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  • Blog Post: Kinect for Windows: SDK and Runtime version 1.5 Released

    If you are using the Kinect sensor for projects, especially if you have the new Kinect for Widows version, you will want to get the latest software development kit and related tools. There is a full list of what is involved at the Kinect for Windows Blog > Kinect for Windows: SDK and Runtime version...
  • 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: Encapsulation–An Introduction

    My good friend Sam Stokes posted an introduction to Encapsulation not long ago. Not that I am competitive mind you but I thought I could do better. And since I had some vacation time in which to think and write I have given it a try. I’ll let you judge if I succeed or not. So what is Encapsulation ?...
  • Blog Post: A Post BASIC World?

    What does is mean to be in a post BASIC world? This is the question that comes to mine when I read about an article titled How are students learning programming in a post-Basic world? I think that for most of the people in the discussion it means that we are no longer in an era where all computers come...
  • Blog Post: XNA and Visual Basic–Your First Lesson

    I have been playing with Visual Basic and XNA for a few days now. Support has been out for VB and XNA for a little while now but the release of the Windows Phone Developer Tools 7.1 Beta and a new document on Visual Basic Support in XNA Game Studio (Mango) has really kicked me into trying it out. As...
  • 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: 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: Does learning have to stop when the last bell rings?

    We have this tendency to think that learning at school takes place only between the opening and closing bells of the “regular school day.” Oh we know about after school programs but there is a tendency to think of them as babysitting at worst and remediation at best. Occasionally we have the good sense...
  • Blog Post: Interesting Links Post December 6th 2010

    Well it is Computer Science Education week . Are you doing anything at your school for it this week? I attended three different CSTA chapter meetings in the last couple of weeks (northern New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire) and there was a lot of talk about CS Ed week at all three meetings...
  • Blog Post: Lines Can Be Fun

    Graphics can be a lot of fun for students. Well honestly they are fun  for a lot of adults. Recently I read a blog post by Cate Huston ( Experimenting with a Visual, Activity-Based Curriculum ) about some totally visual, graphical project based learning she was working on. Leading off was an image...
  • Blog Post: An Exploratory Computer Science Course

    One of the great things I get to do these days is to participate in advisory boards for Programming and Web Development programs at some local career/technical high schools. The other night is was at Greater Lowell Tech and they were telling us about their new exploratory course. The way things work...
  • Blog Post: Interesting Links 27 September 2010

    Last week I wrote a post about the Imagine Cup. ( Imagine Cup–Solving the Worlds Problems Through Software ) A couple of things I should have mentioned about it though. One is there is a chance for students who enter to win an Xbox 360 console with the new Kinect each week to one random Imagine Cup registrant...
  • 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: 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: Reflection on ISTE 2010

    Well I’m back from ISTE for a bit over 24 hours now. My luggage has even arrived. It apparently decided to spend a few extra hours in Denver. I had a great time at ISTE as I always do. It was a great time to reconnect with a good many people who I know either in person or online or both. I missed some...
  • 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: Failure to Upgrade

    There was a funny movie out a few years ago called Failure To Launch . It tells the story of a man in his mid thirties who still lives at home. He doesn’t want to take the next step and move out, get into a serious relationship and “launch” into the greater world. He is safe and comfortable. He doesn...
  • 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: Rethinking Hello World

    Is it time to rethink and replace “Hello world?” Honestly I think so. The purpose of “Hello Word” is to walk a beginner through the process of creating a minimal computer program and getting it to run. It probably made sense when one had to use a text editor to  create a file and then manually run...
  • Blog Post: Turning on a Paradigm

    I’m in Milwaukee for SIGCSE this week. I love this conference most for the informal conversations that take place. having been coming to SIGCSE for at least 10 years now I have a lot of friends who I often see only once a year at this conference. We talk a lot of small talk of course but as you might...
  • 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 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...
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