What's New - May 2004
May 31, 2004: We just returned from the
Destination Imagination Global Competition in Knoxville,
TN. An awesome
experience with some awesome kids! Read
more about it and view some pictures here.
May 25, 2004: We reached a milestone this week - 200,000 programs downloaded in the past 12 months!
Here are a couple of small program changes posted today:
24, 2004: Here is my version of the memory card game commonly called
The objective is to form pairs from an array of face down cards by drawing two cards in
each turn. Matched cards are removed; unmatched cards are
turned back face down. When the field is empty,
the player with the most matched pairs is the winner. This
version allows one or two players and setting the deck size from 1 to 20 pairs.
May 22, 2004: I ran across the following problem recently in my daily Mensa® Puzzle calendar;
Find the six digit number in which the first digit is one less than the second and one half the third, the fourth digit is one more than the third and is also the sum of the first and second, and the the fifth and six digits make a number which is the sum of the first four digits. The sum of all the digits is 19.
It's an algebra problem, but I thought I'd try to "Brute Force" it just for fun. Brute Force uses trial and error methods to search for a set of variable values that satisfy a set of equations. Every Brute Force problem to date had a unique value for each variable. This problem has at least one repeated value. which required a small modification to the program. A few additional "Brute Force" type problems have popped up since the last posting so there are now 16 samples included.
May 7, 2004: A viewer found a small problem in the Minimize to Systray demo program posted in Delphi-Techniques this week. The demo shows how to minimize programs to an icon the "System Notification Area", (the Systray), rather than the taskbar. I've corrected a problem with "cannot switch sheets on a tabbed PageControl after restore from Systray" . Writing the one line of code to fix it took about 5 seconds - finding which line to write took about 5 hours!
I'm receiving about 5 emails per day now with virus attachments. The bodies have messages like "Important informations! or "Don't visit these web sites" and often include reassurances like "Virus scanned and safe to open". Right! Maybe we should thank the virus senders for educating the public on the importance of acquiring a virus scan program and keeping it and Windows updated. Microsoft says that 1.5 million copies of their "Sasser Worm Removal" tool have been downloaded, so there's 1.5 million users who have probably turned on Windows automatic update to keep it from happening again. Seems like virus writers, "script kitties", and hackers would be putting themselves out of business before long.
Spam is of course the other daily annoyance - I get 20 or so offers per day to refinance my house or buy drugs without a prescription or to enlarge some body part. I'm sure that my spam load is minor compared to many, but it has bugged me. I have a 30-day trial of "I HATE SPAM" installed now, and it looks like it will be worth the $20 cost. Here's a link to a review of several "Spam Filters" from the current PC World magazine. By the way, the PC World site will put some "spyware" on your system. Get freeware program "SpyBot" to get rid of it and immunize against future infestations. Don't worry to much about this - if you have SpyBot, you are immunized against it, if you don't have SpyBot, you already have dozens or hundreds of spyware programs tracking your Internet usage.
May 2, 2004: My version of the classical pattern guessing game, Mastermind, has been been downloaded a couple of thousand times since I posted it three years ago. The objective for the code-breaker is to identify a secret peg pattern using clues provided by the code-maker. Either the user or the program may play the code-breaker role. The user is the code breaker in the above screenshot (and is about win!)
Based on user feedback, I updated the program this week to allow user selection of number of pegs and colors and increased the maximum number of pegs in the secret pattern to 6. Surprisingly, the 5 or 6 peg case seems only slightly more difficult than with 4 pegs. The program must work considerably harder, however, to analyze 46,000 potential secret patterns instead of 1200!
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