Category Archives: EN – IT / Internet

Scratch Project: Speedo


Scratch Project: Speedo

Hi There,
Here is a new project available at my Scratch Studio here !
A Speedo, a Needle, a Throttle, that’s about it!
Enjoy !
Dashboard1Speedo
Take Care
Pascal.

(Feel free to comment/like/share/subscribe)

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LETHARGICDOG UPDATE – JAN/FEB 2016 – PART 2


(Cliquer ici pour l’article en Français)
Hi there!
Here are some news today about various LethargicDog projects for 2016.
This post is intended to let my followers know about what I am working on at the moment and encourage some more people to join in!
I will split the following text in several parts to make it easier to read and to refer to.
Here are the topics that will be discussed below:
0/ Foreword and Announcement.
1/ Books, Games, Blogs and Apps in progress.
2/ Educational Content.
3/ Social Networking and Online Stuff.
4/ Software/Hardware/Services.
5/ Funding
6/ Roadmap/Calendar/Deadlines
7/ Comments/Likes/Shares
8/ French/English Content Breakdown.
9/ Personal Stuff.
10/ Bottom Line

This document will be updated all year long, mainly to add pictures, drawings and links to other posts or pages for more detailed information on each particular topic. Apart from that, it will remain unchanged in order to compare to achievements at the end of year 2016.
Let’s start!

2/ Educational Content
I am working on several tutorials that will be gathered into a book (Technology for Everyone, as mentioned in chapter 1).
Main topics are app and game programming, 2D and 3D design, Word Processing (writing text, documents), social networks, internet security..
The whole list of subjects are listed in a French document available here, I will provide an English version as soon as I can)
The content is for teenagers, students and adults who want to catch up the latest stuff regarding everything about IT and Technology.
My goal is to produce one post per week ideally, on this very blog. Other technical content will also be available on my Twitter, Google+ and other places, so then people can find more stuff to learn and discover.
I will try to combine audio, video, text, photos, drawings, charts, everything that can be the most appropriate to a particular topic.
I will also provide a lot of link to external contents, such as MOOCs, notorious YouTube accounts, universities, and every places when valuable I formation is available.
I will do my best to write stuff both in French and English.

3/ Social Networking and Online Stuff
I always do my best to let my followers know about my work. I use mainly this blog, twitter and Google+ for that matter.
There is a page here where you can find all my public stuff, most of it being accessible for free.
Once books and games are available, I will add direct access to them on this page, as well as the link for funding purpose(check chapter 5)
I invite you to subscribe, follow, like ands comment my stuff, in order for me to improve my work and adapt it to my readers and followers.
For example, my English being really bad, I’d be sincerely grateful if some of you guys can suggest best sentences or find typos or anything that can improve my English for it to be read by a global audience.
(To be continued. Click here for Part 3)

4/ Software/Hardware/Services.
5/ Funding
6/ Roadmap/Calendar/Deadlines
7/ Comments/Likes/Shares
8/ French/English Content Breakdown.
9/ Personal Stuff.
10/ Bottom Line

That’s all for now!
Take care.
Pascal.

Toolbox #1


Toolbox #1.

Hi there,
Some of my students always ask me links or directions about Apps and Websites we use at school. That’s why I have decided to make lists of tools we use all year long.
Here is the first toolset for the first four categories that are Learning How to Code, 2D Drawing, 3D Drawing, Writing Calculation and Presentation.
Enjoy!

1/ Learning How To Code.
code.org
codecademy.com
scratch.mit.edu

2/ 2D Drawing.
– Paint
inkscape.org (vector graphics)
gimp.org (pixel, bitmap)

3/ 3D Drawing.
Sketchup.com
blender.org
ldd.lego.com

4/ Writing, Calculation and Presentation
libreoffice.org
openoffice.org
Microsoft Office (charges apply)

That’s all for now.
Take care!

LethargicDog Update – Jan/Feb 2016 – Part 1


(Cliquer ici pour l’article en Français)
Hi there!
Here are some news today about various LethargicDog projects for 2016.
This post is intended to let my followers know about what I am working on at the moment and encourage some more people to join in!
I will split the following text in several parts to make it easier to read and to refer to.
Here are the topics that will be discussed below:
0/ Foreword and Announcement.
1/ Books, Games, Blogs and Apps in progress.
2/ Educational Content.
3/ Social Networking and Online Stuff.
4/ Software/Hardware/Services.
5/ Funding
6/ Roadmap/Calendar/Deadlines
7/ Comments/Likes/Shares
8/ French/English Content Breakdown.
9/ Personal Stuff.
10/ Bottom Line

This document will be updated all year long, mainly to add pictures, drawings and links to other posts or pages for more detailed information on each particular topic. Apart from that, it will remain unchanged in order to compare to achievements at the end of year 2016.
Let’s start!

0/ Foreword and Announcement.
This very post takes place in a new strategy for the LethargicDog Project. This year I will take the whole thing to a higher level. For that matter I will raise funds in order to invest in the tools I need (new laptop, cloud services, backup, security, documentation, training..). I will also cut unnecessary spending like Car, Television, and too many distracting activities that I may have at the moment. I will improve my health and my ability to deal with tougher workloads as well, thanks to improved diet and fitness routine.
If lucky I should be able to release one game and one app this year, as well as a couple of books, while maintaining a high frequency online presence.
The current document is a list of projects in progress, along with many release dates expected.
This will be a reference document when it will be time by the end of 2016 to check achievements compared to this initial planning.
I will split this current message into 3 or 4 posts in order to make it more enjoyable to read, and will probably translate it back to French within the coming weeks.
Thanks in advance for reading and support. Enjoy!

1/ Books, Games, Blogs and Apps in progress.
1.a/ Books
LethargicDog Geek Challenge.
A collection of 16 books of 16 challenges each, from Lego design to basic game programming. Book #1 in progress. Expected to be published in 2016/Q2 (Both English and French version) Book #1 English version available for free.

Technology for everyone.
A book teaching basic concepts for most people to read and understand. Affordable computer based application design, 3D drawing. Expected by the end of year.

1.b/ Games
Project X100309. This 3D Puzzle game development has taken place in 2010 initially. Models in Blender and the game itself in C# XNA 3.1 then 4.0. Target systems are Windows PCs and XBox One/360.
This is a Puzzle game based on a dodecahedron shape (12 faces).
Game Logic: the player has to move around the shape and rotate and drop faces at the right place in order to match colours and shapes.
Work in progress: this game development has stopped 2 years ago for 2 main reasons. First thing is XNA is no longer maintained by Microsoft and there is no point to work on a discontinued product. Other reason is that my very old laptop cannot handle 3D design anymore.
Next Step: the plan is to invest in a new laptop next month and install Unity 5 + latest version of Visual Studio and port most of code and assets in the new environment. Blender will be kept for 3D assets design and improvements. This game will be released in 2017.

Project Y150114. “The light”. This game is a much more simple 2D game developed with stencyl, a Scratch/Blockly-like environment. Target systems are Windows Android phones.
Game logic: multicolour bubble lights are crossing the game screen horizontally and vertically into a 5×5 grid. The lights turn automatically on once they enter the central 3×3 grid. The player has to turn the lights off before they leave the central grid. In order to succeed, they have to select one or several lights of a single color and click the matching color switch on the side of the screen.
Lights can be of 3 different color, speed increases at each level, goodies, bonus and traps can happen at any time.

1c. Blogs
WordPress blog: This blog is updated on regular basis since 2013/2014 and is the central point of the whole project information and communication. I intend to maintain it the same way it is working so far. See chapter 7 of the current post about engagement.
The content will be 80%, in English (Basic English, Globish), and 20% in French.

Google+ : Google plus account is split into 10 collections, discussing about fitness, motivation, Inspiration, human rights, 3d design, Game design, programming skills, Manufacturing, Robotics…
Most posts are mainly visual, pics, short videos (usually less than 3 minutes)_ content is English at 90%+
Other blogs: more accounts such as twitter are discussed in chapter 3 in this post.

1.d/ Applications
One single application is on the pipe at the moment. A windows 10 UWA (Universal Windows Application) that is supposed to work well in any Windows 10 device (Laptop, desktop, tablet, smartphone, web..)
The main goal is to show my ability to run such a project and publish my very first app for mobile.
The app is another tasks/get things done with an original multidimensional loop system. This development is at his very early stage and no delivery/release date has been set at the moment. Other projects have to be finished prior to this one to start, but I intend to start it this year 2016.
(To be continued, click here for Part 2)

2/ Educational Content.
3/ Social Networking and Online Stuff.
4/ Software/Hardware/Services.
5/ Funding
6/ Roadmap/Calendar/Deadlines
7/ Comments/Likes/Shares
8/ French/English Content Breakdown.
9/ Personal Stuff.
10/ Bottom Line

That’s all for now!
Take care.
Pascal.

My Brand New Code.org Teacher Account


Hi there!

I am so exited about my new project that is to set up a proper education system within Code.Org !

CodeOrgLogo

My goal is to setup a program including several tutorials that the students can try while I evaluate them.

For those who are not aware of the Hour of Code and the other activities available at code.org, I invite you to check it out! Basically, code.org is a website dedicated to programming skills, for people aged between 4 and 104 y.o.

code.org-course-image

Contributors are famous actors of the IT, Media, Sports, Fashion industries in the U.S. (Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Bosh, Karlie Kloss, Will.I.Am… among others)

As a teacher, I can create sections, students, activities, and monitor, evaluate and encourage the progression of my students.

I can’t wait to try this out this coming week.

Stay tuned, that’s all for now.

Take Care.

Pascal

Looking for motivation – Full Microsoft EcoSystem


Hi There,

I have tried to start my own business for years now. But is this the lack of motivation, or limited skills, or not enough free time, or anything else, I don’t know, but I have to admit that I am not doing good enough so far.
Now, I am dreaming big, and I want to be a success though, then things have to change, right now.
Many of you have heard about all my projects already if you have read some of my previous articles and presentations ( Here, There and also Over Here ). But before to travel the world for business or leisure, having fun and make money while moving around across the planet, I first have to build valuable content, and sell it online…

Google Plus Collections

For that, and first things first, i need to have good tools for productive work. And this is not the case for now, not at all. I am still struggling to get any work done with my 9 years old laptop, and I miss many important phone calls and messages because of my faulty 5 years old smartphone. Add to this that my Android tablet is bricked, or at least unresponsive most of the time, and you’ll get the full picture.

In order to change this, I have to scrap all this crap and go for much better hardware.And on top of that, I need to get some online services and professional apps for presentation, backup, storage, marketing matters, to name the few (I will write a full article about services and apps someday). So the short term motivation for now is not the long term goal anymore, but to make enough cash for buying the tools that I really need.

lUMIA 940 XL

As my business is supposed to be lightweight, no employees, no offices, no car, nor nothing, all I need to get focused on for now is a proper laptop and a great smartphone. And as some of you might have noticed already, and despite all of them have great advantages and valuable applications available, I am not the best fan of Apple iOS, Google Android, not even Linux systems. I’d rather go for Microsoft, and I am anxious to discover the latest products that will come equipped with Windows 10 as standard.(Without the need of any risky upgrade from 8.1 I mean)

microsoft-surface-pro-4

For the laptop, I have already chosen the Mobile Workstations Family Products from Lenovo (just waiting for the latest ones to come in Q3 of 2015, equivalent of the existing w550s and its amazing battery life (Check my previous article about Mobile Workstations here). Regarding the tablet, My 2013 old Nexus 7 can still do the trick for a little while, and then I will probably replace it with the Microsoft Surface 4. Last but not least, my phone will probably be the promising Microsoft Lumia 930 XL, or its HTC equivalent if it comes to market early enough.

lenovo-laptop-thinkpad-w550s-main

As you can see, I have made my mind already, and as some of you guys may go for a full Apple working ecosystem, I’d rather opt for the Microsoft equivalent, as it does much better sense to me, according to the applications I am using as an Indie. And when all that tool set will be mine, I will probably buy a Microsoft wristband, as icing on that Microsoft cake.

Take Care.
Pascal

Game Project Y150114 First Article


Game Project Y150114 First Article
A casual 2D game for smartphones with Stencyl

Hi there,

As I said previously, my global project is to become independent (Laptop Entrepreneur), in order to leave my 9-5 job and live the life I dream of.
For those who have missed it, I explain my projects in the current blog Here, There and also Over Here (In French).

Prezi LethargicDog 1

Now back to the current Game Project. I made the decision to get back to a much easier project, after I have tried for years to develop a 3D puzzle game, first with XNA 3.1, and XNA 4.0, and more recently with Unity. Then now my new goal is to do a much more simple game, 2D game first of all, and a casual game, that would not take me more than a couple of weeks for a first prototype, excluding the time I need for learning my new gamedev environment.
After I have read reviews on many games engines, I have chosen the Stencyl tool, that is very close to the MIT Scratch system. This tool is obviously way much easier that Unity to learn. So now I am able to move actors (Sprites if you wish) around my scenes (levels), and let them interact between them according to the gameplay and game logic that I have defined.
As it is a prototype I do not bother to draw realistic graphics, nor dealing with a splash screen, or anything of these features that are expected in a final version, ready for shipping to online platforms.
So far this is a lot of fun. I spend lots of time learning stuff online though, but I am getting there finally. I also purchased a book about Stencyl programming, which is a great help too.(Stencyl Essentials from Richard Sneyd, available on Google Play)

Here is a picture of my first screen, where you can see lights and switches. Once I get some functional gameplay, I will publish videos on youtube about it and I will let you know the link.

Y150114 Prototype 1

As you can see, this is very humble beginnig, but I really wanted to show that, in order to encourage some of you to start something, and not being impressed by the tools to learn or the tasks to achieve. We all have to start somewhere at square one, and improve from there.

Now it’s your turn to start your own project, and feel free to let me know about it in the comments.
To be continued…

Take Care.
Pascal

THE 256 LETHARGICDOG GEEK CHALLENGE #006/256


Challenge #006: Drawing Super Meat Boy in Vector Graphics with InkScape (or Adobe Illustrator)

GOAL:
The goal of this challenge #006 is to use the vector graphics app Inkscape (or Illustrator) in order to draw the main character of the Indie Game Super Meat Boy, from the Team Meat Studio.
I guess the two members of this Indie Studio wouldn’t mind us to do so, as you can see them enjoying Fan Art Youtube videos and pics of Meat Boy.

Super Meat Boy

DESCRIPTION:
For those of you who don’t know much about vector graphics, it’s just another way to do drawings for the web and apps, but at the opposite of other apps, such as Gimp or Photoshop, your drawing is made of items that scale well while you zoom in (without showing “pixels”), and is in my humble opinions much easier to use than their Pixel based counterpart, at least when your purpose is about to get nice graphics without needing to be a proper artist yourself.

Inkscape screen

Inkscape is a free open source application for Windows, Mas OS X and Linux (available at https://inkscape.org/en/) whereas you will have to pay around USD 500$ for the Adobe counterpart which is Adobe Illustrator. Both of them being professional tools, il will be your decision to choose among them. Main thing you have to know is that Inkscape is generally preferred for Web and In-App art, and Illustrator for professional printing.

Regarding the work to be done here, I decided to challenge you with Meat Boy, as this might be doable after a dozen hours of learning Vector Graphics, and because I am a huge fan of Team Meat and Super Meat Boy since I watched the movie “Indie Game – The movie”.

IGTM Anniversary

ACHIEVEMENT EXPECTED:
In order to succeed, you will have to use either the Inkscape app or Illustrator app as discussed above, and practice until you get used to the path, object and layer tools that are mandatory to reach your goal. Once you get there, you will have to find a proper model to get inspired, but if you dont find any, consider the picture below to be the target to reach.

super-meat-boy

Should you need any help about vector graphics, you will find plenty of video tutorials on youtube, and some other learning sources that I recommend on my Google+ 2D Art Collection (http://plus.google.com/+LethargicDogDotCom/Collections)

Once you have finished your artwork, you will have to save it, then export it as a bitmap format (bmp, jpg, png…), and finally publish it anywhere on the web, then you can consider it a success and choose another LethargicDog 256 Geek Challenge.
Have fun, and good luck !

Pascal

THE 256 LETHARGICDOG GEEK CHALLENGE #005/256


Challenge #005: Code With Anna and Elsa at code.org

GOAL:
The goal of this challenge #005 is to use the “LEARN” menu at website code.org for programming Character Animation based on Pixar Animation Studio Motion Picture named Frozen.
This challenge is intended to be done prior to the challenge #001 for those who feel it was too difficult to achieve for now.

CodeOrgLogo

DESCRIPTION:
Code.org is an online programming platform aimed to teach how to code to absolute beginners. This site is highly recommended for people (Adults, Children Aged 8+) who want to take their first step into computer programming, or for those who have failed to deal with more advanced programs such as Scratch (available online at scratch.mit.edu) or Stencyl (download it at stencyl.com) or Even Visual Studio, Unity3D, Unreal Engine and so on.
Code.org has another advantage compared to the other ones above, that is you can run it on any modern browser, or even on your tablet. No excuses..
Many famous people are partners of this organisation, such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, or even Will.I.Am.

code.org-course-image

At Code.org, many activities based on game coding (for the most part) will take you through the first stages of computer programming. All you will learn in there will be useful if you want to do some serious coding in the future. But for now, the challenge will be to succeed in the Frozen’s Anna and Elsa puzzle games.

ACHIEVEMENT EXPECTED:
In order to succeed, you will have to use the code.org website. Once you get there, you will find the Frozen Movie Characters at the “LEARN”/”Hour Of Code” menu, then click the “GO” button for getting started.
An introduction video will play, introducing the goal, the main parts of the screen and showing a first sample as well. Once the video has ended, you will be offered to solve the 20 puzzles.
Should you need any help, there is a tutorial video on the bottom left part of the screen, and I will also provide some additional hints in a future post here at lethargicdog.com

Once all the 20 puzzles are solved, you will be offered to enter your email address and your name, in order to receive your first “Hour Of Code” programming certificate. And once you have published this document online, you can consider it a success and choose another LethargicDog 256 Geek Challenge.
Have fun, and good luck !

Pascal

Laptop Renewal for Laptop Entrepreneurs.


Hi,

I have been working for ages with my 07′ HP Compaq NC2400, which is a pretty good machine after all. During all these years, it’s been doing OK for web browsing, updating articles, checking emails, few spreadsheets and Slideshows, but it failed when it came to 3D Design, Games and Apps Programming, and most advanced tasks I am supposed to deal with nowadays, as a teacher and a Laptop Entrepreneur as well.

Business-Entrepreneur

So then its time to say goodbye to this pretty reliable but now super slow NC2400, and to consider a step forward entering the circle of the privileged Ultrabook Workstations users. Let’s say I will have a two ground budget for this, and willing to buy as soon as Windows 10 is available (Some of the apps I use do not even run on Linux or Apple or Google Operating systems anyways. The future machine will have to deal with heavy usage of Unity3D, Blender, Inkscape, as well as Visual Studio, Android Studio, Lego Digital Designer, Stencyl, Evernote and many others).

Several Specs that I will be looking for:

  • 12 to 16 GB of RAM.
  • 256 GB SSD Storage (Minimum, has to be SSD)
  • Around 15.5′ Display, with a minimum of 1920×1080 Screen Resolution.
  • 7 hours Battery Life
  • A proper GPU Dedicated to 3D Animation
  • Renown Brand with Proved Reliability and Business Specs Products Range.
  • Around 2.5 Kg, (I need to be able to commute on daily basis, including frequent Flights)
  • i7 processor, 4th or 5th Generation with 2.6 Ghz Dual Core Minimum)
  • Extended ports will necessarily include 2 USB3 Ports, and External Display Capabilities
  • Docking Station Available (Optional)
  • Price Around 2.000 $
  • 3 years Warranty

HP Zbook 15

So far, I have been looking at the Lenovo Thinkpad W550s (or W541) and the The HP Zbook 15 (15u G2). I have considered many other options before that, such as a 13′ or 14′ Ultrabook (Dell XPS13, Lenovo X1 Carbon, Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro), but the screen seems too tiny for Design, and both were lacking of NumPad, which is mandatory for most of the apps I use. I also had a look at many 17′ Workstations (Same HP and Lenovo as above but with 17′), and Mobile Gaming Machines (Lenovo Y Range, RazerBlade 2015, MSI GS60, HP Omen, Acer Aspire V Nitro), but there was always something wrong with most of them (Missing Mandatory Specs (as defined above), Too Heavy Weight, Too Expansive, Weak Battery Life, Not Business Oriented Brands, Noise, Cooling..). There must me some other pretty cool machines from Acer, Asus, Dell, or Fujitu or Toshiba, but do not consider these manufacturers to be at their best when it comes to Ultrabook WorkStations, I might be wrong though.

That’s why I have reverted to the Classic HP and Lenovo Workstations, machines brands that I have used for up to 15 hours a day, for many years, without an issue.(That might sound old fashion to the younger readers, but I would generally be faithful to a brand that has never let me down before).

lenovo-laptop-thinkpad-w550s-main
All that said, and as I need a reason to choose between the Zbook and the W550s, I will probably go for the latter, thanks to it outstanding battery life, that can reach 17 hours, which is an impressive figure, especially for a WorkStation.
These few words were not intended to be a proper review or products comparison, but rather a tribute to these 2 products, and especially the W550s, and a suggestion for Professional Nomads who consider to renew their hardware in the coming weeks.

Take Care.
Pascal