Talk bingo generator

During my [talk on Saturday at the University of Birmingham] I played talk bingo. The idea is that as I give the talk the younger members of the audience can be entertained by playing a game that requires them to pay attention. Whenever I give a talk I tend to use a subset of words (and indeed this can be played with a rather small number of words in any extragalactic seminar) from the field of astronomy. So all I did was generate a bunch of random bingo games and I say the words the audience cross them out. Eventually they will call bingo and I offer a small prize. On Saturday, due to a bit of a mix up with computers this didn’t quite go as to plan but I think all were quite entertained. I suggested to a few that I’d put this together in a useful format.
So do you want to play talk bingo? You can use my [online talk bingo generator] on my research pages. It should be quite straight forward to use. Just provide the words (with space seperation) and a size of the grid and off you go. It produces html tables which can nicely be copied to openoffice for easy printing.
For those of you who might be interested in implementing this yourselves, here is the basic code (this is what I used for Saturday and I’ve changed it a bit to work nicely on my website, testing for max sizes and taking in input):
$random_text = array(“Telescope”,”Dish”,”Data”,”Array”,”Universe”,”MeerKat”,”LOFAR”,”Space”,”Wave”,”Moon”,”Shock”,”Life”,”Transit”,”SKA”,”Radio”,”Exoplanet”,”Aurora”,”HD209458b”,”Arecibo”,”GMRT”,”ASKAP”,”POSSUM”,”GALFACTS”,”Galaxy”,”Jupiter”,”Sun”,”Earth”,”Magnetic”,”Gas”,”Electron”,”Kepler”,”Space”,”Venus”,”Mars”,”EVLA”,”Aliens”,”WOW”,”SETI”,”Radar”);
$number_of_games = 50;
$number_elements= 25;
$elementsinrow = 5;
$intro = “”;
for ($j = 0; $j < $number_of_games; $j++) {
$rand_keys = array_rand($random_text, $number_elements);
$sizeof_arr = sizeof($random_text); //echo $sizeof_arr;
$intro .= “<table border=”1″><tr>”;
$b = 0;
for ($i = 0; $i < $number_elements; $i++) {
$intro .= “<td><font size=”6″>” .    $random_text[$rand_keys[$i]] . “</font></td>”;
$b +=1;
if ($b > 4){
$intro .= “</tr>”;
$b = 0;
}
}
$intro .= “</table><br /><br />”;
}
echo $intro;
As you will see its nothing particularly fancy, but darn useful

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