Terry Davis and TempleOS

Terry Davis and TempleOS

Terry Davis is a programmer that has had a very difficult life. After a series of manic episodes, at 44 Terry is now homeless and most believe he has schizophrenia or suffering some other seriously debilitating mental disorder. He was most recently spotted on the streets here in Portland.

What’s unusual about Terry is that he wrote his own operating system: TempleOS. It’s free to download, and is written in HolyC. He even has his own youtube channel. There is even video of him debugging it while living homeless in his car in the middle of parking lots.

His life currently demonstrates the terrible state of mental health care in the United States, and the difficult reality of many homeless. They are often very intelligent, but have disorders that make them non-functional in society.

Read more about TempleOS and Terry on wikipedia.

Warning: his more recent videos have racist and inappropriate sexual language.

 

Saki

Saki

Saki is a great author – I think he’s due for a re-discovery. He’s a humorist author that wrote around the turn of the century, but his biting wit and description of high society social foibles is timeless. Here’s a clip:

Clovis continued, “My mother is thinking of getting married.”

His host responded, “Again!”

“It’s the first time.”

“Of course, you ought to know. I was under the impression that she’d been married once or twice at least.”

“Three times, to be mathematically exact. I meant that it was the first time she’d thought about getting married; the other times she did it without thinking.

Dear God Yes. Cellphone sanity?

Dear God Yes. Cellphone sanity?

I’ve always been one that believes when you’re together, be together. Put your !@#$ cell phones away when having dinner together or enjoying a show. I personally believe the Phone Stacking Game should be mandatory. Now Yondr has come out with something almost better. Something I hope catches on.

You are handed one of their little Yondr pouches – slightly larger than a cell phone. You put your cell phone into the pouch and the case locks shut with a little pin/tag similar to those use in department stores on clothes. You can only unlock the pouch and get your phone back out at unlocking stations located at the exit.

This allows you to go to venues where you don’t want cell phones to be distracting the experience yet let each person retain ownership and control of their phone. Even better, if you might get an emergency call, you can hear the ring tone/feel the vibration and immediately exit to see it.

I can see parents using this with children, at movie theaters, or even churches.

Cuphead Animation Reel

Cuphead Animation Reel

Cuphead was one of the most beautiful and innovative games in the last year. Not only did it have great (and notoriously difficult) gameplay, but the graphical style is a magical throwback to the golden era of animation.

The creators of Cuphead put together an animation reel that gives you some insights on how this wonderful game was put together using classic animation techniques. Give it a watch.

LD_PRELOAD and stealing function calls

LD_PRELOAD and stealing function calls

There is a clever little trick that one can use for a variety of purposes on Linux. It involves overriding or hijacking function calls. It’s called LD_PRELOAD.

Lets say you create a file called unrandom.c that includes an implementation of the rand() function. It matches the function rand() in standard C.

unrandom.c:
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int rand(){
    return 42; //the most random number in the universe
}

We’ll compile it into a shared library.

gcc -shared -fPIC unrandom.c -o unrandom.so

Now… just run a program (my_program) that uses random numbers like this, and you’ll find that the rand function only generates 42.

LD_PRELOAD=$PWD/unrandom.so ./my_program

This trick can be used in a variety of ways. A good write-up can be found here, and is worth a read:

Dynamic linker tricks: Using LD_PRELOAD to cheat, inject features and investigate programs

Projection Mapped Data Sculptures

Projection Mapped Data Sculptures

Media artist Refik Anadol’s work Melting Memories combines data and light projections  to visibly demonstrate how the brain recalls memories. The installation was created with a custom 16 x 20 foot LED media wall and CNC milled rigid foam, and was shown earlier in 2018 at Pilevneli Galleryin Istanbul.

She’s also done a lot of other interesting stuff. Check out her website.

 

Vector graphics are back!

Vector graphics are back!

Remember the arcade game Asteroids or the vector-based Star Wars arcade game? How about the vector-graphics based Vectrix game console?

Say hello to LaserOS. It that allows you build really cool, high quality vector graphics dreams – on real laser projectors. You can build visual laser shows, visualizations, control and create musical compositions, and play some great old games.

Here’s a developer that re-created Asteroids with a high-quality laser system (bonus points for talking about the difficulty of the traveling salesman problem):

Here’s one reviewer giving LaserOS a go on his laser projector:

What all the markings on ocean-faring ships mean

What all the markings on ocean-faring ships mean

Tugboat crews easily read a vessel’s size, shape, function, and features, while deciphering at a glance the mysterious numbers, letters, and symbols on a ship’s hull. To non-mariners, the markings look like hieroglyphs.

Hakai magazine on coastal science published a really cool article that helps you decode all the interesting markings, paint schemes, and functions of the interesting and strange things you see on big ocean-going vessles. I had no idea there was so much interesting information – and that paint schemes are far, FAR more complicated than marking water lines. Give it a read.

plimsoll lines on the side of a ship