What's New - February 2004
February 23, 2004: When I posted Simon last week, I discovered that the Windows Beep procedure used to produce the sounds does not work under Windows 95, 98, or ME. I found and used a substitute procedure which outputs directly to the PC speaker for those systems. Here is a BeepEx Demo posted in Delphi-Techniques with the replacement beep procedure details. (Also shows how to generate an equal tempered musical scale if you are into that sort of thing.)
February 22, 2004: A daughter gave me Bill Bryson's book "A Short History of Nearly Everything" a while ago. At 500 + pages, it's not so short, but it is the most interesting book I've read in the past year so I'm passing it on as my "book of the month". Each time I pick it up I learn new fascinating facts about some science - Geology, Archeology, Astronomy, Oceanography, Biology, Chemistry, Physics - name a physical science and chances are that Bryson will tell you something about it that you didn't know. He sometimes poses simple questions for which no one knows the answer.
Here are a few examples from my current chapter, "Small World"
A great book for teenagers considering possible vocations. Now I just need to find one that is as well written and that emphasizes mathematics, engineering, and computer programming before my grandkids make their choices.
17, 2004: It's been a while since we posted an new game
or puzzle. Here's a PC version of the classic memory game, Simon.
It was written by Delphian Shane Holmes with a few changes by
me. The computer generates increasingly longer sequences of
lights and sounds which the player must duplicate. The game
ends when you make a mistake. My record so far is 12.
I'll bet the grandkids can do better.
February 14, 2004: The first time I tried a practical application of the "minimize to tray" code posted a few days ago, I decided that it needed simplifying. Today I posted SystrayDemo2 which uses an excellent freeware CoolTrayIcon component written by Troels Jakobsen. With a few small changes, it only takes a couple of additional lines in the program to implement minimizing and restoring apps from the tray notification area (a.k.a. the systray).
February 10, 2004: Here are a couple of more Delphi Techniques demo programs I wrote this week. I plan to leave my weather station data capture program running, so it makes sense to use the Systray area to access it and save taskbar space. Here is a Minimize to Systray demo that shows what is required. Mainly a matter of figuring which Win API functions control the appropriate windows and icons.
Also, a few weeks ago I described a problem in the Reaction Times program when I used comma as a field separator in the statistics files. This was fine here, but a user in Norway reminded me that they also use commas as decimal placeholders - making it quite difficult to make sense of the resulting files! I corrected that problem by offering a choice of delimiters but thought that Windows really knew what character was used locally as the decimal placeholder. It knows that and more than 100 other items of information about your country or locale. Here is a Locale Constants demo that shows how to access the information.
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