Tag Archives: Creativity

Нова библиотека за българска фантастика

Post Syndicated from Григор original http://www.gatchev.info/blog/?p=2199

Днес ми гостува с една обява не друг, а Александър Карапанчев. Да, същият онзи, авторът на прекрасни фантастични разкази. А обявата е за една прекрасна книга, на която аз вече съм горд собственик. И единственият разказ в нея, за който съжалих, че е вътре, е моят – понеже съм го чел. 🙂

Но да не отнемам думата на Сашо:

В нашето книгоиздаване е имало не една библиотека с фантастична литература. Но те са били преобладаващо поредици от преводни заглавия. Дори в легендарната „Галактика“ на издателство „Георги Бакалов“ – Варна, българските книги бяха редки птици, пръснати през десетина от световни автори. В серията на „Отечество“ бяха по-чести, но все пак – „гости“.

След началото на демократичното книгоиздаване в доминиращата поредица „Избрана световна фантастика“ на „Бард“ бе заковано още в заглавието ѝ отсъствието на родни автори, на които беше сложено клеймото „непродаваеми“. Но имаше и изключения: няколко по-малки издателства (първо сред тях бе „Аргус“) направиха свои поредици за бг литература на въображението. Сега Дружеството на българските фантасти „Тера Фантазия“ стартира нова библиотека с най-доброто от родния супержанр – „Съзвездие BG“. Тя изгрява с антологията „ФАНТАСТИВАЛ В ЕВРОПОЛИС“, която предлага своего рода визитна картичка на Дружеството.

Томът представя 27 автори с по един разказ или новела, които характеризират типичния им стил и любим тематичен кръг. Текстовете се редуват с 30 висококачествени репродукции от наши графици и илюстратори, разположени на цяла страница. Антологията е подбрана и оформена с любов и пиетет към детайла в два варианта – с меки и твърди корици (с цветни форзаци, изобразяващи кориците на книгите, издавани от членове на „Тера Фантазия“ през годините от началото на клубовете по фантастика и прогностика, та до днес).
Освен на хартия „Фантастивал в Европолис“ излиза и в електронен вариант. Той e без дигитални (DRM) защити и се разпространява на принципа „Читателите плащат колкото и ако преценят“. Всички приходи се разпределят между творческите участници: писатели, художници, редактори, коректори и оформители.

Антологията и следващите я авторски томове имат за цел да изведат постиженията на българските фантасти извън затворения кръг на фендъма у нас, да споделят творческите им светове с широката четяща общественост в България.

Чрез „Фантастивал в Европолис“ можете да опознаете литературните стилове на 27 творчески личности, които са публикували повече от 120 книги в различни издателства. Между тях са утвърдени литератори като Любомир П. Николов, Любомир Николов-Нарви, Николай Теллалов, Янчо Чолаков, Елена Павлова, Николай Светлев, Атанас П. Славов, Александър Карапанчев, юристите Мартин Петков и Антон Фотев, поетът Красимир Георгиев, компютърните специалисти Григор Гачев и Георги Малинов, гейм дизайнерът Божидар Грозданов, астрономът Валентин Д. Иванов, кибернетикът Иван Попов, кинорежисьорът Вал Тодоров, дипломатът Евгени Алексиев.

Сред произведенията тук е и новелата на Чолаков „И попита войникът: Кой ме повика?“, чийто превод бе публикуван в американското списание Nameless Digest и впоследствие влезе в номинационния списък за наградата „Джон Кембъл“. Много от другите пък, като разказа на Мартин Петков „Доматите сини, телетата с криле“, участват в предстоящия сборник с българска фантастика на руското издателство „Вече“. Такава е съдбата и на „Онова нещо, отлетяло с птиците…“ от Вал Тодоров, който присъства и в наскоро излязлата немска антология с български автори Sternmetall: Neue Phantastik aus Bulgarien.

• ЗА ПОРЪЧКИ на „Фантастивал в Европолис“:

Атанас П. Славов ([email protected]).

Антологията съдържа 520 страници и с твърди корици струва 25, а пък с меки – 20 лева.

Ортодокс

Post Syndicated from Григор original http://www.gatchev.info/blog/?p=2181

Беше една вечер, след обсъждане в софийския клуб по фантастика, прогностика и евристика „Иван Ефремов“ на предстоящите празници „Таласъмия“ – първото им издание. Говореше се за конкурс на тема чисто българско фентъзи – естествено, с таласъми вътре, за да е в тон с темата… Мислех си: колко ли весело би било разказче за среща с таласъми? На средновековен човек, който вярва в тях, но по някаква причина не се плаши? Примерно защото е срещнал малко таласъмче?

Празниците отминаха, идеята – не. Графоманията упорито искаше своето и накрая реших да ѝ го дам, за да ми олекне. Още повече че често се прибирах късно нощем, твърде капнал, за да мога дори да заспя. Започнах просто да сядам пред компютъра и да пиша нещо, което да ме развесели и поотпусне.

Като начало, реших да заменя таласъмите със самодиви, за по-оригинално. Посочих им навъсено вратата и обявих случая за приключен. Да-да! Прекръстиха се на караконджули и се намъкнаха през прозореца.

Рационалният ми ум не искаше да се примири с изчадия адови без обяснение. А както се знае, най-лесно обяснява подобни неща не миналото, а бъдещето. И така, Петърчо и Христина се оказаха деца от два свята в бъдещето, единият – средновековен, другият – високотехнологичен, успели да се срещнат и да завържат приятелство. „Таласъмията“ междувременно отмина и следващи се организираха, ама децата не щяха да си зарежат играта по средата.

По костите на историята се трупаше плът, раздърпваше ги и ги тласкаше да растат. Не можех да отделям на създанието си достатъчно усилия и го осакатих, уж временно – оставих го като гол скелет с куп щръкнали по него скечове, с уговорката че някой ден ще му направя и литературна обработка. Може би. Ако графоманията не ми мине.

Създанието обаче не беше съгласно. Минаваха ден или седмица и нова част от историята преливаше от главата ми, пръкнала се от натрупаното досега. Вече не аз бутах нея, а тя мен. Решението това да е неголямо разказче за случайна среща, прекратена навреме от бдителни родители, известно време удържаше напора, но накрая рухна. Историята гордо продължи с втора глава, след това с трета, четвърта…

—-

Това е предисторията на романа „Ортодокс“ А историята му… тя днес получи ново продължение. На хартия, като официално издадена книга. Повече от двайсет години по-късно – но по-добре късно, отколкото никога. 🙂

Официалното представяне на книгата е на 8 декември, събота, от 11:00 часа в Детския отдел на Столична градска библиотека. Заповядайте и бъдете добре дошли! Ще бъде представена също една страхотна книжка на писателите от клуба „Светлини сред сенките“, ще има връчване на награди – изобщо, няма да съжалявате. (Повече за представянето – на страничка на Човешката библиотека.

И ще можете да си купите „Ортодокс“, на приятелска цена – 13 лева вместо 18. Предлага се и вариант като електронна книга – там цената е… колкото вие решите. 🙂 Сериозно, можете да я вземете, прочетете и после платите, ако решите, че си е струвала. Не вярвам в бизнес-модел, който пробутва на хората котка в чувал, за да не могат да преценят нужна ли им е реално, или не. Затова и електронната книга ще е без цифрови защити – раздавайте я на който решите, че ще я хареса.

(Както пише Паулу Коелю в блога си – „Пирати от всички страни, обединявайте се и пиратствайте книгите ми!“ Няма да дораста до неговото ниво, но прогресът е съграден върху подражаването на успяващите. Нали? 🙂 )

Ако не можете да дойдете на представянето, можете да поръчате книжката било от Човешката библиотека, било от мен лично. Цената пак ще е 13 лева, като за приятели, и ще ви бъде изпратена с куриер (за ваша сметка) или, ако имате път към София, дадена лично по предварителна уговорка. И, ако искате, с поименен автограф и пожелание от автора на вътрешната корица. Ще бъде чудесен подарък, както за вас, така и за всеки ваш познат, голям или малък, който обича фантастиката и/или смеха. Обещавам! 🙂

А ако все още се съмнявате дали книжката ще ви хареса, можете да я прочетете предварително на страницата за произведения на сайта ми. Заедно с и други неща, които съм писал. 🙂 Свободно и безплатно.

Накрая – скромна молба. Разкажете, репостнете или препубликувайте тази информация за който се интересува от книги.

Благодаря ви предварително и от сърце!

Прозата и поезията

Post Syndicated from Григор original http://www.gatchev.info/blog/?p=2177

Често се чудя – къде точно е границата между поезия и проза.

Има ли я изобщо? Или поезията е проза с настроение, а пък прозата – поезия, дето си е загубила настроението?… Или пък прозата е пораснала поезия с костюм и достойнство за пазене, а пък поезията си е забравила някъде костюма с все достойнството и е щастлива да е просто себе си, онова отвътре? Дето няма защо да се пази, понеже е по детски неуязвимо и безсмъртно?

А може би пък прозата е деловит чиновник, който носи на раменете си света, и не може да си позволи да го остави, защото кой го знае къде ще се търколи безстопанствен? А пък поезията е този свят, който мечтае чиновникът да го остави по погрешка и забрави някъде, за да може да се търкаля накъдето го поведе кой знае какво?

И може би понякога си разменят ролите, като цар и шут – прозата се разсмива и прескача съседската ограда, за да краде зрели круши, а пък поезията нахлупва фуражка и слага пагони, и изкомандва сърцата да поведат умовете на бой в името на същия този свят, без право на страх и почивка?

Кой знае?… Мисля си – може би има такива. Срещам ги от време на време. Често потайни и срамежливи, неизвестни за мнозинството като езотерични жреци. А толкова нужни на всички нас.

Днес искам да пиша за един такъв. Всъщност, не искам да пиша за него, той и сам умее да напише за себе си. И за още много други неща. Бъдете му гости. И каквото научите за поезията и прозата, моля ви, върнете се тук да го споделите. Защото сигурно ще е различно от това, което аз съм могъл да науча. И ще ви благодаря.

Hiring a Director of Sales

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hiring-a-director-of-sales/

Backblaze is hiring a Director of Sales. This is a critical role for Backblaze as we continue to grow the team. We need a strong leader who has experience in scaling a sales team and who has an excellent track record for exceeding goals by selling Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. In addition, this leader will need to be highly motivated, as well as able to create and develop a highly-motivated, success oriented sales team that has fun and enjoys what they do.

The History of Backblaze from our CEO
In 2007, after a friend’s computer crash caused her some suffering, we realized that with every photo, video, song, and document going digital, everyone would eventually lose all of their information. Five of us quit our jobs to start a company with the goal of making it easy for people to back up their data.

Like many startups, for a while we worked out of a co-founder’s one-bedroom apartment. Unlike most startups, we made an explicit agreement not to raise funding during the first year. We would then touch base every six months and decide whether to raise or not. We wanted to focus on building the company and the product, not on pitching and slide decks. And critically, we wanted to build a culture that understood money comes from customers, not the magical VC giving tree. Over the course of 5 years we built a profitable, multi-million dollar revenue business — and only then did we raise a VC round.

Fast forward 10 years later and our world looks quite different. You’ll have some fantastic assets to work with:

  • A brand millions recognize for openness, ease-of-use, and affordability.
  • A computer backup service that stores over 500 petabytes of data, has recovered over 30 billion files for hundreds of thousands of paying customers — most of whom self-identify as being the people that find and recommend technology products to their friends.
  • Our B2 service that provides the lowest cost cloud storage on the planet at 1/4th the price Amazon, Google or Microsoft charges. While being a newer product on the market, it already has over 100,000 IT and developers signed up as well as an ecosystem building up around it.
  • A growing, profitable and cash-flow positive company.
  • And last, but most definitely not least: a great sales team.

You might be saying, “sounds like you’ve got this under control — why do you need me?” Don’t be misled. We need you. Here’s why:

  • We have a great team, but we are in the process of expanding and we need to develop a structure that will easily scale and provide the most success to drive revenue.
  • We just launched our outbound sales efforts and we need someone to help develop that into a fully successful program that’s building a strong pipeline and closing business.
  • We need someone to work with the marketing department and figure out how to generate more inbound opportunities that the sales team can follow up on and close.
  • We need someone who will work closely in developing the skills of our current sales team and build a path for career growth and advancement.
  • We want someone to manage our Customer Success program.

So that’s a bit about us. What are we looking for in you?

Experience: As a sales leader, you will strategically build and drive the territory’s sales pipeline by assembling and leading a skilled team of sales professionals. This leader should be familiar with generating, developing and closing software subscription (SaaS) opportunities. We are looking for a self-starter who can manage a team and make an immediate impact of selling our Backup and Cloud Storage solutions. In this role, the sales leader will work closely with the VP of Sales, marketing staff, and service staff to develop and implement specific strategic plans to achieve and exceed revenue targets, including new business acquisition as well as build out our customer success program.

Leadership: We have an experienced team who’s brought us to where we are today. You need to have the people and management skills to get them excited about working with you. You need to be a strong leader and compassionate about developing and supporting your team.

Data driven and creative: The data has to show something makes sense before we scale it up. However, without creativity, it’s easy to say “the data shows it’s impossible” or to find a local maximum. Whether it’s deciding how to scale the team, figuring out what our outbound sales efforts should look like or putting a plan in place to develop the team for career growth, we’ve seen a bit of creativity get us places a few extra dollars couldn’t.

Jive with our culture: Strong leaders affect culture and the person we hire for this role may well shape, not only fit into, ours. But to shape the culture you have to be accepted by the organism, which means a certain set of shared values. We default to openness with our team, our customers, and everyone if possible. We love initiative — without arrogance or dictatorship. We work to create a place people enjoy showing up to work. That doesn’t mean ping pong tables and foosball (though we do try to have perks & fun), but it means people are friendly, non-political, working to build a good service but also a good place to work.

Do the work: Ideas and strategy are critical, but good execution makes them happen. We’re looking for someone who can help the team execute both from the perspective of being capable of guiding and organizing, but also someone who is hands-on themselves.

Additional Responsibilities needed for this role:

  • Recruit, coach, mentor, manage and lead a team of sales professionals to achieve yearly sales targets. This includes closing new business and expanding upon existing clientele.
  • Expand the customer success program to provide the best customer experience possible resulting in upsell opportunities and a high retention rate.
  • Develop effective sales strategies and deliver compelling product demonstrations and sales pitches.
  • Acquire and develop the appropriate sales tools to make the team efficient in their daily work flow.
  • Apply a thorough understanding of the marketplace, industry trends, funding developments, and products to all management activities and strategic sales decisions.
  • Ensure that sales department operations function smoothly, with the goal of facilitating sales and/or closings; operational responsibilities include accurate pipeline reporting and sales forecasts.
  • This position will report directly to the VP of Sales and will be staffed in our headquarters in San Mateo, CA.

Requirements:

  • 7 – 10+ years of successful sales leadership experience as measured by sales performance against goals.
    Experience in developing skill sets and providing career growth and opportunities through advancement of team members.
  • Background in selling SaaS technologies with a strong track record of success.
  • Strong presentation and communication skills.
  • Must be able to travel occasionally nationwide.
  • BA/BS degree required

Think you want to join us on this adventure?
Send an email to jobscontact@backblaze.com with the subject “Director of Sales.” (Recruiters and agencies, please don’t email us.) Include a resume and answer these two questions:

  1. How would you approach evaluating the current sales team and what is your process for developing a growth strategy to scale the team?
  2. What are the goals you would set for yourself in the 3 month and 1-year timeframes?

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope that this sounds like the opportunity for which you’ve been waiting.

Backblaze is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

The post Hiring a Director of Sales appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

FCC Asks Amazon & eBay to Help Eliminate Pirate Media Box Sales

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/fcc-asks-amazon-ebay-to-help-eliminate-pirate-media-box-sales-180530/

Over the past several years, anyone looking for a piracy-configured set-top box could do worse than search for one on Amazon or eBay.

Historically, people deploying search terms including “Kodi” or “fully-loaded” were greeted by page after page of Android-type boxes, each ready for illicit plug-and-play entertainment consumption following delivery.

Although the problem persists on both platforms, people are now much less likely to find infringing devices than they were 12 to 24 months ago. Under pressure from entertainment industry groups, both Amazon and eBay have tightened the screws on sellers of such devices. Now, however, both companies have received requests to stem sales from a completetey different direction.

In a letter to eBay CEO Devin Wenig and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos first spotted by Ars, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly calls on the platforms to take action against piracy-configured boxes that fail to comply with FCC equipment authorization requirements or falsely display FCC logos, contrary to United States law.

“Disturbingly, some rogue set-top box manufacturers and distributors are exploiting the FCC’s trusted logo by fraudulently placing it on devices that have not been approved via the Commission’s equipment authorization process,” O’Rielly’s letter reads.

“Specifically, nine set-top box distributors were referred to the FCC in October for enabling the unlawful streaming of copyrighted material, seven of which displayed the FCC logo, although there was no record of such compliance.”

While O’Rielly admits that the copyright infringement aspects fall outside the jurisdiction of the FCC, he says it’s troubling that many of these devices are used to stream infringing content, “exacerbating the theft of billions of dollars in American innovation and creativity.”

As noted above, both Amazon and eBay have taken steps to reduce sales of pirate boxes on their respective platforms on copyright infringement grounds, something which is duly noted by O’Rielly. However, he points out that devices continue to be sold to members of the public who may believe that the devices are legal since they’re available for sale from legitimate companies.

“For these reasons, I am seeking your further cooperation in assisting the FCC in taking steps to eliminate the non-FCC compliant devices or devices that fraudulently bear the FCC logo,” the Commissioner writes (pdf).

“Moreover, if your company is made aware by the Commission, with supporting evidence, that a particular device is using a fraudulent FCC label or has not been appropriately certified and labeled with a valid FCC logo, I respectfully request that you commit to swiftly removing these products from your sites.”

In the event that Amazon and eBay take action under this request, O’Rielly asks both platforms to hand over information they hold on offending manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers.

Amazon was quick to respond to the FCC. In a letter published by Ars, Amazon’s Public Policy Vice President Brian Huseman assured O’Rielly that the company is not only dedicated to tackling rogue devices on copyright-infringement grounds but also when there is fraudulent use of the FCC’s logos.

Noting that Amazon is a key member of the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) – a group that has been taking legal action against sellers of infringing streaming devices (ISDs) and those who make infringing addons for Kodi-type systems – Huseman says that dealing with the problem is a top priority.

“Our goal is to prevent the sale of ISDs anywhere, as we seek to protect our customers from the risks posed by these devices, in addition to our interest in protecting Amazon Studios content,” Huseman writes.

“In 2017, Amazon became the first online marketplace to prohibit the sale of streaming media players that promote or facilitate piracy. To prevent the sale of these devices, we proactively scan product listings for signs of potentially infringing products, and we also invest heavily in sophisticated, automated real-time tools to review a variety of data sources and signals to identify inauthentic goods.

“These automated tools are supplemented by human reviewers that conduct manual investigations. When we suspect infringement, we take immediate action to remove suspected listings, and we also take enforcement action against sellers’ entire accounts when appropriate.”

Huseman also reveals that since implementing a proactive policy against such devices, “tens of thousands” of listings have been blocked from Amazon. In addition, the platform has been making criminal referrals to law enforcement as well as taking civil action (1,2,3) as part of ACE.

“As noted in your letter, we would also appreciate the opportunity to collaborate further with the FCC to remove non-compliant devices that improperly use the FCC logo or falsely claim FCC certification. If any FCC non-compliant devices are identified, we seek to work with you to ensure they are not offered for sale,” Huseman concludes.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Hong Kong Customs Arrest Pirate Streaming Device Vendors

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/hong-kong-customs-arrest-pirate-streaming-device-vendors-180529/

As Internet-capable set-top boxes pour into homes across all populated continents, authorities seem almost powerless to come up with a significant response to the growing threat.

In standard form these devices, which are often Android-based, are entirely legal. However, when configured with specialist software they become piracy powerhouses providing access to all content imaginable, often at copyright holders’ expense.

A large proportion of these devices come from Asia, China in particular, but it’s relatively rare to hear of enforcement action in that part of the world. That changed this week with an announcement from Hong Kong customs detailing a series of raids in the areas of Sham Shui Po and Wan Chai.

After conducting an in-depth investigation with the assistance of copyright holders, on May 25 and 26 Customs and Excise officers launched Operation Trojan Horse, carrying out a series of raids on four premises selling suspected piracy-configured set-top boxes.

During the operation, officers arrested seven men and one woman aged between 18 and 45. Four of them were shop owners and the other four were salespeople. Around 354 suspected ‘pirate’ boxes were seized with an estimated market value of HK$320,000 (US$40,700).

“In the past few months, the department has stepped up inspections of hotspots for TV set-top boxes,” a statement from authorities reads.

“We have discovered that some shops have sold suspected illegal set-top boxes that bypass the copyright protection measures imposed by copyright holders of pay television programs allowing people to watch pay television programs for free.”

Some of the devices seized by Hong Kong Customs

During a press conference yesterday, a representative from the Customs Copyright and Trademark Investigations (Action) Division said that in the run up to the World Cup in 2018, measures against copyright infringement will be strengthened both on and online.

The announcement was welcomed by the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia’s (CASBAA) Coalition Against Piracy, which is back by industry heavyweights including Disney, Fox, HBO Asia, NBCUniversal, Premier League, Turner Asia-Pacific, A&E Networks, Astro, BBC Worldwide, National Basketball Association, TV5MONDE, Viacom International, and others.

“We commend the great work of Hong Kong Customs in clamping down on syndicates who profit from the sale of Illicit Streaming Devices,” said General Manager Neil Gane.

“The prevalence of ISDs in Hong Kong and across South East Asia is staggering. The criminals who sell ISDs, as well as those who operate the ISD networks and pirate websites, are profiting from the hard work of talented creators, seriously damaging the legitimate content ecosystem as well as exposing consumers to dangerous malware.”

Malware warnings are very prevalent these days but it’s not something the majority of set-top box owners have a problem with. Indeed, a study carried by Sycamore Research found that pirates aren’t easily deterred by such warnings.

Nevertheless, there are definite risks for individuals selling devices when they’re configured for piracy.

Recent cases, particularly in the UK, have shown that hefty jail sentences can hit offenders while over in the United States (1,2,3), lawsuits filed by the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) have the potential to end in unfavorable rulings for multiple defendants.

Although rarely reported, offenders in Hong Kong also face stiff sentences for this kind of infringement including large fines and custodial sentences of up to four years.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Bell/TSN Letter to University Connects Site-Blocking Support to Students’ Futures

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/bell-tsn-letter-to-university-connects-site-blocking-support-to-students-futures-180510/

In January, a coalition of Canadian companies called on local telecoms regulator CRTC to implement a website-blocking regime in Canada.

The coalition, Fairplay Canada, is a collection of organizations and companies with ties to the entertainment industries and includes Bell, Cineplex, Directors Guild of Canada, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Movie Theatre Association of Canada, and Rogers Media. Its stated aim is to address Canada’s online piracy problems.

While CTRC reviews FairPlay Canada’s plans, the coalition has been seeking to drum up support for the blocking regime, encouraging a diverse range of supporters to send submissions endorsing the project. Of course, building a united front among like-minded groups is nothing out of the ordinary but a situation just uncovered by Canadian law Professor Micheal Geist, one of the most vocal opponents of the proposed scheme, is bound to raise eyebrows.

Geist discovered a submission by Brian Hutchings, who works as Vice-President, Administration at Brock University in Ontario. Dated March 22, 2018, it notes that one of the university’s most sought-after programs is Sports Management, which helps Brock’s students to become “the lifeblood” of Canada’s sport and entertainment industries.

“Our University is deeply alarmed at how piracy is eroding an industry that employs so many of our co-op students and graduates. Piracy is a serious, pervasive threat that steals creativity, undermines investment in content development and threatens the survival of an industry that is also part of our national identity,” the submission reads.

“Brock ardently supports the FairPlay Canada coalition of more than 25 organizations involved in every aspect of Canada’s film, TV, radio, sports entertainment and music industries. Specifically, we support the coalition’s request that the CRTC introduce rules that would disable access in Canada to the most egregious piracy sites, similar to measures that have been taken in the UK, France and Australia. We are committed to assist the members of the coalition and the CRTC in eliminating the theft of digital content.”

The letter leaves no doubt that Brock University as a whole stands side-by-side with Fairplay Canada but according to a subsequent submission signed by Michelle Webber, President, Brock University Faculty Association (BUFA), nothing could be further from the truth.

Noting that BUFA unanimously supports the position of the Canadian Association of University Teachers which opposes the FairPlay proposal, Webber adds that BUFA stands in opposition to the submission by Brian Hutchings on behalf of Brock University.

“Vice President Hutching’s intervention was undertaken without consultation with the wider Brock University community, including faculty, librarians, and Senate; therefore, his submission should not be seen as indicative of the views of Brock University as a whole.”

BUFA goes on to stress the importance of an open Internet to researchers and educators while raising concerns that the blocking proposals could threaten the principles of net neutrality in Canada.

While the undermining of Hutching’s position is embarrassing enough, via access to information laws Geist has also been able to reveal the chain of events that prompted the Vice-President to write a letter of support on behalf of the whole university.

It began with an email sent by former Brock professor Cheri Bradish to Mark Milliere, TSN’s Senior Vice President and General Manager, with Hutchings copied in. The idea was to connect the pair, with the suggestion that supporting the site-blocking plan would help to mitigate the threat to “future work options” for students.

What followed was a direct email from Mark Milliere to Brian Hutchings, in which the former laid out the contributions his company makes to the university, while again suggesting that support for site-blocking would be in the long-term interests of students seeking employment in the industry.

On March 23, Milliere wrote to Hutchings again, thanking him for “a terrific letter” and stating that “If you need anything from TSN, just ask.”

This isn’t the first time that Bell has asked those beholden to the company to support its site-blocking plans.

Back in February it was revealed that the company had asked its own employees to participate in the site-blocking submission process, without necessarily revealing their affiliations with the company.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Welcome Steven: Associate Front End Developer

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/welcome-steven-associate-front-end-developer/

The Backblaze web team is growing! As we add more features and work on our website we need more hands to get things done. Enter Steven, who joins us as an Associate Front End Developer. Steven is going to be getting his hands dirty and diving in to the fun-filled world of web development. Lets learn a bit more about Steven shall we?

What is your Backblaze Title?
Associate Front End Developer.

Where are you originally from?
The Bronx, New York born and raised.

What attracted you to Backblaze?
The team behind Backblaze made me feel like family from the moment I stepped in the door. The level of respect and dedication they showed me is the same respect and dedication they show their customers. Those qualities made wanting to be a part of Backblaze a no brainer!

What do you expect to learn while being at Backblaze?
I expect to grow as a software developer and human being by absorbing as much as I can from the immensely talented people I’ll be surrounded by.

Where else have you worked?
I previously worked at The Greenwich Hotel where I was a front desk concierge and bellman. If the team at Backblaze is anything like the team I was a part of there then this is going to be a fun ride.

Where did you go to school?
I studied at Baruch College and Bloc.

What’s your dream job?
My dream job is one where I’m able to express 100% of my creativity.

Favorite place you’ve traveled?
Santiago, Dominican Republic.

Favorite hobby?
Watching my Yankees, Knicks or Jets play.

Of what achievement are you most proud?
Becoming a Software Developer…

Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Wars! May the force be with you…

Coke or Pepsi?
… Water. Black iced tea? One of god’s finer creations.

Favorite food?
Mangu con Los Tres Golpes (Mashed Plantains with Fried Salami, Eggs & Cheese).

Why do you like certain things?
I like things that give me good vibes.

Anything else you’d like you’d like to tell us?
If you break any complex concept down into to its simplest parts you’ll have an easier time trying to fully grasp it.

Those are some serious words of wisdom from Steven. We look forward to him helping us get cool stuff out the door!

The post Welcome Steven: Associate Front End Developer appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

И отново Международна конференция!

Post Syndicated from Григор original http://www.gatchev.info/blog/?p=2135

Най-сетне! Хип-хип-ура! Любо Николов пусна поредната част от невероятния си разказ!

Тези, които са го прочели, сигурно си спомнят как нещастният Николай Светлев бе замесен въпреки волята си в доста странен (както и другите събития около него) побой, и попадна в ръцете на архонтската полиция – каквото и да е тя. Е, сега ще прочетете какво се случва с него след това – и ще откриете и малко намеци какви всъщност са толкова странните му спътници.

Историята, както винаги, можете да откриете в блога на Любомир Николов, в категорията „Международна конференция“. (Записите в нея са отзад напред – за да прочетете историята хронологично, вървете от най-долния към най-горния запис.)

… А аз въздишам с тонове завист. Да, напоследък не съм имал време да пиша, но и всичкото ми време да отиваше за писане, нямаше да доближа на светлинни години до таланта на Любо Николов, докато съм жив. Колкото и да чопля паметта си – а в нея има немалко четива! – той е единственият, който е не само весел поне колкото Тери Пратчет, но и пише с повече финес и по-добър стил от него.

А от това може да има само една по-голяма приказка – че не е преувеличение. И наистина не е.

Благодаря ти от сърце, Любо! Нямам търпение да прочета и следващите части! И не само аз – сигурно още хиляди читатели го нямат! Благодаря ти, че ни подари възможността да се повеселим от сърце и душа – с една мъдра, блага и весела история.

О-ще! О-ще! О-ще!

MPAA Chief Says Fighting Piracy Remains “Top Priority”

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-chief-says-fighting-piracy-remains-top-priority-180425/

After several high-profile years at the helm of the movie industry’s most powerful lobbying group, last year saw the departure of Chris Dodd from the role of Chairman and CEO at the MPAA.

The former Senator, who earned more than $3.5m a year championing the causes of the major Hollywood studios since 2011, was immediately replaced by another political heavyweight.

Charles Rivkin, who took up his new role September 5, 2017, previously served as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs in the Obama administration. With an underperforming domestic box office year behind him fortunately overshadowed by massive successes globally, this week he spoke before US movie exhibitors for the first time at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.

“Globally, we hit a record high of $40.6 billion at the box office. Domestically, our $11.1 billion box office was slightly down from the 2016 record. But it exactly matched the previous high from 2015. And it was the second highest total in the past decade,” Rivkin said.

“But it exactly matched the previous high from 2015. And it was the second highest total in the past decade.”

Rivkin, who spent time as President and CEO of The Jim Henson Company, told those in attendance that he shares a deep passion for the movie industry and looks forward optimistically to the future, a future in which content is secured from those who intend on sharing it for free.

“Making sure our creative works are valued and protected is one of the most important things we can do to keep that industry heartbeat strong. At the Henson Company, and WildBrain, I learned just how much intellectual property affects everyone. Our entire business model depended on our ability to license Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and the Muppets and distribute them across the globe,” Rivkin said.

“I understand, on a visceral level, how important copyright is to any creative business and in particular our country’s small and medium enterprises – which are the backbone of the American economy. As Chairman and CEO of the MPAA, I guarantee you that fighting piracy in all forms remains our top priority.”

That tackling piracy is high on the MPAA’s agenda won’t comes as a surprise but at least in terms of the numbers of headlines plastered over the media, high-profile anti-piracy action has been somewhat lacking in recent years.

With lawsuits against torrent sites seemingly a thing of the past and a faltering Megaupload case that will conclude who-knows-when, the MPAA has taken a broader view, seeking partnerships with sometimes rival content creators and distributors, each with a shared desire to curtail illicit media.

“One of the ways that we’re already doing that is through the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment – or ACE as we call it,” Rivkin said.

“This is a coalition of 30 leading global content creators, including the MPAA’s six member studios as well as Netflix, and Amazon. We work together as a powerful team to ensure our stories are seen as they were intended to be, and that their creators are rewarded for their hard work.”

Announced in June 2017, ACE has become a united anti-piracy powerhouse for a huge range of entertainment industry groups, encompassing the likes of CBS, HBO, BBC, Sky, Bell Canada, CBS, Hulu, Lionsgate, Foxtel and Village Roadshow, to name a few.

The coalition was announced by former MPAA Chief Chris Dodd and now, with serious financial input from all companies involved, appears to be picking its fights carefully, focusing on the growing problem of streaming piracy centered around misuse of Kodi and similar platforms.

From threatening relatively small-time producers and distributors of third-party addons and builds (1,2,3), ACE is also attempting to make its mark among the profiteers.

The group now has several lawsuits underway in the United States against people selling piracy-enabled IPTV boxes including Tickbox, Dragon Box, and during the last week, Set TV.

With these important cases pending, Rivkin offered assurances that his organization remains committed to anti-piracy enforcement and he thanked exhibitors for their efforts to prevent people quickly running away with copies of the latest releases.

“I am grateful to all of you for recognizing what is at stake, and for working with us to protect creativity, such as fighting the use of illegal camcorders in theaters,” he said.

“Protecting our creativity isn’t only a fundamental right. It’s an economic necessity, for us and all creative economies. Film and television are among the most valuable – and most impactful – exports we have.

Thus far at least, Rivkin has a noticeably less aggressive tone on piracy than his predecessor Chris Dodd but it’s unlikely that will be mistaken for weakness among pirates, nor should it. The MPAA isn’t known for going soft on pirates and it certainly won’t be changing course anytime soon.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Announcing Coolest Projects North America

Post Syndicated from Courtney Lentz original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/coolest-projects-north-america/

The Raspberry Pi Foundation loves to celebrate people who use technology to solve problems and express themselves creatively, so we’re proud to expand the incredibly successful event Coolest Projects to North America. This free event will be held on Sunday 23 September 2018 at the Discovery Cube Orange County in Santa Ana, California.

Coolest Projects North America logo Raspberry Pi CoderDojo

What is Coolest Projects?

Coolest Projects is a world-leading showcase that empowers and inspires the next generation of digital creators, innovators, changemakers, and entrepreneurs. The event is both a competition and an exhibition to give young digital makers aged 7 to 17 a platform to celebrate their successes, creativity, and ingenuity.

showcase crowd — Coolest Projects North America

In 2012, Coolest Projects was conceived as an opportunity for CoderDojo Ninjas to showcase their work and for supporters to acknowledge these achievements. Week after week, Ninjas would meet up to work diligently on their projects, hacks, and code; however, it can be difficult for them to see their long-term progress on a project when they’re concentrating on its details on a weekly basis. Coolest Projects became a dedicated time each year for Ninjas and supporters to reflect, celebrate, and share both the achievements and challenges of the maker’s journey.

three female coolest projects attendees — Coolest Projects North America

Coolest Projects North America

Not only is Coolest Projects expanding to North America, it’s also expanding its participant pool! Members of our team have met so many amazing young people creating in all areas of the world, that it simply made sense to widen our outreach to include Code Clubs, students of Raspberry Pi Certified Educators, and members of the Raspberry Jam community at large as well as CoderDojo attendees.

 a boy showing a technology project to an old man, with a girl playing on a laptop on the floor — Coolest Projects North America

Exhibit and attend Coolest Projects

Coolest Projects is a free, family- and educator-friendly event. Young people can apply to exhibit their projects, and the general public can register to attend this one-day event. Be sure to register today, because you make Coolest Projects what it is: the coolest.

The post Announcing Coolest Projects North America appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Конкурси… и алманаси :)

Post Syndicated from Григор original http://www.gatchev.info/blog/?p=2131

Две обяви, насочени към всички любители на фантастиката:

1

НА ВАШЕТО ВНИМАНИЕ – „ФАНТАSTIKA 2017“

Излезе от печат осмият пореден алманах „ФантАstika“. Негов съставител, както винаги досега, е Атанас П. Славов – председател на Дружеството на българските фантасти „Тера Фантазия“.
Алманахът е интересен не само за читателите, запознати с предишните ежегодници, но и за ценителите на супержанра (във всичките му форми), които за пръв път ще вземат това издание в ръцете си.

Преводните автори са застъпени с оригинална новела на аржентинката Тереса Мира де Ечеверия, класически разказ на американеца Томас Шеред и една творба от македонския фантаст Никола Суботич, наскоро отличена в конкурса „Агоп Мелконян“.

В големия раздел на родните фантасти ще се срещнете както с доайена Христо Пощаков, представен като майстор на научната фантастика, фентъзито и хумора, така и с нови произведения от Ценка Бакърджиева, Валентин Д. Иванов, Мартин Петков, Янчо Чолаков, а също и с приказка от дебютната книга на Мел.

И сега разделът „Фантастология“ е посветен на обзори и тенденции в развитието на нашата и световната фантастика, плюс задочни срещи с класици като Светослав Минков и Елин Пелин, видени през погледа на Боряна Владимирова и Александър Карапанчев. Няколко статии разглеждат испаноезични писателки, руски тематични направления в модерната НФ, българската фантастика в нова аудио форма и последния брой на списание „Тера фантастика“.

В раздела „Съзвездие Кинотавър“ ще се запознаете с някои от актуалните екранизации на фантастични романи, с англичанина, създал сценария на „Изкуствен интелект“, и с шеговит комикс (за това как на Кубрик му е изглеждало бъдещето през 2019 година).

Броят обявява уникалния по темата си конкурс „Изгревът на следващото“ – за разкази, посветени на едно желаемо бъдеще. Разделът „Футурум“ включва статии за новите информационни религии, несъстояли се финали на света и особено любопитна фаКтастика.

И още по страниците на този алманах: подбрани картини от художника Андриан Бекяров… пристрастен репортаж за Еврокон 2017 в Дортмунд… поезия… и много други събития от неизчерпаемата сфера на въображението.

За повече информация: http://choveshkata.net/blog/?p=6617.

2

Дружество на българските фантасти „Тера Фантазия“ и фондация „Човешката библиотека“ канят всички автори да участват в първия Конкурс „Изгревът на следващото“.

В момента се провежда не един конкурс за български художествени текстове, но този е единственият, който има за тема възможното движение към позитивно бъдеще. Днес, в епохата на ширещи се антиутопии и безкритично катастрофично мислене, се изисква истинска интелектуална смелост, за да потърсим формите за Изхода. Смелост да допуснем, че Човешкият дух е в състояние да намери пътя си към по-високото ниво, интелект да си го представим и талант да го защитим художествено.

Какво е решението на задачата, наречена „Кризисно съвремие“?

Какво е решението, което води до по-висше състояние на ЧоВечността и Човечеството, към бъдеще, в което ЧоВечният Разум е надрасъл безчовечното невежество?

Какво е решението, което ще създаде свят, в който науките и технологиите ще се развиват, за да расте качеството на Човека, а не богатствата на единици?

Какво е решението, което ще избегне застиналите утопиянства, където позьорис бели хитони рецитират един на друг надути речи?

Конкурсът „Изгревът на следващото“ ще бъде мястото, където ще се публикуват истории, посветени на това търсене. Произведения, които с художествен талант и моделираща сила ще защитават нови светове от този вид по един от следните два начина:

  • По спиралата към следващото: Съдби на индивиди и общества, търсещи изхода от съвременното кризисно състояние на света ни; образи на учени, мислители и обикновени хора, напипващи в мрака на неизвестното пътищата към тази цел; приключения на личности, въвлечени в такъв спирален процес и постепенно осъзнаващи смисъла му.
  • Визии на следващото: Изграждане на образи, възникнали в нашето съвремие, но носещи белезите на новото, притежаващи вътрешната свобода, въпреки че са затворени в клетката на настоящата социална несвобода; образи на групи и общества, постигнали белези на следващото, без ескейпизъм, фанатизъм и аскетизъм. Хуманитарни технологии, водещи до освобождаване от опредметяването, разкриващи етическите и интелектуалните ресурси на ЧоВечното. Непротиворечиви и реалистично обрисувани общества на бъдещето, в които всяка личност е пълноценно разгърната и осъществена, без да зависи или да бъде притежавана от друга.

Приемливи са всички жанрове – достатъчно е разказите да засягат поне една от горните две теми.

Крайният срок за участие е 1 юни 2018 г.

Трите най-високо класирани разказа ще получат награди по 200 лв. и заедно с други подбрани заглавия от конкурса ще бъдат публикувани в следващите издания на алманаха „ФантАstika“.

Пълните условия са описани в сайта на Човешката библиотека: http://choveshkata.net/blog/?p=6668

Там ще откриете и най-актуална информация в случай на промени.

2018 Picademy dates in the United States

Post Syndicated from Andrew Collins original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/new-picademy-2018-dates-in-united-states/

Cue the lights! Cue the music! Picademy is back for another year stateside. We’re excited to bring our free computer science and digital making professional development program for educators to four new cities this summer — you can apply right now.

Picademy USA Denver Raspberry Pi
Picademy USA Seattle Raspberry Pi
Picademy USA Jersey City Raspberry Pi
Raspberry Pi Picademy USA Atlanta

We’re thrilled to kick off our 2018 season! Before we get started, let’s take a look back at our community’s accomplishments in the 2017 Picademy North America season.

Picademy 2017 highlights

Last year, we partnered with four awesome venues to host eight Picademy events in the United States. At every event across the country, we met incredibly talented educators passionate about bringing digital making to their learners. Whether it was at Ann Arbor District Library’s makerspace, UC Irvine’s College of Engineering, or a creative community center in Boise, Idaho, we were truly inspired by all our Picademy attendees and were thrilled to welcome them to the Raspberry Pi Certified Educator community.

JWU Hosts Picademy

JWU Providence’s College of Engineering & Design recently partnered with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to host Picademy, a free training session designed to give educators the tools to teach computer skills with confidence and creativity. | http://www.jwu.edu

The 2017 Picademy cohorts were a diverse bunch with a lot of experience in their field. We welcomed more than 300 educators from 32 U.S. states and 10 countries. They were a mix of high school, middle school, and elementary classroom teachers, librarians, museum staff, university lecturers, and teacher trainers. More than half of our attendees were teaching computer science or technology already, and over 90% were specifically interested in incorporating physical computing into their work.

Picademy has a strong and lasting impact on educators. Over 80% of graduates said they felt confident using Raspberry Pi after attending, and 88% said they were now interested in leading a digital making event in their community. To showcase two wonderful examples of this success: Chantel Mason led a Raspberry Pi workshop for families and educators in her community in St. Louis, Missouri this fall, and Dean Palmer led a digital making station at the Computer Science for Rhode Island Summit in December.

Picademy 2018 dates

This year, we’re partnering with four new venues to host our Picademy season.


We’ll be at mindSpark Learning in Denver the first week in June, at Liberty Science Center in Jersey City later that month, at Georgia Tech University in Atlanta in mid-July, and finally at the Living Computer Museum in Seattle the first week in August.


A big thank you to each of these venues for hosting us and supporting our free educator professional development program!

Ready to join us for Picademy 2018? Learn more and apply now: rpf.io/picademy2018.

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Coolest Projects: for young people across the Raspberry Pi community

Post Syndicated from Rosa Langhammer original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/coolest-projects-young-people-raspberry-pi-community/

Coolest Projects is a world-leading annual showcase that empowers and inspires the next generation of digital creators, innovators, changemakers, and entrepreneurs. Young people come to the event to exhibit the cool ideas they have been working on throughout the year. And from 2018, Coolest Projects is open to young people across the Raspberry Pi community.

Coolest Projects 2016 Highlights

Coolest Projects is a world leading showcase that empowers and inspires the next generation of digital creators, innovators, changemakers and entrepreneurs! Find out more at: http://coolestprojects.org/

A huge fair for digital making

When Raspberry Pi’s Philip and Ben first visited Coolest Projects, they were blown away by the scope of the event, the number of children and young people who had travelled to Dublin to share their work, and the commitment they demonstrated to work ranging from Scratch projects to home-made hovercraft.

Coolest Projects International 2018 will be held in Dublin, Ireland, on Saturday 26 May. Participants will travel from all over the world to take part in a festival of creativity and tech. We hope you’ll be among them!

Montage of photos from Coolest Projects 2016: a large space with lots of people, mostly children, sharing projects, socialising, and discussing

“It’s a huge fair especially for coding and digital tech – it’s massive and it’s amazing!

Coolest Projects International and Coolest Projects UK

As well as the flagship international event in Dublin, Ireland, there are regional events in other countries. All these events are now open to makers and creators across the Raspberry Pi community, from Dojos, Code Clubs, and Raspberry Jams.

This year, for the first time, we are bringing Coolest Projects to the UK for a spectacular regional event! Coolest Projects UK will be held at Here East in London on Saturday 28 April. We’re looking forward to discovering over 100 projects that young people have designed and built, and seeing them share their ideas and their passion for technology, make new friends, and learn from one another.

A young boy in a CoderDojo Ninja T-shirt shows another young boy his project, both concentrating intently

Fierce focus at Coolest Projects

Who can take part?

If you’re up to 18 years of age and you’re in primary, secondary, or further education, you can join in. You can work as an individual or as part of a team of up to five. All projects are welcome, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned expert.

You must be able to attend the event that you’re entering, whether Coolest Projects International or a regional event. Getting together with other makers and their fantastic projects is a really important and exciting part of the event, so you can’t take part with an online-only or video-only entry. There are a few rules to make sure everything runs smoothly and fairly, and you can read them here.

A girl in a CoderDojo Ninja T shirt proudly holds the rocket she has built; it's as long as she is tall

Wiktoria Jarymowicz from Poland presents the rocket she built at Coolest Projects

How do I join in?

Your project should fit into one of six broad categories, covering everything from Scratch to hardware projects. If you’ve made something with tech, or you’ve got a project idea, it will probably fit into one of them! Once you’ve picked your project, you need to register it and apply for your space at the event. You can register for Coolest Projects International 2018 right now, and registration for Coolest Projects UK 2018 will open on Wednesday: join our email list to get an update when it does.

How will you choose who gets a place?

There are places available for 750 projects, and our goal is to have enough room for everyone who wants to come. If more makers want to bring their projects than there are places available, we’ll select entries to show a balance of projects from different regions and different parts of our communities, from groups and individuals, and from girls and boys, as well as a good mixture of projects across different categories.

Poster setting out the process of planning and building a project in six stages, and showing the date of this year's Coolest Projects International: 26 May 2018

I need help to get started, or help to get there

To help get your ideas flowing and guide you through your project, we’ve prepared a set of How to build a project worksheets. And if you’d like to attend Coolest Projects International, but the cost of travel is a problem, you can apply for a travel bursary by 31 January.

Coolest Projects is about rewarding creativity, and we know the Raspberry Pi community has that in spades. It’s about having an idea and making it a reality using the skills you have, whether this is your first project or your fifteenth. We can’t wait to see you at Coolest Projects UK or Coolest Projects International this year!

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САЩ: FCC отмени правилата за неутралност на мрежата

Post Syndicated from nellyo original https://nellyo.wordpress.com/2017/12/15/fcc-netneutr/

Отхвърлянето на правилата за неутралност на мрежата е най-значимото и противоречиво действие на американския регулатор FCC под ръководството на новоназначения председател Ажит Пай, пише Ню Йорк Таймс. През първите  11 месеца в качеството си на председател, той вдигна и ограниченията за собствеността на медиите.

Netflix заявява, че решението “е началото на по-дълга съдебна битка”.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

И нашата  – европейска –  реакция:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Filed under: Digital, US Law

Roguelike Simulator

Post Syndicated from Eevee original https://eev.ee/release/2017/12/09/roguelike-simulator/

Screenshot of a monochromatic pixel-art game designed to look mostly like ASCII text

On a recent game night, glip and I stumbled upon bitsy — a tiny game maker for “games where you can walk around and talk to people and be somewhere.” It’s enough of a genre to have become a top tag on itch, so we flicked through a couple games.

What we found were tiny windows into numerous little worlds, ill-defined yet crisply rendered in chunky two-colored pixels. Indeed, all you can do is walk around and talk to people and be somewhere, but the somewheres are strangely captivating. My favorite was the last days of our castle, with a day on the town in a close second (though it cheated and extended the engine a bit), but there are several hundred of these tiny windows available. Just single, short, minimal, interactive glimpses of an idea.

I’ve been wanting to do more of that, so I gave it a shot today. The result is Roguelike Simulator, a game that condenses the NetHack experience into about ninety seconds.


Constraints breed creativity, and bitsy is practically made of constraints — the only place you can even make any decisions at all is within dialogue trees. There are only three ways to alter the world: the player can step on an ending tile to end the game, step on an exit tile to instantly teleport to a tile on another map (or not), or pick up an item. That’s it. You can’t even implement keys; the best you can do is make an annoying maze of identical rooms, then have an NPC tell you the solution.

In retrospect, a roguelike — a genre practically defined by its randomness — may have been a poor choice.

I had a lot of fun faking it, though, and it worked well enough to fool at least one person for a few minutes! Some choice hacks follow. Probably play the game a couple times before reading them?

  • Each floor reveals itself, of course, by teleporting you between maps with different chunks of the floor visible. I originally intended for this to be much more elaborate, but it turns out to be a huge pain to juggle multiple copies of the same floor layout.

  • Endings can’t be changed or randomized; even the text is static. I still managed to implement multiple variants on the “ascend” ending! See if you can guess how. (It’s not that hard.)

  • There are no Boolean operators, but there are arithmetic operators, so in one place I check whether you have both of two items by multiplying together how many of each you have.

  • Monsters you “defeat” are actually just items you pick up. They’re both drawn in the same color, and you can’t see your inventory, so you can’t tell the difference.

Probably the best part was writing the text, which is all completely ridiculous. I really enjoy writing a lot of quips — which I guess is why I like Twitter — and I’m happy to see they’ve made people laugh!


I think this has been a success! It’s definitely made me more confident about making smaller things — and about taking the first idea I have and just running with it. I’m going to keep an eye out for other micro game engines to play with, too.

What do you want your button to do?

Post Syndicated from Carrie Anne Philbin original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/button/

Here at Raspberry Pi, we know that getting physical with computing is often a catalyst for creativity. Building a simple circuit can open up a world of making possibilities! This ethos of tinkering and invention is also being used in the classroom to inspire a whole new generation of makers too, and here is why.

The all-important question

Physical computing provides a great opportunity for creative expression: the button press! By explaining how a button works, how to build one with a breadboard attached to computer, and how to program the button to work when it’s pressed, you can give learners young and old all the conceptual skills they need to build a thing that does something. But what do they want their button to do? Have you ever asked your students or children at home? I promise it will be one of the most mindblowing experiences you’ll have if you do.

A button. A harmless, little arcade button.

Looks harmless now, but put it into the hands of a child and see what happens!

Amy will want her button to take a photo, Charlie will want his button to play a sound, Tumi will want her button to explode TNT in Minecraft, Jack will want their button to fire confetti out of a cannon, and James Robinson will want his to trigger silly noises (doesn’t he always?)! Idea generation is the inherent gift that every child has in abundance. As educators and parents, we’re always looking to deeply engage our young people in the subject matter we’re teaching, and they are never more engaged than when they have an idea and want to implement it. Way back in 2012, I wanted my button to print geeky sayings:

Geek Gurl Diaries Raspberry Pi Thermal Printer Project Sneak Peek!

A sneak peek at the finished Geek Gurl Diaries ‘Box of Geek’. I’ve been busy making this for a few weeks with some help from friends. Tutorial to make your own box coming soon, so keep checking the Geek Gurl Diaries Twitter, facebook page and channel.

What are the challenges for this approach in education?

Allowing this kind of free-form creativity and tinkering in the classroom obviously has its challenges for teachers, especially those confined to rigid lesson structures, timings, and small classrooms. The most common worry I hear from teachers is “what if they ask a question I can’t answer?” Encouraging this sort of creative thinking makes that almost an inevitability. How can you facilitate roughly 30 different projects simultaneously? The answer is by using those other computational and transferable thinking skills:

  • Problem-solving
  • Iteration
  • Collaboration
  • Evaluation

Clearly specifying a problem, surveying the tools available to solve it (including online references and external advice), and then applying them to solve the problem is a hugely important skill, and this is a great opportunity to teach it.

A girl plays a button reaction game at a Raspberry Pi event

Press ALL the buttons!

Hands-off guidance

When we train teachers at Picademy, we group attendees around themes that have come out of the idea generation session. Together they collaborate on an achievable shared goal. One will often sketch something on a whiteboard, decomposing the problem into smaller parts; then the group will divide up the tasks. Each will look online or in books for tutorials to help them with their step. I’ve seen this behaviour in student groups too, and it’s very easy to facilitate. You don’t need to be the resident expert on every project that students want to work on.

The key is knowing where to guide students to find the answers they need. Curating online videos, blogs, tutorials, and articles in advance gives you the freedom and confidence to concentrate on what matters: the learning. We have a number of physical computing projects that use buttons, linked to our curriculum for learners to combine inputs and outputs to solve a problem. The WhooPi cushion and GPIO music box are two of my favourites.

A Raspberry Pi and button attached to a computer display

Outside of formal education, events such as Raspberry Jams, CoderDojos, CAS Hubs, and hackathons are ideal venues for seeking and receiving support and advice.

Cross-curricular participation

The rise of the global maker movement, I think, is in response to abstract concepts and disciplines. Children are taught lots of concepts in isolation that aren’t always relevant to their lives or immediate environment. Digital making provides a unique and exciting way of bridging different subject areas, allowing for cross-curricular participation. I’m not suggesting that educators should throw away all their schemes of work and leave the full direction of the computing curriculum to students. However, there’s huge value in exposing learners to the possibilities for creativity in computing. Creative freedom and expression guide learning, better preparing young people for the workplace of tomorrow.

So…what do you want your button to do?

Hello World

Learn more about today’s subject, and read further articles regarding computer science in education, in Hello World magazine issue 1.

Read Hello World issue 1 for more…

UK-based educators can subscribe to Hello World to receive a hard copy delivered for free to their doorstep, while the PDF is available for free to everyone via the Hello World website.

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Happy Halloween!

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/happy-halloween/

Thank you so much to everyone who entered our Halloween Video Contest. We had a lot of fun watching the videos and have chosen a winner!

There were many strong entries, but in the end we gave in to our love of Stranger Things. Which fits, because after years of hearing backup stories, some of them have been strange indeed!

Congratulations to our 2017 Halloween Video Contest winner Preston! Here’s his winning video:

Thank you to everyone who participated, we loved the creativity!

The post Happy Halloween! appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Things Go Better With Step Functions

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/things-go-better-with-step-functions/

I often give presentations on Amazon’s culture of innovation, and start out with a slide that features a revealing quote from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos:

I love to sit down with our customers and to learn how we have empowered their creativity and to pursue their dreams. Earlier this year I chatted with Patrick from The Coca-Cola Company in order to learn how they used AWS Step Functions and other AWS services to support the Coke.com Vending Pass program. This program includes drink rewards earned by purchasing products at vending machines equipped to support mobile payments using the Coca-Cola Vending Pass. Participants swipe their NFC-enabled phones to complete an Apple Pay or Android Pay purchase, identifying themselves to the vending machine and earning credit towards future free vending purchases in the process

After the swipe, a combination of SNS topics and AWS Lambda functions initiated a pair of calls to some existing backend code to count the vending points and update the participant’s record. Unfortunately, the backend code was slow to react and had some timing dependencies, leading to missing updates that had the potential to confuse Vending Pass participants. The initial solution to this issue was very simple: modify the Lambda code to include a 90 second delay between the two calls. This solved the problem, but ate up process time for no good reason (billing for the use of Lambda functions is based on the duration of the request, in 100 ms intervals).

In order to make their solution more cost-effective, the team turned to AWS Step Functions, building a very simple state machine. As I wrote in an earlier blog post, Step Functions coordinate the components of distributed applications and microservices at scale, using visual workflows that are easy to build.

Coke built a very simple state machine to simplify their business logic and reduce their costs. Yours can be equally simple, or they can make use of other Step Function features such as sequential and parallel execution and the ability to make decisions and choose alternate states. The Coke state machine looks like this:

The FirstState and the SecondState states (Task states) call the appropriate Lambda functions while Step Functions implements the 90 second delay (a Wait state). This modification simplified their logic and reduced their costs. Here’s how it all fits together:

 

What’s Next
This initial success led them to take a closer look at serverless computing and to consider using it for other projects. Patrick told me that they have already seen a boost in productivity and developer happiness. Developers no longer need to wait for servers to be provisioned, and can now (as Jeff says) unleash their creativity and pursue their dreams. They expect to use Step Functions to improve the scalability, functionality, and reliability of their applications, going far beyond the initial use for the Coca-Cola Vending Pass. For example, Coke has built a serverless solution for publishing nutrition information to their food service partners using Lambda, Step Functions, and API Gateway.

Patrick and his team are now experimenting with machine learning and artificial intelligence. They built a prototype application to analyze a stream of photos from Instagram and extract trends in tastes and flavors. The application (built as a quick, one-day prototype) made use of Lambda, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon Rekognition and was, in Patrick’s words, a “big win and an enabler.”

In order to build serverless applications even more quickly, the development team has created an internal CI/CD reference architecture that builds on the Serverless Application Framework. The architecture includes a guided tour of Serverless and some boilerplate code to access internal services and assets. Patrick told me that this model allows them to easily scale promising projects from “a guy with a computer” to an entire development team.

Patrick will be on stage at AWS re:Invent next to my colleague Tim Bray. To meet them in person, be sure to attend SRV306 – State Machines in the Wild! How Customers Use AWS Step Functions.

Jeff;