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To Do

  • Clean-up/finish-up web presence
  • Decide on clickers and order
  • Finish presentation
    • look for non white male CS people
  • Practice presentation on-campus
  • Schedule first go at RHS

Building Applications for the H-ITT CRS

Reading input from the receiver base

  • With perl code:
    • Must have the FTDI drivers installed
    • Example code to read using the Device::SerialPort module: here.
      • Note that usbserial-0000102D will need to be changed to match what shows up in your own /dev.
  • FTDI chip FT232BL does the work
  • FTDI virtual com port drivers available for Mac, Linux and various flavors of Windows
  • The installation guide for Mac OSX details how the usb port shows up as a virtual com ports
    • /dev/cu.usbserial-xxxxxxxx
    • /dev/tty.usbserial-xxxxxxxx
    • xxxxxxxx is the device's serial number
  • COM port settings = 19200 baud (some documentation says 115200), non-parity, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit

General Notes

  • Consider SWAG
  • Target Audiences
    • Grades 9-12
    • MAT program
    • Indy?
  • Name/logo
    • Ecoi - Earlham College Computer Science Outreach Initiative
  • Website
    • Files are all in svn.
    • To obtain an up-to-date copy:
      • svn co file:///clients/users/svn/eccsoi_www eccsoi_www on quark
      • svn co svn+ssh://<yourusername> eccsoi_www anywhere else
    • To commit new changes:
      • svn ci -m "Commit message" will commit any changes to any files in your working directory.

The Presentation

current draft (google docs)

Brad's brainstorm

  • Computer science is done in front of a computer by yourself
    • Most work is team based
  • Math whizzes only
    • There are places for people of all strengths and interests
  • Who does computer science?
    • Possible misconception - stereotypical nerds only
    • People in all fields of natural sciences (biologists, chemists, engineers, geologists)
    • Musicians
    • Artists
    • Social Scientists (writer's voice...)
    • Anyone who is willing to figure out how to get a computer to do the boring stuff while we do the fun stuff
  • What does a computer scientist do?
    • Possible misconception - writes "applications"
    • Fun problems solved by computer science in a number of "non computer areas"
    • Pringles
    • CGI Animation
  • Where can I be a computer scientist?
    • Possible misconception: in a room of servers lit by fluorescent lights or a cubical farm
    • Cool examples of outdoor work
    • Cool places to work that aren't typically thought of - anything you're interested in involves CS somewhere
  • What are some specific things I can do with the interest that's been sparked by this presentation?
    • Audience and location specific
  • How can we incorporate a remote based game into the presentation?
    • Screen Scramble
      • Each button corresponds to a color flash
      • Recognition of current (x,y) in room preferable
    • Simulated bots?
    • Simulated debugging (treasure hunt)
    • Pattern recognition

Fitz's brainstorm

  • update me

Nate's brainstorm

  • I think Brad's selections for sections are right on track.
  • The "what we're going to talk about" bit seems like it doesn't belong...i think our presentation is short enough that if we enumerate our few sections up front then people will now how long till they go back to zoning out in class.
  • Maybe instead of interactive stuff, detailed pointers to stuff online they can use and download. Seeing as how not everyone is on the grid from home maybe we could coordinate with the computer people at whatever institution we present at to make sure we telling them about resources they can access at school computers if need be. Look for applets, flash things, meta-verses? Or simply link to these things from our site and route them through there?
  • coordination with local libraries. Libraries dig this sort of stuff. We could coordinate with a library to set up a display of computing books and resources (assuming they have them, i know my local library back home was rather sparse).
  • The former two things could be summed up in a "learn more" slide.

Notes from Beta Presentation

  • Alan Turing as a computer scientist that doesn't fit the mold. Using him may not be what we want since we were talking about using people who are still alive.
  • People really liked sorting cards as the interactive part. One suggestion that I particularly liked was that we demo the sort using a horribly inefficient algorithm and let the group(s) loose with, "can you do better than us?"
  • Another suggestion for the interactive section is hand out pringles and get the group to attempt to make them fly. The idea here is that our interactive part should have a more direct tie-in with other parts of the presentation. I'm not sure how practical this idea really is, but more ideas are always nice.
  • We need to be careful with our idea to ask the question, "How many computers do you have {on you; in your home}?" In some cases schools don't allow cell-phones, etc in class, and in other cases the people in the group aren't in a position to have a computer -- in the traditional sense of the term.
  • We used, on a whim, some personal and exciting stories to relay our information. A number of people in the grouped liked that and suggested we use more. I think they were referring to our stories about Pringles, Boeing, and any of the others we thought of (I can't remember them right now).
  • Something I noted, and this is more of a public speaking thing in general than it is a presentation specific thing, but, we all talked quite fast. This probably wasn't picked up on by a full group of people who know exactly what we were talking about, but for a group of high-schoolers/adults who have never had experience in computer science, if we start going on about these things as quickly as we were, we're not going to get very good results. Part of this may have been because we were under a huge time constraint, so it may be a moot point, but I thought I should bring it up.

Possible Course Response Systems


  • Pros
    • Open source software
    • Mac and PC compatible application
    • Portable software can be run from flash drive (software install on computer not required)
    • Smart, radio based remotes
    • Presentation of questions and tallying of results are independent functions (allows for unscripted questions)
    • Questions can be scripted through a CSV file if desired
  • Cons
    • Visual Basic (PC version of app) and REALbasic (Mac version of app) are proprietary programming languages and require a license purchase
    • Using a CSV question list requires a hardcoded filename
    • No *nix support