Non-Electronic Logic Gates

Hot on the heels of our readings in class are two unconventional examples of how logic gates work.

Karaoke Computing

I gotta say, if you go to some of the better karaoke joints in the city, you really see some pretty straightforward physical computing stuff there that's done very effectively. At the place I was at last night, there were LED tambourines, lights that dim and shone with the baseline, all kinds of stuff. So, let me say it here first -- KARAOKE COLLAB! Because it's time, people. It's time.

Light Meter Arduino Project

Arduino Light Meter: Ye olde digitalWrites and analogRead at work.Arduino Light Meter: Ye olde digitalWrites and analogRead at work.Here's an example of something simple and (potentially) practical you can make with an Arduino: a light meter!

The trick for me, if you look at the photo, was to use a voltage divider for the photoresistor. That is, the analog input comes from the point on the circuit between the photoresistor and a 1K ohm resistor.

Arduino Hacking

The Arduino coding session we had today seemed to go pretty well (though I'll let the other folks blog about what it was like on the student end of things.) We got a bunch of things blinking and buzzing, and we covered most of what you need to do to read and write digitally and analog... analogally... analogly... analogalogally... hmm, don't know the word for that. At any rate, it was fun for me.

Gutting the Toy Cellphone

The Phone and the Tool: Today, we're taking apart a toy cell phone.  All you need, really, is a screwdriver.The Phone and the Tool: Today, we're taking apart a toy cell phone. All you need, really, is a screwdriver.

Education and Efficacy: Teaching Comp Sci to Designers

Once again, Kelcey has been tremendously helpful with psychology texts. I've been looking over some of the literature she gave me, and I've found some interesting new facts. One of the key factors in predicting whether students will continue with computer education is whether they feel they have the ability to control the computer. This ability may be pegged to experience, but there is no direct correlation between prior experience and willingness to continue learning about computers. Feelings of comfort in using computers (self-efficacy) are a much better predictor.

This leads me to think that the important part of teaching new students, or students coming from fields not related to computer science, is to give them immediate feelings of control over what the computer does--that this is far more important than having them be competent with computers. The more assured they are that they can overcome a technical obstacle they once thought to be impossible, relative to their ability, the more likely they will be to pursue this work in the future.

Toy Fair Impressions

Just some quick notes while the experience is fresh in my head:

The Chronicle: 2/9/2007: Caught in the Network

The Chronicle: 2/9/2007: Caught in the Network - Very interesting development here with academics using Tor, software created for keeping your Internet usage private. A professor at Bowling Green, who teaches about the social implications of authorities censoring Net usage, was asked not only to stop using Tor but to not teach his students about it. Apparently, the university's IT policy doesn't have an entry for irony. [My]

Game Prototyping

Welcome to the Game Prototyping Workshop!

Making a game can be easier than you think. With a few simple concepts, you can start to piece together a prototype, in any language, that can help you test your mechanics, sketch out an interface, or examine different possibilities for artwork. In this workshop, we'll use Python to:

  • Build the "main loop"
  • Get input from the user
  • Process the rules of the game
  • Display the result on screen as graphics

all by making a simple version of Space Invaders! In one short evening!

Let's get started!

New Inkscape!

My favorite vector editor, Inkscape, has a new version available. Sweet Gaussian blurring, nice new path effects, interesting additions to their calligraphy tool. I haven't had a chance to try out all the new features, but it looks like a pretty good update. And the version after this is supposed to start animation support for SVG! Wicked!

Copyright Mike Edwards 2006-2009. All content available under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license, unless otherwise noted.

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