Word Sleuth for Android

My buddy Stephen Chavez and I have complete our first Android App, and it’s up on the Google Play Store right now for $0.99 here. WordSleth is an anagram, sub-word, and word-combination finder for Android that can be used in conjunction with popular word games such as Words With Friends(TM), Scrable(TM), crossword puzzles, or just simply for fun. We wrote it over the course of two months in our spare time, and put a lot of effort into making it a useful app that was AD-FREE and requires MINIMAL PERMISSIONS. Anyway, download our app. We hope you all enjoy it…

Play store listing
Our app listed on Google Play Store
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Simple-Tank-Game

So, going through some old code on Git-Hub – and having been recently blown away by how cool Gradle is for deployment, building, and testing applications – I decided to fix some issues with some old games I had worked on. Small stuff really. But then I cam across this game, simply called Simple Tank Game, for lack of a better name (It’s working title was Example 8, so it just needed a fracking name). It was a good exercise from my games programming class, and I knew my partner who co-wrote it wouldn’t mind me fixing some bugs, repackaging it, etc.., so I integrated it with Gradle and fixed some minor things, and thought I’d put it up here again. This time, complete for the world to see.

It’s a fairly simple game, but the rules were we could only use Java and OpenGL, and it must use real continuous collision detection, frame by frame, so that in essence things never do collide. Instead, they are detected for collision and dealt with accordingly before the collision occurs in the next frame. This was a concept laid out in our class. So with a lot of Vector math, and a little motivation to learn OpenGL, we wrote this tiny game, and wound up learning a lot. In fact, until LWJGL3 was released, I kept using the engine for slightly more complex game ideas, since it’s a fairly straight forward basic 3-D engine running the game loop.

Recently, I’ve read a free Gradle book I got from O’Reilly, so I decided to redo the rather complicated deployment, this time using Gradle, which is uber cool if you haven’t already been converted. So anyway, here’s the final game, almost 3 years later, with a new build system, better code, and documentation…

Simple-Tank-Game

Written by Joshua Michael Waggoner and Dylan Otto Krider

Git-Hub site here

Simple-Tank-Game

Downloads
Linux Mac/Linux/Win JAR Windows
Download Simple-Tank-Game.sh Download Simple-Tank-Game.jar Download Simple-Tank-Game.exe
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WordSleuth: Anagram finder and more…

WordSleuth is an anagram, sub-word, and word combination finder that is written using MeteorJS and MongoDB. The front end is done in HTML, using Meteor’s version of HandlebarsJS, called SpacebarsJS. For client and server side scripting, I used CoffeeScript, which is described as “a neat little language that compiles to JavaScript. I like all the things you can do with JavaScript, but for me I find CoffeeScript easier to write, read, debug, create objects (which is a strange and vague thing in JS), and when/if I do have to compile it back to JS, I’m left with JS that is JSLint style, with things done automatically, like variable declarations before use, etc… The only times I had to use .js files instead of .coffee files is for Global variables for MongoDB collections. CoffeeScript has no scope outside of a .coffee file. Therefore to use something like Anagrams = new Meteor.Collection('anagrams') in both client and server (which is essential) you would have to have a globals.js file with nothing more than var Anagrams;. This app uses three distinct MongoDB collections, so I had to declare those three global variables, that’s all. Also, to keep the Facebook “like” buttons from disapearing, I used about 10 lines of JavaScript from Facebook to keep it living. Those two files are the only JavaScript that lives in this app. I should also note that I used the following packages in this app:

  • bootstrap-3 (for styling)
  • bootstrap3:glyphicons (for cool glyphicons)
  • moment (for time and date formatting)
  • coffee-script (for scripting)
  • iron:router (for page routing)

Wordsleuth’s functionality let’s you choose from different dictionaries, it’s main stock dictionary being the Scrabble (TM) Player’s dictionary. Other languages are slated for inclusion, such as Spanish, German, and French. Also, I plan to make native Android app at some point, as I am unhappy with the way Meteor plays with phones at the moment.
Like most projects, it feels like they are never done, but my purpose for this project wasn’t to create the best anagram app on the market, because there are som out there that are admittedly better, but I do imagine I’ll keep adding features and functionality as it comes. The goal of my project was to make a finished MeteorJS product that has minimal styling (because I’m not a front-end developer by any means, and I am horrible at writing 21st century html), and that I could share with other developers at Meteor events, etc…, in the hopes of proving that 1) I am somewhat competent at writing Meteor apps, and 2) I can actually finish a product, even if I’m a little unsure about a few things. At some point though, you have to move on, and put out what you have. Nothing is ever perfect, at least not to me.
Anyway, if you have time, or are curious, my app can be found here and the Git Hub project is located here.. Thanks for reading, I’ll post updates to the app as they come about. Until then…

-rabbitfighter

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Apothem OS Version 1.0

Apothem start-up screen
Apothem start-up screen

For our final project in CS3600 Operating Systems, Stephen Chavez and I wrote an operating System in ARMv6 assembly language that runs on the Raspberry Pi. Our initial work was based of a tutorial called Baking Pi, a Cambridge University operating systems programming tutorial that targets the Raspberry Pi. We completed the tutorial series, and from there went on to add functionality, ramp it up, and create a bare-bones operating system that could be re-purposed for many things.

The code is all ARM, although it uses a custom c Library for the generic keyboard driver. The compiled files are linked together using a linker script and a make-file written by Alex Chadwick, who also wrote the tutorial series. ApothemOS is approx 5000 lines of assembly language code, more than 75% of it being our modifications to what we were left with after completing the tutorial.

One of the most important aspects of our functionality is the complete control over all GPIO pins available. Apothem OS can turn on or off any or all or none of the 54 GPIO pins on the board. via it’s command line, and functions are in place where combinations could be applied. There is a command for each one, i.e. gpio16 on¬†would turn on GPIO pin #16.

This is the GPIO Pin Diagram
This is the GPIO Pin Diagram
Another View of the GPIO assembly.
Another View of the GPIO assembly.

ApothemOS has 59 commands, control over all GPIO pins, a help menu, and several humorous ASCII art commands based on Linux programs such as “cowsay” or other similar programs that echo text. We were more or less just trying to display functionality. However, things can still get confusing, so we added a help menu command help. The help menu is informative and tells the user how to use each command currently in use in a helpful and simple way, we believe at least.

Apothem OS Help Menu
Apothem OS Help Menu

But having control over all available GPIO pins is a great place to start with I/O and I’ve constructed a 3X3X3 cube to test the pin functionality with some success. Initially, our project was going to be to try to get the LED lights to sync with music, but we ran out of time. An OS is a large enough undertaking as it is in 5 weeks. Here is a picture of the GPIO breakout connected to a breadboard that houses the test LED cube, which BTW, taught me I’m not a very good electrical engineer.

GPIO Breakout assembly: or... Why I'm not an Electrical Engineer.
GPIO Breakout assembly: or… Why I’m not an Electrical Engineer.

The future of ApothemOS could be that it is re-purposed and stripped down to a level where teachers could assign ARM programming assignments on a Raspberry Pi running ApothemOS, so that the student should get a hands on learning experience. When I learned ARM at first, it was very difficult to even find a way to emulate it, let alone have any fun with it. All this would require would be that students at the particular institution would have to be required to buy a Raspberry Pi unit, but the cost for a bare bones raspberry Pi is $35 and a full kit with everything you could need as a beginner runs roughly $60. So it’s not that unreasonable to ask of a student to purchase one of these units.

Here’s a pic of my unit I got as a present that cost $60:

My Rasberry Pi Model B out of the box.
My Rasberry Pi Model B out of the box.

I plan to attempt to persuade my school to adopt this teaching device for assignments, and hope that something good can come out of it. If not, ah well, I tired… But working with Stephen and doing this assignment (which was not one of the original three assignment choices, but a custom one we got permission for), I learned more about assembly programming doing this assignment than I have in the last 2 years running simulators.

Overall, this was a great way to learn ARM, we are very proud of it, and we hope it can benefit others. It’s licensed in a way that you could do whatever you wanted with it, and the whole source code/developers package can be downloaded from git-hub for people to check out by clicking on this link.. Or you could download a ZIP file in the downloads section in the widgets bar. That site also includes a project description, links to pictures, videos, etc… It’s really the place that documents the project as a whole and the best resource we have to offer. Feel free to make pull requests or fork to your own repository through GIT, SVN or whatever you use. It’s there for people to play with at this point. We had a lot of fun making it, so I hope everyone checks it out if you have the time.

-Joshua

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