What's New -  February, 2017



February 2, 2017:  One of the shortcomings of prior versions of our Square Word Grids program was their inability to solve 5x5  problems except when it generated them.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I forgot about rewriting the program in October 2015, and renaming it to "Double Word Squares".   The good news is that the the older versions could not solve this recent Mensa Calendar puzzle that today's posting does, so the January coding and debugging hours were not in vain.  Check out Square Word Grids Version 3 to see if you are as smart as the program. 



February 5, 2017:  It's been 10 years, since my last visit to the Catapult Simulator.   A grandpa is currently using the program with his grandson to design and build one that will throw a Hershey's Kiss 31 feet! The program needed a few tweaks to handle a projectile weighing a fraction of an ounce, but  Catapult  Simulator Version 2.2 should do it.  For display purposes, here's a sample design that throws a 1 ounce weight about 8 feet.  1/5 ounce Kiss would go much further.


.February 10, 2017: Some users have been receiving  "Malicious website" warnings recently when they try to download zip files containing executable files from DFF.  The warnings are (were) triggered by 5  infected files.  For now I have removed these files: DTMFReader.zip,  InstantInsanity.zip, Missionaries.zip, Syllables,zip, and VolumeControlDemo.zip.   The infections occurred on the website and nothing has shown up as infected on my computer.   The source code for these 5 programs is not infected and still available on the website.  Browsers should remove the warnings when they get around to scanning the website again.    Until then, Google Chrome will actually issue a false positive for ANY executable download attempt, declaring it to be infected when it is not.

It's disturbing that  these infections could occur with no symptoms.  I have changed my master password for the website and will be checking daily for any re-infection.  

In the meantime, if you want the executable for other programs and receive "Malicious site" warnings , a user pointed out a free anti-virus scanner VirusTotal, which will scan and verify any link.   There are a number of  free, easy to use,  "website malware scanners" available  online.  The most useful ones actually download and scan files for virus infections.  These report the website as "clean" today.  Others merely check blacklists and report the website as infected when it find the URL on any list.  Those are still erroneously reporting the website a infected based of the list created by Google Chrome.   Hopefully we will soon be given a pardon by Google.   


February 11, 2017:  It looks like Google rescanned the website last night and gave us the all clear "Get out of jail card".  All files can be downloaded today by any browser without warning messages.  Whew!  February 14, 2017:  I re-posted the clean copies of the five corrupted  program executables  removed 4 days ago:

  • DTMF Reader,  A hardware & software project that listens to Touch Tone  (Dual Tone Multiple Frequency) phone line signals and decodes them to show or save the numbers dialed.
  • Instant Insanity: A bare-bones solver of a puzzles requiring that a stack of four cubes with one of 4 colors on each face be arranged so that each side of the stack shows all 4 colors.     
  • Missionaries:  A user playable solver of the traditional river crossing puzzle involving a small boat, missionaries, and cannibals who love to eat missionaries if they get a chance.
  • Syllables:  Knows how to split words into syllables using a data base and rules.   I'm going to enhance this one to also syllabize foreign words in our DFF dictionary.       
  • Volume Control Demo:  How to change the computers speaker volume with a Delphi program.  

February 27, 2017:  A programmer trying to convert Latitude/Longitude coordinates to points on a Mercator projection recently wrote asking for help.  I pointed him to our Traveling Salesman Program which uses a standard map with locations assigned Latitude and Longitude coordinates and  computes the shortest distance to visit all of a selected set of locations.  However the program would not compile with Delphi versions after Delphi 7.  Traveling Salesman  Version 3.1 posted this week uses compiler directives to determine Delphi version and generate code which should compile under old or new Delphi versions.  As usual when a program is revisited, text errors were corrected and forms layout and displays improved over the previous version.