National Infocomm Digital Making Challenge 2018 (Senior Category)

Update, 2019: We have a new competition for this year! It’s called Paint Tinkerer, because we ran out of names. Find out more at

2018 article follows:

A year ago, we wrote about Getting Singapore making with micro:bit and the Digital Maker Programme. Since then, we’ve been busy creating new micro:bit kits and writing tutorials for our micro:bit Tinker Kit— and we’ll tell you more about these soon!—but here’s an exciting project we’ve been working on: designing our very own micro:bit competition.

For this year’s National Infocomm Challenge, we wanted to do something different from the “usual” micro:bit hackathon…

An info packet for 2017–2018

Hello! We take on interns. Here’s some information on that.

What do interns do?

We’re a small company of curious, easily-distracted folks. What this means is that someone will say, “hey, lets build this!”, and we’ll all go, “that’s awesome let’s do itttt!”, and we’ll all get to work, forget about our day jobs, and the company will run out of money.

That… didn’t answer the question at all.

Oh, umm, right. We hire interns to try and fill in these gaps: awesome little projects that everyone wants to get done. These can be(and often are) technical in nature; some are essential to the company, some are very nice-to-haves, some are…

Behind the scenes of the Digital Maker Programme

One of our first micro:bit-powered robots, which has since wandered into some corner of the office. We’ll find you one day, kiddo!

Since the beginning of the year, we’ve been working with the Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore to launch the Digital Maker Programme. The programme aims to take thousands of BBC micro:bits, fling them at anyone with a pulse, and see what awesome things people come up with. (We might have paraphrased a little here.)

In all seriousness, we do feel very strongly about the programme, and care deeply about what it’s actually trying to achieve, which is to introduce a new, meaningful kind of creative digital literacy in the public. It’s the feeling that learners get when they start…

After I left a five-year stint in the Ministry of Education, I started Tinkertanker in 2011 with two of my closest friends.

We created our very first invoice for teaching a programming class, did some software consulting, made a couple of apps, hired our first full-timers, started teaching a boatload* of programming classes, started an online store, hired a boatload* of technical interns, worked with IMDA on projects, exhibited at events, designed some hardware, and now we can’t describe what we do in a sentence any more.

So we’re starting a blog:

… where we get to adapt all these…

We started Tinkertanker in 2011, and haven’t written much about the company and what we do. As a result, we now regularly get emails from people who think we run an actual tanker.

Maritime recruiters, please stop sending us crew member CVs! We don’t run a ship! We’ll let you know when we buy one okay, but COEs are expensive

So, here we go:

A paper version of TKrobot, our mascot. We squished him once accidentally, and he’s been mad at us since.

Who we are. Tinkertanker is a technology and education company. We’re coders who enjoy teaching, teachers who enjoy coding, and coders who enjoy teaching, and people who repeat themselves. (Did we mention we’re teachers who…)


Nursery rhyme:

I’ve been working on the railroad, all the live-long day; I’ve been working on the railroad, just to pass the time away

Have you not heard of the Internet, you fool

Review of Medium’s “publish from app” feature: I’ve spent the last 20 minutes tapping and swiping all over the damn screen trying to find where I can type a title.

Maybe if I tap the top empty space? Nothing.

Maybe if I swiped the text down? Nope.

Maybe an option will come up if I hit “Publish”? Argh no.

What’s that icon in the middle above the keyboard, maybe it — oh, it dismisses the keyboard. Wait, what is that even for? So I can admire my text better?

Is it the “Tt” button? Tap and hold on one of the buttons? Swipe from left? Swipe right! Double finger tap! Double finger swipe? AAAGH

Do you enjoy wondering why, in the near future, scientists can program artifically intelligent robots, but can only control them using DOS-like low-resolution command prompts? Because, oh boy, you’ll love this movie!

Here are some typical things people in this movie type into their VAIOs (which run DOS):

  • upload_thing_to_robot_because_there_is_no_GUI
  • expository_thing_to_type_to_look_techie
  • Y, dramatically (because to confirm a important choice, the user doesn’t have to press Enter to confirm, not in this version of 2016's computers.)
This is in the trailer


  • What: Chappie, by Neil Blomkamp and South Africa
  • Rating: ★★☆☆☆
  • When: 7 March, 2015
  • Why: Once again, child-free date night boiled down to a choice between this and Ah Boys to Men 3. Why didn’t we just support the local film? Click on the linked Wikipedia entry, and observe just how much “plot” contributors managed to get out of the movie:

I listen to a lot of nursery rhymes nowadays:

Thanks for ruining my history forever, kid

… so throughout the movie, I just kept wondering, “Why the hell couldn’t these guys put Humpty together again? They seem perfectly capable.”

The movie itself was fine, I guess.

  • What: A movie based on a comicbook by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons.
  • Rating: ★★★☆☆
  • When: 21 February, 2015
  • Why: Cinema management: “Should we fill our slate with Oscar nominees for moviegoers who want to get caught up before the awards, or should we flood our cinemas with screenings of Ah Boys To Men 3? Trololololol!”

YJ Soon

Co-founder and Social Media Intern at Tinkertanker

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store