Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Hack Shack: Signing Off


By: Alex Szymanski

I think that each member of the hack shack learned and benefited from our shared experience in a different way. Whether we learned to be proactive and organized, to design, create, and innovate, or just how to break out of our shell and outreach to promote the hack shack, we all learned a valuable lesson from our Hack Shack tenure.

We all learned that often when you are looking to accomplish something the easy way isn't always the best way and often not the most fun way either. We learned that if we wanted to get something done, we had to put in the initiative and make it happen. We learned about time management and taking responsibility.

The project that involved the largest research and was one of our most passionate projects was the drone. We spent a lot of time researching and speaking with teachers students and administration to do what we had to get done and even though, in the end, for various reasons, we were unable to follow through and make the purchase, we learned a lot. We came together as a team and accomplished a task that we were all excited about.

I think that the Hack Shack has allowed us to let out an innovation and curiosity that usually goes untapped and that is an amazing thing. So the ability to share that with others, (whenever we can get them in here), is truly a gift and I hope that students continue to explore and let their creativity flow in the Hack Shack.

Virtual Reality: Now an Economical Reality


Jason Boryszewski
When people think of virtual reality, they think of an expensive piece of technology that costs hundreds of dollars, or even more.  In some cases this is true.  The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset that costs $600 - far more than most people are willing to spend on a brand new piece of  , despite all the hype surrounding the Oculus Rift.  Google has managed to hit a more reasonable price point with Google Cardboard, only costing $15 or so for a kit or free if you already have the materials yourself.
The headset itself is exactly as it sounds.  It's literally just a piece of cardboard, held together by no more than velcro and tape.  Your phone fits inside (with a compatible app open)  and you view the screen through a pair of 40mm focal distance lenses.  The headset holds your phone at the optimal distance from the lenses, so that when a compatible app is opened up a 3d effect is created.  Some models of the viewer also include a magnet that acts as a button on the side of the viewer, as you are unable to interact with your screen when it is inside the viewer.  This magnet interacts with your phone's magnetometer, normally used as a compass in your phone.
There are many different apps available (Android only) to use with Google Cardboard.  The Cardboard app itself has a few different options.  You can fly around in Google Earth, "visiting" locations such as Chicago or Bryce Canyon.  You can also go on a virtual tour of the Palace of Versailles, or view videos saved on your phone in 3d.  There are a few games on the Google Play store that work with Google Cardboard also, such as Lamper.
Overall, Google Cardboard is a cheap, easy to use, and most of all fun way to experience virtual reality for the first time.  And before you buy one yourself, we have a pair down in the hack shack that can be used with your own android phone.  If you don't have an android phone yourself, feel free to ask a hack shack employee if they have one and would allow you to use it.  All it takes is one quick download and you are ready to go.  
Works Cited
Ripton, JT. "Google Cardboard: Everything You Need to Know." TechRadar. Future Plc, 18 Dec. 2014. Web. 26 May 2016.

TEDxPISCATAQUA


By George Philbrick

Earlier this month, I got a chance from the Hack Shack to visit the TEDx event in Portsmouth. Called TEDxPiscataqua, this event is sponsored by TED talks but run by an independent group. The theme of this year was "On the Edge", and the ideas and technologies talked about at the event certainly were that.
Mr.Garman (The teacher who accompanied me) and I arrived early, so we went to check out the tech playground. The theme seemed to be Virtual Reality. They had everything from a Vive to small movie headsets. An unreleased three dimensional painting program by google, Tilt Brush, was being demoed. I got to try it and I must say it was very cool. You could really walk around in three dimensional space around your painting and the controls were incredibly intuitive and natural. I painted a tree using a thick, oil like tool, and a fuzzy one for the leaves. The space truly was a pinnacle of consumer technology and creation. It was very interesting.
The talks themselves were very interesting, involving everything from Why the Sex Lives of Our Seafood Matter to The Eager Violence of the Heart: America's Obsession with Football.
My favorites were Why Dungeons and Dragons is Good for You in Real Life and How Virtual Reality Can Be the Ultimate Empathy Machine. The first was interesting to me because I had read a book by the speaker, Ethan Gilsdorf. He is also from Oyster River, and spoke very genuinely and with depth. The second was interesting to me in a way that I don't think it would be to many people. The way the presenter spoke of the VR filming as a documentary tool to get distant people to feel other problems really reminded me of the empathy boxes from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
All of the talks will soon be made available online. Those that have already been uploaded can be found Here. However, if you get a chance, I highly recommend you buy tickets for next year's event and attend. You will see a lot of passionate and innovative people, and I can guarantee they are at least 10 times better in person.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Using the 3D Printer to Create Cooking Tools


By Thatcher Ervin

After thinking about items that are useful and that are infinitely customizable, I thought of making a cookie cutter. Because of the creative nature of cookie cutters, they can be really anything you want. One of my friends likes cats so I figured I would design a cookie cutter shaped as a cat head. I designed it in SketchUp and then printed it. I figured a platter of cookies would look more diverse if I had multiple sized cookies so I rescaled my design and printed it again. After I printed them out, I made dough and rolled it out with a rolling pin to get ready to cut. Once the dough was rolled flat, I used the cookie cutters to cut out as many cookies as I could get out of the dough. After cutting them all out I arranged them on a tray and baked them.










The cookies were delicious and I plan to make even more cookie cutter shapes.  Cookie shapes are limitless, which makes a 3D printer a perfect tool to make them with because you can print infinite amounts of shapes on a 3D printer.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

How to Make a Brochure Using Microsoft Publisher

By: Rusat Latulippe

Step 1: Start a new document.
Launch Publisher and start a new brochure document (File>New>Brochure). Choose one of the templates. Choose the one that is most appropriate for you.

Step 2: Customization.
Before opening the document and adding your content, pick a color scheme and font combination for your brochure. Under the "Customize" bar on the right of the templates screen you will see the settings for colors and fonts.

Step 3: Your information.
Stay in the "Customize" bar. Under the color and font selectors you will see "Business Information." You can make/choose a logo. Choose "Create New" and when the dialog box appears.

Step 4: Adding your images.
Once your document has been created, you will see there are already a few images in it. These are just generic pictures you can replace with your own pictures.
Delete the unwanted pictures and paste your desired images in.
Step 5: Adding text.
The brochure also comes with text boxes with pre-typed text that you can replace with your own content. To change the text in any box, click on it, and type your desired message.


App Review: TOR Browser


By Nicholas Dundorf
      In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion about the value of encryption in everyday life, but many average people don't know how to get started. The Onion Router (TOR) is an app/browser for computers and smartphones that allows someone to encrypt and secure their Internet surfing in a safe and anonymous manner. This app works by encrypting and anonymizing your Internet activity in the TOR system, which prevents anyone from identifying you, or attacking you digitally.
       This app proves very useful for those who are in countries where censorship/surveillance is used by their government or for those who wish to communicate or browse free from other 3rd party surveillance. The app itself is very accessible and user friendly on the computer, and acts simply like any other Internet browser. On smartphones, TOR is a little less user friendly, as it requires a TOR app to be running in addition to a separate browser. Overall, however it is still quite usable with a little bit of direction.
       One of the uses for this app is protection from data collection by groups like custom advertising agencies. These groups can track your browsing and use your habits to develop a profile on you and your interests to send you ads that are more relevant. One's IP address can often be used to find personal and physical locational information without their knowledge. For those who don't want their activity tracked without their permission, TOR is usable as a handy protection.
       The main hangup with this app is likely the Internet speed. This is due to the layers of encryption and decryption your request must go through before it is put through. This, however, is not too prominent, and is a small price to pay for the otherwise free and useful software. Encryption is an extremely useful process for anyone, and is now much more accessible through the TOR app or browser!
More information or the browser download can found here:
https://www.torproject.org/about/torusers.html.en
On May 16, 2016 8:24 PM, "nicholas dundorf" <ndundorf@gmail.com> wrote:
By Nicholas Dundorf
      In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion about the value of encryption in everyday life, but many average people don't know how to get started. The Onion Router (TOR) is an app/browser for computers and smartphones that allows someone to encrypt and secure their Internet surfing in a safe and anonymous manner. This app works by encrypting and anonymizing your Internet activity in the TOR system, which prevents anyone from identifying you, or attacking you digitally.
 
       This app proves very useful for those who are in countries where censorship/surveillance is used by their government or for those who wish to communicate or browse free from other 3rd party surveillance. The app itself is very accessible and user friendly on the computer, and acts simply like any other Internet browser. On smartphones, TOR is a little less user friendly, as it requires a TOR app to be running in addition to a separate browser. Overall, however it is still quite usable with a little bit of direction.
       One of the uses for this app is protection from data collection by groups like custom advertising agencies. These groups can track your browsing and use your habits to develop a profile on you and your interests to send you ads that are more relevant. One's IP address can often be used to find personal and physical locational information without their knowledge. For those who don't want their activity tracked without their permission, TOR is usable as a handy protection.
       The main hangup with this app is likely the Internet speed. This is due to the layers of encryption and decryption your request must go through before it is put through. This, however, is not too prominent, and is a small price to pay for the otherwise free and useful software. Encryption is an extremely useful process for anyone, and is now much more accessible through the TOR app or browser!
More information or the browser download can found here:
https://www.torproject.org/about/torusers.html.en

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Get to Know The Hack Shack

By Alex Szymanski


In the Hack Shack there are many services that we have to offer. Things that can help you in classes or just to spark your innovative side. Here is a list of our biggest tool you can use at any time.

Silhouette Printer/Cutter
This printer can print your text calligraphically to create a jazzy header for a poster or cut shapes to spice up a project. This printer is a feature that is majorly underused and is always available and easy to use.





3D Printer
The 3D printer is our most popular tool here in the Hack Shack. This service allows people to design 3D models to use for projects or personal use. The printer is easy to use and most of the time your job can be completed within the week.





Little Bits
The little bits allow students to that their creativity flourish while learning about circuits and making something cool and fun. There are many possibilities of what you can create they are just waiting to be found!


Green Screen
The green screen allows students to make fun movies for class or for fun with the use of the iPad in the Hack Shack. There are endless opportunities and hilarity is guaranteed to ensue.





These features and many more are at your disposal in the hack shack along with help desk services by yours truly along with my other classmates. Come take advantage of what we have! Hope to see you soon!