July 7, 2014
Delphi For Fun Newsletter #73
"Family" was the highlight of this past quarter. We traveled to Connecticut for a grandson's high school graduation and got to see his Trebuchet senior science project in action. He'll be studying Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan this fall. Then a visit here at home by our "pharmacist in training" granddaughter studying just a couple of hours away at East Tennessee State University. We then joined the other daughter and family for a week on the Outer Banks (the week before hurricane Arthur). We all have a new appreciation for the creativeness and persistence of the Wright brothers in creating the first motorized flying machine capable of sustained flight. They would have made good programmers!
I hope that whatever I contributed, genetically and by word or example, to the past and future achievements of this batch of grandchildren will be a far greater contribution to making the world a better place than the programs posted here on DFF.
But programming still is fun and provides a little dopamine (endorphin?, epinephrine?) charge when a project finally runs successfully.
Here are links to all the 2nd quarter addictive episodes.
April 12, 2014: Here's another problem solvable by our Brute Force program which applies exhaustive search matching possible values with variables in a set of equations. Brute Force Version 3.1 adds the absolute value function, "abs", to equation formats to enable solving the "Billiard Balls" problem. The problem is to arrange 10 billiard balls into a triangle meeting a set of rules about the balls numbered 1 through 10. One of the constraints is that the balls in a particular row all have numbers more than 1 away from their neighbors. This constraint for balls with numbers "a" and "b" can be expressed with the equation "abs(a-b)>1". Sample problem BilliardBalls.prb is included with the download and is solved in about one second.
April 28, 2014: It has been a productive month for getting spring duties accomplished but not so productive programming-wise. I spent more hours than i care to admit on two programs. Oscilloscope Version 4.2.4 was posted today with some cleanup of the diagnostics when an input device fails to open for display. I'll post our Logic problem solver tomorrow along with a problem which the program cannot solve and a request for help.
May 2, 2014: Another "geocacher" sent me a problem that my Logic Solver program is not solving so far. Several other Geocaching heavy-weights have apparently solved it however. The problem (in German) can be found at http://coord.info/GC3NRMZ. The current Logic Solver update to Version 5.3 has minor updates but the primary reason for the update is to get more eyes to look at the problem to see of there are facts and rules in the description which I haven't picked up on or which the program fails to derive. A translation of the problem is included in the download files.
May 15, 2014:
We've been busy this month with spring chores (driveway reconditioning, garden preparation, waking up motorized stuff that slept all winter, etc.).
Tromino Puzzle Solver V1.0 is a medium size solver implemented on rainy days and evenings this month:
One or more copies of the 6 given shapes have been used to tile the grid and then the
outlines were removed. Can you fill them in again?
May 24, 2014:
Time Trials Version 2 was posted today after scanning to see what robot
related programs I have posted. This is not a very good example but,
as usual, playing with it brought a few changes to mind. The "bug" needs
to be maneuvered around a "track" and through some gates in your best time.
Version 2 allows bug size to be adjusted (smaller bug makes it easier and faster
to complete the circuit). I can just break 20 seconds now
May 28, 2014:
"Alphabet Long Division" is the 40th sample problem added to the our
Brute Force solver download since the
original posting in 2001. It is the perhaps the first problem to
extensively test the shorthand feature that treats character strings in
equations as multi-digit integers so we can define this problem with equations
like BRINK / RIB = RUN, RIB * R= OAR, etc. Click the
here if you have the
April program update and just want this new problem to play with.
June14, 2014: Here's a Fill the Blanks Puzzle worth a few idle minutes of your time. The program makes it easy to validate that your choices are valid words and to explore alternatives. Another extract from the 2014 Mensa Puzzle-A-Day Calendar.
Many of the 10 given three-letter partial words have more than one choice of final letter to form a common four-letter English word. Use all of the supplied letters exactly once to fill the blanks and complete all these words. There is only one solution.
June 21, 2014: Self Describing Sentences, Version 2.2, posted today, adds a few extra examples of self-describing sentences or "Autograms" as Wikipedia calls them. I also added some run statistics and the ability to interrupt long running cases. Got to run. We're off to Kitty Hawk and the beach today to spend a few days with daughter and family.
Advice for the grandchildren:
304,100 site visits and 328,900 program downloads in the past 12 months!