January 27, 2004

Bulk view

Letter to doctex

Thank you for the opportunity to be of help. We will concentrate on
the scheduled updates system first so that the Society can immediately
benefit from its drive for computerization.

In two weeks, I will show you a system that an encoder can use to keep
track of Jesuits’ periodically-scheduled requirements. Upon opening,
the software will display a list of Jesuits who have unfulfilled
requirements. The encoder can search this list, check off fulfilled
requirements, or edit any of the data displayed.

This prototype will help you demonstrate the benefits of
computerization while giving the Society something to work with right
away. In addition, your valuable feedback will help improve the

I look forward to being of service.


Met with docprex

We’ll start out with scheduled updates. Jesuits have to be reminded to
update documents. The period between updates varies per person (age
bracket and custom). It may be a good idea to support different kinds
of documents, too.

They need something to last years, so we can’t turn it over to the
students. Pair programming might be a good idea – forces my code to be

Actually, if it’s Java, it can run on their own computers, and then
just send the data to a central server every so often. (version
2… =) ) We need to make this as painless to run as possible, which
means no external database. It also needs to be as paranoid as heck
when it comes to saving.

Data associated with each Jesuit:

id (surrogate primary key)

I promised them a prototype in two weeks.



iKnow is a personal knowledge processor, a tool for bringing order to
collections of information and for revealing relationships between
pieces of information. It is designed to help you know what you know,
and to see deeper into what you have.

Essentially, iKnow is a text editor wrapped in a collection of
organizational and navigational tools. Together, they make a
collection of information worth more than the sum of its parts.
The value-added bonus comes from the insights you contribute, the
organization you impose, and the associations you define.

iKnow is a Chalk Dust application, part of the Open Slate
project. Please visit http://openslate.sourceforge.net/ for
information about Open Slate and Chalk Dust.

E-Mail from Gary Dunn

“Now Where Was I? New Ways to Revisit Web Sites”

Electronic bookmarks were hailed as a premier tool for recalling Web sites
and pages important to users, but their use has fallen by the wayside. The
University of Maryland’s Ben Bederson calls the bookmark concept fatally
flawed, “because it assumes in advance that this is a page that you want to …

E-Mail from [email protected]

“Disabled to Get Greater Access to Linux”

The Free Standards Group says it has established a task force to develop
accessibility standards for Linux. Scott McNeil, executive director of the
Free Standards Group, says a standard version will make it easier for Linux
developers to develop software and hardware for disabled people; Linux …

E-Mail from [email protected]

CS1 assignments in Java

I’ve developed a Java library for my CS1 course
that SIGCSE members may be interested in using
for assignments. It includes:

- An implementation of Karel the Robot that is

more full-featured than most. We use it to get
students started in using objects, extending
classes, stepwise refinement, practise
with control structures, and to help understand

- A set of simplified input and output classes. One

novel feature are methods such as intIsAvailable().
Such methods allow students to write robust code with
error checking.

- A number of user interfaces, each accompanied by a

Java interface. Students write a class to implement
the interface and pass an instance to the UI. The
result is a complete and satisfying program.

  • A combination lock: students write a class to determine when
    the lock is locked or unlocked. It only unlocks if the correct
    combination is passed as parameters. Students practice instance
    variables and parameters.

  • An AM/FM radio: Students write a “tuner” class. It remembers the
    current frequency, tunes up or down, seeks up or down, and has
    presets. Students practice with instance variables, looping,

  • A equation grapher: Students write a class implementing an eval
    function. The provided user interface displays the corresponding
    graph. Three different Java interfaces allow practice with only
    parameters, parameters and instance variables (for the coefficients)
    or parameters and arrays (arbitrary degree polynomials).

  • An image transformation program: Students write a class to
    transform an image stored as a 2D array of integers. The provided user
    interface reads the image from a file and calls the appropriate
    transformation methods in the student class. Transformations can
    include rotating, scaling, brighten, flip, mirror, etc. I believe a
    similar assignment was included in the SIGCSE 2003 Nifty Assignments

  • A marks “spreadsheet”: gives students practise with both 1D and 2D
    arrays. The 1D arrays store student and assignment names. The 2D array
    stores the marks.

The library is available for download at
Click on the Software link to see demos and download the
library. It requires Java 1.3.1 or greater.

If you end up using it in one of your courses, I’d appreciate
hearing about it!


E-Mail from Byron Weber Becker