My Experience with the VxWorks SDK as a University Student- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

By Claudio Lener

I first started working for Tempemail in January as a Product Management Intern. This is my fifth internship as a University of Waterloo student pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. In my first three years of university education I have had the chance to study and explore many fields related to the industry, such as algorithms, data structures, compilers and operating systems. In my experience at Tempemail so far, I have found particularly useful the classes that covered low-level technical concepts, where software meets hardware, which allowed me to gain a better understanding of the embedded software projects I have been working on at Tempemail.
The first project I was assigned to was the newly developed Software Development Kit (SDK) for VxWorks. I was tasked with going through the documentation of VxWorks to understand how the Real Time Operating System (RTOS) worked from a high-level perspective and successively dive into the SDK. The goal that my team has been driven to accomplish was to build an SDK that created an application development environment tailored towards modern developers wanting to quickly and easily build apps on VxWorks.
After going through the RTOS documentation and building various VxWorks components myself, such as a VxWorks Source Project (VSB) a VxWorks Image Project (VIP), Real-Time Processes (RTP) and Downloadable Kernel Modules, I understood the complexity that came with the power that VxWorks provides to its users. The development environment was very configurable and allowed me to build different kinds of image projects tailored towards the various examples I was exploring. Yet at the same time, coming from a university background, it did not feel very intuitive and it took me quite some time to get used to it. I learned a lot about embedded systems, but it wasn’t how I had imagined it.
Once I completed the VxWorks onboarding, I was able to move to the SDK. The purpose of the SDK efforts was to allow a distinct separation between the work done on the platform side of development, to the building and creation of applications. To tackle the former, the team built an SDK generator, which enables the platform developer to build a custom SDK for a specific use case. Regarding the latter, once the SDK is created, any member of the team can use it to quickly start writing VxWorks applications without any need to understand the configuration of the VxWorks image.
In my first steps towards generating the SDK, I was surprised by how simple it was to create an instance of it. The process consisted of creating the VSB and VIP with one Python command, vxbuild.py, which is followed by running generate_sdk.py. These two steps allowed me to configure the RTOS image for a specific board (such as the i.MX8M) and a specific language (C, Rust or Python). On the application development side, the SDK additionally supports QEMU for simulation of an embedded system on my PC and Visual Studio Code as an IDE. I then quickly downloaded these freely available software tools, and together with the newly created SDK, I was able to start writing and debugging VxWorks DKMs and RTPs. Recently, Docker containers have also been incorporated as a supplementary service to manage Visual Studio workspaces and being able to run a Linux SDK on my Windows host was another useful tool I was able to make use of.
The overall process now takes me about half an hour to complete, from creating the VSB and VIP to debugging Hello World on VS Code. Coming from the courses I’ve been following at my university this process felt much more intuitive and straightforward to follow. I was initially concerned about my limited knowledge of embedded systems development since in all my previous internships I worked with higher level technologies dealing with databases, mobile, web development and machine learning. Thus, coming into Tempemail with little knowledge about the embedded systems technologies the company deals with made me wonder how much time I would require to get up to speed. Thanks to the smooth process involved with using the SDK I was happy to get to learn how quickly I could write software using familiar platforms such as VS Code; something I regularly use both for my personal projects as well as my previous internships and university courses.
Overall my experience with the SDK has been very positive and I believe it represents an important step towards increasing the exposure that VxWorks can have in the continuously growing market of embedded systems working at the network edge.

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Sliced Tech to host Defence’s new TechOne core student system – Strategy – Cloud – Software- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The Australian Defence Force has selected Sliced Tech to host its new enterprise-wide TechnologyOne student management system.
The Canberra-based cloud provider will “implement and sustain” the system on its secure cloud capability over the next three years.
TechnologyOne’s EducationOne software platform was chosen as the basis for the system last October following a proof of concept in 2017.
It will consist of three interlinking systems for student management, enterprise content management and stakeholder management.
The new Defence-wide system will replace more than “50 separate databases, spreadsheets and other software programs” that have been developed by individual Defence learning centres.
These systems currently lack the ability to interact with the Defence Human Resources system.
Australian Defence College commander Major General Ryan AM said the new system will make the “learning environment more continuous, accessible and adaptive” at Defence’s 115 learning centres.
“The new platform will enable us to streamline student administration and better track the qualifications attained by our people throughout their Defence career,” he said.
Ryan said Sliced Tech’s secure cloud platform would give Defence the “security, stability and flexibility required to modernise and further develop the Defence learning environment”.
The Australian Defence College, Australian Defence Force Academy and Royal Military College – Duntroon will become the first to use the system from April.
The remaining 112 centres will then follow over the next two years.
Sliced Tech, along with Vault Cloud, were the first two cloud service providers to gain protected-level certification from the Australian Signals Direction in March 2017.

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University of Adelaide chatbot checks international student eligibility – Projects – Cloud – Software- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The University of Adelaide has created a world-first chatbot that helps prospective international students from over 228 countries quickly determine their eligibility to study at the university.
The International Eligibility Assessment digital assistant is based on a full Oracle stack, comprising Oracle Digital Assistant and a number of cloud services.
It was jointly developed by the university and IT service provider Rubicon Red, and was soft-launched in June last year. 
It presently validates around 100 new leads a day, of which about half prove eligible to study at the university.
University staff gathered the specific data required to populate the bot’s conversation flows.
The bot captures the unique qualifications of prospective students and maps them to eligibility criteria from over 228 countries.
The result, according to Rubicon Red, “is a streamlined, step-by-step personalised conversational flow, tailored to individual users to provide their eligibility, based on their citizenship, qualification country and their current qualifications.”
“The chatbot enables prospective international students to determine if they are eligible to study at The University of Adelaide through a series of simple questions, tailored to their specific country with relevant qualification and English language requirements,” it said.
“The bot indicates whether an applicant can apply now for direct entry, may require a pathway, or is not eligible.
“With the International Eligibility Assessment bot now available, prospective international students from all over the globe are able to easily determine whether they are eligible to study at The University of Adelaide, allowing the University to tap into a much broader potential market of international students.”
The chatbot can be accessed via the University’s International Student webpage or via the university’s Facebook Messenger page. 
Rubicon Red said the solution offered “significant” benefits to the university, including lower cost-to-serve and an increased volume of pre-qualified leads.
The bot is also useful for prospect management agents that respond to inbound calls and emails, since it allows them to “provide a defined response by giving prospective students an insight into their eligibility, and offer further information on scholarships or other pathways based on the eligibility determination.” 
“This information was not available internally before, so staff could not provide this level of service for prospective students,” it added.
This project is a finalist in the Education category of the iTnews Benchmark Awards 2020.

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Monash Uni targets higher-speed student admissions processing – Cloud- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Monash University is breaking-up and optimising the back-of-house processes it uses to vet new admissions, one of several process transformation initiatives being pursued under a seven-year deployment of Salesforce.
The university used Salesforce’s Dreamforce 19 conference to reveal the breadth of critical processes it is improving as it continues to build out what it claims to be “the biggest Salesforce capability in higher education globally.”
Admissions product manager Lejla Hadzanovic said Monash is “heavily invested” in Salesforce, evidenced by “the number of critical processes that Salesforce enables” at the university.
These covered activity in the university’s student and staff contact centres, across its whole sales funnel “from lead acquisition, nurturing, scoring, to application management and assessment for the whole full admission cycle”, and the management of Monash’s knowledge base.
In a slightly unusual architecture, given the project size, Monash runs the entire university out of a single Salesforce “org” – or instance – forcing all the different parts of the university to coordinate.
“Monash made a significant decision – probably one of our biggest decisions on this platform – to really go with the one org, and it’s been a decision that we stand by,” Hadzanovic said.
“A lot of organisations would have gone multi org, because let’s face it, it is a lot simpler to give each team, each business unit, each project, their own org.
“But what we have found is that the benefits far outweigh the overhead, because what we have seen is that business areas so all of our faculties, as well as the central divisions, are actually now working together in ways that they never had to before. 
“They need to communicate, coordinate, negotiate on a weekly basis.
“For the first time ever, they’re really having to come together and understand each other’s processes and businesses and initiatives because they’re working with the same sets of data and same sets of [data] objects.”
Bringing velocity to admissions
Hadzanovic provided three examples of process improvements being pursued through the Salesforce platform.
The first, in her domain area of admissions, has tried to “change the way work flows through the system to improve the efficiency and effectiveness” of the admissions process.
“Once [student] applications get submitted [and] they come to the back-of-house, we have transformed the assessment process, which those of you in higher education understand is a very highly manual, labour-intensive, repetitive workflow where staff go through thousands of documents and transcripts and evaluate whether a student is eligible to come and study their chosen course,” Hadzanovic said.
“We’ve actually really flipped that on its head and broken up that assessment framework into smallest units of work, and found opportunities where we can eliminate certain steps. 
“Other [steps] we have automated through business rules and integration with either internal or external data sources, and we’re continuing to do so as more and more external data sources become available.”
Hadzanovic noted that assessors were “always one click away from seeing the complete relationship an applicant has with Monash.” 
“They can see their personal details, but all of their qualifications, all of their supporting documents, their work experience, and any inquiries that they’ve made,” she said.
“The way we’ve designed our page layout is it’s always within one click so that the assessor is enabled for high velocity decision-making. 
“In all of our screens we’ve really paid full attention to make sure that they are consistently designed and follow a left-to-right approach, from viewing the data on the left hand side and actioning things on the right hand side. 
“We’re also using [Salesforce] Chatter on the platform to enable communications across the institution, which saves our staff going into their Gmail accounts [where] you actually lose the thread. 
“This way, everything is maintained – and we can begin to have that full contextual picture – on one platform.”
A second process improvement exercise saw the university become the first organisation in Australia to run Apple Business Chat on Salesforce, which it uses as a discreet channel for students suffering financial hardship to communicate with the university.
A third area of process improvement involves a hitherto undiscussed intelligent assistant called MBot.
“At Monash we actually are not using chatbots in your traditional manner in terms of trying to address the metrics around reducing the cost-to-serve, or reducing the number of low value transactional inquiries,” Hadzanovic said.
“We’re actually using it to really drive cultural change, so when we have initiatives or business problems that we give to our IT and business areas to solve, instead of trying to solve them with your traditional web portal type of solutions, you throw in another modern type of a channel and it makes them think about architecture, solutions, ideas, experiences that they can deliver in a totally different manner.”
The order of things
The Salesforce program of work came about in part due to the challenge for the university to understand all its different audiences – such as students, academic peers, staff, alumni, media, government, stakeholders and partners – in order to coordinate and tailor communications to them.
This is challenging because one person may be in multiple categories simultaneously, and therefore different parts of the university wanted to get communications in front of that person at the same time.
By “taking a data-driven approach, we can present current and future audience members with tailored options and provide specific opportunities to engage with us well into the future,” the university said in a video played to accompany its presentation.
“Using this information correctly will save the university time, resources and money. But most importantly, it will provide a seamless experience to everyone who interacts with us.”
Market experience group manager Marco Delgado said that some aspects of the student journey are relatively linear.
“Particularly for undergrad students who are in years 10-12, they come out of school, they apply at Monash, they enrol, they graduate and eventually become an alumni,” he said.
“But after that, it can get much more complicated. 
“That’s why we have changed our segmentation approach and shifted the approach to a relationship approach.
This was particularly important because the university was likely to enter relationships that did not begin with a person being a prospective student. 
Delgado said Monash had built a “relationship framework” to understand and work with the complexity.
“As Lejla mentioned, we have different faculties, central division, schools, institutes, etc. all wanting to talk to perhaps the same audiences, but what’s important is to do the right thing by the audience members by communicating 1) when it’s relevant and 2) with meaningful content,” Delgado said.
“Of course, we want to increase conversion in anything we do. [But] the first step to increase conversion was to get our house in order. 
“We needed a standard way to capture leads anywhere across the university, and regardless of the channel [they came in on]. Now that we have the captured information on CRM, we can do a number of things [with that].
“With this data in CRM, we can now analyse at a very granular level the behaviours of leads to predict an outcome. We’re using rules, time to application, and grading modeling to predict whether a lead will apply or not, and then activate our marketing and recruitment bandwidth behind this. 
“For example, we can use this granular lead information to predict an outcome, and we can integrate this information with media buying to acquire more of these higher quality leads through predictive targeting.”
Open Day 
Delgado said the university used the system at its most recent Open Day to help attendees personalise their activity plans for the day.
“Open day is the most important recruitment event for undergraduate students in Australia,” he said.
“It’s literally an open door event where we welcome prospective students to visit our campuses. 
“For Monash [in 2019] alone, we had over 70,000 attendees, and this led to over 30,000 applications across our four domestic campuses.”
Monash offered in excess of 600 activities on Open Day. 
“We cannot expect everyone to go through all the activities and plan their day around it, so we established the top activities for each person, and the more they engaged with us, the better the recommendations were through this channel,” Delgado said.
The results were promising. Prospective students that used the planning personalisation feature added 20 percent more activities to their planner than those who did not.
“[Personalisation] is a great tool to empower us to treat audiences as individuals in the moments that matter the most,” Delgado said.
SIS remains ‘centre of the universe’
One of the ongoing challenges of the project is positioning Salesforce alongside the university’s 20-year-old Callista student information system (SIS), which Hadzanovic said “remains the centre of [Monash’s] universe” and its “truth of source” for each person.
“It’s been something that we have really grappled over the transformative initiatives in how do you take something so core to SIS like admissions and actually bring it kind of home into a CRM where naturally an applicant’s journey or first time that we get to know someone starts?” Hadzanovic said.
The SIS and Salesforce are tightly coupled, with many integrations having been built out over the past 12-18 months.
“We are using Mulesoft as an integration layer,” she said.
“We have made sure that our SIS and CRM are in sync. SIS remains our truth of source for the person, for the contact. But, even though you might start in CRM, we send you into our SIS and then through the integration, we make sure that the student ID which comes out of the SIS is maintained and copied into the CRM.”
Ry Crozier attended Salesforce’s Dreamforce 19 in San Francisco as a guest of Salesforce.

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Snickers targets student snackers with limited edition exam bar- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Snickers has built on its famous ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’ brand proposition by adapting the message to target hungry students fretting over the looming exam season.
A limited-edition of the nougat, nut and caramel chocolate bar has been formulated. Carrying the message ‘Exams can be stressful, don’t let hunger add to it’, the Snickers Exam Bars will be made available, each carrying a motivational message such as ‘Do Well’, ‘Rock On’ and ‘Shine On’, supported by tongue in cheek film showing how a full stomach can banish exam blues.
Introducing a variety of humorous characters such as The Topper, The Borderline Case and The Optimist the comical campaign provides insights into the various winning strategies employed by students such as guessing what topics might come up to simply hoping for the best.
Akashneel Dasgupta, chief creative officer – Delhi, at BBDO India, said: “Every classroom is a microcosm of society. We find all kinds of characters, almost stereotypes. But two things that are common is that they all get stressed during exams and hunger aggravates it. It manifests in their behaviour and everyone behaves in a way that’s atypical of them. Snickers address their hunger pangs so that they can give their best. And one can be at their best only when they are themselves and not hungry.”
The Mars Wrigley campaign follows the launch of a new direction focused on fixing the world for the Super Bowl.

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China jails University of Minnesota student over tweets mocking President Xi Jinping – Blog – 10 minute

WTF?! It’s no secret that China’s government monitors its citizens’ online activities, even when they’re abroad, and those who step out of line face imprisonment. A University of Minnesota student discovered this after being arrested for tweets—posted while he was in the US—that mocked President Xi Jinping.
Axios reports that 20-year-old freshman Luo Daiqing was arrested in July last year when he returned to his hometown of Wuhan for the summer break. According to court documents seen by the publication, he was sentenced to six months in prison in November for using “his Twitter account to post more than 40 comments denigrating a national leader’s image and indecent pictures,” which “created a negative social impact.” The tweets were posted in September and October 2018, while he was studying at the University of Minnesota.
Axios found a now-deleted Twitter account belonging to Luo. It included Chinese government slogans posted over images of Lawrence Limburger, a name that may be familiar to fans of 1990s cartoon Biker Mice From Mars. The main villain from the show bears a resemblance to Xi. There were also retweets of Winnie the Pooh—a character that’s banned in China over comparisons to the president.

Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska has called on China to release the student. “This is what ruthless and paranoid totalitarianism looks like,” he said.
Last year, it was reported that China’s government is detaining, interrogating, and threatening its citizens for posting anything considered inappropriate on Twitter. One user, activist Huang Chengcheng, was chained to a chair and questioned for eight hours. Once his ordeal was over, he had to sign a promise to stay off Twitter. While the platform is one of many western websites blocked by China’s Great Firewall, some residents use VPNs to circumvent the ban.

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The MIT Media Lab controversy and getting back to ‘radical courage’, with Media Lab student Arwa Mboya – gpgmail


People win prestigious prizes in tech all the time, but there is something different about The Bold Prize. Unless you’ve been living under a literal or proverbial rock, you’ve probably heard something about the late Jeffrey Epstein, a notorious child molester and human trafficker who also happened to be a billionaire philanthropist and managed to become a ubiquitous figure in certain elite science and tech circles.

And if you’re involved in tech, the rock you’ve been living under would have had to be fully insulated from the internet to avoid reading about Epstein’s connections with MIT’s Media Lab, a leading destination for the world’s most brilliant technological minds, also known as “the future factory.” 

This past week, conversations around the Media Lab were hotter than the fuel rods at Fukushima, as The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow, perhaps the most feared and famous investigative journalist in America today, blasted out what for some were new revelations that Bill Gates, among others, had given millions of dollars to the Media Lab at Jeffrey (no fucking relation, thank you very much!) Epstein’s behest. Hours after Farrow’s piece was published, Joi Ito, the legendary but now embattled Media Lab director, resigned.

But well before before Farrow weighed in or Ito stepped away, students, faculty, and other leaders at MIT and far beyond were already on full alert about this story, thanks in large part to Arwa Michelle Mboya, a graduate student at the Media Lab, from Kenya by way of college at Yale, where she studied economics and filmmaking and learned to create virtual reality. Mboya, 25, was among the first public voices (arguably the very first) to forcefully and thoughtfully call on Ito to step down from his position.

Imagine: you’re heading into the second year of your first graduate degree, and you find yourself taking on a man who, when Barack Obama took over Wired magazine for an issue as guest editor, was one of just a couple of people the then sitting President of the United States asked to personally interview. And imagine that man was the director of your graduate program, and the reason you decided to study in it in the first place.

Imagine the pressure involved, the courage required. And imagine, soon thereafter, being completely vindicated and celebrated for your actions. 

Arwa Mboya. Image via MIT Media Lab

That is precisely the journey that Arwa Mboya has been on these past few weeks, including when human rights technologist Sabrina Hersi Issa decided to crowd-fund the Bold Prize to honor Mboya’s courage, which has now brought in over $10,000 to support her ongoing work (full disclosure: I am among the over 120 contributors to the prize).

Mboya’s advocacy was never about Joi Ito personally. If you get to know her through the interview below, in fact, you’ll see she doesn’t wish him ill.

As she wrote in MIT’s The Tech nine days before Farrow’s essay and ten before Ito’s resignation, “This is not an MIT issue, and this is not a Joi Ito issue. This is an international issue where a global network of powerful individuals have used their influence to secure their privilege at the expense of women’s bodies and lives. The MIT Media Lab was nicknamed “The Future Factory” on CBS’s 60 Minutes. We are supposed to reflect the future, not just of technology but of society. When I call for Ito’s resignation, I’m fighting for the future of women.”

From the moment I read it, I thought this was a beautiful and truly bold statement by a student leader who is an inspiring example of the extraordinary caliber of student that the Media Lab draws.

But in getting to know her a bit since reading it, I’ve learned that her message is also about even more. It’s about the fact that the women and men who called for a new direction in light of Jeffrey Epstein’s abuses and other leaders’ complicity did so in pursuit of their own inspiring dreams for a better world.

Arwa, as you’ll see below, spoke out at MIT because of her passion to use tech to inspire radical imagination among potentially millions of African youth. As she discusses both the Media Lab and her broader vision, I believe she’s already beginning to provide that inspiration. 

Greg Epstein: You have had a few of the most dramatic weeks of any student I’ve met in 15 years as a chaplain at two universities. How are you doing right now?

Arwa Mboya: I’m actually pretty good. I’m not saying that for the sake of saying. I have a great support network. I’m in a lab where everyone is amazing. I’m very tired, I’ll say that. I’ve been traveling a lot and dealing with this while still trying to focus on writing a thesis. If anything, it’s more like overwhelmed and exhausted as opposed to not doing well in and of itself.

Epstein: Looking at your writing — you’ve got a great Medium blog that you started long before MIT and maintained while you’ve been here — it struck me that in speaking your mind and heart about this Media Lab issue, you’ve done exactly what you set out to do when you came here. You set out to be brave, to live life, as the Helen Keller quote on your website says, as either a great adventure or nothing. 

Also, when you came to the Media Lab, you were the best-case scenario for anyone who works on publicizing this place. You spoke and wrote about the Lab as your absolute dream. When you were in Africa, or Australia, or at Yale, how did you come to see this as the best place in the world for you to express the creative and civic dreams that you had?

Mboya: That’s a good question — what drew me here? The Media Lab is amazing. I read Whiplash, which is Joi Ito’s book about the nine principles of the Media Lab, and it really resonated with me. It was a place for misfits. It was a place for people who are curious and who just want to explore and experiment and mix different fields, which is exactly what I’ve been doing before.

From high school, I was very narrow in my focus; at Yale I did Econ and film, so that had a little more edge. After I graduated I insisted on not taking a more conventional path many students from Yale take, so [I] moved back to Kenya and worked on many different projects, got into adventure sports, got into travel more.

Epstein: Your website is full of pictures of you flipping over, skydiving, gymnastics — things that require both strength and courage. 

Mboya: I’d always been an athlete, loved the outdoors.

I remember being in Vietnam; I’d never done a backflip. I was like, “Okay, I’m going to learn how to do this.” But it’s really scary jumping backwards; the fear. Is, you can’t see where you’re going. I remember telling myself, ” Okay, just jump over the fear. Just shut it off and do it. Your body will follow.” I did and I was like, “Oh, that was easy.” It’s not complicated. Most people could do it if they just said, “Okay, I’ll jump.”

It really stuck with me. A lot of decisions I’ve [since] made, that I’m scared of, I think, “Okay, just jump, and your body will follow.” The Media Lab was like that as well.

I really wanted to go there, I just didn’t think there was a place for me. It was like, I’m not techie enough, I’m not anything enough. Applying was, ’just jump,’ you never know what will happen.

image 4

Image from Arwa Mboya

Epstein: Back when you were applying, you wrote about experiencing what applicants to elite schools often call “imposter syndrome.” This is where I want to be, but will they want me?

Mboya: Exactly.




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SiriusXM undercuts rivals with a $4 per month student subscription – gpgmail


SiriusXM is making its streaming service more affordable for younger consumers with the launch of a new subscription package for college students. While SiriusXM’s Premier package is $12.99 per month, the new streaming-only student offering will be just $4 per month — a 69% discount. This comes in a dollar less than competitors’ student plans, including the $4.99 per month packages from Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music Unlimited, YouTube Music, and even SiriusXM-owned Pandora.

The move represents a big grab for a growing user base who prefers to subscribe to streaming music services rather than make purchases on digital marketplaces, like iTunes or Amazon.

Though the SiriusXM brand has for a long time been associated with being an upgrade option for vehicles, the service has been working to establish itself as a viable option outside the car. In April, it launched a streaming-only subscription for listeners without cars.

Today, SiriusXM streams across phones and tablets, on the web, and at home on connected devices including Amazon Alexa, Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, smart TVs, Sonos speakers, Xbox, and Sony PlayStation.

Like other student packages, SiriusXM’s student plan isn’t a watered-down subscription. It offers access to SiriusXM’s full lineup of music, including its over 200 commercial-free channels, which feature both music and talk radio-style programming as well as sports, entertainment, comedy, lifestyle, news and more.

This also includes some of SiriusXM’s more recent additions, following its $3.5 billion Pandora acquisition last year, which bring Pandora -powered content to its service. For example, the companies this spring launched Pandora NOW, a station that streams on both services that used Pandora listener data to pull in the most listened-to and the fastest-trending new tracks across Pop, Hip Hop, R&B, Dance and Latin.

Plus, students will have access to the over 100 SiriusXM Xtra channels which allow you to skip through songs, the company says.

The service does not include the ability to stream to cars, however — it’s a student version of SiriusXM’s streaming-only plan.

To join the service, students will have to verify their status as a registered student by providing their university or college name upon sign-up. The verification process is handled by SheerID, which also powers verification for others in the space, like YouTube, Spotify and more.

“Today’s college students grew up listening to SiriusXM in their parent’s car, and now we have a package built just for them,” said Matt Epstein, Vice President, SiriusXM Outside the Car, in a statement. “Our Student Premier Package enables students to have their own subscription and continue to enjoy the SiriusXM programming they love in their dorm room, at home or on the go,” he said.

 

 


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GitHub adds 21 new partners to its free Student Developer Pack – gpgmail


For a few years now, GitHub has been running a program that gives students around the world free access to GitHub Pro and various free and discounted services from other partners as part of its GitHub Education program. In total, over 1.5 million students have now signed up for the program, with about 750,000 being currently active, and with the new school year about to start, the company today announced that it is doubling the number of partners in the Student Developer Pack program by adding an additional 21 companies to the list.

The new partners cover a wide range of developer tools and services. They range from web design tools like Bootstrap Studio, which actually quietly joined the program over the summer, to the domain registrar .TECH, SSH client Terminus, ConfigCat for feature flag and configuration management, and Icons8 for making applications look better.

“Our philosophy what it comes to the pack is that it is about preparing students for all the premier tools they are going to encounter in the workplace,” said Scott Sanicki, the Senior Program Manager for the GitHub Student Developer Pack. That means that there can be partners with competing products, too, but as Sanicki noted, GitHub hasn’t seen any pushback from existing partners so far, including Microsoft.

Indeed, over the summer, GitHub’s new owner, Microsoft also added its Azure cloud computing services to the Student Pack. That’s no surprise, but it’s worth noting that AWS, DigitalOcean and Heroku were already part of the pack and offered students free and discounted cloud computing resources. They remain in the program and as Sanicki told me, it’s part of the company’s promise to remain open, even after having been acquired by Microsoft.

“[GitHub CEO Nat Friedman] was asked directly at the time of the acquisition whether we were going to sunset the student developer pack and he committed that we were continuing the pack and, in fact, make it stronger and that’s what we’ve we’ve attempted to continue to do,” Sanicki said. “We’ve seen support from Microsoft, from leadership, to give us the resources that we need to not only dream bigger with what we want to do with the pack and GitHub Education but to actually now attempt to accomplish it.”

Sanicki expects that the team will continue to add new partners over the course of the next few months. To sign up and see if you qualify for the program, head over here.

Below, you can find a list of all the new partners and what they are offering.

  • .TECH domains — A powerful domain extension to convey that you belong to the technology industry. One .TECH domain free for 1 year: https://get.tech/github-student-developer-pack
  • Better Code Hub — Better Code Hub provides a definition of done for code quality and actionable refactoring feedback for every push and pull request. A free upgrade to an Individual license to analyse your personal private repos: https://bettercodehub.com/github-student-developer-pack
  • Bootstrap Studio — Bootstrap Studio is a powerful desktop app for creating responsive websites using the Bootstrap framework. A free license for Bootstrap Studio while you are a student: https://bootstrapstudio.io/student-pack
  • ConfigCat — Feature flag service with unlimited team size, awesome SDK documentation and super easy integration with your application. 1000 feature flags, ∞ users for free: https://configcat.com/student
  • Cryptolens — License and sell your software securely. 10 licenses and any number of end-users for free for students: https://app.cryptolens.io/user/githubstudent
  • Frontend Masters — Advance your skills with in-depth JavaScript, Node.js & front-end engineering courses. Free 6-months access to all courses and workshops: https://frontendmasters.com/welcome/github-student-developers/
  • Gitpod — An online IDE for GitHub that provides a complete dev environment with a single click Free personal plan subscription for six months for students: https://www.gitpod.io/github-student-developer-pack/
  • Icons8 — Design resources: icons, UI illustrations, photos and software to class up your projects. 3-month All Access subscription with icons, photos, illustrations, and music: https://icons8.com/github-students
  • LogDNA — Log management platform that offers aggregation, monitoring, and analysis of server and application logs at any volume, from any source. $100 of credit every month for 1 year: www.logdna.com/github-students
  • Name.com — Domain names, web hosting, and websites. Unicorns and rainbows come standard with our customer support. One free domain name and free Advanced Security (SSL, privacy protection, and more): https://www.name.com/partner/github-students
  • Netwise — Turnkey data centre services for the hosting of critical IT infrastructure systems. Free single unit server colocation package free for 12 months: https://www.netwise.co.uk/students/
  • Next.tech — Learn tech skills and build software directly from your browser with real, online computing environments. 10,000 minutes of compute time for students: https://next.tech/github-students
  • Phrase — A cloud-based translation management system built to accelerate the development of multilingual digital products. Phrase Lite Plan free for up to 12 months for students: https://www.phraseapp.com/lp/github-student-package/
  • PomoDone — With PomoDone, hack and track your time and boost your productivity by applying Pomodoro technique to your workflow — eliminate distraction, sharpen focus and prevent burnout. PomoDone Lite plan free for 2-years: https://pomodoneapp.com/pomodoro-app-for-students.html
  • PushBots — The easiest way to engage your mobile & web app users via push notifications. Free Premium account for 6 months: https://pushbots.com/for/education
  • SQL Smash — Productivity plugin for SQL Server Management Studio for writing maintainable SQL scripts and faster navigation. Free standard license for students: https://student.sqlsmash.com
  • SymfonyCasts — Master Symfony and PHP with video tutorials and code challenges. Free 3-month subscription for students ($75 value): https://symfonycasts.com/github-student
  • Termius —SSH client that works on desktop and mobile. Termius securely syncs data across all your devices. Free access to the Premium plan (normally $99/year) while you’re a student: https://termius.com/education
  • Transloadit — A versatile uploading & encoding API to automate any file conversion. The Startup plan for free, including 10GB of encoding credit (valued at $49/month): https://transloadit.com/github-students/
  • Working Copy — Powerful Git client for iPhone & iPad. All Pro features for free while you are a student: https://workingcopy.app/education/


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Gradjoy is a Y Combinator backed fintech to help you knock out your student loans – gpgmail


The right people to solve the trillion dollar student debt crisis might be the ones who are suffering from it the hardest.

If you’re a recent college graduate, there’s a 50 percent chance you took on debt when you moved off campus. If you’re like the average student borrower, you graduated with $29,800 of loan debt, and are making a monthly re-payment of between $200 and $300, according to a recent report from the New York Fed.

Gradjoy is a new Y Combinator-backed startup that wants to help the 45 million student debt borrowers in the U.S. manage their repayment plans. Within seven days of being a live platform and a marketing strategy that consisted of reaching out to a few universities, Gradjoy is already managing $20 million in loans.

Co-founders Jose Bethancourt and Marco del Carmen turned down roles at Cloudflare and MongoDB, respectively, upon learning they’d been accepted to Y Combinator’s Summer 2019 class. Gradjoy bills itself as a “student loan co-pilot,” and currently exists a platform that helps users manage student loan repayments – whether that’s assessing pros and cons of refinancing, what a monthly payment should look like, and if they have any wiggle room based on greater income and spending habits. Gradjoy hopes to hammer a few cracks in the $1.5 trillion federal student loan debt crisis by giving new borrowers more insight into their repayment journey.

Loan companies will always advise borrowers to pay the minimum because they benefit from the outrageous interest fees amassed over time. Gradjoy wants to tap into your bank account and monitor your finances to deliver more transparent loan-management advice with a feature that lets you simulate how different payment amounts would affect your loans.

Bethancourt, a recent University of Texas graduate, was his own first user. He built the Gradjoy platform for himself while calculating his optimal student loan repayment plan in Excel. He’d met his co-founder in a coding bootcamp in the Rio Grande Valley at the border of Mexico and South Texas – where Bethancourt is originally from.

Jose Bethancourt (Left) Marco del Carmen (Right)

Student lending is a predatory industry that benefits off the ignorance of first-time borrowers and has been known to purposefully constrict resources for customers. New borrowers must navigate landmines like refinancing scams, the “7 minute rule” for customer service assistance and tricky requirements buried within the public service loan forgiveness program.

A question is posed for new startups that want to punch up against greedy student loan servicers like Navient and AES. Without replicating the corrupt business models that lenders have in order to make money off the student loan debt problem, how can newcomers like Gradjoy turn profitable?

Screen Shot 2019 08 14 at 1.02.11 PM

Gradjoy bills itself as a “student loan co-pilot.”

Aside from venture capital, which Gradjoy will be seeking upon its graduation from Y Combinator, will make money in a few ways. In order to align with users’ goals, Gradjoy’s business model is tied to their savings. If a user refinances using GradJoy, they get a referral payment from their lending partners. The platform is currently beta testing their robo-advisor for debt, and in the future they plan on charging a small fee per month if they’re able to save a user money.

Student loans don’t only burden millennial bank accounts. The student loan debt crisis is creating an economic trend. Inability to repay student loans causes young people to rely on credit cards to make ends meet and delay major life choices like investing in property. Not to mention the affect of student debt on mental health for young people at an already-volatile point in their lives.

In five years, Gradjoy’s founders say they’d like to be running a more robust financial services product that was first focused on helping its customers pay off student loans. They hope to mobilize customers while they’re at the nascence of their financial independence, and scale up to launch a larger suite of financial service products.


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