What's New - September, 2009
September 24, 2009:
Here's a simple 25 line program that performs quite a
sophisticated test. The puzzle is from the Mensa Puzzle-A-Day Calendar for
yesterday, September 23. It presents text requiring us to find the word
that meets the requirements given and whose letters appear consecutively but in
reverse order. Reversed
Words was added to the Beginner's page of our Delphi Techniques section.
It's a great occupation or hobby that lets you learn something new every day. This week, thanks my new high resolution laptop, I learned something every day about DPI Scaling. This is a Windows rendering technique which allows text and most drawings to appear larger (or smaller) than the program thinks they are. It is a clever way to account for monitor displays that have high resolution measured in "Dots Per Inch" (DPI) but results in text too small for comfortable reading. It turns out that the default options for Delphi programs are not the best when scaling is applied so many will require eventual reposting. The most obvious symptom is scroll bars appearing on forms which could easily be enlarged to eliminate them. The first two fixes applied today are two that I use most often as puzzle "helpers": Brute Force and Word Stuff 2.
September 12, 2009:
I have been preoccupied lately with getting up the winter's firewood and setting up my latest laptop.
The new laptop is a "refurbished" Dell Studio 17 - Ruby Red, 4GB memory, 320 GB hard drive, 1920X1200 17" RGB LED display, $636 from the Dell Outlet store. Bargains are available from time to time if you're patient. It's heavy, but the increased display area makes things easier on these old eyes. I've ordered a 2nd hard drive to install internally in this machine, so space and backup hassles with the old one should be resolved also.
Here's another 30 line beginners program, Beginners: Digit Sums ,which counts the number of integers of a given size whose digits sum to a given value. Digit Sums is probably not of much value except as a programming exercise, but I can tell you now that there are 120 four-digit integers whose digits sum to 8. The program doesn't display this, but I'll bet that 1115 is the smallest and 8000 is the largest (Or, as Jeff B. pointed out, perhaps it is 1007 J) .A couple of extra lines of code would let us display this information also.
September 2, 2009:
I revisited a program from several years ago recently. Counterfeit Coin Version 2 updates the program to let you (or shows you how to) solve the problem of determining which coin in a stack of 12 has a non-standard weight in 3 or fewer weighings on a balance beam scale. You can hone your skills with smaller stacks of coins and with the added information about whether the bad coin is heavy or light. Stacks of up to 9 coins are quite straightforward. Taller stacks with the direction of the weight error unknown are tough to solve in 3 weighings though.
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