from October 26, 2018

I made a version of a semi-famous computer program from Scientific American's "Computer Recreations" column, WA-TOR

I write a little bit more about it and "recreational computing" on my devblog.
Goodness gracious, optical illusions have gotten out of control! -- all of those on the page are astounding.
Aesop's Fables #238 - The Fly:
A fly had fallen into an earthen pot [chytros] full of boiled meat. On the verge of drowning in the broth [zōmos], she said to herself:
'I've eaten, I've drunk, I've had a bath. Death can come. It doesn't matter to me.'
This fable shows that people easily surrender to death when it comes without any suffering.
Like Mother Goose stuff, "Real" Aesop's Fables are more grim than the versions we make for kids....

I thought this Quora answer on "what happened to Venezuela" was interesting, with take aways for all political sides...

from skullslinkies

August 1, 2017

click for skullslinkies
One time, in a bit of a fugue state, I had a vision of my own mental landscape; a skull full of entwined slinky-in-a-sock like snakes, each colorful and short-lived. Each represented a subconscious process that would compete for attention and control of me as a "self".

(This model is relatively compatible with Minsky's "Society of Mind" concept.)

These thought slinkies were feeling anxious, and also frustrated by the short-livedness of their own existence, and predicting that once my normal, narrative-self reasserted itself, all their concerns about being in that state would be forgotten...

Anyway, I made skullslinkies, an animation based on this vision.
Went to a Ear/Nose/Throat doctor. For most of the summer I've had a lot of post-nasal drip, a lot of hocking, especially in the morning. The allergist did the skin tests, but nothing looked like a likely culprit. But the E/N/T doctor's suggestion- more water (with caffeinated stuff counting as anti-water, basically) and some flonase for a while seems kind of unsatisfyingly un-substantive.

He asked about how well I was sleeping. I guess the answer is, ok? It's hard to know what to compare it to, really. I'm not at the far end of the spectrum of falling asleep at inappropriate times or always feeling like total nap-needing crap, but who doesn't run a sleep deficit?

Louis CK too has a bit, especially as you get older, doctors figure there's just stuff you live with. But it's so tantalizing to think, well, maybe there's some little mystery tweak I could make and I could be tons better...

from February 20, 2016

A few days ago I posted Tadashi Tokieda's video about rotating, translating and, scaling patterns: 'random' dots, fixed grids, and triangles...
Today I built a virtual toy to play with those ideas in the browser (for those of us who don't have a photocopier that prints on overlays handy) -- http://stuff.alienbill.com/dotsenough/

from August 20, 2015

from untitled1point4
The other day Melissa and I played a little hooky to go see the Decordova and then after we collaborated on an interactive art piece.

from Kirk 15K

April 25, 2015
It's my 15K Day - I am 15,000 Days Old, exactly.

To commemorate this, I revamped an old Javascript toy, and am launching it as TIMETOY.net/...

Plug in a birthday or other big date, and it will show you the upcoming interesting superday milestones, or you can use its calculator to figure out the seconds / hours / minutes / days / weeks between 2 dates (or vice-versa)

from underseetoo

April 8, 2015

While collaborating with EB's older daughter, the younger (Kindergarten age) wanted in on things, and worked a bit more independently to provide the source art. Hers features an octopus and a ghost with a popsicle stick. The direction she provided for the critter movement was more organic than her sister's, but probably because I was less trying to make it a pedagogical event.
I have a song I just ripped from an old mix tape - Leprosy by "Eu-Four-Ia" (I think). I can't find it anywhere else online - the tape was from a bunch of Dr. Demento songs Major Schenk​ made for my dad when was sick.

What's the best way to put in online? If I put it on Youtube and someone complained, would my whole account be at risk, or could I just remove the offending material? Or is there another place to go?

FWIW, here is my best pass at a tracklist: (and RIP Stan Freberg...)
Side A
Leprosy (Eu-Four-Ia)
Hal and Lulu (The Amazing Pink Things)
Valking in my Vinter Undervare (Stan Boreson)
The Ballad of Irving (Bob Booker / George Foster)
Masochism Tango (Tom Lehrer)
Banana Boat (Steve Freberg)
Side B
Dead Puppies (Ogden Edsel)
The Dingy Song (Ruth Wallis)
Little Blue Riding Hall (Stan Freberg)
Oh Boy (Allen Sherman)
Shticks And Stones (Allen Sherman)

Most of the other ones I can find around, but not that version of Leprosy (they weren't the only ones to make the same kind of parody of "Yesterday")

This tape was pretty influential to me growing up... thanks Major Tom!

from underseewon

April 7, 2015

Click to play -- this is a collaboration I made with EBB1 (EB's Baby 1 - now in third grade....) Trying to get these gals interested in programming! It's fun making little interactive things with them.

from March 19, 2015

http://stuff.alienbill.com/problems/ - I made an interactive toy to sketch out an idea I have for a widget (expressing that "Problems (are) Inevitable / Problems (are) Soluble" mantra) that I'd like to get 3D printed or otherwise made tangible...

(the way the carved out squares show up as boxes rather than just blank is a kind of 'happy accident', not sure if they should be the way for the real piece or not... wdyt?)

It was fun playing with homemade, graph-paper fonts again.
Wow, frozen banana has a terrific, custard-like texture, all by itself.
Peel it before freezing is the one trick to it.
QA Engineer walks into a bar. Orders a beer. Orders 0 beers. Orders 999999999 beers. Orders a lizard. Orders -1 beers. Orders a sfdeljknesv.

from hooptime!

August 15, 2014
Over the past few years I've realized that I use an idiosyncratic visualization for certain kinds of time; I see the cyclic nature of the twelve months of a year and the seven days of a week in the form of a circle, both going counter-clockwise. I spent some time today generating images reflecting this view. Here's a reflection of what a week is like for me:

I guess the specific rotation and counter-clockwise direction reflects a dash of synesthesia, and also how important physical layout is to my sense of recall -- if I'm trying to do a week-based day calculation, I'll often use my hand to as an arrow to mark my place in the week, in the same way I'll still unconsciously shape an "L" with my left hand to recall which direction is which.

I'm less certain why I place the weekend down. My best guess is see that as the start and stop of a week, and is either "heavier" or "where the week meets the road" (to stretch the physical metaphor, since I view myself as moving in the fixed week-wheel rather than it moving to accommodate me.) The counter-clockwise motion then springs from that - I read left-to-right, so the Saturday-Sunday "start" to the week is in that "forward" direction, and thus drives the rest of the loop.

Years are even more strongly laid out in my mind's eye:
Here the calendar starts at the top, as one might expect, but I think that's because I view a year as progressing from school year to school year, with the loveliness of summer vacation anchoring as the base (though a separate desire to have the numeric transition be straight up tilts the thing a bit.)

Neither visual is strongly color-coded for me, but week vs weekend and the various seasons have a different ephemeral feel, here color-coded for grins.

As a side note, I used a new technology for this, p5.js -- the same processing.js I've used for years, but now as pure javascript, rather than going through some weird java-to-js convertor. Highly recommended! You can check out the working page and source code if so inclined.
It would be fair to say that the concept of a forest is simpler than the concept of a tree.
Ray Kurzweil, "How to Create a Mind"

from the elevator from the movie "her"

March 22, 2014
On my devblog, I wrote about the cool moving elevator background in the movie "Her". I included the following GIF to show the idea, as well as a processing applet I made to play with the concept... (mouse over to change the up/down speed)

from happy thanksgivukkah!

November 28, 2013
Happy Thanksgivukkah! Or Chanksgiving. I was totally blown away about how the convergence of Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah won't recur for 70,000 years. (or ever?) It got me curious about the patterns of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah vs. the secular calendar, so I spent an hour or two this morning hacking out a little table. Thanksgiving is in brown, Hanukkah is in blue, Christmas in green, January 1 in red.

I was pleased to get a better feel for the patterns, the 4th Thursday's little day slide (with bumps on leap years), and Hanukkah's larger lunar moves. Still, looking at this 100 years of data, I would never have guessed that today is such a rare event...

from toyghost

October 20, 2012

Your browser does not support the canvas tag.

--A little toy for Glorious Trainwreck's Kackling Korpse of the Monster Klaw Playful ghosts play tag, and you can bounce them around with your ectoplasmpuck. Or press mouse button to call them to you.

from alienbill

October 27, 2011

An interactive animation of alien bill -- mouse to treat him like a marionette, mousedrag up and down to change his size. (probably won't work in IE) I might start making better title screens on games I decide to polish a bit...
http://twolivesleft.com/Codify/ -- programming iPad on the iPad. This excites me. (Lua, a language I would know if I had taken this one other job...)
According to reviews of Codify, though, maybe they haven't got the "share your work" thing down- that might run afoul of Apple's VM policies.
You can tell a lot about people by what books they use to prop up their monitors.

"Walking in this weather is like being hit in the face with a cold wet steak. But not in the good way"
"OK, that last part was weird."

from heartworks

July 4, 2011
click to run

heartworks - source - built with processing
To celebrate the Fourth of July on the Love Blender I made this little java program... watch and enjoy or click to make your own fireworks
why, he was so sentimental, he could miss the broad side of a barn!

from learnworms

June 19, 2011
click to play

learnworms - source - built with processing
Not too unlike yesterday, but here you paint a worm with the mouse and it "learns" and repeats the pattern. (Space clears.) Another little toy for KotMK #48
via SpindleyQ: Thank you, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, for these lovely jokes http://t.co/KRpse5K
FWIW, digging the "QVS" stylus for iPad... like $8 at Microcenter (at the impulse item section)- has a clip and great smooth round end.

from paintworms

June 18, 2011
click to play

paintworms - - built with processing
Paint with the mouse and you make a paint worm that then tries to head to the center...space bar clears... a little toy for KotMK #48

from eurotrip day 3 - paris

(1 comment)
May 17, 2011

My wife suggested spicing up our sex life with role playing.Now a d20's wedged in my crack, the DM is staring at us & this isn't sexy at all

Boingboing pointed out this awesome Princess Bride ambigram... I made a little tool to enjoy it more. It's such a clever bit of typography!

from ringthings

April 17, 2011
click to play with
ringthings - source - built with processing

As is probably all too obvious I didn't have much an idea going into Klik of the Month Klub last night, so I built a toy, which arguably is more pleasant to mess with than the final game. Click to make a new whirligig.

from another jquery prototype

February 8, 2011










More fun with jQuery! Click on the panels to make one swing around to the front.
Breastfeeding in public is frowned upon, but I'm allowed to eat BBQ ribs in a family restaurant? It's a twisted world.

from the endless city

February 2, 2011
Click to see:

source - built with processing

One final miniproject based on sredavni -- we came up with a cute little city generator, and this applet just scrolls it forever.

This applet has a secret though - each piece also has a destroyed version, so if you press the mouse, you see the alternate-reality, post-apocalyptic view of the city.

Again, I think the city pieces are mostly the work of Kelly Atwood.

Really, sex and laughter do go very well together and I wondered-- and I still do-- which is more important.
Hermione Gingold

http://tinyurl.com/yf73ff9 Norman Rockwell, The Photographer
http://strn.gr/1459327 http://bit.ly/hyOJVn -- Michael Jackson's Stuff. Not as appealing as the old shots of his arcade, but still.
Cracked pointed me to info on Octave Chanute - besides being an information sharing aviation pioneer, he has a totally awesome name.
http://www.lettersofnote.com/2011/02/mickey-mantles-outstanding-experience.html - it's fellatio.
Snow moval is a much more accurate term than snow removal. #justpushingitaround #SnOMG

from sierpinski? i hardly knew ski!

December 11, 2010
click to run

sier - source - built with processing
So the topmost video on yesterday's page on Doodling Mathematically touched on Sierpinski Triangles but didn't get into one of my favorite ways of making them. It's called the Chaos Game and you can do it with pen and paper, though you get quicker results with a computer program...

The core idea is pick 3 corners of a triangle, and then any point (or one of the corners). Then randomly pick one of the 3 corners, and draw a dot halfway between that point and the corner. Then randomly pick one of the 3 corners again, and draw a dot halfway between that corner and the last dot, and repeat. After you do it enough times, Sierpinski's triangle rises from the mist.

I've tried to animate the manual process with this program, slowing it down and sketching out the line, with the outlined circle being which corner had been picked and the white circle being where a new dot is drawn ... move the mouse up and down over the canvas to speed it up or slow it down, and click to start with a new dot.
For somebody fluent in over six million forms of communication, it's weird that C-3PO went with 'gay-tinged passive aggression.'

What was so bad about the "applet" tag? It still works in 6 lines while #processing 's 40 lines of "object" is busted on chrome.
I hate "standards compliant" tags that are
A. harder to read
B. grandly more verbose
C. more fragile than the old school ones.
Like, setting margin-left:auto and margin-right:auto for a div instead of the old center tag. (I know it's not as simple as that but still)

from what, me worry?

November 27, 2010
click to run

mad - source - built with processing

SpindlyQ, founder of Glorious Trainwrecks recently tweeted a great find: The MAD Computer Program, circa 1985, now lovingly scanned in and OCR'd. That link includes a video of the original program (Apple II flavor) running on an emulator, as well as scans of the original pages and BASIC and Java versions.

I took the Java version and enhanced it a bit - my version has fun with the inherent scaling of the way the thing was made, as well as recreating the "watch it being drawn" effect. Mouse over or press 1-9 to change the scaling, click starts over.
worst holiday music (via the maker of regretsy)
Between Motorstorm (amazing graphics) and Little Big Planet (terrific 2 player co-op and more) I'm thinking I downplayed the PS3 for too long...

from orange i thankful?

(1 comment)
November 25, 2010
To view this content, you need to install Java from java.com
scrib1_amber - source - built with processing

Ya, the same thing as yesterday but in the pretty orange amber likes.

Apple Laptops have too many modifier buttons - fn control option command - it makes a lot of key presses a guessing game.

from scrib1

November 24, 2010
click to play

scrib1 - source - built with processing
Very simple doodle program, made to celebrate me noticing that Processing finally added support for some of the newer Java syntax features. A bit Action painting-ish if I do say so myself, especially if you let it run for a while.
Oddly chipper. Wanna be motivational speaker to the world. The trick is getting off the treadmill of wanting more- appreciate what's there!
Oh man, how long has processing supported the new Java foreach and typed collections? I've been doing it the old way for WAY too long.
Yeesh. Despite working there for 7 months it took Amber to point out that the street # of my work address is the first 3 of my phone #.
Wow. Not only has Apple annoyed a big % of iPad owners by making the physical screen lock button to "mute"- the mute doesn't work! #ipadfail

from monsterball

October 31, 2010
To view this content, you need to install Java from java.com
monsterball - source - built with processing

A small Halloween entry for Zombies' Corpse-iliary Klik of the Monster's Ball #12 -- click to add in random monster heads, or hit the appropriate key for a (v)ampire, (g)host, (f)rankenstein monster, or (w)itch... spacebar clears.

More of a silly toy and exercise in icon design than a game, but Happy Halloween anyway!

Damn it feels good to be a gangsta.

from zoomza

April 17, 2010
click to play with

zoomza - source - built with processing
My entry for Klik of the Month #34. I started an hour late, my game idea just wasn't coming together, so for the last 20 minutes I just made a doodle toy. Doodle with the mouse, space resets.

from braille2text

February 8, 2010

A very primitive braille2text translator. Unfortunately, it only does the most basic type of Braille, letter to letter translation (Grade One) As it turns out to do Braille properly, you need to translate hundreds of abbreviations and alternate characters. I was surprised I couldn't google someone doing this already... it's tricky, but you could probably get a good 90/10 solution in a day or two.

If there's any kind of interest I might try to enhance this so it can do a reasonable facisimile of Grade Two, but really I was kind of more interested in the UI of it.
Amazing football last night! Meanwhile, in NE, Belichick decides he can run EVERY damn aspect of the team. Has he done anything on his own?
http://harveyjames.livejournal.com/152287.html - Harveyjames' english lessons are the most amazing thing ever.
Remember "Pillow Book" where the she yells at him for having sloppy boring handwriting? Weirdly that makes me regret my bad penmanship.
Sigh. I suspected Microsoft was shoving yet another Update at my poor XP tablet when Firefox took minutes to load, and lo and behold...

from seg14font

November 7, 2009
click to use

seg14font - source
built with processing

What's this? Some kind of half-assed font based on Fourteen-Segment LCD Displays? Could this be some kind of study for the secret project that's totally going to dominate this site for the lion's share of december? MMM COULD BE...
https://www.cnet.com/news/oomouse-has-more-buttons-than-a-shirt/ - worst mouse ever?
New shoes, work casual slip-ons. Realizing I'm just now getting over the trauma of only being able to wear slip-ons in first grade 'cause I didn't know how to tie 'em and velcro sneakers weren't around.
"Did you apply for a job at the Vitamin Shoppe?"
"He said he didn't have any openings."
"-everybody has openings... ....or how does he poop with?"

from jacko

October 31, 2009
click to play

- source - built with processing

Happy Halloween! Click to carve yourself a virtual Jack O'Latern.

This was made for Glorious Trainwrecks' HALLOWEEKEND: A KLIKKIN' BONES SPOOKTACLE... but now I need to get back to my secret Christmas surprise for the site...
I like keeping my beloved tattered decade-old hooded sweatshirt over at Ambers for sometimes-use. It deserves a better nickname than "Sweaty".

from drumdots

October 18, 2009
To view this content, you need to install Java from java.com
drumdots - source - built with processing

My Klik-of-the-Month-Klub #28 entry. Didn't live up to my aspirations, which started out as "SimTunes Lite", narrowed themselves to "BluesBugs", further diminished to "DrumBugs" and ended up with these stupid noisy dots.

Still I like the drum noises.
NFL breaks off a terrifically exciting ending to Vikings/Ravens for an ad and presumably start of Pats/Titans for "contractual obligations"-screw that noise.
Crossing fingers, today might be another instance of 2 recent Boston sports traditions: A. feasting on bad teams and B. loving home field

from markovlove

August 16, 2009

To view this content, you need to install Java from java.com
markovlove 2008 - source - built with processing
My entry for Klik of the Month #26. I harvested years of Blender of Love poems to make a computer/human collaboration tool for writing love poems using "Markov Chains"-- the last 2 words of the poem determine the options for the next words (the white/pink boxes on the right side) and once you click on the next word, the penultimate word and the word you just clicked determine the next set of options, and so on.

This is technically "markovlove 2008", using just the works on the Blender from 2008. The version dating back to 2001 won't run with the settings in most browsers. Possibly I should have picked a year with more entries, a bit too often there's just one choice, where the word pair only appeared once in what was sent in that year.

It was a huge turnout for Klik of the Month, which is kind of cool, but also makes it hard to to get heard, and kind of changes the group dynamic a bit.

District 9: 40 Year Old Virgin meets The Fly via Blackhawk Down and maybe a bit of... I dunno, Transformers and Enemy Mine?

from the stars and stripes 'til sunday

July 4, 2009
click to run

starsstripes - source - built with processing

click and hold the mouse for a sparkler! happy fourth of july!

from tom selleck or burt reynolds?

July 3, 2009

OK, this is kind of silly but for the longest time I sort of assumed Burt Reynolds and Tom Selleck were, like, the same person. So I built this quiz to see if it was just me, or what, but now without trying to cheat I can get it kind of easily.

If you take it please post your score in the comments.

from this blood's for you

May 5, 2009

drawblood2 - source - built with processing
Happy Birthday to My Ever Lovin' Aunt Susan! (MELAS). She admitting to finding the original version of this (thrown together in like 10 minutes) a bit cathartic, so for her birthday I took her suggestion and added non-bleeding black-ink (click the black box) as well as making the drawing variable width. (The faster you draw, the wider the line.) [X] clears.

(I was planning on pre-loading the canvas with a bleedin' birthday cake, but it turned out to be a bit too macabre. But enjoy anyway Aunt Susan and have a great birth day and excellent year!)

http://www.slate.com/id/2217353/ - well organized bookmarks might be better than egalitarian RSS... I do something similar already.
How to regain a sense of urgency about the stuff in my Todo app? It has been hovering in the 10-20 overdue item range for way too long.
http://garfieldlostintranslation.blogspot.com/ - Garfield into Japanese and back again. Reminds me of old fun with Babelfish...
http://www.infoworld.com/d/adventures-in-it/true-believers-biggest-cults-in-tech-433?page=0,0 - the cults of tech. I miss Palm, sometimes.
The Transporter is an incredible piece of technology whose implications could revolutionize an entire culture.

All crewmembers are STRICTLY INSTRUCTED to forget this and treat it like a shiny elevator.

I think a basic innumeracy is at the heart of so much of life. A grid of 10x10 pennies looks so much less than 100...365 days is slow+fast at the same time. We can't even grasp our populations or our budgets.

from martinFAIL

May 3, 2009
aka "I know why the martingale sings"...

Last night I won $200 playing roulette at Foxwoods. ($225 actually, I decided to try for $25 to cover overtipping the "big win" croupier with a $20.)

I've been interested in the "martingale" system, (where you decide how much to win per go-round, then double up until you win or go broke) for a while, even though it is, of course, a sucker's bet. A friend first mentioned it to me in 1999 or so, and all the way back then I was able to write a simulation to prove that with any kind of house limit or limited bankroll, you are going to eventually lose, and in the long run lose more than you gain. A few months ago for a lark and to exercise a new laptop I had bought I wrote some nerdy simulations to see if there were any parameters of walking away that could change that. Answer: no, of course not.

My Aunt digs the slots, though, and on our way back from visiting Josh (my host in Japan) in Connecticut we decided to stop at Foxwoods.

It's weird how intimidated I was by the casino... there are all these little etiquette things, and I wasn't familiar with the procedures (do you exchange cash at the table? when is it ok to touch chips, etc), and I knew you're always being watched there... but of course everyone's a newbie sometimes, and they're pretty polite with any little goofs that even experience looking people make.) Also, I had no idea what minimum/maximum bets were going to be -- answer: minimum 10-25, maximum 200.

So I found a quiet corner, cranked up my baby laptop, and ripped out a perl script so I could have a better picture of what I was getting myself into. It was educational: I learned that an 80% of losing more money feels better to me than a 74% chance of losing less money, for instance.

Here is a Javscript version of what I made, so you too can find out how quickly or slowly you want to lose money: (it assumes you're always making a bet with an 18/38 chance of winning: e.g. chance of landing on one of 18 black numbers, and not one of the 18 reds or 0 or 00.)

number of runs
walkway goal
cut losses at
base bet
max bet
show me what's happening (warning: reduce # of runs!)

wins/losses settings number of spins
win % lose % # runs goal cut base bet max bet < 5 < 10 >= 10
One thing that was new for this go-round was counting number of spins: everything else being equal, I'd rather win or lose my money in fewer spins than in more, since (as should be blatantly obvious by now) I don't really enjoy the gambling process that much, I get nervous about the risk rather than excited about the potential gain.

I've seeded the fields with what I ended up going with: start betting 200, walk away if I win 200, walk away if I'm down 1000. A bit less than 80% of the time, I win 200, but when I don't win, I lose the whole 1000. You might notice something weird: it's not very martingale at all, since it turns out I got equal or better odds and results a lot faster by going with the house maximum, which was about what I'd want to walk away happy with anyway.

So in driving home with my Aunt, feeling a little smug (All these fratboy types were at my table making smaller bets and fretting more, I caught their attention with my role of nebbish high roller), I thought about a fairly precise metaphor for a life making (very) occasional casino trips like this: it's a probabilistic credit card. I can, around 4/5 of the time, make a withdrawl of $200, but at some point (if I keep doing this) I'm going to pay that back, plus about $200 interest. (And man, will I feel sheepish then, and of course a bit aghast at that seemingly HUGE streak of bad luck I just encountered.)

Some of my recent interest came in part where I mused to JZ, I bet you you could reliably win $200 at a casino, make a weird kind of life that way. (My previous studies were wondering if with an ability to take a giant loss, and accept humble enough wins, if there were some effective parameters) But, duh, you can't. If you could, you could take whatever you were doing and multiply it and win big, and that's just gonna happen at a game like this.

If I was better at math, I could probably come with an equation that explains the relationship of base bet and max bet and amount you want to win and amount you're willing to lose, and see how it never, ever beats the house edge, but for now I'll just depend on these clunky simulations.

BTW, how lame is it that Europe had a single "0" to give the house an edge, and some bright American came up with... "00"? That's some yankee ingenuity (but lack of class) right there, boy howdy.

from isometric castles

April 21, 2009

To view this content, you need to install Java from java.com
iso - source - built with processing

Shortly after a study in the joy of smashing, a study in isometric graphics ends up becoming something about the loveliness of building. Use the mouse to move the cursor, the button drops blocks. Space clears, 'M' makes the bricks' 'mortar' visible or invisible. (Prettier hidden, in my opinion.)

(I was meaning to transfer all my data to my new PC tonight, but got sidetracked by this, in part because I started playing with isometric cubes the other day and was worried I'd forget about the project if I just turned the computer off.)
Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.
Robert Heinlein, Time Enough For Love.
Like Larry "Perl" Wall says, programming is all about Laziness, Impatience, and Hubris.
"If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way."
Bertrand Russell.
(Yes, 2 quotationspage.com qotd in a row. Sosumi.)
New Yorker on neuroenhancing drug abuse.

from smashenfreude

(1 comment)
April 19, 2009
Yesterday I made a Java Toy in honor of the Klik of the Month Klub #22:

The Joy of Smashing

Knock the pyramid of bricks down (each brick beneath the level of the table) in order to... get a bigger pyramid of bricks to knock down! I didn't have time to add in a timer or score system, or the arrows showing where bricks might still by flying through the air.

This drew heavily on my experience at the OLPC Physics Game Jam, and the code itself is mostly ripped up and remixed JBox2D demo code...

(I can't believe the word didn't exist on Google before now! I might have to make more and more extensive toys and games around the concept.)

Quidditch tourney with BU, Middlebury, UMass, Emerson tomorrow? They do know it's imaginary? Or at least, damn difficult to get flying brooms.
I'm getting jaded - a new desktop PC is barely worth a twitter now not like http://kirk.is/2006/05/02/ - worried that with a fastish PC I'll now code java toys for computers that are as fast...

from rgbwar

March 21, 2009
To view this content, you need to install Java from java.com
rgbwar - source - built with processing
A Glorious Trainwreck for Klik of the Month Klub #21. More of a toy than a game... press space to reset the RGB armies. They swarm around (there's some pseudo-flocking behavior built-in) and shoot each other with lasers. The faster they're moving, the faster their lasers are recharging, and flocks tend to move faster than individuals. Also you can use the mouse to mess with individual blobs a bit.

There might be a metaphor in how as the war goes on everyone becomes an indistinct charred husk.
The parts of a car that look the most like a car are some of the least complicated and least important parts in how it works. As with people.

http://nelson.oldradio.com/origins.call-list.html - what call letters were meant to stand for

from timish: a watch for literate time

March 13, 2009
it's around...
--This is a working mockup of a watch I might actually wear. It tells time more or less like a human looking at an analog clock would... (Thanks Miller for help on the CSS vertical alignment.)

Hmm, maybe that needs an accent mark to show it's "Time-ish" not "Tim-ish".

A descending shadow is commonly used for a psychological state of mind (like a feeling of revulsion, depression, or impending doom). Use a ballpoint pen.

http://www.slate.com/id/2213558/ - Slate explores the universality of "M-F'er" type insults. Believe it or don't I didn't quite realize the term is meant to imply incest!
Damnation. My "3 stars or better" list just started not fitting in an 8gig iPod nano.
My default response to "bright and early" is always "well, early, anyway" -- FUNNY EVERY TIME.
For grins running roulette "Martingale" sims. If you want to lose an average of $12/day (but still winning $200 most days) come talk to me.

from kirk the greatest baron in all picardy

December 6, 2008
first name: Simply enter your first and last name here and our advanced nomenclatronic algorithms will compute the royal nickname that is specific to you!
last name:

The royal nicknames come from the Wikipedia List of nicknames of European royalty and nobility that gave me the idea for the project earlier this year. I wrote some scripts to strip out the names and take a guess at the "good" ones (ones that start "the" or "de", etc) You can see the full list of over 2000 nicknames here.

The names in that cleaned-up list are unique, but of course originally there were plenty of duplicates. Here are the 20 most popular royal nicknames:
the Great162 the Rich35
the Younger139 the Good35
the Saint119 the Wise32
the Elder76 the Blind30
the Old65 the Black29
the Young59 the Strong26
the Pious57 the Surety26
the Fat45 the Lame25
the Brave40 the Barracks Emperor25
the Red38 the Emperor of the Army25
You know, that's a few more Barracks Emperors than I thought history would actually need.

One (grudgingly admitted) advantage of winter: winter coats with big pockets, less of a need for the man bag.
http://tinyurl.com/6moyv3 , Obama citizenship "fight" Schultz:"These are scientists. They should all come to the same conclusion." HaHA!
Firefox 3 cares not for your pixel art.
Annoyed by how my To Read bookshelf consists of an ever increasing percentage of the tall books that aren't as subway friendly...

from alphaboogie

September 21, 2008
click to play

alphaboogie - source - built with processing
alphaboogie! A program meant to entertain (and tested on!) two year olds... press alphabet keys and the letters fly around the screen (they kind of orbit where you last clicked.) It might take a bit too load, the soundclips make it pretty big. (It's going when the screen turns gray... click and start pressing letters!)

Techincally an entry to the latest Glorious Trainwrecks Klik of the Month Klub, but not very representative of it, in terms of content, the tools I used (well, actually this time had a bigger diversity of platforms than usual) and then actually getting the bulk of it done during the day rather than at the two hour jam.

"Stick It": awesome artsy gymnastics shots (overhead floor routines to kaleidoscopes, multiple uneven bar runs juxtaposed)+good soundtrack
I remember feeling a little guilty about picking on the Patriots' defense last week. I take back any taking back I might've done.
There's a parallel in my adding small bits to my website and a bird building its nest. The latter is likely more likely to attract females.
Aw, crap, that was the equinox? And it's Fall already? Bleh, guess so, http://kirkjerk.com/2007/11/04/

from kirkjerkfirewerk

July 4, 2008

To view this content, you need to install Java from java.com
kirkjerkfirewerk - source - built with processing

Just a little something I banged together for the fourth (that's supposed to be a 4 if it's not obvious...) You can either admire the 4s or use the mouse to draw and use it like a sparkler...

Happy Fourth of July!

Why do almost all fans have their highest power setting right next to off?
Apple's consistency hobgoblins: "People use mice, not keyboards, for checkboxes" thus iPhone Form "Next" skips checks but does dropdowns.
EB's charcoal grill reminds me "the 3 things you can gaze at four hours: fire burning, water flowing, other people working."
thought: if you're gonna have a truck to haul your little league team around in, is "I shot the sherrif" the best music choice for the 4th?

from your own robot army

May 2, 2008

--derived from zomghott.com's ASCIIBotics Labs' Quantum Mini-Robot-Factory. The rightful winner of BoingBoing Gadget and Seagate's 1K Competition - the code I'm Creative Commonsing here can do it's work in under 1K, which is lovely and amazing.

it wasn't me being creative, really, but i am so pleased with today's kisrael.com's robot machine i could give me such a pinch!
GTA4 has reawakened my interest in Rastafarian vocab... wikipedia talks about some of the deliberate logic of "I and I" instead of "me"
thank heavens for google plus youtube... i thought that mountain dew "thank heavens for little girls" spot was gone forever

from basho

April 20, 2008
To view this content, you need to install Java from java.com
basho - source - built with processing

A software toy (as in I screwed up and couldn't get an actual game done) in honor of the famous Haiku poet Matsu Basho. As he wrote:
old pond
a frog jumps
the sound of water
Or as another translation (Allen Ginsberg's) put it:
Th'old pond
A frog jumps in,
The haiku for my toy is more like
the springy yoyo
bashes the three sticky frogs
flies fly overhead
alternate translation:
stupid programmer
skill rusty from lack of use
...make an API!

from sunrise/sunset

November 4, 2007
Jimminy crickets! If I didn't have one of those auto-set alarm clocks, I never would have know the clocks were being pushed back today.

My surprise helped spur me into making the following:

UPDATE: Click for Version with Current Day of Year Marked
sunrise/sunset | source/perl/data | via processing

This is probably one of the least interesting java programs that I've posted here, but it's something I've been meaning to make for years, literally. It's a simple graph showing how the sunrise and sunset times shift throughout the year. (As an afterthought, I added "civil twilight", which is the dark curve behind.) The data is for Boson and comes from the US Naval Observatory Data Services page.

The red line indicates where you are in the year, and is the only remotely dynamic part of the program. (I ignore leapyears, so for 2008 it will be off by a pixel.) The yellow lines mark 6am, noon, and 6pm, with the appropriate daylight savings break. UPDATE: for LAN3 I added a dotted line indicating the midway point between sunrise and sunset.

I was kind of hoping the curve would be a bit more like a compressed sine wave, a visual confirmation of how quickly the change from long days to short days seems to happen once it gets going. It looks more linear than I expected, though some of that is a matter of scale, there might not be a single correct answer for how to scale a 365-day year against a 24 hour day. (Which is an interesting philosophical, or psychological, or design point; on the one hand, a year is so much longer than a day that it seems like the y-axis should be much longer. On the other hand, you can experience the length of a single day, and feel the loss of an hour of daylight, in a way that you really can't with an entire year.)

Sports Fan Trashtalk of the Moment
Big football game today! First time two undefeated-in-7-or-more game teams have faced off. And after, there will be one undefeated team in the NFL. Slate had a high-spirited debate between a Pats fan and a Colts fan. My favorite part:
This isn't the 2006 Patriots receiving corps, which was constructed like a fifth-grade diorama: a Little Tikes figurine holding down the slot, a broken G.I. Joe guy slung out wide, and glitter-soaked cotton balls used to create "atmosphere." The 2007 Pats receivers are a thermonuclear weapon with a seven-second timer. There are three colorful wires coming out of that bomb: Welker, Stallworth, and Moss. It's like an action film: Can the Colts clip all three of those wires or get to the quarterback before the timer runs out? I don't think so.
The diorama bit made me laugh out loud. Of course I'm biased, but I think the New England fan was a much more lively writer than the guy pitching the Colts.

from conwayice

October 21, 2007

To view this content, you need to install Java from java.com
conwayice sourcecode / built with Processing

Conway's Game of Life with subsequent generations plotted in 3D to make ethereal sculptures.

The viewer may click form a new sculpture; the higher in the window the click, the denser the initial populating and resulting sculpture. The view is of 32 generations of a 32x32 wrapping grid. The rotation roughly tracks the mouse, but will start on its own if left idle.

Inspired by the traditional 2D plots of 1D Cellular Automata and the realization that the same use of a spatial refactoring of the dimension of time might be informative for 2D CA. Or at least pretty.

(Basic "life" code lifted (with thanks) from Mike Davis.)

For a more advanced version, see Conwayice2 that lets you set up the initial pattern and see how it runs as well as zoom in.

from a virtual plane full of an infinite number of graphpaper ducks

(1 comment)
September 30, 2007

click to run

"all your ducks in rows and columns"
// source code // built with Processing

As promised... "Ducks. Lots of ducks. A virtual plane full of an infinite number of graphpaper ducks." Mildly interactive with the mouse pointer and mouse button.

I came up with the design of the duck during a dull meeting. Using a notebook of graphpaper for notes has its disadvantages! I ended up drawing an 8x8 grid of these things, but making this program seemed more interesting than posting a scan. (It probably took less time to make the program, come to think of it.)

from the danger of graph paper

July 20, 2007
So finally at Staples I found what I was looking for, item 716522, spiral bound graph notepaper. (I could live without the 3 holes, but whatever.)

One day during a meeting I started to see if I could make an alphabet where each letter was a 2 x 2 grid of triangle and squares. My first attempt had little lines to help define letters, but then I wanted to see if I could make a font without those tweaks. The result was something like:

Not the most legible, but hey. Kind of looks like the old Pac-Man font.

So here's the Java applet I made to help me... you can type your own text.

To view this content, you need to install Java from java.com "trifontula" // source code // built with Processing

(The code is very raw, but clever in bits, especially some of how it draws the outline but not in the internal squares.)

I tried adding certain punctuation (especially what a URL would need) with mixed results. It's not the most useful font in the world, but I think it clearly shows the dangers of letting geeks take notes on graph paper.

from when I dip you dip we dip

March 18, 2007
Augusten Burroughs' "Running with Scissors" describes an act of divination known as a "Bible Dip":
"All the Finches did bible-dips. It was like asking a Magic Eight Ball a question, only you were asking God. The way it worked was, one person held the bible while another person thought of a question to ask God, like, 'Should I get my hair cut short?' Then the person holding the bible opened it at random, and the person asking the question dropped his or her finger on the page. Whatever word your finger landed on, this was your answer."
I've created an online virtual Bible-dip tool. Here's a miniature embedded version. Think of the question you'd like Divine guidance on, click the "select bible passage" button, then let your finger drop on the gray box. The word you're pointing at is your answer, subject to your interpretation of course...

(The full version might be easier to use, and has a bit more explanation.)

Believe it or don't, I'm pretty sincere in how I'm offering this. Sure, I have my doubts about it being a direct line to and from God, but even without that faith it seems like a potentially useful tool.

from the twenty-one secondary sins

February 7, 2007
click to use
"The Twenty-one Secondary Sins"
// source code // built with Processing

Click (or drag between) any two sins to see their combination.
Creative content lovingly stolen from Jessica Hagy's We're All Going to Hell at Indexed.

Arguably, this misses some of the charm of the the original by removing the formal notation and sense of figuring things out, but I'm going to pretend it has its own sense of exploration. In any case, I hadn't programmed much of anything for a few weeks, and so this was, in part, to keep me in practice.

from let's make a deal

July 4, 2006
Boingboing linked to a new free eBook on probability... in their writeup, the mention the Monty Hall problem. 3 doors... goats are behind 2 of them, and a new car behind the third. The player picks a door. Monty then opens one of the doors, revealing a goat. Should the player switch doors? (Assume an equal chance for the 3 doors to hold a car, and that Monty will pick one of the 2 goat doors at random if the player has already picked the car.)

The article mentioned that Marilyn vos Savant "encouraged her readers to simulate the game and draw their own conclusions"... Well, here's a simulation! You can modify the speed to run lots of simulations, "Wargames"-finale style. You can select always switch, never switch, or some probability of switching.



1 in 3


2 in 3







2020 UPDATE: Jim Holt's "When Einstein Walked with Gödel" provides one of the best summaries of why you should switch, and I feel I "get" it now in a way I don't remember if I did when I wrote this simulation:
Counterintuitively enough, the answer is that you should switch, because a switch increases your chance of winning from one-third to two-thirds. Why? When you initially chose door A, there was a one-third chance that you would win the car. Monty’s crafty revelation that there’s a goat behind door B furnishes no new information about what’s behind the door you already chose—you already know one of the other two doors has to conceal a goat—so the likelihood that the car is behind door A remains one-third. Which means that with door B eliminated, there is a two-thirds chance that the car is behind door C.
So, "obviously" you had a 1/3 chance of the car at first, but a 2/3 chance you got it wrong. Switching after the reveal lets you safely jump from the side of the 1/3 chance to the 2/3 - or in other words IF that initial 2/3 chance was the right one from the outset THEN you will now definitely win! After a goat is revealed and you switch you can ONLY lose if you were going to win at first (back when your chances were 1 in 3) and vice versa.

from the sci fi idea machine

June 30, 2006
click to play

scifidea - Source code: scifidea
Built with Processing
    So recently I read about Georges Polti's list of the 36 Dramatic Situations in literature, the idea that's that's about it for plots. Unforunately, most online versions of the list don't go into much detail. However, Emmadavies.net's Plots for Novels and Stories page does the list justice, and has many other related taxonomies. Thought it turns out it cribbed from this page which lays out the details of the 36 in a wonderful hierarchical fashion. I also found Hatch's Plot Bank, as well as the Big List of RPG Plots.

But what grabbed me the most was Julia West's pages of science fiction ideas, with lots of mix and match elements. The thing was I wasn't crazy about the UI for it, so I made the beast you see to the left. You can click on any of the categories to start it spinning, or on the arrows at the bottom to get them all moving. Hopefully it won't be TOO too taxing for people's computers. All of the content (except for the cartoons there) is stuff that she collected.

from mr angry and mrs calm

October 26, 2005
Illusion of the Moment
click to see

mr angry and mrs calm // source code // Built with Processing (0093 beta)

I made this applet to better view the Mr Angry & Mrs Calm Illusion as presented by Ian Rowland, but the original is by Dr. Aude Oliva and Dr. Philippe Schyns (see this MIT page for more cool and related stuff.)

Move the mouse over the image to shrink it. As it shrinks, the faces seem to swap places! No other image processing is done except the shrinking. Mr. Angry on the right becomes calm, and Mrs. Calm on the left appears angry. It's an amazing illusion, I think the applet makes it a little more fun to play with.

Article of the Moment
Neat little Slate Explainer about the spelling of the Red Sox and White Sox...I had no idea it died into that "spelling reform movement" near the end of the 1800s.

I still love names like the "Boston Beaneaters" and the "New York Porchclimbers"...more historical team names here.

Laffy Taffy of the Moment
Q. What kind of tea can be hard to swallow?
A. Reality
Recent Laffy Taffy Wrapper.
Ooooh, Snap!

Site Update of the Moment
I rejiggered by sidebar with the goal of making it easier to get to the interesting stuff. You can compare it old one and let me know if you think it's an improvement. I'm open to suggestions, especially for the section headings.

from i don't know much about art. but i know what i like.

July 13, 2005
Interactive Art of the Moment

click here

"Oh" // Source code // Built with Processing
    Interactive art... I was caught by the images from this Wired piece (which seem to be from this site). The work uses an idiosyncratic UI, each change in horizontal mouse pointer direction advances to the next image.

from k/stencil

April 7, 2005
Art Toy of the Moment

--Whee! I finally finished a public (perpetual) beta of k/stencil, a Java toy that lets people upload their own images and overlay text. You can upload images, tweak to your heart's content, and then share in a public gallery. Give it a shot! Eventually I'd like to run a contest on loveblender with this... feedback on the interface is welcome, though I know it's a little clunky, and that's probably not going to change.

Thought of the Moment
People are the only animals to voluntarily ignore their sleep needs, according to Van Cauter. They stay up to play, work, socialize, or watch television. However, she adds, "We're overstepping the boundaries of our biology because we are not wired for sleep deprivation."
The article (pointed out by Bill) had some points about the biological differences between very heavy people and people of healthier weights...I guess the trick is acknowledging the challenges obese people face while still acknowledging their responsibility to at work at their health.

Anyway, I'm not sure how proven it is, but I love that idea that humans are the only animals to want to stay up late...it's a semi-defintion of humanity that goes well with my notions of how stuff that's "interesting" is axiomatically good in my value system. (Especially since now that it looks like that line about "Man is the only animal that laughs" probably ain't true.) Seeking out "interesting" stuff is at the root of our humanity.

Congressional Idea of the Moment
2 months more of DST every year? Sign me up! I don't care if it's like .05% of our daily energy needs...I want more light in the evenings!

In Cleveland, pretty far west in the Eastern time zone, we had lovely long, light evenings. Yeah, in the winter I had to trudge to school before it was light out, but it was worth it.

from 4000 years passing

April 5, 2005
Java Toy of the Moment
click to play

source code // built with Processing
Probably my least interesting Java toy posted here, a while back I wanted to develop an intuition about Bezier Curves so I made this interactive tool...the curves start with random end and control points which can then be dragged with the mouse, change the associated curve.

Quote of the Moment
Can you imagine 4,000 years passing, and you're not even a memory? Think about it, friends. It's not just a possibility. It is a certainty.
Jean Shepherd

Science of the Moment
I had no idea moondust was such a problem...very sharp and nasty bits of meteorites, since there's no erosion to wear it down.

from of shots and shouts

March 17, 2005
Political Geek Art Snark of the Moment
snark, boojum Source code // Built with Processing
A little Java toy...click on the window and you can type in your own message to be placed over the shot of Bush waving a small flag. I'm surprised I haven't posted that Thurber poem here before, it's one of my favorites and I know it by heart. I suppose depending on your political persuasion, you could type in something more supportive of or more nasty about our Commander-in-Chief.

Keen-eyed regulars may recognize this (not terribly original) technique of text-over-image, last year I made three pieces Cider, Accuse, To Sleep, though those were all "By Hand" as it were. Now I can let the computer do most of the dirty work.

I should make up a webpage that lets you upload or use an arbitrary image from the web and with some better text editing options. (The current thing only understands "backspace" for editing.)

Actually, now that it's a java applet there's more things I could do than with the static images...I already use a "one letter at a time" display, but also theres no reason the image behind couldn't be changing, either some frames of an animation, or just flipping through various images.

Thought of the Moment
So last night I was showing that app to Candi...she thought it was kind of cool that I program "for fun" too, while she just does what she needs to for school. I was going to say that that's what seperates "real programmers" from other people, but then I realized I know a large number of "real programmers" but very very few of 'em do this kind of stuff for fun per se, as far as I can tell. But I've been doing that for years and years; I think a lot of the kids in the 80s did that, but then a lot of people just gave it up. "Recreational Programming" is a bit of an arcane field.

from computer art of the moment

November 13, 2004
click to play
paintbars Source code //
Built with Processing

Just a bit of abstract kinetic semi-interactive art...I find it a little hypnotic. The paintbarsnakeguys are attracted to the center of the screen at first, as well as to the tail of one of the other paintbarsnakeguys. When you click with the mouse, they lose interest in the other paintbarsnakeguy and just go to where you're clicking...once you release the mouse button, they go back to their old behavior, but instead of the center, they're attracted to wherever the mouse last was.

I was actually trying for a different effect, recreating this old screen saver I had for Windows. I ended up liking this one more, though if I get the other one down I might post it as well. I really don't use color enough, in my art, maybe not in my life in general. I have mostly blue and green shirts because I know they look ok on me and that's about it...

War of the Moment
Icon Story, the desktop battlefield rages and in the end their can be only one...some really clever and playful use of the iconography found on most Windows XP boxes. I want a fighting game based on this! (via MELAS)

from brand of fire

November 10, 2004
Gargoyle of the Moment
Source code //
Built with Processing
Same basic idea as the other day, but now I have the ability to screengrab from the Gameboy original rather than painting my own rough version. This is Firebrand the Red Destroyer, the main character from the game Gargoyle's Quest. Interestingly, he got his start as a bad guy in the game Ghosts 'n Goblins. Now I think he's supposed to be red, but in the original GB version, he is of course the same spinach green as everything else on that old system, and I don't feel like updating him from the version I got to know and love. I just always thought he was the cutest little guy, a great example of pixel art.

from great garglin' gargoyles!

November 6, 2004
Source code // Built with Processing
The return of an old little friend...years ago I made up a windows version of this guy, inspired by this Gameboy Game "Gargoyle's Quest". Now he's back in Java...he tends to fly away from the pointer when you hold down the mouse button.

Link of the Moment
I've set myself a little goal for the end of the year...get rid of all my 2003 backlog, so the thing is only like a year behind. I only have 9 or 10 entries to post, mostly links. Here's one on the classic shooter DOOM: 10 Years of DOOM with lots of neat little pieces. Including a version of something I can't believe I hadn't posted before, Old Ma Murray's Crate-based Videogame Review System...the world's first completely unbiased review system, where you can tell exactly how good a game, since it's an inverse function of how long it takes you to see a random crate or barrel in the background as you run around. Some great lines in that.

Quote of the Moment
Written words; they seem to talk to you as though they were intelligent, but if you ask them anything about what they say, from a desire to be instructed, they go on saying the same thing forever.

from cosmic ark swarm

September 18, 2004
Java Toy of the Moment
click to play

cosmicarkswarm - Source code // Built with Processing

"Cosmic Ark Swarm"--I'd been thinking about this little toy for too long...for months a very rough version of the source code was clogging up one of my journal backlog tools, and in a way, this is the kind of "random critters moving around" thing I've wanted to make since...yeesh, at least 1987. This is a big wildlife refuge providing a home for all 7 critter-types (kisrael'd previously) from the Atari 2600 game Cosmic Ark by Imagic. The beasties are skittish about your mouse pointer, and rightfully so...pressing the mouse button turns the pointer into a little sticky tractor beam that lets you pick 'em up as you sweep by.

Video of the Moment
Funny...I ran into Strindberg and Helium on memepool just before Candi remembered it from way back when and mentioned it in her LJ. Very strange stuff...kinda like Poe meets the Care Bears, or something. "Absinthe and Women" is probably the best one: "How sweet life can be when the misery of one's existence is blurred by slight intoxication."

from act now! time is running out!

August 1, 2004
click to run

--A stylized 60 second timer, written in Processing. (More convenient to use than the PalmPilot version I made earlier I think, at least if you have a laptop.) One advantage over a regular timer is you don't have to wait for it to run down to reuse it... (Here's the Source...geek note: one thing I like about these toys is, so long as you don't use external graphics, they are 100% described by a single text file...)

from fishing for complements

July 30, 2004
Java Toy of the Moment
click to see

--A fishtank is one of my traditional thingies to build when learning a new graphical system. Usually 2D, this is actually a slight update of the one I made at the Boston School of the MFA back in 1993 or so--a very odd "C" language programming class I took there. You can change the viewpoint with the mouse and click to zoom in a bit. (The color and the zooming are the new bits...I like being able to get up close and personal with the little fish.) (Source code)

Funny of the Moment
Researchers recently said that the chimpanzee, hunted for meat and threatened by deforestation, could be extinct in 50 years. What do you think?
"They're being hunted for meat? Are chimp fajitas any good?"

Politics of the Moment
Slightly more interesting than I would have guessed, one of my former coworkers is a DNC blogger, at Centrist Coalition's blog. Looks like a group effort.

Mmmm...centrism. I think the CC's take may be that Fiscal conservatist, Socially liberal viewpoint that got Weld into office as governor. In its extreme form, it's kind of a Libertarian Lite, but still.

from "balls," said the queen. "if i had them i'd be king."

July 28, 2004
Did some nautilus etc. with a personal trainer at the gym this morning. It's kind of intimidating, I find it kind of difficult to remember all the details of the exercises and form and stretches and what not.

Toy of the Moment
click to play

Source code // Built with Processing
--Made this last night, click and hold to make a circle, let it go and all circles start gliding to the common centerpoint, marked by a pixel. Learning Processing has been on my "To Do" list for a long time; it has a lot of nifty 3D features I haven't even begun to touch.

Geek note, I realized my usual trick of breaking down motion into seperate X and Y components won't quite work to get a nice orbiting effect, because of Pythagorean theorem and all that. Maybe later I'll try to make a Processing "sketch" that handles that better.

Peterman mentions it's a bit of a memory hog. Also, if you click to quickly it gets stuck, classic threading issue I have to work on.

Cuss-filled update follows...highlight with mouse or hit Ctrl-A to see, if you want....UPDATE: SHIIIIIIIIIIT. I made up a new version that avoids the freezing issue...works great in the toolkit but I cannot get it to run on my PC or laptop's browser for love nor money. DAMN IT I hate when technology fucks with me like this. Pardon my anglo-saxon, but it's better to rage here then hurl my laptop across the damn room which is what I'm so god damn tempted to do. METAUPDATE: got it working, doing after-hours work on my job's laptop. Weird.

Cookie of the Moment
Arguably (it's amazing what you can get away with if you start out by saying "arguably") the world's best cookies are sold just a block or two from my workplace...Bert's Horrible Cookies are astounding. Considering how good they are, and how they are only available in the "Witch City" of Salem, I think witchcraft or some other black magic may be afoot. Essentially it's a chocolate chip cookie with a fudge brownie baked inside it. No kidding. Stunningly delicious. FoSO was very happy with her reward. (Turns out she didn't actually know the game "Cosmic Ark"...she checked the image filename and Google'd to confirm.)

Just thought you'd all like to know about the world's arguably best cookies.

Playground Equipment of the Moment
--This brilliance via BongBoing:
the Infinity Climber, a Möbius
strip for kids to climb on! UPDATE: In the comments section Harry points out it has one too many twists to be a Möbius. Doggone it.

from no one can stop the alien bill invasion

(1 comment)
December 20, 2003
Went to Locke-Ober with my Aunt, Uncle, and Mom last night. Fancy-shmancy! Lots of dark wood panelling. At first I was surprised how little web presence they had but when I got there I realized I was spelling it wrong. Though my websearch with the incorrect spelling taught me two things: the place is in the script for "Good Will Hunting" (albeit not spelled correctly) and they didn't let women in the main dining room until the mid-80s. Even now, they have a pretty strict dress code, but it can be kind of fun to dress up every once in a while.

Toy of the Moment
--"Alien Bill Horde". (You can make 'em run the other way with the mouse...but you might need a recent Java plugin installed.) In meetings, sometimes I'd draw a huge swarm of Alien Bills, but the computer is so much better at it...(source)

AIM chat of the Moment
kirk: So I'm watching the 60s Batman movie
kirk: man, modern day Ronald McDonald looks a lot like oldschool Joker
LAN3: hahah.
kirk: of course, Ronald is pretty scary these days
kirk: his commercials imply he has fantastic magical powers
kirk: he's moved way beyond visual tricks like outlining goldenarches with his two index fingers
kirk: in one, he can freeze time for like, the entire world except for him and some minion kids
LAN3: One can only hope the Hamburgler doesn't get this power.
kirk: or else, entires cities would be flattened into "rubble, rubble"...
kirk: get it??
LAN3: hahaha, awful!

Link of the Moment
A geeky cataloging of almost 200 particles of Star Trek. (Includes energy waves and the like as well.) "So tiny, you can't tell it's a deus ex machina!" It's not just all dilithium any more!

from slim not so shady

(1 comment)
May 31, 2002
Nostalgia of the Moment
Remember Slim Goodbody, Super Hero of Health? If any skinny freak in a suit that made it look like his insides were on his outside could convince me to exercise, it was him. But honestly, it didn't work that well. I don't know why he's been on my mind lately. Just a little bit of childhood gone by...but he is still kicking around!

Gamebutton of the Moment

Help the Happy Eater stay happy! Click to open and shut the Happy Eater's mouth to eat or reject the foods that the Happy Eater likes:
Likes :-) Dislikes :-(
Once you make three mistakes, the game is over.
Tip: once you click with the mouse to start the game, the spacebar is much more reliable than the mouse for registering button hits

Link of the Moment
I wish I could fly. In the meanwhile, I play the old Nintendo 64 game Pilot Wings.

from asking that musical question...

May 29, 2002
...how old were you before you realized "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "The Alphabet Song" have the same damn tune?

Middle school, for me: the band was having a special performance for some elementary schoolers, to show off a saxophone the player played "Twinkle Twinkle" and I was floored when all the kids yelled out "Alphabet Song!" when asked to name that tune...

Gamebutton of the Moment

Spinning dashes come hurtling in from the right. Click to rotate the dashes in your dashstack: If the dashes in your dashstack are in the same direction as the falling dash when it lands, the topmost dash is removed, otherwise the falling dash is added to your stack and the stack is rotated for you. (Tough Game! Originally called "BracketStack" when I thought you'd rotate > v < ^ pieces...better name but the pieces didn't look as good)

Tip: once you click with the mouse to start the game, the spacebar is much more reliable than the mouse for registering button hits

Link of the Moment
The NY Times thinks Athanasius Kircher was pretty cool for a guy from the 1600s.

from four buttons

May 22, 2002


1D pong

newton's cradle

(broken on Mac IE)

from lights out, uh-huh

August 27, 2001

'Blackhole' Puzzle

include diag.

I found this javascript puzzle I made last year. The goal is to get all the stars 'unlit'. I think; the goal might also be to get all the stars lit, but that's pretty easy. The 3x3 version of this game (you can change the size of the grid with the select box) is pretty trivial. To be honest, I'm not positive the center star -> none game is possible; after 20 minutes of fiddling with it I didn't find the solution. Anyway, assuming you do solve it, you can use the "Random" button to come up with a new puzzle, or see if it's any different if you include the diagonals in. It's kind of fun to play with in any case, messing with the symmetry and asymetry of it.