# Playing with Cargo-Bot

Over the weekend, I read about Cargo-Bot.  It really caught my interest for two reasons.

• it was created on an iPad using Codea;
• it’s a game that includes Computer Science concepts.

I have downloaded the Codea and played with it previously.  “Hello World” and a quick calculator was truly the extent of my use.  I guess I’m just a keyboard type of programmer guy.

So, I just had to check it out.  It’s a free download from here.

Within seconds of downloading, I had it up and running.  The “How was this game created?” was really interesting but how does it play?  There’s a tutorial – tutorials are for wimps – let’s give it a shot.  I loaded the “Easy” level.

Hey, this looks like the classic “Tower of Hanoi”.  It took me a couple of minutes to realize that the items from the Toolbox didn’t work immediately.  You have to drag them over into a Prog line and then click the big green play to make things happen.  So, I fiddled a bit and got the knack.  The idea is to move the cargo boxes in the stack to the layout in the goal.

It was a good bit of noodling but I finally got it to work.  Then, there’s a nice surprise!  You get the opportunity to record your actions and this recording ends up in the Photo library on the iPad.  But, from there, you can upload the result to YouTube!  So, here’s the result of my first attempt.

I played it a couple of times feeling pretty good and smug about myself.  But, then I looked really closely and saw that I got one star for my efforts.  Whaaaa……

Now, I’ve played enough Angry Birds to know that one star is a feeble effort.  It gets the job done but that’s about it.  What did I miss?  How could I make it better?

Time to give in, I guess.  I tapped “Hints” and found that the shortest solution uses 5 registers.  I appreciate that now we’re using computer science language.  Expecting to do some reading, I was pleasantly surprised that the tutorials were actually puzzles to solve showing the concepts.  I worked my way through a couple and got the concepts of looping, routines, and conditional operations.  And, more importantly, the advice that “Shorter programs are awarded more stars”.  That made me smile.  Optimize the code; forget brute force.  I like this very much.

So, it was back to the first puzzle and I’m now getting it.

Oh, that feels good.  Learning, puzzle solving, optimizing.  Now I’m really getting it.

The categories are “Easy”, “Medium”, “Hard”, “Crazy”, and “Impossible”.  Not being a sequential type of guy (slow learner, perhaps?), let’s try “Impossible”.  Well, that was humbling.  OK, let’s back off to, oh say, “Hard”.

That was a good way to chew up some time.  But, success was there after a while.  How long, I’ll keep to myself.

In total, this was a great experience.  I can’t remember when I’ve last enjoyed solving puzzles this much.  I’d like to say that I’ve solved them all but they are definitely a work in progress.

Quite quickly, the games passed Tower of Hanoi for puzzling and frustration and satisfaction when solved.

Computer Science teachers should take to this immediately.  There’s a real appreciation for the end product as well as the work that would have gone into it.  Every Computer Science teacher has solved Hanoi and passed the experience on to students, right?  You’ll appreciate the visualization of the algorithms that are created.  There’s just something reinforcing when things go right; and it’s funny to watch a runaway loop or going beyond the bounds of the game and the effect it has.  (I won’t spoil it)

If you’re not a Computer Science teacher, you’ll still appreciate a fantastic collection of puzzles.

# OTR Links 05/29/2012

• Introducing the Knowledge Graph
When you search, you’re not just looking for a webpage. You’re looking to get answers, understand concepts and explore.

• This is an overview of Google storage plans for people who purchased a storage plan prior to 24 April 2012.

• Jelastic Java Host
Rock-solid Java in the Cloud

Auto-scales. Easy to deploy. Runs ANY Java app.

• 10 stupid user stories: The madness persists

• About a year ago, I wrote a list of my 10 favorite stupid user stories. Although that list was fun to write, it was really hard to narrow the list down to 10 items. So I decided to write a sequel and cover 10 more tales.

tags: users tales

• I was looking for some instructional resources for using Google Apps and one of my students, Randon Ruggles from Minneapolis, sent me a plethora of them. While I feel that writing this blog is important because I can share information with you. the real reason is so that I can put it someplace where I won’t lose it.

• Depth of field is one of the most powerful tools we photographers have in our arsenal. It can be used to create great depth in a landscape or highlight the eyes of a model. In this short guide we will take a look what depth of field is and some of it’s uses.

• What the media have called Britain’s “cookie law” became enforceable this weekend and will require UK-based website operators to give visitors notification if the website will use any method of tracking—not just cookies but other types of analytics as well—on the user’s computer.

• Awhile ago, I wrote about the beginning of the one-to-one iPad journey in my classroom.  I have always appreciated when others have shared not only their pedagogy,  but the organization of their tools or classroom as well.  I’ve also had more people ask me questions about my set-up than how I use iPads to actually teach in my classroom, so here’s my “share”.

• In November 2011, The Boston Globe had a panel on “cyberetiquette.” We met in a theater at Boston Globe headquarters. On the stage was a moderator, a Globe reporter, and two of the Globe’s regular “advice and manners” columnists. And then there was me, there, I suppose to represent the cyberworld and where it might take us.

• Never before has it been so important to say “No.” No, I’m not going to read that article. No, I’m not going to read that email. No, I’m not going to take that phone call. No, I’m not going to sit through that meeting.

• In its latest bid to convince organizations to upgrade from Windows XP, a Microsoft-sponsored report claims that companies end up paying more than five times in support costs by refusing to upgrade to Windows 7.

• Just a few months ago Pinterest was the new kid on the block, but now it is firmly the number three social network in the world. Since January 1st the number of users who visit Pinterest daily has grown by 145%. This is great news for marketers as Pinterest is proving to be highly effective for converting sales and driving traffic to websites.

• Then he looks at this year’s first-graders, calculates his staffing and crunches the numbers: although these kids also have high needs, three classrooms of 16 or 17 will have to be shoe-horned into two second-grade classes of 23.

• So, while applying for such jobs, you need to display your good academic records and research abilities, to prove your potential to handle positional responsibilities. Thus, they help you to create an additional advantage, by highlighting your strong aspirations, to serve the education sector.

• There have always been people who have believed that lifelong learning is a worthwhile process. Increasingly, scientific research is proving them correct and technology is making it easier – adults can now take online college classes for the rest of their lives.

• Decades of educational research demonstrate that during the years between elementary school and high school, many students disengage from math and don’t regain their interest—to the detriment of their later schooling, and even their adult careers.

tags: math

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.