XDA – Pebble Developer Challenge: Round 2

I recently received an email notifying me that my app proposal had been selected for the XDA Developer Challenge.  They have already shipped me a new pebble as a reward and I have began the next stage of actually programming my watchapp.

The 20 Finalists

School Schedule App Page

Pebble Development Forum

XDA – Pebble Developer Challenge

xda-challengeToday, I submitted my proposal for the Pebble Developer Challenge.  If you are not familiar with the Pebble smartwatch, it uses bluetooth to connect to a smartphone and displays notifications.  Users can also download additional apps and watchfaces to their watch to customize their experience.  The challenge that I entered required me to propose a possible app for the pebble watch that I will soon develop.  My proposal is for a watchface that will display how many minutes there are remaining in a specific class period in school.  The best 3 developers will be flown to Mountain View, CA for the Pebble 2014 Developer Retreat, and will receive a Pebble Steel.  Wish me luck!watchface_mockup

Check out the rules here: Developer Challenge

Sebastian Alvarado

seabasSebastian Alvarado spoke to our class as well.  He is a biologist, but is the co-founder of a consulting business called Thwacke.  His company works with science fiction creators like video game developers and the makers of movies with the goal of making their content more scientifically accurate.  He is also working on a game called “Cell”, in which the user plays as a living cell that slowly develops into cancer.  It is meant to teach the player about the biology of cancer without demonizing it as it so commonly is.  I found this very interesting and would like to thank Sebastian for speaking to us.

Mike Marmarou

mikeMike Marmarou came to speak to our class.  He currently works on the Photos app for iOS, but has previously worked on programs like iPhoto and Aperture.  He gave a very interesting talk to us and explained how to succeed in the software industry.  Being the fan of Apple products that I am, I was very interested to hear what he had to say.  I have linked his presentation below.  I would also like to thank Mike for coming to our class.  I will be sure to use your advice as I progress through high school, college, and beyond.

P.S. When I googled your name, the only pictures that showed up were from your wedding so…yeah.

Mike’s Presentation

Bret Victor

bretvictorYesterday, Bret Victor came to speak with our class.  I was amazed by the prototypes that he shared with us.  He believes that while writing code the developer should be able to make changes in the code and instantly see its effects.  His ideas have inspired Apple to create their new programming language, Swift, which has a similar concept to Bret’s work.  I would also like to thank Bret for coming to our class and giving such an interesting talk.

Bret Victor


Final Project – Snake

For our final project, we will be creating a snake game in which the player must collect his or her food in a specific order.  The food objects will be labeled in various ordered sets such as prime numbers, Fibonacci numbers, and even the alphabet for young children.  This will help teach users various sequences in a fun and engaging way.

The easy version will be just the snake game with prime numbers

The clever variation will contain menus where users can select which sequence they would like to use.

The advanced version will contain animations.

Here is a diagram I drew showing various functions of the program.




The Arduino is an amazing tool for hobbyists worldwide.  It allows almost anyone learn simple programming and easily use their knowledge to program hardware.  They are lots of fun to tinker with and I plan on using my Arduino in the future, possibly for my 3D printer.Arduino_Uno_-_R3

An Open Letter To Hobbyists – Bill Gates

young-bill-gates-001Free software has been a topic of debate ever since the dawn of computing.  As I have learned from my roommates, all software is free if you know where to look.  Bill Gates’ argument is interesting, because he believes that his software is similar to a book, and he should be paid for each sold copy.  I personally agree with him, especially if he put so much work into it.  However, I also believe that the developer should be able to decide whether his or her software should be free or not.  Here is my best example:

If a developer writes a quick program for fun, especially if it is a useful tool, he or she should distribute it for free.

If a developer or team of developers creates a program after countless weeks, months or years, then they should have the right to charge a fair fee for their hard work, and consumers should respect that and pay.

Please comment your opinion below!Bill_Gates_Letter_to_Hobbyists

Earth Primer – Chaim Gingold

chaimToday, developer Chaim Gingold visited our class and demonstrated his upcoming interactive simulation, Earth, a Primer.  It is not a game, but instead is an interactive book that allows the user not only to learn about earth science, but also to interact with the animations and experiment with how various processes of our planet interact.  I imagine it could be used as a teaching tool in science classrooms across the country and the world, and a fun learning experience for people of all ages.  This application will be released on the iTunes App Store for the iPad this August.  I would also like personally thank Chaim for speaking to our class.

Above is an interactive landscape highlighting precipitation. The user can modify the temperature and touch the screen to cause precipitation in a localized area and observe its effects on the landscape.

Above is an interactive landscape highlighting precipitation. The user can modify the temperature and touch the screen to cause precipitation in a localized area and observe its effects on the landscape.