Singapore YouthSpark Kids Camp @ Microsoft

Microsoft hosted 480 kids and parents at its Singapore office last weekend, giving them a fun introduction to the latest technology, smart photo taking and even making their own games at the first ever Singapore YouthSpark Kids Camp @ Microsoft.

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Hands-on activities were led by Microsoft volunteers to guide participants, between the ages of five to thirteen, through a range of technological activities. They not only saw the latest technology, and also took their first steps towards building their own programs through code.org’s Hour of Code challenge and Microsoft Kodu Game Lab, which lets kids create games on the PC and Xbox via a simple visual programming language. The young participants programmed and played games that they have created on their own with the smart game coding track. In the smart photo taking activity, the kids first discovered how they can make photos pop with new tricks for capturing, editing and sharing photos from the phone and took it a step further by building interactive worlds with photos through the Photosynth app.

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Computational thinking is a critical skill set. Experts suggest that at least two-thirds of future jobs do not exist today and may likely require this ability. Introducing coding to Singaporeans, who in a recent LinkedIn survey ranked technology as one of the top industries they are interested in, helps groom our future technology professionals.

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Part of Microsoft’s YouthSpark global commitment to empower youth, the YouthSpark Kids Camp @ Microsoft builds on the coding momentum started with the #WeSpeakCode campaign earlier this year. #WeSpeakCode seeks to make “Code – the official Second Language of Asia Pacific” and has been supported by stars such as Stefanie Sun and Eunice Olsen. It provides a taste of what coding is, demonstrates how accessible learning coding can be, and celebrates all the professional coders across the region.

No vulnerability in SingPass system

Communication and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said in Parliament today that there is no vulnerability in the SingPass system. The recent SingPass breach could have been through other means such as users having very simple passwords that are easily guessed by cyber criminals or malware in users’ computers that capture keystrokes.

Going forward, the MCI will work with the Finance Ministry and the IDA to further enhance security measures including introducing two-factor authentication (2FA). SingPass is also implementing a system to allow users to define their own user names instead of the default NRIC or FIN number.

The Government is also looking at possibly mandating more frequent password changes for SingPass accounts, although this might result in a slight increase in cases in which users who forget their passwords are unable to access certain Government e-services.

For better protection, SingPass advise all users to update their anti-virus software and use a strong passwords that are alphanumeric with 8-24 characters, preferably with caps and symbols.

Or you can take XKCD’s advise for a strong password.

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Gumtree’s The Giving Tree project

The Giving Tree is a corporate social responsibility project by Gumtree. The project aim to connect with the disadvantaged children in Children’s Aid Society’s Melrose Home and make a little difference in the lives of these children. Gumtree hope to encourage the spirit of volunteering and giving back to the society through The Giving Tree project.

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Prior to visiting Melrose Home, Gumtree gave every blogger $150 credit to purchase some gifts for the children at Gumtree Singapore website. The shopping experience on Gumtree is a breeze. According to Gumtree, there are about 170,000 live listings on the site and over 6000 new listings per day. That’s a lot of things. Luckily the site is well categorised and the search filter makes it easy to find the items I need for the gifts.

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Unfortunately I couldn’t go to Melrose Home that day. But the other bloggers had lots of fun. Check out the blog entry by Smith Leong, Jiahui and Mrs Kam.

Samsung Dream Exchange

Samsung wants to turn your dream into reality. Through the Samsung Dream Exchange campaign, Samsung Singapore is asking all Singaporeans and PRs to tell them their dream and the Samsung product which can help to fulfill it. Samsung will be enabling 50 of these dreams to take a step to becoming reality by gifting these selected winners with the Samsung product of their choice.

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To take part in the Samsung Dream Exchange, simply log on to the microsite with a valid Facebook or Twitter account from 1 July to 8 August 2014. State the dream in 125 characters and specify the Samsung product which can help to fulfill it, using the #DreamExchange hashtag.

Deezer and GrabTaxi Bring Unlimited Music to Taxi Rides

Want to enjoy great music on your taxi rides? All you need to do is to sign up for GrabTaxi and make 1 GrabTaxi ride in the month of July to receive 2 months Deezer Premium+ Accounts absolutely free. First come first served. So hurry. For more info, visit GrabTaxi page.

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Unfortunately for all existing GrabTaxi users, this deal is only applicable to new GrabTaxi users. Boo!!! However, nothing is stopping you from registering a new account using another mobile number and email address.