« Previous Day | Main | Next Day »

28 December, 2002

30 Years of Computer Games

A few days ago I had my first exposure to Microsoft's Xbox, specifically a game called Halo. About 30 years ago, I was fascinated by a pure text game called Adventure. I think I prefer playing Adventure.

Modern computer games rely on hi-res graphics and sound effects. They're fun, but they leave very little to imagination. Playing a text-based game such as Adventure, on the other hand, requires imagination.

Adventure starts out like this:

You are standing at the end of a road before a small brick building. Around you is a forest. A small stream flows out of the buildings and down a gully. In the distance there is a tall gleaming white tower.

Everyone who ever played this game had a different vision of that brick building and forest. I spent hours drawing maps and solving problems. The rewards, I think, were much more satisfying than figuring out how to get extra shotgun ammunition so you can kill more aliens.

By the way, if you've played Adventure, you may recall the magic word, XYZZY. As it turns out, this may have its origins as a mnemonic device in mathematics. If you haven't played Adventure, it's not too late. Free downloads are available.

Posted on 28 December, 2002

The PETA Pin-Up Calendar

The PETA calendar. Just in time for the new year. Order the calendar, or download the photos -- suitable for use as desktop wallpaper.

Posted on 28 December, 2002

How to Create a Web Site

This site explains what you need to know in order to create a web site.

First of all, you want to start out with a long Flash intro... Next on the checklist, lots of animated GIFs...

Posted on 28 December, 2002

ASCII Text Generator

Go here, to create text like this (it has lots of options):

Posted on 28 December, 2002

The Best of What's New in 2002

Popular Science presents a nice categorized wrap-up of new technology in 2002.

Posted on 28 December, 2002

Find Parasite Software

Here's a web site that has a script that might be able to determine if you've picked up any "parasite" software:

"Parasite" is a shorthand term for "unsolicited commercial software" -- that is, a program that gets installed on your computer which you never asked for, and which does something you probably don't want it to, for someone else's profit. The parasite problem has grown enormously recently, and many millions of computers are affected.

I'm pretty conscientious about this sort of thing -- but it did detect the NewDotNet plug-in on my system.

Posted on 28 December, 2002

Winners: Worst Technical Manual Contest

A company called TSI sponsors an annual contest to determine the worst technical manual. The 2002 results are in. My favorite is Runner-Up #2, the Rubik's Cube solution.

And speaking of Rubik's Cubes... here's an online version.

Posted on 28 December, 2002

A Guy Sneezing

Here's a web site that shows a guy sneezing, using a sequence of 217 photos. If you size your browser window just right, you can get an animation effect by clicking the scrollbar.

(via The PreSurfer)

Posted on 28 December, 2002

Fly Guy

Yet another clever Flash program. Use the arrow keys to make a guy fly.

Posted on 28 December, 2002

Japanese Tattoo Symbols

If you're considering an enigmatic New Year's tattoo, here's a good source for inspiration.

Posted on 28 December, 2002

Google's 2002 Timeline

The year in review, through the eyes of Google. Note, however, that it exemplifies one of Jacob Nielson's Top Ten Web-Design Mistakes of 2002 -- specifically, #3.

Posted on 28 December, 2002