Computer Science Teacher
Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

May, 2006

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    $40,000 for writing an MSN Messenger Bot


    I blogged about a third party SDK for creating MSN Messenger bots some time ago. Now though Microsoft is challenging people directly to create bots for MSN® Messenger and Windows Live™ Messenger. The most original, useful robots collect $40,000 in total prizes.

    There is a lot of information about this at the web link. Looks like fun.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    C++ and Visual Studio Express Learning Videos


    Personally I think that C++ is an important computer science language. OK I don't really want to use it when I program for fun but if the choice is Assembly language and C++ (and sometimes it does come to that) give me C++ any day. Plus of course there are some important computer science concepts (think memory management) that you really can't teach with languages like Java, C# and Visual Basic that all want to manage memory for you. That is just a sample of course. You can probably think of others. So I clearly think that C++ should be a language that anyone seriously interested in computer science should learn. But where to start?

    Answer: The C++ group has made a number of short videos available that show you how to use C++ with Visual Studio Express. There are also some webcasts which you can sign up to view.

    Here are the descriptions of the videos:

    Using Visual C++ Express Edition and the Platform SDK (6 Minutes - 8.5 MB)

    This video will take you through the steps for downloading and installing the Platform SDK. It will also walk you through the changes you’ll need to make within VC++ Express to fully integrate the PSDK with VC++ Express edition. After following these steps, you will be able to build Win32 applications using VC++ Express.

    Editing and Compiling Existing C++ files in VC++ Express (8 Minutes - 6.6 MB)

    This video will take you through the steps for importing your existing C++ files into VC++ Express using the Project From Existing Code wizard. It will cover all steps from naming your project to importing files of different types to adding support for ATL, MFC or CLR. After following these steps, your C++ file will be fully imported into VC++ Express. This video does not cover debugging or updating syntax.

    Building Windows Forms Applications with Wizards in Visual C++ Express (12 Minutes - 8.2 MB)

    This video will take you through the steps for creating a new Windows Form application using the wizards available in VC++ Express. The steps include naming the project, choosing the appropriate settings, adding controls, adding event handling code, and building and running the application that was created. After following these steps, you should have familiarity with how to add additional controls and event handling code to create a more robust Windows Form application.

    Create a Console Application from an Empty Project in Visual C++ Express (4 Minutes - 3.4 MB)

    This video will take you through the steps for creating a C++ console application from an empty project. When an empty project is created there is no auto-generated code or support files (e.g. header files) added to the project. From this base level you will be shown how to create a new C++ file into your project, add basic code and build and run a console application.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Power Toys for Visual Studio


    Have you read about the new Power Toys for Visual Studio yet? Sara Ford talks about them a bit on her blog. These toys, tools really, have been released as shared source at the  web site. Shared source means that the code is available and you can add to them yourself. In fact Sara lists several ways to get involved.

    1. Blogging what you think about the tools
    2. Submitting bug reports and feature suggestions for any of the tools
    3. Asking and answering questions on our power toys forums
    4. Checking in bug fixes and new features

    Why would a student get involved? Several reasons. One is to make the code into what they want it to be. Another is the chance to work hand in hand with the professinal developers of the Visual Studio team. If you are looking to make a name for yourself as a sharp developer and strong problem solver you way want to step up to the plate. Who knows where it might lead?

    BTW the Power Toys themselves look interesting as they are. One that I want to spend some time with is the Managed Stack Explorer. Somehow I think that being able to look through the stack of a process could be a powerful learning tool. Are high school students ready for it or should it wait until college? What do you think?

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