About RubyCogan

see www.rubycogan.com or www.twitter.com/rubycogan

My Time at Microsoft Build 2017

As you know from my last blog, I’ve just attended Microsoft Build 2017. My dad has been attending this conference for my whole life and I assumed it was a boring “adult” conference. I was surprised by how much fun this tech conference was!

Most of the conference was just attending sessions and walking around the hub where they had so many awesome new technologies for demos.

On top of that I did an interview for Channel 9 Microsoft (not the real Channel 9 on TV for all my Aussie friends!). I think they were interested to know what a kid was doing at the conference!
Watch Video: https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2017/C9R02

During the day I stayed with my dad and the rest of the RD’s in a “special” room. I got to meet a few Microsoft bigwigs Scott Guthrie, Kevin Gallo, Kevin Scott and as you guys know, Satya Nadella.

Check out these wicked photos! ūüėČ

Kevin Scott – Boss of IT at Microsoft and LinkedIn

Kevin Gallo – Boss of Microsoft Developers

Satya Nadella – Boss of Microsoft (he replaced Bill Gates and Steve Balmer)

Scott Guthrie in the red shirt! He is the boss of Microsoft Azure.

I can tell you guys, this conference is so much fun and definitely not just for old people.

Ruby

I asked the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, a question

Yesterday I was lucky enough to ask one of the world’s top CEO’s, Satya Nadella from Microsoft, a question about AI (artificial intelligence). Before I tell you about his answer, let me give you some background.

Today I was at Microsoft Build Conference 2017 in Seattle. This year Microsoft invited 100 students who sat in the front row for the opening keynote. I was the only Australian and¬†also the youngest kid! ūüôā I knew it was Microsoft’s most important conference and as soon as I walked in the room I understood how big the Build conference really is. There were more than 6,000 people there and I have never seen a bigger conference room in my life. There were screens that were literally 50m long!

The first person to come out onstage was Satya Nadella, seeing him in person was the highlight of the keynote for me. After Satya, there were many other speakers too. Scott Guthrie came on stage and spoke about AI, machine learning and security. Some of the machine learning demos were amazing and he also talked about how it could be used for evil, such as people attacking servers and losing privacy. However, the question Microsoft proposed was how can we make technology great for the good of human beings?

Of course, all of the speakers said much that was very complicated and I struggled to understand all of it but I did understand the gist of all the talks. It was all very exciting and there were so many cool examples and so many ideas I thought of:
– Wouldn’t it be great if hospitals could check that the staff washed their hands after using the toilets?
– Wouldn’t it be good if security cameras could spot dangerous things that appeared in places you walk or drive?
– Wouldn’t it be good if I could make a program that watched people in our house entrance and sent a message to my mum if someone forgot to take off their shoes?

After the keynotes, some of the special Microsoft people (they call them RD’s and MVP’s) went into a separate room until 4 pm. I was invited too as my dad was there. In the room, everyone asked questions to Scott Guthrie for an hour or so, and then Satya came in. Satya’s answers were quite long and he took about 7¬†questions in total – the last question was mine! Everyone laughed when I put my hand up.

I found his keynote at the beginning of the day very interesting and I had a big question that was nagging at the back of my mind. I asked: “In relation to AI products, what is the best possible product you could see?”

Can you see me asking Satya Nadella a question?

His response was very detailed and he talked about his desire for software to solve problems that affect people with disabilities. He said that the issue was very close to his heart.

This reminds me of one of the nicest parts of the keynote. They showed some software built for Emma. Emma is a young woman with Parkinson’s who used to be a designer. She had a tremor in her hand and that stopped her from doing what she loved. A Microsoft team made a device that stopped her shaking so she could design again.

It was a very inspirational video that you will love
https://youtu.be/k9Rm-U9havE

Last night I did some research to identify why Satya answered in relation to disabilities and worked out that he has 3 children and 2 of them have a disability.

Thank you to so many people at Microsoft and all of the Regional Director’s who made me feel very welcome this week. During the week I had many RD’s show me around or talk to me, sharing their knowledge and telling me funny stories about themselves and about my dad! It was an amazing experience and I will never forget it. Rocky Lhotka and Dr Neil even let me plait their hair!

Ruby

Living in the City

I live in a house and I‚Äôve always lived in a house. We live on the coast of Sydney, in a not particularly busy and populated part of Coogee. I‚Äôve often looked at the tall buildings in streets of Sydney and said to myself ‚ÄúI wonder what it would be like to live in a tall building‚ÄĚ.

For 3 months our house was in renovations, so my family and I lived in the heart of the City of Sydney next to George Street Cinemas on Kent Street. After being there for 3 months, I now know the city really well! I know all the streets, shops, underground tunnels often linking shopping centres and countless shortcuts РI learnt new things every day.

Living in the city was a totally different experience. Let me tell you why:

Living with less and shopping more.

I knew living in a city apartment would be a lot smaller than living in our house and in the city I shared a room with my sister Eve. Sharing a room with Eve forced me to be more organised, something I brought home.

The family lived with less and we all got used to that quickly. However, I missed lots of little things and that often meant I had to spend more time getting these things from the nearby shops. For example, if I need batteries at home then I just grab a spare one, but in the apartment, I would need to go out and buy them and waste 20 minutes. Because these things took time, we learnt to live in a very minimalistic manner, it made me realise how little we really needed to get by.

There were so many shops down below!

Easy Transport Options but more Exercise

The city apartment was so convenient! Being in the city meant we were about 500m away from everything: grocery stores, shops, train stations and restaurants. Our serviced apartment was much closer to school, which meant I would walk there or catch conveniently placed public transport.

We were just so close to everything, Walking was actually easier than driving especially when you think of the parking. I found myself walking everywhere. This was great because I did more exercise (steps on my Fitbit). I think I was doing an extra 10km more walking per week in the city!

Starting our walk to school under the Queen Victoria building.

 

Sometimes we allowed dad to walk to school with us ūüėČ He always insisted on the scenic route!

Almost at school!

 

Getting dinner with my sister

 

Sleep and Noise

The city is always buzzing with energy and with noise. The Meriton apartments which we were staying in were skyscrapers, but even on the 54th floor, when I would open the windows, I could hear the city below! The rooms were so well insulated from noise, that when you closed the windows the sound went away.

Mirrors on the ceiling. OMG!

Mirrors at all angles.

The difference

The whole family liked living in the city. One big difference I noticed was the amount of waiting you did for the lift. And a couple of times they stopped working and we had to walk down 54 flights of stairs before school. Much, much harder than you think!

I asked my sister what she liked about living in the city, she said:
“I felt like I was living at the peak of human civilisation”.

Looking down the gap in the lift was very scary!

 

Have you ever lived away from home without all your ‘stuff’? That was my experience, what was yours?

 

Ruby

My Experience with the Microsoft Hololens

Recently my Grandma passed away, and¬†my sister and I posted about her and the speeches we made for her. Soon after my Grandma’s brother passed away and my mum and our whole extended family have been very sad. So last weekend at the wake, I took the Hololens to¬†brighten the mood. Everyone tried it and I even convinced the Grandma’s to try it on. You can see in the video it was hilarious!!

I was lucky enough to be one of the first people in Australia to get the opportunity to try out Microsoft’s latest gadget, the Hololens. It is a developer edition that my dad received for work. I have used it for a week now playing games, exploring our solar system and watching movies. I¬†believe that the Hololens is awesome fun and will be very popular. This might even be the Apple iPhone moment for Microsoft. As soon as I put it on, I could tell that it was incredibly well developed; it wasn’t slow or blocky, it was smooth and impressive. Let me tell you about my experience:

Putting it on.
As a 12 year old¬†child, putting it on was a bit difficult. BTW it does have a warning that children 15 years and under should not use it, presumably because they think¬†we would break it. ūüôā I initially struggled with being able to see the screen; I was always either squinting up or down, making it difficult to see. Maybe this was because my head is too small.

A Hololens is just over 1/2 a kilogram and working with it is a totally different feeling to working with a computer, and I certainly can’t imagine working with it for hours at a time! I had mine on for about an hour or so at a time before I took a break. When I took it off, well let’s just say I was hallucinating! I kept thinking there were screens around me and my head felt really light, sort of like when you have just got off a hoverboard after riding around on it for hours.

Things to do on the Hololens:
The Hololens has games, applications and the internet, basically everything that the computer has and that I would need. My favourite app of all is the game called RoboRaid Рthat requires a bit of running around and dodging Рand of course to relax watching movies on Netflix is fun! The Hololens also has some awesome applications, like Solar Explorer, where you can see our solar system and everything in it, in great detail! The Hololens also has an incredibly clear image and 64 GB of storage, which does not seem enough when I compare it with my laptop which has 1 TB. I asked Stephen Carter about this and he told me that the size is enough when you consider the size of average Hololens applications are less than 100 MBs.

img_6987

Me eating breakie while using the hololens, no need to worry about dirtying anything!

Overall Experience:
The Microsoft Hololens is an amazing piece of technology, but I am no geek! Any geek would be able to tell you about the special features of the Hololens, which apps you can use to code in it etc, but I can’t! ¬†I did see a Hololen’s presentation by Stephen Carter in the SSW Chapel¬†and it was all about the history of the Hololens and what you can make for it.

I sadly don’t have any money but I can tell you guys if I did, the Microsoft Hololens is definitely worth it. The developer edition is $3,000, which is¬†very pricey, but after a while, I can imagine the price will drop substantially. Even if the price doesn’t drop, you could compare the cost of getting it instead of a computer. If you included the cost of a second monitor, mouse and keyboard, it will often be close to that. On the Hololens can have as many desktops as you would like, no need for a mouse or keyboard (and obviously a second monitor or computer), unless you are doing work in which case you would need a keyboard¬†for typing.

So if you guys get a Hololens, tell me what you think in the comments below.

Ruby

V-Fest 2016 – 3rd Place!

I entered my Google Maps Video with the inventor Noel Gordonxx into a video competition called V-Fest. After looking at the time limit of 6 minutes, I was turned off because my video is 10 minutes, but as I rewatched the video I realised that there were some scenes in the video which I was able to cut out and I would still have a great video. The video was shortened for the competition and I was informed I was one of the finalists. It was a great night and had loads of fun! A big congratulations to everyone who was shortlisted and especially to 1st and 2nd place!!

It was a great night and amazing to see how different my video was up on a big screen. A big congratulations to everyone who was shortlisted and especially to 1st and 2nd place!!

Deborah Cave and Ruby Cogan

Winners – Juniors

1st:¬†¬†ELEVATOR PARADIGM¬†‚Äď Melissa Q. (North Sydney Girls High School)


2nd: PUPPETEERS ‚Äď Zack Lewin (Blakehurst High School)


3rd: GOOGLE MAPS ‚Äď Ruby Cogan (St Vincent’s College)

Winners – Seniors

1st: FALLING BUT IN RISING ‚Äď Tom Doyle (Barker College)

2nd: HALCYON ‚Äď Lewis Clark (Rose Bay Secondary School)

3rd: DREAMS THAT STAY WITH YOU AFTER YOU WAKE ‚Äď Anais Adolphe (Burwood Girls High School)

About V-Fest:

V-Fest is a short film competition run by Rosebay Secondary College for kids in year 7-12. If you want to enter here is a link to their website and this is their facebook page!

V-Fest – a Sydney annual student short film competition

Created in 1999 by Deborah Cave (17th year)

There are 3 winners in each section:
– Junior section: Years 7-10
– Senior section: Years 11-12

Hundreds of entries come each year from schools throughout Sydney.

Ruby

Video: My Yiayia

Many people have unique and beautiful stories, but the one that I am about to tell you is very special to me.

Stavroula Mavrogeorgis is the grandmother (or Yiayia in Greek) of two children, Eve my older sister and me, Ruby Cogan. Stavroula, my Yiayia, had always wanted to be a godmother but no-one had her given her that opportunity. To her surprise in 2004, her daughter gave her the honour of being the godmother to her second grandchild, me! Which is funny, because that made my mother, my god sister.

Stavroula took her faith seriously. Although she did not go to church often, she prayed every day and taught me about the importance of God. She spent much effort and made the major Christian celebrations of Easter and Christmas, amazing. As part of the christening sacrament, in Greek tradition, the godparents give their godchild a crucifix, that is to last for the rest of their life. I still wear that crucifix to church today and it is the most beautiful and meaningful possession I have.

When my sister and I were little, my mum went back to work almost instantly, just four days after giving birth. This meant that Yiayia did the majority of the raising of Eve and I. She told us how she grew up in Greece with little food and money. Therefore as an adult, she was always very careful with her money but never let her children or grandchildren go hungry. So we learnt the important tenets in life, food, spending money carefully and education.

My Yiayia spent the first part of her life working in a factory and the second part as a cleaner. She used all her money to pay for my mum and auntie’s Catholic school education and unfortunately because of the long hours she spent working, she was unable to attend any school events. So when my sister and I came along, she loved us more than anything in this world, she thought of us as a second chance to raise children.

When I turned 5, I started my schooling education. My Yiayia had ended her education at the age of 14, in year 6, because her parents were no longer able to afford it and needed her help. She told us she wished that she could have finished her education. She expected that everyone would take their education opportunity seriously and not just try, but succeed.

As we grew up Yiayia told Eve and I stories about her life, how she had met Papou and about her garden when my mum was growing up. She was very proud of her green thumb and always loved gardening. When my mum was young she told me of her great garden with tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, the different varieties of colourful flowers and much more. With all those vegetables, she used them to make the most delicious dinners. When I grew up I helped her with her garden. Often she would create a whole new dish purely because there was an abundance of a vegetable in her garden. I still remember getting pumpkin soup every night for a month!

After starting from the bottom, Yiayia was now financially secure, although she still lived like she was poor. Spending money on a holiday seemed ludicrous, but if her grandchildren were going and my dad was paying for it, she would love to come. She especially loved the buffets and to spend the day by the pool or ocean. Essentially she just liked having a relaxing time with us.

Yiayia kept us fed with only healthy food. She always kept us dressed well too. She sewed our uniforms back together, fixed the hems and covered up the holes we made. But most importantly, she loved us. Yiayia was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer (stage three) in March last year and the doctors predicted she had one to three months left. Yiayia was very brave and decided to try Chemotherapy because the doctors advised it could buy her more time. She made it all the way until March this year. Nine precious extra months.

I am grateful to have had my grandmother in my life, she was a beautiful, kind and talented person. I am missing you already Yiayia, I love you.

RIP my beautiful Yiayia

5 November 1939 – 31 March 2016. 76 years old

My sister also blogged about our Yiayia 

Video: School Captain Valedictory Speech

This year I had the honour of being the girl school captain of my school, Claremont College, for 2015.

Of all the speeches I did this year, my favourite was my Valedictory Speech in front of the students, parents and teachers. I loved writing the speech because it was a trip down memory lane, remembering all of the amazing moments my year has had in our past 7 years at Claremont.

I had a really amazing time this year with my partner, the boy school captain, Tom Findlay. We did so many amazing things together, as part of our roles we greeted guests, conducted tours around the school to prospective parents and many other things that took me out of the class room. I started each Monday at the school assembly with the acknowledgement to our country and worked a lot with my school principal, Mr Doug Thomas.

Something that I didn’t expect and that I really enjoyed¬†about my role, was many parents would regularly speak to me and that meant I was able to get to know many of the parents.

For me, the best¬†thing were¬†the speeches. I made many speeches on many different occasions, whether it be at the Mother’s Day breakfast or the Anzac Day Service. I’m lucky that I now have more¬†experience speaking.

I am so grateful for all the opportunities that I have had this year at Claremont College. I really loved my school and the school community. Over the past 7 years I have had an amazing experience and now I am ready for high school.

I hope you liked my speech!

Ruby

Video: Google Maps – The Australian Co-Inventor, Noel Gordon

Google Maps – The Australian Co-Inventor, Noel Gordon

 

Co-Inventor of Google Maps – Noel Gordon Full Interview

Here is the long interview.

 

For my big assignment this year in Year 6, I had to choose a great Australian. I interviewed Australian Noel Gordon, who is the co-inventor of Google Maps. He is¬†an incredibly inspiring person who has made a huge difference to our world. Imagine a world without Google Maps, what would it be like? I don’t know because I have had Google Maps my whole life.

I have done a lot of research and I know maps have advanced so much in just 50 years. It went from paper maps, to navigators like the TomTom, to websites that took 10 minutes to load, to what we have now. Google Maps today is so awesome and fast and it came from four great people, Noel Gordon, Stephen Ma and the brothers Lars and Jens Rasmussen.

For this assignment, I interviewed two of the four inventors, Noel Gordon and Lars Rasmussen.

Noel explained to me that we did not always have maps like we do today for free on our laptops and mobile phones. Just before I was born 11 years ago, people had to deal with a slow reality of going to a PC and entering your navigation details, making yourself a cup of coffee, then coming back to your computer only to find you have another 5 minutes of waiting for your next map to load.

When I found some images of some old maps I assumed they had been exaggerated to make them look worse then they really were.

When I found images of some old maps, I assumed they had been exaggerated to make them look worse then they really were!

My favourite quote from my interview with Noel was:

“If you have tenacity and if you have self-belief, it’s amazing what you can achieve.”
Noel Gordon

I love that quote because it is so incredibly inspirational. If you put your¬†heart and soul into whatever you are doing, if you believe in yourself and if you have tenacity, then you can achieve so much. Even if you don’t succeed, you¬†learn from your mistakes and you can try again.

After the interview Noel told me of a special moment that happened just before he and Lars decided to start the business. He and Lars were walking around Newtown, Sydney, having another conversation about if he should quit work and do their mapping startup, when they read a quote someone had written in chalk on the footpath:
When people say you are going to fail and give you the reasons why, just ignore them and go on and do it regardless.
They looked at each and said “Let’s do it”. If only the chalk writer could know the impact of their words.
There are many great videos about Lars on youtube, that I watched.

There are many great videos about Lars on youtube, that I watched.

There we no videos about our Australian Noel Gordon on youtube. How terrible is that?

There are¬†no videos about our Australian Noel Gordon on youtube. I am going to fix¬†that ūüôā¬†

P1180831

Meeting Noel Gordon outside the Google Office in Sydney

P1190013

Google Street View is not always done by cars!

P1190047

Noel and I on the top floor balcony of the Google Building in Pyrmont, Sydney

P1190025

The Google Offices are so cool!

I hope you like my videos!

Later on I will post my other Skype interview with Lars.

Ruby

Video: Review of Tomb Raider Xbox Video Game

I am 11 years old and I just finished a video game called “Tomb Raider”, which was based on the movie, Tomb Raider. The video game is about a girl, named Lara Croft, (who is played by the famous actor, Angelina Jolie).

I have watched both movies but that did not really help in playing this game.

I played the game on the Xbox One (but it is also available for the PlayStation 4). It was released in 2004 and it is called “Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition” and Lara gets stuck on an island and she needs to escape. She goes on hunts to find tools to fix the ship but get’s in big trouble many times and she only just escapes each time leaving behind thousands of cursed angry soldiers.

I recorded this video to describe my experience with this video game. Now I can’t wait for the next one called “Rise of the Tomb Raider” and I think it is going to be released by Christmas in 2015.

I hope you like it!

Ruby
www.rubycogan.com

My Photography Album ‚ÄúA Starting Point‚ÄĚ

A Starting Point

My Album: flickr.com/photos/rubycogan/sets/72157653486156091

I just finished my first photo album! My mum has always been the photographer on our family holidays, but this time I decided I would be the one who takes the photos and captures the moments.

During our last school holidays in April, my family and I went to Kangaroo Island. It was a great place to take a few snaps, but even these great photos don’t do this gorgeous destination justice. Many of my photos were taken at Kangaroo Island but not all of them, as you will see, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide are also gorgeous places to take photos.

Kangaroo Island, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide were the perfect places to take a few nice shots for my Year 6 Photography Assignment. Every time I saw something pretty, interesting, cute or just plain random, I would take a photo. As this happened every day, I ended up taking more than just a few. All of those photos really accumulated! I took thousands of photos and I had to go through them all to choose my favourite 26.

I really enjoyed the Photography Assignment and I am proud of the end result. I learnt that if you take a lot of photos, there will be some good ones. My favourite part of this assignment was looking through all of the photos. It was fun editing them too.

The program I was using to edit most of the photos is called Adobe Lightroom. The program has many cool features such as changing the colour, exposure and general photo properties. The main purpose of Lightroom is to change the overall image such as lighting.

For specific parts of the image I needed Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop is a lot harder to use than Lightroom, but it was able to do a few things which I couldn’t do in Lightroom. I used Photoshop for two of the final. I used it to make images have a specific area in colour and the rest black and white, like “A Pear of Eyes” or “A Beacon in the Dark”. Overall, both programs are amazing for editing photos but only if you know how to use them!

There were a few bumps in the road when I was doing my Photography Assignment. There were three main problems which I encountered. The first problem was having to sort through my thousands of photos. I took a quick look and deleted all of the obvious bad ones, like black screens which were accidents. This seemingly simple task took forever! Then, I had to choose which photos I wanted in which category, which brings me to my second problem.

My favourite photos were Flagged and then I had to categorise them into 20 groups such as Shapes, Colour, Portrait and many more. I didn’t know how to categorise my photos without having too many in one folder and not enough in another. Some photos I really wanted to keep, but the category I thought it would naturally fall under, already had the maximum amount of photos in it. I had to start being creative! For example, I had four photos of animals altogether, but I was only allowed two photos in each category, so I put two photos under the “Animals” category and moved one called “Beauty on a Mountain” into the “Colour” category. The forth animal photo I moved was the funniest, I put “Kevin Bacon and Eggs”, under the food category!

The third and final problem was the due date of the assignment. I wanted to impress my teachers so I ordered a book online to present as my assignment. Snapfish.com.au said it would take “4 to 6 business days” to arrive. I was trying to finish as fast as I could but using their software took a few days and by the time I clicked “Order”, I only had 5 days until the due date, so I thought I was fine. That is when my mum explained to me what the phrase “business days” means! I was mortified when I realised my assignment would be late.

I released my photos to Flickr and showed them to people I knew. I discovered that different people liked different photos and there was not a single image which everyone agreed was their favourite. I didn’t know which photo I should put on my front cover. I decided I would choose, “FEED ME!” as the main photo.

Here are my three favourites…

  1. My first favourite: FEED ME!Kangaroo Island is full of amazing wildlife and we wanted to see the pelicans. We just missed feeding time at the wharf, however when we arrived the pelicans were still there and hungry for more food. I snapped one while it squawked at us. I thought it might gobble up my camera!

    If you look closely you will notice that the pelican’s throat is quite tiny and I don’t understand how it fits big fish down it!

    I like this photo because I captured the pelican at the perfect moment!

    Link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rubycogan/17500837754/
    Camera: Apple iPhone 6

  2. My second favourite: A Beacon in the Dark

    This is Cape de Couedic Lighthouse build in 1909 on Kangaroo Island, South Australia. If you look carefully you will see my Mum, my Dad and my big sis. This photo was taken on a stormy April afternoon. 30 seconds after this photo was taken, the heavens opened up and blessed us with hail!\

    I really like this photo because it is so striking. When I was looking over all of my photos, I saw this photo and realised the red was the brightest colour in it. So I set to work and I made the rest black and white.

    Link: flickr.com/photos/rubycogan/17503575173/in/photostream/
    Camera: Apple iPhone 6

  3. My final favourite: The Journey of Life

    Kangaroo Island is the third biggest island off mainland Australia and there were a lot of roads to drive along. As we were driving along one of the many roads, I thought this would be an interesting photo with perfect symmetry. I walked into the middle of the road, took a few snaps. Voila!

    This photo really stood out to me because of the perfect symmetry. I lowered the exposure to make it slightly darker, lifted the contrast and this was the end result.

    Link: flickr.com/photos/rubycogan/18097059876/
    Camera: Apple iPhone 6

So they were my favourites, but what are yours? Enjoy my album and press the Flickr *star* on the photos you like (it is the same as “Like” in Facebook).

Ruby Cogan