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  • Blog Post: Don’t Panic

    The other day I was looking through the analytics for this blog to see what sort of searches people were doing that let them here. Mostly I was seeing things I expected to see but one stuck out. Someone had searched for the string “ i am scared of programming .” I suspect that the searcher was not afraid...
  • Blog Post: Computer Controversies For Fun and Discussion

    I love a good discussion. Pros and cons and honest and hopefully friendly discussion of issue with different opinions make for good learning experiences. One of the things I would like to do should I ever get a full-time advanced computer science course is to ask students to study some controversial...
  • Blog Post: Useful Download Links for Windows 8 and Windows Phone Development

    Part of my job is to help people find valuable resources. I especially like it when they are free. Free is good. These links are for students, faculty and professional (or non professional) developer.  Please check these links out, visit the websites, find what looks interesting and download the...
  • Blog Post: Online Coding Exercises For Programming Education

    Well it is that time of year again – back to school. On the SIGCSE mailing list are a couple of reminders about online exercise tools for a variety of programming langauges.. A few old timers and at least one big new name. I thought it would be worthwhile to list a few of what I know about. The...
  • Blog Post: How To Read Code

    We don’t teach students how to read code. Actually we don’t event teach them that they should read code for the most part. The closest we get is sample code in textbooks, demos, and for AP CS teachers the case study. Even there I think we could do more. One of the great learning experiences of my early...
  • Blog Post: Recursion First

    I’ve long had mixed feelings about recursion . (I’ve written about recursion several times in this blog.) In one post, Recursion Early, Recursion Late , I wrote about the suggestion that recursion be dropped from a first programming or computer science course. In another post I asked if it...
  • Blog Post: Tip Calculator Hands On Lab for Windows Phone

    This is the basic instructions for the demo I did as part of the Mobile App Development throwdown at the CS & IT Conference July 10th, 2012, Open Visual Studio (you can get it as part of the Windows Phone SDK ) and create a new project. Be sure to select Visual C# as the language, Silverlight for...
  • Blog Post: Big Projects!

    Last night I visited Londonderry (NH) High School to see some of their student’s senior projects. I met a student from this school at the FIRST Robotics Championship earlier this year and was told about his team’s project to create a virtual tour of the school. This school is not far from...
  • Blog Post: There Is Only So Much You Can Cover

    I’d fallen a bit behind in my blog reading lately. Over the long weekend I tried to catch up some and came across a post by Leigh Ann DeLyser called Lets just blame the Intro CS… That post was a response in part to an article about the struggle to plug the embedded programming gap . It seems as though...
  • Blog Post: dream.build.play reminder

    The dream.build.play challenge is still wide open for people looking to take their Windows Phone or Xbox 360 game to the next level and win some big prizes. Create a Game & Bring Your Ideas to Life It’s time for the Dream.Build.Play Challenge! Open to anyone over age 14, the...
  • Blog Post: Getting Ready For Windows 8

    Like almost everyone at Microsoft I have been hard at work getting ready for Windows 8. I’ve got the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and the Visual Studio Express Beta for Windows 8 of course. Trying out the Windows 8 Consumer Preview has been fun as I get used to the new interface. Of course as a developer...
  • Blog Post: Pex4fun, an online lab for APCS

    Are you teaching Advanced Placement Computer Science? Are you looking for supplemental exercises that may help you students with the concepts? If so this announcement may be of interest to you. Pex for Fun has been around for a while offering coding duels in C#, F# and Visual Basic. Recently though it...
  • Blog Post: Tic Tac Toe for Windows Phone

    Introduction We are going to create a simple Tic Tac Toe game for Windows Phone. We’ll be using Visual Studio as our development environment and C# for our programming language. All the resources you need are listed below and all are free. Resources: Windows Phone Development SDK...
  • Blog Post: Using Kinect for Windows with XNA Curriculum

    I mentioned Rob Miles new Using Kinect for Windows with XNA curriculum in Monday’s Interesting Links post . I was a bit afraid that the announcement might get “lost” there so wanted to highlight these materials in a post all on it’s own. I know a lot of people are thinking about using Kinect at the end...
  • Blog Post: It Doesn’t Pay To Be Too Clever

    Recently someone posted the following question and bit of code to the Advanced Placement Computer Science teacher mailing list: Assuming that all values are ints that have been properly initialized, which two of the following three lines of code are equivalent? //choice A result1 -...
  • Blog Post: Magic Numbers Are Bad

    I had my friend Clint Rutkas review some code of mine. Now I have been writing code longer than Clint has been alive but he’s a very smart guy and he writes more production code than I do these days. He;s written a lot of the Channel 9 projects. He’s famous for his Kinect driven lounge chair for example...
  • Blog Post: When Just Working Isn’t Good Enough

    I wrote a tic  tac toe game for my Windows Phone today. It works just fine. I’m just not happy with it. I loaded a screen shot of it to the left. Oh it is obvious that the graphics are not so hot. Graphic design and UI design are just not my thing. I’m actually pretty happy that (in theory at least...
  • Blog Post: Some Serious Fun With Kodu Programming

    As regular readers know I am a huge fan of Kodu, the highly graphical, easy to program game development product from Microsoft Research. It is easy enough that an 8 year old can create some great fun games with it (and some smart younger kids have done cool stuff as well) so it is easy to take this software...
  • Blog Post: One Compile A Day

    A recent blog post by Ian Bogost ( The Virtues of Long Compiles ) has me thinking once again about the trouble with fast compiles. How would you program differently if you could only compile your project once an hour or perhaps once a day? Actually its more complicated than that. What would you do between...
  • 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: Collection of Kinect in Education Links

    Thanks to Johnny Kissko ( 9 Excellent Programming Resources for Kinect ) I recently discovered Ray Chambers who is “currently teaching ICT at Lodge Park Technology College in Corby Northamptonshire.” in England  who has been doing a lot with Kinect. Check out some of his more recent blog posts....
  • Blog Post: How Many Sorting Algorithms Do Beginners Need To Learn

    Do beginners even need to learn sorting algorithms? Let’s face it most modern programming environments have a sort function built in. In the so-called real world just about the only people who write sorting algorithms have PhDs in math or computer science and have likely published papers in peer reviewed...
  • Blog Post: Quality of Testing and Quality of Code

    I see a good number of Tweets in my Twitter stream that just flash by without leaving any impression. Chatty comments between people I barely know (if at all), links to things that don’t really interest me, and other items that really don’t have a lifetime beyond a few minutes after they are sent. But...
  • Blog Post: When Fish Fly

    How excited am I about the Partners in Learning Global Forum ? I’m seriously thinking of taking vacation days and paying my own way to Washington DC to see if I can “crash” it. I had a great time and learned a lot judging the US event ( Innovative Education Forum–Judging Day ...
  • Blog Post: Your Chance to Learn Windows Phone Development for Free

    Microsoft is offering a number of FREE Phone Camps around the US. These are fun and interesting workshops – hands on – to help people learn about developing Windows Phone applications. If you are an instructor who wants to add mobile development into your courses, a student who wants to create apps and...
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