I've been playing about with the RadioHead's House of Cards video on-and-off for the last few weeks. They released the data to the video as a number of csv files, each one containing the 3D position, and 'strength' of each of the pixels. It was a neat idea, and the code and data are freely available at:
I've not really been programming long, and have yet to 'settle' on a language. For this project, I began in python before realising that I'd have to do something much lower level. I ended up generating images using 'R' - an open source version of S-Plus programming language, and 'Octave' - MATLAB's open source equivalent.
It's great that such powerful software can be found for free, and greater still that I could install it in Ubuntu by typing 'apt-get install octave.'
It's things like this that are really going to 'revolutionise' learning, and things like this that show how the utopian vision of the world wide web can come into fruition. I was just disappointed that I didn't have the mathematical background to utilise the tools.
However, I was always quite good at Maths, getting an A at GCSE (which was the last time I studied it). So now, after a 6 year break, I'm attempting to do some more maths. I feel like I need to do it now I'm working in computing; it's a skill that's required and one I intend to hone. I've been recommended "Engineering Mathematics" by K.A. Stroud - which looks quite daunting - but should provide me with both a nice refresher course in its early chapters, followed by some chapters in which I'll no doubt be calling on the open source community to help me get through.
The ony disapointment was that the book comes with a interactive learning CD - which only works on Windows. I've emailed the publishers to see if they'd be interested in converting it into an online-tutor. The benefits of setting up a community around such a popular book (practically every person I've seeked guidance for on choice of textbook has recommended it) are limitless.
It was an open letter, and was published on my blog in the last post. If you too have a view on whether or not they should create an online version of the tutor (and thus an online community for collaboration, question exchanges .etc) please put your comments in that post, so that on the off-chance they read it, they'll see the community support. Please blog about it too if you're a user of the book!