Friday, March 04, 2011

Top Read Posts February 2011

When I look at the blog statistics for my primary blog I am often surprised. Surprised because some posts that I expect a lot from get ignored while others get more attention than I ever dreamed of. Other times I see that posts written some time ago (two and a half years ago in one case in this list) have soddenly returned to activity. And some posts from previous months are still drawing traffic even though they are not currently on the front page. Search engines account for much of this of course. People are still looking up IBM’s Watson and Microsoft’s Kinect for example. And sometimes someone with a large following links to an archived post sending many new people to read that post. So there is logic to the list of top read posts in February 2011 even though it is not always intuitive.

Are Programming languages really languages? – One of several posts written this month that was linked to by the influential Code Project website. There are 21 comments on this post with people taking both sides of the question. I see that as very positive and the comments make for interesting reading. And potentially a good start for an in-class discussion.

Fizzbuzz – a programming question Code Project also linked to this post, one of several project related posts this month – others were Credit Card Project and a link to Kenny Spade’s Triangle Shooter . There were 47 comments on this post as person after person tried to impress readers with their great code. You’d have thought I was looking to hire someone. With a wide range of different solutions and programming languages demonstrated I think the comments are very useful. I only wish there had been more discussion of the code – though there was some.

Do your students understand this cartoon? A Golden oldie. This post was written in 2007 and is a discussion of a cartoon from xkcd showing an SQL Injection exploit in an interesting way. A blog primarily focused on global warming of all things ( ) recently used the same cartoon as an example sending readers to this post for the explanation. Apparently a lot of people were interested in that explanation. This proves once again that once something is on the Internet you can never tell where it will show up.

What does Watson mean? IBM’s Watson computer recently beat the two top human champions of the Jeopardy! quiz show. Interestingly enough a Congressman, who had been a five-time winner on the game, recently beat Watson in a short match – see IBM's Watson takes on lawmakers in game effort

How does Kinect work? This post from last November continues to draw in traffic via search engines. I recently updated the list is resource links to include an interview I recorded at Boston’s Museum of Science where I explain a lot of what goes into Kinect. If you are interested in Kinect then check it out.

Kindergarten computer science Some information about computer science in the much younger grades. I am seeing a lot more interest in this lately. I need to address it more often I think.

Teaching learning and the job interview – Posts on how to teach are as interesting to people as those on what to teach. This post takes about a could of teaching methods that are interesting if not exactly convincing to everyone.

How not to teach programming See what I mean about “how to teach” being interesting? This one also has a bunch of comments and as usual my readers leave a lot of wisdom in the comments. They make the post more valuable than what I originally wrote. So if you missed the discussion in the comments it may be time to revisit the post.

Resources for teaching binary numbers Month after month search engines break readers to this post from April 2010. Apparently this is a big issue. So also check out my blog entries tagged with the Binary key word if you are looking for still more.

Characteristics of a good programming project Computer science teachers are always looking for good projects but what exactly is a good project? Some of my thoughts are here as well as links to some posts on the subject from Hélène Martin.

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