Archive for January, 2012

Corona next semester

January 12, 2012

Let the adventure begin.  Next week the new semester begins.  I had 12 sophomores and juniors in my Programming I class last semester.  Usually Programming II keeps 2 or 3.  This time I kept all 12.  They did not like the alternative elective.  In a small school there are not a lot of choices so I am getting a number of kids who are operational in Scratch, start having trouble in Small Basic and are not really interested in programming.  I also picked up another class of three senior boys who had no place to go.  (We make them go to school here.)  Being kind hearted and weak minded I said I would offer them Programming II during my free period.  Considering one has no programming experience and the other two had Programming I as sophomores it should be interesting.  The one acceptable thing is all my Programming classes are going to be on the same sheet of music for once.  Even my two advanced kids are going to be doing the same language.  Next semester there will be 20 kids in Programming II.  That is pretty good for a school of 170 students.

I am going back to Corona next semester.  I dabbled in it last year with some success.  Corona is software for writing apps for the iPhone and Android devices.  There is a free version that is unrestricted except for the ability to post the apps on the internet.  It is possible to install an app directly from the computer to an Android device so a kid can actually put something they wrote on their phone.  (No such luck with the iPhone.) This time I actually have a text to work with.  Dr. Brian Burton is in the process of writing an ebook for the Corona SDK.  With some editing it is usable with high school students.  Brian was kind enough to send me a Microsoft Word copy of his text so I can edit it for lower level users.  My advanced kids will be doing more than just working through the book.  Not only will they have to read the text and do the present exercises, they will have to flesh out explanations, write new exercises and test them, and fill the gaps in the writing that is needed for beginners.  Dr. Burton’s book is not advanced but it is not written with a beginner in mind.  When the kids are done I want the product to be the equivalent to “An Idiots Guide to Corona Programming”.  I am never happy with my programming text books.  Thanks to Brian I now have a chance to make something I like, or at least find out what a pain it would be to make something I like.  This should keep me off the streets at night.

The hacking lung crud strikes!

January 6, 2012

The day after the Christmas break started I got the hacking lung crud.  Still got a mild case of it.  All those plans I had for getting computer work done at school went down the tubes.  The idea I was going to start working on the Corona programming material and fill in any perceived holes in Brian Burton’s “Beginning Mobile App Development with Corona” went down the tubes.  All ambition, down the tubes.  It is amazing how that works.  I really did not think I was that sick other than a mild fever and a nasty cough but it sure does make me tired and stupid.

I am really glad the snow did not come during the break.  Death bed or not I would have gone snowboarding.  Wife would have been real pissed.  She just does not understand priorities.  We are supposed to get some weather next week therefore I will be healthy next week.  It has been 50 degrees in Missoula the last two days.  If it were not for the hacking lung crud I would be running every day.  I have an eight hour adventure race April 21st and a marathon to do July 8th.  The hacking lung crud is putting a crimp in the training plan.  The last time I did a marathon four years ago my training was lacking and I had a heart attack at about mile 20.  I finished (former Marines die before quitting or they are too stupid to quit, same thing) but the wife was really pissed.  I was going to run the marathon the next year but both the wife and the doctor were not excited by the idea.  The next year I was out of town.  So I am ready to try again.  Now if I can only get rid of the hacking lung crud.