‘Pinstripe’: How to Run a Successful Kickstarter

‘Pinstripe’: How to Run a Successful Kickstarter

“A Kickstarter campaign is a massive undertaking, and I could not have done [it] without some serious advice and emotional support from about twenty [or] so developers and previous Kickstarter campaigners. It’s hard to put into a couple sentences everything that went into it, but I can tell you that it included about a month of research and a month of design and development.” Read More

WordsEye Turns Your Words Into Pictures

WordsEye Turns Your Words Into Pictures

Welcome to WordsEye, currently in beta, where you can turn your words into images by the simple act of description. Open a new project and start typing, almost as you would if you were writing a story. Except that instead of leaving the words on the screen for the reader to translate into an image inside their mind, WordsEye takes the extra step to turn those words into a picture–one that is printable and sharable in high definition. Read More

Learn How to Incorporate 3D Modeling Into ‘Minecraft’

Learn How to Incorporate 3D Modeling Into ‘Minecraft’

In James Floyd Kelly’s new book, ‘Digital Engineering with Minecraft,’ you’ll learn how to do 3D modeling and import those models into ‘Minecraft,’ make mazes to bring into the game, and even take creations from your real world and incorporate them into the ‘Minecraft’ world. Read More

Why I Don’t Use My Computer for Gaming

Why I Don’t Use My Computer for Gaming

When you work out of the house, it can be difficult to separate work time from play time, especially when work and play use the same tools. At the heart of this conundrum is the computer. If I’m sitting in front of it, I get the feeling that I should be working. Sure, I use it to surf the web and read blogs and check Twitter. But mostly, I’m working. Read More

‘A Sailor’s Dream’ Is Like Going on Vacation Through Your iPad

‘A Sailor’s Dream’ Is Like Going on Vacation Through Your iPad

I don’t really want to tell you any part of the story because part of the joy is finding each clue on your own, but I can tell you that if you can’t get to the beach, spending a half hour with ‘A Sailor’s Dream’ is the next best thing. It will make your heart ache while it simultaneously makes you hopeful that there are still gorgeous, unique games to be made. Read More

Make Your Own Board Game Cafe

Make Your Own Board Game Cafe

Part of the allure is the fact that you have access to hundreds of games you don’t own, which means that they’re all new and exciting. The other allure is that you’re out and about, eating junk food while discovering that Professor Plum did it in the dining room with the candlestick. But it would be easy enough to recreate the board game cafe with friends for free (or, at least, less than the $20 rate per 4 people). Read More

Computer Club: Playing Adam Cadre’s ‘Endless Nameless’

Computer Club: Playing Adam Cadre’s ‘Endless Nameless’

I chose this game because I was immediately struck by its nod to the early text adventures, especially bringing in the sense of humor that permeated games such as Zork. I also realized on my first play-through that the map was very very easy to draw. This isn’t always the case. As someone who has been spoiled by Infocom’s maps, being able to draw the map easily is very important to me.
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Computer Club: Let’s Play Interactive Fiction Together

Computer Club: Let’s Play Interactive Fiction Together

So I want to start a monthly computer club where we all play the same game at the same time. Bookmark the post at the beginning of the month and then start talking in the comment thread. What do you like about the game? What do you dislike? Where are you stuck? Has anyone figured out how to get the dart out of the bar? What about kill the troll? Get the shield? Read More

A Very Lord of the Rings Christmas

A Very Lord of the Rings Christmas

A few years ago, we dreamed up our own December tradition: Rings Day. Starting on the 25th and running until the 31st, we watch all three Lord of the Rings films back-to-back. We start at Bilbo’s 111th birthday party and try to get Frodo’s trip to Valinor to unfold on New Year’s Eve. It gives the kids our own December tradition to look forward to and occupies us when all the stores and restaurants are closed and our friends are ensconced in Christmas activities. Read More

Rediscovering Infocom Games With My Kids

Rediscovering Infocom Games With My Kids

To solve my spelling problem, my father brought home an Infocom game called Zork. He explained how it worked. I would be placed inside a story, much like my Choose Your Adventure Books, only this time, instead of being contained to two choices, I would have open possibilities. The only catch was that I needed to spell things correctly in order to have the game recognize my commands. It only took a single night to fall in love with the underground world of Zork; fall in love enough to learn how to spell in order to explore. Read More

Tynker: An App to Teach Kids Programming

Tynker: An App to Teach Kids Programming

My son is nine, and very familiar with Scratch, so I’ll start by saying that this app is most helpful for a younger child, perhaps kindergarten age, who hasn’t had experience with drag-and-drop programming yet. While three games came with my app preview — Puppy Adventure, Lost in Space, and Sketch Racer — only the first game comes for free on the downloadable app, with in-app purchases providing more games for the player at around $2 per game. Read More

What Developers on Kickstarter Can Learn from Flappy Bird

What Developers on Kickstarter Can Learn from Flappy Bird

Months ago, I started sending out what I call a canary-in-a-coal mine email when it comes to Kickstarter. People are asking me for money, and if they are, they better take the time to be accessible. If they don’t have the time or energy to deal with the outreach necessary to raise funding for a project, they probably shouldn’t undertake the project at that time. And frankly, with the fact that there is little recourse if the project isn’t delivered after raising the money, it behooves investors to do some research into what sort of developers they’re funding beyond the basics of the project: are they reliable, accessible, and most importantly, will they have the emotional bandwidth to see the project through to its end? Read More

What I Learned from Hour of Code (x12)

What I Learned from Hour of Code (x12)

Each day, when I returned to the school like the Pied Piper of Circuits to lead another round of workshops, more and more kids started gathering at the computer lab door. I think that’s a sign of how interested kids are to keep exploring STEM fields. I had a fifth grader who told me at the beginning of the workshop that she didn’t really like computers who informed me later that she’s now thinking about studying computer science. I think that’s an hour well spent. After all, there are going to be 1.2 million new jobs in STEM fields in 2018. Who is going to fill them if we don’t raise the next generation with that information? Read More

Is It Okay to Put Mummies on Display?

Is It Okay to Put Mummies on Display?

The exhibit begins with an ethical statement, reminding visitors to be respectful of the dead. But it begs the question: can an exhibit of mummies ever be respectful of the dead? Is it respectful to put the dead in glass cases without their permission and allow visitors to gawk at them in the name of science? Are displays of mummies unethical? Or if there are no living descendants to offend, is it okay to put someone’s ancestor on display? Read More

Are You Teaching Your Daughter to Wait for Her Geek?

Are You Teaching Your Daughter to Wait for Her Geek?

As I was brushing my teeth one morning, I realized what I was doing. I was waiting — like Snow White and her prince — for my geek to come. My subconscious game plan was to leave this task until last minute and then ask my husband to take care of it. It’s a strategy that has worked well for me in the past. I often hand over pieces of technology to Josh and say, “please fix this” even though he technically has less technological knowledge than I do. What he lacks in capabilities he makes up for with confidence and a willingness to try things out until he figures out what works. Read More

Hour of Code, Coming in December

Hour of Code, Coming in December

Wait, why are you sitting here, still reading this post? Don’t you know you’re supposed to be over on Code.org, registering your child’s school for Hour of Code? Or talking with other parents on how to get this program up and running? Fine, if you’re going to keep reading, you might as well know what I’m cooking up for my children’s school. Read More

The Geek Immigrant’s Guide to Learning Coding (aka Learn Like a Kid)

The Geek Immigrant’s Guide to Learning Coding (aka Learn Like a Kid)

Being a Geek Immigrant mother to two Geek Native children, I set off to learn coding so I could turn around and help my kids learn coding. And I learned some valuable things along the way. Enough to construct this guide in case you are like me and coming to Geekhood in middle age. It will help you learn coding as an adult so that you can turn around and teach coding to kids. It’s for every teacher, every Coderdojo organizer, every parent, every person who wants-to-learn-coding-for-whatever-reason-but-knows-nothing-about-computers. Read More

What if You Don’t Fall in Love with iOS7?

What if You Don’t Fall in Love with iOS7?

An hour later, he came into my room, his lip quivering. “I hate the new operating system.” He could get used to the new look, the new set-up, but he couldn’t get accustomed to a new sound. Siri’s voice had changed ever so slightly; it was less robotic, less hesitant. The fluidity of sound made him feel as if it wasn’t his Siri anyone. Read More

No, Kids, We Don’t Need Every New Gadget (Even Though I Secretly Want Them Too)

No, Kids, We Don’t Need Every New Gadget (Even Though I Secretly Want Them Too)

There is always a newer, shinier gadget on the horizon, especially at this time of year when manufacturers want to get your Christmas dollars. As an adult, it’s hard not to get swept up in believing that you need a new iPhone 5S (or even an iPhone 5C… in blue… since it’s pretty) when you hear all the cool things it can do that your current phone cannot. As a kid, it’s impossible not to believe that life will be magically different, as wonderful as those adults at Apple make it sound. Read More