Mr. Farmer

Byte Club Sponsor

The Latest


Oh man, how did it get to be February!? Byte Club is still going strong. Our membership has gone through some ups and downs (as well as a few potatoes), but we've managed to get some new coders on board recently and we are currently working to update Mustang Match for 2017.

The same problems with Mustang Match come up every year, but no sure-fire solutions are adopted. First, the problem of security. Using Google Forms to collect responses means we have to pass the data to the actual match page using a csv file (which means security is basically non-existant.) Other options include setting up a dedicated server, which sounds great but falls outside my own ability and beyond many of our students as well. Since the purpose of the activity is to get more students involved it seems counter productive. However, we're trying to move forward with our own basic server and add some much-needed security to the Match database.

From there, we'll be updating the questions again to improve the survey matching. This comes with a new algorithm. I wonder if anyone knows that being part of Byte Club means figuring out, mathematically, how well a senior would have to be compatabile with a freshman to make up for their age difference!? Ill-structured problems we solve in Byte Club. Always fun!

-Mr. Farmer


Byte Club 16-17 is off to a fantastic start! We've averaged about 25 coders for each of our first 2 meetings. We've got our people up on Cloud9 and GitHub building some basic personal web pages. It can be tough to get off the ground with coding because most people are used to simple WYSIWYG-style editors. But building even a simple webpage from the ground up can be a challenge at first. Once you get the hang of it, though, you can make your website do ANYTHING you want!

-Mr. Farmer

Current Projects

Percy Aldridge Grainger Generator

This is, by far, the dorkiest thing I've ever made. Only O.G. band nerds will understand. Percy Grainger was an...eccentric Australian composer who wrote numerous important pieces for wind band over the years. His works form some of the central literature of the band canon and his writing is loved by many. However, he often refused to write his musical direction in Italian (as is customary), and so invented a number of English (?) words to describe how his pieces should be played (words such as 'slowlingly','to the fore', and 'fastish' to name a few.) Anyway, I made a generator that takes a random adjective and appends a random number of suffixes to it to make a Percy Grainger expression. I also took the liberty of having the project generate randomized folk song titles that sound vaguely celtic. Pass it along to your band friends and enjoy.

Asteroids Rip-Off

I'm currently working a number of small programming projects. My primary interest is creating basic physics simulations. As a result, I've got guite a bit to learn about the various languages I'll need in order to make even basic simulations work! My most recent project is a based of the classic arcade game "Asteroids." This game is great for showing physics concepts such as intertia. This weekend, I've added some spraying particles that decay as a function of time. In the future, I'll be adding elements such as firing, asteroids, and a scoring overlay.

Haunted House

So, one of my favorite classic video games was an Atari 2600 catridge called "Haunted House." At this weekend's Code Day Chicago I attempted to re-create the bones of this game as well. To create this game, utilized JavaScript's object-based programming much more extensively than I had done in the past. Though it is far from finished, it is a playable game (buggy as it may be. Try it and enjoy!

About Me

I have been teaching at Mundelein High School since 2005. Over the year's I have had quite an odd collection of roles: band director, physics teacher, Byte Club Sponsor, and now Mobile App Development teacher.

My interest in coding was first piqued in the early days of the internet when Geocities was a thing. I first learned to write basic HTML code (enough to make a terrible weg page) and found the process fun and challenging. That interest would lay dormant for years...

In 2014, a few of my previous physics (and band) students approached me about starting what would become the MHS Byte Club. Through my experience with those students in the first year, I've come to enjoy coding and programming even more. I 've also started to see the value of computer science as an academic subject and its value to today's students. I'm very excited to be teaching coding in Mobile App Development every day and I love watching the way students interact with technology!