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from betch betch betch

January 17, 2009

play with it online

Just an odd little sketch program. Use the mouse to paint, press the button to "erase", press space to clear. More of the sordid history of my attempt at a pre-emptive Glorious Trainwreck on the Glorious Trainwrecks website.

Ramble of the Moment
So I kind of lied about the Hunt keeping me so busy I can't post. I ducked home last night, and in general... I don't know. I don't have a great temperament for this. I lack the gumption to just keep bashing my head against a seemingly-intractable problem until it starts to shift, to pursue a dozen dead ends until finally some stupid obscure reprocessing of the materials bears fruit.

And sometimes you can clearly make a ton of progress, and then still be stuck stuck stuck. One neat puzzle was a bunch of letters from various logos, along with categories. With heavy use of Google images through the course of 8 hours we got them all, but we have no great idea what to do with the resulting names. The first letters don't spell anything, or make a caesar cipher, it doesn't seem long enough to be a cryptogram, other tricks of applying certain numbers (like which letter in the word was excerpted) having come up with anything.

You look at some of these problems, they're not designed to tell you what the puzzle is... one is called Micronauts, there's a downloadable PDF... seemingly blank, though somewhere on it is a tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny puzzle that you have to search for or know someone who can analyze this kind of document.

Bleh. I enjoy the camaraderie of it, but the event itself, not so much. In form it's a bit like the comic jam or the OLPC physics game jam, but I really enjoy those events that were about individual and team creativity, rather than running your own head against someone else's devious creativity in encrypting the solution word in the most obscure and frustrating way they can.

So, to build on what I twittered... being presented with a series of puzzles, puzzles where you assume other people will find the answers but you can't figure out what the question is... it's a little bit too much like real life.

MIT Mystery Hunt: Just in case you think life doesn't have enough seemingly intractable problems that probably have answers you'll never get

from maybe they should call him "DUDEney"

December 30, 2007
click to run

Wallpaper, an example algorithm from A.K. Dewdney's "The New Turing Omnibus", a bit of a fractal. You can use the mouse to adjust the three input parameters.

What makes this cool is how simple the main drawing routine is...
  for(int i = 0; i < 100; i++){
    for(int j = 0; j < 100; j++){
      float x = (corna + i) * side / 100;
      float y = (cornb + j) * side / 100;
      int c = round((x*x)+(y*y));

      if(c % 2 == 0 ){

It turns out corna and cornb are just the horizontal and vertical offsets, and "side" is acting as a zooming factor. (Those are the variable names Dewdney uses... I don't know why he doesn't use more descriptive names.)

I was actually able to knock the basic implementation off in about 10 minutes in Processing, though the sliders took a bit more work because I was trying to be cute.