CalFiller

Hathaway Brown has a 6-day rotating schedule that makes it very hard to set up recurring events in most calendar programs.

We have used a solution called DynaCal, which supports all sorts of crazy school schedules, but DynaCal’s interface is pretty cumbersome for our faculty and staff to use. We are a Google Apps for Education school, and we want to encourage faculty to use Google Calendar rather. At the prompting of our director of academic technology, I decided to put together a web-based solution that would create iCal files based on our unusual schedule needs (which could be imported right into Google).

This was also a chance for me to make an interesting web app using Flask and deploy it using things like requirements.txt and pulling from a git repository.

You can see the code here: https://github.com/jamesmallen/calfiller

And you can see what the interface looks like here: http://calfiller.jamesmallen.net/hbus

Raspberry Pi Adventures – Display and SD Card Issues

My students in Intro CS this year have decided they want to build a tabletop arcade game for their final project. They picked this because they had heard about the Raspberry Pi, and wanted to do something cool with it. I swear that I had no influence on them choosing this project (though my personal collection of arcade games may have influenced my willingness to allow them to do something of this scale).

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GravitySim

Pythonista is a groovy app for iPad that lets you do programming in Python right on a device without needing access to a “full” computer or keyboard (although a bluetooth keyboard certainly helps!). It has some pretty good libraries for working with graphics and the input capabilities of the iPad, too.

I was playing around with it while trying to make something to demonstrate to students interested in programming, and came up with this little gravity sim. It was a neat demo of what can be done with just a tiny bit of code.

Artemis on iPads – before the app comes out

If you have not yet heard of Artemis, the fantastic Spaceship Bridge Simulation game by Thom Robertson, then you should check it out right now.

Chances are you’re here because you HAVE heard of it, though. According to the developer, an iOS app is in the works, but it still isn’t out. We had a need for an extra station at a party the other night, so I spent one of my days off figuring out a way to play Artemis using an iPad.

It turns out I’m not the only one to have struggled with this. Artemis forum member troy has posted a write-up of how he accomplished the same goal using some different equipment than me. My method is similar – the short of it is that you use a virtual machine or machines running Artemis, and connect to those from an iPad using some sort of remote desktop functionality.

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Working with Dropbox from my Pogoplug

I had a bunch of large files backed up on my pogoplug that I wanted to get onto my iPad and iPhone. Long story short, I decided that the best way would be to use Dropbox. Unfortunately, you can’t install Dropbox on an ARM machine!

Luckily, I found this great script by andreafabrizi: Dropbox-Uploader. This is a simple bash script that only relies upon cURL being available on the system it’s running, which is available pretty much everywhere. The setup process was a little weird, but the first time you run the script, it guides you through the process. Now I’m able to put things in my Dropbox using a simple ssh connection to my pogoplug!