What's New - December, 2009
December 28, 2009: Here's wishing everyone a happy holiday season. Christmas here was not the best ever here along the Blue Ridge. Ice and wind on Christmas eve knocked out our electricity for 3 days. It was a small reminder of what it was like in the olden days without power. Believe me, with power is better, (especially for a computer programmer J). It's back today, so I'll get one more program posted before the year ends.
Circle From 3 Points, Version 2 is a extension of our program which explores the math defining the circle passing through any 3 given points (unless they happen to fall on the same straight line). The original version used mouse clicks to define the points. Version 2 allows users to input three floating point values of arbitrary scale. I needed that to help solve a specific puzzle from one of the puzzle books received as a Christmas gift.
December 18, 2009: Safely back home from our first (and last) repositioning cruise. The first week, visiting Barcelona, Cannes, Florence, Rome, Corsica, and Malaga were great. The second week, crossing the Atlantic, not so much. We're not into casinos, disco, game shows, rock wall climbing, or spa treatments, so that left plenty of time for reading. Of course, being retired, I have plenty of time for reading any week I choose. Seas were rough a couple of days with 30+ foot waves and quartering head winds of 90 to 100 mph. I wish I had had an accelerometer to measure the G forces imparted when a 93,000 ton ship descending collides 180 degrees out of phase with with a 30 foot wave. Not enough to shake one out of bed, but enough to prevent sleep for sure. No sea sickness for us, but I was unlucky enough to pick up an unpleasant intestinal virus two days from port from which I'm just recovering. So, we've chalked it up to "live and learn" and move on.
There was only one programming request that seemed to require action when we returned home. The Traveling Salesman Problem program posted in 2002 allows users to trace paths visiting all of a random set of cities and compare their distance to the shortest distance calculated by the program. There are options for "closed" or "open" routes depending on whether we end up at the city we started from. A student using the program for a project has a requirement to begin the open route at a specified city but my original version always started at the western-most city. Traveling Salesman Problem, Version 2 posted today corrects that oversight and starts open routes at the first city selected by the user.
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