First Devoxx4Kids event in Paris, April 2014

On the 5th of April 2014, Pierre and I went to Paris in order to participate on the first ever Devoxx4Kids Paris event.

The Devoxx4Kids France coordination team, Audrey and Claude, were very busy during the the past year traveling France (and Switzerland) to make events all over the French speaking part of Europe. In their hometown Paris however, this was the first event they organised and we are very happy to be part of the party.

For us, this was the first D4K event with kids between 5 and 8 years old and kids between 8 to 10 years. Both groups had a half-day event with Makey Makey‘s (and 20kg of bananas), the Robot Turtles board game, WeDo‘s and Scratch. The group of 10 to 14 years followed the usual Scratch, Greenfoot, Arduino, Mindstorm and NAO workshop program.

During the happening, the students of E Artsup Nantes did a video recording and interviews with some kids. You can see the resulting video hereunder.

To conclude this little report, let’s have a look to some pictures:

This picture illustrates very well the spirit of D4K. Tweet by @morlhon.

Ancienne Secrétaire d’Etat de l’Economie Numérique Française, Madame Fleur Pellerin visiting the event.


NAO presenting himself!

Bananaaaaaaas, Heuheu!

A more complete photo gallery can be found here.

(Note: All pictures of the kids were taken with the signed consent of the parents)

(PS: “Bananaaaaaaas, Heuheu!” (c) The Minions)

Avoid Choregraphe dropping connection to NAO when running in a VM

The easiest way to provide a defined work environment when organising a Hackathon around the NAO robot is to prepare a Virtual Machine with all software preinstalled (Choregraphe, git, documentation, Python, etc.). Personally, I use Mint Linux  running in a Virtual Box (Ubuntu gives me this bad Google/Facebook feeling).

While installing Choregraphe is easy, you will quickly get blocked by the repeated disconnection of Choregraphe from NAO.

Normally, this indicates a firewall problem, but neither deactivating the firewall with “sudo ufw disable“, nor emptying the iptables defaulting it to “all open” with “sudo iptables -F“, nor explicitly defining “all open” rules with “sudo iptables -P INPUT ACCEPT / sudo iptables -P OUTPUT ACCEPT / sudo iptables -P FORWARD ACCEPT” helps preventing the disconnections.

Still, the reason is a port blocking problem. While Choregraphe is able to connect to a target outside the VM’s host operating systems, inbounding connections reaching the host systems are not reaching the VM’s guest system.

This leads us to the easy solution: defining a port forward rule from the host OS to the guest VM.

In Virtual Box, this is done via the VirtualBox main menu “Devices”, “Network”, “Network Setting”, Adapter 1, [Port Forwarding]. Here, we add the Choregraphe’s main ports (54010-540nn, depending how many instances you have running) and the most important: the NAOqi port 9559.

If you are not sure about the ports, simply display the debug log files in Choregraphe to make the concerned ports visible (see screenshot above).

Once the port forwarding confirmed, the connection with the NAO root should be stable, without even restarting the VM.

Jake Appelbaum reads his Homeland afterword

The net activists Aaron Swartz (RIP) and Jacob Appelbaum contributed to Cory Doctorow‘s book Homeland by writing an afterword on freedom and all-present surveillance. Now, Jacob’s text has been recorded as part of the audio book release and it has been published by Cory Doctorow on his blog.

Just take 6 minutes of your time and listen to what he had to say. I provide the Alec Empire‘s vocoder mix, which simply sounds mega cool :-) The original is available on Cory’s blog post.

More audio extracts (read by Noah Swartz and Wil Wheaton) are available here:

License: Copyright CorDoc-Co, Ltd (UK), 2013.;\\ License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0


Afterword by Jacob Appelbaum, Wikileaks

“Utopia is impossible; everyone who isn’t a utopian is a shmuck.”

Cory asked someone to write to the children of the newest generation and to say something to inspire them. To write something that would encourage them to take up the cause of bettering the world. That’s you or someone you love – when you’re finished, please pass this book on to the person who needs it most.

Everything good in the world comes from the efforts of people who came before us. Every minute that we are able to enjoy in a society that is not ruled by senseless violence is a minute given to us by the hard work of people who dedicated their lives for something better. Every person we meet is carrying his own burdens. Each person is the center of her own universe. There is so much left to be done, so many injustices to right, so much suffering to relieve, so many beautiful moments to be lived, an endless amount of knowledge to uncover. Many secrets of the universe wait to be uncovered.

The deck from which our hands are dealt need not be stacked against us; it is possible to create societal structures that are just and capable of reasoned compassion for everyone. It is possible to change the very nature of our lives. It is possible to redesign the entire deck, to change the very face and count of the cards, to rewrite the rules and to create different outcomes.

We live in the golden era of surveillance; every phone is designed to be tapped, the Internet passes through snooping equipment of agencies that are so vast and unaccountable that we hardly know their bounds. Corporations are forced (though some are willing enough!) to hand over our data and data of those whom we love. Our lives are ruled by networks and yet those networks are not ruled by our consent. These networks keep us hooked up but it is not without costs that they keep us hooked together. The businesses, the governments, and the individuals that power those networks are incentivized to spy, to betray and to do it silently. The architecture of the very systems produces these outcomes.

This is tyranny.

The architecture of our systems and of our networks is not the product of nature but rather the product of imperfect humans, some with the best of intentions. There is no one naturally fit to survive in these unnatural systems, there are some who are lucky, others who have adapted.

This letter to you, from your perhaps recent past, was written with Free Software written as a labor of love by someone who wished to help the children of Uganda while flying over an expansive ocean at difficult to understand heights, it was composed while running under a kernel written by scores of people across every national line, across every racial, sexual and gender line by a socially and politically agnostic engineer, it was sent through multiple anonymity networks built by countless volunteers acting in solidarity through mutual aid and it was received by an author who published it for a purpose.

What is the common purpose of all of these people? It is for the whole of our efforts to be more than the sum of our parts — this creates a surplus for you — to give breathing room to others, so that they may take the torch of knowledge, of reason, of justice, of truth telling, of sunlight — to the next step, wherever it may lead us.

There was a time when there were no drone killings, societies have existed without armed policemen, where peace is not only possible but actually a steady state, where mass surveillance was technically and socially infeasible, where fair and evenhanded trials by impartial juries were available for everyone, where fear of identification and arrest was not the norm but the exception. That time was less than a generation ago and much more has been lost in the transition from one generation to the next.

It’s up to you to bring those things back to our planet. You can do this with little more than cooperation, the Internet, cryptography, and willingness. You might do this alone or you might do it in a group; you might contribute as a solitary person or as one of many. Writing Free Software empowers every person, without exception, to control the machines that fill our lives. Building free and open hardware empowers every person, without exception, to construct new machines to free us from being slaves to machines that control us. Using free and open systems allows us to construct a new basis by which we may once again understand as a whole, the systems by which we govern ourselves.

We are on the edge of regaining our autonomy, of ending total state surveillance, of uncovering and holding accountable those who commit crimes in our names without our informed consent, of resuming free travel without arbitrary or unfair restriction. We’re on the verge of ensuring that every person, not one human excluded, has the right to read and the right to speak. Without exception.

It’s easy to feel hopeless in the face of the difficult issues that we face everyday — how might one person effectively resist anything so much larger than herself? Once we stop acting alone, we have a chance for positive change. To protest is to stop and say that you object, to resist is to stop others from going along without thinking and to build alternatives is to give everyone new choices. Omission and commission are the yin and yang of personal agency.

What if you could travel back through time and help Daniel Ellsberg leak the Pentagon papers? Would you take the actions required, would you risk your life to end the war? For many it is easy to answer positively and then think nothing of the actual struggles, the real risk or the uncertainty provided without historical hindsight. For others, it’s easy to say no and to think of nothing beyond oneself.

But what if you didn’t need to travel back through time?

There are new Pentagon Papers just waiting to be leaked; there are new wars to end, new injustices to make right, fresh uncertainty that seems daunting where success seems impossible, new alternatives need to be constructed, old values and concepts of justice need to be preserved in the face of powerful people who pervert the rule of law for their own benefit.

Be the trouble you want to see in the world, above nationalism, above so-called patriotism, above and beyond fear and make it count for the betterment of the planet. Legal and illegal are not the same as right and wrong — do what is right and never give up the fight.

This is one idea out of many that can help you and your friends free our planet from the tyranny that surrounds us all. It’s up to you now – go create something beautiful and help others to do the same. Happy hacking,


Free Java at FOSDEM 2014

FOSDEM is approaching quickly. The 1st and 2nd of February is the big weekend! This year there is again the Free Java dev room (K.4.201), unfortunately only for one day and not two like the other years.

Despite of this fact, some of the major players in the Java and Free Java (OpenJDK) world will be present, talking and discussion, and of course handshaking :) Starring: Mark Reinhold (Chief Architect, Java Platform Group, Oracle), Andrew Haley (Member of the OpenJDK Governing Board, Red Hat), Roman Kennke, Ian Rogers (Google), Robert Lougher (maker of the FOSS JamVM), Charles Nutter (JRuby), Mani Sarkar (AdoptAnOpenJDK and AdoptAJSR evangelist), Dalibor Topic (OpenJDK board, Oracle), Mario Torre, Doug Lea (Executive Committee JCP, Book author) and more!

Btw, the FOSDEM team is still looking for volunteers. If you are fancy to spend a hour or two helping out, have a look here:

Why privacy matters?

Want to be impressed? Then have a look at this:

1) Alessandro Acquisti at TED (EN)

Picture + Algorithm = ?


2) Was geht mich denn Datenschutz an? – Jung & Naiv: Folge 103 (DE)

Mit dem Europaabgeordneten der Grünen, Jan Philipp Albrecht. Warum ist Privacy so wichtig und warum brauchen wir eine EU-weite Regelung.

TEDx Brussels 11.2013 – How the NSA betrayed the world’s trust — Time to act

Recent events have highlighted, underlined and bolded the fact that the United States is performing blanket surveillance on any foreigner whose data passes through an American entity — whether they are suspected of wrongdoing or not. This means that, essentially, every international user of the internet is being watched, says Mikko Hypponen.

Some quotes:

  • We are brutally honest with search engines. The search engines know more about you than your family.
  • If there is no right to privacy, there can be no true freedom of expression and opinion, and therefore no effective democracy. (Ms Dilma Roussef)
  • The United States is right now treating the Internet as it would be treating one of its colonies. So we are back to the age of colonization, and we, the foreign users of the Internet, we should think about Americans as our masters. (Marcus Ranum)
  • The solution is Open Source ../.. one country only has to make a small wave, but those small waves together become a tide, and the tide will lift all the boats up at the same time, and the tide we will build with secure, free, open-source systems, will become the tide that will lift all of us up and above the surveillance state. (Haroon Meer)

Happy New Year 1984!

Devoxx4Kids Belgium 2013

D4K BE ’13 is a wrap. During the two weekends of the 6th and the 12th of October, the team held one session in French and one in Dutch.

This year, NAO was not only entertainer, but actually there to work. Finally, we had workshops about NAO programming, Lego Mindstorms, Scratch, Greenfoot and Arduino. Both events were booked with around 45 kids.

Pictures can be found here:

A huge special thank you goes to Daniel de Luca, which coordinated the project this year! Amazing work! – Join us!

NAO at the Kids Entertainment Fair Anima’Art 2013

The Anima’Art fair happened September the 14th and 15th 2013 in Charleroi, Belgium.

The theme was “Kid Entertainment” and the different art forms around this topic. Since the organisers are good friends of mine, we were present with NAO.

Needless to say that the little one was an eye catcher for both kids and adults and … *sight* … NAO dancing the Gangnam Style always brought a smile on the audiences face :)

Personally, I’m very happy about the fact that we certainly inspired a lot of kids, which are normally not exposed to technology by geeky parents, to get interested in robotics. If only one of these kids would study robotics and build the robots of our future, I would count this weekend as a huge personal success.

Both organisers trying to look smart :)

NAO gets its own balloon pet!

NAO gets its own balloon pet!

Show time!

Show time!

NAO get adopted by his new friends!

NAO get adopted by his new friends!

Photo sessions everywhere...

Photo sessions everywhere…

Balloon Saloon

Balloon Saloon

NAO's new fall protection system: an air bag!

NAO’s new fall protection system: an air bag!

Devoxx 4 Kids project wins Duke Choice Award 2013

In conjunction with JavaOne San Francisco 2013, Oracle and the Java Community did recognize Devoxx4Kids for their creative and innovative uses of Java technology and awarded the entire Devoxx4Kids team, all over the world, with a Duke’s Choice Award 2013. Congratulations to all D4K activists world-wide.

JavaOne 2013 Community Keynote where Stephan presenting Devoxx4Kids: (see it starting around the 10:00 mark)

NAO sur Seine – NAO Hackathon 2013

During Futur en Seine, a ten days festival presenting the latest digital innovations, a NAO hackathon was organized by the Parisian user group NAO sur Seine, who decided to bring NAO developers and fans together to develop a multitude of apps.

You can find a detailed resumé on Aldebaran Robotic’s blog:

Project demonstrations

And … Action!

Inspiring discussions with Aldebaran Robotics developers

More NAOs waiting for things to do…

To complete, I add more interesting pictures from the Futur en Seine technology exposition. A lot of cool gadgets so see!

Not only NAO can play soccer :)

Not only NAO can play soccer :)

Modern dance performance with NAO

Modern dance performance with NAO

Self-made 3D printer in action

Self-made 3D printer in action

Self-made 3D printer under construction

Self-made 3D printer under construction

More cool toys

More cool toys