The following appliance makes it much easier for us (and you) to learn new material without having to install and configure all of the required tools and utilities on your own computer. Everything that you will need is prepackaged here. Of course, if you do want to install all of the requirements on your own computer, go right ahead!
The appliance is a virtual machine distributed in Open Virtualization Archive (OVA) format. Virtual machines allow you to run any (guest) operating system within another (host) operating system. In other words, you can run Linux on your Windows machine, or Windows on your Mac, or Windows XP on your Windows 7. The appliance we're distributing here is based on Xubuntu, a GNU/Linux distribution, that has a number of tools and utilities pre-installed so that you can hit the ground running.
Installing a Hypervisor
To run a virtual machine requires that you have installed a hypervisor. We recommend downloading and installing VirtualBox (download link) because it works and it's free, and who doesn't like free? If you already have VirtualBox installed, be sure that it is at least version 4.0, the first version that supports OVA format appliances. Upgrade if you must. At the time of this writing the most recent release of VirtualBox is 4.2.12.
Installation should be fairly standard, though if you would like more detailed installation instructions, please refer to:
Download, Import, and Start the Appliance
Please download the appliance from here (or here if you want PsychoPy preinstalled). The download will be about 1.6 GB and once imported into VirtualBox will consume about 3.6 GB. While the size isn't a particularly redeeming quality, it does reflect a carefully chosen set of trade-offs between ugliness vs. usability.
Once the file has been downloaded, you can import it using the VirtualBox user interface. After you've imported the appliance, start it. See the following video demonstration:
At this point, as far as software installation is concerned, you should be ready to go!
Python IDE and Support Code
For folks who want that "I-like-to-be-spoiled" experience when coding, we can relate. That's why we've preinstalled PsychoPy (which has a built-in editor), Eclipse, PyDev, eGit and Local Terminal to make life that much sweeter. For those folks who prefer to code in vim or emacs, don't worry, those are installed too!
During the course, you will be writing a lot of code from scratch as well as editing code that we provide to you. You will complete some functions, fix simulated bugs, and so on. We will offer the support code as a separate download on the day of the course. As another option, we've also cloned the support code into an PyDev project. When you open the PyDev IDE, be sure to pull the latest changes from our repository (origin master):
3D Acceleration (optional)
You probably won't need hardware acceleration with this appliance since it is based on xfce, though if you are somehow finding the user interface a bit sluggish, try enabling 3D acceleration:
Installing Guest Additions (optional)
You can increase performance of the appliance and enable other features such as better mouse integration, fullscreen capability, etc. by installing the VirtualBox Guest Additions. While we could have preinstalled these for you, that would have caused headaches for users who prefer to use VMware to run the appliance who would then have to uninstall these additions and install VMware Tools. If you're using VirtualBox, here is a video demonstrating how to install the Guest Additions within the appliance:
Get Ready for Fun
These courses may make you laugh, or they may make you cry, but we hope to make them at least somehwat enjoyable. If they're not enjoyable, let us know! We typically send out a survey that you can use to rate aspects of the course. We want them to improve over time after all.