The RGU:Union is just around the corner more or less from the School of Computing, therefore its location makes it quite handy for grabbing a quick bite to eat. As you have guessed the main focus of this post is the Ham Salad Sandwich. It comes with a choice of white or brown bread and a small side salad. The fork and knife in the picture can help to in providing a sense of scale as does the can or Irn Bru just visible in the top right corner. Enjoy the photos.
When I was visiting Sibiu in Romania a number of years ago I popped into the Gallery restaurant (Bulevardul Nicolae Bălcescu). Who knows what I ordered for the main course, but I will never forget what I ordered for dessert. This would have to be the most impressive Banana Split I had ever had, both prior to visiting this restaurant and since. Beneath the swirl of cream was to be found three good scoops of Ice-cream flanked by a banana. Below are a few pictures you can feast your eyes on, enjoy.
Balea Lake is situated at an altitude of 2034 meters in the Făgăraş Mountains right in the heart of Romania. It is located roughly half way between Sibiu and Fagaras. During the summer months it is accessible via the Transfăgărăşan road that snakes upwards through the mountain range. There are many spectacular views to be found taking this route, though if you are travelling in early summer do take care of the ice / snow. During the winter months one can get to the lake via cable car. If you are feeling adventerous you can always visit the Ice hotel. One can see a live webcam stream of the general area from here.
Well it has been three weeks now since I created this blog, signed up for a twitter account & created a YouTube channel. On the YouTube side of things it will be three weeks tomorrow since I uploaded my first video. So the question is has it been worth it?
Early on this past week I visited two Secondary Schools to run some workshops on Building a PC and Computer Networking. I mentioned that I had recently entered the world of social media, and judging from a significant rise in YouTube channel views directly after I would guess that many of the students went and took a look. I had at that stage uploaded some videos showing the progress of the New Build at Garthdee (have also been able to share these updates with staff in the School of Computing), so they could get a sense of where they would be studying if they were to pursue the subject area of computing at Robert Gordon University. I also had some photographs of a computer museum + YouTube video of the NeXT cube (the type of machine used for the worlds first web server), so I would imagine that being able to see some images of such a machine is far more engaging that just reading about it from a textbook.
On that note I received a retweet from the Museum (Musée Informatique, in Paris) which I was really surprised about. This in turn lead to a retweet by Festival International de l’Audiovisuel & du Multimédia sur le Patrimoine. A Multimedia Festival being held in Montreal, Quebec 9th – 12th Oct 2012.
Another interesting thing that happened was that I received an email from a student in Marketing hoping to conduct a survey during one of my classes on how computing students go about purchasing their own personal computers. Having replied back I enquired as to why he had chosen to ask me this question. The answer that came back was mainly due to having an active social media presence – thereby giving the impression of being more approachable. Could it be that given the majority of our students are of the “Millennium Generation” i.e. have grown up fully immersed in the digital age that they inherently prefer to engage with Academics who readily make use of these social media channels.
Yesterday I hosted our first Research Seminar of 2012 having invited Dr. Judy Robertson and Mr Andrew MacVean from Heriot-Watt University to talk about the work they are doing on Exergames. After the talk I searched on twitter and found that they both had accounts & thanked them for coming along and giving the talk. Quite a few speakers I had invited in the past year were also quite avid users of twitter and WordPress as well as several of the invited speakers due to give some talks in the coming months. The Principal of Robert Gordon University has been using WordPress and twitter for quite a few years now. From what I have seen over the past weeks there is certainly a growing trend of Academics readily embracing the world of social media. Not only should one have a presence in the lecture room or lab but also in the wider global community. Why should the sharing of knowledge be confined to just the lecture room or lab – people learn is so many different ways. With just a quick search on your favourite search engine you will find that many Academics are broadcasting tutorials and lectures on YouTube and other similar streams. Certainly the world is becoming a much smaller place, thanks to global communications and social media networks. Are there only positives to be had by embracing social media? Are these forms of communication a useful source for CPD Continuing Personal Development – with the ever-increasing rate of change in the present modern world one must continually learn and embrace new things just to keep someway up-to-date with all the technological advances happening in the world around us, else get lost in a deluge of ever diversifying new gadgets. The digital age is well and truly here the only way forward is to fully embrace it (especially when one is working in the field of computing).
In this day and age particularly in the field of research the term “impact” crops up time after time. How is the proposed research going to impact the research community and the wider society. How can the results of the work be disseminated. Certainly there is something that can be said for how new results and knowledge can be shared to a wide audience through the means of social media in a near instantaneous fashion. My Influence (Klout Score) has increased from 20 to 29 in the past week since signing up less than a week ago. The publishing of conference papers and journal articles often means that work is 6 or even 18 months old before it is really shared, by this stage it may be considered old news! One has often hears the term “six degrees of separation” does this still hold true in the digital world of social media or has it brought us even closer together?
All in all I think it has been interesting to explore what is for me a new realm of the “Internet”. With the second semester of classes beginning on Monday it will be interesting to see how I may make use of these Social Media tools to more readily engage with the two hundred or so students I will be lecturing to over the coming twelve weeks. If I do make use of these tools in my teaching it is not just my students who will directly benefit, but also all those secondary school students who started following me on twitter, they can begin to get a sense that University is very much unlike Secondary School and of course anybody else following me or just happen across my channels. In summary, semester two should make for interesting times.
Recorded about an hour of footage and compressed it down into about five minutes, it shows the the City of Aberdeen, Scotland gradually coming to life as the dawn breaks over the city. One can see the Bridge of Dee clearly in the center of the shot. As time moves on, one can see that the bridge becomes illuminated with the sunshine gradually creeping out over the hills from behind the location from which to footage was recorded.
Dr Judy Robertson, Mr Andrew MacVean - Heriot-Watt University
Lessons Learned from a Preliminary Study of an Exergame for
With evermore children in the Western world adopting a sedentary
lifestyle, there is an increased emphasis towards physical activity
interventions. Thanks to progressions in ubiquitous technologies,
exergames, games that facilitate and encourage exercise, have emerged as
a potential means to motivate children to exercise in a context they…
Some footage of the Hippogriff Roller Coaster (known as Flight of the Hippogriff) at Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Florida is part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction which opened on the 18th June 2010. It is a junior roller coaster with a length of just 335 meters. The maximum speed reached is 28.5mph and the ride lasts for a duration of 66 seconds. It comprises of two trains allowing for a total of 32 passengers per trip.
One can get up close at the underwater viewing area in SeaWorld Orlando to see the killer whales just inches away from you. Watch the video below to see one of the killer whales just swimming around in their enclosure. One can also checkout the live webcam to see how the killer whales are getting on at SeaWorld San Diego. It’s available daily online between 09:00 and 17:30 Pacific Standard Time.
Warehouse-size supercomputers costing $1 million to $100 million can seem as distant from ordinary laptops and tablets as Greek immortals on Mount Olympus. Yet the next great leap in supercomputing could not only transform U.S. science and innovation, but also put much more computing power in the hands of consumers.
The next generation of "exascale" supercomputers could carry out 1 billion billion calculations per second — 1,000 times better than the most powerful supercomputers today.
School Workshop visit to Oldmachar Academy today for workshops on Computer Networking and Building a Personal Computer. The workshops were given to a class of about twenty higher students. Oldmachar is about four & a half miles from the School of Computing at St Andrew Street. The Computer Networking workshop looked at the use of a switch to interconnect a set of laptops. Once IP Addresses / Subnet Masks were assigned the students were able then issue the command line command ping to test and see if they could communicate with other machines within their small LAN. With an active network in place we were then able to proceed to creating shares to allow for the sharing of files / documents, this was enhanced by mapping network drives and adding a level of security. We also took a look at FTP data transfer using Filezilla to upload to a server. A number of other things were also covered including DNS mapping. For the Build a PC workshop the focus was on assemblying a PC and testing it to ensure all was in working order.
Few months ago Flightphase were brought to this project by HUSH Studios as an Art and Technology Director to create, in collaboration with HUSH and 160over90, the image-based responsive environment at the University of Dayton. The 36-foot wall at the admissions center was to become an interactive attractor for the prospective students and their families. The result is an engaging live surface driven by simple elements beautifully choreographed.
I received word just a short while ago that the Irish Collegiate Programming Contest (IrlCPC) being hosted in Cork Ireland will be going ahead for 2012. This year the competition is being opened up to provide an additional category for postgraduate students and faculty members.
Teams can attempt to solve the problems using any of the main stream programming languages i.e. Python, C, C++, Java or C#. The undergrad level competition is based on teams of three students and a coach, all from the same University / Institute.
Registration is open until 24th February 2012. The competition will run for an entire day with registration beginning at 10:00 and the final awarding of prizes concluding at 18:00 in the evening. The competition itself will take place on Saturday the 24th of March 2012.
One can see photographs of the 2010 competition available from here. You can also access last years photographs from here. If you are interested in setting up a team and joining in the fun then get in touch with me. To learn more about the competition take a good look at the IrlCPC site.
Visited Bridge of Don Academy this afternoon to give two workshops on How to Build a PC and Computer Networking to a class of students studying for their Highers. The Academy is about four miles from our base at St Andrews Street in the city center. For the Build a PC workshop after a short lecture the students were able to break up into pairs assemble a PC adding components such as FFD, HDD, Graphics Card, CD Drive, Memory and so forth. Once completed the machines were then booted to see if everything was working correctly. The Computer Networking workshop started off by making use of a switch to interconnect a set of laptops. After this we went creating Shares, Mapping Network Drives, FTP with filezilla, dealing with secuity issues and the like before bringing the workshop to an end with some computer games running on our local network server which the students had uploaded to.
As I had taken some photographs of the new build last week, I had planned that it would probably be at least another three or four weeks before I would take another set. However in the past week there has been a lot of changes, firstly the last of the shuttering around the central column of the Library tower has been removed allowing it to be seen for the first time unimpeded. Work has also begun on the cladding of the North face of the building. Had I waited a few weeks as planned then the next set of photographs would very likely be of how the building would look when completed. It will be interesting to see what progress will be made with the cladding of the north face over the coming week or two. One can see that all of the concrete beams making up the floor seem to be in place, and quite a number of stair wells are also visible. It may be difficult to see in the photographs, but the Teaching Drum is also well underway.
Have finished watching Click on BBC the growing trend seems to be moving away from physical media like DVD & Blu-ray in favour of streaming on demand options. If you have a really good speed broadband service with an unlimited download quota then this is certainly an option. We are seeing our televisions, XBox’s, PlayStation’s all being Internet capable – so why would we ever want to use physical media anymore. Just turn on connect up (either cable or wirelessly) and watch whatever movie or TV show you want when you want, making use of recommender systems to suggest other shows you may be interested in. According to Click – Netflix in the states is the most popular as it as available on virtually every device, we can expect them to make significant inroads in the UK and Ireland in the near future.
So – the next time we are fitting out one of our computer labs should we just do away with the need of having a DVD drive? At present we are looking at getting some new high-end workstations for Video and 3D work. Perhaps we should forget about a Blu-ray / DVD drive and invest in something else.
Another interesting online tool mentioned is a service called Join.me. This allows one to share their desktop screen with up to 250 people simultaneously for free. One of course can upgrade to a paid pro account for additional feature and security. This could perhaps be a very useful tool for both in and out with the University Computer Lab. Streaming Video – Streaming Labs / Lectures – the Future?
Getting close to the water on the Manta Roller Coaster at SeaWorld, Orlando Florida. This attraction opened in May 2009. The Roller Coaster goes up to a height of 140ft (43m) with a track length of 3.359ft (1024m). One can reach speeds of up to 56 miles per hour (90kph) and experience G-forces of 3.7.
The Jurassic Park River Adventure at Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios, Orlando. This footage show the end of the final drop down a tunnel with the “Boat” emerging with a large splash into the stream below. If you are standing close by you should be prepared to get splashed.
Smiling Dolphins at Play – Scary and Weird! SeaWorld Orlando. The marine mammals we all love.
Collision course watch you tail (Dolphin Tailgating), underwater waterway congestion, get out of my way!
More about Dolphins & Flipper!
In August of 2008 I visited the Grand Arch (Grande Arche), la Defense, Paris, France with the intention of getting some nice photographs of the cityscape from the roof. However when I reached the top floor I was surprised to find a computer museum their. It was something totally unexpected and probably ended up spending quite some time just looking around at all the old machines. What was more surprising still was the fact that I have used quite a few of them in the past, so it was very much a trip down memory lane. If you are interested in computing and happen to be in Paris then this is one location you will certainly have to visit.
A selection of photographs of a NeXT cube taken at the Computer Museum (Musée de l’informatique) at the Grand Arch (Grande Arche), la Defense, Paris, France. The NeXTcube platform was used to hold the worlds first webserver developed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee running on the NeXTSTEP object-oriented, multitasking operating system developed by NeXT Computer.
A new attraction has opened up at London’s Science Museum whereby visitors can have their faces scanned in 3D. It is envisaged that this will allow for the creation of the largest 3D facial database in the world. The exhibition is called “Me in 3D” and is open until 10th April 2012. So if you want to see a 3D scan of your face the pay a visit to the Science Museum before the exhibit closes up shop in April.
For many years 2D facial recognition systems have been the norm, but research into 3D facial recognition systems is now where all the work is really being done. If you are interested is learning more about presently existing 3D facial databases then take a look at (
). One quite popular and freely available dataset is GavaDB (
) which contains 549 3D facial scans. I would imagine that within a week or two the installation at the Science Museum will have created a database of 3D scans that far exceeds the size of many detailed in the above links. According to the website the whole process takes just five minutes.
On the first Sunday of each month one can enter Musée du Louvre free of charge, as you can expect crowds flock to the muesum all throughout the day, especially at the height of the tourist season. I spent a day looking around the museum in August 2008, even though I managed to get around and quickly see just about everything, one would really need to spend a good few days, as there is just so much to see. The following photographs are just a very small sample of the sculptures to be seen at the muesum. If you are ever in Paris then it is most certainly the place to visit.
Back in June of 2007 I attended the ICEIS Conference held in Funchal, Madeira. It’s a small island that is part of Portugal, situated just off the coast of Morocco and about 550km north of the Canary Islands. Roughly 60km to the north of Madeira is the island of Porto Santo, where Christopher Columbus lived for a number of years. As with any academic conference one can expect a formal dinner held one evening during the event. Before the actual dinner we were taken on a short guided tour of the city, before arriving the venue for the conference dinner, which happened to be held at Mayor’s/Governor’s Residence. We were present for just a short while admiring the architecture of the building before the doors to where the buffet was located were opened. We all gathered round the main table where the buffet was on display and spent what seemed like ten minutes just looking at the wonderous arrangement. The question on many people’s minds was should we eat it, just stand back and admire it, or take out all those digital cameras and photograph it. After some time it was decided the only option was to sample the huge variety that was spread out before us. Chatting with the chef’s we learned that it took a small team of them an entire day to prepare the arrangement. It was clear that a huge amount of time and effort went into carving all the intricate details from the various mellons to the mass of mice created for one display. In the central region of the table can be see quite a nice ice sculpture of a horses head. I have been to quite a number of conferences and workshop’s before this event as well as after, and haven’t seen any other that comes close to this standard of presentation. This was certainly the most exciting conference dinner from a food perspective that I have attended to-date. I now use use this as the bar to judge all other conference dinners by. The following are a few photographs of the display that in no real shape or form does proper justice to seeing the presentation of this buffet in real life. It should at least give you some small impression of what a great evening it was.
Recorded about an hour of footage and reduced it down into about two minutes, it shows the sun gradually making its way across the Bridge of Dee in Aberdeen, Scotland. The sun was rising south east of the bridge and gradually illuminates it over the duration of the recorded footage. The footage was recorded from Tollohill Woods on the south bank of the Dee.
A wide angle recording of work being carried out on the New Build at the Garthdee Campus of Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. The original footage was about an hour in length & speed up to around five minutes. This was recorded on a Saturday morning as you can see quite an amount of cladding have been installed on the south face of the building. The footage was recorded from Tollohill Woods on the south bank of the Dee.
In this tighter shot one can see the main focus is on the box crane that has been instramental in the creation of the central column of the library tower. The original footage was about an hour in length & speed up to give a duration of about two minutes.