“Intro to Dart” @ Dart Flight School, Brunei 2014

On the 15th of February the Google Developer Group (GDG) Brunei held a Dart Flight School at DST’s Signature Store.

Dart is a new language that learns from Javascript and adds features that are missing in Javascript such as classes and optional static typing. It aims to provide a better developer workflow and efficiency, better performance vs Javascript and can compile to Javascript in order to be deployed anywhere.

I prerecorded an “Intro to Dart” video just in case as with all things, technology can be troublesome at times =)  There is also a 4 hour long Hangouts on Air recording of the entire event

Intro to Dart slide deck

Dart Flight School

The code labs served as a way to learn Dart and it is even deployable on Heroku. We also covered a bit of Angular JS with a work in progress AngularJS intro project on GitHub.

All in all, Dart seems compelling that it is more performant compared to Javascript, can be compiled to Javascript so you reap the development benefit while still maintaining deployability via Javascript, having a single language for both client and server and adding ‘modern’ features added to Javascript make it easier to develop in. Certainly an alternative to Javascript+Node and perhaps something to use in a future project.

Brunei Geek Meet and RHoK (Random Hacks of Kindness) Brunei

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Today marks the first meetup of Brunei Geek Meet (http://www.meetup.com/BruneiGeekMeet/), a meetup where I hope to start fostering the meetup culture that I’ve been experiencing here in Melbourne. We aim to be run by the community for the community. I believe that everybody has something to share and I want Brunei Geek Meet to be a platform for people to contribute to the community as a whole: be it as a learner, as a presenter, as a mentor, as a discussion starter, etc. We are more technology oriented (but are open to geeks of any kind!) and we intend to have talks, code labs, hacknights/days and other events where people can attend, learn and contribute in their own ways.

I am also please to announce that we have a license to hold a RHoK event in Brunei. With the tagline “Hacking for Humanity” RHoK believes in providing a platform for people (particularly technologists) to do social good and make the world a better place.

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This is done by hackers working to solve a community problems which can be used in the region of the problem, and even to a bigger audience of the World. When I first attended RHoK, it brought me back to the days I was working on the SMARTER eCVS and I want RHoK Brunei to be of the same nature: for us to see a local need and for technologists to team up to work on a solution.

With that, I would like to extend an invitation to any individuals or organisations that are facing or know of problems that could use a technological solution to get in touch with me and so we can kick off some discussion on how the developer community of Brunei could help. My contact details are tim@thewheatfield.org / @thewheat. I truly hope that you can be a part of RHoK and help contribute to the betterment of the Brunei developer community by providing a real world problem that we, as a community, can get together and help solve.

Happy Software Freedom Day! Have some code!

Today is Software Freedom Day and as a user of technology you should think about the programs that you use and understand the importance of the free software movement.

Depending on who you talk to, “free” it can mean different things but in terms of Software Freedom Day, “free software” refers to freedom and not price. Some of the core beliefs of both free software movement is that computers users should have the freedom to:

  1. use the software for any purpose
  2. study the software and modify it to suit their needs
  3. distribute copies, either gratis or for a fee, and
  4. distribute modified copies to help their community

Do watch the following video for Richard Stallman (RMS) explaining Software Freedom Day and has some great insight into GNU and GNU/Linux

 

I thought it was appropriate that I release the code for the SMARTER eVCS as an open source project dual licensed under the GPL V3 and MIT License. As I previously mentioned I hope that this will foster some community development and be a point for people to involve themselves in a community project of a different kind that I believe has yet to be done in Brunei.

The code is available at https://github.com/thewheat/SMARTER-eVCS-webapp

It requires CakePHP for now and was built on an older version of CakePHP and somethings on the todo list are as follows

  • Move to AJAX instead of full page load for the user front end (admin can stay as is for now)
  • Responsive/Mobile site design
  • Using HTML5 and possibly Javascript MP3 playback instead of relying on Flash
  • User login with each user having ability to manage multiple profiles
  • Possible remove the need for CakePHP all together to make it lighter

Next up will be the Android app source code release and also deploying the demo app online for people to play around and test. In the meantime, anybody willing to support, contribute or help can leave a comment / fork the code / spread the news. Any and all forms of participation is truly appreciated.

Giving Back to the Community

A couple of months back I started attending some meetups here in Melbourne and over a month ago I was able to attend my BarCampMelbourne (my first BarCamp!) and it was a great experience. What struck me most as I look back, is that there aren’t any kind of meetups like this back home in Brunei, at least to my knowledge. Events and meetups such as these rely on people giving back to the community and for regular meet-ups, to be consistent about it.

At one meetup, there was a company saying that they wanted to open source part of their product in order to give back to the community but it would take time for them to do so as it would take time for them to sort out their code and make it nice enough to publish: especially since it would represent the company. Sometimes they also have to separate out what code that they can release as open source, as some code may be libraries used which they may not have rights to distribute. I acknowledge that no company wants to put out bad code or give out something that isn’t theirs to give, but I also acknowledge that it is a point for procrastination: an excuse or crutch to fall back on and also possibly thinking that the code/work isn’t good enough. Or perhaps that is just me.

I pledged to code the SMARTER Android app over 1 and a half years ago and I did deploy a webapp for them to use to internally as well as an Android app what utilized the exported data from the webapp. After that I was caught up in finishing up my work before heading off to Australia and I guess I fell off the wagon in terms of developing that system further and keeping in contact with SMARTER as a whole. So by next week I hope to open source both the webapp and Android app and follow up with them, if there is anything further that can be done. I know the programs aren’t perfect, I know the code isn’t perfect, I know that there is room for improvement and I know that there is work to be done.

Over the next few weeks I’ll try document what I’ve done and also future goals that we hope to achieve. I used the word ‘we‘ as I hope to get other developers / contributors on board. I want this to be a base for contributing back to the community of Brunei and I am open to contributors / suggestions / feedback.

SMARTER eVisual Communication System (eVCS) System Specifications

With respect to the previous post SMARTER Seeks Help to Develop App for ‘e-pad’, I did manage to meet with Malai, the founder of SMARTER, on Friday afternoon and have a discussion with him regarding my interest to volunteer for this project. I managed to detail out some specifications of the system and general information regarding their current systems. Do read the following and if you can contribute do comment below or tweet me @thewheat

Current Flipbook System

  • Currently SMARTER utilizes physical flipbooks in order to help autistic persons communicate. These are physical booklets that have to be brought around and can be cumbersome. The wish is to digitize this flipbook system and to be used on an Android tablet [there are 2 models currently in possession: one with a 7" screen and the other an 8" screen. (links are to similar Android tablets of that screen size)]
  • There is a self-made flipbook system using Microsoft Powerpoint that lets the user click on an action and be brought to a new slide showing the next task/action to take, but this requires a lot of manual effort in creating the flipbook and results in a large file size just for a single activity (17.7MB Powerpoint file for a 25 slide flipbook with 25 different actions/task). This is too cumbersome and needs to be improved
    Existing PowerPoint Flipbook

    Existing PowerPoint Flipbook

  • Flipbooks can be categorized into 2 categories
    • Non-sequential
    • Sequential

    Current Flipbook Samples

    Current Flipbook Samples

  • Sequential types are used for activities such as “Washing Hands” which has a sequence which is shown below and other non-sequential activities such as “I want to go shopping”, or “I want to go home””Washing Hands” sequence:
    1. Open Tap
    2. Wet Hands
    3. Get Soap
    4. Lather Soap
    5. Rinse Hands
    6. Dry Hands
  • Flipbooks are customized per person (autistic people identify with photos if they in the photos performing that action/task)

Proposed Application Specifications:

  • The application should have a graphical representation of the possible actions / activities for the user to select
  • Each item may have sub-items (e.g. First item is “I want to go shopping”, sub-items can be “I want to go to The Mall”, “I want go to Hua Ho” or “I want to go Yayasan”)
  • Voice clips can be played back went an item is selected (e.g. TapToTalk which speaks the action such as “I want to go out”)
  • For sequential activities, there should be an indication of the “next action” to inform the autistic person that there is a pending action to do (during my discussion with Malai, he mentioned that if there is no indication of a next step they could spend all their time doing a current action/task)
  • Pictures and voices must be customizable and be able to be changed by the guardians of the user.
  • Similar applications: TapToTalk, Voice4u, AACSpeechBuddy

Proposed Plan Of Action

  • For the initial stage, I propose a web-based working demo due to the following reasons:
    • it will allow relatively quick changes and mockups
    • it will allow for discussion of features as the actual Android application is developed
    • it can serve as a replacement for the current Powerpoint flipbook system and thus have increased efficiency in creating new flipbooks
    • allow the Brunei community of web developers to play around with HTML and Javascript interactions to see what could work best for the system
  • I have put together a working demo where users can add items (called categories) and specify sub-items to be displayed.
    eCVS Demo System

    eCVS Demo System

    eCVS Demo System - Edit Category

    eCVS Demo System - Edit Category

How You Can Help

  • Do you have any HTML / Javascript know how? Try create a usable interface for system. I will try show them to the people at SMARTER and we can proceed from there
  • Perhaps when the system is more fully functional you can help will data population by adding categories, finding sample images, doing voice recordings.
  • Give some feedback or thoughts on anything that you see: there may be something that you have thought about that has not occurred to any of use. Knowledge sharing beneficial to all =)
  • If you have anything to contribute, do let leave a comment stating how you could help

Mozilla Service Week + Software Freedom Day

Next week (14th-21st September) will be Mozilla Service Week. In the midst of it is Software Freedom Day on the 19th and Mozilla’s One Web Day. I’m planning to serve/participate in all these events by placing myself in different locations in Brunei each day and just being available to help anybody with their web/technology issues/problems.

Below are just a sample of the many things that can I intend to provide assistance for:

  • How to configure your phone to access the Internet
  • How to transfer Youtube videos to your computer / phone
  • How set up a website
  • How to customize your website
  • Trying out Linux
  • Getting legal free software
  • How to create videos
  • How to get free legal shows online

Basically to paraphrase Tekzilla‘s intro:

“If you’ve got a question, We’ve got an answer for you. And if we don’t we’ll track down somebody who does”

I have approached some places and to get approval from them to utilize their place for Mozilla Service week. So far I’ve got a green light from Foodzone (Gadong Properties) and Blue Eden/Inderaloka Biru (Kiulap) and I’m trying to get a place in Delima/Serusop (Easyway?), Gadong central (Coffeebean? Mall food court?), Lambak (Wywy?) and Bunut Area (Wywy?). Basically all I need is a place to sit down with an Internet connection, power sockets (for me and anybody else who comes along) and accessible to people.

I know this may not be much but I’m trying something new and hope to continue doing something like this as a weekly event as a contribution back to the community of Brunei. If you have any suggestions do comment or tweet me @thewheat. I’ll post latest info via twitter but will hopefully have a proper schedule by Sunday so if you’re free do drop by and say ‘hi’. Feel free to come join me and help out too =)

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P.S. I have to thank @jidah for mentioning Mozilla Service Week and OneWebDay as that’s where I learned about it and thus led to this.

Badas Tree Project

We all live on this Earth and we should be responsible for it in some way, shape or form. Whether it be using reusable bags while we shop (kudos to Supasave for being first, if not one of the first, to promote such a lifestyle) to not switching on the air-conditioning 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to going out less. There are many ways to go green if only you search for it

What is the Badas 50,000 Trees Project?
An initiative by ISB’s Million Trees Project in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry & Primary Resources to re-plant trees in the Badas Forest Reserve, Kuala Belait in support of the Heart of Borneo initiative.

Launched in 2008, the 1000th tree was planted by HRH The Prince of Wales while the 1001st tree was planted by HRH The Crown Prince of Brunei.

The target is to have planted 50,000 ‘Agathis Bornensis’ trees by 31st October 2009.

Taken from BIBD’s website

So help the World and the future generations by donating a tree at B$5 per tree. The donations close on the 30th of September so just head down to any BIBD and do a cash deposit over the counter or via the ATM. Further details can be obtained at BIBD’s website.

Sounds of Hope Charity Gala Night

Have you heard about the Sounds of Hope Charity Gala Night?
“For Families in Poverty Fund”

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High Resolution Image

Date: 3rd October 2009
Time: 7:30pm
Venue: Jerudong Amphitheatre
Tickets (one seat in a table of 10): B$50, B$100, B$150, B$250
Tickets (public seating): B$10
Facebook event page

For dining table tickets please contact:

Public seating tickets available at:

  • ranoadidas.com
  • FitnessZone (Tel : +673 223 3338 / +673 223 2338)
  • MVision Cinemas (Empire) (Tel: +673 241 7977 /+673 261 0361)
  • Studio Scene (Tel: Studio 1 +673 245 4528, Studio 2 +673 245 5733)
  • Chill

Catch any of their updates on the Sounds of Hope’s Twitter page. More and other information such as direct contribution to the fund can be found at Brunei.fm’s post here

It’s great to see events such as these and people reaching out the to the community of Brunei. Hope we as people of Brunei will continue to support such events but more importantly try to make a difference in the lives of those around us.

Sounds of Hope, Brunei

The following text is taken from their Facebook Page
Sounds of Hope website URL: www.sohbrunei.com
Sounds of Hope’s BIDB Wish

It is a network of Young People in Brunei Darussalam who volunteer their time, talent and resources in helping Families in Poverty in Brunei Darussalam by giving them hope, assisting them to get back on their feet to have a better life. The group of young volunteers aim to create a community of youths against poverty.

Mission
Help achieve HM’s vision of “Zero Poverty by 2035” by mobilizing young Bruneians to engage in positive activities that will help fight poverty, all in the spirit of volunteerism and community service.

Brief Beginnings
Ms. Amalinah Abdullah invited her friends to visit some families in poverty in the various districts in Brunei Darussalam. The visits began in early March 2009. She and her friends were deeply moved with the varying situations of these families in poverty that the team wanted to help in any way they can. By just simply donating money will not be enough.

Ms. Amalinah and her friends founded “Sounds of Hope”. It is just a small informal group of young volunteers who came forward to accept the challenge of finding out the poorest among the poor in Brunei and look for creative ways to help them. They are now informally called as the SOH Team of Young Volunteers. Ms. Nur Judy Abdullah was taken in as volunteer “adviser” for the team.

Supporters
In the visits that SOH has done, the Ketua Kampong (Village Head), District Office, Officers from the Community Development Department and Islamic Religious Council were kind enough to share with us their list of people in poverty who receive monthly support from the government.

Partners
There is an upcoming Charity Gala Night which SOH is organising in partnership with the Women Business Council of Brunei Darussalam. The Charity Gala Night has been approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs this coming 3rd October 2009. The aim of the event is to raise more funds for families in poverty and assist them in various ways specifically in the areas of skills training and further education.

SOH is open to partner with other relevant NGOs and GOs on activities related to poverty reduction.

Get Involve

Mobilize
We hope to mobilize the youths in Brunei to take an active role in advocating for poverty reduction in their own communities. SOH will soon expand its team of young volunteers to the four districts of Brunei Darussalam.

Educate
Road shows/ conferences/ exhibitions will be done in the future featuring the many faces of poverty in Brunei to inform and make the youths aware on how they can participate in meaningful activities that will make a difference in the lives of families in poverty in Brunei Darussalam.

Volunteer
The spirit of volunteerism will be promoted among the young volunteers through the sharing of their time, talent and resources. The youths will be the future leaders in their own community and the best way to enhance their social consciousness level is through involvement on poverty reduction activities.

Raise Funds
Creative activities to raise funds for families in poverty will be spearheaded by SOH Team of volunteers.

Care – A community of caring volunteers

Photos
We are working on a website to post photos of our volunteer efforts and the families we have helped.

Videos
We have taken videos of our visits and will continue to document our various efforts for the benefit of the volunteers, families in poverty, government agencies and donors.

Facebook /Twitter/Blogs
A community forum in the internet will be developed to allow the youths in Brunei to voice out their ideas and advocacies in relation to HM’s titah on “zero poverty in 2035”.

Initial Programs of SOH Brunei

Adopt a Family in Poverty
A donor/sponsor can adopt a family in poverty and SOH team of volunteers will help facilitate the funding for a specific project like home repair, payment of debt (if qualified), buying of boat (for some fishermen who depends on fishing for living), buying of wheelchair for disabled people, hearing aid for the deaf, or walking cane for the blind.

Sponsor a Child’s Educational Needs
There are children who cannot go to Religious school because they cannot afford the uniform. Others cannot afford the books, bags and school projects and other fees in school.

Sponsor a Skills-Training Program for Women
Low educated women who are divorced or widowed can create or supplement their income through home-based self-generating income activities. They can only do so if they are trained in various skills such as beading (doing beadworks for clothes), massage, cooking skills, gardening, handicraft making etc.

Microcredit Program for Unemployed Women
When the women gain skills after the training, they will need some small capital to start their business. A microcredit scheme will be most helpful to jumpstart their small business.

SOUNDS OF HOPE Charity Gala Night

Fund Raising Event

” Sounds Of Hope ” (SOH) is organizing a charity gala night , which is supported by the Women Business Council of Brunei Darussalam. The SOH charity gala night is held to raise public awareness for the Brunei families suffering from poverty. The organizer is working on raising funds to help these families in easing their financial burdens as well as improving their living conditions and their daily life.

If all goes well and as planned, the charity gala night will be held on October 3, 2009 at the Jerudong Park Amphitheater around 7pm.

The Visits – An eye-opener for most young volunteers

The team, made up of Brunei’s own concerned youths, had recently visited homes of Brunei families in poverty and will continue to visit more homes within the four districts over the next few months. The visit is aimed at giving SOH young volunteers to have a first hand experience on the living conditions of families in poverty.

What the team found was disheartening. There are families that need immediate help and these families seem to have been overlooked by the Bruneian community. The families that SOH is helping are not only Brunei Malay Muslims but also those who are permanent residents.

Volunteers of SOH got a glimpse of their living conditions and their daily lives. Through interactive discussions with members of the impoverished families, SOH found out what these families needed and realized what actions can be taken to give them immediate help.

This initiative is a response to a Titah made on 4th of March 2008 during the opening ceremony of the first meeting of the 4th session of the Legislative Council by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, where the monarch expressed his desire for the country to achieve zero poverty rate by 2035.

SOH became aware of the lack of a specific non-government organization in Brunei to help those suffering from poverty.

SOH feels that they need to take the first step to address this issue. One of the ways they feel that they are able to help is by organizing a charity concert to raise funds to help these families.

At the same time, sounds of hope wishes to promote local talent through this charity concert.

Auditions have been held and potential performers have been selected to perform for this charity event.

After the Charity Gala Night , the funds raised through out the charity drive will go towards helping these families in poverty wherein a special committee for SOH will be formed to managed donations and funds raised.
Regular updates on where the funds go and who are the beneficiaries will be posted in the website of SOH.

Before the recipients of the funds are selected, their living conditions will be monitored and their background will be examined and at the same time all caution will be taken to ensure that only those who truly need the help will receive assistance.

Sounds Of Hope feels that it is time everyone gets together to address poverty in Brunei.

For further details, please contact:

soundsofhope.brunei_AT_gmail.com

YOU WANT TO BE A VOLUNTEER?

For those who wants to become an SOH Volunteer, please email to soundsofhope.brunei_AT_gmail.com your answers to the following questions: How do you define poverty? What does poverty mean to you? Do you have the time, talent and resources to be an SOH Volunteer? If yes, please describe how you can help. Please leave your name, brief profile, why you are interested in the issue on poverty and contact details.