Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math
Teaching & Learning Math & Science with Technology:
Graphing Calculators, Numerical Methods, Computer Algebra Systems & Linux Clusters
Why Shadowfax? Our cluster is so fast that we named it after the Lord Of The Rings character!
Website once known as http://CalcPage.tripod.com (1988 – 2008)
Sidebars are my own work.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
CIS(theta) 2014-2015 April and May Meetings: Testing AppInventor (LAST POST)
April and May Meetings: Testing AppInventor (LAST POST)
We had a hard time installing Android Studio in school. I got it working at home. So, you should get it working at home too! It's called Computing Independent Study for something! Android Studio is a lot easier to use than the original Android SDK. Give it a shot! You never know, you may come up with the next best Droid App! Don't forget about MIT's AppInvetor. You can accomplish a lot with their block language too.
The National Computer Science Honor Society, aka Zeta Omicron, Grace Hopper NY Chapter was a great success too. I think we had fun this year, thanks for all your help!Good luck and have a great Summer!
March Meeting: Testing AppInventor
In March, I think it is time for a change of pace. As you can see above, TheNewBoston, aka Bucky, has been updating his Droid App Dev YouTube ScreenCasts for use with the new Android Studio. So, I think we'll install the studio with jdk and try out some of Bucky's tutorials!
February Meeting: Testing AppInventor
This month we ran MIT AppInventor through its paces. We completed the tutorials (see video above). We installed the emulator. We tested our code. We tried out the MIT App. We even uploaded apk files to our Android CellPhones!
January Meeting 3: Teacher PC
Not a meeting: Now that it's MidTerm Week, I got a chance to install my new Teacher PC. As you will see below, I installed it in a similar fashion to the Student and Server PCs with a few additions.
Wow, the new Teacher PC has a lot more horsepower than the new Server PC! This choice is appropriate as I do a lot of screencasting and mirroring on this Linux box. The 24 Student PCs were not replaced.
Lenovo OctoCore, 8GB RAM and 1TB hdd
(new firmware+software only)
Lenovo QuadCore, 4GB RAM and 256GB hdd
(new firmware+software only)
Lenovo DualCore, 2GB RAM and 512GB hdd
SmartBoarding, ScreenCasting and Mirroring
TI Emulators, CAS and SAGE
SSH, SFTP and JDK in class and from home
Setting up the Teacher PC proved to be a huge ordeal! I hit SNAFU after SNAFU. Firstly, I tried using the same 64bit Ubuntu 14.04 Desktop ISO I did for all the other PCs in the room. The problem with a 64bit OS is that SmartNotebook for Linux only has a 32bit version. So, I tried linux32 mode which didn't work and FUBARed my apt-get dependencies list. I should have RTFMed re linux32....
Now, I had to download the 32bit Ubuntu 14.04 Desktop and start all over! However, when I was nearly done installing everything, I added the Dropbox Daemon which totally destroyed QT and Chrome!
I should have remembered: you have to KISS! So, you guessed it, I tried again with the 32bit OS. This time all went smoothly as detailed below except I could not get avconv to work. I don't know if I needed new switches (I tried several new combinations) or if my new hardware was to blame. So, I got rid of avconv and setup JRE in Firefox so http://screencast-o-matic.com (SOM) would work. The only problem with SOM is that it does not encode on the fly like avconv did (and won't work without the internet). For example, I tested SOM on a 10 minute ScreenCast. I had to encode it after recording. It took over 5 minutes to encode and produced an MP4 larger than 20MB. This file uploaded and rendered well on YouTube, so I'm happy! BTW, the avconv files took a long time to render on Youtube, so that's a plus!
IIRC: New PC Hardware
SEPT (ssh server) Moment of Silence:
Caprica (old ftp server) replaced Guardian
JAN (ssh server) Moment of Silence:
Shadowfax (new server) replaced Caprica
JAN (teacher pc) Moment of Silence:
Rivendell replaced Shadowfax (old teacher PC)
Here's what I did to set up our new Teacher Linux Box(similar to Student PCs):
TEACHER PC INSTALL
(01)Download the latest version of Ubuntu. (32bit)
(02)Burn the ISO file to DVD with Brasero.
(03)Reboot PC with DVD.
(04)Install to a Linux Partition (reformatting entire hdd) following script.
(05)Reboot Linux Partition.
(06a)display = 1400x1050
(for direct connection to internet)
(10)sudo chmod 700 /usr/games/*
(11)sudo apt-get update
(12)sudo apt-get upgrade
UPDATE(13a): for remote access to each PC
sudo apt-get install openssh-server
UPDATE(13b): reinstall Flash for Firefox
sudo apt-get install flashplugin-installer
(13c)install WINE from USC
NB: su = gimli with Unit Circle Desktop Background (public desktop from boot)
NB: legolas with Shadowfax Desktop Background (my passwd protected desktop)
NB: set display to 1400x1050 for legolas too for larger TI Emulators and smaller ScreenCast MP4 files
We finally got a chance to do some block coding at http://appinventor.mit.edu/explore/ I tried using the Droid App to test students' code on my phone but the app didn't work. It was using the school WiFi so that was not the problem. Maybe the coder and the tester have to have the same google account? So, we installed the emulator instead which was very easy to do.
January Meeting 1: Server Install Fest!
Technically, this is not a meeting. It's an update of our Linux Install Fest meeting in October when we re installed all the Student PCs.
Here's what we did to set up our new SSH Server Linux Box(similar to Student PCs):
IIRC: For this step I need to download a tarball *.gz file and extract it in /usr/local:
sudo cd /usr/local
sudo cp ~/Downloads/*.gz .
sudo tar zxvf *.gz
This file decompresses into all the JDK subdirectories I need for SE8. Then I have to add that directory to the system wide profile so anyone can use it.
What I did for SE7:install the jdk in /usr/local and add the directory containing java, javac, javadoc and appletviewer (/usr/local/jdk1.7.0_09/bin) to /etc/environment
I named the new ssh server shadowfax and created 1 user so far for myself called gandalf. So, I'll be sshing into the server from now on as:
and my commandline prompt will be:
Next, I'll have to install the new SmartNoteBook, xournal, avconv, Screencast-o-matic, team-viewer and SplashTop (aka pen apps, screencasters and desktop mirrors, etc) server!
I think I'll make the su prompt:
I think I'll make my prompt:
Note to self: WRT remote access: we only have the new server to shh into from home, then I can ssh from that PC to any Linux Box in the room.
December Meeting: #HourOfCode!
Sorry, we had to cancel the November meeting. Anyway, I'm doing the HourOfCode this week with 250 students! So, we did the HourOfCode after school for CIS(theta) too!
We watched the four tutorial videos on the MIT AppInventor site (formally hosted by Google). Now, everyone needs to get MIT AppInventor working at home so we can do these tutorials ourselves!
If you have an Android phone, you can get the tutorials running on your phone by simply scanning a QR code with their app. If you don't have a Droid, you'll have to set up an emulator in your browser (instructions are on the website).
HWK: Make sure you can show me your progress with AppInventor during the next meeting and how to set it all up on our PCs in Room 429. You need to have the 4 tutorials (3 apps) done by then. If you have trouble, help eachother via our Edmodo page. You also need to think about what kind of app you want to develop.
We can still set up Android Studio software stack which is easier than using Eclipse. However, AppInventor looks even easier than Android SDK. So, let's try this first!
We don't use TI-84 much anymore, but it's there just in case! We use SAGE in preCalculus, TI nSpire CX CAS handhelds in Calculus and Java in AP Computer Science.
We had a huge problem when rebooting the new Linux Partition for the first time. The refresh rate was incorrect for our max res 1600x900. So we had to tweak Displays first. Right after boot up, the monitor was unstable and flickered on and off 3 times. If you are quick, you can tweak Displays to 1280x1024 before the monitor goes completely dead! So, now we have a clean install of Ubuntu Linux 14.10 Utopic Unicorn 64bit Desktop and we can add the Android Studio software stack to this next time.
If you google "utopic lenovo thinkcentre blank screen" you will find this. The bug report describes an issue with Lenovo ThinkCentre m-Series nvidia and intel graphics cards not playing well with compiz (a 3d accelerator for the Unity/Gnome desktops). This bug report also gives the following fix.
If you have a stable desktop (ctrl)(alt)T, if not (ctrl)(alt)(F4), to get a terminal and enter:
dconf reset -f /org/compiz
After this procedure you should be able to boot up to a stable desktop and reset the display to 1900x1600.
Next I'll install a new openSSH/jdk server and a new SmartBoard, SplashTop, VLC, avconv server the same way adding these services. Except, for the networking setup, these servers do not use the proxy!
14.10 is turning out to be very buggy. Not only is the X window system unstable but our mouse movement is very erratic and changing settings doesn't help. We are downgrading to Trusty Tapir 14.04.1!
October Meeting: Ubuntu Install Fest!
(1) The plan was to download the latest version of Ubuntu. We tried to download Ubuntu 14.10 but 14.04 is still out! So, we'll burn the latest ISO to DVD and have a major install fest next meeting (10/22).
(2) We collected the Student Application forms for the NCSHS. You only need 2 semesters of CS related classes. You have 4 years worth to choose from: HonorsCS, APCS, CIS(theta) and Robotics! Community Service is helping friends with APCS projects, helping peeps with PC problems and helping me figure our Android Studio!
(3) We talked about installing Android Studio! We won't be installing the Android Software Stack until we update Ubuntu.
(4) This is an independent study class. In other words, you're only going to get out of it what you put into it. You need to do research at home. If possible, install Ubuntu 14.10 at home and the Android Software Stack. Also, try viewing some Android Studio tutorials!
NEW DISPLAY CASES:
NEW SMARTBOARD SETUP:
NOTE MIC FOR SCREENCASTING
NOTE TI nSPIRE EMULATOR
NEW DECOR IN THE REAR OF ROOM 429:
NEW DECOR ON THE SIDES OF ROOM 429:
NOTE FRACTALS AND RAY TRACINGS
NEW VIEW FROM LEFT REAR SIDE:
NOTE UBUNTU DESKTOP
NEW VIEW AS YOU WALK IN:
September Meeting: Administrativa!
(1) Wreath of the Unknown Server: We visited our first ssh server, Colossus, which is still in the switch room though dormant. I set it up for the first time in 1995 running Slackware Linux. Colossus ran for 12 years straight, 24x7 never having to shut down, reboot or even have anything re-installed!
(2) Planning: We have to wait another 2 weeks (10/8) at which point Ubuntu 14.10 Desktop Edition should be available for a mini install fest. After that, we will look into installing an Android Development stack to make our own apps! Maybe we'll try Android Studio.
(3) Display Case Unveiled: We took down a ton of fractal prints and ray tracings from Room 429 to the 2 cases on the 1st floor near the art wing. We decorated both cases as best we could and left before anyone saw us. Must have been gremlins.
(4) NCSHS: We're going to start a chapter of the National Computer Science Honor Society. We talked about the requirements for membership and how to start a chapter. Each chapter is called Omicron Zeta something. This is a pretty new honor society. The first few chapters were called Omicron Zeta Alpha and Omicron Zeta Beta. So, if were are, for example, the 12th chapter, we'd be called Omicron Zeta Pi!