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

August, 2006

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Testing Windows Live Writer


    I've been using Word to write most of my blog posts for a while. It supports the API for this blog and for the API for Windows Live Spaces but not for some other sites that I have blog. Today Microsoft released Windows Live Writer (blog here - download here) and I thought I would try it. I've set it up to post to this blog and to my other ones so I can use one tool for all of my blog posts.

    It supports spellchecking and WYSIWYG editing.  A little more information from the announcement on the blog.

    Writer is a great client for Windows Live Spaces but also works with other weblogs including Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, WordPress (and many others).

    Writer supports RSD (Really Simple Discoverability), the Metaweblog API, and the Movable Type API.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Feedback for Coding4Fun


    Dan Fernandez is the person in charge of the Coding 4 Fun web site and he is looking for suggestions on how they can improve that site. Since a lot of the people who read this blog are the sort of people who also fit into the target audience for Coding 4 Fun or who teach students who are the sort of coding for fun hobbyist programming types who could get a lot of benefit out of the site I thought I should drop a link to Dan’s recent blog post on the subject.

    If you have ideas on how Coding 4 Fun could better meet the needs of beginning programmers (of any type or age) I know that Dan would welcome your input. So drop on by and make your suggestions. Thanks!

    Oh and by the way you might want to also read Dan’s post on the Hobbyist Renaissance at Microsoft and why Microsoft really cares about hobbyist programmers. There is a bit of the history of how the Express editions of Visual Studio came about there as well.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Static Typing, Dynamic Typing or maybe both?


    Erik Meijer has a new interview up on Channel 9. Erik is one of the people at Microsoft who I have a ton of respect for. Erik is a brilliant computer scientist (he used to be a university computer science professor) who is currently working in a product group creating the next generation of Visual Basic .NET and C#. One of his many gifts is the ability to explain things very well. That is why I recommend this interview.

    The whole interview is very interesting and informative but the first 5-10 minutes of it may be particularly interesting to beginners in programming and computer science. At the beginning of the interview Erik gives a great explanation of the differences between static and dynamically typed languages. This is a pretty important concept for someone who is evaluating a programming language. And of course as a long time Visual Basic fan myself I love how he explains that Visual Basic .NET is a language that includes some of the best features of both static and dynamically typed languages. If you have students (or computer science professionals) who think Visual Basic is some sort of toy language this is an interesting discussion for them to hear.

    The interview also includes some discussion of LINQ which is a new addition to Visual Basic .NET and C# that allows data to be searched and otherwise manipulated using XML. Erik also talks about how ideas are moved from research to product groups and why that often takes a lot more time than people expect it would. There is a lot of good information in this one interview. Highly recommended.

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