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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RETURN OF THE NATIVE

Dan Bricklin is perhaps the most famous programmer alive. Because he, with partner Bob Frankston, created VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet to run on a personal computer. It was 1979 and it ran only on an Apple II. Arguably it made Apple, because this was the first business program, and that created a reason to buy Apple, instead of the half dozen other desktops at that time. Before VisiCalc, most people in the business said the personal computer was a really a game machine, and would never be anything else. Visicalc changed that forever. The fact that it was written for the Apple and not some other computer was an accident. The two men were students at Harvard and initially started […]

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BOOKS OF INTEREST

Here’s another “Head First” book in the ongoing series from O’Reilly. This one is “Head First HTML and CSS,” by Robson and Freeman, $40 at oreilly.com.

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PROGRAMMING FROM SCRATCH

Super Scratch Programming Adventure,” by the Learning Through Engineering, Art and Design (LEAD) Project; $25, also from nostarch.com.

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Ibogaine University Reviews . The Barrett Group