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Don Kirkby
coder, board gamer, skeptic, 学中文
coder, board gamer, skeptic, 学中文

Don's posts

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Want to help researchers stop AIDS and Hepatitis C? We're hiring software developers at the BC Centre for Excellence. We have lots of interesting problems to solve.

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I'm giving a talk at Vancouver Python day on June 4th about my live coding in Python tool. Buy tickets on Wednesday.
I also put out a new release this week with better integration for turtle graphics and a couple of other improvements.

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I just published a set of domino puzzles called Moonside. It's inspired by Rush Hour and Mahjong matching puzzles. Visit the link for the free rule book, dominoes not included.
I demonstrated it to a group of people tonight, and they happily worked through the full set of puzzles, so I better generate some more.
The software that generates the puzzles was an interesting project. It generates random layouts, tries to solve all of them, and keeps the ones with the most interesting solutions. It then mutates the best ones to see if it can find anything better using an artificial evolution algorithm.

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I'm already a big fan of Pop Culture Happy Hour and Mystery Show, but there are a bunch of others in this list that I hadn't tried before. So far, Extra Hot Great wasn't any of those things and Maltin on Movies didn't thrill me, but I've got many more to try. Anyone see their favourites in there?

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I just put out a new release of my Vograbulary word games collection. This release adds a timer to the Ultraghost game, and that avoids problems with players who slow the game down by thinking too long. I also added a simple animation to spin the words around in Bacronyms.

Try it in your web browser, or ask me to add you to the Android beta testers group.

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The International AIDS Society Conference just ended today in Vancouver. I was excited to go, because we had a poster describing one of the software projects I've been part of since I joined the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS last year. However, the big news at the conference was a study that showed benefits from starting treatment immediately after a patient is diagnosed with HIV. Currently, most countries wait until the infection has progressed to a certain point before beginning treatment. With the new study showing benefits to the patient, and a previous study showing that treatment reduces the risk of infecting others, there could be big changes in the way we treat HIV. Manufacturing and delivering a lot more drugs will be a big challenge, as will paying for them.
Landmark Study to Transform Global AIDS Strategy -

While the term "breakthough" is used far too often when covering AIDS research, it is one that inarguably applies to a piece of research presented at the 2015 International AIDS Society conference on Monday.

Like the PACTG 076 study in 1994 (which showed that the use of a single HIV drug could prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV), the discovery of protease inhibitors in 1996, and the iPrEx study in 2010 (which demonstrated the efficacy of HIV pre-exposure prohylaxis), the new START study will most certainly transform the global AIDS strategy moving forward by endorsing treatment for all persons with HIV at the time of diagnosis.

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Have you ever seen a feather bounce?

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Nicky Case makes a nice argument that being right isn't enough to persuade people. Adding emotion and storytelling is measurably more effective than logic alone. His description of educational soap operas is fascinating.

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It's been almost two years since I put out a release of Live Coding in Python, but I put a new one out today. If you haven't seen it, it lets you run Python code while you're typing it, and shows you instant feedback on the state of variables during execution. It can also show you the result of running turtle graphics commands while you type them. Read the linked post or watch the video for a demonstration of its features.

The new version focused on making sure that your Python code only runs when you ask for it - no accidentally running some code that wipes out important files! See the release page for more details:

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My daughter didn't understand how I could have a T-shirt that Leonard Nimoy signed, so I decided to follow +Scott McCloud's advice and use juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence (a comic) to explain it to her. Spoiler alert: it worked.
Thanks again to all my friends at Zaber for such a thoughtful gift when I left. Even though it's been two years, I still miss you.
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