Sunday, July 19, 2009

A memory of two games

I remember from my childhood, when one of my friends got a computer, we used to go play on the new toy. There were two games in particular that we liked, one of them where you have to place mirrors in the path of a laser in order to direct the beam to hit certain targets, and another one where you built a machine that performed a certain task.

Although I've never really found the same laser game again, I've recently discovered a pretty similar Flash game. Find it here:

The second one was called The Incredible Machine (TIM). It's a commercial game, and it had sequels. But I've found another Flash game, Fantastic Contraption, which is free to play, and the game-play is somewhat similar to the original TIM. I invite you to play it here:

Have fun!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Laptop problems and Apples

Since the last time I wrote here, my laptop started behaving weirdly. My battery was long time gone, so if I unplugged it, it turned off instantly. The news is now it turns off randomly, even if I don't touch the power cord. I can keep it on about 2h a day, after that it turns off repeatedly (I'm racing against the time now :) I've ordered a new battery, I hope that will help.

So I've been using other devices for my daily routine. I installed Plucker on my Palm Zire 31, and using the Linux pdftohtml command, I got some books there so I can read. I'm also using my girlfriend's Apple iPod Touch*** for browsing the Internet. It's kinda cool what you can do with a tiny gadget like that. Many sites have a mobile version with no useless content (ads) and in a layout friendly to the tiny screen. The one I've been using most is Google Reader mobile. You can try it even on your computer, it's here.

The scroll and zoom operations are so much neater than on a computer. Text input however is terrible. You don't want to be writing e-mails or blog posts on the on-screen keyboard, but then again, it's not supposed to be a computer. I was pretty impressed by the web browser (Safari), and how it renders whole pages in that tiny screen. Except Flash and other such (missing) add-ons, everything looks pretty much like on your computer.

I wonder how the code works on this and other such platforms. Safari seems to render the webpages as images. When you zoom-in, you can notice the lower quality, until the page is rendered again at the new resolution. Also, the webpages are rendered in sections: only the section that fits the screen is generated. When you scroll down, you see empty space and you have to wait for the new section to render. I'm curious if the other candidates (Blackberry, Palm's WebOS, Android, etc) employ the same procedure.

The picture at the top of this post is a Palm Pre. Darn, that gadget is cool (and expensive).

*** thank you baby :)