what students have to say and performs diagnostics on their confusion. With this, it is then able to figure out what behaviour it can carry out that would be most useful in aiding them understand things.

Though teaching math is nothing special, it is just an example of what Cyc is able to do, having to emphasise its radical technique in approaching a problem and solving it based on individual and unique analytical resolutions.

Thank you Business Insider for providing us with this information

3D Printer Hacked To Create Ultimate Air Hockey Robot

Owning an air hockey table is cool, they’re a great thing to have in the house for a few cheeky games with your friends. Having a 3D printer is also very cool, being able to create all kinds of crazy things with relative ease, but what if you combined that hockey table with the general mechanical parts and controller of the 3D printer? Awesome happens, obviously.

“I have seen several interesting projects of robots that paint or manufacture PCBs, etc. but I was looking for something different. My daughter loves the Air Hockey game and I love robotics so one day an idea born in my mind. Can I construct? Mmmmm. It seemed very complicated and with many unresolved questions (puck detection, robot speed), but that is also part of the fun.” Said the devices creator on the official blog.

Air Hockey Robot is a great hardware and software project, and it’s something that not only worked very well (as you can see in the video), but it also looks like a lot of fun to play against as it never misses a hit. Add to that that there are three different gaming modes, defend, attack, attack+defend, and you’ve got the ultimate Air Hockey training machine.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/CjzSeOg8oTs[/youtube]

Thank you Ciencia Y Cacharreo for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Ciencia Y Cacharreo.

Do We All Need To Know How To Code In A World Full Of Tech?

We can’t deny it being a necessity to have your smartphone in your pocket, your laptop in your backpack and possibly your tablet in one of your hands. Technology is all around us today, from the traffic light at the intersection, to the way you get your coffee served at a shop. Everything is automated nowadays. But the actual question is, do we all know how it works?

Eric Cantor, a Republican from Virginia, said that “becoming literate in code is as essential to being literate in language and math”, a “necessary tool of the century”. President Obama seems to agree that “computers are going to be a big part of your future” as he stated it. But is coding really for everyone? Is it a necessity for tomorrow’s society?

Looking at an event called CodeDay in Santa Monica, California, we see some examples of how coding impacts our lives. CodeDay is just one event supported by StudentRND, who organises such events all over the US, and it attracts more and more coding enthusiasts. The event is about pairing up in teams and coding an app in 24 hours.

It usually takes place in the weekend, from noon Saturday until noon Sunday as it is described, in which contestants need to release an app which is planned and coded within those 24 hours. It is an interesting idea to make your weekend productive, having the alternative to go at a party and get ‘wasted’. This way, you also learn new things and improve your teamwork as well as your coding knowledge, while having something to put on your resume.

Michael Bloomberg, former New York mayor, has even tweeted last year that his new year’s resolution would be to learn how to code. Some other thoughts about coding comes from Jacob Sharf, a junior at UCLA, where he predicts that “It’ll be something that everyone knows, just like everyone knows how to read or write, it’ll be taught in middle school or elementary school, and so everyone will be familiar with the basics of it.”.

Moreover, last December, the president announced a Computer Science Education Week through YouTube. In addition to that, Tony Cárdenas has also introduced a bill called ‘416D65726963612043616E20436F646520’, which states in hexadecimal ‘America can code’, hoping to classify computer programming as a foreign language, and allocate grants for schools to start teaching coding as early as kindergarten.

Examples such as these go on and on, and the truth is that you do not have to be a genius to ‘code’. However, you are not required to know how to code to use technology now, and probably even in the future. Tech devices, operating systems and so on are made extremely easy and very intuitive, not as they were back in the 80’s where you would get a pointer on-screen waiting for commands to be inserted every second for each and every computing operation.

Although, coding is extremely beneficial and can really help you understand and probably invent new things. And you can start to code on almost everything nowadays. From PCs, to laptops, netbooks, even tablets and smartphones. Coding and ‘code’ altogether is everywhere, so why not give it a try?

Thank you NPR for providing us with this information

Homeless Man Being Taught Coding Since August Launches His First App, Trees For Cars

You have probably heard about the homeless guy named Leo Grand and programmer Patrick McConlogue offering him a choice between $100 and 16 free coding lessons. Grand, homeless since 2011 after losing his job at insurance provider MetLife and being priced out of his home when a high-rise apartment block was built nearby, didn’t have to think for long and a coding life for him began.

Grand received a refurbished Chromebook and three books on coding, having McConlogue meet with him every weekday morning for some coding sessions. We are pleased to hear that Grand has released his very first app named Trees for Cars, available for iOS and Android. The idea behind the app, Grand said, is to decrease the number of cars on the roads with an eye toward reducing CO2 emissions. Users have to sign up and specify whether they want to catch a ride or offer one, and the app will connect them with fellow carpoolers nearby. The app will then track how much CO2 was saved by all the passengers. To be noted here is that Grand wrote every line of code, and all app purchases from both stores will go directly to him.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ2INl29sfc#t=0[/youtube]

McConlogue’s tutoring was based on the course found here and you can also read the story of Grand’s remarkable journey here. And don’t forget to check out the app on iTunes and Google Play and maybe even buy it for $0.99 / £0.67.

Thank you Cnet for providing us with this information
Image and video courtesy of Cnet

Raspberry Pi Linux Computer Sales Reach Two Million At The End of October

The co-creator of the Linux computer, the Raspberry Pi, expected to sell about 1,000 of the boards, an estimate that turned out to be rather conservative. At the end of October around two millionth Raspberry Pi boards were sold, having an estimate value of $35 million.

Liz Upton, head of communications for the foundation, stressed how far it had come since picking up the first pallet of 2,000 boards in February 2012.

“Getting the news about the 2,000,000th Pi at the end of last week, it struck us that every single Raspberry Pi in that pallet represents 1000 of the Raspberry Pis that are spread around the world today. “We never thought we’d be where we are today when we started this journey.”

W0hile it took almost one year to reach one million sales, it took around eight months to hit two million, a consistent increase in the Raspberry Pi sales market. The credit card-sized Raspberry Pi was designed as a low-cost, portable board that kids could plug in and start coding wherever they were.

By making it simple for children to program, the foundation hoped to inspire the next generation of programmers. With the two million boards sold, the Pi has now outsold the computer that inspired its creation, as just over 1.5 million BBC Micros are estimated to have been sold.

Raspberry Pi machines have found their way into schools and universities, with the foundation giving out 15,000 free boards to schools, but the boards have also proven to be very popular among the wider hobbyist community, who set about using the boards in projects ranging from robotics to home automation.

Thank you ZDNet for providing us with this information

Havok Takes Project Anarchy Out Of Beta

Havok has announced that it has released the first full release of Project Anarchy. Project Anarchy is an end-to-end mobile game development engine which includes Autodesk’s Scaleform for free, full Tizen OS support and other additional features.

Project Anarchy includes Havok’s Vision Engine together with access to Havok’s industry-leading suite of Physics, Animation and AI tools as used in cutting-edge franchises such as Skyrim, Halo, Assassin’s Creed, and Uncharted. With features like an extensible C++ architecture, a flexible asset management system, advanced Lua debugging, rapid prototyping with the vSceneViewer functionality, full integration with fmod and Autodesk Scaleform, and customizable game samples and tutorials, Project Anarchy offers game developers the ability to quickly iterate on their ideas and create incredible gaming experiences.

The free engine also includes a new packaging tool for application data management, expanded rapid prototyping through both Lua binding extensions and support for a new vSceneViewer mobile app.

Havok has also announced more details on the Project Anarchy PC Exporter upgrade. The exporter will allow game developers to use the Project Anarchy toolset to create their mobile game and then release those projects on PC. The exporter is expected to ship in the first quarter of 2014 and will be priced at $499 / €369 / £311 per seat.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information

Homeless Man Launches His First Mobile App After NYC Man Teaches Him Java

Patrick McConlogue of the website Medium had a idea last August that involved a homeless man he had met while he was heading to work. The homeless man called Leo goes by the nickname “Journeyman” and to Patrick, he seemed a smart and driven character who had just fallen on hard times. Patrick decided to give the man something, either $100 right now that he can take away and spend however he likes, or three JavaScript books, a cheap laptop and one-hour of coding lessons a day for eight weeks.

“He told me I could have a laptop and learn how to do something and I figured it could turn into something more. It’s not like I don’t have the time to learn to do it.” – Leo

Leo took the latter option, learned to program and has been working on his own mobile app called Go Green. In the 8 weeks he has been learning to code he has become quite the popular man, being interviewed by Business Insider, Mashable and a few others, not to mentioning visiting the nearby Google NYC offices who were kind enough to let him charge his laptop there.

Leo’s story is far from over, his app is about to go public, his fame in on the rise and as far as we know, he is still actually homeless too. For more updates on Leo’s progress, there is an official Facebook page setup to keep track of him and his app.

“Life can still be good even if you’re homeless. I don’t need a million dollars to be happy.” – Leo

Thank you PSFK for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of PSFK.

Bletchley Park Raises Funds With Synthesised Synthesiser Album

A group of programmers called Music By Programmers, have released an album to raise money to fund maths and programming workshops at The National Museum of Computing, based at Bletchley Park in Oxfordshire.

The group has made the album in members’ free time in the hope that the £5000 it aims to raise will enable the Museum to offer classes and workshops that encourage the next generation of young people to learn programming techniques from the ground up, citing innovating musicians such as Jean Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream and the forefathers of electronica, Kraftwerk, as influencing not only music, but programming computers in general.

The eight tracks, all written by the group’s members, use sounds initially created by such luminary devices as the MiniMoog, Yamaha CS-80 and Oberheim SEM. These ‘instruments’ now cost thousands of pounds but the software designed to simulate their sounds has been created for just £337.

Jason Gorman, founder of Music By Programmers, said in a press release:

 “It’s very much in the style of ‘classic’ electronica of the 1970s and early 1980s. But we’ve created all our tracks using software recreations of those famous analogue synthesizers that model the circuitry with painstaking accuracy.”

He continued that, despite the synthesiser sounds being a reproduction of the originals, they were practically indistinguishable.

If the fundraising target of £5000 is achieved, it will pay for both parent-child workshops at Bletchley Park, home of the World War II ‘codebreakers’ and their most famous member Alan Turing, plus a new programming club at The National Museum of Computing – in our opinion, a small price to pay for the next generation of technology.

The Music By Programmers album is available to download from 29th April on CD Baby, Amazon, Google Play and iTunes.

For more information, see the Music By Programmers website.