teaching machines

Apache and Icons

This semester I’m teaching a web development course. This is the first time I’ve taught the course, which means I have no Catalog of Errors that we teachers consult when trouble arises. Rather, I am writing the first entries in this Catalog as we speak. This week I spent an hour chasing down a pernicious […]

Modeling a Jump Sound

I recently unveiled Earpiece as a playground for exploring how sounds are shaped by their frequency and amplitude envelopes. Today we use it to explore a jump sound. First, close your eyes. Imagine you are holding a game controller. Press the jump button. Wrong one. Try again. That’s right. What did you hear? We can […]

Avisual Maze

Around the same time that I discovered 3D printers, I ran across this compendium of maze algorithms by Jamis Buck. Just as our stomachs unite the various dishes of a meal into a puddle of nutrients, so my brain united these two ideas into a puddle of … plastic. I had long wondered how a […]

Font Diner Workshop

Three years ago I was standing in the pickup line at school waiting to collect my children. I recognized the guy next to me as the father of a kid that my son was partnering with on a project, so I struck up a conversation. I try very hard to avoid the “What do you […]

Modeling a Coin Pickup Sound

Years ago I ran across sfxr, a little tool for generating sound effects. Seven classes of sounds can be generated: coin pickups, shots, explosions, powerups, hits, jumps, and blips. The author, DrPetter, made the tool to support folks like me who don’t have the time, skill, or team to make sounds for their games. But […]

Moment of Glory

It was my first semester of graduate school. We were in a lecture for CS 530: Computer Architecture. Dr. Ward had two announcements. First, a midterm was coming up. Second, the annual departmental mug design contest was accepting submissions. An alumnus donated money each year to purchase mugs for all the graduating students, faculty, and […]

Hoarding and Herding

There’s a pandemic happening right now. At times like this, we get to see both the best and the worst in people. One of the worst things in us is rugged individualism, which leads us to buy more than our share of toilet paper. We were legitimately running low this week, and I grew concerned […]

The Law of Doubled Digit Transposition Over Multiplication

My son is learning long division at school. He was intimidated by it, so we started practicing for just a few minutes every day after school. The format is simple: I generate two numbers, a big dividend and a small divisor, and he divides them. One day I wanted the quotient to be 99 because […]

All Your Base

America may not have metric, but at least we have hexadecimal. This sign appears near Green Bay in eastern Wisconsin.

Introducing Flexercise

I remember reading C for Dummies when I was in middle school. Mom would drive us home and I would read. I wanted to learn how to program, but all I could do was read about it. I didn’t have a way to write any C code. Eventually I saved up some money and bought […]

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