We’re phoning a friend…

Thanks to all who shared their ideas for the #nextqwikLAB!
You sent us 125 brilliant ideas. We were able to get the list down to 10, but now we are asking for help – phoning you – to select the final 3.
Vote below for your favorite idea for the next qwikLAB. 
The 3 with the most votes will be turned into qwikLABS. And if you happened to suggest that idea, you will win 100 qwikLAB credits. Voting for yourself is allowed :)

Continue reading “We’re phoning a friend…”

100 Labs, 100 Credits Up for Grabs

Today is a big day for qwikLABS. We reached the 100 -Lab Milestone. And we’re just getting started. 

So what’s next? Thought you’d never ask!

9 Steps to reach AWS lab #101, and win 100 credits along the way

  1. We’re looking ahead to the next 100 AWS labs, and we want your ideas. Tweet us (we’re @qwiklab) with the hashtag #nextqwikLAB and share your ideas (or like us on Facebook or LinkedIn and do the same thing). The three best ideas will win 100 credits.
  2. We just published the 100th AWS lab. You have a grand total of 100 AWS labs (10×10, 50+50, 99+1!) available to you today! 
  3. Do you think you can take all 100 in a month? Are you a qwikLABS Advantage subscriber? 
  4. While this is a big milestone, we are looking ahead to the next 100 AWS labs. And we want your help. 

    How many coffee beans went into the making of 100 qwikLABS…

  5. Tell us what you want the next AWS lab to be, and why. 
  6. Tweet us (we’re @qwiklab) with the hashtag #nextqwikLAB and share your ideas. Or like us on Facebook or LinkedIn and do the same thing (hint: you get more characters on Facebook to express your brilliant lab idea).
  7. On 6/9 midnight Eastern, the contest ends (that’s Thursday). We’ll pick our top 3 favorite lab ideas. Then we’ll create those labs. Yup, that’s right. You could decide what’s in the next AWS lab!
  8. But wait, there’s more. If your idea is one of the 3 winners, you will receive 100 credits, good for any AWS lab on qwikLABS.com. To the victors go the spoils! 
  9. Stay tuned, we might ask for your help deciding the 3 winners when we get down to the last few favorites…. Yes, you can even vote for yourself!

What do you think? See any labs you would like?

PS: Oops, we’re already at 103…

Meet the new Quest: Serverless Design with AWS Lambda

The newest AWS Quest is here! Serverless Design with AWS Lambda takes you deep into the hot new trend in Cloud computing. 

Click here to check out the new Quest!

Let’s go behind the scenes with the newest AWS Quest, for some Q&A.

I want to use Lambda for event driven programming. Is it more efficient than what I’m using now? How does it work?

This Quest can give you a bunch of insights into how Lambda can help you improve your efficiency (and reliability, and your monthly bottom line too). Test drive event driven programming with Serverless Architectures with Amazon DynamoDB and Amazon Kinesis Streams with AWS Lambda. Build a real-world application using AWS Triggers, which combines DynamoDB Streams and Lambda. 

AWS Summit Tokyo 2016:ラボのお時間を確保ください!

AWS Summit Tokyoにご参加の予定はありますか? (http://www.awssummit.tokyo/)  今年のSummitは、過去最大規模で開催されます。3日間に渡り、100以上の最新のAWSクラウドのトレンドが紹介され、役員から開発者まで全員を対象としたものとなります。

1つ、2つ、3つ、または4つ、それ以上のラボを通じて、新たなAWSスキルを習得しよう。

新たなAWSのスキルを身に着ける最善の方法は、ハンズオンで経験することです。qwikLABSラボを利用すれば、新たなスキルを演習で試し、実際の AWSコンソールを使用できます。AWS Summit Tokyoにご参加される方は、ラボセッションにご参加いただくことが可能です。スケジュールはこちら (http://www.awssummit.tokyo/training.html) でご確認ください。ラボセッションには3つのトピックが選ばれています。またセッションは AWSテクニカルトレーナーによって提供されます。AWSテクニカルトレーナーは10分間ほど説明を行い、その後、皆さんがラボを完了するご支援を致します。

Continue reading “AWS Summit Tokyo 2016:ラボのお時間を確保ください!”

Learning Deep Learning

Our phones can take us on 600 mile road trips with turn-by-turn instructions. Don’t feel like driving? Use that same phone to summon someone who is happy to chauffeur you. 

Need an image for the perfect meme when your buddy tells you about a crazy dream he had last night? Here you go –>

Cats don't care

You’re welcome. Photo courtesy of Trish Hamme(CC Attribution)

Of course it’s not all about cat videos. One of the fastest growing technologies today is found in the realm of Deep Learning. 

Deep learning uses networks to learn levels of representation and abstraction (think of this as classifying or categorizing things by many different characteristics). Deep Learning uses those levels to make sense of data like images and sound. Advances in Big Data mean that Deep Learning is able to learn better, faster, and more efficiently.

So what’s it good for? Medical technology, Artificial Intelligence (like self-driving cars), and voice recognition. (Have you spoken to Alexa, Siri, or Cortona lately? Is it just me or are they getting smarter?)

I’m not trying to say that you should know more about Deep Learning…. but you really should. Not only does it permeate daily life, but it’s cool! How does one learn about Deep Learning, you ask? Not to worry – there’s a lab for that! 

The Introduction to Deep Learning lab is perfect for beginners, but still fun for more advanced users. Not only does this lab do interesting programmatic work, it is also totally free of charge. 

You will complete 3 Deep Learning projects:

  1. Teach your program to recognize things in a photo (psst this is my favorite one!). Upload a photo (baby picture? your dog? selfie from your last vacation?) and challenge a program to identify what it is. No hints! It’s eerily accurate. Next you will teach a program to recognize objects in photos it has never seen before.
  2. Computer cat

    Curiosity kills? NBD, I have 9 lives. Photo courtesy of angela n.(CC Attribution)

    Teach a program learn to read handwriting. Spoiler alert, the program learns to read (messy) handwriting with 98% accuracy.
  3. Give a monkey a typewriter and you may or may not get Shakespeare, but give this program the Shakespeare command and you get fully formed, properly punctuated Shakespeare-esque poetry! Sort of. You be the judge. “His life impossession craves thee.”

It is the first lab in the qwikLABS NVIDIA Deep Learning Quest. It’s a free intro lab, so I encourage you to check it out!

Badges in the phone system, or Got flair?

"Because if they take my stapler"

Photo courtesy of JD Hancock(CC Attribution)

We need to talk about your flair. No, not terrible buttons you pin to your shirt for your shift at Chotchkies. I’m talking about your qwikLABS flair!

Earn badges that show off your skills and expertise (like Solutions Architect-Professional Exam Prep, or Corporate Apps on AWS for Windows). Don’t pin these badges to your shirt – instead, you might post them on LinkedIn or Twitter. By completing a Quest and earning a badge, you gain experience, skills, and confidence in that particular area of AWS. (Read more about Quests and earning badges here.)

A better way to flair at work

Does your team use qwikLABS for training at work? (Check out this post on using share groups to get teams up to speed on AWS.) The Amazon team uses qwikLABS as a professional development tool. When someone at Amazon finishes a Quest, he or she gets to add the badge they earned to their profile in the company phone directory, recognizing their efforts and accomplishments. Does your company do something similar?

AWS badges

Do these come in buttons…

This type of recognition, in the company directory, can be a water cooler conversation that you actually want to have.

  • See what Quests you and your team members have in common.

  • Ask your coworker about the new SysOps Associate Exam Prep Quest badge that you might have your eye on.

  • Know who might be able to help you out with a new project with a service you’ve never used – like someone with the Deployment and Management Quest badge – and the best part is they’re only a phone call away!

How does your team recognize accomplishments? 

You need to take this

Hello, AWS labs?

Hello? We have new AWS labs! We made them for you. Photo courtesy of Delwin Steven Campbell(CC Attribution)

We have new AWS labs, and they are calling to you. Even better, two of them are free, just the way we like them! Let’s dive in.

But wait, there’s more…

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Discovery apples

Apples meet Amazon Web Services. Photo courtesy of Nick Saltmarsh(CC Attribution)

Teachers have a tough job, and it’s getting tougher by the day. Students have the entire world at their fingertips thanks to the smartphone in their pocket, the computer in the library, the tablet in their backpack, and Cloud computing giants like Amazon Web Services delivering constant content. Teachers at all levels have faced this dilemma for generations: how to get students engaged and learning about the cutting edge of the latest technology (and how to keep pace yourself). 

Today, classrooms are full of digital natives. How can you, as a teacher, help your kids get ahead? 

student_ipad_school - 142

Photo courtesy of flickingerbrad(CC Attribution)

One steadily growing answer: teach kids to code. Between Minecraft, a coding training program disguised as a game, and programs like this inspiring story of homeless teens learning code as a gateway to marketable job skills, we see remarkable classroom experiences evolving every day. 

But what if you want to go one step further? Don’t get me wrong, as a kid, I loved learning to code (thanks Xanga!). But what if I told you that there are tons of resources, many of them free, you and your students could use to learn about the Cloud? (Here are about $130k reasons why it’s a good skill to pick up.) 

The Cloud is a pretty abstract concept, especially when you’re a total newcomer to Cloud computing behind-the-scenes. Hands-on learning in the form of science labs, field trips, practical demonstrations and more seem to have the most lasting impact on learning and retention, particularly for students in grade school or college. 

Fortunately, there’s a lab for learning the Cloud with Amazon Web Services (an industry all-star) – more accurately, there are 97 labs that give students hands-on experience with Amazon Web Services. All you need is a computer with an internet connection. You can start both teaching and learning today. 

Amazon Web Services Lab

This is not the lab I was looking for…

How do these labs work?

Your Cloud labs await you at www.qwikLABS.com.  There are over 30 introductory-level labs that teach you how to use Amazon Web Services, all of them offered free of charge. Start simple with a basic, here’s-how-to-store-files-in-the-Cloud with Introduction to Amazon S3 (includes a youtube vid). Students learn how to upload an image (maybe a picture of their pet, their favorite food, or a vacation snapshot – or a selfie?) into an S3 bucket. Spoiler alert, many of the images they see on the internet are stored in S3 buckets (Pinterest, anyone?). 

Need a little more help? Here’s a 4-lab lesson plan that walks you and your students through the basics of Cloud computing, using Amazon Web Services. The best part? All of the labs in this plan are totally free of charge.

Sample Lesson Plan for introducing students of all ages to the Cloud with qwikLABS

YOLO! You only lab once

Question: Why can I only take a lab once?

We hear this question on a pretty regular basis. “I paid for credits, spent the credits on a lab, took the lab, and you’re telling me I have to spend more credits to take the lab a second time?” It’s a valid question, and the answer is worth exploring (TLDR: subscribe to qwikLABS and take a lab as many times as you want!). 

The hands-on qwikLABS approach is dramatically different from other sources of online training. A lab is not like a book that you buy and read over and over. A lab is more like a sandwich – you only eat it once. 

qwikLABS for lunch

A lab is like a sandwich…

Minecraft, the painless alternative to stepping on tiny plastic bricks

Have you ever stepped on a lego brick? Toy blocks have quite a history (and not just in relation to your decision to wear slippers). John Locke (writer and philosopher), Friedrich Froebel (often referred to as the father of kindergarten), Maria Montessori (teacher and first woman in Italy to earn a medical degree) and many others recognized the value of playing with blocks to encourage problem solving, identify dependencies and patterns, and visualize mathematics.

Minecraft's predecessor

A bare foot’s worst enemy.