Web Teach Demo Day

Updated: November 10, 2015

Last weekend on November 2, Web Teach held a demo day in the South of Taiwan at Shian-Kung Elementary school in Tainan. The afternoon program gave 5th and 6th graders an opportunity to experience how the program works by playing some educational games based on the core subjects of Math, Science and Chinese which are offered through their online tutoring program. APC was used to allow the students to interact via Skype with instructors in Taipei.

Web Teach which is focused on creating equality in the education offered across all schools in Taiwan, specifically tackling a fundamental problem in reaching students in remotes areas, began their first online tutoring program in October and have two versions available. An "At School" program which provides after school tutoring to students in their school as well as an "At Home" program for students to be taught while at home.

"For our weekend event we combined the materials of what the teachers teach in the “At Home” course into a game.  The teacher (game leader) was located at the National Central University in Taoyuan and connected online with Shian-Kung Elementary school, which used an APC Rock to communicate. We wanted to let parents, teachers and schools learn more about how our program works by playing without any distance limitations," said Alan Haung, co-founder of Web Teach.

The event provided a lot of fun for the students as well as spreading awareness about the program.

Here are some images from the event.

Web teach Demo Day with APC Rock

APC at Mozilla Summit 2013, Toronto

Updated: November 10, 2015

On the weekend of October 4-7, the Mozilla Summit 2013 was held in three locations including Santa Clara, California, Brussels, Germany and Toronto, Canada. The summit was held to bring developers from around the world together to connect with each other, align around the Mozilla mission, and create a shared vision of the future.

On location in Toronto was student and Mozilla User Advocacy volunteer, Joshua Smith. Joshua was one of the first Mozilla community members to begin working on Boot 2 Gecko for APC and had a running demo on APC Paper in his booth. For almost everyone in attendance, this was their first chance to see APC running the preview release of Boot 2 Gecko.

APC @ Firefox Summit 2013 Toronto

Joshua was kind enough to share his experience at the Summit, and the reaction from other community members who stopped by his booth.  Read on to hear all about it:

The sound of clapping greeted my ears. I scrambled to tape up the last poster. Soon, the doors opened, and a crowd of around six-hundred Mozillians rushed into the show hall.  My booth was soon being mobbed with computer gurus.

The APC booth at the Mozilla Innovation Fair was a huge success. There were many ideas that surfaced including using APCs to power kitchens, bikes, and smart TVs.  There was also a general feeling of surprise at the speed of Firefox OS on a device with only 512 MB of memory.  Interested geniuses benchmarked the performance with sites such as Netflix, Youtube, and Mozilla Voices. Each time, they were stunned.

I gave away five APCs at the end of the fair, and it was hard to see the disappointment of those who didn't win. B2G + APC had stolen their hearts, and they won't rest until they obtain one.

There is still much to be done, but B2G + APC has the potential to take us “where no one has ever gone before!"

Sounds like it was a great event, and we look forward to hearing more feedback from the community going forward. To check out the current status of bugs and fixes for Boot 2 Gecko for APC, please visit GitHub.

Web Teach Uses APC Rock for Remote Teaching in Taiwan

Updated: November 10, 2015

Web Teach Logo

A group of young social entrepreneurs in Taiwan have come up with a great use for APC Rock.  The three co-founders Alan Haung, Andrew Lin and Fred Chen have created a program called Web Teach, which is focused on creating equality in the education offered across all schools in Taiwan, specifically tackling a fundamental problem in reaching students in remotes areas. Their solution is to use the Internet to provide online teaching of supplemental courses and material to the students located in areas who do not have the same advantages as students in the major cities.

"As employers are increasingly looking for college graduates with real-world work experience we aim to use college students for our online tutors. This will provide  the tutors with valuable work experience as well as provide motivated instructors for the children in the program," said Alan Haung, co-founder of Web Teach.

In order to make this happen, they have created low cost systems around APC Rock to stream the content in the classrooms and added webcams and micrphones to allow interaction between students and teachers. They have already successfully tested the model and are ready to begin implementing it across Taiwan.

"In Taiwan, education is still unfair for many students and we hope we can change it. This is our dream, our mission, our goal," said Fred Chen, co-founder of Web Teach.

Setting APC Rock for Class.

Setting Up APC Rock for Class.

Check our some more images from their program here or visit them on Facebook.

Hacker Academy @ White Plains Library

Updated: August 1, 2013

Many professionals in the tech industry got their start at an early age, developing a passion for tech playing around with computers at home. The White Plains Library in New York State, who are currently using an APC 8750 to power one of their OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) terminals, have been running the summer program "Hacker Academy: How to Create and Program Your Own Computer"  in an attempt to introduce teens to some of the basics in hacking and inspire a new generation of programming enthusiasts.

The program, which is the first in what is expected to be a series of exciting technology programs geared for teens, has been running throughout the month of July and wraps up today. Participants in the first Hacker Academy have been using APC 8750s  as an introduction to the world of small board computers and during the 4 sessions have been learning how to hack them to boot and use Linux (Apricot).

Hacker Academy Participants

Participants in the First Hacker Academy at the White Plains Library in NY State.

"What is truly unique to this course is that each attendee, upon completion of the course, will get to keep the computer. Costing only $49 and being able to be displayed on a television, such affordable computers can open up the world of computing to households that would not otherwise be able to afford a conventional home computer," said Austin Olney, lead instructor of the Hacker Academy and member of the White Plains Public Library tech team which also includes John Lolis and Ryan Jackson.

Sounds like a fun way to spend the summer vacation to us!  

APC Rock Firmware Update V1.01.02

Updated: November 10, 2015
Update: Please note there is an update newer than in this post, check it in the library!
We are pleased to announce a new firmware update is available for APC Rock in the APC Library. This update includes a number of improvements to the stability and functionality of APC Rock as well as a slightly modified user interface. An image of the new APC firmware V1.01.02 is available for download here. (Be sure to save all your data beforehand, installation instructions are included in the read me file) For developers, an updated binary of the Uboot and Kernel are available in our GitHub repository. We have also added a toolchain for developers to use as well. Feature Updates and Fixes 1. Updated display policy to support up to 1080p resolution. 2. Fixed VGA brightness over saturation. 3. Improved browser stability. 4. Have enabled HDMI and DAC audio out at the same time. 5. Added the ability to disable the EDID function (auto screen resolution detect) through Uboot. 6. Added support for CIR (consumer infrared remote) remote through Uboot. For a full list, please see the read me file which is included with the download. Our efforts continue to improve the overall user experience and we thank all of those in the community for your feedback and help in identifying issues.

APC 8750 as a PC-Fi Audio System

Updated: November 10, 2015

As more and more audiophiles are looking to turn their PCs into Hi-Fi audio systems, CK from Korea has shared his simple solution of using an APC 8750 to create a PC-Fi Audio System for streaming his music. As CK points out when using a laptop or desktop PC you must deal with extra noise from power supplies, internal fans and graphic cards as well as a potential lack of system resources due to other programs running. Many of these issues can be overcome by using a low cost APC 8750 as it does not have an integrated power supply or any fans, there are minimal integrated devices and provides the option of using Linux (Apricot build for APC 8750) to leverage open source software.

Concept of PC-Fi

In order to get his PC-Fi system working with premium sound quality he was able to develop an optimized Linux OS based on Mike Thompson’s Apricot build with an integrated USB DAC which would not have been possible without the support from the navercafe audiostudy manager (forum manger), Linuve. (Naver is the most popular internet site in Korea with a number of “cafes” where members share information and experiences on a wide variety of topics.)

CK's APC 8750 PC-Fi system includes: APC Apricot + Kernel 2.6.32-9 + ALSA 1.0.25 + Network Storage Support

APC 8750 for PC-FI

CK uses his APC 8750 PC-Fi system as a home music streamer with the ability to access content stored on his PC and NAS Server to be played on his choice of speakers. With the use of Droid MPD (Music Player Daemon) client he can use his smartphone or PC as a remote control to play music, control the volume and create playlists.

APC 8750 Wooden Case (Medium)

To house his system, CK used one of the 20 unique wooden cases built by another Naver member, Camillo. Home A big thanks to CK for sharing this project with us and hope to see more interesting application stories from the Naver Community in the future.  

APC Paper Claims Design and Innovation Award at Computex 2013

Updated: November 10, 2015
APC Paper Computex Award (Medium)

APC Paper received a coveted Computex 2013 d&i (design and innovation) award presented by the Taiwan External Trade Council (TAITRA) in cooperation with the International Forum Design Hannover (iF), during a ceremony today.

APC Paper was awarded this prestigious honor for its groundbreaking use of new types of materials and form factor which pushes the boundaries of PC design in new directions. With special attention to an organic design, the cardboard encased APC Paper blends seamlessly into any home or office environment.

“We are delighted to have received this prestigious award,” said Richard Brown, VP of International Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. “This validates our vision of breaking the mold of traditional PC design using more environmentally-friendly materials and distinctive new form factors.”

APC Paper

APC Paper, with its unique recycled cardboard case, is based on the Neo-ITX form factor which measures 17cm x 8cm. APC paper integrates memory, storage, and a full set of consumer I/O features in a small footprint Neo-ITX motherboard that can be connected to a TV or monitor. The system also features a custom build of Android 4.0 that has been optimized for keyboard and mouse input, and comes with a browser and a selection of preinstalled apps. APC Paper will be available early in Q3.

APC Paper Computex Award 2 APC Paper Comuptex Award 3

The BioGuardApps Story: How a Dead Fish, APC, and Taiwanese Ingenuity Created a Business

Updated: May 31, 2013

Today we bring you an in-depth look at team  BioGaurdApp from our APC Boot Camp and the story behind their fish tank monitoring system they built using APC. Team leader Roger Do has shared where the inspiration for the product came from as well as a look at how the team worked to fulfill their vision. Roger has also been kind enough to share some advice for other entrepreneurs based on his own experience of working through the development process. Enjoy!

The BioGuardApps Story: How a Dead Fish, APC, and Taiwanese Ingenuity Created a Business

When you attend a Startup Weekend event, you are expected to brainstorm ideas, create a team, validate a business model, and then pitch it to people with money over the course of 54 hours. These events are designed as intense sessions to guide participants through the challenges of creating a business. Seldom would the organizers believe that besides providing the opportunity for like-minded people to come together and have some fun would they also make someone’s dreams come true or help someone make up for past mistakes.

BGA Team

Team BGA giving their pitch @ APC Boot Camp weekend

The APC Boot Camp and 3D Printing Jam event, sponsored by VIA and hosted by Yushan Ventures, challenged participants to create businesses focused on new connected devices. We were given an APC as a development platform and the use of 3D printing technology to prototype case designs with. This attracted an interesting mix of designers, business minds and hardware hackers. Normally when you put an artist and engineer together it is like expecting oil and water to mix, however with just the right amount of stirring we were able to pull it off!

The event began with open group brainstorming, from which we had several ideas to select from. The idea my group formed around was an intelligent aquarium. Our hardware genius Danny (aged 15.7 years to be exact) chose the project because when he was young, his pet goldfish had died due to neglect and he still felt deeply that it was his fault. He told us about how he felt when he had to flush the fish down the toilet, and that became the driving force behind our challenge of how to be reminded to take care of our pets and have a way to do so from anywhere in the world.

Putting System Together

Danny and Sean installing APC and components

For the next two months, we worked on creating the system that would make Danny feel comfortable owning fish again. We had significant help from the folks at VIA, including numerous meetings with many of their top people, including unrestricted access to their engineers, programmers and thought leaders. They took the time to walk us through how to integrate sensors and other peripherals through the use of the on-board GPIO and pin headers, and did not restrict help to their own technology. They even spent time teaching us how to place the internal components to minimize heat and interference issues.

  Case Front 3D Case Design

While we were integrating the hardware, we worked with Volker Heistermann of Yushan Ventures Capital to develop our business and marketing strategies (also guided by VIA's VP of Marketing, Richard Brown.)

After about three months, we have a business plan, a working product, and I'm happy to report zero dead fish.

BGA @ Maker Faire Taipei

BGA's Fish Tank Monitoring System @ Maker Faire Taipei 2013

Just a few quick thoughts on our adventure so far

1. Convincing someone to help you achieve your dreams is easier than trying to sell someone something people they don’t necessarily want.  By helping Danny reach a catharsis through our product, we were focused on the outcome, powered by passion, and knew when we reached success (after all, we can now feed the fish in Taiwan from anywhere in the world, WiFi connection permitting).

2. Once you have a dream, it's easier to let other people focus their attention on helping you to solve your challenges. VIA's engineers got very involved in our project and aided in brainstorming solutions to the various technical hurdles and even design issues. I think asking people for solutions is of limited value, however when you include them in your dream and the challenges you face the quality of ideas they share will be of a much greater value as they are become much more committed to your success. Some of the improvements VIA's engineers suggested to us, we hadn't even conceived of as a problem. Sometimes a question can focus a person's imagination and other times it limits it.

3. Have good partners. We were fortunate to have VIA and Yushan as our partners in this endeavor. We were able to speed through our market validation and product development cycles because they were there to assist us in removing obstacles or telling us some of the assumed obstacles didn't really exist at all. Sometimes when you think you are being a thorough planner, you're just finding excuses not to try.

Entrepreneurship is about solving problems, then creating a company that can solve that problem for the longest time. We got started because of Danny's dream of owning fish and being able to keep them alive no matter how busy he was. We will continue because there are many other people with the same wish.

About Roger, BGA Team Leader

Roger Do is a classical trained chef who has taken a detour through Berkeley's philosophy program and received an MBA as an appetizer before resuming his 20 plus years of business consulting and entrepreneurship. He dislikes cooking seafood, and that has inspired him to be part of BGA to keep fish alive. Roger manages BGA’s business, development, sales and marketing, and he is also the team's coder.

Taipei Hackerspace Creates Web Server with APC 8750

Updated: November 10, 2015
They created a dummy VGA Dongle to have the APC 8750 boot without a connection to a monitor

They created a dummy VGA Dongle to have the APC 8750 boot without a connection to a monitor

I am sure many of the members in our APC community are familiar with Hackerspaces in your areas. This past March the first Hackerspace opened its doors to a hungry audience here in Taipei. They have been busy dreaming up interesting projects and toiling away in their space to bring them to life. Today one of the founding members, Gergely Imreh, shared a story about how they are using an APC 8750 with Raspbian loaded on it in their space. They have created a web server to run the Taipei Hackerspace website, a simple Nginx server to make it very fast even on a medium or low powered board, and also run the wiki (using Dokuwiki), and the dynamic update of IP address.

In order to get it booting without being connected to a monitor they created a 'dummy VGA dongle', a trick they found in the forum from dougma. I am sure this will be the first of many APC uses they come up with for their Hackerspace. Can't wait to see what comes next.

APC Installation in Daan Vocation High School – Taiwan

Updated: November 10, 2015

Resident hardware expert and youngest member of Team BioGuardApp of our APC Boot Camp, 15 year-old Danny Zhou, has shared with us how his high school (Daan Vocational High School) here in Taipei, Taiwan have utilized APC in their class.

Setting up APC 8750 in their class.

Setting up APC 8750 in their class.

A few weeks ago Danny, along with his teacher, Mr. Wang, and some fellow classmates came to the VIA headquarters to share their ideas of how they thought APC could be put to use in their class as well as some student projects they had come up with. So far they have used an APC 8750 to create a low cost web station in their class for students to use to gather information for classwork as well as installed a calendar app to keep track of important assignment and test dates. Additionally, the have connected the APC to a projector in their class for teachers to present web-based  information to enhance their lessons. A popular use has been in their English class, where their teacher plays streams English songs from YouTube for the class to learn.

A big thanks to Danny and his classmates for sharing this story and images with us. We will keep you posted on how their projects progress.

Singing along to English songs from YouTube.

Singing along to English songs from YouTube.

Calendar app with important assignment and test dates for the class.

Calendar app with important assignment and test dates for the class.

Building a case out of the APC 8750 packaging.

Building a case out of the APC 8750 packaging.

APC 8750 installed in its original packaging.

APC 8750 installed in its original packaging.

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