Nov 13

JavaScript Snowflake

It’s getting to be that time of the year again. Soon I’ll have to break out the shovel, but before then, I thought I’d put together a short tutorial on how to draw a snowflake using JavaScript and the HTML canvas element.

Here’s what the final product will look like:


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Jun 13

Touch Tomorrow at WPI

On Saturday, June 8th we visited Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Massachusetts for the Touch Tomorrow festival. This was a free all day science, technology and robotics festival. Thankfully the weather was beautiful making it a wonderful day to visit the campus and take in all the exhibits. Continue reading →

Nov 12

Processing Monsters Meets Career Day

It was almost exactly four years ago, back in December of 2008, that I was invited to give a brief talk to the Career Club at my son’s elementary school about the profession of Software Engineering. At the time I had been reading Daniel Shiffman’s book “Learning Processing” and was thinking about how the Processing programming language could be used as a tool for introducing kids to programming. Continue reading →

Nov 12

Happy Carl Sagan Day!

Carl Edward Sagan was born on this day in 1934. His 13 part television series Cosmos aired in the autumn of 1980 when I was still in middle school. Like many other people, I was deeply affected by this program and by the sense of wonder that Carl Sagan projected. Continue reading →

Nov 12


Do you have kids, or are you a kid at heart? If so, do yourself a favor and visit indiegogo to sign up as a RoboBrrd contributor. I am definitely looking forward to working with my kids to build our very own RoboBrrd! How could I not contribute to this project? Continue reading →

Nov 12

Farewell Summer – Ray Bradbury 1920 – 2012

When did I start reading the short stories of Ray Bradbury? I can’t recall exactly, though I do remember seeing books of his lying on the end table at my Uncle’s home. “R is for Rocket”, “S is for Space”, “The Martian Chronicles”…Irresistible, especially for a young boy. It’s also been quite a long time since I’d read any of Ray Bradbury’s stories, I suspect that I’d last picked up one of his books in high school. When I’d heard of his death in June of this year I thought I might borrow a book from the library and re-read those stories with my son, aged 9, at bedtime…or perhaps not. Continue reading →

Jun 12

Scratch Day 2012 @ MIT

I took my wife and children (ages 5 and 9) to Boston on Saturday May 19 for Scratch Day at the MIT Media Lab. We all had a great time there and are looking forward to next year’s event. Continue reading →

May 12

I’ve Finished the Ruby on Rails Tutorial…Now What?

It was perhaps unrealistic, but I’d hoped that when at long last I’d completed the final chapter of the Ruby on Rails Tutorial, the clouds would part, there would be a chorus singing, and I would fully comprehend Rails. Alas, it was not to be. I now have more questions than I had before I started with the tutorial, but at least I’ve seen the process through to completion. So what’s next? Continue reading →

May 12

Counting Down

I generally learn more by doing something rather than just reading about it, or watching someone else do something. I’ve been working through each of the exercises in the Ruby on Rails tutorial with the hope that some of this knowledge will sink in. I’ve now reached the exercises for the penultimate 🙂 chapter of the tutorial, and the last exercise for this chapter is prefaced with the warning: challenging:

Add a JavaScript display to the Home page to count down from 140 characters.

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Mar 12

Digesting Rails: BDD with RSpec

I’ve now progressed through the first six chapters of the Ruby on Rails Tutorial and my head is spinning. I feel like Keanu Reeve’s character from the 90’s b-movie Johnny Mnemonic. Before I proceed, I thought I’d take some time to digest what I’ve learned and do a little research into aspects that I’ve found somewhat inscrutable, which are legion. Where to start? I’m somewhat intrigued by the idea of Test Driven Development, or in the case of the Ruby on Rails tutorial its variant which is described as Behavior Driven Development. Continue reading →