5/31  Hope you had a good Memorial Day weekend.  We will be doing several thinks tonight.  First, I will check your Mastermind and TTT final versions.  You will run for me what you have.  Be prepared to talk about your code, problems, and your coding process.  We will finish up the Group Presentations.  We will have our last Seminar on Kurzweil.  On our last day, we will have presentations for the 8 puzzle, and the final content evaluation.  Tonight we will have a last chance to ask question about the content, so look at the links for sample questions below.   I will talk with the groups about lingering 8 puzzle problems.  Make sure you have a few times you could meet for about 15 minutes on Monday between 5 and 9 pm.  We will have a sign-up in class.  Finally, time permitting, we will watch a video of how the brain works.

5/26  I will be in class about a half hour early tonight.  That would be a good time to catch me for individual help.  We will start the class with time to get both group and individual help on Mastermind and 8 puzzle.  If you need to pass a competency, you can work on it then also.  We will then finish the Group Presentations and have our last Seminar.  Make sure you have your prep sheet done, and include page numbers to support your conclusions or questions.  We will finish with more group and individual help time.  I want to review with you where you are in the class tonight, so catch me if you have concerns.   Remember your 3 big projects,  TTT, Mastermind, and the 8 puzzle with be your portfolio, and you can still improve all 3.  You will need to show me your improvements, however.  Each group will present their 8 puzzle on the last day of class.  We will also have a content exam on the last day.  You can review for this exam in class both tonight and next Tuesday.  See the links below.

5/25  Remember to email me with the competency test you want to take tomorrow, so I can print off the right number.  You have probably broken down your 8 puzzle assignment into different tasks.  I will meet with each group on Thursday, but I will also meet with folks in each group doing the input, output, heuristic, and A* algorithm separately.  If you are doing input and output, don’t get stuck on the how yet.  Try to describe what you would ideally want to appear and how it should work.  We can talk about how.  The same with the heuristic.  Remember, just like TTT, each position has a number and you can use these numbers to make your heuristic.  For the A* folks, remember to really concentrate on implementing the easiest, most direct solution first (involving linear searches through your lists) first, then work towards making it faster later.  You should also have a team member make up some initial and goal game states that can be solved in various number of moves.   I think the version you have is OK if the goal can be reached in a half dozen or so moves.   Make some that take 10, 15, or 20 moves to see how your code performs.  You should also spend some time reviewing book and class notes.  I have some places on the website at:   and   and    Let me know if you have questions on these questions..

5/23  Thanks for your Mastermind programs.  I have been running them this afternoon, and there are a bunch that have fallen victim to side effects and little errors, but otherwise are close.  I have fixed a few, and I would like everyone who is close to have success on this project, so I will have time in class the next 3 class sessions to go over the code and fix them up.  I will look at your final Mastermind at the last day of class.  We will look at some bugs and debugging in class tomorrow.

5/20  Remember to have your Group Presentation ready for Tuesday.  Limit each segment to about 5 minutes.  Be ready for a group question and answer afterwards.  Since so many folks are in good shape, we will not have a final on the competency exam, but on the last week you will have another chance to improve or pass the competencies if you choose.  We will have a content exam on the last day of class, and a presentation be each group on the 8 puzzle.  We will then have 3 days to focus on the competencies, the 8 puzzle, and a review of class content, along with a conclusion for Kurzweil.  There are still a few folks who missed several assigned tasks and have not emailed me.   I have reserved a room in the computing center from 5 until 9pm on Monday, June 5.  Please plan several times that would work for you.

5/17  I will be extending the Mastermind due date until Monday, May 23.   You will email me the link to your posted site by noon on that date.   You can work with a partner, but in your email to me with your link, include what each person’s contribution to the code was.  Each person should be able to answer questions about the code, so share what you did with each other and work collaboratively.  This exension will give you 2 days of class to ask questions on where you are stuck, and give you more time for the many extensions you can try.  You can work alone if you like.

5/16  I will be asking for an email from you before Thursay of this week to outline what you have done and what you intend to do as far as make-up credits are concerned.  Fortunately, most of you are in good shape, and do not need make-up credits, so no email is necessary.  Competencies are a priority, so again, if you tutor or are tutored for 2 hours on your competencies, you can get 1 make-up credit.  Make sure you email me with what you did and with whom.  Also if you intend on using this option for more than 1 credit, see me first, and plan on getting at most 3 credits total using this option.   Make sure you are not making new problems by failing to turn in required work in these last few weeks.

5/14  Make sure you are working on these priorities:  First and foremost, you need to be knocking off your competencies.  Most of you are doing well in this task.  Once you have a competency passed, please consider helping others.  Working one on one is the best way to learn these skills, which are a process and not just memorization.  Your second priority should be to get caught up on missing assignments.   Here again, you can tutor or get tutored for 2 hours to get a make-up credit.  Email me about this.  Make sure you are keeping up on current assignments, and finally, try to make the best project program you can, namely TTT, Mastermind, and the 8 puzzle.  When you are working on Mastermind, make sure you have a game that will get a guess and get feedback (a 2 line program), and then work on your second guess, where the feedback from your second guess will produce the given feedback compared to the first guess as the user of the program provided.   The code you have goes through every possibility for the second guess.  You can actually make a better and faster program if you just make a random guess for your second guess untill you get a good one.  What would involve a while loop, which is a bit trickier, so I went with the for loops.  You can try the random while.  If you get a good second guess, the third, fourth, etc…. will be very similar.  Remember you can work in pairs on this program.  Make sure both parties are involved and can explain the code in the end. I will ask you to outline the contributions of each member of the group, so keep track of what you do.  If you check, I will consider a group of 3.  There is plenty of extensions and very interesting additions to this program, so you have plenty on your plate to keep you involved.  See me if you are running dry on ideas.  The first one you should try, however, is to make your program much shorter and efficient by using arrays to hold your guesses and feedback, so you can use just one loop to do all of your guesses.  At that point, you can increase the number of colors or size of your code (more than 4) very easily.  Check with me for GUI ideas,  ideas for making better guesses, etc.   We will plan to do our make-up seminar on Tuesday, which we ran out of time for last Thursday.  Remember your paper notes on Kurzweil, chapters 6-8.

5/12  We will have our group presentations on Tuesday, May 24.  Each member of your group should plan on a 5 minute presentation.  You should plan to have supporting material on your webspace (best if you can share 1 site) so you can easily display the info in class.  Make sure you have a paper copy of your TTT to turn in, and put some time and effort into telling me how it runs.. what it does and any problems.  Also send me a link to your posted program.

5/10  Don’t forget to finish the To Do list tasks before tonight’s class.  Especially, make sure you have the chapter reviews done and ready to submit.  You do not want to have to worry about new make-ups at this point.  Here is where the class stands on the competencies.  18 have passed competency 1,  Read code.  17 have passed the functions read competency.  15 have passed the write code competency and 9 have passed the Array competency.  8 folks have passes all the competencies.  If you passed a competency, you do not need to retake it, except on the final exam.  On the other hand, it would be great if you would consider helping other students to pass their competencies.  You can get make-up credit if you do this for 2 hours after class.  See me if you are willing.

5/5  We will have a competency test today in class.  Do not forget you have 2 programs to turn in before class.  We will also watch the Kurzweil video tonight in class.

5/3  Most of you passed at least one of the competency tests.  Nice job.  We will have another one this thursday.  Only about half a dozen, however, passed the write code competency, so we will go through another one of these in class tonight.  Our focus this week will be on arrays, the last piece we need to write any program.  We will go over the last competency as well, writing code that processes an array.  Come with questions you are having about Tic Tac Toe.  We will start talking about the next program, Mastermind, this week.  We will also start work on your group presentation on the brain and cognition.  Be thinking about a topic that interests you.

4/28  In grading the Craps program, it looks like the most common problem was getting away from the English version when translating into JavaScript.  Be careful to stay with your design, which is what you want to do in English.  This will be particularly true in TicTacToe.   If you can say or write what you want to check, turning it into JavaScript will be possible.  You cannot solve move 2-4 otherwise.  We will talk about this more in class.  I had quite a range of quality in the Chapter 8 questions.  Be sure to check your answers, which are posted on the website.   You will have about 45 min for the quiz.  If you do not get to a question, you will have several more chances, but try to get at least 1 or 2 of them done tonight.   Also, make sure you are very well prepared for the Seminar tonight.  Focus on what Denton, Dembski, and Ray are trying to say before you critique.  Come with notes that include questions and comments. Make sure you check the To Do list.

4/27  I fixed the links for Craps1, Craps2 and Craps3 on the website (Classes/4.26).   If you choose to do the function and graphics craps program, use Craps3 as the template.  Write your English instructions in the Start function, and in Start call other functions like RollTheDice() or GetBet().  You can use if and while in Start.  You can upgrade and improve the Graphics, use sound, etc.   This will count as at least 2 Presentations, and can make up for missed assignments.   Make sure you begin practice for your Competency test as well as reviewing Denton, Dembski, and Ray and prepare a sheet for Seminar with specific points you want to ask or discuss.  Also, I will ask about how to make the second move for X in TicTacToe.  Remember you are starting in the upper left hand corner.  Depending on where the first O moves, how will you decide where to put the second X so that you can always win when you can, or at least tie.   See if you can find these short directions for the second X, and share it in class tomorrow.

4/25  I did not point this out last class, but the answers to your Chapter 3 homework are posted under last class (Classes/4.21)  Make sure you check your work, as you will have a quiz on the book content later in the course.  Ask in class if you have questions.

4/25  Make sure you get help if you still do not have Craps working.  Again, do not post your entire code on the Forum.  You should always have a working part of the program and a part you are still working on.  Ask questions about a part of the code, not all of it.  Check the How to Program details.   I have no posts yet on the Kurzweil Forum for Ch 3-5.  Make sure you post this before 3pm of the next class, along with 2 replies.  We will have our first Competency exam on Thursday, for Read Code,  Write Code, and Function Read.  Again, we will go over Function Read carefully in class, but make sure you know the syntax of functions well from the textbook readings, and cut and paste the example code  (view source) into the online editor to see the output and flow of control, and watch a, b, and c variables.  We will start on Tic Tac Toe tomorrow as well.  There is an online syntax checking tool I found that may help you to find syntax errors in your code.  Check the site, and paste your code to see the errors.  It seems to work OK, but I am not sure it does not have some bugs of its own.  It may help you, though.

4/21  Well, we did not finish the Function Read example, but you can and should run the program in the website and watch the flow of control and the changing of the variables you add to the watch list.   You will also get the output.  We will do several examples on Tuesday to talk about how the runtime stack works and how it affects the parameters.  If you work at it, is will be no more difficult than the regular read code problem, after a few more examples.   Make sure you Craps programs are working.  I was running out of time and wanted to talk about this program a bit, so if you still have problems, be sure to email me.  The code you turn in should be working perfectly.  Go to the class page for today (4/21) to find the function read example.  Also look at the end of the list,  Item 10.   The next challenge is to rewrite the Craps program using functions and graphics.  Check out the Driver Function code for a start.   In the end, the Start() function should look just like your English craps program with only function calls,  if and while.    Start on this program if you can.  We will begin Tic Tac Toe next week.  I will be gone for several days, so I will reply to emails as soon as I return.  Have a great Easter weekend.

4/21  Tonight is a very important night.  We will be 40% through the course.  We will review what is needed for both credit and a good eval, and then focus on the things you need to be able to DO.   We will have 3 of our 4 competencies in place tonight:  Read Code (we did this one the first time on Tuesday),  Write Code (we talked about this one), and we will discuss and practice Function Read tonight.  The only one left will be Array Write Code, which we will introduce in a week or so.  You will need to demonstrate you can do these tasks at a high level.  Tonight we will primarily practice the first 3 competencies, review and explain functions,  talk about the next Craps program, and have our Seminar on Searle and Denton.  To prepare for Seminar, both read carefully and reflect on these readings.  Prepare questions and comments for your discussion.  Tonight we will have a substantial amount of work time.  By far the most important item is the read and write code competencies.  If you are comfortable with these skills, I would ask your help in helping other students.  Some of you can work on the TTT learn program, and some may start on the second Craps program with functions and graphics.  I still need more folks getting into the Presentation pool.   Cody has asked to make a forum for ideas for Presentations and Research articles.  I have called this Forum Research Ideas.  Do not mix this up with the Presentation Forum, where you are actually reserving a presentation topic and linking to your presentation page.

4/20  I am concerned that I am getting too many holes in my gradebook.    Too many folks are missing assignments, and I am not seeing a corresponding effort to make these up via Presentations.  Again, we have only limited time for Presentations and if you are missing 4 assignments and expect to do 4 presentations in the last 2 weeks to make up for them, it just will not work.  First and foremost, check the ToDo list and made SURE you are turning in the assigned tasks.  This is not only the easiest, but the preferred solution.  If you are behind, you need to get on the Presentation schedule now.  See me if you have questions.  I have way too many folks now who will be getting reduced credit.  Lets get caught up now, and stay caught up.

4/20   It seems that the website was down this morning.  I will make several entries this evening.  Make sure you check them.  Yesterday in class was very heavy on lecture.   I had a point that took some time to develop.  Tomorrow we will focus more on individual help and Seminar.  Please check carefully the To Do list, as we did not go through it in class.  Also, there were several folks who missed the class last night.  I would appreciate those of you at class sharing our discussions with them.

4/19  When you are using the JavaScript Help forum, please do not post your entire program.  Instead make sure you have a working program in an earlier version and post the part of the code you are having trouble with or do not understand.  For the number guess program, the loop is the hard part.  You will need to use && (and) in the while statement.  We will be having a quiz at the start of class.  Make sure you are there on time tonight.

4/18  Remember to finish the Number Guess program by taking the English directions and translating them into JavaScript.  Also make sure you put some diligent time, effort, and thought into making the similar English directions for how to play Craps.  I will ask you to turn in your English Craps directions at the start of class, but you will also discuss these directions in a group in class.  We will have a quiz at the start of class, so do not be late.  Practice reading code and look at the review questions tab on the home page

4/15  Make sure you check the To Do list on this website.  I have added as an item English directions for playing craps, similar to what you have for the Number Guess lab.  Make sure you have what you think the English directions should be for Craps by Tuesday, as we will discuss your directions in class.  We did not get to our seminar yesterday, but we will get to it next week.  If you find the Kurzweil video that he was promoting on Colbert, let me know and we will try to watch it in class.  Also, if you are struggling with programming, make sure you seek a partner, either a freind, a Quasr tutor, or best another student in class.  Email someone in the About Me forum that is free when you want to work.

4/13  Did anyone else catch Ray Kurzweil on the Cobert Report last night?  He evidently has a new DVD out on how computers will pass human intellegence (the singularity) soon.   Let me know if you see it.  I have updated the To Do list and Due Dates listing on the website.  Make sure you practice changing back and forth between base 10 and base 2, along with reading code.

4/11  Frank Barber from academic computing found this site: where you can cut and paste javascript code online and watch it run.  See if you can get it to work with your JavaScript code.  Use Run and then Reset.  Watch the change variable.  We will try it in class as well.

4/11  Change hint:  Make sure you start with the given Change template code.  Your next version will have output like this, given your change was $6.67:           amount of change is 6.67     the number of pennies in your change is 667     the number of dollars in your change is 6   you still have 67 pennies left   the number of quarters is 2   you still have 17 pennies left……..    Code this much, and then add dimes, nickels and pennies only after you get the quarters to work.  Remember to subtract or mod (%) your change to get rid of what you have already returned to the customer

4/11  It looks like we will have 4 presentations on Tuesday.  Raymond Reed will discuss Machine composed music, Robert Price will talk about self-modifying code,  Morgan Claypool will present the bionic ankle, and Cody Bonney will talk about quantum computing.  Make sure you have the links to your research articles posted to your webspace and the link to your webspace posted on the Forum.  Please check the JavaScript help Forum to get or give help on Change.  I may use the questions and answers you give from this Forum in your evaluation.

4/9  I am still looking for someone to help out another student and make some money by taking notes for the class.  If you are willing to do this job, please email me ASAP so I can give you the contact for details.

4/6   I have made several changes to this site since last night.  Check the 4/5 Classes page and the ToDo page for a link to the Change program template.  You may need to run this program while in Firefox, as IE can get have permission problems.  Remember to try to make progress on your change program before Thursday and come with questions.  I will ask students at random to read me their English solution for getting Change, so have that available on Thursday also.  Note your personal webpage needs to be in by next Tuesday, not tomorrow.  Also note that you have a new assignment.  Before 3pm on Thursday, you need to post replies to at least 2 entries on the Kurzweil Ch 1 Forum.  After 3pm will not get you points and you will have to make these points up.  You should read through all the entries and come with questions and your own beliefs to class, ready to participate in the first Seminar.   It appears that cutting and pasting code from HTML into notepad is now not reliable.  It would be better if you view the source from running code in the browser.

4/5  Please email me right away if you are still having trouble opening and transferring files to your webspace.  You can get help for this from the computing center also.  You will be posting your personal webpage to the web soon, along with other assingments and presentations.

4/4  If you are still having trouble with the Form Letter program, I posted another example under the page Classes/5-31/FormLetter     In this example, you have a input of age, but a calculated variable of nextyear that is not inputted from the user, but instead calculated from age.  Note parseFloat turns the age variable into a number.  Your program will have 5 inputs and one of these calculated variables (don’t use age..) in your form letter.  Remember to turn in a listing of your program, and a screenshot of 2 example runs, showing your form letter printed with 2 different sets of input.

4/4  Make sure you are making entries into the Forums, before Tuesday if at all possible.  Read and reply to entries as well.  I will not make replies to the forums, but I do monitor them and use them in evaluations.  They are your communication tool.   I will make group announcements on this space, and use the email for personal communicatons with each of you.   Use this email to contact me with problems.   I am still waiting for folks to add me to MSN IM or skype.  Please add this email for a contact in IM, or abvanetten in Skype.  I will use these tools for online office hours, and I will have many hours for you to get help.   Email with an appointment request, or just check online.  If you are interested in making some money taking notes in the class, contact Steve in disabilities services before class on Tuesday, and let me know if you are hired.

4/1  I have posted the answers for your Chapter 1 review questions assignment for the Reed text.  Find it under Classes/3-31/Ch1 answers.  Review your answers.   If you are interested in the programming challenge to teach the computer to learn to play tic tac toe please email me.  I encourage this for folks with strong programming background.  JavaScript background is not necessary.   If you have MSN Messenger, or when you get it,  add me to your contacts, using my email.  You can add me to your Skype list as well (abvanetten).  I will be online frequently, and you can use my email to make an apointment for IM or Skype help.  We will have someone available to help with programming in the QUASR center.  If someone in class is taking good notes and wants to make some extra money, see me Tuesday.

4/1  Happy April.  I promise no april fool’s jokes on this post.   Most of you are in good shape with your assignments.  As you work on the Personal Webpage, you will eventually need to post it to a web server.  I have been told you all now have web space on  Under the ToDo list you have a link on downloading and installing CoreFTP, a free file transfer program.  It worked as advertised and easily for me at home.  Let me know right away if you are having troubles getting into your space.  Remember when you log in, the right side will be the server and the left side will be your computer’s files.   To find your exact folder, find the folder with the first letter of your last name (in my case, v), open this folder and find your folder, the first 3 letters of your last name, the first 3 of your first name, and your birthdate.  Your password should be your regular Evergreen password.   Please let me know by this weekend if you are having trouble accessing your space.

3/30  Congrats on checking this page.  Check in every day or 2 to see what is new.  I have emails from 10 students so far.  Make sure I have your email before class tomorrow.  Remember you will have to make up the points if you do not have it to me by then.  I also have only 4 entries on the About Me Forum.  This too is due before class.  Remember to read and reply to posts on the About Me forum.  You are looking for study partners.  Remember you have the Reed textbook available for use in the Computing Center in the Library.  Come with ID.  Let me know if you are having trouble with getting or checking out the book.  Remember to have the Ch 1 review questons for me before class on paper.   I have a number of folks with a strong programming background.  I would like to enlist you in a more advanced project.  I would like you to program the computer using Javascript to learn how to play Tic Tac Toe.  This will involve some heavy thinking and comfort using arrays.  Let me know tomorrow if you are interested.  I will work with you on the project.

3/28  Make sure you let me know ASAP if you are planning to take the course but cannot attend the first class.  Students not attending the first class without notice may be dropped, since we need to accomodate as many as possible from a large waiting list.  Contact me at

3/25   We currently have a full class and a full waiting list.  I will keep the class at about 25, but students sometime do not show, so if you are on the wait list, show up for the first class.  I will add students from the wait list by their order on the wait list, but I will first have all the students on the waitlist meet to present their case to be bumped up given their circumstances.  I am sorry we have to do this drill.

Make sure you check this home page often, as I will have class updates posted frequently

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