LEARNING TO SCRATCH

“The Official Scratch Jr. Book” by Bers and Resnick, is $20 from NoStarch Press and is designed to teach you, the adult, how to teach children ages five to seven, how to create programs using the computer language “ScratchJr.”

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EVERY CHILD CAN CODE

EveryChildCanCode.org teaches children computer programming using “Basin,” a free language similar to BASIC.

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GOOD OL’ COBOL

The programs sitting in IBM mainframe computers might be perfectly good but unusable on today’s machines. A company called Raincode is offering a free solution.

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BOOKS AND SPRITES

“Build iOS Games with Sprite Kit,” by Jonathan Penn and Josh Smith, $34 from PragProg.com. It shows you how to make games for the iPhone and iPad. You learn how to build two games that are fun: One is a pinball game and the other a version of “Asteroids.”

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BUILDING A WEBSITE

HtmlDog.com teaches you how to build a website from scratch, for free.

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THE PROGRAMMERS WAY

CourseReport.com programmers headclaims that schools and camps teaching programming, often called “coding,” will bring in $60 million in tuition for the year and graduate 5,987 coders, a 175 percent increase over last year. Tuition can cost up to $20,000, with the average around $10,000 for courses ranging from nine to 12 weeks. All in all, this seems expensive to us.

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BASIC TURNS 50

One of the first and most popular programming languages, “BASIC,” turned 50 this month. The acronym stands for “Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code,” it started as a student math project at Dartmouth College and from this small town in New Hampshire it conquered the world. Even Bill Gates used it.

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LEARN TO PROGRAM WITH SCRATCH

“Learn to Program With Scratch,” by Majed Marji, $35 from NoStarch.com.

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BOOK: A THEORY OF FUN

“A Theory of Fun for Game Design,” by Raph Koster, $35 from oreilly.com, is now out in color, with a full-page cartoon flanking every page of text. The author was the lead designer for massive online games such as “Ultima Online” and “Star Wars Galaxies.” He discusses what makes a game fun and how games can teach primitive survival techniques. Creative designers, he says, use other games for inspiration. The forward is by Will Wright, creator of SimCity.

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BOOKS: PROGRAMMING FOR KIDS

“3D Game Programming for Kids,” by Chris Strom; $36 from oreilly.com. Here’s a great system for teaching you to program, no matter what your age.

All you need is a computer and preferably the Chrome web browser, though anything except Internet Explorer will do. The author explains things so well that in literally a few minutes, Joy had created a colorful ball and cube on her screen and was able to animate them.

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