slouching towards joustpong

August 24, 2003
Sorry yesterday's updates were so brief (though I'm heartened by the potential for political debate shown by yesterday's Comments) but I got wrapped up in trying to jumpstart my Atari 2600 JoustPong project that's been in a coma for almost a year. Turned out I was making a really boneheaded mistake, but one that could be oddly hidden at times.

Travel Quote of the Moment
The real reason for our going seperately, however, is that I don't fly. I used to fly. I don't fly anymore. You know the bit I hate about air travel? It's the plummeting from a mile up in a blazing, cartwheeling tomb of shattering metal. That and the legroom.
--Mil Millington, "Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About"

Web Toy of the Moment
Interview Adolf Hitler is an innovative teaching tool...you type questions in, and get responses back from the portrait of Adolph Hitler. As they found out on the metafilter discussion where I got the link, the technology is probably little more than keyword recognition, where certain words trigger certain responses, but still, it's reasonably convincing. I think it makes sense that this was made in the UK; it would be too controversial for most American eduction technologists to touch. In particular, it doesn't spoonfeed the student lines like "Hey, I'm so evil! Did I mention I'm evil?"--its answers are like those of a man who is convinced of his cause, and can make persuasive arguments about it. (Though people on mefi argue that Hitler was probably not an atheist as this site claims, and he does drop some late-20th century buzzwords like "basic human dignity".)

Advice of the Moment
I've been trying to use rechargable batteries more lately...but it took me a long while to come up with an acceptable strategy for using them, which is this: always have one more pair of rechargable batteries around than you "need". That way, when a remote or whatever stops working, you can immediately swap in the extras and then recharge the ones that just ran out, and those recharging ones then become your "extra" pair. (Come to think of it, this "always have a spare" rule applies to a lot of things, it's related to my recent observation "grill propane will never run out at a convenient time", hence purchase of an extra jug during our last party, and I'm thinking the same thing is going to happen with kitchen garbage bags.)

Silly Brag of the Moment
W00T, I got a story posted on slashdot. It's just a retread from PalmInfoCenter, and I actually made a small typo in the headline, but hey.