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  • Blog Post: Programming for Absolute Beginners from Channel 9

    Channel 9 has just launched an absolute beginner series to help people learn to program. There are two versions of the Development for Absolute beginners materials – one for Visual Basic and one for C# Well worth checking out. Visual Basic Development for Absolute Beginners C# Development for Absolute...
  • Blog Post: C# Mini Course

    So this is an experiment of sorts. Last summer I was asked to train some college students in C#. The goal was to get them ready to teach some very basic programming to high school students for a short summer program. The students I was to train were in South Dakota. Now South Dakota is a wonderful place...
  • Blog Post: Returning Data From A Second Form

    The other day I received a query about using second forms in Visual Basic. I found a link to some examples and passed it along but it left me unsettled. The teacher in me did not find those examples explanatory enough. Sample code along is ok as far as it goes but often beginners need more. In fact I...
  • Blog Post: Why Not C#

    Someone recently passed on same objection to using C# as a first or otherwise early programming language. I hear these sorts of comments all the time and while I have addressed some of them in the past it seems like this is a good time to readdress them. These are my opinions of course. They are based...
  • Blog Post: Cryptography is Hard

    I love stories like this - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/22/ba_jihadist_trial_sentencing/ Briefly stated a group of would be terrorists rejected all suggestions that they use professionally developed cryptography and went ahead and developed their own. They assumed that because the existing cryptography...
  • Blog Post: To IDE or Not To IDE

    One of the controversial issues that keeps coming up in computer science education is the role of the IDE – Integrated Development Environment. Some people believe that students should learn using command line instructions so that they become more aware of the roles of compiling and linking. I’m going...
  • Blog Post: Pex for Fun

    Can you read code in C#, F# or Visual Basic? Do you like programming puzzles we (well the Pex Team , part of the Research in Software Engineering (RiSE) group at Microsoft Research ) has a site for you. Pex  for Fun is  a web site with programming puzzles in those three languages. The idea...
  • Blog Post: Being Careful About Examples

    Yesterday I posted some very simple sample code. I have to admit that I spent a lot of time on some of the details but may not have spent enough on some of the other details. This is always an issue when working on sample code for demonstrating a specific, often detailed concept. This is also an issue...
  • Blog Post: How Many Letters Are There in The Alphabet?

    You saw the title and a single number came to mind. If you are English speaking your probably thought “26.” If your native language is not English you may have thought of other numbers though. Even in European languages there are letters such as é è ö ᴂ å ø. And that is just the start. So what does this...
  • Blog Post: What do you want in a Textbook

    I’ve been thinking a lot about textbooks lately. Do students really read/use them? What is the difference between a textbook and a reference book and what are the pros and cons of each in education? What about books designed for professionals rather than for teaching? They seem to be half way between...
  • Blog Post: A Rose is a Rose

    Let me think out loud here a little and get some opinions. On what? On how far to go when naming things in programs. let me start at the beginning. The other day I decided to code up a game of “ Rock Paper Scissors .” Perhaps latter to develop into the more geeky “ Rock Paper Scissors...
  • Blog Post: Interesting Links 24 May 2010

    I pretty much took last week off from blogging. I sort of needed a break and since they were migrating this and many other blogs to a new updated blogging engine it seemed like a good time to step back from it for a while. I did still read blogs, follow Twitter and read a lot of email. So I do have some...
  • Blog Post: Visual Studio 2010 Now Available

    Well it is official – the final release of Visual Studio 2010 is not available. If your school has an MSDN AA account you can download it from ELMS now. If you don’t have MSDN AA, why not? Also for students who are part of the DreamSpark program you can download Visual Studio 2010 from there as well...
  • Blog Post: The Last Bug

    I spent much of yesterday working on a computer program. A friend of mine wrote it in Visual Basic .NET and I was converting it to C# so that it could be used as a sample solution. To save time (famous last words) I had run most of it through a conversion program. The conversion program had done a very...
  • Blog Post: New Teaching & Learning Resources for XNA and Web

    Last week Microsoft put several curriculum modules on on the higher education part of the Faculty Connection. While aimed at the college/university space I think they may be useful for many high school people especially those working on independent studies involving XNA. What is a Curriculum Module...
  • Blog Post: Arrays of Controls

    Over the weekend for the second time in about three weeks a teacher asked my about creating arrays of controls in Visual basic .NET. Interestingly enough both teachers were interested in doing this to create a Jeopardy style game program. And why not? Clearly an array is the way to go. Now in Visual...
  • Blog Post: Small Basic is Moving And Other Resources On the BDLC

    Small Basic is now part of the Beginning Developer Learning Center . Looks like the whole landing page for the BDLC has been updated as well. Check out the Kids’s Corner for links for: Small Basic for Small Wonders Robotics with LEGO Mindstorms C# For Sharp Kids VB For Very Bright Kids...
  • Blog Post: Interesting Links 15 February 2010

    I’m running late today I am afraid. Got home late from the west coast last night and my body is a little confused about what time it really is. Make me think of the old song that asks “does anyone really know what time it is?” Any way it was all worth it as I had a great time at TCEA in Texas before...
  • Blog Post: Interesting Links 8 February 2010

    Well did you watch the Super Bowl? I confess that I did not. I’m just not that into football. Still I had a good weekend and as usual I have spent some time looking though my Twitter feed of the last week for interesting things to share. I hope some of you are finding this useful or interesting. It’s...
  • Blog Post: Can Movie Computer Screens Help Us Design Better

    NPR did a story recently on the computer screens that we see in the movies. You know the ones with big read “Access Denied” messages that look nothing like anything you have ever seen in real life. The story was called Hollywood's Computers: Telling A Story In A Flash and it got me thinking. My first...
  • Blog Post: Monte Carlo Simulation – Slot Machines

    Random numbers are fun. Really they are. They are at the heart of gambling for sure but they are also a key part of what is called a Monte Carlo Simulation . These simulations are used for all sorts of scientific, financial, engineering and other simulations. They are an attempt to figure the effects...
  • Blog Post: Creating Games with XNA® Game Studio and C#

    New High School Computer Science Course Creating Games with XNA ® Game Studio and C# Fall 2009 Recruit students to your schools’ computer science classes by adding a new game development course! Students will develop computer science knowledge and skills by learning how to program in C#...
  • Blog Post: Workshop Links September 17 2009

    One of the things I like to demo and to have people do as sort of a “Hello World” for XNA Game Studio is create a simple Pong game. I did this demo today (well technically I will do it this afternoon) and thought I should make the materials more easily available. So I have uploaded them to Skydrive at...
  • Blog Post: What Does It Take to Make Change in CS Education?

    This started out as a comment on Mark Guzdial’s blog post What changes CS Education? which you of course must read. No really. I’ll even wait. Back? OK a key summary jumped out at me: My first pass analysis suggests that, to make change in CS, invent a language or tool at a well-known institution. ...
  • Blog Post: Interesting Links Labor Day 2009

    I’m not really working today. Well just this post really. For the most part I have been largely offline for Labor Day weekend. Enjoying family, sun, books, and relaxing. My wife and son start school with their students tomorrow. They’ve been doing the usual back to school teacher days last week. Their...
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