Archive for category: Games and Diversions

Code for generating a random Latin square…

May 17, 2016 | Games and Diversions, My Projects, Puzzles | By: Mark VandeWettering

The other day I mentioned that generating random Latin squares was a bit more complicated than I thought, and that an algorithm by Jacobson and Matthews was the way that people typically did it. I worked up this implementation based on a couple of different descriptions of the algorithm (the original paper was behind a […]

Atinlay Aresquares…

May 16, 2016 | Games and Diversions, Puzzles | By: Mark VandeWettering

My last post dealt with a solver for KenKen puzzles. Once you have one of those, then the obvious thing to work on next (in your copious spare time) is a generator for KenKen puzzles. It didn’t seem too hard. You’d begin by generating a random Latin square, then divide it up into “cages”, assign […]

KenKen puzzle solver…

May 12, 2016 | Computer Science, Games and Diversions, My Projects, Puzzles | By: Mark VandeWettering

Lately, my lunch hours have been spent working on the NYT Crossword with my lunch companion Tom. While I find that the Thursday crosswords are often beyond my ability to do in the allotted time, between the two of us, more often than not we manage to plow through them. Slowly over time, we’ve begun […]


January 4, 2014 | Games and Diversions, Math | By: Mark VandeWettering

This is a math/geeky/computer post of something relatively simple, but it arose in the wild in a program that I wrote several years ago, and when I saw it again, it confused me, and I spent a bit of time thinking about it, and I thought I might just write it up. If math/geeky/computer stuff […]

Some Musings on Crossword Puzzles…

December 17, 2013 | Games and Diversions | By: Mark VandeWettering

When I was growing up, my Grandma Busch used to spend time each morning doing crossword puzzles. Off and on through my life, probably in imitation of her, I’ve enjoyed sitting down and doing them as well. The Oakland Tribune (the paper I see most often) carries two different puzzles per day: the Daily Commuter, […]

Crazy programming experiment of the evening…

October 11, 2012 | Computer Science, Games and Diversions, My Projects | By: Mark VandeWettering

I was struck by the lunatic programming muse again today. While reading my twitter feed, I encountered a description of SmoothLife, a generalization of Conway’s classic Game of Life. Instead of being implemented on a grid of discrete binary values, SmoothLife is implemented over a continuous, real valued field. What’s kind of neat is that […]

Donald Michie, Alan Turing, Martin Gardner, and Tic Tac Toe

August 28, 2011 | Computer Science, Cryptography, Games and Diversions | By: Mark VandeWettering

As anyone who reads my blog with any regularity will tell you, I like to read and learn new things. The problem with being self taught and also easily distracted means that you often learn a great deal, but don’t always perceive the connections and scope of what you are learning. I found another example […]

Bit banger

June 17, 2011 | Games and Diversions, Link of the Day, Video | By: Mark VandeWettering

Anyone who has seen my projects on the Atari 2600 might reasonably conclude that I have a thing for retro computing. The saying goes “it is no virtue to do with more, what can be done with less” and I can’t think of someone whose projects have embodied that more than demo coder Linus Akesson […]

Book Review: Land of LISP, by Conrad Barski

April 26, 2011 | Books I Read, Games and Diversions, Programming Languages | By: Mark VandeWettering

I learned to program as a teenager back in the 1980s, starting as most of a generation of future computer professionals did. I had an Atari 400 at home, and learned to program using the most popular language of the day: BASIC. There were lots of magazines like COMPUTE! and Creative Computing that included program […]

Watermarking and titling with ffmpeg and other open source tools…

April 19, 2011 | Amateur Radio, Computer Graphics, Games and Diversions, My Projects, Video | By: Mark VandeWettering

I’ve received two requests for information about my “video production pipeline”, such as it is. As you can tell by my videos, I am shooting with pretty ugly hardware, in a pretty ugly way, with minimal (read “no”) editing. But I did figure out a pretty nice way to add some watermarks and overlays to […]

Cool Link on Maze Generation, with Minecraft Application

April 11, 2011 | Games and Diversions, Puzzles | By: Mark VandeWettering

Josh read my earlier article on maze generation, and forwarded me to this cool link via Twitter. It’s an article by Jamis Buck, and details all sorts of cool ways to generate mazes, with examples, applets, discussion… It’s simply great. It even includes an online maze generator for constructing random mazes suitable for construction in […]

Revisiting a Program from the Past: Maze Generation

April 8, 2011 | Games and Diversions, My Projects, Puzzles | By: Mark VandeWettering

I was playing Minecraft with a few like-minded people the other day, and grew weary of excavating huge, deep holes and falling into lava pits. So, I decided to create my own little island reserve. I scouted a likely location: a small insignificant island off the coast from our main base and began construction. Once […]

Simulating a (simplified) Ring Oscillator

January 5, 2011 | Amateur Science, electronics, Games and Diversions | By: Mark VandeWettering

Okay, simulating the analog parts of the actual physical ring oscillator last night made me ask some questions, so I thought it might be useful to try a very simple discrete simulation. If you looked at the schematic I posted yesterday, you’ll note that the ring is really just made up of single transistor inverters. […]

Direct use of the PostScript language

September 22, 2010 | Games and Diversions, My Projects, Programming Languages | By: Mark VandeWettering

As I have mentioned before, I sometimes find it convenient to write raw PostScript. I’ve used it to generate business cards, to make templates for laying out parts for radios and telescopees, and generating score cards and labels. Today, I had an idea for creating a large poster to hang in my office. It turns […]

Connect-4 Strategy

April 27, 2010 | Games and Diversions | By: Mark VandeWettering

Here is a nifty little page that I haven’t had time to absorb, but it gives some good strategy hints on playing Connect Four. Saved for later perusal. Connect-4.