iNeed = Social + Local + Crowd + Mobile.

 

Our friends Tony Fish and  Simon Grice, have founded a new start-up called iNeed which lets you & your friends help each other find trusted, local people to get things done. At its core is thinking from Clay Shirky on all things collaborative/ surplus and Doc Searls on all things VRM and Gift economy Lewis Hyde / wiki. In essence of Social + Local + Crowd + Mobile.

They have just raised £50k using CrowdCube and now plan to take the alpha (which is live) to a functioning V1 platform before the end of the year.

As I see it, iNeed is a platform .. which makes it different from similar services. Think of it as ‘powered by iNeed button’ i.e. sites could have a button that allows them to add this feature .. 

which essentially makes it different from the previous offerings in this space ..

o        Facebook – www.facebook.com/ineed.co.uk

o        Twitter – www.twitter.com/ineed

o        Google+ - https://plus.google.com/u/0/102319440131380044921

Policy update – Oct 2012

I write a monthly policy update since I track digital policy issues. Here is the update for October

 

 

The announcement by commissioner Neelie Kroes on the EU’s much awaited Cloud strategy at the end of last month was very significant and we will be covering it in a separate article. Already the industry is beginning to take notice. It is significant announcement that could have some significant implications for Cloud providers over the next few years.

My view is: When the Internet started off, countries and others like the EU had no regulation point/ reference point. Hence, we saw a lot of benefits but some challenges as well. Now, the Cloud achieves the same thing as the Internet, but offers regulators a reference point. The EU recognizes this and uses it through this document for specific initiatives like the Single market. In other words, the Cloud is the technological means to achieve the single market. The Cloud has certain regulatory points and they can be used to better the lives of citizens and overcome challenges. We will see a new ‘cross border’ negotiation. At one level we will see dialogue at OECD etc between nations for the principles, but at the Cloud level, the dialogue will be more implementation based. Another way to look at it is, left to itself, the Internet will not solve certain problems (it was not designed to). The Cloud provides regulators that opportunity

Thus, two areas feature prominently in this month’s discussion – The Cloud and Mobile. Gigaom lists 7 reasons why Europe really matters to cloud computing (Clean, innovative energy,  Eastern Europe’s talent pool,  London’s financial center, CERN, OpenNebula, One-third of Twitter’s firehose and Individual rights)

So what else is happening in the world of policy and ‘under the radar trends’?

While we do not cover news, there have been some significant announcements like the launch of windows 8 and Surface - Hands-on, at last: Microsoft formally debuts Windows 8 and Surface

Gartner also made two significant announcements - Gartner: Top 10 strategic technology trends for 2013 (Mobile device battlesConsumerization , Mobile apps and HTML5Personal cloud,  The Internet of thingsHybrid IT and cloud computing,  Strategic big data, Actionable analytics, Mainstream in-memory computingIntegrated ecosystems and Enterprise app stores) and IT Spending to Reach 3.7 Triiilllion Dollars by 2013, Gartner Predicts

And Facebook hits one billion users, not counting fake accounts   and Facebook Brand Engagement Grows 896% Year-Over-Year

 

Mobile

Mobile has been in the news in more ways than one this month. The significance of mobile is now not disputed especially in terms of revenue and growth for web based companies and that trend is highlighted strongly this month.

Innovation

Open Data and Big Data

 

Disruption

Many industries continue to be disrupted.

 

Security

 

Media and newspapers

 

Miscellaneous

  • Pirate Party falling out of favour across Germany - According to a new article in Germany’s main news magazine, Der Spiegel, the German Pirate Party has been rapidly losing support across the country. The organization can thank mismanagement, disorganization, and poor public relations.
  • New HTC phone to be sold without charger
  • Trolls filed 40% of patent infringement lawsuits in 2011 Trolls have long been the standard villain in patent debates. Often little more than an empty office in East Texas, patent trolls produce no useful products themselves but earn millions of dollars by threatening patent lawsuits against productive companies. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that patent trolls are a serious and growing problem, but until recently there has been little hard data to back up the evidence.

Internet governance

Cloud

Till November!

Kind rgds

Ajit

 

Image source: Halloween – wikipedia

FTTH Forum 2012

 

 

I spoke at this conference a few years back and it has grown to be bigger from it’s early beginnings. Dear Colleague,

 

In the 10 reasons to attend  FTTH Forum 2012 (07.11 – 08.11.2012, Istanbul/Turkey) – the conference organisers sent below, there are some interesting stories especially Google/kansas city and Amsterdam

Below is from the conference organisers

1. As an attendee at this conference from an enterprise, government agency or service provider, you will undoubtedly run into other attendees seeking Next Generation Networks solutions like you are. This conference is not a ‘Telco industry gathering’ where everyone you meet will try to sell you something. People come to this conference to learn about and select Broadband solutions. The networking you do with other people trying to accomplish the same goals you have could make this visit worthwhile.

2. Service providers, enterprise buyers, government buyers, resellers, investors and developers can meet many companies with answers to your Broadband Technology questions.

3. The roster of speakers for the conference sessions, panels and keynotes will absolutely blow you away.
4. Meet the experts: During lunch, some of our experts are available to meeting with you to maximize your benefit of participating at the FTTH Forum 2012. Meet representatives of Turkcell SuperonlineVentura PartnerEtisalat and Aaron Deacon, one of the pacemakers of the Google / Kansas City project.
5. “The FTTH Forum is an absolute must-event for NGN professionals” – It was Frans-Anton Vermast, one of the project leaders of the Amsterdammunicipality’s fiber-to-the-home project, one of the most extensive undertakings of its kind in all of Europe, who commented about our previous FTTH Forum. Thanks for that!

6. I am certain there has never been an educational offering for Service Providers in the region that comes close to the program at the FTTH Forum 2012. Worldwide leading analysts (IDATE, Ventura), operators (Turkcell Superonline, Etisalat), investors,content-providerregulator - it’s all covered in our agenda.

7. Can you imagine, that the FTTH Forum 2012 is the only place in Europe, where you will hear about the incredible story:Google offers 1 GB fiber connections – and this information comes from someone who is part of this project?

8. We have held the Pre-Conference Workshop “Building the business case for profitable FTTH deployments – understanding the real drivers of profitability, what works, what doesn’t and how you increase revenues and margins” already before and it has received one of the best ratings ever. Don’t miss it this time and hurry up –the last edition was totally booked out!

9. During the afternoon we are introducing 2 very special panel sessions, where you can ask your questions to true experts: During the panel “Business Cases and Investor Opinion in Turkey and the Region” the CFO of Superonline, a representative of the European Commission and international investors debate about the huge pool of capital looking for infrastructure investment projects. The other panel is about:” Content vs. Service Provider -Making Money From Content: Will Telecoms Learn to Live With Content Providers or Will We Just Kill Each Other Slowly”

10. Register still this week, and you are entitled to pay the lowest available delegates fee. (attention Operators: Claim your special discount!)

 

Tier 3 positioned as a visionary in Gartner Public Cloud Infrastructure as a Service Magic Quadrant.

Tier 3, a relatively small, independent service provider,  has been  positioned as a visionary in Gartner Public Cloud Infrastructure as a Service Magic Quadrant.

You can access the complimentary Gartner report HERE , which I did

Tier 3 believes that their position in the visionary quadrant reflects that the Tier 3 Enterprise Cloud is so advanced that it is the easiest way to move your enterprise to the cloud.

 

I must admit I do not follow this space very closely, but that may change and Tier 3 certainly has some unique features as per above.

 

 

 

Alan Moore waterstones No straight lines event – Cambridge

This should be an interesting event and knowing Alan Moore for years, I would recommend it

Alan Moore waterstones No straight lines event – Cambridge  

 

from the description ..

Waterstones Cambridge hosts No Straight Lines

On the 7th November 2012 starting at 5.30pm I shall be giving an introductory talk about No Straight Lines at Waterstones in Cambridge. And I would like to invite you all to come along and share in the journey and co-create a best possible future.

So if you are in the area – want to come along then please feel free to do so. Below is a flyer – please feel free to share. There is also a Facebook events page. And we have made an an eventbrite page too – whichever takes your fancy.

This is the story: Humanity shifts gear when it demands fundamental change to its real world circumstances and this moment in time really does feel like a turning point in our collective approach to the organisation of the economy and society as a whole. So what does humanity want, and, how is this aspiration driving systemic change?

Humanity is demanding an upgrade from all our industrial institutions which are now proven to be inappropriate for our time – seeking to unleash the full creative potential of every human being and in so doing enhances their wellbeing and that of the wider society – from healthcare to education to the workplace, allowing humanity to surge forward united by a common purpose.

So what do organisations look like in a human-centric world – and how do traditional organisations innovate to upgrade themselves to be able to belong to the extraordinary story of human evolution that now points towards a more participatory, cooperative, and regenerative model of our society.

My keynote at the GSMA Connected Living European Summit, Gothenburg

I am delivering the keynote for the GSMA connected living summit Gothenburg on  Smart cities in 2015 -  Vision of the future innovative services and trends including open data, future cross-industry collaboration and managed services

 

details below. This event is open to non GSMA members as well and if you are attending – happy to speak. If you are based in Gothernberg, email me at ajit.jaokar at futuretext.com and happy to catch up if possible

Connected Living European Summit, Gothenburg

Venue:
Lindholmen Science Park
Address:
Gothenburg,Sweden

Join senior M2M colleagues from Mobile Operators to review and contribute to the planning of the GSMA’s Connected Living programme. Day 1 will include parallel workshops for mEducation and Smart Cities, Day 2 the focus will switch to mHealth and mAutomotive. Day 3 is an mAutomotive only meeting. Colleagues from the vertical sectors and GSMA membership whether active or wishing to learn more prior to joining the programme are warmly invited to attend to discuss and contribute to the GSMA’s 2012/13 programme and agreeing future plans.

 

  • Leading European operators who are actively engaged in the GSMA Connected Living programme – Vodafone, Telefonica, Orange, KPN, Everything Everywhere, Telenor, Deutsche Telekom,
  • Other global operators who are part of our programme – AT&T, Etisalat
  • Leading companies from the Automotive, Education, Health and Smart Cities sectors who are engaged with and who are considering joining our programme
  • Other GSMA members, European operators and vendors working in the M2M arena

Click here for hotel suggestions

Outline Agenda

Please note timings are subject to change.

Tuesday 23rd October

Smart Cities Workshop

The workshop will review our work in the last 6 months and host a discussion of where we want mobile smart cities to be in 2015. The workshop will discuss Smart Cities operating models including Private-Public-Partnerships, Private initiatives involving government resources or information and Public initiatives involving mobile technology. A deeper dive enabled by the presentation of case studies, illustrating the three different operating models.

14:45 GSMA Smart Cities Introduction: Update on the status of the work stream with details on GSMA’s market intelligence and discussion topics for the coming years - What next for Smart Cities and GSMA activities? Maximilian Stella, Project Manager Smart Cities, GSMA
15:00 Key Note: Smart cities in 2015 -  Vision of the future innovative services and trends including open data, future cross-industry collaboration and managed services Ajit Jaokar, Futuretext
15:15 Case Study: Commute Greener! 
The business opportunities for smart and sustainable cities are currently living through a transformative stage. The case will highlight how connected living gathers stakeholders while also illuminating multiple challengesCase Study: Stockholm Royal Seaport
Led by Ericsson, the Smart Communication project at Stockholm Royal Seaport is using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to develop an attractive living and working environment while helping Stockholm Royal Seaport to deliver on its tough sustainability goalsCase Study: T-City Friedrichshafen
Deutsche Telekom’s end-to-end solution for Smart Cities
Magnus Kuschel, Managing Director, Commute Greener!, VolvoMatilda Gennvi Gustafsson, Sustainability Director, EricssonJürgen Hase, Vice President M2M Competence Center, Deutsche Telekom
16:15 Coffee / tea break
16:30 Brainstorm and Discussion – Where the mobile industry would like the smart cities to be in 2015. Future areas for GSMA Smart Cities programme to tackle. Moderated by: Ton Brand, Connected Living Director & Maximilian Stella
16:50 Panel discussion: What approaches are needed to make the link between sources of value and payers for smart city services? Ken Figueredo (moderator), Ventura TeamJan Kristensen, Director Climate Change, TelenorAjit Jaokar, Futuretext

Matilda Gennvi Gustafsson, Ericsson

Joel Spolsky Named Chairman of Application Developers Alliance Board of Directors

I have blogged about the application developer alliance before and my new start-up feynlabs – Concepts of programming languages  is based on widening the popularity of development for young people. Hence, the work of the application developer alliance continues to be of interest. Of course, I have also followed Joel Spolsky’s work through his books etc over the years.

So, its nice yo see this announcement i.e good to see people who actually have a development background being involved in policy issues. I have stressed this at the EU policy levels as well i.e. we have a curious anomaly that people for whom policy makers make policy are not often involved in policy making process. Ex developers and SMEs are too busy working to be involved in tedious policy discussions.

From the press release of the Application developer alliance ..

The Application Developers Alliance announced today that Joel Spolsky has been named Chairman of its Board of Directors. The 22 member Board unanimously elected Spolsky, a pioneer and thought leader in the developer community, to be its chairman. As Chairman, Spolsky will help to shape programming and policy initiatives for the Alliance and its more than 15,000 members. Spolsky is the co-founder of Fog Creek Software and the co-founder of Stack Exchange. His website, “Joel on Software,” is read by developers around the world and translated into thirty languages.

“When a developer writes applications software, they are writing a script for the future. They’re creating little pre-programmed robots which they will send into the future. That’s why app development is incredibly important and why I joined the App Developers Alliance,” said Spolsky.

The Application Developers Alliance works to ensure that developers have the resources, network, and policy environment they need to innovate and power the world through software. Spolsky is a founding member of the Alliance Board of Directors and has been an integral part of the Alliance’s growth to represent nearly 100 companies and more than 15,000 individual developers in its first year.

“The application development industry is young, dynamic, and rapidly evolving. As the Application Developers Alliance works to meet the needs of the developers driving the industry, Joel’s guidance and support is invaluable. Throughout his career Joel has dedicated his energy and considerable talents to making developers lives better. He is uniquely qualified to be our Chairman, and we are thrilled to have him lead our Board of Directors,” said Jon Potter, Alliance President.

In addition to his popular website, Spolsky has written four books about software development, including Smart and Gets Things Done: Joel Spolsky’s Concise Guide to Finding the Best Technical Talent (Apress 2007). Spolsky has previously worked at Microsoft, where he designed VBA as a member of the Excel team, and at Juno Online Services, developing an Internet client used by millions.

 

About the Application Developers Alliance

The Application Developers Alliance is an industry association dedicated to meeting the unique needs of application developers as creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs. Alliance members include more than 15,000 individual application developers and dozens of companies, investors, and stakeholders in the apps ecosystem.

Commercial Open-Source: Interview with Luca Passani, WURFL creator and ScientiaMobile CTO

By Ajit Jaokar

ScientiaMobile is a company in the field of mobile device detection. The company was co-founded by Luca Passani, Steve Kamerman and Krishna Guda in 2011. Luca and Steve are the main guys behind WURFL, the Wireless Universal Resource FiLe, a popular framework in the mobile space that companies such as Google and Facebook use to tailor mobile websites to the feature of different mobile devices. I interviewed Luca Passani to understand more about WURFL and ScientiaMobile, and, above all, to hear his expert opinion on what seems like a new way to do Commercial Open-Source.

 

WURFL has been around for some time, but can you summarize what WURFL is for the benefit of our readers?

WURFL is a framework that allows developers to map an HTTP request to a profile of the HTTP client’s capabilities. By “HTTP Client” I mean a mobile device and the browser running on it, but it could also be a regular web browser, a tablet, a smart-tv or a device of any kind. WURFL is a Device Description Repository (DDR) and consists of two components: a repository of device data and an API with the logic to keep the framework small and fast.

The framework can be used by organizations to serve multiple versions of their web content tailored for the different devices. We call this “multi-serving”. The framework has existed for over 10 years and the Open-Source approach has made it pretty popular over time. Thousands of companies are using WURFL around the globe. I’ll mention Google and Facebook, but this is not only about the big guys: two-guys-in-a-garage start-ups love WURFL too.

 

Open-Source, or more precisely, Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS), has been an area of great interest for me, as well as the business model of commercial open-source companies…

FOSS  is an amazing way to make a software product popular. My take is that 50% of FOSS popularity derives from the fact that it is free of charge. While the remaining 50% derives from the fact that the availability of source code offers flexibility and “integratability” (is this an English word?).

Of course, the other side of the Open-Source coin is that it is very hard to create a sustainable business model on top of a FOSS offering. If your software is provided free of charge, zero will stay zero no matter how many “customers” you have. The implication of this is that Open-Source also creates its own “bottleneck”: the lack of a viable business model prevents companies from investing in creating more better FOSS software. Some companies have managed to create a sustainable business model around FOSS based on support, training and/or more stable and better supported releases. This is totally great. Having said this, I sometimes wonder if it isn’t a waste to see millions of dollars worth of software being licensed for a nominal fee, as compared to what the same software would cost in the hands of Oracle, IBM, Microsoft or any of the bigger guys. But I digress…

 

So, is ScientiaMobile’s approach to Commercial Open-Source different from the approach taken by others?

Yes, it is. The traditional approach to commercial open-source taken by companies in this space is the “freemium” model. I’ll give users something free of charge, and then charge for some extra “goodies”. MySQL is probably the best known example of this, but there are many other companies that took a similar approach. I talked to some of those and they all believe in the assumption that if you don’t do the freemium model, someone else will and the company dies. I do not agree with this view, or, at least, it cannot be taken as a generally valid pattern for everyone. If a software product has enough value, catching up with it is not simple for newcomers and this includes Open-Source initiatives. More importantly, the freemium model was the one attempted by WURFL prior to the arrival of ScientiaMobile. That model did not work. Too few paying customers.  I think that organizations all over the world have come to take open-source for granted. Turning 2% of your users into paying customers was easier once. Today’s companies have figured out that the support budget for Open-Source products can be cut without dramatic consequences. This has made achieving 2% difficult for many commercial open-source players.

With ScientiaMobile we challenged the freemium assumption and went for a model that, if not totally new, it is still relatively novel. I am referring to the model that relies on the Affero GPL (or AGPL) FOSS license. In a nutshell, AGPL says, either you are OK with releasing the full source code of your application as open-source, or you cannot use the software, or, alternatively, you can license WURFL commercially from ScientiaMobile and avoid the AGPL restrictions (or freedoms, if you embrace the FSF’s view). As a copyright holder for the software, ScientiaMobile can legitimately license WURFL under different terms to paying customers. This new dual-licensing model is what has allowed the WURFL team to connect their work with a business model that is bound to deliver more better WURFL in the future. This has been made obvious by the number of new WURFL-related products we have launched over the past year: New version of the WURFL APIs, WURFL Cloud, WURFL Module for Varnish Cache, NGINX and Apache and more.

 

How was the change of license taken by the community of WURFL adopters?

Generally speaking, the response has been very very positive. The reality is that an organization that utilizes server-side device detection has support needs that a pure open-source model is hardly able to satisfy. This is your typical “someone to call when something is wrong”. Lots of companies adopted WURFL, but when a problem was encountered, the best they could do was to post a message on the WURFL mailing list at YahooGroups and cross fingers that I or Steve would not be busy with some other projects that paid our bills that day. This was far from ideal. The arrival of ScientiaMobile has changed this. WURFL is our only project now. We offer a great forum for all WURFL-related questions and our support team will respond within one business day or, more often, just in a matter of hours. You may find it interesting that we also allow non-commercial WURFL users to post questions, so the new model is still benefiting the larger community to a greater extent than previous set-ups.

Of course, I admit that not everyone was equally happy about the change. Open-Source zealots, the most vocal ones typically, objected that WURFL should stay free-of-charge with a variety of funny arguments. At the end of the day, they were wrong. Creating an open-source project cannot be a commitment to work for free for the rest of one’s life. Plus history has already shown that WURFL works much better for everyone with the new commercial model. I once heard someone argue that Open-Source zealots are not OK with anyone profiting from Open-Source. I disagree. I think that Open-Source zealots are not OK with anyone evening breaking even with Open-Source (laugh).

 

So, what is your definition of Open-Source?

Wow, this is a super-complicated question and one that would require a full lesson on the origins of open-source going from Richard Stallman (of GPL and strong copyleft fame) to the schism of Open-Source, which was essentially brought about by the idea that after all one does not need to be anal about a piece of software being integrated into a commercial product. Rather than a history lesson, I’ll gladly focus on what Open-Source means in practice for companies. As I mentioned, there are two sides to Open-Source: price (i.e. the fact that the software is often free of charge) and availability of the source code, i.e. the fact that the software is easy to integrate and tweak for one’s needs. Open-Source delivers both aspects to its users. Proprietary software costs money and is a black-box. I’ve always found this to be a paradox. Ironically, with proprietary software, sometimes companies pay more to have less.

Mainly thanks to the AGPL, ScientiaMobile decouples these two aspects of Open-Source and turns FOSS openness into “value” that customers will gladly pay for, along with support and the diminished liability that would come with embedding strong-copyleft software in your proprietary code base. Up to about 10 years ago, US corporate lawyers would advise their customers to sail very far from open-source in general and strong-copyleft FOSS licenses in particular. The IP liability was too much to bear in their views. There was a little problem though: open-source meant millions of dollars to be saved in software! This is why corporations went back to those lawyers and demanded a different answer. That answer was that the GPL spirit could be worked around by avoiding distributing the code. There is a name for this: ASP loophole. Companies can work around the spirit of GPL by keeping applications confined on their servers alone. Essentially, AGPL is simply closing that loophole. If you place your AGPL-based application on a server accessible through a network, you are now “distributing” the application and the full force of GPL kicks in: you need to release your full application as Open Source. The dual licensing scheme does the rest of the job for commercial companies (and their lawyers).

 

About Luca Passani

Luca is an Italian software engineer with many years experience in Web and Mobile Internet development. Prior to co-founding his company, ScientiaMobile, inc., Luca has spent several years with Openwave Systems,  AdMob and taken part in projects for Telecoms in the US and Europe. Luca is known to the community of developers for creating WURFL, the Wireless Universal Resource FiLe. In addition to that, Luca has authored articles and co-authored books on Mobile Web Development, an area in which Luca is a recognised expert. Luca holds a Master in Computer Science from University of Pisa, Italy.

Luca Passani 

feynlabs – vision ..

 

Update:

feynlabs has now been launched! 

Since our launch on facebook in June 2012 - Concepts of Programming Languages for Kids , in four months, more than 30,000 people have LIKEd our facebook page and the ideas behind concepts of programming languages for kids were published in one of the worlds leading educational journals

I keep refining our vision and here is how it stands

What was the first programming language you learned?

Depending on which era you started computing, the answer could be Basic in the 80s, Pascal in the 90s, Java/JavaScript at the turn of the century …

But the point is – it’s a specific programming language you began with.

Fast forward a few years  – if you did end up studying computer science, you studied the ‘Concepts of Programming Languages’ or the ‘Philosophy of Computer science’ at the Masters level for a computer science course

What if you could switch the two??What if you could teach concepts of programming languages upfront – even to kids?
Feynlabs is the first initiative to teach the concepts of programming languages to kids (as opposed to a specific programming language). By abstracting the common elements of programming languages, our aim is to rapidly learn ANY programming language

We are a social enterprise.

Social – because we share information freely;

Enterprise – because our service will create value for our customers, by identifying a tech talent pool .

Our name is inspired from one of the greatest scientists, teachers and humanists – Richard Feynmann .

Who do we serve? .. For ..

- Kids and the young at heart – we are a new way to learn computing
- Society – we help in developing skills for 21 century employment by creating an interest in programming, science and mathematics
- Companies – feynlabs is a new way to identify talent
- Economies – we help developing an interest in technology and the possibility of new startups

Some of the ideas on which our methodology is based are:

  • We discuss programming as a part of a wider problem solving, conceptual strategy.
  • We compare and contrast multiple programming languages in our learning. We work with web based languages (JavaScript, Python), Systems languages( C language ), hardware oriented environments (Raspberry Pi, Arduino) and Algorithms(R Language)
  • We work with real life examples and solve small, specific problems
  • We take a non-linear / hypertext approach i.e. we try to encourage learning of programming concepts along the path best suited for you
  • We emphasise algorithms and maths – for example pattern matching algorithms are similar conceptually to genome sequencing
  • We teach computing ‘inside out’ – we emphasise the machine(hardware), Programming and Algorithms
  • We value both IPR and open source
  • We are inclusive - We want to encourage people to learn computing – so we are trying to provide a smooth learning curve which makes it interesting and also provides depth. One of the goals is to find out why people stop programming (i.e. what makes them lose interest in programming)
  • We value entrepreneurship. I have a Dream, that some of the young people who learn these concepts will go on to create great enterprises based on computing to the betterment of society
Outline of trials
We are working on some initial trials with schools, educators and also online. The trial comprises of three parts.
Part One: In this section, we discuss the ‘Inside out’ view of computing. We start with how the computer views us (the word ‘computer’ is used in the widest sense i.e. Arduino, Raspberry Pi etc) and explore the basic principles of computing. We also study problem solving, explore the computer’s view of problem solving and then discuss the types of problems computers can solve. We then provide an introduction to Data structures and Algorithms
Part Two:Data structures and Algorithms – We view all programming as an interplay between data structures and algorithms. In this section we look at programming as a series of small programs that discuss data structures and algorithms. We start with simple data structures and advance to more complex elements including Pointers etc. We work with real life problems (building on the discussion of problem solving in Part One). For example – when we speak of pattern matching algorithms – we explain in terms of DNA sequencing (which is essentially pattern matching problem). In this section, the participants will ‘read’ a lot of code and suggest small modifications to the code. The approach is also non-linear i.e. interest driven (for example participants can choose which programs they want to start off first)
Part three:Designing a product/app – Taking a design view i.e. ‘Outside-in’ for an app.

On completion, the participant gets a certificate. The modules will be visual as far as possible and will explore specific concepts which we build up on.

So, what would feynlabs do for you? 

Ironically, our goal is not to teach you how to program but rather our goal is that you should be able to rapidly learn any programming language

Comments/feedback welcome at ajit.jaokar at futuretext.com 

see feynlabs for more

feynlabs – executive summary

Here is the executive summary  of my new startup feynlabs (website coming soon).

  • The name is inspired from one of the greatest scientists, teachers and humanists – Richard Feynmann  .
  • Since our launch on facebook in June 2012, in three months, more than 27,000 people have LIKEd our site Concepts of Programming Languages for Kids including Peter Vesterbacka – creator of Rovio(Angry birds) aka Mighty Eagle, Prof Dr Walter Hoogland ex Director of research for CERN, Jose Valles – Telefonica/BlueVia and many more!We are grateful all the support!
  • feynlabs, home of CONCEPTS OF PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES for kids, is the first attempt to teach kids the concepts of programming languages – (as opposed to a single programming language). It is a set of techniques that focusses on the thought process behind programming languages i.e. how to think ..
  • It all started off as a hobby with me teaching programming languages to my son Aditya (now 9 years old) – until the techniques we were using were accepted as a paper by a major educational journal.  Khan Academy was always an inspiration for us and Aditya wanted to build ‘our own version of Khan academy for JavaScript’ (in his words!).
  • Some say that “Programming is the new Latin ..” – But we risk making the same mistakes .. We risk teaching people to program but not to think. We are inspired by Feynman’s quote “You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird… So let’s look at the bird and see what its doing– that’s what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.”
  • Same is the case with programming languages ..  We risk teaching children merely ‘how to program’ instead of teaching kids how to think. And the two are not the same. To paraphrase Richard Feynman: we risk knowing the ‘name of the bird’ in many languages but risk not understanding the bird itself ..
  • The ideas behind concepts of programming languages for kids were published as a paper in the May 2012 edition of one of the worlds leading educational journals Education technology publications 

The elevator pitch

  • What was the first programming language you learned?
  • Depending on which era you started computing, it could be Basic (80s), Pascal(90s), Java/Javascript (late 90s)
  • But the point is – it was a specific programming language
  • Fast forward a few years – if you did end up studying computer science, you studied the Concepts of Programming Languages or the Philosophy of Computer science (often taught in conjunction with languages not commonly used)
  • What if you could switch the two??
  • What if you could teach concepts of programming languages upfront – even to kids?
  • We are the first initiative to teach the concepts of programming languages to kids (as opposed to a specific programming language).  By abstracting the common elements of programming languages, the aim is to rapidly learn ANY  programming language
  • Inspired by Wirth (Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs), we build upon the ideas that – All programming languages can be viewed as a combination of Data structures (where you store information) and algorithms (where you encapsulate the logic).
  • Hence, from the outset, we compare and contrast multiple programming languages in our learning. We work with web based languages (JavaScript, Python), Systems languages( C language ), hardware oriented environments (Raspberry Pi, Arduino),Algorithms(R Language)
  • We are a social enterprise. Social –  because we share information freely; Enterprise –  because our service will create value for our customers. When launched, the feynlabs index is a unique way to identify upcoming tech talent

Who do we serve? .. For ..

  • Kids and the young at heart – we are a new way to learn computing
  • For society – we help in developing skills for 21 century employment by creating an interest in programming, science and mathematics
  • Companies – feynlabs is a new way to identify talent
  • Economies – we help developing an interest in technology and the possibility of new startups
 Programming was first used in Jacquard Looms    and in Programming forms the basis of every new innovation like 3D printing. Thus, we hope we can make a difference!

 

Seven principles of feynlabs

  •  We are the first initiative to teach the concepts of programming languages to kids (as opposed to a specific programming language).  By abstracting the common elements of programming languages, the aim is to rapidly learn ANY programming language
  • We value entrepreneurship. I have a Dream, that some of the young people who learn these concepts will go on to create great enterprises based on computing  to the betterment of society
  • Inspired by Wirth (Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs), we build upon the ideas that – All programming languages can be viewed as a combination of Data structures (where you store information) and algorithms (where you encapsulate the logic). Hence, from the outset, we compare and contrast multiple programming languages in our learning. We work with web based languages (JavaScript, Python), Systems languages( C language ), hardware oriented environments (Raspberry Pi, Arduino),Algorithms(R Language)
  •  We work with real life examples and solve small, specific problems
  • We emphasise algorithms and maths – for example pattern matching algorithms are similar conceptually to genome sequencing
  • We teach computing ‘inside out’. We start with the machine (raspberry Pi, Arduiono etc) and then the programs and finally the mind (algorithms)
  • We value both IPR and open source