Digital Fit in 2018: Pack Learning

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Pack LearningHaving been involved with code clubs, STEM and learning in the workplace over many years, I have interacted with different types of learning. Each style has its place and different styles, suit different people.

Since our birth we have been learning and have done so every day since. The subjects and topics change but our ability to take in information is vast.

We have learnt as a pack at School and gained benefit from each others insight. As we move onward’s in our life, we loose some of opportunities to learn in a pack. The days of going on a classroom based course have been few and far between as these day’s the use of the internet and online courses makes solo learning an easy option, but how many of us actually go further and interact with the message boards behind the courses to help others out, perhaps only venturing there when you have a problem that you don’t understand.

Adopting the habit of checking the forums behind a course and helping others learn, does help re-enforce the subjects and topics that we learn and brings in different points of view. Interacting with others in these forums helps drive the Pack Learning mentality and increases the strength of the Pack.

Remember there are no silly questions. It’s just a level of understanding of the subject or topic. Next time you take a course, help someone and re-enforce your own learning. Be part of the Pack!

 

Journey to 21C Human – Getting your head space sorted

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MeditationFollowing on from Episode 4 of Technologist Couch Podcast with Lewis Richards I have started the 10 for 10 that we discussed using Headspace.

However the service has had an upgrade and the Basic Level now includes 3 Basic sections so I’m going to spend the next month doing 30 for 30 instead.

The Headspace website describes these packs as:

  • Basics
    • Train your mind for a happier, healthier life by learning the fundamentals of meditation and mindfulness.
  • Basics 2
    • Discover more about your mind and start to deepen your practice.
  • Basics 3
    • Overcome some of the more common obstacles in meditation and learn how to apply mindfulness to your everyday life.

You can set these for 5 or 10 minute long sessions. 5 seems too short so I’m going for the 10 minute sessions and see what happens.

Andy Puddicombe, the man behind Headspace has a good 10 min Ted Talk as to why you should take 10 mins out a day.

Have you managed to clear 15 minutes in your busy schedule lately?

To confirm, I am no way associated or getting any funding/promotions from Headspace.

Joining the World of Dashcams

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DashcamI have decided to be a lemming and follow everyone in the move to equipping my car with Dashcams. Although not a new thing a recent boom in the use of cameras in vehicles has made this  now a very common practice to have one. It is easy to fit a Dashcam to any vehicle to record the driving habits of the driver and other road users.

These range from cheap Dashcams that can record to an SD Card through to more expensive models that send recordings to the cloud (Servers on the Internet) that can then be viewed through a mobile phone app.

So why be a Dashcam lemming? Following a near miss the other day with a car pulling out of a junction (give way) on me without looking at the traffic coming from the right, whilst I was coming along the road, I have decided its time to add some evidence just in case! Well I get this most mornings as the estate I live on is used as a short cut to miss out the main roads and queues of traffic. Time to join the masses.

Also because this is becoming the next thing on being able to easily upload footage to the authorities.

Dashcam footage submission website goes live

Advice from Cheshire Police on submission Dashcam footage

I have noticed that since getting camera’s on the car that there has been a reduction in the number of people that have tried to drive in my boot.

Perhaps with enough evidence I can get a Give Way Junction changed to a Stop Junction. I’m not looking to increase the number of drivers prosecuted, just make the estate I live on safer to drive.

And where do Dashcams fit with GDPR? Some good advice on the link below.

Dashboard Cams – do you need notify the ICO?

Journey to 21C Human – Refueling my Body

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FoodFollowing on from Episode 4 of Technologist Couch Podcast with Lewis Richards I have decided to give Huel a try for a while to see what it can do for me.

Huel is a powdered food that you mix with water and contains all the nutrients that the body needs. I like the fact that there is no food waste afterwards.

Huel is a nutritionally complete powdered food ​that contains all the proteins, carbs, and fats you need, plus at least 100% of the European Union’s “Daily Recommended Amounts” of all 26 essential vitamins and minerals​. So you know you won’t be deficient in any essential nutrients.

Huel contains a carefully chosen blend of Oats, Pea Protein, Flaxseed, Brown Rice Protein, MCTs from Coconut, Sunflower Oil, a bespoke Vitamin and Mineral Blend, Vanilla Flavour and a Sweetener.

We are in the middle of a food crisis. Modern food production methods are inefficient, inhumane, and unsustainable. The world produces 1.5 times enough food to feed every person on the planet, yet over 800 million people do not have enough food to eat. In the UK, 30% of all food is thrown away. 100 million children in developing countries regularly go hungry and are significantly underweight.

On top of that Britons are getting fatter and more unhealthy. 64% of adults are overweight or obese and obesity related conditions are on the increase. Over 4 million people have diabetes, and over 15 million are classed as borderline diabetics. “Almost two in every three people in the UK are overweight or obese and are therefore at increased risk of Type 2 diabetes” Chris Askew, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK . Something has to be done!

– Source Huel website

I am going to work on a 1-2 meal replacement to begin with to bring my body round to this way of eating and see how it goes. My goals are to loose some weight, get a bit fitter and energy levels.

I have already been using the Huel product for a few days and I can feel some change in energy which is good and some weight loss too as I am watching my food calories correctly.

Following some good advice from Lewis on the breakfast mix:

  • Breakfast: I have Vanilla flavoured Huel in the morning with 2-3 Ice Cubes and a shot of espresso which does make a nice ice coffee drink.
  • Lunch: I have is a Vanilla flavoured Huel with ice if possible. I find it nice slightly cool, or left in a fridge before using.

I have Vanilla and Coffee flavoured Huel and they have now launched a new berry flavour which I might try in the next order. you can use the Huel product as a flour to cook with as well, or add your own flavourings to it.

Will be good to see how this works out over a couple of weeks.

To confirm, I am no way associated or getting any funding/promotions from Huel.

Technology Couch Podcast – Episode 4

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Technology Couch Podcast

In this episode I am joined by Lewis Richards (https://twitter.com/stroker) and discuss Digital, 21st Century Human and Transhumanism.

At the time of recording the Copyright law was going through but has now been rejected.

The podcast is also available in iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/technology-couch-podcast

Podcast References:

To confim, I am no way associated or getting any funding/promotions from any products discussed in this podcast.

Digital Fit in 2018: Build on your skills

Skills.jpgKeeping your skills up to date is a key part of being Digitally Fit. There is no definitive list of training that should be undertaken to become “Digital”, it depends upon your role requirements, however there are some topic areas that should be considered as a base set of skills to expand on.

These topic areas have come from my post on having the right Digital Mindset.

  • Business
    • Change/Ambiguity
    • Agile Business Practices
    • Business Strategy and Investment
    • Customer Experience
  • Technology
    • Modern Architectures
    • Coding/Development
    • Agile Development
    • Cyber
  • Social
  •  Personal
    • 21st Century Human
    • Human Dynamics
    • Design Thinking

The main this is to keep up a pattern of continuous learning and invest time into your learning to bring your skills up to the latest developments. This can be typically around 40-50 hours a year.

Recording your learning to show your advancement is a good way of keeping track of the topics and things you have learn’t along with the number of hours you have spent learning.

I use a CPD Cycle to remind me to reflect on what I have learnt and how I will apply it. Also what I need to relearn or expand on in future training.

CPD Cycle

 

What do you think at the key Digital Subjects and how do you record your learning?

Further Reading:

Digital Mindset

The Nature and Cycle of CPD

Recording your CPD

How much CPD/Training should you be doing?

Digital Fit in 2018: Balancing the Noise

Digital Fit in 2018: Start Blogging

Digital Fit in 2018: Get Social

Digital Fit in 2018: Build up a Readership

A-Z of Digital – K is for Knowledge

A-Z of Digital – S is for Social

 

Cardboard & Electronics Education

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cardboardCardboard has been a part of childhood learning for a very long time, however its use has evolved from building things, making dens or sliding down grassy hills on it. The evolution on how this material is being used in learning is changing at a fast rate.

Google have been leading the way with the Google Cardboard Viewer that you can put your phone in and experience Virtual Reality at a low cost (phone excluded). There is now an increase of  cardboard kits available and coming on to the market, especially with kits like the Raspberry PI.

Here are some of the kits:

Google Cardboard

A cardboard viewer that allows you to use your mobile phone as a VR device.

https://vr.google.com/cardboard/

Google Voice

A cardboard kit incorporating a Raspberry PI and speaker that uses Google Home as a Voice Assistant. The kit contains a Google Bonnet board that provides functionality to the Raspberry PI and components.

https://aiyprojects.withgoogle.com/voice/

Google Vision

A cardboard kit incorporating a Raspberry PI and camera that uses Machine Learning to recognise objects. The kit contains a Google Bonnet board that provides functionality to the Raspberry PI and components.

https://aiyprojects.withgoogle.com/vision

IBM TJ Bot

A cardboard robot that you can build and incorporate a Raspberry PI to experience AI using IBM Watson.

https://www.ibm.com/ibm/responsibility/initiatives/activitykits/tjbot/

Nintendo Labo

A set of cardboard modules that can be used with a Nintendo Switch

https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Nintendo-Labo/Nintendo-Labo-1328637.html

These kits provide a great platform to build on existing skills and learn new skills using reasonably priced components.

Move over Plastics – Cardboard is here (again) !!!

Do you know of any other cardboard kits not listed above?

Digital Fit in 2018: Social Data Security

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SocialDataWhen you mention personal data at the moment, most people think straight away of the recent Facebook/Cambridge Analytica new story and how your personal data is being used. However when you take a step back from this story and look across your own digital ecosystem you are generating a lot of data across a lot of systems. Are you really secure and do you help yourself over data security?

The drive of the social platforms has been to get people to post and upload lots of data about what they are doing and it has become a Social Norm to just tweet about this or post a photo on Instagram or Facebook, upload a video, Snapchat with friends etc…

As these things are now second nature to some people, the question of “Should I actually post that or say that” doesn’t get asked or thought about.

Here an example of this – I often see my feeds full of holiday snaps and people “Checking In” at a location such as an airport with a line off “Off on Holiday for 2 weeks”. Not the best plan if you haven’t secured your settings on your social feed of who can see your post. This doesn’t cover other people re-posting your post though to their friends.  This is evident in the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica news as once someone used a web link the system went out and picked up details of that persons friends details.

There have been lots of stories in the news of postings being directly related to house burglaries. How many people know that these types of social posts could effect your house insurance.

  • Check your social platform security settings
  • Remove any location tagging from photos you take (Check your camera apps as well – it may be putting gps locations into the photo metadata)
  • Consider posting after the event if you can
  • Think about your location check ins
  • Think before you post

 

References

https://globalnews.ca/news/2831282/are-your-vacation-pictures-putting-your-home-at-risk-of-robbery/

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/04/john-terrys-mansion-burgled-footballer-posted-holiday-pictures/

https://www.confused.com/home-insurance/guides/burglars-turn-to-facebook-and-twitter-to-target-victims

 

Further Reading:

Digital Mindset

Taking a Leap into Quantum – Hello World with Q#

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Quantum.jpg

Back in December 2017, Microsoft announced a Quantum Development kit which uses Q # (Q Sharp) as its language. It is designed to be used with Visual Studio 2017.  Recently I decided to install the development kit and have a go at the usual “Hello World” example.

The development kit is explained as being capable of developing Quantum code using a Quantum Simulator on your device.

“The development kit contains the tools you’ll need to build your own quantum computing programs and experiments. Assuming some experience with Microsoft Visual Studio or Visual Studio Code, beginners can write their first quantum program, and experienced researchers can quickly and efficiently develop new quantum algorithms”

Source: Microsoft

Overall I found the tutorial well laid out, with lots of good explanations and shows how some functions are equivalent to others in C, C#, Java. If you are used to C#, then Q# will be immediately familiar as it uses semicolons and braces to indicate program structure.

With this demonstration the “Hello World” is in the form of qubit, so the output on the screen is in Zero and One. the example also takes you through changing the program to create Superposition and Entanglement.

We’ll start with the simplest program possible and build it up to demonstrate quantum superposition and quantum entanglement. We will start with a qubit in a basis state |0⟩
, perform some operations on it and then measure the result.

Output:

Init:Zero 0s=1000 1s=0
Init:One 0s=0 1s=1000

Creating Superposition

Output:

Init:Zero 0s=484 1s=516
Init:One 0s=522 1s=478

Creating Entanglement

Output:

Init:Zero 0s=499 1s=501 agree=1000
Init:One 0s=490 1s=510 agree=1000

Source: Q# Worked Example

Q#

A good introduction and first steps into programming Quantum Computing.

Resources

Technology Couch Podcast – Episode 3

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Technology Couch Podcast

Episode 3

In this episode I am joined by Steve Nicholls (https://twitter.com/nichosteve1971) and discuss podcasting.

The podcast is also available in iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/technology-couch-podcast

Podcast References: