Really cool Lego robots

Following from the post on Lego marble runs, here you will find a some videos of really cool #Lego #robots (and some more marble runs). +1 geek experience points for all the programmers and creators.


As awesome as they come




Lego car factory, wheelchair, rubix cube solver, gun and more




Cool Lego floor cleaning robot




Lego Coffee vending machine...




...and tea maker




Bridging robot




Sudoku solver




The sort of music that robots listen to




Watch your fingers!



#lego #robots

Shakespearean Insult Generator

Introducing the Shakespearean Insult Generator - thou puking bat-fowling puttock!

Press the button, insult your friends.


This insult generator is based on Shakespeare Insult Kit which is widely attributed to an English teacher from Center Grove High School in Greenwood Indiana named Jerry Maguire. I have not seen a statement by Mr. Maguire regarding intellectual property, but I (and many others who use his list) assume that it is in the public domain.

Bored already? Check out the Tabloid News Generator, or the Random Movie Generator.

#insults
#shakespeare

What time is it (as a hexadecimal background colour)?

A short program that displays the current time as a hexadecimal background colour.  Source code is below, or you can download the executable for Windows.

Time is displayed as a hex colour (or 'color' if you prefer the incorrect American spelling)


     REM Hex colour clock
     REM T Street
     REM 2015-03-22
     REM based on idea by http://whatcolourisit.scn9a.org/
     
MODE 10: OFF
     PROC
_preventResize
     COLOUR 2, 180,180,180
     REPEAT
       
REM get the current time
       
a$ =  RIGHT$(TIME$,8)

       REM find hexidecimal rgb
       
r$ = MID$(a$, 1, 2)
       g$ = MID$(a$, 4, 2)
       b$ = MID$(a$, 7, 2)

       REM find denary colour value
       
red%   = VALLEFT$(r$,1)*16 + VALRIGHT$(r$,1)
       green% = VALLEFT$(g$,1)*16 + VALRIGHT$(g$,1)
       blue%  = VALLEFT$(b$,1)*16 + VALRIGHT$(b$,1)

       REM clear the screen to required colour
       
COLOUR 1, red%, green%, blue%
       COLOUR 1+128:CLS

       
REM display time
       
COLOUR 2
       *font Arial, 16b
       PRINTTAB(30,6)"The time is"
       *font Arial, 60b
       PRINTTAB(05,2)r$":"g$":"b$
       *font Arial, 32b
       PRINTTAB(07,7)"The colour is #"r$g$b$

       REM wait a mo'
       
OSCLI "refresh"
       WAIT 100
       OSCLI "refresh off"
     UNTIL FALSE


     
DEF PROC_preventResize
     REM prevent user resizing window
     
PRIVATE ws%
     SYS "GetWindowLong", @hwnd%, -16 TO ws%
     REM prevent user maximising window
     
SYS "SetWindowLong", @hwnd%, -16, ws% AND NOT &50000
     ENDPROC


#hexadecimal

A feast of awesome Lego train sets

+1 geek experience point for all the contributors



Some Arduino controlled train sets

Space Lego train given suitable sci-fi editing


Longest Lego train world record attempts


A full Lego city

Lego Mindstorms sliding doors


Mindsotrms Lego train


Getting Candy - the long version


#arduino #lego #mindstorms

Google for ISBN-13 numbers

An ISBN number is a unique identification number for commercial books.  The listing below is for an ISBN-13 validation program in BBC BASIC.  If a valid book number is found the program then performs a Google search (probably bringing up a link to Amazon.com - not that they really need the support).



The algorithm works as follows:


  1. Each of the first 12 digits starting from the left to right, is multiplied by 1 or 3 alternatively.
  2. The sum of the products modulo 10 gives us either zero or a number between 1 to 9.
  3. Subtract the number from 10 and it gives us the checksum.


     REM ISBN-13 Validator program
     REM T Street
     REM 2015-03-19


     INSTALL @lib$+"stringlib"
     REM main program loop
     
REPEAT
       PRINT 
'"ISBN-13 validator."
       PRINT "------------------"'
       REPEAT
         INPUT 
"Enter a 13 digit ISBN number : " isbn$

         isbn$ = FN_convertInput( isbn$ )

       UNTIL LEN(isbn$)=13

       IF FN_validISBN13( isbn$ ) THEN
         PRINT 
"VALID ISBN-13 - opening your browser..."
         SYS "ShellExecute",@hwnd%,0,"https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=ISBN "+isbn$, 0, "", 1
       ELSE
         PRINT 
"INVALID ISBN-13 :-("
       ENDIF
     UNTIL FALSE


     
DEFFN_validISBN13( num$ )
     REM validates an isbn number
     REM pass a 13 digit string as parameter
     REM returns true if the string represents a valid ISBN-13
     REM
     REM Each digit, starting from the left to right, is multiplied by 1 or 3 alternatively.
     REM The sum of the products modulo 10 gives us either zero or a number between 1 to 9.
     REM Subtract the number from 10 and it gives us the checksum.

     
LOCAL i% : REM iterator
     
LOCAL calcCheck% : REM running calculation
     
LOCAL checksum%  : REM checksum
     
LOCAL multiplier% : multiplier% = 3
     i% = 1
     WHILE i%<13
       calcCheck% = calcCheck% + VAL(MID$(num$, i%, 1))
       i% += 1
       calcCheck% = calcCheck% + VAL(MID$(num$, i%, 1)) * multiplier%
       i% += 1
     ENDWHILE

     
calcCheck% = calcCheck% MOD 10

     checksum% = 10 - calcCheck%

     IF checksum% = VAL(RIGHT$(num$,1)) THEN
       
TRUE
     ENDIF

     
FALSE


     
DEFFN_convertInput( astring$ )
     REM pass an ISBN-13 number as a string
     REM removes any spaces or dashes
     REM which are sometimes located
     REM in ISBN numbers
     REM returns the string with dash/space removed
     
LOCAL a$ : a$ = astring$
     IF FN_findreplacei( a$, "-""", 0)
     IF FN_findreplacei( a$, " """, 0)
     = a$

#isbn #bbcbasicforwindows #algoithms

Reading a text file into a string byte by byte

A BBC BASIC demo showing byte-by-byte input from a file.

The following demo takes a single text file as input and reads it into a single string variable.  The work is done by the bget# function which reads a single byte from the file and adds it to the string.

My test file used for input.  We shall read this in byte by byte (carriage returns and all)
The program running.  Here we decided to do something useful with the data, ie split it up into  individual records.


     REM reading an entire file into a string
     REM and outputing one line at a time
     REM T Street
     REM 2015-03-18
     
INSTALL @lib$+"stringlib" : REM used by the split function

     
fulltext$ = "" : REM string to hold all the input

     
CRLF$ = CHR$(13)+CHR$(10) : REM carriage return line feed

     
DIM eachline$(1) : REM array to store each line of the input
     REM I don't know how big this should be yet

     REM read the input file into the string
     REM -----------------------------------
     REM open file for reading
     
infile% = OPENIN("textfile.txt")
     WHILE NOT(EOF#infile%)
       REM read each byte from the text file
       REM and convert to ASCII character
       REM append to the text string
       
fulltext$ += CHR$(BGET#infile%)
     ENDWHILE

     
REM now we have the full text file in a single string
     
PRINT "The full text is"
     PRINT "----------------"
     PRINT fulltext$
     PRINT "----------------"

     REM split the textfile at the carriage returns
     REM to create an array
     REM we can then do what we like with the array

     
parts% = FN_split( fulltext$, CRLF$, eachline$() )

     PRINT "There are "STR$(parts% DIV 3)" record(s) in the file"

     n% = 0
     WHILE n% < parts%
       PRINT "-------------------------"
       PRINT "RECORD #"STR$(n% DIV 3+1)
       PRINT "Dinoaur : ", eachline$(n%)
       n% += 1
       PRINT "name means '" eachline$(n%) "'"
       n% += 1
       PRINT "length : " eachline$(n%)
       n% += 1
       PRINT
     ENDWHILE

Diplodocus - spending his days one bite to the next.

Castle Grim

Back in the early nineties, and long before I had a home computer to entertain me, I used to follow the adventures of Sir Eric the Unready and his adventures in Castle Grim to retrieve 'a stolen amulet'.  created by G Harvey, the series appeared in a leading UK broadsheet weekend newspaper (I forget which one) and each week featured a new puzzle.

Presented here are some of the Castle Grims that I have managed to keep for over twenty years.  I hope a new generation of kids can enjoy Sir Eric's adventures.

The first ever Castle Grim.

Apologies for the Tipex-TM on this one.  Thanks to Richard for providing it.






A whole load of linear search algorithm videos

The linear search: a simple algorithm for searching for something.  It is what you do when you are searching for a matching sock in your sock drawer.  Nevertheless, students find it difficult to code, so presented here is a load of videos to help.

In its simplest form, the linear search is as follows.

i = 0         // the first item in your list
found = false // you haven't found it yet
answer = null // you haven't found it
while i < numberOfItems and not(found)
    if currentItem(i) == theThingYouAreLookingFor then
        found = true  // you found it
        answer = i    // the position of the thing
    else
        i ++          // increment i
    endif
endwhile
return ( answer )

In English:

Look through all the items in your list in turn, from the start, until you find the one you are looking for.  There are two ways a linear search can end: either you find the thing (so you stop searching), or you check everything and don't find it.

#linearSearch #algorithms

dd

Kids Code with SHAPES (part two)

Last time I posted some SHAPES code written by year 7 children.  Today I am posting some code written by year 6 children.  The one major difference here is that the year 6 children have been shown how to create subroutines - reusable patterns that can be invoked over and over.

Children did find this task difficult as the use of subroutines necessarily requires the use of relative coordinates, rather than absolute coordinates.  For example:

    moveto(x,y) 
    colour green
    circle huge
    colour yellow
    moveby (-200, 100)
    circle small

The code fragment describes the positioning of the large green circle, followed by a movement of the cursor by negative 200 units (move by 200 left), and positive 100 units vertically.  This positions the left eye of the dog.

The dog subroutine invoked several times with random parameters.

Here, the main program invokes the random subroutine (100 times).  The random subroutine invokes the dog subroutine by passing random parameters to it.  The dog subroutine displays the dog on the screen at the coordinates passed as parameters.

@@main program 
{
    [ ]
    @random (100)
     
}

@@random
{
    [x,y]
    x:= rnd 1600
    y:= rnd 1400
    @dog [x,y]
    wait 20
}



@@dog [x,y]
{
    [ ]
    moveto(x,y) 
    colour green
    circle huge
    colour yellow
    moveby (-200, 100)
    circle small
    colour yellow
    moveby (400, 0)
    circle small
    colour white
    moveby (-400, 0)
    circle tiny
    colour white
    moveby (400, 0)
    circle tiny
    colour blue
    moveby (-200, -150)
    circle small
    colour cyan 
    moveby (10, -200)
    circle medium
    colour seagreen
    moveby (200, 550)
    square medium
    colour seagreen
    moveby (-550, 0)
    square medium
    colour lime
    moveby (50, 0)
    square small
    colour lime
    moveby (550, 0)
    square small
}


Subroutines invoked with fixed parameters.

Here the snowman subroutine has been invoked four times using fixed parameters.

@@main program 
{
    [ ]
     fill royalblue
    @snowman[100,508]
    @snowman[1300,503]
    @snowman[900,506]
    @snowman[500,503]
}
@@ snowman[x,y]
{
    [  ] 
    moveto(x,y)
    moveby (100,-65)
    colour white
    circle huge
    moveby (0,505)
    colour white 
    circle big
    moveby (90,55)
    colour black
    circle small
    moveby (-170,0)
    colour black
    circle small
    moveby (190,-110)
    colour black
    circle tiny
    moveby (-40,-40)
    colour black 
    circle tiny
    moveby (-55,-20)
    colour black
    circle tiny
    moveby (-55,20)
    colour black
    circle tiny
    moveby (-50,25)
    colour black
    circle tiny
    moveby (100,-220)
    colour black
    circle small
    moveby (0,-140)
    colour black 
    circle small
    moveby (0,-140)
    colour black
    circle small
    moveby (0,-140)
    colour black
    circle small
}

#shapes
#codinginschools

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