Archive for October, 2013

HGTTG[2] = Chapters 11 – 15

October 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Comprehension Questions

  • Chapter 11

    • Why are Zaphod and Trillian on the run?
    • Who picked up the hitchikers?
    • Who is Marvin?
    • What is the GPP feature?
    • Which government owns the ship?
  • Chapter 12
    • Why was Zaphod listening to the radio?
    • Where is Trillian from?
  • Chapter 13
    • How does Ford know Zaphod?
    • How does Arthur know Zaphod?
    • How does Trilian know Zaphod?
    • How does Arthur know Tricia McMillan?
  • Chapter 14
    • What did Trillian bring with her from Earth?

      What did Zaphod find?

  • Chapter 15
    • What is Magrathea?


  • “The truth of the matter is that it would have been a great deal simpler and more practical to build the cabin as an ordinary three-dimensional oblong room, but then the designers would have got miserable” Do you or people you know ever do things not because they are needed, but because they are interesting?
  • Should it be possible, should robots receive the ability to “feel” emotions?
  • The Heart of Gold had an “artificial night”. What role does sleep play in the human condition?
  • “Here I am, brain the size of a planet and they ask me to take you down to the bridge. Call that job satisfaction? Cos I don’t” Is there such a thing as being “too smart” to do a task or chore?
  • Is touch a good way to interact with devices? What about motion to interact?
  • What would it take to engineer a planet?

Important Dates

October 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Week[0]: August 25, 2013

  • Lecture
    • Introduction
    • Act of Service
  • Assignments
    • Form a group of up to 3 people
      • At least one person needs to have a device to work with
    • Read about the Service Project
      • Start thinking about what you would like to do
    • Obtain a copy of “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams
      • Buy a copy
      • Borrow it from the library
    • Read Chapters 1 – 5, be ready to talk about HGTTG[0] = Chapters 1 – 5
    • As a team do Lab[0] = Display Something

Week[1]: November 1, 2013

Week[2]: November 8, 2013

Week[3]: November 15, 2013

Week[4]: November 22, 2013

Week[5]: December 6, 2013

Week[6]: December 13, 2013

Week[7]: December 20, 2013

  • Lecture
    • Mastering the Demo
  • Assignments
    • Nothing

Week[8]: January 10, 2014

  • Lecture
    • Open Q&A
    • Demo Work Session
  • Assignments
    • Get ready for the demo!

Week[9]: January 17, 2014

  • Lecture
    • Demo it!
  • Assignments
    • Nothing, you made it!
Categories: Hitchhiker's Guide to Games Tags:

Lab[0] = Display Something

October 25, 2013 Leave a comment


  • Run the AndEngine Examples

What You Will Need

  • A computer with an internet connection
  • Free Android Software (Explained Below)
  • An Android device or Kindle HD device

Lab Version

  • Version 0.7


AndEngine is a set of libraries or code blocks that make creating 2D games easier. It was created by an engineer named Nicolas Gramlich at Zynga and is used by many developers as the base of games and applications. In this lab we will do the setup required to compile and run the AndEngine examples.

Video Tutorial

The following video was created by someone else, but it does a good job of explaining the process of moving from no setup to running the AndEngine examples. What follows the video is a text explanation of what the video covers along with some specific notes to make the process smoother.

Install Software

  • Latest Java JDK
  • Latest Android Developer Tools Bundle (Includes Eclipse and the Android SDK)


  • Configure Eclipse to make it easier for debugging
    • Show progress bar
    • Show line numbers
    • Show log viewer
  • Download files from Git Hub user RealMayo
    • Repositories Link:
    • Download zip file for each repository
    • Unzip all files
    • My notes to make your life easier
      • The default zip file name has “-<branch name>” appended to the end where <branch name> is something like GLES2 or master, remove this
      • Sometimes when Windows unzips things it adds an extra folder level, you don’t want this. A picture of the type of thing you do want in the end is shown in the picture below.
      • Fix all of the names and the hierarchy before importing to save yourself some pain
      • Here is what the project folders should look like
        • andengine-projects
      • He is what it typically looks like inside each folder
        • typical-project-folder
  • Import all projects into Eclipse
  • Download all Android environments API level 8 and above (This is going to take a while)
  • Fix project build problems
    • If you read the note above you will have far fewer problems than in the video. You read it, right?
  • Build the project
  • Run on the Examples project on a device

Kindle Details

The video is not Kindle specific. Here are some extra resources to help you if you are working with a Kindle Fire device.


HGTTG[1] = Chapters 6 – 10

October 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Comprehension Questions

  • Chapter 6
    • What does the Babel Fish do?
    • What was hyperspace like for Arthur?
    • What does the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy have to say about Earth?
  • Chapter 7
    • How bad is Vogon Poetry?
    • What  phrase does the Vogon Guard keep repeating  to Arthur and Ford?
    • Why does the Vogon Guard do his job?
  • Chapter 8
    • What happened to Arthur and Ford?
  • Chapter 9
    • What type of impossible things happened in the course of Arthur and Ford arriving on the ship?
  • Chapter 10
    • What is the Infinite Improbability Drive?


  • Of the babel fish, the Hitch Hiker Guide to the Galaxy says “by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.” Does being heavily connected cause problems for the world? What role does privacy play in a well mannered society?
  • Ford said to the Vogon Guard “How can anyone maintain a positive mental attitude if you’re saying things like that” What role does your mental state and attitude play in creating things?
  • “The hours are good but most of the actual minutes are lousy” Does it matter what you do for work? What is your motivation for doing things?
  • How do people respond to smart people? Why do they react this way? What can be done to change this?

HGTTG[0] = Chapters 1 – 5

October 20, 2013 Leave a comment

Comprehension Questions

  • Chapter 1
    • What do we know about Arthur Dent?
    • What did the council want to do to Arthur’s home? Why?
    • Who is Mr. L. Prosser?
    • How was Arthur notified of the council’s actions?
    • What do we know about Ford Prefect?
    • How did Ford and Arthur get away to the pub?
    • What do Ford and Arthur need to talk about?
  • Chapter 2
    • What does Ford say is about to happen?
    • Why did Ford tip the bar keep so well?
  • Chapter 3
    • What is a Sub-Etha Sens-O-Matic? What does it do?
    • What is Ford’s “largish electronic calculator”?
    • Why did the Vogon ships arrive on Earth?
    • How was earth notified of this action?
  • Chapter 4
    • What is the planet Damogran like?
    • What do we know about Zaphod Beeblebrox?
    • How does Zaphod get to the cliffs from his boat?
    • What is the Heart of Gold?
    • Was the president of the universe pull from his pocket? What did he do with it?
  • Chapter 5
    • What do Vogon’s look like?
    • Who are the Dentrasis?
    • Did earth need to be destroyed?
    • What more have we learned about the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?
    • What happened to Earth?


  • What “sci-fi” technology mentioned in the book do we see today?
  • The effort put into the Heart of Gold was described as “they had gone to and beyond the furthest limits of physical laws, restructured the fundamental fabric of matter, strained, twisted and broken the laws of possibility and impossibility” What real inventions today were once thought impossible?
  • Ford Prefect said of humans “If they don’t keep on exercising their lips… their brains start working” What role does listening play in everyday life? What role does listening play in creating the future?

Introduction to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

October 20, 2013 Leave a comment

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (ISBN 978-0345391803)


This lighthearted science fiction novel began as a weekly radio comedy in 1978 and quickly grew into a best selling staple of tech pop culture. The book begins with the impending destruction of Earth and vaults the reader on an adventure that spans the universe.


  • Life in other parts of the universe
  • Future technology
  • Fate
  • Humor

Why Science Fiction Matters to Engineers

It is is common for engineers and other technical people to overlook things that do not directly related to their profession. The liberal arts are seen as unimportant and secondary. This thinking is limiting to an engineers potential.  While there is a near infinite number of technical things for an engineer to learn and master, ignoring the liberal arts greatly limits the potential good that an engineer can bring to the world. It is through the understanding of history and humanity that the greatest inventions can be realized.

Science fiction is a specific genre of literature that engineers should pay attention to. The engineer or technologist will be the one to bridge the gap between the world as we know it today and the dreams of tomorrow. First, science fiction can be seen as a rich source of ideas. Things that could only be imagined 20, 50, 100 years ago are now a part of our everyday lives. What technology is waiting for you to bring it to life? The second, perhaps more important aspect of science fiction, is its ability to discuss the moral and societal impacts of technology. What you create will have positive and negative consequences to humanity. What will your legacy be?

Service Project

October 20, 2013 Leave a comment

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Games mentor course includes a service project element.

Our Act of Service will center around the technology theme that we established during our reading and projects. Often the same set of technology can be used to either advance or undermine mankind. As the technologists of tomorrow, it is our privilege and responsibility to ensure that technology is used to help humanity. With this concept in mind, please select acts of service that “use technology to improve and uplift those around you”

Here are a few ways that technology can improve the lives of others. Please do not feel limited to these specific examples. Use these ideas as a launch pad to greatness!

Preserving the Past

  • Help someone scan and catalog all of their old family photos
  • Help someone convert old home movies into a digital format
  • Record the life stories of a grandparent or an elderly person. Prepare a transcript of the recording and share their story with your friends and family
  • Put together a photo slide show set to music for a special event

Connecting People

  • Help an elderly person have a video call with their friends or family.
  • With appropriate approvals, create a website for a school, church or community group.
  • Use the internet and other resources to research about your ancestors and genealogy.
  • Help index historical documents such as tomb stones, census data and ship records.

Improving Lives

  • Use technology in a creative way to teach something to others
  • Work with your family to create a family budget. Track your progress using spread sheets and other technology.