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  • Blog Post: How Does Kinect Work?

    Chances are you have heard about the Kinect for Xbox 360 which lets you play games without a controller. The Kinect is a full body motion sensing device that lets you use your body as the controller. You may be wondering how it works though? The magic is in the software! OK, sure the hardware is important...
  • Blog Post: Hardware Matters

    A big focus of my time these days is on introduction to computer science courses. What might be called CS0 at the university level. basic courses to provide a foundation for later learning. Perhaps these courses will create or drive interest in additional courses. One of the topics that comes up in these...
  • Blog Post: Saving Computer History

    The old saying is that “ those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. ” Does that apply to computer science and information technology? Oh yes it does. Well I think it does. Look at today’s use of “thin clients” connected to servers. Is that very different from block mode terminals...
  • Blog Post: Who Cares How Fast the Code Is?

    Ironically one of the problems teachers can have with teaching about optimizing programs is that computers are a) so fast now and b) getting faster all the time. Students often do not see the need to create more efficient algorithms because they assume that what they have is fast enough and if it isn...
  • Blog Post: RoboChamps – Online, Virtual Robot Competition

    Most robotic competitions are fairly expensive to enter. The hardware is expensive, hard to assemble and tends to break at the worst possible times. They are lots of fun for hardware geeks but not as much fun for software geeks. RoboChamps is different – RoboChamps is mostly about the software! The...
  • Blog Post: History of Data Storage

    Thanks to a link from Leigh Ann Sudol's blog I found this set of images and descriptions of some early computer data storage devices . I confess to having some old punch cards and I think some old magnetic tapes in the attic. I used punch paper tape as well. Yes I'm that old. I try not to be too much...
  • Blog Post: Top Conversations In March

    There were a number of blog posts with above average comment counts in March. The post I wrote about number systems in computer science had 9 comments. Pretty much everyone thought this was/is an important topic for computer science students. Personally that was the most fun thing I learned in math before...
  • Blog Post: Build Your Own or Buy Built

    I'm not much of a hardware guy. Oh sure I have built a few systems and I can add and replace hardware with the best of them. I've installed hardware since back in the days when installing software meant bringing a tool kit so you could connect wires and cables and all sorts of things that aren't even...
  • Blog Post: Build, Craft, Hack, Play, Make!

    It looks like Maker Faire is starting to ramp up for this coming May. I'm trying to see if I can justify a trip out to California for it this year. Last year a couple of my friends worked the event showing off some really cool stuff and had a great time. Maker Faire is sort of s geek version of a county...
  • Blog Post: Use Your Wii Controller To Fly Through Virtual Earth

    Now I love Virtual Earth and I especially enjoy using my Xbox 360 controller to fly around, zoom in and out and otherwise travel though the three dimensional maps. Its all so much better than using the mouse or arrow keys. Virtual Earth supports the Xbox 360 controller "out of the box" which is great...
  • Blog Post: Max Builds a PC

    My friend Max is building a PC from parts. Over at Channel 8 ( First post in the series here ) he's looking for recommendations and suggestions about parts. Looks like a good conversation is taking place already but there is always room for more. Oh by the way did I mention that he's going to give...
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