Advent Calendar for Geeks #14

Everyday of Advent I'm going to post a geeky link to something you can play with online until it is time to open your presents.

Online Maze Designer

A really simple maze designer tool. Simply click to draw your path.

There are options for saving and importing as well as loads of info on maze as well as some games to enjoy.

Advent Calendar for Geeks #13

Everyday of Advent I'm going to post a geeky link to something you can play with online until it is time to open your presents.

The Wub Machine

The Wub Machine is an online tool for automatically remixing tunes into dubstep classics.


Simply upload your music and choose a genre. You can also add songs from Soundcloud and download your creations. All work comes with extra wub wub wub.

Advent Calendar for Geeks #12

Everyday of Advent I'm going to post a geeky link to something you can play with online until it is time to open your presents.

Map of the Dead

Map of the Dead is a zombie survival tool powered by Google maps. It provides information about possible infestation areas in the event of a zombie apocalypse.


Along with areas to avoid the map lists locations of where to get your supplies, such as the fire station, which could be a could source of axes, or hospitals, likely to be over-run with the walking dead, but a good place to stock up on medical supplies.

Advent Calendar for Geeks #11

Everyday of Advent I'm going to post a geeky link to something you can play with online until it is time to open your presents.

Music Map

Music Map is a site that lets you explore which musicians are similar in style to others. You simply enter the name of one musician or band and a cloud of other musicians will appear around it. The closer two musicians appear next to each other more likely a person will enjoy both musicians and a great way of discovering new music.


Advent Calendar for Geeks #10

Everyday of Advent I'm going to post a geeky link to something you can play with online until it is time to open your presents.

Your life in history

Your Life in History allows you to explore how your personal timeline relates to major world events. You simply enter your date of birth and the site puts the history of your timeline into context.



For example, my father's life can be split into two halves - one before hip hop records and one after. For me personally, I have lived half of my life with Harry Potter and half of it without.

Advent Calendar for Geeks #09

Everyday of Advent I'm going to post a geeky link to something you can play with online until it is time to open your presents.

Estimate of World Sleeping Population

How many people are asleep right now? Alphabet Passport have an estimate on their site.


The algorithm makes assumptions such as 90% of the population of a country would be asleep at peak time and most people sleep for 8 hours (I wish!). Then taking population and timezone data from Wikipedia the results are plotted on an interactive graph. It also includes notable celebrities who may be asleep at the time.

If you are a benevolent philanthropist who is planning on visiting all parts of the world this month in an attempt to distribute presents to all the good christian children of the world, then this site could be of use to you.

Advent Calendar for Geeks #08

Everyday of Advent I'm going to post a geeky link to something you can play with online until it is time to open your presents.

Sideways Dictionary

Sideways Dictionary is a dictionary of technical jargon explained through everyday analogies.


If the jargon term you are looking for is not there, then there is a suggest button, although I do not know whether this site is actively supported. There are currently fewer than one hundred terms available, although each analogy is tagged so you can cross reference your analogy all you like.


Advent Calendar for Geeks #07


Everyday of Advent I'm going to post a geeky link to something you can play with online until it is time to open your presents.

Strobe illusion

Strobe illusion is a good implementation of the motion perception illusion. Stare at the animation for thirty seconds and then look around you as your drawing room goes all wibbly-wobbly.



Advent Calendar for Geeks #06

Everyday of Advent I'm going to post a geeky link to something you can play with online until it is time to open your presents.

Medieval Fantasy City Generator

Software developer Oleg Dolya has created this procedurally generated medieval city map generator.


Currently there are various options for selecting the size and features of your map with an option for exporting in PNG and SVG format for use in your roleplaying games,

Advent Calendar for Geeks #05

Everyday of Advent I'm going to post a geeky link to something you can play with online until it is time to open your presents.

Touch Pianist

Touch Pianist is a fun web toy for playing a present piece of music. The tutorial features Moonlight Sonata, by Ludwig van Beethoven (which reached number one in the charts in 1801), but other tunes are available.

Plus one Geek Experience point for Batuhan Bozkurt

Play the piece is really easy, you simply have to click the screen whenever you feel musically inspired to do so. You can't get the notes wrong, although you may get the wrong timing, which is all part of the fun. The spacing between the glowing circles give some clue as to the intended rhythm for the tune, and with a little practice you will convince your friends that you are a musical prodigy.

This site urges you to run in Chrome, although I found that Chrome did not work very well at all, although everything was fine in Edge browser. There is also an Android version.

Have fun...more stuff tomorrow....

Advent Calendar for Geeks #04

Everyday of Advent I'm going to post a geeky link to something you can play with online until it is time to open your presents.

CivClicker

CivClicker is an online 'clicker' God game.


Simply click the buttons to gather resources, then hire workers to do it for you! The more you click the more you can build. This game should keep you busy until the next toy tomorrow.

Advent Calendar for Geeks #03

Everyday of Advent I'm going to post a geeky link to something you can play with online until it is time to open your presents.

OverType

OverType is an 'over the top' type writer simulator for desktop machines. You need a physical keyboard to get this toy to work - no touch screens I am afraid.



Have fun by adjusting the 'brokenness' of the wonky text. Load correction paper when you realise that you have made a mistake and there is no 'delete' button on a type-writer. Enjoy realistic sound effects and a satisfying carriage return experience.Create bold text by repeatedly over-typing your text. The more overtyping the more boldness!

This could be the most realistic typewriter experience on the Web.

Advent Calendar for Geeks #02

Everyday of Advent I'm going to post a geeky link to something you can play with online until it is time to open your presents.

Brick Block

Brick Block is a building creation toy by Oskar Stålberg.

Simply click to build, and right click to demolish.

Advent Calendar for Geeks #01

Everyday of Advent I'm going to post a geeky link to something you can play with online until it is time to open your presents.

Antipodes Map

The Antipodes Map allows you to stick your head through the planet and see what's on the other side of the world (the antipode).

My family live in New Zealand. I wonder what's directly on the other side of the planet?

Oh look, Spain!
The Antipodes map is a really cool toy, with loads of useful information for all geeks, unless you are one of the those flat-earth people, in which case it will make you very cross. The Earth is not flat, people!

Levidromes

A levidrome is a word that when spelled backwards makes another word.

Well, at least not yet. It is not in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Levi Budd is a six-year-old boy from British Columbia in Canada who has coined the term 'levidrome' after spotting that the word 'STOP' spells 'POTS' backwards. After realising that there is no such word in English for this phenomena, a social media campaign has started to get this word in popular usage (hence this post).

I wrote a short Python script this morning that will pull all of the levidromes from a dictionary file. The full list is copied below.





aa
ab
aba
abac
abba
abo
abos
abut
acca
ad
ado
ados
ae
aga
agar
agas
agenes
ah
aha
ahs
aia
aider
air
airts
ajar
aka
al
ala
alan
alif
alma
alula
am
ama
amahs
amas
amen
amene
amir
amis
amla
amman
an
ana
anal
anan
anana
anes
anew
anger
animal
animes
anna
annat
anon
ante
apod
araara
arak
arb
arbas
are
ares
arf
aril
arret
arris
arum
arval
aryl
assam
asses
at
ataata
ate
ates
aua
auks
ava
aval
avel
avid
avo
awa
ay
ayahs
ba
bac
bacs
bad
bag
bal
bals
ban
bans
bard
barf
bark
bas
bat
bats
bed
beef
ben
bens
bib
bid
big
bin
bins
bird
bis
blub
bo
bob
bobac
bobak
bod
bog
boh
bok
bon
bonk
boob
boord
bor
bos
bots
bows
boy
bra
braced
brad
brag
braw
bro
brod
bros
bru
bub
bud
bug
bulb
bun
bunk
buns
bur
burd
burg
bus
but
buts
cab
caba
cabob
cam
camus
cap
card
cares
cep
ceps
cire
cires
cis
cit
cite
cito
civic
clat
cod
cor
cos
cot
cram
cran
crem
cur
da
dab
dace
dad
dag
dah
dahs
dal
dam
dap
daraf
darb
darg
dart
darts
das
daud
daw
daws
day
de
deb
debut
decaf
decal
decarb
dedal
deed
deem
deen
deens
deep
deeps
deer
dees
deet
deets
def
defer
deffer
deffo
deg
degami
degged
deid
deified
deifier
deil
deke
deked
del
deled
delf
delis
deliver
delos
dels
deman
demit
demits
den
denier
denies
denim
denis
denned
dennets
dens
depart
deport
depot
depots
derat
derats
dere
dered
deres
deros
derris
dessert
desserts
deus
devas
devil
devils
devots
dew
dewans
dewed
dexes
deys
di
dial
dialer
dials
diaper
dib
did
died
dif
dig
dim
din
dinar
diol
diols
diram
dit
div
diva
do
dob
doc
dod
dog
doh
dohs
dol
dom
don
dons
doom
door
dop
dopa
dops
dor
dorb
dormin
dorp
dorps
dort
dorter
dos
doser
dot
doy
drab
drac
drail
dram
drap
draps
draw
drawer
draws
dray
drey
drib
drier
droob
drool
drow
drows
drub
duad
dual
dub
dud
duel
duo
dup
dups
ea
ean
eas
eat
ecad
ecce
ed
edile
edit
ee
eel
eels
een
ef
eh
ehs
eke
eked
elide
elides
elutes
em
eme
emes
emir
emit
emits
emmets
emong
emos
en
ene
enema
enes
enol
enows
er
era
ere
ered
eres
ergo
eric
eros
ervil
eses
esnes
espial
esse
et
eta
etas
etat
etats
eten
etic
etna
euk
eve
even
evil
eviler
evils
ewe
exul
eye
faced
farad
fe
fed
feeb
feer
fen
fer
fet
fid
fier
fig
fila
fir
fires
fled
flog
flor
flow
fool
fra
frab
fret
fro
gab
gad
gag
gal
gals
gam
gan
gans
gaps
gar
garb
gas
gat
gateman
gater
gats
gay
ged
gel
gelder
gem
gen
get
gib
gid
gif
gig
gins
gip
girt
girts
git
gnar
gnat
gnats
gnaw
gnaws
gnome
gnus
gob
god
golf
gon
gons
goog
gorp
gorps
gos
got
grad
gram
grub
gu
gub
gul
gulp
guls
gum
gums
guns
gup
gups
gur
gut
guv
guy
ha
habus
had
hadedah
hah
hahs
hajjah
halalah
hales
hallah
hallan
halos
han
hap
haram
hay
he
heh
henry
hep
her
hey
ho
hob
hod
hoh
hon
hoo
hoop
hop
hos
huh
hup
id
ikat
imaged
io
iris
iron
is
it
itas
iwi
jar
kabob
kaiak
kak
kam
kara
kat
kay
kayak
keek
keel
keels
keep
keet
keets
ken
keps
kier
kips
kirks
kis
kiths
knaps
knar
knit
knits
knob
knop
knot
knots
know
knub
knuts
kob
kook
kor
korat
kow
krab
krans
kue
la
lab
laced
lacer
lad
laded
laer
lag
lager
laid
laipse
lair
lam
lamina
lana
langer
lap
lares
larum
las
laud
lava
lavra
leat
leben
led
lee
leek
leep
leeps
leer
lees
leet
leets
leg
leir
lemel
leper
les
let
leud
leva
level
lever
levins
levo
lez
liar
liard
liart
lias
lied
lies
lin
lion
lira
lit
live
lived
livre
lobo
lod
loges
loid
lone
loof
looks
loom
loons
loop
loops
loord
loos
loot
looter
loots
lop
los
lotos
lug
luxe
lyra
ma
mac
macs
mad
madam
maes
mag
mak
mal
malam
mallam
mals
mam
man
map
maps
mar
marah
marc
marcs
mard
marg
marid
marram
marrum
mart
mas
massa
mat
maws
may
me
meed
mees
meet
meets
meg
mem
merc
meter
mets
mew
mho
mid
milks
mils
mim
mined
minim
mips
mir
mis
mm
mo
mod
mom
mon
moo
mood
mool
mools
moops
moor
moos
moot
mop
mor
mos
mot
moy
mu
mug
mum
mura
mural
mures
murram
mus
mut
muton
muts
na
naan
nab
nae
nag
nah
nala
nallah
nam
named
namer
nametag
namma
nan
nana
nap
napas
nappas
naps
naras
narc
narcs
narks
nas
nat
naw
ne
neb
nebel
ned
nee
need
neep
nef
neg
nek
neks
nelis
nema
nemas
nep
net
nete
nets
neve
neves
new
nib
nid
nil
nimrod
nip
nips
nis
nit
no
nob
nod
nog
noh
noil
nolos
nom
non
nona
nonet
noo
noon
noop
noops
nori
nos
not
notes
notum
now
noy
nu
nub
nun
nur
nus
nut
nuts
nys
oat
ob
oba
obey
obo
obol
od
oda
odas
offed
offer
ogre
oh
ohm
oho
ohos
oi
oiks
om
on
ono
oo
ooh
oohs
oom
oon
oop
oor
oot
op
oppo
orb
orf
os
otic
otto
oud
ova
ovel
ow
owt
oxo
oy
pac
pacer
pad
pah
pal
palp
pals
pam
pan
pans
pap
par
pard
part
parts
pas
pat
pats
paw
paws
pay
pec
peed
peek
peel
peels
peen
peep
pees
peh
pelas
pen
peons
pep
per
perp
perts
pets
pig
pin
pins
pip
pir
pis
pit
plap
plug
po
pod
poh
pol
pols
pom
ponk
poo
pooh
pool
pools
poon
poons
poop
poor
poort
poos
poots
pop
port
ports
pos
pot
pots
pow
pows
prat
prep
prod
prog
pud
pug
puh
pullup
pup
pupils
puris
pus
put
puy
radar
rag
raga
rager
rages
raggas
rail
rait
raj
raja
ram
ramis
rang
ranid
rank
rap
raps
ras
rast
rat
rats
raw
ray
re
real
reaps
rebus
rebut
recal
recap
recaps
reccos
redder
redes
redia
redips
redleg
redraw
redrawer
reed
reef
reeks
reel
reels
reens
rees
ref
refed
refer
reffed
reffo
reflet
reflow
regal
regar
regna
regnal
regos
reh
reif
reified
reifier
reik
reiks
reined
reird
reknit
reknits
reknot
reknots
relaid
relit
relive
reliver
reman
remeet
remit
renies
rennet
rep
repaid
repaper
repel
repins
repot
repots
res
resat
resod
retag
retem
retool
retrod
retros
revel
reviled
reviler
reviver
reward
rewarder
rewets
rexes
ria
rial
rias
ribas
riel
rif
rim
rima
rime
rims
rip
rits
rob
roc
rod
rok
rolf
rom
rones
roo
rood
room
rooms
roop
roops
roots
rosies
rot
rotator
rotavator
rotor
rub
ruc
rucs
rug
rums
run
sab
sabir
sabra
sad
sadis
sado
sados
sae
sag
saga
sagas
sagenes
saggar
sail
sair
sakis
sal
salep
salles
sallets
sam
sama
samas
samen
san
sanes
sap
sapan
sappan
saps
sar
saran
saros
sarus
sat
sate
sati
sav
saved
saw
saz
scab
scam
scares
scot
scram
scran
scur
seals
seam
seat
secret
seder
sedes
sedile
seed
seeks
seel
seem
seems
seep
seer
sees
segar
segol
seil
seined
seiner
seis
seisor
seities
sekos
sel
selah
selahs
seles
sellas
selles
seme
sememes
semes
semina
sena
senas
sene
senega
senegas
sennet
senor
sense
ser
sera
serac
seracs
seral
sere
sered
seres
seric
serif
serons
serres
serum
sese
sesey
sessa
sesses
set
seta
seton
setule
seven
sexed
sexer
sexes
sey
seys
sha
shad
shah
shahs
shakos
shales
shama
shay
shaya
she
shod
shoo
shtik
si
sib
sic
sidas
sies
sik
sikas
siled
silen
sim
sima
simar
simis
sin
sined
sinnet
sip
siri
siris
sirra
sirred
sirs
sirup
sis
sit
six
skat
skeer
skees
skeets
sken
skeps
skier
skio
skips
sklim
skool
skran
skrans
skrik
skua
slab
slaes
slag
slaid
slam
slap
sled
slee
sleek
sleep
sleeps
sleer
sleet
sleets
slim
slipup
slit
slive
slived
sloid
sloom
sloop
sloops
sloot
sloots
slop
slug
smart
smees
smew
smir
smits
smoor
smoot
smug
smur
smut
smuts
snab
snag
snap
snaps
snark
snarks
snaw
snawed
snaws
sneb
sned
sneed
sneer
snib
snig
snip
sniper
snips
snirt
snit
snivel
snod
snoep
snog
snool
snoop
snoops
snoot
snores
snort
snot
snow
snub
snug
so
sob
soba
soc
soccer
sod
soda
sodas
sog
soger
soh
soho
sokahs
sokes
sol
solah
soled
solon
solos
som
some
son
sonnet
sool
soom
soop
sop
soras
sorb
sore
sored
sorter
sos
sotol
sow
soy
spacer
spaer
spag
spam
span
spank
spans
spar
spard
spart
sparts
spas
spat
spats
spaw
spaws
spay
spaz
spec
speed
speel
speels
spek
speks
spets
spider
spik
spiks
spim
spin
spins
spirt
spirts
spit
spod
spool
spools
spoom
spoon
spoons
spoor
spoots
sports
spot
spots
sprat
sprits
sprod
sprog
spud
spug
sris
stab
stag
stang
stap
staps
star
stared
start
stat
state
stats
staw
staws
steed
steek
steeks
steel
steels
steem
stellas
stem
stemme
sten
stenned
step
steps
stet
stets
stew
stewer
stime
stimed
stims
stink
stinker
stir
stirps
stob
stonk
stonker
stool
stools
stoop
stoops
stoor
stop
stoped
stoper
stops
stot
stots
stoved
stow
stows
strad
strap
straps
straw
strep
stressed
stria
strig
strips
strop
strops
strow
struts
stub
stum
stums
stun
stunk
sturts
sub
subah
suber
succus
sued
sulu
sulus
sum
sumac
sun
sung
sup
suras
sus
susus
swad
swam
swang
swans
swap
swaps
sward
swat
swats
sway
swey
swob
swone
swop
sword
swot
swots
syed
syes
syn
ta
tab
tae
tael
taes
tag
tak
taki
taks
talc
tallat
tam
tan
tang
tanna
tao
tap
taps
tar
tared
tarok
tarp
tarps
tart
tas
taser
tat
tate
tats
tav
taw
taws
te
teed
teek
teel
teels
teem
teemer
tef
teg
tel
telfer
ten
tenet
tenner
tennes
tennis
tennos
tenon
terces
terf
terra
terret
tes
tet
tets
tew
ti
tiar
tic
tid
tide
tig
til
tiler
tils
time
timed
timer
tin
tink
tinker
tins
tip
tips
tirrit
tis
tit
toc
tocs
tod
tog
tom
ton
tonk
tonker
tons
too
tool
tools
toom
tooms
toons
toot
top
toped
toper
tops
tor
torot
tort
tot
tots
tow
tows
trad
trail
tram
trams
trap
traped
traps
trat
trats
tressed
trew
trig
trins
trips
trod
trons
troop
trop
troped
trot
trow
tsar
tub
tuba
tubed
tuber
tug
tum
tums
tun
tup
tut
two
ug
ulu
ulus
um
umu
un
urb
utu
vas
vat
vav
vid
vug
wad
wan
wang
wans
wap
waps
war
warb
ward
warder
warts
was
wat
wats
waw
way
wed
wem
wems
wen
wena
wert
wet
wets
wey
wo
wok
wolf
wolfer
won
wonk
wons
wop
word
wort
worts
wos
wot
wots
wow
xis
ya
yad
yag
yah
yahs
yak
yam
yap
yaps
yar
yard
yaw
yaws
yay
yebo
yeh
yerd
yes
yeses
yew
yews
yo
yob
yod
yom
yon
yos
yrneh
yug
yup
zaps
zas
zel
ziz
zuz
zzz




It is interesting to note that some levidromes are also palindromes. I wonder whether we need a new word to describe this phenomenon also?  Furthermore, there is no word in English for "a word that you make up in order to make another word make sense". I suggest: "emordivel" ?

The worst game I've played in a long while

I was going to call this post "Is this the worst game ever?", but it sounded like click-bait.

The Station in Dig Station is a big dig station.


Dig Station is a game for Android. The blurb states:

"Manage little station on the alien planet. Get upgrades and go for adventures!".

 It sounded fun, but one of those statements is a lie.

You start the game with a little dig station, and after a short period of familiarising yourself with the controls (there is no tutorial) you discover the main mechanic of this game - the counter in the top right indicates how much stuff your station has gathered. Soon you discover that you have to upgrade your main drill. Doing so increases the rate at which you get stuff. Everyone likes games where you get progressively better, even if it is just the rate at which you gain yellow numbers, right?

One of several upgrades in the game.

Once you have gathered 2000 'thingies' you get to further upgrades to your little station, such as hull, hydraulics, electronics, etc. The names matter little: each one does nothing but increases the rate at which you can mine 'wotsits', and by this stage you are craving ever more and more of their yellowy, numerical goodness.

After a short while you discover that this game is going to reward you for interacting with it in various ways. Soon you have devoted your entire evening to clicking the upgrade buttons rewarded each time by the counter of 'thingy-jigs' spinning over faster and faster.

After a while you have become a junky to collecting yellow numbers. You need ever higher orders of magnitude for the next upgrade and so you devote even more of your time to gathering the yellow 'somethings' required by the game. You discover that you can increase the productivity of your station through a number of ways. For example, 'click this button one hundred times and you increase the productivity by 1%'. So you do it. You actually spend the next two or three hours of your life pressing a button hundreds of times to get incrementally faster rates of 'whatchamacallits'.

You are an addict now. You will willingly accept the 'advert' button just to get ahead in the game.
Now, I don't mind 'clicker' games, if they are done well. In my thirst for ever higher mine rates in Dig Station I thought I was enjoying myself. I thought that this was a good game with an interesting mechanic. I thought I was going to be rewarded for all of my efforts. I thought there was going to be some sort of pay-off for ever-higher orders of magnitude.

I was wrong.

The developers lied. There is no pay off. No reward.

They promised 'adventure', but there was none. The game has no challenge to it at all. You simply progress through the game by giving it more and more of your time.

Eventually you have gathered an arbitrarily large amount of yellow 'numbers' and the game gives you the option of progressing to the adventure. So you do...


... but first you have to press a button one hundred times....

So you do.


Then the planet explodes. GAME OVER.

You do not even get a chance to continuing playing some more, nor start over. And worst of all, the 'adventure' you were promised from the start does not occur. the game just...stops.

I was left with a feeling of loss for the several hours of my life I had dedicated to clicking buttons on my screen for what turned out to be simply a vehicle for adverts.

This game is click-bait. Literally and figuratively.

It isn't the worst game ever. The graphics have a lovely retro feel and if you really want to waste four or five hours of your life, then there are worse ways, but the developers have been disingenuous in their description. I can't help but feel disappointed and fail to see the funny side of the time wasted.

If you want to play a good 'clicker' - one that rewards you with challenging puzzles and a real sense of the game developing, then do try Candy Box if it still exists. For a great 'digger' game with a rewarding end (and the ability to carry on doing what you want even when the game ends) then check out Motherload on miniclips.

Minus one geek experience point awarded to C6H6. I've never taken geek experience points away before, and I wouldn't do so just for a poor click-baity game, but if you read through the developers comments to poor reviews in the app store, then you will see why these developers need their geek status reducing.

That's all for now. Rant is over, but if you are still will us, then you might want to read about that time I found Usbourne's book of Computer space games from the 80's; or you may be in the mood to waste your time in a fun and rewarding way.

Can I look after a goldfish?

The short answer is no. Good bye!

Still here? Oh, well, you see I would love to look after a living creature, but unfortunately I would be a bad parent. I would forget to feed it, or neglect its little tank and turn its environment into a dank, poisonous and murky abyss even worse than Darlington. With this self-realisation comes wisdom though, for now I seek my animal companionship through virtual pets.

My current favourite is iQuarium by Infinite Dreams for Android.

My pet fish, John.
This is a really beautiful app. The fish looks very lifelike and the developers have clearly spent a lot of time making the fish move like a real animal. Unlike in many virtual pet apps, there are no gimmicks. You simply have to remember to feed your fish each day and that's it. There are no daft games to play to increase its 'happyness', and no muck to clear out. Each day you just get to watch your fish swimming around its virtual world. It is very relaxing.

The way you treat your fish will affect its personality, apparently. I do not know if this is true, or not, because so far I have been treating my fish very well. John is a seemingly happy and well-adjusted four-week old fish.

You can interact with your pet. If you press on your screen he will follow your finger. If you tap him he will turn and stare at you. Other than that, your fish is its own person and will do its own thing.

The longer you keep your fish, the more points you score. Various new artifacts, plants and backgrounds are available the longer you play.

Here you can see John hard at work coming up with ideas for his own blog.
If you are looking for a realistic fish simulator with no gimmicks then to look at iQuarium for Android. It is a shame that there is no Windows 10 version though.

+1 Geek experience point awarded to Infinite Dreams.

If you are still here, then you might like to read all about that time I was the god of my own planet, or have a look at my other virtual pet posts.


DesignEvo

Candy from PearlMountain got in touch recently and asked me to do a review of DesignEvo. I don't often get asked to review software. I prefer to showcase stuff I find interesting as and when I find it myself, but Candy asked nicely, so here we go.

DesignEvo is a very easy to use tool for creating vector logos. After a brief tutorial you are deposited on a blank 500 x 500 canvas with three tabs one the left hand side. Candy promises me professional looking logos in seconds and she doesn't disappoint.

A very intuitive interface with over one million icons available through search.

There are three main elements to your design: Icons, text and shapes. These can then be freely arranged on your canvas. I had a go at creating a new logo for HaveSpellWillTravel. I started my stop watch at the end of the tutorial and I had produced the following design after 48 seconds.

Let's check those credentials again. "Professional-looking logo" - CHECK. Created in seconds - YOU BET! 48 seconds in fact.
Some really nice features include:

  • Dotty green guidelines on the canvas to help you position your stuff.
  • The ability to download your logo - for FREE in JPEG, PNG and transparent format, although they do ask that you credit the source back to DesignEvo, which I guess is only fair. A link along the lines of: Logo made with DesignEvo is required.
  • The preview feature allows you to see how your logo as it would appear on your headed notepaper or tee-shirt.

See how your logo would look on your employees' chests, or in the foyer of your HQ in Silicon Valley. 
Our review summary: This is a really easy to use tool that would be perfect for school projects.

Our rating: 5/5 and +1 Geek Experience Point for PearlMountain.

If you came here looking for logos, then you might like our reviews of other logo software. If you just parachuted in looking for something fun, then you might like this stuff or that stuff. Either way, I'll see you soon for more geeky stuff.

My most pointless IFTTT applets

IFTTT is a service for linking various services together. Literally, if this happens, then that will happen. If you are reading this article from a link on Twitter, G+, Tumbler, Pinterest or elsewhere, it is likely that an IFTTT applet put it there. I've been using IFTTT for years and I have several hundred applets automating my digital life.

This post is about some of the most pointless applets, some of which I still use.

Used in conjunction with with the 'mute your phone at bedtime' applet. I quickly stopped using this one because it would always set the volume to 'very high'. I certainly miss the 'quiet times' feature of my Lumia 950.

This one is cool, but pointless. You get to store all of your tweets in a text file for, you know, reasons.

Daily pictures from NASA on your homescreen. I stopped using this one because I much prefer a simple solid colour background to my phone whereas the NASA pictures can make your phone look cluttered. Again, I miss my Lumia 950 for its live tiles and transparent icrons. The Microsoft launcher is a good replacement for Android, and you also get the Bing daily pictures on your homescreen if that's a thing you like.

Ok, so when an email arrived in my inbox, the LaMetric stopwatch would start time. Presumably I did this so I could time how long it took me to delete, I mean respond to import work messages. I soon found this an annoying distraction and turned it on. I can see how this might be a useful feature someday, again, you know, because of reasons.

Pocket is great. Here I can save the links people tweet directly into Pocket. I'm still using this one, the only problem is I don't actually think I every follow up on many of the links. My pocket is hundreds of articles deep and growing. A cull is needed soon.

This one is totally not a pointless applet at all. If an email arrives then the attachments are safely stored away. I don't need to trawl through days and days of junk in my inbox, the files are waiting for me on all my devices whenever I need them (along with a large proportion of junk).

It sounded good at first. Every new item on your Alexa shopping list automatically gets a new page in OneNote. What's the problem? I delete things from my shopping list when I have bought them, but not from OneNote. My OneNote now has eighteen pages called 'onions'.

This one is switched on, but I don't actually use the Alexa 'To-Do'. I use Wunderlist instead.
So, there's eight pointless applets but there are so many potential good ones waiting to be made. That's all from me, I've got a gutter to clear. If you want to stay and read more vaguely amusing tech stuff, then you might like to read about some clock programs, or fun stuff Cortana can do.

Amazon Echo and LaMetric Time



The Amazon Echo is a smart speaker system with digital assistant. She responds to the wake-up word 'Alexa' and her features include music streaming from Spotify, internet radio, shopping lists, alarms, timers, reminders, weather and news updates, as well as one-sided conversations. The sound quality is really very good, and I do love watching the glowing light spin as Alexa broods over my last response. It almost makes me forget that she is always listening to me.



Alexa also provides voice command access to other internet-enabled devices. Today I shall deal with  Echo and the LaMetric Time. LaMetric Time is a smart clock with internet radio. It features various apps including clock, radio, weather, sunrise/set times, moon phase, timers, stopwatch, message board, news update, etc. I dealt with all of the features of LaMetric in a previous post. Amazon echo can now be used as voice-control for LaMetric.


Once you are connected you can use your voice to tell Alexa to perform actions with the LaMetric time. For example:

"Alexa, tell LaMetric to start fifteen minute timer"

"Alexa, tell LaMetric to show clock"

"Alexa, tell LaMetric to wake me up at 7am"



Alexa, LaMetric and If This Then That

Both Alexa and LaMetric get even more interesting when you use the IFTTT app. IFTTT allows you to connect services together using 'applets', for example, if 'this' happens in one service, then 'that' happens in another. I use this service to pass notifications from my Android phone to the LaMetric device. In fact, at the last count I have several hundred IFTTT applets running various jobs in the background (including copying this blog post to Twitter, for example).

With these two applets running you can switch your internet radio off by simply leaving your house, place of work or hovel. When you come back again, the internet radio is ready for you. 

These applets provide you with buttons on your smart phone's home screen allowing you to control various parts of the LaMetric device at the touch of a button.

One of many applets for Alexa.
The Alexa App
Both the Alexa and LaMetric devices have apps for your Android device (sadly not Windows phone). These are required for access to various settings, such as clearing your shopping list, or cancelling alarms, but they also give you access to your device history.



The LaMetric app


Part of the LaMetric Time app showing just six of the apps you can get for it.

Quite apart from all of the awesome time apps that LaMetric Time can do for you, I mainly use my LaMetric for the internet radio. This app boasts over 3000 stations. Oh, and if you would prefer, you can use the LaMetric as a Bluetooth speaker for your phone.


Well that's it for now. More geeky tech stuff coming soon, or you may enjoy reading about that time I tried to use my BBC micro as my main computer, or when I had a virtual pet called Phil.

Analogue clock for python turtle

Today I discovered the turtle library for python.

If you are old enough to remember the educational programming language Logo, then you might remember spending hours in your school's BBC microcomputer lab playing with this electronic turtle.

Logo provides a way of drawing line graphics and patterns using simple commands such as 'forward' and 'right'. Logo is a good way of teaching and learning 'Computational Thinking' or the basics of programming. Today you can experience the same fun on your Raspberry Pi or Python interpreter on your PC, as the turtle library is included in the standard distribution.

After playing with a few random walks (which I may post at a later date), I had a go at creating a working analogue clock, and I am rather pleased with the results. Thanks to Sonny for his enthusiasm and suggested improvements.

Python 3 analogue clock using the turtle graphics library.



You can download the code, or copy it from below.

#Turtle Analogue Clock
#Tim Street
#version 1.6
#2017-06-23
#SHOWS GMT NOT BST

import turtle
import time

print("Python Turtle Analogue Clock")
print("By T Street")


#Deal with different time zones
ok = False
while not(ok):
print("\nFor example, for British summer time enter 1")
offset = int(input("Enter offset from GMT (-11 to 11) :"))
if offset >= -11 and offset <= 11:
ok = True

wn = turtle.Screen()
wn.title("TURTLE CLOCK")

SCALE = 1.7 # size of clock scale factor (try 2.0 to 0.5)

#create dial
mark = turtle.Turtle()
mark.speed(200)
mark.shape("circle")
for i in range(60):
      if i % 5 == 0:
            mark.pensize(10)
            mark.penup()
            mark.forward(200*SCALE)
            mark.pendown()
            mark.forward(10*SCALE)
            mark.penup()
            mark.backward(210*SCALE)
      else:
            mark.pensize(5)
            mark.penup()
            mark.forward(200*SCALE)
            mark.pendown()
            mark.forward(5*SCALE)
            mark.penup()
            mark.backward(205*SCALE)      
      mark.right(6)


update = True #controls whether minute and hour hand should update (once per minute)
updateSecond = True # controls whether the second hanbd should update
while True: 
      b = time.gmtime(time.time()) # current GMT
      m = b.tm_min # remember the current minute
      s = b.tm_sec # rember the current second
      if update:
            #hour hand
            hour = turtle.Turtle()
            hour.left(90)
            hour.speed(100*SCALE)
            hour.pensize(10)
            hour.shape("blank")
            hour.right(((b.tm_hour + offset) % 12) * 30 + b.tm_min * 0.5 )
            hour.backward(30*SCALE)
            hour.forward(160*SCALE)

            #minute hand
            minute = turtle.Turtle()
            minute.speed(100)
            minute.shape("blank")
            minute.left(90)
            minute.pensize(6)
            minute.right((b.tm_min) * 6)
            minute.backward(30*SCALE)
            minute.forward(180*SCALE)

            update = False
            
      if updateSecond:
            #second hand
            second = turtle.Turtle()
            second.speed(100)
            second.shape("blank")
            second.color("red")
            second.left(90)
            second.pensize(3)
            second.right((b.tm_sec) * 6)
            second.backward(30*SCALE)
            second.forward(190*SCALE)
            updateSecond = False

      time.sleep(0.3)
      b = time.gmtime(time.time())
      new_min = b.tm_min
      new_sec = b.tm_sec

      if new_min != m:
            update = True
            hour.clear() # Clear out the drawing (if any)
            hour.reset()
            minute.clear()
            minute.reset()
      if new_sec != s:
            updateSecond = True
            second.clear()
            second.reset()


Seasonal change for the day clock

Today was a lovely summery day in old Blighty.  It was good to generate some vitamin D, but I guess that was our summer over for another year.  If you blink then you miss it.

It reminded me that my day clock needed updating. The old autumnal leaves I posted originally back in December no longer seem appropriate. So today I added a rolling background image that changes with the seasons. There is a different image for each time of year: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

Do please check it out.

The old Autumnal version. Do click it to see what's new.

More groovy patterns for Raspberry Pi

Following on from the last post about groovy patterns for Raspberry Pi, I present my latest program, another random walk.

It is a random walk similar to last time, however with this one there are three degrees of freedom (rather than horizontal and vertical) and rather than a line, the object displayed in a coloured 3D box.
This code is for BASIC V running under RISCOS on the Raspberry Pi. Copy the code, or download directly.

The code:

   10 REM Blocks
   20 REM T Street
   30 REM 2017-05-21
   40 :
   50 MODE 19
   52 delay = 0
   55 colcyc = 0
   60 angle1 = RAD(45): angle2 = RAD(20)
   70 size = 16
   72 LIMIT = 50
   73 DENSITY = 40
   80 xo=500:yo=500
   90 x = xo: y=yo
  100 dir = RND(5)
  110 PROCsetdir
  112 lc = 0
  114 dc = 0
  120 REPEAT
  140   PROCbox(x,y,size,angle1,angle2)
  141   t=TIME:REPEAT UNTIL TIME>t+delay
  150   x = x + dx: y = y + dy
  151   lc = lc + 1
  160   IF RND(6) = 1 THEN PROCchangeDir
  170   IF x<0 OR x>1000 OR y<0 OR y>1000 OR lc>LIMIT THEN
  180     x=xo:y=yo
  181     colcyc = colcyc+2: IF colcyc > 127 colcyc = 0
  182     lc = 0
  183     dc = dc + 1
  190   ENDIF
  191   IF dc>DENSITY THEN
  192     dc = 0:CLS:x=xo:y=yo:lc = 0
  193   ENDIF
  200 UNTIL FALSE
  210 END
  220 :
  230 DEFPROCbox(x,y,s,ar,au)
  240 REM draws a box at coords x,y
  250 REM where the coords are the lower left corner
  260 REM and s is the size of box
  270 REM and ar and au are angles
  280 MOVE x,y
  290 LOCAL up, right
  300 up = s*SIN(au)
  310 right = s*COS(ar)
  320 REM front side
  330 GCOL 2+colcyc
  340 MOVE x,y+s
  350 PLOT 85,x+s,y
  360 MOVE x+s, y:MOVE x, y+s
  370 PLOT 85, x+s, y+s
  380 REM right hand side
  390 GCOL 1+colcyc
  400 MOVE x+s+right, y+up: MOVE x+s, y+s
  410 PLOT 85, x+s, y
  420 MOVE x+s+right, y+up: MOVE x+s, y+s
  430 PLOT 85, x+s+right, y+s+up
  440 REM top
  450 GCOL 1+colcyc
  460 MOVE x+right, y+s+up: MOVE x+s, y+s
  470 PLOT 85, x, y+s
  480 MOVE x+right, y+s+up: MOVE x+s, y+s
  490 PLOT 85, x+s+right, y+s+up
  491 GCOL 0
  492 MOVEx,y:DRAW x+s,y:DRAW x+s,y+s:DRAWx,y+s:DRAW x,y
  500 ENDPROC
  510 :
  520 DEFPROCsetdir
  530 CASE dir OF
  540   WHEN 1
  550   dx = 0: dy = size
  560   WHEN 2
  570   dx = size: dy = 0
  580   WHEN 3
  590   dx = 0: dy = -size
  600   WHEN 4
  610   dx = -size: dy = 0
  620   WHEN 5
  630   dx = -(size*COS(angle2)): dy = -(size*SIN(angle2))
  635   WHEN6
  636   dx = (size*COS(angle2)): dy = (size*SIN(angle2))
  640 ENDCASE
  650 ENDPROC
  660 :
  670 DEFPROCchangeDir
  680 dir=RND(6)
  690 PROCsetdir
  700 ENDPROC
  710 :


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