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

August, 2007

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Fonts, computers and road signs


    One of the things that increased use of computers as devices for generating words for people to read has caused is a lot more research on fonts as they relate to readability. Philip DesAutels, a manager in the Academic Relations group at Microsoft, wrote recently about this set of connections. He starts with a discussion of new fonts that were created for Windows Vista and wraps up with some research that is leading to new fonts being used on road signs.

    As Philip puts it so well:

    This is a great example of technology diffusing itself widely and out into fields that are far from computer programming and a great example of why technology skills are so important as a compliment to your domain of choice. From designing to analyzing to marketing this breakthrough, technology has served as an essential enabler ...

    I'm seeing relevance and connection between computer technology and other fields every day. How many students are aware of  these connections though? How many school administrators and school boards are realizing just how important a background in technology is becoming. And in how fast it is becoming so important?


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  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    XNA Pong Game Source Available


    Dan Waters, a member of the Academic Relations team based in Florida, has been working on an XNA version of Pong as a tutorial for beginners. Last week Dan posted a link to the source code for people who are interested in playing with it. Dan isn't making any claims of brilliance for it and I haven't had a chance to try it out myself but I'm guessing this might be a piece of code a bright student might enjoy improving on themselves. The tutorial Dan has writen is clear and easy to follow. So this looks like a good starter project to me.

    Dan actually comments his code BTW. Brian Scarbeau who is planning on using this sample in his high school computer science game development course notes that this serves as a good example for students as well as being helpful for understanding the code. For teachers who want to intriduce XNA to students using this project (or even without it) Dan includes a PowerPoint presentation with the source code as well. And there are even speaker's notes with the slides!

    Dan and his wife recently brought home their first child and I'm guessing that Dan's time is being occupied with things other than programming these days. So I image that he would be happy to see someone else do interesting things building on what he has so far. Go check it out and maybe set some students lose on it.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Visual Studio Tips of the Day from Sara Ford


    Oh the things you miss while on vacation. I saw today that Sara Ford has been running another series of Visual Studio Tips of the Day. I always learn a lot from Sara who seems to know more individual features of the Visual Studio IDE than anyone else in the world. Certainly she knows a lot more than I do. The last time she ran a series like this it ran for 92 consecutive work days. Now that is a lot of tips!

    Just think of how you'll impress friends, co-workers, peers and students with your amazing mastery of useful but all too often overlooked features. OK maybe I'm all geeky about these things but a lot of them really are useful.

    Visit the main page of Sara's blog here or jump right here for posts tagged "Visual Studio tip of the day." In fact you may want to subscribe to her blog. I do!


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