Tag Archives: Tools

Transparent solar panel screens to charge phones

Today’s mobile devices are constantly in use, therefore battery life is problematic. Therefore researchers have investigated the affordances of solar powered mobile phones.

Sumsung developed the Samsung Crest (see full article)

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and Sharp developed the Solar Hybrid phones (see full article).

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These phones allowed users to charge their phones via solar power, but the panels were inserted in the back of the phones. Since users prefer not to place their phones face down, these phones were not popular. Therefore, since 2013, several sets of researchers are woking on the development of self-charging phone screens to be placed at the front of phones. Currently, they are working on ways to make transparent solar panels better and cheaper, therefore next year could be the year to finally get hold of them.



According to Lee Bell the Japanese electronics firm Kyocera showcased its 15-inch device at the Mobile World Conference (MWC) in Barcelona, explaining that the phone needs only 3 minutes of sunlight per day to charge 1 minute of call time! The built-in solar panel is called WYSIPS (What You See IS Photovoltaic Surface). Interesting to note is the way this panel fits into a cell phone along other panels (see article, Figure borrowed).

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Once on the market, these panels can invisibly collect solar power on phone and computer screens and on windows. I cannot wait to get hold of such an innovative phone. Remembering to pack the charging kit is a daunting task.







Simple game creation tools

Start by using simple game development tools. The following tools are easy to use and visually appealing. Some of the following tools are WYSIWYG platforms allowing you to click and figure out through logic and not through coding. Others are technologies that can be used to create games.

Sploder is a web-based tool that contains five sub-tools, each dedicated to create a different game type, namely Retro arcade, Platformers. Physics puzzle, Classic shooter and 3D adventure. There is also a graphics editor for creating your own art. Yoy can create various levels, place items throughot the levels and control enemies. If you want to save your games, you will need to create a free account. You can share your game so that others can discover and play with them.

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Gamesalad: It can be used to teach Computer Science students to build games. The drag and drop behavious can make a game come to life. You can load art, effects, music and info in the game. Games are played using one click. The basic version is free of charge and loads easily on Mac and Windows computers.

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GameMaker This studio says that it is really easy to use. They have streamlined the development process and provide all the resources, therefore the sky seems to be the limit. It should also be downloaded to your own computer. You can use the drag-and-drop feature or you can use the built-in scripting language. It is compatible with iOS and Android and executable compatible with Windows. It is more difficult than Sploder. It is supported by community tutorials. Popular games made with this tools is Spelunky and Hotline Miami.

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Stencyl is also for beginners and does not use code. It relates to Scratch and use a lego-like approach. It is most used for puzzles and sprite-based games. Popular games build with Stencyl is Impossible Pixel and Zuki’s Quest. It supports almost all platforms and have to be downloaded.

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Twine is very simple and allows you to create interactive, nonlinear stories. The free version is not powerful, but you can do a lot with it. Popular games created with Twine include A Kiss and Cry$stal Warrort Ke$ha.

Construct2 makes it easy by abstracting some of the concepts outwards. It is designed specifically for 2D games and allows anybody to build games. You just need drag-and-drop entities into a level, then ads events and behaviours to each entity. It is intuitive and absolute beginners will find it a tool to be used to create games. You can export to various platforms, even into Facebook. Tutorials and manuals are available on the website. You can buy more advanced versions of this tool.

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Unity3D is supported by almost all platforms. You can build 2D and 3D games. It can be deplyed to mre platforms with a click. It is intuitive for beginners and games are typically divided into scenes, each scene containing multiple game objects. Each object can have a number of scripts determining behaviour. The assets store is most useful and you can purchase models, animations, scripts, tools, and systems to import in your project. You can buy more advanced versions of this tool. Popular games created via this tool include Alto’s adventure, Gone Home and Firewatch.

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Cocos2D is an open source tool for creating 2D games. You will need to learn programming language, but it is easy to use. Games created with this tool include Badland.

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Unreal development kit is primarily developed for first-person actions, specifically first-person shooters. It can be modified to create other types of games as well. If you want to sell your games, you have to buy the more expensive versions. The tutorials are good.

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Unreal engine is for advanced developers. It provide a complete suite of game development tools and provide everything you need to start, grow and stand out from the crowd. It is new, but Daylight and Tekken 7 have been created on this tool.

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Microsoft PowerPoint can be used to create digital versions of board games with moveable pieces on a background image, that is the board. Such a game can be projected so that the whole class can participate, or smaller groups can play using one computer each. See these videos for ideas.

or this one

or this one


Please feel free to leave a comment. Please like it if it was found useful.

Free tools to create Infographics

The following tools can be used to create infographics:

Wordle, can be used to create ‘word clouds’ from the texts that you provide. The more frequently word are used in the source text, the greater prominence it will have in the infograph. You can tweak the clouds by changing the font, layout, and colour scheme.

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Venngage is used by people who work with data and who want to communicate their data, improve insights and use the data to make decisions. You can use templates or create your own infographics, reports, posters, promotions and social infographics. Various levels indicate expertise needed to create an infographic.

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Tableau Public brings data to life, easy to use and spectacular powerful. a free trail version is available. You can download the software or use an online version (your site). You can invite others to collaborate.

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Infogr.am is free, easy t use and can be used to create infographics and interactive online charts.


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Google Charts can be used to display data on your site. It is powerful, easy to use and free.

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Gapminder is used to build fact-based worldviews. It can be downloaded to your computer to allow you to show animated statistics offline. It automatically updates when new data is available.

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Easelly can be used to create and share visual ideas. There are 1000’s of reporting, timeline, resume and process templates to choose from. This example is available on the website.

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Dipity is a free timeline website. Th mission is to organise the web’s content by data and time. Uers can create, share, embed and collaborate on interactive, visually engaging timelines that integrate video, audio, text, images, links, social media, location and date stamps. Dipity is for newspapers, journalists, celebrities, organisations, politicians, universities, etc. Timelines is a great way to increase traffic on websites and to engage users. It is a fast and easy way to bring history alive. This example is available on their website.

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Chartsbin allows users to create interactive maps. With chartsbin you can export maps as images, embed maps in own blogs and websites, specify different zoom levels and positions, project the maps, and many more. Example was available on their website.

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Amcharts allows users to create charts online. You paste the code into HTML pages afterwards.

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Feel free to comment by adding ideas for more infographic tools that can be used free of charge. I have added a few with free trials as well.

Please like if you found this post worthwhile.

Trello 02: Explore your welcome board

The welcome board introduce you to various functions of Trello and consists of three lists, namely Basics, Intermediate and Advanced.

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So, let us try it out.

  • Go to the first lis (Basics)
  • Hover over ‘Welcome to Trello!’ (the first card)

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  • Click on the pen

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  • Change to ‘Welcome to my board.’

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  •  You have edited the first card.

You will see that you can edit much more than the name of the card. You can also:

  • Edit the labels
  • Change members who have access to the card
  • Move the card
  • Copy the card
  • Change the due date
  • Archive the card

I will look at each of these functions in follow-up tutorials.

  • Click on the card you have edited

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You can see the following information about your card:

  • The name (Welcome to my board)
  • The list (Basics)
  • The person who have added the card (Trello)
  • The date and time the card was posted (see under activity)

You can:

  • Add a comment
  • Members
  • Labels
  • Checklists
  • Due dates
  • Attachments

You can also:

  • Move the card
  • Copy the card
  • Subscribe to a card
  • Archive the card
  • Share it
  • Print it
  • Export it (JsON)
  • Link to the card
  • And send comments via an email link to be added to the card

I will create turtorials as I am using Trello. If you need help, feel free to ask by commenting on this post. Please like the tutorial to indicate its efficiency.

Have fun!

Trello 01: How to create an account

To create a Trello account, follow these steps:

Go to http://trello.com and click on Sign Up – It’s Free

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Complete the form

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You will see a message requesting you to confirm your email address

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Go to your emails and click on verify email address

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Go back to Trello, and your clean slate is ready to be used.

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Have fun!

Trello: teamwork made easy

Today, I am reporting on Trello, a technology used to enhance team work.

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Trello is based on a board system, with cards that can be dragged and dropped to show progress (image borrowed from http://trello.com).

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On a board, you can:

  • create several lists
  • add cards to a list
  • reorder cards (drag and drop)
  • drag and drop cards to another list to show progress, for example:
    • ideas
    • to do
    • doing
    • done.

Trello boards updates in real time, therefore you can see everything at a glance, in real time.

  • see the members who have access to the board
  • add members
  • follow the activities of the members

You can adopt Trello boards to fit your project, team or workflow.

I will create tutorials for using Trello. In mean time, you are welcome to request a tutorial. The tutorials will be numbered Trello 01, etc.


  1. Trello 01:  How to register an account.
  2. Trello 02:  How to create your first board