This is the official site for The Tech Bandits…a makerspace/breakerspace, drone building, assistive tech teaching, 3d printing, robot ruling, YouTubing chaotic adventure in Science, Technology, Engineering Arts and Mathematics, STEAM inspiration.
Now… the first thing you should do to really get in on all the fun, is to sign up for my Tech Bandit’s ‘Techletts’ mailing list!
Get your writerly questions ready! I have the pleasure of chatting first with the ever brilliant, reclusive & hilarious @crowscratch to join my inaugural #writingbandits session next Tuesday January 26th 12 (noon) EST!!
Award winning Film & TV writer, self publishing entrepreneur, this guy knows his stuff and is willing to share some tasty tales of writerly terror with us all…in the name of education! So head over to his website: https://crowscratch.com to read him in action, grab a book or two and then join us Tuesday January 26th 12 (noon) EST over on https://www.twitch.tv/techbanditry!
The GoogleNoodles portion of the DStat sponsored PC Build sounds like it was a great success…and was up and running in time for her to use it on our amazing Dungeons and Dragons Stream. The only issue was a lack of sufficient cables to power all the unicorn vomit (LED) fans in the case …I dropped off a splitter cable Friday… so she should have all four fans a-whirring in no time too!
ImIronHam is still fully immersed (Dad pun!) in this whole VR thing. We are currently using an old development HTC Vive developers kit, but are definitely in the market for an upgrade!
Having been stuck in lockdown with two geeks and a crazed wiley coyote, queen of a mutt, Huzzah! Jane is understandably dying to be able to get out and start travelling again. So I thought why not combine VR with the travel bug and I started hunting for some suitably impressive virtual tours…here’s what I found:
While Google Earth VR was exciting and new to me…turns out it was old news to the TechBandits, many of whom have had a chance to try it out at school events..though they all agreed it was kinda cool…so check it out:
What the Bandits might not know is that there’s also a Random street view generator that can instantly teleport you anywhere! Here’s a few places that came up when I started clicking…and clicking…and clicking…I love this thing!!!
https://www.airpano.com/ has some stunning footage of truly breathtaking parts of this amazing planets which reminded me just how breathtakingly diverse and beautiful the landscape of this little blue planet can be…definitely worth saving, I’d say! 😉
Or maybe this glorious globe trotting is all too local?
How about something a little further out…like exoplanets . The NASA folks estimate that there is at least one planet for every star in the galaxy…meaning there are billions of planets in our galaxy alone! Why not explore some of those in the process?
The Eyes on Exoplanets project reminded me of our past chats about robots being used to explore space for us. When those robots are combined with VR technology do you think we’ll be able to truly see these planets for ourselves…through their robotic eyes?
I want to make a game! My plan was to hop on the stream a little early this week and walk through the Unity Lego tutorial before we got started, but a robot arm flung itself off the ceiling and I was lost to playing with that!
The reason I’m interested is that I’ve played a little (a very little to be fair) with Minecraft modding…it gets confusing so here’s MattVideoProductions on how is all works now in the 20’s!
and if that’s to your liking Matt’s got a who playlist on installing and understanding mods!(especially with the new tools available for doing that like https://mcreator.net/) and I’m fascinated by the potential of Roblox studio and dabbling with RPG maker.. but I thought it might be a great way to dive into Unity to see just how hard it is to get up and running with game design…so prepare to meet Mark the soviet hammer headed sickle lemon shark zombie that we dreamed of creating a game for…
Next up we need to check in with GoogleNoodles about her new PC build and ImIronham will give us some VR tips (like how he plans on not destroying his room and monitors while play Super Hot!…and perhaps even a review of his latest VR games!
Weirdly timed theme pack for Sims 4 which just added the very Halloweeny Paranormal pack…as PCGamer magazine points out…3 months AFTER Halloween!? Maybe trying to cash in on the horror game trend of Dead By Daylight or Phasmaphobia.
Bratlett has dusted off our old Vive development headset and it got us thinking about how the technology is going to be used (or is being used as the case may be)… Gaming seems to get all the attention when it comes to VR right now, but that is about to change… possibly quite a lot!
I am convinced that virtual reality and robotics is going to change everything! Imagine that the robot below isn’t just standing beside the controller…it’s standing on another planet!
Telexistence is a neat term for this idea…here’s a mock-up of how these things could work:
I wasn’t really interested in the Oculus headset, partially because of the need to sign into Facebook in order to use it…but the idea of an infinite office with as many monitors as I want
But how does Virtual Reality work… and why does it make me and 4 out of 10 people on average, feel motion sickness!?
Here’s a couple of videos on how to beat motion sickness…all of which I’m going to have to give a go if I’m going to try this again!
School is back…sort of!? I’m looking forward to hearing all the highs and lows of online learning from you all.
We had a really fun Build and Destroy PC Build the other day, despite not actually doing any building as I had neglected to purchase any memory.
Problem solved…our fancy new G. Skill TridentZ Neo DDR4 showed up last night (Rainbow Vomit included…that’s RGB leds for those in the know!) so I’ll be giving it another go this week!
We were joined by my friend Allyn Malventano, who, having run Nuclear Subs and delved into Cybersecurity for the Navy, got hired away from his PC Perspectives Podcasting gig to work at Intel on their latest and greatest SSDs! And of course our resident PC Guru (and original TechBandit) Lord Chunky! Huge thank to TechBandits sponsor Dstat for covering the cost of the entire system for our ThinkNoodles Bandit!
So What do we have in store!? I’m really excited to have Nathaniel join us for Today’s TechBandits (Monday Jan 4th) to talk about games as art and using game systems to tell stories and making games as a tween, as that’s when he started making games. Games that he’s got as inspirations include The Sims, Hitman, Middle Earth:Shadow of Mordor.
But it’s not just games, I’d also like to chat about his music and how he’s been approaching that. Here’s a couple of his creations on BandCamp (A platform we might want to ask him about too!):
He’s also curious about what the TechBandits think about a band called black midi. They’re his favorite band right now, but as he puts it “they are pretty insane” and he doesn’t expect you to like them!? Have a listen and look forward to hearing what you think of what’s been called experimental rock, math rock, noise rock, and post-punk!?
‘Tis the most wonderful time of the ….awww, shut it! Bah! And Humbugs!!
As we see this year off (good riddance I say!) I thought it would be cool to get a little different perspective on gaming and found Blind Gamer, Steve Saylor…he’s not only playing games with really limited vision…he’s streaming his adventures… check him out and perhaps give him a follower. Why, do you think it’s important to get different perspectives on gaming? What kind of things could be improved in games, to make gaming more accessible for people with vision issues, like Blind Gamer?
Did you know that there’s a whole game accessibility lab right here at the University of Toronto!? Once all this COVID is done and vaccinated we should see if we can visit!
And let’s not forget the all seeing eyes of Google Trends! Here’s their list of top game related searches for 2020 (US that is…can anyone find the Google Trends Games list for Canada…’cause I couldn’t!?):
It’s not a spider…it’s a peach, right!? Well, a peach of an idea (Dad puns!) about using gaming to help ease phobias…like Arachnophobia (the fear of spiders).
Grounded saw that they had a problem with arachnophobic gamers who stopped playing their amazing new game as soon as their amazingly realistic spiders turned up. Here’s a great video by Polygon about how the Obsidian the game company that developed Grounded has tried to help fight the phobias and how other game tech is being used to treat them!
Do you have any phobias? ImIronham and I did some wikipedia research and discovered we have Trypophobia, well, not so much the fear as the disgust of closely-packed holes… and Thalassophobia which is a persistent and intense fear of deep bodies of water such as the ocean or sea…just think, if we hadn’t looked them up we’d never know! 😉
See if you can guess what each of these mean before you click the name to reveal the truth!
fear of being stared at.
fear of being dirty.
fear of hearing other people’s opinions.
fear of the colour yellow!? In china it was the color of an order to kill yourself
fear of clowns.
fear of everything!
Fear of Hands
Fear of Knees
Fear of Balloons
Fear of Long Words…and ironically it’s the longest word in the dictionary!
Fear of Cheese
Fear of Being Without a Phone
Fear of Peanut Butter Sticking to the Roof of the Mouth
Fear of Chickens
Fear of Belly Buttons
Fear of the Bogeyman
Fear of boogers
And for those a little freaked out by the whole phobia and giant spiders thing…Who’s going to be playing the newest Stardew Valley Updates!? I love this game… it’s a more tasteful and quirky Animal Crossing if you ask me… which nobody is!
ImIronham has been telling me about DreamXD and his “possibly” Fake his 1.16 Minecraft speedrun. He says it’s legit, but he has been accused for cheating “probability” during trading with a Piglin! Here’s the drama… and the math that goes along with probability!
And if you need a refresher…like I did…here’s MathAntics on Basic Probability!
Have yourselves a great, safe and gameful Holiday!
I found this CBC article on a couple of game streamers looking out for fellow indigenous gamers up here in Canada (Merasty-Moose, MarMarGaming,FoxingAround so I looked them up! I haven’t had a chance to really dive in so I’m not sure if they’re family friendly or not (I’m sure our Bandits are really worried about that! 😉 They’re streaming on Facebook Gaming as well, as the usual Twitch. Merasty-Moose is Cree from O Pipon Na Piwin Cree Nation (South Indian Lake) in Manitoba and he’s started Moose Tree Gaming. I’ve gotta say, I love their merch!
Has anyone had any experience with Facebook’s attempt to dominate game streaming? One of the tips I got from Business entrepreneurs was to explore new social media and online platforms and become a big fish in a smaller, growing pond. Could there be an opportunity here for GameBandits looking to gain a new audience?
Now…Let’s Get Toxic?
Toxicity is just a normal part of online gaming, right? Or is it? Check out this Wired article that delves deep into the disturbing world of toxic gamers:
They say we’ve got to change this acceptance of toxicity in the gaming world and mention a great organization I’d never heard of called Raising Good Gamers that is holding a TEDTALK for high school students who play video games… isn’t that every high school student?! They want to hear your ideas, help you create a talk of your own that could become a featured TED TALK (I would be SO jealous!) and a chance to speak at the Games For Change Festival
And what do sneakers, PC parts and Gaming Consoles have in common… they’re all sold out! Anyone got a new Gaming Console… No? Well, looks like shopping bots is the problem!
So what exactly are these “bots” of which I speak?
If you like this idea, which I certainly do… though I am worried a bit about the legality of this kind of thing…the rules are changing fast about all this…I found this great tutorial by on how to use Python to create bots of your own…it’s kind of amazing!
Any other gaming related news or views you want to share… giver!
We’ve got vaccinations happening …so everything is peachy and we can stop wearing these stupid masks, right? WRONG!
Currently the Centre for Disease control is advising that we keep wearing masks and practicing safe physical distancing.
What!!? Why? Because I told you… nope! It’s because as of right now, we only know that people who get vaccinated don’t develop symptoms…that doesn’t mean they might not get light infections…so while they don’t get all the horrible COVID related stuff, there might still be enough COVID for them to still pass it on to us…non-vaccinated folks (including those of us who are under 16, like me) …so please keep those masks on your face and keep six feet apart for the time being!
Here’s the CDC Frequently asked questions if you’re interested in going to the source…which you Totally should be, right?!
The technology we’re using to create these latest COVID vaccinations are so freakin’ cool… here’s a brilliant video by the awesome ASAPScience which covers just about everything you need to know to become a COVID and vaccination expert and it’s from way back in March!
And if you’re worried about whether we should be worried about vaccinations then have a look at this Kurzgesagt video (who our D&D Dungeon Master James Gurney helps out with his virus and biology knowledge) on the subject.
Speaking of pandemics… it’s lead to a TON of deliveries as people try to keep their distance and avoid getting or spreading the virus… I thought it might be fun to look at some of the technology out there that makes the insane amount of packages and letter delivery possible.
What do you think of this army of Chinese package sorting robots?
Got any Amazon packages lately check out how they make that happen:
The Tech Vision video above brings up an important point…one that our TechBandit GoogleNoodles has brought up a few times before… how this could make things difficult for current warhouse workers. What about the humans? What do they do when they’re replaced by robots?
I also stumbled across this First Person View of a drone mail plane making its way over the Alps… could there be openings for drone pilot postal workers in the future? The view is rather breathtaking!
The same FliteTest folks who made this video do some prettty crazy stuff with drones… here’s a couple of the craziest to finish things off, including a manned racing drone!
Bratlett brought up his dislike of Canadian history and his complaints were picked up by all the Bandits about how dull history can be… his current task is to write a historically accurate but fictional account about one of the politicians considered the father of Confederation here in Canada, Nova Scotia’s Robert Barry Dickey. And how Canada was named when settlers thought that the indigenous Huron-Iroquois word “kanata,” meaning “village” or “settlement” referred to the country as a whole.
We talked Scratch’s drag and drop programming and how it’s just as “real” a programming language as any other:
Hello Bandits… no matter what parallel world you may exist in!
I got in o a cool conversation on Saturday with my friend Barnacules about Quantum entanglement and if it could be used to control robots instantaneously from insanely huge differences… what the heck is Quantum entanglement you say? I know I did! So grab a hamburger or a hotdog and see what you can make of this truly weird science!
To try and avoid so much math and such, a lot of quantum studying folks looked at games as a possible way to teach students about how all this really works… so of course, Minecraft was one of the first to the gaming party!
I found another game, but this goes a whole step further. By playing the game you not only learn about how quantum mechanics works, but you also help solve equations for the people studying it!:
And finally heres a little video I found from Google, talking about how cool it will be when we figure all this cray-cray Quantum stuff out and start computing with it!
And a great talk by Dr. Talia Gershon from IBM about how to get into quantum computing!
And finally more Disney robots… how creepy real are these peepers!?