It’s Sunday morning as I write this post.  I’m waiting for the Grand Prix of Spain and the interviews with the principles are running on the pre-race show.  A member of the Formula 1 management team is talking about the efforts that the new team has to create their brand as a media space rather than a sporting space.

It was interesting but made a nice tie in to an application that I was playing around with this weekend.  The app is called Logo Game.

It was fun and time consuming as any good gaming application should be.  It acknowledges or confirms that we live in a world full of product branding.

The game is simple enough.  A logo for a brand is displayed on the screen and all that I had to do was identify it.

I hope this isn’t a prediction for the future.  This Ferrari fan certainly would have liked to see a prancing horse logo but this came up instead.

Screenshot 2018-05-13 at 07.08.03

All that you have to do is type the brand name that goes with the logo. It comes as no surprise that the game is supported by advertising as you’ll see from the Jeep advert!

Looking ahead …

Screenshot 2018-05-13 at 07.08.30

Most of those logos are immediately recognizable.  A couple needed some pondering.  I think part of the challenge was seeing them all displayed as the same size.

I guess I live in such a branded world!  And pay attention to things too.  Of course, it would be a piece of cake if the lettering that appears with some logos was left in and so you’ll notice that some of them have been carefully edited out.

I know that, in a Business Education class, you could get a great deal of mileage from this application.  I’m sure that you’ve got ideas for whatever you teach.

As the Formula 1 race nears and you see television shots, you can’t help but notice company logos everywhere – Emirates, Esso, Hublot, Heineken, Pirelli, Lenovo, Shell, Aston Martin, Red Bull, DHL Ray Ban, and more.  And, of course, Rolex.

We do live in a well branded world.

Operating system mindset

My friend Lisa Noble wanted to make sure that I didn’t miss this.

Now, with the number of Linux sources that I read daily, you had to know that I was flooded with articles about this.  I read them all with interest and started wondering…

It’s interesting.  When I bought my Chromebook, I made sure that it was going to run two operating systems.  Obviously Chrome OS and, for the future, Android.  I bought the unit that had the biggest storage at the time – 48GB, it had to have a touch HD screen, etc.  This was going to be a computer and a tablet.  I never thought of anything beyond that.

For the longest time though, it didn’t become my go to machine.  I had this mentality that followed me from previous computers I’d used.  An application for everything and everything required an application.  Of course, I proved myself wrong over time and now this is indeed my go to machine for all kinds of reasons.  Chrome OS got better over time and it’s just a matter of finding the appropriate web application or download the appropriate Chrome or Android application to do the deed.

And, yes, I still have to deal with those who haven’t bought into the web application concept because “it can’t do this” which typically is one of those odd ball things you see demoed in an application smack down that’s neat but you never really need it.

So, now we might have Linux apps on the Chromebook.  My first impression was “wow” and I started thinking about OpenOffice and GIMP.  Heck, maybe even install Wine and run Windows applications.

I know that there’s a certain opinion in some people’s thoughts about working in Linux.  Actually, do any search for a topic and you’ll find answers that are generated by dropping into a terminal and running instructions from the command line.  Now, with my current installation of Linux Mint, I can’t remember the last time I ran a terminal session, if ever.  But, I do it in other operating systems all the time.  Including Chrome OS.

Screenshot 2018-05-11 at 10.09.54

So now the wondering starts.  If and when I could run Linux applications, which would I run?  As you see from above, I have a number of applications installed here already to run in addition to stock Chrome.  You’ll see that I run Opera (and I also have Firefox and a couple of other browsers installed).  That’s for specific purposes.  Read this blog and you’ll see that I like to, well, tinker.

The bottom line though is that, once I shook the mindset that I needed all kinds of applications, things really changed.  I think I started to think of Chrome OS as a real OS and not just a browser.  It changed the way I did things.  I guess …

In this light, I’m at a loss to identify what and why I would run under Linux that would be different from what I’m doing now.  Surely, Google isn’t about to drop Android – are they?

What are your thoughts?  If and when Linux becomes available on your Chromebook, is there an application that you’d install to increase your productivity?

Another outlet for coding

Over the weekend, the Grasshopper application (Android or iOSfrom Google was everywhere in my news feed.  It was touted as “the best way to start your coding adventure with fun, quick games on your phone that teach you to write real JavaScript.

So, I decided to give it a try.  I downloaded it onto my Chromebook.  Since Grasshopper is an Android application, the “other side” is loaded when I want use it.  It’s not a problem.  I can flip the screen back and use it as a tablet with touch or just launch it with the computer in laptop mode.  More on this later.

I was pleased with the look, feel, and approach that it takes.  Of course, I started at the very beginning.

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and then I was off on the very visual path of learning.

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This ol’ computer science teacher recognized the steps taken to get the learning rolling.  Of course, you have to start with the basics and then move on.  I found it interesting that the concept of arrays was introduced as early as it was but that was OK.

Like I do when I find applications like this, I found myself really running through it at full speed.  So, I did slow down so that I could fully enjoy each of the steps and hopefully not miss something.

Screenshot 2018-04-23 at 07.12.55

What would a computer science course be without the compulsory flip a coin problem!

Of course, I had the background so was able to move through fairly easily.

Screenshot 2018-04-23 at 07.14.29It was fun, nonetheless.

The resulting code is text and the approach is sort of a hybrid combination between text only and drag and drop coding.  You’re given just enough tools at each step to get the job done.  There wasn’t too much there to confuse the learning with extraneous options.  For that, you’ll have to go to the next level or head over to the playground.  But stick with things.  You can complete the course and get referred to Coursera for next steps.

As it would happen, I had to take the car in for an oil change.  I’m sitting in the waiting room and I know that they have free wireless.  I decided that I would while away some time and continue to learn on my phone.  Sadly, they had the Play store blocked but I decided to put the cost of a data download toward my learning.  As I continued to work my way through things, this older woman came in for her service and looked over my shoulder.  “Whatcha playing?”  I explained what I was doing and the teacher came out in me.  I don’t know how much she got but she could have moved to another seat so I’ll take it she was paying attention.  Or too lazy to move!

In doing the tutorials, I found out something about myself.  I think that every programmer brings baggage to a new language or new programming environment.  In laptop mode, I hated that I couldn’t just use the keyboard for the coding.  In tablet mode, I hated the fact that I had to use the keyboard for tapping some things.  Well, maybe not “hate”.  I guess there’s no pleasing some people.  I think I enjoyed doing it in laptop mode better than tablet mode.  That sort of flies in the face of the original goal which was to learn coding on the phone.  But, now I have that option too!

So far, the tutorial is well locked down; I couldn’t skip over any of the lessons so I’m learning everything as we go along whether I need it or not.  (and I’m OK with that)

If you’re looking for some new programming experience, download Grasshopper and give it a shot.

A game is a game until it’s a history lesson

I don’t play a lot of people on Words with Friends but just a few to have some fun and to stay connected.  Oh, and the odd challenge or smash talking over words.

There are some people that can beat me with their eyes closed it seems.  For the most part, my games are fairly competitive.  I used to play it on my iPad but it’s so slow and crashes with applications that I seldom do anything with it.  Instead, I have moved to an old Android Smartphone which makes for an excellent replacement.

In the beginning, I thought that both of the games were the same.  Except that the Android versus had some new features, including daily coins, etc.  Since I started playing the game without them, I don’t use them and apparently have reached the maximum that you can collect.

I just enjoy playing the game.

I enjoy it even more with a new feature that showed up recently.  It’s a challenge to play against famous explorers.


Quite honestly, I had ignored the link until yesterday when it was pretty crumby weather around here and I was looking for something to do.  Lots of people beat me; why not let some AI get some gratitude on me.

I was surprised that the game board was a little different from normal which made for a more interesting game.  But my curiosity went over the top when I checked out the names of the explorers that I was playing.  I do remember studying Magellan in school but the rest were new to me.

So, I did what any curious learner would do.  I searched for them and did some engaging reading about each.  I love it!

Is this learning by happenstance?  Probably but I found it really interesting to head off on these tangents.

According to the scale, these were easy people to play against but that’s OK.  As I head up the ladder, there are more difficult players in my future.

Better than that though, there’s some new history to learn about and you can’t beat that.


I needed to buy a screwdriver the other day and so it was off to Canadian Tire.  Before I could even think of navigating to the tools section and then find the one from the millions on the shelf, I saw a display.  I’m such an impulse buyer.

It is the current distraction – there were fidget spinners on sale for $8.88.  I looked; I was tempted; but I moved on.  After all, I think that I have a Rubic’s Cube somewhere located in the games closet.

As it turns out, you don’t actually have to have the physical device and risk injuring yourself.  You can play with one on your device.

Google Fidger Spinner

Look no further than out friend Google, the search engine and home of interesting Easter Eggs.  Just head to the Google homepage and search for “spinner” and you’re off.

Repeated clicks on “SPIN” will speed things up for you!


There’s a toggle that lets you switch between the Fidget spinner and a wheel of fortune type wheel which can do things like simulating the roll of a die.  A pull down menu lets you determine the numbers of digits that appear on your wheel.

But, we’re here for the fidgeting!

Scratch Fidget Spinner

So, that’s OK if all you want to do is to take things for a spin.  How about creating one using your coding skills?  Then, check out this one, written in the Scratch scripting language.


Green Flag to go!

Your arrow keys will allow you to adjust speed and direction.  But, the real power here is in the Remix.  Log into your Scratch account, remix the application, and then your and/or your students are off!  Now it gets exciting.

It comes as no surprise that there are all kinds of variations of the spinner available on the Scratch website.  Knock yourself out here.

There’s an app for that…

Don’t write off your portable device.  There are lots of options there as well

Oh, and you don’t have to worry about this.