Thursday, April 21, 2011

Charlotte GiveCamp

I have taken the first steps to getting a GiveCamp going here in Charlotte, and I am pretty excited about it. Our site is up and running now at Charlotte GiveCamp.

For people who don't know, GiveCamp is a weekend event where developers in a city donate their time and expertise to creating web sites and custom software for local non-profits. There hasn't been one in the Carolinas before, and this is also my first experience trying to organize an event like this, but I have already gotten some great responses from local developers and from Microsoft, so I am very excited about putting this together.

My good friend Eric Eicke, one of the best developers I know, is on board, and Brian Hitney our regional Developer Evangelist has let me know that Microsoft will help out, so I invite any developers reading this to get in touch, and we will be reaching out to the local user groups and non-profits soon to help get this thing rolling!

RPA Update - EvilTwiki Lands 3rd

Well, my modifications for the EvilTwiki bot in last week's RPA run were good enough for a 3rd place finish, which I consider a pretty good showing.

I based my changes on an idea that my kids suggested early in the competition: figure out what the other bots are doing and then stop that. Seems simple enough, but it went right over my head until later in the week when I noticed that I could check the TeamName property of the opponent's IPlayer interface. That meant I could craft a different strategy for the bots that did something special or tricky, and in effect, play the man (bot) not the cards.

So, I wrote one basic strategy that could beat about 4 out of 5 bots, and the more sophisticated ones got more specific strategies that countered what they were doing... Not as elegant as writing an optimal rock-paper-scissors-dynamite-water balloon algorithm, but still pretty effective!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

RPA Week 2

I have made a few modifications to the EvilTwiki bot this week to try to grab that #1 prize, or at least a shot in the top 3 of the weekly RPA run....

Last week I finished 8th, and was actually in 2nd place for one brief shining moment. For a simple game, its surprisingly complicated to write a bot that can beat all comers, so I am trying a different strategy this week. Round 2 ends tomorrow, so I will come back with details, win or lose!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rock Paper Azure

I was looking for local contacts at Microsoft to help with an idea, and I checked out Brian Hitney's blog too find something very cool: Rock Paper Azure. Needless to say, I know what I am doing this evening. I already have a name for my bot: EvilTwiki! More as soon as my bot is in the cloud...