A resolution to improve my Greek….again

Every few years I resolve to go and see my friends in Greece again, and of course I need to be able to speak to them and their friends. Each year I struggle to learn a few more words and remember a bit more grammar; I’ve seen most of the books and tried most of the systems, but it takes real effort to get any progress. My brain isn’t the correct shape for language training! Perhaps by making it more public, it will become more of a commitment. I doubt it, but at least I’ll leave some things here that may help other make some progress. I’ve put some of the word lists here in a format usable by Anki, the latest application that I’m using to learn words with. It’s free for most formats, but is worth a donation. This year I’m going o start with the kypros.org lessons and then go back to the Hellenic American Union scripts which are more of a challenge. They are podcasts and are easy to use. Kypros-Net should do the same with their audio.
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Kontact touch screen plugins for VizRT

I’ve been working on software for touch screens recently. We’ve created a variety of systems that have been automated for the production teams to drive, with a series of C# web services through IIS, a set of javascript scripted web pages and the graphics produced from VizRT. Normally we would have had to script much of the interaction using Viz’s fairly primitive version of vbScript which has little in the way of modern development tools. What has helped has been the use of a TUIO gateway and and a set of plugins from Pete Lane at Kenziko. Their Kontact suite of plugins allow very easy interaction to be used by a Viz designer; a lot of the interaction can be done without any scripting at all. I’ve been putting together some documentation for them, which they should have available by now.
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Augmented reality conference

This was an Augmented reality event arranged by Lester Madden of the augmentedplanet blog. Sorry about the following being so scrappy. I haven’t had time to much more than copy my notes to the post. Didn’t want to lose them, but they won’t mean much to anyone out there. Maybe the links will be useful. There’s a lot happening in this space, but I’m not sure how useful it will be until it becomes a lot easier to use. Implementing the technical side is getting easier; the phone side of things is more difficult for anyone other than a dedicatedAR geek. I was taken most by the demo from the guy using Unity3D. All built in, so easy to produce.

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GoogleIO conference with Arduino

Interesting tio see what the direction that Google is going. Lots of Android with the upcoming Honeycomb tablet version, but not much TV this year. They have been pressured by the networks, who are not too keen to give them any access to their content. Samsung and SMART TV will still have some sort of chance of survival in this case.

Chrome box looks good. If that has a decent graphics hardware base, we could find it cheap enough for connected screen displays.

One thing that I found really interesting, (but not sure how practical) was the android accessory development kit. It’s based on an Arduino, which I’ve been playing around with using node.js. I’ve not had the time to do much more than the usual Hello World of blinking lights, but it should give a real boost to the Arduino guys. Well done to them for all their efforts.

All the usual videos are here, http://www.google.com/events/io/2011/sessions.html

Mix 2011

The keynote this year was interesting for what was not spoken about. Lots of talk in the main keynote but nothing about Silverlight. All the talk is about HTML5 and the speed of the new IE9 browser. On the Second day’s keynote, they talked about Win7 mobiles and then Scott showed that he has been moved into the critical area of IE9. It shows that Microsoft are showing that the critical arena for competition is more on the web platform over the coming year.

Time to look at some more Javascript, I think. CSS video should be interesting. jQuery should only become more popular.

More later…

Flash Builder tips from Mike Lively

I came across some of Mike’s videos last week. He’s very easy to listen to and I would recommend listening to these videos if you’re into Flash Builder, objects and classes, away3D etc.

Flash Builder shortcuts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0J-ZcXUIQU is just a quick video for beginners,

Hold Ctrl over a reference, it will be highlighted, click to go to definition
Alt + down arrow, move selected code
Ctrl + Alt + down arrow, duplicate selected code

Mike has done many videos, Java, Flash CS5, Papervision, Mate, SQL Server, PHP, Second Life, Facebook…lots of videos! Currently looking at Flash Builder, SQL Server, Google Apps, Android, mobiles. The videos are well produced and he is easy to follow.

Mentions Christophe Coenraets Android w Burrito on the Adobe Dev Connection site. Android is on my peripheral vision, but the article looks useful nevertheless.

I thought I just promote his channel a little, http://www.youtube.com/user/mikenku. Thanks Mike; good luck with the non-profit.


There’s an exhibition of digital art on at the V&A Museum in Kensington, London at the moment. It’s called Decode and is on until April 11. I’d really recommend seeing it if you’re a programmer that is interested in Art and animation. Some of the exhibits are interactive and the output is to large video screens. Have a look at the site on the V&A page. There’s some stunning art there. I went along to a hack weekend to meet with some of the guys involved with OpenFrameworks, which is a software framework that aims to make this sort of art easier (not simple) for the non-programming designer to get into. Zach and Joel gave an afternoon of coding examples and a discussion around the libraries and then the weekend was taken up by groups working on specific hacks such as drawing with audio, control of hardware such as Arduino, gestures from camera input. There was a really enthusiastic crowd of a couple of dozen and the public were allowed in to see the results and to be shown how variable the direction of the art could take. Lots of exmples and lots of inspiration.
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