Archive for month: April, 2009

KCheckers isn’t very good at all, but Cake is no cake walk….

April 29, 2009 | Checkers | By: Mark VandeWettering

Milhouse utterly destroys kcheckers. This game is typical of the five I just played against it. [Event “KCheckers Game”] [Date “2009.04.29”] [Round “1”] [Black “*Master*”] [White “Milhouse”] [Result “0-1”] [GameType “21”] 1. 12-16 22-18 2. 8-12 24-19 3. 10-15 19×10 4. 7×14 25-22 5. 9-13 18×9 6. 5×14 23-19 7. 16×23 27×9 8. 12-16 26-23 […]

QRSS grabber temporarilly down…

April 28, 2009 | General | By: Mark VandeWettering

I’m testing WSPR reception using some new hardware. It’ll return to active duty soon.

PBH-10 to launch soon..

April 28, 2009 | Amateur Radio | By: Mark VandeWettering

Project Blue Horizons is a group which is attempting an unmanned Trans-Atlantic balloon flight from the United States to Europe. They are estimating a launch around 0:00-3:00 UTC on the 30th of April and they are supposed to be sending telemetry on 40m. You can follow their updates on twitter. This will be PBH-10, you […]

At last, some QRSS news…

April 28, 2009 | Amateur Radio, QRSS | By: Mark VandeWettering

A while go, I posted a link to AA5CK’s website and his use of the iduino as a QRSS keyer. He used a little oscillator/buffer from Nightfire Engineering along with a home brew, single transistor amplifier. So, I ordered two. And built one. At $7, who could resist? It works, but it obviously isn’t very […]

Milhouse needs an opening book…

April 27, 2009 | Checkers | By: Mark VandeWettering

I decided to play a game against Chinook set on its intermediate level. It was lost before it even began. Fortman’s Basic Checkers lists 3. 16-19 … as the only viable move for Black, and the convincing way that Chinook took me apart is a pretty good ilustration that even with an 18 ply search, […]

Milhouse defeats Chinook (on amateur level anyway)

April 27, 2009 | Checkers | By: Mark VandeWettering

Oddly Chinook seemed to know the end was coming before Milhouse recognized it. But sure enough, Milhouse managed to navigate itself to a victory. [Event “Sparring Match”] [Date “2009-04-27”] [Black “Milhouse”] [White “Chinook (Amateur)”] [Site “Internet”] [Result “1-0”] 1. 12-16 22-17 2. 16-19 24×15 3. 11×18 23×14 4. 9×18 28-24 5. 8-11 26-23 6. 6-9 […]

Sparring Milhouse versus Chinook

April 27, 2009 | Checkers | By: Mark VandeWettering

Well, I’ve mucked around a bit, and begun to add PDN (Portable Draughts Notation) logging to Milhouse. Here is a sparring match between the novice version of Chinook that you can play online versus Milhouse, running at around 15 ply search with a six piece endgame database. It seemed clear that the position was a […]

Goofing around with Unicode…

April 26, 2009 | Checkers | By: Mark VandeWettering

I’m kind of old school. I tend to write a lot of programs with character, line oriented interfaces. Part of it is sort of an organized laziness: I’d rather spend my time working on “the real” part of the program. But sometimes, you realize that your program could be enhanced by a little nicer look. […]

Milhouse beginning to show signs of promise…

April 24, 2009 | Checkers | By: Mark VandeWettering

Well, I got move ordering implemented, and the performance on my two previous test cases seem much more comparable. And with this addition, milhouse is able to solve some fairly subtle problems, not just the toy one’s from Pike’s book of Checkers puzzles. For instance, consider this position: Red is to move and draw. Only […]

Milhouse still hides some mysteries…

April 22, 2009 | Checkers | By: Mark VandeWettering

So, I was doing some more testing this morning, and noticed an anomaly in my checkers program, Milhouse. Consider the following position: LOADED puzzle 177: Testing move ordering.. Color is set to red. White +——–+ | R – – R| |- – – – | | – – – -| |- – – – | […]

Some advances on Milhouse…

April 22, 2009 | Checkers, My Projects | By: Mark VandeWettering

I finally got around to totally ripping out the old implementation of transposition tables, and installing a new one based upon hints I read about on various web pages, mostly originating with some of the ideas for cache management that Ken Thompson implemented for his chess program Belle. The idea is to implement two caches, […]

Car bomb! Twice!

April 21, 2009 | General | By: Mark VandeWettering

There, did I get your attention? So yesterday was a really warm day, the first of the new year really. According to, temperatures in Emeryville reached a high of 89 degrees. Pretty darned nice. In fact, actually hot. After work, I hopped into my car (around 6:30PM, well past the heat of the day) […]

Weather Sensor Boards

April 21, 2009 | Amateur Radio | By: Mark VandeWettering

Here are some interesting kits, all designed to use the 1 Wire sensor bus. In theory, the Open Tracker can use these directly. Perhaps the barometric pressure sensor would be useful on my balloon project. Weather : Hobby Boards : Complete 1wire Solutions

TinyGPS Library for Arduino

April 21, 2009 | Amateur Radio | By: Mark VandeWettering

Yep, I’m still working on my balloon project, and part of it is still scoping out the flight hardware. I found this library for interfacing a GPS to the Arduino, and it looks like it could be quite useful. TinyGPS « Arduiniana

Alpha-Beta Search is Hard To Debug

April 20, 2009 | Checkers, Computer Science | By: Mark VandeWettering

So, I’ve spent a few hours over the last couple weeks to try to debug milhouse, my computer checkers program that I tinkered together over the last few years. It’s kind of maddening, because in so many ways it seems to work, but it has a number of rather maddening behaviors which can only be […]