Posts tagged programming

Beware of LEGO Mindstorms NXT on Mac OSX

:: programming, technology, mac, robotics

I recently installed the software that came with a LEGO Mindstorms NXT kit onto a Mac Mini running OSX 10.4. I was somewhat concerned when the install program prompted me for an admin password, so I attempted to install the software into a directory in my home directory instead of the main Applications directory, but it still prompted for an admin password. Since LEGO is a large reputable company, I gave them the benefit of the doubt and figured the admin password may have been necessary to install Bluetooth drivers or some other feature. I should’ve learned a lesson from the Sony root kit debacle with respect to blindly trusting large corporations. In the Sony case, maliciousness was involved, in the LEGO Mindstorms case, I think only incompetence is to blame.

Solving Anagrams in Ruby

:: programming, puzzle, ruby

Someone posted a question on comp.lang.ruby recently asking for help with solving anagrams. The poster originally asked about ways of generating permutations and several people pointed him to the facets library which has some permutation utility functions. As it turns out, I benchmarked the following naive permutation generator as 3 times faster than the facets library code:

Logo, Ruby & JavaScript

:: programming, haskell, javascript, lisp, logo, python, ruby, scheme

I’ve been teaching my eldest daughter to program in Logo over the summer. Brian Harvey has posted PDF files for a set of excellent books on learning to program in Logo on his web site. The Berkeley version of Logo he’s produced is really excellent. It’s not just your typical turtle graphics language; it has arrays, macros, file processing, graphics, etc.

Half star ratings on Netflix

:: javascript, programming, utility

I noticed a friend of mine (Jordan L.) who had half-star ratings (2.5, 3.5, etc.) on Netflix. When I asked him about it, he said to just “hover over the left side of the star” to get a half-star rating. This didn’t work for me, so I thought it might be a Linux vs. Windows thing and asked another friend (Mike F.) to try it out. Same result – didn’t work in IE or Firefox on Windows. Then Mike found a JavaScript file that could be installed with greasemonkey and that worked fine for him.