13 – Design and configure simple computer network.

Covering this in the IT essentials project, we looked at designing and configuring a simple computer network. We went on NetAcad/Packet tracer index, where we have been completing tasks for configuring and designing networks.

In the tasks we had to use Cisco packet tracer. and also we had been able to connect laptops  and desktops and printers to connect together. Software like this lets you manage the network and devices connected to it as seen below.

We were mostly using IP configuration, PC wireless tools, web browsing for the configuration because clicking the router/printer/computer will allow you to configure them.

Arduino Activity overview

Practical work is not really my strongest aspect in computing but the project overall was successful for my group and I did have fun doing it, I learnt a lot from this module and will take key things from it. After learning the different thing you can do with an Arduino and how to code it,  We were given a task to create a project of our groups choice out of the Arduino and to code it right then to test the project to see if it works.

For this task me and my group decided to choose a simple but effective game, something no other than Simon says! this was a smart choice because it could be made with just the components provided in the Arduino starter kit. My reasoning for this is because its a perfect example of a fun project without extra costs or components

The core feature of the game was that light’s would pop up, and you would have to memorise the lights which appear in a sequence, you were then given a certain amount of time to complete the sequence correctly if you lose you start over.

 

The components that were required for this project;

1 x Arduino
1 x Piezo Buzzer
4 x  LEDs
4 x push buttons
8 x 220 ohm resistors
1 x Breadboard
Jumper Cables

The Layout of the electronic circuit may look difficult but it is a medium level of difficulty. The rail is fed by 3.5v whilst utilising the digital in/out pins of the Arduino for transmitting signals to the LEDS whilst also receiving input signals from the push button switches. Also incorporated into the circuit is a Piezo buzzer which creates a sound at a specified frequency when each LED illuminates and when each button is pressed. Another cool feature of the buzzer is it will also create a sound if you lose the game or make a mistake and will play a little melody when you memorise 10 combinations correctly.

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Now whilst the circuitry of this project was fairly simple, the coding was pretty difficult and encountered a few problems that were a pain to fix. The first problem I had after compiling the code was the game throwing a stage error at me. Instead of loading correctly into the initial game, the circuit was creating a random sequence of lights for a count of four then throwing an error.

Website Activity overview

The website was the 2nd project of the year, the aim of this module was to learn and understand the core aspects of  HTML 5 and CSS; Specifically, how they can be used for web design to create multi-functional , user friendly and pleasing websites.

HTML5 is the latest version of the Hyper Text Mark-up Language which is a scripting language used for designing content to be viewed on the world wide web. HTML5 has been designed to deliver almost everything you’d want to do online without requiring additional software such as browser plugins. It does everything from animation to apps, music to movies, and can also be used to build incredibly complicated applications that run in your browser. The primary goal of HTML5 is to consolidate all the previous versions of HTML along with many old and new web technologies. In doing so, web developers and users will have a more consistent creation and viewing experience of web pages and content. It has new page structure elements such as <main> ,<article>, <header>, <footer>, <section> , <nave> and <aside>. These new elements bring  essential structure to web pages using much simpler and easier to use elements. In previous versions of HTML, in order to get any sort of page structure prior to using CSS would be with the use of <div> and <span> element containers. <div> would be used to group block level content together and <span> would be used to group sections of inline content together. Here is a comparison to page structure in html 5 compared to html 4:

Image result for html4 vs html5 structure

Source: http://techbirds.in/how-is-the-page-structure-of-html-5-different-from-html-4-or-previous-html/

Cascade Style Sheets are used as an extension to the basic page structure elements
used in HTML and is written in a type of mark-up language. CSS file are separate text files which contain additional information about how a web document should appear in the browser. The main purpose of CSS is to create aesthetically pleasing a well structured websites with a focus of separating document content from document presentation .The new HTML5 Structure elements make it much easier to implement CSS in HTML files.

Some of the advantages of using CSS are:
  • Easier to maintain and update.
  • Greater consistency in design.
  • More formatting options.
  • Lightweight code.
  • Faster download times.
  • Search engine optimization benefits.
  • Ease of presenting different styles to different viewers.
  • Greater accessibility.

For example h2 {font-size: 16px } would find any tag in the HTML file labelled “h2” and apply the font-size of 16px to that tag.

setting multiple properties for the selector is also possible such as colour, height, text-align so long as they are separated by semi colons. Here is and example of CSS assigning multiple properties:

h3 {
      font-size: 18px;
      line-height: 22px;
      padding: 20px 0;
}

As you can see it fairly simple to use CSS to format your webpages and there are a number of benefits from using CSS than just plain HTML. Using CSS can reduce the size and load time of over complicated HTML files. This can result in faster load times in webpages as the entire presentation code only needs to be run once for the entire website instead of on each page. Can apply a consistent theme over web pages through the use of a single CSS file. This results in more effective coding as it reduces repetition and over complexity in the original HTML document. Ability to create formatting and themes specifically tailored to and number of users and other factors. For example, with CSS it is possible to present your website to appear differently at nighttime compared to day time or create gender specific themes for logged in users.

Lego Activity overview

The first task was to create a duck from box of Lego pieces. the reason behind this was to demonstrate that no duck was the same, meaning that there is more than one way to reach an end goal and that people have varied but all valid views when contributing to a team project.

For the second task I used a medium sized box of assorted Lego pieces. I built a model which I thought best represented a skill I have which would benefit the group. The skill I think I best represent is communication, and Iv chose to represent this skill by building a model of 2 guys with their arms pointing at each other and up as if they were talking.

For the third task, I have been asked individually to build a model that represents a skill that we would like to develop. The skill I think I need to improve on is my organisation. I decided to show this by building a person laid under a pile of Lego with his head sticking out.

The reason I chose this as a skill I need to improve is due to the fact that I’m a generally poor person at staying organised, I always forget things. I Find it hard to prioritise what to do in what order and overall manage the time to do things when I should be doing them.

The first task was to create a duck from a pre-packaged set of Lego pieces. A key thing to take away from this task is that amongst the different groups in our class, no duck was the same. I think this perfectly demonstrates that there are multiple ways to reach the end goal and that everyone has different but valid views when contributing to a team project.

Image result for lego pile

 

There are a number of ways I could improve on this skill. Buying a planner or a book to write notes in or things that are said there and then to check regularly. Putting reminders on my phone of important stuff so when I wake up it reminds me. Planning out my week at the start of every new one. It will be something I will need to incorporate in future projects and years especially in the course.

I think the most important skills that would be most effective for developing as individuals and as a group during this course are;

-Communication skills

-Development skills

-Improvisation skills

-Organisational skills

-independence skills

from the Lego activity I think I learnt that its important to know that each member of a group brings a different/important skill to groups. I think the best way we can all have effective input on our projects is if we communicate properly and acknowledge each others strengths and weaknesses… this is probably one of the most important skills to have and develop. Without communication you cannot apply another skills to a team environment.

9 – Manage and maintain an operating System.

Although I already knew quite a lot on managing and maintaining operating systems, operating system management techniques were also provided in chapter 6/section 6.3 of the Cisco networking academy website in IT essentials. It covers preventive Maintenance Planning (which I actually didn’t know about) but it also covers Updates, Scheduling tasks etc. and more importantly basic troubleshooting processes which is something I never knew how to do. since I read these points and refreshed my knowledge I actually used the troubleshooting processes at home when I had trouble installing an application.

8 – Install an operating system.

Covering this task during the IT essentials project, we were given the task of signing up to cisco and following the chapters 3, 5 and 6 during lesson time. Chapter 5 spoke all about computer installation and I read through and took notes from the slides provided for installing operating systems… I actually used this at home when I upgraded my home PC, because I wanted to go from windows 7 to windows 10, which I managed to do successfully. I think this came in handy a little because I wouldn’t have fully understood installation terminology without doing section 5.2.2.6 – Identify OS installation terminology activity. We also covered it in lesson where we had to install a virtual machine and install windows 7 on to it.

 

4 – Understand the basics of different programming paradigms

Being covered in the Arduino Project, when we were designing our project which was a light up sequence and copy game, obviously we had to programme it. We were given a Ignore few handouts and a digital PowerPoint covering the basics of programming paradigms and the Arduino project itself. It was quite useful for the fact that i was in charge of coding the game, which for me was a big challenge. Even though most of the help didn’t come from the handout it gave me a basic understanding of what questions to ask and what to look for in the first place. The fact that i managed to get the game working perfectly with a little help, i class as having a basic understanding of different programmes and it will come in handy in future projects.

3 – Design, develop and test a computer programme to perform a given task.

Covering this in the Lego Project, I used a programme called Mind storms EV3 made by Lego themselves. This was the 4th activity in the Lego project, which as I missed the group activities I had to do it on my own. This programme ran me through a list of different missions that we could play around with which was surprisingly fun.

Using this programme I found it really relaxing and easy to do since again programming isn’t really my strongest attribute. Once I built the robots we had to learn about the brick buttons and menu’s which we were given hand outs for. Overall this was one i struggled with the most but managed to get it done.

2 – Test, Amend and evaluate solutions to given problems

In project 2 – Web Basics, we were provided with 2 books as part of learning resources for the project. 1 book provided us with code that helped solve stuff like Adding buttons, importing images etc. We were then presented with some problems to solve where we was given code that was either incomplete or broken to solve. Because I have never been strong at using code I found this really helpful because it made it a little less daunting to tackle even simple problems which I may otherwise not have before. so I was able to fill the codes in and complete the examples we were given.

I even learnt how to add notes using <!-> which I found really cool for some reason.