Tackling L33t-Speak

How to script a l33t-speak translator. My daughter and I were bantering with each other via text message this morning as we often do, and I dropped into a sort of mock "leet speak". She wasn't impressed, but it got me thinking about formulaic substitutions in language and how they represent interesting programming challenges.

Building a March Madness Bracket in PHP

Jim Hall takes his March Madness script to the next level. Every year in March, my office closely follows the NCAA college basketball tournament, also known as March Madness. You can print out a bracket and make your own predictions as to which team will win at each round. Several of my co-workers take this somewhat seriously, and they always print out their brackets and tack them to their work cubes for all to see. Generally, the winner buys a pizza lunch for the others who played.

Why Do We Do It?

Why does a painter paint? Why does carpenter build? Why does a chef cook? Why does an electronic engineer design, and why does a software programmer code? Speaking from my personal experiences, I'm going to answer those questions with this: to create something out of nothing. There is an art to conceiving an idea and, when using the right tools, bringing it to fruition.

Getting Started with ncurses

How to use curses to draw to the terminal screen. While graphical user interfaces are very cool, not every program needs to run with a point-and-click interface. For example, the venerable vi editor ran in plain-text terminals long before the first GUI.

Analyzing Song Lyrics

I was reading about the history of The Beatles a few days ago and bumped into an interesting fact. According to the author, The Beatles used the word "love" in their songs more than 160 times. At first I thought, "cool", but the more I thought about it, the more I became skeptical about the figure. In fact, I suspect that the word "love" shows up considerably more than 160 times.

V. Anton Spraul's Think Like a Programmer, Python Edition

What is programming? Sure, it consists of syntax and the assembly of code, but it is essentially a means to solve problems. To study programming, then, is to study the art of problem solving, and a new book from V. Anton Spraul, Think Like a Programmer, Python Edition, is a guide to sharpening skills in both spheres.

Watermarking Images--from the Command Line

Us geeks mostly think of the command line as the best place for text manipulation. It's a natural with cat, grep and shell scripts. But although you can't necessarily view your results from within a typical terminal window, it turns out to be pretty darn easy to analyze and manipulate images from within a shell script.

Heirloom Software: the Past as Adventure

Through the years, I've spent what might seem to some people an inordinate amount of time cleaning up and preserving ancient software. My Retrocomputing Museum page archives any number of computer languages and games that might seem utterly obsolete.