Google’s Grasshopper coding class for beginners comes to the desktop

Google today announced that Grasshopper, its tool for teaching novices how to code, is now available on the desktop, too, in the form of a web-based app. Back in 2018, Grasshopper launched out of Area 120 as a mobile app for Android and iOS and since then, Google says, ‘millions’ have downloaded it.

A larger screen and access to a keyboard makes learning to code on the desktop significantly easier than on mobile. In the desktop app, for example, Google is able to put columns for the instructions, the code editor and the results next to each other.

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Google also today added two new classes to Grasshopper, in addition to the original ‘fundamentals’ class on basic topics like variables, operators and loops. The new classes are Using a Code Editor and Intro to Webpages, which teaches you more about HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

In case you are wondering why a “Using a Code Editor” class is useful, it’s worth noting that most of the coding experience in the first few courses is more about clicking short code snippets and putting them in the right order than typing out code by hand.

After completing all courses, users will be able to build a simple webpage and ready to take on more complex courses on other platforms like Codecademy, for example.


Android – TechCrunch

Glowforge opens public orders for its desktop 3D laser cutter

Hardware startup Glowforge, which makes a desktop laser cutter and engraver for home or office use, has finally opened up sales to the general public.

The maker-targeted device, which can ‘print’ (read: engrave/laser cut) a variety of materials including leather, wood, acrylic, glass, and even the metal surface of a Macbook, starts at $ 2,495 for the entry level machine, rising to a full $ 5,995 for the pro model — which is billed as faster, able to print larger items, and capable of running for longer periods.

With a starter price-tag of $ 2.5k Glowforge is clearly not for everyone. Though arguably it does offer more creative bang for your buck than, say, the equally expensive Skydio face-tracking selfie drone. But horses for courses, and all that.

The Seattle-based startup has also topped up with $ 10M more in VC funding, according GeekWire, from existing investors True Ventures and Foundry Group — who also backed its $ 22M Series B, in mid 2016, and an earlier $ 9M Series A.

Glowforge has raised just over $ 60M at this point, according to Crunchbase, including pulling in almost $ 30M in pre-sales via a crowdfunding campaign back in 2015. We first covered the hardware startup ahead of that, when it announced its Series A.

Safe to say, it’s been a long journey to turn the founders’ novel idea and prototype into a market-ready and robust laser cutter — and get that into all its backers’ hands.

It’s also clearly been a frustrating process at times. But Glowforge now at least appears confident it can fulfill orders in a timely fashion — it’s offering a May 3 shipping date to new buyers (within the US).

That said, it does not look like all original backers have had their device shipped though.

According to founder Dan Shapiro’s comments to GeekWire, there are some backers who still haven’t got their device — for a few different reasons. “There’s some folks who haven’t replied, asked us not to send it yet, or live in a country that’s awaiting regulatory approval,” he told it.

A quasi-optional air filter component for the Glowforge — which costs an additional $ 995 — also isn’t shipping until November. (A note on the website says the machine can be used without it, though in that case it warns the placement of the machine “needs a window or 4″ dryer hose”.)

 

Gadgets – TechCrunch

BotFactory raises $1.3 million to help you build circuit boards on your desktop

product_template_616 Fabricating a circuit board isn’t tough but it takes a while. The back and forth, the bugs, and all of the shipping costs can turn a small project into a big problem. That’s why Botfactory raised $ 1.3 million to stick a PCB printer on your desk. Founded by NYU grad students Nicolas Vansnick and Carlos Ospina along with NYU professor Michael Knox, BotFactory came about when Vansnick… Read More

Gadgets – TechCrunch

Google And ASUS Launch The $85 Chromebit, A Chrome OS Desktop On An HDMI Stick

DSC04017 Earlier this year, Google and ASUS announced the Chromebit — a full Chrome OS-based computer on an HDMI stick. Today, the two companies are officially launching this new way of using Chrome OS on any screen with an HDMI port. The $ 85 Chromebit is a 75 gram (or 2.6 ounces) stick that you can plug into any HDMI port — whether that’s a regular computer screen or that large TV… Read More

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