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Mr. Gober's Games
programming : by Tommy - April 20th 2010, 10:40PM
programming
Most of the students where I teach have time in their computer labs to surf the web or play flash games. The IT department, in order to conserve bandwidth and filter "inappropriate material", need to block most games. Since most games are just mind-numbing wastes of time, most teachers support this. Students looking for games will scour the web searching for game sites that aren't blocked. As soon as one game site is discovered, the URL spreads like wildfire before the site is blocked in the next few days. The cycle repeats itself ad nauseum.

Seeing the problem from both sides, I decided to make an "approved games list" of games that at least feature some academic merit. I understand that games can be beneficial and educational while still being enjoyable. I asked my Computer Science class to find games they enjoy and add them to my games list. They needed to list the educational lessons found within the game and the supporting TEKS on my games list.
The end result has grown into "Mr. Gober's Games". Several students use the site daily and it has received the approval of administration.
Ideally, the next step will be to house the site on the school network to reduce the bandwidth load and increase response speed for the user.

Recently I have added a page to add games, a method to report broken or inappropriate games and a new ratings system. The ratings system was my first successful foray into AJAX. I've attempted AJAX before but came up short. Fortunately jQuery made the effort much easier by abstracting most of the work for me. So, take a look at Mr Gober's Games and have fun - don't forget to vote for your favorites!

tags: games flash php ajax school

( Comments : 4 | Full article )

 
Building a CPU
hardware : by Paul - February 24th 2010, 08:13AM
hardware
I've decided to take the plunge and start working on a project that has been sitting in the back of my head since college. I'm setting out to build a CPU from scratch.

I thought that the Neodux crew might want to follow along as I work on this insane project. But not too insane...I've already figured out how I'm going to do it. I just need to do it now.

Follow along and watch as I walk the thin line between avocation and insanity!

...And I know some of you guys are EEs -- maybe you can give me a hand when something eventually goes wrong...

tags: hardhack

( Comments : 3 | Full article )

 
Kindle v iPad
books : by Tommy - February 6th 2010, 10:46PM
books
I figure it's high time I publicly weighed in on this whole ebook wars thing. I was just reading and article over on Wired about the whole pricing dilemma currently plaguing Amazon.
I'll start off by saying that I am a Kindle owner/user, so take that as you will.

I was initially unimpressed with the launch of the iPad. the iPod blew us all away when it was announced, the iPhone blew us all away when it was announced. The iPad will take some getting used to. The screen still isn't e-ink like the most successful ebook readers, but it does have touch screen - something Amazon just realized customers want. It doesn't have the battery life of a Kindle, but it does have brand recognition.

The redeeming value about the Kindle, and I've said this all along, is that it adopts the UNIX mentality: "Do one thing and do it well". The Kindle is perfect for reading books. The great part is you can download the books via Whispernet wherever you happen to be. The iPad kinda offers this, but you have to pay more for the 3G device plus you have to pay for the data plan. (The Kindle data plan is free!) [sure, the basic iPad has wireless, but wifi may not always be available. it's not something I have to think about with the kindle]

Ok, so the iPad will let you surf the web, i'll give you that. Yes, the Kindle is essentially the links browser and Whispernet is slow compared to wifi, but remember, the Kindle is an ebook reader, first and foremost. It does that and it does it well, web is an after thought, the same way that iBooks was an afterthought to the enlarged iPod Touch.

There, I said it.

Continue reading...

tags: kindle ipad ebooks amazon

( Comments : 3 | Full article )

 
Neodux Mobile
news : by Tommy - January 13th 2010, 11:49PM
news
As any of you reading this on a smartphone may have noticed. Neodux now comes in a leaner version: Neodux Mobile.

By examining $_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'] report for elements that reflect the most common mobile browsers, I can detect (usually) if you're viewing the page from a mobile device. (Blackberry, iPhone, Android, WinCE, PSP, Kindle are all supported.) As of this writing the layout is very spartan and only the main posts are displayed. Users cannot login to leave comments or shouts at the moment, but I hope to add that in the future. For now, it's just the core content of neodux but it loads much faster.

I'd label it alpha for the moment, but it should make reading any posts from a smartphone, Kindle or PSP much easier.

tags: mobile smartphones

( Comments : 4 | Full article )

 
Texas is Growing (hands off)
news : by Tommy - December 21st 2009, 11:33PM
news
So the other night I was thinking about the map of our United States of America. I began to ponder just how states' boundaries are defined. Some states are defined by rivers, lakes and other bodies of water. Some states are defined by man-made boundaries (which can lead to some interesting disputes).

Currently, Texas' western boundaries are defined in the Compromise of 1850 as "that which is south of the 33rd parallel, and that which is south of the 36°30' parallel north and east of the 103rd meridian west." The eastern edge of the panhandle lies along the 100th meridian west. To the south, Texas has the natural boundaries: the Rio Grande and the Gulf of Mexico (src: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo). Along the north, a natural border to Oklahoma exists along the Red River. To the East we have the Sabine River from the Gulf up to the 32nd parallel, then straight north to the Red River (Adams-Onís Treaty). Interesting, but so what? Plate Tectonics.

In the early 20th century, geologists developed a theory that described continental drift. They dubbed it Plate Tectonics. It has been discovered that continents do move, so naturally so does everything on them. Texas, and the vast majority of the United States "lower 48" (plus Alaska) ride on the North American plate. The North American Plate moves at about 1.5cm/yr more or less toward the Southeast. This means that Texas is slowly taking land away from New Mexico while losing land to Oklahoma and Louisiana. Texas will not lose land to Mexico, thanks to the natural boundary, the Rio Grande (which rides on the plate). Astronomical longitude/latitude lines do not move (they are based on the proximity to the poles and prime meridian (which is physically drifting too, but now there exist astronomical definitions to account for this) Because of this, the land that moves under the aforementioned longitude/latitude boundaries become, in essence, Texas.

Because of these findings, I hereby proclaim that at the time of this writing, I become sole owner of unclaimed lands that move into the boundaries of Texas.

Continue reading...

tags: plate tectonics texas

( Comments : 1 | Full article )

 
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