MIT Sloan’s Platform Wars is a Cute Game, I guess

MIT Sloan School of Management

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MIT Sloan business school just released a web game called Platform Wars that simulates the console business.  I’d skip the introductory video in the link below as it’s very pendantic and doesn’t provide much news.  Go straight to the game and you can play without any registration hassles.

The game itself is reminiscent of Galactic Civilizations and other “excel games”.  It comes with a nice set of charts to plot your progress as you make turn-based choices.  On the default setting, it seems like the game can be won in just a few turns.  Overall this is a cute game, but doesn’t carry much weight as either an educational device or something for a serious gamer.

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Learning Python Online for (mostly) Free and for Fun

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I’ve spent the past few months learning Python independently, but I found so many free and friendly online resources that the task of learning could not have been easier.

At first I was discouraged by the spartan IDLE interactive environment, but luckily Microsft released their Python Tools for Visual Studio for either Cpython or IronPython! Having been spoiled by the niceties of the VS IDE, this much needed Python support was the whole package for me: adding debugging, intellisense, interactive environment, project creation support.

Starting from a clean slate free of any Pythonic knowledge, I began month one going over the chapters on the now-defunct Diveintopython3.org site and doing all practice problems on CodingBat.com, which cover some language basics.  I supplemented these with 25 problems from ProjectEuler.net, which is of course language agnostic.  

Since Diveintopython3.org doesn’t exist anymore, I’d say the next best equivalent is learnpython.org (still incomplete for the advanced topics at this time) and LearnPythonTheHardWay.  

In the next month, I did all practice problems on Pyschools.com which gives some practice in a bit more depth to Python language features.  I also found that doing all of the problems on CodeEval.com make for great practice in any language, but I have thus far used them exclusively to practice Python.

I’ve also read the book Data Structures and Algorithms with Python, which takes advantage of Python to create a most practical and beginner friendly introduction to this subject area.  I found these examples to be very educational, except for the very last chapter on trees.  It seemed as if the author got a bit sloppy towards the end with the sample code and didn’t quite finish the last chapter for complexity discussion.  Although this book is not free, it’s highly recommended to programming beginners looking to get more tools under their belt.

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