greenbeen seeks advice (24 recommended exercises)

Mike Brenner mikeb at
Thu Jul 19 07:47:33 EDT 2001

Mike Brenner wrote:
> > ... most programmers don't write programs that meet specs. Most
> > programmer define greatness to be having fun while making money.
> > To be great in that sense, instead of meeting specs, write the
> > following Python programs (and for extra credit, do each program
> > twice -- once using wxPython graphics, and once using Jython.)
> [snip list of trivial first-year programs ;-)]
> I think you left out one small thing.  How, by writing those programs,
> fun it may be, would I make some money?
> Peter Hansen, P.Eng. peter at

Hi Peter!

I agree that the majority of those exercises are first year exercises.

The 24 recommended exercises were for a person who stated they would
like to BEGIN a career in programming. Upon completion of about 20 out
of the 24 exercises they should be able to support themselves as a
computer programmer.

That is because they would have developed the basic Python and web
skills required. They would also be able to transfer those Python skills
over to Java or various mega-corporate languages.

You appear to be a different case, because you put "P.Eng." after your
name. People who have a degree or a professional license after their
name ALREADY have a resource that can make them money. Therefore, a
different set of recommended exercises would be needed to raises you to
the next level of YOUR game.

So, here are some exercises that you could probably sell to make money
for yourself at your level. Each exercise suggests who you could sell
the software to.


	1. FAA. Do a multi-player Air Controller game with 50 Air Traffic
Controllers controlling 10,000 aircraft in the sky over the country at
one time flying 10,000,000 people between the airports and airstrips of
a large country, preventing collisions and near collisions, both on the
ground, while in the neighborhood of an airport, and in between
airports. Maximize safety and Minimize passenger waiting time both on
the ground and in the air.

	2. NASA. Do a multi-object simulation game with 1,250,000 representing
all of the space junk, meteors, asteroids and comets that might hit the
earth as they bounce off all the gravitational fields of the planets.
Determine when and if each object will hit the Earth or leave meteor

	3. Army. Program the BOLO Tank, fully autonomous weapon system, which
according to the famous science fiction novel was invented by General
Motors in 1990 and in 1997 rebelled against the Army and determined that
the human race was the enemy and exterminated it. EXCEPT, program it to
not exterminate the human race. Using satellite sensors, the Bolo will
fly itself to any part of the world and shoot its target.

	4. Space Com. Do a satellite game that shows the portions of the Earth
covered by each satellite. Automatically pick the best satellites to
communicate with, to sense the earth with, to send signals across from
other satellites, etc.

	5. Air Force. Do an advanced three dimensional pilot station for a new
type of air-space fighter craft that acts like an airplane when in the
atmosphere but like a space craft above 80,000 feet. Track the pilot's
eyeballs to see what he is looking at on the radar scope. Read the
pilot's blood pressure helmet to see when she is emotionally angry, to
know when to fire the missiles. Integrate a bunch of radars, weapons,
defenses, escape mechanisms, communication systems, control systems,
backup systems, reentry systems, scientific research systems, satellite
repair systems, and atmospheric measurement systems into the game.

	6. CIA. Program a robot that understands English and obeys orders with
the intelligence of an 8 year old, but who never gets bored.

	7. Department of Clone Wars. Program a biological simulation of all the
genes in a DNA molecule that predicts what kind of monsters or diseases
will come out if you switch around a given set of genes.

	8. Mobile-Phone Companies. Program an interface that lets mobile phones
run applets, commercial windows software, commercial linux software,
Python programs, http, ftp, etc., SECURELY on wearable internet phones. 

	9. Mobile-Phone Companies. Program a method of surfing the internet
anonymously (including statistical anonymity) from mobile-phones.

	10. Proprietorship. Make a much better Internet Search Engine that
really understands natural language and finds what you wish.

Hope everyone who reads this finds a project that raises them to the
next level!

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